22 July 2013

Where Am I? magnetic board & a FREEBIE

With the beginning of my week-long orientation starting TODAY, I had to keep up with getting some last-minute projects finished as I knew my time would be quite limited this week - now that my vacation is OFFICIALLY OVER!  Anyway, I'm excited to be heading back and cannot wait to begin teaching in this district!! I mean I student taught there - I spent my elementary years being educated there - I am meant to be here (it's just a shame I had to wait 5 years since there was a hiring freeze when I graduated in 2008)!!

Enough of that, let's get to the goods...

#1 - Where Am I? [magnetic check-in board]
I'm sure you've seen these guys on pinterest so far this year.  During a mid-week trip to Wal-Mart I grabbed a 92 cent flat cookie sheet since the ones at Dollar Tree were ALL warped and I could not find one that would lay flat for the life of me -- thank goodness because this was more inexpensive anyway!!  Then, I headed down to the fabric aisle to see what goodies might catch my eye and I found a lime green/white floral pattern in the pre-cut and pre-packaged sample swatch section.

My favorite part about it is the magnets! I picked up a bag of black decorative stones when I was doing a major haul at Michael's in hopes that I could use them for Student Number magnets if I hot-glued them to some round magnets I had lying around.  Then, I used Silver Sharpie to write the numbers on these smooth stones!  Something about their texture is so much more appealing to me than more laminated paper magnets - besides I was already using that anyway with the labels I've created.  Which brings me to my freebie: Where Am I? labels.  Feel free to use these for your creations (I've included two heading options: Where Am I? OR We're All Accounted for: and six location labels: I'm in the classroom, bathroom, library, office, nurse, and a BLANK one for you to customize)

I plan on attaching this using power magnets to the metal window/doorsill as you leave the classroom because it's right next to the door and where I hang the hall passes.  However, if needed to be hung on the wall, I would simply hot glue a black ribbon to the back of the board and secure with pushpins or command hooks.

P.S. - Make sure you use fabric shears when trimming your fabric to size to avoid any scraggly looking edges that regular scissors leave behind!

#2 - Paper Plate Welcome Sign & Bulletin Board Letters
When I saw Miss Nelson's post showcasing how she uses paper plates to make certain words on her bulletin board display "pop" I thought it was ingenious and absolutely something I had to try out.  After trial and error, I realized that using the regular bottle of school glue (no matter how thin of a layer was used) left those visible glue bumps behind.  Therefore, I suggest using either glue dots or perhaps even glue stick!  Again, while at WalMart in the party section where they keep all sorts of themed plates for whatever festive ocassion you're celebrating, they sell a small pack of 24 plates for just 97 cents!  I picked up a turquoise and a black thinking I could always come back for more later!

After playing around on the computer for the font I'd like to use for my WELCOME banner and then tediously cutting out each letter I decided there must be a better way to do all this.  I hit up pinterest again and discovered that iTeach5th actually has created and generously decided to share her dot labels with us which fit perfectly inside the Walmart plates I had purchased.  Instead of making my own for my "Science" wall, I just printed the letters I needed and cut an easier pattern - even stacking to make multiple cuts at one time!  WOOHOO!
Then, I ran into the dilemma of finding out the best way to hang this.  My hope is for the plate to lie flat against the wall but not pinch down any of the edges in the process so my first thought was to staple directly to the wall in the inner circle of the plate (where the letter's attached).  But, here's my concern: what if I need to move them at some point and want to be able to reuse the cute circles?  Wouldn't stapling perhaps tear the paper circle in the process?  Then, I thought - Velcro circles (that should keep the plate secured and allow me the flexibility to remove the letters safely if needed.  In the end, I used Velcro - I'll let you know how that holds hope during the year!

#3 - Back To School "You're oFISHally in ___ grade!" Student Treat Bags
With my classroom not finished and orientation consuming my "get it done" time during the day, I had to check another item off my To Do list and make my student treat bags for Meet the Teacher night because I still don't know the little things like my room # or telephone # to make my refrigerator magnets yet.  Anyway, I used the miniature plastic bags found in the craft section at Dollar Tree to create my goldfish gifts last year - but this year I'm thinking that snack-sized Ziplocs will do since they're already in the house anyway.  If you need the bag topper labels, they're on sale at my store through the end of the month, here!

#4 - Student Name Plates
As a teacher, I've found that I prefer my classroom to be a serene place and too much color tends to distract me or make me feel anxious/overwhelmed.  Therefore, I've found the mantra I tend to go by when it comes to classroom decor has become, "less is more!"  This is why I love using black & white since it matches easily with everything and isn't too striking (color-wise).  Also I gravitate toward turquoise, yellow and green - typically it's lime but that color is LOUD so I am only using it in small touches/accents around the room like in my Where Am I? board above.
This is why I've created some original student nameplates because I find that looking at all that color on student desks tends to get me anxious.  What can I say?  I have self-diagnosed myself with OCD and ADD & it doesn't help when you add a Type-A personality to that mix.  Also, I know what I like and that is black & white polka dots with blue and green accents.  I decided to add some inspirational quotes at the top of each nametag because they really don't need a number line or the alphabet staring back at them in 4th grade!  I LOVE THESE!! Get your own set of my nametags and you can print/laminate as needed w/out ever investing another dime into store-bought nameplates again!

#5 - Flower Pens
Finally, knowing that I can't handle lots of color in BIG doses, I knew when I saw these flowers from across the aisle while on my way to the check-out register at Walmart that these yellow dahlias were going to go with me even if I had to pay $3 retail for them!  (Surprisingly they rang up $2.75 so they were slightly discounted - SCORE!!)
Don't they look gorgeous in my black tin from Target from their dollar section last school year?? I just love the way black and yellow look together but yellow needs to be the accent otherwise it can become too overwhelming.  They make me happy and I hope they continue to do so all year long!!

19 July 2013

Moving Into My New Room {and a back-to-school freebie!!}

I just got my new badge printed and it's OFFICIAL, I'm legit, and I can move into my new district & new classroom!!  Well, technically I'm unable to setup quite yet because the room I'm taking over is the room of a staff member who just became the librarian and since returning teachers don't officially report until the 29th - she still hasn't moved her things out of the room yet.  Therefore, all my stuff is neatly piled at the front of the room awaiting the day that her belongings are able to make their exit and clear out space for my things!!

Luckily, the walls have been taken down so I might as well get started on bulletin boards since I can't do any rearranging or storing away my boxes of teacher goods until further notice.  Here's what I was able to accomplish with the help of my fab familia today:
To thank them for their hard-work and extreme attention to detail [cutting 4 panels of fabric to size, pressing out wrinkles, and centering and hammering push pins into the alphabet line above becomes quite a tedious process!]  Especially since perfection runs in the family, if one person doesn't notice a seemingly minor eye sore, another one most likely will detect it!  As a quick thanks, I treated everybody to root beer floats afterwards!  DELISH - Culver's is celebrating their 29th anniversary with $2 root beer floats thru the 24th {this makes large floats more than half off!!}
Also, I've been amazingly productive and quite the busy little bee this week so I'm sharing an Instagram pic of one of the projects I'll be featuring on my next Monday Made-It post.  Yay for uber cute flower pens!!
Freebie Fridays
Finally, as a result of Meet the Teacher night quickly approaching on Aug. 1st, I have revised a couple team level documents into a hybrid and am sharing this Parent Questionnaire [Back-to-School freebie] with y'all!
TGIF! :)

15 July 2013

Common Core Weekly Reading Homework (Grades 3-5) COMPLETE BUNDLED SET!!

Here's what I've been up to this weekend:  Popping out new TpT products, enjoying Bastille Day at Mimi's Cafe (yum - 45 cent muffins!!) and creating & laminating anchor charts before I go in and setup my classroom - which I will attack this Friday (hopefully the teacher who is taking over as the school librarian has moved out of the room by then - talk about horader)!

I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for her weekly Monday Made-It linky.  Here's what I've created over the past week - I feel like I've actually been pretty productive since coming back from vacation!!

#1 - Common Core Weekly Reading Homework {COMPLETE Set Grades 3-4-5) *40 WEEKS*
Just in time for Back-to-School: 40 WEEKS of Common Core Year-Round Weekly Reading Homework BUNDLE for Grades 3-5!! (Upper Grade HW Packs) An entire year of reading homework made simple - just print off & instantly have a high-interest weekly reading passage for all your students, even the ones who say they have nothing to read! **40 Weeks of Material INCLUDED for 3rd, 4th & 5th grade**

#2 - Common Core Weekly Reading Homework (Grades 3-4-5) - FALL PACK *5 WEEKS*
And as you may have guessed, since I was FINALLY able to bundle my Weekly Reading Homework packs together - then I must have finished my last set, The Fall Pack!  I'm so proud of this unit because it contains one of my favorite stories I have ever written for my students - it's called Turkey Face: The Mostly True Story of Lady Gobble.  It was the year of Lady Gaga in 2009 when I became inspired to "disguise" my turkey as the popstar.  And before you could say, "Just Dance," the feathery counterpart, Lady Gobble, was born! 

#3 - Classroom Anchor Charts for the New School Year!
Just a disclaimer beforehand, sorry for any glare - I had the bright idea of taking pictures after laminating them - not the best idea!! I saw most of these ideas on pinterest and some are of my own creation - feel free to pin if you feel that your class could benefit from these:

Off to scavenging through my craft supplies for my magnets to finish my student check-out board!

13 July 2013

Flash Giveaway: NEW Natural Disasters 3rd -5th Grade Weekly Reading HW Pack!!

I've spent the day glued to the laptop and I finally was able to crank out another HW pack - I now am just one set away from being able to create my complete bundle!  Needless to say, I'm already 2 weeks behind schedule of my deadline I set months ago... Anywho, have a look below to preview the goods.  This HW pack is aligned to the RI standards for informational text and includes FIVE weeks for $5!
Feel free to read more about this item on my product page.

Also, I am hoping to finish the LAST homework pack in the set just in time for Back-To-School within the next week!  Here's a sneak peek of the cover so you have an idea!

Now, for my flash giveaway, I will be sending this homework pack "on the house" to the first person who comments with my favorite actress.  Please leave me your email address so I can send the first winner the goods!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!" - (p.s. - my fav actress is not part of The Hunger Games at all!)

08 July 2013

Big Bay Boom San Diego and Made It Monday!!

Just returned from a 4th of July getaway to sunny San Diego!! The firework show DID NOT disappoint - much better than the Big Bam Boom Bummer of 2012.  We visited Coronado Island for the first time - so beautiful!! Went on a San Diego Ghost Tour - highly recommended; and enjoyed SeaWorld, OldTown, and of course, the BEACH!
Also, as we approach the new school year, it is time to get back into the Made It Monday swing of things!!  As I'm switching to a new district this year - that means I only have until 07/22 before I must report - that's 2 weeks (and 4 weeks til the first day of school)!!

#1 - Brownie Points
This is a cute lil' classroom management / positive incentive tool.  Reward your class for extraordinary behavior, classroom compliments, etc. and once the pan is completely filled with all 15 brownies, then reward them with whatever treat you'd like.  Examples include throwing a brownie party, lunch/movie in the classroom, class kickball game, pizza party, etc.  This is a great visual which is an awesome motivational tool to unite your students toward being responsible & working together towards a common goal!  If you'd like to try this in your class this year,  download my Brownie Points freebie here!

#2 - Paper Management Baskets
As a student teacher, I had the luxury of learning this tip from my mentor teacher.  In order to manage the piles of papers that accumulate in the classroom - have two paper collection baskets so students always know where to turn in their work and important forms.  Obviously, if it hasn't been graded yet, then the proper home for the paper would be the "ungraded" basket.  Any forms with parent signatures or assignments that have been graded in class may be turned into the teacher basket.  I just bought two lightweight plastic bins from the dishrack aisle at Walmart large enough to fit 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper.  I also keep a container of binder and paperclips nearby so assignments can be sorted and grouped quickly.  All I did was print out my labels, attach to black cardstock, laminate, and tape to the basket!!

I can't wait to scope out all the other Made It Monday projects online linking up with 4th Grade Frolics, I'm sure they'll give me great ideas for next week's projects!!