Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Too Much Fun!

Ok... I feel like I've been slacking & lagging this week!  I've been planning to post for 3 days now, but at the end of these busy days I just have been too exhausted to muster up the energy to post!! I'm sorry!

So why have the days been so busy?!?!  Well I think I hit ugh... Panic Mode about getting my room set up & ready to go!! I have spent... ehhhhh all together about a week in my room already!  Plus all the time I've spent this summer getting centers ready, transferring & organizing my files to binders, buying classroom STUFF & making cutesy tootsie stuff put together for the room!  Here are some pictures of what I've been up to!
 Monday I braved taking my munchkin with me to my classroom!! She "helped" by making some fun messes... you know dumping out my trays of coins, stacking the jenga blocks, and by doing some coloring or "codor" as she would say!!  To give my room a little break, I let let her watch Finding Nemo! PTL for technology & classroom projectors!!! She had my bench cushion for her pillow and all the stuffed animals she could get on the desk with her at one time!  After being such a trooper, I took her for a sweet treat to get a summer favorite!! :)
 Later that evening B helped me make the yummiest Banana Crumb Cake!!! Can you tell how much she enjoyed eating all the raw ingredients and "helping" mom!?!?!?  Click Here to get the recipe, thank you pinterest!
 I spent Monday evening doing some laminating... I swear I don't know what I would do without my little Scotch Laminator!! This thing & I are BFF!  I think it has successfully laminated about 500 pages .... since Christmas.... Addict, I know.
 Tuesday I had some quiet time in my room since I had a training in the afternoon.  I cleaned out my math center tubs since I didn't at the end of the year..... & filled them with my DRAGon Me Back to School Math Centers!!
 I had a chance to "decorate" my little corner of the room!! Last year I had the blue-greenish tree that I painted at Painting with Twist just learning on a shelf in my room.  The other colorful tree painting was given to me by one of my sweet babies last year as a gift during teacher appreciation week!  So sweet!!  The Chevron Frame is magnetic & I just HAD to have it from good ole' Hob-Lob!  Thank you 3-M, you are my friend & have made this corner possible!! We aren't allowed to put holes of any sort in our walls (no stapes or tacks) so 3-M & I have a great relationship!  I seriously should own stock.
After one of my team mates took home ALL of her files this summer and organized & put them into binders.... I LOVED the idea & had to be a copy-cat!  See how atrocious this filing cabinet looks & how much SPACE these files take up... Well I have consolidated & am in love! 
 I have only finished one subject, but grabbed another one today to start on this evening, hopefully!  Each unit is separated by a little tabby sheet that I made!  I took a sheet of cardstock and used {these} amazing tabs that I wrote on and then laminated them using my beloved laminator! ;)  Behind each tab, I put a clear plastic protector to put examples of different activities we do with that unit!   I kid you not, the number of repeat pages I threw away was ridiculous... not to mention all of the things I had in there that ugh.... I didn't ever use once. 
 Yesterday,  I received this little gem in the mail!! :)  I can't wait to share more about it with you, tomorrow!!!
 Today, one of my best friends, who also happens to be a co-worker, Diana and I went to IKEA!!  Yeesh, that store always gets me in trouble!  We had a blast thinking & sharing different ideas out loud with each other as we found some awesome finds!  While I didn't get these 99 cent rugs (they were on sale), because I wasn't wild about the colors, I HAD to share the idea that Diana thought up!  She had the idea to have students use them as a "partner rug" when students do work in pairs!  This means students can ONLY sit where their rug can fit & will require a little spacing between those groups that sometimes like to try and form a quad!  I am going to go check out the Dollar Tree and see if they by chance carry bath mats in another color so that I can do this in my room! 
So just what did I buy??  Well I bought these cute teal stools for my computer centers!! I have three computers & they are along my back wall where the kids line up!! In the past I put a regular chair at the computers, but it takes up so much of the asile, so I NEEDED these stools!  I also snagged 6 sets of their $1.99  - 5 pk magazine boxes (for student book boxes) and the two sided frames that swivel... which I will show you later what plan I have for those!!
When I went to school to drop off my new things, I finally decided what to write on my newly re-designed chalkboard!  With my love of teaching writing, I only felt this was appropriate!  I bought the chalkboard from Hobby Lobby & painted the frame yellow for my kids for part of their Mother's Day present.  I knew I wanted to use it for a fun decorative way in the classroom this year, so I just added some fun chevron ribbon (also from Hobby Lobby) and used my colorful chalk to spruce it up!! :)
 When I picked up B from my moms & we got home... she immediately wanted to paint!! This girl loves to paint!! She is going to be a little artist, I know it already!! :)

Hope you were able to keep up & I didn't bore you with my busy week!  This is what happens when I don't post immediately!! Note to self: Do a better job at keeping up with blog posts!

I have NOT forgotten about the 100 follower giveaway, to be truthful..... I am almost done getting all the things I need ready for it & it will be up & ready for entries on FRIDAY!!!!!!!  I can't wait, because let me tell you.... I have some generous ladies who are giving away some of MY favorite products!!! :)  Can't wait, can't wait!!!

I will be back tomorrow, scouts honor!! Oh & the next day too!! :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord

Oh me, oh my. What a hectic week!!  I'm linking up with Michelle over at Fabulous in First again today!

My week started off with an amazing PD session, we made interactive math notebooks!! They kept us BUSY cutting, gluing, taping, cutting, laminating, stapling, and creating ... ALL DAY!!!

I can't wait to share some of the amazingness of this with you all....but I have decided that it will be a slow sharing process.  I'm going to share it as I create mine with my class & then attach what I can as freebies to all of you! 

I was able to get into my classroom this week, too!!  I feel like I was able to get a lot accomplished.... however, I still have SO. MUCH. MORE. to do!! 


Please excuse the messiness of those cubbies!!! Remember I have to COMPLETELY pack up everything in my room, so I store in every nook & cranny!   I was able to get both of my back wall bulletin boards covered & ready to go!! I generally leave the bulletin boards empty until we make anchor charts to fill them up with!!! I did however add the alphabet for my word wall!!
Fun Fact: You can get twin flat sheets at Wal-Mart for $4 that work great for bulletin boards!! 
We have massive back wall bulletin boards as you can see & the flat sheet side ways fits it PERFECTLY!!! I mean when you think about the cost of fabric by the yard... You save TONS!!!

If you've never used hand signals, you're missing out!!  Last year I made signs for hand signals & refusing to look back on the idea!!  They worked amazing & because I decided to change things around a bit, I created new ones this year!! You can grab them FREE as a Facebook Fan for a limited time!! :)

One of my baby brothers played in the Super Series World Series this week... which means we watched A LOT of baseball!!!! They did great & even were able to play one of their final games at the Dell Diamond!! 

I also created & uploaded .... probably OVER a week ago..... one of my newest units, Snapshots Through the Year!  It is probably one of the things I am most excited about doing with my kids this year!!  I just now seem to be getting around to sharing about it!!

The idea behind this unit was to have a place for students, teacher, and parents to be able to see where they started the year and ended the year.  Students can see their progress with writing, handwriting, and their artistic abilities over the course of the year by using this.  While I have no intention of grading this, I think it is going to end up being a great little memory book for students & their parents!!
There are covers for Kinder through 5th and each grade has 5 different types of covers.  There is one with just the shape of a childs body, no hair.  Then there are two girl and two boy versions.  You can get as specific or as generic as you want with these.  The kids will end up designing the faces and coloring the hair to make it look like their self.

There are monthly pages with a special back to school and summer version.  With each month there is a polaroid style frame for students to share something special that month, these things range from their favorite new piece of school supplies to their best friend.  Each month is different & requires different things for students to write about and share.

I've also included a snapshot page for students to fill out about their teacher.  Like the covers there are 5 versions, however the snapshots are different than the kids! :)

And to add a little fun & a few pages they can fill out throughout the year or at the end of the year, I added a few more pages about important people around school, field trips, field day, favorite memories, and autographs.

You can get this unit in my TPT store by clicking here, it is on Sale until Wednesday! 

I hope this wasn't too scrambled up for you!! ;)  Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hand Signals ** FB Fan Appreciation Freebie!! :)

Happy Friday!!! Actually.... as happy as I usually am for Friday, I woke up this morning only to realize that I have only 3 more weeks until summer break is over.  Can you say BUMMER!?!? :(  I'm going to make the most of it while I can though!!

I hope you were able to catch my post yesterday, I really am SO stinking thankful for all of you!  :)  I mentioned on my FB Page last week that there would be a FB Exclusive Fan Freebie for a special "Thank you!"  I had 2 of the 3 designs for what I had planned done on like eh Monday & then this hectic week got away from me!! I FINALLY knocked out the third thing this evening! :) 

I managed to get mine printed and even put up in my classroom this week!! :)
You can tell in my excitement and lack of patience that I used liquid glue and didn't let it dry before I laminated them .... soooo you can see through them.... However... I've also decided that I like the set I did tonight the best... so I mayyyy just be reprinting & posting these!! ;)  Do any of you ever do that?!?! 

Here is a preview of the goodies up for grabs!! They are all basically the same, EXCEPT the backgrounds match the banners I also have up currently as FB Fan Freebies!! :)

I backed my signs with tag board (similar to poster board) to make it pop and a little more durable!! :) Head on over to FB now to grab these!! They will only be up & free for a limited amount of time!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where to begin....

I really don't even know where to begin with this post.  I'm flabbergasted by the milestones that I've reached this year.... personally, professionally, and just as excitingly (is that even a word?!?!) through my blogging.  It was about 2 years ago that one of my coworkers & sweet friends suggested I start blogging.... While I didn't take the plunge right away... I did eventually & here I am today!   I'm linking up for Throwback Thursday with the lovely Cara Carroll. 

I'm sharing my very first blog post.... the beginning of this crazy whirlwind of a journey.  Be sure to check out below the post too.... my reasoning for choosing THIS post to share today! :)

********************************** Original Post 5/8/2012 **********************************
Hmm... I don't even know where to begin.

Why am I doing this?  
It was suggested by one of my wonderful coworkers that I blog this journey that I have embarked upon.  I have debated about it for a while and here I am.  I'm not beginning this to gain a sympathy vote or to have a place to do my whining, rather I am going to use this as a place to document what goes on in the life of a teacher, who happens to be a single mom, too.  Some days it may be a rant, others it will be gloating about my baby, my family, my kiddos in the classroom, my coworkers, the yummy dinner that I made off of pinterest, or my latest tech savvy moment.  Heck, some days it might be a combination of all of the above.

 I guess I should introduce myself for those who don't know me or don't know much about me...

First and foremost, I am a mother to a stunningly beautiful little girl.  A little girl that is into everything as she is currently learning to walk.  She most definitely has a voice of her own and quite the personality.  It is funny how much of myself that I see in her already at only 10 months old.

I am also a second grade teacher.  I work with the most amazing team, I think I would have been completely lost without them as I ventured into my first few years of teaching.  Lucky me, I have a great set of students, too... well most days they are great.

My parents divorced when I myself was in second grade, I remember being horrified that my worst nightmare had come true.  I had a very hard time coping with it, at times I think I still struggle with it.  Lucky for me though, my parents divorce resulted in the gain of a wonderful stepfather, a stepfather that has been more of a dad than I could have ever imagined.  With the divorce came an additional 6 siblings, making me the oldest of 8 kids total!  Whew!  I wouldn't trade it for the world and can't imagine having a small family myself.

I have some of the most wonderful and understanding friends in the world.  While I haven't made enough time, especially here lately, to keep in good contact with them, the majority of them of very understanding.

The life of a single working mom, it isn't the easiest job in the world, but I wouldn't change a second of it.


My sweet baby is now 2... if you caught my post back at the beginning of July!!  I am still a second grade teacher & believe that it is the BEST grade there is!! My team has changed, more than I would have ever imagined.  There is currently only one other teacher on my team, that is from the original team I joined.  I have to admit, even though I was bitter about some of the changes (as much as I love change!) I can STILL say, I have the best team ever!  :) 

With that being said, when I began this blog, I didn't set goals for myself as far as followers, page views, or creating & selling (because at that time, I was just creating a few little things that were for my classroom, not the TPT world).   I just wanted a place to share.  I didn't expect to have many readers... maybe just the people I work with and are friends with on FB.  I remember when I had my first follower, leave it to my best friend, Lindsey, to be one of my BIGGEST supporters! :) Then when I hit 5..... 10.... 15.... 20.... 50.... followers....These were all huge milestones.   Just as seeing 100 .... 200.... 500... 1000.... 5000.... views on my blog were huge for me!! 

My exact thoughts were, "YOU MEAN.... that people have been interested enough in what I have to say that my blog has been viewed _____ times?!?!?!? Seriously?!??!" 

It was last summer that I took the plunge after encouragement and suggestions from coworkers to begin uploading to TPT... 

It's hard for me to believe that a year later.... I have 100+ followers (on bloglovin & blogger is not far behind!), 125 followers/likes (as of the last check yesterday) on Facebook, and 80+ followers on TPT..... Not to mention that last week.... I realized that there have been OVER 10,000 views on my page..... Like I said earlier... Flabbergasted!!

All I can say is THANK YOU!!! Thank you for being interested enough in my life... my ideas... my thoughts.... and randomness to follow me, share with me, leave comments & feedback, and to read my posts!!

I will begin planning a 100 follower giveaway soon-like as a HUGE thank you for all of your wonderfulness!! 
Again.... THANK YOU!!! :) 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ten Things I've Learned Being a Teacher

After three years of teaching... I'm sure I could list a 1,000 things I've learned from being a teacher, but today I will stick to just ten! :)  Thank you Miss. Kindergarten for hosting this linky! :)

 One:  It doesn't matter how prepared I think I am, I never fully prepared for the crazy madness & exhaustion of the first week of school.  Maybe it will change this year.... or maybe not!

Two: Once you become a mother, the way view your kids & how you treat them will forever change.  At least it has for me!  I have always loved my kiddos, but they are even more special once you have your own!

Three: That moment when you look at the floor of your classroom and it is like you're in a nightmare because it looks as though the rainbow has thrown up on your floor.... Well that is when Treasure Trash becomes my best friend!  Treasure trash is where I pick one piece of secret trash, lay down the laws of not pushing, shoving, running, or fighting over trash & release the kids to pick up all the little teensy weensy pieces of trash on the floor..... Let me just say that floor gets clean FAST!  Plus, I always wait until I'm happy with the way the floor looks to tell them to stop and reveal the piece that I've deemed as treasure!  The winner always gets a little something special! :)

Four: Some of my best lessons come from when I'm most least prepared.  Shhh... Don't tell my admin that... but seriously, those teachable moments & best lessons are always unplanned!  They usually make my day, too! :) 

Five:  There will be some days that the only thing that gets me through is a sweet hug from one of my kids or a LONG talk after school with some of my teaching besties!  :)  I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful team!!

Six: My schedule at the beginning of the year will change at least 3 times before the end of the year.  Our specials & lunch time change every year, so it's always hit and miss till I make it work with our schedule!

Seven: My kids eat erasers.  I'm serious.  That or the eraser fairy raids my room EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I put out new pencils!  Finding a pencil with an eraser in my class is like finding that piece of treasure trash!  Thank goodness for those large pink erasers!!!

Eight: Even though I may only have one biological child, I really have 20-something kids that become mine each year!! .... and if I'm being really honest, a handful or two a year stay mine!! ;)  It is amazing the imprints these kids leave on my heart! 

Nine:  I will be called mom at least once a day.  Usually by different kids each time.  Some may  not take that as a compliment, but I do!  I spent more time during the day with them than their own mother, so to be someone they mistake for their mother, is a compliment in my book! :)

Ten:  On days that I feel like I'm going to go insane, I turn on my instrumental christian praise & worship songs & sing my heart my head!  It soothes & relaxes both the kids & I... plus I have yet to have a group that doesn't like it! :)

&& I have to share one more, because seriously, what Friday does not feel like this?!?

Until, tomorrow....

Sunday Smorgasbord!

I'm obsessed with Michelle's Sunday Smorgasbord!  Like I've said before, I feel like my posts are all over the place anyways, so this linky is right up my ally!
So where to start?!?!? I guess it doesn't really matter.... So I will start with our quick little get away vacay this week!!! We went to San Antonio with my mom, one of my brothers, and sister to go to Sea World!  Berklee was beyond excited, even though she didn't really know what she was about to experience!  Here are a few of my favorites from the trip!
 Shamu.... or "Schmoo" as B calls him, was one of her FAVES of Sea World!  She also loved the carousel at Elmo's Bay of Play, watching the dolphins and seals swim, oh & Elmo Rocks!
 Can you tell how thankful she was to be there!! :) So sweet!
 How cool is this?!?
 She was able to give Ernie & Elmo a high five!! However, I was holding her when she gave Elmo a high five so the picture isn't as great as this one!! :)
Of course we couldn't leave without a few souvenirs!  She had the bigger Schmoo from last year when we went, but she was obsessed with the Schmoo shoes & after seeing another kid with a baby Schmoo during the show, was NON-STOP asking for one!!!  I'm a sucker and couldn't say no! :)

On our way home I snapped this great picture!!! You can see the rain falling from the cloud far away!! How cool is this going to be to share with my kids when we study clouds!?!?! 

Prior to all of this fun these last few days, we spent A LOT of time inside thanks to 3 full days of rain!!! 
 I have managed to laminate, cut out, & organize ALMOST all of my back to school math centers!!! 
 I was so thankful that after dropping my sacred laminator once twice when bringing it from my classroom back home that it still works!!! I don't know what I would do without this thing!!!
B also did a lot of painting, this girl LOVES to paint!  Almost as much as she loves to dance, play music, and sing!!! :)

Oh & When I came home from vacay, I came home to this wonderful surprise..... 
 100 + likes on my Facebook Page... Which means a FB exclusive freebie coming soon.... &
I'm nearing 100 on my blog!!! Which means I better start preparing for a giveaway!!!! :) 

Last, but not least, I've donated my back to school math unit to a giveaway over at Curious Firsties for their 200 Follower Giveaway!!  Go check it out! :) 
I hope this wasn't too all over the place for you! :)  Happy Sunday!