Monday, September 3, 2012

Classroom Chair & Door Makeover

I wanted to participate in the September Monday Made it... Haven't since almost the very beginning.

So, the first thing that I wanted to work on was my chair.  One of my precious darlings last year had messed with all of the controls to where the chair wouldn't go up, down, or anywhere really.  The fabric was also itchy and a bit icky if I looked at it for too long.  I went to Walmart and bought the first fabric that called out to me.  2 hours, my staple gun, and my mail opener later- this was my end result.  It is so soft now- I love to sit in it (when I can, which is normally for just a few minutes while I eat my yogurt when I get to school.

Now my door was a whole different story... this door and I wrestled for hours.  I kept sending my sis in law pics and she was giving me advice.  I ended up putting more of the border around the door handle and door stopper... will post pics when I post my classroom pictures next week.  Sorry it is a little blurry!

I have stalked Tara & her blog all summer.  Between that and Pinterest, it is a miracle anything got done at my house alllll summer break! Check out her awesome blog!

Currently September..

After taking an unintentional blogging break... I hope to be back :)

I am planning on posting classroom pics in the near future... I redid my chair (that I never get to sit at).  Also planning on posting about switching classes for the first time (140 students is tough!) and some other things.  I have missed being online and reading blogs.  Hope everyone is having a great start to their school year.  We are three weeks in and I am just starting to find my stride. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pre-Reading Strategies Freebie- Today Only! 7/23

I have been trying to finish up some of the posters I have been working on this summer.  My plan is to begin working on my classroom tomorrow, so the pressure is on for me :) 

I wanted to share this freebie to celebrate the fact I finished the first two weeks worth of lesson plans for the year! (yiphee!).  All I need to do is gather all of the goodies included.  My plan is to post more details this week. 

Go here to get your freebie: Pre-Reading Strategies Poster Download

So, what have you been making? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Zero Spending Plan.... Yeah Right!

So, as the year ended last year, I began to make my plan for the summer.  In my mind, I already had a ton of things that would work for next year.  I wouldn't need to purchase anything... yeah, right!

I have really done great up until now.  I honestly had only purchased the baskets I blogged about recently.  Well, I decided to use the folders I already had to make some testing dividers/ testing corrals.  They are easy to make and help the kids keep their work to themselves. 

All you have to do is take 2 file folders.  Put the left side of one into the right of the other like pictured.  I have used a stapler to put them together in the past, but this time I just used a glue stick.  My tip for you is to number them.  That way each student keeps their own at their desk.  Easy Peasy!

 They fold into themselves for storage!

I decided to take them to a local teacher store to get laminated instead of waiting to get them done at school.  Usually I wouldn't do that, but I figured the small amount spent would be worth it in the long run.  Now they are already cut out and ready to be used. 

I also bought a few things while I was there.  I am updating my welcome bulletin board to these:
I also bought a few more bulletin board borders for the space by my windows.

My classroom curtains have been the same for 7 years... decided to update them to this: (the fabric looks a bit different in person).  My fabulous sister in law (who reads my blog- hey Jac!) is going to make them for me!

Lastly, we went to Target and they were putting out their back to school stuff.  I bought this cute owl to put my scissors and pens in:

Also bought these- figured they would be easier than trying to use duct tape to make my own.  I may make a few and test them side by side.

Please keep my sis-in-law's family in your thoughts and prayers- her grandfather isn't doing well right now.  He is like a member of our family too.  He is a great man and hopefully he is feeling better soon.  Thank you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Student Teacher Linky Party!

So, I am going to have a student teacher when school starts back.  I wanted to find out from you about your experiences.  You can share what it was like when you student taught, what it has been like to host a student teacher, questions you may have about having a student teacher, or share any advice you have for future or current student teachers.
I have had quite a few student teachers in my time.  Some have been truly awesome... and some (one in particular) was a dud.  This is my advice for you:

Go into student teaching with an open mind.  The best I have seen are ready to share their love of learning with students.  Don't be afraid to think outside the books.  Pinterest will probably be your best friend.  Stay late and get there early.  Anticipate what your cooperating teacher may need.  Please put your cell phone away (unless you have an emergency) and be actively working with students.  If I am up moving around, so should you!  Remember- treat this like a job interview.  The principal and others are watching you.

I had awesome field experiences and student teaching experiences.  My cooperating teachers were patient and took me on when they didn't have to (one of my teachers had a last min emergency and had to cancel and the other one canceled as well).  This is one of the reasons why I love having student teachers now!  I was able to teach at the same school I student taught at, which is fairly common here.  Both teachers have since retired and I hope to someday be half the teachers they were. I student taught 5th grade and 2nd grade.  The semester was split in half for each placement. 

Many people suggest giving a student teacher their own desk or space in the room... Do you do that?  I give them a place to put their things.  I also have a hard time leaving the room while they are teaching (which is encouraged here).  What else can I do to make my student teacher feel more welcome?  She is coming in to help me set up my classroom.  She already worked with me some in the spring and was able to meet and work with those students. 

Please link back to my blog/this post within your post.  I can't wait to read all of the advice and experiences!!!  I also have a surprise for one of the link participants!!!

Join up with my linky party. 

Help with Desk Baskets...


I am currently at the NEA conference, but have scheduled a few posts for while I am away :)

I fell in love with these desk baskets from Dollar Tree... Oh Dollar Tree, how do I love thee!!!

We are projected to have 17-20 in our classes this year, so I will most likely have either 5 groups of 4 or 4 groups of 5 desks in my room.  Went ahead and bought 5 baskets just in case.    Here are some pics- they were taken at night, so the color is a little off.

As I was debating between green and blue (should I do just one color or a mix was my debate), my hubby walked up and was like "you know you are going to get the blue".  Gosh, he knows me! 

So, now I am trying to figure out what to put in them and what labels to use.   I need your help! 

1.  What all should I put in these?  I had group baskets several years ago, but my memory is kind of fuzzy on what I included.  My students are switching classes this year and I will be teaching reading. 

Here is my list so far: hand sanitizer, highlighters, pens, colored pencils or markers (need to check my supplies back at school).  What are your suggestions? 

2.  Here are the labels I am playing with so far...

So, let me know your opinions :)  Thanks! 

Packing, New Notebook & a Few Awards

So, I am 99.9% packed... as I have mentioned- I leave tomorrow for the NEA conference in DC.  I am super excited, but have waited until the last minute to pack (which isn't like me).  I always feel like I pack too much, but don't really know what I want to wear until I get there.   Then again, I am also afraid I will forget something.  My evening has been spent checking and rechecking my bags.  Hopefully I'm prepared.  Bringing my brand new notebook for the year:

along with my reading scope & sequence to look at during the drive and make my outline for the year as well as this book...

I have tried to read it allll summer.  What is wrong with me???  I am sure it is a great book.  My goal is to read it and complete an outline on it while I am gone so I am ready for next year.

This is the new planner I bought for next school year at Walmart... Trying to talk myself out of an Erin Condren planner... even when they go on sale for $25 my cheap self just can't spend that kind of $$.

I have been given a few awards... and I am so thankful that others out there like what I post.  The midnight oil is burning, so instead of posting my 15 people now, I will do that later and instead wanted to say thank you and I appreciate your thoughtfulness!

Here are my 7 facts...
1.  My name is pretty unique.  That is one of the reasons why I haven't 100% shared it with the blogging world.  Very few people spell it the way I do.

2.  I have always known how to read... since I was about 18 months old (maybe earlier).  Reading has always been easy for me- I also can speed read, which freaks people out.  Math on the other hand was a struggle.  My teachers weren't always the greatest (In fact, my fourth grade teacher told my mom that I read too much... yep!  What???).  That is one of the reasons why I teach today. 

3.  I am the first person in my family to graduate... yep.  Something I am pretty proud of.  About to start working on my EDS.  I try and pass my love of learning on to my students. 

4.  I am rarely satisfied... always looking to improve things or to do something better.  Drives me a little crazy sometimes.  I also love to organize and go through phases where I get obsessed with things (anyone else do that???)

5.  I have been married for 13 years... to my high school sweetheart.  Love him!

6.  I have 2 cats- no children yet, but my cats are like my babies.

7.  I have a beautiful niece and nephew- they are such great kids.  My nephew starts Kindergarten this year and I hope he loves school like my niece does. 

Check out their awesome blogs!!! 

Success in Second Grade


Thank you for my lovely awards!

Reading Skills & Strategies Posters- Free Today Only!!!

To celebrate me FINALLY finishing these posters and that my air conditioning isn't working (not- fingers crossed they get it fixed today... it is supposed to be 106 today!!!), I wanted to offer them for free (today 6/28 only).

To get them, go here: Reading Skills & Strategies Freebie

Let me know what you think!  I love to get comments and requests. 

I am packing for a trip to DC for the NEA conference.  Anyone else going?  Have a few posts planned for while I am gone.  This is the first big trip I have taken without my husband since high school.  Hoping I don't get lost :)  Anyone have any suggestions for what to do or eat while I'm there?  Hubby will be back to bachelor living with our kitties :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Genre Posters- Chance to get them for free & summer crazies


I have been a bit MIA- summer crazies have already gotten to me :)

1. So far, I have attended a few great in-services.  Do you have professional development requirements.  We have to get 18 hours per year.  I have already gotten my 18.  My favorite one went over new technologies to use in your classroom.

My fav was:
Remind101 this site lets parents  sign up and you can send them a "text" without giving them your phone number. Love it!!! Can't wait to use it. 

2. Was surprised by my family (know my sis-in-law stalks reads my blog- hi Jac).  They came here and then we went camping for a few days.  Had such a great time!!! They have a new travel trailer, which was nice because if we got hot- we could just go inside and cool down.  We didn't have 3G coverage, so instead we played cards, watched the kids swim, and ate :)  Also had plenty of time to love on my niece and nephew.  Here is a great pic I just love of my niece (also shows are awesome view from the campsite).

3. I just finished some new genre posters I created for my classroom.  The first two people to comment on this post with their favorite thing they have done so far this summer  (and their email address) will get their own set!  You can also check it out at my TPT store:

I have plans to catch up over the next few days.  Hopefully everyone out in the blog world is having as awesome of a summer as I am!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Figurative Language/Literary Devices Freebie

 Over the years I have been so inspired by all of the creative people in our world.  I always tell my husband that teachers are the most creative people I know!!!

Well, I always thought that those cute posters and units I have seen in the blog world were just for fancy folk who had Photoshop or some other fancy program.  Recently I learned that all it takes is Powerpoint.  Yes, Powerpoint!!! 

So- please go and download the posters I created to help my students! The ones I currently use are a little hard to read- which is why I went with the white/black combo. 

Figurative Language/Literary Devices Posters

I didn't include every example of figurative language- just the ones my kids are expected to know and use. 

Please let me know what you think and comment if you download it :) Coming up next is a reading strategies set, persuasive techniques set, and a text features set.  Let me know if you have any suggestions for future creations or any questions. 

Where I have been & an apology!


The school system I work for has been hacked... it is kind of a scary thing.  We don't really know how much info they had access to, or where it will end up.   All I know is that I am on the "list" of people they have distributed.   I have been living the past few days "off of the grid" as they say!

  I am working on a TON of things (including a reading freebie for everyone and some new things for my TPT store!).  I am also wrapping up the third and final painting installment.
Here is a preview of my freebie:  

I also have had several in-services and was able to spend several days learning more about my state teacher association.  Are you a member of the teacher "union" in your area???  I am going to the national conference in DC in just a few weeks!!! Super excited!!!

I felt horrible not posting for a few days, and plan to get caught up tonight and tomorrow :)  Want to participate in all the great linky parties going on!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spray Painting 101- How to restyle your classroom (part 2)

Part 2- Priming

So, I last left off with you gathering your needed supplies.  Hopefully I didn't put anyone to sleep with my detailed ramblings.

Now, the following again is just my experiences.  I have had some spray painting oopsies (as well as some awesome projects).

If today is your day, then here is what I would do:

1.  Have your painting spot set up.  It shouldn't be in direct sun (which will cause your paint to dry unevenly and crack).  A little sun is ok, just not direct.  Put out your newspaper/cloth and get your clothing prepared.

2.  Take whatever item you plan to clean and put it out to paint.  Today I am showing you my interpretation of this pinterest pin:

This is what my set up looked like :

So, I gave each can a light misting of primer.  This is the second biggest mistake painters make- you need to give several light coats.  Give it a light coat standing 8-10 inches away.   Too close it will get bubbly.  Too much paint at once and it will look gloppy.  Just keep moving and don't stop in any one spot.  If you do mess up, let it dry and you can sand it down/off.

 I gave it a light coat and went inside for 45 min-1 hr, then came out, touched it with my bare hand (dry!!!) , sanded them lightly & wiped them down with a dry cloth,  and gave it another light coat.

 This process continued for several hours.  Once the bottoms were good and dry, I flipped it over and gave the top part a good coat.   If you don't sand at least the first time in between, your final product will have a rough texture. 

I didn't coat the insides yet... I wasn't sure if I had enough primer to do the lids- so I waited. 

To give you a timeline- I started at about 7 am and was finished priming by about 10 (with breaks and such).  I let it sit for a few hours before I went to painting (which will be my next post). 

So, have I inspired anyone to want to paint yet???  I promise, anyone can do it!  In my last post, I am going to showcase some of the things in my room I have painted and was thinking about doing a linky party.  Anyone else brave enough to paint yet???

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spray Painting 101... How to restyle your classroom (Part 1)

Okay, so it is a well known fact that I am fairly.... thrifty.  My husband is as well, which means he supports my love of thrifting and redoing items.

So my following tutorial will come with a warning... I am totally not a 100% expert at this.  Just going to share what I know :)

Part 1- Getting Started (parts 2 and 3 will come later!). 

First, before painting, check the weather.  If it is too hot, too cold, too humid, or too windy,  you may want to rethink painting today.  Too hot, probably above 93.  Too cold, probably below 50.  Too humid- really, any humidity can make your project take longer to dry.  Too windy, just make sure you stand to where you aren't spraying into the breeze (or you will be covered in paint).

Second, you need to get prepared.  What supplies do you need?

1.  Newspaper, cardboard, drop cloths, or an old sheet to paint on.  Spray paint can also travel, so make sure you cover a large space. 

2.  Primer, paint, a mask, gloves, and old clothes (make sure to cover your feet as well).  Tie your hair back too. 

As far as primers go, here are the two I would buy:

 I usually go with Kilz because it is around $5-$6 a can.  It works great until you get to the end of the can & it will start to spray in spurts and will get drippy. 

 I have heard great things about Zinsser and I plan to try it with my next project.  It is usually around $7-$8 a can.

Yes, they are a little pricy, but they work.  A good oil based primer will adhere to your item better.  Then you can paint to your hearts content.  This will keep your item from getting scratched up as much and hopefully from peeling later.  Oil based will also allow you to paint something that isn't real wood.   Honestly, not priming is one of the BIG mistakes most people make.  It will cause your project to not look as "finished" in my opinion. 

Paints:  Here are some of the brands:
The biggest choice you need to make is between flat, satin,  and glossy.  I don't always care for the glossy look, so I usually go for flat. 

Krylon is sold at Walmart (and other places too)- but isn't always my first choice.  I haven't had the best luck with their spray nozzles (they sometimes break or get clogged) plus, they don't have a ton of assortment. 

 Valspar is sold at Lowes (I believe)- I have read great things about it, but haven't used it myself.   They have a ton of great colors to pick from. 

Rust-oleum is sold at Home Depot (I believe- as well as other places) and is my paint of choice most of the time.  I love the ultra cover in satin.  They have a ton of color choices (they also have a painters brand that I have read good things about).  They also have other finish choices (flat, semi-gloss, as well as satin and gloss).  I have also read great things about their primers, but haven't tried them for myself. 

This is the mask I use.  Trust me, you will want to wear one.  The paint will get into your lungs/throat/nose if you don't.  I have learned that lesson over time!.  

If you don't want to buy these, then please cover your face with something- like a cloth or bandana. 

You may want to pick out an old t-shirt & pants to wear.  I also usually paint in socks to cover my feet.   Don't forget to pull back your hair!   You will also need to wear gloves and cover your hands (unless you like the paint covered look).  Normally I just use dish gloves. 

3.  A sanding block or sand paper- you want something with a really fine grit- like 180 or 220.  When you get to the store, just look at the numbers. The larger the number, the finer the grit.  You will most likely need this!  

You can get the paper and use your hands, or you can get a block to sand with, or you can get the device you put the paper in.  Honestly, I usually use the paper and my hands.  

4. Cleaner- you will need to clean your item and let it dry for a little while before painting.  Usually I just use my kitchen cleaner to help make sure there isn't any grease or oil on the item before I paint.  If it has glass (like a frame) remove the glass if at all possible. 

So right now I am afraid people are thinking this is complicated or expensive.  I promise- it totally isn't.  I am a detail person and wanted to make sure you were prepared.  Also, once you buy these supplies, you can use them on multiple projects.  In fact, the one I will show in part 2 & 3 only cost me the primer because I was out. 

Does anyone have any questions so far?  Part 2 will be priming and part 3 will be painting.  I am going to a conference for a few days starting this evening, so I may be away until the weekend :)  Will miss blog-stalking! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Online Thirty One Party, Pinterest Linky & Currently...

Hellllo :)

Gosh, it is a gorgeous day here (hopefully it is the same wherever you are right now).  I wanted to share a pinterest-inspired craft I am working on and the link to my online Thirty One bags party.

I haven't ever had a party before, but the most awesome sub ever (I mean she is AWESOME- she loved my students this year like they were her own) mentioned the specials for this month & I was tempted.  If you spend $35, then you get a large tote for only $10

So- are you looking for a new lunch bag?

Perhaps a new school bag?
Then click on my link-

My Thirty One Party

The items you purchase will be sent to you directly after my show is over on the 10th (just make sure you click for it to be shipped to you instead of me!).  If you order, let me know :)  Thanks for supporting me!

So, like I posted about before, I have reallllly wanted to make these lights:

I have to tell you a secret though... I am an awful estimator.  Like seriously- I either buy wayyyy too much of something, or totally not enough.  This time I underestimated.  I will probably need about 4 times what I bought to finish this, but I wanted to share what is done so far.

What do you think??? I love it lit up and off.
Love Pinterest?  Made anything for your classroom so far?  Join up at the Monday Made-It  4thgradefrolics Pinterest Linky
And last but not least... (I have ALWAYS wanted to do one of these!!!)

My currently for June:

You should go to Oh' Boy 4th Grade and do your own! Oh Boy June Linky

I am thinking about doing a spray painting tutorial later in the week- would anyone be interested in that???