Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Craft of the day!

Reading is TOAD-ally awesome, especially when your classroom has a great reading bench!! 

I was inspired by Pinterest (original pin and post by Ms. G in Grade 3, found here ) to make a bench out of crates for my classroom. 

How did I do it? Found crates for $3 at Target. It doesn't matter that they are cheap, the weight of a child sitting on the bench is not put on the individual crates. Got the fabric from my mom - she made me some great curtains when I first started teaching, and had lots of cute teacher fabric left over. Using zip ties, I connected the three crates together - it only took about 6 large zip ties. Next I cut a piece of OSB wood to fit over the top, with a little bit hanging over the edges. I actually upholstered the wooden piece twice - once with an ugly but tough fabric, and a second time with my cute frog fabric (which is a little bit more light-weight). The bins are Martha Stewart from Home Depot or Lowes (can't remember..) 2 for $8.

Here's my final project, what do you think?? 
 Do you have any great furniture in your classroom that you love? 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Classroom Updates

Ok, so I am totally over the whole moving classrooms thing (three times in three years) BUT I do have to say that each time I move, I get a little more organized with my classroom, I get a chance to be in a different part of the school, I get to try out another room and I find wonderful things that I had forgotten about! :) 

Most recently, I found an old plastic set of drawers. They were dusty, grimy and kind of gross. The plastic drawers that are supposed to be transparent... are not so see-through anymore! As soon as I found it, I was inspired (by Pinterest of course!!) 

I went to Hobby Lobby to find some scrapbook paper. I wanted some fun designs that kind-of matched. This is what I picked:
Four designs - I bought a bunch of each kind: dots, bunting, monsters and ABCs. 

Then I got to work with some Mod Podge. I ended up covering the front and sides of each drawer, plus I put one page on the top of the whole unit, because like I said, this set of drawers was pretty icky...! 
Here's my final product!! What do you think??

I think they turned out pretty cute, and to be honest, I am just glad that I started and finished my project!! 

Have a great Sunday,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Calling all teachers of FIRSTIES! :)

Well I am super pumped to be teaching first grade this year!! I just LOVE first grade, something magical happens there! In Michigan, we are implementing coooooooommon core! Are you? So far we have standards for ELA and Math. We're still using GLCEs (Grade Level Content Expectations) for Science and Social Studies. 

Every year, I always print off the standards and they are just so lengthy, or wordy, or in some weird format... so this year, I created checklists for each subject - Reading/Literacy, Writing, Math, Science and Social Studies. All the standards are listed, with a shorter, para-phrased meaning along with a place to mark the date and lesson/unit when the standard was focused on. I plan to put these into my subject binders and refer back to them for planning. This is my very first NOT-free TPT item... so, please, if you're interested, it's only $1 for all the subjects, buy them?! I don't usually beg ask but this is my first one and I am so hopeful that it sells! They are so-not-creative, just excel spreadsheets turned PDF files, but the font is pleasant and they work for me, so I hope they work for you :-)

As a preview, AND because you're all so wonderful, here's the Writing Standards checklist as a freebie! 

Happy Friday, all!! 


Thursday, July 5, 2012


I won't pretend that I've been trying really hard to get caught up on my blog... in fact I haven't even checked out my FAVORITE blogs in like weeks!! Since school ended, I spent a few days moving my classroom (back downstairs, just down the hall from my first classroom two years ago), I co-led a mission trip of 32 high school students from my church to Marquette, MI to work on three Habitat for Humanity Homes, I traveled for a second time to Marquette with my husband and a friend to do some more work on the houses a week later, and I've helped my parents begin building their garage that we demolished over Memorial Weekend. WHEW. Is it summer for real yet??

Today was the first day that felt like I am truly "off" work, and I spent 5 hours this morning trying to get organized for my first graders... yes, first grade! I am so very excited to move back down to first grade for next year, just love those firsties!! I do have to admit, I didn't JUST work today... I also began shopping with my birthday money from my hubby, parents and in-laws. Got a great pair of running shoes (hopefully they will encourage me to get up and run in the mornings) and a fantastic one-shoulder bl
black dress for a friend's bachelorette party only 1.5 weeks away..!

I really did miss blogging, as you can see my first paragraphs have nothing to do with blogging, sigh... I just had to catch you all up on my life (cause I know you're dying to know everything I've been up to!)

OK. but now I need some help. My first year teaching, I taught a 1st/2nd split class... and being in my first year, I really had no clue what I was doing, I mean I tried my best, and they all turned out ok, but looking back... I was very unorganized. :-/ Last year I moved to 2nd grade, which was great, but I also got married last summer (so another excuse to be unorganized)... but now, I'm breaking the cycle. I WILL be organized! I am having a hard time prioritizing my time though. I want to begin unit planning and long-term planning - what is the best way to do this though? Do you use calendars? Separate binders for each topic, or all your planning together in one place? How detailed are your plans before the school year begin?

Being that I am moving to a new room and a new grade, are there any things you wish you had done "in the beginning" that would have helped organizational-wise.. does that even make sense?

I also want to make sure my classroom is organized. At the moment, all my belongings are shoved into my closet space, and hopefully in a few weeks I can get into my room to organize. Does anyone have any brilliant organizational suggestions.

Where do I start??? Well... this post was not so productive... I swear, my next post will actually have something of importance, not just spewing questions LOL :)

Glad to be back! Hope you're all having the most wonderful summers!!!