Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back 2 School SALE!

Who doesn't love a good sale?!  It's time to mark your calendars and start making your wish lists, peeps. TPT will be holding it's annual Back to School Sale on August 4-5.  My ENTIRE store will be 20% off! Want to get a head start on making your list and checking it twice? Click on the sale image to head to my store. Ahhh, I can't wait to start shopping!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

School Supplies Clip Art

Are you working on "stuff" for Back 2 School? Updating existing files? I can't wait to add these School Supplies images to some of my beginning of the year files.  Change is good!
Spruce up your PowerPoints, forms, worksheets, bulletin boards, centers (and just about everything else) with this latest set of LG Doodles clip art!  You will get 41 total images - 26 color and 14 black & white.  Click on the pictures to go to my TPT store. Hope you love 'em!  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It ~ Birthday Bags & a {FREEBIE}

I'm joining the Monday Made It Linky with 4th Grade Frolics. I've had all of the supplies that I needed for this project (you can see what I put in the bags later in the post), but just hadn't had the time to do it....until today...a rainy Monday afternoon. Each year, since my second year of teaching, I make BIRTHDAY BAGS for my students.  So what is a birthday bag?? This was an idea from my mentor teacher when I began my career and I was hooked.  Birthday bags = brilliant! It is a pre-made bag filled with small goodies for the birthday boy/girl. All of the bags are identical so there is no need to write any student names on them.  I put a "Happy BEE-Day!!" label on the outside of the bag in place of having a card.  Easy!  
Prior to using these bags, I would often forget the birthdays of my students {shame}. No matter what I did! I had a calendar just for birthdays, they were on a wall in the classroom, they were added to the classroom monthly calendar, they were practically staring me in the face, but I would forget - or get busy doing other things even when I did remember...which led to forgetting later! Then I'd find myself scrambling to find a card, fill out the card, and gather a bookmark (or anything else in my desk drawer) all while the birthday boy/girl are watching me and probably realizing that I forgot it was their big day.  Ugh!  NOW, I have these birthday bags prepped at the beginning of the year and stored in my classroom.  I put them on top of some overhead cabinets in my room.  They are not taking up vital real estate in the classroom, yet they where everyone's eyes can see them (including mine). On a child's birthday, I simply grab a bag and put it on their desk..done!  Along with other festivities in the classroom - singing, choosing their own classroom job for the day, etc. - they keep this bag on their desk all day long. Surprisingly, it is not a distraction at all.   I ask that they open it at home.  Why, you ask?  Well, if they open it in front of their peers, the contents are no longer a surprise for all future birthday bag recipients! I'll let you in on the secret,'s what's inside my bags this year:
What fun stuff do you do in your clasroom for student birthdays? Do you want to use birthday bags?  Snag the labels for FREE here
Be sure to head to 4th Grade Frolics to see other fun Monday Made It ideas!

Friday, July 18, 2014

ABC Doodles...Part TWO and a VA Blogger Meet Up

Hey all!  Once I finished my first ABC Doodle set, my dear friend and running buddy asked me if I could work on some additional images to support her phonetic cues that she uses with her kinders.  While working on those, I decided just to make a second set so that I could offer TWO complete ABC sets.  Then...drumroll please...I bundled them together for an even better deal!  You can get both sets in the bundle, or purchase them separately based on your need.  Gotta love having options! 
Click on the images to be directed to that product in my store.  
I hope you love them - cuz I love making them!
Also, a few days ago I was able to meet up with a bunch of wonderful other VA teacher bloggers.  Move over Vegas TPT Conference, make way for the VA Blogger meet up in Richmond! It was so great to make new friends, share ideas, brainstorm new ones, and even vent a little bit.  Wait, what?! Teachers have things to vent about? Nahh...Here's a pic from our meet up!  Hopefully we can get a linky or blog hop set up soon. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Word Work Activities

As the school year was ending, a coworker and I were talking about some changes we wanted to implement for the upcoming year.  A few topics/ideas came up, but she kept coming back to some issues she was having with her reading block.  We do a mash-up of reading workshop, literacy centers, and Daily 5.  It works for us. Mainly, though, she wanted to spruce up her word work activities.  Unlike the Daily 5, where students are working on writing, we do word work with our word study skills.  We have a separate Writing Workshop block in our day, and that is when our kids work in their writer's notebooks, publishing books, etc. (Of course, any time they finish an activity, they are always asking to get out their notebooks to keep writing. Smile.) I took what she was using with her kids for word work and combined them with some of my old favs.  Thus, Word Work Activities Recording Sheets was born.  This pack can support any curriculum you are currently using. Check it out!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Classroom/Library Organization & Good Finds!

So many great purchases to tell you about...where do I begin?!
This is a longer post, so hang in there with me...

While most people were searching for red, white, and blue colored "stuff" last week, I was looking for anything and everything GREEN!  I've decided that I am going to streamline the baskets/bins in my classroom library and make them all lime green - my fav! Currently, they are a hodgepodge of primary colors with no rhyme or reason.  In fact, it's confusing for the kids.  Most of my library books are leveled with colored sticky dots but the bins they are in don't coordinate with the color (even though the label on the bin does).  So yellow books, for example, might be labeled as such, but in a huge, honkin' blue tub.  What was I thinking?! Fortunately, the Dollar Tree delivered (for the most part). So far I have collected a bunch of baskets. But...I didn't take inventory of what I needed before I packed up my room, so I'm making my best guess.  I know I still need a lot more, though.  I also picked up the polka dot trays (I got some last year and we used them allll the time), containers, fabric boxes to hide other messes, and smaller baskets. Don't forget, you can order in bulk from the Dollar Tree here if you store has limited quantities!
I definitely still need larger bins (maybe 11"?) for the picture books in the library.  The ones that I have are the perfect size, but not the perfect color. I know that Really Good Stuff has some here, but I feel like they are a bit pricey.  The dollar store spoils a girl! Any suggestions? Spray paint for plastic (I just don't want to deal with chipping/pealing)??

I also found some cute things to go with my black & white polka dot room {I don't see those going away from my decor anytime soon!!} with green accents at Michael's.  I got these two containers on clearance.  They were 50% and 70% off.  I use the green bags for Birthday Bags so I grabbed those while I thought of it. I also found magnetic spice rack containers for my small office supplies and adorable initial cards in the dollar bins. Score!
Speaking of $ bins...Target has their Dr. Seuss stuff in stock in their Dollar Spot section.  Go stock up for Read Across America Day now!
Finally, I have to share this amazing find from IKEA!  I've been searching for a shelf of sorts for on my desk to store my binders.  During the school year, a parent helped me consolidate my files into organized binders. She was a saint and would tackle a few files each week by purging multiples and putting them into sheet protectors for me (there were some files that I HAD to go through first, I was too embarrassed for her to see what they looked like otherwise).  Anyway...I stopped by IKEA on a mission to find something that would fit the height of the binders - for a decent price.  I didn't find exactly what I wanted and finally succumbed to the thought that I'd have to built my own...sigh. On my way out of the store, though, I wondered over to the "scratch/dent/random stuff" section and found exactly what I was looking for!  It was clearly used for display purposes and has some hardware that I need to remove, but it was $4.99.  What?!  I was so proud of my find that I didn't even mind (much) sitting in traffic on my way home! 
What have you been gathering for your classroom this summer?