Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Hello bloggy world! Yes it's been a while. I officially suck. I'm sorry for not blogging in forever. Things have been crazy busy this school year! It's safe to say that this year has been my most challenging school year yet! I've been working crazy long hours and I've been exhausted when I get home. But it's no excuse and I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.

I'm gonna ease myself back into the blog world by sharing with you how I organized my classroom library. This summer I had the luxury of having all my classroom stuff stored at my apartment. I've been wanting to get my classroom library organized for years now and this was my opportunity.

I was looking into getting one of those fancy scanners when I came across Booksource's Classroom Organizer. WOW! With this website you can log in all of your books by simply entering the ISBN. Even better, if you have an iPhone, you can download their free app and use your phone to scan the ISBN. It's awesome! Plus, you can add all kinds of information beyond title & author, you can put the price, reading level, location in your classroom & more. You can also export your information into an Excel spreadsheet. I did this and put it in a binder in my classroom and it's made finding my books so much easier.

I figured that since I was already putting each book's information into the database I might as well take the time to level all my books as well. This is where the luxury of being able to do it in my pjs while watching a movie comes in! The first place I turned to to level my books was the Scholastc Book Wizard. Sadly, a lot of the books I had either weren't on the site or they didn't have a level listed. This is where the AR Book Finder  and this Lexile Text Conversion Table came in. Using these, I was able to level almost all of my remaining books.

After getting all my books leveled I started to organize them. I decided to organize them by author and holiday and then sort the rest by level. The books I wasn't able to level I sorted by fiction & non fiction. My most favorite part by far was being able to log in the location of each book.  I was able to put in exactly which bin I was putting the books in. Now when I need to find a book I just look at my spreadsheet, find which bin it's in & grab it! It also makes it easy to lend books to coworkers because they can look up things themselves and get what they need.

The most tedious part was labeling all the books. I printed paper labels and attached them to the books with clear laminate. I made it so that my small labels on the books matched my large bin labels so that children could put them back easier. It was a lot of work but it's so nice to have all 600+ of my books accounted for, labeled and put away neatly!

Check out my TPT store to snag everything I made for my library!  Thanks for hanging in there and staying with me as I traverse this hectic year!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Classroom Tour & Freebies

Hello bloggy friends! I’ve been super busy getting my room ready for Monday. I just finished the physical setup yesterday and now I’m working on lesson planning and getting beginning of the year stuff taken care of.  I am so excited about this year! I really think I’m going to love 1st grade. I have a great team of ladies I’ll be working with and a lot of fun ideas!

So here’s a little tour of my classroom…

This is the hallway outside of my classroom. I will be creating an interactive bulletin board on the large board and hanging student work from rings on the clothespins. The plan is to write the kiddos names on the clips and add their pictures above their names. I want to keep adding work each month to the ring to create a portfolio of work that parents and other teachers and students will be able to see. The great thing is that the whole hallway belongs to 1st so we can use the other spaces to hang work as well!

 My door which I totally love! I’ll write the kids names on the owls when I get my roster.

 This is the wall to the left as you walk through the door. Because of the position of the reading loft, I decided to use the small space behind the door as my desk. I love how cozy it is! I never sit at my desk when the kids are in the room so it’s nice to have it tucked away but still accessible if I need something. 

 A horribly blurry (sorry!) close up of my desk! I'll post a better picture when I get in my room tomorrow.

 This is the door to the bathroom between my room and the room next door. Since the door is metal, I plan on applying magnet tape to my reading and math workstation cards and organizing the kiddos that way.  You can also see my math manipulative shelf & sink area.

 This is the wall directly opposite the door.  I’ve since rearranged the desks so it looks a bit different now. I love the huge windows and all of the light they provide. I’m going to try and see if I can do something about the frosted coating on the lower windows. I’d love to be able to have a bird feeder or something like that outside the room for the kids.  The whole group area will be in right corner. I have a rug coming that I plan on putting there.

 The front of my room! I used flat sheets from Walmart to cover my boards. After seeing this post on the Clutter Free Classroom blog, I decided to use all black borders this year. I love how organized it makes everything look.

 My class library! I have a cute rug coming to soften up the area. I also plan on painting the metal shelves white sometime soon. I have A LOT of things to say about how I organized and leveled my library over the summer so be prepared for a more in depth post soon!

 I love how these boards turned out! They are foam board covered in paper and border hung on a nail by a ribbon. I plan on using them for spelling words, Social Studies & Science, vocabulary words or whatever else I might want to do.

This is the wall by my door. You can see the animal goodbye rhymes, my rules and some signs I previously posted.  I think the flower clock is my favorite. Thank goodness for Pinterest!

So as promised, I have freebies for you! A lot of these things are things you can see in the photos of my classroom.

Can’t Sign – I really don't like it when kids say that they can’t do something. I'm all about letting kids know that some things will be difficult but with work, we can get through them. I’m using this little sign as a tool to reinforce that.

Welcome Letters – I printed these on colored paper and hung them in my window. You will notice in the document that instead of a W for welcome I have a M. This is because the W in the font I used is very wide and got cut off. I just hung the M upside down and it looks fine.  I've made them for K-5.
K 1 2 3 4 5

Classroom Rules – This year I plan on using Whole Brain Teaching techniques in my classroom and I tweaked my rules accordingly. You can get more info on their website here.

Brownie Points – I use the as a whole class incentive. I use these with the cookie sheet hanging on my whiteboard. Every time the whole class makes a good choice, a brownie goes in the pan. When the pan is filled I bring in brownies as a special snack!

Sub Binder Form – I’m currently getting my sub binder together. This is a form I made for the sub to fill out for me.

Brain Breaks – I laminated these and glued them on popsicle sticks. I plan on using these small activities to help my kids when they need a little break.

Thank You Letters – I plan on taking a class picture with my kiddos holding these up. I will then print the picture on half of a sheet of paper and fold it to make a thank you card.

I hope that everyone is having a great week so far. I hope you can use these freebies in your room. Thanks for letting me share my classroom with you!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I'm sorry I've been MIA but things have been crazy around here! I'm setting up my new classroom and it's taking up all of my time & energy! I promise to have pictures and tons of freebies very soon!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Every Day I'm Pinterestin'

I'm starting to realize just how little is left of my summer. Since I'm new at my school, I have to report on July 23rd, a week earlier than the other teachers. That leaves me with only 28 days left of summer! Yikes!

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, Mr. Laminator.

I picked this guy up for about $28 bucks at Walmart. He's fantastic! My favorite part is that it uses pouches to laminate. You just put your stuff inside and run them through. Since all the machine does it heat up the plastic pouch, you can run it through more than once if there are any gaps or air bubbles. The quality of the film is much better too.

So anyone who knows me could tell you that I am in love with Pinterest. It's such a great way to get your creative juices flowing! Between jury duty and babysitting this past week I have been busy completing a bunch of DIY projects. Behold the cuteness...

So as you can see, I've been very busy! Here are a few specifics if you'd like to make some of these things yourself.

 I got the idea for the teacher toolbox here. I love how it turned out! I got my box at Home depot for about $17 and spray painted it. Then printed out my labels, laminated them and attached them with clear tape to the inside of the drawers. If you'd like to use the labels I made I've uploaded them for you here. I've also included some blank ones if you'd like to print them out on colored paper instead. I've added them as images so all you need to do is insert text boxes to add your own text.

The framed signs are some internet finds that I love put in document frames from Dollar Tree. I got the first one here and the second one here. I downloaded them and tweaked the colors to match my classroom using Photoshop.

I hope that you all are having a great start to your week. Happy Pinteresting!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm Still Here + Freebies!

 Hello all! I've been enjoying some much needed R&R time but I'm back and ready to share some of what I've been up to! The first few weeks of break were dominated by a lot of sleeping in, baking, sewing, & hours of watching my new obsession, Game of Thrones. Unfortunately it's also included many hours of jury duty which has not been as enjoyable. I'm a little over halfway finished with my 8 days so I'm thankful for that!

As of right now, I don't know a whole lot about next year so my main focus has been mostly organizing my stuff and undertaking little craft projects. I'm supposed to be having lunch with my new division team sometime soon so I'll be able to know more about the meat & potatoes of what I'll be teaching next year.  
I've been wanting one of those 10 drawer carts for quite some time but I haven't been willing to drop the $70-$100 that some places charge for them. So you can imagine my delight when I found one for $30 at Walmart! When I got it home, I wasn't too impressed with the colors so I decided to use some spray paint to make the drawers match my new classroom color scheme.

 Pretty cute huh?

I'm all about affordable storage so I use copy paper boxes to store a lot of my things. I love them because I get them free from the teacher's lounge and they are nice and sturdy. What I don't love about them is that they are pretty ugly.

 See what I mean?

So as I was sitting in my apt. one night I was looking at the boxes and decided to try to use a little craft paint to make them cuter. I love the way they turned out!

I am seriously in love with how cute & organized everything is now. 

So to make up for my absence, I've got some freebies for you! The first is a few line up songs and rhymes I found around the internet that I plan to use with my kiddos. I'm gonna glue these to scrapbook paper and hang them a ring by my door for line up time. The second freebie is some animal goodbye rhymes. I'm going to put these on scrapbook paper and make a poster to use at the end of the day. I hope you enjoy them!

Well, I'm off to do a bit of pinning and blog hopping while I wait to be released from jury duty for the day. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Free At Last!

So this song has been running through my mind today as I was trying to get through our last day...

Today was a little bittersweet as many last days are, but overall I'm happy that summer has finally arrived! I'm definitely ready for sleeping late, lazy mornings, craft projects, babysitting my favorite kiddos, and spending more time on Pinterest and blogging!

I've finally moved everything out of my classroom and into my apartment. This is what it looks like now. Yikes!

So as of right now I'm off eat some junk food, watch some Arrested Development and do some spray painting! I hope everyone is having a lovely start to their summer/weekend!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Crafty Memorial Day!

Warning: This post contains lots of pictures!

So things have been a little crazy around here lately but it's the good kind of crazy! This past week I signed my contract at my new school and got to walk around and check out the part of the building that 1st and 2nd is going to be in. It's so exciting! I think next year is going to be awesome!

As excited as I am for next year there is still the reality of ending this year to deal with. We have 4 more days of school which means I have 4 more days to pack up all of my stuff - which I have a lot of! Since I won't be able to get into my new room until at least mid July, I'm storing all my stuff in my apartment for the time being. As of right now it looks like this.

 Sadly, I still have a bunch more stuff to move. Yikes!

Having all my classroom stuff at home was a big help today as I tackled several craft projects. I spent most of my day out on my front stoop painting, gluing, and glittering. It was a nice way to spend the day off!

Mia, my trusty sidekick. 

One of my first projects of the day was to turn some brown flats I got for $3 at the Salvation Army into glitter flats! I love the freedom of thrifting. It was so nice to undertake a project and know that if I screwed it up I'd only be out a few bucks! They turned out great. I found the idea through Pinterest. You can get all the instructions here .


 As I was walking through Walmart this morning getting supplies for crafts I came upon these precious pre-painted wooden shapes and just had to have them! I'd been wanting to make some pointers after seeing Sarah Cooley's post about them. I just added them to a bucket with a little tissue in the bottom so they would stand up higher, tied on some scrap ribbon. They turned out pretty cute don't you think?

Of course I just had to cutesy them up a bit by spray painting the dowels and adding lots of glitter. I think the guitar is my favorite!

I found this poster on Pinterest last week and just fell in love with it. I decided to create my own to hang in my room. I think it's such a great message to send to kiddos.

 Another non school related project was a magnetic makeup board for my bathroom. Again, this was an idea I found on Pinterest that I really wanted to try. I used a metal magnetic board I got from Ikea years ago, sanded it a bit and painted it with chalkboard paint. I picked up a a paper pencil cup and some magnets and put everything together. I love having everything in one place! I think I'll get some chalk markers so I can write messages and change up how it's decorated.

Last but not least, I spray painted a bunch of clothespins in my colors of orange, green and pink to use in my classroom next year. I really want to make these super cute clips to hold student work.

I even painted some with chalkboard paint to use for my clip chart. I plan on writing student's names on them with chalk pens so that I can reuse them!

 So that's all the fun stuff I got done today. Can you tell that I am completely addicted to Pinterest? 

Hope you all are having a restful Memorial Day. I'm off to wash all the paint and glue and glitter off and work on my report cards! Only 4 more days until summer!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Grade Here I Come!

So, as my post title would suggest, I got a job for next year! I'll be teaching 1st grade at a charter school and I could not be more excited! I've been co-teaching Kindergarten at a private school for the last 4 years so I am so ready to make the move to public school and to have my own classroom!

My feelings are a little like this...

 Mixed with these...

 With just a touch of..

I've wanted to have a classroom of my own since I decided to be a teacher on my first day of Kindergarten. I can't wait to share with you all the awesome things I'll be doing over the summer & next school year. Hope you are having a restful Sunday!