Friday, August 31, 2012

Blood, sweat, JOY, and freebies!

It's done!! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I geek out so hard on school supplies, planning for the new year, and CLASSROOM SET UP! I've spent the last 4 days alternately panicking and having the time of my life. I don't know why I let myself get so stressed out about things, it ALWAYS comes together in the end. :) The title of this post might seem a bit over dramatic but I did slice my finger on a razor blade, hence the blood, it was 90 degrees here today, and with no air conditioning, I sweat my tuckus off, and the joy? Well, I already told you how much I love setting up my classroom. This year I  made myself some promises though. At the end of every year I feel the need to take down every. single. thing. and tuck it away, neatly, in my too-small-closet. It's like I have to "purge" myself of the ending school year. Well, this leaves me with a completely blank slate and limited time. This then fuels my panic. In June I will do better, I vow this to myself right now. No here's the photo bomb!
This is what it looked like 4 days ago, after I just arranged the furniture.
View from the doorway.
My word wall and Open Court sound/spelling cards. Don't they take up a TON of room? Sheesh.
My gathering area.
Classroom library, center tubs (empty for now), and focus wall. The tree was a last minute addition. I found this tutorial on Pinterest.
Close-up of my Focus Wall- Rules/behavior chart, CAFE board, standards focus for displaying the common core, and our class timeline. I NEVER use my white board and I do all of my calendar activities on my Smartboard so this was the perfect use of this space.
Smartboard and teaching nook.
My desk and improvised listening center.
Close-up of my little listening center. I  love my little walkmans. My kids always think those are sooo cool. Many have never seen one before. *Man, I'm old.*
The back table will house my 2 desktop computers we are, supposedly, getting. The display area above is for the self portraits I have my kids do every year based on the book "The Colors of Us". If you have a diverse group of children and don't own this book, I highly recommend it. So cute! Great for descriptive language, as well.
Back wall and sink area. There are hooks below the bulletin boards to hang all of our anchor charts, as we generate them, together, of course. I haven't put down any name tags because I'm still living in my fantasy dreamworld where my back-ordered chair pockets from Really Good Stuff come on Tuesday, just in time for school to start. It'll happen, right?! Pray for me.  :)
Cubbies, supply cabinet, and closet.
Cubbie corner.
 Line-up numbers. I used that adorable patterned duct tape that seems to be everywhere and then used contact paper to stick the numbers on. I find contact paper to be way more durable than packing tape. It's easier to remove at the end of the year, too. If you'd like the numbers and line-up chart click here for a freebie. (hmm... well, google docs doesn't like that file. I'll have to load it on TpT later. Sorry!)
More leveled books. If you'd like a copy of these labels click here for a freebie.
My small group area.
My student badges all ready to be passed out. For a copy of the badges click here. I made them for K, 1st, and 2nd. Laminate them so you can wipe the names off and use them again!
I feel so great going in to Labor Day weekend knowing that my room is ready for kids. I just have to plan what I'm doing with these kiddos! Looking forward to some quality time with family and friends as we say good bye to summer.  Back to the grind next week! Kids start Wednesday!! Here's to a fabulous 2012-2013 school year!
PS. Let's play a game. How many ideas can you spot that I stole off Pinterest? How many penguins did you count? I tried to hide them throughout the room. I thought it would be a fun game for the first week of school. :)  Leave me a comment with your guesses.


Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Been a PINTERESTing Summer!

I have been busy with TONS of projects this summer. I thought I'd show you some of them. There's much more in the works but this is a preview of what I've completed so far. ALL completely inspired by Pinterest. It has been the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. :) Where possible, I'll link back to the original pin that got my gears turning!
I found this PIN right around the time Target started stocking their dollar bins with teacher goodies. Mini-pocket charts are something I can't resist. I LOVE pocket charts and then they're itty bitty on top of it? SOLD. But what to do with these? Sure, you can hang them on the wall but this PVC pipe chart stand is BEYOND genius! I headed right over to Home Depot and put on my best damsel in distress face. Luckily, I had a tantruming toddler along for the ride so it wasn't to hard to find a willing store employee to help me...er, um, cut and assemble the whole thing for me right in the store. *bats eyelashes* Thanks Frank with the pony tail beard! 
This mini chart stand and pocket chart also inspired a center idea. I love the book Sight Word Poetry Pages, from Scholastic. A friend of mine thought it would be great if the poems could be arranged on a pocket chart so I set to work designing the pieces. I thought they'd be perfect for these mini charts. If you'd like to grab a copy click HERE.
I'm sure you've seen these all over Pinterest. I was inspired by this PIN and this PIN. I'm looking forward to taking pics of my kiddos on the first day!
I found this PIN and fell in love with this door greeting. So much so, that I pretty much copied it word for word. I wish I could find where it originated from but the pin leads to a google image search. I have it available for download HERE, for free, of course, because it's not my original work. :)
The PIN that inspired me for this project had a framed piece of burlap that someone had, allegedly, written on with a Sharpie. Well, yeah, I tried that. Have you ever tried to write on burlap? Sucks. I just printed the calendar image with my initial and framed it OVER a piece of burlap. Bam, calendar. I write the numbers, month, and important info in every month with a Sharpie. Easy peasy. :)
I don't really have a pin to link for this one. It's kind of a hodge podge of lots of things I saw on Pinterest. I plan to hang this over my teacher desk to hide the cords that hang down from my sound system. I'll post how it turns out when I'm done setting up my classroom.
And last, but not least, I was inspired to do a furniture makeover after seeing this PIN. Oh how I covet that beautiful, shiny, little dresser. I found my dresser (hideous isn't it?) on Craigslist for $15. I used the "no sand" paint technique I learned from the original blog post for this pin. My dresser came out pretty nice. I wish the picture was better because it's really more of a slate blue than an ocean blue. Oh well, I don't think I'll be painting furniture again anytime soon. It was tedious.
I'll leave you with a glimpse of the madness that is consuming me at the moment. I have a giant folder on my desktop entitled "NEED TO PRINT". I've been plugging away at it nightly, after Bubba goes to bed. This is about half of it. It all needs to be laminated, cut, and then hung in the perfect spot in my classroom. Wish me luck! Hope you enjoyed my PINTERESTing post. :)





Saturday, August 18, 2012

TpT Back to School Sale

 My second "linky" party! Yay me! I may be getting the hang of the blogging thing. :)

Wow, did I ever get some fun stuff during TpT's Back to School sale. I've had so much fun looking at what everyone else bought (and trying to avoid going back for more!) that I thought I should post what I just HAD to have!

I've had this on my wishlist forever. I love Abby's blog: theinspiredapple.blogspot.com and I'm super excited to make "Jitter Juice" with my kids on the first day of school. First Day Jitters is our school's "Book of the Month" for September, too. Score!
I also had to have these. I found the link for these on Pinterest and I thought it was such a great idea. They were only $2 and it rounded my "cart" out nicely. Ya know how I love even numbers! I can't wait to see how my kiddos do with it.

These next two "units" I'm so friggin' excited about but also a little sad. I had intentions of designing something similar to each of these only to find that it had already been done...and done WAY cuter than I ever could have! I can't imagine how time consuming it must have been to make these things. Our school is new to implementing the Common Core and I'm determined to jump in with both feet!
This amazing resource, from the equally amazing- Deanna Jump, is going to make my life so much easier and it will also look really nice on my focus wall. I've already printed it all out. I just need to laminate and cut.
Another of my favorite bloggers, Rachel, from whattheteacherwants.blogspot.com, made this. It's a checklist of all the 1st grade Common Core standards. So as you're planning, you can check each standard off. Genius! I've got this all printed and ready to go in my plan book, too!

Last but not least, I found this freebie on Pinterest and I'm so excited about it. I'm totally on this Whole Brain Teaching kick right now and I plan on using WBT rules this coming school year. Michelle, from inspiredbykindergarten.blogspot.com, designed these adorable rule posters. There is also a whole behavior management plan, complete with worksheets, included. I love her ideas and I plan to tweak them just a smidge so they work in my room. It's one of the best freebies I've downloaded.
There are only a few weeks until school begins and I've definitely begun my craziness. I've been having sleepless nights, spending endless hours sitting in front of this dang computer making lists, designing things for my room, and of course, downloading TONS! I'm a little worried my classroom is going to look like Pinterest threw up on it. I'm going to make a concerted effort to slow my roll, tone it down, and MOST IMPORTANTLY- enjoy this little bit of time I have left just kickin' it with my son. Oh, how it is going to kill me to leave him.
Peace and Love!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Classroom Decor

I've been rethinking my classroom decor this summer and I think I've finally got a vision in my head. For years I've just kind of thrown things together but after this past year, and all the blog stalking I've done, I've decided to actually stick to one theme. I really like the way it looks when the boarders and colors are consistent throughout the room. Now, I  need to do this on a budget, working with what I've already got. So, while I love the coral and turquoise color combo and some of the paisley and chevron prints I've seen out there, I've got to stick to my plan of not spending a fortune. Lord knows I could! I don't do animals or pirates, or jungles. Even when doing my son's nursery I had such a hard time because all the boy bedding sets were monkeys and cars and dinosaurs. Ick, not my scene. That means primary colors, folks!  I've got tons of red, blue, yellow, and green in my room. And now with my beautiful NEW RUG, I think it's what will look best and stand the test of time. I've been cruising all the teacher supply sites and settled upon Creative Teaching Press. They seemed to have everything I had in mind- modern and snazzy primary colors.  Here's my thought:

What do you think? I want it to be colorful but not "Holy Balls! My eyes are burning!" colorful. Ya know? I'm also a little apprehensive about my black fabric bulletin board idea. I've seen it in other classrooms and I love how it makes the items on display "pop". I'm just worried it'll be too dramatic or dark. So, there you have it. I would love and suggestions from my 9 followers. Hehe, that just makes me giggle. ;) I love all 9 of you!