Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It!

This is the second time I'm participating in 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made It! I love the idea of sharing cute teacher-made crafts, genius! Last year I purchased a blue, plastic chair from IKEA for my author's chair. It's a cute chair but I'm ashamed to say I didn't add much to it because I was overwhelmed with moving to a new grade level and just never got around to it.

I am happy to say that last week I decided enough was enough and that my author's chair needed some bling. So I purchased some spray glitter from Wal-Mart and some cute little clear rhinestones. I copied the word's "Author's Chair" from my computer in the "Elephants in Cherry Trees" font from Kevin and Amanda. I added a cute little pencil and then traced over everything with a black permanent marker.

I then took the chair outside and gave it a few coats of the glitter spray. You have to be careful with the spray because if you spray too much in one spot it will run and get yucky. I let it dry and then brought it inside. I would have to say it's a definite improvement from my old chair.

I didn't add rhinestones to the side of the seat because I know the kids will rub them off when they sit there and it will drive me crazy replacing them all the time!

And there is my author's chair, hanging out in my classroom. I like it much better! Beware though: the glitter may come off a little. But who doesn't need a little extra sparkle in their day? ;)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop and Classroom Updates with Pictures!

I know I'm a little late, but I couldn't resist joining the "Newbie Blog Hop" at Grade Three is the Place for Me. I've had my blog for a little over a month now and I'm loving it! I think it's really helping me to be more of a self-reflective teacher. The ideas and inspiration I get from other teacher bloggers is absolutely amazing!

Here are the questions for the newbie blog hop:
1.  what state you are in: The Great State of Texas!
    2.  your current teaching position: 2nd Grade
    3.  your teaching experience: 3 years in Kinder, starting my 2nd year in 2nd
    4.  when you started blogging: June 2012
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource: Always join in on linkys when you can! It's a great way to meet other bloggers and get more traffic to your blog. :) Also, share as many freebies as you can, you know how teachers love free stuff!

Classroom Updates:

Alright friends, it has truly been a whirlwind of a week! We officially had to be back at school on Wednesday the 18th. Of course I had been up at the school a whole week and a half before that getting my room cleaned out and ready to go. You know what amazes me? Those teachers that only come the day they absolutely have to and seem to have things put together in just one day...I don't get it. Am I missing something?

So this being my second year in second grade, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I liked about last year and what I didn't. I've come up with awesome materials to use throughout the year and I've completely revamped my spelling instruction after reading Words Their Way. I'm so excited!! :)

I've been working like a madwoman getting things ready for my fabulous new kiddos. Here are somethings I've been up to:

Writing Workshop Binders
I have been playing with the idea of a writing workshop organizational tool for second graders and then came across Mrs. Madden's writing notebooks. It was exactly what I had been looking for! It has all the components I want to include: writer's notebook for prewrites and drafts, folders for revising, editing and publishing as well as a folder for resources. Here's what my version looks like:

I came up with a cute template using the "smiley monsters" font that I adore and a chevron pattern. I printed them on regular paper, laminated and hot glued them to the binder covers. My school ordered the binders for me, I didn't get to pick the color and they didn't come with a clear plastic page cover. But I worked with what I had!

On the inside you'll see their writer's notebooks that they use for prewriting and drafting. I have the 1 inch binders, which I don't recommend because it's hard for the kids to turn the notebook to get to the binder. We may end up taking them out and storing them in the clear pocket on the left. Next year I'll ask for the 1 and 1/2 inch binder. Live and learn! :)

After the notebook, I put half of a green folder (revising), red folder (editing), purple (publishing) and orange (resources). To make the folders, I bought colored folders with no brass fasteners for 15 cents each at Walmart. I then cut them in half to save money. I made 3 holes on the left side of the folders that weren't facing the right way. I hot glued the pocket that was open after cutting. (Sounds confusing but see below.)

I will add labels to the different folders with my kiddos when school starts. I'll keep y'all updated!

I also made some back to school gifts for my students. I did not come up with this idea, I found it on another blog. I cannot for the life of me remember which one, I'm sorry! If it was you please comment below! This amazing teacher posted a PDF with these cute gift tags to place on addition cards. I'm sure many second grade teachers out there notice that their students come in a little rusty with the math facts at the beginning of the year. At our "Meet the Teacher" night I will give these cards to the parents and students and discuss how important math fluency is and how it will benefit them in 2nd grade. Here are pics of the addition flashcard gifts I made. I purchased the flashcards at the Dollar Tree and hot glued the gift tag to the front of the box.

And last but not least, I gave my dry erase board erasers a makeover. Well, actually my husband did. I'm 8 months pregnant and I didn't want to inhale fumes from the paint, so hubby helped me out! Thank you honey! :)

I have had these erasers for a good 3 years. I don't know who wrote all over them but after 3 classes using's just bound to happen. I decided this year, they need a fresh start! Hopefully they will stay nice and clean.

Here are the erasers before...yuck!:

Here are the erasers after my husband added 2-3 coats of acrylic paint to them.

He is going to add a coat of Modge Podge to them later today. I'm a lucky gal, I know! Is it completely OCD of me that I wanted them color coded to match my tables? Naw.... ;)

Before I leave you, does anyone out there know how to add fonts to my blog? I'm tired of writing in "Georgia" font and have a ton of cute fonts on my laptop but I'm not sure how to add them to blogger...? Any helpful hints would be appreciated! Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Classroom Bin Labels Freebie!

I just made some cute labels for the side of my classroom storage bins. They are in yellow, red, blue and green. I am putting markers, glue and colored pencils in these bins I got from Lakeshore. The lables are about 10 inches long and 3 inches tall.

Medium Classroom Caddy (Blue)

I included blank ones in there so you can write in your own label. I'm currently obsessed with chevron! Can't help myself! :) Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Classroom Update and Kittens!

I've been a little MIA lately. We've had a whirlwind of a week! Two days ago, my husband and I rescued five little kittens from under my neighbor's deck. They are so sweet and cute! It was a task getting them out from under there. One of them was stuck and we had to cut part of the deck open to get her out. Poor baby! They are all doing well though.

We are looking for homes for them now. So far, 3 out of the 5 have been taken. We still have these two cuties. We'd love to keep them but we have a dog who is not so fond of kittens. I'm also almost 8 months pregnant and it's just not a good time for us!

Little Chaim
(named for our friend who helped catch her)

Little Prissy

We're still looking for homes for these two. If you're in San Antonio, let me know! :) So on top of herding kittens, I've also been back in my room getting things set up. I found my vocabulary cards all jumbled up in a pile (I clearly didn't take the time to organize them in May). I decided to start off on the right foot: I made packets for each subject's vocabulary cards, bagged them by unit or topic and put them in the packet to file away until I need them.

Pretty simple idea that will save me a ton of time later! I did this for math and science too.

I also gave some of my shelves a makeover. I'm horrible at remembering to take a before picture. Here's the best I could do:

I bought these white shelves from Target last year. They worked really well for what I wanted but seemed very plain. I purchased a blue and white gingham table cover from HEB for $1. Nice! I then used tacky glue to cover the top of the shelf and I trimmed the edges.

Here you will see the finished shelving. I also took out those aqua colored bins, they clashed with my darker blue. I'm still finishing creating labels for my library. The three bins on top are where I put "mentor texts" for students to use as needed (books that connect to topics I've taught in the classroom).

I also took some snapshots of my library. I am still finishing labels. The green shelf has nonfiction books, the shelf next to the green shelf has chapter books and the shelf on the opposite side is all fiction or favorite authors.

The labels are not as neat and pretty as I would like, but I had volunteers help make them and I cannot complain! Alright, I think I've rambled enough! My classroom is still in the making, back to work in the morning! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Back to Work!

Today was my first day back in the classroom. This is always an exciting, yet overwhelming, time! When I packed up my room in May, I was rushing to get finished and started just packing things away in my closet and cabinets. I totally regret doing that! Today I spent solely just cleaning out my closet/cabinets and organizing them. I also need to think of downsizing because next year we have to completely empty our rooms so they can take our carpets out. Yikes! So I'll really need to utilize every inch of space in my closet/cabinet.

Here are some pictures before I started cleaning. Everything is a mess! I have so much to do but I have the rest of the week to work on it. So far, I'm feeling good about the cabinets. Baby steps! (The fact that I'm 7 and a half months pregnant will only make this process slower...but tomorrow the hubby is helping me!)

Like I said earlier, today I solely worked on my closet and cabinet. Here is my closet as I was working (I forgot a before picture). It looks crazy!

Here is my closet when I was finished...


Here are my blue cabinets before I cleaned them out...

And after...

All in all a good day. Back to work tomorrow! :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Liebster Award and $20 Give-A-Way!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I took a trip to the IKEA in Austin, played glow in the dark mini golf with my best friend who came in town for the weekend and finalized my baby's nursery bedding. I'm doing an aqua/grey/orange color scheme with elephants and chevron...super cute! I'm ordering custom made bedding from "Modified Tot" on Etsy. Her bedding sets are fabulous! You should check them out. All in all, a great weekend!

I'm also excited that I received the Liebster Blog award from Nikki at "An Uncommon to the Core Teacher." Thanks Nikki! I've been working hard on developing my blogging skills this summer. :)

Also, "Delighted in Seconds" is having a fabulous give-a-way! My school starts back on July 25th and I've seen a bunch of fabulous TPT products that I'm dying to buy. Check out her blog! :)


I go back to my classroom tomorrow to start cleaning up and cleaning out! I'm so excited to get pictures up to show you. Night night!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And the winner is...

Jenna from Diving Into Learning! Thank you all for entering the give-a-way. I hope to have many more, this was super fun! :) I have to get ready for a brunch with the bestie so I gotta run. Jenna, I'm emailing you right after this with a TPT gift card. Make sure you let me know what items you want from my shop for free. Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Back to School Birthday Graph

The first week of school my class always makes a birthday graph. I LOVE DJ Inkers fonts and clip art so I created a template for our graph. I'm not sure if I want to do black/white or color and I'm not sure what size I'm going to I created several versions I can pick and choose from later.

I know many of you do birthday graphs so this may help you get some of your back to school planning done. :) Enjoy!

Last Chance to Enter My Giveaway!

My 50 follower give-a-way ends tonight at midnight! Make sure you've entered below and I'll answer the winner in the morning. I'm sooo close to 50, very excited! :) Happy Friday!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

50 Follower Give-A-Way!

I'm very excited that I'm closing in on 50 followers. I know that's not a ton but I think it's important to celebrate the small things! :) To celebrate my little milestone, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers and any item from my TPT store for FREE! I tried to make entering as easy as possible: follow my blog, leave a comment on my blog about your classroom theme, follow my TPT store and blog about the giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy 4th! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

100s Chart Unit and Freebie!

I just finished working on my "Sweet 100s Chart Math Stations" unit for the beginning of the year. My friend Hannah suggested a "sweets" theme over primary colors and beach...and I have to say, it turned out super cute!

I found some really cute candy graphics on Etsy. I loooooooove Etsy! It's the best online shopping ever. Along with finishing this unit, I created a freebie. Click here to get a 100s chart freebie from my TPT store. It's a collection of bright colored 100s charts in stripes or polka dots. Who couldn't use more 100s charts? Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Joy and Monday Made It!

So I'm super duper excited. This afternoon my new maternity clothes came in! I'm 29 weeks now and all of a sudden my 2nd trimester clothes are too snug or short. :( I'm quickly running out of clothes to wear so I ordered some online last week. For those mommys out there, everytime I visit the doctor I measure at least 3-4 centimeters larger than average. So at my last check up (26 weeks) my belly measured 30 centimeters. My doctor's not worried but she laughed and said, "Wow, you're gonna have a big one!" I kinda expected that since my husband is a big guy. Anyway, I got 4 new shirts and a pair of pants and everything fit! Joy! :)

Also, I'm teaming up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to share a "Monday Made It"! This is my first...I'm not super crafty. Honestly, I can pick out cute stuff and mimic cuteness but I'm really not that creative. I do get lots of inspiration though from all these fabulous bloggin teachers! :)

I visited the Dollar Tree Saturday and bought 22 packs of addition flash cards for my students. We have "Meet the Teacher" night coming up July 23, so I need to get on my game! I saw an idea on a blog, don't remember whose it was, where you give your students a pack of flashcards with a cute note to welcome them back to school. I loved the idea and had to go get some of my own.

While I was there, I saw a super cute surfing themed tote bag for, you guessed it, $1! I do a beach theme in my room and just had to get it. I figured I would use it for my recess old one is looking a little scrappy. So here's what I did to "cute it up" a bit.

First I found a cute DJ inkers font I liked and typed it up on my laptop.

Then I just eyeballed it with a permanent marker on a sheet of paper.

After this, I put the notebook paper inside the bag and it was just dark enough so that I could trace it with a permanent marker on the bag. It was faint, so I had to kind of eyeball parts of it. I didn't press too hard with the permanent marker either, I just faintly outlined it. After I used the permanent marker to trace it, I got out my blue fabric paint and started tracing the letters. It spreads easily so you don't have to use a lot.

And here's my finished product! I messed up a little on the "g" but argh...oh well! Still looks cute. :)

My husband saw the finished bag and said, "Your letters look perfect, just like a font!" Ha!