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!


  1. Found you through the blog hop! I am your newest follower!
    Jen's Kinder Kids
    Please Come & Visit!

  2. My goodness, you start early. I agree about teachers who don't go In early - I don't know how they do it. following you Sara

  3. I think those are the same teachers that leave on time everyday, too. Ha Ha! I think my main problem is visiting too much with my friends.

    About the font--if you go into your blogger dashboard and click on "template", then "customize" (which is under the picture of your blog), then click "advanced", scroll down to where it has "text font" and you should be able to choose one of the choices they have.

    I hope that helped....

    Good luck the start of school!

    2nd Grade Ponderings

  4. I am glad I found your blog through the linky party!
    Drop by anytime :)


    Creekside Teacher Tales

  5. Great idea to bring your erasers back to life. Glad I found you. I'm your newest follower. if you get a chance please visit my blog @ Calling Plays in 2nd Grade.

  6. Thanks for joining my Newbie Blog Hop! I had no idea it would take off like it did! I love your writing labels. I am smiley monster fanatic, too! I love your writing binders. Desk space is just so limited, so I'm still debating on trying binders. But, I love how you organized them!! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Grade Three is the Place for Me

  7. Loving your blog title girl! I am a fellow Texas teacher!! AND your newest follower! Hope you can swing by and check out my blog when you have a chance. :)

    Miss Augustine's Kindergarten

  8. Had to hop over here when I saw your blog title!
    I'm in Texas too! I love your little erasers they are so bright! I'm a new follower too.
    Spotted Around the School