Thursday, June 30, 2011

Orange you Ready to Match Up Letters?

Yes. I went there with that corny title! BUT it's fitting for this alphabet card set/activity that I made.
All the upper case letters can be found on whole oranges, and all the lower case letters can be found on orange slices.(they might look like lemons, I know, shh)

What a great way to review letters with your students, or play a matching game to see if students can match the lower case letter to the correct upper case letter.

As a Pre-K teacher, we play that game a lot!

I'm thinking about putting together some more food/fruit games and activities for another mini-unit!

If you are interested in downloading your own set of the Orange alphabet letters, please visit my TpT store!

What are some of your favorite alphabet games to play with your students?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July 4th Koozies

I really was inspired by those July 4th shirts to make something for the Holiday weekend! I went to Michael's and found some great things to make some July 4th Koozies!


Koozies are on sale at Michael's 3 for $2, what a great price! I bought some ribbons and trim to decorate them with and with some help from my glue gun, I had 3 great Koozies in about 30 minutes!




I have to admit the feather boa around the bottom of the Koozie is a little obnxious and makes a HUGE mess when you cut it, but I've seen it on so many Koozies and it makes it fun and festive! Hopefully I'll be back soon with a post on red, white, and blue cheesecake brownies!

Have you made anything festive for the holiday weekend?

You can find this idea linked up over at Sugar and Dots for What I Whipped Up Wednesday with lots of other great ideas!



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Holiday Spirit: July 4th

So this morning I payed a visit over to moo moo's & tutus and found some excellent July 4th ideas! There were 2 ideas I loved & am set on doing/trying before festivities for the 4th roll around.



This gives me flashbacks to when I attempted made red velvet cheesecake brownies. I wasn't able to bring myself to admit it to the blog world at the time, but when I made these, I took them out of the oven, cut out one and took photos, blogged, and voila. Not so much. After cooling I went to cut out the rest, disaster central. I put the blame on our oven because I couldn't find anything that went wrong with the recipe & I've had problems with the oven in the past. This red, white and blue brownie cheesecake has inspired me to try it again. This recipe suggested baking the brownies til their almost done, then baking again with the cheesecake on top. This might be the ticket. I'm thinking about combining the red velvet brownies with this red, white, and blue idea!



Yes, these are shirts made for little guys, but I really liked the ruffle idea used on the little girl's t-shirt. While the little boys is more up to my speed with the use of heat and bond instead of measuring and sewing with the little girls, I really liked the idea of thinking outside the box from basic stripes. So many ideas started coming to mind. I don't know if I'll make a t-shirt for myself or not. Maybe I'll use the inspiration to make a drink coozie instead..

Guess I'm off to Michaels & the grocery store to get the creativity going!

Do you have great recipes or craft ideas for the 4th of July?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back to School Unit

I have to say, having a blog is becoming such a motivator to get things done! I have been pretty inspired lately by all of the great materials I have been finding from all of you great teacher bloggers out there!!

I decided that I wanted to take an attempt at creating a "mini-unit" if you will, with various activities. These take work and time! Shew! I worked on the unit for a while because I was so eager to finish it, post-it and get feedback! (HINT HINT you have to leave me some feedback!)


 Here's the unit  cover page and a sample of the unit words I put in.

Next is a sample of the cards for a memory game on the left, and on the right are counting cards. I thought these could be used for a lot of different activities!


Lastly, an example of different patterns on the left and lace cards on the right. I called it a pattern board so you could print out several copies and laminate them and students could have more than one pattern at a time. The unit also includes pieces to cut out and finish the patterns with. The last 5 pages of the unit are large photos to make lacing cards from. Simply print, laminate, hole punch, and lace!

If you are interested, please  visit my TpT store to see a free preview of the entire unit, and purchase if you like it or love it! I also have 5 other various items for FREE in my store!

**EDIT: My free preview file was too large, but the photos listed provide a sample of each of the different activities included in the unit. If you need more info, please let me know!

What are some of your favorite activities or games to use in a unit?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Organizing- Free Labels

Last summer when I walked into my first classroom I knew I had a lot of work to do. The teacher before me had retired and left behind a ton of supplies that I am very thankful for! However, I like my things organized differently and while she was ok with books being in boxes, I needed them out in the open in the plastic bins, labeled by theme. I organized all of my books and I was able to fit 2-3 themes in some bins, which was great because I was running out of closet space!

I added books to my  collection throughout the school year and next year I have a larger closet, SO, time to expand some of my book bins! I made new labels for the changes I plan on making to my bins. While I was at it, I thought this would be good to share with you and upload to my TpT store so I made a set of labels with one theme each to upload!

There are 4 pages of different labels and they are listed for free in my TpT store along with 4 other items, that are all Free!!! I had two items that were not selling, so I made those Free too! If you've checked my store out before, pay it another  visit!


What kind of book organization do you use in your classroom?

Where do you teach?

I know blogger sometimes displays what state we are all teaching in, but if not, aren't you always really curious where your resources and inspirations are coming from?! I was blogging around and noticed on Miss Kindergarten a button on her side bar that was so cute.

So, obviously I clicked it and was taken over to Primary Connections to find a blog post asking where everyone is teaching and what grade they are teaching. It was so interesting to read through all of the comments! I think the closest I found to me was Virginia, but I know there's a fellow Delaware teacher out there.. Kinderglynn!

First thought was that this resource was also providing buttons for each state for you to use, but I was wrong. Miss Kindergarten must have made/found this one herself, but I wanted in on the fun! I made my own for the state of Delaware and you can find it on my sidebar!


Click the photo on my side bar, or the link to Primary Connections, so you can join in too! If you teach in Delaware feel free to take my button if you'd like!

Are there a lot of teacher bloggers living in your area?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

$25 Giveaway!

...Over at First Grade Blue Skies! She is hosting a Giveaway for 100 followers!
Winner gets to choose either $25 to Target OR Amazon.com! AND there are lots of ways to enter the contest! You can have up to 6 entries!
Head on over to her blog to enter!!




This is actually my FIRST blog contest entry! I see them running all of the time, but usually approach them with a glass half empty attitude because I never win anything! (Everyone says that, right?)

Maybe I just need to start entering more of them to increase my chances of winning one day!

Have you ever won a blog contest?

one day.

One day I will stop changing my blog layout. Until then, thanks for hanging in there with me.

If you design blogs, PLEASE see this as my cry for help! I am so indecisive & see so many cute blog designs that are constantly inspiring me to change mine.

How did you determine what as the best design for your blog? Did you have to change a million times before getting it just right?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

my "summer classroom"

SO I had to move my classroom at the end of the year and was unable to really unpack too much because they are painting classrooms over the summer. Due to that, and the fact that I knew I would want to work on some things over the summer, there were quite a few things I found necessary to bring home with me. Hence, these piles.

My "summer classroom"

Really, what was I thinking?! Because what on EARTH am I going to do with these things for the next 2 and a 1/2 months?! It currently looks like this in the corner of my bedroom and I don't like it. I don't have an office or anything to make it look neat in, so I'm asking you, fellow teachers, organizers, blog readers, etc. what you do with the items you just HAVE to have home with you over the summer months!!

Do you have those items you just have to bring home for the summer? How do you go about keeping them organized over the summer months??

P.S. If you like my blog, become a follower!! If you have a blog too & a button for your blog, I'll post your button on my page if you're a follower! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

folder labels.

I know that today was my last day of work & some of you might be thinking what on Earth are you doing working on things for next year ALREADY?!- That is, unless you teach too. My mind switched gears to next year about 2 or 3 weeks ago and I started getting things ready. I'm glad that I will be able to do that this summer, knowing what to expect & what I need, where as last summer, I hadn't the slightest clue, so I was doing double the work those first few weeks of the school year!

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this or not yet, but I have decided to go to with a themed classroom next year & I'm going to do fish. I'm enjoying finding all kinds of ideas out there and turning everything into fish! I used the same acronym for my student information binder [F.I.S.H. family involvement starts here], for my student's home to school folders. Here are photos of the labels I am using for the folders this year.




I love that you can upload Avery label templates on Microsoft Word to get your alignments just right. I have uploaded these labels for free  on my TpT store if you're interested. The document is a word file so you can edit them if you like. Unless you have the same fonts installed as I do, they may look different!

Do you have a themed classroom? Or know of any great fish themed rooms?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

desk name plate.

I'm not really sure what inspired me with this, but I made one a year ago as a gift for great teacher I student taught with, and made another one this year for another gift! Using a simple 2x4 and your creativity you can make an adorable desk name plate for your desk!



I made this one as a thank you gift for another great teacher/great mentor/great friend. I thought it turned out great! I added the ribbon to the top for an extra touch ( I didn't do that on the first one I made)

I didn't take any step-by-step photos because this was pretty simple.

1. I bought a piece of 2x4 at Lowes
2. Because I have an excellent dad (who also gets bored easily) he was willing to cut the pieces for me AND 
3. Sand the edges so they were a little smoother. 
4. Next apply a coat of primer & then your paint color.
5. Once everything was dry I used a combination of paint pens & acrylics to write the name and apply the dots. The best way to add dots--Q-TIPS!
6. Spray a coat of sealer for protection & shine.
7. Apply ribbon & you're done!

Obviously such a thing is a little more appropriate in some work places over others (if you're a teacher, this is great!) There are all kinds of other little details you can add to make each one a little bit different!

You can find this project linked up over at Sugar & Dots for What I Whipped Up Wednesday!






Monday, June 13, 2011

substitute binder

While I'm on the topic of things I need to do differently for next year, one is having a substitute teacher binder. I always knew it was important to have something together for the sub, but I never had the time to sit down and make a place to put all of it. Fortunately I was always able to have enough time to plan for any of the sub plans I needed this school year!

Moving forward though, I would like to have a binder together that includes sections of information that the sub needs to know, as well as, a section for the lesson plans. (also including an emergency plan should I need one!)

I have created a binder set for all of the sections in my substitute teacher binder. I printed out the pages and laminated them onto tab dividers.


Here is the cover of my binder. I have my name and my room number on the front, but I have removed it in order to upload the documents to my TpT store. If you are interested in downloading a copy visit my store. My favorite part of the set includes this form for the substitute to fill out at the end of the day.


I can't take full credit for this form, I found one similar online and then made my own. I wish I still had the source where I found it so I could give credit! (So if you're out there, let me know! ha!)

What do you leave behind for your substitutes?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

information sheet

So now that my school year has ended I know what things I need to work on, make, or do differently next year. One being, logging parent involvement. I kept a notebook by my phone where I recorded every phone call received, made, or voicemail left. I thought that was sufficient. And it was. UNTIL I had to sit down and fill out the parent involvement logs in the back of every IEP folder I have. This has to include all meetings, all invitations to meetings, and phone calls. Now I'm stuck spending my Sunday filling out these forms on a gazillion folders (yes, 19 feels like a gazillion)

As another co-worker was updating her IEP files on Friday, she shared a binder with me that she keeps for parent involvement. She keeps it by the phone and inside is one page protector for each child. Inside that is an information sheet on the child with important phone numbers, methods of contact, etc. and also, a copy of the involvement log that goes in the IEP folder. This allows her to record the phone calls directly on that sheet right when they come in! WHY DIDN'T I EVER THINK OF THAT?!

I'm definitely doing it next year though! I made a cover for my binder (to go along with the fish theme I'm doing next year & the clever acronym I came across online for fish!)


And then I came up with a student information sheet. I found one on TpT that I liked, but I wanted to edit it to have a few different questions, so I wound up making my own. I have uploaded it for FREE on TpT so go to my store and download it for yourself!!


Behind this sheet is where I will put the parent involvement log sheet. I don't have a copy of this to upload because I will be using the actual form that is added to the IEP folder!

Do you use anything similar in your classroom? How do you log parent involvement?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Day!!

I did it! I made it! It's finally here! The students are officially done school! I'm not, I still have 1 week left of inservice and....MOVING MY CLASSROOM!?

My afternoon students were finished yesterday and my morning students were finished this morning. Yesterday it was so hot I had to create back up indoor plans for our fun activities. (That should be a sign that the kids shouldn't still be in school!) We did lots of fun games and activities, and at the very end I did face painting with the kids. It was my very first time face painting, and I only bought $5 quality face paints. They didn't turn out too bad!


I had a sheet of paper I had drawn about 15 pictures on for the students to pick from. The spider and the butterfly were the most popular! (Fine with me, the spider was SUPER easy!)

Thanks to my wonderful para, the students also got to enjoy snow cones for snack!

Now that the students are all done, I have to focus on packing up my classroom and moving it. It took me forever to just figure out my classroom this year, let alone, having to pack up all of my stuff, all of the stuff that was left behind the year before, and then re-organizing all of it into a new classroom!


I'm a first year teacher. HOW DO I HAVE THIS MUCH STUFF?! And I honestly think this is maybe half of it. I still have shelves filled with toys, a closet filled with stuff, some cabinets with construction paper, big books, posters, bulletin board displays, and don't even get me started on my book shelf of resource stuff. (Which I have accumulated more thanks to other teachers clearing out their rooms as well!)

I know this will get done, it's just a lot of work! And unfortunately I can't really unpack too much once it gets to the new classroom because they are painting over the summer!

Do you have any pointers when it comes to this stuff?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

you are o"fish"ally a kindergartener

I had previously come across this idea on eighteen25 and then I came across an adapted version of the idea on fabulous in first. I absolutely loved it, BOTH times I saw it! How cute is this idea?!


I had intentions of doing circle tags as well, but then I realized I left my circle punch at work on Friday and that wasn't going to help me get this project completed over the weekend. I went with printing the text and cutting it into rectangles.

 

Using the cricut machine I cut out 4 inch oval tags with scalloped edges to then glue the rectangles on to. I knew it was missing something at this point so I grabbed my glitter glue [who doesn't love some sparkle] and outlined the rectangles.

 


After all my tags were dry I simply used fold over sandwich baggies to fill with sweedish fish and attach the tags with matching ribbon. There are SO many ways to alter this idea. I thought it would be cute to decorate the baggies like a fish net (you can purchase decorative ones at the Dollar Tree), but that would have taken more time than I have available this weekend! :) 


I can't wait to send my students home with these adorable goodies on their last day (Thursday & Friday!) Did you do any end of the year gifts for your students? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

paper organizing

So I've been accumulating A LOT of scrapbooking paper, especially when I find a great deal on it. [if you've never checked Marshalls or Tuesday Morning for scrapbooking supplies, you should!] Every time I work on a project I just end up with paper everywhere. THERE HAS TO BE A WAY TO ORGANIZE THIS! I unfortunately don't have a craft room, I have a drafting table in our basement that I work on. When I was in Michaels I found this nifty clear container with 12x12 hanging files.


I thought it was perfect to take on the paper I have, and was fitting for my environment. I thought of how I wanted to sort out my papers [now I have to go back to the store for more hanging files], and then thought of a way to label them.



Using my current favorite font, "ck handprint" I typed up my categories and printed them off in color. Using some shaping scissors I cut them out and used color coordinating paper clips to attach them to the front of the hanging files. So quick and so easy!


What do you find is the best way to organize your scrapbooking papers?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

name change

I think it's no surprise to anyone out there who reads my blog consistently, that I've been struggling with decision making when it comes to a blog template. I love love love all of the great custom designs out there, but I'm not quite ready to spend money on something like that. Maybe one day if my blog really takes off and becomes more popular!

I've been playing around the last couple of days with it and was recently inspired by all of the new teaching blogs I came across. Right now, I'm content. [but we all know that will change.]


Since I was designing a new blog header, I decided it was time to make the change to my title.


I knew at some point the name would need to change because I would no longer be a first year teacher. The title change is 5 days early [yes! only 5 more student days left!], but oh well.

If you like the new blog design, please leave me your feedback! And if you know of a EASY way to add the "ck handprint" font to my blog [so that others can see it] then I beg of you to share that information!!

What's your go-to site for great blogger templates and designs?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

sugar and dots link up wednesday!

While I've become rather frustrated with trying to change the font on my entire blog to one not listed as a choice from blogger, I decided I needed to take a break from that battle.

I then remembered that it was What I Whipped Up Wednesday on Sugar and Dots! I came across this blog about two weeks ago and couldn't wait for Wednesday so I could link up something from my blog! Last Wednesday there was no What I Whipped up Wednesday, so I had to wait another week!

I decided to post my bachelorette frame that I made about a month ago. I made it to #80 on the link up list. Hopefully next week I can get on there a little sooner!


Check out Sugar and Dots if you haven't already! What are some of your favorite sites to link up to?