Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple Number Stories Freebie

WoooHoooo - 100 followers! I am seriously so excited. I never thought it would happen. There will be a giveaway coming very soon...but in the meantime, here is an apple number stories booklet that I plan on using with my class this week. You can download it for free on TPT!
Click on the picture to get your free copy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Classroom Pictures and a new TPT item

Hi Everyone! I feel like it has been forever since I have had a chance to post on this blog. This school year is off to a great start and I feel so lucky to have such a sweet group of first graders! I posted pictures of my classroom on the blog that I set up for my parents and students. Click here to see pictures on my other blog.

I also posted a new item on TPT tonight. It is a sight word game pack for the "smart start" portion of our reading series, McMillan McGraw Hill "Treasures". Click here to see it and my other TPT products. For the next 48 hours, this product will be on sale for the low price of only $3!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Writing Helper Freebie

Hi blog friends! I sure have been in back-to-school mode lately. I know that many of you have already started back to school, but I still have a little under 2 weeks until I "officially" go back - 12 days to be exact.

Today I have a little writing helper freebie for you. I made these because my students (especially in the beginnig of the year) tend to write sentences like this: ilikemycat. No Spaces!! Therefore, I introduce them to the "Space Man" or "Space Woman". We use them to help us place a space between our words when we write. (I model how to use it before they use their own.)

The "Space Man" helps us make perfect spaces between our words.

To make your own, click  here or on the picture below.
Then print, laminate, cut and glue onto a popsicle stick.

You can store the Space Men in a cute cup.

Snickers just loves getting his picture taken.

P.S. - I am so excited that I am getting close to 100 followers. Keep a lookout for a 100 follower giveaway when I reach it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Grade Fanatics

Check out this amazing back to school giveaway!

They are also having a 14 Days of Summer Celebration, where they are giving away a new freebie everyday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY Lamp

A little while ago I posted about some goodwill treasures that I bought - including a lamp that I wanted to revamp for my jungle-themed room. Well, I finally finished it. (And, it was super easy to do!)

Here is the BEFORE picture again:

And here is what it looks like AFTER:

Of course, my little shadow (aka Snickers) snuck into this picture. This sweet little cat follows me around the house all day checking out what I am doing. :) When we took this little stray into our house, we weren't really sure if we would be able to keep him - now we can't even imagine not having him! He is the sweetest little thing!

Anyways, if you'd like to do your own lamp-makeover, it is really simple. Here is what I did.
(Sorry - some of these pictures are not the best quality.)

Use a pencil to trace to length of fabric needed on the backside of the fabric.

Cut the fabric a few inches wider than the line that you traced.

Here he is - watching everything I do. :)

Spray this adhesive on the shade and press the fabric into place. This adhesive stays tacky for a little bit so you will have time to make the fabric fit just right. (You may notice that I painted the shade white to try to get rid of the pattern showing through when the lamp is turned on. If I was to do this again, I would just start with a white shade.)

Fold and hot glue the fabric to create a seam.

Fold and hot glue to over-hanging fabric.

I had to snip the fabric so that it would fold around the metal pieces.

Everything is now glued into place.

I added this peel and stick beaded trim. (I found it at Jo-Ann's on clearance.)

Lastly, I hot glued this brown satin ribbon on the top and bottom edge of the shade.

Happy Tuesday!

Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures

Check out this blog to see how you can get a free item from here TPT store, or maybe even win all of the items in her store!
Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures: Get a Freebie and Maybe Win My Whole Store!.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Working in my Classroom

I finally went back to school this week to start getting my classroom put together. Here is what it looked like before:

 And here is what I got done:
I got all of my library books and workbooks unboxed.

It will be a full house with 20 kiddos!

I sorted my library books into my new crates. I still need to add labels.

Organizing materials into bins.
I will be going back next week to get  more work done. There is still sooooo much to do! I can't wait to post picture of what it look like when it is finally complete!

More Giveaways

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas! is giving away a $25 Walgreens gift card to celelbrate reaching 200+ followers! Hurry - this ends today at 6pm!

Kleinspiration is giving away a $25 Target gift card for reaching 500 followers!

Fancy in First is giving away a $10 Target gift card. Help her out with some cute Penguin ideas. :) (Ends Wed. Aug. 10th at 8pm.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Grade Fever

Check out this awesome blog: First Grade Fever. She is celebrating 100 followers with a giveaway. ( Hurry though, it ends today!) She also has cute freebie labels, jungle themed-ideas, and a tutorial for a super-cute doorway canopy (with detailed directions.) Check it out!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Jungle Freebies

I'm back with more jungle themed freebies! First, I have nametags that I will put in our cubbies. There are four different tags for four different groups. Last year, I had a red, green, yellow, and blue group. Since I have color-coded baskets already made, I plan on sticking with the same color groups, but with a jungle twist. So...I made a blue elephant tag, a red zebra tag, a green monkey tag, and a yellow lion tag. Click on any of the pictures below for your free copy!

       Also, I have been thinking about how I will manage my reading logs this year. In the past, I have sent home a weekly form that I collected every week. (Resulting in lots of loose paper!) Then, I switched to a monthly calendar, but those seemed to get lost in the shuffle and weren't always returned. Therefore, I am going to try using a three-pronged folder this year. I will add the cover that you see below, and laminate the folders. Inside, I will add a letter to the parents explaining the reading log procedures. Then, I will add the reading log papers inside the folder. I will collect the folder every Friday, add a sticker if the child meets thier weekly reading goal, and then send the same folder home again.

Click on the picture to download.

Any thoughts on reading logs, friends? How do you manage them? What types of rewards (if any) do you use?

Friday, July 29, 2011


     Most of the teachers in my school (including myself) have been trained in the Responsive Classroom approach. If you are not familiar with it, the Responsive Classroom approach is a research-backed approach that increases academic achievement, decreases problem behaviors, improves social skills, and leads to more high-quality instruction. If you want to read more about it, you can click here.
     One of the most helpful books that I refer to is called "The First Six Weeks of School", by Paula Denton and Roxann Kriete. This phenomenal book has detailed guidelines for structuring the first six weeks of school. This book has allowed me to develop the rule-creation process that I use at the beginning of the year.

     The "brief" version of my rule creation process is: 1. discuss our hopes and dreams for the school year 2. brainstorm a list of rules we think we need to have in order to accomplish our hopes and dreams 3. revisit and condense our list of rules to 3-4 rules 4. post and illustrate our rules and revisit them often. As we condense our list of rules, I try to guide students and point out that most of our rules fit into these three categories: take of yourself, take care of others, and take care of our school.

    I have created these posters to hang in my jungle-themed room. After I post the rules, I give each student a blank index card, have them choose one rule, and draw a picture of what someone would like following that rule. Then I hang their illustrations around the rules. If you'd like a copy of my rule posters, click here or on any of the pictures below.


Scrappin Doodles Sale

With just a few days left in July, time is running out to get 15% off a $5 order from Scrappin Doodles (my favorite clip art site). Click on the link below and enter JULY2011 at checkout.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to School Shopping and Other Fun Stuff

I have to admit that I LOVE back to school shopping. I love new pencils, crayons, glue sticks and other supplies. I also can't help going into the Goodwill and leaving with a whole bag of books to add to my classroom libaray. In fact, I think that the Goodwill is my favorite place to find unique items for my classroom. Recently, I found some items that have inspired me to try a jungle theme this year. (Like this light-up palm tree for only $3.99!)
And these cute palm-tree lights, which I have turned into chicka chicka boom boom lights by adding some foam letter stickers. (They were only $1.50 for two strands and the stickers were 50 cents!) Maybe I can hang these around my word wall.

And this little guy...

I also picked up this lamp for only $3.50 and I am going to cover-up with giraffe printed fabric. (After picture to come...)

I also have to say that I love the penny sales at Staples and how they allow the teacher-limit of 25 items, as opposed to 2. I was able to get: 25 packs of index cards, 25 packs of pencils, 25 packs of highlighters, 2 packs of markers, and 3 plastic shoe storage boxes for only $7.14! Thank you Staples!

Even Snickers is mesmorized by the amount of items I got from Staples.

I also owe a huge thank-you to Lyssa from "My Mommy Reads". (Check out her blog for lots of great book suggestions!) I won her giveaway and was SUPER excited to get this wonderful pack of Think-Math cards in the mail from her.

These are really neat... I think I will hole punch each card and hang them in my calendar area for a "problem of the day". 

Last, but not least, I made these cute "magic reading wands" last night. All you need are some sparkly pom-poms, some wooden rods, and hot glue.

Glue them together, put them in a cute cup...

and have your students use them to track the print as they read!