08-30-2014

First Day of School Treats – The Kissing Hand Freebie!

Kissing Hand Freebie

Click the image to download your free bag tags!

I have officially made it through the first week of school! My class is adorable and I can already tell that it’s going to be one of those special years. That doesn’t mean that I am not completely exhausted though! I have lots of fun back to school goodies I plan to share with you but for right now I wanted to get these cute bag tags up in case you haven’t had your first day yet.

I always love reading The Kissing Hand near the end of the first day of school. Many of the kids will have read it at home that morning or the night before with their parents and it’s a sweet way to connect with your new kiddos. This year after reading it I looked out to a whole carpet full of first graders holding “kisses” on their palms firmly to their cheeks- it doesn’t get much cuter than that!

After reading, we made Julie Lee’s fun Chester the Raccoon crafts. This project is the perfect first day craft. It’s simple but turns out adorable and makes everyone feel successful. While we were busy crafting I had each child come and hold a stuffed animal version of Chester for a cute photo. When I recover from my week one exhaustion I’ll post some pictures of how cute our little Chesters turned out.  Click the image below to check out Julie’s craft:

Julie Lee's Kissing Hand Craft

To make your own bags of kisses you’ll need regular sandwich size ziplock bags, chocolate kisses, & enough tags printed out for your class. I put 5 kissed into each bag and then just stapled the tag to the front. I left a blank spot near the bottom for you to sign your name. Easy & cute! I hope your back to school season is going smoothly! I’ll have more cute back to school freebies when my nap is over ;-)

 

08-13-2014

Stay Healthy This Fall & Beat the Back to School Germs!

Beat the Back to School Germs

Back to school is a stressful time for teachers. Getting sick during those busy first weeks with a new class is always a nightmare & just adds to the craziness! Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep you & your students healthy as you adjust to being in such close quarters together. I like to think that I’ve found a balance between germophobia insanity and common sense. Somewhere along the lines of this sensible cat! ;-)

germophobe cat

1. Wash your hands throughout the day.

Build handwashing for you and your students into the daily classroom routines. Teach your students how to properly wash with soap and how to dry their hands when they are finished. I have a really small sink in my room so I usually have one table group at a time line up to wash while the rest of the kids stay on the carpet singing, listening to a story, or having some other type of fun brain break. This is important because the kids end up racing through when the line is long and they feel rushed. It also helps cut down on the wait time for each child to get a turn at the sink. You do not want to be stuck in a classroom with bored, wild 1st graders waiting in a long line! Trust me on that one!

chameleon washing hands

2. Never use student pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, etc.

Get in the habit of avoiding your students’ supplies. Keep your own separate pencils (& every other supply) that will only be touched by you. This might seem a little paranoid until you try this creepy experiment. Pick one child to watch for a few minutes and don’t let your eyes wander for even a moment. You will be horrified at what you see but let that horror motivate you to stick to your own supplies. I’m talking fingers in eyes, ears, noses, mouths… pencils & more in all of those same places. And some even grosser ones!

emma stone

3. Set up a tissue station for students far, far away from your desk.

Teach your students how to blow their noses and properly dispose of used tissues. I keep tissues for students on a table along with a bottle of hand sanitizer with  a trash can underneath. I chose a spot as far away from me as possible! I keep my own personal tissue box & hand sanitizer at my desk. The other bonus to doing this is you won’t have a front row seat for any gross tissue related disasters, which can happen quite frequently with younger students.

marilyn-monroe-yuck-

4. Teach your students to avoid the T-Zone.

I am a big fan of Henry the Hand and his wise advice. For the past few years I’ve used these resources with my class at the start of a new school year and as a part of our calendar routines. The calendar helper each day leads the group in saying, “Don’t touch the T-zone. Never put your fingers in your eyes, nose, & mouth.” While we say this the kids trace a T shape on their faces and then point to each body part as we say it. And we definitely do this without actually touching our faces! Click below for a freebie you can share with your students & post in your classroom.

Don't Touch the T Zone

 5. Wipe every surface, everyday.

Helping clean the classroom is a regular part of our end of the day routine. I keep sponges, scrubbers, paper towels, & cleansing wipes out so they are readily available to my students. One of the many awesome things about first graders is that they are almost always excited to clean. I think they enjoy feeling mature & in charge of something. I have my kids start by cleaning their own desks and then they branch out to other shared spaces in the room. It doesn’t take much time for the kids to get really fast at this so we usually have a 5-7 minute cleaning spree before the last bell rings at the end of school.

sheldon cleaning

I have my fingers crossed you won’t get sick this back to school season! But if it does happen, I hope you have someone there to sing Soft Kitty to you!

It will definitely speed your recovery!

soft kitty

images: giphy.com, KG Fonts, Halfpoint/Shutterstock

08-05-2014

The Easiest Way to Bond with Student Families at Back to School

The Easiest Way to Bond with Student Families

Meeting a new group of parents at the start of the school year always makes me more nervous than meeting my new students.

Don't be scared of parents, Buster!

Luckily, first graders just have a way of putting me at ease, for which I am very grateful! It doesn’t always feel that way with their parents, though.

you like me

The good news is that 99.9% of the parents I have gotten to know over the years have been lovely and down to earth. There is that teeny tiny group who will keep you on your toes all year but the majority will be wonderful! Along those lines, I want to share with you the best advice I’ve ever been given about building relationships with parents. It is a total game changer. I can honestly tell a difference between the years I’ve followed this advice and the years I’ve told myself I was too busy for it.

Do whatever it takes

I’m talking about first day of school as soon as possible. The best case scenario would be the teacher initiating this contact rather than responding to a message from a parent. It is definitely one more thing to take on during an already crazy busy time but it is so worth it! I promise!

phoebe doesn't want to do it

Your main goal with this first contact is to introduce yourself & build rapport. I try to keep things friendly and casual. I want parents to feel comfortable chatting with me and to let them know right away to call me by my first name and not Miss Happy Teacher!

act casual

Reaching out to parents early also lets you share about the first days of school. I find that parents are usually very curious about what happens after they drop their babies off with a new teacher. Being proactive and answering those questions before they are even asked goes a long way in reassuring parents about their child’s new classroom.

tell me more sloth

It also gives you a chance to let parents know that you are really getting to know their child as an individual and to share something positive about their child. Parents are more likely to trust and support you in any difficult situations that might come up during the year if you already have established a positive connection with them before any challenging conversations arise.

amy and seth seth and amy high five

  Ways to Bond with Parents

Phone Call

Romy & Michelle phone

This is definitely the most time consuming way to make that first contact but it is also the most powerful way. Before calling, I think about our first day and then each child individually. When I get nervous I tend to ramble so I try to plan out a few things to say to each family before I start dialing. Here’s an idea for what you might say to start your call, “Hi (parent name) this is (your name), (child’s name)’s teacher. I just wanted to let you know what a great first day (child’s name) had and how much I enjoyed meeting him/her.” From there you can chat about class activities and answer any questions the parents might have.

Email

nick's got nothing

While making phone calls is always my first choice it just isn’t possible every year. Emailing is the next best thing. I like to send a short message similar to what I would say over the phone but I also attach a photo from our first day for the parents. This is a great ice breaker because who doesn’t love seeing a part of their child’s first day at school? I love seeing all of the fun first day photo op ideas on Pinterest and trying something new each year. Here are some of the absolute cutest ideas I have seen! Click below to visit my board full of first day photo ideas. It makes it hard to pick just one!

First Day Photo Ideas Pinterest Board

 Note Home

tina fey thank you

At my school, we don’t have a Meet the Teacher or Open House event before the first day of school. Because parents can sometimes feel anxious about the first day I like to send home an informational packet with their child at the end of the day. I include a letter describing the day’s activities, information about any activities coming up that first week, and a questionnaire for parents to complete about their child. I have found some really great letters & surveys that will help as you create your own packet. Be sure to check them all out on The First Grade Parade, A Special Sparkle, First Grade Blue Skies, and First Grade Factory. It’s also nice to have something the parents will see before you call or email later that afternoon. That way they will be ready to ask questions.

Website

oh stahp dis my jam baby

I love my Shutterfly classroom website almost as much as this baby loves Katy Perry… which if you’ve seen this whole video is saying something! This will be my fourth year using Shutterfly and I can’t imagine running my classroom without it! It’s free, password protected, & really easy to share photos & sign up sheets with parents. It is a huge time saver. And Shutterfly is not paying me to say any of this! You can see a sample site here. Be sure to give out information about your new site in your first day of school packet so parents will know where to look right away.

First Day Favors

Sending cheerful & happy students out the door on the first day of school does a lot to ease any worries parents might have had during the school day. And sending a little treat or prize home with your new students is one way to almost always guarantee that you will have some excited kids when the bell rings. Check out all of the fun ideas found on Pinterest for first day favors below.

First Day of School Treat Tags Collagephoto credits: Teaching Times 2, Unknown, Doodlebugs, First Grade and Fancy Free, The Bubbly Blonde, Kindergarten Squared, Me, The Curriculum Corner, Michaela Peterson

(please let me know if you would rather not have your idea featured)

 Just be careful searching favors on Pinterest….. you might get sucked in for hours!

what just happened

I wish you good luck in your new school year and I hope that you will be able to develop positive relationships with your students and their families. Remember, get in touch on the first day for maximum impact!

image credits: KG Fonts, giphy.com, BuzzFeed, MaxyM/shutterstock, punphoto/shutterstock, Balkonsky/shutterstock

07-22-2014

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Are You Ready for School?

Brown Bear Links

Starting the school year off with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is the kindergarten tradition I miss the most as a first grade teacher. Kindergarten does Brown Bear in serious style at my school so my new first graders feel they are oh so old and mature for any revisiting of Brown Bear by the time I meet them. So I’m getting to vicariously enjoy Brown Bear in this post! I found so many cute ideas browsing Pinterest this morning so keep on reading to be inspired!

Brown Bear Cupcakes from Cakes by Becky

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Cupcakes by Becky

These gorgeous cupcakes would be amazing as a first day of school treat or as a treat at the end of a Brown Bear unit! The kids would love them and so would their teacher! I am just sad that I don’t live near the amazing Becky because I would be ordering some right now.

Brown Bear Painted Paper Collages from Little Running Teacher

Brown Bear Collage Little Running Teacher

I love doing painted paper projects with kids because they always end up with a great final project. Head over to the Little Running Teacher to see step by step directions for these Brown Bear inspired collages. They would make a gorgeous back to school bulletin board.

 Brown Bear Sequencing Necklaces from Peace, Love, and Kinder

Brown Bear Sequencing Craft from Peace, Love, and KinderI love doing wearable crafts with kids and I’m glad that first graders are not too cool for them yet… hopefully I don’t ever move to a grade where they roll their eyes at that stuff! This Brown Bear sequencing activity is too cute! I love the bear faces and how fun to have all the animals inside ready to help with retelling. Be sure to visit Peace, Love and Kinder to see all of the fun bear themed activities she has created.

 Brown Bear Retelling Puppet from Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten

Color Brown Bear Puppet from Mrs. RiccaWhat a fun paper bag puppet! This is such a great back to school activity to practice cutting, gluing, and coloring with new kindergartners. Be sure to visit Mrs. Ricca’s blog for lots of adorable activities to have Color Days with your class as well as a free download to make your own puppets. Super cute!

Brown Bear Magnetic Story Props from Doodle Bugs Teaching

doodlebugs magnetic story props for brown bear

These magnets would be awesome in a retelling center for kids to get their hot little hands on. They could also work as a fun file folder activity. Doodle Bugs Teaching has shared a bunch of great Brown Bear freebies so click on over!

Free Brown Bear M&M Math & Handwriting Practice from Me

Free Brown Bear M&M Color Math Collage

Click the picture above for some fun & easy to prep Brown Bear activities that I made last year. I think that even my first graders will allow some Brown Bear nostalgia if there are M&M’s involved! I also want to share this little animal math game that is from my Color Animal Back to School Unit over on TPT. Click below to get another freebie!

Roll a Rainbow of Animals Free Math Game

Here are some more fun activities from my unit that will coordinate perfectly with your Brown Bear, Brown Bear back to school plans!

First up, play dough  mats!

Brown Bear Play Dough Mats Collage

Language Arts Printables

Brown Bear Language Arts Printables

No Prep Math Games for Each Color Animal

Brown Bear Printable Math Games

The unit also includes handwriting practice booklets, getting to know you animal cards, first day of school treat bag tags, pencil flags, templates for animal crafts & even more printables! Click below to check it out on TPT:

Color Animals Long Pin

 

image credits: giphy, KG Fonts,  all other images belong to the linked blogger or website owner, please let me know if you would like your photo/link removed from this list

07-18-2014

First Day of School Treats for Students – Let’s Have a Bright Year!

Teachers in Summer

I am so not ready to believe it’s time for back to school shopping but I can’t resist the Target dollar spot. I found the cutest crayon erasers there and had to scoop them up. I knew they would be the perfect little first day of school prize for my new class. You know, the new class that I feel I should be meeting in about 3 more months instead of next month, of course, but this way at least one thing is ready! Click the photo below to download the labels I used. You’ll need to print them out on Avery 5160 labels.

Let's Have a Bright Year!

Font Credit: Kimberly Geswein

07-16-2014

Back to School Advice & Tips for New Teachers: Link Up Your Best Advice!

Help! I'm a Brand New Teacher Blog Header

This school  year will be my 10th year teaching! Ten years blows my mind because I can still tell you the names of all the kids in the class I student taught. It’s strange realizing that you’re not the total newbie on campus anymore.

Reflecting on my 9 years of teaching leaves me with some complicated feelings. I’m proud of myself for hanging in there, amazed that I still haven’t figured out all the things that I thought I would surely know at this point, peaceful & calm about a new year starting (which is a definite improvement from Brand New Teacher Me’s summer stress levels), & excited to keep trying new ideas & to meet a new crew of cute kiddos!

These feelings would go good with pie.

I was so nervous about everything the summer before my first year began. I spent so much time in the library taking notes from copies of Young Children & The Reading Teacher. At home I used my slow dial up internet to stalk Kim Jordano, Nellie Edge, & Mrs. Flanagan at Little Giraffes. I’m so grateful to these amazing ladies who shared so much on their websites. This was the “Before Pinterest Era” and finding new teaching ideas was a very slow process compared to today. I can’t imagine planning without Pinterest now. It makes me feel like poor LC below just thinking about it!

lauren conrad crying

I’ve been thinking about the advice I would have given to myself that summer and I want to share it with any readers who are getting ready this summer to teach their first class. Here it comes!

1. Set a reasonable time to leave school each day & stick to it!

abby lee miller wants to go home

There is always more work you could stay & do at school. It’s not going anywhere. Establishing boundaries for your personal life can help you manage stress & be well rested for the next day with your class.

#2 Get serious about germ prevention!

sneeze monster

Make it as easy as possible for your students to frequently wash their hands. Check to see if they can reach the sink & pick up a stepping stool if they need a boost. The soap dispenser in my first classroom was completely out of reach of any 6 year old so for about 4 months they were just rinsing their hands with water until I noticed what was happening.  Gross memories!

#3 Ask to observe your more experienced colleagues teaching in their own classrooms.

Business Women

I learned more from watching my grade level team members in action than in any professional development. I was lucky to join a strong & welcoming kindergarten team and these informal observations made a huge difference in my teaching.

#4 On Sunday, plan all of your after-school activities for the week & write them into your plan book.

baby-nap

Force yourself to get organized & schedule things like workouts, grocery shopping, meal prep, laundry, etc. Writing these  in my plan book helped me focus on doing things that would alleviate stress & just make my days go smoother. I have so many memories of coming home exhausted to find no clean clothes for the next morning let alone anything to eat for dinner. It’s simple but planning these more mundane things will help you when there is so much going on at school. It gives me a sense of being in control & on top of things which is reassuring when things at school get crazier.

#5 Stock an emergency drawer in your desk.

alex mccord

You will spend so much time in your classroom that it will start to feel like your second home. Keeping some essentials on hand at school will save you in all those little kerfuffles that can pop up. Here’s what I have stashed in mine: dental floss, hair ties, cough drops, deodorant, slippers, gloves, scarf, socks, flip flops, nail clippers, batteries, lip gloss, compact, extra birthday cards & thank you notes, gum, & snacks. I also keep an extra coat in my classroom for those days when the weather changes dramatically.

#6 Document ALL parent & administrator contact.

nightmareI have to be honest and admit that I still struggle with this one. It is a tedious job but an essential one. Get a simple notebook at one of the back to school sales coming up & keep it with your plan book. It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. Jot down the date, who you had contact with, & a few lines to remind you of the most important points. Angela Watson has a great freebie with a template you can use.

#7 Prep emergency sub plans now so you are ready for any unexpected illness during the year.

Hocus-Pocus

This is one of those things that you will be so grateful for during the year. Most likely, as a new teacher, you’re going to get sick. During my first year I ended up with all kinds of weird illnesses (highlights include slap cheek, double pink eye, & scarlet fever!) and there is nothing worse than trying to write sub plans while you are feeling so unwell. It’s so much nicer to send an email that directs your sub to your emergency plans and then go back to sleep!

#8 Practice some positive phrases to use in difficult situations with parents and/or administrators.

Lucille Bluth

There will inevitably be some tense conversations during your first year of teaching and beyond. Do everything you can to stay calm, to listen more than you speak, & to show empathy for the person you are talking with. I used to feel like I had to have an instant answer or solution to share in these moments and I often felt like a failure because I didn’t know what to say when I was caught off guard. Now I try to respond by saying something like this, “Thank you for letting me know about this. I’ll think about it some more and get back to you soon.” This type of statement gives everyone time to simmer down and reflect on what the next steps should be. I also highly recommend downloading Aspire to Inspire’s wonderful freebie, “Dealing with Difficult Parents: Unexpected On-The-Job Training” It has a wealth of great tips!

#9 Do at least one thing with your class each week that reminds you of why you became a teacher in the first place.

sheldon with trains

I love to sing & play the piano so teaching my first graders to sing songs like The Rainbow Connection, Inch by Inch, & A You’re Adorable makes me smile & feel more connected to my class. I also love to get down on the floor with my kids to do art projects. We really enjoyed working on coloring in Jenny’s awesome math collaborative posters together this year. We also had a Frozen singalong during our last week of school. It was so much fun! During the year I always try to read some of my childhood favorites like Noisy Nora, Pinkerton, Pippi Longstocking, George & Martha, and Lyle Crocodile. Finding a way to share the things that truly put a smile on your face with your class will help you feel less stressed and more cheerful. There’s always a way to work these types of activities in & you will feel so much more energized to keep going throughout the year.

#10 Keep a journal for all of the hilarious & cute comments you will get from students.

noted-ryan-the-officeYou might think you’ll always remember these moments but they do start to blur pretty quickly. One of my favorite student stories is from an awesome little girl who was the talk of  our kindergarten all day because her pet dog had just, in her words, “laid puppies”. We heard names, vital statistics, every imaginable detail about these new pups. A few mothers got in touch with our little story teller’s mom after school because they were hoping to adopt puppies only to find out that not only were there no puppies there also wasn’t even a pet dog! Got to love her imagination! My journal has several pages for this one student alone & it always makes me smile to remember her that year. Reading your journal can also be really powerful when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about teaching. It’s nice to have some reminders of the funny times right at your fingertips.

#11 Don’t drive yourself crazy with an elaborate classroom theme.

Money to Burn

Your students will still learn and have a great year even if you don’t decorate your classroom with a fun theme. I love my classroom filled with rainbows & bumblebees but I’ve had 9 years to gradually make fun purchases & fancy things up.  I always joke that my classroom theme for my first few years was “school” followed by “learning” with maybe a dash of “tidiness”. Seriously though, save your money! It’s much more cost effective to check out garage sales, retiring teachers’ classrooms, Craig’s List, Ebay, etc for those fun classroom extras along the way.

#12 Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

worry about yourself

I love this quote! I know that it’s way too easy to get caught up in comparing your classroom to other classrooms you see at your campus or online and  that usually leads to feeling  inadequate about yourself as a teacher. This is something that I still struggle with at times & I think most teachers do to a certain extent. I’m trying to have this be my mantra though and hopefully you can remind yourself as well, especially as a first year teacher. I wish you luck in your first year of teaching! Be kind to yourself & remember to have fun with your students! Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions you have. I would love to try to help out!

Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle

Inspiration for New Teachers

image & font credits: Vorobyeva.Shutterstock.com, Woaiss/Shutterstock.com, Iravgustin/Shutterstock.com, Kimberly Geswein Fonts, Giphy.com

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06-22-2014

18 Amazing Classroom Organization Tips & Tricks

Amazing Classroom Organization IdeasSummer has finally arrived for me! And somehow one week of summer vacation has me itching to plan for next school year or at least for the cute pinterest inspired part of starting a new school year. Not so much the actual work part though!

too busy organizing pins

Ready to join me in some vicarious organization enabled by Pinterest?

Here are my favorite classroom organization finds shared by some very creative teachers. Click each picture to head on over to their blogs:

1. Sort construction paper into a filing box.

No more random crumpled edges & you can easily spot any colors you are running low on. So much better than my current system of shoving construction paper into drawers & keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have enough of each color when I need it.

construction paper filefrom Diane at teachwithme.com

2. Store math games in plastic bags & hang them on a towel rack.

I’m so doing this for my math workshop menu choices next year! I had a hard time keeping enough supplies out for multiple math games at a time without it looking like a small hurricane has blown through my classroom so this looks like a perfect solution.

busybags from small potatoesfrom Arlee at Small Potatoes

3. Store base ten blocks in supply caddies.

I spent this entire school year thinking I didn’t own any of these blocks until afterschool on our very last day when I discovered my dusty class set of foam base ten blocks! So frustrating but at least I’ll be ready for next year. This idea is brilliant! When the kids clean up they get to sort ones, tens, & hundreds one more time.

base ten blocksfrom Sally at Elementary Matters

4. Label, label, label!

I had a really hard time choosing just one adorable & perfectly labeled picture from this gorgeous classroom. Seriously, you must click the photo below and give yourself some time to take it all in! Amazingly cute & functional! As my good friend Liz Lemon would say, “I want to go to there!”

table supply basketsfrom Mel D. at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations

5. Then add more labels!

I don’t know how I’ve been living all this time without knowing that self adhesive chalkboard vinyl exists! So many fun possibilities starting with these fun teacher supply jars.

chalkboard cupsfrom the x-acto website

6. Color code your curriculum files by subject.

One of my big summer goals this year is to purge my files and hopefully eliminate one of my file cabinets. If I survive the file downsizing this will be my next project.

filesfrom Angela at Primarily Primary

7. Sort extra crayons by color.

Wouldn’t it be great if this eliminated some of the daily, “Where’s my (fill in any color here) crayon?” Maybe it was just the group of kiddos I had this year but missing crayons was quite a frequent (& dramatic) event. And I love anything that incorporates another rainbow into my classroom!

crayon cupsfrom Bethany at Ship Shape First Grade

8. Use plastic dishpans to store classroom library books.

I am a girl who loves her plastic containers a little too much so I thought I had seen all of the classroom storage options at this point. I am so happy to be wrong! These are amazing! I love that they are clear and wide to store odd sized books. This entire classroom is so beautiful & very organized. Click through to see more!

blue library 1from Eloiseney

9. Store earbuds in a plastic bead box with numbered sections.

This year was my first year to have the kids bring in headphones to use and it was a hot mess! I had kids losing headphones left & right not to mention that some kids brought really big and really expensive ones to school which were hard to store & gave me some serious anxiety about anything happening to them. I’m hoping to encourage next year’s kids to just bring simple earbuds and then we are going to give this box storage a whirl.

headphonesfrom Brittany at Inspire.Love.Learn.

10. Store extra scrapbook & construction paper by color.

I love using scrapbook paper but I really hate how spendy it is. And I hate it even more when I see kids destroying the scraps or just dumping them once they are finished. This year I had a tub for kids to save the scraps in but having all colors in one tub made it time consuming to dig through when we needed more for a new project. I don’t know if I can fit something like this in my room space wise for next year but I’m going to try to make it work as Tim Gunn would say ;-)

paper storagefrom Rachel at I Love My Three Sons

11. Set up a check out station for your classroom library

I love how you could reuse this from one year to the next using class numbers rather than names. It might be a little ambitious for my first graders to manage at the start of the school year but I think by mid-year they will be up for the challenge. This is another photo that leads to an amazingly inspiring classroom tour so be sure to click through to see the rest of this room!

library check outfrom I Love Labels

12. Label & separate each child’s crayons on the group supply caddy.

I always struggle with class supplies and I feel like I’ve tried everything from individual pencil boxes to store everything for each child to group supply baskets with no names on anything. I like this idea because it meets somewhere in the middle. I’m getting ready for my 10th year of teaching and I’m pretty sure I’ve used 9 different ways to organize the supplies. Maybe this will be the one to stick!

table suppliesfrom Karen at Flamingo Fabulous in Second Grade

13. Store emergency sub plans in a well labeled container.

I’ve always done emergency sub plans in a binder but I like this idea even more- you could put read alouds & any other needed materials right in with the plans. This way it would definitely be easy to spot too!

sub tubfrom Melissa at Teach Bake Love

14. Gather copies & materials for the whole week in one spot.

I used some rainbow dividers from Lakeshore for this same type of storage but I could never fit everything I needed into  each day’s container. I love how roomy these bins are and that they stack to save on counter space. Especially since I have no free counter space at this point!

Weekly OrganizationFrom Alison at Rockin’ and Lovin’ Learnin’

15. Store ipods in labeled caddies.

Since I’m busy organizing my imaginary classroom this evening I’m going to store my imaginary ipods in these cute containers. Fingers crossed I’ll have some real technology to store in the future!

ipod listening centerFrom Molly at Lucky to Be in First!

16. Separate teaching resource books by topic.

I spend way too much time squinting at the teeny tiny titles on the spines of skinny teaching resource books trying to find stuff. This will save me so much time and hopefully eliminate eye strain too!

teacher book storageFrom Clutter-Free Classroom

17. Store puzzles in pencil pouches.

I am in favor of anything that means I can get rid of the severely abused cardboard boxes my rainy day puzzles live in! Such a great idea! I’m putting these pouches on my back to school shopping list.

puzzle storageFrom Kelly at The Navy Stripe

18. Sort prep materials for aides & volunteers in plastic drawers.

Somehow I think this system will work much better than my current system, especially because my current system is one giant pile of papers with post-its barely hanging on!

teacher job storagefrom Anna at Crazy for First Grade

 Doesn’t it all just make you want to head to the Container Store immediately?!

whitney and lc are excited

image credits: giphy, KG Fonts,  all other images belong to the linked blogger or website owner, please let me know if you would like your photo/link removed from this list

06-08-2014

Happy Summer $25 TPT Gift Card Giveaway

summer water

5 more days until summer is officially here for me! I know everything will get done, because somehow it always does, but I am feeling really ready for a break.  Mostly ready for some intensive sleeping in and tv watching!

starbucks summer

And just in time for last minute lesson planning it’s TPT gift card giveaway time again! Or maybe you are one of those super organized teachers who is planning for next school year already & you are ready to do some back to school shopping. Either way I hope you are ready to enter!

palm trees

waves on the beach

Enter below for the chance to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card! Good luck & Happy Summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

image credits: giphy

06-07-2014

New Pinterest Group Boards for Upper Grades & More!

New Board Cover Collage

I’m so excited to start these new boards! Please let me know if you would like to join any or all of them.  I would also be happy to add you to any of the boards mentioned in this post. You can check out all of my group board rules while you’re over there too.  Those rules will apply to these new boards with just a few differences as noted below:

Teacher Tips Board Cover

*all grade levels welcome to pin

*no paid products

*pin teacher jokes, quotes, organization, management, technology, classroom design, communication, gift ideas, etc

Best of Classroom Bulletin Boards & Doors pinterest board cover

*all grade levels welcome to pin

*no paid products

*only pin photos of decorated classroom doors &  bulletin boards

Art for Kids Board Cover

*all grade levels welcome to pin

*pin music, drama, visual arts, poetry, etc

*be sure to follow the board guidelines for pinning paid products in this post

Third Grade Board Cover

Fourth Grade Board Cover

Fifth Grade Board Cover

*3rd, 4th, & 5th grade boards follow the same rules as those in this post

michelle tanner

To join these collaborative boards please be sure to:

1. Follow me on pinterest so I can add you as a collaborator. Pinterest will not allow pinners to be added if they are not already following the creator of the board(s).

http://www.pinterest.com/happyteacher/

2. Leave me a comment with your pinterest link. Keep in mind that it can sometimes take up to 48 hours for pinterest to let me add someone to the boards so don’t worry if the invites don’t come through right away. Please let me know if you haven’t received an invite after 48 hours though & I will resend them.

Thank you so much for joining! Happy Pinning!

image credits: giphy, Creative Clips, Sing Smile & Learn, KG Fonts, Darcy Baldwin Fontography

 

 

06-01-2014

End of the School Year Goodies for Teachers!

Somehow there are only 10 days left in this school year! I am always amazed when we arrive at this point each spring.

feelings

I am so ready for some relaxation but I always get emotional about saying goodbye to my students at the same time. I’m way excited to be done with assessments, report cards, classroom cleaning, and all that end of the year stuff but I’m feeling bittersweet about everything else.

kristin bell excited

We had our annual Open House celebration this past week which has added exhaustion to my mixed emotions. So did I start writing report cards or be productive in other way this weekend? Of course not!

michael scott is dyring

I hope that you are surviving the end of the year craziness as best you can! Here are a few little freebies to help you make it through:

Just Popping By Pinterest Image

I have had an amazing group of parents this year and I wanted a little something to thank them for all they have done this year. I printed this on full page label paper, cut them out, & stuck them right onto a bag of microwave popcorn. I put a tray out at Open House for the parents to pick up. Click the photo above to download this little tag. UPDATE: I just added a second version of the tag that would be best for single parent families. Let me know if you have any other edits to suggest that would make the tags work for your particular gift giving situation :-)

Summer Handwriting Joke Book

If you’re looking for some fun things to keep your class busy in the last few days check out this handwriting joke book. It’s also something you can send home with your kiddos for summer practice. Just click above to pick up this Facebook Fan freebie. Click the like button to download your copy.

Good luck making it to the last day!

stay strong

image credits: gify