Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School

Goodbye August! 
I  spent this weekend recovering from the First Week of School and really from the entire month! Here is a quick recap:

We FINALLY moved into our new house! I never knew I could love a house so much. We can't wait to spend many happy years here, if we ever get everything unpacked... 

This month, I lost my precious Grandmother. I was lucky enough to be able to drop everything the week before I went back to school and spend a final week with her. I will treasure this time forever. She was a teacher and a librarian and provided me with my first gradebook when I decided I was going to be a teacher at age 5. 

I have always loved sharing my passion for education with her and that's something I'm going to miss so much this school year. 

Any spare moment this month was spent in my classroom. Luckily, I had lots of sweet friends who helped me get it all ready! Moving schools, grade levels, towns, and classrooms is a big job!

I also switched roles from Kindergarten Teacher to First Grade Teacher! Here are a few pictures of my classroom.

I decided to add some extra math to my math tubs! : ) These will be a freebie in my TPT store soon!

I passed out circus animals at Meet the Teacher. Roar!

This cupcake stand worked perfectly for my classroom wish list! : )

The first week of school was a blur and I somehow didn't end up with as many pictures as I wanted! My first day of school photo booth was a hit.

This back drop was almost the death of me. I redid it AT LEAST 6 or 7 times, but it sure did look cute for my First Day of School pictures.

We took some silly pictures too with these props!

We spent most of the week completing our First Week of First Grade books! I hope they will be a special keepsake. 

AND, it's not the First Week of School without some Pete the Cat! We read "I Love My White Shoes" and made a class book to go with the story. My kids LOVE to read class books!

This week we also discovered that we are scientists!

This super simple FREEBIE is perfect for young scientists. It will be the first page in our science journal. Click the picture below to download it from my TPT store.

Enjoy the last few hours of August! : )

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Back to School with H-E-B

Today I am sharing some of my favorite classroom finds from my favorite grocery store, H-E-B! They have a great back to school section and I had so much fun shopping for my classroom.

Doesn't this just make your teacher heart SO happy?!?

First up is new teacher supply bins! I can't stand starting the year unorganized. H-E-B sells these great bins in a 3-pack for $2.97 and I love the fun colors. These will definitely help me keep everything organized. 

I also found these big storage totes! I use them to hide items I don't use very often.

They also come in lots of other fun colors for under $5!

One thing I really love about H-E-B is that they have in-store coupons. The coupons are put right with the item, so it makes it super easy to find great deals. Plus, you don't have to remember to bring the coupons to the store with you. Somehow I can't ever make that happen...

Almost all of my teacher essentials had a 50%-off coupon to go with them! 

Speaking of my teacher supplies, I like to keep them all together in a school box. However, I have lots of supplies so I need a giant school box. 

I LOVE these extra long school boxes! They still fit in a desk, but you aren't having to jam everything inside. They can even hold rulers or other long supplies. H-E-B had also had a HUGE selection of Mr. Sketch products. Packs of 4, 6, 8 or 10! 

My Mr. Sketch markers didn't make it in this picture because I was sniffing them! ; )

Student supplies are really important too! I like to have supply buckets in the middle of each table for my students to use. Each supply bucket has colored pencils, crayons, pencils and markers.

H-E-B has great prices on supplies for teachers and parents too! I can get everything I need for only a few dollars per table! : )

I found these great cups to store supplies in! They fit perfectly in supply caddies and keep everything looking nice and tidy.

H-E-B carries two different sizes of cups in lots of fun colors!

I chose red and blue cups to coordinate with my classroom!

 Glue sticks are one of those things that I don't like to keep out for constant use because they  look too much like lip gloss. If you have ever taught Kindergarten you know what I mean... ; )

Instead, I keep glue sticks in these same supply cups and just pass them out as needed. I loaded up on glue sticks for beginning of the year activities. 

H-E-B also carries magnetic paper. This stuff has saved my life! I used it to create cute labels for my filing cabinets and center choices for my white board. I love that it doesn't leave the sticky tape mess, AND I can move it around at any time. I can think of a million ways to use this great product. 

I found this great bright red metal bucket at H-E-B for my students to keep their water bottles in. I used the magnetic paper to add the label! : )

At the beginning of the year, I spend a lot of time teaching each center in our classroom. It is really important that my students know the expectations of each center and where they are located. H-E-B carries Astrobrights paper in bright primary colors to match my room! I used this fun paper to really make my center signs POP! 

In my centers, I like to keep students moving and grooving!  I often use clip boards in my writing center for read and write the room activities. It really helps young writers to have an alphabet chart to reference as they write. In the past, I have used tape to add the alphabet to clip boards, and it just doesn't hold up. : (

 I was so excited to find Internet Shipping labels at H-E-B and new clip boards. I just printed an alphabet chart onto the label, and stuck it onto the clip boards. 

I know these are going to hold up MUCH better!

H-E-B was definitely my one-stop shop to get my classroom back to school-ready! 
Click HERE to find the store closest to you. Happy Back to School!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five for Friday

Hello Friday! Here are five blurbs from my week! : )

After months of searching, we finally landed our perfect house! We close this week and move in August. It has been a crazy month, but we can't wait to make this place our house. I creep by anytime I'm in the area... 

And yes, you read that right...we have a POOL! I am so excited and can't wait to have some backyard parties.

New house, means new bedding. I finally tied the knot with this bedding from Restoration Hardware. Bedding is such a big commitment! It really helped me to go and see it in the store.

This week I got to have a coffee date with some sweet teacher blogging friends: Alexis from Mrs. Hudgens Hears a Who, Ashley for Teach, Create, Motivate and Ally from Loopin Littles.  It was so much fun and we have so much in common!

I have been kicked out of my classroom all week while the floors have been waxed, so I have been planning and working on what I can from home. I have been coloring my First Week of First Grade book! 

It's available on TPT Here. I also have it for K and 2nd! : )

I have also been going through pictures this week. I am so bad about having them printed. Confession: I have never printed out any of our wedding or honeymoon photos. Isn't that horrible? I have been trying to find a few favorites to print and frame for our new house.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Join the Five for Friday Link Up HERE.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

5 Ideas for the First Day of School

Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means the school year is about to begin! My first day of school is just around the corner (August 24) and I want to make sure I have a fun day planned for my first graders. Here are 5 quick ideas for the First Day of School!

1. Create a photo booth! 

I made this easy background using plastic table cloths in the hallway. I just taped a large white tablecloth up for a background and made a circus tent with a red and white striped tablecloth. My classroom is circus themed. ; ) I bought a little wooden sign at Hobby Lobby and printed a sign with our classroom information to go in the middle. Parents really appreciated this cute back drop for their pictures too. 

I even added props and printed out the pictures to go on my Class Clowns door. These pictures were also precious in my end-of-the-year photo albums.

2. Introduce yourself!
No matter their age, students want to feel a connection with you and find some common ground. I made my All About Me Book back in college and it's a hit every year! You can read all about it HERE. I need to update the cover with my married name and add a few pages, but it still does the trick! If you don't have the time to make an autobiography to read, print out a few pictures to share. 

Students especially love seeing pictures of you in school.

 Last year, my students loved hearing about my dogs AKA my children. They even wanted to write about them in the writing center.

They even got end of the year presents!

From Day 1, take the time to get to know your students and let them get to know you too! Building those relationships is essential!

3. Create a fun keepsake journal! 

I was inspired to create this journal because I have a journal like this I made in first grade. I also think it's so helpful to have a few independent activities for that first day (and first week) of school. I have versions available from Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade in my TPT store. The Kindergarten version is a picture journal that requires students only to write their name. They will draw pictures to match each prompt!

4. Arrange for some visitors.

I think it's so important for students to see the school as a community.Students should know all of the adults at the school and their jobs. Ask some of these people to pop their heads in on the first day and say hello. If that's just not possible, make a book of the important people to share with your students. I created this book last year and it was a popular class book!

It would also be really meaningful if you took a picture with the students and the person. It always helps your memory to connect a real experience to a picture.

I think it's always a good idea to introduce all of the other teachers in your grade level too. Sweet Kindergarteners don't usually understand that you don't go everywhere with them. I always have panic break out when they can't find me on the playground because I don't have recess duty. Make sure they know the other teachers and that they are there to help too!  

In special circumstances, a special visitor could even be a parent. The second year I taught, I had a precious boy in my classroom with special needs and he had some trouble communicating. His mom, a former teacher, asked if she could come and read a book she made about her son on the first day of school. Typically, I try not to have parents around the first week or two because it often creates tears, but I happily agreed. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and it really answered my student's questions and made the child feel so good! 

5. Tour the school. 

I always love having teachers kids because they know their way around the school. It's so helpful to have little friends who know where to take the lunch count or where the nurse's office is. I try really hard to teach ALL of students the way around the school.  In Kindergarten we always did a big gingerbread hunt and we chased the gingerbread man around the school with clues. This year I created a passport to use on our classroom tour. It includes stops at the library, the computer lab, the cafeteria, the playground, the office and the gym. You can check it out HERE. 

What are your favorite first day of school activities?