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Back to School Basics, Week 2


Happy Tuesday! Today is Week #2 of a summer blog series called, Back to School Basics. It's easy for August to sneak up on you and stress you out big time! This summer I want to help you be ready without sacrificing any of your precious summer! Each week I will give you a tiny task to accomplish and some resources to do it! If you are just joining us, be sure to check out Week #1. if not, let't jump right in! 


This week's task is to start your Back to School Game Plan with a list!
Santa knows what he is doing by making a list and I'll admit it. I am a compulsive list maker. The notes app on my phone is full of all sort of random lists that make zero sense to anyone but me. But lists save my sanity! If i write it down, I don't have to worry about remembering it anymore! Here are the three lists I want you to make:

You can grab this printable for free HERE. I suggest printing it on bright paper (like this) and clipping it in your planner or somewhere so you can easily jot down things as you think of them!

SHOP: What things do you need to buy for your classroom or to start the new school year? By thinking about these things in advance, you can start looking for good deals! Remember that you don't have to shop for all of these things yourself either! Some of them can be added to your classroom wish list which we will tackle another week! Here are some things on my SHOP list:



If you are going to be spending your own money, be sure to keep track of your spending and receipts! You can grab my teacher spending log HERE. 

MAKE: What things do you need to make for your classroom? Please keep in mind that I'm not telling you to do all of these things right now! I'm just telling you to write them down so they are on your radar. Here are some things on my MAKE list:


  • Back to School forms 
  • Weekly newsletter template 
  • Teacher binder 
  • Peanut butter jelly partner board
  • Emergency sub plans 
  • Math tub labels


Don't worry! We will actually be making some of these things in the upcoming weeks! So stay with us!

TO DO: What tasks do you need to accomplish to make your school year successful? For example, my district has some online PD that I have to complete before September. This would be an easy thing for me to do sometime over the summer so that I don't have to worry about doing it when things get crazy in August! Here are some other things on my TO DO list:


  • Clean out teacher binder
  • Organize Google Drive
  • Update classroom Facebook page

What are you waiting for? Get your list on! 
See you next Tuesday! : )

Catching up?

Back to School Basics, Week 1

Happy Tuesday! Today kicks off a summer blog series called, Back to School Basics. It's easy for August to sneak up on you and kick your booty! This summer I want to help you be ready without sacrificing any of your precious summer! Each week I will give you a tiny task to accomplish and some resources to do it! Let't get right to it! 



This week's task is to set up your 2018-2019 school year calendar and for Pete's sake, choose something that works for you! 

1. Pick a system, any system! I have tried a million different calendars, teacher planners and apps. At one point I even tried keeping a personal planner and teacher planner and that was just silly! Honestly, I have to turn my lesson plans in online so it's a total waste of time for me to write them! The best system for me is using one planner for everything.  My favorite is The Happy Planner! This year I am using the Mini Planner because it's the perfect size to throw in my purse or teacher bag!

 

I still like having an actual paper planner because I like to write things down and keep other notes, business cards, lists in it too. So be honest with yourself, if you buy a planner every single year and never use it past September; don't buy one! Do what works for your in real life, even if it's not super cute! If you do like using a paper planner, here are a few things I like to use in my planner...


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2. Print out a copy of your district's calendar and add the dates to your calendar. You know you want to start counting down the days til Christmas break! If you keep a paper planner, print a smaller copy of the calendar and use washi tape to tape it in so you always have it handy. 

3. Add birthdays and any other important dates! Don't forget about your teammates or any other important people in the school that you might want to remember! This year I started typing important dates by month and then just printing them out because they don't change year to year! 

4. What else is going on?  Weddings? Vacations? Do you need a substitute? What about professional development? Make note of anything else coming up! It will feel so good to have everything on the calendar! Plus it can't sneak up! 


You can do this!


Back to School Basics

If you have been following me for a while, you already know that I am passionate about helping teachers stay ahead of the game! Teaching is such a BIG job and it's super easy to feel overwhelmed and behind. And let's face it, August (and back to school in general) can really kick your booty!  For the past two summers, I have hosted a summer blog series called, Getting Ahead of the Game! Each week I gave you a little task to do that would help you get ready for August and make back to school a little less stressful! I have had so much positive feedback from this series, that I decided to give it a little update and continue it this summer! 

My Back to School Basics blog post will be up every Tuesday this summer starting on June 12! Each week, I  will be sharing with you tiny tasks that you can easily accomplish to start the school year ahead. And trust me, I know that you need this summer to chill, sleep in, and binge watch Netflix. ME TOO. So I promise that these tasks will be tiny and not require sacrificing too much pool time. Sound good? Let's do it! Oh and be sure to join my email list before then! I will be sending additional resources and tips to help!

Have a Poppin' Summer Gift Tag

Yes, you read that right! SUMMER! Can you believe it's just around the corner? I am so ready for it! I am starting to get of year gifts ready and I wanted to share a few ideas with you! My absolute favorite gift to give is memories! I love putting together this photo book for my students every year!


You can read more about them HERE or make your own HERE. 

Another fun way to share memories is with an end of the year slideshow! Just download and add your own pictures! It can easily be put on a CD as a gift or shown at an end of the year ceremony!





 I also wanted to share this little gift tag with you in case you are looking for a simple gift to give your students or for your own kiddos to give their classmates. Just print and attach to popcorn! Download it for FREE HERE.



Happy almost Summer! Hang in there friends! 

Easy Valentine Gifts

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is February! Let's start the month by getting something checked off your list! Don't put off making valentines for your sweet class! Get those done RIGHT NOW! I ordered these precious miniature valentine ducks and attached them to this gift tag with glue dots.


Download this gift tag from my TPT Store for FREE HERE.




Sunglasses and kaleidoscopes are fun too! They go great with this FREE gift tag! These valentine airplanes also really tempted me! 



Have a great month! : )

Hello December

Hello December! I absolutely love this month even with all of the craziness it brings! I have been super busy with my other business, Gingerbread Home and Holiday too! Speaking of which, I am doing 12 Days of Christmas Deals.  Find me on Facebook HERE!


 Back to December, you definitely need to start the month with a plan! So Santa knew what he was doing when he decided to make a list and check it twice. December is such a hard month because there are so many things that need to be done outside of school to get ready for the holidays too. Spend some time making a GIANT to-do list for the entire season. These are the printables I use...



 Download them FREE HERE. Don't forget to make a wish list for yourself too! 

 I bet by now your elf has already made his appearance! Ellie Elf has visited my classroom the past six years and she is back! I absolutely love the Elf on the Shelf tradition! It just brings so much joy and excitement to our classroom. 



Ellie loves doing fun things to make my class laugh. She will be using this calendar to plan out her fun! She even has some fun outfit changes planned!




Please download it from my TPT store HERE. Don't forget to follow me while you're there! : )


While you are planning, be sure to plan your class gifts. I can't stress this one enough! There is nothing worse than trying to put together gifts for 22 little friends at the last minute. This year I will be giving my class a copy of How to Catch an Elf! Here is a picture of the book, but I actually purchased it from Scholastic. It was $1 in the  First Grade Boor Order catalog! : ) 


My Ama also sews by hand a precious little heart ornament for each of my students. 

I like to wrap each book up and add the ornament on top. It's the perfect gift!

Here is a peek at what else will be going on in my classroom this month:



Our writing station includes holiday cards! I just asked parents to donate any holiday cards they had on hand or pick up a pack at the dollar store. The kids LOVED it and it was perfect for practicing how to write a letter. You can also make a stocking for each child to collect their letters and other holiday goodies in. 


We have been working SO hard on writing complete sentences and editing! I created this fun (and FREE) resource to practice those skills! I hope you will download it HERE and be able to use it in your classroom too!


Of course, we learn about reindeer and study non-fiction text features! 

  I always start my reindeer unit by discussing that there are two different types of reindeer: magic reindeer a.k.a. the type the pull Santa's sleigh and real reindeer a.k.a the kind that live in the wild. If you don't have this discussion, students will constantly be writing things like, "Reindeer fly and help Santa" which is only true of magic reindeer. : ) 

This is my favorite reindeer book for teaching non-fiction text features. It has all of the features a first grader needs to know and includes great pictures! 


Students also write their own non-fiction book about reindeer. 



I created this resource to help students...

Write and answer questions. 
Organize their thinking and information.
Recall and record facts. 
Identify and explain key vocabulary.
Label a picture. 
Understand the purpose of non-fiction text features. 


I am so excited to use it with my students! Each little page even has a cute little tabs. It could easily be paired with any reindeer craft too! Check it out HERE.

After learning about real reindeer, it is a lot of fun to watch a fun movie  and compare the two types of reindeer. : )

 

Download this FREEBIE by clicking HERE. It has been fixed so that reindeer isn't reindeers. :) 


And of course no reindeer unit is complete with out some reindeer food. Now this is for those magic reindeer mentioned above! ; ) However, we do remember that reindeer are herbivores and like oats. We read a few fiction reindeer books before making our food.

 
(Side note: Did you know that there is a movie too?)

To make reindeer food, we just mix some plain oats with glitter. Make it extra cute by putting it in a clear bag and twist it shut with a brown pipe cleaner for antlers. Then glue on googly eyes and a red pom pom


Students can also write about how to make reindeer food! This freebie can be downloaded HERE. 


Don't forget to make a reindeer craft too! This one is from A Cupcake for the Teacher.


A reindeer hand print craft or sandwich is also fun too!



Math will also have a holiday twist too!



Happy December!