Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Game, Week #7

This is the 7th and FINAL week of my summer blog series, "Getting Ahead of the Game." I hope that you have enjoyed these weekly challenge and feel a little more prepared for the new school year.

This week...

The need to label is real.:
Right?!? (Source)

A labeled classroom is a happy classroom. Labels jut tie everything together and help keep you organized! I love labeling everything in my classroom! Here are a few tips and freebies to help. 

1. Make a list. As you are setting up your classroom keep a big list of what labels need to be created. Don't try to stop and create as you go. If you aren't able to get in your classroom yet, you can go ahead and create your templates on the computer and add text after you know exactly what you need. The "Make" section of this Back to School Game Plan would be the perfect place for your list. Download this free HERE

2. Laminate your paper labels. I don't want to reprint and cut labels every year, so I want to make sure that they will hold up! I always print on cardstock and use my personal laminator so they are nice and thick. 

These math tub labels are going on year two! I love adding a little extra math to them with the tens frame number labels. So when I say, "Go grab Tub 4," my students have to do some extra thinking! Download these labels free HERE.  

3. Use magnetic paper. I discovered magnetic paper a few years ago and it has changed my life. It is so great for using on white boards and filing cabinets!

I used magnetic paper to create labels for my filing cabinet drawers. If things ever change drawers, it's easy to switch out labels. 

I also printed my literacy center choices on magnetic paper and it was great because I could move them around the board as I needed to. 

4. Add a picture. If labels are going to be used by your students, make sure they have a picture to reference. This is especially important for library book bins labels because I expect my students to put books away in the correct bin. 

5. Make a sign for each table. I love creating a sense of team and community in my classroom. Kids love having their own table team too. 

These little frames came from Micheal's Craft store and Amazon also sells them in white. You can read more about how table teams work in my classroom HERE. 

5. Use labels to help your organization system.  I have a three drawer organizer to sort my papers that need to be copied, filed and laminated. It makes my life easier because I don't have to give directions when I have parents come help me in the classroom. The labels explain what to do : )

Download these labels for free HERE.

This image was a hit on Instagram a while back. 

These folders also keep my copies and books organized for each day of the week. I just glued the label onto the tab part of the manila folder and ran the entire thing through the laminator.  These day of the week labels can be downloaded free HERE. 

5. Use Avery Labels. At the beginning of the year I print a ton of address labels with my name on them. I keep these handy and throughout the year when I get new books or other materials, I just slap my name on! It sure beats trying to go back and label all of your books at once. I also put labels on all of my students folders and notebooks so we keep everything straight.

These labels are a little bit larger than the address size and work great for labeling notebooks and folders. Order them from Amazon HERE.  They are my favorite size ever. 

Thanks so much again for getting ahead of the game with me! Enjoy the last of summer!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

You're a Cut Above the Rest FREEBIE

Back to School season is quickly approaching! Every year I like to give my team a little something to start off the year. I ordered these scissors and immediately decided that everyone on my team needed a pair!

They are so sharp and cut everything so easily! And what a steal to find a five pack of them at a great price!

I created this little gift tag to attach to each pair. 

You can download and print it from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store HERE. 

Don't forget to order enough for yourself too! Trust me, you are going to want a pair...or three.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Game, Week #6

Welcome to Week #6 of my summer blog series, "Getting Ahead of the Game." I hope this is helping you feel good about going back to school. I know it's going to sneak up on us before we know it. : (

This week your challenge is to...

The first day/week/month of school is always just a blur! The beginning of the year is just so fun and so, so, SO exhausting. Let's get a head start on planning! Here are a few tips and ideas to help you plan that first day and make it go as smoothly as possible!

Create a photo booth or at least take some pictures! Oh how I LOVE those precious first day of school pictures! It is amazing to see how much the kids grow in just a year and I love including them in my end of the year photo albums.  This is also a fun ice breaker for the kids to be silly and take a few fun pictures together. 

These props came from Hobby Lobby, with a 40% off coupon of course. 

I created this back drop on a bulletin board in the hallway with a tablecloth and butcher paper. I will also confess that it is still up and will be used again this year. #keepinitreal. I use it throughout the year to display pictures and what we are doing in the classroom.  

Make a memory book. I have a big box of my personal school keepsakes in the attic and you better believe I have a precious little memory book I made the first week of first grade. Here are a few pictures of the memory book I created and use. 

I use this memory book as my writing for the entire first week of school. It's super simple and is a sweet keepsake. This year I want to hold onto each child's memory book and give it to them at the end of the year so they can see how much they have grown. 

It is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for Kindergarten, First and Second Grade. AND just to reward you for getting ahead of the game, they are each on sale this week only for $1. 

Make some name tags. The other teachers will thank you! After Meet the Teacher, I usually have all of my students names down, but I only have around 20 to learn. Think about the poor P.E. coach who has like a million kids. The teachers with cafeteria and recess duty would probably also appreciate name tags too! Target had these cute name tags in their dollar section!

(Don't mind my cat lunchbox in the background.)

You can also put them in a name tag badge and save them for substitute days!

Use a book. This year I wanted to find a new book to use during the first week of school. I was ready for a change.  After a vast search, I have a new favorite that I CAN'T WAIT to share with my students. 

It just came out at the beginning of the month, so rest assured that you will be the first teacher to ever share this books with your students. It is so cute and sure to make your kids smile.  We will be using A Tiger Tail all week for different activities. 

We will be making this little craft and completing the writing activity to match. 

We will be making this cute class book inspired by the story. I love class books! They really send the message to students that their work is valuable and worthy of being shared. They love when I read the book aloud and come to the page they created. The books are always a hit in the library for many months to come too!

 I can't wait to see their creative ideas. 

Of course we will be sequencing the story too! 
This story sequencing can be downloaded FREE in the product preview HERE.  There are tons of other printables and response sheets included in the unit too!

I love these books for the first week too!

  Take a tour. When I taught Kindergarten we chased The Gingerbread Man around the school to learn all of the buildings and the kids loved it! For First Grade, I created this around the school passport for students to collect stickers or badges as they tour the school. 

It's also a great idea to take pictures of the places you visit in the school and important people to help students learn important names. You guessed it, I turn this into a class book!

Need more ideas? Be sure to follow my First Day of School Pinterest Board! I will be continuing to add to it throughout the month! : ) Go ahead and start on those first day plans!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Game, Week #5

Happy Tuesday! I'm back again for Week #5 of my summer blog series, "Getting Ahead of the Game."

 I think you are going to like this week's challenge. It's both important and fun. Ready...

Shopping is my favorite part of going back to school! There is just something about new supplies and a fresh start! But you need to be strategic! 

1. Make a list of what you need. Take some time to really think about your classroom and what supplies you need to start the year. I have to have everything written down so I created this little printable to help me get a game plan. Click HERE to download.

Of course, I always end up buying (many) things not on my list, but this helps me to make sure I have the "must have" items.  Save some supplies for your classroom wish list too! 

2. Watch the ads. Be sure to watch the weekly ads for major stores like Target, Office Depot, Walmart, etc. If you are on the look out for specific items, wait until they are on sale or you have some sort of deal. For example, this week at Target if you spend $25 or more on school supplies you get a $5 gift card. Target also has great deals using their app, Cartwheel. Lakeshore Learning has a great Back to School Sale going on right now too! Just take the time to do some research before heading out to the store if you are looking for specific items. 

3. Don't forget to keep your receipts. I keep a Ziploc bag going with all of my school purchase receipts that comes in handy at tax time. It also helps to keep a running list of what you have spent this school year.

4. Share your finds. Use the hashtag #teacherschoolshop on Instagram to show us your school shopping! : )

 Here are a few of my favorite shopping finds this week...

These cute pens were at Sam's Club for around $14. They would be a great addition to a writing center.

Unless you have been living under a rock, I'm sure you have seen all of the amazing finds from the Target Dollar section! I have three great Targets within 15 minutes of my house which can be very dangerous. 

I used some of the supplies in this picture to create a banner for my writing center. Of course I had to test in out on my fireplace mantle. 

These little emoji sticky flags would be so much fun to use with guided reading.

Everything in this picture came from Target, except for the buckets and Smartboard games! Both of those are from Lakeshore Learning and ON SALE!

I love these bright supply buckets!

So this little guy was totally not on my shopping list, but I just couldn't help myself. PRECIOUS! This big bad wolf comes with a little grandmother that fits in his mouth and ends up in his stomach. Then his stomach velcros open and closed so you can save her and play again. How fun would this be for retelling Little Red Riding Hood?!?! I just want to buy one for every child I know. It was around $10 at Ikea. 

 Last year I decided to try using the (cheap) cardboard book bins from Ikea rather than the nicer plastic book bins that I use to store my teacher books and I LOVED it! They held up and I could just send them home with the kids at the end of the school year. I can get enough for my whole class for under $6! You CAN'T beat that! Last year I decorated them with ribbon.

 This year I am using washi tape and will add a cute name label! : )

Happy Shopping! Don't forget to use #teacherschoolshop to share your finds!

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