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Let's Make This Year Notable!

Back to School season is creeping up! Yikes! Y'all know that I am all about getting ahead; which means I already have my back to school gifts ready for my coworkers! Of course, I want to help you out too!

Target had the most adorable little teacher note cards in the dollar spot this month! I grabbed a pack for each of my team members and just used washi tape to attach this little gift tag. You can grab the tag FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE. It would also be super cute attached to these or these too! 

  You could also use these gift tags for student gift too! Just attach them to mini notebooks! How cute are these little notebooks?

Looking for another gift idea? Read more about this gift tag and grab it HERE. 

Getting Ahead of the Game 2017: Week 6

Happy Tuesday! Welcome to Week 6 of Getting Ahead of the Game, Summer Edition! Each Tuesday of the summer, I will give you a small task to complete that will help you get ready for that crazy back to school school that waits for us in August!

First impressions are huge. This week your task is to prepare for that first time you meet your students and their parents. For me, this is Meet the Teacher Night! It's always so fun to meet all of my new students and their families for the first times, but it can also be a little bit overwhelming! After all, everyone is there to meet one person...YOU! Let's spend a little time preparing this week so that things go as smoothly as possible.

1. Make sure those forms are ready! I have parents fill out a student information form on this night so I already have the information I need before the first day. If you have been keeping up with us, this should already be checked off your list. If not, go back to Week 3 HERE. 

2. Make a wish list! Parents can't help provide classroom supplies if they don't know what you need! The beginning of the year is the perfect time to ask parents for what you need for a successful school year. I use this circus cupcake stand (that matches my classroom theme) to display the items I need. Parents just take what item they can donate to the classroom. 

This was perfect for displaying items I needed! I love being able to reuse it every year too!

I am super blessed with wonderful parents who love Amazon Prime almost as much as I do. This year, I decided to create a wish list on Amazon to share with parents. The best part is that I can add items to the list throughout the year and everything will ship right to me. I just created a QR code that parents will be able to scan and shop! 

I hope this will be an easy option for my parents who want to donate to our classroom! 

Make a small gift to send home with your students. There are SO many cute ideas for this one! My favorite thing to give my students is these little cotton candy buckets because again, it matches my circus theme! You can read all about this sweet little gift HERE.  

And DO NOT feel like you have to spend a lot of money on this one. It's all about making a great first impression and letting those sweet babies know how excited you are to get to know them. Make a video of yourself reading a special bedtime story to your students for them to watch the night before the first day of school or about yourself. A QR code will make it easy for students to watch the video, just add it to a cute graphic! I created this to have at each student's desk that they can take home, scan the code and watch!

4.  Create a check list or scavenger hunt for students to complete with their parents.Meet the Teacher Night is always crazy because there is only one of you and like a million people who want to meet and visit with you. Give your parents and kids something to do that will help them learn about the classroom and get comfortable. Here is an example of mine:

Getting Ahead of the Game 2017: Week 5

Happy Tuesday! Welcome to Week 5 of Getting Ahead of the Game!  Each Tuesday of the summer, I will give you a small task to complete that will help you get ready for August and a new school year! I want you to feel like you got something accomplished this summer without sacrificing anytime at the pool! Let's jump right in!

This week's task is a fun one! Are you ready? GO SHOPPING! If you haven't noticed already, school supplies are popping up everywhere! And guess what else....IT'S PRIME DAY! Be sure to sign up for an Amazon Prime Membership and take advantage of all of these amazing deals. I will be posting some of my favorite deals on my Facebook page, so find me there!

Need ideas about what you should actually purchase for your classroom? Check out my 10 Classroom Must Haves!  

Be sure to check keep track of your spending too! I like to use this little spending log. Download it for free HERE! 

Happy Shopping!

Just catching up? 

10 Classroom Must Haves

I have always known that I was going to grow up to be a teacher and I feel like I have been buying things for my classroom forever too! Over the years I have purchased a lot of things for my classroom that I had to have and I just knew I was going to use! News flash, many of these items sat in a cabinet and were never used. Don't waste money on stuff like that! Today I wanted to pop in with 10 classroom must have items for a new teacher! These items would be great things to put on your classroom wish list or be on the look out for this summer! AND Amazon Prime Day is coming up too! 

1. Clipboards: Even your classroom isn't totally flexible seating, you will use clipboards ALL THE TIME! They are are worth investing in and will last you for years and you can get them here for less than $1 each! These colorful ones are great too!


2. A Date Stamp: I can't even tell you how often I use my date stamp! Probably at least 20 times a day! It makes documenting SO much easier and saves me tons of time. It's also great if you teach younger students who can't write the date yet. 

3. Dry Erase Pouches: These are perfect for any centers and save you time laminating and cutting! I won a set of them at a teacher training last year and I can't believe what I had been missing out on all these years! Just slide a paper in and use!

4. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: The only thing that really erases dry erase marker from laminated paper! I cut the erasers into small sizes and they work so much better than anything else I have ever found. Put these on your wishlist! 

5. Fadeless Bulletin Board Paper: I use Fadeless paper on ALL of my bulletin boards because I can't stand gross faded paper and I don't want to replace paper every year! This paper is available in tons of colors and you can buy it in a long roll; so split it with a team mate! It is also available at most teacher or craft stores!

6. A Skillet: Hear me out on this one! I bought this little portable skillet the first year I taught. I was a Kindergarten teacher and we cooked on Fridays! Six years later, I still am amazed at how often I still use it and how it has held up! Green eggs and ham, making play-doh, melting crayons and ice cubes! 

7. Folders, Folders, Folders! I use folders for seriously everything in my classroom! Class books, organization, writing folders, EVERYTHING!

I use these and these the most. You can get the best prices on folders now!

8. A great pair of scissors: I have mentioned these scissors before, but I love them so much! They are so sharp and will stay sharp all year long! They are great for cutting paper, lamination, anything! I love the colors too.

9. Labels: I like to label everything! See HERE. I buy packages of Avery labels and use them all the time! I use this size for name labels or folder pocket size labels and this size for things like journals!

10. Indoor Recess Activities: This was totally one of those things I never thought about! You have to have some games and play things on hand for when you are forced inside for recess! My first graders enjoy playing games like Operation and Connect 4.  I have also picked up Legos, Barbies, and animals. They also love using these to build with and most of the kids haven't seen them before! #oldschol Be on the look out for these types of things at garages sales too!

Happy Shopping! : )

Getting Ahead of the Game 2017: Week 4

Happy Tuesday and Happy Fourth of July! Welcome to Week 4 of Getting Ahead of the Game!  Each Tuesday of the summer, I will give you a small task to complete that will help you get ready for August! I want you to feel like you got something accomplished this summer without sacrificing anytime at the pool! Last week we got all of those beginning of the year papers ready to go! 

This week's task is easy, fun and meaningful: Reach out to your team!  Maybe your team consists of all of your teaching BFFs and you have been in touch all summer, AMAZING! Maybe you are brand new and haven't even met all of your team yet, that's okay too! Take the time to reach out this week or do something nice for them! Here are a few ideas:

Have a casual team get together! Last week, I invited my team over for breakfast and planning. It was fun to sit down and actually have time to talk and it felt good to start getting everything in place for next year!  If you can't get together, at least send out a group text and see what everyone has been up to!

Make a little gift back to school gift for each of them. Last year, I gave each of them a pair of the best scissors ever. I seriously stand by that statement 110%, they stayed super sharp all year long! Download the gift tag for FREE HERE! 

Create something that everyone can use! Did you already lay out the scope and sequence for this school year? I'm sure your teammates would love a copy! Did you already make flashcards to go with the first nine weeks sight word? Email it over! Already make your Meet the Teacher Night Scavenger Hunt? It might help a new teacher on your team plan theirs! Little things like that go a LONG way and save everyone time. Hopefully, they will share with you too!

Connect on Pinterest! You could make a collaborative board to all add pins on or just send pins to each other! There are so many great ideas out there to check out and it's super easy to share them! If nothing else, at least make sure that you are following each other!

Just catching up? 

Math Journals Made EASY

Y'all know that I am ALL about getting ahead! Weekends are too precious to spend every minute preparing for the next week at school. I have really been thinking this summer about what I can do to save myself some time next school year. One of the things I plan week to week is our math journal problems. The first part of my math time everyday is spent doing a quick problem in our math journals. I LOVE this time because it gets our brains thinking math and gives me a chance to quickly review or reteach previously taught concepts. The benefits of math journals and daily intentional problem solving are HUGE! I don't have a lot of time to plan and prep this part of the day, but I want to make sure that I am hitting what I need to! I finally have the perfect (and major time saving) solution to make math journals EASY!

Meet my First Grade Daily Math Problems Binder! This bad boy holds EVERYTHING I need for math journals for the WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. 

Inside the binder, I have a cover page for each of the big concepts taught in First Grade. I just used these for extra durability. 

 Behind each tab is where the magic really lies! Ready...

Daily math problems cut and ready for everyday of the school year! So on Monday I can pull a problem from the Subtraction to 20 section to go with out subtraction unit, and Tuesday I can pull a problem from the Addition to 20 section to review addition and then on Wednesday I can grab a problem from the Composing and Decomposing Numbers section to make sure we didn't forget that from September...SO EASY and takes no time at all! Do you want to know the best part? Every single problem fits perfectly in a little trading card sleeve. Just order these, print, cut and slide your math problems in! 

The set contains over 185 math problems that hit all of the first grade math concepts! Each page has 8 identical, cut- apart math problems. These aren't just cut and paste activities. They require critical thinking, using math tools and strategies and students will explain their thinking!

In addition to all of that, math tools for your students to use are included too!  I recommend stapling a Ziploc bag (this size works best) or an envelope to the front cover of the math journal to store the tools. Use bright card stock and laminate to ensure durability for the whole school year!

Labels are also included for the front of the journal (this size) and the tool bag (this size)!

I can't tell you how good it feels to have this done for the whole entire school year and how much time it is going to save me! Plus, I know my firsties will be getting a review on all of the skills they need. Check out the entire product and see how much time it can save you! Looking for more ways to stay ahead? Check out my Getting Ahead of the Game series and be sure to sign up for emails with exclusive tips and freebies.