Thursday, August 30, 2012

Planning for the first week of school

Trying to get ready for Tuesday.  Today I worked on my scope and sequence some.  I have so much to do this weekend.  I am trying not to stress.  After work, I had to run so many errands.  I feel like I was just on autopilot.  I went to the library to look for some books related to the Olympics and heroes. 

Then, I had to go to the education store or two to get bulletin board paper.  I also needed to get a birthday present for my mother-in-law.  It took some aimless wandering, but I found something.  I came home, ate dinner, and kept laundry going.  In a minute, I am going to take a bath and enjoy a glass of wine.  I have so much to do, but I feel tired and slightly overwhelmed.  So I am going to relax for a bit. 

Some things I want to do next week for first week of school:
  • Read First Day Jitters and do some activities
  • Possibly read Junkyard Wonders
  • Set up journals and our binder
  • Establish routines, rules, and procedures
  • Complete Tara's "me in numbers" math web activity
  • Maybe start talking about map related skills or timelines to make a timeline of their lives
  • Make a collage about their interests
  • Do some writing activities
  • Start reviewing cursive
  • I wanted to do Science Penguin's S is for Scientists activities but I couldn't find the book.  Any good suggestions of fun back to school intro to science activities/books?  I am new to teaching science. 
  • Start reading No Talking as a read aloud
Any activities you did for first week of school that you loved?  Off to take a bath and maybe actually read part of a book.  It has been too long since I read actual books.

Math binder covers for common core math resources - freebie

Congratulations to Jodi for winning 3 items from my TpT store.  I will be emailing you in the morning.

I am going to keep this quick tonight.  I already should have gone to bed.  I am teaching multiple levels of math this year, and in the past I have primarily tought ELA and Social Studies.  I definitely needed more math resources.  So I started purchasing lots of stuff on TpT.  Some pictures below show some of what I purchased. Basically, I found lots of common core related assessments and activities for grades 4 and 5 and middle school math.

I printed it all out, stopped and bought more ink, and printed some more.  (So I went to Walmart for the teacher basics - you know: water, Toilet paper, computer paper, and ink).  Then I had to organize it all in binders.  I started with the 4th grade assessments and put them in all in sheet protectors.  I prefer to organize this way.  However, it was taking too long. 

So for the fifth grade stuff I put the title pages of the sections in sheet protectors and hole punched the activities and assessments to put behind each title page.

I decided as I continue to gather more math resources, I want to organize them in binders by grade level with sections for each of the standard domains.  Then, I can put the various activities and assessments from lots of resources in each domain's section.  I made some binder covers/dividers and spine labels to organize my own stuff.  I thought I would share them with you.  Click here to download.

I would love some feedback if you end up using them.  How is your mission organization going?  I have been putting new materials in binders, but I still need to organize all my old stuff from the file crates to binders. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

classroom reveal part 1 and beach classroom decor

I have lots of ideas as usual of things I want to blog about.  Right now I am so tired.  5 mile bike ride Sunday and today.  60 minutes hot yoga yesterday.  My summer school kids finished today, so I get 3 days this week to hopefully plan.  School officially starts September 4th.  This week I need to finish planning out the first two weeks of school and make a scope and sequence for the year. 

I also still need to share with you some of the awesome products I have purchased on TpT.  I need to finish printing stuff so I can share pictures of  it all up in my room or organized in binders.

Hubby finally home today from the 4 day LAN party.  It was a quiet weekend, but my sleep schedule is all weird because I would wake up when the hubby came home odd hours and then I would nap during the day and whatnot. 

My classroom is not done, but I thought I would share a few pics. I will share more after I finish the bulletin boards and everything. Sorry the pictures aren't super great.  They are from my phone.

These cubbies hold my books for my classroom library and other things like flash cards and binders.  I am also still debating whther to store their book boxes here or just keep them on the tables.

This is a cabinet that holds my teacher materials, some of the school supplies, and all my literature circle and whole-class novels.

This is my desk at the moment.

So one benefit of being at a small school with older students is that last Thursday on the day of the parent night we were getting the rooms as ready as we could to be presentable.  The high schoolers finishing up summer classes had no desire to work, so they helped instead.  One boy young man put dividers in all my student binders for me and sharpened 72 pencils.  I have never had such willing labor before.   There are 72 pencils "ready to write."

This is one of the student tables with a table basket and the book boxes.  I still need to add the table labels and label the book boxes. I am behind on printing stuff out and making my Harry Potter Owl decorations.

This is my sign I bought at a flea market.  It is my name spelled out of old license plates.  I find it really fun and almost like a ransom note or something. It amuses me.

These are some games I bought on sale this weekend at Toys 'R Us and Target. I found 2 copies of Scrabble, 2 copies of Chess, a generic version of Jenga, and a box of K'nex for about $90 total.  That seemed like a pretty good deal to me.

This is my cursive alphabet that did not photo well because I laminated it.  I will try and bring the real camera when I finish everything so I can take better photos.

This is my Owl welcome sign in dark colors.

I finished my beach classroom decor. I need to finish my monster and superhero decor. I also need to finish my owls and dark colors and Harry Potter Owl decorations for myself.  The first person to leave me a comment gets the beach classroom decor for free.  I would love to know if there are any items you still need for your classroom.  This includes welcome sign, labels, word wall letters, table signs, name tags, and center signs.  I plan on uploading an editable version of the word wall cards and classroom labels.  You also can get beach themed Dolch sight words word wall cards at my store.  I need to make the Fry words cards to match the beach theme still. 

That's it for now.  Good night.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway that ends tomorrow to win 3 items from my store.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Giveaway and a Freebie for Long Term Planning with the English Common Core Standards Grades K-5

So, I wish I could say the last three days had been as successful with my fitness goals.  Oh, well.  I did walk the dog a few times though.  Thursday was a long day with work all day and the "meet the parent night" in the evening.  My classroom is almost complete, so I look forward to sharing some pictures with you.  I enjoyed meeting some of the parents I had yet to meet.  The kids start September 4th;  I am really excited about this year and having a small class (about 10-15) and the ability to utilize technology.

Last night I went to a Greek restaurant with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and enjoyed a relaxing evening out.  Wednesday and Thursday evening were crazy between trying to make sure I had my classroom ready and my house clean for house guests.  The gamer hubby's LAN party started last night.  He came home at 5am and crashed and is yet to waken.  I am about to leave and run some errands. I need to pick out the paint color for the legs of my new farm table that is being built. I also need to find some games like Scrabble and Chess for my classroom.  I am going to head to Toys 'R Us just to see what they have.  Any fun board game recommendations?

Later this evening and tomorrow I am working on completing my partially-done classroom decor sets.  I really appreciate the great suggestions and comments I received the last couple posts.  If you are interested in possibly winning a free classroom decor set, leave me some feedback here

I also appreciate those that have emailed me expressing interest in helping out with my 400 follower giveaway.  I am going to keep working on planning a big giveaway.  In the meantime, I want to do a small giveaway to show my appreciation to all my followers.  Enter below in order to win 3 items of your choice from my store in order to help you with Back to School.  This giveaway will run from now until Wednesday. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to focus next week on some long term planning by looking at what novels I want to use this year for whole-group and small-group.  I can't fit them all in.  I also want to make sure I cover the Common Core Standards for 4th and 5th when using novels and various non-fiction texts. (I am in Texas, but my school uses the CCS).   I created these charts awhile ago with the intention of putting them in my store.  I never quite finished adding the Language Arts and Math Standards.  For now I have decided to share these charts with you as a freebie to link up with Freebie Friday on Saturday.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
It includes 27 pages of charts to help with long-term planning for most of the English/Language Arts Standards for Grades K-5.  I hope you find them helpful.
Long Term Planning With ELA Common Core Standards Grades K-5

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Busy week and a weekend without the gamer hubby

I have great admiration for the teacher bloggers who have children.  I'm honestly not sure how you do it.  I am working on fitting it all in.  I actually am really excited for the kids to start, so I can get into a routine.  I like routines.  Getting ready for school to start is always hectic - not that the school year isn't hectic.  I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and make my goals too unrealistic. 

This year I really am trying to focus on gratitude and a positive attitude, balanced with realistic expectations.  Blogging really has reawakened my passion for teaching.  I am eternally grateful for the fabulous bloggers whose posts I love reading (although, lately I have lagged on commenting) and all my followers. 

I am trying to keep with reading blogs and commenting, blogging, and keeping my store updated.  My plan this weekend is to get caught up some stuff for my store.  I should have some time.  Guild Wars 2 is released this weekend.  The gamer hubby will be at a 3-4 day LAN party.  They all took Monday off of work.  Can I tell you how much I love that my brother-in-law lives in a house nearby and the LAN parties are no longer held at my house?  We had like 4-6 of them.  It was enough.  If you don't know what a LAN party is, it's where grown men load their 50 pound computers, monitors, and head phones at one location, so they can play video games at the same location and eat junk food, and drink beer, energy drinks, and coffee. I shouldn't be sexist.  There are women gamers too; I'm not one.

I wish it was possible to fit it all in every day, but it's not.  My husband and I are trying to start an exercise routine of exercising six days a week.  Saturday and Monday I did hot yoga, and Tuesday we went on a 9 mile bike ride. Today, I took an hour and a half nap.  I am going to back my goal up for awhile to five days a week until my body gets used to exercising this much.  Rest is just as important.  I am actually am toying with the idea of keeping a personal blog to track my progress with fitness and eating habits.  However, I'm not sure I can squeeze much more into my weekly goals.  I do want to try and start reading more fitness blogs.  Any you recommend?

Tonight, I got the rest of the items that I plan on taking into my classroom loaded into my car.  I love my dolly.  It was the best investment ever.  I have usually loaded and unloaded my classroom by myself, so the dolly has saved me much frustration and back pain.  Tomorrow is the parent information night.  Working on completing some more stuff in my classroom.  I will have pics of my classroom soon.  I have enjoying everyone else's reveals.

I showered tonight and packed my lunch.  Let's see if I can get up on time in the morning.   I'm not a morning person, so I am struggling to get up on time.  Any advice?  I know - go to bed earlier.  Working on that one.  One step at a time, right?

Getting close to 400 followers.  I want to start thinking about next giveaway.  Let me know if you would like to contribute anything (  I plan on ordering my Erin Condren planner in the next couple days, so I am thinking about making part of my giveaway an Erin Condren gift certificate. 

Thank you for the feedback so far on classroom decor ideas. Let me know what you are looking for in classroom decor and you might win a freebie.  I plan on lots of creating this weekend while the hubby is gone.  (Actually, funny note - my mother-in-law and sister-in-law will be at my house this weekend.  They have been staying at my brother-in-law's while they waited to move my sister-in-law into her dorm, but you know you can't have Mom at your grown-up LAN party.  So the mom is coming to my house for the weekend.)

Goodnight all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tech Tip: Saving Powerpoint slides as JPG's and PDF's

So, I feel like the last person to link up for teacher week. 

First, my must haves:

1) A great bag.  I love Vera Bradley and Thirty One totes.  I treat a giant tote like a portable office and carry everything I might ever need. 

2) A good mechanical pencil:  I love the Bic Velocity pencils.

3) Good pens:  I like the Inkjoy pens.

4)  A planner:  I am planning on ordering my Erin Condren planner soon.

5) A to-do-list journal:  I found a cute owl one at Mardels the other day. 

Now, my technology tip:

I first decided to start making teaching stuff in PowerPoint for  my store as I started following blogs and discovered all the cute clipart.  It took me a long time to figure out how people were making cute preview files of their Powerpoint slides. 

I never realized you could save the individual Powerpoint slides as JPG files.  Just highlight the slide you want to use in a preview file and click on "Save As."  Choose JPG and name your file.  Then, it will ask you if you want to save the current slide only or all slides.  If I only want to use a couple slides, I do one at a time.  Otherwise, I let it save all the slides.  Choose the destination you want to save the JPG to and click "Save."

To make a preview file, either insert your JPG picture files of the slides into Paint or back into the Powerpoint presentation and adjust the size to be what you want. I always just do "Insert Picture" and put the JPG's back into Powerpoint.

It also took me a little bit to figure out how easy it is to save your Word or Powerpoint files to PDF.  I always thought you needed a more professional version of Adobe to do this.  However, I discovered all you do is just click "Save As" and select the file type as "PDF."  Very simple, and your clipart files now are protected from being copied.

Check out my post from yesterday to leave me some feedback on what type of classroom decor set I should focus on finishing this week and you might win a set for free.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Great Weekend and Win A Classroom Decor Set with some feedback

First, I want to share a freebie with you.  This is a little student self-inventory I made awhile back to get students thinking about their strengths and weaknesses. I intend to use this inventory along with some others during the first week or two of school. Click here to get it in Google Docs and here from my TpT store.  This inventory is more of an interest inventory to give you an idea of some of your student's interests.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I hope you had a fabulous weekend.  My weekend was fantastic.  Friday, we had a school water-park day where I got to meet a lot of my students and their parents.  It was a lot of fun, and it allowed a lot of the students to meet each other and make a friend before school started.  Friday evening I did weight training for the first time in a long time.  After that, we went out with some friends for a late dinner.

Saturday, I went to yoga in the morning and then went to a flea market with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  I found a man that was making signs out of cut-up license plates.  This seemed like a unique idea, so I had him make a sign that said Mrs. Walker. I will share a picture of the sign tomorrow.
We did some other shopping that included a wine tasting and finding a new dining table.  I found someone who makes custom farm tables for a reasonable price, so once it is done I look forward to sharing some pictures.  I am also getting a quote for a custom-built dining hutch since I can't seem to find what I want.

Saturday night, I decided I needed to do something about my plethora of purses and totes.  The giant piles of them had taken over the top shelves in my closet.  The reason this became important is that my Thirty-One order arrived on Thursday.  I ordered the:

Organizing Utility Tote and Tote-ally Awesome tote

a cooler bag on wheels

I think the cooler bag will come in handy when I have to take food to someone's house or go on a small road trip. The Organizing Utility tote is the great bag that lots of bloggers have been throwing a wire hanging file folder rack in to make a portable hanging file folder organizer.  The Tote-ally awesome tote is just a giant tote bag that will come in handy when I need to carry a lot.

Saturday night, I went to the Container Store to look for bins or baskets that would fit on the Elfa shelves in my closet to organize all of my purses, totes, and duffel bags.  Almost all of my bags are green or colorful patterns.  I absolutely love Vera Bradley, Coach, and Fossil.  Now, I can add Thirty-One to my faves.  Every time I get a new bag, my husband says "How many green bags do you need?"  The answer will always be open-ended.  :)

Now, the Container store usually is more expensive than I want to spend, but actually I thought a lot of their sale items where very reasonable.  I found some linen bins that worked perfect and you can add a label to them.  I sorted my purses into duffel bags, totes, fall purses, spring purses, and small purses/wallets.  Here is one of the shelves in my closet.  I just need to go back and add labels.

All of the organizing in my classroom made me want to do a little more organizing at home.  I started with the purses because my new Thirty-one bags needed a new home for when I am not using them. I also want to get one of those cubby bookshelves that works well with fabric bins to put in my entryway to use for storage.

While at the Container Store, I noticed they have the toolboxes that teachers have been using to make the teacher toolboxes.  I purchased my gray toolbox at Home Depot. I know Lowes and Amazon also have them.  These were the first white toolboxes I had seen though, so I thought I would snap a picture and share with you.  Some of you were more ambitious than me and painted your toolbox.  I had no desire to paint mine. If I had seen these before, I might have opted for white over gray.

Sunday, I went to church, did my grocery shopping, took a nap, and printed out some of my classroom decorations as well as my TpT purchases from the big back-to-school sale.  Tomorrow, I will share with you what I purchased during the sale. 

This week in the evenings, I am working on finishing up some of my classroom decorations sets that I have started.  I have bits and pieces made, but not the entire sets.  Leave me some comments on which of these classroom decor sets you might be interested in, and I will pick some winners to give away some freebies. 
  • monsters
  • frogs
  • pink paisley (with or without owls) or with another animal?
  • green paisley (with owls)
  • superheroes
  • chevrons (with what accents?)
  • owls with dark colors
  • dots and owls
  • Harry Potter Owls
I would also love to know if there are other classroom decor themes you are looking for.  What types of items are you looking for in the sets?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Finding Balance and Paisley Classroom Decor

I have a million things I would like to blog about in my head.  The lists of lists keep growing.  So I have been thinking some more about balance.  I have worked all summer, so keeping up with the blog and making things for my TpT store has kept me pretty busy the last few months.  My store is starting to do really well, and it really is very exciting.  I am starting to get more requests from people, which is exciting, but I am struggling to keep up. 

In the end, you do the best you can.  I really want my attitude and being healthy to be my priority.  I probably won't be able to blog every day, but I do want to try and focus on sharing valuable ideas with you and blog at least every 2-3 days. 

Keeping a gratitude list really tranformed my attitude and helped me heal from a lot of stress I had previously allowed to affect my health.  The last few weeks though since I started my new job I have neglected my gratitude list.  I am committed to going back to updating my list regularly.  I really believe a positive attitude and joy are a huge component of balance. 

Today I am thankful for:
  • I managed to bike ride like 10 miles.  I hope I can walk tomorrow.
  • My sleep number bed - I am looking forward to a good night's sleep.
  • The library - I love books.
  • Peach salsa - It makes me happy.
  • My gamer hubby who makes me laugh and irritates me in equal measures, but I love even more almost 9 years later.
  • My puppy who I love like my first child.
In my current state of mind, here are the top ten things needed as you work toward finding balance in your life:

1) Being thankful
2) a sense of humor
3) accountability
4) letting go
5) a good friend
6) joy
7) a passion for what you're doing
8) a healthy outlet
9) lots of rest
10) the occasional vice in moderation: a soda, a glass of wine, some candy, etc.

I am going to try and sit down this weekend and write multiple posts to schedule some out.  I think this will also be part of my strategy to finding balance between work and school and blogging and fitness, etc. 

On another note,  I am excited to share a project I have been working on via request.  This project seemed like it would never end, but I finally finished (almost). I still need to finish creating the Fry word wall cards and Dolch sight words in these paisley patterns.

Here are some pictures of my latest classroom decor set.  It is paisley patterns mainly focused in green.  My other paisley items mainly have pink.  Here are some pictures:

I have decided to share some Daily 5 and CAFE signs with you below.  I hope they can be helpful. 
Paisley, Teal, And Green Decor_daily5andcafe
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