Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Little Things

It's the little things that make the difference!  I am sure you can agree there are so many "little things" or quick fixes that make all of the difference in your daily life.  Some of them are so simple and you say "WOW! How come it took me this long to think of this?"  Well today I am sharing with you a few of my little ah ha moments from the past few weeks.

A chair and workspace makes all of the difference in the world!

You may have noticed it has been forever since I have blogged.  There are many reasons for this of course.  Mainly time but also because my office chair was so uncomfortable.  I was using my husbands old, worn out chair.  So instead of sitting and working at my desk, I would sit on the couch with my laptop and we all know how productive that can be.  So today I went and set in every desk chair at Staples.  I found one I loved, brought it home and even assembled it all by myself!  So now as I am writing this, I am very comfy and productive in my new chair!  I also cleaned and reorganized  my office area.

How do you hold your door open?

For years I have used the little wedge door holders under the door.  You have to get them wedged in "just so" to get them to hold.  This summer, I was at a hotel and noticed the cleaning crew holding the room door open with a large dowel at the top of the door.  It worked so well for them.  So when I went back to school and was unpacking my room I found a few paint stirrers, put them together to the correct thickness and voila!  It is so easy now to prop my door open now in the morning.  It may not be that pretty, but it works very well!

Tearing out pages...

Teaching students to tear out workbook pages is always fun at the beginning of the year.  (NOT!)  It never fails, several students tear a page out of their math workbook and while doing it they rip the page.  Then I have to stop and tape pages back together.  So this year I decided to have the students complete the workbook pages in their workbooks, and then tear them out after we are finished.  So now when they rip their pages by accident, it is no big deal!

What little things make a big difference in your day??

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do You DOJO?

I use Class DOJO in my classroom and love it!  If you haven't heard about it, please visit to learn more.  It is basically a behavior tracking website/ app.  It is amazingly easy to use, I love that I can access it on my computer, iPad or iPhone.  You can completely customize the positive and negative behaviors you track.  I used it last year with my students.  One of the great features is the behavior graphing tool; this is great for students on a behavior management plan.  Parents also have access to see how their students are doing.

This year they added even more new features!  One is a messaging feature for easy contact with parents.  You can also now access your partner teacher's class. Oh, did I mention it is FREE!

This year I set up a Class DOJO Prize Center in my office.  (Think arcade ticket redemption center.) )  I used shoe storage pockets, a black poster board and labeled each row with a point value range.

On Fridays, my Class DOJO Prize Center is open.  Students can chose to spend their points or save them until next week.  I open the Class DOJO app on my iPad and “edit bubbles”.  (Currently you have to reset their points to zero, so they have to spend it all at one time.)  In addition to the trinkets, I am also adding class coupons (no homework, special chair, etc.).  In addition I have a few “big ticket” items like a Wii game my girls don’t play anymore or toys donated. 

The kids love shopping!  I was worried this would take forever. However, I have found it faster than the old school treasure box.  The students can see everything.  I also love that it is out of the way, yet very appealing.

Would you like to set up your own Class DOJO Prize Center?  Click here to download the signs for FREE!  I also included a few blank point cards so you can set your own amounts.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 2

WooHoo!  I survived the first week of school with students!!  Boy was it an exhausting week, there is not tired like first-week teacher tired!  I think part of the problem with the first week is the lack of a regular schedule.  Not just in the classroom, but life in general!  We are all working 70+ hour weeks trying to get everything ready for the classroom, the housework falls way behind, our personal children.... (Blogging in non-existent at this time!) I think I am finally starting to get things under control now!

I just posted a great freebie and information about a great reading lesson I did today on my monthly post for my collaborative blog Teaching Blog Roundup.  Click here to hop over and check it out!

It was one of those fun first grade days today!  I had that "Phantom Pooper".  If you teach K/1, you know what I am talking about....  I smelt it all afternoon but could never quite figure out who it was!  I tried all of the tricks: walking around the room, calling them over one at a time to answer a question, and I reassured the class multiple times that it was OK to tell me, they wouldn't be in trouble and I would send them to the nurse.  No luck!  Thank goodness to Lysol Spray!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's Crunch Time!

How did I spend my last Saturday of Summer???  I was up at school working on my classroom.  I know it is ridiculous to spend my Saturday there, but I can't sleep or focus on anything until I get it done.  I'm not completely crazy though, tomorrow is "Sun"day and I am spending it doing my favorite thing in the world, relaxing on the beach.  I will spend my last day of Summer with my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand!

I did make major progress in my classroom!   I unpacked everything and put it all away.  I also have the furniture where I want it (at least I think I do...) Now it's the fun part, decorating!  I have also been purging as I unpack.  My fabulous intern from last year got a job teaching first grade and is right next door to me!  It is amazing just how many things in a primary classroom are bought by the teacher personally.  However myself and the rest of my team are paying it forward and helping her out as much as we can.

I also just put my entire TpT store 20% off until Tuesday.  I know we are all so busy and we have missed the big sale earlier.

Well I am back to getting a few more things ready.  Hopefully will have pictures later this week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


This year I had to change classrooms.  Unfortunately, I didn't find out until right before school ended last year so I had to hastily pack everything and haul it down to my new room.  I went in today to start unpacking and setting my room up again.  This is what greeted me...

WHAT A MESS!  This picture doesn't even show my office/storage closet packed with stiff too.  Goodness do I wish I would of had more time to pack and move.  My last move, I would pack a cabinet, take it to the new room and unpack it right away in the new cabinet.  Well no time for that this year.

Today I was able to unpack and organize my office/storage closet.  It is technically an office, however I don't use it as an office.  Mentally if I call it a storage closet I don't feel bad for what a mess it is for an office.

Then I started setting up the desks and main furniture, but forgot how I had it last year.  I loved my room set up last year, it worked great.  My new room is a mirror image of my last room.  I started flipping through my phone hoping I had pics from last year, no such luck!  Then I remembered I blogged about it last year, BINGO!  (Here is last years post.)

So tomorrow I will be back at it.  I will try an take pics to show my progress.  I still have a very long way to go!

P.S. Stop by and check out my post on Technology with Class.  It describes how you can read a bedtime story to all of your students the night before school!  Click HERE

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five for Friday and a Freebie

Is it really August already???  Time to face the reality that summer is ending and the school year is coming...

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching Five for Friday and Friday Freebie too!

I have started picking up a few things for my classroom.  I am proud to say I haven't gone overboard. I am keeping my same LEGO theme this year.  It has worked very well and I love it.  (I will be honest a changing it has crossed my mind, but I figured I didn't need that extra stress when I love what I already have.

I did buy these containers.  They were so pretty and just the right colors!  (I have an issue when it comes to containers, but I couldn't resist!)  They were at the Dollar Tree, I'm a big spender.  I also found a red rug and alphabet letter rug at Big Lots.  

Then I stopped by and checked out a new Teacher Store and found a few things too.  Magnetic border I can't wait to try!  I also found out the store has a room of used teacher supplies.  The store will buy the supplies from a teacher and 50% of what she will sell it for.  It isn't consignment, it's money up front!  This rocks for several reasons... Great deals and I have a place I can sell some of the things I have and don't use anymore.

I finally have my groove back!  I have been working on the computer like a mad woman.  Planning for next year, making things for my class, creating several new items and wasting a little time on Facebook.  (I swear I need blinders to keep me focused.)  I will be posting several of these new things free, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks.

I finished and posted my More Wonders for Unit 1.  (Last year I completed units 2-5 and 6 is on my list to finish.)  This is a great pack that makes my life so much easier teaching from the Wonders Reading Series.  It activities to complement and enrich the series.  (Not a lot of fluff.)  The pack includes activities for weeks 1-5 in the unit.  My favorite is the reading comprehension questions I have for the weekly on and above level readers.  The questioning is similar to what they will see on the weekly assessment and there is a place for the student to tell me where they found the proof for each question.  Then I have several word work pages, a POP game, writing prompt and skill sheet.  It is what I use every week and hope it will make your life as easy as it does mine.  Also, let me know if there is something you think would be good to add.  (Don't forget you can get it 28% off August 4 & 5 with the code BTS14 at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.)

I survived taking my 13 year old daughter school clothes shopping today!!!!!  It wasn't easy, but it is done!  Believe it or not, she is the daughter that doesn't like to shop.  Then add on that they have to wear certain clothes to school, like solid collared polo shirts, she wasn't exactly joyful.  However, we were successful and even came home still speaking to each other!

I just got an e-mail that my OSMO is coming very soon!!!  I am so excited, I can't wait!  Click here for my referral link to learn more about it.

Finally here is a freebie for you as you are getting ready to head back.  Click here to download these posters.  I use these Whole Brain Teaching rules, and love it.

Get more freebies by heading over to TBA's Friday Freebies.

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Filling Up My Cart!

It is that time of year again!  The big TpT Back to School Sale is right around the corner!  You can save 28% in most stores, including mine!

300 × 300

I am busy filling up my shopping cart and creating a few new things.  Right now I am finishing up my "More Wonders" pack for unit 1.  (I finished it for units 2-5 last year, but kind of slacked at the beginning and ending of the year.)  I will let you know when I am finished!

So right now, I'm getting back to work, I just wanted you to know what's coming up.  
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