Saturday, August 27, 2011

Target Always Comes Through

I posted about not being able to find the blue saucer chair I wanted a few weeks ago and sent out an SOS here. Well, someone suggested trying Target. Leave it to Target to have what I wanted.

I saw it advertised a couple of weeks ago and headed straight to my nearest Target. Even though it's not the same color as the one I originally wanted, I still love the chair I found there and think it fits in pretty well with my classroom library. Plus, $17.99 can't be beat. {Even the ones I saw at TJ Maxx were $30 and they weren't even the right color.} Thanks to those who suggested Target in their comments. I should've checked there first. :)

My kiddos love getting to sit in it and curl up with a good book. Happy Saturday, friends!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Day

Ok, actually we just finished our second week of school. The year is off to a great start and I love my fourth graders. I've been absolutely exhausted though. I always forget how tiring August can be. There are so many changes in our district this year that I'm just trying to keep my head above water while keeping up with grad school. Too tired to blog lately. Hoping this will get better soon. Wanted to share a couple of quick things from the first day as I've been meaning to for, oh, about two weeks now.

Can't remember where I saw this idea, but I had this basket set out at open house and on the first day for parents to see all the supplies from our supply list.

Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants saved my day! In all my craziness trying to get ready for school to start, I somehow neglected to prepare a first day treat for my students. I realized this around 10:30 the night before school started and happened to remember seeing this cute idea and printable. Love it!

I decided to go ahead and TRY to get some sleep {as if that's possible on the night before school starts!}, but set my alarm for 4:40am so I could print these babies and make a run to Walmart for a box of Lucky Charms on my way to work. I threw them together that morning and placed them on the students' desks along with their info packets. They LOVED this treat! Huge thanks to Rachelle for sharing this!!

It turned out to be the perfect thing for students to snack on while waiting for the rest of the students and parents to make it to our room for the "informative parent meeting". That meeting always makes me nervous. I can talk to kids all day, but put me in front of 20 parents and I get major butterflies. Fortunately, our new principal is replacing that meeting by just having open house next year {yay!}. However, because the community was not used to this, we had to endure one more year of it. Oh well, I survived and it went fine. I will try to share more soon about the first few days. Hope your school year is off to a great start!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Popping in to Say Thanks

I've been running at full speed this week trying to get ready for our first day of school on Monday. Tomorrow is our back to school night. When I saw this awesome open house idea by Jodi from her wonderful blog Fun in First Grade, it was calling my name! I already had this box of popcorn that I had bought at the end of last school year for my class. I ended up only using a couple of packs so I had just enough packs left for my new students. 

Jodi had posted this adorable printable so all I had to do was print them and cut them out. Then I taped them onto the bags of popcorn. So stinkin' cute. And oh so simple which was one of the absolute best parts after spending way too many hours at school this week and coming home worn out tonight. If you're like me and you're running out of time before open house, this would be a great little project to put together quickly. Head over to Fun in First Grade to print your own.
My printer was being weird and printed a mini popcorn machine on top of the bigger one in the bottom right corner on a few of them. I ended up not using those. I didn't realize I still had one in the bunch when I took this pic. I was just too tired to take a new pic after I changed it out. Ha!
Tomorrow is sure to be another long day. Fortunately, our new principal told us that since we are required to stay late for open house two hours that we get to come in two hours later tomorrow morning!!! Sleeping in pretty much sounds like the most amazing thing ever to me! Of course, we've had plenty of meetings and a math textbook training along with two new state evaluation process trainings this week. {I won't even go there on that last one. Ahh!} Our new principal seems very fair though and willing to listen. She has also shared some wonderful ideas of her own so I'm looking forward to good things. 

Ok, off to bed now so I can take advantage of those much needed extra two hours of sleep. Can't wait for my new kiddos to pop into my room tomorrow night so I can meet them and give them these goodies! Thanks so much for sharing this fabulous idea, Jodi! I love it! :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top 10 Reasons You Know It's Back to School Time {Linky Party}

Tomorrow is the official first day back to work for teachers in my district even though I've already been working for almost two weeks in my classroom. So hard to believe the summer is over and it's time to set the alarm clock again.

Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits is hosting a linky party to list the top ten reasons that you know it's time to go back to school. When I saw this fun linky party, I had to join.

My Top Ten...
10. I've been putting off grad school work that I really should be doing to create my open house brochure among other things or scour out ideas on teaching blogs. {Ok, maybe that last part is nothing new.}

9. I can't go into Target or Walmart without wandering aimlessly through the school supply aisles. It also makes me downright giddy when I see fall items displayed in the stores.

8. I fall asleep thinking about school each night and keep having dreams about things going wrong on the first day.

7. Every single time I feel good about being able to check some items off my to-do list, I come up with at least three or four more things to add to it.

6. I've already purchased some Airborne to start building up my immune system.

5. My 4th grade team partner/good friend and I have been texting each other like crazy to talk about ideas for this year.

4. My purse is full of receipts for school related purchases. My bank account is less full thanks to this. {That whole not getting a paycheck this summer thing might also have a little something to do with it.}

3. I kid you not, it took me ten minutes to decide which color was just right for my students' daily folders when I was walking around in Office Depot the other day.

2. For days now, my husband has had to listen to me talk about how anxious I am to get my class list and related arts schedule {tomorrow!!} because so much of my to-do list is waiting on those two things.

1. I got my "back to school" haircut this week.

I have truly enjoyed summer, but I am super excited for the new school year too. Hop on over to join in on this linky party.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saucer Chair Blues

I'm bummed. Yesterday I posted a picture of my classroom library and mentioned that I'm looking for a cozy chair for it. I have visions of my helper of the day curled up in it quietly enjoying a good book during DEAR time. I'm thinking something like this saucer chair would be *just* the thing:
See how it is displayed with my rug and matches perfectly?! The only problem is that I'm pretty sure this is the one Walmart had last year. I could kick myself for not buying it back then when I got the rugs. At the time, I didn't have the space for it though. They still have this chair on their website, but it's apparently not available to order right now. :( Please let me know if I'm missing something here.

They currently have some similar ones in store at Walmart, but they are more of a navy blue. They also have lime green, but the practical part of me says that it wouldn't stay lime green long in a room full of nine year olds. Plus, I have my heart set on a blue one! I went to Ross and TJ Maxx yesterday and found a red one, but had no luck in the blue department. Have you seen any blue saucer chairs like this anywhere? Or do you have a suggestion of a different type of chair I could purchase for my classroom library area? I figured there was no one better to go to for help than my wonderful teacher bloggy friends. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Work in Progress

I've so enjoyed seeing the wonderful photos of classroom progress in the bloggy world lately. This week has been crazy busy. We have a new nephew who was born late Tuesday night. He's a total cutie pie! I kept his sixteen month old big sister the night he was born and on Wednesday so I didn't get to work at school that day. However, I've spent nearly every other spare minute working in my classroom this week. I still feel like there's tons to do, but here are a few pictures of the progress so far. I really should've taken some before pics because it was a mess! It's still somewhat of a mess, but at least it's starting to look more like a classroom these days.

As promised in a recent post, here is a photo of my classroom library or more appropriately, part of it. I prefer to spread it out a little around the room so there's another section on the opposite side of the room that I'm still working on.
I'm going to look for a cute little cozy chair to replace the boring blue one. I already had my chapter book baskets on the tall bookcase as mentioned here, but I added the short bookcase for picture books. I purchased new picture book baskets for this year {Dollar Tree is most definitely my BFF!} so I haven't labeled them yet or finished reorganizing my picture books which is why the three baskets on top are empty. My plan is to display books for a featured author each month on top of taller bookcase. The dots poster will contain info for choosing books. 

My sweet momma helped me redo the long bulletin board above the white board. Loving the dots on black border and poster. I'm still working on organizing the bookcase behind my desk area. It looks kind of dark in this photo, but can you see the colored drawers next to my filing cabinet? Love them already!

My smart board is my pride and joy! I just got it at the end of last year and adore teaching with it. The doorway in the back corner is the entrance to my cloak room and closet. I'm lucky to have tons of storage back there. Still need to finish my reading focus bulletin board. (It's the green one.) I have a banner to hang above the bulletin board. I use the table in front of the bulletin boards for reading with small groups. My media cart is in the far corner next to the flag. Also, I usually arrange my desks in groups, but decided to try something different and I don't know if I'm going to keep them this way or not.

Our door is to the left. The apple pocket chart you can see part of on the right is used to do our attendance and lunch count. Our calendar and daily schedule are on this bulletin board. There's a gap in the pocket chart because my math schedule card is MIA since I didn't teach math last year. I've looked everywhere for it! This board will also have our related arts schedule below the calendar once I receive it. The makeshift table contains the necessities including assignment trays, lunch count forms, extra schedule cards, and hand sanitizer. Underneath the table is our recycle box. I laminated my new dots on black alphabet and added it above this board. Sorry for the glare.

Those of you who work in old buildings like mine {think 1890's} know the challenges that come with it. I love all our windows, but they limit classroom arrangements. I have three different radiators to work around. Also, the ceilings are extremely high. The fire marshal will not allow us to hang things from the ceiling. It tends to make me feel like the room is always empty. I don't like bare walls, but I don't like overkill either so I usually choose not to hang things super high....not to mention it would be hard for students to see. 

So that's it for now, folks. I will try to post more pictures once it is finished. T-minus 6 days until back to school night so it has to be ready to go by then.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back to School Deal That Made My Day

I went back to work in my classroom for the first time yesterday. Teachers don't officially go back to work until August 8, but I always go back earlier to get my room ready. It was a million degrees in my room. We have a very old building so we have window ac units. Thankfully, mine worked after being shut off all summer but it never really things cooled down very much. Surely I sweated off some weight rearranging everything?!

After attending an inservice this morning and getting out over an hour early {Woot, woot :) but shhh!!}, I headed to my local teacher supply store to look for some of the goodies I blogged about in my last post. I got my dots on black cursive alphabet and some cutesy bulletin board borders as well as some math charts as I've never taught upper grade math before and have almost nothing for it yet.

After that, I stopped by Office Depot to use my reward certificate that I had received in the mail last week. {It had been burning a hole in my pocket.} I already had my eye on a cute owl bulletin board set so I picked that up, but also came across those adorable colorful drawer organizers. I have been wanting one for.ever. Well, it just so happened to be on sale for $39.95. Plus, I had a coupon for $10 off my total purchase. So all in all, I got the organizer cart, bulletin board set, and 25 pocket folders for my students for only $30 after using my coupon and rewards certificate. I was pretty excited to say the least!
Can't wait to take my new supplies to my classroom tomorrow. And I will have some help tomorrow too! My sweet momma is coming to help do my bulletin boards for me. God bless her! She's the best.

PS - On a totally non-teacher related side note, I love Everybody Loves Raymond. My wonderful hubby bought me the the entire series set of dvds one year for my birthday. I frequently pop one in while working on school stuff which is what I've been doing this evening. That family seriously cracks me up.