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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I'm in Love With {Linky Party}

First Grade Blue Skies is hosting a linky party to show decorative things we would love to have for a new school year. I've actually been thinking about how to unify my classroom more this year so it was a great time for this linky party!

I mentioned in my previous post about my lime green and blue baskets and rugs. Well, these would be perfect additions to that color scheme. Unfortunately, there aren't many products that Creative Teaching Press carries with this design. :(

I'd really love a few of these in lime green and blue for seating in a cozy reading corner or at my guided reading table. Walmart has these pretty cheap right now with all the college dorm stuff. The added bonus is the storage inside of them!

I also absolutely adore the dots on black pattern from CTP. I actually have a couple of products with this pattern already so I may try to add to that. I need a new cursive alphabet anyway. Sure, it has lots of colors, but it includes my lime green and shades of blue. They have several products to choose from with this design. Plus, the dots are so stinkin' cute!

So what are you loving for your classroom these days? Link up and share your wish list!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Classroom Library Organization

Since I thought I was meant to teach primary grades forever, I had spent lots of money years collecting oodles of picture books. However, last year when I moved to fifth grade, I had to go on a chapter book buying frenzy. I visited tons of yard sales and thrift stores to fill up my classroom library. Between that and some generous donations from friends and family, I was able to fill up my classroom library pretty nicely.

I knew right away that I wanted to find some cute and sturdy containers to house my books. I found these inexpensive baskets last summer and L-O-V-E them! The dot cutouts are adorable and go well with other dotted items in my room. They are sturdy and the perfect size. I bought several of them in each color. These colors sort of developed into a theme after that. I found two rugs with the same colors and bought storage containers in the same lime green and blues. It worked to create unity in my room.

I chose to organize my books by genre or topic because it has been my personal experience {not saying this is always true. at. all.} that my students tend to choose books by interest. I stumbled across Beth Newingham's awesome website! I printed her labels (view them here), laminated them, and hot glued them to the front of the baskets to make it easy for students to find books they enjoy. I do have some picture books set out, but I don't have nearly enough room for them all. Sigh. All I know is that my future children {personal kiddos, that is} will have plenty of books to read one day! :)

Anyhow, I will try to post some pics of my library once I return to my classroom to get to work. How do you organize your classroom library?

Sunday, July 17, 2011


At the risk of sounding like a total blogging newbie here, I can't for the life of me figure something out and need your help. Is there a secret to commenting on my own comments??

I have no problem making comments on other blogs, but when I try to reply to a nice comment someone has made on my own blog, I can't. I've been selecting "comment as: google account" before I try to post a reply {which is how I typically comment on other blogs}. Each time, however, I get redirected to the blogger log-in page. When I log-in again, still nothing. Ahhh!! What am I doing wrong?

If anyone would be willing to tell me how to fix this, I would be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!!

ETA: Problem solved = YAY!! Huge thanks to Mrs. Shepherd for sharing with me how to fix my commenting issue. {Turns out I had to download Google Chrome for those who may have had a similar problem.}

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Printer {Linky Party}

Dana from the wonderful A Place to Share is hosting a printer linky party so I thought I'd join in. Here's the printer we have:
It's an HP D1500 or, as I like to refer to it, "the little printer that could". I bought it at Walmart and it has served me well for over two years now. Not going to lie, the main reason we chose it was its price {less than $30} along with the relatively inexpensive cost of ink cartridges that it uses. I believe new black cartridges run around $14 and color cartridges are less than $20. However, I hardly ever buy them new as I get mine refilled at Cartridge World. By bringing in my old cartridges, I never pay over $9 for black cartridges and $12 for color cartridges. I've never had any trouble with their ink refills either.

We actually don't run through them too often at home mainly because I try to do most of my school-related printing in my classroom. My school printer may be a big ol' dinosaur, but I make those cartridges last forever by using a little tip I picked up in one of the teaching interims I did before I got my job. {In fact, I used one black cartridge all year at school, but printed a TON of stuff!}

If you select "print as draft" and choose black ink as much as possible, it will really maximize the life of your ink cartridge. I've never had a problem with the quality although I'm sure you wouldn't want to print photos or something really nice that way. However, it works great for blog printables to run copies from. I rarely ever print anything without selecting those options.

Wow, never thought I'd write that much about a printer or ink. Happy printing, y'all!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Two Awesome Giveaways

Head on over to the oh-so-fabulous Ladybug's Teaching Files, become a follower, and make a comment to be in her drawing for a great giveaway she is doing in honor of 1,000+ followers. She's giving away 4 of her cute blog templates. Got to admit, this is a teacher who would LOVE to win!

Also, head over to the amazing Teaching in Flip Flops, become a follower, and make a comment to be in her drawing for an adorable Scentsy warmer in honor of reaching 100+ followers. Ok, I'd also love to win this one! :)

And the list keeps growing...

As the first week of school gets closer, my to-do list keeps growing. I'm really not required to be back to work until August 8, BUT I plan to go back before that to work in my room.
  • Finish two more grad school classes before I start setting up my classroom.
  • Create an informational "Welcome to 4th grade" brochure.
  • Design a Smartboard presentation to go with said brochure that I can use during the parent meeting on students' first day.
  • Set up and rearrange my classroom. Let's just say everything had to be moved or put away for summer cleaning so it's quite a mess in there!
  • Decorate my classroom.
  • Print labels for student workbooks once I know who will be in my class.
  • Decorate my bulletin boards. I want a new set for the beginning of the year so I plan to buy the cute owl set below for the board outside my door and use the caption "4th grade is sure to be a HOOT!"
  • Oh, and figure out what in the world I'll be teaching that first week with students!
It's a little overwhelming, but oddly enough I'm getting excited about jumping into it even though the summer is not over. Now, if only I can get past these yucky grad school classes. What's on your back to school list??

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Go Fourth!

Hello! It's been quite a while since I've blogged. The last couple of months of school were crazy with state testing and end of the year activities. Summer break has been grand though! My husband and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas in early June and it was AMAZING! Since then, grad school classes have been consuming my summer, but I'm happy that I've gotten a lot done. Hopefully I'll be finished with my master's at the end of November!
Nassau, Bahamas - The water was gorgeous!
Now, as much as I hate to think about it right now, I'm starting to gear up for back to school. {Cue the alarm clock going off and whining!} Actually, I couldn't help but feel a little giddy when I walked into Walmart the other day and saw employees setting out school supplies on the shelves. I'm starting to think about how I will set up my classroom for this year. Still, I will miss sleeping in.

There are BIG changes in store for this coming school year...

Guess where I'm moving! :)
1. The biggest change is that I'm moving to 4th grade!!
AND I don't even have to move classrooms! Yay! I'm super excited about moving down a grade. I enjoyed fifth grade, but feel like this may be a better fit. Fourth grade is not departmentalized like fifth so I will be teaching everything. Even though this involves more planning, I'm totally embracing this change. I'm very much looking forward to having the same class all day and not having to worry about being on someone else's schedule to switch classes. I'm sure there will be much more about this to come.

2. I got a SMART board for my classroom!! You may remember me mentioning wanting one in this post. Ok, actually I got it during the last month of school, but I'm still over the moon about it! My students were thrilled, but their excitement couldn't compare to mine, haha! I had used a Smart Board before, but wanted to brush up on my skills. I attended a couple of inservice trainings to learn more about using it this summer so I'm looking forward to incorporating my new knowledge this year with my new kiddos.

3. We are getting a new principal at my school. Our principal retired at the end of last year. He was great and totally supported his teachers. We were used to things being pretty laid back though so we are all fully expecting changes this year. It should be interesting to see what happens.

4. Our district adopted a new math series. We already use the Scott Foresman reading, science, and social studies series so it came as no surprise that our district went with the Foresman math series as well. I attended an inservice on it this summer, but I've seen a copy of the inservice schedule for teacher's first week back and know that there are further trainings for this textbook in my future. Not going to lie...I'm a little nervous about teaching math in general in 4th grade because I've only taught math in primary grades before. {Last year, I only taught science and social studies in 5th.} Have any of you used this series before? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.