Helping Hands & Grandparent's Day craft

This last Thursday we had Open House at my school.  Usually we have it the week before school starts, but with our schedules this year we had it after school started.  Each year I always do a "Helping Hands" where students can pick up a hand of an item they'd like to bring.  I had all but 2 hands taken and lots of supplies already brought in!
We always have a Grandparent's Day celebration {more on that later} so we have been working on the crafts this week!  Handprint/footprint flowers!  They are SO cute!
My to-do list is ever-growing and the new Reading textbook series is a totally new way of teaching/thinking, which is a tad over-whelming! But, I did get this cabinet installed today!  Woohoo!  Now, to move all the materials into it and make room for more books!

Classroom Reveal

It's time for my big classroom reveal!  I have survived my first week back with students, hence the jackets on their desks in some photos.  Here is my door.
This is the view from the door if you are looking towards the back of the room.
And the view from the door looking at the front of the room.

This year we have implemented the clip up system shown on the left.  Our school has a school-wide discipline policy with flipping tickets so green and everything below it sticks with that but we added a more positive approach as well.  You also see my simplified classroom helpers and ambassador.
Here is a view of the back of the room with all of my stuff.  Love the organization!
My bulletin boards:  Fall into a good book...
And my word wall...
More pictures from my area behind my guided reading table:

Now, on to my classroom library area: 

The view from the classroom library.
I did a make-over on my stool and love how it turned out.
Classroom buckets for bucket filling...

That's it!  My classroom this year!

Teacher Week {Must Haves Monday}

Today I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!  Today is Must-Haves Monday.  

1)  First, I must have some Flair pens!  They are my absolute favorite.  I use them at home and at school.  
2)  Organization is definitely a must!  Whether you organize by using a file cabinet, binders, folders, etc...whatever it takes, you will not be sorry that you spend time getting things organized.  I use binders for student data and my teacher binder.  I also keep copies of everything we do in subject binders.
I also bought this organizer from Lakeshore Learning and have loved it!  I keep all my copies for the upcoming week in it.  
3)  Smartboard - Oh, I don't know how I would teach without my Smartboard!  It is my absolute favorite!  
4)  Cricut - I have loved labeling things with vinyl using my Cricut machine!  
Head over to Blog Hoppin' to join in on the fun!

Getting Ready!

I have completed a week of finishing up in my classroom and attending district-wide professional development!  Our doors officially open Monday morning!  I am hoping to have a classroom tour ready for you next week so you can see my room!  Here are a few things I've been working on.

* Labeled dish pans to hold journals:
* Re-vamping my teacher's binder.  This summer I made it all cute with green and blue zebra paper in clear page protectors with the titles on them.  I've quickly came to the realization that what is "cute" doesn't always meet my needs.  I couldn't see my tabs, which was driving me crazy and I hate those big tabs because they stick out of my binder.  So, I went old school with regular ole' tabs and so far, they are working perfect!
This year we have adopted a new textbook series, Literacy by Design.  We had professional development this morning on it and I have left just a little (okay, make that a LOT) nervous.  It is going to be a whole new way of thinking/teaching in my ELA block.  It's doesn't help that we haven't received our teachers editions yet, either.  Yikes! 

Any Literacy by Design users out there?  Love it?  Hate it?  Any advice?

Easy Curtains

I have always wanted curtains for my classroom, but never wanted to spend the money on them. Plus, I don't know how to sew.  But, when I went to school last week and saw both 5th grade teachers with curtains, it convinved me even more that I wanted them!  They let me in on a little secret:  they used pillowcases!  First, you need these materials:  spring tension rod and pillowcases. I used two king size per window.
All you do is put the pillowcase through one side and cut a small hole in the other.  Here is what they look like!
I am pleased with how they turned out! 

Working on School Stuff

Today I have been working on a few school things to prepare for the first day of school.  I like to get my students a first day gift.  It's a small way to help welcome them to my room.  My partner teacher and I both do this.  Today, I printed out the welcome label that I put on each bag.
Inside the bag I put a pencil that says 4th Graders are #1, a bookmark, a Capri Sun, and a small pack of chips.  We save the snack for later in the morning. 
I have been looking and looking for something to put student names on to put on my door.  I fell in love with these polka dot frames so I bought two packs just to use blue and green!  I added student names to each one.  I have lots leftover (purple, yellow, and red) and although I'm not sure what I'll do with them now, they'll come in handy sometime, I'm sure. 
On my last post I showed you the gift I was giving to my mentee (scroll below if you missed it!).  I added this little note to the frog today!
Today was my son's first day back to daycare, or "school" as we call it.  He's been going to the same place but of course, stays home with me during the summer.  We had a rough start, but he had fun once he started playing.  The look on his face says it all...Is it really time to start back at schoool?  Summer has gone WAY too fast!
I hope to make it my classroom on Friday afternoon to hang my posters up, drop off one more load of school stuff, and put the finishing touches on my classroom!  We only had two days next week at school before school starts and I know we'll be working on first week plans.  So, I need to completely finish my classroom ASAP!

Other Roles

Two years ago I was asked to go through certification to become a mentor.  I was honored to have been asked and jumped at the opportunity.  Not only would it be great now, but it would also look good on my resume.  Side note:  I love where I work now, but I hope to move home (middle TN) one day. I have been a certified mentor for a while and just completed certification to mentor PACE teachers, who are teachers who didn't go through the traditional education program...they have typically worked in another profession. 
This year I will be a mentor to a first year first grade teacher.  She has worked in the school as a substitute last semester and was a great one and she taught in the middle school for quite some time (like as a long term sub).  So, she has great experience.  I'm excited to officially a mentor and a little nervous too!  I wanted to get her a little gift for the first week of school so here is what I got:  mini clipboard, pens, binder clips, markers, post-its, notepads, and a tumbler cup.
Most of that was only $0.88 at Wal-Mart.  I put it all in this cute bag (also $0.88)!
I had heard she was doing her room in a frog theme, so when I saw this little frog at a thrift store for only $0.35, I thought it'd a cute addition to her gift!  So tell you think these gifts are okay for a first week gift?
I also picked up a few books at a thrift store.  Most were only $0.45.  I am trying to get more books that would interest boys so I thought the baseball book, pirate book, and Spiderman would be a good addition to my library.
For $0.50 I got this Tennessee Volunteers cheerleader bear to put in my classroom!  It doesn't match my blue/green theme, but it'll still be cute.

Vista Print & Shooping Goodies!

When I saw that Christina at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge was having a linky party to showcase your Vista Print goodies, I knew I had to link up because I just received my very first order from Vista Print!

I got these ideas from Katie at Dirty Hands and Lessons Plans.  Love the desk fairy cards!
Free pen!
Free cards!  One of my (free) rewards is "Eat lunch with a friend" card.  We eat with 3rd-5th grade so when a student gets this card, they can invite someone from any of those classes to eat lunch with them. 
I am also linking up with the July Shopping linky party at Ladybug's Teacher Files!
I recently ordered this pencil sharpener after hearing SO much about it online!  I had to order from a seller on eBay and am still waiting to get it.  I hear it's fantastic!
I bought another 3 drawer organizer and decorated it just like my first one!  These will be great to store materials since I am going desk-less this year.
I got this computer desk at Goodwill for only $10!  BEST deal all month!
I've bought three of these bookshelves from Wal-Mart.  They are only $15.84 each.  Great deal!
I've got almost all my shopping done!  Woohoo!
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