Thursday, July 24, 2014

Updates and More Updates! Jazzin' things up a bit!

As I've been updating a lot of my products on TPT this summer, I can't help but think about Erica Bohrer's post about "Getting Started on TPT". She talks about what her first products looked like versus her more recent items.  I had to chuckle as I look back on things I made years ago compared to my more recent items.  I think I had some really good concepts but visually some of my stuff just didn't cut it.  I realize it's a process... I've learned and grown and still have so much more to learn but I do feel like my newer items are so much more appealing.  (Side note:  If you haven't read Erica's post and are thinking about using TPT ~ it is a must read FULL of valuable information!) 

Here is an example of what I'm talking about:
This poster has been updated with all new fonts, backgrounds and clip art.  
Here is what it looked like before the updates:

UMMMM.... I loved these posters and used them for each unit of Reading Street... But seriously they I had to revamp! If by chance you purchased these posters... They have ALL been updated and you can go to your purchases on TPT and re-download.  

Not only did I update THESE posters but since we are using the new Common Core Edition of Reading Street... many of the concepts changed.  SO I created a new product that I am in love with... and I can't wait to use them on my focus wall! 

This is the same concept as the first poster but slightly different terminology for Common Core.  I created these all new Common Core Versions and I have to admit I'm loving the look of them!  Here is Unit 1:

I made each unit a different color and tried to make them as visually appealing and kid-friendly so that my students can use these as a reference as we learn each grammar concept. 
I especially love the Melonheadz clipart.  I am a COMPLETE ADDICT... Serious UH-DICT-ION! Okay ya'll... one last image to share ~

I have updated tons more but just thought I'd share some of the updates I've made this summer. I just got the word that I can get into my classroom on Monday so I guess it's time for back to school mode!  I've been pinning and getting lots of ideas on ways to set up my classroom this year. YOWZA!  So excited!  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last Day of June... July already?

Hello all!  I know it's been forever... It makes me so sad just to think about how long I've been away from the blogging world.  I've still kept up with things.. I just didn't post about my own happenings.  I've gone back and forth about whether or not I should share about the things going on in my life and why I haven't posted but I think that will come in time as I get back in the swing of things.  I am in a good place now, emotionally, spiritually, physically (location wise - yes I moved) so let's just say there was a lot going on but I'm very happy with where I am now and my kids are doing well also!
Sooooo..... I can't believe that July is tomorrow!  Where did June go?  I wanted to share a new theme pack I created for a teacher as a request.  It's the largest classroom set I've done and I'm very excited about it. If you are looking for a new theme or if you are doing a Camping Theme you may want to check it out!

What I love about this set is all of the Summer Camp Kidlettes and the Woodland Animals.  This set includes everything you could a little more! Here are some examples of what's included.
I love the Alphabet Cards with all the camping items!  All of the vowels are outlined in your choice of either pink or aqua blue.
How cute are these number posters?  The set displays the numeral, the number word, tally marks and ten frames so students can refer to these all year long! 
I love the camp signs to display the 2D and 3D shapes!
What camping theme could be complete without bug jars?  What a great way to display color words in your classroom!

Months and Days of the Week
Nameplates in different designs and colors!
I love how the word wall headers and banner turned out!  All the vowels are blue so students can distinguish the vowels from the consonants.

Classroom Jobs!  How adorable is this??!! I'm in L.O.V.E.
The set includes a welcome banner and a banner that says "READ S'MORE".  This will be so cute hanging in the classroom library! 

If you are like me... I want everything to match.  So I made tons of supply labels for tubs, bins, boxes, whatever you'd like to use them for. 
These will be adorable attached to a baggie filled with marshmallows, graham crackers and a small chocolate bar!  I thought this might be a cute back to school welcome gift!
Finally, I included tons of colored pennant flags so you can make banners for your classroom.

After I finished this pack, I decided to make all the labels, banners and binder covers editable.  So I created this add-on pack. You can check it out here: 

Last thing, I promise!  LOL My friend requested a behavior chart to match so I'm very pleased with this new chart.  It includes 2 different behavior logs and a chart explanation for parents.  Plus, when students reach the top, they get an Eagle Badge!  Take a look:
I also created these in Chevron... but I think I like the solid backgrounds more.
When students reach the top, they earn an Eagle Badge.  Here they are:
I also created an Explanation Chart to keep in your students binders or folder all year for the parents!
I wasn't sure if I would even be able to make this work since my friend wanted straight faces and a sad face on the campers at the bottom. (She teaches Kindergarten)... but I talked with Nikki from Melonheadz and she gave me permission to use the versions I modified slightly. She is so wonderful! I love her clipart and wish I could own every set!  I'd really like to be in Vegas this summer at the TPT Conference so I could take her class. I asked her if she would consider doing an online tutorial... so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that!
I guess I've posted quite a bit for one day!  I am currently reading the new version of Daily 5 and can't wait to post some about that.  I have done Daily 5 in my classroom for 4 years now and my co-workers were lucky enough to go see Gail Boushey and Joan Moser in person!  (Can you detect a little jealousy there?) It has totally transformed the way I run my classroom and I can't wait to share some things with you!  I've been loving all the posts so far! 
By the way ~ all my Camping Theme Decor is on sale TODAY (June 30th) and TOMORROW (July 1st)!  20% off ~ please share if you know a teacher choosing camping as their theme this year! Have a wonderful day! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Week Survival ~ Daily 5 Up and Running

I can't believe this three day weekend went SO fast... entirely too fast!  I would love to have just ONE more day! And even though I'm dead dog tired I told myself I had to blog and share with you a few things from our first full week back.  I know many of you do Daily 5 and we have gotten it up and running piece by piece.  I'm still not taking groups yet.  I want to make sure they are doing all activities properly and can problem solve and take care of situations without interrupting my group.  I love the first few weeks of Daily 5 because I am able to meander around the room and listen to kids read, watch them write, watch them build words and really get to know my students by having small conversations with them during this time. We start out with Read to Self and here are a few pics I took during that time.

We talked a lot about choosing just right books and using the five finger rule.  We also practice getting our book boxes and having them by our side during Daily 5.  After they all got the hang of Read to Self I introduced word work.  We began our first weekly word study last week and took our first spelling test on Friday!  I was amazed that 90% of my class spelled and wrote 100% of the words correctly!  Usually the first test is a doozy just because it's their first one.  I was blown away!  Word Work allows my students to practice these weekly words.  They always have a "must-do" and then they can choose several different activities to practice spelling and making words.  My "must-do" varies daily.  I use many of the pages from Abby's Short Vowels Pack and some word family activity pages from the great Cherry Carl .  I start out only introducing magnetic letters, rainbow words using smelly markers and glitter pens and stamps.  I add more throughout the year as I feel they can handle it.  Here are a few pics I took during word work.

As you can see our first week is short a.  She spelled "we" but as long as I see them building words it makes me happy. I love hearing them read me the words they have made.

These words were off of our word wall.  We start out with about 15 words on the word wall from Kindergarten or High Frequency words they will use a lot.  As you can see I think it's time for me to get some new ink pads!

I also have introduced writing.  I know that seems like a lot but we have writer's workshop every morning.  I like to introduce some "fun" writing choices so students can write and illustrate with markers.  One of our first writing activities is making a card.  I use the monthly premade card templates from Deedee Will's Writing Work Stations.  I also use her monthly vocabulary cards to hang in my writing center and I also use the corresponding page of the monthly words in my student's writing folders for writer's workshop.

Students are able to color and be creative during this time but are writing to their friends or their teacher.  This gives them more practice using the strategies we are learning during writer's workshop like stretching out the sounds in words.

On Friday I wanted to do something fun and yet connect it to our curriculum.  Since this week was short a and we worked with -at words, I found the cutest craftivity that allowed the students to write a story using at words and they got to make their own "Cat on a Mat".  The activity is by Mel From the Pond.  I fell in LOVE with it and my students did too! So after students wrote stories about their cat (and some were SO hilarious) we broke out the scissors and glue and began making our cats. I love standing back and watching how my new first graders use scissors and glue.

I wanted to take pictures of their stories too and forgot to take them before leaving for the weekend (it wasn't like I was in a hurry to start a three day weekend or anything ;)  I'll try to post them another time because they were so adorable!  Here is some more pics of our super cute craft!

Next week is only four days but we will be working with short i. I will be introducing more writing choices, our listening station and read with someone next week.  I love to hear how others use Daily 5!  I steal grab ideas from teachers all the time. It has to be my favorite time of the day!

Hope you had a fabulous three day weekend!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Freebies and Birthday/Back to School Sale!

The last few days have been super busy!  As I'm sure it is for all of you... back to school is here and I'm checking things off my to do list only not as fast as I want.  I don't have much to share today - because I'm getting ready to head out the door to celebrate my birthday! Nothing spectacular other than spending the day with my kiddos and having a dinner out ~ (Actually that's pretty spectacular) but I feel like I need a little break from it all. :)

I recently went to a whole brain teaching conference and absolutely L.O.V.E.D. it!  I used whole brain some in my classroom last year but now that I've experienced the workshop I'm ready to give it all a try this year.  First freebie I'm sharing is the WBT rules and signs I made:

You can download them for free HERE.
I have included these WITH and WITHOUT backgrounds in case you want to save some ink :)

I'm really excited about implementing Whole Brain and one piece that I'm SUPER excited about is the Super Improvers Wall.  All students start at the bottom and work their way up to the top by accomplishing goals... not just accomplishing but by showing IMPROVEMENT.  Students strive to make it to the top! You can always visit the Whole Brain Teaching website for more information.  SO - My next freebie are the super improver wall headers (10 levels and 10 different colors):

 Click on the first image to download for FREE!

But wait ~ there's more!  LOL For those of you who are interested in a Forest or an Owl Theme this year, I've had some requests for Daily 5 Posters in those themes.  So I've recently posted those for free also in my TPT Store.

These are the Forest Posters. Click on the image to download :)

These are the Owl Posters. Click on the image to download :)

Both of these poster sets also come with and without the backgrounds to save on ink.

There are so many other things I've been working on for Open House and the First Day of School... but I will save them for tomorrow. 
My daughter surprised me this morning with a homemade card.  It was super sweet... but I could've done without the birthday candles on the cake. :)  Takes the guessing out of how old I am! 
I just realized she left the d out of birthday.  She's really into writing in cursive right now. As far as I'm concerned homemade cards are 1,000 times better than Hallmark ;)

One last thing...I'm throwing a sale in my TPT store today through Saturday!  EVERYTHING is 20% off!
How many more days for you?  Our first school day is Wednesday, August 14th. I'm already getting the jitters!  Have a great day!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Too much Chevron.... Really???

Ok... so I'm in LOVE with Chevron.  I began making all sorts of chevron items... I tend to gravitate toward chevron pillows, rugs, fabric, clothing. {I admit I may be addicted}  So when I began putting up things in my classroom I had to STOP and look at things again.  I decided my Chevron alphabet was just TOO much!  AND I didn't like all the owls along the bottom.  I mean ~ WHAT!  Too much chevron, too many owls??? I just didn't think it was possible.  So I kept some chevron, added some different patterns with the same colors and I liked it SO much better.  I also took off all the owls but kept them ONLY on the vowels.  I'm thinking what a cute way to distinguish the vowels... they can be our Owl Vowels.  Or maybe Vowel Owl Pals.  Hmmm. Don't know yet but here is what the new version looks like:

It makes me wonder if I feel this way - will others also?  Should I change all my items to this?  If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it!

I have changed my color scheme this year to the blues, greens and browns because first grade is getting new desks and chairs.  I am super excited but I knew I had to change from my colorful scheme because of our new chairs.  They are really bright but very nice.  Here is a pic:

So I started incorporating this color and took out all the pink and purple.  I am surprised at how well the aqua blue, navy blue and royal blue go together.  Here is a picture of my word wall and the banner I created to go above it:  

Don't mind the mess on the shelves.  I'm still sorting and organizing so I have piles everywhere :)

I had already laminated and cut out my word wall headers so they are gonna have to stay the same this year.  There's only so much time before school starts. 
I also found a new rug for my reading area.  I have to say that I love the factory seconds from Sensory Edge.  I know they are a bit more expensive but I have always purchased a $20 rug from Wal-Mart in the past and at the end of the year have to throw it away.  They just don't hold up.  But I splurged a little this year and hopefully it will last forever ;)

I wanted to give my reading area a little something so I added poms in my colors but instead of spreading them out... I hung them in a group over this area.  I've seen so many pictures on Pinterest and loved this idea!  How do you think it looks?

Again, please mind the mess on the back shelf.  My room isn't finished yet. 

I love these fabric boxes (I get them at Target).  They hold all my seasonal books.  I am thrilled I found some in different blues and added another brown and it really brings the color scheme together. I had to get rid of my purple, pink and orange from last year. 

I also came up with an idea for a title above my Literacy board.  I think it turned out very cute although the picture is not great.  I used blue chevron border and then decided too much... so I decided to layer it with the brown border and I think it looks much better.  However ~ I ran out! :( So have to run out and get another package!

Here's another picture that might be better but has an awful glare (I should invest in a digital camera):

I love using the animal strategies for reading.  My kiddos just seem to make connections as we learn each one and I leave put them on a bulletin board by my guided reading group area.  Last year the borders were all bright colors so this year I had to change them up a bit.  I like how they turned out and am in love with the mini poms on the corners. :)

I also use small caddies for my tables that hold crayons, glue, and markers for students to share.  I always match my caddies to the table color.  I had a bright blue and green already, I found a royal blue one (at Dollar General) but no such luck finding a brown. :( But I was able to find a gray and decided to use it at my brown table.  Hopefully, this will work out ok.  The label matches the table color so it should be. 

I love grouping my students into tables or pods.  Last year I used the paper circle fan decorations for my table signs.  This year I decided to go with lanterns and hang my table sign from the lantern.  Here is a picture which also gives you an overall feel of my room.  I am making new curtains for my windows so they are not hung yet and still have lots more organizing to do.  Our desks haven't arrived yet so still using our old ones until they get here (hopefully before school starts).

I have lots more to do but I can see it coming together.  I could spend hours looking at pictures of other teachers classrooms.  I believe it is important to walk in and feel at home since we spend so much time there during the school year.  I see so many awesome pictures and get inspired each time I see such beautiful, homey classrooms! Hope you have a fabulous week!

P.S. If you didn't notice - I also got a BLOG DESIGN MAKEOVER!  I love this color scheme so much I decided to make over my blog with these colors too.  I have to say thank you to The Cutest Blog on the Block for making such a great design!  
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