Saturday, August 11, 2012

TPT Sale and a TON of Freebies!

It's Back to School time and I've been a shopping mama... taking my kiddos to buy school supplies, new shoes, clothes and all those things they "think" they need.  I found some AWESOME sales today and my kids are all revved up for school! Now that I got my kids all ready for school ~ I'm so HAPPY I get to "back to school" shop tomorrow at TPT!  {I have lots of items on my wishlist and tomorrow is my chance to get some goodies!} They are having a super duper sale.  Not only do you get 20% off but use the TPT promo code BTS12 and you get another 10% off! Most stores are participating... including me - but you can always check out all the fabulous teachers who are participating over at Blog Hoppin'.

Thanks to Amy Lemons for creating this CUTE image! 

Even though we don't start school for another week ~ I've been working in my classroom so that I can have several days to rest before my students show up and prepare lesson plans and all those last little things that just HAVE to get done {like pinterest inspired projects I really really want to do - SHHH}! 

[WARNING:  The following post is LONG ~ I got a little carried away but there are many freebies throughout.]

One of the first things I'd like to share with you is how I turned an UGLY green chalkboard into a whiteboard for only $13!  I was going to try and use the white board paint but it was $30 and you still had to prime the chalkboard first!  UGH!  Too expensive and too messy!  So I found some shower board (I've heard many bloggers talk about how they have cut it to make small white boards for their class).  It comes in sheets of 4 ft by 8 ft - so I took my measurement and had them cut it to fit!  YAY!  Instant whiteboard.  How to attach it???? I thought about using liquid nails - but worried if it ever had to be taken down it would absolutely ruin the chalkboard.  So - I put magnets on the back (since the chalkboard is magnetic and slid it underneath the metal track by lifting the screws and then tightening them.)  I have to give credit to my dad for doing this for me.  He's such a handy dandy guy!
 But wait... this is the before picture.  

Here is the after picture!

I love how the border filled in those tiny gaps where you could still see the green chalkboard - PLUS I put up my scoreboard in preparation of using some Whole Brain Teaching strategies!  If you want my Happy/Frowney Face - You can download them HERE

I've done ALOT {like a TON} of labeling this year.  I've had these baskets for years full of read aloud books that I use during my mini-lessons for Reader's and Writer's Workshop but just never took the time to label them.  Well friends ~ I FINALLY made some labels!

I also keep a basket of my favorite read alouds and science read alouds nearby.  Here is a close up of one of these labels:

I tied these labels on my baskets with some cute ribbon... I think they turned out a wee bit cutey patootey!  If you would like them ~ you can download them HERE

Even though I plan to implement whole brain teaching this year, I am still using my clip chart as I get more familiar with whole brain teaching practices.  I started out with a HUGE owl but decided real quick I just didn't dig him.  He was too big and made it difficult for the clothespins to attach to the chart.  I ended up with this idea and I am completely in LOVE with it!
I hot glued a "branch" I made out of construction paper to the top of the bulletin board, then used ribbon between each piece of the chart and finally hot glued the ribbon at the top to make it look like it is hanging from the branch.  Here is a close-up view:

I am so excited about implementing a new behavior reward system. {NO MORE TREASURE BOX... NO MORE CANDY!!}  Not that I am against those things - I just about go broke trying to keep the box and the jar stocked!  Plus, last year I had a kiddo with diabetes - so I did away with my candy jar last year and I realized that the kids didn't miss it at all!  Then on those special days when they did get a treat it was REALLY extra special! 
This year I am going to use "Warm Fuzzies" as my rewards.  This by no means is my idea... I've adapted this from Mel D. over at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations
She has an awesome presentation that explains her behavior management plan in depth as well as freebies for all the behavior coupons that go along with this system. 
I have decided that depending on the color that a student ends on for the day they will earn "Warm Fuzzies". What is a "Warm Fuzzy" you ask?  They are just regular {or fancy} pom poms.

Here's what my bucket looks like on the inside.

So if a student ends up on green for the day - they have earned 1 warm fuzzy.  If they got to move their clip up to blue... 2 warm fuzzies.  If they were Outstanding... then they've earned 3 warm fuzzies.  However, if they end up on yellow {warning} for the day - they do not get a fuzzy.  If they end up on orange {consequence} for the day - then they OWE me a warm fuzzy.  If they end up on red for the day {parent contact} they will owe me 2 warm fuzzies!  Heaven forbid!
But if they get OFF THE CHART - when they are better than outstanding... which is a RARE occasion  - they get a GLITTER FUZZY!  {WHOA - Stop the world!}
These are worth 5 {YES I SAID FIVE} warm fuzzies!

Just take a look at these beauties!

They will put their warm fuzzies in a paint cup labeled with their student number... I didn't take a picture of the cups but I think you might be able to see them inside their book baskets in their cubbies in this picture.

But what is all the fuss about fuzzies?  Every 2 weeks my students will get to shop for reward coupons.  Each coupon is worth 5 warm fuzzies.  {Hopefully an incentive to earn a fuzzy a day by at least staying on green}.  These coupons I printed on cardstock {I got them from Mel D} laminated them and put them in a craft box to keep them organized.  These coupons are things like - sit by a friend, 15 minutes computer time,  kick your shoes off in the classroom, bring a stuffed animal to school, read a book to the class, etc.  There are so many more and they cost me NOTHING!  But the kids go crazy over these kind of rewards!  I'm so excited about this idea and will keep you posted how this new system works out.  OH and if you liked those cute Warm Fuzzy and Glitter Fuzzy Labels - you can download them HERE!

Do you do the Daily 5 and Cafe?  We changed CAFE to FACE so that our first graders would relate a little better to the concept "the face of a reader".  I redid my board this year {Yep - you guessed it - OWLS}!

What I am super excited about this year is that all of my strategy cards have been redone, match the color owl on my FACE posters AND {wait for it} have the CCSS on the card! Give me a 10 finger WOO everybody! LOL
Take a look at what I mean:

The purple owl is on all of the fluency cards, outlined in purple and if you look very carefully the CCSS {and there are sometimes more than one} listed on the strategy card by the owl.
Here is how I have mine organized:

I said there was gonna be a TON of freebies... so if you've made it this far in this post - Here you go!
You can find my FACE posters AND all of my strategy cards with the CCSS {FOR FIRST GRADE} HERE!

Do you do a "Star of the Week"?  This year since I have kinda drifted away from camping but still have that outdoorsy forest feel... I decided to go with "Ranger of the Week".  I ran out of room on my walls so put our display on the inside of our classroom door.

I found the cutest little polka dot rug and some owl pillows - I will probably regret it but they were impulse buys - you know - just too cute too pass up!  

I know there are not many Saxon users out there - but we use Saxon Math - and I just HAD to get rid of all that YELLOW for our calendar wall.  So I cut around each piece and made labels to put above each concept area on our wall.  I don't mind it as much anymore. :)

If anyone does Saxon and would like my labels - just email me and I will send them to you.
WHEW!  I told you it would be a long post... I hope I didn't bore you.

Don't forget about the "Back to School Sale" at TPT tomorrow and Monday.  I know I will be shopping!  Oh and don't forget tomorrow is the last day to enter my giveaway for Deedee Wills Writing Work Stations The Complete Set and my Everything OWLS Classroom Bundle!  There will be 4 winners that will receive both items.  I will announce the winners on Monday, August 13th!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"OWL" See ya later!


  1. For starters I love all your cute owl-ness!! I went owl and polka dot crazy this year too in my room. Second, I really like that warm fuzzy idea. If I were a kid, I would kill for a glitter fuzzy!! lol Curious, where will you have your kiddos keep their fuzzies? And finally -- I use Saxon Math and I too HATE all the yellow calendar stuff!! None of their stuff meets my cuteness standard. I'm still trying to debate if I will do usual calendar this year or convert to doing it all on the pro-board and just display a calendar. But either way I just wanted to let you know how much I like the way yours looks!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

    1. Hi Stephanie.. THANKS! My kiddos will keep them in paint cups with their number on them. I didn't get a picture of them but I will try to remember to get a pic and post about it sometime. They have a hole in the top and they don't come out until you take the lid off! It works perfectly!

  2. Your classroom is to cute! Thank you for all the freebies. By the way where did you get those owl pillows? I have to get me some now. lol


    1. Thanks Ashley! I got them at BIG LOTS! :)

  3. I love your FACE posters. I want to start and I really like the way you changed it to have the firsties understand it better. Thanks!

  4. Nicole,
    You are beyond generous sharing your FACE set with us! They are adorable.

    I thought it might be cute to change your Ranger of the Week to "Owlet of the Week"... :)

    I’m your newest follower! I am a Newbie Blogger, so I appreciate all of the sharing of advice and ideas. I’m having my big 100 follower giveaway! I’d love it if you wanted to come on over for a visit sometime. Thanks!
    Corinna :)
    Teaching Fabulous Firsties!

    1. I will definitely hop on over to your blog! Thanks for the cute idea!

  5. I stumbled upon your blog and Pinterest recently and it is fabulous! I'm moving from 3rd to 1st this year and your ideas have been so helpful - THANK YOU for sharing!! Good luck this school year!!

  6. Hi Nicole I really like your blog, its fantastic. I am homeschooling my son, and I am researching to find the standard common core/or curriculum for 1st graders for all subject areas such as mathematics, science, writing, reading, spelling, language arts, history, and arts. I would like to know if you would recommend me or suggest me books I may purchase to base the lessons. Or even websites would be quite helpful.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  7. I love your blog! I also think you have great taste! I have a few questions for you and I really hope I get a response. I love your book bin labels with the tree and owls. I downloaded the freebies, but would love to have them for my entire library. Is there any way you could make some with the Guided Reading levels? I also downloaded the strategy cards, could you tell us how you use them in your classroom? Is it for display only or do kids interact with it.
    Thank you so much for everything.

  8. Do you have available anywhere the warm fuzzies addition to your behavior chart? The cards that say how many warm fuzzies they earn or give up?

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  10. Did you get that adorable rug at Big Lots too? TOO cute! Would match my chocolate polka dot border perfectly!


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