Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Classroom Makeover - Part One

Well...It has started!
Classroom Makeover - 2012

After last year, and feeling rather burned out...I wanted to make sure I had a fresh start for the upcoming school year.  Enter ~ Classroom Makeover 2012.

Here are some before just started pictures.

Kinda crazy - right?!  Busy, messy, uncoordinated.  I knew that whatever I did, I wanted everything to go together and match, I wanted simple, cheerful, and CLEAN!  

I searched quite a bit online and on Pinterest for great ideas and found Melanie over at www.schoolgirlstyle.com and immediately fell in love with her Classroom Couture lines.  I went to her Teachers Notebook Store and purchased her set titles, Sugar and Spice.  

It was totally me - pink, lime green, teal, a little bit of black! Just like my blog! 

What I especially love about Melanie is that she coordinates her designs with the colors of the Fadeless brand paper and Bordette borders!  It is so simple!  She has great tips for classroom organization and decoration.  

So yesterday I corralled my parents and made them come up and be my slaves  help me out.  Shout out to great parents!!!  Dad painted bookshelves (he still has more to do, but it looks so much better!)  Mom helped with the boards and started making curtains to cover the clutter.  Every bulletin board got covered.  
I'm waiting on the laminator to be set up in the office so that I can laminate all of the bulletin board pieces from Melanie's kit.  That will be part two.  For now, enjoy these photos of the fresh new paper and boards.


There is still de-cluttering to do.  I am also getting new book baskets from Really Good Stuff from my principal.  (LOVE HER!)  What colors?  Pink, Lime Green and Teal!  WOO HOO!

And Now For a LINKY!

The final project I completed was a set of really cute frames for our class principles.  I got them at Michaels, with a coupon, so it was a great steal.  

They were just plain, but cute, balsa wood frames.  I spray painted them in my room colors and they became this.
Next I printed out my class principals in a cute font, enlarged them and then taped them into the frames.  I hung them with clear push-pins and TA-DA!
classroomThis was inspired by an idea from Pinterest ~ originally from http://twogirlzstuff.blogspot.com/
I know I am a little late to this link-up party - but this is my first Monday of Summer - so that's my excuse and I am sticking with it!  I am so excited to join 4th Grade Frolics and share what I made on Monday!  This is going to be a great, crafty summer!  

Stay Cool Everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dropped Off the Face of the Earth...

See the Earth?  Do you see me on it?  Nope!  

That's cause I dropped of the face of the blogging planet!  

These last few months have been a virtual hailstorm of "stuff" in  school, at home, in life...and blogging fell off my radar.  But with the end of school, I wanted to write a quick hello and hope that you hadn't given up on me.

Today was our sixth graders' promotion ceremony, and it was really lovely.  The parents did a great job decorating the gym - making it special, but recognizing that it is, truly, only sixth grade.  It was both appropriate and celebratory.  Our kids received yearbooks, class t-shirts, and water bottles that say "Class of 2018!"  It took some of my kids longer than others to realize why the water bottles said 2018, when it is only 2012! 

They even included a page for the drama club that I run!  Pictures of both shows I have done with this class! I was really touched that my club has been included in the yearbook - we're in the BIG TIME now!

Tomorrow is out last day of school with the kids, always a bittersweet day.  In sixth grade we play a teachers vs. sixth graders softball game.  Each class gets one inning (there are six classes) and it is a ton of fun.  As far as I know, the kids have always lost, but every year they claim this will be their year.  I don't contribute much to the team, but I cheer really loudly and am usually good for at least one base hit.

I made my class little gifts for tomorrow - just a little something to let my kids know I will miss them.  Take a peek:

 I am going to upload the JPEG versions of my tags...I think you will be able to copy and paste them right from the blog if you like them...then just sign your name and you are off to a perfect end of the year treat - although it might be a little late for most of you lucky teachers who have already started your summer.  FYI - the font is called "cinnamon cake" and I downloaded it from dafont.com and the images are from KPM Doodles - a shop on Teachers Notebook.  She makes the most amazing downloadable clip art and I adore it!  So hopefully, you all can just copy and paste these and use them next year.  I have uploaded these into my Teachers Notebook Shop as a freebie - so help yourself!

One final thing to share...I made these cute "thank you" cards for my students.  I just open them up, add a text box and print...Easy Right?!  These images come from Fancy Dog Studios, also a shop at Teachers Notebook.  These are also available at my TN shop!  Hope you can use them!  

So...now that I am back on the blog-o-sphere...what's next?

The Great Room Make-Over 2012

Stay tuned to see what I have in store...I think next year is going to be a fresh start and my room will reflect that!  The new room is going to be pretty similar in color and theme to this blog...so it should be cute!  Next week...you'll see some before pictures, and hopefully a few afters, once I tackle some projects!  

Happy Summer! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Happy May Day Friends!  

I can't believe I have now reached 30 followers!  Crazy!  Only 9 of you signed up for the giveaway - so your chances were pretty good!  The winner was #4 - Kim from Finding JOY in 6th Grade.  I loved seeing all of my new followers from 6th grade classrooms.  We all know how crazy things can get.  Kim - your gift card is on the way, I hope you buy yourself something fun!
For May Day this year my kids made paper cones and we filled them with candy and secretly (yea, right?!) passed them out all over the building.  Do you all celebrate May Day with your students?  Any creative ideas for May Day baskets?  
(Here is one of my tables making the paper cones...yes, it was messy!)

I grew up in Iowa and we always made each other May Day baskets and got up early on May 1st to pass them out.  You would ring your friend's doorbell, leave the basket and run.  If they caught you, you had to give them an additional treat.  It was always tons of fun and a great way to welcome in Spring.

And there is even more 3-6 Free Resources is having a May Day Giveaway that makes mine look like chump change!  Head on over there and check it out...there are plenty of ways to win!   

Monday, April 30, 2012

Don't Forget the Great Giveaway...Tomorrow!!!

WOW!  I can't believe it!  I have 29 followers right now...and to think I despaired of ever getting followed at all!  :)  If you are a follower, or if you want to be, click the picture/link above to be taken to my post about my Great Giveaway - I am sending one lucky winner a $10 gift card to amazon.com!  WOO HOO!  Just leave a comment on that post and you will be entered to win the giveaway.

On a side note, I am currently working on a huge unit for a sixth grade common core standard -

"CC.6.R.L.7 - Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text; including contrasting what they 'see' and 'hear' when reading the text to what they perceive when they watch or listen."

That's certainly one mouthful of a standard!  I decided we would start working on this using multiple texts dealing with one of my favorites - Winnie the Pooh.  Today we thought of our previous experience with Winnie and then read a poem called "Us Too" by AA Milne that is told from Christopher Robin's perspective.  Tomorrow we will read a non-fiction article I cobbled together from a few different sources.  I'm also working on reading a short story with them, listening to the theme song from the movie, and of course I found some clips from the various TV shows.  

One of my goals is to figure out how to put all of this together into an actual, downloadable unit  that I can share here, and in my Teachers Notebook store.  Is there some kind of trick to sharing SMARTboard lessons?  I don't think I can share those through Google Docs - so any advice would be much appreciated.  

I am trying to finish teaching this unit in 10 days, so it may be a little while before the product is ready to go...but I am excited.  Once we work through Winnie the Pooh, I think I will have them choose a topic on their own and find/read/interact with multiple texts with some sort of finished product.  

I hope you all had a great Monday!  (Mine was touch and go...I am back to teaching since my student teacher finished takeover and is slowly giving me back my classroom - happy and sad all at the same time.)  

Here's a little Pooh-Bear wisdom from me to you:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pinteresting Exchange!

It Came!!!  I was so excited to go to my mailbox and see my gift from the wonderful Katherine from Third Grade Teacher Files that see made me while participating in the Pinterest Exchange Linky hosted by Teacher Blogger Exchange.  I was a much needed pick-me-up after a long day!  Something about the weather, combined with coming back from April Break, and looking forward to Nature's Classroom just has my kids off the walls!  So, Katherine - THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY DAY!!!

Here's a few pictures of the wonderful items she made, just for me!

See the adorable clipboard with my name in pink!  It has dots, and stripes, and everything I love, including a fluff of ribbon!  Katherine also included some sparkly gel pens - which always make grading papers much happier!

 Additionally, she personalized a fabulous little journal to match, with my initial on it!  This will be perfect for jotting down quick notes.  It is going in my purse right away!

Would you like to see what I made?  Here's a picture, but I won't give away the recipient, since she has yet to post about it.  

These are clay pots that I painted in her favorite colors.  I then added the polka dots on the rim.  The bottoms of the pots I painted with chalkboard paint, so she can label them and change up their labels however she wants.  She does a lot of crafting with her kiddos in the classroom, so I know she will put these to great use!


Thanks so much to Teacher Blogger Exchange for hosting this fun!  I cannot wait to participate in your next exchange!

Also - don't forget about my giveaway...once you follow my blog, post a comment on my giveaway blog post to be entered into a giveaway for a $10 gift certificate to amazon.com - my favorite store!  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's the Great Give~Away!

Yup...That's right!  I figure when I hit 25 followers I will be giving away a $10 gift certificate to my favorite online store, Amazon.com!  Woo Hoo!  

How do you enter?  
~ Easy ~

1.  If you don't already follow my blog, sign up and then leave a comment below telling me you've done so.  
2.  If you're already a follower, just leave a comment saying so.  

I will hold the drawing on Tuesday, May 1st, which should be a nice little May Day present to the winner.  

Thanks so much for following my blog and supporting me in this new endeavor.  I promise to be a more faithful blogger and to share some really great ideas about teaching

Planning for Nature's Classroom

Hi All,

I am back from April Break and enjoyed a week off, relaxing and hanging out...which was just what the doctor ordered.  My student teacher is still in full take-over this week...so I am keeping busy prepping for our annual trip to Nature's Classroom.  Do any of you take this trip with your students?
We take about 140 6th graders away from three days and two nights to a site in Ivoryton, CT where they get to interact with nature, and with some earthy-crunchy-granola passionate teachers who are really cool.  They go one field group hikes, where they learn all sorts of cool things about nature, animals, plants, etc. They also get to take classes hosted by those same teachers covering topics from dissection of animals like sharks or frogs to using items found in nature to making your own spa products.  They make rope bridges and hunt for different kinds of rocks.  It is always usually a great trip.

Since I have a problem letting other people be in control and a problem saying no when asked to do something, I have been heading up this trip for the last three years.  Right now I am in the thick of planning, determining dorms, room numbers, and where students go in each dorm.  Then there are field groups and table assignments to arrange, not to mention a variety of medical issues to cover.  Thank goodness for excel and all of its cool tricks!

The hardest part of the trip for me is the chaperones - finding enough teachers to cover the trip is always a challenge, especially since the majority of my sixth grade team mates have young children at home.  Plus - with 80+ boys and only 1 male teacher on staff...we usually end up hiring chaperones from NC - which can be a challenge.

It is a lot to keep in my brain, all of the elements of this trip, but the looks on the students' faces make it worthwhile.  Students that struggle in the traditional classroom setting, tend to excel at Nature's Classroom - keeping active all day and getting their hands dirty (literally and figuratively).  While we teachers are exhausted at the end of the three days - I believe the trip is worth every bit of worry and stress.

This is the only field trip we go on in sixth grade.  Do you all have any great field trips you take your class on?  I would love to hear some great ideas!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm back!

I seem to have dropped off the face of the planet these past two weeks.  Life at home has been crazy, plus stuff at work really picked up steam.  My student teacher is in full takeover, and yet I still find every day filled to the brim!  I am currently in rehearsals for a show called "1959 Pink Thunderbird" in which I play a character, as the script describes her, "A big-haired Southern gossip, Baptist to her teeth."  Needless to say, I am having a lot of fun perfecting my Southern Belle twang with a touch of sass!  In addition to that I am prepping for an audition for a summer internship in cabaret performance.  I have to put together a 3-5 song demo CD showcasing my range...crazy!

So, with that being said...what's been going on in my classroom?  We've been working on combining our knowledge of historical fiction as readers with our work writing our own historical fiction short story pieces.  This is always so hard for the students since their knowledge of history is limited and this is our first narrative piece all year.  My student teacher has been doing a great job helping them make connections between their work in Reading and Writing Workshops!

We just finished up our work on the rock cycle and took our quiz on the chapter.  I created a pretty cool Rock Cycle project where my students had to create their own version of the cycle using titles and arrows I provided.  (I really enjoyed that I was able to use my love of fonts for this activity!)  The students really had to plan to figure out how all the pieces worked together and it was fascinating to see what they came up with.  Here's a picture of one of my student's Rock Cycles - I was pretty impressed with her planning.

After we all struggled through this project, I made some changes to it and am posting it in my Teachers Notebook Store.  Be sure to check it out, just click on the store button on my blog!  I am also putting up pictures of the three pages of the project on here.  Once this is done it is off to SPRING BREAK!  WOO HOO!

Hope you all have enjoyed your spring break, or that you have some great plans for this coming week!

Monday, April 2, 2012


More blogging to come later...plus pics of our Hunger Games extravaganza...but for now, just a little update!

By the way...I love Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade...and her monthly linky!  Hop on over to check in with some other bloggers!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blog Makeover

Well...what do you think?  I love my new blog makeover! Thank you, Erika and Misty from The Honey Bunch Blog Design!  Misty and Erika worked crazy hours to find just the right design for my blog.  I asked for whimsical, but not cutesy, polka dots and banners and I got it!  Even better than I could have imagined.  Aren't the buttons adorable, the flowers sweet...and the BANNERS!  PERFECT!

I'm a total font snob and they were great about my picky attitudes.  Everyone at school makes fun of me because I will re-type something just to get it in the perfect font...but I think it is worth it, and I think my students notice.  Right?!

If you are looking to get a great blog design, for a really reasonable price, contact Misty and Erika...you won't be disappointed! 

On a different note, Friday night my student teacher and I took our students to see Hunger Games in the theatres.  Anyone who wanted could attend, as long as their parents were chaperoning them.  My dad even drove an hour to see the movie with us...I made him read the book this fall!  We had about 60 people show up.  (WOW!)  We offered to make t-shirts for our students and they were super excited.  We downloaded the Hunger Games Font (dafont.com) for free and made t-shirts with last names on them, District 12, the Mockingjay pin, and the quote..."May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!" using iron-on transfers.  My iron got more work on Friday doing the t-shirts than it has in the whole last year!  The kids were so excited, very well behaved, and the theatre gave us all free posters!  My student teacher is working with the students to re-do our hallway bulletin board comparing and contrasting the book and movie...so keep your eyes out for pictures as soon as she is done.

Did you like the movie or the book better?

Remember: If you like my blog design, check out Misty's blog and Erika's blog or order your own blog makeover!  You won't be sorry!

PS - I am thinking about having a giveaway for my first 25 followers...any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Survey Says Linky

I am linking up with my friend at 5th Grade Rocks, 5th Grade Rules to share a little more about myself and to learn about all of you all out there in blog world.  Join us and share some fun info about yourself.  All you do is copy the questions off of my post, paste them onto your blog and then add a new question for your blog.  Don't forget to link up at 5th Grade Rocks, 5th Grade Rules to share your post with everyone else!  

5thGradeRocks, 5thGradeRules
Here goes...

1.  Are you married, do you have a bf, or are you flying free as a single lady/man?
Flying free...do you know any cute, red-haired, male teachers who also happen to play the guitar, live in CT, love musical theatre and want to take me out on the town?  No?  Didn't think so!
2.  Where did you grow up?
Ames, Iowa till 8th grade and then East Lyme, CT for high school...both a mid-western girl and a beach bum!

3.  Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind and what is his/her name?
One cat named Bella (not after Twilight) who I got from a former student.  She is a total brat and a goofball...but I love her.  She is obsessed with any type of bags and with feathers.  She also loves to chase her tail, but only in the bathtub...weird right!?  Here's a picture from last Christmas...yes, I dressed her up, No, she did not enjoy it!
4. What is a favorite tv show you are embarrassed to admit to watching?
Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms... I know!  I think because I grew up singing, dancing and performing and since I now run a drama club, I am intrigued by all of those stage moms.  Right?  Can I claim it as research?

5.  Are you a saver or a spender?
I'm a spender...cue music "Hey, Big Spender" ( I have a song for everything!)  In fact, my resolution this year is to live on my budget!  I feel so much more peace knowing that I am making smart choices!

6.  What is your favorite children's book?
AHHHH!  This is the worst question - because, do we mean picture books, chapter books, as a read aloud, my favorite to suggest to my students, my favorite from childhood...Grrrr!  Ok - I guess if I had to pick a book for all of these categories it would be Frindle by Andrew Clements - I love a good teacher/student story!  

7.  Were you the class clown, teacher's pet, or neither?
Totally a teacher's pet...I still am!

8.  Who is your favorite athletic team?
Iowa Hawkeyes!  Go Hawkeyes!  

9.  Where did you go on your last REALLY fun vacation?
Williamsbury, VA with my best friend and parents after college graduation.  This summer I am heading to Disney World!  WOO HOO!

10.  Who is your favorite actor?  Actress?
Actor - Ryan Reynolds         Actress - hmmm...Sandra Bullock 

11.  Tell about the last time you cried because you were happy.
I was so happy when we went to see Les Mis a few weeks ago...I cried during it, I was sad about the plot, but SO HAPPY to be there!  

12.  What is your favorite season?
Even though I love fall for football, spring is my favorite.  I love flowers and seeing everything come back to life.

13.  What is your biggest regret?

Probably getting a credit card in college, it sounds like a small thing, but it really has haunted me for years!

14.  What food do you just NOT like at all?
Blue Cheese and Blueberries - YUCKY!

15. Who was your most memorable teacher, and why?
My first grade teacher, Mrs. Knox.  She told us on day one that we could always come back to her for a hug and someone to listen.  When I went to college, I did just that and it was magical.  She was magical!  

And for my blog:

16.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate with a peanut butter swirl...PERFECTION!

I can't wait to see all of your blog posts!  Happy linking!