June 29, 2016

The FIRST Day: Lunchtime

I once heard a school administrator say that on the first day of school, we really have only three jobs:
Get 'em here-Get 'em fed-Get 'em home
and as teacher going into the ninth year of my career, I think that is a pretty accurate statement. Lunchroom procedures and expectations can be one of the most stressful parts about the beginning of the year. And if you're like me, you know you are going to have "lunch duty" for at least a couple of days at the beginning of the year, and for good reason! Today, I want to offer just three "to-dos" to remember for your First Day Lunchtime.

1. Go To The Bathroom. Seriously. As soon as your kids get through the line, get seated, and  start eating, ask a teammate or some other adult in the room to keep an eye on your class for 30 seconds. Go do your business. Your bladder will thank you.

2. Eat. Seriously. Eat, people. Eat some protein. Eat some chocolate. Drink some water. You should be all set to conquer the last half (or less!) of your day.

3. Send a Remind Message. I like to use the Remind App for reminders, but also to send photos and compliments about the class as a whole throughout the week. Take this opportunity to send everyone a "We're having a great day!" text. Your parents will love it. Of course, this means that you need to have sent out info for how to connect via Remind at Meet The Teacher Night or through some other avenue prior to this. I guarantee you, even if less than half of your parents have signed up at that point, they will appreciate it, and then they will talk to other parents later. These parents who have not signed up yet will feel left out and they will immediately go home and make sure they are signed up, too. Try it.


P.S. You can check out my other "First Day" post here:
The FIRST Day: Morning Work Ideas

June 27, 2016

Monday Made It: June 27

Click here to visit the rest of the Link Up.

Since I will be moving grade levels and classrooms, I am doing a little classroom color update. Last year was all about red, black, and white, because the table tops in my classroom will all red. Well, my new classroom does not have red tables, so I decided to go the rainbow brights route. Conveniently enough, that works out pretty well for me and my friend, The Target Dollar Spot. On the other hand, I have a few things that need to be updated (luckily not too much-when you have red tables and red paper on your bulletin board, you don't really find yourself going crazy with the reds in other places). This Owl my mom and I made last year was one of those things. I simply bought a pack of paint markers from Michael's and went to town. I was even able to cover up one of the red stripes with orange. I think it turned out pretty cute! 

This terrarium, filled with plants from Home Depot, is my new favorite thing in my home! I love the way the plants, soil, and rocks add a rustic touch to our urban loft. I also love the little gnome that I impulse bought at Michael's when I was buying those paint markers from #1. 

Made It number 3 is something that has been on my to do list for a while. Lately, the hubby and I have been taking a big look at our budget, and FOOD is the one area that we could really work on. What can I say? We love to eat! I had heard that meal prep is a great way to save money and time, but I was always hesitant to try it because the recipes seemed bland and uninteresting to me. Well, once I got to really looking into it, I found that was not the case! Check out this great Pin. I chose the 10 Healthy Crockpot Freezer Meals recipes. 

Between shopping and prepping, this probably took about 2-2 1/2 hours. I think the shopping was the longest part, but it wasn't bad at all because the blogger provides the complete and organized shopping list. Anyways, we will be trying some of these out this week. They will last for 3 months in the freezer, though, so I plan on saving most of them for Back To School time. As far as $$ goes, I spent about $110. With that said, I ended up with some extra chicken and a bit of extra veggies as well. Some could probably do it cheaper, but for us, $11 per meal (which will yield leftovers for our family of 2) is a good deal on our road to food budge recovery ;) 

June 26, 2016

The FIRST Day: Morning Work Ideas

I just completed my eighth year of teaching 2nd graders, but I can remember my very first day like it was, well, yesterday! There is something exhilarating and frightening about that moment when the bell rings and your students start entering your classroom on the first day. There is so much to be accomplished in the first hour of a new year, and yet, we haven't trained our students on the routines and expectations of our classrooms. For that reason, it can be very tricky to find something for our new kiddos to "Do" during that time. 

Don't stress! I have 3 super simple and classroom tested suggestions:

1. Play Doh. This is all about using resources you already have. Since I have a Play Doh center for indoor recess, I simply took that Play Doh and distributed it out evenly among the desks. As the kiddos entered my classroom, I told them they could create anything they wanted with it. This started our day on a calm, social, and fun note. You could, of course, challenge your students to create their family, something that represents their favorite summer activity, etc. if you want. Play Doh is pretty affordable at Wal Mart and the Dollar Tree, and click here for a recipe I found on Pinterest!

2. Name Word Search. I think that one of my fellow teammates gave me this idea during my first year of teaching. The kids love it, and most 2nd graders find word searches challenging enough (of the horizonal, vertical, and diagonal kind) that you may be able to have them work on completing it during free time throughout the first week. I like to use Super Teacher Worksheets' word search creator, however, it is not free. Here is a free Word Search generator. I include everyone's first name and my own as well. Be sure to double check that you have everyone's names included before you print it off! I'm paranoid enough to triple check so that no one feels left out. Could you imagine if your name was missing out of the Class Word Search on the first day of school? Yikes!

3. Come To The Carpet. It is what it sounds like. You don't HAVE To have something ready to entertain your students at their desks right away, especially if you have a short arrival time. At my old school, my students could arrive within the span of 30 minutes, so I would have never done this. But, at my current school, they arrive within 10 minutes, so this is a perfect morning activity. As your students enter, you could simply invite them to hang up their backpacks and join you in a circle on the carpet. Begin giving words of welcome or affirmation, asking questions, making introductions, and sharing. Easy Peasy!

I hope that you have found some ideas to help you through your first days of school this year!


June 21, 2016

Tuesday Made It

Oops! The days are getting away from me. Last week was spent on a family vacation with my hubby, parents, sister, and her family. And by family vacation I mean that we enjoyed our time at a beach house and on the beach between bouts of the stomach virus. We passed that stuff around like nobody's business and the only person who didn't end up sick was my hubby! A little disappointing, but we will get over it and laugh about it one day. Hopefully soon.

So now for Monday Made It! It's my favorite! Please excuse my tardiness. If you would like to see the rest of the link up, click on the Monday Made It icon below. But don't do that until you read my post! 

Seesaw Task Cards: Back To School

I have been recovering from the above-mentioned sickness and doing some work this week, and my TPT project is what I am most excited about! You must check it out! It is a collection of Task cards to introduce the Seesaw App to your classrooms. Each card has a fun getting to know you (or getting to know the classroom) task on it plus some step by step instructions. If you have the App already and know how to use it, the only prep you need to do is to print these Task Cards out! If not, you will have some downloading and exploring to do, but I think this product can help you with that.

Ok, I didn't make anything yet, but I scored these signs from the Dollar Spot at Target. Any ideas of what I should do with them? Other than "stop buying stuff that you don't have ideas for already"? Ha!


June 10, 2016

Taking An Uncomfortable Rest

So I've been out of school for a week now, and I just have to admit: I am in a Summer Funk. I don't know if anyone out in teacher world can relate to this at all, because we're all supposed to be jumping up and down in our neighborhood pools yelling, "Yay! Summer! Freedom! Relaxation! Recuperation! Whoo hoo!" But, that's my truth.

Whenever there are transitions in my life like this, it takes a little while for me to get settled into them. First of all, there is a bit of a sadness about the end of a great year with a class you've poured your heart and soul into. Then, there is all of this slow free time that is just lovely but also daunting for those of us who love routine and being busy. It's just plain uncomfortable!

And yes, a lot of this has to do with my time in life. Newly married, no children, living in a new city... I would probably feel a lot better if I would just get super busy and make as many plans as possible, but I know the rest is important. Even if it's uncomfortable.

Personal trainers always tout the benefits of rest days, or even weeks, on our bodies, and it makes sense to me that this can apply to all facets of our lives. Do you need rest from something in your life?

Creative Rest?
    Emotional Rest?
        Spiritual Rest?
           Physical Rest?

For me, the answer to all of these is YES. There will be time for reflection and growth soon. But for now, I will be working on taking an Uncomfortable Rest.

June 7, 2016

Monday Made It!

Creative Writing With Fairy Tales: Advice Letters

I have a new product in my store! It's something simple you could use for a variety of grade levels and small group, centers, or full group settings. My kids enjoy reading fairy tales, and they especially love giving advice to other people...so enter Fairy Tale Advice letters! The product includes several formats for student response (scaffolded for use of commas and frames) and include eight different requests for advice from common fairy tale characters. Check it out!  

I recently have begun making some of my own cleaning and laundry products. It's my effort to save money and get a little healthier with the chemicals I am introducing into my home. My sister requested that I make her a set, which is what is pictured above! Here are a few links for the recipes I've used so far:

I love love love these clipboards I made for my students at the end of the year! I hope they will treasure them for years to come. I used Tagul.com to create the word clouds, and simply mod podged them to the clipboards. For the word clouds, I included each student's name, the name of our school, class, and mascot, along with adjectives that I think describe them best. Voila!