Monday, August 25, 2014

What teachers do. . .

I am putting the finishing touches on my room. . . which apparently means I am not only a teacher, but a carpet cleaner, as well.
Our carpets are nasty and I would never let my own child sit on them.
My colleague next door (I would die without her) brought in some magical carpet washer and let me borrow it.
This took a LONG time today but was worth it!

The rest of my room is almost perfect and is getting super organized. Almost.
I just love looking around!
My favorite thing is that I created almost everything you see in my room. I did it and it feels wonderful!

Grab these name plates from this pack:

I'm beyond exhausted.
I can't wait to finish up tomorrow and see my kiddos on Wednesday!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's Gettin' There!

I have been working on my room nonstop all week long (when they'll let me). It's finally getting there but nowhere near perfect. Our building construction project was so behind that we had teachers who couldn't get into their rooms until today. Yes, Sunday. 
The first day of school is tomorrow.
Can you believe that is happening in a public school?
Just wait to hear about all the other interesting things that happen here throughout the year.
My fingers hurt so bad from hot glueing everything onto my walls. Yowza!

Let's recap the week, shall we?




Check it.
I used that cool contact paper again, but this time it's gray.

I keep these signs up outside of my door all year long.
They are both free. :)

Speaking of my door (which is, of course covered in owls on the other side), I put up reminders on the inside for students, staff and parents.
I just throw it together each year. :)

When students enter the room, this is one of the first things they see.
These are also both in my store:

I hot glued these to a wall that needed a little something extra.
I love it!!!
Find these posters HERE!

I put up my 10 frames and my alphabet. I LOVE looking up and seeing these.

I have the nastiest brown, CHEAP chalkboard in my class.
So, I bought a little chalkboard paint and had my main squeeze paint it. . . .

I'm in love! It looks so nice!!!

Besides gorgeous chalkboard, you can see my new, POSITIVE Ready To Learn Chart in the above picture! If you reach the top, it's a good parent phone call- love it!
Find that chart HERE.

I also managed to set up my new (crammed) morning meeting space.
This is my favorite part of the day, so I need it to look beautiful. I'm gettin' there. . . 
Grab the Owl Calendar and Classroom Helpers HERE.

And this is my favorite thing to look at in the room, although I am the worst at following through with this all year long. Maybe this year will be different? 

I am exhausted and the kids come tomorrow for 1st-5th. Luckily I have a little more time in my room!

Happy Back to School!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Hey- I am still in the fetal position. . . in my classroom. . . desperately trying to get it together for Open House. . . tonight! Aaahhh!    Hopefully you have your classroom in order and have time to grab some items for FREE TONIGHT between 8-9pm Eastern for Schoolapalooza!I have my newest item in my store available for free for only one hour, so be sure to set your alarm on your phone and stop by A CLASSY COLLABORATION later!  Click the picture to take you there and don't forget to stop by there again tomorrow!
Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pinterest Fail

I walked into an empty room this morning and went to my professional development.
By noon, it looked like this!

So exciting, right?!

The room wasn't finished. There were holes in the ceiling, no toilet  in one of the bathrooms, painting being done, wires being. . . wired, ceiling sprinklers leaking all over the place and FILTHY closets.
This was what one of my closets looked like. I wish that I was responsible for drawing a face in that mirror but the credit goes to the construction people.

I naturally had to stay busy, so I decided to do a project that I have been meaning to do for a year and a half.

Do those look cool?
I want you to know that this was a total Pinterest fail.
It might look okay in the picture but I had bubbles everywhere and it looks crinkled.
I'm too lazy to change it though. We'll see how long it lasts. :)

Maybe you'd be better at it!
Here is what I used, just in case you want to set yourself up for failure.

Grab this shelf liner HERE. The colors change all of the time, so you may not be able to find this color right now. :(

After that, I opened up 20 boxes and started putting things into shelves.
This is what it looked like when they kicked me out tonight.
Can you even see a difference?
I'm excited to tackle more tomorrow!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How Do You Do It?

We started work yesterday; yes, on Friday. We were going to have a morning of meeting new staff and then time to work in our classrooms. There was a HUGE construction project all summer that forced us (if you remember) to pack up every single item in our rooms at the end of this past school year. Our Open House is next Thursday and I couldn't wait to get my room in order. This past week, I emailed my new principal (who is great!) and made sure that I could be in my classroom this weekend. I was told that I could, so I proceeded to call in the troops. I had family members and friends ready to help. I cancelled a trip up to the cabin. I packed my car to the brim with boxes and bulletin board paper.
You get the idea.
This all happened Thursday night- the packing of the car and preparing for the beginning-of-the-year-chaos.
Now, I am very Type A and I know myself so well.
So, I know that I will feel better if I am fully prepared for the next day, week, month, etc. Any time that I can plan ahead, I do.
 So, I did. . . . Only to walk into this.

^That is one tiny part of the building that we were actually allowed to walk through. SO SCARY! It hurt to breathe. So, I go to our meeting only to hear that I am NOT allowed into my classroom. At all. Probably until next Wednesday. WEDNESDAY! Open House is THURSDAY!
I am practically hyperventilating and so visibly about to have a full-out panic attack. This is the fault of the contractor, by the way; not my principal. They have not been transparent with her and the district is still forcing us to come in and the Open House is not allowed to be postponed or cancelled. Don't get me started!

So, we peeked into some classrooms and they had ceilings; they had a mess but pretty much everything installed. So, my coworker and I sneaked through a courtyard to get a look at the kindergarten classrooms.
This is my room.

First of all, those boxes are not mine. No, those are items that still need to be installed. Also, please take note of the lack of ceiling in my room!
It gets worse.

'See that pretty carpet?
It was installed on the WRONG SIDE OF THE CLASSROOM.
Yeah, it's by a sink and drinking fountain. 'Can't wait to smell the inevitable mildew.
Not by morning meeting area. Not by our Promethean Board. Not where circle time is.
We explained the mistake to the contractor, who told us that even though it's, "an easy fix," it would cost more money to change it.

There was nothing that I could do.

So, I did the only thing that I knew how to do.

I  went to happy hour at 1pm with my coworkers.

As I was there, drinking my cares away sipping a local brew, a coworker started talking about my blog and products. . . I had no idea that she even knew about this because I am pretty private about this stuff.
She said that she had my 1st Grade Word of the Week on her tpt wish list. I of course told her that I will always send my products to coworkers for free and that I was totally flattered that she even knew about me or liked my stuff. Then she said something that I haven't really thought about. . . .

"How do you do it?"

I was like, "Do what?"

She said, "Be a mom, be a great teacher, create products on tpt, blog, facebook, do yoga, make healthy lunches, etc.?"

I quickly said some self-deprecating comment about how I'm a sleep-deprived mess and we moved on.

But last night, I started thinking about how I do do it.

I plan. Not because I'm good at it, but because I know how I feel if I don't.
If I don't, then I really am a total, emotional wreck.
Also, I need to do nice things for my family or team. It's in my nature. If I'm being totally selfish all week (like that's possible as a teacher), I feel out of balance. So, I try my hardest to squeeze in a million things upfront, to save my sanity later (and give me time to be a mom and create products).

 I started thinking about Thursday night before my first day and all the things that I did in the two hours between my son going to bed and me going to bed. I thought about why I did these things and why I do these things during the school year. It's so simple. If I don't do the work ahead of time, I feel stressed all week. I feel like I can't give as much to my students and son. I feel totally out of balance and I want to go into this school year feeling balanced (good luck to me).
So, I'm going to show you things that I plan and do all the time, just to keep my sanity.

How I do it:

1. I don't always do this, but I did this Thursday night. The idea is that I need to do something nice for others each week. :)
I made white chocolate, chocolate chip, cashew-covered pretzels for the staff at my school.

2. Every Sunday, I make two pots of coffee and place into 5 thermoses and put them in the fridge.  I always drink cold coffee, but I don't have to worry about making a pot every day or washing it every day. I just grab and go in the morning. 

3. On Sundays, I make 5 salads and put them in my Pyrex containers in the fridge. I have to make them interesting. Sometimes more Southwesty (it's a word:)), sometimes filled with olives, or just a simple avocado. Again, in the morning, I just grab and go.

4. I make a weekly dressing every Sunday. I always just toss together garlic, herbs (cilantro pictured), onion, olive oil, vinegar, dijon, cayenne and lemon juice; or some variation of that. I leave it at school all week and bring the jar home on Fridays.

5. I lay out at least two outfits- and they're almost always dresses (not pictured).

6. I print everything that I need two weeks in advance. I'm not perfect at this, but pretty darn close!

7. I create products that save me time! Seriously, these are TOTALLY SELFISH! The click-and-print feature is one that I can't live without.

7. I have to do something fun for my kiddos and/or classroom. I don't do this weekly, but I did it within that 2-hour time slot on Thursday. I colored rice and Orzo pasta! I'm gonna do an exciting post on that next week. Stay tuned!

So, that's how I do it, and when I do this on Sunday nights, then I have time for yoga, to be a mom, make dinner in the evening and blog. I can't imagine squeezing much else in, so I don't. :)

How do you do it? I would LOVE to hear about how you prepare for your week and/or keep your sanity!

Tell me in a comment below and I will choose a winner tomorrow to win this pack that I am OBSESSED WITH! (Don't forget your email!)

Winner! TRACY R.! (Someone double commented, so there second one didn't count)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday (MORNING IDEAS AND PATTERN CENTERS) and a special reminder

I wanted a great throwback today because I go back tomorrow. Waaahhhhh! I'm not ready. If you recall, I had to pack up every single scrap in my classroom and tomorrow I return to a sea of boxes. I just want to decorate and have fun. Send me good vibes, please! :)
I also am gearing up for total exhaustion and beginning-of-the-year-frustrations. . . 
Then I found this post. Everyone, remember- Day 22.  That's when it starts to get really good. 

I love this post!


The last three days have been so busy and fun! Please remind me next year that by day 22, things are in order! I have all 25 kids under control, respectful and so darn loving!
I am crazy for them all!
Let me share my cutest (and saddest) story of the week before we get to the good stuff.

 We had a fire drill and some of the kids were so scared.
Background knowledge- There was a major tornado a few years ago that affected the neighborhood that I teach in- MANY homes and lives were destroyed.

We came back in and I assured my babies that I would take care of them in an emergency and that our building has never had a fire.
A little girl raised her hand.
Girl: "I'm scared because a potato ruined my house when I was a baby."
Me: A what ruined your house, honey?
Girl: A potato
Me: Do you mean tornado?
Girl: Yes, a potato.
Me: Oh, sweetheart, we will always practice for emergencies and we will practice a tornado drill soon.
Girl: Do we go outside for that, too?
Me: No, we go to a special shelter area.

I kid you not, about half of my kids shouted out, "I live there!"


Yes, 1 in 3 of our students are identified homeless (many more not identified).

It was such a sweet moment, but such a reality check.

Sigh- I love them.

Anyway, we have had such a busy week. We have a TON of pressure from the district to follow, "focused instruction" which is making us focus on patterns for four weeks straight. So, for "Fun Friday" we did pattern centers.
Breakfast time has been filled with just breakfast and conversation but NOW, I put a cup at their place filled with objects. While they eat, they do patterns.

Check out the last three days of fun!


This was purely tracing the letter and words that start with that letter. I ALWAYS circle their best letters.


Focusing on our sight words as separate words. What is a word?

 Our number of the day.


(breakfast setup)
Every day, they have a name tracer homework and one other piece of homework.
So, two pages every single night.
If you want a post about how I get them to do it and be responsible for putting their own homework in the folder, just let me know in a comment.

Writer's Workshop was actually writing the letter without tracer help, and finding it among other letters. Again, I always circle their best letters.


Rainbow writing our number of the day:


Our color of the day!




Wrapping up our letter of the week with a silly hat: 


Rainbow writing our number of the day:


Pattern centers! I just whipped them up during prep!

It makes sense that I'm so exhausted, right?!
Think of all the pictures that I didn't take.

Happy Weekend! 

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