Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Teacher Takes Over!

I'm linking up with Sugar and Spice for my first Wordless Wednesday (well...with captions).

My countdown continues and my school stuff is taking over the house! My husband has retreated to his office for the next week! Oops!

The front door... probably a fire hazard, but we don't use this door anyway.

Once upon a time, I had great dreams for this extra bedroom to be my craft room. Well give me another week, and the craft room is coming back!!

Every piece of furniture in the living room is covered in something school related... the main reason my husband says he'll see me in a week. haha

Sooo.....Does your classroom overflow into your house? 
Does your family go running?

Monday, July 14, 2014

My First Monday Made It

I am very excited to share my first Monday Made It with you. I'm also participating in my first Linky Party with 4th Grade Frolics

I have loved exploring all the neat classroom ideas I find on Pinterest, TPT, and various blogs. Now it's my turn to start sharing my ideas and creations! My first Monday Made It might seem a little "been there, done that" because they certainly aren't new ideas... I can't take credit for them or give proper credit to the ideas because they are ALL OVER the internet. BUT this is my spin on these popular ideas, and I am incredibly proud of these projects. :)

I know you have seen the ever popular "Teacher's Toolbox." I got so excited about this project that I ordered the first toolbox I saw on sale. As it turns out, I should have figured out my list of materials first. The box I ordered had 6 large drawers and 24 small drawers. It took a while to think of 24 different (and small enough) things to fill these spaces. I'll try this set-up for now, but may end up changing things if something else seems more practical.

I know that I will have to stay super organized to survive (and thrive) in my first year, so in addition to the toolbox organizer, I made an organizer for my daily materials. I will use each drawer to hold my copies for each day, special props, and books for the day. I haven't decided what to do with the last drawer yet, but it will most likely hold things for the next week or things we didn't get to each day.

 I love the bright colors, but I'm not completely sold on the look of this because it doesn't necessarily "match" the toolbox above. Once I get everything in my classroom, I'll change it if I feel like it sticks out. 

I have been in enough classrooms to know that pencil sharpening in the middle of the day drives me crazy. I plan to use these cups and allow the children to quickly trade their dull pencil for a sharpened one. 

I found the little pails in the Target dollar spot a few years ago and used my Cricut Expression to make the pencils and words. 
I don't know if I will ration out pencils per day or week like other teachers have done, but I think this is a good start to pencil management.

My treasure chest is something that I have been working on for a while. I knew that if I taught PreK through third, this would be a must-have in my classroom. My mom and I have been saving up various knick-knacks and fast food toys for several years.  

I found this cute container at Wal*Mart last year for only 3 or 4 dollars! I used my Cricut Expression to make the letters.

I don't know just yet how or how often students will earn a trip to the treasure chest, but as you can see below, I will definitely be prepared! 

This last project is more of a work in progress. Now that I have a blog, I want to give my Teachers Pay Teachers store a make-over. 

I have invested in some beautiful new graphics and I'm looking forward to incorporating them into some new products, as well as updating some older products. 

To start this make-over process, I have developed a new credits page that will be included in my products from here on out. Right now I just have links in the footer of each product page, but I think this will be a more streamline and attractive way to give credit.

Thanks for checking out my first Monday Made It! I'm looking forward to reading what other teachers have been working on lately.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Countdown To Do List

As I count down the days until I can get into my classroom, I am crossing projects off my to do list as just as quickly as I think of new things to add. This is just a SMALL GLIMPSE of what has been going on in my head lately.

1. I have been exploring all kinds of resources: the 1st grade CCGPS, old curriculum maps from the 1st grade team, teacher editions I picked up from the school, Teachers Pay Teachers, and the blog world. I am getting a lot of ideas, but I'm trying not to over-spend and get so wrapped up in my own ideas before I check in with my team. In college they always told us to "work smarter, not harder," and I know my team already has some fantastic ideas in place that have worked well in the past for the children in our community. Based on my discussions with some of the teachers, it seems like they plan the curriculum map together, share ideas, and pull what they want out of each others' lesson plans. Each teacher has support from the team, but the flexibility to do what she feels is best for her students-- and for that I am very thankful!

2. One thing that my new co-workers recommended was to look into the Daily 5. About half of the first grade team already implements this in their classrooms and I have been very intrigued by everything I see on Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest. I started reading the 2nd edition of the book while I was at youth camp this past week. I was already somewhat familiar with the concept, but reading the book has made me even more interested in implementing it with my students. 

3.  I know that once school starts, I will be much more pressed for time, so I am trying to get a head start on a little "prep work." I know that centers and word walls will be a part of my classroom, so I have been printing, laminating, and cutting like crazy

The cute compound word cards are found HERE from Tweet Music. I caught the packet as a flash freebie, but I still think it would be worth the purchase!The word wall cards are from The Printable Princess. I also have her matching alphabet posters.

4. I have searched and searched for the perfect classroom library organization/system that would work well for me, my students, and the books I currently own. After checking out a few of the other 1st grade rooms, I thought I had finally landed on the perfect system and went to work. I began labeling the outside of my books with a guided reading level and my name and using this AR (Accelerated Reader) sticker inside.

I love this simple way to identify an AR book. I included the quiz number to make it easier on little typing fingers because "The Brown Dog" is WAAYYY different from "The Browm   Dog" and it would take 20+ minutes for my little friends to find the right book if they threw in some extra letters or spaces. This also has the AR book level if I ever wanted to use a correlation chart to compare to another leveling system. I included the points too, although most of my primary grade books have the same amount of points.

As for the guided reading labels I had started tackling, the leveling resources I was using started giving me a little trouble. Some books had levels, some didn't, some seemed really far off, and some I tried to guess a level.  So I put that project on pause for a little while. Then I started to read blogs, message boards, and the Daily 5. NOW I think I have found the perfect leveling system for my classroom (More about that in a later post--I'm still waiting on some color coded stickers I ordered.)

Anyway, those are just a few of the things that I have done to prepare for the coming school year. I'd love to hear how you prepared for your first year teaching, first year at a new school, or first year in a new grade level!

Let the Countdown Begin...

My last day working at the daycare was July 3rd. I had a long relaxing July 4th weekend and began continued to think through some classroom stuff. Then, I headed off to the mountains to chaperone church youth camp on July 9th. We just got back today so I am OFFICIALLY in countdown mode!

My principal told me that I should be able to get into my classroom on July 23rd. Pre-planning starts on August 4th and the kids start on August 8th! I am so excited, but have so much to do before then. Here's my beautiful new "home away from home." 

Okay, so maybe it isn't beautiful YET, but it will be! Please excuse the poor quality. I was able to snag these pictures during hectic post-planning at the end of May. The teacher in this room is moving up to 2nd grade, so she will be taking a good bit of this with her. I was only there for a few hours looking over curriculum , teacher guides, and materials, so I have no idea what will really be in the room when I walk in there in a few weeks.

Something I DO know is that we have pretty strict fire marshal regulations. That means no cute paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling or adorable door decorations for the first day of school. I will have to be a little more creative to achieve my dream "Pinterest-y" classroom, but I am absolutely up to the challenge!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New to the Blogging World

I am new to the blogging world, but I'm excited to see where it will take me in my teaching career and TPT business. Any tips, advice, or suggestions about TPT and Blogging would be VERY appreciated! 

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meet the Teacher

Welcome to a little piece of my world! I am so excited about blogging my "adventures" in teaching!

I grew up in a small Georgia town, went to Georgia College in Milledgeville, and graduated in 2012 with my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. I then moved back in with my parents after college to save money while planning my wedding. 

As luck would have it, I entered the job market during extreme education budget cuts. I was blessed to get my first job at my old elementary school. I'll admit, I was disappointed that I didn't get a "real teaching job," but I couldn't have asked for a better alternative. I got to be a first grade paraprofessional (teacher's aide) and work with the WONDERFUL teachers that taught my sister and me.

I got married on May 18, 2013 during the last week of school that year-- yes, some said I was crazy! I even made the two hour round-trip commute from my new home during the last two days of school. My husband is an associate pastor/youth pastor at a little country church. We work together serving in the youth and children's ministry. 

When we got married I had to give up my para-pro position because that commute just wasn't going to cut it. So I was "jobless" for about a month-- frantically checking emails and voicemails on our honeymoon.  In July I accepted an offer to be the Assistant Director/Curriculum Director at a childcare center and Pre-K program about 30 minutes from our house. I spent a year helping teachers navigate early learning standards, lesson plans, accreditations, and inspections-- and of course, playing with babies. :) 

In early 2014, I began the job hunt again-- still looking for my "real teaching job." I was called for interviews at BOTH schools in the county where I had been working, and I am THRILLED to announce that I will be a first grade teacher in August 2014!! 

Although I spent much of my two year waiting game feeling disappointed and longing for my very own classroom, I know that my experiences will make me a better teacher! I certainly have a greater appreciation for everything para-pros and administrative staff do every day and nothing can compare to the hands-on experience I gained understanding child development. 

Well, here it goes... These are my adventures.