Sunday, August 17, 2014

Classroom Reveal 2014-2015

One of my favorite things to do is to look at photos of classrooms. So, I thought I'd share my classroom photos with all of you. I have a small classroom with no built in furniture, so everything in there is out in the open. There's just no where to hide anything! LOL!

I don't have a classroom theme. I never had one in all the years I've been teaching. I just like bright colors and organization.

Here is the view from the door.

Here you see the writer's notebook station on the left and the sight word station on the right.

I always display some transition words for the children to use when they are writing.

My students don't necessarily complete their work at this table, though. They are allowed to go anywhere in the room to work during station time.

This is my phonics station.
You can find the colored blends posters here.

This is my work on writing station.

Hanging up and ready to go are my August/September words for writing and some noun and verb cards from my Fun With Parts of Speech. You can see I have two activities ready to go. Making a list of school words and making a book about school. Both of these can be found here. I'll be hanging up my writing menu soon too!

This is my classroom library.

My character trait posters can be found here.
The reading skills and strategies posters can be found here.

I keep extra supply bins here.

This is my Super Improvers Wall. The left side is for kindergarten and the right side is for first grade. I haven't put up names for kindergarten yet. I decided it was easier to put the children's names up instead of labeling each new star they earn.

This is my focus board. I teach kindergarten and first grade, so that is why you see two sight word labels.

You can find my alphabet posters here.
And I have some of the focus board labels here and here.

This year, I brought all my Journeys files and activities to school, and they now live in this HUGE file cabinet draw.

I have everything I need for each week inside a labeled folder.
 I am nothing if not organized! :)

I hope you enjoyed my classroom reveal. I am very excited to begin the new school year on Monday. And it's my birthday this week! Double the fun!

I'll be back soon to do another AWESOME bin giveaway!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Idea: Ask Me Cup!

Welcome to the August edition of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

This month, I am sharing my Ask Me Cup.

I put everyone's name in the cup and I use it during my whole group lessons, to be sure I call on everyone, and not just the same few kids who always raise their hand. 

In addition to the children's names, I also have some cards labeled "Teacher's Choice". If I choose one, then I can call on anyone I want, including those who already had a turn. This way, the children don't think that, since their name was already chosen, they can stop paying attention. 

I also use this cup whenever I need to choose a child for something. This way, I can blame the ask me cup when children complain they didn't get called on. No blood on my hands! LOL! (Yes! I do watch Big Brother!)

Here's another one of my Ask Me Cups!

I hope you enjoyed my idea this month.
Have fun hopping through all the blogs linked up below!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dollar Saving Teachers!

As teachers, we spend a lot of our own money to make our classrooms beautiful and to help our students learn. We just can't help ourselves! 

Well, I am teaming up with Teacher Created Resources, to show you how we can still make our classrooms beautiful and help our students learn without breaking the bank!

Teacher Created Resources has tons and tons of affordable and attractive decorative products to help dress up inexpensive items to make them look like you spent way more than you actually did.

Here are some decorative items I was given by Teacher Created Resources...

I used these pencils and hands to decorate this cup I bought at Walmart for $1.00. I will label each pencil with my students' names once I have them and I will use it when I want to make sure to call on all my students during whole group activities. I call it my "ask me" cup.

I used these stars to decorate my caddies. The small caddy holds glue sticks and scissors and the large one holds pencils, crayons, and erasers. The stars make the caddies look so much prettier!

I used these polka dot cards to label this small bin I bought at Michaels for $1.00. This bin will hold my nice notes at my work on writing station.

So, as you can see, adding some inexpensive decorative elements to inexpensive items really helps to add some pizzazz!

You can even use these decorative elements to make learning games for your stations.

Teacher Created Resources has created a pinterest board where you can find more dollar store products. I hope you go and check them out! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lakeshore Connect and Store Bin Giveaway!

I am kicking off Back to School Season with an awesome giveaway from Lakeshore Learning! As I'm sure you already know, they have exciting classroom games and manipulatives, space-saving organizational supplies, the latest art essentials and more!

I am addicted to all kinds of bins! I just can't have enough bins! Actually, I've never met a teacher who wasn't addicted to bins! Lakeshore has these amazing connect and store book bins in bright and beautiful rainbow colors, and I just love them!

They come in a set of 6 and they link together, if you want them too. They are the perfect size for large or small books, binders, papers, baggies, and just about anything! They are incredibly sturdy and easily hold my Journeys Teacher's Editions, without tipping over from the weight.

They even have a little clear pocket so you can add labels. I haven't gotten that far yet! I'm not 100% certain what I'll be keeping in my bins yet and may not know for sure until school starts. I may keep my day-to-day activities in them, and label each basket with a day of the week, or I may keep my reference materials in them, and label as such. I do know, though, that I absolutely LOVE them!

And I know you will love them too! Lakeshore is so generous, that they are allowing me to give away a set of 6 bins to a very lucky follower. All you have to do is enter using the rafflecopter below. Please enter with integrity, as this contest will be closely monitored.

You can check out Lakeshore's back to school sale items here!
All items are on sale through August 31.

If you have a Lakeshore store near you, click here to find their in-store doorbusters and here to find some money-saving coupons to use!

Don't have a Lakeshore store near you? Not a problem! Click here to start shopping online!

Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

Michaels...#create2educate #sweepstakes

It's that time again! Time to start setting up our classrooms for another successful school year! This year, I am especially excited to set up my classroom, because I have teamed with @Michaels to help teachers and parents to Create2Educate with DIY projects and crafts. And here's some more great news! If you decide to get your craft on too, you can enter to win a $50 gift card to Michaels! I'll explain more about that later, after I finish showing off my creations.

I went on a shopping spree at Michaels and bought some supplies to help me make two different projects.

Here is what I purchased...
This year, I am changing the way my children go to stations. In the past, I always used a pocket chart for the children to choose their station. The pocket chart hung on a door, my students put their name next to the station they wanted to go to first, and then went to that station. However, my kindergarten students sometimes forgot which station they chose and would wind up at the wrong station or they got confused and went to a different station. So, I decided that this year I was going to have the children bring their name to the actual station they were visiting, to alleviate this problem. I knew in my head exactly what I wanted at each station to hold their names, and I went to Michaels and found just what I envisioned. I couldn't possibly have asked for a better holder.

I bought 5 of them, in the prettiest colors, along with some cute stickers to make them look even nicer. I attached my station signs using a hot glue gun and stuck on the stickers, and love the way they came out. 

Each student will have a colored pencil, labeled with his/her name, to use to go from station to station. And I know they won't wind up at the wrong station anymore!

For my next project, I decorated a bulletin board to use for Nice Notes.

Creating a positive classroom community is very important to me. My students will be writing nice things about their peers all year long. And their sentiments will hang on this beautiful board.

This display was super easy to make! I printed out the Nice Note letters and banners, and hot glued them to the boards. I also glued on some white ribbon and the colorful wooden stars.

This beautiful board will look great in my classroom and will serve a very important purpose. 

Click here for more information about the Nice Notes!

And there you have it! 
Two super simple DIY crafts that anyone can make. 

I hope I have inspired you to get creative because now it's your turn! Michaels is having a DIY crafting contest on Instagram from August 1-15.  Each day, a winner will be chosen to win a $50.00 gift card to Michaels! To enter, all you have to do is create something for your classroom, take a picture of it, and upload it to Instagram. Tag @Michaels and use the hashtags #Create2Educate and #sweepstakes starting August 1 on Instagram. If you don't have an Instagram account, then get one now! It's super easy to do! 
Happy crafting!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bob Books Review and Giveaway!

I'm sure you have all heard of Bob Books, right? 
They are published by Scholastic and are great for beginning readers. Bob Books introduce reading step by step and really help to get children excited about learning how to read. Children feel very successful when they read the books, which helps to build their confidence and self esteem.

Recently, I was asked to review a set of books, of my choice, from Bob Books and I jumped at the chance. I have several sets of books already, that I have collected over the years, and my students absolutely love them.

I chose to review the Rhyming Words Set
Learning to recognize and read rhyming words is HUGE in kindergarten, so I thought this would be a great addition to my library.

This set comes with 10 small books, each 12 pages long. 
All of the stories contain mostly two and three letter words that can be sounded out. All of the rhyming words have endings that both sound the same and are spelled the same.
In addition to the 12 books, the set also includes 40 word family puzzle cards. I'll be putting these out at my phonics station. 
I know my students will thoroughly enjoy reading these books and I look forward to watching them become confident and enthusiastic readers!

Bob Books has generously allowed me to give away a set of books to a lucky follower. I'm sure most of you already have some sets in your classroom already, so I definitely encourage you to click here and peruse their website. It is very user friendly. They even have a book finder quiz that will help you find the right set for your students' needs.

Once you figure out the set you would like to win, just come back here and enter my giveaway using the rafflectoper. One of the entries is to leave a comment below, stating the set you'd like to win. This entry is mandatory. Please enter this giveaway with integrity, as this contest will be closely monitored.

Good luck to everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Idea: Instant Shelving

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

This month, I'm sharing an easy and inexpensive way to add extra shelving in your classroom.

Just put some crates on a table and put a piece of wire shelving on top and, voila! You have an instant shelf! You can put stuff in the crates and on top of the wire shelving. To make more room at the table, I pushed the table out from the wall a bit and put some wooden boards on the table, before I put the crates on it. The boards are just left over dividers from my wooden furniture that I never use.

When I purchased my wire shelving, I had a worker cut it down to the correct size. They do that free of charge!

I hope you find this idea useful! Check out the links below for more bright ideas!

Friday, July 18, 2014

20,000 Facebook Fans Sale-A-Bration!

I am very excited to have reached
To celebrate, I'm having a 3 day sale.
Now is a good time to grab what you need to start the new school year! We can't keep pretending that our summer vacation will last forever!

Here are some items you may need!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard