Thursday, August 21, 2014

BTS Teacher Week: When Thursday

After looking at so many posts that were linked on to Blog Hoppin', I have to say I am very jealous. Some teachers have "specials" EVERY DAY!!!! That's amazing! At my school, TK and Kindergarten are on a funny schedule. 1/2 of my class arrives at 8:20, while the other 1/2 comes at 9:20. We call them Early Birds and Later Gators. The Early Birds then go home at 12:45, and the Later Gators get to leave at 1:45. Because of our schedule, we get music every other week (for 30 minutes), and that is our only "special". I teach art to my own students, we do not get PE with the teacher, and we do not have a computer teacher at my school. We do get to go to the library every week for 30 minutes, but I have to stay with the students while we are there.

This is our weekly schedule...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BTS Teacher Week: Why Wednesday (Organization)

I have a problem with organization. Every year I say that I will come in before school starts and overhaul my classroom. Then things happen, I talk to much to my coworkers I hadn't seen much over the summer, and then bam! It's crunch time just getting my class ready for the first day. I was talking to one of my good friends about this today, and we decided that we would work on one little thing a week over the school year. We will organize in baby steps. The plan is to ask each other each week "what are you working on". Hopefully this will keep us going. Anyway, there is SOME organization going on in my room.

In an effort to get organized, I purchased this beauty today. It is the 26 Drawer Cabinet from the Container Store. I had tried to buy one from Home Depot last year, but forgot about it after I searched and all of the local stores were out. Anyway, I am going to clean up my desk area, and use this adorable pack from Learning In Wonderland to decorate.

(Click the picture to go to the TPT listing)

This is the top drawer of my file cabinet. I am very proud that I have kept this organized for the past few years. In each file I have everything I need for each letter of the alphabet. They are organized in alphabetical order in the cabinet for easy access, but I do not teach them from A-Z. 

Last summer I took on the task of organizing my books. I divided out the books for the class library, and the ones I keep in the cabinet. This is what it looked like (by subject) after my amazing mom and I organized for hours. My plan was to scan them all into my iPad so I could have an easy access inventory, but that just started taking too long, so I had to abandon the idea and just shelve the books.
 This is what it looks like now. 

This year I plan on taking all of my printed masters (from TPT lessons, books, that I have made, etc.) and putting them in binders by month. Stacking them in piles on my desk (then shoving them in my desk or a cabinet before Back to School Night, conferences, and Open House) just isn't working for me anymore. I had every intention of starting in May, but I only got as far as making the cute labels for the front and spine of each binder.  

 Last but not least, I have my month boxes. They are copy paper boxes that I have covered in black and labeled with each month. In those boxes I have all of my crafts for each month. They have the pattern, directions for parent helpers, and a sample. When it is time to prep, we pull down the box, pick out the baggie, and get the craft ready. I LOVE these. If I have extra help I can always pull down the box for future months and have parents prep it ahead of time.

Well, there you have my attempt at organization. I have every intention of getting better this year. We'll see how that goes. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BTS Teacher Week: Where Tuesday

Warning! Beware! Proceed with caution!

I have been looking at the classrooms today of some of my favorite bloggers, and I do have to say, I feel less than adequate. I have a full 6 days until I start school, so my room isn't terrible, but it is not nearly done. With that being said, I want to be real, and I want you to see what my room really looks like. I am not going to pull up a bunch of pictures from last year, I am going to show you what my room looked like when I left today. Like I said, it's not pretty, and it's definitely on the messy side, but like I said before, it's a work in progress.

In the past, I had this as one board, but this year I decided to cut it up in two, and make the bottom half (and the table) a writing center. I know they are small from here, but the pictures (and corresponding school words) are from the amazing, wonderful DeeDee Wills. It is from her Writing Work Stations for August and September. She is amazing, and the pack for each month is a great asset to your writing center. The top half of the board will have student work. 

I love making trees!!! Right through this door is the Kindergarten playground, so the kids pass through it many times a day. Since it is sort of small, and such an odd shape, I have a hard time fitting student work up there (which means half of the time it was blank). I decided this year to make it the location of our season tree. We create leaves, snowflakes, and flowers for it, depending on the season. I have discovered that liquid water colors, and coffee filters make the most beautiful paper that the kids can paint, then I die cut into leaves (more on that this fall).

This is my new word wall, and I love it! I used Maria Manore's Word Wall Alphabet Headers {White Series}. I used silver string (and my trusty level) to make each square. I can't wait to start adding words.

This is a work in progress (like everything else in my room). This ten frames are what we are going to use to count the days we are in school. I know right now without a heading, or dots it is hard to see, but you can check out what it looks like on my TPT page. It is called Count the Days of School Using 10 Frames. I also have a previous blog post about it. The bottom empty portion of the board will be some sort of birthday board, I just haven't figured that part out yet. 

This is my calendar wall. I am old school, and still do it on a board (while the whole kindergarten team does it on a smart board). I think it is important for it to be visible all day for my kids to look back upon. If you notice the cart to the right of my chair, it is Raskog from Ikea. It has wheels, so I can move it wherever I need it. And it is so functional and cute! 

This is the current state of my desk. The cushion of my chair has a hole in it, so it is held back together with black duct tape (which gets my bottom sticky each time I sit on it). I am currently waiting for someone to remove my TV since I only show videos through my computer, and they took my VCR last summer to give to a teacher that still had VHS tapes. My purple board looks awfully boring, but I fill it up with pictures that my students draw me. I also am trying to trade in my giant file cabinet for a 2 drawer one, but the smaller ones are apparently a hot commodity at my school. 

This is the back of my classroom where the library and my horseshoe table are. The back board (and cabinets) will soon be covered with student work. The fadeless paper on the bottom is called Azure, and I bought it at Lakeshore a few years ago. They don't have that color anymore, so I bought it on Amazon (it wasn't available on Prime) and have been waiting and waiting for it to arrive. 

This is what my whole room looks like. I have a kitchen to the left under the windows, and all of my center toys on shelves in the corner under the word wall. My room is a mess right now, but it will be done soon, and I will happily share the finished product with you. 

Oh, and before I go, don't forget that tomorrow will be a 1 day sale on TPT. My whole store will be 20% off, and you can get an extra 8% with the TPT code BOOST.

Happy Shopping! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

BTS Teacher Week: Who Monday

It's Back to School Teacher week, and I am excited to hop on the bandwagon.

So... About me! 

- I am Lindsay. Just last Friday I got my back to school haircut and chopped about 10 inches off. 

- I am going to be starting my 7th year teaching (four in 5th grade, 2 in TK). I am very excited to get back to work and to meet all 22 of my new little munchkins (a week from tomorrow). 

- At the end of May I received a certificate in teaching Transitional Kindergarten. I am a lifelong student, and love to take classes. 

- I love reading (I just finished Gone Girl, who else is excited for the movie?), Starbucks, Mexican food, taking walks, the beach, hot sauce, the LA Kings, the list could go on and on. 

- My fam is super rad, and my middle brother was just here for a whole 7 days (he lives on Oahu and is the one not smiling). He just left this afternoon with a belly full of his favorite foods he can't get on the island.  :(

- I cook all the time, and my most recent obsession is making ice cream. (The Coolhaus cookbook is AMAZING!)

- My biggest guilty pleasure of the summer has been The Bachelorette / Bachelor in Paradise. I just can't get enough!!!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sale, sale sale!

One of my favorite times of year is when all of my wish listed Teachers Pay Teacher products go on sale. Next Monday and Tuesday, my whole store (and many, many others) will be on sale. Make sure you check it out.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Counting the Days with 10 Frames

I will admit it right now, I am not good at keeping track of the days of school. Don't get me wrong, I am an expert at the end of the year countdown, but I have never been good at counting how many days we have been there. I tried adding die cuts to a number line, but that was just too hard for me. I had to climb on chairs, tables, over cabinets and boards just to reach. So since it was more of a pain than anything, I just didn't do it. Then, I saw somewhere along the way a teacher had been using 10 frames. What a brilliant idea! I took some time and created a product that can be put up on a bulletin board, wall, door, board, or really anywhere you can fit it. The circles (one for each day) come in picture sets of 10, and match the season/time of year.

If you would like to see more, you can find this product on my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking HERE. I hope you are as excited about this!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a kid on their birthday?

After going to the I Teach K! conference in Vegas a few weeks ago, I had tons of new Internet resources to check out. I have been perusing many new blogs, and gathering ideas for my own class. I have been thinking about student birthdays a lot lately. Since I teach TK, all of my kids turn 5 between September 2nd and December 2nd. Sometimes a few kids have birthdays on the same day. In the past I had a birthday board with all of the cutesy cupcakes with the candles on them. Now that EVERY kid has a birthday within 3 months, those cutesy displays don't work anymore. I am still in the process of figuring out how to fix the birthday board.

At the end of the year I was fresh out of birthday crowns, so I decided that I would head to Lakeshore  (the only teacher supply store within 20 miles) to stock up on anything I needed for the upcoming year. Anything. Because I am only going once. That's it. Not 8 times like I did last summer. Anyway, I got there, and they only had 2(!) birthday crown options, and neither of them were cute. I almost settled for one, and decided that I would look elsewhere. That evening while spending too much time on Pinterest, I saw a post about making superhero capes. Suddenly a little light bulb above my head went on. Birthday capes!!!! The next day I forced my mom to go on an adventure with me to Joann's. We looked through tons of fabric, and I finally settled on sparkly fabric made of the same material as swimsuits.

I picked a silver, gold, and red polka dot fabric. And then a few different felts to make my designs. I decided that since all of my students will be turning 5, I would put the number and some sort of super hero-y shape on the backs. This is what I came up with. 

I figured the white thread made the numbers stand out, and I loved my lightning bolt and stars. I wasn't a fan of the red Xs. They looked a bit too pirate. So as I sewed, I decided to change those to two red lightning bolts. I love how they came out!

I am sure my students are going to love them! I can't wait to see the cute little munchkins running around in capes on their birthdays.