Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taming the Wild

Taming firsties doesn't have to be difficult. It does require patience, consistency, and BRIBERY!

I know that sounds awful, but I use my powers for good. I promise!

First, I make sure my sweeties learn our rituals, routines, and procedures for our classroom.  We practice, practice, practice. We make up 5 rules in my classroom. I only ever use 5. They wording is always a little different because we make them up together, but this is the general list.

1) Follow directions
2) Stay on task and let others do the same
3) Best behavior in areas outside the classroom
4) Respect others, self, and equipment
5) Keep your hands, feet, and body to yourself

I use this clip chart

Students only move their clips down when they do not follow these 5 rules. Just when I know everyone has a great understanding for our rules, rituals, routines, and procedures I introduce the pebble jar. 

I bought a jar from Michaels like this one
and some pebbles from Dollar Tree/Walmart like these 
My students are told that when they are caught being good aka other teachers brag about their behavior in the hallway, PE, library, etc. etc. They get pebbles in the jar. When the jar is full they get a class treat. Works like a CHARM! One year my class filled the jar 5 times! They vote on what kind of treat they get. It's usually very simple like popcorn, cupcakes, and so on.

My students love to fill the jar and my class is always one of the best behaved in school.  I highly recommend the clip chart and pebble jar for kiddies of all ages.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classroom Digs

Today is Tuesday! Classroom digs on linky party Teacher Week 2013. Yesterday was my first day in my classroom. Do you think my room is ready for viewing? 
Um. . .No, but I'm going to show it to you anyway! 
When you walk into my classroom the first thing you see is the East wall. See all that JUNK??? In my defense the last week of school I was told to take everything off the shelves and walls so a lot of it ended up on my counter and hanging bookshelves. But check out my floor. . . So shiny! 
Facing North this is what I saw. I got rid of the filing cabinet. The red thing in the middle is actually a boat shaped seat with storage in the seat. It's too bulky so I'm taking it home to my boys. The writing table is broken so out it went too! The black wonky pipe thingy is wear the TV/VCR used to hang. When I asked for it to be removed that is what they left. SERIOUSLY!?
The rest of my junk is behind those sliding doors in shelves, on the lower shelves, and in that closet. . . Oi Vey!
Another WTH moment for me is seeing that they painted my bathroom's outer walls, but look at my coat hooks??? UGH. . . Should I leave them be or fix it myself? That is the question. 

This is the south wall. I removed the cork boards to reveal my white magnetic boards. The TE before me did this. WHY? This past school year I let it be. I was more than ready to remove it. See the SMART board? I call it a DUMB board because it only worked 6 or 7 times the whole school year. Its off to our campus tech to be fixed. Fingers crossed it does. Those IKEA bags are full of more junk. I also removed that little shelf. No space for it. 
I went in at noon and left at 5 yesterday. I only got this (below) done. I blame my coworkers who needed my help moving furniture and they were chatting Me up. (wink, wink) 
Okay, I was totally chatting them up!
It doesn't look like much progress, but I went home BEAT!
FYI- My turquoise window curtains are from BIG LOTS $5 each! 

Today,  I was there from  9-6 and I wiped out and off everything. It's amazing how dirty everything gets. I got to see so many ants and spiders. BLEH! I worked on my bulletin boards, but I swear I kept redoing and adjusting everything. I didn't take any photos today because it isn't complete. 

I will post my big REVEAL above on my "Class Tour" tab VERY soon. 

I am loving what I see on all of these Class Tour posts. There are some AMAZING classrooms y'all!
Check them out and link up! We'd love to see yours!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet the Teacher and Monday Made it!

I'm going to try something tonight. I want to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. . .
Ok, I want to link up with both Blog Hoppin' and 4th grade Frolics. I don't know if that's against any bloggyland rules. Shhh. . . don't tell anyone!

I'll start with Blog Hoppin's linky party for Teacher Week 2013, Monday is Meet the Teacher Monday
I'm supposed to mention 10 FUN things about me. 
I will try to think of only FUN things or at least weird. Weird is fun to me. . . 

1. I memorize random facts after reading or hearing them once. Kind of like photographic memory, but not exactly. I know a lot of useless information.  It makes me really good at Jeopardy, but not much else. . .

2. I'm uber competitive. It's a sickness. I can not stand to lose. So much so I will refuse to play any game if I think I'll lose. At the gym I pick a person and mentally compete with that person to get through a workout. Pathetic I know. . .

3. This is pretty random, but I wonder if anyone else does this. I have to smash my sandwiches, burgers, etc. before I eat them. Seriously, I didn't even notice this until my hubbs pointed it. 

4. I buy EVERYTHING in multiples of 3s.  I don't know if it's an OCD thing or if I just can't stand running out of an item. I always have back up and back up for my back up. 

5. I have a West Texas accent because I was born and raised in the Lubbock area. People often assume I can't speak Spanish because of my accent. I like to surprise people by interchanging between the two. 

6. I don't/can't play any musical instruments, but I love to sing. I sing ALL the time. I'm not saying I'm any good at it, but I sing all day long and I love singing with my own children and my students. 

7. I can imitate a lot of voices. I have a wide vocal range. Sometimes I surprise myself. I do use this "talent" with my firsties and my own babies during read-alouds and they love it. 

8. I'm the middle child of a pastor so saying I was a wild child is the understatement of the year! I made really good grades, signed up for all extracurricular activities and sports despite of all my crazy adventures so MOST of my teachers were o.k. with all this cray cray.  

9.  I have 3 kids. I guess that seems like a pretty common fact. What makes it fun is that when I was 20 I was told (by 3 dr.s) that because of medical issues I would be unable have children. I had my daughter at 22, my older son at 24. A few days before my 26th birthday I found out I was 6 months pregnant with my third child.  God is GREAT!  

3 Little Miracles
10.  Everywhere I go kids and babies approach me like they know me. Kids come up and talk to me and babies reach out to me to be carried. It feels nice that little ones have that trust in me just by looking at me. 

I'm not too sure if those were all FUN, but hopefully you get an idea of who I am. If you'd like to know some more randomness click here. 

I have to say I joined teacher bloggy world to network with other teachers. Although I've only just begun blogging myself (long time blog stalker) I am having so much FUN because of all of you. 
Thank you for sharing your creativity and time and thank you for letting me share too y'all! 

Onto the second item of business. . . 

I made several Monday made its, but I took them to school. Today was my first day working in my classroom. I'll take pics and add them here. Gotta love the update button :)

Anyhow, I do have one I want to share. 
I changed my theme this year for something a little more bright and cheery. 

I made some glitter clothespins last year for my display bulletin board, but a lot of my firsties took them home at the end of the year so I had to make more. I'm sure you've seen these all over Pinterest. If you're the original pinner on this project let me know and I'll credit you here. 

This is an easy project because all you need is clothespins, glitter, and mod podge. This year I'll be using the clothespins to hold up photos on another bulletin board. Im going hot glue them to the ribbon and display the photos like a timeline. I'm sure you've seen the photo timeline on Pinterest too. 

**HERE IS AN IDEA** I was stapling my photos onto my bulletin boards. Instead of messing up my photos with holes I am going to paste them onto a sheet of scrapbook paper and clip them onto the bulletin board by month. At the end of the school year I'll remove sheets August through June and make a scrapbook with all of our photos. (By the way I'm give my students a CD of all our photos at the end of the year as an EOY gift.)

I purchased these leaves at our local teacher store. I hot glued them onto the clothespins. Each student's name will go on the leaf (see how I used the veins to write?) and each leaf pin will hold their work to be displayed on the bulletin board outside my door. 

(missing the thumbtack on back)

I really do envy all of you who get your student lists before school starts. We get a list the first day of school and it changes that first week so much. A lot of our parents like to wait the week of to register.  (The only student names I know are teacher kids who placed them in my class.)

Remember this fabric?

and this blue one??

I made curtains to cover some shelves in my classroom. 

I used an iron, the fabric, tension rods, and iron on hem tape. (Choose a tape that matches your fabric type. Some are thin and used on fragile fabrics like lace some are heavy duty for thicker fabrics like canvas.) 

I ironed how I wanted my fabric to look hemmed. (I folded it and ironed it.) Then I placed the hem tape and ironed again. VOILA! The trickiest part is leaving enough space when making the "pocket" the rod slides through. I am the Queen of DIY Winging It. I used the actual rod to help me place the hem tape and ironed with the rod still there. LOL I love how the colors pop. They turned out to be a little long. Nothing a little hem tape won't fix tomorrow! 
Here they are all wrinkled. Good grief!

**ANOTHER IDEA** I am going to use that Downy wrinkle away spray tomorrow to see if it works instead of ironing. I'm always up for finding ways for me to do less work. I'll update here tomorrow :)  

I hope you enjoyed my two linky post. Can't wait to see what y'all have going on during this week's Teacher Week. Head back over here too!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

First Day of School Tips

I decided to link up with Jodi @ Fun in First for some First Day of School tips. (BTW If you are not following Jodi on bloglovin' and on Facebook add her now. Seriously, she always has tons of great tips and freebies.)

What can you do to have a great first day of school? I've narrowed mine down to 3 tips for before the first day of school. These 3 have really helped me out in the past.


EVERYONE is going to tell you that you need to teach your students procedures the first days of school and that is sound advice. What you need to decide is what EXACTLY those procedures are going to be and HOW you want these procedures to be carried out. Really focus on the HOW because the way you carry out procedures in your classroom will be different to anyone else's.  (Jodi has a great list for you to look at to get started.) Don't just wing it. Make sure your procedures are exactly what you want to happen for the remainder of the year. Make a list and keep it handy the first days of school. This will help you feel confident in your classroom that first day.


Label where supplies go, label where every child sits, label where important paperwork is for parents, label where backpacks go, you get the idea. . . . If its labeled parents and students will know what to do and how to put things away without too much assistance. Your students will like being able to put things away independently and you will like not having to stop to tell them where things go. This is important that first day because chances are a reluctant child is going to require your attention or you'll be helping a parent out with other things. Labeling deflates your stress level because its one less thing to worry about.


It's very tempting to wear some cute little thing for the first time on the first day of school, but my advice is to wear something cute, but comfortable. Hear me out before you close this post! The reason I say this is because your outfit sets off your attitude. Think about it. There is nothing like that favorite pair of pants (dress, shoes, or nice blouse). It just feels right. You can't help, but smile when you wear that item. Smiling is what you want to be doing around your nervous parents and students. You don't want to be scowling as you keep pulling down that new dress all day because it turns out it is too short. The first day is so busy it is important that you look and feel comfortable for yourself, your new crew of kidlets, and their families.

That's it from me. Hop over to the other blogs on this linky party for more great advice for your first day or link up and add your own. I hope you have an amazing first day and school year!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Friday! You know what that means!

Here we go! #1 The infamous laminate roll . . .
I finally cut this bad boy out. Over 100 ft. of laminate! I'm keeping what was on that a secret for now. I want to put photos of my classroom after its all set up above on my "Classroom Tour" tab. Just because classroom reveals are so fun. Stay tuned. . .

So even though the above was ENORMOUS I still have  #2 My TPT Shopping Cart

I still need to purchase all my items! All week I kept finding the cutest things and in they went into the cart. I've narrowed it down to 7 items.

It was an EXCRUCIATING process because I really, really want EVERYTHING. I just decided to keep the items I was not willing to create and the items I need right away in the cart. . . And I moved the rest to my wish list {snicker, snicker}. 

#3  Most of my night will be spent laminating and cutting and I'm sure I'll get another one of these. . .
Don't feel too sorry for me. I bruise like a peach! So its almost certain I will get one or two of these, but my cute classroom (my home away from home) is sooooo worth it. I got this one after my Monday Made it this week. 

Not only was I all over the web looking for cute finishing touches for my classroom, I also was searching for a new hairdo and I think I've found it! 
I do realize I do not look like Demi Lovato (I wish!), but I think this cut and color will work for me. I've already got it approved from my OPINIONATED hairdresser. I heart her and her opinions. Nothing like a new 'do for back 2 school. 

It has really hit me hard this week that school is right around the corner. It's such a bittersweet
feeling. . .I'm really going to miss spending my time here at #5 Our ranch property...

We really get away from it all because we don't get any wireless service out there. We camp, ride, fish, and shoot. We'll probably spend most of this weekend out there since it will be a while before we can again. 

So there you have it. Don't forget to link up! Happy weekend!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I've decided to link up with Cara Carroll for today's Throwback Thursday!

I do not have photos of my lessons to show you. Not one I thought you'd like to see anyway. BUT I do have some embarrassing photos if you'd like to see...

Top photo-circa 2001. My senior year in High School. I was able to go down to the Elementary School and help them with reading. I loved it of course. I have really wavy hair. The shorter it is the "poofier" it gets. lol This is me doing a read aloud with my tumbleweed hair to some sweet second graders. They're legally able to drink this year. . .

Middle photo-Prom of course! My Junior prom circa. 2000. I don't know what that pose was about??? Maybe I was trying to show off my guns?? My date wasn't there yet so this is where mom placed me. Thanks mom!

Bottom-Months after marrying my sweetheart @Ft. Stewart, GA circa 2002. He was in the U.S. Army and this was July sometime after a gunnery and poor guy had to live out in the woods in the fried hell heat. He usually isn't that tan. It's like looking at myself with a stranger. My hair is all fuzz from the humidity! #curlyhairproblems. Our only baby at the time. Zues our Jack Russell Terrier. SMARTEST . DOG . EVER.

I thought you could use a good laugh.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Liebster Award

Well color me bashful! I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Clara at I Plead the 5th. Thanks Clara!  

When I first read Clara's sweet note this came to mind. . .

Good thing I can accept this award virtually! 

On with the show. . .The Liebster is awarded to bloggers with less than 200 followers. Well that is definitely me. If you click on this page, even if by accident just go ahead and click on the bloglovin' button, will ya? Just kidding. But, really. . .

To accept, I had to do the following:

1. Link to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer questions from your nominator.
3. Give eleven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate five to eleven blogs with less than 200 followers.
5. Pose questions to your nominees.

Here goes...

1. Link to my nominator: Clara Elliot at I Plead the 5th

2. Questions from my nominator:

a) What do you love most about teaching?

The excitement I can feel beaming off my students when we are learning something new.

b) What professional development have you been involved in this summer?

I attended some workshops introducing our new curriculum. I went to CAMT in San Antonio and had a blast! I was also asked to help write First Grade S.S. curriculum for our district. YAY me! Later this month I will be presenting some Math strategies to my campus and will have the rest of that week doing in-service. . .

c) Did you travel this summer? If so, where? 

I didn't vacation this year. We were too busy around here :) 

d) What one personal thing do you like students to know about you?

I like for them to know that I'm a mom. I like to use my own children as examples when we are going over things and they like to hear my silly stories. 

e) What kind of student were you when you were in the grade you currently teach?

According to my first grade teacher, I was a "mother-hen." I remember being very eager to please. So yeah, I was a teacher's pet! HA HA 

3. The "Facts About Me" portion reminds me of this. . .

Ok. Here are the 11 Facts About me. . .

         I'm the 4th out of 6 kids 
         (Yes, that's a lot of KIDS!) 

          I have 3 amazing kids 

         I just turned 30 in June and I am just now realizing I'm an adult...

I got married when I was 18! Crazy, I know! He's STILL my best friend and my heart. 

My favorite color is royal blue

I graduated from University of Texas in El Paso BUT, 
I will always be a Red Raider Fan (Wreck 'Em Tech!) 

I'm a "tom boy" and proud of it!

I don't watch ANY reality TV shows and I have 0 desire to hear about them. I'm probably like the only teacher in teacher blogland that doesn't. To me they're just. . .

I've wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old

I LOVE to sing, laugh, and dance
 even though my laugh can be heard for miles, 
I sing like an American Idol reject, and the music moves me ugly!

I still dream of being an author/illustrator of children's books 

4. 5 blogs I nominated        
Garden Full of Knowledge
Fun with Firsties
Our K Crew Rocks
Kicking it in First
Vavoom Classroom

5. My questions to the bloggers I nominated. Yes, these are totally random!
  • Which subject is your favorite to teach?
  • What gets you through the day?
  • What is your favorite inspirational quote?
  • What kind of music do you listen to? 
  • What do you do to relieve stress?
  • What is the distance from your home to school?
  • What other jobs have you had besides teaching?
  • What are your favorite things to do in your spare time (not teacher related)? 
  • Why did you start blogging?
  • How long does it take you to get ready on school mornings?
  • Where did you attend college?
Thanks again Clara!
Hope the rest of you learned something 'neato burrito' about me and you don't look like this. . .


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monday Made It

I decided to link up to Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics for my first ever Monday Made it! On a Tuesday because on Monday I was at work. . .

Anyway, I piddled around all summer {and I'm not even sorry!} but, now it's time to get serious. This week is prep time because next Monday I get to set up and organize my classroom. Yes, I said I "get to" because I actually love doing that.

DISCLAIMER: This idea came from my mom who {GASP} doesn't have a Pinterest account. Any resemblance to anyone else's pin or ideas is purely coincidental. Thank you. 

This is my first Monday Made it and I *LOVE* the way it turned out

Project #1-The foot stool

The stool had worn leather, but the cushion was still comfortable so my mom suggested I just cover it with fabric and put clear vinyl over it to protect the fabric.

Since I was going to cover the fabric I didn't bother getting a sturdy fabric. I wanted a low priced and solid colored fabric. I got the "medium" clear vinyl according to the lady who cut it for me. 

I chose these two colors for 2 reasons 1) these colors pop and 2) no matter what theme I have I will always use green and blue. (The green looks dark in this photo, but it is actually lime.)

I borrowed my hubbs' screwdriver to remove the 4 screws that attached the cushion to the stool. (Shhhh. . .don't tell him. I am notorious for leaving his tools anywhere, but where I found them!) That part was easy enough. 

 I had no idea how to put the fabric or the vinyl on the cushion.  So I fought with it for a LOOONG while, I FINALLY just folded the fabric and then the vinyl around the corners like I would with a flat sheet on a bed. . .then I stapled down like a mad woman!

 I used my desk stapler to staple both fabric and vinyl to the cushion part of the stool.  I know this is wrong and that there is a special stapler for this kind of work. I was just being resourceful and it actually held together pretty well. 

Lastly, I put the screws back in and VOILA! 

I like the way it turned out. This color will stand out in my classroom like a spotlight for my student of the week. This child will not have to sit criss cross on the carpet, but will get to use this special seat. 

What do you think? Don't forget to link up. I should really put up the screwdriver . . .


Friday, August 2, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! Yay!

Here's what's been going on in my neck of the woods...

#1-The UGLY foot stool....

My sweet momma gave me this foot stool. I want to paint it and cover the tattered leather with some bright funky fabric. Maybe I can get this done on Monday...
My student of the week will sit here all week instead of sitting criss-cross on the carpet :) 

#2-Notes, Notes, Notes 

These are some notes I took at CAMT. I have to present some fun Math strategies to the WHOLE school-instead of just k-1 teachers like I was told before...YIKES! 
Wish me luck y'all! 

#3-Photo of my NOT setup classroom

I've been checking out other teacher's blogs and Instagram and all I can think about is this... 

I can't get in to set up my classroom until the 12th! 
I'm seeing so much creativity and I want to join in! 

#4-My teacher toolbox

I figured I could get my teacher toolbox done instead, but. . .

so I headed out to Lowe's for an exchange, but wound up at Wal-Mart 
instead and this happened! 

#5-Retail therapy!

I really couldn't help myself! The black poly folders are going to be my firsties take home folders. I'm going to use Lori's (from Teaching with Love and Laughter) Take Home Clip Chart Calendars to help parents keep track of their child's behavior and other important dates. They're perfect and they're FREE! She also has an editable version if you want to modify it. For yours click here!

So what's your 5 for Friday? 
Head over to Doodlebug's Teaching and link up!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently

Thought I'd try something a little fun so I linked up with Farley. I was working on some back to school stuff, but stopped to read everyone else's August Currently! I'm calling the last hour a break.

Here we go . . .

Listening: This is my go to music to get pumped and get things done. I was born in the wrong decade for sure! 

Loving: My hubbs is awesome! He does all of our laundry and I don't! He's a keeper, huh? This is my favorite smell EVER! Who doesn't love the smell of CLEAN :)

Thinking: I woke up this morning thinking what the heck happened to July? That month was over in a blink. I feel robbed! That's what happens when you keep busy, I guess . . .

Wanting: I am wanting to go B2S shopping again. I still lack quite a bit of things. I'm going armed with my 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby. I've decided I NEED new fabric because my classroom theme and color scheme changed...40% off is the only way to buy fabric y'all. 

Needing: I am needing to load products to tpt and tn. I have to admit I am holding back on this one. I'm feeling intimidated and worried about it. I know, I know I'm a chicken butt . . .

B2S must haves: Only 3?? Ha ha Have you seen my Instagram? Target is my kryptonite! 

Seriously, I need new tops. I don't know what I do, but I ruin my tops ALL .THE .TIME . It's been going on since I was little . . . I'm a lost cause . . . So I'm going to Lane Bryant and using my 30% off my whole purchase for teachers Aug. 8-11 (and that's tax free weekend in TX y'all). I'll probably go another day to get my 40% off one item (Hot new blazer??) Plus, I'm so lucky! They honor these coupons at the Lane Bryant Outlet! Woot woot! 

I need a memory card that can cloud photos to my PC. Last school year, (the first year for this to ever happen to me) I lost a lot of really cool photos of my students and I'm not going to take that chance this year! My best geek told me all about them so I think I'll get one from Amazon using my prime membership. Gotta get those sweet deals! Unless any of you know of a better place??? 

Lastly, I wanna get banged. HA! I've had the same haircut for forever and I think bangs will update my look. I'm sure I'll hate them the second I get them. Good thing hair grows! 

Remember I said I changed my classroom theme and color scheme?? I'm buying this sweet little concoction from The Teacher Wife. I love her style and these are going to look great on my word wall! 

Ok, break's over! Link up and let us know how's your August Currently? :)