Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not All Pocket Charts Are Created Equal

My friend Jennifer of FirstGradeBlueSkies did this awesome tutorial for dying pocket charts.  I thought I would give it a try and purchased some dye from Hobby Lobby today.  First mistake, I bought liquid not powder.  I don't really think it made any difference though. 
I always like to get my money's worth, so thought I would dye 3 instead of just 1.  Probably would have been fine, but not all pocket charts are created with the same materials.  They were the same color (blue), but did feel a tad thicker to the touch -- mistake #2. Not really a big deal.  I can order the smaller ones in black from Amazon.  I really just needed the 100's chart to turn out and I think it did!

So, if you've tried this before and didn't get the results you were looking for, it may have been the pocket chart and not your ability!  That's what I'm blaming it on anyway!!!

Good luck! It really is an easy DIY, if you're dying a thinner pocket chart!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Getting it BACK TOGETHER for Back to School

This summer!! 
It started out great with scheduled time to work in my classroom.  I got all the furniture put in the places I wanted them to go.  Even started putting new things up that I purchased on TPT! And then the word circulated that we could have our rooms painted! We've had the same wall color for quite some time (at least 23 years!), so I was eager to have my room made over! Move all the furniture away from the walls, take EVERYTHING off the walls, bring the HUGE keepers of ?? from the top of the cabinets down, and wait.  And wait.  And wait.
I still went up to school on those scheduled times.  I've copied and laminated new things for the walls.  I've sorted through stacks and stacks of library books and teacher books.  I should be more prepared for the start of my 23rd year than any other year. 
Just when I thought it was never going to happen, (and 2 days before I left for a week long family vacation) the painters arrived at school! My room is PAINTED! It's so clean and fresh and begging for awesomeness to be added to it's beautiful walls!
I got a text from my teaching bestie to let me know the painters were finished and that she and her husband had moved all the heavy furniture back in place!! That was priceless!!!!

Nope, that wasn't fun.

Aahhhhhhh! Furniture in place. Now for the fun part....... putting all the "stuff" away and making my classroom look amazing!

I organized my math stuff this summer so that it will be easier to use this year.  I made new labels for all of the boxes to help with keeping this an organized area.  I'll share when my room is complete!

We painted these large black rectangles in our classrooms a few years ago with a light brown frame.  I painted over the frame with black and added these super cute vinyl dots for fun! So in love with how it turned out!  This will be the parking spot for focus charts.

I also purchased new library baskets from Really Good Stuff and added new labels of course!
The blue is fiction and the green is nonfiction.  I used Avery labels to coordinate the book labels to the baskets for easy placement by students. (High hopes here!) Also, ordered a new rug from Ikea!

Made these cute superhero silhouettes! This was so easy and it is just the cutest touch! Thanks to  Pinterest and the links that brought me to The-Six-One-Two   for the idea that had me needing silhouettes everywhere! I made another one that is a different superhero but I haven't decided where it is going yet.  I have a feeling that I will make more too!

Painted some file cabinets and added chevron Contact paper to a few tables. Oh, and this table may  have been altered to allow electrical cords  to snake down the center through
a beautiful new access route.

I've never posted our schedule using this much space, but I love it! AND it will save me from having to leave this out for a sub! I made the "Our Day" heading with my Silhouette out of vinyl.  I also decided to move my classroom clock to a different location.  It will be by our schedule instead of above the board.

The new alphabet that I snagged from Mrs. Schroeder at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd is back in place.

Oohh, and this beauty to help with number words from Amy Lemons !
 I've always had my number line above the board, but I just wasn't happy with it being too high for my students (and my short self!).  I decided to try it lower this year.

So this is the progress so far!  Hoping to have this space completely finished VERY soon!

I'll do a room tour before school starts in two weeks! (fingers crossed!)

Sunday, June 28, 2015


The 2nd challenge for the TPT sellers was to DREAM!  Well, just so happens, I'm good at that! While I have some pretty big dreams for all areas of my life, I decided to keep the dreams I have for my TPT store realistic so I could reach them and then expand!! I like setting goals for myself and my students that I see attainable to insure success and that feeling of accomplishment!  Don't get me wrong here.... I am not setting the bar so low that I can achieve them quickly.  I set them realistically so that I won't give up.

     My first goal on the challenge will mean a lot of hard work on my part!! I LOVE TPT products and have a hard time turning them down at times.  I want to create exciting practice for my students in my classroom and share it in my TPT store, so that means I will be spending quite a bit of time working.  In return, I hope to have a wealth of items for my students to use for individual practice, buddy work, and intervention time.  AND I will share with other teachers through TPT.  Hopefully, I can use all these new items to balance the amount of $$$ I spend on TPT .  I'm a strong believer in using something others have created if it fits the needs I have.  Why try to recreate it if someone else has already done the work and created a fantastic resource?!?!

     My second goal is to supplement our incomes for our household.  That's pretty self-explanatory!

     And the third goal that I chose, was to create and use tools that will help me reach ALL of my students!  I want the students to be excited to learn new things and see themselves succeeding in the classroom.  I want to engage my students to be active learners, not just fill in worksheets all the time!

     So, there you have it!  A look into why I chose the DREAMS I listed on this challenge.  I have enjoyed reading everyone's dreams this week.  I could relate to pretty much all of them!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Challenges of a Teacher in the Summer!

I've accepted the TPTSellerChallenge! I've been working this week to update products in my TPT store and WOW has it been fun!! As with everything I begin, I would get started on one thing and have to do another! My store is still a work in progress, but here's one product that received a facelift:

(It didn't even have a cover before! AND I had forgotten to even add it to my store last year after I made it for myself to use!)

Another (non related ) project I've been slowly working on,  is a headboard! I keep looking at all those  beautiful master suites on Pinterest and I'm determined to add to ours!  So, this week, I began!

Doesn't look like much yet, I know.  But it will be beautiful ;)

Also this week, our daughter had her second oral surgery.  She has been a trooper through all of it!
(I did take a picture of her before surgery, but she would die if I posted it!)

I've also been involved in a book study through our school system.  We read Transformational Literacy and watched the videos that came with the book.  It has been interesting to see how some educators use informational and fiction texts in their classroom to dig deeper in a standard to not only cover the requirements of the ELA CCRS, but also content areas.  It shows how educators are spending more time and their students are becoming experts with practice that matters to them! I love it when I get to see what is going on in other 2nd grade classrooms! I'll be in a 2 day workshop with other ELA teachers throughout our county!