Friday, August 31, 2012

Catching Up With FREEBIES!

Hey, friends!  It's been a while.  :)   I survived Meet the Teacher and the first two (almost) full weeks of school!!!  Now it's time for a serious rewind to catch you up to speed somewhat!  I know this is not a new idea, but I created a little welcome bag for my kiddos... and of course... it had to be zebra print!

If you'd like a copy of my welcome bag tag, you can download it HERE!  I love the way they looked!

I revamped letters, checklists and tent cards this year, and I am really happy with the end result!  Buckle your seat belts!  We're going on a little virtual field trip!

Checklists are CRUCIAL for Open Houses & Meet the Teacher!  :)  Especially since I can't clone myself!
Last year, a few kiddos got their folders mixed up with other siblings' stuff, so this year, I labeled everything!!!!

I used to fold construction paper for signs, but this year, I put my "fancy pants' on.  :)

If you'd like to snag a copy of the tent cards or email list, click right above each picture!

Click HERE for tent cards!

Click HERE for Email List!

Let's see... :)  While I was on my organizing kick, I made folders using large construction paper and labels from Hope King's Welcome Back Essentials pack. I always have a tough time managing the paper mountain when all of the beginning of the year papers start coming in.  This helped me immensely!   I just glued them onto the construction paper and covered the paper with mailing tape.  It's one of my favorite classroom tools... I love it for covering labels of any kind! :)

Oh! I can't forget this little tidbit.  One of my favorite classroom traditions at the beginning of the year is mailing out letters to my kiddos! :)  I like to include information about myself, and this year, Cara inspired me to include a "Meet the Teacher" page.  I also like to include a picture to calm nerves.  As you can see, I write something like, "This is me, Mrs. Nickerson!  Maybe you've seen me in the hallway before!"  I always hope that a familiar face will keep the butterflies away!  :) 

If you follow my blog on facebook, you may recall my questions about how to decorate a trophy display case that I share with my partner.  We decided to do a little rockstar theme.  We have big plans for this space... so once photos are taken... I'll share an updated picture.  This is the current status.  :) Stay tuned.

I realize that this post is a hodgepodge of randomness, but I currently have the attention span of a squirrel right now.  :)  This is as good as it gets tonight!  Ha!  If you are a Reading Street teacher & teach third grade, I've updated my Essential Questions file, so you'll definitely want to check that out HERE!  I somehow missed the question for "Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday", so that was added.  I also created half-page sheets for the daily questions!  I plan on hitting this component a lot harder this year, so hopefully it can benefit someone else as well. 

Happy Long Weekend, Friends!  I hope you enjoy it!  I will be using this time to catch up on projects for my kiddos... and grad school. If you have emailed me sometime over the past two weeks, I promise I will try to respond as soon as I can! :)  I was out of town all weekend for a wedding (last weekend) so I am a little behind.  It's time to play catch-up!  Starting... NOW!  :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday!

Admittedly, I am a pretty high-strung person.  Compulsive, even.  :)  I remember when my hubs and I started dating again for the second time... and I was starting my first classroom positions with my first batch of thirdsters.  He was just beginning to understand the life of an elementary teacher, and his words will forever ring in my ears.  "Do you EVER relax?  Are you EVER NOT doing something?!"  Truthfully, probably not as much as I should.  I've been a busy-body my entire life!  I love to be involved and occupied.  I think I was in just about every club possible in high school... and that need to be "doing something" just never faded for me over the years. 

Let's take a look at the things I do to unwind, recharge, & otherwise cope with a busy lifestyle! Shall we?

First of all, I have to acknowledge the source of it all.  I have been blessed beyond measure throughout my life... even in hard times.  Those blessings in disguise molded me into the person I am today.  Talking to God and being surrounded by other like-minded people at church really helps keep me going.  God's grace is soooo sufficient.

As much as I am a literacy nerd and as much as I LOVE my job, I relish my down time.  I love spending time with friends, family, and my lovely Loralei.  People (& dog) first! Work second! :)

I like to spend time tending my garden... except not during a drought.  That was not say the least.  Stressful!  I also enjoy cooking... but I don't have any pictures of that! :)

I like to explore new places... especially during the summer!  It's nice to recharge my batteries!

I love to read when I can find the time to fully indulge & enjoy it!  Beach reading at its best!

I love to work out, but I can't fit it in as much as I'd like to! Right now I'm on a running kick with hubs.  We're toying with the idea of running a half-marathon next summer, so maybe that will kick my rear into high gear.  I also love my Brazil Butt Lift video!  So fun!  :)  Highly recommended!

I like to goof off and let my silliness spill over every now and then.  :) Life's way too short to be serious all the time! 

Let's see.  I actually really enjoy taking the time to get my hair trimmed/highlighted. On occasion, I treat myself to a mani/pedi.  On the super rare occasion, I have gotten a massage.  Maybe three times ever... but seriously ladies... you all deserve it.  Don't forget to take time for YOU sometimes.

Lastly, I am fairly certain that Sweet Tea courses through my veins.  I am not Southern... but friends... you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who drinks more sweet tea than I do.  Fab-u-lous!  Now I'm off to unwind with the hubs!  We have a full weekend of wedding festivities ahead of us!

What do you do to cope with the busy life of a teacher?  How do you unwind?  Link up with us! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

If I'm being completely honest, I love and loathe setting up my classroom.  :)  I LOVE it, because I really enjoy the artistic/creative side of decorating, and I really enjoy seeing the end result.  I LOATHE it, because I am WAY too Type A, and it ends up taking me FOREVER to complete.  Even as I add my classroom pictures, I have to admit that they aren't 100% up to date.  I've added three more zebra hanging lanterns and moved things around a tad.  The good news is... I was ready for kiddos when they showed up for the FIRST DAY today.  Yay!  Okay friends, let's take a tour.  Shall we? As they used to say on Cribs... "This is where the magic happens".

The blue Alaska sign is a freebie in my shop.  The Peacemaker book is from The First Grade Parade.

The hand signals are from Rachel Lamb.  The Word of the Week sign is from my Literacy Aficionados pack.  The  Word on the bus printable is from Jessica Williamson's blog.  :)  So cute.  The classrooms specials sheets are from Teaching in Flip Flops.  I also want to give you a heads up!  The border is fabulous and magnetic!  Be on the lookout for another giveaway!

Note:  I am using this board differently than Ladybug wrote about on her blog.  I'm just going to post author's craft mini-lessons and anchor charts in this space.  :)  It's not linked to the CAFE  board concept at all. Just fyi.
My reading charts will go here.

The glue bottles are from The Teacher Wife. 

The job spot printables are from Teaching in Flip Flops.

The balloons are from Teaching in Flip Flops... but the original idea is from the fabulous Rachelle Smith from What the Teacher Wants.  I just had to have a zebra print version... and this one was free.  Free is always a good thing!

As you can see, I got to stay in the same room this year, which THRILLS me! I have moved rooms/schools so many times... so it's nice to have some consistency.  :)  I also kept my color scheme and zebra print.  I just LOVE it so much, so I pretty much plan on tweaking it every year until I completely get sick of it.  I had a beach theme for years, and now I'm loving doing a slight safari theme... with a little extra flair.  I just can't get enough!

Ahhh!  Ignore the fact that my galvanized tubs are a little too far to the left on this one.  I just rearranged my entire room, and that meant that I had to move my conferring table.  It's at the back of the room now... and the room looks three times as big as it did when I had rows.  I just had WAY too many kids, and it was way too crowded.  Plus, I like the collaborative atmosphere of tables anyway.  The room is set up pretty much like my old room used to be back in my previous school district... if you can remember that far back.  Two years ago!  The only thing I don't like about this set-up is that my guided reading/ Work with Teacher goodies aren't right next to my table anymore.  I really liked having everything totally accessible, BUT it won't kill me to walk over to the bookcase either.  :)  I cover a lot of ground in one day anyway!

While we're on the topic of workstations, you'll notice that my room is still set up to accommodate the Daily 5.  I haven't changed a lot about the organization since last year.  It worked well for me!

The posters to the right are from Made for First Grade.

Well, there you have it!  That's my classroom in a nutshell.  Since today was the first day of school (with students) and since I had to drive an hour and twenty minutes to another campus for grad school... and then another hour and twenty minutes back to my house, I actually had to type this up on Sunday and schedule a post.  It was done in a big rush, so I am sure that I missed something or left some gaps.  Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll pop in tomorrow to fill in any gaping holes!  Happy Hump Day!

Don't forget to link up and join the Back to School FUN at Blog Hoppin'!