Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Made Its

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"  Andy Williams may not have been thinking about back-to-school time when he sang his ever popular holiday song, but that's what I think of!  New teacher orientation started last week, returning teachers came back today, Open House is tomorrow, and my firsties come back on September 1st.  Yay!  :)

It looks like there's no Monday Made It linky party this week, but I figure I can still share my goodies with you!  Tara gave us all permission to link our classroom reveals to her (previous) linky party, so I'm hoping to do that next week!

This mess was my assembly area for the goodies that I give to my students at Open House each year.  All the little treats go in those colorful bags on the right (from the Dollar Tree).

Hopefully you can read this explanation sheet.  Each treat inside the bag represents a bigger picture.  For example, "The toothpick is to remind you to pick out the good qualities in your classmates and self."

You may have seen this chair in my last Monday Made It blog post, but I made another change.  The fabric parts were white and even though I flipped them over, you could still see the "Go, Dog, Go" image and words.  A sweet follower of mine suggested using fabric spray paint.  I didn't even know that existed!  Sure enough...found some at JoAnn Fabrics as well as Wal-Mart.  I love how it turned out!

I've had this rolling cart for over a year now, but I did some updating.  It used to be open on the top, but I needed somewhere to set my Mac when we are using the SmartBoard.  So I did some measuring, cutting, and spray painting on some pegboard I had in the garage...and there we go!

I also had these library sticks last year, but again I did some updating.  The number stickers fell off last year, so I put some new (and cuter) number stickers on the sticks AND wrapped some packing tape around the top.  Hopefully that works!

So every.single.time we had indoor recess last year, it was a bit of a headache.  I would write the students' choices on the whiteboard and my kiddos would pick what they wanted to do.  But it was always challenging for my Kinders to read / remember the words on the whiteboard.

Now I am moving to first grade and it may be easier for them to read, BUT I have even more indoor recess choices.  (The sweet and helpful teacher who was in my classroom before me left lots of indoor recess goodies!)  So I came up with a solution (hopefully).  I took pictures of all the choices, then print, cut, and laminated the photos.  Today I attached sticky magnetic tape on the back.  (Yes, that's me working in the car, LOL.)

I have this big, but lightweight oil pan I bought from an auto parts store last year.  During indoor recess, I will take it out of the closet.  All the indoor recess choice cards will be displayed on the oil pan.  After two students pick an activity (two students is my maximum), then that card will be removed from the oil pan.  I hope I am explaining this well enough!  I will be sure to take a picture of the completed project and include it in my classroom reveal.

Anyway, I hope it makes the indoor recess process run more quickly and efficiently.

That's all folks!  Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five for Friday - Woot Woot!

In case you didn't already's FRIDAY!  Yippee!

I'm joining the Five for Friday linky party hosted by Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching and please note that I am doing it on time for once!

Look at these beautiful seat sacks that our principal ordered for the entire first grade team!  Not only are they roomy and durable, but they match my classroom colors.  That makes my heart sing!

The name cards that came with the seat sacks are even chevron in my classroom colors.  Ahhhhh.  :)

I'm in love!  These seat sacks really give our classroom a "clean" feel.

With back-to-school time approaching, this has been my view a lot lately...

...and this.  Though this spot had an entertaining view when I needed a brain break.  I was at one of my favorite coffee shops, which is also the roastery.  I was able to watch them roast the coffee beans over and over.  The aroma was perfect.

One of our local libraries has this wonderful Quiet Reading and Study Room with great big tables and free wifi - a great place to write lesson plans!

And one more.  Did I mention all of these pictures were taken in one day??  It was a looooong date with my computer.

Our classroom is really coming along, though not completely done.  Here is the progress!

This area is where my kiddos are able to find the Calming Caddy, Take a Break Binder, Conflict Carpet, Tattling Turtle, Boo Boo Basket, Lost and Found, Take-Home Books and Check-Out, etc.  There is a lot that goes on here!

The left side will host our Word Work mini posters and the right side will be where I hang Writers Workshop anchor charts that we co-create together.

I finished our Birthday Board with the exception of my students' pictures.  During Open House, they will write their birth day (the number) on a mini poster that has the months on the top, then their parents will take a picture using one of my digital cameras.

We will be trying out Chris Biffle's Super Improvers Wall this school year, so these are the students' cards that go along with it.  (He is the man who started Whole Brain Teaching.)  After I took this particular photo, I put number stickers on the black boxes because we will be using a number system to organize students.

And here is the actual Super Improvers Wall.  After I took this picture, I hung some cute felt photo frames in the blank white spaces.  If students make it to the "Living Legend" level, I will display their photo in one of the frames.  (I will be sure to include what this looks like when I do my classroom reveal.)

My sweet hubby took a day off of work to come help me hang things in my classroom.  (Now I am just praying that I will not be told to take them down.)

I showed you my "Really Big Point" (it is a Whole Brain Teaching thing) in a Monday Made It post, but here it is hanging in my classroom.

If I am working with students at the small group table, but I need the attention of our whole class, I ring my wind chimes.

I had NO CLUE how I was going to hang my anchor chart because the wall is fabric and we do not have a sturdy stand in our classroom.  My husband came up with this idea using cute ribbon!

I am excited to introduce the concept of filling buckets to my firsties this year.  I haven't done this for a number of years and I miss it!

I need to jazz this up.  Any easy-to-do ideas?

This is where we will display student work in the hallway.  The banner says, "This area is under construction.  Check back later to see work by Mrs. Unger's class."  (I made it on Vistaprint a few years ago.)

I use a dismissal clip chart that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers for free - the best price!  :)

During Open House, my kiddos will find the clothespin that is labeled with their name, then clip it on the appropriate card on the dismissal chart.

I stuck some bright cards with number stickers in the clear pockets of our Bathroom Check-Out system.  If anyone is interested, I can explain how we use this.  (Visitors who come into our classroom always seem to be interested for some reason!)

We will be using a Homework Club system this school year.  Students who turn in all their homework on time for the entire month remain in the Homework Club and receive a star on their Super Improvers card.  Everyone gets to start over at the beginning of the next month.

I had never heard of Julie Woik or her character education books previously, but I found her booth at a local farmers market in downtown Milwaukee.  I believe she has 5 published books at this time, but a whole list of more that will be published in the future.

I bought two of them:  Kacklin' Kitchen, which teaches respect and Ocean Commotion, which teaches honesty because those are 2 of the 5 character education pillars in my school district.

My hubby and I celebrated our anniversary recently...5 years of happy married life.  We went out to a nice wine bar and restaurant, both on the Milwaukee River.  This was our view.  Ahhhhh.  We love our city.

I now know what charcuterie is!  (Oh, by the way, the wristlet sitting on the table was an anniversary gift from my man.  It's hard to see obviously, but it's made out of fabric that shows the more popular Milwaukee buildings.  So cool!)

Love him!  <3

Life is good with this dude by my side.

That's all folks!  Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Made Its in August!

August - It's crunch time, people!  I am officially in panic mode.

I am linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to share some things that I have been crafting.

This is what my "Pick Me" sticks looked like last year - I used the students' names.

Teacher Tip:  I finally wised up and wrote the names on pieces of clear Scotch tape vs. writing the names directly on the sticks themselves, which was causing me to repaint them each summer.

I was pleased to see that they easily peeled off and the tape did not take the paint off.  Yay!

I made the decision to use a student numbering system in my classroom for the first time ever and I think I am going to love it.  So this time around, I wrote numbers on our "Pick Me" sticks, so I should never have to update them again.

Next up are the magnets for our Homework Club board.

I used some circle magnets (I think I found them in the Target Dollar Spot last summer) and flat colored duct tape.

At first I was tracing the magnets on the colored side of the duct tape, which was leaving black marks after I cut out the circles.  Then I started to do the tracing on the back.  Duh Amber.

I did use one roll of green duct tape and this was more difficult to do (vs. the flat duct tape), but I got 'er done.  I just had to cut around the magnets.

So they looked like this when I was done tracing and cutting.

I found these perfect number stickers at Walmart.

Like I mentioned earlier, I am using student numbers, so I should never have to update these in the future.  Awesome!

This is the final product.  I quite like our Homework Club board!

I bought those pink magnetic borders at a local teacher store and I love them as they really define the space!  I left the bottom part open because I will be hanging superior student work there.

You might have read in one of my earlier blog posts that I attended a Whole Brain Teaching Conference.  I picked up a great tip there:  If you want to announce a really big, important point to your students and you REALLY want to make sure you have everyone's undivided attention, call out "Class / Yes," then "Hands and Eyes" and stand under a big arrow that hangs high on your wall or from your ceiling so you can make your "really big point."  Clever!

I just learned that this idea originally came from Chris Biffle's new book, Whole Brain Teaching: 122 Amazing Games, which is on my wish list.

I found this Kohls Cares "Go Dog Go!" chair a few years ago at a huge children's consignment event for only a few bucks.  I still love it because it is a perfect size for my little ones, but I was not in love with the colors.  So I spray painted it and I am happier!  Buuuut - even though I flipped the fabrics parts around, you can still see the "Go Dog Go!" prints.  Any ideas on how I can hide or change these?  I am on the hunt for a small, cute seat cushion, but I am not so sure I will find one.  Hmmmmm.  Help!?

You may remember these curtains from my previous classroom.  I am SO LUCKY to have the same set-up (shelves under windows) in my new classroom, so I can continue to use these curtains that I worked hard to make last summer!  

However, I was short one curtain, so (with the help of my mom) I whipped up the green and white chevron one last weekend.

My parents gave me my very own brand new sewing machine for my birthday last year.  It was on my wish list, so I was super excited to start making all the cute projects I had pinned on Pinterest.  Well - almost a year later, I finally used it for the first time. Haha!

I bought too much fabric, so I whipped up an extra curtain in case anything happens to any of the others.  But instead of storing it away, I decided to use it as a valance for now.  It is a bit short on the sides, but it is better than an empty, bare window.

That's it!  I hope to squeeze in another Monday Made It next week before the school year begins.  Thanks for stopping by!  :)