Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Door Decision - Open or Close It?

Happy Saturday everyone!  I hope you are enjoying your weekends as much as I am.  So...random topic for you this evening:

I once read that teachers make over 1,500 educational decisions each school day. Craziness! Add to the list the following question: Do you keep your classroom door open or closed? I usually keep mine closed because we can be loud and I know my voice carries.  (I have my family members to thank for reminding me of this my entire life.)  I have recently become aware, however, that a closed door can send the wrong message.

SO...I made up this cutie-patootie sign to stick on our classroom door in hopes of making everyone feel welcome, even if visitors first approach a closed door. #fingerscrossed

I hope you find this sign useful, too!  Feel free to snag this freebie in my TPT store.

So what about you?  Do you keep your door open, closed, or a mix of both?  And why?  Feel free to leave a comment below!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hooray! It's Almost the 100th Day!

The 100th Day of School is one of my favorite celebrations throughout the entire school year.  The kids get SO pumped and, if I'm being honest, I get even more excited than them!

Evidence #1...I ordered this shirt from Teacher T-Shirts and I am pumped!  In years past, I tried to be creative (i.e. - stick 100 safety pins on a shirt, stuff like that), but I don't have the time for that anymore.  Besides, this shirt is ADORABLE!  Aaannnd I was able to use a 20% off coupon that the kind people of Teacher T-Shirts so graciously donated to us attendees at the Midwest Teacher Blogger Meet-Up last weekend.

Side Note: If you live in the Midwest, be sure to learn about our fantastic teacher blogger meet-up and plan to attend future events!!

So what else am I preparing, you ask?  Welllll, my 100th Day of School Stations, of course!  I really wish I had current in-action photos of my students doing the stations, but since we are only on the 92nd day of school right now, that makes it a wee bit challenging.  Nonetheless, I am prepared!

I have used stations in my classroom for years, but it was not until this year that I finally got around to revamping my station signs.  Other teachers would ask me about my signs, but I honestly had no idea where I had the digital document saved!  (It was likely on the flashdrive that shattered years ago after my laptop slipped off my I was dozing off, but anyway...)  So I made new ones and these signs are waaayyyy prettier than the old ones.

Here are the stations we use:
Station #1 - "100 Days Smarter" crown / hat (part 1)
Station #2 - "100 Days Smarter" crown / hat (part 2)
(I split this station into two, otherwise the kids get traffic jammed as it takes longer than the other stations.)
Station #3 - 100 Gumballs (They use Bingo markers to make 100 gumballs in the jar.  The printable is included in my pack.)
Station #4 - 100 Chart (My students put 100 small objects that they brought from home on a hundreds chart as they count.)
Station #5 - 100 Piece Puzzle (This is a whole class effort.  A group works on the puzzle for awhile, then moves on to the next station.)
Station #6 - Towers of 100 (My students use a variety of materials, such as recycled fruit cups, math manipulatives, pennies, etc.)
Station #7 - 100 Loop Necklace (A box of round cereal and yarn make this station easy-peezey!)

I found these huge paperclip stands at The Dollar Tree.  You could also use those book stands you see in libraries.  I somehow have a bunch of those as well.

If you are looking to do 100th Day of School Stations in your classroom as well and do not feel like recreating the wheel, consider hopping over to my TPT store!  The document includes more than just the station signs, by the way.  You can check it out by clicking HERE!  While you're there, be sure to look around as I have lots of freebies in my store as well.

Do you want to implement stations in your classroom, but not exactly the way I did?  Do you want to add a station?  No problem!  The document is editable.  Woohoo!  Just make sure you have the same fonts (this is detailed in the product description), so it looks the same on your end.  Or just do some tweaking in the document to find a font that works for you.

So now you know that I use stations in my classroom.  Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks.  I'm going to be snapping tons of pictures on our 100 Day of School Celebration and I want to share it with you!  So...what do YOU do on the 100th Day of School?!  Be sure to comment below!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Midwest Teacher Blogger Meet Up - Four Days Left to RSVP!

Hey Midwest teachers! There are only four more days to RSVP to the 2017 Midwest Regional Teacher Blogger Meet Up! Believe me, you don't want to miss out on this awesome opportunity to collaborate with other teachers, grow as a blogger, expand your TPT business, and just have fun! Oh, and did I mention prizes?!

This Saturday, January 21st, 2017 event takes place in Wisconsin Dells, so consider bringing your family along to have fun at one of the indoor water parks (that's what I'm doing), indoor theme parks, movie theaters, casinos, etc.

Already ready to sign up? You can RSVP by clicking HERE!

Be sure to follow on Instagram:


You can also find more info at:

We sure hope you can join us!  If you have any questions, send 'em my way and I will do my best to help.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Classroom Reveal and Open House Set-Up

I have spent two days with my new group of first graders and so far...I.AM.IN.LOVE!!  I can just tell already, this is going to be an amazing, enjoyable, and fun year of learning and growth.

So since we are two days into the school year, I figure I'd share how our classroom came out.  It looks mostly the same as last school year, with some changes based on things I did not like last year.

Most people describe our classroom as "colorful."  Yup, that it is.

classroom jobs display

These numbered tubs used to be filled with sponge activities that were geared toward Kindergarten-aged students (think fine motor skill-type activities).  This summer, I switched them to sponge activities that are specific to word work for my first grade students.

My students put a popsicle stick in their pocket each time they leave for the bathroom.  This just helps me keep track in case any student seems to be leaving our classroom a lot.  It happens, of course...sometimes for medical reasons that I am able to bring to the attention of the parent.  Sometimes for other reasons that I need to discuss with the child.

I'm so excited about the way I repurposed that shoe rack (underneath the blue storage unit).  The shoe rack was in my garage (unused) and it was headed to Goodwill, then I thought maybe I could use it in my classroom.  I found the perfect spot!  Last year, I couldn't stand squatting down in my high heels to change the chargers.  Now I don't have to squat down anymore.  It's the little things in life.  :)

Our photo timeline used to be way up on a wall.  I literally had to climb a step ladder to get up there and hang our photos.  And the students couldn't really see the pictures after they were hung.  So I rearranged some things on our chalkboard and moved the timeline down.  Much better.

I moved our Writers Workshop folders out of the Writing Center.  Last year, our transitions took too long and the Writing Center was always so congested with lots of kids just waiting in line.  My hope is that relocating the writing folders will help.  That way, my students are only going to the Writing Center for extra paper, the stapler, clipboards, etc.

Our classroom library had the biggest change this summer.  I combined our classroom and take-home books...and just expanded the area so that more students could book shop at the same time (without stepping on each other).

Those file cabinets used to be shoved against a wall.  I used gray and white chevron contact paper to make them look cute and then moved them into our classroom library to create a reading nook.

I meant to attach these labels to the student tables all last year and never got around to it.  I finally got them down this summer.  I am using these labels for talking partners when the students are seated at their tables.  I'm also using these in place of our Table Captain cones this year.

The document needed to make this Super Improvers Wall is a freebie in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, in case you're interested.

Our featured mentor authors will rotate based on our writing units.  We are starting the year with Ezra Jack Keats.  If you have any suggestions for other small moment narrative mentor authors, I'd LOVE to hear them!

Writing Center

We are going to try out this clip chart to keep track of word work this year.  Last school year, I kept track of everything in my lesson was SO burdensome.  I'm holding the students responsible for keeping track of what they need and what they are doing.

Eeeek!  We now have SitSpots for lining up, too!  Last year, I used painters tape to show the kids where to line up, but there were a couple of problems: 1) when I needed to rearrange their line order, it was a pain in the butt and 2) after a few months, the tape just got yucky.  SitSpots to the rescue!  If you are not familiar with SitSpots, be sure to check them out HERE!  They will even send you a freebie to see if the SitSpots work on your classroom carpet.

I just have to give another big THANK YOU and shout-out to Joyce and her SitSpot team because they donated some of their goodies and coupons to our Wisconsin Teacher Blogger Meet-Up.  You guys rock!

The remainder of the photos are Open House set-up.

Donation Tree

How that for a photo dump!?  If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to send 'em my way!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)