Monday, August 27, 2012

Classroom Photos, Monday Made Its, and a FREEBIE!

Hi there!  I am so excited to show you my new classroom (despite the fact that it is a mess right now - I just moved in on Wednesday and have not had time to go back) and some projects that I completed this weekend.  Here we go!

Amber's new ESL classroom - "Before" pictures:
This is the entrance to my new ESL classroom.  I just love the stairs!  My classroom is located off of our school library.
This picture was actually taken after I started moving furniture around.  I am not so sure I like looking at the side of that metal book cabinet when I first walk in, but I am thinking I can put something colorful, fun, and useful there.
I have some built-in shelving and cork strips to work with, so that is great!
Ugly, green chalkboard... YUCK!  I will definitely be covering that up with some colorful fabric.  Luckily, I already have some from my Kindergarten classroom.  Hmmm... and I also notice in this picture that there is a light out.  I guess I need to talk to our awesome custodians.
Aghhh!  My anxiety is kicking in full throttle just looking at that mess, especially knowing it is still sitting there waiting for me!
You would not believe how much unused and unnecessary furniture was in this little classroom.  It took quite a bit of time and sweat to get it out of there.  I did leave those two big cabinets, but - as you can see - I butted them against one another, so they did not take up as much space.
Ah!  This looks a LITTLE better at least.  I took this picture after a few hours of work and moving things around.
This is actually torture to look at these photos right now, BUT I will feel awesome when my classroom looks beautiful, especially knowing how it started.
Do you see that cool pink, purple, teal, and white lantern on the ground?  I was so excited when I bought it earlier this month, but then disappointed when I realized there is no easy way to hang it in my new room.  * sigh*  I will figure something out.
The following photos were taken just before I left my school for the day.
I do not have an ongoing theme in my classroom, mostly because I do not have the time, energy, or money to do one well.  However, I am shooting for a color scheme of black with bright colors.  We will see how that goes...
P.S. - Ignore the baby car seat, LOL!  My husband and sweet baby boy came to help me move in to my new classroom.
As you can see, I took the old, tattered, faded yellow butcher paper down.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a nearly new bulletin / corkboard!
Well, that is that for now.  I MUST get back into my room, but being a temporary "stay-at-home" mommy makes that a challenge right now.  I told myself, however, I am just going to have to bring him with me and without help.  Wish me luck!
"In Progress" and "After" pictures coming soon!
Moving on.  I am joining Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her awesome linky party.  Drumroll please!  Here are my "Monday Made Its!"
Monday Made It #1 - Birthday Balloons for Students:
This Pinterest-inspired goodie originally comes from Mrs. H at Once Upon a First Grade Adventure.  Be sure to check out her cute blog!  She shares the balloon template for FREE!  Here is her version:
Here is my version:
I found these funky straws at Big Lots - 5 for $2.  I also intend on making the same birthday balloons using glows sticks (which I also found at Big Lots - 4 for $0.60) and Pixie Stix (Dollar Tree - $1).
Monday Made It #2 - First Day of Gymnastics Gift:
This Pinterest-inspired gift originally came from Erica at Pink Buckaroo Designs.  Erica's glow sticks have a tag that say, "We're going to have a BRIGHT year in 1st Grade!"  (I did not see that she shared the tag, but continue reading below.)
I teach preschool gymnastics class twice a week and we start a new season in September, so I wanted to make these for my little gymnasts.  Therefore, my labels say, "We are going to have a bright season!"
However, I changed the template so it now says, "We are going to have a bright school year!"  If you would like to snag this FREEBIE, visit my TPT Store by clicking HERE!  You need to use labels by Avery - Template 5160 (there are 3 rows of 10, so 30 on a sheet).
Anyway, here is my completed version:
I found the glow sticks at Big Lots - 4 for $0.60, but you can also find them at the Dollar Tree.  The star stickers came from the Dollar Tree as well.
Anyway, here is how I made them:
I cut cardstock into four strips, a little over 2 inches each.
I folded the bottom up a bit, then stapled it once on each side, so that it made a little pocket.  Then, I applied the label on the pocket, place a few star stickers on it, stuck a glow stick in the pocket, and wrote "Love, Ms Amber" - remember these went to my gymnasts.  THAT'S IT!
Monday Made It #3 - Back to Grad School Gift:

So my sweet BFF is going back to grad school to obtain her degree in Art Therapy - fun, right!?  :)  Anyway, she asked me to help her stay organized, which I am totally willing to do, but sort of at a loss on HOW to do it.  I started thinking about what makes ME organized, particularly when I am a student, and I thought about my assignment notebook.  Then, my little brain thought, "I should put together a Back to Grad School basket for her that contains useful supplies!"
Here is what I included:
- large basket (with a cute ribbon):  I am going to tell her to keep this in ONE place at home and always keep all her school stuff in it, so she never loses anything.
- assignment notebook
- highlighters
- regular pencils and mechanical pencils
- pens
- binders
- spiral notebooks
- three-hole puncher
- mini organizational boxes with paper clips, a mini stapler, staples, binder clips, etc.
- divider pages with tabs
- drawing pad (remember - Art Therapy)
- pencil case
- index cards on rings
- "To Do" list pad and pen
- "L" stamp:  The first letter in her name is "L."
Hmmm, I know I included more, but I forget what else is in there.
Monday Made It #4 - Housewarming Gifts:
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to put together some housewarming gifts.  Well, I finally got around to it.  Here is the Pinterest inspiration:
It comes from Michelle at A Little Tipsy.  And here is my version:
I included mostly cleaning supplies, but I also had mailing address stamps made though Vistaprint for each of them.
I made up these little tags and attached them to the handle.  They are nothing fancy, but I can certainly share the tags, if there is any interest.  Leave me a comment if you would like it.
Monday Made It #5 - Jewelry Board:
There are SO many awesome jewelry boards on Pinterest!  After my BFF made a beautiful one, I was totally inspired to "get on it."  So... I asked my sweet hubby to help me (LOL) and he ended up basically making it himself.  Awww!
We purchased the pegboard from Menards, but they did not have a table saw to cut it for us.  So we went over to Home Depot and nice gentleman cut it for FREE!  We also picked up silver and red spray paint (though we have not yet applied the red stripes).
As you can see, we used 1/8 pegboard (the thinner and lighter version).  It was $2.31... cheap!
My hubby spray painted the pegboard silver and then put it in a black frame that we already had at home.
Then, he screwed in drawer handles that we also picked up at Menards.  I LOVE the spiral one!  (By the way, I also saw drawer handles at the Dollar Tree, so you do not necessarily have to spend a bunch of money on this project.)
Be warned!  The screws that came with the handles were TOO LONG!  They stuck out too far from the pegboard.  Be sure to pick up some shorter screws.
Finally, I hung my necklaces (I obviously did the hard part, LOL).  How pretty!  I love my jewelry board because I can see all my choices and they are easy to access now.
I do intend on moving the knobs around a bit, so I can fit more necklaces on the board.
Well, that is it for my "Monday Made Its," but I also wanted to show some other goodies I picked up from Big Lots, using my $10 off coupon from Teacher Appreciation Day.
On the left is some fun polka-dotted contact paper.  I will be applying that to the brown table in my new classroom in order to make it more fun looking.  Each roll was $2.
On the right is some glitter scrapbook paper - I could not pass it up!  I am going to use the glitter paper as a backdrop on my bulletin board, instead of butcher paper.  I will post pictures, once I get it up.  The pack was $3.
As a nursing mother, I have found that I am always thirsty.  In an attempt to be green, I purchased these reusable, insulated cups with straws.  The whole pack was $9, making each cup $3.  What a deal!
Wow!  That turned out to be a long post!  Thanks for sticking with me.  I only have 8 more days with my baby before he goes to daycare and I return to work.  So bittersweet!!  Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Photos

Good morning to you!  I don't know why I am up right now.  I should be sleeping, since I just went to bed 4.5 hours ago and I am still on summer vacation and my son woke me up twice in between.  But once my little brain gets going, I am up!  * sigh *

Anyway, I know many of you are either back to school already or are heading back soon... some happy about it, some not-so-much.  I am pretty excited about it, since I have been acting as a stay-at-home mommy for the last 3 months - a wonderful venture, but this work-a-holic can only take sitting at home for so long.  However, I am nervous as can be about sending my baby to daycare!!  We found a wonderful daycare provider, but the idea of my baby having to share someone's attention KILLS ME is difficult for me to cope with right now.

Okay, back on track (again).  I took a couple "back to school" photos last year when I was still teaching Kindergarten, but I forgot to share them.  So why not now!?  :)  (P.S. - If you have not already read my previous posts, I will be teaching ESL, 4-K through 5th grade, this year.)

On the first day of school, I had my students' name tag necklaces laid out on the table near the door, so I could quickly grab them as they walked into our classroom for the first time.  After a few rounds (and years) of "trial and error," I learned that this type of name tag necklace worked better than others.  The circle part is made of wood.  I found them at Joann Fabrics on clearance... woot woot!  I think they were left-over paint-your-own Christmas ornaments.  Yes, I painted them, which means you have to make sure they stay out of little mouths - that is the one downfall.  But they are SO much more durable than plastic, for example.  The necklace part is just a lanyard.  I picked those up at Office Max.

To the left of the name tag necklaces, you see a red basket and extra desk name plates.  Those were just extra supplies for students that walked through my door that were not originally on my class list.

In the far corner of the table you can see pre-cut cardstock with name tag labels / stickers.  The students chose their favorite color, I wrote their names with permanent marker, and then they went to their desks to decorate the cardstock.  (I gave them crayons and stickers.)  At the end of the day, I laminated their "First Day of School" masterpieces and these became their backpack / coat hook label.  This is something I did all three years I was in Kindergarten.  On the last day of school, the kiddos LOVED thinking back to their first day of school when they took these home!

I made this posterboard sign, so students and their parents could easily find me on the playground, especially the morning of the first day.  A few weeks into the year, when the kiddos did not need the sign as a reminder anymore, I hung it above our hallway door, so people could easily identify our classroom.

The clipboard on the left held a "How do we go home?" checklist.  I took this (and a pencil) out to the playground on that first morning.  As you know, the first day tends to be a bit chaotic.  No matter how organized YOU are, some things are out of your control.  For me, one of these things is knowing how my students are going home.  So if a parent or older sibling drops my Kinders off in the morning, I am sure to introduce myself and ask them that important question - and then WRITE IT DOWN, since I certainly will not remember after a crazy day!

During the first week of school, we measure and record my students' heights.  Of course, we do the same at the end of the school year and then compare to see their growth.  How fun!

One of my FAVORITE back-to-school read aloud books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archaumbault.  Oh, the many fun activities you can do with this book!  Anyway, we have a coconut tree that hangs on our wall all year and as the students (formally) learn a letter, we place it on the tree. 

There are lots of things I wish I was - more creative, more patient, more tolerant... the list goes on.  But one thing I am (and always have been) is organized!  Way before the school year even begins, I hit up Wal-Mart for their cutest desk calendar and I write down EVERYTHING that is important for me to remember.  I can honestly say my desk is this clean before I leave at the end of each school day.

I have lots of other "old" photos to share that I never got around to sharing last year, but they are not exactly "back-to-school" related, so I will post them another day.

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As I previously mentioned, I will be teaching ESL at my school this year.  I earned my ESL degree back in my undergrad years, but I never utilized until now.  I wanted to use a lesson plan template that was effective for ELL students, so I thought back to when I was in the ESL / Bilingual program at UW-Oshkosh and I remembered using the SIOP Model quite a bit.  (SIOP = Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol ... how fancy!)

Here is the original book written by Echevarria, Vogt, and Short:

And - oh my! - look at all these other books they have come out with!  These are new to me!

They seem to have something for everyone.  I totally just bought the last one!

Anyway, I pulled elements from their example lesson plans that I think makes the most sense for my particular teaching situation and this is what I came up with:

If you are interested in snatching this product, head over to my TPT store to grab it.  Click HERE!  The document is completely editable.  Woohoo!

If you have any great ESL blogs, books, websites, or other resources to share, please let me know!  I can use all the help I can get.  As always, thank you for stopping by!