Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday and a FREEBIE!

Sometimes I wonder if it weren't for fun linky parties hosted by other awesome bloggers if I would blog at all... hmmmm.  :)

Anyway, it is time for...

Many thanks to Mrs. Kacey for always hosting this awesome linky party!

Last week, I finished the dreaded chore that every teacher hates...moving classrooms.  It was three days of awfulness.  I had to pack everything into boxes (which I mostly did during the tail end of the school year, but did not finish completely), haul them down three flights of stairs, load the boxes into my truck, drive to my new school (only about 5 minutes away, thank goodness), unload the boxes, and bring them into a storage room.  This was all done by me, myself, and I.  Oh - and on one of those days, my two-year old was with me, though I had a helper mostly taking care of him.

In the end, I left a shiny clean, ready-for-move-in classroom for the next teacher.

Did you notice how I said I moved my things into a storage room?  Yeah - the floor of my new classroom needs to be waxed and, of course, the basement floor (where my classroom is located) is the last level to be done.  *sigh*  So this epic mess is waiting for me.

Not gonna lie though - I was super proud of myself for fitting ALL of my classroom things in there!

This is the blank slate version of my NEW Kindergarten classroom.  I cannot wait to get in there and transform it!  Removing those two teacher desks will be one of the first things I do for sure.

Here is something that I have been waiting for for FIVE YEARS:  my loan forgiveness paperwork.  After five years of teaching in a low SES status, Title 1 school, I qualify for a bit of loan forgiveness.  Yay (because I could use all the help I can get)!  I sent these forms in to my lenders, so hopefully I am granted the full amount ($5,000).  Have any of you ever received loan forgiveness? 

Yet another reason I am SO excited for next year:  I get an opportunity to start over and create my dream classroom.  Picture black background with pops of pink, sky blue, lime green, lavender, and a sunny yellow...polka dots, chevrons, damask, and stripes galore.  FUN!  You know that "blank slate" classroom picture above?  Yep, that is my canvas and I cannot wait to get creative!

So in preparation, I have been snagging this and that whenever I spy a good bargain at the store.  Here are a few of my good buys:

I found this ribbon and whiteboard at Target.  I am going to hang it on our classroom door and I will record our daily attendance there (something our entire school is doing).  Hopefully I can write this once and never have to change it:  "25/25 - 100%" - hopeful thinking!

This wrapping paper also came from Target.  Don't you just love that $1.00 clearance sticker!?  I will be using these as backdrops on my bulletin boards, among other things.  I also found some lime green with blue polka dot wrapping paper at TJ Maxx for $2.99.

Can you guess what I will be using these for?  "Pick Me!" sticks (I found them on clearance at JoAnn Fabrics; the flower pot was only $1.97).  I spray painted the sticks last night using my theme colors.  Check back later, as I will be posting pictures of the final product for the "Monday Made It" linky party.

I have read about other teachers who have "sweepers" as one of their classroom jobs and that the kids love it.  So when I saw these adorable cleaning tools for 50% off at JoAnn Fabrics, I had to snag them.

This is a cute jewelry organizer that I found at TJ Maxx ($7.99) and I will be using it to store, organize, and display our incentive cards. I figure, this way the kids do not have to be reminded of their choices; they will be able to easily see them.

While I was out and about shopping, I snagged some other great bargains that were too good to pass up.  I figured I could share my goodies with you, just in case you want to try and pick them up for yourself.

Students who have clips at the top of our behavior chart at the end of the day will receive a rhinestone to put on their clip.  I found these at JoAnn Fabrics, originally $1.00, on clearance for 70%, plus my 20% off coupon.  Score!

I grabbed a bunch of these tongs at 70% off in the dollar bin at Target.  I figure the kiddos can work on their fine motor skills by sorting pom pom balls or something - not quite sure yet.

Target, dollar bin, 70% off toothbrushes...ready, set, go!  (I cannot decide if I will give this away for their birthdays or during dental hygiene month.)

Target, dollar bin, 70% off, magnifying glasses...adorable!  The kids can use these for investigations and also for tracking the print as they read.

You guessed it...Target, dollar bin, 70% off...fairy wings and wands.  I am thinking I will probably use these to "make an entrance" during our school-wide daily assembly, just to make the kids giggle early in the morning.

I was super excited to find these wood sticks for only $1.00 per pair in the clearance bin at Target!  The kids will definitely be using these to determine how many syllables are in words, segment words, play fun games and group activities during Morning Meeting, etc.

My ID holder was bent, torn up, and simply in need of being tossed.  So when I found this cute felt ID holder at JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00, I had to snag it.  To decorate or to not decorate?  Hmmm...

Long story short:  I received a small grant to get some free books.  I thought I was being offered one box of different titled books.  However, when I went to pick the box up, it contained the same title - a whole box of the same book.  Hmpf.  I was going to use those books as our birthday books, but it is not much fun when everyone is getting the same book.

So I have been on the look out for cheap, new, engaging books and JoAnn Fabrics came to the rescue!  They sell books for $1.00 and they had a sale going on:  buy two, get one my 20% off coupon.  Now that is what I am talking about!  Now my kiddos can CHOOSE what book to take home on their birthday.  :)

Sometimes I give my Kinders fun glasses and I tell them that it helps them focus better during Guided Reading (hehe).  They love it!  I found these at JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00 each, plus my 20% off coupon.

I am not sure what I will do with these yet, but they were too cheap to pass up (JoAnn Fabrics).

I found this fun pink, glittery crown at JoAnn Fabrics for a buck.  Again, something to wear to our morning assembly just for fun.

I love, love, LOVE this chalk tub!  I like to give my kids chalk to play with at recess, but I hate how the cardboard box that it comes in gets all torn up.  I found this tub at JoAnn Fabrics on sale, plus with my 20% off coupon, I only paid $6.00 for it!

Haha!  Nerdy?  Yes, but I could not resist.  $1.97 each at JoAnn Fabrics.

I was a little worried that I would not be able to easily find bulletin board borders that went along with my color theme, but JoAnn Fabrics proved me wrong.  Yay!  

By the way, I went to the JoAnn Fabrics in Greenfield, which is apparently the largest in the state of Wisconsin.  They practically had a mini teacher store in there!

I think I snagged this for like $0.50 or something like that.  I figure I will use it as a labeled sign for our "Rise and Shine" binders.

These decorate-your-own wooden bookmarks were too cheap to pass up (JoAnn Fabrics).  I will let the kids go crazy with them during an indoor recess day.

I found this limbo stick at Wal-Mart.  I have been on the look-out for things to make our entrance into the classroom fun each day.  So far I have a red carpet (and music), a tunnel, a slide, and now a limbo stick!

Have you seen this on Pinterest?  Someone came up with the genius idea to group students by having them pick colored bracelets out of a bag.  The very same day that I saw the above picture on Pinterest...

I found these on clearance at Wal-Mart!  Score!  (Don't you just love when that happens?!)  When I got home, my husband pointed out that they will likely be too big for my Kinders to wear (since they are bottle bracelets, which I failed to notice in my moment of excitement), but I think it will still get the job done.

Previously I mentioned that JoAnn Fabrics sells books for $1.00 and they had a sale of "buy two, get one free" and I used my 20% off coupon.  Well, same applied for these "How To Draw" books.  I used to have a how-to draw binder in my previous Kindergarten room that the kiddos could pull out as a sponge activity (something engaging to do for early finishers), but I left that how-to binder behind.  These how-to draw books were meant to be found by me.  :)

At my new school, we are very goal-driven.  We will use the following to keep us focused:

- school creed
- school mission statement
- school vision statement
- individual staff mission statements
- classroom mission statements (written with the students)
- individual student mission statements

Even the 4K kiddos will "write" (dictate to the teacher) a mission statement.  Yes, it is possible.  Yes, I have seen it done.  I have been thinking a lot about what this will look like in Kindergarten.  I wanted them to be cute because they will be hung all year long and I also wanted them to be displayed in a way so that they are visible, yet not in the way.  Then, I saw this on Pinterest:

(This photo belongs to Teach With Me.)

Light bulb!  Cute?  Yes!  Visible, yet out of the way?  Well, I am going to hang them from the ceiling, so yes!

The craftivity that my kids will make will have 4 sides:
1) writing prompt:  "Who I Am"
2) writing prompt:  "What I Want"
3) writing prompt:  "Where I Am Going"
4) blank side for art integration, which will like be crayon resist technique (draw with crayons and water color paint the white)

I made a simple template that we will use and you are welcome to grab it for FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking here!

Phew!  If you made it to the end of this lllooooonnnngggg post, thank you for stopping by!  :)


  1. WOW!!!!!!!! You found SOOOOO MANY COOL THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!! That's AWESOME about the loan forgiveness!!! I need to fill that paperwork out ASAP! I teach in a qualifying school too!
    Mixing it up in Middle

    1. Yes, definitely fill out the paperwork! It was actually quite simple on my end. Then, I simply had to give it our Human Resources department, they filled in their part, and I sent it to my lenders. Easy peasy!

  2. So exciting for your loan forgiveness! I've taught for 11 years and so I bet I can get $5,000 off twice? I need to look into you, I need all the help I can get, too!
    BigTime Literacy

    1. Hi Michelle :) I am not sure if it works that way, but definitely look into it (and let me know what you find out, hehe, just kidding - I can do my own research). I will keep my *fingers crossed* for you!

  3. I want to go shopping with you!

    1. LOL - Brenda, my husband would say, "Believe me, no you don't!" I go through clearance bins with a fine tooth comb and walk up and down EVERY aisle and scan everything! Actually, that is exactly what I will be doing at Big Lots today, as it is Friends and Family Day - 20% off coupon online! Ready, set, go! :)

  4. Hi Amber,

    I am SO GLAD to have found you through the Five for Friday linky. I am your newest follower. So excited to see you decorate your new classroom - what a lovely blank slate you have for creating a gorgeous environment for your kidlets! Loved reading about all of your bargains but it did make me jealous because we don't have a Joann's, Walmart or Target here in Australia. When I visit my boyfriend in Canada my first stop is always Target! :) Those cute little tongs would be perfect for pom poms, but to make it trickier (later in the year) you could use dried beans. I wonder if you could give each of your kidlets one of the little people cut outs and have them collage/decorate it as a kind of 'self portrait' at the beginning of the year?

    Can't wait to read more of your posts. :)

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

    1. Hi Lauren - Do you have Big Lots near you? That is another fun store for teachers here in the states, they are having a 20% Family and Friends event (coupon is online) today! I bet you know where I will be spending several hours today. ;) Thank you for the activity ideas with the tongs and people cut-outs. P.S. - I am following you on BlogLovin'...yay!


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