Saturday, September 5, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Favorite Subject

Here I am on Saturday trying to finish out #TeacherWeek2015 on a strong note. Sorry for the delay. There is no tired like Friday teacher tired! Plus I actually got to spend an evening with my boyfriend going out to dinner and FINALLY see AntMan. I couldn't believe it was still in theaters.

Anyway, Friday's link up was all about favorite subjects.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Sanity Savers

How is it Thursday already? And I can't believe it's September! I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again for Teacher Week!

In the back to school craziness, it is necessary for me to stay organized so every moment of the day can be productive. I went through a few weeks of not leaving school until 7pm, which just isn't sustainable. I've really been prioritizing getting out of the building at 5 and here are some of the things that help make that happen:

This year I am using an Arc planner. I love it because I can use my punch to punch anything I need to keep organized and in one place. Each week, I type up my plan overview using Dragonflies in First amazing planning tool. I was able to customize it to fit my needs in Excel. I also bought these daily to do lists from Blair Turner Paper. I love them for creating organized and prioritized to do lists each day.
After I create my plans each week, I make a list of all the copies I need. I picked up these stacking baskets at the Container Store this summer and I am using them to organize my copies for each day. Every Friday, all my copies are stacked here for the following week. I use the bottom basket for any extras we don't get to in case I am out or need a quick activity.
Another time saver I use is organizing all of my student files in hanging file boxes. Each hanging folder has several manilla files where I file away any tests, quizzes, reading assessments, or parent communication that I may need to reference. It is very convenient when I need to prepare for a meeting or conference about a student. I just pull the file and I'm ready to go!
My final Sanity Saver is one I use to keep myself organized during the day. I'm sure by now you have all heard of GoNoodle and if you haven't, sign up IMMEDIATELY. My kids need the movement break throughout the day and those 2-3 minutes allow me to clean up the classroom, organize materials, or distribute anything we need for the next block. I love GoNoodle!
I hope that some of the Sanity Savers help you. I'm looking forward to stealing all kinds of ideas during today's link up!

Happy Almost Friday!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Teacher Week and #2getherwearebetter: Classroom Reveal

Oh my. We have been in school for 5 weeks already and I'm just now doing a classroom reveal. Thank goodness for the kick in the pants from Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week and Ashley and Angie's #2GETHERWEAREBETTER linkies!

I am so excited to show you my space! This is my third year teaching in this room and I think I am finally figuring out how to maximize space
and use it to its full potential.

Without futher ado, here is my...

Welcome to the Jaguar Jungle! All of the first grade classrooms are named after rainforest animals. I love learning about Jaguars and building pride around our "mascot" throughout the year. My favorite part is when I see my former Jaguars in the hall and they still have that pride!

Here is the view from inside the front door (I have 2 doors!). This year I put a shelf on the edge of the carpet that is operating as my "home base." I keep my planner, giant water bottle (teacher essential!), and anything else I need frequently here. I am using an Arc planner this year. I love the "at a glance" plans typed using Dragonflies in First's templates.

Behind my door, I keep all of my extra books (I have so many that I swap them out to keep them fresh throughout the year) and all kinds of paper. My easel tucks away in this space and I can pull it out when needed.

The carpet is my favorite place to be. From stories to math discourse, I love the community feel of this space. My leveled books are on that "home base" shelf I mentioned before. The orange chair was from my grandmother's house. I love the retro feel of it.

Next to the carpet is my guided reading table/desk. I keep all of my supplies behind in within reach when I am teaching small groups. I love my new rolling drawers from IKEA to keep all of my teacher supplies.

Continuing around the room, I have my student mailboxes and 2 shelves full of materials and resources. I love how curtains keep everything "hidden." In several other pictures, you can see black poster board hanging from the ceiling. I have combined my letter line and word wall into one system this year using the letter headers from Maria at Kinder Craze. I am gluing our words from Jen Jones' Rainbow Words system each week we learn them so students can reference them for writing. I have a large air conditioning unit that I try and disguise. This year, it houses our brag tag system. I found those green stacking baskets at the Container Store this summer and use them to organize copies and materials for the week. 

If you turn around from this corner, here is what the view looks like. I started using these communal bins for certain supplies and I LOVE IT. We do Cognitively Guided Instruction for math at my school, so students need access to their own set of 100 cubes everyday. These drawers are the perfect storage.

Continuing around the room, I have shelves for center materials and a few cozy reading spaces. I am trying to create a "reading classroom" where reading happens everywhere, not just in one library space, so I have bins of books all around the room. You can see a few of them in these pictures. When I first started teaching, I had a hand me down futon as the couch in my apartment. After buying a "real couch" a few years ago, I put this futon in my room. It is a great place to plan and the kids love to read there. I am excited to fill the wall space with anchor charts and student work.

One amazing this about this room is all of the storage in the back. 

By the back door, I have a writing shelf where students can get additional crayons or writing paper to continue their stories.

The last wall is all windows that look out into the hallway, which is lined with more windows that look onto the courtyard (hence the terrible bright lighting in this picture). Students just pull up chairs when they use the computers. I have small cubby shelves along this wall that I use to store all of my math manipulatives (labels by the awesome Amy Groesbeck). See those orange vests? Those are our school wide hall passes that kids have to wear when they go to the office, bathroom, or anywhere else in the building.

Well, that's my space. I've loved looking at all of the classroom reveals and I'm so glad I finally got to share mine!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Make Ahead Meals

I'm linking up for a second day of Teacher Week 2015 with Blog Hoppin'

Today is all about Make Ahead Meals.

I will be honest. I am spoiled. My boyfriend is a chef and so I RARELY cook at home. And when I say rarely, I mean never. I used to cook and when I did it was usually in the slow cooker. So today I'm sharing two of my favorite slow cooker recipes. I love the convenience of throwing something in in the morning and coming home to a ready meal in the evening.

Photo from Pip and Eppy

Photo from Gimme Some Oven

I'm excited to find out some of your favorites!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: 5 Fun Facts!

I'm linking up with the lovely teachers at Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2015.

Today is Monday and that means 5 fun facts about me.

1. I live in the amazing city of New Orleans.

This means I get to to to amazing events like the Jazz and Heritage Festival...

Just some of my closest friends listening to Elton John together.
And Mardi Gras.

Normal traffic afterschool during Mardi Gras.

2. Speaking of Mardi Gras, I also dance in some of the parades with a fun dance troupe call The Muffalottas. We dance to 50s and 60s New Orleans classic music and dress up like diner waitresses.

3. I grew up on Long Island, NY and I went to college for Early Childhood Education at Boston University. I miss Boston a lot, but I think I am more suited for southern living.

4. Ice cream and frozen yogurt. All the time, anytime.

5. I'm obsessed with interior decorating and organization. My boyfriend and I live in a small house, so we have to make every space purposeful. Every time I am somewhere with an IKEA, Home Goods, or Container Store (there are none in New Orleans!) I MUST go.

I have a ton of these kind of pictures on my phone.
That has been 5 fun facts about me. I can't wait to read more about y'all! 

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wandering the Web: July 18

I'm bringing you another week of...

Don't have time to wander the internet? That's okay, I do that plenty enough for all of us.

The weekly post is a collection of random (fun, inspiring, cool, intriguing, interesting) things I have found throughout the week.

Here are this week's picks:

  • I went back to school this week. I should probably start to practice some of these faces again. #21 is the best face and feeling.
  • In the age of technology, learning tech education for dollars each month is pretty amazing and impactful for many people trying to find jobs in the industry.
  • In the words of Liz Lemon, I would like to go to there.
  • I would have loved my dorm room look like this. Can I go back to college?

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wandering the Web: Inaugural Post

I spend a lot of time on the internet. It's true. When I'm working on my computer, I often need a "brain break" and spend time wandering the abyss of the internet. Sometimes I find fun, interesting, or thought provoking things. I thought I would begin sharing them here in a weekly post called...

The things I post may be education related, but often they might not be. Either way, I hope you enjoy!

Here is are some of my findings this week...

  • I would like to try all of these, please. Even though my summer ends on Sunday, I'll still have plenty of warm weather to try some out.
  • This looks like a dream. I know some kids (and adults!) who would have an amazing time with this. Myself included.
  • New Orleans knows how to have a good time. Our version of the Running of the Bulls happens this weekend. 
  • I have a love/hate relationship with selfies. I love the idea of them and I hate that I can't take a good one.
  • Sometimes, you just need to get to work. I'm bummed I didn't snag one of these before they sold out, but I'm looking forward to the next release.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 3: Make Your Masterpiece

I'm linking up again with Emily from Third in Hollywood, Ashley from Teach Create Motivate, Jen from Sparkling in Second, and Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista for the third week of the TpT Seller Challenge.

This week's challenge was Make Your Masterpiece:

For this challenge, I chose to finish up a product that I have been thinking about and working on for a few weeks.

My Reading Identity is a series of activities and writing responses for students to think about and reflect on their past reading experience and their reading preferences. This is perfect for launching your reading block at the beginning of the year so you can get to know your students and their relationship with reading.

Here are some examples of student responses.

I hope you check out my new "masterpiece!" I can't wait to see what everyone else creates.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Winner Wednesday: August Journals

I'm excited to participate in my first Winner Wednesday, hosted by A Dab of Glue Will Do.
This linky takes place the first Wednesday of every month. On Winner Wednesday, I will pick a product from my store and explain it in detail, with pictures. Then you will have a chance to win that product for FREE. All you will have to do is enter your name to be entered into the Rafflecopter. 

For my first Winner Wednesday, I decided to giveaway my August Journals. I think journaling is such an important part of writing development. I also teach Writer's Workshop which provides more structure through relevant mini-lessons and helps students build their narrative, opinion, and informational writing skills. However, I also see the value and importance of creative writing as an outlet for expression. Some of my students who struggle in writing love journalling because they can show their strengths in other ways. Providing various opportunities for students to shine is so important to me as a teacher.

My monthly journals are designed to be printed into mini-books. Directions are included to make copying quick and easy.

Each page gives students a prompt to think and write about. Prompts are aligned to monthly holidays and other events. August has prompts about summer, travel, the beach, pets, inventions, and more! There is also a place for students to illustrate what they wrote about.

On the back cover of the journal there are reminders for students about writing conventions and a tracker. After students read me their entry and check their conventions, they get to color in a number. 

My goal is to create a series of these Journal mini-books for each month. But you can get August for FREE. Just add your name to the Rafflecopter below!

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up In Review

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to be a part of the 1st Annual Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up. I only started playing with the idea of really blogging and getting serious with my Teachers Pay Teachers store in April when I created my Instagram account. The event was publicized only shortly after so I like to think this was all meant to be because of the perfect timing!

The event was put together by the amazing Jasmine of Buzzing with Mrs. McClain and Kristi from Pelicans and Pipsqueaks. Our meet up was held at the Mayfair Lab School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Thanks to Jessica from Pride and Primary for hosting us!). From New Orleans, that's about an hour drive, so I packed up and hit the road early (Confession: It was the earliest I had woken up all summer!).

Teacher Tool Gift Exchange, Business Cards, and Starbucks--Ready to hit the road!
When I arrived at the school, I was so excited to meet so many people that I had been chatting with in Instagram in real life! Everyone was so welcoming and the room set up was amazing!

Loved our sunglasses theme! Perfect for a summer meet up.

We had two awesome presentations. One about blogging from Jessica from Pride and Primary and one about Teachers Pay Teachers by Mia from Putting Words in Your Mouth

In the blogging presentation, I found out about a bunch of linkys I want to join in on! I also learned that I should include some non-teaching anecdotes here as well. Maybe there will be some future posts on living in a small space without losing your sanity or decorating and DIYing on a budget.

In the Teachers Pay Teacher presentation I learned about sending products with artists' work to them, seller referrals, making freebies a smaller piece of a larger product, and the benefits of becoming a premium seller.

Such great information and discussion all around.

What would a meet up be without door prizes? I won this beautiful Vera Bradley bag. 

During our meet up, we also had some great grade-level cluster discussions. The K-2 group discussed homework, independent reading, behavior management, and more! It was so great to get everyone's perspectives on these topics.

We closed out the day with a Teacher Tool Exchange. I ended up getting this awesome gift bag from Anita from Nita Marie's Classroom Creations.

Starbucks, to-do lists, sticky notes, and push pins--essential Teacher Tools.

I cannot believe how fast the day went! We were able to grab a group picture before we left.

I also grabbed this picture with Kristi from Pelicans and Pipsqueaks. Kristi was the first person to find me on Instagram and identify me as a Lousiana Teacher Blogger. I'm so grateful to have connected with her and this group of wonderful ladies! Also, this picture is proof that I need selfie practice #thatsmyfingerinthepicture.

Look out for the Pelicans and Pipsqueaks blog launching soon!

I went home inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to really get going with this blog and my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I'm so excited to be getting a new look in July!

I also went home with some awesome swag!

It was such a great Saturday meeting amazing teachers from around the state. These ladies are an inspiration! I can't wait to do it again!

Would you like to win your own Swag Bag from the Lousiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up? Just enter with the Rafflecopter below!

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