Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The ABC's of First Grade

Dare I say it???  School is quickly approaching!!!  I mean, I can't be the only one who is excited and overwhelmed...can I???  I am so excited to announce the ABC's of First Grade linky with some of my First Grade Tribe friends!!!

I mean, you think FIRST GRADE and you think so many things!!! So now is your chance to BLOG about it!!!

I have the letters E-H!!!  

I am certainly not the only one who thinks EXCITING, when they think of First Grade!!!  First graders are many things, and excited is definitely in the top 3!!  They love school (well usually most of the time) and learning.  They get excited about doing new things and call it an activity and they are over the moon bursting with excitement!!!

Not many people can say they have a FUN job!  But I can!!!  First Grade is all about learning while having FUN!!!  I think we can all agree, the more fun you have, the more learning that takes place.

First graders are GABBY!  I mean even when they don't have anything to say, they are still talking:)  I like to remind myself that they are learning how to socialize, rather then just ignoring the rules!!!

This one is more about the First Grade teachers, HARDWORKING!!!  Can I get an AMEN???  I mean we work hard!  It is worth it, but it is a tough, ever changing job that requires HARDWORKING peeps!!!  The First Grade Tribe is filled with these hardworking teachers, and I am proud of call you my colleagues!!!

Hope you enjoyed my part of the alphabet!!!  

A huge shout out to my First Grade Tribe friends who are joining me on this great linky!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tell all Tuesday: My Dream Classroom

I almost missed the party!!!  Thanks Diana at My Day in K and Jayme at Teach Talk Inspire for hosting the Tell all Tuesday!!  This week might end up being my favorite so far... My Dream Classroom!  Uhh I totally get chills just thinking about it!!  

Classroom decor is one of my passions!  That being said...
Is my classroom perfect, uh NO! 
Is it spotless? NO 
Is it organized 100% of the time?  That's a BIG FAT NO!! 

My room is a place, that I am proud of and I like my students to LOVE our room.  If you figure out the Math, then you know we all spend A LOT of time in our rooms.  So why not make them cozy & fun!!  I mean I teach first has to be FUN!!!!

Themes are big to me, I am a self proclaimed THEME girl.  I have done Arthur, Clifford, Jungle, Beach, Surfing, and Nautical classrooms (not all at once).  And yes, I am only entering my ninth year!  I just love to change it up!!  This year, I am going with a Sports Theme!!! 

I am creating a wish list for My Dream Classroom:
I Pads for each student
Individual lockers (preferably outside the classroom)
Whiteboard tables & an assortment of seating (balls, pillows, chairs, stools)
Matching Storage Containers (for everything)
A loft 
Air Conditioning

I have been learning a lot about 1:1 technology (huge shout out to Kirstin at Hip Hooray in K for letting me ask her all my questions), so I would love the opportunity to have I Pads for each student.  The things that can be done are amazing!!!

We have closets, with hooks that aren't spaced out properly and can't fit nearly the amount of things a first grader needs particularly during Illinois winters!  So individual lockers would be AWESOME!!!  Plus it is something else to decorate:)

I love seeing rooms that don't have tables or assigned seating!  I switched to tables last year and LOVE it!!!  But I would love tables that had whiteboard capabilities.  I would also like my kiddos to have a choice of what kind of seat they want to sit in that day.  I mean a "bike" chair, HELLO...genius!!!

I am a bit of a freak when it comes to organizing, or at least planning organization!!  I buy containers all the time, I mean what teacher doesn't.  I just wish they were all matching and the right size!!!

A loft!!!  An opportunity for my kiddos to have a loft to go read in and store our books!!!  It could be transformed each year to follow my theme...uhh what a dream!!!

Air Conditioning!  Now I know you are thinking...WHAT???  Yes, that is correct!  I teach in a school where the classrooms are not air conditioned!!! ( I know I am not alone in this area)  The office, teacher's lounge, cafeteria, and our computer labs are but not the classrooms!!!  It is just hard to concentrate in August when the heat index in the room is like 90 degrees.  We push through and eat lots of popsicles and drink water, but WOW...August could be a lot more effective if we had AC!!!

So there you have wish list for my dream classroom! Do I need all these things..NO.  Because come August 17th, I will have transformed my room into an awesome sports arena that my little firsties will love and I will call home for the next 10 months!!!

I will do a classroom tour once it is spectator ready!!!!

What's your dream classroom??? Go link up!!! I can't wait to read about it!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Take me out to the Classroom

One of my passions (and yes I have many) is classroom decor.  I love it. I am the crazy teacher who changes her theme/room every year (or almost).  Don't hate me!!  I do it because it is a labor of love and I don't regret it for a second!!!  However, as a teacher I am very specific about certain things I want.  You know, you get an idea in your head and then it has to be that way.  

So I decided to go with a Sports theme this year.  In my mind, I had the perfect classroom set up thanks to the many teachers out there in social media world and that little website we call Pinterest!!!  I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I jumped into creating my own.  I LOVE IT!!!  I am so happy with it and am sharing it on TpT!!!  

It is a great pack filled with 109 pages of sport decor!  A few different options are offered and there is even a ink friendly option in there too.  If you are interested, click here.

Here is just a little sneak peek!!!! If you have any questions or need something like this or in addition to this, let me know!!!  The creative bug is ready to work!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Celebrating

I am so excited to link up with my fellow firstie teacher Kellee at Stomping Through First!  She is the cutest and is hosting a Sunday Celebrating Linky!!!

This week:

Three things that don't really illicit celebration!  However, I did manage to have some fun!!  I mean I live with a two year old....of course I had fun!  

I am celebrating that I got to go shopping with my teaching buddy and get all  almost all the things I needed for my classroom transformation.  Here's a little recap of the adventure.  I am calling it Comfy Shoes and Cash!  I decided to set myself a budget (two reasons what teacher doesn't need a budget when shopping for her classroom and it truly makes it fun trying to get the best bargains).

First Stop...Polar Pops!!  I mean you can't conquer an afternoon of shopping without a polar pop, especially when it is 95 degrees!!!

Our next stop, our local school supply store!  I shop the big box stores but if I can help a local business out, I will!!!

A huge thanks to Mama & Papa Baer (my parents) for the amazing gift card!  Obviously, that was a huge help to the budget!!!

At the The School House, I was able to get borders, stickers, notepads, red library pockets, and pencils.

Next stop, Jo-Ann Fabrics!  I like to cover my bulletin boards with fabric.  The main reason is I am not that "coordinated" to work with paper.  Fabric is very giving and easy to put up.  On the list was fabric, fleece, and ribbon.  Fleece was 40% off and the solid broadcloth was $1.99 a yard.  Some of the ribbon was on clearance and the other was not.  I checked out and had a 25% off coupon for the total purchase.  Once again, I came in UNDER budget!!!!

On to Party City.  No coupons for here:(  However, it was the smallest of all the lists!  Paper Lanterns, CHECK!  And guess what, under budget!

On to Wal-Mart!  Thanks to all the budgeting moms and teachers out there, I knew that many of the school supplies I wanted were the least expensive there!  This was initially not on the agenda, but where there are bargains, I will be!!  I will admit, I slightly went over budget (but only because I bought things for my house, as I am trying to get my garage organized.)  I picked up notebooks (as we will be doing interactive notebooks), crayons ( a whole class set times 2), and a set of markers for each team. 

Last stop, Dollar Tree!!!  I had a good list and have to admit that I wasn't overly successful!  And let me mention, the Dollar Tree I went to had no AIR!  Remember when I said it was 95 degrees!!  That gave me a horrible flashback/reminder of how it could possibly be in my classroom come August 17th!!  I was only able to score, a football, clothespins, a megaphone, a football platter, and a white basket.  Obviously way under budget, BUT only because they didn't have everything I needed and I think I was delusional from the heat!!!

(no pictures from Dollar Tree, let's be was too hot for pics!!!)

You might wonder about my random shopping list but in the weeks to come, it will all make sense.  So a HUGE celebration for spending the afternoon with my teaching buddy and staying under budget, while securing almost everything I needed!!!

Thanks Kellee for an awesome linky!!!  I am sure you all have a celebration, so go link up!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

I am so excited!!!  I recently received an email from Sarah at Shine on in First Grade for the One Lovely Blog Award!!  She wrote the sweetest note and it just made my day!

I started blogging just over a year ago.  I enjoyed it but didn't make it a priority.  I used it a few times during the school year, to reflect and share the things going on in our room.  This summer I made some personal goals for myself and blogging is now a priortiy!!! I can tell you one thing, it isn't about how many people are reading (but a HUGE thank you to those that are!!!) it is about being proud of myself and reaching for the stars.

The first blog I ever found was Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons!!!  I have said many times that I am pretty sure my students thought Mrs. Lemons was their invisible teacher that year!!!  Since then I have found so many awesome blogs and follow the teachers behind them.  I love that I have cyber friends who get me, even though we have never met.  
I also love to meet cyber friends in person!!

So here are a few things about me....

1.  I became a mom this year!!!  Well actually I became a mom September 30, 2013 but this year we began our forever together!!!!

2.  I have only traveled out of the country twice, and both times were to Haiti.

3.  I love Notre Dame football!!!  So excited for the season to kick-off!!!

4.  Teaching wasn't my first career, but it was the 2nd best decision I have ever made. (1st is obviously deciding to adopt!!!)

5.  I love things to be organized & cleaned, but this summer my house looks like a HOT mess!!!

6.  Polar Pops are my most favorite drink!!  Dr. Pepper if its the AM and Mountain Dew if its the PM!!!

Another huge shout out to Sarah for the nomination!!!  I would love to pass this on to some of my favorite amazing bloggers out there!!!

Elizabeth at First Grade Stripes
Kirstin at Hip Hooray in K

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tell All Tuesday

Tell all Tuesday Time!!!  So excited to be linking up with 


This week they asked us to share our Teacher Top 10 list!!  

10.  I don't drink coffee but this girl does need her caffeine!!  My personal choice is a Polar Pop (Dr. Pepper in the AM, Mountain Dew in the PM.)  Don't judge, everyone has their vice and this is mine!!!  Some days teaching requires me to have a little extra and that is A-OK!!!

9.  Teacher friends get it!!  Don't get me wrong, my besties are amazing.  They give me their kids toys, they tell me about deals, they go to a different Target for me to get Dollar Spot items, & they bring my class popsicles when it is 110 degrees in our non-air conditioned classroom, but no one gets the life of a teacher like a teacher friend!!!  They are the best and understand how a work night on Friday, is actually FUN!!!

8.  There are nights I get to bed late finishing things that add a little extra or buying a dollar store trinket that will take a lesson to the next level, but it is always worth it!!!  The smiles on my kiddos faces make me want to do better and they are worth it!!!

7.  August 17th, I will start my ninth year.  Have all those years been in the same grade level? NO In the same room?  NO  I have taught 1 year of Kindergarten, 3 years of Second Grade, and will be starting my 5th year of First Grade (not taught consecutively).  Was this my choice? NO My first years of teaching were determined by the "pink slip" process, but leaving 2nd grade to come back to 1st was my choice.  I love that I have had to move (it helps from becoming a hoarder) as I feel I have a better understanding of expectations.

6.  I know that some people think I am crazy for being on Instagram, Twitter, a blog, Facebook etc.... but I have to say that some of the best professional development I get comes from the amazing people I have met (virtually) through social media!!! 

5.  Being prepared!  Didn't we all learn this as girl scouts or boy scouts??  Well I must admit that last year, that wasn't necessarily my best quality.  The days things were ready to go and my room was in order were the best days, however they were also far and few between!  I have a major goal of preparation and organization for the upcoming year!

4.  My mom is a smart woman, I always knew that!  She could probably take on any job you give her, while also looking like a million dollars, and she gives amazing advice.  Her advice to me is to always look my best!  When I look my best, I will feel my best!!!  And she told me the kids care, they really do and boy was she right!!!  It is amazing, how a pair of earrings or a dress, really stand out in the eyes of a 5 or 6 year old.  So add looking my best to my goals for the year!!

3.  Are there days when you are short copies, you don't feel the best, there is a full moon, and technology isn't working?  YES!!!  No matter how bad it is, TOMORROW is another day!!!

2.  Sick days in many professions are a day to recover or regroup, in teaching it is a day to worry about your kids, wonder if you gave the sub enough to do or wonder if there is a sub.  I think we are all guilty of going in sick, but remember every now and then, even Superman or Wonder Woman took a day off....teachers can too!

1.  After I graduated college, I worked in the field of Community Health Education for 9 years.  I learned so much in those nine years, but when my dad got sick (he is doing awesome now!!!) I realized LIFE is TOO SHORT!  It was time to go for what I always wanted to be...a teacher!  Since that day, I have not regretted my decision once.  I get to go to my job everyday and not think of it as a job but as getting time to do my hobby!  Teaching is a hands on job, 100% involvement and I am happy to say....I LOVE IT!!! 

This is my Top 10, what's yours?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Scoop

I am happy to report that we had a GREAT week of vacation/holiday celebrations!!!  Joey absolutely loved the beach and I loved the relaxation of seeing her play!  The weather wasn't spectacular but we had a great time, we ate, played, and shopped, what more could two girls ask for!  As soon as we came back we jumped right into Fourth of July celebrations.  I have always liked fireworks, but this year was special...Joey's first 4th!!  It was amazing and today marks 4 months since we came home...YIKES!!!

As I always do, I am linking up with the 

for their Sunday Scoop!!!

Have:  I am working 2 days/a week for a summer camp in my town, three weeks down three weeks to go!  I have been frustrated with my TV/Internet provider many times and I am finally going to call them and see what can be done!!!  I have so much laundry to put away from vacation (as well as everything that didn't get put away before vacation.)

Hope:  I am one of those people who loves to make their classroom FUN and cute!!!  I loved my colors last year but didn't love my I am trying to think of a new one!!!  It has rained so much that Joey has not gotten her outside time and being on vacation reminded me how much she LOVES the outdoors.  So praying for SUN!!!!

Happy:  A group of my girlfriends and I are trying out a new restaurant in town and I can't wait!!!

That's my scoop, what's yours???

Go Link up!!!

Plan with Me Sundays

Is it weird that I love planning?  I am sure it is to some, but I am sure many of you understand my obsession!  Robyn at Kreative in Kindergarten  and Meghan at Keeping up with Mrs. Harris obviously understand and have a wonderful linky called Plan with Me Sundays!!!!  This time you have the chance to win great prizes!!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last time I shared with you, how I use my Erin Condren Teacher Planner.  If you want to check it out, click here.

Today I am going to share with you a simple way I organize my "weekly schedule".  I love using my planner to track my appts, work schedule, and blog posts, but I also like to keep my planner somewhat "clean".  Enter the list!!!  I found the Creative Clips Paper Collection and couldn't be happier.  And when I say I found it, well I didn't!  I learned about it from the amazing world of Instagram and all the amazing teachers I follow there.  

I bought the Jumbo Weekly Planner 2 pack and it has transformed how I plan my week. 

As I stated before, I love the Bic Extra Bold pens and have assigned four categories of my life to a different color. I use the same color scheme for my weekly schedule/list.  I really like things to look nice, why?  I have no idea.  I am the only one that sees the list but I prefer it to look good.  So I like to create (on a scratch piece of paper) my weekly list.

This week I have been on vacation and then we rolled right into the holiday, so I accidentally did the practice list on the actual paper:(  It helps me to organize my life.  I try to include everything from household chores, appts that need to be scheduled, to blog ideas I want to post.  

The great thing about my weekly list is that it fits right into my Teacher Planner and is easily accessible!!!

Is it rocket science?  Well no!  Just a little insight into how I do things!!!!

So how do you schedule your week????  Link up and tell us!!!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Do you like to PLAN???

Come back on Sunday,  as I am joining up with Meghan at Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris and Robyn at Kreative in Kindergarten for another Plan with Me Sundays Blog Hop!!!  This week you will not only learn tons of new planning ideas and tips, but you will also have the opportunity to win some great prizes!!!  So check us out on Sunday and stay tuned!!!!