Friday, August 31, 2012

Bathroom Pass Freebie & Linking Cube Letters

Happy Friday Friends!!!! I haven't truly felt the sense of TGIF I have today since the end of last school year. Whew. It was a busy week but I am loving my new school and my new class!!

I blogged about these owl bathroom passes I made a few weeks ago, and ever since then I have had tons of e-mails requesting the template. So I added them as a freebie in my TPT store. But then I never told you that I did that. So for the record, you can grab them for free in my TPT store. Just click the picture below to go directly to them :)

The button below will take you to Blog Hopping where you can currently find 93 other awesome freebies!!

Also, today was the final day of the first week of school. And we did one of my favorite "exploratory" activities with our math linking cubes. I hand out 20 linking cubes to ever student and challenge them to make all the letters in the alphabet using their linking cubes. Check out some of their handy work below.

                       The blue "W" is one of my favorites because they linked them all on the bottom

They quickly learn the can make uppercase and lower case versions of the letters.

And that some letters lowercase "b" can also be a lowercase "p" or "d"

They can also make numbers and spell words. It will make a simple word work center, math center, or early finisher activity.

Ok, I'm off to meet up with some girlfriends for some serious TGIF decompressing. Followed by an early bed time.

Happy Weekend Yall!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting Down With The "I PICK" Rap

 I found something fun today on YouTube that I'm loving and wanted to share with all of you. I first learned about the acronym for "I Pick" through the Daily Five.  But even if you don't use Daily Five and have zero desire to ever use it, teaching our littlest learners how to pick books that are just right for them is something that you're probably doing at the beginning of the year. The "I Pick" rap is a great way to get kiddos moving and grooving as they develop stellar reading habits!

{Click the image above to watch the video}

 A fabulous teacher named Mrs. Kuieck posted this video of her class engaged in the "I Pick" rap on You Tube. I think it's awesome!! So I had my kiddos watch and start practicing it today. We made up some of our own movements and had lots of fun! It's only day two, so I know they haven't truly internalized the meaning of purpose and comprehend, but this song will help as we continue to talk and learn about them and what they mean. So Keep Calm and Rap On :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cooking in Someone Else's Kitchen (First Day Recap)

Today was the first day of school at my new school.

The best analogy I can come up with to describe it is I felt like a cook making a gourmet meal in someone else's kitchen.

Except, that's actually a bad analogy seeing as I don't really cook.

So it'd be more like Emeril Lagasse coming into my kitchen and trying to cook a gormet meal.
If  Emeril ever did step foot in my kitchen, this is how he would look. 

My classroom is still dominated by the previous hoarder who inhabitied it - despite HOURS of work my family (both parents and husband) have put into it along side me. It's definitely better. Much better. But I don't function well in an un-organized space, let alone one that was un-organized by someone other than me. It may look really pulled together. But it feels foreign still. And I hate that there is still oodles of stuff crammed into every hidden nook and cranny. Which makes the whole environment a little stressful to me.

Additional stressful moments in my foreign "kitchen" today....

  • My computer wouldn't send my morning activity to the copier.

  • My mostly non verbal kiddo didn't come in with the rest of the class and the lunch aide during lunch recess. He stayed out with the kinders instead of coming in with the class. So he was safe. But I didn't end up getting to actually eat any lunch since I was hunting for him. I wolfed down three Oreos from snack and called it good. 

  • My Promethean Board wouldn't connect to the computer. So there went our first whole group math activity.

But then when I picked them up at Art (the longest we were seprated all day) I got tons of hugs because "they missed me". When I called on one girl who had her had up she declared that I was the world's best teacher. As we were getting ready to leave for the day, one of my boys gave me a huge bear hug. One of the boys who I never would have expected to be the hugging kind. And I overheard one kiddo bragging to his buddy on his way out of the building  that HIS teacher gave them Oreos for snack aaaand a cup FULL of jitter juice. 

Those moments reminded me that even though I felt out of my comfort zone, it was still an awesome first day for my new class. And ultimately, if they had a great first day then I had a great first day too!

Oh- and I was a bad blogger with  no pictures to show expect for this cup of Jitter Juice I treated myself to at snack time.

Check out the bubble factor on this stuff-!! 

Anyone using Abby's Jitter Juice activity trust me when I say you do NOT want to skip the sherbert in the recipe. I almost did, because it would have been easier. But I'm SO glad I didn't. It's bubble city and the kids LOVED it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Theraptuic Thursday

This was my Therapeutic Thursday today....

A slightly melted but incredibly yummy banana split from Dairy Queen.

Some of my other go to's include

Hot showers. This particular one comes from my "Dream Home" board on Pinterest.

One of these... 

With some of these...

 Curling up on the couch and catching up on my favorite TV shows.,0,214,317_.jpg

 Hanging out with this guy.

And when all else fails, there's always retail therapy.


I love to shop solo whenever I need some down time. Even if I don't spend a dime.

How do you un-wind??

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ch-ch-ch- Changes!!!

In my last blog post I said I had some big news to share with you all. Well here it is -- I have a new job!! I am officially teaching a 1st/2nd grade combo a new a new district!Everything came to be incredibly quickly. I won't go into details, but I feel like it's worth mentioning that after many changes in leadership and direction I was feeling as if my previous school was no longer the best fit for me. Still, I applied for my new job feeling like it was a long shot. So you can imagine my surprise when I applied, interviewed, and accepted all within a weeks time. I was offered the job this past Friday. This meant I had to move out of my old classroom this weekend (I felt like I was filming an episode of hoarders -- 4 cars and one pick up truck later) and I entered my new classroom for the first time on Monday morning.

First glance photos & impressions... It. Was. Huge. 

Ok, so maybe not huge. But it's easily double the size of my old room. However, all this new space is also CRAMMED with STUFF!! Yup, the person who abandoned this room also could have been on an episode of Hoarders. (I think most of us teacher types probably could)  Except apparently she's the type of hoarder who leaves it all behind because every nook and cranny of my room is filled with stuff...

When I said it was abandoned, I wasn't kidding. Please note the hair spray left on the upper shelf. 

More stuff.

The focus of this blurry picture is all the bins on top of my completely filled storage closets. 
Bins that are also filled with, you guessed it, more STUFF.

Some of the stuff is totally useful and organized. A lot of it isn't. I will spare you pictures of the filing cabinets and and shelves. For the past two days I've been trying to sort through it all and turn my new little world into a functional classroom space. It's a sloooow progress task. I also need tofigure out how to teach ALL new curriculum and how I'm going to deliver instruction of new said curriculum to two different grade levels at the same time. Since apparently I'm the only 1st/2nd combo teacher this year. Last year, there were two 1st/2nd grade combo teachers. This year, it's just me. But the whole staff has been so incredibly welcoming and helpful which has been such a blessing!

I'm mostly feeling  SUPER EXCITED for this new school year and all of its possibilities!!

(But the thought of organizing this room to my liking also makes me feel a teeny bit overwhelmed)

This is what the room looked like when I left today around 6 PM.

  I traded out the tables for desks. They still need to all be set to the same height.

 Also, I'm sure you'll all be very impressed by my one lonesome decorated bulletin board :)

Okay, so now I'm sending out a bloggy SOS-!!

If you are or know any split/combo grade bloggers or websites - I need links ASAP!!

 If you teach Investigations Math Curriculum and know have any great tips or resources - hollar at me!

Same thing goes for Making Meaning and Words Their Way curriculum resources.

Other miscellaneous thoughts that will have me scouring the blogosphere this week...

Myself and the lovely gal next door teaching 1st are hopefully going to do some team teaching for math and literacy. Which kind of has me thinking...should we have the same behavior management system? I  have loved my using clip chart management system for the past three years. It works really well for me.  But, I can't have clips for my entire class and her entire class. What would you do?

 I'm moving from a Core Knowledge charter school into a district position, which means I get to teach all new Science and Social Studies units this year. I love creating my own Science and Social Studies units, so I will spend some time getting to know the second grade standards this weekend. And I'm officially joining the masses in the land of the Common Core!

 Today another teacher mentioned to me that the K-2 kids don't receive nightly homework besides a reading log and sometimes a homework Bingo where they pick 3 activities to complete over the course of the week. This is very different from my old school. Not that I'm a homework lover by any means, but it's another new thing to figure out. This is probably a loaded question, but I'm gonna go there anyway. What does homework look like in your classroom?

And last but certainly not least, do I have to change my blog name now??

Maybe just start calling me-- Falling Into Second with a Sprinkle of First :)

So where I teach today, is not the same place I was teaching a week ago. Crazy!!
 Link up with Blog Hoppin to show everyone where you teach.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

B2S Night or First Day Freebie

This is a quick iPhone photo (aka: not the best) of the little giftie I handed out to my kiddos who came to Back to School Night.  

They each say "Hoot Hoot Hooray Welcome to 1st Grade"

I cut out enough little "hoots" for every kiddo in my class then taped them onto glow sticks. (My kids historically love glow sticks) But you could easily tape them to pixie sticks, pencils, or really just about anything you'd like. They were waiting on each kiddos desk for them to take before they left for the night. I also think they would make a great end of the first full day of school treat. 

I've got the freebie template to share with you that includes Welcome Hoots for grades K- 5th below!!

Click any of the images above to snag yourself some Back to School Hoots in Google Docs (K-5th)

I want to share more with you all...SO much more! There are some big ch-ch-ch changes going on in my little world right now. But it's going to have to wait just a few more days. Stay tuned because I'm hoping to  share it all by mid-week!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TPT Sneak Peaks


Just got home from Back to School night, after a day of pepping and assessing kiddos. Whew. But I wanted to take a moment before I go to bed to link up with Blog Hoppin and The School Supply Addict to share some of my TPT Haul items from this past weekend because honestly, I'm thrilled about ALL of them!!


I picked up Rachelle's Journals Through The Year, mostly because I really loved the monthly graphics for each cover page. SO CUTE! But I also liked how she included a wide variety of journal papers so I can graduate my firsties to "second grade" paper by the end of the year.


I absolutely HAD to get Regan's Class Pet Writing Journal because I can't think of too many things that will make my kids more excited about writing than their days with our class pet. I can't wait to go to the store and adopt one for our class this year!!

The next three items were things I purchased because they are all things that will help make three areas  more meaningful...


This was not a wish list item. Hope shared it on her blog the day of the sale and the moment I saw it I knew I HAD to have it!! It's a reading incentive program for your kids to motivate them to READ! They don't have to be the world's best reader either, they just have to try. AR testing, reading logs, literature response sheets -- all earn then SNAPS. The kids earn "Snap" points that they can cash in for fun prizes like, throwing a pie in your teachers face maybe? And one of my best friends and I say "Oh Snap" all the time so, I just generally feel like this program fits my personality to a tee. I absolutely LOVE it!!


I grabbed Ashley's 600 pages Fry Words Mega Pack which, for a whopping $8.00 during the sale, was a total STEAL considering I'm convinced it must have taken her at least 800 hours to put it all together. But it's 600 pages of wonderful! My school uses FRY site words so now I can easily send them home with my kiddos one list as a time and track their progress. 


And last but definitely not least, I picked up Megan's It's Calendar time in hopes that it will make our daily Calendar time more conscious, engaging, and meaningful. I have to be honest yall, I'm always really good about calendar in the beginning of the year but after gets boring. And on a busy day, it's usually the first things to go. But this year I will be doing calendar on my Promethean board and adding this Calendar Notebook into the mix , so  I honestly think it's going to become one of the favorite times of the day in our room! 

I also picked up a few new items that are non digital....

New Book Bins

New Borders

New Planner

All my B2S purchases = One super pumped teacher!!! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Classroom Progress & My New Planner

 Third time attempting to publish this post tonight. Is anyone else having blogger issues? Hoping this time is the charm...!!

 Yesterday was my first official day back and wow have my last 48 hours been jam packed! The early morning wake ups from my alarm have are an un-welcome but all to familiar greeting. My days have been mixed with meetings and setting up my classroom. I called my momma in for reinforcement on the classroom set up part. Every year she comes in and makes my sticky, formerly name tagged desks look brand spankin new again! She has a patience and natural elbow grease ability for the task that I have never possessed. She also helps me number books, cut, laminate, you name it! I'm super lucky to have her!! We worked until almost 6 PM-- geesh. It's not finished yet. Far from it actually. But we did make a lot of progress...

Check out the shine on those desks! Seriously, my mom rocks!!

I am loving the paper dasies I got for my room this year, inspired by School Girl Style

My new Owl 'n' Dots Clip Chart. I still need to add clips and our class rules around the top: Be Kind, Be Safe, Follow Directions, Do Your Own Thinking.

And last but not least, the newest addition to my room sits on top of my desk. I'm going to decorate it tonight and then share more about how I plan to use it in my classroom tomorrow.

After a long first day back and some fatigued *summer is really over* blues kicking in, I couldn't have asked for better time to find the little Happy Back to School present that I ordered for myself delivered and waiting for me....

My Erin Condren Teacher Planner

She came packaged just as pretty as everyone said she would.

Not a bad end to my first offical day back! Tomorrow night is my school's Back to School Night, so I have gone into overdrive trying to get my room ready for it. I'm organizing a scavenger hunt for my families who attend. I will be back to share some pictures, a freebie, and let you know how it went Thursday :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TPT Credits = Even More Savings This Weekend

Who's ready to do some *SERIOUS* shopping tomorrow?? I am!! My little TPT cart is about to tip itself right on over it's so heavy right now!!  I realize there may be some first time shoppers joining us this week in addition to many longtime TPT shoppers. Whatever your, TPT background is, the following info can save you some serious moo-la before, during, or after this event by cashing in you  TPT credits.

Every time you purchase from somebody's store, you have the potential to earn credits.  It doesn't matter who's store or how much -- for every dollar you spend, you can earn a TPT Credit. BUT, you do have to take one simple little action to reedem your credits. LEAVE FEEDBACK on the items that you purchase. Leaving feedback is an all around win win. You leave feedback on an item that you like and this let's others know you value that product, which is the very best compliment you can pay the owner of that store. And on the flip side, you earn credits and accumulate money in your account that you can put towards future purchases!

Interested but still not quite sure how to earn your credits? I put together a little step by step tutorial for ya below :)

1. Go to your TPT page and click "My Purchases." You will find a list of everything you have ever purchased. (Or if you haven't purchased yet but plan to this weekend during the sale, you can find all your purchases here as soon as your order goes through)

2. The products will list in the order you purchased them with the most recent always at the top. Under the title of your purchase where the pink arrow is pointing, the words "Provide Feedback" will be flashing in red. Click it! This was a clip art set from the Digital Bake Shop that I just purchased 2 days ago that still needed to leave feedback on.

3. Now you will be asked to rate this particular item for each of the categories below. Just click the dot under the rating you think it deserves and also leave a comment. It can be as brief as "I love it" or longer if you wish to leave a more detailed review. Once this section is filled out, submit your feedback. 

4. To learn more about TPT credits and see how many you have earned, click "Earn TPT Credits" on your main page.

Pretty easy huh? So if you've already made lots of purchases but haven't been leaving feedback, today is the day to do it! Chances are you will be able to save on your shopping these next few days if you do! If you don't have any items to leave feedback on, you will by the end of the sale on Monday. And now you will have a chance to earn credits to put towards that one item you will inevitably miss but find a day or two after the sale and wish you would've grabbed. NO WORRIES though, because you have credits. See, once again - win win!!


Reminder that ALL my products will be discount 20% off starting tonight at Midnight through the end of the day on Monday!!  Remember to enter coupon code: BTS12 for an additional 10% off.

If you want to do a little window shopping, come visit my shop!

To learn more about the ins and outs of TPT, check out Erica's amazing post!!