Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teacher Planning Binder

Every year it seems like I try a different way of keeping all of my planning and meeting materials accessible and organized. I have yet to find a method that works perfectly for me, but I've seen around blog land that a lot of teachers are just using one LARGE binder for everything and drag that with them everywhere. So, I'm going to give it a shot this year. 

I bought a 2" lime green binder from Staples--I'm hoping 2" will be big enough! I also got the plastic tab dividers that have the pockets, stick on tabs to divide things within a section, and one of those organizer pouches to hold my pens, highlighters, calculator, ruler, etc. (green of course). As you may already know, I just LOVE office supplies, so working on this binder and planning it out is making my heart sing!

Anyway, here is the cover I created for my binder. I'm pretty proud of it! :o)
 I found the quote on the bottom on pinterest way back when. I just love it :o) I thought it went well with the idea of an everything binder.

I hope to show some photos of the binder once I have all of my sections figured out and put together. For now, I know I need a section for meetings (PLC, faculty, ELA committee), planning pages, parent contact/communication, professional development, pacing charts/curriculum maps...and that's as far as I've gotten.

Sooo, what do you use to keep yourself organized? Any pointers?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Clip Chart Calendars

I've been seeing a lot of CUTE clip chart behavior calendars around the blogs lately, and it inspired me to revamp the ones I used last year. 

I really liked having the daily communication with parents, and the kids took on most of the responsibility of it. Of course, there were the kids who never brought them back (they didn't get a replacement unless the parents asked for it, since that tells me the parents weren't really interested/concerned) or who wouldn't fill them out if they were one orange or red (so I would do it for them...grr). 

Here's how it works:
*At the beginning of each month, I fill in the dates and make copies for my class.
*I staple these calendars in their takehome folders each month, and the majority of them actually stay there. Hallelujah! :o)
*At the end of the day, as we're packing up, the kids color in the corresponding date with whatever color their clip is on at the end of the day.
*Each day they restart on green. 
*The next month gets stapled on top, so they have a record of the year as we go on.

Simple, easy, and does the trick! I think many parents enjoyed the daily communication, and the kids who were always on green, blue, purple (I rarely give out pinks--you've REALLY got to EARN it!) were so proud at the end of the month when their calendars only had those colors on them.

I hope some of you can use these. They are in PDF format because some of the fonts get wonky when I upload them as docs. If you need an editable version, leave a comment with your email, and I will send you one. 

There are both vertical and horizontal versions depending on which will work best for you. I use the vertical ones.

Let me know if you use them and what you think! :o)


Friday, July 27, 2012

Tell Me More!

How fun! I just love a good linky party!
Link up with Step into 2nd Grade for Mrs. Lemon's Tell Me More, Tell Me More linky!

 1.  I am a Big Brother addict; although I don't subscribe to the feeds. I'm just obsessed with the show and have the app that gives me updates and spoilers. Just too cheap to fork over the cash-ola (plus I don't have the time to watch) for the subscriptions.

2. This will be my 6th year teaching kindergarten, but someday I think I'd like to be a reading specialist. :o) Leaving a classroom and figuring out what to do with all the stuff I've bought over the years makes me a tad nervous though.

3. My favorite children's author is Dr. Seuss, but I absolutely LOVE the Pete the Cat series. I can't wait for Pete the Cat Saves Christmas! I think Pete may be stealing my love for Seuss...now, who's going to make bulletin board, number cards, letter cards, etc, etc, etc, so I can have a Pete the Cat themed classroom someday? Nolan has a Pete doll, and he loves listening to me sing the songs. LOVE Pete!

4. Ben Folds & Ben Folds Five are my all time favorite musical people/bands. Close seconds are Matt Nathanson, Guster, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, and too many more to mention, but I guess those are my tops.

5. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to have a little boy then a girl, so the brother could look after his sister when they got to high school. When Clay and I got married, I thought I wanted a girl first in case we only had one child. Now that we have our Little Dude, I can't imagine having a girl. I am just loving having a boy! And, I'm definitely looking forward to less drama once he gets to HS :o) Plus there's less worry about eating disorders, body image, etc. that most of us struggled with in our teens and twenties (wait a minute, I'm still in my twenties! Barely)

6. I don't know if we'll ever try for another kid--whether through adoption or birth--because Nolan is just PERFECT! I think we'd get a horror child the second time around to make up for it! Plus I have NO IDEA how people with multiple kids do it. We're exhausted with just the one!

7. I am not cut out for apartment living. We lived together in an apartment after we got married for less than a year. We weren't really looking for a house, but thinking about it. I got an email from a local realtor with a house, had that gut feeling, and we toured it, applied for our loan, etc., and had bought the house within a week. Sometimes you just know! We have a lot of plans for it, and they'll take us probably 20 years to complete them all, but I just knew it was supposed to be our home!

8. We've been married for 4 years. In some ways it seems like longer, but the years have gone by so quickly! We've been together for almost 8 years. Clay is my best friend, a wonderful Hubby, and an awesome Daddy. I am blessed.

9. I love Pinterest, but I don't think I could ever possibly do all the things that I have pinned! There are just way too many good ideas!

10. I love baking, and did a TON of it before Nolan came along. Cakes & cupcakes galore! Now, I do a lot of boxed brownies and cookies from scratch since they're quicker to do when you have a little one getting into everything and have to keep a constant eye on him!
30th anniversary cake for my parents from a few years back

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blog Awards!

In the past couple weeks, I've been nominated for a few blog awards by some lovely bloggers! Thank you to those who sweetly chose me! I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to do this sooner, but my computer wasn't in the best shape to be blogging (or much of anything). Now that I've got my new MacBook Pro <3, I'm all set! 

So, anyway...

Here are the rules...
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

Thank you to:

WILD About First Grade!
Here's 7 random facts about me:
1. I come from a family of teachers. My dad taught 5th grade for 34 years! He just retired, and some days I'm a little jealous :o)
My sister, cousin, and aunt are also currently teachers. My other cousin is now an administrator.
2. I love the Buffalo Bills even though it's a tough job, and I don't really know all that much about football.
It's my Sunday routine to watch the game while working on lesson plans and newsletters. Hubs and I try to do themed foods for each game, Cincinnati chili, crab salad sandwiches, Buffalo wing dip, etc. depending on who we're playing each week.
3. I double majored in childhood & special education and English.
I have a whopping 8 (I think) certifications. Yes, NY state received lots of funding from me over the years!
4. Pregnancy changed my taste buds. I no longer enjoy peanut butter, and I used to eat it by the spoonful. I now LOVE steak and coffee. So strange!
5. I have THE CUTEST little boy, Nolan, who will be 7 months old on Saturday.
Today Hubs and I are celebrating our 4 year wedding anniversary!
6. This will be my 6th year teaching kindergarten--all in the same district--but my second year at my current building.

7. I HATE the heat of summer. Anything above 79 makes me cranky! I LOVE fall and spring though--especially fall.


1.) Follow the person that gave me the award (DONE!)
2.) Link back to the person who gave me the award (DONE!)
3.) Pass the award to 15 more people! (Working on it!)

Thank you to:

Great blogs I've nominated for BOTH awards:
3rd Grade Thoughts

Jens Kinder Kids

Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten

Mrs. Mayas' Kindergarten

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Elusive Scentos Markers

I finally got my hands on a variety of Scentos markers! I've been hunting for them for months, and Walmart finally had them in the back to school section. Needless to say, I got 2 of each scent :o)

I may have also come up with a solution for my table tubs. I think I'll get 2 of these for each table, so 2 kids each share one. 2 per table is much better than 4 crayon/pencil boxes per table, right? Then I can paint some extras for my orange and purple tables. They're only 88 cents, I think, so it'd be a very cheap solution! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Cat in the Hat is Back...at the Target Dollar Spot!

If any of you are as in love with Dr. Seuss decor for your classroom as I am, you'll be pleased (ecstatic??) to know that Seuss items are back in the Target Dollar Spot already! I was wondering what I would do if they had something else this year and wasn't anticipating seeing anything quite this early, but low and behold, there they were this morning! They were JUST putting them out, so I HOPE I got everything! Literally, the stock guy was filling the shelves, and I was getting in his way trying to scarf everything up.

It feels good having my nametags, pencils and other goodies all set to go for kindergarten orientation already. Am I ahead? What--that can't be right!

Here are some *not so fabulous* photos of my sweet finds! :o)

Row 1: Olive (one of my curious cats) & reuseable bags Row 2: cups, bowls, plates, & sandwich boxes Row 3: nametags, bookmarks, pencils, stickers

close-up of goodies

close-up of the left side

close-up of the right side

reuseable bags & Pickles' side (the other curious cat!)

Oh yeah, and they had a bunch of Lorax stuff (I LOVE The Lorax, one of my faves) that was green or organic or something, but the colors were more muted, and I wanted the bright kid-friendly looking things.

So, if you're into Seuss, get to Target ASAP! Last year this stuff went FAST.

PS: I must also throw this in there...it is SOOOOOOOOO much nicer, easier, and cheaper buying supplies for 15 munchkins rather than 23! PTL!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Currently

It's time! Link up with Oh Boy, 4th Grade!

Rules for the last question:
1. your favorite read aloud--I love Brown Bear, Brown Bear and all the Pete the Cat books because my kinders quickly catch on to the story and LOVE to reread it with me...hundreds of times. :o)
2. your favorite professional read--I'm not sure if this really counts as a professional read, but it sure does help remind you why you're doing what you're doing.