Friday, August 30, 2013

Five For Friday!!!!

I have been downright TERRIBLE with blogging these last two weeks!  It's awful!  Between the ongoing construction at my school, setting up the classroom in two-and-a-half days, professional development sessions, faculty meetings, late nights preparing maternity leave plans, teaching all day (we had a full week this week) and taking care of my family, I'm wiped out!  Not to mention contractions have been on and off for the last two days...and I still have two more weeks until my due date!!!

To try to catch up, I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five For Friday linky party!

My blog is about to receive a makeover from A Bird In Hand Designs!  I am so excited to be working with Megan on making my blog prettier with more of the features I want.

My colleague and I are part of our school's PBIS team.  Back in April we volunteered to create a video to introduce PBIS to the staff.  It was a huge success!  We spent the last few days of school filming more elements of PBIS so that we could create an introductory video for students.  It was a HUGE success and I am so proud of the work that we did!

My sixth year degree in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Educational Technology was conferred last Friday!  I found out officially on Wednesday after lots of back and forth from my advisors.  I am thrilled to have completed my degree in spite of everything going on in my life (one-year old daughter, husband, pregnancy, pregnancy complications, Teacher of the Year nomination, teaching full-time).  It's been a whirlwind year but I am happy to be done!

My daughter is going to be going to school for the first time in a week-and-a-half!  She's going to a two-year program one day a week and we couldn't be happier.  It's at an Episcopal church five minutes away from us and for two-and-a-half hours a day.  It is the perfect introduction to school for her!  Of course I am a nervous-wreck, but what parent isn't?!

T-minus 13 days until my due date!  This pregnancy has been so different than my first one; I had so many complications early on and so many moments when we thought we lost the baby.  I will be happy when she is here and in my arms!  I can't wait to savor every moment!

Happy Friday, everyone!!!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day Jitters!

Today was our first day of school and it went very well!  We actually had a delayed schedule...kindergarten orientation took place in the morning and then we started two hours later.  I was thankful for the extra two hours because I used up every extra second I had!

Once again, I am in love with my class!  I love teaching first graders because they are all so eager to learn.  Once again, I found the same with this class.  While I am going on maternity leave in less than three weeks, I am happy to have some time with them.

Some tips that helped with a smooth first day of school:

  • Letter to the parents.

I had no parents show up early because I sent a letter stating the delayed start time of school.

  • Transportation

I made sure to include a note about transportation.  Parents were asked to fill it out and send it back to school today with their child.  I have had problems in previous years over how students were getting home and this year dismissal went off without a hitch!

  • Supply control

Our school has students bring in supplies to be shared with the classroom community.  There ends up being quite a bit of supplies and there is no time to organize.  This year, I had students leave everything on the back table and then myself or the para in my classroom went through everything.  It worked nicely!

  • Parents staying

Again, this was the first year I had no parents stay!  Every child was dropped off by their parent, kissed at the door, hugged and then sent into the room by themself.  I think what helped was the fact that I stood by the door, spoke with the parents and had a plan for the students.  It was perfect!

What was a long day was actually a wonderful day!  To quote one of my new firsties, "Today was the best day ever!"

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five For Friday (On a Saturday For a Second Week In a Row)!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five For Friday linky party!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am absolutely exhausted after this week!  I feel so guilty about not blogging but I have spent every night after my daughter goes to bed getting materials prepped for my classroom set-up.  We lost about three weeks of set-up time because of construction, so we all had to work really hard to get things done.  Here goes nothing!!!

Before...Monday morning.  Dirty floor, no window.

Another before picture.  I can't believe this was on Tuesday! 
After my husband worked his magic!
We were finally able to start work on our classrooms while construction has been ongoing...which is a good thing considering we have students on Monday!  On Tuesday, my husband and Amalia came to my classroom.  My husband is a custodian and has plenty of work to do in his own building, but I was really thankful that he took a personal day to come help me.  He mopped the floor two times and moved my furniture into place!  If he hadn't done that, I don't know what I would have done.  Here are some before and after pictures from Monday and Tuesday.

The bulletin board my dad put together...very neat!  These job spots are in my TpT store!

My father took a half-day on Tuesday to help me set-up my classroom as well.  He built my new Ikea drawer system and then helped me move more things into place as well as a put together a bulletin board for me!  His first one!  I think he did a great job!  :)

My sister came down Thursday night so she could watch my daughter all day Friday.  We took her to dinner and had a fun time watching "Sharknado".  My husband loves when she is around...they have a lot of good laughs!

I completed my classroom yesterday!  I have just about everything together.  The only thing missing are my windows and new blinds...hopefully I'll walk in Monday morning and they will be put together!  My fingers are crossed.  I think my room came out pretty good!

Mailboxes and job board.

Right whiteboard with objectives, schedule (I forgot to print the lunch one, Where Am I? (how I am able to determine where students are when they're not in the like a charm).


Author's Wall...I call it the Author's Spotlight (it goes with my polka dot theme).

Library and Genre Board.

Reading strategies...we use the beanie baby ones.  The green cubes go in the corner where there is no window.  I use that as storage and my reading nook.  It is a much-loved area!

No window :(  I love how clean my counters are this year though.  It makes a huge difference!

Guided Reading table with storage cubes for seating.  No window in the front as well.

PBIS positive reward chart, Science Word Wall, Interactive Word Wall, Days of the Week and Months of the Year!

Word Wall!  The file cabinet will go in the corner by the window so my first graders can easily access it.

I am thankful for my family.  Without my parents, sister, brother, my in-laws and especially my husband and daughter, my life would not run as smoothly as it does.  This week was strenuous and draining for me and I was lucky to have family members pitch in and help out.

I'm looking forward to a great start on Monday!!!!  Can't wait to share some of the things I have planned for my class! :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

This Is What I Saw When I Walked Into My Classroom Today...

No window is covered with plastic.
Again no window, just a plastic covered sheet.
Can we say yikes?!?!?!  My blood pressure went up just slightly when I saw this.  Professional Development starts Wednesday and we weren't even allowed to go near the building until this morning.  I have no window frames, no glass...nothing.  It's nerve-wracking to think that we could possibly have an unfinished building before students enter on Monday.  On the other hand, the purpose for this construction is to provide us with a safer school (especially after Sandy Hook) and I'm all for that!

I have my "crew" coming in tomorrow to help me set things up.  Thank goodness for family!  I was told I can set everything up as I normally would and the windows will be worked in around us.  Can't wait to have everything done!

While I was at school, I got all of my copying done for back-to-school, so that feels good to get that done.

 After not getting to do anything in my classroom, I was feeling a little down and stressed out.  I came home and happened to check my email.  I found this!

Needless to say, my mood has changed completely!  Thank you to Meredith over at The Big Apple Teacher for running this contest!  I absolutely adore Meredith's blog...she has such great ideas, stories and is a wonderful teacher!!!

Hoping that tomorrow goes smoothly!  I will hopefully have more pictures to post but better of my classroom tomorrow.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Ever Packet!!!

It's that time of year's almost Back-to-School time (for my district anyway...I know many of you have been back into the swing of things for the last few weeks already)!!!  I will be going out on maternity leave just about three weeks into the school year.  That being said, I will be missing our school's Open House night.  I felt it was important to have a comprehensive packet ready for parents.  I will also be creating a Keynote/iMovie to share with parents that evening so that my substitute does not have to talk (unless she wants to).  I feel more comfortable sharing all of the information about the classroom because I feel as though that's what the parents expect.

So I decided to go through all of my back-to-school and beginning of the year papers to create a HUGE 30-page document detailing absolutely everything!  Some will be given to parents when the school year begins but the rest will go home with them on Open House night.  I am so excited as well because this is the first packet I have ever created!

I have placed this packet in my TpT store today!  Being that the big TpT sale begins today you would receive 28% off of this brand-new, never before posted or used packet!  Even better, I have included both pdf and jpeg files so you can print or upload to your favorite program (Word or Powerpoint) and then use the text box feature along with the font I used (HelloSassy from to personalize your worksheets!

I placed the fonts in my document but then placed the wrong sign in my document...yikes!!!

My wish list and shopping cart are full...I can't wait to shop the HUGE TpT sale today and tomorrow!  Don't forget to use your credits towards your new purchases!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Five for Friday (On a Saturday)

I completely forgot about a Five for Friday post yesterday!  Too much excitement this week!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share five things that happened this week.

This morning as I was catching up with my blog reading on Blog Lovin', I noticed that Melissa from Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late (love her blog title!) created numbers for her post and shared them with everyone...thank you again!

Here we go!

I created my lesson plan template this week!  I had to wait until we received our schedules, which arrived via email on Tuesday evening.  I was so excited!  I think I have changed my template every year for the last five years.  This year I am trying our Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files' lesson plan template.  Here is her's.....

And here's mine!

I'm so excited to put mine together!  This the notebook I'm going to be using this year:

Thank you Tiffany from The Learning Effect for sharing her notebook and the beautiful lesson plan packet she created as well!

Received my class list!  So exciting!  Can't wait to meet my new firsties!!!

I gave a very large professional development training on Thursday for my district.  The topic was math and it was for those teachers moving multiple grade levels OR teachers new to the district.  I love having the opportunity to meet with the new teachers.  They are always so eager and excited to be in the classroom!  It was a great group and although I messed up the time tremendously (I rushed through one part of my presentation because I read the clock wrong...I blame nerves and being nine months pregnant on that lol) the session went very well!  I shared a bunch of TpT documents and other resources I have collected over the years.

I used Keynote on my MacBook for the first time ever to create the Math presentation and I am hooked!!!  I have always been a Microsoft Word/PowerPoint/Excel girl at heart (even with my MacBook) and I decided to take a chance and try something new.  It was a great experience and I will definitely be using it again!

I think Mr. W and I FINALLY picked a baby name!  I'm not going to share it because we want to keep it private until the baby is born.  I'm due in three weeks, so this was cutting it close!  Like I wrote earlier this week, it's just so hard to figure out a name when you are a teacher (at least I found that anyway).  My criteria was that it could not be the name of someone I taught before.

One more thing...

Don't forget to check out my items on TpT during their HUGE Back-to-School Sale which is taking place Sunday and Monday!  Everything will be 28% off!  A tip being shared through different bloggers is to make your large purchases on Sunday, leave feedback to earn your credits, and then use the credits to purchase more items on Monday.  My wishlist is a mile long, so I am excited to get shopping!

Happy Weekend!