Monday, July 30, 2012

Yippee! Another Monday Made It!

It’s Monday folks! Normally, I wouldn’t be all that excited about a Monday. But, Mondays this summer have been all about the crafting and creativity – even when I was blog stalking and not participating! A big thank you to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics! Makes a Monday much more manageable…

So here we go with my Monday Made It(s) for the week.

Back when I was just stalking reading all these amazing blogs, I found these adorable letters on 4th Grade Frolics:

Since I have been working hard to revamp my classroom, I couldn’t wait to make myself a set. I (finally) found the letters at Michael’s and used a cute scrapbook pad that has a bunch of coordinating geometric patterns and colors. I traced the letters onto the back of the scrapbook paper, cut each one in half and used Mod Podge to put each half on each letter. I put the ribbon across the middle, and added another layer of Mod Podge…I tried to be patient and let it dry first! I even added a little flower sticker onto the ‘R’ because I thought it looked cute.

 Now I’m just trying to figure out where to hang these in my room…once I find the perfect place I will take a picture! I’m really working on making my classroom a more inviting place to learn and grow this year.

Ok, on to Monday Made It number 2! Unfortunately, my idea inspired by Teri at A Cupcake for the Teacher turned into a failed Monday Made It. :-( See how cute Teri’s Box Top Holder turned out??

Ok, well mine started off with a plastic jar that I found under the sink in my classroom. Lord knows how long it had been there, but I knew I could repurpose it! So, I dragged it home, washed it up and it has sat here ever since waiting for a project. As soon as I saw Teri’s ADORABLE holder, I knew that my jar had a reason for living again! AND, I would get to incorporate my BFF, Mod Podge. 

I gathered up my Mod Podge, my cute scrapbook paper and my jar and set off. I cut a section of paper to fit around the middle.
Then I started slathering each side of the jar in Mod Podge. I stuck the paper onto the jar, one side at a time, carefully pressing down so that the edges would be flat.

Except the edges won't go flat. At all. Because the corners are rounded. 

I thought maybe I could cover it with ribbon, but no such luck. 

SO. Now I have a very sad, paperless jar, which will not hold Box Top in a cute way any time soon. :-( 

On a happy note, I am currently on the lookout for a different jar (WITH FLAT SIDES) to cover with cute paper and make into a fabulous Box Tops Holder!

Ok...that's it for today! Head over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out what other people (successfully!) made this week!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Water Park Fun and a New {School} Year Resolution (linky)

Today was a GREAT day people! Every year for my husband’s birthday we take a trip to our local (AMAZING) water park – Water World! 

So today was our trip and we had a blast…they even have a new hydro-magnetic water coaster that was outstanding! Such a fun day – can’t wait to go back. 

When I got home and checked out what my fellow bloggers had been doing, I found this great linky party from Amanda at Teaching Maddeness all about New School Year resolutions.  I wasn't sure what I might blog about tonight, but this struck the right chord with me! Just what I need to start thinking about...

I am so excited to link up and to share my resolutions with you all – please help keep me accountable so I don’t fall off the wagon!

New {School} Year Resolutions

1. Stay Organized: I am NOT an organized person. My brain has a hard time thinking that way…but it sometimes hinders me in my classroom. (Not always, just sometimes.) So, in all my blog stalking this summer I have been looking for ways to start the year off in an organized way and keep it going! I have loved seeing everyone’s Teacher Toolboxes, Teacher Binders and I am really looking forward to starting my Daily 5/CAFE notebook. I have even been working on de-cluttering my classroom to help keep it organized. My house? Now that’s a different story…

2. Use My Time More Wisely: I love, love, love to chat and talk to my fellow teachers, secretaries and even our amazing night custodian. I am easily distracted by many things (especially if I am overwhelmed by a task). My resolution is to use my time (planning, lunch, before and after school) more wisely. I need to stay focused on the tasks at hand! I want to get home at a reasonable hour at night and not have to stay up late working on things I should have gotten done at school. Not to mention the major back problems I’m going to develop if I keep carrying my giant, heavy bag with work in it back and forth! Hence, no chatting during planning – I’m getting to work!
I certainly will be exercising in leg warmers!
3. Keep In Shape: I have been trying to work on eating healthier and exercising more often throughout the summer. I have been using my FitBit (see post here) and it has helped me pay more attention to my eating and exercise habits. I always say that I am going to keep going through the school year, but it never seems to happen! So, I want to make sure I bring healthier lunches and I have even asked some coworkers if they want to have a “walking club.” I’m hoping that if I involve other people, it will keep me more on track!

This is MY watch! ($7 at Charming Charlie!)
4. Be On Time: I live FAR away from my school. This should not be an excuse, so I have made a plan to make sure I am early to school each day – with time to stop for my daily Starbucks. (My plan also includes breakfast at home – see resolution #3.) Basically, if I am leaving the house by 6:45 each day, I will be at work by 7:30 (Starbucks in hand) and have some good working time before kids arrive. This means I will need to be IN BED by 10:30 each night. Therefore, I need to be on time to bed in order to be on time to work!

I’m sure I could think of a few more, but in order to keep things simple, I’ll go for these four! If you are contemplating your New School Year Resolutions, go link up with Amanda and share!

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Use for a Premade Chart

Whew! Today was a long day…I worked in my classroom allllll day! I am so excited to be getting things ready to go. In a couple of days, I will start posting pictures of my room. Yay!

But today, I thought I would share something that I did last year that was easy and turned out to be something very useful.

We all have premade charts (I think) that kids may or may not ever refer to during the day. Plus, in this era of anchor charts, premade posters seems to be losing out to charts made with the class.

So, I saw this poster from Teacher Created Resources at my local teacher store before school started last year. I loved the idea of other ways to say those “tired” words. And I bought it with every intention of putting it up on the wall.
Click the picture or link to buy this chart!
 But, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted something more user-friendly for the kids. And here’s what I did:

I cut the poster apart into individual sections. I laminated each section and punched a small hole in the corner.
 I took a metal ring and ran it through all the cards, and used a hook to hang it on my writing bulletin board! I even cut off the title and hung it above the ring. (I forgot a pic here, but I will take one when I go to school tomorrow and update the post.)
It turned into the most used “thesaurus” in the room! Kids used the heck out of these little guys…they took them off the rings and shared them around and often had other kids looking around to find them. (NOTE: the metal ring did not hold up as well as I would have liked, but they managed to get it back together with plenty – and I mean PLENTY – of Scotch tape.)

Since I did this, I have looked for other ways to use premade charts. Do you have any ideas like this? I would love to hear them!

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Finally Time! Monday Made It!

Well, everyone, the moment I have been waiting for is finally here! I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!
I have made a bunch of amazing stuff over the summer thanks to all the ideas shared on Monday Made Its. I am going to share two (maybe three?) with you all today! Eeeeeeee! Can you hear my squeals of excitement???

Ok. First off, is something that I saw on Pinterest and later on Tara's blog and then on Create.Teach.Share. I'm pretty sure NO ONE else has done one...yeah right!! It's my Teacher Toolbox! I love it and I can't wait to use it. When I get back into my classroom, I will take a picture of it all set up, but for now here it is on my craft table.

Like so many others, I just used scrapbooking paper and embellishments to fancy up the labels that I stole borrowed from Create.Teach.Share. LOVE IT!! All my teaching friends were super excited when they saw it and at least 3 of them have made their own!

Ok. Now for number two. I was super-inspired by Tara's "Believe" sign from a few Monday Made Its ago:
I loved how the letters popped out and the circles were just too cute! I love the word "believe" too, but what I needed was a welcome sign! I went over to Hobby Lobby, which I love almost as much as Target, and gathered up my supplies.
You might be noticing that the letters don't fit...I'll get to that in a second!
I bought canvas, acrylic paint, wooden small-ish letters, a black paint pen and brushes. My husband supplied the spray paint from the garage! I forgot to put the stencils I used in this picture, but I used stencils!

First, I spray painted the letters. In no particular order. (When I say "I" spray painted, I mean my husband.)
While that was drying, I hopped in my car and drove back to Hobby Lobby, because - you guessed it! - my canvas was too small! But Hobby Lobby was closed, so I went to Michael's instead. And I got a much bigger canvas. But all the letters fit! Hooray!

Well, you would think I would have some more pictures of the process. But I don't. Because I get VERY INVOLVED in my super crazy intense and I forget to take pictures. BUT, I do have a picture of the finished product. I stenciled the flowers with the paint, added the black outlining and dots with the paint pen, hot glued the letters on and TA-DA! A welcome sign for my classroom!

Flower close up!
I love it and I can't wait to hang it on my door. I'm not sure if I will do a ribbon or not yet. We shall see!

Ok, ok. One more because I have been a busy, busy bee and I want to share! I made one several clipboards!

I used the directions from The Frugal Girls, but there are lots of options out there! Before I made this one, I also made a small one. I think I will use them as gifts for my co-workers! :-) This project introduced me to my new BFF - Mod Podge! I will be using that on everything I can think of from now on.

Whew! Ok then...first Monday Made It (for me) in the books! Stay tuned for more crafts and even an Ikea adventure in the very near future!

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

I'm super excited to be a part of the Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop! While I was checking out Nicole's list of Must Have Picture Books at Lanier's Lions, I also noticed her post about this blog hop! I love seeing what's new out there, and knowing that I am not alone in my newbie-ness. (I made that word up!) If you are a newbie blogger, like me, make sure and head to Grade Three Is The Place for Me or Lanier's Lions and check it out!

About Me!
1. I live in Colorado. 
2. I will be teaching 4th grade this year.
3. I have taught 4th and 5th grade over the past 10 (yikes!) years.
4. I started blogging last week!
5. I think the best blogging tip I can come up with is to make sure and check out what other people are doing. Other blogs have been my best inspirations for what I want my blog to look like and to get ideas for what I might want to blog about.

Want to join too? Here are 5 things you need to share.
1. What state you are in
2. Your current teaching position
3. Your teaching experience
4. When you started blogging
5. Share a blogging tip/blogging resource

Can't wait to see tons more new blogs!

Ok, on an unrelated note - I CAN'T WAIT for Monday! I am going to be linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for my VERY FIRST EVER Monday Made It! Hooray!

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for visiting!

UPDATED: Here is the list for the blog hop!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thanks and a Story With a Twist

Hello all! I was totally planning on blogging yesterday, but went and worked in my classroom and was pooped when I got home! So, here we are today.

First of all, I want to say thank you to all my new followers. My heart does a little dance each time I see a new name and face pop up! So thank you!

SO. I went to Target yesterday. Again. I know I am addicted to Target because I find any little excuse to go there. Yesterday, I wanted this:
Because I HATE my summer feet!

But, while I was there for my ONE thing, I found myself wandering. First, to the storage section. Then, because it really wasn’t that far away, to the Back To School section. (Hurray for sticky notes and new markers!)

At that point, the book section was on the way to the registers, so of course I had to stop there. And look what I found!!!

Click the picture if you need to buy this RIGHT NOW!
I saw this gem over on Ms. O Reads Books while going through Lindsey’s Must Have Picture Books Linky Party and I was pretty sure I NEEDED it. It practically flew off the shelf at me while at Target. It is very funny, in a dry humor kind of way. Which is completely my style. I can’t wait to read it to my class! Thanks for the recommendation, Ms. O!

Ok, people.

You know my Target journey didn’t end there.

Oh no.

I know you are all thinking it…

Dollar Spot! 

I have to go every time I’m there, and of course I grabbed some things!

Nothing too exciting for this trip but I needed some cute note cards to keep at school and I can’t wait to figure out a great use for my purple pocket chart! Suggestions are always appreciated!

Luckily for my wallet and time, the registers are right by the Dollar Spot. I paid for my purchases and off we went.  Yes, WE. My husband was with me THE WHOLE TIME! I’m a lucky gal. :-)

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Must Have Picture Books Linky

Yay for my very first linky! I am so excited to be a part of this one!

Let me tell you how surprised I was to learn that intermediate students love picture books as much as primary students! Since I figured out this simple truth, my picture book collection has grown. And grown. And grrrooowwwnnn! Every where I travel, I look for picture books and I’m pretty sure the bookstore employees know my credit card number by heart. My husband has resigned himself to carrying home much more than we started with on our trips, due to my love affair with picture books. I love this linky from Lindsey at The Teacher Wife, even though I know my pocket book will suffer! 

The Teacher Wife

Here’s 5 books I don’t think my classroom could live without…

1. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
I read this book every year near the first day of school. I love the twist at the end and the surprise on the kids’ faces when they realize who the book is REALLY about!

2.  Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter
This book comes in very handy when we start discussing Writer’s Notebooks and ideas for writing! The main character realizes that there’s a story hiding in plain sight in her neighborhood. Now that I think about it, there might be a lesson about cause and effect in there too!

3.  The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
I have used this book for many years and in many different ways. I love to let students use it as a mentor text for writing in other content areas about concepts or ideas. It’s a great way to share new knowledge!

4. Fireflies! By Julie Brinckloe
When I was young, my family would always take summer road trips to Iowa to visit my grandparents. One of my fondest memories of those times is delighting in watching the fireflies and trying to capture them (we don’t have fireflies in Colorado). This book is a great way to share a bit of myself with my students AND talk about personal narratives!

5.  My Big Dog by Janet Stevens
Another book that lets my class in on a little part of me! The cat in this book looks (and ACTS) just like my kitty and the interaction with the dog seems eerily similar to what we went through when we brought him home as a puppy (yikes!). I am a sucker for a happy ending and this book delivers!

Ok, folks! There you have it! Five wonderful picture books we couldn't live without in my classroom! Thanks for reading and don't forget to go link up with Lindsey, share your treasured books and find some new ones. Happy reading!

Nichole :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

My First Post - LOVE Those Linkys!

Would it be weird to say that I started a blog just so I could participate in all the fun linkys?? I am especially hooked on Monday Made It, from 4th Grade Frolics. I have been blog stalking all the amazing projects that people make and I literally couldn’t wait to share some of the ideas I’ve stolen made from the projects I’ve seen you all make! Not to mention all the amazing ideas I've gotten from Tara herself!

My ginormous mild addiction to Pinterest also helped me make the decision to start a blog. Once I joined the rest of the world and signed up, one search for “classroom organization” and I was hooked! Each time I clicked a new AMAZING idea, I saw another AMAZING blog! I was inspired. I couldn’t wait to start my own. And here I am.

(Below: my very first rePIN! Which I haven't made yet, so stay tuned!)

 This summer, reading the teaching blogs has given me new excitement and energy for the coming school year. After 10 years, I wonder if maybe my teaching and ideas weren’t getting a little stale, but now I can’t wait for school to start so I can try out new things that other bloggers have inspired me to do! I’ve even been working in my classroom already (shhhhhhh!).

Anyway, before this gets too long, I’m going to sign off my very first blog post! I can’t wait to get going, get more ideas, and hopefully share some with you all! Thanks for coming by!