Monday, July 29

Upgraded Teacher's Stool

Last year I saved a hideous stool from a neighbor who was going to take it to the dump.

Last summer I painted it black.

This summer I decided to upgrade it with some bright blue, green, and white dots.


Then I decided to spray a clear sealer over it.

Not beautiful!

Start over!

Love it even more than the first time I painted the dots!

I'm excited to take it to school today.

Enjoy your tour through Tara's Monday Made It party.

Friday, July 26

This Week Rewind

I finally got into my classroom this week. Yay!

This is how it looked after Day 1.

I've also been working on...

These paint sticks have been a little bit of a nightmare for me. It took me 3 tries to get them to this point. I still don't love them, but this is how they will stay. They are only missing student name tags now. The paint sticks are used in my class library. The kids will each have one with their names on it. They put it in the book's tub when they "check" one out. 

I love the Sterilite drawer fronts though. You can't tell from this far away, but the green designed papers are different. To make mine, I laminated the 12x12 scrapbook paper and cut it to the size I wanted. I attached them on the inside with a little bit of clear tape on the top (where the handle part is) and bottom. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know this has been a problem for me too. I had my stool decorated just the way I wanted, until I sprayed the clear stuff on top. One person thought maybe the original paint was a different type than the clear spray. I can't remember what type of paint I used last summer, but that is very possible. So I started over. I actually think it is looking better the second time around. Yay!

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend, bloggy friends.

Thursday, July 25

Diggin' It

I love Mrs. Bainbridge's new party!

At first I had no one idea what would be on my list, but as I browsed through some of the other blogs that linked up, I agreed several times. Then ideas started flowing.

Smencils. Also popular in my classroom. I had to settle many disagreements over these silly things. I think the kids bought them at the school book fair. If you click on the picture though, it will take you to the official smencil website.

Shaped erasers. This fad is partially my fault. One of their reward coupons earns them a trip to the eraser bowl which has some fun-shaped erasers. I usually get them from the Target dollar spot or at the dollar store. But you can click on the picture to go to the place where all these erasers must be coming from because a lot of them looked very familiar.

Hershey's Multiplication Book. This silly book was probably on my library shelf less than a day all year. The kids were so excited to learn multiplication, they read it over and over. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "Mrs. Jones, did you know 10 x 10 is 100?"

NG Kids magazine. My kids acted like they had never been allowed to read a magazine before once they found the magazine container in my library last year, so this summer I subscribed to 3 different magazines. And I decided I will store them in sleeves to help them last longer. The old ones I had were torn up from reading them and shoving them back in the containers.

I'm sure there were other big hits in my classroom last year. These are the four that came to mind immediately.

Thanks for hosting, Mrs. Bainbridge!

Saturday, July 20

Saturday Snapshots

Happy Saturday, bloggy friends.

This is my first Saturday Snapshots with Miss Nelson. 

I don't have a lot to share, just...

Before the laundry room was painted. (We've had issues with our basement flooding off and on since the day after Christmas, but we hope it's fixed and we're painting it for the last time.)

My fabulous painting buddy, my mom. She's touching up the bathroom.

I love grilling in the summer time. This particular day was fabulous because first you have the wonderful grilling smell and then it started raining. I love the smell and sounds of rain. Great day!

After the laundry room was painted, trim was put back on, and floor was mopped. Looks much better!

Thanks for hosting, Miss Nelson. Next weekend I'll be visiting a friend in Des Moines, but I'll try to come back soon!

Thursday, July 18

More Fonts

Ok, I'm totally addicted to this silly iFontMaker app.

I make fonts while sitting and "watching" TV.
(I've spent less time on Pinterest since downloading it.)
I make fonts if I'm having trouble falling asleep at night.

It's fun.
And I think I'm getting better.
I think I also have a style now... sort of.

Remember the "FONTS" link is up at the top right corner of my blog...
Actually, I decided to move it to the top left, just under my header, just above the date. And I decided to make it bigger and more noticeable. :o)

Here are the newest additions to my growing collection...

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 16

All About Me...Award Style!

11 Things You'd Never Know About Me

I don't like tomatoes. And neither does Hubs. We were made for each other!
Every 2 years (or so) I donate my hair. I like to do that during the school year because it makes for a great conversation with the kiddos.
Hubs and I will be celebrating our 7th anniversary this fall and don't have any kids.
I don't drink pop. But I also don't like coffee or tea. That leaves me with water, Gatorade (my pop replacement) and flavored water (yum!).
I love rain storms, smells and sounds.
I'm a night person. Mornings are difficult!
I almost never wear makeup. I learned that from my mom. 
I enjoy watching Walking Dead like Jessica from Teacher's Heart.
Luckily, Hubs' dad and my parents live fairly close, but the first Christmas I didn't get to spend with my family, I cried. It's tough to let traditions go. 
I feel more confident teaching Math than Reading, Science than Social Studies. When Hubs finishes his masters, I'm going to get one in Reading. Hopefully that will help me feel more confident.
When I was little I collected Cabbage Patch Dolls and music boxes. 

Jessica's questions (from Teacher's Heart)

1. Where is your favorite place to go to? I was raised in the country, so I like being at home. However, if I trek to the "big city," I usually go to Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or Joann Fabrics.
2. Where do you find your teacher resources/inspirations? I love getting ideas from Pinterest and other teacher blogs. 
3. What is your favorite teacher memory? I love the off-the-cuff, candid moments we get to have with kids. I think a memory that will last a long time is the end of this last year. I offered to stand as a target at the water balloon sling shot station on field day. One of my sweet little girls whizzed one past my head that I'm sure would've left a nice mark had I been standing a couple inches to the right. Then, another one of my sweet little girls earned a chance to put a pie in a teacher's face. She chose me and had a blast, I'm sure. That was my first pie in the face. 
4. When did you know that you were going to be a teacher? When I was little. I used to play "school" with my friends and dolls. 
5. What is your favorite meal? Mom's chicken and dumplings. I've declared that meal as untouchable as long as mom is around to make it. 
6. What color schemes are your favorite for your classroom? green and blue. They go SO well together. And throw a little black in the mix. Wowsers!
7. What is your favorite piece of technology, school-related or not, to use? iPad. Love using it.
8. What is your favorite season? Fall. I love the colors and the perfect temperatures. Summers in the midwest get too hot. Winters can be nasty. 
9. When you're not teaching, what are you up to? I love creating things, watching movies, spending time with family and friends. 
10. If you could go anywhere, that you haven't already visited, where would it be? I would like to go to Hawaii, Oregon, and Europe.
11. Do you have any pets? We have 1 orange fur-baby. His name is Goliath. I also have a feather-baby now. Her name is Mona.

Beth's questions (from A Kindergarten Life for Me)

1. How long have you been teaching? This coming school year will be my 8th year. Yikes! Seems like just yesterday I was with my first class of 3rd graders.
2. What is your favorite state to visit and why? About 5 years ago I went on a trip with some girlfriends along the East Coast. It was amazing. We spent several days in Massachusetts. I think that was my favorite state on that trip. We also got to visit my sis-in-law last summer in Seattle, which is also a very lovely state.
3. Do you like cake or pie the best? I'm not a dessert eater, so usually neither, but if I have to choose, I'd say pie.
4. What is your favorite cereal? I'm also not a big cereal/breakfast eater. I usually choose Honey Nut Cheerios when I do eat cereal, though.
5. What is the best advice you have ever been a teacher...or in life? This is a toughy. The most recent one I can think of is "Take care of your emails immediately." We have so many surveys and little training things and what not that we have to do throughout the year. It's so easy to overlook or forget to do something if you put it off for "when you have time." Ha. That phrase is humorous!  
6. If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be/do? Maybe a graphic designer or a craft something-or-other. 
7. What is your favorite TV show? Hubs and I enjoy watching reality TV together. Right now we're digging all the drama on Big Brother, but I think our all-time favorite is Celebrity Apprentice. My favorite non-reality TV show is Pretty Little Liars. I like crime shows.  
8. Do you like Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays the best? Why? Oooo, probably Saturdays. It's my one sleep-in day during the school year. It's also my mandatory day off each week during the school year. No school work on Saturdays when school is in session. 
9. Facial or Pedicure? I've only had one pedicure in my life, the day before I got married. That was fun. 
10. What was your very first car? A Pontiac Sun---something. Fire? Bird? I can't remember. (a hand-me-down that almost lasted through high school) 
11. Are you the oldest, middle, or youngest? I'm the youngest AND the only girl. Assume what you will about that. :o) 

Sara's questions (from First Grade Funtastic)

1. What grade do you teach? 2nd.
2. When does school start for you? Teachers start August 7th... I think. Kids come back August 14th.
3. Do you like to shop? Not so much, unless it's for craft stuff. I don't like having to try on things. 
4. What social media sites do you follow for teaching? Not a big Facebook fan so I almost never get on which means I don't follow any teacher sites there. Not a Twitter person. I like Instagram, Pinterest, and Bloglovin'. 
5. Who was your favorite teacher and why? My 5th grade teacher. I like writing and she really sparked that in me. My biggest memory with her is publishing books and participating in our classroom newspaper. The kids wrote the articles. 
6. What grade levels are in the building you teach in? Pre-K through 5th grade.
7. What is your favorite clothing place to shop at? I like clearance anywhere and thrift stores. My most recent clothes purchase was a $2 pair of khakis from JCPenney.
8. If you had 1000 to spend, what would you buy? I would put it all on the car we recently had to buy for me. My car died at the beginning of last year and wasn't worth fixing. We were in the middle of buying our first house though, so Hubs and I shared a car for 7 months. 
9. Do you have any other family members that are teachers? My grandpa was a teacher and principal. My great-grandma who I received my middle name from was also a teacher. 
10. How early do you go back into your classroom before school starts? I've been going almost once a week for random reasons (print something, measure something, participate in a book study or workshop, etc.), but I am unable to actually do anything in my room until... not sure. They're redoing the carpets but still don't know when that will happen this summer. Yikes, huh?
11. What is your favorite children's book? Why? My absolute favorite will have to be the Amelia Bedelia series because those were the first books I really got into.

Dearest bloggy friends, we're going to play a game of "Would you rather...?"
Here's my 11 questions. It might be more interesting if you can also tell WHY.

1. Would you rather write with a pen or a pencil?
2. Would you rather have recess duty or lunchroom duty every single day?
3. Would you rather teach Math or Reading? Science or Social Studies?
4. Would you rather eat 5 whole bags of M&Ms or 2 bugs?
5. Would you rather get a brand new car or go on a vacation with your mother-in-law?
6. Would you rather go skydiving (free fall) or rappelling (hug a rock)?
7. Would you rather walk with a pebble in your shoe for a week or go without shoes for a week?
8. Would you rather eat out every meal for a month or eat in every meal for a month?
9. Would you rather be a salesman or a librarian? 
10. Would you rather live right across the street from the school you work at or live an hour away?
11. Would you rather lose your voice or have nonstop verbal diarrhea?

Ha! I'm excited for your answers to some of these questions! :o)

These 11ish bloggers have been selected.
People are being nominated left and right!
You get to do the same things:
11 random, little {bloggy} known facts about you
Answer my 11 questions
Ask your own 11 questions
Nominate up to 11 other newish blogs

Make sure you check out their blogs! Send them some love. 

Monday, July 15

Welcome to Vowel Town

I'm returning for another Monday Made It.

At our school we have a phonics program called Pathways to Reading.

Pathways to Reading teaches vowel sounds and spellings using a visual called Vowel Town. The hill on the left is called Smile Hill because all the sounds on that side make your mouth smile. They are placed going down the hill according to how open your mouth is when you say the sound. As you go down the hill your mouth opens wider and wider.

The valley is called the Wide Open Valley because your mouth is wide open when you make that sound.
The hill to the right is called Circle Hill because your mouth makes a circle as you say those sounds. As you move up the hill, your circle closes more and more.
The hill in the background houses the R Apartment. The /ir/, /er/, /ur/ sound lives at the top on the curve. A pirate lives in the middle apartment. He often says /ar/. /or/ lives in the bottom apartment by the door.

The bottom sounds along the road are called taxi sounds because when you say them, your mouth moves from one position to another.

This last year we were introduced to these sound ladders. (Towards the end of the year, of course.) The ladders show all the different ways to spell each vowel sound. The most common is at the top; the least common is at the bottom. Underneath each ladder is a mini word list showing examples of each spelling.

My teamie and I decided it would be helpful to have the sounds on a portable board so we could move it to use with our tier 2 or small groups during RTI/MTSS time. We just used a tri-fold project board and painted the necessary scenery. We velcro-ed the ladders on so the kids can take them off.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out! It will be very helpful this year in Spelling and Phonics time, as well as working with small groups and as a reference during Writing.

Happy Monday! Enjoy your Monday Made It tour!

Sunday, July 14

My Spelling Invention

I'm pretty proud...
I can now add inventor onto my list of "Who is Mrs. Jones?"
Ha ha.
Just joking.
I'm sure my little invention isn't the only one of its kind, my friends.

Last year I loathed having to change out my spelling lists each week. This is partly because I would forget to do it until a sweet little 2nd grade brought it to my attention (while I was starting small groups or in the middle of something, no doubt).

I had 6 little clear, plastic, standup picture frames I'd gotten from Walmart to display the weekly spelling list. The kids could pick one up and use it to practice the weekly words with a container of beads or the magnets, etc. It was a pain in my hind end to change those silly things each week, though. Every single time I had to do it I would mumble to myself, I wish all I had to do was flip it over to the new list.

My teamie next door has little standup IKEA frames that she uses to display her weekly spelling lists. You know those cute little $1, two-sided frames that hold 4x6 pictures that come in the fabulous colors? She would just slip her little laminated lists into the frame each week. As I looked at those throughout last year, I formed a picture in my head of my fabulous Spelling invention I would create this summer.

And now it's done! Hooray!

I'm super stoked to use these this year. It's going to be a student job to "flip" those things each week. Not only is it more efficient, it's a student responsibility. Double bonus!

I took pictures of the putting together process to include as a "How-to" in my TPT product, so take a look as how this works. If you are interested in creating these 2nd grade Storytown spelling lists rotating files yourself, here's the TPT product link. I'll even email the first 2 people (since I have twenty-some followers) who comment that they are interested a FREE copy of this TPT product. Wowsers! (Make sure you leave your email, friends.)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 13

Transforming Your Math Instruction

I recently participated in a 3 day workshop over CGI or Cognitively Guided Instruction. It completely changes the way you think about Math.

CGI focuses on the learner. It focuses on number sense because number sense is the foundation in Math. Our presenter told us that students involved in this program out score other students because they learn to be efficient in ways that other children don't learn. It progresses at the learner's pace and ability.

CGI classrooms are productively noisy and messy.

A CGI classroom focuses on questioning to know the kids' strategies. Kids learn from other kids when they see their classmates solving more efficiently. They adopt strategies that make sense to them when they're ready for them. The teacher sort of takes a back seat, observing and questioning more, letting the kids "teach" each other through sharing.

In a CGI classroom, the thinking is much more important than right/wrong or how the representation looks.

I'm excited to use CGI in my classroom this year. I've already taken my new teacher's manual (we have a new curriculum this year) and started marking the question types. Stay tuned to see how CGI works in my classroom, how I incorporate it into my beloved centers, how it fits into our new Expressions curriculum.

In celebration of that CGI workshop (and figuring out how awesome Ppt is for making TPT products), please download this freebie. Highlights from the training that you can use in your classroom too.

Happy Saturday! :o)

Friday, July 12

I can make FONTS!

And I love it!

Check them out by clicking on "FONTS" at the top, to the right...

Tuesday, July 9

Sew Much To Do

I know I'm late to the party, but Monday was busy!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember I had some sewing machine issues (that still haven't been resolved) that halted some summer projects. My sweet, generous teamie let me borrow hers, though, so I've been sewing up a storm! 

First, I finished my new hallway window curtains. I have 3 hallway windows. Blue and black happen to be our school colors and I found blue monster fabric and black monster fabric at Joann Fabrics.

Our school was built last summer, which meant that we didn't get into our classrooms until the week before teachers were supposed to report back. Last August, I quickly sewed these valence-type curtains for my outside windows, but I ran out of time to hem them, so I finished those curtains also.

Another project I ran out of time for last summer was this birthday chair cover for the kids' birthdays and half birthdays. I actually remade it into 2 separate sections, the back and the seat.

The seat part hooks on the front 2 legs. Then tie the yellow ribbons in the back around the 2 back legs.

The back has a pocket that fits over the back of the chairs at school and you can see "My Special Day" on the back of the chair.

We didn't get to use it very much last year because I ran out of time and didn't do a great job putting it together, so it kind of fell apart. The kids were disappointed, so I'm excited to use it this year...ALL year!

I have 3 more projects to do/finish before handing the sewing machine back: the messenger bag pictured below (unfinished), a skirt, and a couple of crate covers. Trying to get my sewing list finished before I'm sewing machine-less again!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you're enjoying your tour through the Monday Made Its!