Monday, July 27, 2015

Fabulous Follower Giveaway!

Hey bloggers!

I want to do a BIG giveaway...because I love my followers!

I have almost 500 followers on instagram, almost 800 on twitter, and 1200 on facebook! That is amazing! And because you are all so amazing, I want to do something amazing for you! :)

I will be giving away some free products, some gift cards, and some freebies in the mail (below)!

I would {LOVE} if some others would be willing to join in and donate some items for my giveaway as well! If you would like to be part of the giveaway, please click the link below to let me know what you would like to donate (credit will be given to you during the giveaway)!

To avoid, two posts in one day, I'm also joining a little linky party in this post!
I'm joining in with Hanging Around in Primary and Pop into Primary for a Back to School Tip link up!
1. First...don't plan too much on the first day. Seriously. My first day involves getting to know the kids and getting them comfortable in the room. We read a lot of books, label & put away supplies, explore math manipulatives, do some writing, read more books, and more books...oh, and practice routines (like lining up quietly) over and over and over.

2. Get them organized right away! I like to keep my room organized but throughout the year I will need the help of the kids to keep it that way! I start teaching them to organize their things on day 1 when we are putting away ALL of their supplies. My kids do keep some of their own supplies in their desks, but some supplies I have them keep in a group location. Each set of desks has a 3 drawer sterilite container for certain supplies. Drawer 1 is for math items (10 frames, unifex cubes, place value cubes, etc). I love keeping things here because whenever they need it, they can get it themselves! I don't have to stop what I'm doing to go grab cubes, or counters, or whatever else someone wants for math. Throughout the year things get added to this drawer as they are introduced (rulers, 20 frames, etc). Drawer 2 is for writing items (the kids' writing folders, their writing pens/pencils, individual word walls, spacer sticks).

Drawer 3 is for extra supplies. I give each child a gallon zip lock bag with their name on it on day 1 for supplies that we don't need yet (extra glue, pencils, notebooks, erasers, etc). When they run out of something, they can get in the drawer, find their baggy, and get what they need on their own. I love it!

I hope you find these helpful! You can see by my pictures that I have different colored drawers. This is how I distinguish between my "teams" (groups of desks). I have a blue team, green team, yellow team, and red team. I call them do things (come to the rug, go to the bathroom, etc) by these colored teams.

Head over to the link up to find more back to school tips!
Thank you so much and check back soon for the giveaway! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Back to School Prep Work

Hey bloggers!

So, I know it's only mid July...and I know most of us don't go back to school until mid August, but I have a post here with some back to school prep stuff! I know. Sorry!

Unfortunately, I have to begin prep on my room now. I signed up for 2 optional summer PD trainings and they happen to be the first 2 weeks in August before school starts. That is when I would normally start prepping my room. Ugh.

(Side note: My first training is presented by Math Solutions and my second is an OSELA training. So maybe I will have some good information to share!)

On Wednesday I went into my room for the first time since school has been out. We have access to our classrooms all summer, which is nice. Our school is doing a circus theme this year which should be pretty fun! My room is still a mess, but I decided there were 2 things I wanted to accomplish on this trip:
1. Set up my new writing center for writer's workshop
2. Begin working on my main bulletin board

Here is me in my room...courtesy of the Blog Hoppin Challenge!
You can see the mess behind me. I didn't even touch any of that.

The last few years my writing center has been these plastic drawers on a trapezoid table. This year I decided to ditch my HUGE rectangle table (which I used for math groups, writing conferences, and guided reading) and just use 2 trapezoid tables in that area instead. Since I was taking the trapezoid table from the writing center, I needed a new plan for it! Here is what I came up with...
I'm going to slowly be changing my classroom colors this year. Right now it is rainbows...rainbows everywhere. That will work well with the circus theme, but I want to gradually transition to a black & white color scheme with pink & turquoise accents.

I bought the black shelving and turquoise cubes at Big Lots. The plastic 3 drawer bins and the pink lamp are from Walmart. I also plan on relabeling the bins with something more appealing as well. During writer's workshop, we have a whole group mini-lesson followed by independent writing time while I conference one on one or in small groups. During independent time, the students can come to this area to get the paper that they need, whenever they need. I was so happy that the plastic bins fit so nicely in the cube shelving! :)
The other project I wanted to get started was my main bulletin board. Every year we have a "school theme." All of our hall bulletin boards reflect the theme to start the year and we can incorporate it as little or as much as we want in the classroom.
When I posted this on instagram, I received a question on how I made the border.

I made it up.
I have seen some pictures where people use 2 or 3 colors of tissue paper or butcher paper to bulk up and decorate the border, but that seemed like a lot of tissue paper to me.
So here is how I decided to do mine...I bought a blue tablecloth from Target for the background and a pack of tissue paper from Target. (I decided not to use the white or gray from this pack.)

1. I took out one piece of tissue paper and flattened it.

2. I pulled the top and bottom of the tissue paper toward the center and put 2 pieces of tape on it to make it stay.

3. Then I pinched the ends together, top to bottom. The part that I gathered was a few inches from the end of the tissue paper. Because the paper had been folded over, I was able to pull the front and back (where the tape is) apart a bit to give it some depth. I left a few inches at each end so that I could use the extra paper to wrap around the tissue paper piece that it would be stapled next to on the board.

I stapled each piece one at a time on the board. After stapling it, I wrapped the extra paper on the ends together and fluffed them a bit so they looked kind of like little flowers.

I'm really happy with how the border turned out!

I also started getting some of the decorations up on the board too. These adorable clip art images are from Krista at Creative Clips!

I plan on adding some catchy circus phrase to the board. I also have individual clip art balloons that I will put each child's name on and add to the board. They will form a large bunch of balloons above the clown's head in the center of the board.

So there you have it!
I will post an updated picture when the board is actually complete, but hopefully you have a good idea of what I'm going for here.

Hope this helps!
Have a great week!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stitch Fix #1

Hey bloggers!

So I finally did it...signed up for Stitch Fix! I have been wanting to do it but I just wasn't sure if they would really be able to find clothes that were "me." After thinking about it for months, I decided to give it a try just this once...(yeah, right).

So here it is, my very first Stitch Fix package! I signed up last week so it took about a week for me to receive it. I was impressed with the turn around time!

When I first opened the package, I loved the neat little packaging. So cute!

The first thing I did was read the card inside. Upon first impressions I thought, "Oh ****, these things are all adorable and I'm going to spend a million dollars. How does this stylist know me so well?!"

First up was this cute Corinna Striped Dolman Top from Market & Spruce. Oh my goodness. It was instant love. I was already imagining myself wearing it at school. It will be perfect with khakis or even white crop pants that I have. It was very comfy and light weight.

Next was this Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse from 41Hawthorn. My first thought: LOVE this color! I also loved the side cut detail as well as the detail on the front of the shirt. Unfortunately, I didn't love the material of the shirt. It was just a little too stiff for me. If I'm going to be on the ground, dancing, throwing my arms in the air, and whatever else I have to do to keep 6 year olds engaged, I need flexible material.

Next was this Barrymore Solid Pleat Detail Top from Market & Spruce! I love the material on this one. It was very soft & flow-y & it would be a great layering piece! What I didn't love? Armpit fat. That's all there is to say about that.

This next item made an appearance in the photos above, but they are difficult to see. Here's what I know you've been waiting for {sarcasm}...a booty shot! These are a Rizzo Skinny Pant from Liverpool. I. Love. These. I have an extremely difficult time finding pants that fit. I mean, really fit. I must have a weird, non-proportional body because when I find pants that fit my waist, they are way too tight on my booty. And when I find pants that fit my booty, there is about a 2in gap between my belly and the pants fabric. So annoying. Well let me tell you, there was no issue with these pants...other than the price. I'm a teacher, I like to find good deals. So $98 for pants seemed outrageous to me. But you know what? When you find a pair of pants that fit like these do, you buy them.

The last item was this Gabe Maxi Skirt from Renee C. I love maxi skirts. They are a huge part of my wardrobe. I love wearing them at school because they are comfy and easy to move around in! I threw on a simple black tank with this one, which is something I would typically wear in the summer. The skirt itself fit really well, was neutral, and a great length...but I already have a lot of maxis and couldn't justify $48 for this skirt when I can run to Target & Kohls and get them for cheaper.

So here's the breakdown:
Corinna Dolman Top-$48-Keep
Filbert Popover Blouse-$58-Return
Barrymore Top-$48-Return
Rizzo Pant-$98-Keep
Gabe Maxi-$48-Return

Overall, I was very pleased with my first fix. Like I said, I was immediately impressed with all of the items so I think my stylist (Courtney) did a great job! I plan to continue to receive a stitch fix package quarterly and I'm already excited for the next one! :)

If you think you are interested in Stitch Fix, you can click the image below (it is an affiliate link, everyone receives one upon signing up!). They also allow you to choose how often you receive your fix, which I think is awesome! I love that you don't have to commit to every month.

They also send a prepaid package for you to send back the items that you do not want. How great is that? If you decide to sign up, tell us about your first fix so that we can see how it went for you! :)

Also, the next time I do this, I promise to have better pictures! :( I never realized that I don't have a great place to take full body pictures. I had to move the mirror to the baby's room for these pics. Haha. Sorry about that!

Have a great week!

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