Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Backpack Night and School Supplies

Today was my first day back to school with my kiddos.  I think it went well overall, but I am one exhausted teacher.  I took tons of pics today:  I told my kiddos, I love taking pictures, so I am always going to have a camera out.  They were used to it by math time!

Although school is back in session, tonight's post isn't about today, but about two days ago:  Backpack Night!  Our school holds "Backpack Night" two days before school starts; this is a time for the students to come in and meet their teachers and drop off supplies so that the first day of school they aren't trying to lug in all of their tissues and Clorox Wipes.  I love that we do this because it makes for a much easier first day over all.  

I decided to make the kiddos a little treat and left it on their desks for our first meeting.  Do you know how many people I had to say, "Do you get it?  EmPEZar un año nuevo?  Like, pez and emPEZar?"  I would get a little chuckle and they would move on...oh well, I think they came out super cute and I had kids ripping the bags open while their parents unpacked their backpacks.

I originally got the idea from First Grade with a Twist and then Krista at Second Grade Superkids redid them for her staff for her first day.

This is what the desks looked like at the end of the night - which lead to an afternoon of putting supplies away the next day (at least all the tissues, Clorox wipes, baggies, etc.)  We dove into the kids' school supplies this morning.

I promise to be back later this week with a recap of our first few days...and a freebie!  What has been your favorite part of this week so far?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five for Fraturday and Saturday Snapshots

Yes, my Five for Friday turned into a Five for Fraturday as I type at 1 a.m...and as long it is Saturday, I have to do Saturday Snapshots!  I go back to school (teacher institute days) on Monday and I don't know how I am going to get out of this sleep schedule!!

So I have been M.I.A this week, but it has been crazy full of getting my classroom ready, trying to spend some extra summer family time, and dealing with contract negotiations with my union and our district.

{uno - family time}

We took Grace to her first baseball game on Monday.  Just a local baseball team (Kane County Cougars - who are a Cubs team, woot!), but she loved it!  I told Hubby there was no way I was spending $6 for one of those foam fingers, but Grace saw everyone with one and kept on trying to grab theirs or kept asking for one...I gave in.  When she threw it on the ground and stepped on it 5 minutes later, I knew it was money well spent.

{dos - piggies}

I got my piggies done finally!  My friend and I have a before school tradition (it is our second year doing this, is it a tradition yet?) of getting pedicures and doing lunch.  My mama watched Grace during her nap time (it was her first time back watching Grace) and I got some good 'me time.'  I totally bite my nails (I so wish I didn't) so I know I would never be able to do the one accent color nail on my hands, so I did it on my toes.  I don't know if it is lame, but I love my piggies!

{tres - printer love}

Our printer hasn't worked all last school year and it was horrible.  I was having save my files on a flashdrive and take it to Office Max to print every time I needed color prints and it really stunk!  So I was ready to take a $50 print order in and I asked Hubby if we could just get a printer instead.  He agreed and we brought this little baby home.  We got an awesome deal on it...and the best part of all?  I can sit my little behind on my couch with my laptop and print from the office at the same!!!

{cuatro - contract negotiations}

Our district is going through contract negotiations right now...can you say STRESS?  I won't go into all the details, but all the teachers (and their families, along with supportive community members) met at the School Board meeting on Tuesday night to show support for our teachers and it was pretty cool.  I don't know if it changed anyone's minds, but it was heartwarming seeing everyone come together.  Hubby and Grace came to show their support.  I puffy heart them!!!

{cinco - sound wall}

My classroom is coming together finally and I am getting excited!  I moved to upstairs to a smaller classroom this year so putting my classroom together this summer has been very frustrating (I am not a fan of change!)  Thing is after I got over the idea of moving, the room has really been coming together. I hope to have some pictures for everyone this weekend, but here is a sneak peek of my sound wall.  I love how it came out: the pocket charts are going to make it way more interactive than it has been in the past.

So that is how my week has been going...

Feel free to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday or...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sale Day! Sale Day!

In case you haven't heard...there is a sale going on!!!

I am giving 20% off in my store and then TpT is giving another 10% off..which comes out to 28% total. I already got some things off my wishlist and I {think} I am going back for more!  I can't help it!  Just remember when you go over to Teachers Pay Teachers to use the code BTS13 when you checkout to get the full sale!

I have been working like crazy all night on some new items for my store - like I said before it is an addiction!!  Is there a program out there for this...hmmm, I digress.  Do you want to see some of my goodies?!?!

First up are my Spanish Addition Math Journal Prompts:

I really want to do more with math journaling this year, so I started off making these addition math prompts for my kiddos.  I think they could work k-2 (some being too difficult for kinder and some being too easy for 2nd -- but this will help for differentiation).  My plan is to work on some for subtraction and multiplication this weekend (in English and Spanish), so stay tuned!

Click here to explore them some more:

Then my labor of love:  my dice games.  I have been working on these for a couple of weeks and I am so excited to use them in my classroom!

Here they are in Spanish

Here they are in English

I am super-excited to use them for the games station for my Math Workshop groups.  I even thought that I would make them available to my early finishers to work on so that I don't always have to have extra worksheets available to them.  Laminate the game boards and you have an everlasting activity!

Another idea I got for my Math Workshop centers were these Spin and Graph games.  I think these are perfect for K-2 Classrooms.  I made them in Spanish and English!

Click here for Spanish.  Click here for English.

Click here for Spanish.  Click here for English.

Click here for Spanish.  Click here for English.

Ooh!  I also made some little goodies like these robot ten-frame cards and superhero ten-frame cards.  They are too cute!!
Click here for the robot ten-frame cards.  Click here for the superhero ten-frame cards.

Phew that is it!  When you are over at Gracieface Learning, grab these freebie number sense posters! 

 I will be back tomorrow with a showcase of some ELA and Spanish Language Arts items!  Have fun shopping!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Freebie Friday!

So have you heard about the little sale that is coming up?!?!

Thank You Michelle at 3AM Teacher for the logo!!

I am putting everything in my store at 20% off and then TpT is adding 10% off (which comes out to be 28% total)!  I am so excited because this is my first sale!

That being said, I have been working, working on my products.  I swear it is an addiction!  I have been making a lot of math centers and activities and getting them ready in mt Teachers Pay Teachers store:  Gracieface Learning.

So, I decided to link up with Teaching Blog Addict and join Freebie Friday to give everyone a taster of what I have been working on:

I am excited about these little posters.  They are chevron bilingual (in English and Spanish) number sense posters from numbers 1-10!

Head over to Gracieface Learning to grab these freebies and have a look around.  I will be back tomorrow to show everything I have been working on!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week: Taming the Wild!

Well, I didn't keep up with Teacher Week like I had it is Thursday and I am just getting my second post of the week done.  The days before school starts are slipping by so quickly and I am just now realizing it!

Oh well, today's topic is classroom management, so I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' to talk a little bit how classroom management goes in my classroom.

Last year I started using Class Dojo in my classroom and I love it!  It is an online class management system and best of all -- it is FREE!

So this is a screenshot of my students' page from last year.  I had a superhero theme and the site allows you to upload your own clipart (love that!).  I have this set up at a computer in the classroom and it is so simple to use.

The students can get points for positive things (great ideas, being kind, working together, etc.) and negative things (hitting, stealing, being dangerous, etc.).  To get or lose a point, the students just have to click on their names and click what they get a point for.

What is nice about the behaviors, is that they are editable.  So if you have something important in your classroom you can make it a positive or a negative point.  The added bonus to being editable, at least to me, is that I can edit the behaviors to be in Spanish!  I love that!

All I have to do is say, "Emma, Amixam, and Gael, I really like how you are working together, go give yourselves a point for teamwork."  And the students take care of it.  (I know what some might be thinking -- I haven't had any problems with dishonesty, they are really good kids).  If I had an awesome lesson and everyone was on task, I can give everyone a point with one button, too!

We have a color system to go along with Class Dojo.  I won't go in so many details, but it follows the clip chart idea.  I think my students should end the day with at least 3 points - they are on green.  Those who have 4-6 points are a little above my expectations and they are on blue.  Those who have 7 or more points have just had an awesome day and they are on purple.  When they are on purple they get an award ribbon sticker (those simple ones from Target's Dollar Spot) and an "You Rock" ticket.  What is an "You Rock" Ticket?  Well...

In my class, we do "You Rock" tickets for individual behavior.  I made business cards at Vistaprint and cut them up to make mini tickets for my students.  

My kids can get these for getting seven or more points on Class Dojo, for returning things on time, for getting a compliment in the hallway, etc.  These are a pretty big deal to get and my kids feel awesome for having them.  On the 15th every month we have a class store and my kiddos use these to buy items.

I don't have a picture of my store, but I took a pic of my store sign I use:

I made this also at Vistaprint (I love them!).  A quick translation is:  

5 tickets - A prize from the small prize box
10 tickets - A pencil and an eraser
15 tickets - A prize from the big prize box
20 tickets - A coupon to sit next to a friend for the day
25 - Lunch with Mrs. Stears and a friend (in the classroom)
30 - Lunch and a movie with Mrs. Stears and two friends (in the classroom)

I am still amazed how my students will save their tickets so that they can eat lunch with me.  I am really honored when they do that.  Seriously, I would be all over the skateboard erasers before eating with me!!!  I love my students!

Then the last thing I do is Brownie Points. I know that this is all over Pinterest and in many classrooms, but I use it as my whole class incentive.  

The students can get a brownie point for good behavior at an assembly or a good note from a substitute teacher; if we get a compliment in the hallway we can also get a point.  
When the board is filled the kids get a brownie party (aka, eating brownies while watching a Magic School Bus movie).  We usually get 2 or 3 parties a year and the kids love it!

Wow!  That was a long post - if you made it all the way through it -- I puffy heart you!

Tomorrow's topic is Teacher Tips and Tricks - I am going to have to think about that one...hmmm!

What are you using in your classroom that works for classroom management?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week '13 - Meet the Teacher

Hey everyone!  I am posting from stormy Wisconsin to bring you my first installment of....

I am so excited to be a part of this week long linky party from Blog Hoppin'!  Each day there is a new theme and I am pretty sure I am down for all of them (except classroom tour -- I am not near my classroom and it isn't picture pretty yet -- but it will be soon!)

So today's topic is Meet the Teacher.  Since I am the new kid in the blogger world, there isn't much that is known about me already.  I thought I would expand on myself and my teaching goals for this year.

That is about it!  So, yes it is storming, but I randomly woke up at 1:30 in the morning (now it is almost 2:30), so everyone is sleeping...and I hate storms!  I will have to calm myself down enough to get back to sleep :(  At least it isn't storming during the day, right?  This family vacation has been a blast:  this place is beautiful and we did so much on our first day already! I can't wait for day two!

I will be linking up on Wednesday, but here is the schedule for Teacher Week '13!

I will try to get in my classroom when we get back and take some pics of my organization ideas in my classroom (I love, love organization!).

My question to you (because I want to meet my teacher followers!): What grade level do you teach and have you always taught it?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Random Sunday

Hi everyone...lots of randoms going on this week, so I thought I would link up with Michelle from Fab-u-lous in First for a Sunday Smorgasbord:


Friday, Gracie and I decided to do a simple Mama-and-Me day.

We ate out, did some shopping for daddy at Wal-Mart, washed her hands three times after going potty because the sink was small and just too cool, and went to the Dollar Tree where I found all these die-cuts for 25 cents each.  So, I totally staged the Dollar Tree picture my throwing the die-cuts on top of Grace in the cart and she kept on asking, "¿Más?  ¿Más?"  She kept on throwing them on herself in the cart.  She is just too cute!


This is what I get for breakfast in my house.  Veggie cheese omelette with avocado on the side...on a paper plate.  Yes, we're classy like that.

I cannot cook - like, really I can't.  I am a very lucky girl that married a man who can cook and who likes to this is what I woke up to Saturday morning.


We had my nephew, Zachary's, fifth birthday Saturday afternoon.  He really in to Tae-Kwon-Do (he's a green belt!), so it was only natural that he would have his party at the dojo.  We had a really fun time and Gracie got to participate a lot (thanks, Aunt Kelli).   Side props for my hubby the photographer -- he got some awesome action shots!


We are leaving in a couple of hours for our summer family vacation.  It started off that we were going to Colorado because I have never seen the mountains.  Then we were going to stop at Mount Rushmore because I have never been there.  When my mama was diagnosed with cancer, I didn't want to travel too far so we knocked it down to Mall of America in Minnesota.  We were all set to do it, but I just felt bad going that far with my mom recovering from surgery.  I know my sister is here, but I don't want to be too far if something happens.

So I got a Groupon last week for Lake Lawn Resort in Wisconsin and our family vacation was decided on.

This is our life for the next few days, swimming (Gracie is a fish!), sitting on the porch of our resort room, and some spa time for mama (I still need that pedicure!).  I think this will be a fun end of the summer trip!

I am bringing my laptop to continue in my blogging adventure, but I am very focused on getting some quality family time in!  I can't wait to share pics when I get back!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dollar Store Inspiration

Last night I stopped at the Dollar General before going into school and I found some good deals.  Of course I had to make something to go along with them...

First up, this squiggle book for 50 gets better, it was 30% off at the register!

 I have used squiggle as a center for all of my teaching years and it is still one of my kiddos favorites!  For those who don't know what squiggle is, you start with a squiggle or a doodle and the students have to finish the doodle and make it into something.  Then when they are finished with their drawing, they write a story about it.

After many years of using the same boring sheet I thought it is time to spruce it up. Then I decided to share it with everyone and make it a freebie in Spanish or English!

What I think I am going to do is cut the squiggles from the book and glue them on these pages.  I might just handwrite the squiggles, too. I am super excited about this -- it is about time I updated my squiggle page!

Then I found these sequencing puzzles for $1.  There are 8 different puzzles in the pack -- they are kind of flimsy, but not bad for a $1.

The puzzles would be nice as a center, but I wanted to have a writing accountability piece to them too, so I created these sheets.  I originally just made the one sheet for my students (using the words I know they need), but when I decided to offer it as a freebie, I thought about the different levels (kindergarten to third grade) that might want it, so I tried to level the worksheets.

So that's all I've got for now.  I am working really hard on some cool math stuff to share with you all, I am very excited!  School is getting closer...18 days until teachers go back!