Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Resolutions and Camp Lane

I am so happy that Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness is having a New School Year Resolutions linky party! With moving to a new school and starting a new year has really allowed me some reflection time! (All I can think of when I say reflection are all those reflection papers in Grad School!) So after careful thought here are my resolutions...

Resolution 1: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Ok, sometimes it is NOT that serious. I tend to take things way to personal and care about what others think. So as long as I'm doing what is best for my little nuggets and giving it 110% then I will be happy and won't stress!

Resolution 2: Use my time more wisely (aka QUIT CHIT CHATTING!)

Y'all...I could talk to a brick wall. Seriously, I love to talk. Sometimes if I'm home alone with Rudy I will talk to him (embarrassing I know...). I love getting to know people I work with and chit chatting with them before school, during planning, recess, and even after school. I have stayed at school until at least 5 or 6 just chatting with others! As much as I love talking to more co-workers I need to work hard this year on getting comfortable in my school and being able to go home at a reasonable hour! I have a puppy I need to take care of now, oh, and Nick, too! I want to be able to spend quality time at home with them, not working on school work =).

Resolution 3: Work Ahead of Schedule

This was something my teammate really helped me with last year. I was the QUEEN of procrastination. I think I've worked my way down to "Princess Procrastinator." I have already started on lesson plans (which usually I was throwing together like a day before school started!) and finished my long range plans.

I think I'm going to keep it at three reasonable, very do-able resolutions. I'll let ya know in November how these are working out! =)

TOMORROW I can finally get into my NEW classroom and get to work! I have a stockpile of things that I need to take in to the hot mess that is my room right now and tackle it! I'm hoping that 3 straight days of 8-5 with no break will get it done and allow me to enjoy my week away with Nick at the beach. He's been planning this for awhile and his job is stressful so he's in need of some serious R&R. Let's hope I can relax, too!

I wanted to share some pictures from "Camp Lane." I was so sad to pack up all my camping gear (NOTE: I DESPISE actually camping but I love the cuteness of it in the classroom!) and say goodbye to that classroom!

A Few Extra Pics...

Reading Tent and Math Manipulatives

One of my best friends painted the Totally Terrific Work Pond and Word Woods Tree! 

My desk area next to Camp Reading Tent and Vocabulary Picnic Bulletin Board

Ok, time to get everything together to and relax before I turn into "Hurrican Sarah" tomorrow! 

Don't forget to stop by my TpT store today. It's the last day of July and the last day of 20% off EVERYTHING! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It! and A SALE!

I am finally able to get in my classroom and get started on Wednesday! Whoohoo! (I am so excited to get in there and decorate a brand new room!) Since I only have three days this week and I'll be on vacay at the beach and then in NY for a family wedding I needed to get as much done at home so I can just hang it up this week! So, needless to say, I have been busy trying to get everything made and laminated. (Buying my own laminator at Wal-Mart has been a huge help and totally worth the 30 bucks!)

Before I show you my Monday Made It Projects from this week I wanted to share a fun way that I rewarded students for reading last year when I had "Camp Lane!" (More on Camp Lane tomorrow....)
I was inspired by all the little girl scouts in my class and their adorable "swaps." Well, my Super Volunteer and I created our Camp Lane Reading Hats. The students would earn pins for moving up reading levels, AR Points, and completing their weekly reading logs.  Here are some pics of our "Camp  Hats." The students LOVED their hats (they even asked to wear them outside the classroom!!) and would wear them everyday during Reading Workshop. It was such a fun and motivation way to keep track of their reading!


One of my little campers sporting her hat at home! Gotta LOVE it! 

It's amazing what foam, glitter and googly eyes can do!!! The OWL was the biggest one and represented the
grade level benchmark! All my kiddos earned their OWLS!! =)

Rockin' her hat over the summer!
Ok..now I am getting back to my new theme "WIRED FOR SUCCESS!" and linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made Its!

Project #1 HUGE iPad for the hallway

I am going to put this bad boy up in the hallway as part of my display. I'm still trying to think of a creative and cute saying. Maybe "Our "APPS"olute Best Work!" I'm not sold on the saying so if you have a great one that would work, please let me know!!

All I did was take a foam poster board, cover it with wrapping paper. Then I glued black paper down as the background, cut out some "apps" and a circle and square for the bottom button and VOILA. I have a life-size iPad for the hallway. 

Project #2 Finish Book Bins

I finally found enough book bins at Big Lots! (I think I took about 20 trips their this week and even had their truck schedule down...). I used Velcro to adhere the labels so that way I can change them out as the nuggets move up! You can check out my post from last week or visit my Teachers Notebook store to grab a FREE copy of my labels. 

Project #3 Classroom Jobs and Clips!

I created my classroom jobs a while back but just got around to printing and laminating them this week. You can grab a copy of my iPod Classroom jobs here in my TpT store! I wanted to create enough classroom jobs for everyone (or almost everyone) to have one. I will just move the clips over one job after the kiddos leave on Friday, so they will have a new job on Monday. The students who are "on vacation" will keep their clips at the bottom on the ribbon. This way I don't have to "think" too much about jobs each week! Just a quick move! 

Here is how I created my job chart and clips!

Job Chart:
1. Print, cut, and laminate jobs. 
2. Glue/Tape the jobs together and put a little ribbon on the top and bottom to hang. I am going to put the clips of those without a weekly job at the bottom so I can keep them in rotation. 

1. I bought some clothespins at the Dollar Tree and they come all nice and neat in a row. 
2. I painted the clips with white acryllic paint. 
3. I spray painted with glitter paint I found at Hobby Lobby. 
4. Let them DRY!
5. While the clips are drying, print out numbers. (You can grab them HERE for FREE!)
6. Laminate and cut out numbers. 
7. Hot glue numbers to clothespins when they are dry. 

Project #4: Table Numbers and Cubbie Numbers

I printed out my table numbers that you can grab from my TpT store. All I did was add some scrapbook paper and laminate. Now I'm all ready to hang them from the ceiling in the classroom. For the cubbie numbers I just created some iPods and added the numbers. Ginger from GingerSnaps has some adorable iPod graphics that you should check out!  

Ok, time to spend some quality time with my lesson plans and try to get the first week or two planned! Or maybe I'll take a break from school stuff to watch Team USA! I'm lovin' the volleyball right now! I wish I still played!! 

EVERYTHING in my TPT STORE IS 20% percent off for the last two days of July!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Little Randomness!

Happy Friday! Is anyone else SOOO excited for the Olympics Opening ceremonies tonight?!? My girlfriends and I are having a little Girls Night to watch together! A little homemade pizza, wine and good times! I can't wait!  

I wanted to give you a little update on my mentoring program that I told you about yesterday! Well, since I had the whole day off, I compiled all of the resources I have used and added a SUPER hero theme to create "SUPER MENTORS!" I am so excited to be able to share that with everyone. It worked so well at my school last year and it is SO beneficial to our students! You can check it out in my TpT or Teachers Notebook store! Please feel free to send me any questions you have about it! 

A Blog Award! I am so excited to receive the Liebster Blog Award! With being new to the whole bloggy world, it can be overwhelming at times! Thank you for reading! 

A BIG THANK you goes to:


First Grade Fascination

Laugh Live Love LEARN

And the Award Goes To....



Guilty Pleasure Linky Party!

Blog Title

O.M.G. Do I have some Guilty Pleasure! Nick constantly calls me out on all of these but it can't stop my love of all things embarassing!

The Real Housewives of New Jersey


As CRAZZZZY as Teresa is, I still can't stop watching! Oh and I have the hots for Albie! He is precious!

Burger King


Something about those double cheeseburgers and fries! 

Brusters Ice Cream!

I worked there for 2 weeks in high school and decided it was not a good idea for my waist line! =)imgres.jpg

And last but not least, my newest Guilty Pleasure.....


Link up with Resource Room Teacher and share your guilty pleasures!

Well time to cheer on TEAM U.S.A!!!!!!  Happy Olympics!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I wanted to tell you all about a mentor program that I started at my school this past year! I had talked to my "super volunteer" mom (she came in and helped me set up my classroom and volunteered almost everyday...she was the BEST!!!) about how our student's really needed mentors. Teaching in a Title 1 School and being 5 minutes from a major university, it seemed like the two should merge!

It finally hit me when I was sitting in one of my masters classes that was about teaching students in poverty. We had a visitor from the Drop Out Prevention Center and he discussed how Drop Out Interventions needed to take place in the elementary school because by the time the kids reached middle and high school, their mind was made up about dropping out. I decided it was time to seriously take action. I had such amazing students and I could not imagine any of them dropping out! Well after a year of talking about it, I finally took some action!

I was involved in my sorority in college and knew that Greek Life would be a great place to start. Greek Life revolves around community service and philanthropies so I knew I could find some great role models for the kids there. I sent an e-mail to the leader of Greek Life and he forwarded my e-mail to each chapter president. The president then sent it out to their entire organizations. Pretty soon I was FLOODED with e-mails about college kids that were really interested. I knew it was time to start planning away!

I got some resources from the Drop Out Center about effective mentoring programs and created a training workshop to prepare these college students about how to effectively make a difference in the kids lives! Well, I set the time and place and notified everyone that was interested. My assistant principal (who is by far one of the greatest people I know and one of the most encouraging people I have ever met...not to mention she is HILARIOUS!) and I stayed after school and welcomed all the future mentors. I was absolutely stunned at this point...over 40 college students arrived!! I could not believe my eyes! All the willing college students wanted to help our kids! So I told them why they were important, why we needed them and then we went over scenarios about what to expect!

These mentors came once a week for an hour and let me tell you, THEY SHOWED UP! They talked to them about how to handle situations positively, they helped them with their school work and were a steady role model in their life! They loved it so much they told their friends about it and I had to train about 20 more mentors. That's 60 mentors total! Even one of our guy mentors (who was in Nick's fraternity!! =) mentored 2 guys and stayed for 2 hours each week! I would secretly tear up in the hallway walking with my kiddos to activity or lunch when I would see the mentors working with their mentees!  The program was so successful and our kids grades and reading levels increased! It's amazing what one hour of one-on-one attention can do!

So, to help celebrate the end of the year we had a big ol' celebration in our beautiful memory garden! We had a "Spring Fling!" and made dirt sundaes! The college kids told me they couldn't wait to come back next year and work with the same little nugget!!!

Flower Pens and "Kisses" for our sweet, DEDICATED mentors!

Sign that all the students signed for their mentors!

I could not have done this without my biggest support system!
Enjoying our dirt sundaes! 
We just HAD to Wobble!
If you don't have a mentor program in your school, you could buddy up with an older class in the school because the older kids can get just as much from the little ones! Even the college students told me how much they learned from their little ones!

I am working on putting the mentor resources I used together in a unit so that you can use it, too! Have a great day!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It!

I finally have a few finished projects that I can share for Fourth Grade Frolics amazingly popular Monday Made Its!

Project #1: New Teacher Gifts

This year I am starting in a whole new school, with a whole new team. They have been very welcoming and helpful this summer as we prepare for a new year with new nuggets! (How many times can I say the word new?!?)

Well my old teammate gave me a great idea when my student teacher was leaving. I made her a clip board with scrapbook paper and ribbon! She LOVED it! I also gave her a bag FULL of "Teacher Essentials" to help get her through her first year teaching. Here is how I made the clip boards...

Step 1: Paint the clip board the color of your choice. (TIP: On the back only paint around the edges since it will be covered with scrapbook paper).

Step 2: Measure and cut scrapbook paper to fit on the back. I use two different pieces and then tie them together with a ribbon. (I used cute little puppy paws because our mascot is the bulldog).

Step 3: Mod Podge the paper down. Let it dry. Mod Podge over the top to leave a nice finish!

Step 4: Measure and glue ribbon to tie the two papers together to give it a finished look! VOILA! You have some cute clip boards!

The colored frames with the sayings are my favorite and I may even make some for my own room if I have time! All I did was buy some wooden frames from the Dollar Store (they should name it The Teachers Second Home Away From Home! First is our classrooms!!!) and then I painted them coordinating colors with some acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby. (They just had some on sale so I stocked up!!) Then I printed off the cute signs from Technology Rocks. Seriously. and put them in the frames!

Now I have some cute (cheap!) gifts to give my new teammates!

Project #2: Teacher Toolbox

I have seen these ALL over Pinterest. I believe the original one came from Create. Teach. Share. (Awesome blog name BTW!) Then I checked out the toolbox that Reagan made over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. She gave me the idea to get my toolbox from Garden Ridge and spray paint it white. Well I did just that! Then I created some labels based on the measurements and thought about what I need in my own toolbox!

Can't you tell I LOVE color and polka dots? 

Close Up!
This is going to be great since I don't have a "teacher desk!"You can grab the labels I used here!  I usually just throw stuff in my Sterrilite drawer! Which you can see how I gave that a Mod Podge/Scrapbook paper makeover here!

Project #3: Labels for Guided Reading Baskets

So I posted some labels awhile back but I have since changed my mind! (Which happens a zillion times a day!) The old ones were super cute but would be a PAIN in the you know what to cut out. I do not have the steadiest hand so I prefer cutting on a straight line! ha! So I used some cute digital scrapbook paper I found on Etsy from EssentiallySCRAPPIN' (she has the cutest designs) and some frames from Fancy Dog Studio and then added my font from the one and only Kevin and Amanda and POOF these appeared!

 I cut them out, glued them on some scrapbook paper (the pack was 50% off a Hobby Lobby whoop!) and used my brand spankin' new laminator and made some sweet labels! You can grab the chevron labels here! Now I just need to find some baskets! Big Lots has been SOLD OUT of the ones I am dying for!

OK, time to stalk some Pinterest and Monday Made Its for new projects! Happy Monday!!