Summer Shopping Linky Party! (July edition)

Hello everyone! Well, I had a mild panic attack this morning when I turned on my MacBook and saw the date. It's the last day of July!! And I'm not panicking (yet) because the start of school is coming later in August, but because I completely spaced the July edition of the Summer Shopping Linky!

Well. It's still July now and there's still time to start this party, right? 

So first I'll show off a few purchases I found at Walmart today (please don't tell Target I was unfaithful, it's very unlike me!).

I bought these little zebra lamps...
They are so tiny and cute! They have the exact same base as my other three larger lamps that look like this:
I love how they will go together! And they will have a very important function. They'll be going on the shelves of my classroom library, which is going to need some extra lighting because it's going in a closet this year. (The closet is open, without doors, just so you don't think I'm totally weird!)

I also bought some new little carpets for my little reading nooks. My old carpets were pretty aged and gross, so I grabbed a couple that matched our color scheme (still looking for a green, yellow, or orange one to complete the set)...
Yes...they are bathroom rugs. 

A bit strange maybe, but I like them because they are super-soft, you can wash them in the machine, they are cheap (14.97 I think?), and they have those really grippy bottoms (my old ones kind of traveled a lot, you know?).

On a side note! I would never admit this to anyone else but my fellow classroom-crazed-designers...but I tucked a little sample of my color scheme in my bag today, just to make sure it all matched!
Well, that's all I have for now! We don't start back until August 28th, so I'm trying to hold out for some good school supply sales.

Have you been shopping? Of course you have!! And I'm hoping we can share our finds together! Please feel free to link up any classroom purchases. 

I don't have a button for the linky because I am in the middle of 463 projects right now and I'm sure you are too. I hope you don't mind!! Here's a blog button in case you want an easy way to link back from your post (it will link to this party)...
Ladybug's teacher files
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Frequent Words...at a glance! (printable)

Hey everyone! Today I finally finished something I've been meaning to make for my students for a looong time now--and I'm hoping it's something you can use with your class too!

It's a Frequently Used Words list, compiled onto four pages. I'm planning to photocopy them back-to-back, then laminate the two pages to put in my students' binders (you can read more about our old binders from last year and download some free covers by clicking the green link).

So...after a lot of typing, pasting, re-pasting, and word-sorting (the best feature available in Word!) we have...
These four pages feature:
  • over 700 words (I think it's about 736, I lost track during the gazillion revisions!)
  • Dolch Words, from pre-primer all the way to grade 5
  • The first 200 most frequently used words, taken from The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists
You see, my students have these little word books our school provides and they are fantastic. Each page features a ton of words by letter, with spaces to write more words on each page. 

But I wanted an additional resource my English Language Learners could go to first...an at-a-glance type of sheet to help them with their writing.

And I wanted the words to cover a range of learners, since I have newcomer students who are just beginning to read in English and need the access to basic words, all the way to more advanced students who have strong reading skills and need words close to or on grade level.

The file can be downloaded for free from my Teachers Notebook shop by clicking on the green link below...

Do you have any favorite word resources for your students? I would love to hear about any that you recommend!
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My favorite baskets...and some editable labels


Perhaps this should be titled "Ode to My Beloved Storage". That might be a bit dramatic though. But you have some favorite storage too, don't you? So I know you'll understand.

So...I am linking up with my pal Elizabeth for her:
I have to admit, I haven't found these recently BUT...I did purchase a new set semi-recently (like back in June!). But they are definitely something I can't live without in my classroom anymore.

In case you can't tell already, it's those oh-so-pretty paper baskets from Really Good Stuff. They are awesome. And they are EVERYWHERE in my classroom!

It started out with just the blue ones, when I had shades of blue in my room a few years back. Then I got the tropical-colored ones last summer. And this June, I just couldn't resist buying one of the new shades (orange!!) to add to my collection...
I must tell you in all honesty, it took me a long time to finally splurge on these baskets. I'm pretty faithful to the Dollar Tree for storage. Oh, and those clear shoe bins that are under $1.00.

But I am glad I have bought these over the years! They are sturdy, durable, and just lovely to look at. My students each have their own basket for their work (since we no longer have desks, but tables) and I use others to help organize the rest of our classroom. 

This year, I am going to have baskets set up for all subjects. Actually, two each--one for classwork to be turned in, and one for homework within a given subject. 

I'm also going to have others set up for Notes from Home, Extra Papers, Spelling Test Papers, etc. 

I won't bother explaining the labels because, at this point, you all get my obsession with the black labels and I'm afraid I'm going to start boring you.

But I do have a little something for you, my friends. It's an editable Powerpoint file featuring the labels shown above. It looks like this...
And you can customize them by adding a text box, typing in the label name, and dragging it over the label image...
And that's it! I hope this file can be used by some! To download it directly here, please click on the green link below:

Terms of Use: This file is intended for personal use only. These labels are not to be resold individually, or used in any file being sold or shared. 
Thank you!!

What kind of storage do you like the best in your class??
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Teacher Toolbox (Printable)


Ok, so I know everyone finished their teacher toolboxes like forever and a half ago--but I wasn't really planning on decorating mine. You see, I am notoriously bad at spray painting. I really prefer to make everything on the computer...it comes out neat and clean and I can undo anything I don't like.

But I kept seeing these beautifully decorated teacher toolboxes EVERYWHERE I went...the blogs, Pinterest, Monday Made It. I couldn't escape the call to decorate it!

So I decided to keep it simple: black and white to go with my color scheme.

And I like seeing a bit of the content in the drawers, so I thought I would just decorate the little handles (this was the fun part!).

I printed, laminated, and sorted them...



Then hot glued them to each little drawer...
In the midst of all this, I vowed to actually spraypaint the box the right way. You know, a light coat first, then another one (following the directions on the can of how long to wait in between coats). And I did it! I painted three coats and it looked PERFECT! I was so, so proud of myself. I bragged to everyone within range about my painting skills.

This didn't last.

That evening, I hauled my little white toolbox inside. It was still a bit tacky, but I really wanted to put the drawers inside. So I tried the first drawer. It wouldn't fit in the box. I tried again and again. I thought, "maybe it's still too tacky." But I knew something wasn't right.

Well, after a few more tries (please don't laugh at me!) I figured it out. It was upside down. I had painted it the wrong way.

This wouldn't be a problem, except the bottom (or top, so perhaps I should say "the bottom in Kristen's world") had adhered to the newspaper and had various bits of articles stuck all over it. This hadn't bothered me before, but now this had to be the top!!

So, instead of waiting until the next day like a rational person, I rushed outside to finish it. But it was all too late. The sun was slipping behind the trees. The mosquitoes were converging. Various bits of plant life were blowing in the breeze and adhering instantly to the toolbox.

Suddenly, my old, familiar, impatient techniques had kicked in. Within 3 minutes, the entire thing was soaked and dripping and making those weird spider-webby things that always seem to happen to me when I spray paint (except in my perfect upside-down paint job this morning, of course).
(Look, I'm not even putting my blog name on this photo like I usually do because it's a mess!)

So. It is what it is. From far away, it looks alright and matches my room. Up close is another story. Let it be known, this is the day I have sworn off spray paint for good. It's all contact paper and hot glue from now on!

Anyhow, I am linking up my toolbox with all of the other lovely (nicely-painted!) ones that have been on...
Thank you Tara, I never would have had the guts to even make this if it weren't for your linky party!!!

And I do have a little file to share--just in case anyone else hasn't made a toolbox yet and would like to decorate the handles. It's in an editable Powerpoint file, so it just needs little textboxes with your label names on it. These labels are designed to fit this specific box--I got it from Lowe's. I hope someone can use it--someone who is much better spray painting than I am!!! :(

Click on the preview below for the file! :)
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Some classroom color scheme photos...


Hey bloggy friends! I just got back from another day in my classroom and now I'm linking up with Corinna from Surfin' Through Second for her first linky party...
I've been looking forward to joining this party for awhile, but thought I would wait until I got some pictures from my room first. My theme (as you probably know from previous posts!) is black and white with brights. I also have a lot of circles goin' on! :)

Here are a few sneak peeks of my room and color scheme...





(blurry picture, sorry...it was HOT and I was rushing!)
The majority of the setup is done, but I still have lots of things to hang up, some missing border, and that showerboard you see above needs to be Velcroed (Velcrod? Velcro'd??? We need a teacher/blogger spellcheck!!!) to the board. I also have to tackle the rest of my library (not even going to show you that yet!).

AND! I have to buy some little elements my sister and I have been planning to make the room more cozy (pillows, plants, etc.). So stayed tuned for a full tour, coming soon!!

Ok, I'm off to check out all of the classroom themes/color schemes in Corinna's wonderful party!

What's your theme or scheme this year??
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Contact Paper on Tables Tutorial

Hello! I've had some requests in the past for more information on applying contact paper to tables and/or desks. Because you all know I'm nuts about covering my tables!! I've been doing it for years and it completely transforms the classroom--especially if you have older, mismatching tables.

After years of blue, then shades of blue, then black, I finally found this gray textured-looking paper last year and fell in love. It makes my old wooden tables look so matchy and new! And it really brightens up the whole room.

So I tried to put together a few photos and a VERY small video to explain more. My bff-teacher-sister Melissa helped me. Since she's the one who does this. As in ALL of my tables and my lone two desks, while I frantically hot glue everything in the room, ha!

The first step my sister does is to line the contact paper up on the table...leaving some excess hanging off of the edge, like so:
(This is to keep it from falling off and rolling back up at you when applying)

The actual putting-on of the paper is probably best shown in video, so we have a little one for you here:

 
After that (and some intermittent moments of swearing) the edges are tucked under and taped off with electrical tape. We have found that the wider electrical tape works best, with just a bit showing towards the top (so the kids don't pull at it) and most of it tucked underneath...
(My grandfather (rest his soul) loved to use Scotch tape--anything could be fixed with it. I think that's where I got my obsession with contact paper and electrical tape.)

Anyhow, that's the bulk of what my poor sis did today. I love her! What would we do without our precious family members that we drag to our classrooms??

I was a busy girl too, I swear. I must have burned myself 93,000 times on the glue gun (another obsession) and hung up a bunch of signs and borders around the room and set up some of the library...here's a little proof that I did some work too:


I have more to show you, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, I am TIRED! Thanks for reading (and watching!) my friends. :)
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Schedule Signs and Alphabet Lines...

Hey everyone!! I have been finalizing the last of the signs and labels for my classroom because, well, I'm going in to school this week! Thanks for all of your advice--I really enjoyed reading what everyone would do in the same situation! I decided IF I could manage to get the whole room set up, then I could really relax and enjoy the rest of the summer and plan away at home.

So. One of the last big sign-making-things I needed to work on were my new schedule cards, to match my color scheme. I am going with the Bright & Clear Schedule Signs (shown above) since my bulletin boards are black. But I also made some as Flipped Signs (because those are my secret favorite!)...

There are 27 different signs in these Schedule packets...I took all of your suggestions by email and messages (thank you!!) to make as much variety as possible.

I also added in the free Special Signs shared previously, so everything is together in one bundle (no extra cost, just to make things convenient)...with some adjustments like "P.E." and "Gym", your choice when printing.

The signs measure 6" in diameter and are $2.50 in my TpT Store. If interested, please click on the green link just above.

I also made some Flipped Signs for the Alphabet Line. There's Zaner-Bloser Cursive...
Zaner-Bloser Manuscript...
  And D'Nealian Manuscript...
These are also listed in my TpT Store.

I never post this many things at once to my shop, so I thought I would try something a bit different this time. I would love to give away a set of any one of the 5 different items shown above...

...to the first 10 readers to comment below! If interested, all you have to do is leave a comment with:

1. Your email name (so I can send it along to you).
2. Which one of the items (featured above) you would like.

Thank you for reading and I hope you are all having a relaxing evening! I look forward to getting into school soon and sharing some photos on here (cross your fingers the hallways are waxed so I can get to my room!!!!).
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Free Flipped Signs! (more supplies...)


I promise this is the last time I'll blog about these signs--because I am officially done making my supply signs!! I made a ton today for all of our community supplies because EVERYTHING is going in these little baskets this year!
Um, that little doodle I found for the highlighters is supposed to be a lipstick--the kids won't notice right?!? I think it can pass for a highlighter...

So I have a bunch of these for our supplies around the room, but compiled the most typical ones to share on here. If you would like to read more about how I set up these baskets (and access some more free files) you read all about it here: Community Supply Baskets

If you would like any of the files shown in the preview below, please click on the image for a free download at my shop:
But wait!!! Before you go! I have to tell you some exciting news! I got an email from our principal today saying my room was one of the classrooms already cleaned and set to go for the next year. I can't believe it! It's never ready this early--we just got out two weeks ago! 

So, I could just say it's the beginning of the summer and relax and forget about it. OR...I could fly in and set up early next week and NOT go back until school starts at the end of August, which would be something totally new for me. 

What would you do?? I think you guys all know what I'll end up doing...  ;)
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Four on the Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July friends! It's storming like crazy right now, so I guess it'll be nature's fireworks tonight in our town! In the meantime, my very dear friend Ms. M is having a wonderful linky party today...and it's all about four new things we will be trying next year! 

I love thinking about next year during the summer...it's like making new year's resolutions in January, isn't it?? 'Cept without all the healthy promises and everything--THIS is all about fun school stuff!

So here are my four...

1. Fully implement my CRAFT Board from the beginning of the year...

I started the CRAFT Board (an adaptation of the sisters' incredible CAFE Board) late last year, in the midst of testing and other end of the year craziness--but I still loved it! I noticed my students really accessing the board and strategies...and I liked having the Response to Text to work on that component specifically. I've been working away on more strategies for Response to Text, as well as some different strategies for the other areas. I hope to share them on here soon, stay tuned for those!

2. Expanding upon my math instruction...
(Photo Source: Teaching in Room 6)
I reeeeallly need to work on my math. Bad. Last year, we were busy implementing a new spelling series, Reader's Workshop, and Writer's Workshop. Poor math felt like it was pushed to the wayside. I taught it of course, I just want to do so much more in this subject. So I am starting with Stephanie's (Teaching in Room 6) Calendar Math. Have you seen her blog yet? This girl is seriously smart. And she packs so much instruction into everything she does. Please click on the green link above to read more about her Calendar Math, she explains it so nicely (and with photos, which I love!).

I'm also going to be joining in on the Guided Math fun that's been going around the blogs. I've read so many amazing things about this book--and my copy arrives tomorrow!

3. Expanding upon my student binders...
Last year, my very good friend/colleague and I dabbled in keeping student binders. I didn't post about it too much because it was new for me. As the year progressed, I ended up using my binders primarily for Reader's and Writer's Workshop. We kept our Reader's Responses in the binders, as well as any anchor charts we created together...they became a home for many graphic organizers and they were great! I'm looking forward to implementing them further year. 

4. Maintaining a clean and organized classroom...
Man, I ditched just about everything last year! I'm serious...well, mostly. I sorted through everything and donated, recycled, and repurposed everything I could. This took two years, maybe even a bit more. I think I can say I'm officially done. I'm honestly down to the bare essentials...nothing extra. I can't believe I did it because, within ten years of teaching, I had everything under the sun!! So now I am entering my eleventh year with a clean slate and the goal is to stay with this! I've been drawing room maps and making plans about how to deal with everything during the school day, so things will stay clean and streamlined. I hope I can do this!!

And that's my four!! Thank you so much, Ms. M...I love dreaming about next year and making those plans! And a very happy 4th to you all, dear readers! :)
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Nurse Notes (printable)

Happy Monday everyone! And it is happy, isn't it? It's lovely to be at home in the summertime and, thanks to Ms. Tara, we have an awesome linky party to join each Monday!

So, I'm still working away at some signs to amp up my old color scheme for this new school year, as well as to get things a little more organized.

Today I focused on a little management piece I've used in the past, which has really helped me save time: premade notes to the nurse, to fill out quickly when one of my students isn't feeling well.

They aren't anything major...they just have a space for the student's name, class name, and a blank space for the reason why the student is being sent:
(I'm sometimes long-winded in my notes, so I tried to make that space pretty large!)

I used to keep these notes in a plastic sleeve I made, but it's kind of worn out at this point. So I decided to keep them (along with a pen because I can NEVER seem to find one when I need it!) in one of my bright baskets. (I must confess, I had a terrible urge to buy a new little basket, specifically for this purpose--but I am resisting!!) I have sworn to not buy any more plastic storage. We'll see if I can stick with this resolution! I'm guessing no...haha!

Anyhow, if you would like to use any part of this file, please click on the preview below...
Thanks for stopping by!! :)

Graphics by Miss Tiina at www.misstiina.com
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