Monday Made It Week 4: B-

I did not bring my "A" game this week. I'm loosing steam... maybe it's because my focus is changing-

A) My sister's baby boys are still cooking. Which is a miracle. But her C-section date is now just over a week away. They are coming folks!!

B) My husband and I have started the house hunting process for real this time!!!!!!! Bank meeting later today... house shopping on Thursday with our realtor- stuff is getting real!! Our hope- be in our new home before the first snow fall (or for me... September haha).

Because of that, my Made It game is a bit off, but when I'm feeling stressed, I find something to create at home or tell my husband he can find me at Michaels. So as long as I have a living room to take over crafting space, I'll be doing SOMETHING.

In this post, you'll find failures. In a few different ways. I'll make sure to point it out to you if you think you might miss it ;) One last thing, I took these photos at all hours of the day including through a pop up thunderstorm so the lighting ain't the best. Remember, this is more like my B- game today.

 (1) Student Note Bin

Do you have kids who want to just share anything and everything with you? As much as I love it- sometimes I don't have the time right at that moment to listen to their 5 minute story of how they watched their brother's swim meet. Does that make me cruel?

Also, maybe you remember the whole, "I wish my teacher knew" thread that was spreading through last school year. I did it once with my students and I learned a lot!

Some were awesome:
"I feel smart now in math." "I feel included in our classroom." "I love cats more than anything."

Some were not so awesome:
"I don't feel like my table group listens to me." "My parents yell at me a lot." "I don't get much sleep at home and come to school tired everyday."

Sometimes they don't know how or when to say some of these things, so I wanted to make a more permanent place for them to share anything they want with me. So I whipped up some containers because that's what I love and I made these little note templates, but to be honest, mid-year it might just be cut up lined paper (but we'll start with the cute stuff at least). I also left a space for them to "check" if they want me to follow up in a little meeting. Some don't want to talk about it. I respect that. They just want me to know, and to be honest, even if I know and we don't talk about it, it helps me make decisions in what I say to them... knowing what they are going through. Some do want a follow up though, and this way, I'll know.

*UPDATE*: Many of you have asked so here they are- grab the little note cards for free here.

Ok now to the actual Made It part. Sorry- got a little passionate there and off topic!

These containers came in a set of 2 for $1.00 at Target. I had a vision in my head and wanted to test it out, so I used my acrylic paint and an eraser end and began to dot it up.

You'll notice there are two white container here. But I'm only using one as of right now because...

You know my obsession with vinyl?? Ya, well I tried it and it did not "pop" enough on the paint pattern I added, plus, it was not sticking very well because of the bumpy nature of the paint. I told you there would be failures.


So one note card holder will do. I made a little sign on my computer to attach to the other bin (which was also $1 at Target), hot glued it on, and done!

Oh! Here's a trick! My glue gun just oozes slowly if I'm not using it constantly and it's plugged in. I took the cap off of a parmesan cheese container and have used it to not only hold my glue gun up correctly, but it collects the glue goops and it makes it easy to peel off. I've kept this cap now for months!

(2) Attendance/ Lunch Count Magnets

So for the last two years I had those cute little gems that everyone makes for like attendance and lunch count. I made myself two sets and used them in my room, but those were a bit of a...

Here's why: They are too small and slippery for my little friends. They fell off constantly and I'm SHOCKED that we've only lost 1 in the last two years. So although they worked to an extent, I was looking for something a bit easier so I made these wooden cubes instead.

This project was supposed to help me not be so nit-picky and it was somewhat of a success. The washi  tape did not cover the whole side of the cube, but I was ok with that. These cubes were .75 inches at Micheals and I found .75 sq in pieces of magnets too that had adhesive backs so it should fit perfectly, right!? Well not completely. Some of the magnet pieces were a tad too large. And I could have easily left them and not think twice, but I couldn't resist people! I COULDN'T RESIST! One day, I will. And I didn't do it for every single one. #babysteps

Anywho, I wrapped washi around. Put on a magnet square. Trimmed a bit on some. Now it was time to add the numbers.

Yes, I used vinyl. But first I painted the square tops navy blue to make them pop more. And I put a layer of Mod Podge over it just in case. And I kept my vinyl scraps for a reason.

So I put a little square box (.75 inches) around each number so that if one should get lost, I can just peel off the square and use it as a stencil at school with my trusty sharpie white paint pen that I keep there. I made a few extra squares without numbers for this reason. Always trying to be prepared. 


I'm obsessed with guac now and I refused to make it at home because I knew I couldn't make it as good as Chipotle. But I found this awesome mix at Target and now I've been eating guac constantly! All you need is the ingredients you see there (I added a tomato because I like them now... thanks Italy). You cut the avocados, mash 'em with a fork, dice up your tomato, throw it in the bowl, coat with a little lime juice (I'm obsessed with lime too... you might not need it with this guac mix) and then this fabulous guacamole mix. It's not a powder- it's a liquid with tomatillos, green chile, garlic, cilantro... so good! I only used half of it though and found it plenty. It has a bit of heat to it too. It's delicious and you should go find some of this mix and try it. 

So there ya have it. We'll see if I can keep my crafting going through this busy week! I'm trying to go into school a bit too (I went last week, but they weren't ready for me to enter yet... it was a sign perhaps), meet up with my teammates for a fun lunch, visits at the bank and house hunting- plus those babies... ya never know!

Go check out Tara and the others who probably brought their "A" game to their Made Its. ;)



Easy Vocab Support to Use Now!

Good MORNING!! Happy Saturday. And for me... happy 22nd day of summer! Yes, I'm counting. Thanks to Instragram where I'm keeping track of every day of summer so that I can relish in the memories come January 6th when it's an ice box here and we are in the thick of the school year.

I'm guest blogging over at the iTeach Third blog... I'm so honored to have been asked to share some tips and I've been meaning to share some SUPER simple-even-your-grandma-can-do-them-if-she-was-a-teacher-that-is supports to keep students engaged in the learning they are doing while building their vocabulary. It all started out to support my English Learners, but has morphed into my common practice now.

Head over now, bring some snacks (because it is a long one, folks...#longwinded), and enjoy. :)

The beauty of it all, as that even though I began using a lot of these strategies to support my ELs, it actually benefits ALL my students... including my native English speakers. And that's typical of all ELs supports- they are not meant just for ELs so even if you don't have any in your classroom or very few, these strategies and supports can be used in your room as well!



Dare to Dream

I don't know if you'd call these BIG dreams because they are a little bit more "abstract." I won't know for sure I guess when I'll reach these events, but they work for where I am at in my journey on TpT and my life.

TpT allows me to be creative. In a time when restrictions in what we teach and how we teach are impending on us constantly, TpT allows me to get creative. As a kid, I always liked to create things and make them look "pretty." I love finding my style and trying new techniques. Creating teaching resources allows me to do that while also making something that benefit me in another way- teaching.

I'm not rolling in the big moneys, but more than I thought I would when I started this thing. It's nice to know I have a little wiggle room if I want to splurge on something and I don't have to feel as guilty when it shows up on my door step and having to explain to my husband. I'm hoping that the extra money can be towards creating things for our future home and perhaps keep me on a budget that way.

Lastly, I want to leave a positive impact. I want to help others make impacts in the lives of others too. TpT is a chain reaction: teachers helping teachers who help their students who help those around them... I'm glad to be a part of it. I get so many awesome ideas and resources from others that I want to contribute to it was well.

Pretty short and sweet. Perhaps when my life changes more, the role of TpT may change as well. I can image having a family and why so many hope to work for home one day, but I'm not quite there yet. There's still so much I want to do in the classroom and professionally as an educator that I couldn't image loosing that yet. Again, when life changes, I'm sure this will all change too! 



Monday Made It Week 3

I'm pumping out projects left and right... mainly because my sister could pump out her identical twin baby boys any day now. Lots of little hiccups here and there with her pregnancy, so even though she is almost at 35 weeks, if another hiccup comes, then they are delivering those boys! And once they come- I'll turn into that crazy aunt that just wants to kiss them and buy them things all the time! So I'm trying to be productive in these 'quiet' weeks. #excuses

This week was all about solving some lil' problems that creep up every year and trying to find a solution.

(1) Event Board

I don't know about you, but there comes a time during the school year where it just seems like important dates keep popping up and you just cross your fingers and pray that when someone asks you if you are available to do "xyz" on the 14th that you don't have another thing planned. I'm not a planner girl with a calendar and washi-tape, believe it or not. I've tried. It just isn't for me. I'm more of a post-it girl. Where I can just glance and see when I'm responding to an email or a phone call as opposed to finding that darn planner, opening it up to the correct date and hoping I had remembered to write down that important meeting on the correct date. I wish planners worked for me to keep track of dates... they are so darn cute! But alas, they don't.

Last year, I put up a "calendar" for the last few weeks of school because we had so many events between tests, assemblies, field trips.... you know how it goes. It was made of post-its. And covered weeks vs. months. 

And I found it so helpful to be able to glance up and see it! Not to mention, my students used it too and would remind me of events. I wanted something similar this year, but not a calendar where I had to write down everyday... just the days where there are important events to keep track of. So I made this:

I can write down important dates with a whiteboard marker and erase it when it's done to add in more. I tested it out with some upcoming events and love it... I want to create one for my home too!

I got the frame at Michaels. It was originally $10.00 and I used my 50% coupon and got it for $5.00 (look at those math skills). I used the insert that came with it, flipped it over, and painted it a navy blue. I then used some washi-tape to not only add some patterns, but to help me put my letters on straight (remember, I don't have patience). I then cut out some pieces of card stock to make each little square. I used some Glue Dot Strips to then stick them all together and onto the now navy piece and put the glass on top. Lastly, I cut out my letters on the Cameo with some vinyl (duh) and stuck 'um on and done! Hopefully this will keep those important dates in the forefront of my mind!

(2) Book Labels

Another struggle of mine hides out in our library. I love childrens books. Our classroom library has over 1500 books and it continues to grow. Unfortunately, if we get new books, they don't enter the library until I get my label on it. You'd be surprised how many books have been lost and returned thanks to my trusty labels. Plus, it helps us to organize our books. 

However, I would run out of a certain label and then put that book in a pile to get a label and then I would forget about it. I had to find a solution to this to get those books into students hands (let's just say I had to bring home over 60 books to get labels on over the summer... oops)!

It's a give and take. I need to give something up in order for this to completely work, which is hard for me and my type A personality. I did a binder in the past, but would have to put the labels into plastic sleeves. Ugh- more steps. So I think I found a solution!

I found this accordion style storage system at Target for $9.00.

I numbered the tabs and just put the sheets of labels into the correct slots. How do I know what slot it goes in? Well I made a key of course on the back!

I put each label on the back and where I normally write the level, I wrote the slot number. I EVEN added some semi-blank labels and have decided that if I run out and need to hand write it, I'm going to do it! #babysteps I also won't be putting levels on any more books for a while. All my books in my library currently have a level to help students. I want to add a few without as well. Keep it interesting, right??

So now when we get a new book, whether it be donated or I buy some, it's getting a label right away and put into the correct bin so that those kiddos can read it! The library will stay organized though, which makes me happy, even if I have to handwrite. I think I'll get over it. 

As always- hop over to Tara's blog to look at all the beautiful creations from other bloggers!



Makeover Madness: A Kick in the Butt

First challenge was accepted. Like many, it was on my to-do list. I've had ideas on improving this baby to make it even better in my classroom next year and kept writing them down, but not really adding onto it physically. Then that list grew too large and summer came and the pool was just a much better place to be. 

Enter this challenge. #tptsellerchallenge

OK, ok. Fine. Let's do this. I spent some time off and on over the last two days and wham bam! It's done, and it feels so good.

This is the 2nd time I've overhauled this resource, so it wasn't a complete and utter mess, but let's just say- there were ways to improve it. I could have just redone the cover, called it a day, and took a nap, but I knew this was the time and the kick in the butt I needed to really make those improvements and additions I had been wanting to. So here's the newly improved beauty:

Click to enlarge... scroll down and find the link to find in my TpT store
We do hopes and dreams twice a year- once in the fall and once in winter. This year, we actually did one the last week of school too for summer and I loved doing that and will continue to do it. Basically, it's goal setting for the year. And to be honest- we normally would spend some quality time at the beginning of the year crafting these and then quickly revisit them come January and be on our merry way. I wanted to change that this year, so I made some additions.

We'll still plan and draft our hopes and dreams, and then we'll create a display. I've added 3 new options so I'm not sure what one we will do... it'll depend on my group of kiddos and what I think they can handle. Then, we will be tracking them. When we noticed that we are taking a step in the direction towards reaching our goal, we'll write it down on the new tracker page I've added. And at the end, we'll do a more thorough reflection; first with some whole and small group discussion with the new prompting cards and then they'll do the written reflection.

I'm really excited about the additions and upgrades not only for me, but for you! I tried to make it easier for other teachers to use in their rooms by adding in *some* editable versions of the planning pages for both the students and the families. One person gave the feedback that they wish they could change some of the social skill words, so I thought, "Eh, I think I could figure that out." So there ya have it.

Because I've added quite a few new things, the original price did go up. However, it is $2.00 off right now until the next challenge is posted. It's less now than what it was before all the upgrades! #winforyou Many people have this one on their wish list so if that is you, snag it now!

Thank you to the fabulous ladies who put this HUGE plan together! We'll see what next week holds...



Brightening Back To School: Flash Freebie #2

I'm tickled pink with all the lovely support and comments about my classroom crafting addiction Monday Made Its. You always know how to make a girl smile... and further fuel my unhealthy relationship to this color obsession thing. I thank you- but my husband might not. #ohwell

A lot of you asked about the tabs for the Book Buzz Box and they are ready for you! My tabs were very particular to my class and what I know I have in my library. But, I know that might not be the case for all of you. So I spent some time this morning tweaking things a bit so that hopefully more people can create their own buzz box in their room and get those reluctant readers to read! That is the end goal of course, right?? It's just an added bonus if it's cute and color coded functional.

If you are like, "What is this lady talking about a buzzing book box and how can I get one?" Check out the first post here. For those of you already in the know-how, you can snag these pre-made and editable tabs in my store as a FLASH FREEBIE for my summer series!

Click this button to be taken to the freebie!

[the bottom of this post explains what I'm talking about... some of you may be thinking I'm a little scattered-brain at this point... that is not entirely false]

These tabs will remain as a flash freebie in my TpT store until tonight after the Married at First Sight Reunion because I'm a lover of all trashy reality TV and will not be interrupted until that is finished. For those of you who are not into watching perfect strangers agree to marry each other and live together for 6 weeks before deciding whether to stay married or get divorced (which I don't know why you wouldn't be, but hey- I don't judge) that would be 9 pm central time. After that, it'll be on sale until July 31st (so even if you don't snag it as a freebie, don't fret- you can still get it at a discount yo!)
This flash freebie is a part of my summer series this year where I share new, old, and updated resources to make going back to school a little brighter. My original post can be read by clicking the image above.

Knowing that not everyone sits around on their computers and on their phones all day during summer waiting for a random freebie to surface, I've put all the flash freebies featured this summer on sale through the end of July. I post previous freebies below so that if you missed one or are itching to spend a little $$ on classroom things, but don't want to break the bank, you have an outlet.

#1: Accountable Talk Posters Posted 6/3/15

I've only got 2 projects in the works for next week's Monday Made It- but that could all change if something catches my eye... and as long as my sister's twins keep cooking, I'm looking for lots of ways to spend my summer relaxing and doing what I love. :)



Monday Made It: Intervention Needed

I have a disease.

I start with a color theme and I become compulsive about it. Everything has to 'match.'

If anyone has an appropriate intervention to put in place, I will sign that IEP and be on my way.

Until then, here's the latest "Made Its" for the classroom.

Operation: Turn everything teal, green, and blue continued.

(1) Book Buzz Box

Materials for this little beauty include some card stock, index cards, Mod Podge and an old stationary box set that I realized matched my new classroom colors perfectly! A student gave my the stationary as a gift and not only were the cards cute and helpful for quick thank yous, but the box is super cute too! Target has a ton of cute stationary kits now... I'm a little addicted. P.s. Keep the little cardboard piece inside the box- it will help the cards stay in place. I had to put a piece of scrap card stock in the bottom so that cards wouldn't slip down, but that worked just fine. 3 x 5 index cards fit perfectly inside this little box, so I made my dividers the same (plus extra height with the tab of course)

Anywho- back to the purpose of this little puppy.

I've already read my first professional book of the summer, Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild and she's convinced me to try some things that I swore I wouldn't try again because they didn't work. Like book recommendations.

I've tried them each year- and they just don't seem to take off. I was going to abandon it this year. But then I remembered this little box. So we try again.

This box has most of our genres that are in our library on these little dividers. If a student wants to recommend a book, they'll take an index card and fill it out and put it behind the divider. That way, if another student really wants a good mystery, they can look in the mystery section.

The dividers also remind them to include the 3 parts: Title and author, one little word to describe the book, and a connection to their own life or another book. On the back, others who have read the book can sign the index card and rate it with a smiley face system (I'm still working on a little sign for this). 

This very well could be a complete flop. We'll see :)

(2) Numbered Pockets

So I love making library pockets. Ok I really don't, but I like how they look. So I made some new ones for my room for one purpose, but then realized all sorts of options. However, I ain't making anymore, so I'll share what I'm using them for plus some other options.

I use a number system in my room. All students have a classroom number. It helps each year to save time on recreating things (unless I'm redoing my color scheme...) and makes it really easy when students moves out and move in. It also helps with taking notes on kids quickly. They still put their names on their papers, and their names are on their hooks and desks and other places. I don't call them by their numbers and they don't write it on their paper. They and I memorize them and it just helps in lots of ways I think. 

So one thing I saw on Pinterest and I loved it was about having a spelling list for each student and housing them in library pockets. Love the idea

I'll be using it a tad differently though. Do you have those words that you always spell wrong? Like for me, the word definitely (yes- the red line came up underneath it and I had to fix it) is my struggle. There's others too, but we'll just stick to that one for now. Well, I noticed that a lot of students have this same thing. They spell "does" like "dose" and whenever it is time to edit, they still make that mistake and don't recognize to fix it. So this year, each student will have an index card (or 2 or 3) where they will keep their commonly misspelled words in so that it is fresh in their heads to be on the look out for them and to help them see how it is spelled. 

Whenever it is time to write, they'll get their little card and put it on their desk as a visual and reminder. I also then can be better at holding them accountable. And when we notice a new word we just can't seem to spell right, we'll add it to the card. I also wanted a place away from their writer's notebook so that it wouldn't get lost and I could visually see who didn't get theirs from their pocket. Just call me the pocket police!!

However, there are a few other ways to use these pockets I thought about:

Use them as a calendar! And slip in index cards for specials events! Keep them general so you can just reuse them or keep a stack where you can write down an important event you want your students to remember. Also, they can be used for classroom jobs! Again, if students have classroom numbers, you can put their job in their pocket complete with important reminders. There are so many options for library pockets!

I made them by printing a template online, trimming it down to fit two on a piece of 8 x 11.5 card stock, and changed the corners. I then cut out numbers on my Cameo, Mod Podge them down, and done!

(3) Job Board

I've loved my job board (yes- they were library pockets) but now that I have these pockets above for a different purpose, I wanted a smaller display and one that again, I could reuse each year. So I made this little puppy- but it is in progress still. I still have to decide if I'm going to put these down on a foam board, a cupboard, a whiteboard... I don't know yet. 

I used symbols that I made for each of the jobs. I just like the simple fun look of them (they remind me of like Iphone apps). They were super easy to make (in terms of the number circles and assembling- the actually making of the little icons did take some time, but it was a fun challenge).

I got the wooden discs in bags of 22 (odd number if you ask me) from Michaels and of course used my vinyl and Cameo to cut the numbers out. I'll be adding velcro or magnets to the numbers depending on how I display these.

For sticking with me- you deserve an award! I created these little posters for my classroom library because of my love affair with this children's book I blogged about a couple days ago. Visit that post (by clicking on the images) to snag them!

Woof! That was long. Maybe I proved my point in my need for a color intervention...

I'm off to seek some sanity (or perhaps it will make it worse) in the other beautiful Monday Made Its at Tara's blog. Also, check back later this week for a new flash freebie for my summer series!


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