Brightening Back to School: Fill those Files!!!

Back in May, I needed some motivation to create things over the summer to ease the whole going back to school come August/September. I knew a lot of exciting things would be happening during the summer and in the first few months of the new school year so I had to get creatin'!

To wrap up this series and to say THANK YOU to all those who supported me during these summer months by commenting on the blog, purchasing resources, or leaving feedback, I'm doing a little *and hopefully* fun game that will hopefully brighten up this back to school season!


Here's the plan:

The resources I made for this series will still be at a discount through the 31st of the month. So if you haven't snagged these yet- do so now before they go back to full price!




And there is a new resource I just added that you can get on sale until tomorrow! Drum Roll....



But the exciting and hopefully fun part is happening TODAY! Yes, THURSDAY the 30th of July, folks! Here's what's happening:

I've picked a few resources to 'fill those files' up for the new year. These resources are set at a STEAL of a price... perhaps even a freebie or two might be hidden in there also!

Read the file folder clues and head over to my store to try to find the resources that have been slashed and grab them while you can! They will go back to full price by 4:00 pm central time TODAY.

(Hint: There are a total of 4 resources that have been slashed for this series wrap up + the original resources that will be on sale through tomorrow)

Did you get that??? This fun little file filling game will only be happening UNTIL 4:00 pm central time. Are ya ready?? Click on any of the file folders to be taken to my store.

Here we go:




I hope you can find some uses for these resources this school year! I also hope that this summer has left you all feeling refreshed and ready to head back to school and create new memories with your new (or perhaps looping) class. Make it a great year, everyone!


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Monday "I Made-It Through Last Week"

Oh I'm just going to jump into the Made Its I worked on this week. I'm not sure how I managed to get any work done this week, but I managed to squeeze a few more school things in. I really need to get back into school to work on stuff, but who knows when I'll have time to do that.


(1) Classroom Journals


I found these little magazine holders at Target and I knew I wanted to try and implement classroom journals this year. I've seen them on Pinterest before, but I wanted to do them a bit differently. We do 4 major units throughout the year... I only had 3 notebooks. So I prepared these 3 and we'll see if I get around to the fourth. 

Each notebook has 5 tabs (1 of which is a catch-all "wild card"). 


On in the inside of the cover are some reminders. I want students to read entries of their classmates before they write their own, so directions for that are here. Then, I spaced out the tabs. Each tab includes ideas on what can be shared about in that section of the journal as well as an "entry checklist" to make sure their writing is ready for others to read. The tabs are essential categories or topics that fit under the larger genre on the cover. It'll provide a bit of support for those that struggle coming up with ideas.

Here's a few examples of what I came up with based on our units of study. 

During the printing process, my printer decided to become difficult. This has happened at least 3 other times. When my printer works, it works great and I love it! But when it does this, I loose it! It's so frustrating. But I went to bed and tried it again the next morning and it must have gotten my message. It worked. 


(2) Graffiti Wall


Shout out to Farley for this project. Only thing- it's not done yet. But once I get into my room again, I'm going to hang it up and then it will be done. I got all the materials at Michaels: 2 wooden stakes (underneath those strips of ribbon if you couldn't tell), roll of easel paper, ribbon, and double sided tape. I have magnetic hooks and rings at school so I'll use those to finish this project then!

(3) Rubric Binder


I'm honing in on my rubrics this year. So I am putting together a binder with rubrics to help me set expectations for myself as a teacher in a variety of learning outcomes. I want to know what I want to expect because quite honestly, sometimes I don't even know what I expect my kiddos to do on a task so I've got to think things through a bit before hand. Thanks to the AWESOME new book by Serravallo titled The Reading Strategies Book, I'm feeling so much more prepared to know what to expect from my students when we analyze characters. 

Do you teach reading at any age in elementary?? Then you NEED this book. For real. It's straight up gold! Go get it and enjoy the beauty of it within.

If you want to know more about how I implement rubrics (and get a little freebie) head over to the iTeach Third blog and check out my post over there- alllllll about rubrics!

And that's it for this week. Now I'm off to do one of my favorite things: look at other Monday Made Its over at Tara's Blog.


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Back to School In a Flash: Teacher Faves



I'm joining Layla, Courtney, and Jamie and the 3-5th grade "iTeach" families to share in the fun of the back to school time season! I love the beginning of a new school year! Fresh beginnings, new ideas to implement... I could never work in an office space where it's the same old stuff everyday. 

To share in this fun time of the year, I'll be sharing some of my "teacher faves." Even better, I look forward in hearing from you and other bloggers what their favorites are so I know exactly what to go after for the back to school season.


I picked just a few of my favorites to share with you. First up:

I have an addiction to anything adhesive or things to make other things stick to them. Glue guns, Velcro, tape... you name it. But two of my favorite things to use in the classroom are magnets and glue dots. I love me some magnetic tape that I pick up at Lakeshore. When I run out (as in that picture above) I also have a baggie of small magnets that I can just peel and stick to whatever!

Glue dots are my LOVE! I especially like the glue dots that come in the strips as they work perfect with the letters I cut out from my Cameo or for skinnier surfaces like these clothespins. They come in a large variety too. When I want something to pop up a bit, I use the raised circle dots. They are clean and super sticky... a must have in my opinion.

I also like to make things POP in my room. I try to use things that are inexpensive to do this. I'm a Mr. Sketch lover to heart! I've gone through multiple packs and they are my go-to utensil when we are making anchor charts together. Not to mention, when I'm feeling frustrated, I just whip out that blue raspberry and take a whiff and smile.

All is well in the world.

I've got a collection of boxes- this was the first box I bought. I went to Lakeshore to pick up my new pack for the year and was sad to see they no longer carried the older box... call me nostalgic but I liked the old school feel of the "blue box." Oh well. I'm just excited to have my new juicy set of markers and to create some awesome charts with my kiddos.

I also love to use paper plates for lettering. They come in a variety of colors and patterns and are pretty cheap. I use binger rings to connect them together and hang them, but they can also be attached to bulletin boards for headers. I simple cut out my letters and Mod Podge them on. Sometimes, I also take plain white plates, flip them over, and paint my own colors or patterns before putting the letters on. So essentially, they are reversible!


I love to add music to our classroom for various reasons. Here's my playlist on Pandora that I pull up at different times of the day. And yes- you'll see a lot of boy band stations- those are for me when I'm "cleaning" or "planning" in the room. ;)

1) Great for independent writing, art projects, or other quiet work times
2) I love the Piano Guys- they take popular songs and turn them into instrumental music- we play this one sometimes during writing time or during transitions
3) Another one we play during writing time
4) When we do our research units for the rain forest or ocean animals, we play this one to "set the mood"
5) When we are looking for some fun! -Be aware: some songs are not Kidz Bop- be ready to "thumbs down" it if you don't find it appropriate.
6 & 7) Another quiet time... my 5th grade teacher always played classical music during writing time so I like to have different options to play

Do you have some favorites that are a must in your classroom? Join the link-up and share!

(Save and use this image if you'd like to introduce your favorites)
I've still got some time before I head back to school (September 8th is our first day with our students) but that hasn't slowed me down in preparing for the new year! I'd love to see what your favorites are! And don't forget to check out what others are sharing this week!

Check back next week for another "Back to School in a Flash" event!

An InLinkz Link-up




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Monday Made It... Surprisingly

This summer is anything but low-key... but I'm alright with that!

The baby nephews are now home which means I've gotten to spend a bit more time with them up close and personal. They are the coolest.. just saying.

Oh, and we are off to our house inspection later today- let's hope it's all good! And we're doing it on our 2nd wedding anniversary!

So it's a miracle that I'm getting school stuff done, but let's face it- I kinda have to since August isn't going to be any slower and come September, it's back to school not only for the kiddos but for me as I'm going back to finish my last course for my Master's degree. And I'm on Leadership this year. Plus my other committees. And we'll be doing remodeling in our new house (pending inspection of course) and I still have those adorable baby boys.

Yea. Life ain't slowing down.

But I like it that way. :)

So- uber fast- here we go.

(1) Spelling Center


Pardon the pictures- something called sunlight can make things complicated. I've decided where my spelling pockets are going. And my awesome husband is spray painting my magnetic letters I got at the Target Dollar spot! Except he did it when he was back at his parents house because they have a garage and we do too but we are at rental and I just don't want to spray paint in their garage because I get nervous so I had my husband do it when he went back to our hometown to golf. And he did! So thankful. But they were not dry when he had to leave. So we will get them another time. 

But the letters will go underneath the pockets for one of the spelling activities. Yay for progress!

(2) Labels

Ok. Hopefully this is the LAST time I'll need to make and print and cut labels. Well to be honest, I don't HAVE to, but I like to, because I like things to match. I still need to cut these out though. We'll save that for The Bachelorette: Men Tell All.

(3) Make-shift Bulletin Board Thingers

I've got this ugly curtain in my room. If you've been around the blog for a while, you'll know my distaste for them. Well, I think after 3 years, I've found a solution. I used 6 foam boards from the dollar store, some bulletin board boarder and some clothespins to make spaces to hang up our anchor charts easily. I began to make headers using paper plates from Target, but I ran out of paper for my letters (go figure). 

And don't judge how the board and letters aren't even yet. I have to do some adjusting (maybe- if it begins to bug me enough, which it probably will). 


I used some tools from around my room to try to make things as even as possible without wasting too much of my time (as you know I am not patient with measuring). But I now have space for Reading, Writing, and Math and I can hang up 2 of my smaller chart paper size or one of my bigger ones which is awesome! And the clothespins will make it easy to switch out. Woo Hoo!

And since these are only hung at one point, if my teammate and I need to close our curtain for some reason, things won't rip or fall to the ground! We like to keep it open. We have our "curtain" moments when we need a quick 5 second break. Or I need a stapler or something. 

Well that's all this week- pretty simple. I'm just trying to get into my room and do as much as I can without putting too much out where it gets all dusty and then I have to dust it because I don't like doing that either. But I want it out. So I don't have to go in at all during August. But I know I will- here and there. 

Ok enough. I'm rambling. 

Oh wait! I forgot! Many asked about the Show 5 signs from last week. I finally found some time to get them up for you and you can enjoy them as a Flash Freebie as part of my Brightening Back to School Series:



This is my 3rd Flash Freebie this summer.  
(click on the picture to be taken to it)

You have until we return from our house inspection and I remember to change it. So... probably until around noon on 7/20. Catch it while you can!


These resources were previously flash freebies or already discounted resources that are now at a discount until the end of the month. Click on each picture to go check them out and snag them before they go back to full price!

     



I'm planning on putting some of my already created resources as flash freebies over the 2 weeks of July in order to say thank you and to celebrate the "going back to school" season! Check back... but don't wait, because they will be gone in a flash!

Now, go find some serenity over at Tara's blog for more Monday Made Its! 



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Monday Made It: Glass Case of Emotions


This has been my week:
(source)
All I'm going to say is

1) There are some real sleazy realtors out there who do not follow the code of ethics (p.s. it's not ours- it was the buyer's agent... yuck)
2) I learned some valuable lessons that I'll stick in my pocket and move on!

It's times like these when I am so thankful I have school that I can use to distract me.

Did I just say that?

I feel like it's reversed during the school year... Oh well.

With that said, here's what occupied my mind as I also try to prepare to head back to school soon! And thank GOD for Tara who made this wonderful linky to give me an excuse to make messes and not have to clean them up until after Monday.


Ok- maybe that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, so maybe I should clean up my messes and explain a bit more.
(1) Rubric

I'm working on preparing my "rubric" bulletin board. I'll explain it all more later, but I've been focusing on getting the pieces prepared so when I go to school I'm ready to put it all together. So here are a few of the pieces that will be contributing to my rubric wall (and of course it's going with my 'growth' theme). I put these awesome images together thanks to Angela at The Organized Planbook (see more below), put them into some black frames that I bought back when I was a sophomore in college, stuck some vinyl letters on them and I called it done. These babies will be hung up on our rubric board and you'll hear little children all year long saying, "I'm a seedling!" or "I'm a tree!"

I can't wait to put it together

Except I can because it's like a million degrees up here lately which means my classroom is like two million degrees and that just sounds like torture right now.

Do you see those amazing, beautiful, watercolor like images???? I had the true pleasure of working with Angela from The Organized Planbook. I saw a post on her instagram that said she did custom design packages for clip art and I knew I wanted to try it out as I've been scouring TpT for these types of images with no luck. She got back to me instantly practically and I picked my package, shared my ideas/styles/requests and BAM! In like a week or so, I had 10 color and 10 black and white images completely custom for my need in the style I wanted at an amazing price! I was awestruck by the process and will DEFINITELY be using her again when other ideas pop in my head. I would HIGHLY suggest you to check her out if you have an idea in mind and aren't seeing it out there yet. She delivered people. And she's super affordable. And did I mention it's completely custom and speedy quick!?? Just saying.
The Organized Plan Book

Go look at her now.

Then come back here.

I'll wait.

(2) Flipbook (plus extra paper things so that I didn't feel like I was wasting stuff.)

Last year, I went back and forth on if I should do a flip book or a brochure with important information. After a few people sounded off, I went with the brochure. It saves paper and is small and convenient. And I think that was the problem. It's too small and gets lost in the shuffle of endless papers. So I decided to go with the flip book this year. And if people still don't seem to know when our lunch time is, or our snack policy, or my email, then I'll prepare a song and dance video and burn it onto DVDs and pass those out next year. 

Seems like the next logical step. 

I posted an image of it on my instagram & facebook and I had people ask if I have it in my store.

No.

I don't. And I won't. Not because I'm mean, but for what I think is a very valid reason.

I think these types of resources are just too personal. Meaning, I think they are so different from classroom to classroom that I don't think I could *sanely* create an editable version that would fit people's needs and I don't want to disappoint others. Plus, some other TpT authors have attempted it and it's worked for them and many many others, so I figured we don't need another "wheel" out there taking up valuable space on TpT. I'll link a few different flip books out there that seem successful for those looking for the option to put their info in, print and be done.
A Spoon Full of Learning's Flip Book- Cut and Staple Version
SunnyDaze's Flip Book- No Cutting Required
Chalk and Apple's Flip Book- Cut and Staple Version
Miss Johnston's Flip Book- Cut and Staple Version
I made my own because I only wanted a certain number of flaps and I wanted control over the size of the flaps. So I made my own. If none of the flip books on TpT float your boat, you could try to attempt to make your own like I did. 

I have the steps on formatting to have even flaps below. There are probably easier ways, but this was the fastest and made the most sense to me. It looks like a lot of steps... and it is, but the steps take as long as it takes you to click on something... so it didn't take long.

If you don't want to make your own- skip the next 8 photos to wrap up this post!










I don't do the folding version, because that printing and folding and flipping just intimidates me. So I went with the cutting and stapling version. Which leaves a lot of wasted paper. So I found a solution.

I made some paper products that I'll use throughout the school year. I've now got book marks, reminders, positive note cards, and note strips! Boom. I'd rather waste ink than paper. Because my ink at home is cheap. #thankshpinstantink



So- another week of summer is in the books. And we continue on. It's about the half way mark for me... what will happen next??

One thing's for sure- another Flash Freebie will be shared later this week for my summer series! Follow along to find out when and what!


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