Friday, August 22, 2014

Five for Fraturday - New Year, New School, Old Grade

Hello! It's been a while since I've blogged. Why is that? I've been SUPER busy with some recent unexpected changes. Two weeks ago, I interviewed and was offered (on the same day) a job at a different school district. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the school I was at, however it was far away from the family and boyfriend (around an hour drive one way), so I've been wanting to find a school that's closer to home. The district I interviewed with is only a 20 minute drive from the family, so obviously I accepted the offer right away. The only catch was that the school year was going to start in TWO weeks and the grade level the position was for was not the one that I had be preparing for all summer.

That's right! I'm not teaching second grade this year. I am back in first grade! This also means a need for a blog name change, but that will have to wait until I am settled into my new job. Anyways, after a full week of trainings and setting up the classroom, we started school on Wednesday this week. So I'm back to Five for Friday (well...Saturday now) to share what we did during our first three days!

First thing's first...some classroom pictures! To be honest, I'm not completely satisfied with how the classroom looks decoration-wise. Most of my time was spent getting manipulatives and books organized. But eventually things will look the way I want them to (I hope)! 

Sorry for the horrible picture. Can't really avoid the glare and reflection.
But, below are two part of the room that I'm proud of.

The previous teacher in this room left her bulletins up so rather than start all over again, I just did some changing things out so that the decor matched my classroom theme, Magnificent Monsters!
Before (left), After (right)
I'm only semi-proud of this, but I do like all the colors! This is my classroom library.

The top two shelves are student book bins (from Steps to Literacy) that I still have to label with numbers. The right shelf is sorted by F&P levels in bins from Dollar Tree. The books on left shelf are not leveled but organized by categories: class books ("Create" basket from Michaels), Spanish books (my class is mainly Hispanic students), Readers, Picture Books, and Non-fiction books. The green bins are from Dollar Tree and the light blue bins are from the Target dollar spot. I plan to switch out the Dr. Seuss cut-outs with monster ones. 

I definitely feel like my classroom library is lacking in comparison to my previous school. When I started working at my previous school, the classrooms were all filled with books that previous teachers accumulated and left behind. This new classroom had no books left behind so all I have right now are books I've purchased in the past and books my previous colleagues gave to me. I could definitely use some more books, especially ones that are leveled so I created a DonorsChoose project to help me out with that. Maybe you can help me out? It's half off thanks to the generosity of the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation if it gets fully funded by Sunday. Plus, if you use the promo code INSPIRE you get your donation matched. So essentially I only need around $115 to reach my goal! Please help spread the word and help a fellow teacher out here! :D

First day of school! This is what the kids saw when they entered the classroom.

On the desks were their MONSTER folder cover and a monster bookmark to decorate. 

More will be explained about these in a bit.

We had a lot of read alouds this week to get us settled into first grade. (click pictures of the books covers to buy it on Amazon through my affiliate link)

We read The Night Before First Grade and First Grade Jitters and talked about how we felt the night before the first day of school. 

We read First Grade Stinks! and did a kindergarten and first grade comparison.

We also read Monsters Love School (of course) and talked about what school is for.

We also talked about the school rules and classroom rules, along with how to listen with our whole body.

The poster above is from Growing Kinders. Perfect for my monster theme and free too! Click below to get it yourself!

Had this printed and laminated at Office Depot. I LOVE Office Depot lamination! I wish I could take their machine home with me!

Our Fridays are short days (thank goodness!) so I was able to get a bit more decorating done including putting up some student work! So this is where that picture of monster cut-outs on the table comes in. I had the kids pick a monster to represent them and wrote their name on it with a Sharpie. I no longer have a hallway bulletin like my previous school since we have an outside campus. I still wanted to display some work for parents to see without having to come into the classroom so I decided to turn my window into a bulletin board instead!

I taped (well..rather, the boyfriend helped me put all this together) a mini clothespin to the back of the monster cut-out.

I also used pen to write the kid's name on the back of the monster cut-out so I know which monster belongs to who when I'm putting up the work. Then I taped the cut-outs to my classroom window so they are facing out and viola!

I apologize for the glare and reflection, but that was the best I could do!

Phew! That was a long article. Hopefully you made it through! I'm super glad it's the weekend although there's still SO much to do!

Hope everyone's first week of school goes well, whenever it is!

Please help share the word of my DonorsChoose project! Thank you! :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Made It: Glue Sponges

So I didn't actually make my first glue sponge today. I have sort of been experimenting around and making them at random times to see how things are working. But I did make one today so I guess it still counts!

Of course, the idea of glue sponges seems to have been floating around on the internet (ie. Pinterest) for a while. I'm only just jumping on the bandwagon in hopes of having less glue to scrape off desks after a messy fun art project. I am also planning to try interactive notebooks this year which will also require a good amount of gluing so hopefully this works out!

So first off...the supplies!
Plastic containers. Got these at Ikea. 3 for 99 cents. I think it's a good deal!

Sponges. Bought a pack of seven of these from Dollar Tree.

Liquid glue. My local Office Max was closing down and having a closing sale. They still had a bottle of glue so I snagged that (for 50% off). Staples was selling their glue for 39 cents each (I think) so I loaded up on those too. 

My sponges had a scrubby side so I just took some scissors and snipped that side off before making the glue sponges. It was simple enough.

Pour some glue in the plastic containers. Dampen the sponge and stick it in the glue. Pour the rest of the glue on top of the sponge and....

...viola! You have glue sponges!

I did discover that different brand glues have a different density. The Office Max glue sponge is on the right. As you can see, the glue soaked through the sponge in one night. The Staples glue, which is much thicker, is on the right. I think it's been soaking for at least two nights now and there's still a layer of visible glue on top. I just made another glue sponge with the Staples glue watered down a little to see if that will help. Guess we will find out later! :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Currently

I'm back!!! I didn't expect to be gone so long from blogging but I will explain why later! But for now, it's time for Farley's Currently!

And that explains why I've been MIA these past two weeks...JURY DUTY. I am the lucky one who gets summoned every year and is part of the group that gets called in too. This time I had the luxury of going through the selection process to be a juror. After around six full days of sitting in the courtroom (spread out among this week and last week) I was FINALLY called to be questioned and was pretty much excused after. Boy was that a fun experience. Feels like the rest of my summer was taken away from me. @@

Now that it's August, the PDs are beginning. I'm a Math Leader this year so I will be attending the summer institute for Math leaders. We are also getting a new math curriculum this year so I'm going to a training for that. Basically something every week until work officially starts. Woohoo!

I've also been working on some projects for the classroom and some major shopping too. That will be saved for another blog post to come! :)

Speaking of shopping...

The Educents Blowout Sale is ending tomorrow! Definitely go check it out. I have the 2nd-3rd curriculum and it's pretty awesome. 

300 × 250
The TpT Back to School sale is coming up! My store will be on sale too. I really hope to one day have the motivation and time to create more products to sell, but check it out anyways!

The Staples Teacher Appreciation event is currently happening at my local Staples from Aug 1-3. You get 25% off all your purchases, including sale items. I'm not sure if these dates are nationwide, but definitely call your local store to find out. Staples is still selling their spiral notebooks for 17 cents each so 25% off makes them even cheaper! I most definitely stocked up on them. You don't really want to know how many spirals I currently have in the house and in the car right now....

What are you waiting for?? Start shopping!! :P