Friday, August 30, 2013

No longer a blank canvas.... Classroom Tour!

Well, friends... it's FRIDAY! I know every teacher just loves a good Friday! 

This week, I had new teacher orientation and was busy finishing up setting up my classroom for a little meet and greet I had with my parents and students this morning! I've linked up with Courtney Bartlett from Swimming Into Second and Corinna from Surfin' Through Second to share with you my classroom tour!!
Now the last time I gave you an update on my classroom it looked like this....
It was a blank canvas and honestly, walking in there was 1000% overwhelming. I had way too many thoughts and ideas streaming through my head and I didn't even know where to start.  But... with the help of some more experienced educators (especially Stacy), friends and family, I'm excited to "welcome" you into my first second grade classroom through pictures. 

First of all, a couple of weeks ago we offered a fun poster freebie remember featuring our favorite obsession, Melonheadz Graphics! If you missed it, click here! I ordered it from Vistaprint and hung it on my door to welcome my little munchkins right from the start! 
Here's the view of my room from the door!
If you turn to the right, you'll see my word wall and a little bit of my Guided Reading/Small Group teaching area! I just LOVE how my word wall turned out- it brings so much color and fun into the sea of white that it once was!
This next picture is a view of my classroom from the back! You can see my morning meeting/calendar area and SMARTboard... and a brand new rug which I just adore! The blue strip of ribbon will (next week-AHHH) hold my daily schedule and beside it I will display our objectives... always important for our kiddos to know why we're doing what we're doing!
If you were to turn back and to the right from here you'd find my back wall where I used Tangled Up in Teaching's "How We Go Home" packet as well as the 2nd Grade Expert Club display from A Year of Many Firsts Back to School for Second Graders Packet. Lyndsey is probably my very favorite TpT/blogger ever- all her stuff is just too darn cute and I find myself having to resist buying it all.
 If you were to be back in the middle facing the SMARTboard and were to turn left, you'd find my reading area. I think this is one of my favorite spots in the classroom and the kids that came in today to visit certainly thought so as well! I just adore the curtains that Emily- my old college roommate and world's greatest friend- made for me. They're PERFECT and make this little room feel so much like home. We'll use this space during Daily 5 and centers during our Guided Reading block.
The next picture is a continuation of that half of the classroom where you'll find my desk. I have bookshelves going all around the room and I tried to display some of my favorites in front of my desk for now. The Giving Tree is my all time favorite children's book, and one I'll be using for a read-aloud with my kiddies on the first day! On the easel is the poster we'll write our class rules/contract on as well!
And then for my desk area... You already saw some of it up above at the top of this post with the flowers and piggie calendar. Here's the rest of it... the view from my desk... really just some emails and one of my all time favorite pictures of myself and my favorite 'siblings' in Disney World from last year. The only one who is my real sibling is my sister, Kerri... but the boys are like brothers to me, so they count too!
And behind my desk I have the most adorable present from the curtain angel, Emily..... She painted me a mason jar filled with pencils that says "You'll be an ah-mason teacher". Seriously? Too stinkin cute! I also have a recommendation letter that little Rahab wrote me in Kenya. I also just love this wooden pig and just knew it needed a home in Room 130.
.... So there you have it! My classroom feels more and more like home every time I walk into it! I'm working on hanging up some brightly colored pom-poms I bought too.. Not sure how to make that happen with such tall ceilings but me and the custodian are tight and I've gotten permission to borrow the 6ft ladder for as long as I need....... We'll get to that Tuesday. 

ps- I also got my first apple from a student today. 
I can just tell this year is going to be so special and I can't even wait!
For now, I'm going to enjoy this long weekend!
Happy Labor Day, sweet friends!  Enjoy your friends and family!

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day Jitters, Monday Blues, but a Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Wow!  What a Monday!  After spending a restless night tossing and turning, I (Stacy) headed back to school today for my first teacher workday.  I have to admit, I didn't accomplish close to what I set out to do!  Instead, I spent time catching up with my colleagues and sharing summer stories.  I love the way that everyone is energized and refreshed after coming back from summer vacation.  It's contagious!  I'm hopeful that when students start back on Wednesday they will also feel the energy that I did today!  I'm also super excited about some new initiatives that will be starting in my building.  I will definitely share more about them in future posts.

All in all, my day was awesome until I got a text message from Colleen stating that someone just rear-ended her car then took off on her.  Ugh!  I feel so BAD!!  The poor girl has a classroom to work on, beginner teacher training starting tomorrow, and now has to start physical therapy because her back is messed up!  And what kind-of person drives off after hitting someone so badly that the neighbors come out of their house because of the loud crash?  Just terrible!

In Colleen's words, the day "turned the corner" when our Slant Box was waiting on my doorstep when I got home!  Thank you, Terry!  It couldn't have come at a better time!!
Terry from First At Bat was such a good sport about having both of us for the Slant Box Exchange.  We know it was a challenge and we really appreciate the thought you put into our fantastic package!!  Terry started off by writing each of us a beautiful letter.
Knowing about our love of literacy, Terry included a handmade magnet with the most beautiful and inspirational quote.  I definitely am going to post in my classroom!  Thank you, Terry!!
Love of reading and writing is not taught, it is created.
Love of reading and writing is not required, it is inspired.
Love of reading and writing is not demanded, it is exemplified.
Love of reading and writing is not exacted, it is quickened.
Love of reading and writing is not solicited, it is activated.
-Russell Stauffer
But Terry didn't stop there!  Wait to you see what was in our box!!
We love, love, LOVE everything that she included!  Gigantic erasers, anti-bacterial soap, writing notebooks, stickers, and student award coupons!  And for some of those crazy teaching Angel of Peace and Morning Devotions book to keep us grounded.  Finally, The Best Place to Read book for me, a cute stuffed pig for Colleen (her favorite) and a colorful alligator to remember our new Florida friend made the box complete!  THANK YOU, TERRY!!
If you want to join in the fun, check out Lesson With Coffee's Slant Box Exchange below!  The September sign-up will be posted until September 3rd.
Before we say goodbye, we wanted to share one of our newest products that I can't wait for my students to play.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reinforces r-controlled vowel sounds and includes THREE games and WEEK of reinforcing activities.  The bundle addresses the following Grade 1-3 Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3, 2.3, and 3.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

 We hope that everyone has an awesome week!  Please keep Colleen in your thoughts as she mends an awfully sore back and starts her beginner teacher's training this week!! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Slant Box Mail-Off, HUGE Back to School Sale, and New Products!!

Hello Friends!  We hope that everyone is enjoying the last few days of summer!  Up here in the Northeast, the air is definitely starting to change with cooler nights.  Makes for good sleeping weather, though!  Colleen and I are starting to gear up for the start of school!  I had a chance to peek in at her classroom yesterday.  It is looking magnificent with all the cool Melonheadz inspirational posters and quotes.  Her students are blessed to have such a positive teacher next year!!  Stay tuned for her "after" classroom picture that will be posted soon.  It will knock your socks off!

Speaking of positive teachers, we met two FABULOUS ones through the Slant Box Exchange this month!!  Thank you to Terry from First At Bat and Anisa from Creative Undertakings for opening their classroom to us through an exchange of email, Facebook posts, and blog comments.  We are happy to have two new friends to share ideas and inspiration with!  Here is a picture of Anisa's slant box...SIGNED, SEALED, and ready to be DELIVERED to Texas!  Anisa, we hope you enjoy some "Favorite Things"!

If you would like to participate in Lessons With Coffee's Slant Box Exchange next month, Jameson will be posting September's theme soon!  DO IT!!

Now, for the BIG NEWS!  Who doesn't love a sale?  A HUGE SALE?  A GIGANTIC SALE?  Well, GET READY because Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School Sale starting tomorrow, Sunday August 18th and running through Monday, August 19th.  We have joined thousands of educators by slashing our prices to give you some great deals!  Yes, you heard right!  Everything in our TpT store is 20% off starting Sunday!  And get this!  Because TpT is so incredibly awesome to teachers, they are offering an additional saving with Code BTS13 which equates to 28% off!  We can't wait to fill our carts tonight with some of the FABULOUS products created by teachers for teachers. 

Finally, speaking of some FABULOUS products, I am in love with two new bundles I uploaded last night.  Sweet Tooth Crush was inspired by my addiction love of Candy Crush Saga.  The hours time I have spent playing this game is unreal.  I really do need to get a life!  LOL!  Anyway, after Logan came home from camp to share he saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that day, I knew I had to incorporate Willy Wonka and his pals into my design.  Love the Melonheadz!  Grandpa Joe kills me! 

Sweet Tooth Crush focuses on the digraph sounds of ch, ck, sh, th, and wh. The package includes THREE games and WEEK of reinforcing activities!  The bundle aligns to the following Grade 1 and Grade 2 CCSS standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3a Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3b Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

And for our second new MR. AND MRS. FIX-UP!  Colleen's idea to incorporate them into our Which Tool Will You Use? fix-up strategy bundle was brilliant!!  I can't wait to introduce my students to the Beanie Baby Decoding Strategies in this product.  The visuals are adorable and will be easy for them to remember and use when they get stuck on a word.  If you are not familiar with the beanie baby decoding strategies, you can find more information here.
The bundle aligns to the following Grade 1 and Grade 2 CCSS standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4c and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.4c  Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.  

We hope you enjoy our new products!  Grab them until MONDAY at a 28% off saving!!  Don't forget to use the coupon code BTS13.  Have a FABULOUS weekend!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

SLANT box update, a peek into my new classroom and a look into what we've been workin' on!

Happy Friday, friends!!! We are both actually living it up in the woods this weekend. Stacy is camping with her family and I (Colleen) am heading up to my family's house in the Adirondacks in a few short hours BUT we thought we would get one more post in before we head out! (cue huge round of applause!)

First, we'd like to give you a little update on our SLANT box friends because they are just so awesome! We will be sending a package to Anisa at Creative Undertakings. Like us, she's addicted to pinterest and loves crafting! Something that I both love and hate about Pinterest is that it's so easy to find these wonderful, grand ideas.... See, I get so happy and excited and decide that it is exactly what I need to make or do or bake or find... So I pin it onto one of my many boards and then more often than not, I forget it's there and don't follow through on the creating of these grand ideas... What I LOVE about Anisa from Creative Undertakings is that she follows through with her pins and actually makes this stuff!! I also found out recently that she was born in Kenya which is probably the coolest thing she could have told me- (if you don't know, you can find out why this is so exciting here!!

Stacy and I are also both so excited because our package will be arriving from Terry, a teacher in Florida! She's already started school and you can read about her first grade happenings here! The connections we are already making in this August SLANT box project are wonderful! Want in on the fun for next month??? Check out Lessons With Coffee! The post introducing her genius project can be read here! We're already scheming and planning on things to send to Anisa after learning about her favorite things!! :) SO STINKIN FUN!

Another update I'd like to give you is that I finally got to see my classroom for next year! I'll be teaching 2nd grade next year and am so excited! I got my class list yesterday and I just can't wait to meet my little munchkins! I have a class of 24 kiddies and I've been working to get the room ready and I feel like I get more excited (and kinda nervous) each day!! Here's my empty room! I got the furniture in this week and am beginning putting the other pieces together, too!
Do you remember your first year of teaching? Any words of wisdom or advice that you'd like to give me? If you could pin-point it, what would be the one thing I need to know or remember?
Please leave some comments with your thoughts because I'd sure love to hear them!!

... and just to give you a little hint and clue into what we've been working on....
Be on the lookout for these fun games soon!!
Have a wonderful weekend dear friends! We'll be back next week with some more goodies!

Monday, August 5, 2013

It's Just Another Manic Monday...Linky Party and NEW FREEBIE!!

Today we are excited to be linking up with Charity from Classroom Freebies for her Manic Monday FREEBIE share.  Charity has created an incredible way for teachers to share their free products and find new and exciting blogs.  On her blog, click "The Freebies" tab and you will find THOUSANDS of free products listed by grade level.  It's amazing!!

Find additional weekly FREEBIES listed on her linky below:

And now for our NEW FREEBIE...drumroll please!

We LOVE the poster Colleen created for her new second grade classroom!!!!  It is going to bring smiles to her student's faces as they walk into her classroom on the first day of school!  Don't you love the Melonheadz graphics?

To grab your FREE poster, click on the picture.  After downloading the 6 page PDF, trim the bottom right side of each page to assemble.  If you do not have access to a color printer, Staples or Vistaprint are great options to print posters.  ENJOY!!

And don't forget about our other FREEBIE "Mirror Mirror on the Wall".  A great way to reinforce y as a vowel and y as a suffix!  Happy Downloading!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Slant Box...Sending Love Across The Nation to Teachers

Today we wandered over to Teaching Maddeness, a second grade teacher from South Carolina.  When you have a chance, check out her primary TpT store, Teacher's Clubhouse or her intermediate TpT store Lightbulb Minds for intermediate resources.  She has great units of study for all subject areas.

While looking through her blog, we were so excited to learn about a really fun idea called The Slant Box from Lessons With Coffee.  Would you like to get a box of goodies in the mail EVERY MONTH??  We sure did!  And you get to connect with teachers all across the world... how exciting! All you need to do is click the Slant Box tab at the top of her page, sign up, and follow the directions.  Every month it's your birthday!  First month's theme is "A Few of My Favorite Things"!  How ironic because Colleen and I JUST shared some of our favorites here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Last Days of Summer...August Currently & Deanna Jump's Chit Chat Morning Messages

We are celebrating the last few weeks of summer vacation by joining Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly CURRENTLY linky party.  What a great way to meet new teachers and find fabulous blogs!  This month you will get to hear what Stacy is currently feeling as the summer comes to a close.

 listening:  the hum of my air conditioner reminds me that summer in the Northeast is quickly coming to its finale.  Which also reminds me that I have this to look forward to:

Though he is awfully cute (if I do say so myself), the snow is something I can't get used to even after living here for over 10 years.

loving:  YEAH...Logan is finished with day camp tomorrow.  Yes, he will be sad not to see his amigos AND I certainly was able to get a TON of work done these last two weeks but I am so happy to spend some mommy/son time before heading back to work.  We also are leaving for our final camping trip of the summer.  Four nights in a tent...lucky me :)

 thinking:  I really need to face reality and go here.....

 But where I usually end up is here:

wanting:  Everyone to love our new blog!  Colleen and I are super duper excited to meet new teachers and share ideas!
 needing:  I desperately need a new teacher's bag.  Mine is shameful, embarrassing, and belongs in a garbage can.  I love the quality of Lands End but maybe I should get something a little flashier.  Suggestions?

B2s must haves:  A close friend introduced me to Tervis Tumblers this summer.  Genius!!  After visiting her down in Florida, I found a RED SOX Tervis.  Hello!!
My second must have is mandatory since I am not a coffee drinker...

AND FINALLY...drum roll celebrate the last days of the summer we wanted to share a fabulous product on TpT by  Top Seller Deanna Jump.  The packet is the first in a series. The skills covered in this unit are beginning sounds, rhyming, phonemic awareness, syllables and CVC words. There are 35 message skeletons that focus on beginning skills. The messages are available in 3 formats: color, black and white and clipart images to create large charts if desired.  What a PERFECT resource for my Kindergarten and First Grade teacher friends.  Check it out!!

And for my Second Grade Friends, please download our FREEBIE "Mirror Mirror on the Wall".  It's a great game to reinforce y as long e and y as a suffix!