Saturday, September 22, 2012

Something Old, Lots of New!!

Hello again! It's good to be back.
So many new things this year. First, a new class. I looped up to second grade last year with my first grade class and loved it. Sure do miss them this year! It finally hit me during the third week of school that I had a brand new class! They're not reading my mind yet, but they'll get there.

Next, our campus has a new reading/ writing specialist. She is very enthusiastic and it's hard not to be excited about what's coming our way. Every classroom is getting a set of Lucy Caulkins' Units of Primary Study for Writing. I've been wanting a set for a while now, but I'm pretty cheap. And...if we like the set she will order us the brand new set that is coming out later this year for next year. Sweet!

We are also changing up our Morning Reading Intervention to a Reading Workshop format. This will be in addition to our Guided Reading instruction. It's 30 min Monday through Thursday from 7:55 to 8:25 am. This is something else I've been wanting to implement, but haven't until now. The thing that always made me put it off was leveling my classroom library and getting book boxes for every student. The ones I really wanted would be expensive. So, being the cheapie I am, I didn't do it. Sure, I could have used ziploc bags, but I really wanted my students to have boxes. So I was thrilled when I found directions for making book boxes out of the priority mail boxes from the post office. One of the best things is that the boxes are free!! It's pretty easy too. The directions can be found at Lyssa Beth: Tidy Up Tuesday.

Here is a photo of mine.
Photo: Free book boxes! If I can do it, anybody can!

The first one was the hardest because of the measuring, but after that I just used the cut box as a template and traced around it on all the other boxes. Make sure you have a good box cutter and be careful! I'm not a crafty person, so if I was able to do this, anybody can!

Here's to all the new that is going on in your classrooms! have a great year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Wow! I've been on a pinning binge! Lots of new pins and and boards. I've also included a board for all the blogs I'm following, so be sure to check it out. Pinterest is addicting, so be careful and make sure you have time to spend looking at all the wonderful ideas. You can view my boards at If you need an invite, just request one in the comments below or on my FB page.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Milk Carton Reindeer

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is on break and is enjoying their time with family and friends. I know I am! If you're anything like me though, you're already looking for crafty ideas for next year's class. Here's one I did at the last minute this year and it was a huge hit!
My class was going to make gingerbread houses with our 4th grade buddies, but due to a last minute behavior nightmare, that was cancelled. None of us were happy about it, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Anyway, I was sitting there after school looking at all the empty milk cartons my class had saved for the activity. I couldn't let them go to waste, so I hopped on the internet and looked up milk carton crafts. Surely there was something that was not a gingerbread house. Thankfully I came upon this cute little reindeer (and don't call me Shirley).
Below are step by step photos on how to make this cute little fella that I plan on putting my gift to my students next year. It's a twist on the back to school bags.
Merry Christmas!
Take a brown paper bag and cut it open. You can throw away the bottom panel.

Once you have the bag cut open and laying flat, cut the bag in half. Then cut off the pleated side panel. Save it!

You should have just the flat front panel (and  the back panel) plus two pleated side panels.

The side panel, milk carton, and flat front panel. Ready to go!

The flat panel is exactly the same height as the milk carton. Just lay the milk carton down, fold up an end, and glue it to milk carton. The number on the bottom of the carton is their student number, so I know who it belongs to.

Another view of gluing the bag to the carton.

Keep rolling the carton in the paper bag, gluing the bag to each side as you go along. It doesn't take a lot of glue.

When finished, stand carton up and staple folded side panel to inside of carton to make a handle. 

Add reindeer pieces and voila! The cutest gift basket ever!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holidays....on the Loop

Looping with  my class has proven to be a wonderful experience! I have seen so much growth in my students and it has truly been a privilege to be with them another year. There have also been a few challenges...namely, finding new holiday activities to do with them! All of the crafts, stories, activities that I'm used to doing this time of year I did with them last year, so I've been looking for new items to fill the need.
A huge thanks goes to my team who gives me a copy of everything they have in their files. I would be pretty  lost without them. Even more so than normal! Yet my independent spirit won't let me rely on them for everything, so I went hunting on the web and found some really cute ideas. My favorite is using water bottles to make snow globes. I'll be making my "prototype" tomorrow to find out all the glitches before we make them on Friday.
I don't do a big food party at the end of the week. In fact, there's very little food at the party. I couldn't stand watching all the food be thrown, chips, candy, was too much. So I have an arts & crafts party. There's one big craft and several smaller crafts. This year, the spotlight falls on the snow globes (prayers for smooth sailing please) and the smaller crafts are:
Icing their own sugar cookies (the sole food item)
Holiday Graph Art
Felt Mice Candy Cane Holders
Foam Ornaments
Parents are welcome to come and help with the crafts. The students always have a fun time and don't miss all the food. They love taking home a bag full of presents to give to their family. In the past, our crafts included:
Beaded Candy Canes
Candy Cane Reindeer
Bag of Reindeer Food
Icing the sugar cookie
Jingle Bell Bracelet

I was also a little stumped about what I would give them for a gift. I usually write their name on an apple ornament and give it to them after it has been hanging on the class tree all week. I thought it would be weird to give that to them again, so I went hunting.... again. I came across the "Student Survival Bags" that most teachers give out at Meet The Teacher to welcome students back to school. I thought, "Why not for Christmas?"  So, this year my students are getting a Christmas Treat bag from me that includes:

Ball: Rolling into a new year with exciting and interesting things to learn.
Bookmark: A reminder to read.
Crayon: You color my world with happiness. I’m glad you’re in my class
Eraser: It’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.
Hershey Hug: We all need hugs, if you need one let me know. I LOVE hugs.
Lifesavers: To remind you to help each other.
Gum: Always “chews” to do the right thing.
Pencil: This pencil will help you start the year off WRITE!
Smilie Sticker: A reminder to smile because life and learning are worthwhile.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Not sure what the blue is, but this sums up what looping with my class is all about. 

New Award :)

I've been awarded the Liebster Award! The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. Thanks Laurie! 

Visit her very cute blog, Chickadee Jubilee. I especially liked her post on 3 Types of Readers :) 

Now for my top 5 picks:
1) My Second Grade Journal
2) A Teacher's Bag of Tricks
3) A Day in the Life of Ms. Kranz
4) Live, Laugh, and Love to Learn
5) The Teacher's Cauldron

Take a hop over to the blogs above and see what you've been missing :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

I know I've been neglecting my blog....but I've been sharing lots of links on my FB page! Don't forget to check it out! There's a great Turkey Scoot Game to play this week, a mini water cycle demonstration that's oh so easy to set up in your science center, and lots of freebies to celebrate the Organized Classroom's 500 fans!

In other news, I have the 6 baby food jars needed to make butter with my class on Friday. Don't know how? Visit eHow for the simple instructions. The students really love to watch the cream turn into butter. I also bring sliced bread to spread it on for a snack. It tastes so good!

Before you know it, we'll be planning for Christmas / Winter parties. I have an arts and crafts party in my classroom. Since I looped with my class, I'm looking for new and easy crafts for them to do this year. what are some of your quick and easy favorites?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Linky Party for Cancer Awareness

Know someone who has cancer or survived cancer? Chances are, you do or you will. I've linked up with Mandy to help spread the word about cancer awareness. Want to link up too? You can by clicking on the ribbon below.