Friday, June 28, 2013

Room Setup



Last time I blogged, I told you about all my broken items.  I am glad to say that right now my dishwasher, washer, and computer are all working again!!!   :-)  I did have to break down and order a new cell phone.  I have to wait about a week for it, but I was sure glad to have the majority of things working again!  YAY!
In the meantime, I have been pondering how I will be setting up my classroom this coming year.  I am more of a traditional individual that likes the desks in rows.  Last year, I branched out and changed the seating around a little bit and had more of teams/groups.  I liked that there was a lot more room when they were sitting in teams/groups.  Although, I really like the rows because they are working more independently that way.  As I was looking on pinterest for ideas, I found this neat site:

http://www.theschoolsupplyaddict.com/room-setup.html

It has a lot of different ways to set up your classroom.  I'm checking it out and would also love to here how you have set up your classroom and what way has worked the best for you. 

Have a great week! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Progress!

Guess what I'm doing today?



Okay, maybe the next several days... Ha!

My sweet friend Sara came over yesterday and helped me in my classroom. They have actually "given" me a closet to put my things in...hooray! The problem was we had to clean it out first. I was stuck...a little overwhelmed by the mess of my things piled in my classroom PLUS the mess waiting for me in the closet. Sara came and got me motivated. We only worked for a couple of hours, but it was the push I needed to get started! We made a lot of progress. 

I even got some printing and laminating done (pictured above).
I felt so free while laminating!
You would only understand my excitement if you had worked at my previous school. ;-)
 
Fortunately for me, my 12 year old daughter's eyes lit up when she saw my roll of laminating to be cut. She *loves* cutting it out--weird. I don't understand it...

I'll tell you about the goodies I printed and laminated when I start setting up my room.
 
I'm headed out for some pool time before I start cutting. They needed another player at basketball practice this morning and this old lady needs to keep moving so I don't get stiff!
 
Don't forget about our Bloglovin' Giveaway. You still have time to enter. I don't know if we made it clear that you don't have to be a *new* follower. If you were already following us on Bloglovin, feel free to enter.
 

Have a great day!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are You Bloglovin' Us Yet???

I'll admit, I don't really understand all this...but I'm told Google Reader will be gone meaning we won't be able to read the blogs we follow from our Blogger Dashboard anymore.
 
What to do?
 
Make the switch to Bloglovin!
 
Kristi and I created an account last week and I really do like reading the blogs better through Bloglovin! I love how I can easily see the unread posts (bold) compared to the ones I've already read (gray). I also like the buttons at the top that will move right on to the next post without having to go back to the "home" page.
 
So if you haven't already...click the cute little button in the sidebar to follow us on Bloglovin. We don't want to lose you as followers!
 
And here's a little incentive for you...a Bloglovin' Giveaway! Use the rafflecopter below to enter. :-)
 
P.S. If you need help setting up an account with Bloglovin' or moving your current blog list over, click the buttons below. Both of these blogs have given some very helpful directions!
 
See the end of this post to check out all the other blogs having a Bloglovin' Giveaway!


Click here to find new blogs to follow on Bloglovin!
 





 
 






Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Schedule Spotlight Series - #3 MATH

Good morning! I'm linking up again with Kelli for her Schedule Spotlight Series. I love this linky because I'm always looking for new ideas on how to schedule my day and make it better. This week's topic - MATH!
 
As far as scheduling...there has only been one year (out of 3) that I have been able to squeeze math into my morning. It was by far my *favorite* year though. The kids just seem so much more alert and engaged before lunch.
 
Anyway, last year was not that year. We came in after lunch, did Deskercise, calendar time, and then started our math lesson by 12:00. We used Everyday Math. My whole-group lesson would be about 15 minutes.
 
Then we would break into what I called "math teams." These were not levelized groups - instead I tried to spread around the kiddos who needed extra help (though I will probably change that this coming year). I had three stations and would rotate the students through about every 15 minutes. This was my first year trying it and definitely an "experimental" year with math stations. However, I loved it and so did the kids!
 
I'm going to be a little lazy and link to a more detailed post about my math teams. I will say...my rotations had ZERO prep work on my part (other than sending one sheet down for copying)!
 
 
I'm very excited about math this coming year for a few reasons...
 
1. It is in the MORNING! Hooray!
2. My new school uses Saxon!
3. Math rotations with (hopefully) a little more independent 2nd graders!
 
Well, head on over to Castles and Crayons and link up.
I can't wait to read about your math schedule.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Made-It and Theme Advice Please!


Well, I finally finished my teacher toolbox! 

I decided to go with one like Kristen's from Ladybug's Teacher Files. 





I found the same toolbox, spray painted it red, and used Kristen's free printable labels to finish it off. I like being able to see in the drawers and can't wait to get this to school and put it to use. I think it will be perfect since I got rid of my teacher desk this year!
 
I will *not* tell you how long it took this OCD gal to get the labels all hot-glued on perfectly straight and even. :-)
 
I was also busy making some things to go with the curriculum I will be using at my new school. We use Reading Street and this year I'm going to try doing a Reading Focus Wall.
 
I made posters of the weekly spelling words and amazing words.
 

 
A set for Unit 1 is a FREEBIE in our TPT store and TN store. I'll be working on the rest of the units soon!
 
I also made an "I have, Who has?" game for Unit 1 (TPT and TN). If you've followed us for very long, you know Kristi and I love these. I like having them for each unit (as well as specific sounds and skills). We start playing the first week of the unit so the kids become very fluent with the words by the end of our unit.
 
 
 
And...
I know, I know. I've been busy!
 
I made a Word Wall Pack (TPT and TN) too. This set includes all the high frequency/vocabulary words for the year, a set of headers, the months and days of the week, and one blank page with colorful borders so you can add your own words. I labeled each card with an abbreviation such as U1W1 to help me stay organized (remember OCD???).
 

 
 
Both the "I have, Who has?" game and the Word Wall Pack are on sale until Wednesday, so head on over and snatch them up at a discounted price if you like.
 
 
Okay, on to my theme dilemma. You may have noticed that I have fallen in love with this rainbow border from The 3AM Teacher. It is cute and fun without making me see $$$ when I think of printing! Maybe it is the former secretary in me, but some of the products I'm seeing for sale right now--while they are SUPER cute--make me have a little panic attack when I think of the cost of printing.
 
Anyway...the border inspired me to maybe just go with a "colorful classroom" this year. I have had a sports theme the last three years, but I am kind of tired of it.

So what is the problem, you ask???
 
My notebooks...I had a TEAM Playbook (think FROG Notebook, BEE Notebook, MOOSE Notebook, etc.) that each of my kiddos used to help them stay organized. If I go with a "colorful classroom," what could I call my notebook???
 
Suggestions?
 
Don't forget to head on over and link up with your Monday Made-It!
 
 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Blog Design!!!

Kristi and I were ready for a fresh new look -- and check this out!
 
Barbara at Ruby Slippers Blog Designs (also from Grade ONEderful) did an amazing job! We were a little indecisive in the beginning, but Barb helped us focus in on what we wanted and made our vision into this beautiful design.
 
We were e-mailing back and forth all week. Each time she sent me something, I was so excited. I'd show my husband, but he just didn't get it. Ha! I know you all will appreciate it though.
 
Isn't it cute???
 
Thanks Barb!! You did awesome!


P.S. We'll be working to update our other pages soon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shhh... I'm About to Give You a Secret Recipe...

...for the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER.



On Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent some time baking cookies for Vacation Bible School. Two days because I think there is unwritten rule at my house that if I'm making something to take somewhere, I must also make some for my husband. :-)

Anyway, as I was baking yesterday, it occurred to me that I could share this recipe and make our readers very happy. Ha!

This recipe kind of happened by accident...and now we just CANNOT go back to any other chocolate chip cookie. Several years ago, a friend gave me her recipe for No Bake Cookies (the best ever) and on the same page was a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. One day, I figured I'd give it a try...

After I had already started, I realized I was out of brown sugar. Uh-oh! So I searched the internet for a substitute. Apparently, everyone thinks you must have brown sugar to make chocolate chip cookies so the that didn't help. I began an experiment...changed the amount of granulated sugar, added some pudding mix, and after a few tries perfecting the recipe, here is what I came up with:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put your baking sheets in the oven as it preheats to warm them up (helps the cookies not spread out too much).

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. real butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 (small) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 eggs
2 t. real vanilla

Beat above ingredients at high speed until light and fluffy.

Sift together 3 1/8 c. flour and 1 t. baking soda. Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Dough will be very stiff. Stir in 12 oz. chocolate chips.


I make my cookies very large (about the size of golf balls) and bake them for 11 minutes.



Now these are not your typical "chewy" chocolate chip cookie. They are more of a melt in your mouth cookie.

If you are a fan of "chewy and soft," try this variation:

Instead of 1 c. granulated sugar, use 2/3 cup. Add 3/4 c. packed brown sugar. Be sure you still use the pudding mix...that helps them stay soft.

Now...if you find that you disagree about these being the BEST chocolate chip cookie EVER...well, we will just have to agree to disagree. Ha ha!

Enjoy!





Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Desk Name Plates.........Broken Things....ugghhhh!!!

Well, you remember when Crystal posted about how some of her things were breaking........I believe that I might be the queen of broken things.  When it rains.....it pours! 

It all started with our computer.  It broke down.....luckily my brother-in-law went to school for computer technology and can help fix our computers when they do break down. He does live about 1 1/2 away so we had to make a trip down to have him help us out.
 


Second, my cell phone broke.........luckily my husband was able to fix it.....unfortunately the fix only lasted about a week.  Therefore, I have been without a cell phone for awhile now.  I didn't think I would survive at first (what did we ever do before when we didn't have them), but I'm kind of getting used to it now.  I do have to say that I miss texting my friends.  :-(  Hopefully, I will have another one soon.



Third, my dishwasher broke.  Luckily, I could order a cheap part for it and my husband has fixed it and it is now working.   YAY!!



Finally, my washer broke.  Once again my husband can hopefully fix it.  We are now just waiting on the part to come in. 
This isn't what mine did, which I'm glad it didn't do this.........LOL!


I am hoping that this will be the end of things breaking on me.....at least for awhile LOL!!


On another note, our new little puppy is growing fast and Raquium (our 9 year old) has taken quite a liking to the pup.....at least when she isn't biting (trying to play) with him.  :-)





On to some school stuff.  I have been thinking a lot about things that have to get done right before school starts and one thing that I started to really think about is desk name tags.   These are something that for some reason I have had a hard time with every year.  They don't stay, they get torn, etc.  I need some ideas of what to do.  I have seen some different ideas such as Velcro, hot glue, tape.......I am still unsure of what to do for them.  I would love to hear how you do your desk name tags. 

Hope all of you have a great rest of the week! 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Testing Bloglovin' - Sorry for Double Post!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Schedule Spotlight Series #1 and #2

Oooh...what a great linky! I love "visiting" other classrooms and seeing how their schedule works. Kelli at Castles and Crayons is having a Schedule Spotlight Series this summer. I just stumbled upon it, so I'm going to "catch-up" and post about the first two topics at once (hope that is okay). Better than breaking the rule of more than one post a day, right? :-)



Okay, the first topic was Morning Work. I have taught for three years and done something different each year...searching for a good solution.
 
My first year, the students came in and found a worksheet of some kind waiting for them on their desk...such as Minute Math or Daily Language Review. I *hated* this! Too much grading--and my kiddos who struggled would potentially have 5 pages at the end of the week that they needed to correct. Ugh!
 
My second year, I used the Correct the Sentence daily journals. I liked these better than the worksheets, but they were a bit hard for the beginning of the year for my first graders. Then I noticed the kids started "guessing" more than thinking... They would turn them in to me after rewriting the incorrect sentence so I would make editing marks to help them figure out the problems. I felt like a mean teacher when I started just handing them back with a shake of my head...
 
Last year, I started the Daily 5. I decided to skip the "morning work" and instead started my first round of D5 immediately. I met with my high group first and left them an activity at the back table that they could start on while I did attendance and checked the agendas where they write in their homework. I loved not having any "busy work" to grade, but it was kind of weird not having my morning meeting until after one round of Daily 5.
 
Next year, I'll be changing it up again. At my new school, the kids will be coming in at different times due to busing and the timing of breakfast. I'll be reading up on this linky and forming a plan as we get closer to school starting.
 
This week's topic is Calendar.
 
The past few years, I have had a calendar helper who leads our calendar time. The calendar helper gets to have my stuffed dog, Duke, help him or her. We go through the normal calendar things...month, date, days of school, money, time, etc. At the end of calendar time, if the helper gets to choose someone to take care of Duke for the day. The kids love calendar time, but I get bored with it...
 
So, again, I'm changing it up for next year. My new school uses Saxon Math and "The Meeting" is an important part of it. I was so excited to find:
 
 
This is how Hope King (2nd Grade Shenanigans) makes "The Meeting" a not so typical morning meeting. Her post inspired me... It makes even me excited for calendar time! :-)
 
I'll be working on my Meeting bulletin board, but like Hope, I want to do some of the activities on the Smartboard to make it more engaging and free up space. I'll have to share more about that when I get it all organized.
 
Well, I don't know about you all, but all these great linkys are making it really hard for me to get anything done around here! Go link up and share your schedule with us!
 
I'm headed out for some pool time. Yeah!
 
Have a great day!
 
Crystal
 
P.S. If you use Saxon and have anymore tips and/or suggestions for me, I'd love to read them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sewing - Monday Made-It!

I did it! I conquered the sewing machine and finished the curtains!!!

To truly understand the sense of accomplishment I am feeling, you have to read this post describing my frustration with sewing and the bobbin thread thingy.

I will admit that post was scheduled (I was in CO all last week), so the real day of frustration happened on Friday, June 7th. The date is important...because later that evening (after blogging and scheduling the post) I tried the bobbin thing again.

I watched as the upper thread began to wrap around the bobbin thingy area. This is normally where I would panic and stop turning the knob because it looked like it was going to get stuck. Instead, I decided to keep turning thinking...It had done this same funny looking, tangly looking thing every time. Maybe it was supposed to wrap around there.

And guess what? It worked!

I tell you, I whipped out those last 2 1/2 curtains in no time. I even had to redo the bobbin thingy again and did it on the first try! I was so thankful to finish these curtains before leaving for CO the next day (you know how I don't like having unfinished projects).

Here is the finished product hung in my classroom:


 
 
That is my Monday Made-It, so I'm linking up with Tara. I made these curtains from flat sheets (Wal-Mart) which made them more affordable and easier to sew. If I can do it, anyone can! Looking forward to checking out your Monday Made-Its so be sure and link up. :-)
 
 
 
My room is all cleaned, and I have the okay to "move in" now. Rememeber my mountain of stuff in the cafeteria...



Okay, now to share some pictures of our time in Colorado. My husband and I help with the youth department at church, and we spent the last week at Silver State Baptist Youth Camp in the mountains. It is a great experience - away from all the distractions of this world. No electronics - I didn't even play Candy Crush!
 
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY!

 
HILLSIDE CLASSES (boy, did I do a lot of climbing)!!!

My nephew (left) and my son, Chaz.

My daughter, Harley (left) and my niece.
 
 

Harley sang her talent show song during one of the Tabernacle services.
 
In the afternoons, the camp has all kinds of activities for the kids to enjoy. The girls talked me into being on their basketball and volleyball team one day. Let's just say, with that altitude (7400 ft.),  I was feeling my age... :-)
 
Crystal
 
P.S. I think I may actually try to sew a skirt next!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sewing Anyone?

After painting the shelves and covering the counters with contact paper, I decided to tackle the window coverings in my classroom. The curtains in there now are faded and yucky looking, so I decided that I would make some new ones.
 
Normally, this is the time when I call my mother and ask her to make them for me.
 
But for some crazy reason I decided to try sewing again.
 
I say "again" because I did learn to sew once...about 9 years ago. I made this:
 
 
 
Yes, my first sewing project was a king-sized quilt for my bed. I don't do anything halfway, you see.
 
As it turned out, tackling such a big first project kind of ruined the whole sewing experience for me. I don't like unfinished projects. I work until I'm done.
 
Kind of like the painting of the shelves in my classroom...I spent 12 hours on them one day, and it nearly drove me crazy that I had to go back again the next day to finish up. By the time I finished, I never wanted to pick up a paint brush again.
 
Okay, back to the quilt... I worked on that thing for days and days. If I couldn't work on it, I thought about it. I dreamed about that stupid quilt. It consumed my life for a couple of weeks at least. It was the never ending project (in my mind) and when it was finally finished, I never wanted to sew again!
 
Until now...well, I mean...last week when I had this crazy idea to make my own curtains.
 
First up, fabric.
 
Too expensive. Flat sheets will do nicely.
 
Next, my mom loaned me her old sewing machine.



Then I stared at it for four days trying to build up the courage and stamina to start...
 
Finally, I decided to try and thread the machine. I don't know if that is even the right term. Threading the needle part was easy. But I tried for a good two hours to get that top thread to grab the bobbin thread (or whatever you are supposed to call it).
 
I called my mom. She admits this is the hardest part with this particular machine and does her best to help me over the phone. You should have heard that conversation as I used terms like...bobbin holder thingy, bobbin ear thingy, slit versus opening in the bobbin holder thingy, etc.
 
She offers to drive to my house (30 minutes).
 
I refuse. I can do this. I will do this.
 
I hang up the phone and try again. Finally, success!
 
I test it on some scraps...perfect. I decide that is enough sewing for one day and just cut the sheets to size instead.
 
The next day, I start sewing the curtains. I get two done (those finished edges on the sheets really help move things along)!
 


I start on the third one (I only need 5 1/2)...
 
Uh-oh!
 
A jam...that ends up making me lose the bobbin thread...
 
I try once...twice...three times.
 
I give up and decide to blog about it instead.
 
Crystal
 
P.S. If you can sew, I admire you.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Our Newest Additions to our Family

This year has been a tough year for my husband and I with the loss of our pets.  Within a year and 2 months we lost 4 of our pets.  :-(  Our pets are part of our family so it was really hard each time that we lost one of them.  



Aspen Zoe (13 years old)
 

Kody (13 years old)
 

Lucky (18 years old)
 

Zeus (13 years old)


We miss them all very much!

We had one Siberian Husky dog left that is 9 years old and you could imagine how he was doing when he was the only one left.  He has been very down and depressed with the loss of his other family members.  He has always been with another dog and they say that Siberian Husky dogs are good in packs and should always have a companion besides a human one. 

 

Raquium (9 years old)
 
 
So, we have added a couple of pets to our household.

Trust me......her sleeping is a rare occasion. Don't let her fool you!  LOL!
 


Nanook (6 weeks old)
 

 
 

Gidian (1 year old)  He is very modest as you can see!  LOL!

They have been fun to have around.  My husband and I are extremely tired and had forgotten how much work a puppy is......lack of sleep is all I have to say.  As for the cat, I was used to my 18 year old cat that liked to lay around like me........not this one, he has a bunch of energy being only 1 year old.  LOL!  I was thinking that I may get some rest this summer, but now I am reconsidering that thought with these additions to our household.  :-)

I hope all of you that are officially on summer break are enjoying it and getting some much needed rest!  Kristi

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