Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Made It! (My First!!)

Hey there!  I'm so exciting to do my first link up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for her Monday Make It Linky.

Let me preface this by saying I come from a family of crafters.  The women in my family paint, sew, do needlepoint, knit, crochet, and quilt... all except me!  Some how the crafty gene skipped me.  I use Modge Podge and end up looking like Ted in "Something About Mary" and on top of it my craft looks like something else that starts with cra__.  

Anyway, I did something somewhat crafty that ended up looking awesome.  Truth be told, I actually made it about a month ago, but haven't been able to link up until the stress of the end of the year ended. Shhhh! 

I had these nice generic-looking primary colored drawers.  They looked fine, but they just didn't work with my new theme, which by the way is a Jungle Theme (in case you are new to my blog).  

So, I used spray paint and duct tape and the end product looks mighty fabulous, if I do say so myself!

View from the front

View from the side

So there!  It's not fine needlework and I didn't make a quilt but, I did create something cool that I love.  

On a totally unrelated note, I just taught myself how to watermark my pictures and I realized I really need to work on the details of my button.  But, that's a project for another lazy summer day.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope I have many more Monday Made Its, thanks to the inspiration out there in bloggy land.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Aloha" and Five For Friday!

Yay!  I can finally say Summer is here!  Yesterday was my last school day.  It was probably one of the most bittersweet end of the years days I've ever experienced.  I've mentioned before that my firsties this year were one in a million.  I'm gonna miss them, but who doesn't love summer... so of course I'm delighted.  But it was also the last day for a couple of my colleagues that I've become very close to.  If any of you are reading this, lunch will not be as much fun without you!  

I've mentioned before that I am moving classrooms this year.  So, I spent yesterday afternoon, after the kids left, and today moving my personal stuff.  I thought "Aloha" was the perfect way to describe the situation... "Goodbye" to my home for the last ten years... I admit I teared up as I looked around one last time.  I told myself "I can always visit... I'm just moving down the hall 2 doors."

I'm gonna miss my lockers... they hide the kids' messes.

And "hello" to my new digs.

The classroom that I've moved to is in an older part of the school.  It has a huge ancient chalk board at the back of the room.  It was looking pretty beat.  I plan on using it for my word wall.  So I covered it with black fabric.  Since it's a chalk board, I couldn't staple it.  So I researched how to cover walls with fabric using starch.  It was actually pretty simple and I think it looks great. It's tough to see the transformation because it was a black chalk board and now it's black fabric... but trust me it gave it new life.  If you want to try hanging fabric on your walls, all you need is the fabric (I used a light weight, inexpensive cotton), liquid starch (in the laundry aisle of the grocery store), and a paint roller and pan.  First, roll the starch onto the wall.  Then, hand the fabric as you would wall paper.  (I thought it would be easier to cut the fabric into 1 yard width pieces to make it more manageable).  Get the fabric into place with minimal wrinkles and air bubbles.  Then, roll more starch onto the top of the fabric and continue to smooth it.  That's it!  I'm so proud that I was able to do it.  I don't have a crafty bone in my body!  

I have to thank my work crew.  My mom (a retired teacher and avid quilter) was the brains behind the operation.  Thank goodness she thought to bring her cutting mat and rotary cutter.  We learned the hard way that my scissors were pretty dull.  And my big guy (and almost first grader) helped me roll and smooth out bubbles. 

I'm looking forward to the new adventure and new memories in a new room.... Change can be good, right?

Now onto my Five For Friday.  I'm linking up with Kacie from Doodlebugs teaching for her infamous Five For Friday linky party.  It's a great way to check out other teaching blogs and find a few new ones to follow. Click on the link above to check out the linky party.  

1. You gotta love 1st graders love notes!  Definitely one I'll save... It says "The smallest things can take up the most things in your heart."  Very philosophical... not sure about what it means, but it sure is sweet!

2. I think this is my favorite e card!  

3.  I got my chromebook to practice with this summer.  If you have no idea what a chromebook is, read my original post here.  

4. Now, that we're all done school... I'm planning lots of days trips to keep the kids preoccupied.  Here are just some of the places within about an hour.  Where do you think we should go first?

The Jersey Shore

The Crayola Factory in Easton, Pa

Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ

The Philadelphia Zoo

Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa

5. I'm doing a class makeover in my new classroom- a jungle theme.  I made a couple of products and have them in my TPT store.  If you are thinking of having a jungle or safari theme, please check out my calendar headers by clicking on the image below.  

I'm hoping for some rest and relaxation in the coming weeks, but as anyone with small kids knows, that's probably wishful thinking.  I will probably spend more time playing referee than anything else.  But... here's to a great summer.  If you are STILL in school, that stinks... the end is near!  If you've been on break for a while... save me a drink, the party is here, LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five For Friday!

This is it...My last Friday with my wonderful group of firsties.  We will be done next Thursday!  I haven't cried on a last day in quite a few years but I'm pretty sure I will this year.  So, I'm linking up once again with Kacie from Doodlebugs Teaching for the weekly Five For Friday linky party.  If you are new to blog following, a linky party is a great way to find new blogs, get new ideas, and "meet" new virtual friends.   Click the link for Doodlebugs here to get to the original post and discover something new.

I read random blogs for months wondering what all of the things along the sides really meant.  What the heck is Google Friend Connect, I wondered?  I really don't need more junk email.  Can't I just visit a blog I like once in a while?  Then one day out of curiosity I joined Google.  I'll admit, I'm still not sure how Google + works, but I figured out how to work with Google reader to create a feed of the blogs I began to follow.  Then, I heard the news.  Google Reader is going away as of June 30.  Huh... just when I was feeling comfortable.  Several other more established bloggers started talking about Bloglovin as a replacement for Google Reader.  So I checked it out.  I like it so much better.  First off, you can import the blogs you currently follow to Bloglovin, so you are up and running almost immediately.  Next, there is an app (just iPhone, but Android is coming soon).  So you can catch up on your blog following on the go.  I've been reading the blogs at the doctor's office, the T Ball field, and while traveling (as the passenger, of course).  Check out Bloglovin and I'll bet you'll be a convert, too. 

So without further adieu here are my Five Random Things for Friday....

1.  Last week was my 9th wedding anniversary and the hubs and I headed out on the town in Philly to celebrate.  The boys were camping near Hershey with my parents.  First we hit up, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse... Mmmm, yummiest steak ever.  Then we enjoyed the wonderful weather and took a walk and wound up at BRU- a German Beer Garden.  It was great, but we laughed at ourselves as we were headed home around ten... tired.  Guess we're getting old, hehe!  We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the eerie peace and quite of a house without crazy little boys.  It was restful but I missed my little buggers.

2.  I posted earlier about my June Fun Calendar.  But I didn't have the file with it at home.  So, I'm posting it here.  It has been a big hit.  Some days require more preparation from others but, it has been a lot of fun and has given us something to look forward to on these last days.
3.  Today we played Minute to Win It.  It has been my favorite activity so far!  I was looking all over the internet for ideas to include when I came across Reagan's Free MTWI activities.  (I could almost here the angels singing!)  All I had to do was get some odds and ends to do the activities.  Next year, I would ask the parents if they can help out with donations of various items.  But, the money I spent was well-worth their determined attitudes, shouts of delight, and laughter.  
There She Blows!

Taking a Nose Dive

Our Favorite- Face the Cookie

Breakfast Scramble

Go Fishing

We even had to get in some fun with teachers after school!  Great stress relief, by the way!

4.  My oldest son had his last day of kindergarten today and came home with his First Grade Supply list.  I knew it was coming but it means he's even less of my baby.  And he's a first grader, just like mommy!  Uh oh... I have always tried not to be "that teacher mom."  I understand what it's like to make mistakes in grading and have lessons that don't go as planned.  But being a first grade teacher, I hope I can reign in my judgement and remember she (or he) is not me and will not do everything like I do.  (But she (or he) should--- just kidding!)  

5.  I just had to post this because I think it's hilarious (and so true)!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!  I'm off to finish up my report cards.  I've been stalling long enough!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sometimes You Just Want to Run Away!

Seven more days...  I'm not counting down the days... I'm stressing about the number of things I still need to do in not enough time.  Aside from the norm (end of the year benchmarks, report cards, cummulative folders, class lists, supply orders), I'm packing to move classrooms for the first time in ten years.  I know... some teachers move much more frequently and it's not that big of a deal.  But in my district, teachers generally stay-put unless they request a move.  I have the opportunity to move down the hall to a larger classrooms with built in shelves and more storage.  One of my colleagues lost her job due to decreased enrollment and I jumped at the chance to move to her room... I know... talk about jumping in her grave... I'm trying not to make her feel like I'm kicking her out.  It's just a good opportunity for a change of scenery for me.  

Anyway, I'm stressing over moving all of my personal stuff.  If I wanted to, I could box everything up and the custodial staff would move it for me, but it's only 2 doors away.  It doesn't make sense to box it all up just to unbox it all again in a few months.  Plus, my family has a tradition of going on an end of summer vacation the two weeks before school starts (coincidentally the only 2 weeks in the summer staff is allowed to come in).  I've learned to make it work.  I can set up my classroom during our two inservice days before the kids come.  They are two crazy days... sun up to sun down, but I do it.  I've got in down to a science in my current room but, I've been spending the past couple weeks visualizing how I'm going to set up the new room.  So, the day after the kids finish, I'm going back (WAAAH!!) to move my stuff.  I'll probably put up my bulletin boards, too and cover them to save time in September.    

So for the month of June, we created a June Fun Calendar to make every day left special.  This is similar to the ABCs countdown I've seen posted about.  This isn't an original idea, but I can't remember who's blog inspired it.  (If it's yours, let me know so I can give you credit.) So far, we've had a Dance Party, Bring a Friend Day (students brought a stuffed animal or doll to school), Share About a Special Trip (students brought no more than 3 pictures of a trip they went on to talk about), Field Day, Stinky Feet Day (students could take their shoes off in the classroom), and Guess the Baby Game Day.  We played Guess the Baby today and it was a HUGE hit.  I asked parents to either email me or send a photo of their child as a baby.  I compiled them into a powerpoint and the kids had a ball guessing who was who.  I even threw in a baby picture of me.  Very Fun!  Later this week, we'll be having RRR (Reading, Resting, and Relaxation) Day.  Students will be bringing in a blanket or beach towel to read and relax outside (weather permitting).  And Friday will be the much anticipated Minute to Win It game.  I will be using Reagan's FREE Minute to Win It games.  You can click here to get yourself a set.  I can't wait to see how it all turns out.  I've GOT to remember to take pictures.

So back to the title of this post.  (I think this is probably my most rambly- yeah I think I just made that up- post).  I decided to take my stressed-out self out for a run.  I've posted about my running slogging before.  I took a couple months off because I was having some knee pain, but I signed up for a mud run in July.  I saw the date and panicked, it's like a month away,  AHHHH!  So I got my butt in gear this weekend and am recommitting to my running.  Today I ran my first 5K since February.  It wasn't pretty but I felt better when I got home, more energized... maybe that's why I'm rereading this and thinking, "Anyone who reads this is going to think I need ritalin."  It's the energy from the run, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A mishmash of Linkys!

HAHA!  I have two different drafts of posts that are saved that I never finished... Life just has a way of getting in the way of blogging... sigh!  Guess I'll start fresh.  If you've been following me for a bit, you'll know that my district is adopting Google Chromebooks next year.  A couple of teachers had them donated by a family and therefore got theirs early.  Because I got to go to an early training, one of my dear colleagues let me borrow one of hers to get the hang of it.  It's amazing how fast these kids figure out how to use technology and they teach each other faster than I can even figure it out.  So far, we haven't used it much besides visiting our favorite web-based review sites.  I'll spend the summer playing around with my own and checking out the Google Extensions (apps).  
Here is one of my sweeties working on the Chromebook.  Check out how compact it is... and SO light. My ancient laptops behind her are so slow and you know how six year olds are... they are so used to new technology being so responsive, they go click-crazy and the computer just freezes.  I'm hoping Scholastic comes out with a Storia program that can be installed on a Chromebook, though because the kids and I just love Storia.  I did call Scholastic and put in a request, not that I expect little old me to make an impact to big ole' Scholastic. Until then, they just have to rough it out on the old computers to use Storia.  

I've been reading many of your posts and links with Farley at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade and I finally figured out how to do it myself... so I'm linking up for my first time.  You can check out more Currentlys by visiting her blog.  You might just find a new blog that you'll love!

One of the posts I started was a link to Five For Friday by DoodleBugs Teaching.  I know... it's Monday... but like I said, "Life."  I just love this linky, because the point of it is to be random.  Anything goes.. So here it is!

1. Thirteen more days... woo woo!  Don't get me wrong... I do love my job, some years are better than others and this one is a good one, but I'm ready for summer vacay just like everyone else.  Just when I feel a little jealous of all of my bloggy friends who are out for summer, I remind myself that I will still be laying on the beach with a cold one in August when y'all are back in the classroom.  Don't worry I'll be sure to rub it in!  LOL!!

2.  One of the things I am most looking forward to this summer is our family trips to Sesame Place.  For anyone in other parts of the country, it is a one and only and it's our home away from home.  I feel so lucky to have such a special place literally in our backyard (I live 5 minutes from it.)  Here's a picture of my boys loving it (really they were, haha) on opening day this year.

3.  I found this great resource for explaining the parents the benefits of invented spelling at Thank God It's First Grade.  I'm definitely putting this aside for Back To School Night.  If you click the link you can download it and change it to your name.

4. Ummmm... Ryan Gosling speaking to me?... sigh!

5. I made the most delicious concoction ever for a get-together Friday Night!  It went over SO well so I had to share it with you all.  Brownie Batter Dip... I know, right?  It was TO-DIE-FOR!  You can get the recipe here... gotta love Pinterest!  

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you pop by again!