School Prep: Back to School

It's my favorite time of the year . . . school supply time!  I was at Target this week and found all kinds of teacher goodies. Unfortunately, Back to School shopping can quickly add up.  I have found a couple of things that have helped save money.
Do you have a paper cutter? Is the blade getting dull?  It is pricey to get it sharpened.  You can purchase some sandpaper, cut it, and the paper will sharpen your paper cutter.  Dollar Tree sells sand paper.  Sand paper will also sharpen your scissors!
One of the best investments I ever made was a gallon of glue.  Amazon has the gallon below for $16.02 right now.  When the bottles of glue that your students bring at the beginning of the year runs out, refill their bottles with your jug of glue.  I recommend using a small funnel.  Dollar Tree sells those, too.
Click HERE for glue.

Looking for more Back to School ideas?  Check out my Pinterest board that is full of fun stuff.
You are invited to pop over to my blog.  I love to share tips and free stuff.

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
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Summer Reading... What's On Your List?

Hey everyone!

I love to read! With surviving my first year of school, my reading was cut way down because at times, I felt it was like sink or swim. You better believe I swam!

What I love about the summer time is that I can read pretty much when I want. I've been scoping out other teachers' blogs and IG accounts to see what they were reading before settling on a few for now. Key words, for now. I have a few more books I have on my wish list that I may be adding before long!

1. The Leader In Me.  Why did I pick this? My principal gave every staff member The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Leaders. At some moments, it was very intense. I wanted the TLIM because it seemed to be a better resource for teachers implementing this in the classroom. The main theme is making students become leaders. My school is a certified IB school and so this ties in perfectly with many of our attitudes and attributes.

2. Learn  Like A Pirate. As I'm currently geeking out that not only did the author tweet me back, so did The Leader In Me and Dave Burgess, haha, I'm loving this book as it correlates with The Leader in Me. This book is about having students lead in the classroom. Now you might say that sounds ridiculous, as that's what I was worried about to, but since I'm looping with my kids, I feel that this will be the perfect opportunity to try this out (or at least start integrating this a little).

3. Word Nerds. My kids didn't get as much vocabulary practice as I would have liked. Yes, they got vocabulary from  my reading lessons and sometimes in small groups and content areas. I confess, my main focus this year was surviving my first year teaching and focusing mostly on reading and math. I have to toot my own horn and say I did a pretty darn good job and I rocked science and social studies. Poor writing got the short end of the stick. I vow that next year with these kids (same class) that writing will get more of a focus (but of course now I have all new curriculum to learn) and Word Nerds will be perfect for helping me with that. I really got into this book. It's about developing a vocabulary routine and using cloze reading skills, inferring, antonyms and synonyms, instead of having kids just look it up in a dictionary.

I want to know what's on your list? What are you reading that I should add to mine?

Easy Tips for Summer Reading

Looking for ways to keep your kiddos 
reading over the summer?  I wanted to share 
a few easy {and free} tips you can use to 
keep the kids interested and engaged!

Take a trip to the local public library.

Why not?!  The books are free!
Check out some books, get out some 
paper and a pencil, and try some 
of the following activities.

Search for words that begin with certain letters:

Search for words that have certain blends:

Discuss the characters, setting, 
problem, and solution from the book:

Search for nouns, verbs, and adjectives:
Search for rhyming words:

Another great thing about the library - access 
to awesome learning resources online 
like Starfall and ABCya!

I hope you and your kiddos have a blast 
reading and hanging out at the library!

$200 in TPT Gift Cards Giveaway!

The clock is ticking! Your chance to win 1 of 8 $25 TPT gift cards is slipping by.

1. Start here.

2. Follow and collect the code.

3. Enter the Rafflecopter.

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A Quick Mother's Day Recap

This year, I did NOT plan ahead for Mother's Day.  Had I planned ahead, I probably would have done this craftivity that I created a few years ago.  If you want to download it for free, click the image below to head to my blog.

Instead, Thursday morning, on my way to the store to buy items for our potluck lunch I decided to look for ingredients to create a facial scrub that we could use as gifts.  
I was pleased with how easy it was.  I set everything up at a table.  While students were working, I called them up 3 at a time to start working.

I added about 1 1/2 cups of sugar to the container.  I'll be honest.  I did not measure.  I used the line on the container to guessstimate.  I only brought one measuring cup and I knew it was going to get oily.

I started to have students pour and measure their own oil, but I quickly realized that was a silly idea because that was a BIG bottle of oil, their hands are little, and they aren't well versed at measuring.  You can tell by the table that after one round of that, I realized it wasn't the best idea.  So, instead, they held the cup while I poured, and then they dumped it in.

And stirred.  And stirred some more.

And stirred some more.  Really, this gave me time to help others get started, and helped me eyeball if they needed more sugar or oil.  They all kept saying "EW!  This smells!"  Or, "It looks like applesauce.  My mom will wash with this?!??" :)

Then, we added the vanilla extract.  I used imitation vanilla, and, again, didn't measure.  I also, again, realized I shouldn't let the kids pour. :)

The kids cut and glued their own labels.  They went nicely with our "I love you because" writing that I threw together.

This little cutie asked if she could write her letter in Spanish.  I think I like it more because it's in Spanish. :)

I told the kids they could decorate their page as they wished and they could write whatever they wished.  These are truly heartfelt, and non-edited.  It also was a super easy morning work activity.

If you'd like to download the labels or the writing page, just click the image below.

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$200 in TPT Gift Cards Giveaway!

Are you having post sale let down?  Thinking about all the things you wish you had bought?  The girls here at Owl-Ways Be Inspired want to help you wrap up your wish list by giving away 8 $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift cards.

How do you enter?  Take a hop through our TPT stores.  Along the way, follow each store and collect the letters to spell out a secret message.

You can get started here.  Then, just click on this graphic as you hop through to get from one store to the next.

Keep going until you get back to where you started.  Keep track of the letters for the secret message as you hop through.

That’s it!  Come back here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.  Use the letters from the boxes in the stores that spell out the secret message to enter the code.
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You have until Sunday night to enter! Eight of us (one for each winner!) will send a message on Monday through out TPT stores to our followers to let you know who won.

Good luck!

Math Stations/Centers - Classroom Organization & Management Tip

Classroom organization and management are HUGE for me.  Everything has a place {yes, I'm slightly OCD}.  This structure helps with classroom management as well.

Take a look at my Math stations/centers rotation board:

Do you see the colorful post-its on the right?  They have 
a special meaning.  Each color correlates to a group of desks 
in the room.  When my kiddos start their Math stations/
centers, they know to go to their specific groups.

Here's how they know where to go...

My room is set up in four groups of desks:

Above each group (taped to the ceiling) is a colorful 
piece of paper naming that group:

Side note:  I tried hanging them, but it didn't look right.  You could read the signs from the front of the room, but not from the sides or back.  With them being taped to the ceiling, you can read the signs from anywhere in the room!

Here's a closer look at what the papers say:

Each group of kids knows to take their Math basket and manipulatives/tools to their specific group.  

"M" group sits at the yellow group of desks
"A" group sits at the orange group of desks
"T" group sits at the green group of desks
"H" group sits at the blue group of desks
"★" group completes calendar, then works on laptops

That color-coded piece of OCD heaven makes a 
world of difference with my kids!   It helps with 
management, keeps them from wandering around 
the room, and gives them more structure.

I wasn't sure if other teachers color-code stations/centers.  
If you do something different, feel free to share below!  
Make me feel a little less crazy/OCD!  :)

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