Saturday, June 30, 2012

Start of Year Gifts Guest Post

Today's the day. It's the big blog hop. I wrote a guest post over at Journey of a Substitute Teacher. I'll be sharing how I stay prepared for substitutes. There's a freebie there for you too.  I am hosting Britney from Mrs. V's Adventures in Teaching who has written a wonderful guest post right here. Now, please welcome Britney who is writing her very first guest post and don't forget to check out the other fabulous blogs in today's blog hop at the bottom of this post.

This is my first guest post, and I am so excited to be here! I will begin by telling you a little bit about myself. My name is Britney, and I have been a third grade teacher for 5 years. However, next year, I am very excited to make the move to second grade! I love my job, and I can't imagine a more rewarding career. I enjoy hiking, swimming, reading, and hanging out with my friends and family! I also really enjoy teacher blogs. I have always loved reading them, so a few months ago I thought maybe I could start one! It has been so much fun. Check out my blog sometime at Mrs. V's Adventures in Teaching.

So, I thought and thought about my topic for this guest post. Then, I came up with a great topic. Then, I changed my mind, and came up with another topic. That happned about two more times. ( I have a tendancy to WAY over think things and worry about things! ) Finally I came up with something that I was very excited about. I know that as teachers we are always looking for cute things to do for our students at the beginning of the school year. I wanted to give my kids a cute gift when they come to meet the teacher, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money! I thought of this idea! I would give my students flash cards, wrap them nicely and add a cute label with a catchy phrase. Here is what I came up with:

This is what I will put on the students' desks when they come for open house night. 
The flash cards are inside the bag.

Here is a close up of the label.

I teach second grade, so I will use these addition labels. However, I also created some multiplication labels for those of you that teach older grades. They say, "We will have some fun TIMES this year". Not only is this a cute gift, but it willl also encourage students to practice their addition or multiplication facts at home! What teacher doesn't love that?!?! We all know how difficult it can be to get students to know their facts fluently, and every little bit of practice helps:)

Now, you may be thinking that all of this had to be expensive. No really! I found the bags at target, and they were 5 for $1.99. I bought two packs of tissue and that will be enough for all of my bags. I probably could have gotten away with 1 pack of tissue. I got my flash cards from the Dollar Store. I spent $34.00 total which means that I spent about $1.58 per student. However, you could wrap these in any way that you want to. If you don't want to buy the bags and tissue, you can just wrap your flash cards in some sort of clear wrap, and tie on the label with a ribbon! It is totally up to you.

As for the can download them for FREE at my TpT store by clicking here.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post! I hope that you find these labels helpful as you begin to think about back to school gifts:)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Free Writing Stationary

Happy Father's Day! I hope you have some fun plans. Since I'm spending most of the day with my family today, I'm trying to squeeze in this post while my daughter naps (or pretends to anyway). Somehow, I am not convinced an actual nap is going to happen. 

So, this is going to be a super quick post. I made some writing stationary. You can pick the the one that works for your project or class. It's got large lined paper for primary writers and  smaller lines for older students. Also, I included a version of each one with the blue, red, and green lines for anyone students needing visual cues and a black and white version for easy printing/copying. It's all in one file. Click either picture to get the stationary.

Each paper has two versions. 
(black lines and colored lines)

Thanks for coming by my blog.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crafting, Creating, and My Little Helper

Why is it that I never seem to blog during the day? Hmm, I wonder....

Maybe it has to do with my little one wanting to help with every project I do. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? Please tell me it does.

My little helper and I finished up this awesome desktop organizer that I've been seeing in different versions all over the web. I spray painted it white. (It came in an icky gray color). Then I cut pieces of scrapbook paper to fit. My little girl was right beside me drawing and making "books" out of the scraps. Then I wrote labels on the paper for each drawer with a nail paint pen. (My daughter also insisted that I paint her nails with it, which I did.) Finally, I used packing tape to secure the paper to each drawer. My little helper pulled it off the role for me. This project took me awhile, but I think it would normally go quicker.

Also, I've completed some more binder covers that were requested. I made a set of cupcake binder covers and a set of dog themed ones. You can get either one by clicking on the picture.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please come back again. If you see something you like or have a question, I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Get To The Point...What A Pencil Sharpener Should Do

Like many teachers, I struggle to keep the pencil sharpeners my class use in working order. This year my classroom went through two of them. Two brand new ones! They were not cheap either. Uhg! That's pretty typical from my experience. Usually, the engine fails from over use or someone tries to sharpen a crayon. 

So, when I started seeing other teachers blogging about a classroom friendly pencil sharpener I was curious. I contracted Troy Decoff about the sharpener that I had been reading about. He is a fellow teacher and the owner of Classroom Friendly Supplies. In the interest of being upfront with ya'll, I need to tell you that he provided me with the pencil sharpener in this blog post, but I'm sharing my own opinions.

This is the sharpener I received. I got the green one. You can use it with or without the clamp. I liked the added stability of the clamp, but it did take me several attempts to get it on well enough to stabilize the sharpener. Even though I preferred the clamp, my daughter preferred to tote it around and sharpen pencils on the floor and outside with her friends.

My daughter just turned five. She got the hang of the sharpener pretty quickly and wanted to sharpen all of the pencils in the house. In order to use the sharpener, you have to squeeze the two black squares at the top and pull it forward. Then, squeeze them again to insert your pencil. The pencil will be held in place for sharpening. The part you pulled forward will move back into the machine and will stop the pencil from over sharpening. Love that! My old sharpener ate pencils and I mean that literally. I also love how sharp the points were.

I did notice two things about this pencil sharpener that might be cons for some users. First, the sharpener left very small indentations on the pencils from where the pencils were held in place. The other thing was that it sharpened my number 2 pencils and my regular colored pencils beautifully, but it didn't sharpen my art pencils with softer tips. However, in the process of trying it on them I did learn that it is was very easy to get broken tips out of the sharpener. 

I intend to use this pencil sharpener in my classroom next year.  It's quiet. I sharpens regular pencils and regular colored pencils. The tips were amazingly sharp and they didn't break when I used them. My five-year-old was able to use it and empty it independently. Overall, I think it will be fabulous for my classroom. I also love that it sells for $24.99, which is less than the electric sharpeners that I had been using. 

If your interested in learning more about this sharpener or want to get your own, you can find out more here. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

More Free Binder Covers

Just like usual, today was crazy busy, but it was perfect. My little girl and I had a mommy-daughter day today. Fun! We went to the $2 kids' movie at the theater. 

Ya'll, I've never seen so much popcorn on the floor in all my life! The ticket price included a bag of popcorn and a small soda. Plus, the theater was completely full. That is a lot of kids with popcorn and sticky drinks. I'm so glad that I am not the one cleaning up. Yikes!
After the movie we went out for Japanese. Yum! Little bit' loved the onion volcano and watching the chef. When we got home, it was on to science experiments, because my daughter wants to be a "vet or a science person." Too cute! You know I've got to encourage that.
Despite having a jam packed day, I did manage to squeeze in some chores and get some freebies made. They are posted below. Just click the one you want. Now, I am about to pass out in my bed. Night ya'll.

I'm exhausted, but I'll be back tomorrow with some more freebies. So please keep the conversation going and let me know what ya'll are doing in your classrooms and what things you're looking for.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Toys, Clutter, Organization, and Chores

One of my favorite things about summer is that I finally have time to catch up on things around the house. The super busy end of the school year means my house has been sadly neglected. Toys have taken over. Literally, there are toys EVERYWHERE. I am not sharing the before pictures. They're way too embarrassing! 
Now that I've cleaned up, it looks so much better. It is great to be able to get to the toy shelf without having to shove aside piles of toys. Now that I've done the organizing, my daughter needs to be motivated to keep it tidy.
I had to think about that one for awhile. She hates doesn't exactly enjoy cleaning up her toys, but she does love earning money. There are tons of chore charts out there, but I wanted something cute and concrete. I came up with this. Since she gets fake money it is much more real to her than checks on a chart.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Loads of Free Name Plates and Pirate Binder Covers

We've been out of school for a few weeks already. I'm already thinking about how to set up my room next year. It seems like a lot of teachers are. Isn't it funny how teachers always seem to be thinking about improving things for their classrooms and students. Anyhow, I've continued to work on freebies for you. Ya'll have shared a ton of themes and I've worked on most of them, but I can't do it all at once. If I haven't gotten to your theme stay tuned. I'm still working on more.

Here's what I have to share today. I've created some pirate themed binder covers. Plus, I've made nameplates for all the themes I've done so far! They could also be used as labels. Just click on the picture of the ones you want.





Friday, June 15, 2012

Free Binder Covers

Today was one of those rare days in which I got to kick back and take a break. I've been sitting at the coffee shop with a hot chia tea latte working on free binder covers for you.  
I made ones that go with my blog theme. I'm not sure why. They are cute though. I also made ladybug ones, bees, and cute monsters. I've uploaded them into Google Docs, so if you would like one you can grab it by clicking on the picture below.




Thanks for stopping by to read my blog. If you have a different theme going on in your room, I'd love to hear about it. I can't wait to share some more with all ya'll fabulous folks.