Surviving Hurricane Irene and Polka Dot Word Wall Labels

31 August 2011
Sorry, I have been MIA.  My home was hit hard by Hurricane Irene.  I have a broken window, a hole in my roof, ceiling damage, and a broken fence.  I still do not have power; it may come back Saturday, the earliest!  The important thing is that my pets and I were unharmed.

Since, I am without power at my home, I brought my whole computer to my parents' house. I have so many things I still want to make on my computer before school starts and I am going away for the weekend tomorrow night.  We go back to school on Tuesday and the students come in on Wednesday.  I am stressing!!  I just finished these word wall labels.  Click {here} to purchase from Teachers Pay Teachers.  The pop out letters are from Frog Street Press, as well as the polka dot borders.
Click {here} to see more photos of the new theme!

Here are a few photos of the hurricane damage.

You Get What You Get and You Don't Get Upset!

27 August 2011
I say this to my students often and I love how they finish the saying for me!  Click on the picture to download your copy today.  Can this count as my "Free For All Friday," even if it is Saturday?
Kids don't need to have all these choices.  It reminds me of what my Italian grandmother used to say to me when I was little: "You want this with a beating or without?"  I chose without LOL!  Imagine someone said that to kids today!

*Font is by Kevin and Amanda.  Graphics by Pixel Papers.  Both links are in buttons to the left.

Please, note as per "Terms of Use" I will be updating all of my free documents to include links to graphic and font artists.  This means that I will be changing the Google Docs links for my freebies to the updated versions.  Please, check back to my old blog posts for the new links if you can no longer find one of my freebies in Google Docs.  Also, artists and shops, please allow me time to update.  School starts in a week and we are about to get hit with a hurricane.  Thanks!!!  Sorry for any inconvenience!

Birthday Bulletin Board and More Polka Dots!

26 August 2011
The picture below is of my birthday bulletin board from a few years back.  It is all over Pinterest and a colleague of mine said she also saw it on WeTeach.  She knew it was mine because of the cows!  I am flattered that so many people like my idea!  I thought I would share some tips for making your own.
This birthday bulletin board is unique because I use photographs instead of writing the students' names and birthdays. In my classroom,  I have a limited amount of wall space, otherwise I would probably place the photographs in the middle of a cake graphic representing each month.  So instead, I place a photograph of students under a small month heading of their birthday month.  The students in the photograph are holding up a calendar number to represent their birthday day.  I include myself, my classroom aide, and the classroom pet (look closely at March).  The photographs were taken infront of cow fabric.  I drape the fabric over an easel.  It creates a consistent background and as you can see goes with the border.  You can modify the fabric to go with your theme.
This year's theme is polka dots.  I created new monthly headings (available at Tpt in my Bright Polka Dot Packet {here}). I don't have students yet, so there aren't any photographs up.  I plan on photographing the students in front of polka dotted fabric or a polka dot shower curtain.  I also take individual pictures of each student infront of the backdrop.  These photos are used for center grouping, name tags, labels, and their September scrapbook entry.
I just created this new door decor with my students' names and uploaded it to TpT!  I am so excited, I have not had a number this low- ever!  I am the consult classroom, so the principal tries to keep my numbers lower than the other three classes.  So, if the other classes had 25, I would have 23.   The bad thing about having the lowest number of students is that I am always the first one to get a new student and that throws off my numbering system.  I now wait until the day before school starts to assign the students numbers.

Here is an updated photo of my Writing bulletin board.  It was bothering me that the purple "g" in "writing" was not showing up against the black background.  
The posters are available in my Writer's Workshop Resources Packet.

I will continue to create and laminate as long as I can until Hurricane Irene comes.  I live on the south shore of Long Island, NY.  It is expected to hit us on Sunday.  I live alone and will either go to stay with my parents or have them come to me.  They live on the water and may be forced to evacuate.

Three For Thursday!

25 August 2011

I am Linking up with Blog Hopper for  "Three for Thursday."

Here are my favorites:

My Favorite Font

Click here to check out other great products by Lettering Delights!
Free Product

My Favorite Blog

This is so hard, I follow every blogger that leaves me a comment.  Check out my blog roll.  I have to say, that I have learned the most about blogging from Kristen at Ladybug. 

I just discovered Teaching in Flip Flops through Pinterest.  She has such fun printables.

My Favorite Online Resource 
As, I am blog hopping, I see that I am not alone in my love for Pinterest!  

Follow Me on Pinterest

Polka Dot Classroom Labels and Signs!

School does not start until September 7th and I have been hard at work revamping my classroom theme from cows to polka dots.  I spent a ton of money and went a bit over board.  I justify it by reminding myself that I am earning more money by selling on Teachers Pay Teachers now.  So thank you for your purchases, you helped fund the new decor!  Next up will be to fix the hole that I have had in my bathroom ceiling for 3 years.

I have been busy creating new labels and signs to go with my new theme.  After, I create, I cut and laminate.  I have a small laminator at school and a bit larger one at home.  Here are some photos of my classroom and of my work in progress:
Laminating to be cut!  All the polka dot items are included in my Polka Dot Classroom Labels and Signs packet available on Teachers Pay Teachers  (click here).
I purchased these large black bins on sale at Walmart about a month ago.  I store read alouds, samples, and decorations for each month in the bins.
The borders and pop out letters are from Frog Street Press.  The signs are included in my Polka Dot Classroom Labels and Signs packet available on TpT (click here).

I created these posters from mini ones included in my Writer's Workshop Resources packet (click here).  I uploaded took a screen shot and sent them to Vista Print.  Another option would be to go to Office Max.  Right now they are having a great sale for teachers.  Click here for the Office Max coupons.
This is my guided reading table.  I purchased the storage cubes/seats from Big Lots.  I then sprayed them with Scotch Guard.  Next, I filled them with guided reading books and labeled the seats.  Click (here) to get the labels on Teachers pay Teachers.
More signs form my Polka Dot Classroom Labels and Signs Packet.  Available on Teachers Pay Teachers  (click here).
This was my project for the day.  I created a "Look Who's Been Spotted in First Grade" sign for my door and typed the students' names in polka dot themed labels.  I just posted this on Teachers pay Teachers (click here).

Update!  Click {here} to see photos of this decor in my classroom.

Daisy, My New Guinea Pig From Petsmart!

23 August 2011
As many of you know, my beloved classroom pet, Molly, died after 9 long years with me.  She was an amazing guinea pig and I wrote a tribute to her on my blog (click here to read).  Somehow, J'Lyn at Petsmart read my blog post and contacted me with an incredible offer!  She sent me a $250 dollar gift card and set up a consultation in my local Petsmart to purchase a guinea pig.  Yesterday, I went to Petsmart with my mother and nephew, Dylan.  We picked out an adorable baby guinea pig and named her Daisy.  The manager at Petsmart and the staff were all so wonderful to us.  I cannot thank them enough, or Petsmart for their generosity.  Thank you, Petsmart for making a lot of students very happy.  I hope you enjoy the photos below.
 My nephew Dylan, Daisy, me, Kristin, and Nancy

Click {here} to see more photos!

Leveled Library Labels

21 August 2011
I changed my classroom theme to Aqua, Hot Pink, and Lime polka dots.  To go with the new theme, I created these round labels for my Leveled Library.  The labels are for sale in my TpT store (click here).

These plastic bins were purchased from Big Lots.

My students uses these books for independent reading  and they are stored in their "book baggies."  I print and place the "_____'s Book Baggie" labels below on each of their book baggies.  Click (here) to download your own editable Word version.  They should print on standard shipping sized labels.

For more information about independent and guided reading levels, check out my Guided Reading Resources Packet on TpT.

Scardey Squirrel and Skippyjon Jones Classroom Mascots and Classroom Mascot Linky Party!

07 August 2011
Do you have a classroom mascot?  Mr. Moo was my mascot for the past eight years.  My room theme is changing from cows to polka dots, so I have decided to change my mascot, too.  I received such wonderful feedback on my post about Mr. Moo, that I decided to do a post on classroom mascots.  *Click {here} to read about Mr. Moo and download his packet.    Also, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that you gave me when Molly passed away.

Here are my two new classroom mascot packets: Scardey Squirrel and Skippyjon Jones!  You can download the packets by clicking on the pictures below.
You can purchase Scardey Squirrel, by clicking {here} and Skippyjon Jones by clicking {here} or by checking out Kohl's.

*Update on Skippyjon!  I found him at Kohl's.  You can click here to check out the Skippyjon Jones Products on Kohl's website. I also wanted to share an exclusive 10% off code for You can use the code UBLOGTEN now through October 24th and stack your savings with one other department specific code as well. 

How to create your own classroom mascot:
1. Purchase a character or stuffed animal.  I used a Webkinz for Mr. Moo.
2. Purchase picture books that go with the animal.  For Mr. Moo, I used Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type and Two Cool Cows.
Large Clear Zipper Tote with Color Trim & Bottom (Black)3. Purchase a tote bag or clear tote.  For Mr. Moo I had a cow print bag.  For my two new mascots, I am going to use clear totes.
4. Purchase a view binder to use as a journal.
5. Create a cover and direction page.  Make sure to list the contents of the bag. I created the borders by placing digital scrapbook paper behind text boxes.
6.  Create journal entry pages and copy them on card stock paper.  Then three hole punch the paper.
7.  Put it all together and send it home with a new student each week.   I start at the end of the alphabet since my Star of the Week begins at the beginning.

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