Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It :: Pencil Drawers


It's a great Monday for a new Monday Made It!  I had so much fun with this one!  I love any excuse to pull out my Silhouette Cameo and I LOVE adding color to my classroom!

I've been using buckets for my sharp and dull pencils for the past few years.  You know, those adorable buckets you find in the dollar spot at Target?  The kind that I can't stop buying even though I already have more than I know what to do with?  Yes, those. ;)  

I wish I had a picture of what I used before, but I didn't want to drive to my classroom just for that.  My setup was very similar to this from Peace, Love, and Learning.  Even the same signs!
While they were cute, the problem I had with them was that they tipped over ALL. THE. TIME.  There were newly sharpened pencils and also dull, broken pencils on the floor every day.  My students were always good about picking them up, but it was messy and just became less and less practical with every tip of the buckets!  I needed something different for this year.  

I wish I could remember where I got this idea.  I know that I saw it somewhere before, but I can't remember where.  Anyway, I saw a teacher that used small Sterilite drawers for her sharp and dull pencils.  I loved that idea, so I set out looking for a drawer set for myself.

I actually was on the hunt for a 3-drawer set because that was the kind used in the photo I had seen, but the store I was at didn't have any.  They only had 5-drawer sets.  At first I thought that would be too many, but I quickly thought of other things I could use the drawers for to simplify my life at school.  I picked up a small 5-drawer Sterilite just like this one.

I started with this... 
 
...and then I got to work with my Cameo!  I designed and cut the words for each drawer.  I also added a star to each drawer just because they're cute!  I covered two words on the middle drawer because it gives away the name of my school, but you get the idea.
 The other drawers I added are things I have kept behind my desk before, but it will make my life easier for students to have access to them.
  The bright colors and practicality of this classroom addition just make me happy!
 Keeping pencils in these drawers will eliminate clutter and mess, and everything will still be just as easy for the students to access.  Win win.

Thanks to Tara for hosting Monday Made It!  Head on over to add your own item to the linky or to check out what other teachers have been up to!



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Get to Know Me Linky

Hi there!

Just checking in quickly on this awesome Sunday because I stumbled upon this fun linky and found myself wanting to check out everyone's answers!  It was super quick and lots of fun!  Maybe you'll learn something new about me????

Thanks to The Tatooed Teacher for hosting!!



Head over to join the linky fun!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Must Have Monday Linky Party

The gals at Freebielicious are hosting a week of linky parties, starting with Must Have Monday.  I love checking out posts like these because I think it's so much fun to see what items other teachers love using in their classrooms.  I couldn't help but think of a few of my own Must Haves!  There are certainly things that make my life as a teacher easier or more fun, and I'm going to share some of them today!

I love love love Mr. Sketch scented markers.  I use them for everything, all the time in my classroom.  Seriously, just looking at this picture makes me smile!  Aren't they so pretty??!? :)  From anchor charts to classroom posters to marking papers to drawing on my students' hands (yes, I totally do that with these markers....they LOVE it!!), I have scented makers placed in several spots around my classroom.  Obviously they are not a necessity for teaching, but they make me happy.  And they make my students happy.  Win win! 
Then, last year, I discovered these...

Mr. Sketch Skinny Stix! So, so good.  I LOVE these for writing notes or making to-do lists or really ANYTHING that the bigger ones aren't the best for.  HAPPY!  They just make me happy. :)


A good scissors is a must in my classroom.  This is the pair that I love the most.  I NEED a good sharp scissors for cutting laminating.  Drives me crazy if my scissors doesn't work well!     
I keep my scissors far away from glue sticks and Go-gurt tubes.  If you're a primary teacher, I know you understand that! :)


Oh goodness, do I love my pocket dice.  They are SO versatile!  I find ways to use them in almost every round of math and literacy stations, which means that they are very rarely being stored away and are almost always in the hands of my students.  
These are the exact cubes that I have.  LOVE THEM.



Best ever.  They stack.  They close.  They look clean and organized and awesome.  Durable, sleek, and easy for the kids to open, close, and stack.  Best best best.  Love them so much.


I have two of these and use them both every day!  I LOVE this for the BIG visual it provides for my students.  It is so easy and clear for my Kindergarteners to read.  It's fabulous and I recommend it to other teachers often!  It's a bit of an investment for a timer, but it has been well worth every penny to me!  Love this timer!!  


PANDORA RADIO
This is most certainly a must-have for me in my classroom.  I love music -- it makes me happy, energizes me, calms me, centers me -- and I love incorporating it into my classroom for those very reasons.  Sometimes I play music for my students and sometimes I play music for ME.  I use Pandora to play everything from KidzBop to Disney Classics to Jim Brickman.  I absolutely love the energy and JOY that abounds in my classroom as everyone in the room sings along to familiar songs.  And I love the way my heart gets re-focused when I put on an instrumental hymns or worship station. One of the best pieces of teaching advice I've ever received is to play instrumental hymns or worship music in my classroom.  My students don't pick up on the tune, but I know the words and I use the songs to re-center my heart and find those moments of calm and peace, even with a class full of Kindergarteners!  I love to play calm music during our writing block or more upbeat music during snack time or morning work time.  I also love to have music playing when my students enter the room each morning.
I choose to pay for Pandora One so that we don't have to deal with commercials.  Totally worth it, in my opinion!


All this talk about must-haves makes me excited for another school year!  
After I enjoy the last weeks of summer, of course!! :)

Monday Made It :: Washi Tape Name Sticks

Happy Monday, friends.  I'm so happy to be back again today with another Monday Made It!  This one is super simple, but such a big part of each day in my classroom.

If you're like me, your name sticks are in a prominent location in your classroom.  They get used every single day, over and over again to call on students, put partners or groups together, etc.  They are a small, simple thing....but they make my life as a teacher so much easier!

I've tried several different types of name sticks over the years.  Most recently, I've painted one end....
...and used star stickers.
I LOVED the look of the spray-painted name sticks, but the reality of me painting sticks each summer just isn't going to happen.  Why?  I don't know.  I'm lazy in the summer.  Admitting that I'm too lazy to spend a few minutes spray-painting the ends of craft sticks is a little embarrassing, but it's the truth.  Grace, please.  

The star stickers didn't stay put.  Most of them fell off by the end of last year.  Also, I tried numbers on the sticks last year instead of names.  It was the first time I'd tried that, and I realized that I like having names on the sticks better.  Numbers would allow the sticks to be used from year to year, but made it less convenient to call on kids (especially early in the year when I was still trying to learn their numbers or when guest teachers were there).  I'll do names from now on.

Anyway, as I was brainstorming what I could use this year (planning to go back to the spray-paint), my stash of washi tape came to mind.  Washi tape is fabulous -- so easy to work with and so super cute!!  I had these three options in my collection that are wider - more the size of masking tape.  I knew that they would be a cute and easy solution, so I decided to give it a try for this year.
 I had these three colors to choose from.
 I thought that the orange didn't stand out enough against the wood of the stick.  I liked the pink and blue, so I tried them both in my name stick cup to see which I preferred.
This is the cup I keep my name sticks in.
I loved the way the pink tape looked, so I wrapped one end of 30 sticks. 
(Always make extras at the start of the year for those newbies that will come in throughout the year!)
 Pretty adorable in the cup, huh???
My student names will go on one end once my class list is finalized.

And that's that!  Easy (simple, actually), but they will be used SO MUCH this year!

Thanks to Tara for hosting this fun linky each week.  I love being inspired by all of the other teachers that link up.


Friday, July 17, 2015

New Blog Design!

Hi friends!  

If you've been around for a while, you've probably noticed my new blog design!  It went live on the blog several weeks ago, but things were a little crazy for me at the time as we finished up my son's baseball season and got ready for our big summer vacation.  Now that we're back home, I wanted to make sure to thank Gabby from Gabby's Classrooms for her help creating this new blog design that I LOVE!  She was so patient with me while we tweaked things and worked to pull together something that matched my vision for what I wanted this place to look like.  

I truly would recommend her HIGHLY if you are looking for someone to help you update your blog design.  She was a delight to work with!!

Click the graphic to visit her blog!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Made It :: Summer To-Do List!

Hi hi!!!!

I am so happy to be checking in today!  It's been a super busy summer so far.....baseball and house projects and a wonderful Hawaiian vacation.  But I'm back home now and ready to get back on track spending more time here with my teacher friends!

Both of my kids are in day camp at our church this week, so I knew that I wanted to use some of my free time to make a plan for the rest of the summer.  A nice (cute!) to-do list makes my heart happy!  Maybe you need a place to organize your thoughts for the rest of summer break too.  If so, keep reading!  I don't go back to school until September 8th, but I want to keep plugging away at things so that I don't feel rushed or annoyed with my procrastination come mid-August!

I know this isn't your typical Monday Made It, but hopefully I'll be back next week with actual crafty Made-Its to share.  I needed this to get me started! :)


It's nothing fancy, but it's cute and it has a smiley face sun, which {almost} makes me WANT to pull it out and get to work!  Ha!



Hopefully items from this PROJECTS list will be featured on upcoming Monday Made Its!
If you're feeling the need to get movin' like me, CLICK HERE to download a copy of this to-do list for yourself. 
Here's to adding a little bit of productivity into my (and your!) summer! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

This week's TPT Seller Challenge is to share our TPT dreams.  This one is tricky for me because, if I'm honest, one thing I've learned time and time again in my life is that my own plans and dreams always pale in comparison to the things God allows to happen in my life when I place my trust firmly in Him....and my TPT journey has been no different.  
That being said, my dreams looked different when I began selling on TPT 2 1/2 years ago.  Today, these are my dreams.  

Back when I started TPT, I knew that it would be a learning and growing process, but I didn't realize that the learning and growing would really be the HEART of TPT for me.  I have made some money, yes, but nothing like I dreamed I would back when I started.  That was hard for me at first.  It looks so easy from the outside, but the truth is that joining TPT does not instantly make you a success.  Even beginning to blog, or joining Facebook or Instagram....they all start out small.  When I first started blogging/selling I never thought it would take me this long to gain followers, and at first I felt disappointed by it.  But here's the reality that I've been reminded of so many times in my life....God's way are often different than what we can plan for ourselves.  And, always, they are better.

So this is my TPT journey now, and these are my dreams.  I want to continue to learn and grow as an educator.  Teaching is a part of me!  I love it, and I want to continually challenge myself in it.  TPT is part of that.  I have learned so much since beginning to blog and sell on TPT, and I have grown in my craft.  I have not grown much in my bank account ;), but I'm realizing more and more all the time that that is okay!  I don't post new items often and I try not to take time away from my family to create things.  I create as an outlet and as a way to make my own teaching more dynamic.  Sometimes my things make their way to TPT, and sometimes they don't.  

Knowing what I know now about the time and energy blogging/TPT requires would I sign on again?  YES!!  In a heartbeat!  I have met amazing people and  have grown so much as a teacher!  And it has been FUN!  I love blogging, creating, and building relationships with other passionate teachers.  That's the heart of it for me that I didn't dream about in the beginning.  Every teacher's journey looks different.  I'm thankful that mine has included this online world of support and FUN!  My biggest dream moving forward is that I would continue to remember to look for the GOOD in every step of this journey, that I would continue challenging myself, and that my dreams for myself will be in line with the fullness God has for me.  His ways are always better and, in the end, I want what He wants for me!