Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Week of School!

I promise - I am not lost!  I did not fall off the face of the earth!  I was surviving my first week of school. :-)

This year we started earlier than usual and with a full, five day week with kids.  (Usually the first week is always a half week!)  I love my new class and my week was great, but it definitely feels different than last year.  My colleagues and I were joking that it feels like it is still summer and the kids certainly think so too because they are bursting with energy instead of feeling that back to school shyness that your year usually starts with!  I forgot how exhausting the first week is!

We spent the week learning our classroom routines, organizing our supplies, learning about each other and doing a few back to school assessments to help me plan for instruction.  I love being able to have the flexibility the first week to teach them some of our classroom games and brain breaks before we really dig into our curriculum next week!

Here's a sneak peak of my classroom on the first day of school.  My students last year wrote letters for our new second grade friends so each student received a letter to help them learn about all the cool things we will be doing in second grade!  Chair pockets and welcome signs are from Really Good Stuff.

And another view - this time looking from my desk out at most of my classroom!  More pictures will come soon but I just wanted to give you a sneak peak of my classroom while it still looks beautiful!! ;-)  Can you guess my classroom theme from my sneak peak?  This is my second year with this theme and I love it.  More to come on that! 

Well I'm off to finish up all of those projects hiding in my teacher bag all weekend....  Hope your school year is off to a great start!  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five for Friday - August 16th!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share my Five for Friday with you!  I'm really glad to be posting about five random topics because after heading back to work this week, my brain is completely swamped with to-do lists, lesson plan ideas and last minute classroom organizing.  I'm not sure I could put together a complete thought, but it's definitely been a fun week that I wanted to share with you!

  1. Well summer is officially OVER.  :-(  As much as I LOVE my job, I really, really enjoy the time off to relax, regroup, and most importantly the time to work on my never-ending to-do lists for my classroom and my house.  Plus it's nice to do all that without having to wake up early and while wearing comfy clothes.  This was my first summer in forever that I wasn't hunting for a teaching job or working on my masters degree so I was super excited for this summer.  Some of my favorite memories were getting to catch up with old friends, visiting my 4th MLB ballpark (and literally walking on the field!), having an IKEA trip day with my best friends and celebrating my 3rd wedding anniversary with my husband.  But I think most of all, my favorite thing was spending summer with this cutie.  

    2. Open House was last night and I am SO excited that I got to meet my new class!  I was so impressed with how nice my kids and their parents were.  I have my fingers crossed that it will be a great year!  I am excited because last year I had 27 students and this year it looks like I will have 23!  It was also great to be back at school because I got to see many of my old students from last year.  Nothing beats knowing they still think you're the best teacher ever after being away all summer.  Their high fives and hugs made my night! 

    3. Organization overload!!  Not only did I try to tackle my house this summer and make it HGTV approved by organizing and adding little decorative details here and there, but in August I got to start working on my classroom and I went nuts!  This is my second year in second grade and after last year I had so many ideas of things I wanted to try in my room.  I decided to give my classroom a huge makeover and I love it!  I kept the same theme but I gave my room a new layout and reorganized like crazy.  I added some new storage that will really help my room look great.  I feel like I still have lots of little projects that I need to get done, but I did snap a few pictures of my work in progress to share with you soon when I do my classroom reveal.  Any guesses what my theme is?  Here is a sneak peak of one of my projects I'm working on to give you a clue about the colors. (And yes - I realize my current labels are post-its at the moment!  My color printer is working overtime as we speak!) 

    4. Did you know there is a TPT Back to School sale this Sunday and Monday??  I have a been adding to my wish list all summer and I'm super excited to shop this weekend.  I can't wait to purchase some of the things I have been eyeing to help decorate my classroom and enhance my upcoming lessons.  Better yet, I am working hard on "sprucing up" some of my favorite things that I have used in my classroom to add them to my TPT store soon.  More on that later!  

    5.  And last but not least... notice anything missing?  This was a not fun part of going back to school... we went appliance shopping this summer and had a brand new refrigerator for a few days that broke and we have NOT been able to get a replacement.  It's so hard to go back to work and know you have an unfinished project... especially when it's kind of a necessity.  I am starting to think I won't survive.  Ahh!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It

The back to school craziness is ON!  I may have fallen off the face of the Earth this week but only because I have been hiding in my classroom completing one too many projects.  (And running out of time until my classroom is filled with second graders!)

I'm so excited to share my very first Monday Made It with you!  I am a huge Pinterest stalker and I found this on Pinterest quite some time ago.  It was a picture of a mailbox makeover posted by Mrs. O Knows. I thought it was perfect for me!  My classroom mailbox looks just like hers, if not worse - complete with a nice "wobble" when you touch it.  (oh no!)

Mrs. O's "ugly" mailbox

I certainly have an ugly mailbox too, so I put this on the top of my must-do list for back to school.  I searched all summer for the perfect duct tape and finally got to put my plan into action today!  Check out my pictures below!  

My before picture - complete with years of stuck on stickers 
and labels that I tried to scrape off with no success!

And AFTER! Woo hoo!

Close up picture 

A little chevron duct tape and it looks a million times better!  I think I will even add a little more of a border on the top and sides to spruce it up.  The binder clips will make it SO much easier to label mailboxes each year since they are now numbered and won't require any scraping off labels at the end of the year. 

Check out other Monday Made Its with 4th Grade Frolics!  And make sure to follow me on Pinterest by clicking HERE.  I have been a dedicated pinner since practically the day Pinterest was born. LOL.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

First Day of School Linky!

It's hard to believe I only have about ONE week left of summer.  I don't know about you, but the last week of summer I'm already in back to school mode anyways and sometimes it's hard to remember if I should be relaxing or running around like crazy getting ready for school!

I'm teaming up with Deana at Primary Punch to share my First Day of School plans with you.  Her linky party was a reminder to me that I should dig out the old plans from last August and get things ready to roll.

I feel like my first day plans are a mix of icebreakers and lots of teaching ROUTINES since the first day can set the tone for the rest of the year.  I keep my plans simple and in a list form (without definite time frames) so that I can have the flexibility to expand as needed.  On my first day of second grade last year, I took things really slow since I was still living in Kindergarten land and used to explaining things 50 million times.  (If you've taught Kindergarten then you know what I mean!!)  I quickly realized my new 2nd graders didn't need quite as much step by step directions, but that it didn't hurt to take the extra time to set my routines.  :-)  

I can't wait to hear your comments and tips for the first day! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ready or Not...

Ready or not... it's time for back to school!  I feel like it was just June!  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I'm so excited to meet my new students soon, but I also love sleeping in, wearing flip flops, lunch dates with friends, and long walks with my puppy.  All good things must come to an end I guess, right? :-)

It's been a busy week and I haven't had the chance to blog much because I ventured in to school this week and started trying to put my room back together.  I always like to try to get a head start, so that I can stay as little or as long as I like and not have to rush at the very end to get everything together!  Here's what I found when I got to my room.  (Ahhh!!!!)

Giant reading table obviously wanted to be the center of attention, LOL! 

Classroom Island... hehe.  That will be fun to unload!

Once I got the furniture moved (thanks to help from my husband!) it is starting to look like a room again.  I am super excited being in the same room again this year because now I have learned what I like and want I think needs to be changed from last year!  I also have a million and one organizing and decorating projects that I am starting to work on, so I can't wait to see how they turn out and share everything with you.  I took home a BIG project to work on over the weekend that I hope to share with you by Monday. ;-)  

Bad picture angle - but the beginning of my new arrangement I'm trying! 

We start back on August 15th so luckily I have next week to work on some of my projects and hopefully have a few more days to relax and enjoy summer.  This is the earliest we have started back, but as a trade off we get out in MAY.  That sounds so foreign to me!  LOL!  When do you all start back??