Saturday, September 27, 2014

Finally a Classroom Reveal!

Remember that list I made for summer? The one that said I'd try my best to just enjoy my time away from school, spend my summer with my girls at the pool, and not work? I did it!
             This was the day we arrived at the beach for our summer vacation. We stopped in Calabash (you've heard of the shrimp, right?) for lunch before we even got to the house, but then it was straight to the surf!

The awesome thing about living where we do is, we can be at the mountains in an hour or so and at the beach in about three. We went to both several times this summer! We also love spending time at my parents' lake house, just 30 minutes from home! The girls climbed up Caesar's Head Mountain one afternoon and sat on this huge boulder, surrounded by rhododendrons and azaleas.

Life just wouldn't be southern if ya didn't have some tractor shots from summer! Honestly, we took these at the Biltmore Estate on Callie's birthday. We really don't have a tractor, or enough land to need one, but they looked so cute up on that big ole thing I couldn't resist!
My mom found these belly tats, and everyone had
one on Labor Day weekend...aren't they hilarious?
I promised a classroom reveal, so here it is...I just wanted you to know that I really did take the summer off, not just from school, but from blogging, Teacher Pay Teacher-ing, and anything having to do with work, at all. It was a first!


I rearranged this year, because, for the first time EVER, I got a classroom rug! It is so stinkin' cute I can hardly stand it! I found it at for less than $300, and it's 12x8 and beautiful! My friend Jen made me the adorable pencil, and I painted my name on it with a paint pen. It might be my new favorite thing. But, maybe it's my classroom library, because, for the first time ever, it's all leveled! Woot! Woot! Student teacher to the rescue! She worked for one afternoon straight and found every single book I have on or Scholastic and leveled every single one. Next, she's going to type all the titles in Accelerated Reader to see which ones have tests available. LOVE!

 My small group area is better than ever this year - same table, same stools, same teacher chair, but I moved it to a weird corner in the room, and I love it there! I can see everybody everywhere, and keep and eye on them during their station work. I know they should be accountable for themselves, but, let's face it, seven-year-olds still need a little extrinsic motivation (read: the raised eyebrow) once in a while.
I'm loving my chalkboard themed alphabet, CAFE board, and number line! You can find them here. They are a great reference for the kiddos to use. I never realized how confused my kiddos were by my word wall, until one of my princesses was saying the alphabet wrong, because she was looking at the word wall. There's no room in my little class for a straight-across-a-wall kind of word wall, so it's on cabinet doors. Wherever a letter's words happen to end, a new letter begins, and sometimes that looks like the alphabet's all out of order, so I love the pennant banner alphabet I made this year! The number line has been a lifesaver, as well, because my littles can't quite read all those number words, and my number line includes the words, tens frames, and numerals - it's great!
Here's that fabulous rug, y'all! Isn't it cute? My kiddos have all kinds of room, it's all clean and bright, and it totally keeps my pink and orange thing going, but brings in the blue for the boys.

I do have to say that the very best thing about my room this year is my class! They are the best I've had in years! So sweet, so good, and trying so hard! I'm still teaching that little group of twelve, but they're in a special program, sort of like a transition class between first and second grades. They're behind in reading and math, so that's all I teach, but, y'all, they are working so hard I know they'll be all caught up by the end of the year, and ready for third grade!

Now that I'm back in the swing, I'll keep you up-to-date on all our learning...promise!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It

I know, I know! I've been MIA...again! This summer has been so weird...the girls and I have been, surprisingly, bored! I know, right? We should be enjoying the time off from school, hangin' at the pool, going to the lake, drawing or painting or crafting something together. Instead, we've been driving each other crazy with "What are we going to do today?"

Well, I finally have something to show for it, so I'm linking up with Tara for Monday Made It!

 I finally got around to my first chalk paint project, but, y'all, I have to tell you, chalk paint ain't all that! You HAVE to look for this newer, way, way better product: Paint Couture and Glaze Couture.
There's NO waxing. Ever. It's easier to use than chalk paint, yet gives the same look, only better. There are about a million combinations between all the paint and glaze colors. A-Maz-Ing! So, this is similar to the cabinet I redid:
My mom gave it to me about ten years ago, but the top piece was broken in several places, so I tossed it when we moved across-country. We've been using the bottom half as an entertainment center ever since, but it was just too dated and too formal for me, so I bit the bullet and painted it peacock and glazed it copper. Easy Peasy and I LOVE it now!
Before, my lamps were pretty outdated, and they really didn't match our new bedroom decor at all. I ripped out the beading - very easily by snipping one bead off and then un-threading the rest. Then I copied the pattern from an embroidered pillow from my bed and used a paint pen to lay it out on the newly plain lampshades. Finally, I repainted with acrylic silver metallic paint (it's not shiny, I promise!) until it looked solid and even. I'm fairly happy with the new look:
And one for school, which starts in less time than I'd like to think about! I was inspired by the Bright Ideas Blog Hop to get a wireless doorbell from Lowe's. While there, I picked up some paint samples (always, always get paint samples) with little windows in them and thought of two ideas immediately:
Okay, I cheated and wrote on tape, which you can see in my picture, but I want to create these with my kiddos, so I removed the tape after the pictures! Anyway, the idea above is to laminate these for each student. Then we can generate digits with dice, cards, dominoes, etc. and write them in the windows. Then, I thought we could draw the base ten blocks in the space above the windows, and finally, write the number in expanded form at the very top. Of course, we'll use dry erase, so we can use these little babies all year!

Next, I thought of how hard it was for my last class to identify word parts, so I made this vocabulary paint chip. I'm thinking we'll write each word part in the windows, the meaning above that, and the whole word, including any spelling changes, at the very top, or maybe on the back, which is blank, so I can have the kids flip their cards over to check their spelling.

I'm feeling pretty productive today, like maybe my TOTAL creative block is finally broken! Y'all can pray for that, 'cause we're getting a new roof at my school and no one can get in to to any prep work all. summer. long! Holy Moly, Guacamole! I always, always go in super early to get things ready, because our Meet the Teacher Night is the very first day after teachers report for our first day of professional development, and there's NO time to work in our rooms before kids and parents are there expecting to see it all pretty and put together. Yikes!

Hope your summer is going great, lasting long enough, is full of creativity and relaxation and is NOT boring!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth, Y'all! and FREEBIES

I love the Fourth of July! Always have, always will. Ever since I can remember, I've loved fireworks, and they're legal for anyone to shoot off here in South Carolina. 

Yep, that's how we roll - legal fireworks, no required motorcycle helmets, riding in the back of a pickup is just fine, we can text and drive. Man, there's nothin' here to keep ya safe! It's all about the land of the free.

In honor of our freedom, and our country's birthday, I'm offering my absolute newest products for FREE today! Just click here or on either picture below to go right to my TPT store and check out the featured products for your two freebies. After today, they're $5.50 each, so snap 'em up while you can.
Happy Birthday, America!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Okay, people! I have never, ever participated in a Throwback Thursday, and now you'll all know why! That's me at the bottom left, front row. Check out the sullen look, the "winged" hair, the oversized glasses, and that lovely outfit! My best friend was Jennifer, three to my right in the blue and orange plaid shirt. Strangely, I can name every single person in this photo, although I was in school with some of them from third grade through college (yep, Doug was in every class I had all the way through Clemson - he's the one in the USC shirt right in the middle). As if being in the eighth grade over 30 YEARS ago isn't bad enough, I have to confess that this is the absolute oldest photo I have digital access to, so no, I don't teach eighth grade, but it is when I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

My teaching career went something like this:
Senior year of high school - "Mom, I think it's stupid that they ask you on this college application what you want to major in. That means I have to pick a job for the rest of my life right now!" 
"Yes, Brooke, it does. What do you want to do?" 
"I have no's a 17-year-old supposed to know that? I would like to teach English."
"You can be anything. You don't have to be a teacher or a nurse. That's all I was supposed to be when I was in school. That's all women could be. Think bigger."
"Oh. How about an astronaut? The first woman astronaut?"
"That's crazy. They don't let women be astronauts."

Really? This is the conversation my mom and I had at the kitchen table. Here she is telling me I can be anything and in the next breath, I can't be an astronaut because I'm a girl! What up with that? 

THREE majors and two careers later, at 29, I decided to go to grad school to be a...teacher. The hold-up? That very conversation right then, right there at the kitchen table. Oh, well, a late start, but I never looked back. Teaching is perfect for me! :) "Miss ADHD" has never been bored. Every single day is different. The curricular changes, themselves, are enough to keep me on my toes! Let's see, whole language, basal, four-block, basal, trade books, basal, CCSS and who knows what's next for us in S.C., now that our brilliant governor announced that we will no longer educate children...

Honestly, I love every day of teaching. The children are precious, my co-workers are amazing, the parents at my school are great, and I pretty much have the same schedule as my beautiful daughters. I knew I would love it. 

My third (and fourth) grade teacher, Miss Bruce, was my hero - not to mention my babysitter. She invited me to her wedding, and she came to mine, too. 
My elementary school, Taylors Elementary, was in a cotton mill!

My sixth grade English teacher, Mrs. McDaniel, was awesome! Eighth grade social studies? Coach Edmunds was hilarious and perfect for a bunch of hormonal pre-teens. By high school, I was totally hooked into education. I should have listened to my heart way back then, but, as they say, better late than never!

Happy Throwback!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Worksheet Wednesday Linky

I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune again today to bring you a math activity my kids just love! Okay, I admit, it's not exactly a worksheet, but then again it is. I have these cute frog sets from Oriental Trading Company, where my husband used to work. Don't hate me because I have some connections on the best teacher prize box ever!
One year, on Leap Day, I had a student with a birthday in my class, so I pulled these out during my planning period to whip up something fun to help him celebrate, since he only gets a real birthday every four years. We were studying measurement in math, and I thought it would be fun to see how far these guys can jump. The "worksheet" I'm sharing with you is the refined result of that off the cuff lesson, which has turned into a class favorite every year. You can order the flipping frogs for $11.00, and you'll get a dozen sets like the one above. Click on the image to go to OTC's website. Then it's off to the races! Have kids predict how far, in inches, they think the frogs can jump. Jump away, and measure to compare to predictions and fill in the chart on the worksheet you'll find here. Don't save this one for Leap Day - it's fun year round and really gets kids thinking about reasonable estimates, measuring accurately, and recording their results.

Happy Jumping!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two For Tuesday FREEBIE

Hey! I'm back today with a quick link up with The Teaching Tribune for their Two for Tuesday party! I have no idea how anyone can get Teachers Pay Teachers to give 50% off, so I'm improvising a little with the rules today...If you buy one of my best sellers within the next 24 hours, that's 8:00 p.m. EST June 10-11th, email me to get your choice of equal or lesser value FREE! 

My number one seller is my 

A close second is my 
Amelia Bedelia Reading & Language Arts Unit, also $4. Both of these units are perfect for second grade, and are common core aligned to meet second grade standards, but could also be used to meet CCSS standards in first, third and fourth grades. Click on your choice, email me at to let me know you purchased a unit today and to tell me what you'd like for free, and I'll email you back with your freebie. Even easier, just leave me a comment below, but be sure you're not a "no reply" comment (your comment should have a link back to you - see this post by Megan Favre for a quick fix).

Have a great Tuesday!