Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fourteen Hours and Flip Flops

Fourteen hours. In 14 hours, my summer is over. Well, sort of...I have 2 professional development days, beginning in 14 hours. Then, I'm back in summer mode until the 11th. Two more days of professional development, a "Meet the Teacher" on the 13th, and back to summer. So, officially, I go back to work, for real, on the 17th, with kiddos coming on the 18th. It's a good thing I like flip flops!
Meanwhile, I kind of dropped the ball on getting my TpT store ready for the big sale, so my sale began a few hours late, BUT I'm extending it through Friday, just in case you are in flip flop mode, too! Be sure to use the code BTS15 through tomorrow (hint, hint...I think TpT is doing a little extension, too) for 28% off. After that, I'm offering 20% off everything in my shop.

Now, I have to ask you, is anyone nervous this year? I am so super nervous I'm about beside myself! I don't know what it is...maybe the new, new SC standards? Maybe the fact that I've never even seen three of the four textbooks I'm supposed to use? Maybe that I moved rooms during the last three days of school, which was really just a case of "shoveandhide" to get junk off the counters and floors? Maybe it's the grade-level change? Maybe the fact that I was going to be departmentalized, but now I'm not? Maybe it's that we haven't been able to get in our building since an hour after the last day of school and we still can't...until the 11th? MAYBE it's all of that!!! Anyway, I know I'm about to load up my cart on TpT and probably wing it for a few days, get those kiddos to help with the room, and just not worry. Okay, I can tell myself that, anyway.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tried it Tuesday - Interactive Journals

This year, I'm moving back to fourth grade, but...a little secret...I'm terrified! It's been six years since I moved to second grade. Our standards have changed to the common core and from the common core. This summer, our new state standards were released, and my district is working furiously to put together pacing guides, but isn't quite finished. My classroom library, so lovingly collected and organized by Lexile, only goes up to about a 500! And that's with about 1,000 books! I have never seen the fourth grade math, science, or reading textbooks (not that I'm that big on textbooks, anyway), and just before school dismissed, I moved classrooms, removing all the non-U.S.History "stuff" from the room. Since then, I've decided to go self-contained, and teach all subjects to my kiddos, rather than let them switch around all day. My school has been a "hard-hat area" all summer, so no one can get to their classroom, either!

I need a Tried it Tuesday rescue, so I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper!

So, my Tried it Tuesday? Well, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure going full-force! I've bought several interactive journals and plan to use them in and across all subjects. That, too, will be new for me. Yikes! I decided today that I wanted a uniform look for all the icky composition notebooks that I'm requiring students use for their journals. Although all the journals I've purchased come with covers, I just kind-of wanted my own thing, ya know? So, here it is:

You can pick up a copy of all six covers from my TpT shop, or by clicking on the picture below:

Well, I'd best be getting back to my long-range plans. Just EIGHT days until I'm back at work!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It!

Today something scary happened. I realized I have exactly NINE days before I head back to work! Nine days. Summer is fleeting, and I'm not nearly through! 

I haven't spent enough time with my beautiful daughters. We haven't gone to the pool enough. We haven't just hung out having fun enough. How can this be???
Well, to be honest with myself, I've spent nearly every day this summer waiting around the house for cable guys, delivery guys, painters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC guys, and basically every other kind of guy you might wait around on when you've just bought a house. Yes, we've decorated. Yes, the girls did get to pick out their room colors and decor. Yes, we've baked cookies and delivered them to my parents, my hubby's parents, and even my grandma. Yes, the stupid cable works now. But, really, nine days?

To have something to show for some of my waiting around, I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Made it Monday! We have been busily waiting around, after all.

The girls and I tried some mixed media artwork last week...I found some great directions here. We always have canvases lying around, so we chose some scrapbook paper, copied pictures out of magazines, gathered all the materials and got busy. I will tell you that this project took several days, probably because working on my own, while teaching the girls to use Mod Podge, wasn't easy, so we only worked for about an hour at a time. We had fun learning the process, being creative, and I'm pleased enough with mine that they might make it in our bedroom, to hang over the bed.

Clare wanted her room to be pink with an orange chevron wall. Yikes! After looking at lots of tutorials and youtube videos, I think I found the easiest one, for me, here.

After measuring, marking, and taping, I knew I wanted a monogram over her bed, so I printed out the full size I wanted on four pieces of paper, taped them together, and cut them out. Then I traced the frame shape onto the wall. It's one of Krista Wallden's freebies. If you don't follow her on TpT, you should! She is a very talented artist and always has lots of freebies. Then I painted the chevron and the monogram frame. I did find that "cutting in" along the tape caused more bleeding, rather than sealing the tape, as the tutorial suggests, so I just rolled the paint on. Finally, I used my cameo to cut out Clare's monogram and stuck it on the frame.
Oh my! Have I shared the best secret ever to use as transfer paper? It's Glad Press n' Seal. Y'all, it is seriously the easiest thing I've ever used with my cameo cuts. You'll never buy transfer paper again, and you can give your husband his painters' tape back, too! Okay, these pictures are from last-day-of-school buckets I made, but you get how easy the press n' seal is, right?

No Sew Window Treatments? Yes, please! 
Y'all, I can sew, but you don't have to with these easy peasy curtain ideas. The first one, I made when I first got married, and I didn't know how to sew. I used iron-on hem tape to do the whole thing. We had bought a house, and it had a black and white bathroom that was pretty dated. I loved this sheer "buggy" fabric, so I "hemmed" the sides and bottom, then ironed in a 3 inch folded-over pocket-thing for the rod. I found the ribbon, accordion folded the bottom, and tied the bows around a tension rod I'd threaded through my pocket at the top. Last week, while cleaning out the boxes upon boxes in our garage, I found that old curtain and knew it would be great in the girls' bathroom, also black and white, just like in our first house. All I did was fold it a little more to accommodate such a short window!
Below is Clare's little curtain. Again, you could use the iron-on hem tape to make your rod pocket (I sewed this one, and hemmed it, too) and hem. For this little valance, I first sewed my fabric into a big loop, like a cylinder of fabric, so that it was doubled for some extra body. Then, I sewed the rod pocket at the seam. The edges are just the selvedges, which are finished off the bolt of fabric. I made the little bunting out of some left-over ric-rack, used my pinking shears to cut the triangles so they wouldn't fray, and hot glued the whole thing together, adding some cute buttons for fun! Clare painted the birdhouse herself.

Here's another no sew project we whipped up last week. After struggling with what to do about a bedskirt, after raising Callie's bed seven inches for under-bed storage, it hit me. The fabric I had upholstered her walls with, in our rental house, was perfect! First, I measured the length of the box springs. Then I pinned the fabric length at the corners. From there, I kept finding the middle (eyeballing it) and putting another pin. When the pins were about seven inches apart, I started stapling pleats and gathers. Then, I'd pin them to the boxsprings. That's it!

The last thing we made was this wreath. I used one roll of burlap ribbon from Wal-Mart, about five feet of another roll (the green), some linen I cut off of some pants I hemmed, and some left-over buttons. First, wrap a foam wreath form with the natural burlap ribbon. Use floral pins to secure the ribbon. To make the roses, I cut strips of linen and then just kind of wound them up. To get them the way I wanted them to look, I loosened the strips and pinned them in place on the wreath, loosening toward the center as I went. Next, I hot glued some old buttons on, and last, I tied a bow and pinned it on with floral pin.

So, as you can see, it would seem I've done nothing school-related. That's why:

Nah! Just relax, take the last week or so easy, and everything will fall into place!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

The End of Year Crazies!

We made it to the end of the school year! Really, this year flew by faster than any other I've ever had. And now that we've been out of school for almost two weeks, it seems more like two days! 

Before school let out, we had a fabulous Field Day! The games were so much fun, and even the teachers got in and played.
The cutest game! Pitchin' Pigs...
The kiddos had to try to hike the
rubber piggies through the hula hoops
behind them. Then, regardless of
whether they made it through the
hoop, they retrieved the pig and handed
it off to the next in line - awesome relay!
Do you see that face? He's having a blast hopping down
the field and around a cone and back, racing
kids in the other classes. Then, all the teachers raced
each other - TOO FUNNY!
Good ole' sack races - fun for everyone!

Our last field trip of the year was to LegoLand! The kids had so much fun, and LegoLand fit nicely with our school's STEM initiative. Our STEM teacher uses Legos several times throughout the year to have the kids build structures, make battery-powered robots, explore circuits, and more.

For the last three days of school, the kids and I moved every. single, thing. to my new classroom. Can you say cah-ray-zy? This is right after school on the first moving day:

Thankfully, on the very last day of school, my fabulous room mom helped me get everything put away, organized, and packed up for next fall! This is how I left it:
Thanks to ALL great room moms!

SO, at the same time I was moving at school, we were moving into our new house!
Kitchen - before
The movers seemed to think that the best thing to do with all of our stuff was stack it on top of itself. I can NOT complain!

We are finally in our own house, I've had almost every room painted, and my hubby's being super-patient with me, letting me enjoy my summer and unpack slowly. It's a heaven-sent luxury to be able to paint, finally use all my pins for design and decor (outside the classroom), and give my girls their dream rooms!

New Tiffany Blue paint in the kitchen...LOVE!
Before we bought the house, I found these candle holders at TJ Maxx, and loved them. I knew they'd be perfect to replace the icky track lights in the kitchen. I drilled holes in the bottom of each one, bought new light kits for the track, and hung the repurposed light fixtures. I just have to cut the wiring to the right length...and I will. I promise!

Living Room - before
How to not get all grandma in here??? I'm working on unformalizing the living room. Yes, I made that word up, just now!

Living Room - in progress...I'm trying to decide what to do about that weird place above the lower left photo of one of our daughters. I designed these two vinyl ideas to cut using my silhouette, but I can't decide which one I like better. Let me know what you think!
The den, getting there, gotta hang pictures and open the blinds!

The den, as the movers left it...

While we're unpacking, I have to start packing. We're off to the beach for a week of vacation! What a perfect ending to a perfect school year, and a perfect beginning to our new life in our new home, and my new life in fourth grade!
My happy place...Sunset Beach, NC!
I have lots of ideas for integrating my subject areas - ELA and US history - that I'll be working on this summer. Although South Carolina has officially withdrawn from common core, our new state standards look so much like CCSS, I think you'll be able to find plenty to use in your classroom. Right now I'm thinking "big kid" stations, which seem kind of hard for me to find, but I know fourth graders certainly aren't too old to use them or learn from them. I also think they might be the perfect answer to the RTI requirements in my school. We have 30 minutes, per day, to work with the lowest achieving ten percent of students. Rather than use stations during guided reading groups, I think I'll be using them while I work with my RTI group. I'll keep you posted on how it's going, and let you know as soon as I have some stations ready.