Thursday, August 30, 2012

Love at First Day Sight...

They are wonderful, delightful, adorable and ooohhh so little. How soon we forget having just parted ways with 2nd Graders a few short months ago. It was love at first sight. But, it was Day One. We know. It was a whirlwind of day and we're beat, but it was a fun first day!

Our school bell rang at 8:25am. We started the day off with a chuckle when our Firstie Friend next door delivered some "mid-morning" chocolate. We giggled because it was only 8:15am, but apparently felt like mid morning already! We cracked them open, enjoyed the sugar rush along with our caffeine and geared up!
 We were greeted outside our door by 21 little faces and a million many parents eager to boot their kids out send their kids off. We get this...we're Moms. Sometimes summer coming to an end is not entirely a bad thing for all parties involved. We say this with the utmost need for routine love and affection. ;-)

We welcomed everyone to the new year, attempted to corral the kiddos into somewhat of a line outside of our door, and invited their families to come inside and help them find their *new* desks. They were so excited! A desk! With my own name! And things! YAY!! It's a first grade thing and they were eating it up! Adorable and easy to please. Teachers likey. :) 

 A few first day goodies that were handed to us by our sweet, sweet friends. The apple is hand sewn and such a sweet addition to our desk. The pencil is made out of Rolos and a Hugs candy from our Principal. More mid-morning chocolate. We clearly blew bathing suit season in hour one!
We encouraged the paparazzi parents take as many pictures as they liked and gave them a few minutes to share the moment at their child's desk. We know it might be unconventional, and for years we did what we were taught ~ Greet them at the door, make them wave goodbye to their parents, let only the kids in, and SHUT THE DOOR! But, after having kids of our own and sharing the experience of entering their classrooms on the first day of school, we've turned over a new leaf. It takes a few of those very first minutes, but the memories last a lifetime.

Once the flashes stopped and our eyeballs recovered, we invited the kids to the rug and the parents to sit in their chairs. It was cute, but looked kinda uncomfortable. Many stood. We understood. 
Like oodles of other teachers in Littleland, we read the story The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn to part ways with our families on the first day. We have been told by some Mommy friends recently that teachers reading this story to parents of little ones on the first day of school is cruel. Makes them weep. In public. With make-up. We had plenty of tissues and a mirror on hand in case of emergency. NOT to be mean or anything, we just love the story and it makes a great connection for the kids which keeps them from weeping. And, it's really all about the kids. Right?

We added a little special touch to our departure this year. After the weeping story finished, we asked the parents and kids to head back to their tables and create a kissing hand of their own. Thank you Cameo for cutting these hands and hearts for us! Love at First Sight...seriously this machine is uh-mazing. 

The stickers were cut with red adhesive vinyl and the hands with grey construction paper. We had them write their names on them, give them to their parents and say their goodbyes. It was sticky sweet and they ate it up! A few didn't have parents who stayed so we helped them out and had them stick their kissing hands in their mailboxes to deliver to Mom or Dad later.

 Okay, it was not all pixie dust and rainbows Peeps. It never is. Things come up, and we've learned Cardinal Teacher Rule #1 very well over the years - Be Flexible. We had a kicker, screamer, grabber, runner.  Yes, all of them rolled into one sweet, precious package. He was glued to Dad like there was no tomorrow. Poor little guy! We gave him time. We tried to connect. He was not having it. We did not give up. We pried him from Dad and dug deep into our bag of tricks. Hmm...where did they go? Yep, yep here they are! L-E-G-O-S. Gets 'em every time!!!
 Nope. 
Not having it. 
After a lot of space, a little time, and a quick heart to heart with the Principal he came around and what.a.love.

Next up ~ School Tour. We do this every year, but this year we thought we'd give it a twist and turn our tour into a Treasure Hunt. 
We use these little fishy friends to encourage quiet, hard workers. They "swim" around the classroom, bouncing from desk to desk during a particular work time as we catch different kids making smart choices. At the end of the time, wherever these guys end up last, those children get to pick a sticker from our sticker tub.

We told the kids that all the people seemed to have arrived in our class today, but that we were missing some friends who swim and needed their help to find them and bring them back to class.
Our hunt had 8 clues which we hid around the school. 
Each clue led us to a spot around the school that we wanted to introduce them to, explain the rules for, or just show them because, well... they need to know it.
 We visited the playground and found this clue sticking out of the sand! "How did the swimming things get into the sand? They need water!" Play along Honey...this is going to end in your favor.
 We visited the bathroom and talked about rules. 
Go, Flush, Wash, Leave
Those are the Rules our school has adopted for bathroom use this year. Short, sweet and to the point. Love them!

We visited the library, custodian, cafeteria, health office, front office, and finally landed ourselves in the Principal's office to find our hidden treasure! They ate it up, and it was a good thing because our lil' morning had us running way into our first recess! Sugar rush crashing...
Our treasure hunt treats/recess snacks were goldfish crackers, so we hustled them to the snack tables and set them free for their very first recess. WOO HOO!!

After recess, we worked on our Welcome Pages. We just love to see how they color on the first day.
For those "Speedy Swordfish" in our class (AKA ~ Fast Finishers), we came up with some lil' assessment activities for the back of the coloring page. Sorry for the yucky pic. It's the best we can do at 1am on the first night of school. Sleep apparently was for summer? Good thing we hibernated for Fall!
This activity was awesome for seeing what our new friends know. It gave us a great peek into their lil' brains and gave them an opportunity to flaunt their Kindergarten feathers. You know how they love to show you what they know!

That took us all the way to lunch, and we were able to sit, eat and breathe for just a bit before heading back and diving into more welcoming, rules, and some free exploration of classroom materials before packing up and heading home. 

They asked to go home a lot. They were tired. It was hotter than hot. Many chose to just huddle in the shade instead of play. 
Poor, sweaty babies! If only we had a pool at school!

We know we're all exhausted and could definitely use showers, but no matter how tired and sweaty we are, we kinda can't wait to do it all again tomorrow! We hope this is a good sign that it is going to be a fabulous school year. {Knock on Wood}




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day Jitters & Classroom Quick View

What a week...
We don't know about you guys, but we are T-Minus 9 hours and 8 minutes from the first school bell of the year, and we can hardly wait. We're so excited to meet our new batch of fantastic first graders, but we're totally nervous too.  It doesn't seem to matter how long we've been teaching, we always get the first day jitters. Do you get nervous for the first day? Typically, Christy's brain is so full of ideas tonight, she crashes. Tammy on the other hand, sits with a brain so full that she n.e.v.e.r.s.l.e.e.p.s. the night before school. So, what to do...Well, blog of course!

We know you are all crazed at the moment and we do not want to waste any of your precious time. Unless you too are burning the midnight oil? Well then ~ slap on your Cozy, fire up the chamomile and let's DO this! :)

Somewhere back in the time, during this thing called "summer", we recall having some crazy idea about redoing our entire classroom. Call it a Pinterest curse or summer boredom, but this was just the beginning of what we bit off...
We had plans. B-I-G plans.

We did not count the hours. We do not care to know. We had a wonderful time hanging out together, creating, sharing, planning, and validating each other's crazy ideas and running with them. That's what teacher friends are for!

Here's a quick view of the results...
Welcome to Our Classroom
So, we obviously went with the blue, green, and white tones, but we do vaguely remember blogging something about, "We both agree everything doesn't have to be matchy-matchy.". Hmmmm, yeah...Kinda knew we'd blow that one after the lanterns. But, we have to say this is the first time we've ever stuck with a specific color scheme and it actually made things super focused. We are now official pros at scouring every dollar spot, discount store, and garage sales galore with only 3 things in mind ~ Blue, Green, White...Blue, Green, White. It has been way easier than we thought! 
Front of Room ~ Student Mailboxes, Whale of the Week Board, Character Counts Board...All waiting to be filled! Any bets on how long this white table cloth will stay white? And, we're not talking about the kids. Our money is on coffee spill by Day 5...It can be bleached, and it was free...We do live dangerously...
Look at all these books. It's going to be a busy year! 
 Here's the view from the side of our classroom. Closest is our Reading Meeting Area, then Work Wall, Message Center, and sink area. We are piloting Treasures Reading by MacMillan/McGraw Hill the first 6 weeks of the school year. We are excited to try it out, but can we be completely honest here? We are really mostly excited that the little readers which arrived in the 30 (yes, t-h-i-r-t-y) boxes were blue and green! They are really just meant to live on these shelves. AND, the display box they came in literally fits with 1/2 inch to spare. Our inner Perfectionist squealed with delight! So, we're really hoping to absolutely LOVE this program for it's instructional value, but if it came down to voting on colors...SOLD!
Of all the things we cut, glued, stapled (with our new favorite one finger friend!), printed or prepped, this is our favorite. 
We know what you Eagle Eyes are checking out...And, no we're not crazy! Yes, we stuck a few right over the doors. And, yes we use these cupboards all.the.time.

With the increase of class sizes these past few years, we've had to extend our board around the sides of the cupboard and let's just face it...Nobody really likes to sit in the middle back seat with their feet on the hump. Right? Plus, how do you pick which ones get the boot? It's too hard and we're sure a few eyes have noticed how that "looks"...Why is my child on the side? Really...not a conversation worth our time having. So, we wanted to figure out a way to display them all on the front of our cupboards. And, though it looks as if we've created a problem. We did not.
Wanna know our secret? 
We'll fill you in as the school year gets underway...
Sorry, we totally went Ryan Seacrest on you there...
You'll have to wait until after the commercial...again.
 Anyone else hate the suspense?
So, the only thing missing besides one fully rested teacher and a little less jittery stomach is a classroom full of kids ready to learn! We had the pleasure of meeting a few of them today at our school's End of Summer Social, and we both called each other this evening and squealed with delight. We are already in love and really hope we did not just jinx ourselves by claiming it's going to be a great year! 



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday...Tardy

We spent Technology Tip Tuesday buried in our completely cluttered classroom. But, we're making progress AND they finally turned on the air conditioning! Ahhhh....We can do this! Sorry for the Tardy Technology Tuesday link up ~
We love technology like the next teacher, and were so excited to share a few gems we enjoy using with our  friends. We use each of these free online programs in our classroom and in the computer lab when we have a chance to teach whole class on the smart board. We are not as fortunate as some of you blinged out teacher techies who have a board in your own class yet, but we make do with walking to our smart board. Our pedometer likes it. :) 

1st Tip: Tux Paint
 
Tux Paint is a free online drawing program for kids. Last year, we attempted this whole class in the computer lab in November. We drank a lot of coffee that day, and walked our kiddos through drawing Pilgrim boys and girls. They came out great! The ease of navigating makes teaching easy ~ Find the paint brush, click it. Find the color brown, click it. We did it in November...easy.


There are lots of options for creating free online drawings and they're easy to navigate for kids. 
Love Tux Paint!

2nd Tip: Starfall.com

We cannot say enough great things about Starfall.com. It is delightful, differentiated online reading help for kids. It is engaging and easy to navigate. We've used it both at home and in the classroom for years. It is also the first site we recommend to parents come conference time if they are looking for some ways to provide home practice.
They've just recently added Starfall Math too. Can't wait to check that one out!

Total apologies for the tardy technology tips, but hopefully you can use one of them in your classroom when the dust settles. 

We're off to keep plugging away on the class and then a quick training on the new Language Arts Program we're piloting this year. Then, back to class to make room for the 20 boxes that the program comes in. T-W-E-N-T-Y...It might be a long day.

We can't wait to share it with you!! 
The class, not the 20 boxes...


Monday, August 20, 2012

Teacher Week-Must Haves Monday Linky

Hi All! We've been a bit MIA this past week with last minute summer squeak-in-vacations and trying to get our room set up. We are redoing E.V.E.R.Y bulletin board and our color scheme as well. It sounded great in theory and don't get us wrong, we DO love it, there are just not enough hours in the day to squeeze it all in. Pictures to follow when we finally get it finished. . .

We have found some time however, to link up with the fabulous ladies over at Blog Hoppin' for a little week long link up.


Must Have #1: Silhouette Cameo
Meet our new Joint-Custody Cameo: We are so in love! The things this amazing puppy can do! Just look at our lil flower it cut out! No more cramped hands from cutting scallops!
It's a bit of an investment, but soooo worth it!

Must Have #2: One Finger Stapler by Paper Pro
Seriously people! If you don't have one-drop everything NOW and go get yourself one. Just yesterday we had to use a regular ole stapler for a bulletin board and after a few not-so-lady-like expletives, never again will we attempt to staple anything on our boards without it!

Must Have #3: Mr. Sketch
These fun, sweet smellin markers are ideal for anchor charts, correcting papers, projects, etc. We let our "Person of the Day" choose which color/smell we use when we go around and check papers. They love 'em!
Must Have #4: Bins, bins, and more bins!
We just changed our color scheme and stocked up on containers to keep everything in its place.

Must Have #5: Letter Sound Dictionary
This is our absolute favorite beginning of the year job.  [click here for our info post]
After just a few lessons, this becomes an INDEPENDENT activity! Yep we said it, In-De-Pen-Dent first graders in the beginning of the year-who would have thunk it! After it's prepped, you have weeks of repetition and the kids get the hang of it quickly.

                                                                                                                                   
One last fun STOP before school starts: bop on over to our friend Megan's blog and
celebrate with her 1,000 Follower Giveaway!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Giveaway Winner and Labels Freebie!

We are so excited to announce the winner of our Back to School in Style Giveaway!
Drum roll please...

Congratulations Kelly!

We were so amazed by the out pour of people needing style! We can relate. Seriously...we've worn our share of florescent, legwarmers, and high hair. YES, all at the same time! It was the 80's!!!  

But, just to prove we do actually have some style (our hair is a little lower nowadays), we wanted to share the love with a few more of  you who entered our giveaway!  Our little blog hit 400 Followers all the sudden the other day, so we picked 4 more of you stylish studs to choose any item from our TpT store to start the year with! Congratulations to...


And, just because we really have to make up for all the Aqua Net we released into the ozone back in the day LOVE you guys, we came up with a few FREE, stylish labels to set your school year off right.
Click on the picture below for your FREE download!

You can download this editable powerpoint file from our TpT store and create the text to say anything you want! Print them out on regular paper, card stock, or use the full sheet labels to give them a sticky back.
And, just in case you're stumped on what to add to your stylish labels, here are some suggestions...
Math SWAG
Reading SWAG
Science SWAG
Social Studies SWAG

We've decided anything sounds better with SWAG added to the end! Try it...it kinda works!

 

 

 

Head over to our TpT Store to download yourself some label SWAG...We really like our new word! It totally makes labels sound way RAD...We loved that word too. :)


While you're there, don't forget the BIG Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale ends today. Make sure you stock up now! Everything in our entire STORE is 20% off and TPT is adding an additional 10% of sale prices for all items on the site. Remember to enter Promo Code BTS12 at checkout to get your savings! Click on the picture below to start saving!



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Currently it CAN'T be August...


Ok fine...we give up. It's UGH August {arms folded with a BIG pouty lip}. As much as we tried to stay in bed dug our heals in in an attempt to savor every last morsel of summer, we know the inevitable is here...

How do we know? 
It's time for Farley's Currently Again...
So Currently, we're NOT going to worry about the fact that it is the hottest it has been all summer and our classroom has NO air conditioning, which makes for less than desirable working conditions. No, we're NOT. 

 And Currently, we're NOT going to dwell on the thought that going back to school in the middle of August, when it's hot enough to melt shoes to the blacktop, is a terrible idea. No, we're NOT.

And Currently, we're NOT going to freak out at the state of our classroom. No, we're definitely NOT going there... 
So, instead here's what we're Currently doing... 




The BIG news is that our blog is Currently nominated for the Top 25 Teacher Mom Blogs at circleofmoms.com and voting ends tomorrow! We would love it if you could click on the image above or at the top right of our sidebar and give us a vote. We are just so flattered to even be in the running and your support means the world to us! Thanks Friends!

And now back to our regular broadcasting...
Olympics = WOW! I am just in awe...
This is about as close as I'm getting to the Summer Games...
 
My mother-in-law was in England for the torch relay and brought us back her empty coke bottle from when they passed through the town she was in. They were made just for the torch run, and what was her trash is now our treasure. We've been displaying it proudly above our tele ever since.
 
Dallas Cowboys Training Camp = LOVE! Did I seriously just say that? Let me explain...
My husband has been a Cowboys fan since birth childhood. One of the first family activities to hit our summer calendar each year is the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, which takes place in sunny CA. 

It is the day each summer that I take one for the team. The day I pretend to understand love football, but if I must tell the truth...         I hate it it's not really my thing. Shhhh...

But, even I might be converted after this year.
Yes, that's Quarterback Tony Romo and my guy in the Austin  jersey at the back hoping for a chance...And, he got it! He was beaming from ear to ear and still days later keeps saying, "Mom, I was really lucky to get Romo's autograph. That was a really great day." {{love}} Little did we know, but our daughter was buried somewhere in there too and she came out with the big T-R scribble too!! So, Mom to Man...Thanks Tony!! 

B2S Must Haves = FINE! Wish this was Summer Must Haves, but Currently we're not going there...
Sigg Water Bottle
It just makes me drink.
Give me a pretty bottle and I'll drink anything. 
WAIT, that sounds bad...hahaha
I just mean, I really like them! 
I keep it under my desk empty and fill it up with WATER whenever I need.
No, this is not a shameless plug for our GIVEAWAY that ends on Sunday. :)
I had this picked out loooonnnngggg before.
I was given my own Thirty-one Gifts thermal lunch tote for the holidays last year.
I love this lunch tote!
It is big, insulated, and cute. And, feeling cute when you are stuck eating at school is important. :)
It holds a ton of stuff, and keeps all the food that has great intentions of being eaten on time cool until I eat it for dinner. You might be laughing, but I speak the truth.
See why I don't want summer to ever, ever, ever end. Ever.
Hello, Friend.
Well, we haven't officially met yet...But, we are so excited to meet you!
You will be given a name.
You will be talked to.
You will be loved.
You might even {earmuffs, Christy} get half of my BFF necklace if you do half the things I am drooling over in Bloggyland. {un-earmuffs}.
Christy and I went in on this purchase together...joint custody. 
I'm drafting a "legal agreement" as we might encounter some "spousal" disagreements on who gets to take it home with them. :) 
KIDDING...I will take it home all the time share.
So I did not spend my summer rubbing elbows with the Cowgirls Cowboys because in our house we are 
true die hard Chicago Bear fans-woot woo! 
The hubs and I did however, take a trip to Dallas and suffered through enjoyed a tour of the 
new swanky Dallas Stadium just to see what a $42 million JumboTron looks like! Of course, we didn't pass up the chance to snap a few pictures (me next to Tony Romo's locker-yes I touched it-neener neener) to share with our dear friends-jealous much?
A Bears fan in the Boys' house 

Now where was I (see 'wanting' on Currently).

When my boys were little bedtime couldn't get here fast enough, but that was due to pure exhaustion from chasing around youngins who were in constant motion. Now, it's just the time when the hustle and bustle stops and there is peace and quiet = rare in a house of 5. Just the beautiful pitter-patter sound of my fingers gliding along the keys stalking all your blogs. Need I say more?

I soooo miss my memory. I can remember names and faces from elementary school when I was 5, but cannot remember what I did yesterday. Am I alone out there? 
Wait...what were we talking about?

B2S Must Haves:
1. I admit it, I am a TOTAL crayon snob. Judge if you must. Ever since I was a little kid I seek out the fresh tipped lovelies to use. Doesn't matter if it's not the color I need, if it's tipped-it's mine. My sweet mother still buys me a brand new 96 count box every Christmas. She loves me!

2. Love the bright copy paper for beginning of the year for parent letters, class information, etc. The brighter the better!

3. Seriously my new best friend {Tammy's turn for earmuffs}. How much do you hate stapling bulletin boards or papers and the stapler slips, mangles the staple, and rips your paper or border? The Paper Pro One Finger is worth every penny.
 
And seriously you guys...You really only need one finger. 
LOOK!
Have you gotten your SWAG on? 
 Yes, your classroom is beautiful, but have you spent any time on yourself?  Enter our Back to School Style giveaway for a chance to win some fabulous style SWAG! 
Hurry! Giveaway ends Sunday at Midnight.




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