Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Teacher Organization With Blue Sky

To keep me organized for this summer I have a new Wall Calendar and Teacher Weekly Lesson Planner from BlueSky  The wall Calendar isn't too big or too small.  The squares are big enough to write in, but the calendar isn't so big that it takes up too much residential space on my wall.
BlueSky Wall Calendar
BlueSky Wall Calendar
The Teacher Weekly Lesson Planner comes in two sizes, I currently have the smaller version which is better for fitting into a purse and laptop bag. I am currently using it to write down appointments and meetings that are work related. However, I have been looking for something to use as a blogging calendar and think that either of these two just might be the ticket.  For those of you who are wondering what a blogging calendar is, it is what organized bloggers use to schedule out blog posts, Facebook, instagram and so forth.  Having a visual reminder can be very helpful.
Blue Sky Today's Teacher Academic Stripe Planner

The Teacher Weekly Lesson Planner has a very nice thick laminated spiral bound cover.  Each month is separated by a tab with a monthly calendar followed by each week at a glance.
Inside you will also find
  • a pocket page
  • yearly overview
  • Teacher information/emergency contact page
  • Yearly Overview
  • Holidays and Special Dates
  • Class Birthdays
  • Weekly Schedules
  • Tabs for each month
Blue Sky Today's Teacher Academic Stripe Planner
Blue Sky Today's Teacher Academic Stripe Planner
Blue Sky Today's Teacher Academic Stripe Planner
Blue Sky Today's Teacher Academic Stripe Planner
Blue Sky Today's Teacher Academic Stripe Planner
If you would like a chance to win your very own Teacher Planner from Blue Sky You can Enter below.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Organize Your Classroom Library

Organizing the classroom library can be an overwhelming task. Especially if you don't have a system already in place or you decide you need a system halfway through your organizing process.  Organizing your classroom library can be a bit of an investment too.  
Organize your classroom library in 5 simple steps.  Make your books easy for students to find and put back into the right book baskets.
Before you Begin...
First, decide on how you want to sort your books.  Do you want them by author, themes or reading levels?  I personally have a little of each in my classroom library.  Next decide on what you will keep your books in for easy movement from a shelf to the floor or tables.  I use white Sterelite baskets. It was an investment, but they will last.  These are the baskets I use.  
Amazon has them in packs of 6- for $15.58 that's a good deal.  They are $4.99 each at Target.  
The following section contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, to purchase the product or any other products from this website, I'll receive a commission.
Other Options For Storage- 
Dollar Store for dishpans or buckets
Ice Cube Buckets
Clear Shoe Boxes
Walmart Dishpans- They come in red, white or black

Book Box Labels
Once you decide on how to organize your books, you will want to make some sort of label to place on the front of each box.  You can get my labels here. Before you start making and printing your labels, play with the size of label you will be using and how you will be attaching it.  There are several ways to attach labels and I have tried them all.
Hot Glue
Velcro
Packing Tape
Clear Contact Paper
Before you attach the labels you may want to laminate them for durability.  They will take some abuse, especially if the boxes are being moved frequently from the shelves.

Label Your Books Inside and Out
Label your books.  Invest in a stamp mine reads- This book belongs to Mrs. Mugurussa or use address labels or make your own labels on the computer. Place inside the front cover of each book.

For the outside of your books, decide how students will know where to return the book to when they are finished.  I use a number system. Each box is assigned a number and every book in that box has a sticker on the upper right corner with the same number.  You could also place the number inside the front cover of the book too, just incase the sticker falls off. In my classroom library all of my book labels match my box labels.  Another idea to help students know where to return the books to, would be to use alphabet letters instead of numbers.  This works if you have no more then 26 boxes. For the book labels you can use round sticky dots and a Sharpie or print out computer labels.

You Can Do It!!!
With the right organizational supplies and some time, organizing the class library can be accomplished.  Go slow, don't expect to be done in a few hours.  Go through the books to see what types of books you have.  As you browse, you will get an idea as to how you will want to group them.  Once you decide how to group them, start sorting in 5 easy steps

  1. If space is a concern know how many containers you will need- buy a few extra- just in case you need more. You can always return them or keep them just in case you need them later on as you acquire more books
  2. Make your labels for the front of the books (either numbers or letters).
  3. Sort your books.
  4. Add the labels.
  5. Make your book box labels and attach.
These are my labels- nothing fancy I made them back in 2012. They are printed on 5x7 card stock then backed onto the black paper before I laminated.  I then hot glued them to the baskets. You can download my labels for free here.
Use hot glue to attach labels to basketsUse hot glue to attach labels to baskets.
Organize your classroom library in 5 simple steps.  Make your books easy for students to find and put back into the right book baskets.
This picture is from the end of the school year- a few of the labels have come loose, but a little more hot glue and hey will be good as new.
Organize your classroom library in 5 simple steps.  Make your books easy for students to find and put back into the right book baskets.
Tip
One last tip. Keep extra labels handy in a folder.  When you get new books, put a label on it so you can place it into the library as soon as you get it

Once it is complete- send my a picture- I'd love to share what you've done with everyone.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Organization Teacher Style

First day of summer break and where did I go... to school of course.  I had to finish packing up my classroom for the summer cleaning crew, but in order to do that I had to make a huge mess first.  Don't you always make a mess when you begin to organize?  I call it Summer Organization- Teacher style.
Center storage organization- organize your centers by month and subject to make planning easy and quick.  Download my center labels tub for free.
This year I vowed not to bring a ton of teacher projects home.  If you've followed my blog over the past few summers, you know that I have been known to bring enormous projects home for the summer.   One year I brought my entire library home to reorganize it, last summer I brought home all of my centers and my files. Todays task was to separate my monthly centers between ELA and Math.
Center storage organization- organize your centers by month and subject to make planning easy and quick.  Download my center labels tub for free.
Once the centers were sorted  I attached the new labels to the outside of the boxes using the scotch adhesive roller.  This stuff is amazing.  Every teacher should have it on hand. I keep all of my boxes inside an old wooden mail sorter.  It  has 40 slots half of it is holding the boxes, the other half holds copies that I run ahead of time and other items.
Center storage organization- organize your centers by month and subject to make planning easy and quick.  Download my center tub labels for free.
The following section contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links and purchase the product or any other product from this website, I'll receive a commission from Amazon.

The containers I use to store my centers are made by Sterelite.  I am in love with these containers and own far too many.  Not only do I use them to hold my centers, but I use them for my math and literacy station rotation materials.  The March-April are my newest addition and can be found on Amazon as well.  They seem to have the best price.  The other set above, I purchased several years ago at Target.  During the back-to-school time, they often get fun colors in with the dorm room collection.  However- once they are gone, they don't make them any more.  Which is why I now have a mismatched set.

I made my labels in PowerPoint to fit the front of my tubs the red are for ELA and the blue is for Math. Just click the picture below to download your free center tub labels
Free Center Tub Lables

What organizational products do you have planned this summer? I had hoped to also tackle my listening center sets as well, but I ran out of time.  That just might have to wait for next summer.  Luckily, they aren't in that bad of shape.  I really just want to catalog all of my newer sets.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

3 Tips to End the School Year with a POP!

Hang in there, summer is just around the corner... for most of us that is.  If you are lucky, maybe you are already sitting with your toes in the sand with a tropical drink in your hand and reading this from your iPad.  For me, I have only 9 days left and 5 of those are half days, but who's counting.... Today, I have three tips to make the end of your school POP.
How to end the school year feeling calm and organized.  Three tips to end the school year with a POP: Prioritize, Organize and Plan.

With the end of the school year coming at us full speed ahead, it also comes with a never ending list of "must do's".  Before we can close that door for the summer and walk away we must prep our rooms for the summer cleaning crews. I also like to prep it for my return as well, just to make my return a little less-stress free.

Here are my 3 top tips for ending the school year with a POP.
1. Prioritize: Take that never ending list of things that must be done before you can leave and prioritize.
1. What needs to be done now
2. What needs to be done soon or in a week or more
3. What needs to be completed by the last day
TIP: Use three different colored post-its to signify the urgency of each item on your list. Place the post-its on a poster board divided into 3 sections labeled now, soon, later. Once you have completed a task remove the post-it.  The visual reminder and the removal of the post-it will be great motivators to get thing done.
Use three different colored post-its to signify the urgency of each item on your list. Place the post-its on a poster board divided into 3 sections labeled now, soon, later. Once you have completed a task remove the post-it.  The visual reminder and the removal of the post-it will be great motivators to get thing done.
2. Organize: Organize the supply drawers and cupboards.  I spend one afternoon going through my drawers and another on my cupboards, tidying up the supplies.  This means purging, replenishing, taking note of what I need to reorder, purchase or return to the supply closet.  Some items the school will supply, others I purchase over the summer.  The items I need to purchase, I put into a list on my phone so I can remember to look for during the summer months sales.  This helps me not buy extra items I don't need.  Returning in August to clean drawers and cupboards makes starting the year off so much easier.  I know we are all tired now, but the truth is you won't have time to do it during back to school, so DO IT NOW!!!! 

3. Plan Ahead: If you already know of items you will be using at the beginning of the next school year and can make them know do it. I have some new literacy and math centers I made recently.  Last week I printed and laminated them and my parent volunteer is cutting them out.  I also plan on putting my calendar notebooks together next week. For this I will be enlisting the help of this years most responsible students.  Think of what you will be doing the first few days of school and get it ready if you can.
Keep calm because summer is almost here
I hope my 3 tips will help to make the ending the school year stress free and organized.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

End the School Year With Books and Writing

The school year is almost over and I have a bunch of books to read to my kids.  I know many of them are feeling lots of different emotions right now.  How do I know this, years of experiences and listening to them during our morning calendar time.  They don't really understand what summer vacation means, or moving on to first grade.  To help them grasp the concept, I have begun to read stories about finishing kindergarten and moving on to first grade.  We also visit the first grade classrooms and meet the teachers.
The Best Books to End the School Year With: SPend the last few days reading fabulous year end tales to your students.  These books will delight your students and get them thinking about summer vacations and first grade.
To end the year with my students I do two writing activities. First,  I have them write a letter to their first grade teacher.  In their letter they must tell their teacher something that they can do and something that makes them special.  The second writing activity is to make a page for a book to the incoming kindergartners.  The book is titled In Kindergarten..  Each page starts out In Kindergarten I...  I like to read this book on the first day to my incoming kindergarten students, to let them know all about the year they can expect to have.

There are so many wonderful books to end the year with.  These are my favorites.  I'm sure I have left a few off of this list.  If you have others, please share them in the comments.
The following section contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links and purchase the product or any other product from this website, I'll receive a commission from Amazon.

 

Happy Sunday, I'm off  to enjoy the beautiful sunshine before the afternoon wind kicks in.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The End of the School Year is Near

As the school year comes to a close, our lives become hectic.  They don't call this month the 90 days of May for nothing.  It may only be the 7th, but so far it feels like it is the 27th.
So many things are packed into May, that it is hard to come up for Air Ready, Set, Go...
End of School Year: Avoid the Chaos and get ahead.  Be organized and stay stress free.
ALL OF THIS WAS ON MAY 6th
Mothers Day Tea: It was a blast, moms, aunts, cousins, and a dad had fun listening to their children read and I enjoyed watching the children be read to.
Kermese: School-wide evening festival. Our Ballet Folklorico students perform. Our PTA parents make over 1,000 tamales. We have lots of food, music and fun.
Parent Lunch Day: First Friday of every Month.

It is no wonder I fell asleep before 8:00 PM on Friday night. We are well into our Countdown To Summer.  The kids are having lots of fun and getting into the spirit.  Bubble day was a blast, but can I just say that who ever invented colored bubbles "YUCK" that stuff stains and is one BIG GLOPPY MESS.   Luckily for me our computer teacher saw the bottles that were donated and told me how messy they were, so I switched them out and made sure only I used them.  It's like sticking your fingers in jello before it congeals.

So with all this craziness how do teachers keep their sanity?  We need to organize and prioritize.  I am a master list maker.  I have them everywhere.  My favorite part is crossing things off my to do list.

This year I am starting at the bottom of my list and working backwards. I'm also trying to do the things that aren't the Must Do's because I know those will get done.  They are after all "Must Do's- like Report Cards.  This weekend I worked on end of the year student gifts. I always make DVD's for my students and give them awards.  Rather than wait until the very last minute to work on the DVD covers and the awards.  I took today to create both.  The Memory DVD's and Awards aren't mandatory, they are just something that I like to do for my students.  We don't do yearbooks, so it is my way of giving them a memory of their first year of school. By creating these items early, I am saving myself from some stress and hopefully late nights.

The majority of the DVD is already created thanks to Open House, I'll continue to add to it until Memorial weekend.  Then I'll create the final version.
The following section contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links and purchase the product or any other product from this website, I'll receive a commission from Amazon.

I have already ordered my Jewel Cases  and DVD's from from Amazon.
You can download the template for my Jewel case covers for Free from TpT.
They are editable  All you need to do is add your own text into the text box.
End of School Year Memory DVD covers Free in my TpT store.  All you need to Do is Type in the students information
You can read more about how I create my End of Kindergarten DVD's and what songs I use here.

Awards: Crossing another item off my list this weekend was awards.
I like to personalize awards for each of my students.  I do my best to choose awards that fit each child specifically.  I have two students who are amazing artists.  They will be getting these awards
End of the School Year Student Awards. This is a HUGE set of color and black and white certificates for the end of the school year. Many certificates include a male and female version for more of a personal touch.End of the School Year Student Awards. This is a HUGE set of color and black and white certificates for the end of the school year. Many certificates include a male and female version for more of a personal touch. End of the School Year Student Awards. This is a HUGE set of color and black and white certificates for the end of the school year. Many certificates include a male and female version for more of a personal touch.Below is a list of all the different awards that are included.  I tried to include something for everyone.
End of the School Year Student Awards. This is a HUGE set of color and black and white certificates for the end of the school year. Many certificates include a male and female version for more of a personal touch.
The End of the year is near, avoid the chaos, stay ahead of the game and stay stress free. Make your lists and stay focussed and organized.  YOU GOT THIS!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Creative Teaching Press Sneak Peak 2016

Creative Teaching Press Upcycle Style for the New School Year- Are you ready to start thinking about decorating for next year?  I know, you need to finish this year, but really, I know you are thinking about next year.  I've already bought a few things, and have marked a few things on Pinterest.  You can check out my 2016 CTP Classroom  board here.
Pinterest board for Creative Teaching Press
Last week I shared some of the Upcycle Styles that I was giving away and the Lucky Winner is...

Last week I shared with you a few new items that are
Coming Soon to Creative Teaching Press 2016
These magnetic decor strips will be available soon.
They will be perfect for decorating and dividing white boards
Creative Teaching Press Magnetic Decor Strips
Creative Teaching Press Magnetic Decor Strips
Who wouldn't want magnetic border- no more double sided tape or adding your own magnetic tape that doesn't stick.

But wait there's more, a sneak peak at the latest and greatest items from
I am SUPER EXCITED about the Dotted Swirl Magnetic Decor Strips on page 3.  These will match the rest of the border I already use in my classroom.  I will be able to use it to outline my sight word wall and not worry about my border falling off every time the heater turns on.
CTP Dotted Swirl magnetic border
I'm also really excited about using this new chart next year to record homework. It will coordinate nicely with the rest of my classroom decor.
CTP Dots on Chalkboard Chart
Then there are these- Look at how beautiful they are.  We just finished our butterfly unit and these picture cards would have been perfect.  This is just one set from the Life Cycles Mini Bulletin Boards Set- frogs and sunflowers are also included.
Creative Teaching Press Life cycles

Would you like another chance to win? 
Creative Teaching Press is giving 5 Teachers a chance to win
$50 Dollars to their store.
GOOD LUCK!!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

ABC Countdown to Summer

With less than 30 days of school I have started to prepare for the ABC Countdown to Summer.  My kindergarten team and I plan one activity a day with an alphabet letter theme starting with the letter A and ending with the letter Z on the last day- Zip Up and Zoom Out!
ABC Countdown to Summer: Countdown the days to summer break with a fun activity that correlates with a letter each day.
With 26 days of fun and festivities we try to keep it small and do it all on a shoestring budget.  We do post a sign-up, asking for specific donations.  Our parents are usually responsive and happy to donate the needed items.  Many of our families work and cannot come into the classroom to volunteer, but donating a box of Goldfish crackers or a 6 pack of bubbles from the Dollar Tree, they can do.

Here is my ABC Countdown Calendar in two different formats.  One is a download here the other is Free in my TPT store.  Add your own dates to these FREE calendars.  Please note that both require 8.5 x 14" legal size paper.  Click the pictures to download.
 Count down the days until summer vacation with fun activities each day starting with the letter A and ending on Z to Zip up and Zoom out.  This is an editable word doc calendar.  The ideas are there all you need to do is change the dates to meet your needs.  It is a word doc formatted to be printed on legal sized paper 8.5x14
ABC Countdown to Summer: Countdown the days to summer break with a fun activity that correlates with a letter each day.  Add your own dates to this FREE calendar. Must be printed on legal sized paper.
Bubbles day is always their favorite day. My co-worker always comes out during his lunch break and brings his magic bubble wand and makes gigantic bubbles
for the kids. 


This is his special recipe for the bubbles.
Bubble recipe to make big bubbles and a bubble wand
Our last day of school is June 3rd which means our countdown begins this Thursday which is also the night of our open house.  When is your last day of school?



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Upcycle Style WIth Creative Teaching Press

CTP Blogger Hop 2016 Time 4 KindergartenThe school year is coming to an end and if you are like me, you are already thinking about how to decorate for next year. This year, I have used the Chalk It Up! collection from Creative Teaching Press.  I love the simplicity and old school look with the pops of color this collection has.  I use the lesson plan book to write out my weekly plans.  It works perfectly for all my needs and the fact that it coordinates with my room decor is a bonus.

CTP 1350 Chalk It Up! Lesson Plan Book
Using a combination of products I created a book bag check out system.  Each book bag number is written on the pencil.  Students names are written on the pockets.  
CTP Chalk It Up Collection- Book Bag Check Out System
 This is my parent information board that I have outside my door.  As you can see I used the Dots on Chalkboard Border to outline the board. I use the extra large library pockets to hold important notices for parents or as a place for parents to return notes to me.
CTP Chalk It Up Colloection Dots on a Chalkboard- Parent Information Board
With only 6 weeks left, I'm starting to imagine how I want to decorate for next year.  I always try to reuse borders, letters, pockets, and charts from previous years if they are in good condition.

I am very excited about the new product Creative Teaching Press has for 2016. I just love the new Upcycle Style collection from CTP.   Who wouldn't want to start the year off welcoming their students with the Welcome to School Bulletin board set.
CTP Upcycle Style Welcome to School Bulletin Board Set CTP 7054
To create a sense of community and responsibility, CTP has a coordinating  classroom jobs mini bulletin board display.  Use Pacon Azure Blue Fadeless butcher paper in the background
Creative Teaching Press Upcycle Classroom Jobs CTP 7054

They also have this fun Rustic Medallions border that can be used in conjunction with their other products below.
The Upcycle Library Pockets are similar to the pockets I used above to create my book bags check out system.  They can also be used for center management, creating job charts or storing game pieces.   
Creative Teaching Press Upcycle Library Pockets CTP 6742
The Rustic Stipe Nameplate has a whimsical feel.  These can be used to label students desks and cubbies, but they can also be used to label items around the classroom too.
Creative Teaching Press Rustic Stripe Name Plate CTP 4464
Creative Teaching Press Rustic Stripe Name Plate CTP 4464
Here are a few other items in the collection.
  • CTP 1405 Student Incentive Charts
  • CTP 7136 Upcycle Style Hot Spots
  • CTP 6009 Arrow 6" Cut Outs
CTP 1405 Student Incentive Chart CTP 7136 Upcycle Style Hot Spots
These arrows could be used to locate places around the classroom or label baskets for turning in work- be creative and imaginative!Creative Teaching Press Arrow Cut Outs 6" CTP 6009
Now, how would you like to win these fabulous pieces I've just shown?
All you need to do is enter below.

Coming Soon to Creative Teaching Press 2016
These magnetic decor strips will be available soon.
They will be perfect for decorating and dividing white boards

Creative Teaching Press Magnetic Decor Strips
Creative Teaching Press Magnetic Decor Strips
Make sure to enter, tell your friends and check back on May 4th to see if you've won.  If you want to see what my other CTP Blogger Friends are giving away and enter to win their goodies too, just click on over to my friend Jennifer's blog over at Herding Kats to see all the goodies she has to give away.

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