Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday July 30th: Shopping Explosion!

I'm linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday! 
I have been working to purge and organize my house, one room at a time, over the past few weeks. I'm not done yet, but it is coming along nicely! I finished the kids' rooms and now I am working on my teaching materials. Yikes. 
This is my foyer. You are supposed to be able to walk, dance, and spin around...yeah, not happening. I have cleared a little walkway so we can get in and out. This pic is just a small sample of what has taken over my house. Teaching materials here, there, and everywhere!!! My garage, my formal dining room, and my foyer are filled. It would probably help if I didn't add a bag or ten two to the pile every other day...I blame Dollar Tree! It is bad. Seriously driving me crazy bad. So bad I've even thought of renting a storage unit, so my house will not look like a Lakeshore Outlet.

Please tell me I'm not alone!? I'm seriously considering that storage unit...except I'm too cheap and that means I'd have to move it all back and forth between my house, unit, school. Yeah, I'm too lazy for all that! I would love to hear how you organize/store/hide your materials over the summer or when not in use!! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It - July 28th

Hey y'all! I'm excited to link up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for another Monday Made It!
I didn't do much "making" this past week. I did finish cleaning out my kids' bedrooms! So maybe, making them clean counts?! Yep, that's my story. I'll save you the before and after pictures. Just know that you can now see the carpet. and even walk around on it without stepping on anything. Yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself! 

I also think I found a new van. I'm going to test drive it tomorrow! Happy dance!
I did finish a set of welcome back postcards! They say "Welcome to (Grade Level)! You are a perfect fit for our class!" I can't believe it is almost that time again! I made them into a freebie!! I hope someone can use them. They are available for preschool-4th grade. There is a front and back, just in case you didn't want a plain back. Simply pick which pages you like! I am working on other sets of postcards with a few different sayings for friends (including a rock star and superhero theme) make sure you are following my store to catch my freebies! Let me know if there is a theme you would like to see.
Students LOVE getting postcards from teachers!

I will be posting my binder covers within the next of couple days. I just need to finish up the spines. I'm hoping to finish my turquoise classroom decor bundle by next week and then I am working on a superhero decor bundle. Ahhh, August is sneaking up on me too quickly! It is about to get real up in here!!!

Thanks for stopping by to get the scoop!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday - July 25th

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!
This week has flown by! I seriously can't believe it is almost August. What!?! NOOO. I'm not ready! 
Last Friday we were rear ended. My van suffered frame damage and was a total loss. :-( I cleaned out my van and said my goodbyes at the tow yard on Tuesday. 
I am waiting to hear what the insurance company is going to offer me, but it won't be much. I did some online shopping and found several nice vans at Carmax.
I am hoping to have a new van by Monday!  We'll see how long insurance takes!
We went to the hospital to get checked out and X-rays taken. No broken bones, just sore muscles and bruised ribs for me. Jillian had some neck pain, but she seems fine now. We were at the hospital for over five hours and look at her, just happy as can be! Love that girl! It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that someone gave her Skittles...
I finished these Back to School Self Portraits! It has a self portrait page for the first day of school, the 100th day of school, and the last day of school! Go scoop up your free copy!
I also finished my Rocking in my School Shoes student notes. I like to give out little notes to the students after we read Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes that say, "You rocked your school shoes!". There are several options, in color and black and white.
I included a page where they can draw themselves rocking their school shoes, plus a cover page for a class book! I love class books!!! Go scoop up your free copy
We had so much fun yesterday at a pool party with friends! If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw this adorable picture of my cutie. She does NOT like getting wet, but she loves sno cones! Who doesn't?!
Summer, swimming, sno cones. It was a great day!

Thanks for stopping by to get the scoop on my week! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: Rocking My School Shoes Freebie

I'm linking up with Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class for Book Talk Tuesday! I am a big reader and I LOVE children's literature, so I have a feeling this is going to be a favorite linky of mine! 
One of my favorite back to school books is Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin!
I just adore this cat; he is so groovy! He shows the kids around the school, helps them feel safe, reassures them that there is no need to worry, and teaches them what to expect throughout the school day in a fun manner! It is perfect for preschool-1st grade!
They visit the library
 the cafeteria
the playground
and more! All while singing his song!
   I mean, how can you not love this song?!? Seriously, this song is on repeat inside my head for the first two weeks of school. Once you hear it once, you can't get it out! Not always a good thing. hahaha Consider yourself warned!
Your students will love watching this full video of the song and story!

Pete surprises us with an appearance; after all, he wants to be there while we read his story! Mine is in storage for the summer, but click the picture to get your own on Amazon. You get free shipping if you are a Prime member. They have several size options available. He likes to hang out in the library and read with kids during Read to Self and Buddy Reading.
Have you seen the Pete the Cat scavenger hunt from Inspired Kindergarten? Such fun! Click the link to be taken to her post and freebie for a First Day of School Pete the Cat Scavenger Hunt. We always do the Kissing Hand Chester scavenger hunt (another favorite), but this is a great alternative!! When you are ready to work on tying shoes, you must check out this free pack by Inspired by Kindergarten that is sure to encourage kids to learn! 

I made some "You rocked your school shoes!" cards to give students after we read the book. Click here to get your free copy! They come four to a page and would be best printed on cardstock.
There are four different sayings in color and black & white for you to choose from! "We're going to rock our school shoes!" and "You're going to rock your school shoes!" would be perfect to give out at Meet the Teacher! "You rocked your school shoes!" and "We rocked our school shoes!" are prefect for the first day of school or after you read the book! Hopefully one of those works for your classroom!
I also made a page where students can draw themselves rocking in their school shoes! It is included in the packet. I added a cover page in case you want to put them together for a class book! It should be interesting to see how the students color themselves and their shoes!

I saw another idea on Pinterest where the teacher took a picture of each student's shoes and made a class book guessing the student! Check out Rubberboots and Elf Shoes to see how she did it and for her free download. Brilliant idea!

I know your students will love Pete the Cat as much as we do! 

I also read The Kissing HandChrysanthemum, and First Day Jitters, but I'll talk about what we do with those another time. These four books are my back to school classics/staples/must haves!!! 

Thanks for stopping by to get the scoop!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It - July 21st

I'm linking up with Tara of 4th Grade Frolics for one of my favorites, Monday Made It! 
I've been working on a bunch of TpT freebies, finishing up my class decor, and a few back to school projects, but only one of them is done in time for Monday Made It! Please tell me I'm not the only one that has 10 projects going at once? I wish I could finish one before I start another!!
I finished up a Back to School Self Portrait pack! It includes self portrait page options for My First Day of School, My First Week of School, My 100th Day of School, My Last Day of School, and My Last Week of School.
Preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, and fourth grade are included.
There are five page options for each grade level. Simply print what you need! I plan to use My First Day, My 100th Day, and My Last Day in a scrapbook. I just love seeing the growth! Click here to get your free copy! I really appreciate your feedback!

I am hoping to finish up the rest of my projects in time for next week! 

Thanks for stopping by to get the scoop!

Friday, July 18, 2014

My crazy night!

I have an excellent reason for not linking up with Doodle Bugs for my Five for Friday today! 

I was too busy sitting on the side of the Beltway. For two hours. As all three lanes were blocked. During rush hour. With my five year old. Surrounded by police and wreckers. Yeah, I'm sure you can imagine how wonderful it was! 

A guy wasn't watching that traffic had slowed and he plowed right into us! Luckily, praise God, my other kids were not with us, because they sit in the third row and would have been hurt. I was able to swerve left and avoid hitting the car in front of me. God is good! Jillian and I are ok! I have some back pain and my legs are bruised from hitting the console, but we are fine! 

I was too shocked, busy consoling Jilly, and making phone calls to 911 and my insurance company, that I forgot to take a picture of the scene. 

Here we are sitting in a wrecker while they tried to pull the truck out of my van. Yes, his truck was stuck in my van! See any cars going by? Nope, all lanes were blocked. I felt so sorry for all those stuck in traffic behind us!!! They ended up towing my van off the road with his truck dragging behind. It took them almost TWO HOURS to pry it out. 

Jillian was a trooper! No crying, no complaining about being hungry (even though it was way past dinner time), and she needed to go potty but was able to hold it for hours. I was so proud of her! Love that girl! I owe her some ice cream. 

Here is the aftermath. My poor van. It has held up for 10 years, through thick and thin, took the abuse of four kids plus a mom that is horrible at maintenance, driven all over the U.S. several times over, just to be brought low by an idiot not paying attention. 

Farewell, my van, you served us well!

The tow guy said it would probably be totaled, b/c it is old and has 100,000 miles on it. We'll see what insurance says...Say a prayer for me! I really can't afford to take on a car payment right now, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. 

I had just bought some turquoise baskets at the dollar store and they were in the trunk. I was going to include my turquoise finds of the week in my Five for Friday post. I hope they are ok. Seriously though, do you know how hard it is to find turquoise baskets? It is sooo wrong that I'm thinking about my baskets at a time like this! I have issues!! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Classroom Library Organization {Why I Do What I Do Linky}

I was so excited to see Christina post the topic of library organization for her Why I Do What I Do Linky! I firmly believe the library should be the heart of the classroom! I've been working on organizing mine for the past two years and it is definitely a work in progress!
I've been collecting children's books for twelve years now, and I'm a bit of a book hoarder. Ok, if you knew me, you would say there is no "bit" about it. I have over 5,000 children's books and I buy more every month. I just can't help it!! There are worse things to be addicted to! My ex-husband always told me I had too many books. He had to go to make room for more...
I started keeping track of them online in 2007 as a homeschooling mama, when I found myself buying duplicates on accident. I found a free website called Library Thing. I used a scanner to scan the bar code and add it to my book collection. You can also enter the ISBN manually. It organized everything and made it easy for me to search my collection. They offer a mobile app, which is sooo handy for searching my library on the go! That reminds me that I have a huge new pile of books waiting on me to scan in.

Now, as a teacher, I wish Library Thing would offer the reading level. They do show the Lexile level for some books, but isn't all I need. I do still use it to keep track of my library, because I already have all my books in there. However, these two apps are more convenient for teachers. Scholastic Book Wizard is free and is a quick handy reference for finding the reading level!
Level It is an app that I don't find myself using as often as the Book Wizard. What turned me off was that most of the books I tried to scan were not in the system, so I would have to enter them manually. I haven't tried it in the last year or so, it might be better now. It is a great concept!

I have my books separated by genre, author, series, topics, theme, etc. Some categories have sub-topics, like the math, social studies, and science books are broken up into concepts. I have 10 5-shelf bookcases in my office at home and they are packed to the brim! I can't show you a picture, b/c my office is a disaster right now! I use the cheap Ikea magazine files (they are only $1.99 for 5) as book bins to store my books until I need them in the classroom. They work great!

Each bin has a label with a real picture and title of the contents and each book has a matching sticker. 

I also include a small sticker on the back of my books that says "Property of Ms. Seagroves." I would have preferred, "From the Library of Ms. Seagroves" but it wouldn't fit on the tiny sticker label. 

Adding all the stickers was my summer project last year and it took me forever!! I used Karen Stamp's Classroom Library Photo Labels. You can find them here. She offers fiction, science, social studies, and math sets. I have them all. The mega set is only $4 right now! I have thought about adding numbers to the bins, but I move them around at times as more books come in, so I don't think that will work for me. The labels and pictures are enough for now!

I also have another section of early reader books that I have sorted by reading level, perfect for guided reading and read to self. I've been working hard to level and build this section of my library this year. I know a lot of schools use AR, but we don't. It is so important to have a mix of just right books and high interest material!

Eventually, I want to go through ALL of my book bins and add a sticker with the guided reading level on the top right corner. This might take me a few summers with the size of my collection, unless I round up some friends to help. Hint hint, Caterpillar Wings! Go check out her blog to see her library; it is fabulous! 

Right now, I have blue and green book bins from Dollar General (color coded for fiction/non-fiction). However, these neon bins from Really Good Stuff are my dream!! 

Aren't they beautiful? A girl can dream.

When I am all done, it is going to be a glorious display fit to rival Belle's castle! Well, maybe not quite that amazing, but pretty darn close!

By the way, I read The Book Whisperer a few weeks ago and I'm convinced Donalyn Miller is my reading soul mate. If you haven't read it, you must put it on your list! It is outstanding and inspiring!