Brand New Year, Brand New Experiences

Hi Everyone!

It has been quite the hiatus...

BUT...

I am extremely excited to announce that I am BACK IN THE CLASSROOM!

Yes... After 5 years of being away, I am back in the game ;) Honestly, all of the stars aligned and I cannot even begin to think of a better situation. I am still at my same school site, but working as a first grade teacher! WOOHOO!

Now... I am going to update the "My Classroom" page with my full classroom reveal, but I wanted to give you some highlights from my amazing "Meet the Teacher" Night :)

For Meet the Teacher Night, I set up stations for the evening so I would have enough time to personally speak to each of my families, but also to provide them with tasks so I could have face time with each student and family.

Station #1: Welcome and Sign-In


Parents had sign in and grab an itinerary for the evening. The itinerary was a simple checklist and articulated the eight stations they needed to complete. The other paper was a map of school locations for uniforms, transportation, etc.

Station #2: Sorting Supplies

We request all students to bring their school supplies to Meet the Teacher so we have time to sort and put away things for the first day of school. I created picture labels for all school supplies and the families will sort accordingly- it is quite the time saver!!!

I forgot to take a "before" picture so please ignore the randomness in the photo
 Station #3: Meet the Teacher Photo




I hung these signs from my white board and allowed my students to get their pictures taken... Parents LOVE this :) It also makes for a great photo opp with your students! Thanks for the great idea, Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista! She has a great, colorful K-5 freebie on her page- I made one to match my room's color scheme.

Station #4: Paperwork and Gifts :)


I got the great idea from Kristin at Where the First Graders Are- we have SO many forms we want parents to fill out... However, she thought of a genius way to prioritize paperwork :)

This is what each student had on their desk :)
On top of the folder, there is a small stack of papers for the parents to fill out TONIGHT. These are the most important papers! In my stack, I have 2 transportation forms (one is for myself and the other one I am required to turn into the school) and a contact information sheet.I used Kristin's labels to attach to the paperwork- they can be found HERE.

While the parents are filling out the paperwork, I have my students fill out an "All About Me" form so I can start to get to know some things about them :) You can find the sheet I used HERE.

I also include a small gift for my students... Because I have a gold/chalkboard/burlap color scheme, I created mini chalkboard gifts for my students :)




Inside of the folder, on the left hand side, I include LOTS of information for parents- these are all things they need to know, but they are things they can keep at home and read about later! I include: Snack Schedule, Communication Info, Homework Info, Request for Water Bottle (we live in sunny FL and have outdoor PE), AR Program Information, and our Behavior System Information.

On the right side of the folder, there are more forms I need the parents to fill out. but they are not essential for the first day of school. I include: Parent Questionnaire, Volunteer Form, and our STEM Hero of the Month form.

Station #5: Sorting Papers

Pretty Self-Explanatory ;)
Station #6: Inquiry Table


I put out a bunch of random items... All of the items are personal favorites, pictures, etc. The students are instructed to write questions they have for me on sticky notes- on the first day of school, these are the things I will share/introduce myself with. It's an awesome alternative to the typical introductions :)

Station #7: Popcorn Bar + Classroom Wish List

This was a PURE stroke of genius and my inner David Tutera wedding planner. 


I wanted to provide a snack for my families- and who doesn't LOVE popcorn?!? BUT my stalking searching on Pinterest elevated my simple snack to a full blown popcorn bar. 


We had lots of toppings and sprinkles too...

Insert next great idea.

I wanted to put out my teacher wish list so I printed my items on popcorn shaped card-stock, attached them to binder clips, and set them out with the Popcorn Bar. I included the good pun- "Thanks for making our classroom POP". It was magical!

Station #8: Say Goodbye and Collect Ready Confetti

Of course... I totally forgot to take a picture of this :( :( :( However, if you look for the concept of "Ready Confetti" on Pinterest- you will understand the overall concept.

WHEW.

It was truly a great night. My heart is happy. I am ecstatic to have these amazing opportunities to teach students again! 

How do you run your "Meet the Teacher"/Open House? I would love to hear about it!

As always, happy teaching friends!

April Currently

Hi Everyone,

Hope April is treating you well :)

I am linking up with Farley with another month's edition of Currently!


LISTENING
So I have always been someone to always jump into 5,324 projects at once... I like to be busy. I need to be busy. If I am not busy, I feel as if I lack a true purpose.
I have the privilege of writing professional development content on the side- We are having our monthly webinar meeting to catch up on updates. SO I am listening and attempting to blog at the same time ;)

LOVING
Once again, I truly believe everything happens for a reason. As things start to start (haha- you know how educators/admin works), we have been discussing things and working through ideas... I am always intrigued and rejuvenated by ideas and possibilities. I am eager to wrap up this year (wrap up this year WELL) and then start thinking of the new, great things for the upcoming year.

THINKING
SO many things are happening this time of year... I have made a commitment to myself to be more "present" with my family- especially on school nights.

WANTING
 It's a loooooooooong stretch before Memorial Day and LOTS of standardized testing happening. I could use another Spring Break!

NEEDING
PACKING. This will be my life over the course of the next couple of weeks in preparation for our move on April 29th!

WHATEVER
I am thoroughly enjoying all of the new purchases for my house decor... BUT oh my... they do add up very quickly!

I hope you have a great week! Happy Teaching!

March Currently

Hi Everyone!

Happy March (yes, I DO acknowledge the fact that it is indeed the 16th day of March- however, I made a goal to never miss a Currently this year and I refuse to miss this one!).

I will also admit that I have been really busy with 2 things:

1. Twitter
I have been so much more present and active on Twitter than I have on my blog...
P.S. If you are NOT on Twitter- you need to join ASAP. It is AMAZING.
I love to blog, but I have been so wrapped up into helping everyone else and doing so many other things (mainly planning and supporting my teachers) that I often find myself completely void of my own thoughts and ideas after work hours... Not an excuse- just the honest truth.
Nevertheless, I have been thinking of one again trying my 5 for 5 this week (I did my Spring Break 5 for 5 last year!). Basically- I am going to commit to blogging 5 posts in 5 days.
2. Being Mommy
As my Ava has become so much more active, I find myself needing to devote every second to interacting with her! I have had such a great time playing and teaching her all kinds of things lately.


SO let's get onto this month's Currently hosted by the great Farley :)


LISTENING
Ever since Ava was born, we have always had her sound machine on in the background when she is sleeping. We alternative between rain and the ocean... Tonight, we are listening to the ocean. I am listening to the ocean via her baby monitor ;)

LOVING
SPRING BREAK... We have had such a great time already! We went to the Strawberry Festival and Disney World earlier this week; today we met the Easter Bunny. Tomorrow we are having breakfast with Grandma and going to the museum!





THINKING
Excursions and shopping is expensive... Luckily this isn't a normal, weekly thing. My bank account would be wiped out!

WANTING
I have some very interest opportunities and possibilities coming up... I want to make sure that I continue to reflect on these things and pray so I can find the much needed answers to what we will be best for myself and my family...

NEEDING
I have already mentioned my #SixtyBooks challenge *exactly what is sounds like- I committed to reading 60 books over the course of the year for my New Year's resolution*. I am needing to finish up my 2 books for this week so I can stay on track :)

POLLING SITE
NO... My school is not a polling site. However, we were on Spring Break this week in Florida so it would not have been an issue anyways. If we are in school during a voting day, we still have school as normal, but per our contract- the district will not allow any after school meetings. We are allowed to leave immediately after school to go vote.

Alright my friends- for those of you on spring break- keep enjoying! For those of you who are not, happy teaching!


February Currently

HI Everyone!

Happy February :) I am excited to link up with Farley for this month's of Currently!



LISTENING
I was plagued by insomnia one night a couple of weeks and I turned on Netflix... Somehow, I ended up watching an episode of The Vampire Diaries. GAME OVER. I have watched almost the first two seasons (that would be 44 one hour episodes...yes, I am committed).

LOVING
I have become completely invested in Twitter Chats! I am so extremely excited to grow my PLN and connect with other educators- if you have never tried a Twitter, I encourage you to join! It is such a great way to connect with other educators and have such positive and collaborative opportunities! I am hosting next week's #TeacherFriends chat- you should join!

THINKING
I have been wanting to complete my vision board... This has been a very busy month, but I know I MUST complete this and set up my goals for the year (I have already set goals, but I think a visual reminder would be great motivation).

WANTING
Also another great Twitter find... I found the #SixtyBooks challenge through Twitter and I actually made this into my New Year's resolution. I have 4 books thus far and I would love to read another book within the next 2 weeks!

NEEDING
Laundry. No explanation needed.

SWOONING
I am a HUGE fan of Bourbon and Boweties bracelets... If you have not checked them out, you need to ASAP. They are amazing and gorgeous! They are also local to the Tampa Bay area :)

Hope you have a great week! Happy Teaching!

Peppa Pig Party!

Hi Everyone!

I hope this week has been treating you well :) Although this is *technically* not school-related, I wanted to share pictures from my daughter's 2nd birthday party from this past weekend :)

Last year, we went ALL out for her first birthday and hosted it at our local country club, had everything catered, and did some serious decorating.

This year, we hosted a small, family-only party at our house... I must say- it was perfect!

Ava is OBSESSED with Peppa Pig... She absolutely LOVES that show- which originally started in the UK. My daughter has even starting talking with a British accent ;)

Nevertheless, I set out to give her the best Peppa Pig Party possible! Here's some visuals...


Ava's Birthday Outfit: StitchedSoSweet







It was a fantastic day :)

Happy Thursday!

January Currently 2016

Happy New Year!

I am extremely excited for this upcoming year... I will be honest. This past year was not the easiest year for me... I had a LOT of struggles, but I can truly say that everything works out for a reason and I believe some of the challenges I faced were a part of a bigger divine plan for my life. I will also be honest in saying that January 1st was difficult for me... All of social media was FLOODED with so many uplifting, inspiring things, yet I found myself somewhat stagnant. I know there are so many things that I want/need to do...

That is simply when I told myself- just do it.

That is also when I came up with my word for the year and became motivated. I will explain...

I am linking up with Farley for this month's edition of  "Currently" :) The first Currently of 2016- woohoo! I am also setting a goal to participate in EVERY. SINGLE. one for the Year of 2016 as well.


LISTENING:
Typical Florida... It's raining... But this time- the rain is bringing cooler weather! It's in the 50's :) Small victory here!
AND I have been binge watching on Netflix: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Downton Abbey, Jessica Jones...

LOVING:
My family... I have LOVED having my hubby in town for the past 2 weeks. We also were so blessed to spend 2 weeks with our Ava :) We celebrated her 2nd Birthday and I will be back on the blog to share all of the festive details this week! We had SO much fun!

THINKING:
Our school district go back tomorrow... Needless to say... I am not *quite* ready...

WANTING:
As a part of my 2016 Goals, I joined the simple, yet awesome #SixtyBooks group that I found on Twitter! I am committed to read 60 books over the course of the year... I am going to try to read a book every 2 weeks (might be a lofty goal... I will reassess as the year progressed). I highly encourage you to check it out and join in! Click on the hashtag link for more info!

NEEDING:
ALSO found this one on Twitter... #OneWord2016
Basically- you choose ONE word. This one word is going to be your focus for the year... Check out this hashtag as well. You will find amazing educators all around the world- they are also using their #OneWord2016 to inspire others!

ONE LITTLE WORD:
My word is also my #OneWord2016 = CREATE.
Rather than trying to focus on all the things I haven't created- I just want to focus on creating... Creating change, creating memories, creating photographs, creating blog posts, creating TPT units, creating crafts, creating wreaths, creating positive attitudes, creating inspiration... You get the idea.

I hope you are having a wonderful start to the 2016 Year!


12 Days of Christmas- Last Freebies :)

Hi Everyone!

Is anyone else suffering from post-Christmas blues?!

Sadness filled the air as I took the Christmas tree down, all the new presents were put into their new place, the last cookies were eaten, and the rest of the decorations are being packed into boxes :(

We are hosting our New Year's Eve family party, New Year's Day dinner, and it's Ava's 2nd birthday next weekend!!! LOTS of celebrating this week...

Nevertheless, I am going to finish out the freebies I promised and I will be back to blog about this year in review and goals for 2016...



Freebie #10: Wanted Gingerbread Poster
I use this to review attributes (size, shape, color, number, texture, design)... The students have to describe their gingerbread man and then create a poster and showcase each of the attributes!




Freebie #11: Gingerbread Snapshots
Using ANY gingerbread book, have the students retell at least 4 characters they encountered... Have them draw and label a "snapshot".



Freebie #12: Gingerbread Shape Analysis
The students will draw their own gingerbread boy/girl ONLY using the shapes listed (square, rectangle, heart, circle, triangle). After they draw, they will analyze and count their shapes they used to create their gingerbread boy/girl.



BONUS!!! Freebie #13: Gingerbread Data Collection
Provide the students with a real gingerbread cookie... Have each student take only one bite. Record the results- how many students bit the head first? right arm? left arm? left leg? right leg?
Then have the students record that number using tally marks and then have them create a pictograph to match the data collected :)


Did you miss Days 1-9? CLICK HERE and HERE to get the rest of the freebies!

Once again, I hope December has treated you well :) Enjoy the freebies and enjoy your much needed time off!

Happy Everything!