Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Parent Support for At Home Reading

Parent Information Night is Thursday night and I've been getting a bunch of stuff ready!

One of the things I've been getting ready is this...which, of course, I'm sharing with you! You guys are the best!!! I can't thank you enough for your kind words, emails, comments and support!
I laminated mine, numbered them with student numbers and my classroom code 1-M.

UPDATE: The typo has been fixed! (But not 'til after mine were laminated, of course. I'm NOT re-doing them!) I had a few fab proofreaders and read it myself 9 million times before finalizing, but we all missed it. Uggg.

The goal is for them to stand inside the students Take Home Book envelopes for parents to refer to throughout the year as their readers grow and evolve.

I use poly envelopes like these or these because they last all year long (after I lay down the expectations on how to take care of them)!

This is all in an effort to support and enrich the foundation of reading workshop...which is to build readers who read like a star (s=study, t=think, a=ask & r=respond):

All three of my reading workshop packs are available in a bundle or individually.

I'm a big fan of parent communication - I'm super blessed to work in a community where parents support education and work with their children. In order to help set them up for success, communication helps out!

This note provides explanations and examples of how they can provide support and compliment their reader from the lenses of word-solving, fluency & comprehension.

The other side has the Word-Solving strategies, a tidbit about fluency and an image from my READ bulletin board in the classroom.

I have a hyperlink to the word-solving strategies in the download of this letter or you can snag them up right here, too.

You can download this At Home Reading for Parents freebie below...I hope it helps you out!!!

Please send me mental warm wishes tomorrow night, as it will be Parent Information Night! It's my first one at my new school. :)

Have you seen this post by my wonderful bloggy pal, Valerie from All Students Can Shine? She's amazing! Check out her wonderful letter for parents with tips for reading at home. Click the pic below to head over and check it out!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School Preparations!

It's Back-to-School Eve.

My house is quiet.


And I'm going through some pics I snapped this weekend while I did some last mn preparations prior to chillin' with my newest crop of firsties at my new-to-me school tomorrow.

The staff and families have been super welcoming and knock on wood...I'm pretty calm.

Tonight, anyways.

A few of my favorite things have been getting a pretty serious workout this weekend!

My new color laser printer...such a great deal and soooo worth it! Laser is soooo much cleaner and nicer than inkjet!

And not having to wait my turn and monkey around on the color printer at school? Priceless!

Cuz somehow I always mess something up when trying to multi-task!

My laminator! LOVE my laminator AND the pouches I get from Amazon...just under $10 for 100 3 mil pouches...they work fantastically!

Here's what they've been doing for me...
Growing Firsties
 Last year's batch didn't have Careful Caterpillar on them...and when a customer requested it I added it to the freebie pack on TpT but since I'd already made mine for my class I didn't make new ones.

I printed them on cardstock, labeled them at the bottom with 1-M in case they get lost somewhere in the building...I also added student numbers at the top so that if one gets dropped in the room, it's easy to know who to return it to.

These are a forever freebie in my store and include full-size posters and a page with all the strategies on one. You can seem more images in this post right here, if you'd like to snag them up.

Growing Firsties

Also got labels made and printed from the Avery Templates...if you'd like to download them for free, go ahead and click here or the image above. You will need the following free (for personal use) fonts in order for them to look the same as mine do...KG Behind These Hazel Eyes; KG Second Chances; Janda Silly Monkey.

In addition to labeling their Daily Folders, I stuck in a half-page piece of homework and a gallon bag with this Indoor Recess Activity Bag note inside. 

LOVE having Indoor Recess Bags and ya never know when that first rainy day will be coming! Better to be ready! Also, since I'm still kinda sorta unpacking, my own indoor recess activities are slim pickins! The letter is a forever freebie in my TpT store. Click the text link above or the picture below to grab it.

When the recess bags come back to school, for the first few week I will store them in a big tub. Once I need that tub for something else, and have gotten the kiddos more routine on behavior expectations, they will store them in their lockers.

Sorry for the blurry pic - I'm limited on time and took a screen clip from TpT.

Growing Firsties

Calendar Cards (from Hope King's decor pack), locker tags with student pictures, pencil box tags and my supply label tags. (I'd love to share them, but I don't know how to make files editable and since these contain graphics I purchased I can't share them without locking them down. And it's back to school so though I'm calm, I'm not calm enough to figure this out super soon. Thank you for understanding!!!!!)

Hope your year is off to a great start!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Banish Lamination Glare! Quickly and Easily!

I'm just not much of a DIYer.

I see ideas on Pinterest and pin the bejeezers out of them.

My mom and stepdad are inCREDible DIYers.

I'm a WANNAbe DIYer.

Ya know those Pinterest fails?

That's me.

EXCEPT with this!

It was QUICK!

It was EASY!

I'm swooning over the loveliness of Jen Jones' Chalkboard Alphabet over at her Hello Literacy store on TpT. It is gorgeous and the pack includes 150 pages of alphabet goodness, including a spelling dictionary and alphabet cards in multiple sizes.

But when I finished laminating it and put it up, the classroom lights hit it in a way that made it so full of glare that my firsties wouldn't really be able to see it. With something things it doesn't matter so much...but with this it did. So I looked into what I could do about it. And found out about clear spray paint with a matte finish.

So I tried it!

And it worked!

All I did was lay out the pieces on a whopper piece of cardboard from my school's receiving room. I set up just outside to avoid too much odor. It took about two minutes to spray the first coat. Then I waited a few minutes (five mn max) and spent another two minutes to spray the second coat. Then I waited a few more minutes and carried it back to my classroom.

The directions say that it dries to the touch in five minutes and it will be fully dry in 24 hours. It dried to the touch really quickly.

I started hanging it up...and one of my colleagues stopped in, saw what I was doing and mentioned that I was supposed to hang our Handwriting Without Tears alphabet.


So I did hang the HWT up (and dropped the J card behind the true-to-me-fashion) in the more prominent, student-viewing spot....and then hung this gorgeous set up as decoration on another wall.

I loved the results so much that I sprayed these guys down, too...(they were too bright for my now matte-needing eyes). Here's a picture before they were laminated....

Read, Write & Solve were all stapled up, so I took them down and sprayed them. LOVE the result.

Care was attached more securely to the mason block wall...and I didn't want to deal with taking it down. So...shhhhhhh....I sprayed it (one coat) while it was still on the wall. I held an open manila folder to the side with one hand and held the spray paint with the other hand and did a quick spray. It worked!

Pics to come soon. I was so kerfuffled about getting ready for my new crew of firsties' first day on Tuesday that I forgot to take the pictures! But if I don't post this post this weekend, I'll be sucked in to the B2S Transition Vortex and I'll never even remember that I wanted to share this with you guys.

Product Deets...
I used Rustoleum Matte Finish spray and it did have a bit of an odor, most noticed, but still not terrible, when I sprayed it inside my classroom...So for future projects I tracked down a Low Odor version from Krylon.

By the you read this, I'm guessing you've sorta maybe thought that technically this is not really a DIY project. Thank you for not telling me that all I really did was spray laminate with a special finish to banish the glare. Which doesn't really constitute a DIY. You guys are the best!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TpT Gift Card & Bundle Giveaway

UPDATE: Two winners have been selected and sent emails. :) Thank you so much for your interest and support!!!

You guys are the BEST! Thank you for all your support!!! As a sign of appreciation, I'd love to giveaway...

Just in time for TpT's BOOST sale!!!!
I am super excited about TpT's ONE DAY ONLY sitewide sale...this is the first time they have EVER had a second sale in the same month....usually they spread the sales out far apart throughout the year...

Hot off the presses and newly uploaded to TpT are these bundled items. Click the pics to read their descriptions on TpT.

September is now available on the Math bundle...

Bet ya wanna know what to do to win!

Leave a comment below telling me which bundle you would like me to send your way...don't forget your email address! One commenter will win $20 to TpT AND the bundle of their choice!

Ya might wanna share this giveaway by pinning an image or putting it on facebook! You could even share by clicking over to this facebook post and selecting "share,"


I'll select the winner when I wake up in the morning!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's O-Fish-Al...You are going to SHINE in ___ Grade! Freeeeeeebie!

I'm guessing that you're like me, in that you always feel like there's more you could be doing in each and every area of your life.

I'm working really REALLY hard to give myself grace and mercy and to focus on what I HAVE done versus what I have NOT done.

Blogging falls into that category for mind is constantly whirring with ideas and intentions.

However, my real life always needs to come first. And by real life, I mean the people I have relationships with. Not the cleaning or laundry or meal planning. I'm definitely willing to cut corners in those departments.

Cereal for dinner? Sure.

Laundry piled for miles and putting the kids to work on it. Absolutely.

Floors and windows not so clean. Fo Sho. an effort to focus and savor this last week before I officially go back to school, I'm gonna make this a serious potpourri of randomness...

So I can get rid of the, "You haven't blogged much," thought to just go away! 

Thanks for bearing with me!

To begin with...I have put together some bundles and uploaded them to TpT...thank you for your patience. You guys are soooo seriously the BEST!!!

I've even PRE-BUNDLED my Math Common Core Crunch for the the earlier you purchase it, the more you save - cuz I'm not done with a few of the months.

Based on requests and feedback...this is what I've bundled.

The bigger the bundle, the bigger the discount. :)

All three Reading Workshop Packs...

All months from the ELA Common Core Crunch Series...

And a unique opportunity to pre-purchase and get October through December free! Sept should be uploaded by Tuesday. I so love a great deal and wanted to offer this as a show of appreciation for your loyalty.

Have I mentioned that you guys are the BEST????

Last year you might have snagged up my "You're o-fish-ally" tags...from this post.

But this year I really would like to give my students a bag of goldfish crackers AND a glow stick...but I didn't want to prep two gift tag items...

Then this saying hit me like a ton of bricks...

While I was trying to ignore my daughter's tantrum (she's got a tentative diagnosis of anxiety, so at six years old we are still enduring suffering experiencing tantrums) today.

I quickly left the area and wrote it down on a post-it so I wouldn't lose it later on.

Then, later, instead of making dinner, I whipped them up.

I only need first grade, but I have grades pre-k through 5th grade.

When I printed them on my NEW and amazing color laser printer (purchased at a GREAT price), I set the pdf to print two pages on one so that eight smaller tags printed on each page. The pdf is set up for four per page...cuz that's the best I could do while crazily multi-tasking.

Of course I want to share them with you! So just click the picture to download them! :) did end up being chicken for dinner...not cereal. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

B2S You Tube Party & HUUUUUUUGE Giveaway

Friends! I am SERIOUSLY excited (and MORE than a little bit nervous) about this post. 

My blogging friends and I at the Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you.


We decided to throw a party. 

A YouTube Partaaaaay! 

We are here sharing lots of tips -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!


We are having a huge giveaway!

$100 Amazon Gift Card

$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card

A fabulous Michael Kors bag 
(you know, the one you want but can't justify spending the money for?)

So what do you need to do? 

Did you see that?You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopter (but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5ish new videos every day this week... so you can come back, watch, and enter every day!

My video includes books I LOVE to read aloud to build classroom community and culture.

I seriously can't get over how dorky I look on video AND how messy my room is. Granted, I JUST moved in, but oh my word, there's lots of work to be done!

And here's my video!

In the video I shared a poster from this blog post - you can download it for free RIGHT HERE.

Now - go head over to the Primary Chalkboard to watch more tip clips and enter the giveaway!