Sunday, August 30, 2015

How To Keep Parent Volunteers Organized

Today I posted over on Hello Sunshine about how I keep parent volunteers organized in my classroom!  Parent Volunteers can literally save your classroom.  I have had years with no parent volunteers, and years with more than I could possibly find a use for.  It really just helps the classroom stay organized and run smoothly if you know how to utilize them properly.  Last year I had so many that I just didn't even know what to do, so I came up with these systems to help me keep me organized.  Click on the picture below to check it out!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Day Fun with Play Dough!

Today I posted over on Hello Sunshine about one of my favorite first day activities!  This is a highly engaging activity that requires no teacher guidance - allowing time to collect and assemble supplies.  Click on the picture below to check it out!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DIY Chair Pockets

Happy Summer everyone!

In the spirit of getting reading for Back to School, I'm throwing it back to this post from almost exactly four years ago!  I was preparing for my new year and about to order a set of expensive chair pockets online, when my dear mother volunteered to make me some!  She's an excellent seamstress, and they turned out great!  I washed them every year and they lasted about three years.  I could have kept using them, but moved to a school/grade where I didn't use chair pockets any more and was ready for something different anyway.  Enjoy this tutorial!  :)

It’s been a long time since I've posted. I'm enjoying my summer up in Canada visiting my family. I have a few school projects I want to work on, but for the most part I am enjoying my vacation! My mom and I finished my first summer project: chair pockets. I have to give a shout out to Mrs. Merchant for introducing me to these. She made a few sets for the first grade to use the last few years. I have LOVED them. They help keep my class and kiddos clean and organized. My favorite. The ones I had started to get a little dingy and worn out (4 years and 85 kids later…) so I wanted to get new ones. Since I don’t sew AT ALL, I was just going to buy the ones from Really Good Stuff. I was going to save my summer money to pay the big $150 for a class set. Then my wonderful mother (who is an awesome seamstress) offered to help me make some. So long story short, for under $50 we have made some super cute chair pockets! If any of you are interested in making your own version, I tried to include a tutorial of how we did it for you. It’s hard to explain in words how to make something, so hopefully with the directions and pictures, you can figure it out. :)

First we bought 6 ½ yards of blue twill (54 inches wide), 1 yard of 8 gauge plastic (3/4 would have been plenty, but they were only sold by the yard), and matching thread.

We needed two sizes of the fabric – a small piece (10 inches tall 14 inches wide) and a large piece (21 inches tall 14 inches wide). This size fits perfectly over our little school chairs. I used the measurements of a Carson-Dellosa desk plate to decide how big to make the plastic name tag. We cut the plastic 10 inches by 4 inches. Once everything was cut, we taped the plastic pieces in the center of the small piece of fabric.

The plastic was the worst part. It moves around like crazy. We taped it down on all four sides, and then sewed around three sides using a zig zag stitch. A longer stitch seemed to help. It still wasn’t perfect.

Next, clean finish the top edge (the 14 inch side) however you want. We turned and zig zagged. Then, take the longer piece and clean finish the 14 inch end, as well.

Lay the shorter piece over the longer piece with the plastic on the inside. Line them up along the bottom, with the two finished edges face up (as in the second picture below).  Clean up the sides. 

Pull the longer piece down behind the shorter piece, about 3 ½ inches. Pin the sides.

Sew around the three open sides. Be careful not to sew over the folded side.

Miter the bottom two corners (or if you are a non sewer like me, basically cut them at an angle, but don’t cut over the sewn part).

Flip it right side out.

Iron the edges flat. Top stitch the final edges on the top sides.

Insert the super cute name tag of your choice, and voila!

Don't you love my homemade name tag and over sized chair?  :)  I don't have any of my school stuff here, but I'm going to order the frog ones I linked to at Carson-Dellosa above.  Just one more thing to add to my frog themed room...

*I ended up with 28 completed pockets and a few scrap pieces*

If you have any questions or comments about the pockets, let me know.  Good luck if you try them!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

I cannot believe that the TpT Vegas Conference is over!  Since I didn't go to the conference last year, I feel like I've been preparing to go since then, only to have it fly by in just three short days!  To say the conference was amazing would be an understatement.  I can't put into words the incredible experience it was.  There is just something so special about over one thousand teachers coming together to be inspired and uplifted.  I met so many incredible people and learned so much valuable information.  I hope I can remember this feeling until next year!

Such a BEAUTIFUL hotel!

This was my favorite meet up!  
Ashlyn and Lindsey put on a wonderful party!
It was so much fun to flamingle with such fabulous teachers.  
I even won a gift certificate to Thirty One Bags, and two TpT Stores!  

This meet up was AMAZING!  
The ladies of Blog Hoppin' sure know how to put on a fabulous party!
Over one thousand teacher/bloggers all together in one room!  
Talk about a good time!
{Yet, slightly overwhelming...}  

I LOVED each one of the sessions I attended.  
So much valuable information was given by so many inspiring teachers!

We stopped by the GoNoodle Cabana Party and I won a t-shirt!  
I also got to meet Freckles Sinclair himself!  

Happy Hour was a fun way to end the conference.  
One final good-bye to old and new friends.  

So much delicious food was enjoyed!  

My main takeaways from the conference.  
I learned way more than I can fit on one slide, but these were my favorite.

I can't wait to read everyone else's blog posts all about Vegas!  
Click on the button to check them out! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece

I just completed Week 3 of the TpT Seller Challenge!  

For Week 3, I created a *NEW* product for my TpT Store!
I had been working on one since November, so I was very grateful for the motivation to finish it!  

Here is my completed masterpiece!
Like I said, this was started waaaaaaaaaay back in November!  My coworker's student teacher put together a great unit for us on the American Revolution.  With her permission, I added some activities, organization, and cuteness.  I absolutely love the way it turned out.  I have never enjoyed History, but this unit was so much fun to teach.  Our students were engaged and eager to learn.  I can't wait to teach it again with this cute, new unit!  

Here's a closer look at what's included in this unit.

This unit has been designed to teach the American Revolution in a fun and engaging way. I have included plenty of hands-on activities mixed with a variety of literature. Your students are sure to love learning about the Road to Revolution!

Included in this unit is:
-recommended literature
-essential questions
-KWL chart
-Vocabulary booklets and cards
-Instructions, resources, and activities for: The Thirteen Colonies, George Washington/King George III, Loyalists/Patriots, The Stamp Act, The Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Ride, The Declaration of Independence.
-Timelines for students to create
-End of unit assessment
-Six writing prompts (2 informative, 2 narrative, 2 opinion)

This unit is on sale for the rest of the day!
Click here to check it out!  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Camp GoNoodle

The time of year when teachers go back to normal.  
But also the time of year when parents truly appreciate their child's teacher!  ;)  

If you are looking for something to help keep your kiddo's active, entertained, and occupied this summer, then I have the perfect program for you!

This summer, GoNoodle is launching a free summer program called Camp GoNoodle that helps kids stay active, use their imaginations, and explore their world. Each week in July, there will be a set of adventures to complete, two Camp GoNoodle songs to learn, and a badge to earn!

Once you join (totally free), you’ll receive an email when the new weekly adventure
has arrived. Your child can go to to check it out on their own, or you
can do the adventures together as a family.

To join, go to, and sign up for a free parent account. If you already
have a GoNoodle home account, all you need to do is look for your first Camp
GoNoodle email on June 29.

My class LOVES GoNoodle!  It helps us help us get the wiggles out, focus, dance, stretch, practice mindfulness, and much more!   GoNoodle is free and easy to use.  All you need is a computer with internet access and you are good to go!  

What are you waiting for?  
Head over here to check it out!

My Camp GoNoodle Summer Faves!

Attention Bloggers!
Want to help spread the word AND win some amaing GoNoodle Swag?
1.  Grab the GoNoodle Linky Images for your blog post.
2.  Fill in the linky image answering the questions.
3.  Write a blog post about Camp GoNoodle.
4.  Use this inlinkz code in your post so everyone who links up will show up on your page, too.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Last year I couldn't find an alphabet that I liked that also matched my classroom color scheme.  
So I ended up making my own.  
I absolutely LOVED it!  

This year I'll be making one using Schoolgirl Style's Hello Sunshine theme.  
Since I'm using her templates, I won't be able to post it.  

Two of my co-workers this year wanted to update their classrooms and asked me to help them.  
Now I have two new beautiful alphabets to share with you!  
They both wanted simple, cursive alphabets, since they teacher upper grades.  
I absolutely LOVE how beautiful and simple they are!

I also just figured out how to add custom categories in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  
Now you can find all three of my alphabets in one place!

Great news!  
All of my alphabets are on sale this weekend!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dare to Dream

It's time for week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge!  
This week is all about our dreams with TpT.

I started blogging in 2010 as a way to share ideas with fellow teachers, as well as the parents of students in my class.  I offered lots of free activities and downloads, and never planned on selling on teachers pay teachers.  But after many of my blogger buddies started, I thought it seemed like a great way to make a few extra dollars.  I had no idea the possibilities and outcomes TpT could bring me!  It has already helped me pay off my debts, start a savings, and pay for a few trips to visit family and friends.  It's been a wonderful blessing! 

Today I sat down and thought about what I'd love to my future with TpT to be.  

I have started to build a small savings, but of course would like that to keep building.  I'd like to have money for when emergencies come up or future purchases (car, house, etc).  I just want to be prepared.  :)

My family all lives up in Canada.  For some reason, I chose to live in the warmth of AZ instead of the bitter cold of Canada.  That makes it a little difficult to see them as often as I'd like.  While I don't want to move back to Canada (I can't handle all that cold!), I would love to be able to visit more often than once or twice a year.  I'd love to make it back for birthdays, baptisms, and other special events.  

Inspire and Be Inspired
Reading other teacher blogs and browsing their TpT stores has inspired me so much!  I find amazing ideas for my classroom and love all the inspiration they give me.  Likewise, I love to be that inspiration to others.  I love sharing my ideas and activities with other teachers.  New teachers have it so good with all these teachers on social media.  Oh the teacher I could have been when I first began teaching!  

I want to see the world!  I went to Hawaii two years ago and that gave me the travel bug.  I don't have specific places in mind.  I just want to see it all!!  

Bottom line:  I want to enjoy life.  I don't want finances to be a reason why I can't do something or go somewhere.  I dream of the freedom Teachers Pay Teachers can provide me.  

What are your dreams?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Best Gift

This year I received one of my most treasured gifts!

Two of the parents from my class got together and made this ADORABLE photo book!  The best part was, they {and my entire class} kept it a secret for so long.  They copied pictures from my phone, blog, and instagram to use without me having a clue.  I'm so glad, because it was the best surprise!  Each two page spread has a sentence starter that each child finished.  My parents kept each child's exact answer, incorrect spellings and all!  It is too adorable!  

I wish I could show you the entire book.  It literally melted my heart!

Here are all the questions my class answered.  

Any teacher would LOVE a book like this.  
It is definitely something I'll treasure forever!
Click here to download the questions for yourself.  

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