My First "Back to School" Purchases for My New First Graders!

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Welcome! I hope to use this blog to share some of the amazing things my class and school does to make learning fun! I have been teaching for 15 years already! I started teaching 3rd grade in a Parochial School, then I was hired to teach 1st grade for three years, was moved to 5th grade for 2 years, and then came back to 1st grade in the district where I attended school. I love that I'm able to give back the the school district that guided me to become the teacher I am today! I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, certified 1-8; a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction; and my Administrator License Pre-K-12.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm Not Grounded Anymore! YEAH!

Oh my gosh!  I've been so crazy busy lately...I had to ground myself from all things fun...blogging, pinning, updating my website, etc. because I had to finish an online course I've been taking for the past six weeks!  It was killing me!  I finally finished everything Tuesday night...or I should say, I did the best I could and it is what it is...thank God!  :)  So I got up super early on Wednesday and headed to my classroom!  I was cleaning off shelves...and moving piles around and found some goodies I thought I'd share!
First...I found a surprise package left for me by a teacher that retired a few years ago!
I have 24 6x6 mini albums!
My first thought was to let my kiddos design a page for each month with their favorite things we did...then I thought I would make a different template for each month for them to complete so that it had a seasonal feel.  I also thought about shrinking some of their work and including it on each page...but that would be a lot of shrinking.  (Sometimes my original thoughts aren't always practical.)  And then I remembered our amazing technology teacher and very good friend, Mrs. Kania!  We already do digital portfolios with my students!  So...I think I'm going to keep them at home and make a scrapbook for each of my students and then give them this book at the end of the year.  I know some kindergarten teachers who do this each year and get really detailed...with 24 scrapbooks, I think I'm going to keep it simple, but nice too.  I don't even know a lot of my families yet, but I think they'll appreciate it...oops!  Some of them may be peeking at this-shhh!

Another "find" I found:

Yep...those are hard cover bound book covers (if I said that right).  I know that I'll be using these to publish the kiddos writing or stories...but I'm still figuring out how to do it!  Really excited though....there's a box of probably 50 different styles and colors.

I also found all of my magnetic letters and decided to color code my vowels!  I decided to make all of my vowels red because some of our second grade teachers use a phonics program that color codes all of the vowels, consonants, digraphs, etc. called Touch Phonics.  I used a red glitter spray paint for some of my e's to distinguish them as "Super Silent e" and I'll be spray painting my "Mystical Magical Y's" with a gold glitter spray paint.  Here's a picture so far:

They are drying at my parent's house so when I get them finished I'll share details about the spray paint I used and other tips!

Since Border's is closing forever, :( I've been making a few visits to get some of their closeout prices.  Here's my newest purchases!  I really need to figure out how to embed one of those Shelfari widgets into my blog.  :)
Obviously a rhyming story...easy rhyming for the beginning of the year.  It's about a group of dust bunnies who are coming up with words that rhyme but while they are rhyming, Bob is trying to warn them about the vacuum cleaner that is headed their way.  I'm seeing a cute bulletin board with our own dust bunnies made out of those colorful pom-pons and those fun googley eyes you can find at craft stores!

Russell is a sheep that is looking for a treasure.  After several funny incidents he finally finds the treasure and inside it he finds an old camera.  He starts taking pictures of his entire family and puts the photos into an album.  The album becomes his best treasure.  Our PTO bought digital cameras for our classrooms last year so I'm going to use this book to introduce our cameras and discuss how we are going to use them.

Tilly is a goose who does some crazy things..."Tilly was a silly goose, a daffy-down-and-dilly goose, who took her baths in apple juice."  Rhyming story-great for visual images too!

This book has been shared a lot on blogs this summer!  There are tons of ideas out there to use with this book.  Since color words were "mastered" during kindergarten, I'll be using this book at the beginning of the year.  It has a great message of getting along with others and sharing too!

I'm really excited about this book!  It begins with a perfect square that is transformed into lots of different things on each day of the week!  I'll be working on some activities to go along with this book and will share them when they're created!

As you know, our school mascot is a pirate so I just had to have these!  Pirates Go To School will be great for back to school and I'll use Pirate vs. Pirate during our district's Pride Week in January...if I can wait that long!  :)
Our art teacher, Mr. Beuglass and I got together on Monday morning to work on my tree branches...they are looking so awesome!  Here's what we've done so far...
We're using this flexible tubing found in the plumbing department.

It's 12 feet, when stretched out, of wonderful tubing that we cut in half.  Each tube is giving us 2 branches.  We cut one of the ends on an angle so that we would be able to screw it into our tree.

We then made a glue and water mixture, shredded newspaper in his shredder and started applying it to the tubes.  We can only do one side at a time and it takes about 24 hours to dry enough so that we can flip it and do the other side.

Here's a close-up of the angled edge.

My sister and her girls came to help...thank goodness!  It's a lot of shredding and mixing so it helps to have one or more people working on the tubes while another takes care of the shredder.

We just kind of glooped it all over the tubes.
Here's a close-up of how we're applying the shredded newspaper.
My nieces came to help out too...well...sort of!
My soon-to-be 4 year old niece found my box of Disney books!

My 2 year old niece loved going through all of my drawers and cubbies!
Well...this is the update so far!  I'm so glad my online class is finished so that I can focus on other things...classroom, professional training presentation in Pennsylvania, collecting internship hours, attending professional development trainings...'tis the season, I guess!  :)


  1. Wow! You've been really busy...extremely cool tree-the kids will LOVE it :)
    I am a new follower...


  2. The tree is going to look great! I cannot wait to see the final product! My 5 year old son LOVES The Rhyming Dust Bunnies. There is another book out called, "Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny!"


  3. That is such a great idea for the branches to use the pipe and shredded newspaper! After the glue dries are you going to spray paint it? It is looking good!

  4. I can't wait to see your finished tree! P.s. I'm your newest follower.


  5. Welcome to my newest followers! Thanks for finding me and becoming a follower! I'm new at this so I'm learning along the way!

    Marcy-Thanks for telling me about the other dust bunny book!

    Dana-Yep! I'm hoping to spray paint my branches on Sunday...they're needing a little longer to dry and I'm trying not to rush myself! I don't need falling limbs during the first few weeks of school! :)

    I'm off to blog-stalk my newest followers!