Thank You Office Max!

Ok. I am a little shocked. I have been working on creating name tags, labels, etc. for my class. This past year I have learned to do a lot on the computer I NEVER thought I would be able to do. 

In fact, the other day my 18 year old daughter said, "Um, I can't believe you know how to do more on the computer than I do now!" 

What a compliment, since she has been my go to person for tech help since she was like 8! 

Anyway, as I was creating I was thinking about all the colored ink I was going to be using up and I was pretty concerned about how it would look since my printer is not exactly high-tech. 

I decided to check into color prints at Office Max. I called and talked to someone and decided I would use their online feature to upload my document and have it printed. 

I started small- I definitely did not want to print pages and pages only to decide I didn't like it and be stuck spending the money for something I wouldn't use.

The upload process was easy and I received a call and an email about 25 minutes later that my prints were ready. When I picked them up I was shocked! (And not by the price, I thought it was very reasonable.)

HOLY COW! The copies were beautiful. Office Max is my new favorite place! 

Here is what my daily schedule looks like on my magnetic white board. I put magnets on the back of each piece. And by the way, we do eat lunch- I just left that circle out by mistake! 

I have used this type of daily schedule visual for my kids for years. I LOVE that it is easy to move around each day and that there are no times on it! (When I used to put times or clocks with my daily schedule my kids would be more worried about us staying on schedule than on what they were currently learning!)

I have FIVE FREE  versions of this nifty daily schedule available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Have a great weekend! (I only have 2 weekends left before we go back to work!!!!)  I am excited about how I will be spending this one! I will tell you about it next week.


Book Talk Tuesday: Duke the Dairy Delight Dog!

Thrilled to be participating in my first Book Talk Tuesday Linky sponsored by Mrs. Jump's Class

One of my very favorite authors is Lisa Campbell Ernst! Several of her books could compete for the title of "My Favorite Children's Picture Book". She writes great stories that are funny, sweet, full of adventure, and her illustrations are so engaging. 

I ALWAYS read Duke the Dairy Delight Dog to my students sometime during the first part of the year. Then I make sure I have a basket of more Lisa Campbell Ernst books checked out because they always want to read more!

Last year I chose to use this book during our Reader's Workshop character unit. I used this book as my mentor text to accompany a really cute character project my students complete. After reading the book, we discuss the character "Darla", her personality traits, how she changes during the course of the story, the motivation for her actions, etc. Then I use "Darla" to create my example. I have loads of books pulled with strong characters in them and each student gets a book, reads, and then completes a character project based on the character in his or her book. They are so fun! (And make a great display!)

Okay- more about Duke...
Duke is a traveling dog that has always been on his own. He happens upon Darla's Dairy Delight (an ice cream shop), and goes ga-ga over the place. Duke decides this is the place for him and he wants to stay forever. 

Darla, being the Queen of Clean, is not too fond of the idea of a dirty dog in her shop. Darla tries to get Duke to leave, but no such luck.

Duke tries many different tactics to get in that ice cream shop, but Darla stops him every time. 

Darla shooing Duke with a broom...

Duke plotting his next move...

Uh, oh! Duke and Darla tangled up with the Kleen-Rite 3-in-1 Scrubber-Buffer-Waxer machine...

I really wish I could show you the end, but I wouldn't want to ruin it for you- it is too precious.
And your kids will love it!

Here are a few more of my Lisa Campbell Ernst faves...

Since Duke the Dairy Delight Dog is a book about a dog, I couldn't resist the chance to show a picture of my four dogs. Here are my babies!

Be sure to check out some more great books at Mrs. Jump's Class!


My First Five for Friday!

It's Friday! Only three free Fridays left before I am back to school. Not too much on the agenda for today, but next Friday... something exciting is happening. Read on to find out! 

Also, a big thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this fun linky party. 

So here we go!

I spent three days in my classroom this week getting ready for the upcoming year. I LOOOVE getting my room ready. I have been debating going to a more uniform look for my bulletin boards forever, but I finally did it. I went with blue material and found a really cute border that I put around the outside of every board, and then I used different red and blue borders to layer inside. I think the finished product looks good... now I just need to put something on them!

My husband and I are about to be empty nesters! CRAZY! Our youngest sweetie pie is headed off to college in about 4 weeks. We are so excited and proud of her- she is a great student and is going to be playing softball. My oldest sweetie pie lives in Florida and works for Mr. Mickey Mouse and she got engaged in April to a fantastic guy and we are super excited about that. 

Now for the best part- next Friday we are going to meet up with my oldest.  We are going to have a weekend with just the four us!!!! I. CANNOT. WAIT!!!!


Maybe I need to rethink the whole "empty nest" thing since we have FOUR dogs and I consider them my babies... we will just leave that one alone...

Anyway, this is Stringbean. I finally gave in and allowed my youngest to get a dog when she was 14. We adopted him from a local animal rescue when he was about 9 weeks old. He just turned 4. While he started out as my daughter's dog, he quickly became all mine. I should have known we would bond when he literally peed all over my leg when we were meeting him at the shelter! He is seriously the smartest dog EVER! 

Here is my handsome boy! And the next picture is my handsome boy hiding because...


He HATES baths. At my house we have to spell the word "bath" in front of him because he goes and hides EVERY time he hears that word, or when he hears the faucet running for the bathtub, or if we get out the comb to brush their fur...

This is his favorite hiding place, behind the recliner in the bedroom. Thank goodness he is our least stinky dog and we don't have to actually give him a B.A.T.H. very often!

I love using Writer's Workshop. I have used it for several years, in both second and third grade. I am excited about a new product I have created to use during my first unit. I designed it to go along with Lucy Calkins WW, bringing in a few additional elements that my students usually need extra practice with. If you use WW, be sure to check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! 

I am thrilled that we are going to get to go the Farmer's Market again tomorrow. That will be two weekends in a row! Number one on my "to buy" list is fresh pimento cheese. Didn't know I liked it until last weekend, but it just might be one of my new favorite foods. Try it with bacon in a grilled cheese! My mouth is watering right now!

Happy Friday!


It's "Tree"mendous!

 So I have been in my classroom preparing for back to school. I go back the first week in August and the kids start on August 12th. I like to have things ready, and we are heading to California between now and then for a softball tournament, so my summer is wrapping up quickly. Not much time left for all that I have to get done!!!!

Our school theme this year is "Climbing the Learning Tree", so I wanted to create a tree in my classroom. I have a large back wall that I am able to staple into, so it was the perfect place to "grow" a tree. 

Here is the finished product...

I had to purchase the brown roll paper, we were out of that color in my building. We did have green left, so I just tore off a piece and folded it up so when I cut the leaves I could cut several at a time. 

*A note about the brown roll paper- I found some at Hobby Lobby and got all the way to the register when I realized that it was brown on one side and white on the other. I crumpled and twisted the paper to give it the look of a trunk and I definitely wouldn't have wanted white on one side. I was able to find this paper (brown on both sides) at Mardel's. It was very reasonable (I think $6.99) and I was able to do the entire tree with one roll. 

Since I am a blogging newbie I didn't think about taking pictures of every step- I will remember that for next time. Instead, here are a few diagrams (using those nonfiction text features!). 
I unrolled the 12 feet of brown paper and then cut it into 3 long strips.


The next thing I did was to take the long strips and I scrunched them up and twisted them here and there. For my tree, I cut two of the long strips in half so that I had 4 six foot sections. To make the trunk of the tree I used three of the strips. Again... another diagram...

After stapling the bottom of all tree strips to the bulletin board (or wall), I took the outside two strips and made an "X" over the middle strip. It gave the tree more depth and a kind of gnarled look. I only did that once, and then just pulled and stapled the paper to make the trunk look as realistic as I could. Here's a close up of the trunk...


The next thing I did was to take the fourth six foot strip and I cut it in half to make the two larger branches coming out of the top of the tree. Then I took the last twelve foot strip and cut off sections to complete the rest of the branches, trying to get some smaller shoots off of the main branches.

The last step, and the step I THOUGHT would take the longest was the leaf step. I did fold a large sheet of roll paper so that I could cut several leaves at once and that was helpful. I cut about 32 leaves, thinking I would see how they looked before I cut a bunch and decided I didn't like them (I tend to do that often). I stapled up the initial 32 and decided I really liked the tree the way it looked! So, the leaves ended up being the easiest part! 

In all, this project took about 45minutes to an hour. Not too bad! I think I am going to hang some anchor charts around it and maybe a critter or two sitting on the branches. 

Happy Back to School!


It's That Time Again! Back to School- Birthday Bags

It's time to start getting things ready for back to school! I enjoy so much the planning and preparing for a new school year. My next several blog posts will be centered around preparing for my new class.

So... birthday gifts/recognition for my students- this is one area I used to be TERRIBLE at! 
I was never consistent and sometimes would run out of bookmarks or whatever I was giving out that year. 

Several years ago my teaching partners and I began making "birthday bags". We get them assembled during the summer and they are ready to go for the year. I always try to make about 4 or 5 extra to be ready for any new students. 

You could really put anything in them that you would like, but here's what we do...

Free homework coupon- the kids LOVE this one!

Candy (we normally do not give out candy- except in their birthday bags, you could replace this with something healthy if you prefer)!

Straw- this is for the bottle of flavored water they get on their birthday. Some years we use fun straws, some years regular. It depends on what we can find and whether the price is right! I have a mini-fridge in my room, so I just buy a case of flavored water at the beginning of the year and I am all set. I give them the bag and bottle of water after lunch on the day we celebrate their birthday. 

Some years we make tags for their bags with their name and birthday, but I haven't done that the past few years. If you label the bags, then sometimes it is a hassle to have to make tags when you get new students.

I have a big wire basket in my room and I keep all of the bags in it and just pull out the bags as I need them. 

Happy Back to School!

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