Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This teaching blog community is PHENOMENAL! You all uplift me and inspire me again and again. I am so thankful I have found such an amazing group of people to collaborate with and learn from. THANK YOU!

When my blog recently hit 500 followers, I knew I had to plan a big celebration! I e-mailed some of my FAVORITE blog friends to see if they would be willing to contribute to this giveaway, and DID THEY EVER! Please join us on the giveaway train...there are LOTS of FABULOUS sights to see!

ENTER BELOW...one winner will WIN IT ALL! 

image(Train Clipart from MTF)

The giveaway ends at 12:01am on August 5th. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 27, 2012

classroom job display cards (free and editable!)


I’m laying in bed watching the Opening Ceremonies and trying to check some things off of my Back-2-School list. This is my kind of Friday night! How about you all?

I thought I’d share how I’ve set up my classroom jobs display in the past. Last year I had a frog themed job display titled, “Leap Out and Lend a Hand.” I know I took pictures of it, but I can’t seem to find them now. It was super cute. I created a huge pond and inside the pond were lily pads. The lily pads had  different classroom jobs  written on them. Then, each student had his/her own frog cut-out, and every week the frogs would leap to a new lily pad. My kids ate this up!

The year before last, I created this display: “Help Needed On the Friend Ship.” My students were “classroom lifesavers,” and each week were assigned a new job on the job board. Their names were written on lifesavers I made out of orange and white paper.



My students loved this; however, they always wanted the same two jobs: morning director (calendar helper) and line leader. So, about halfway through the year, I decided they would have to persuade me to give them the job they wanted by completing a classroom job application.

They took this application VERY seriously!


(click on the picture above to download the application!)

I haven’t decided how I’m going to set up anything in my classroom this year. I have some things in mind, but nothing is set in stone. I haven’t been able to get into my classroom yet, so it’s been hard to really get thinking! But, I have created these cute classroom job cards. I plan on using these SOMEHOW on my classroom jobs display. I created two different sets: a chevron set and a bright and colorful set. I also made an editable version so you can write your own classroom job names on them. Unfortunately, though, TPT is STILL down for me. I can’t upload ANYTHING. I’m hoping this will be fixed soon. The editable version will be available ASAP!



(Graphics from: KPM Doodles)

You can download the PDF version (non-editable) below:


Keep checking back in for the editable version!

Do you give your students classroom jobs?

Monday, July 23, 2012

who am i? i’m so glad you asked!

Hi Y’all!

(Okay, I’ve always wanted to start a post that way. You Southern folk are just so cute. Ha!)

I rarely share anything about my personal life on here since this is an education blog, after all. But, when I saw the sweet Amy Lemons was hosting a Tell Me More, Tell Me More linky party, I knew I had to chime in on the fun.

So here it goes…a little bit about me:

First Grader...at Last!

1. Last summer, when preparing for the school year, I googled “First Grade Classroom Ideas” and Sarah Cooley’s blog, “First Grader…At Last!” came up. I had no idea what teacher blogs were at the time, but she TOTALLY hooked me in. I honestly have a notebook full of her ideas. She is my BLOGGY IDOL, and I love her. She has totally changed my life!


2. Who is that handsome guy? That is my sweet boyfriend, Michael. We have been together for 5 whole years, and I absolutely adore him. We make an amazing team. He is funny, kind-hearted, and always so encouraging and supportive. I love him dearly! (I just realized I don’t have any photos of us together on this laptop. Sorry!)

Wedding tablescape

3. I am in NO RUSH to get married or have babies. However, I do love pretty weddings and other people’s children.

messy house

4. Michael is an artist and I am a teacher (I know you already know that part about me!), so between his artwork and my crafts, our apartment is often a hot mess. You can always tell when our creative juices are really flowin’. We do not allow guests over during these times.


5. I love scarves. More than shoes. (IPhone pic. Sorry!)

6. I’ve had all kinds of jobs in my life, and gone on countless interviews. I’ll never forget when I was interviewing for a nanny position and the mom asked me to turn around so she could bury her nose in my hair. She believed in a “scent-free environment,” and did not like that my shampoo was fragrant. Ha! I ran to the door and never looked back. Can anyone say SCARY?

7. I love me some Colin Firth.


8. This is my sweet sister, Faith, my niece, Abby, and my nephew, Christopher. They are the funniest kids EVER! LOVE THEM!


9. Another one of them. They are a few years younger here. Still as cute. For sure!

10. Iced lattes make it all better.

11. My sweet grandmother died when I was just 10. I wish she was alive now. I have so many questions for her. I miss her! Isn’t she pretty?

I have so many other fun facts and many stories about my crazy (and HUGE) family. But, I’ll save those for another post (when I switch over all of my pictures to this laptop).

Okay, so now it is your turn to Tell Me More…

Go link up with Amy!


Also, please take a moment to go say hello to my sweet, sweet teacher-friend, Tracy, over at her newly designed blog. She is a 2nd grade teacher at my school and is PHENOMENAL! You all will LOVE HER. Becca (another one of my favorite girls) from Jumping Jax Designs did the blog design. LOVE!


Tracy just recently posted a tutorial on how to make a teacher toolbox using DUCT TAPE!

Cute, huh?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Must Have Picture Books

Hi Ladies (and Gentlemen?),

I am linking up with the sweet Mrs. Lindsey (aka The Teacher Wife) to share my favorite picture books. I *love* picture books; I just wish they weren’t so expensive. One of my favorite places to find awesome (and inexpensive books) is Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. I’ve bought many hardback books for as cheap as .99 cents. Seriously! If you have an Ollie’s nearby, you must check them out!

Here are some of my favorites:

This is an excellent book to read during the first week of school. It is about overcoming obstacles and having courage in your everyday life. It is a super sweet read!

Who doesn’t LOVE Ezra Jack Keats? This book makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Be sure to drink hot cocoa while reading this book!

Oh wow! This is just a wonderful book with phenomenal pictures. I always tear up when reading this. This book is an excellent discussion starter. LOVE!

Owen is another great book to read the first week of school. Owen and Mrs. Tweezers will win your children’s hearts over time and time again.

What are your favorite picture books?

If you haven’t linked up with Mrs. Lindsey yet, go do it now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

welcome back-2-school postcards (free!) and easi-speak winner


Hello Sweet Friends!

Who doesn’t love receiving mail? I know I do!

I just finished designing these fun welcome back postcards. My whole team will be sending these out to our new students. If you’d rather not spend the money on postage, these could also be used as first day welcome cards.

You can download these for free below.






Thanks to all of you that entered to win the Easi-Speak Recorder. Congratulations to Vera! You’re the winner. Woo hoo! I will be e-mailing you today. For those that didn’t win, be on the lookout for many more giveaways in the near future.


Friday, July 13, 2012

library book bin labels (free)

Hi Friends!

This week I’m dog-sitting for a friend while she’s on vacation with her family. The dog’s name is Luke. He’s a year old Golden Retriever. SO ADORABLE!

In between walking and playing with him, I’ve been creating book bin labels for my new and improved classroom library. This past year I had very few genre labels (without pictures) for my library. Although they served their purpose, these new labels will work much better. I tried to think about the books I currently own (and the books I dream of having) when creating these. I found a great resource online, Mrs. Meacham’s Classroom Snapshots, to help guide me along. This website has some great tips on where to find books for awesome deals and how to set up your library. It was a big help!

The past two years, I’ve organized my book bins using little circular dots that come in different colors. I would place a colored dot on a label, and then place the same colored dot on all of the books that go in that bin. For example, if I placed a red dot on my Dr. Seuss label, I would also place a red dot on all of my Dr. Seuss books. This helped my students (and me) stay very organized! Each week, I always chose 2 students to be “Librarians,” and it was their job to make sure the books were put back in the correct bins. It seemed to work pretty well.

Please feel free to download these book bin labels to use in your classroom library. They are FREE!



For the PDF version (non-editable), click below:


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Also, here’s a sneak peek at the latest unit I’m working on. It should be finished by the end of the week. This packet will be perfect for the first few weeks of school and will nicely add to your Social Studies curriculum.



(Don’t forget…it’s not too late to sign up for the Easi-Speak giveaway. It ends tonight!)

How do you organize your library?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Easi-Speak Recorder Giveaway

Have you all heard of the Easi-Speak USB Recorder? Who am I kidding? Of course you have! I was super excited when Learning Resources contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing this product. I am SO GLAD I said yes because this little bad boy is AWESOME!

When my package arrived at my door, I couldn’t wait to take it out of the box and try using it. I am the kind of girl that DOES NOT read directions (please tell me I’m not alone here!), so I was extremely pleased that it was very easy (or should I say Easi?) to set-up and use.

Some of my favorite things about Easi-Speak:
-it requires NO BATTERIES (you just plug it into your computer to charge)
-you just press one little button to record (YES, THAT’S IT!)
-you have the option of playing back your voice on the microphone OR listening to the file on your computer
-the sound quality is EXCELLENT!

I was thinking this would be PERFECT at a fluency station (this past year I used an old tape recorder, which was a PAIN to set-up, play-back, and leave for my students to use independently). You can check out how I work my fluency station here. I also thought it would work wonderfully during math time, especially when we get into solving and writing our own word problems. Students could write a word problem and read it into the microphone, and then another student in the classroom could listen back on the microphone to solve. Seriously...the possibilities are endless!
Now, I know you want one. Right? Well, I am giving one away right here on this little blog of mine.

The giveaway ends on July 14th, so HURRY!
How would you use the Easi-Speak USB Recorder in your classroom?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

binder covers (free and editable!)

I am always in awe of you teachers who are so organized. You know who you are. My word, how do you do it? A big goal for myself this upcoming year is to stay organized. I always start off the year with my desk nice and tidy; however, by mid-October, it is a big ole’ mess covered with papers that need to be graded, filed and recycled.

So, this year I’ve promised myself I’m going to make a more conscious effort to put things in their place right away! To help myself accomplish this goal, I’ve created these sweet (and functional) binder covers. I figured, the cuter they are, the more likely I will use them. Plus, I like that even though the designs on each cover are different, the colors all go together nicely.

If you are anything like me (or if you are one of those teachers, but you’re in need of some binder covers to stay even more organized than you currently are), please download these binder covers for free. (I apologize I don’t have any multi-cultural clipart for these covers. I’ve had a very hard time finding any multi-cultural clipart besides Scrappin’ Doodles. Any help would be appreciated!)




If you’d rather personalize your own binder covers, you can download an editable version (I’ve saved these blank pages as JPEGs) at my TPT shop. All of the covers you see above, plus these are included in the editable version.


Click here to download an editable version (meaning you can add your own text and clipart):

What tips and tricks do you all have to stay organized?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

daily schedule cards (free) and 2nd grade back-to-school packet


Hi friends!

A few posts back I wrote about my classroom theme for this upcoming year: bright and playful.  For this new theme, I created some cheery and welcoming Daily Schedule Cards. These will pair nicely with the many items sitting in my Shopping Cart from Melanie’s (Schoolgirl Style) Rainbow Collection.






(Graphics by JW Illustrations and Open ClipArt)

If you’re doing a cheery and bright theme (or perhaps you’re just up for a little more color in your classroom) this school year, grab these cards below or at my little TPT shop for free:


Also, I’ve received a lot of messages asking if I would adapt my first grade Back-to-School packet for second grade. The answer is YES. It’s changed! All of the components of this packet are the same as my first grade (click here to read all about the first grade packet).


You can find my first grade and second grade Back-to-School packets at my TPT and TN shops by clicking on the links below.

I will give this packet away to the first friend who leaves a comment with their e-mail address (if you teach first grade, I’ll send you that packet instead!).

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