Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back-to-School Picture Frame & a Whole Brain Teaching FREEBIE!

Say CHEESE! I just finished my frame for our first day pics-what do ya think? I saw this super cute idea on Pinterest {of course} and fell in love with it! It was really pretty easy...I just used a piece of foam board, cut out the middle and attached 2 different bulletin board borders to it. I printed the "first day" & "first grade" pencils on card stock. Then I attached them & a cute zebra bow - TaDa! Less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Now that's what I'm talkin' bout!!! I wish I could make progress like that in my classroom. It's getting there s-l-o-w-l-y...I'm almost ready to share some pics of my reading center makeover. By the way, my kiddos were trying to take this pic of me and, well...let me just say...after about 20 bazillion tries, we finally decided this was the best {except with the glare from the window its kinda hard to read the words on the pencils} Can you tell that I was giving picture-taking directions when this pic was snapped?!? :)

This summer, my friend & 1st grade teamie Danielle went to a Whole Brain Teaching workshop. I used a few of the callbacks last year & they worked wonders with my firsties. So I gonna try incorporating a few more WBT ideas this year. If you've never attended a workshop, check out this 1st grade classroom!

I've had a few requests for WBT posters & decided to create a set to match my Bright Dots stuff.

I've included 5 callback posters & a reproducible scoreboard page. If you would like a FREEBIE copy, just click the pic & download it from my TpT shop!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus & a MeCorder GIVEAWAY!

Is it really the end of July?!? Yes! the wheels on those big yellow busses are gonna start turning round & round before we know it! {insert pAnIc aTtAcK- aughhh!!!} Between working on the big gia-normous mess in my classroom & trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer with my kiddos, I've also been working on some of my back-to-school centers. "The Wheels on the Bus" includes 8 ready-to-go math & literacy centers and more fun activities! Just click the pic to check it out!

I'm super excited to share this fab*u*lous GIVEAWAY with you..... I am thrilled with the chance to review some of  the new 2012 products by Learning Resources. The "MeCorder-Mini Video Recorder" is a nifty lil gadget that allows students to record themselves. And what kid doesn't love to record themself? It is really easy to use-just plug it into your computer's USB port to charge it up. Oh ya! NO batteries! That is a big plus for me! If you want to save a file, it's that easy also-just plug it back into your computer & save the file. I started thinking about some of the ways that you could use the MeCorder in the classroom:
  • to practice sight words
  • speech/articulation practice {great for students to see mouth formation}
  • to record directions at a center
  • assessments
  • sentence writing assistant {Many students have difficulty writing a complete sentence because they sometimes forget some of the words in their sentence as they are writing. The MeCorder is very helpful to those students-they can record their sentence and then play it back as many times as needed until they have successfully written the entire sentence.}
  • to record messages to send home to parents {I think it would be really cool to record a kiddo that has had a super day saying something like, "Hi Mom & Dad! I did a great job in school today!" All you have to do is plug it right into your computer & attach the file in an email to the parents. Imagine how excited that parent will be when they get a compliment plus a lil video clip of their child! I can't wait to try this!!!!}
If you would like to find out more about the MeCorder Mini Video Recorder, just click HERE!

Giveaway has ended! Thanks to everyone that entered!!!
Alright, now for the part you've been anxiously waiting for...Learning Resources has so generously offered to award a lucky First Grade Fever follower a MeCorder of their own. It possible for you to get 6 entries for this giveaway. {Hurry-when July ends, so does the giveaway-Winner will be announced on August 1st!} Just leave a lil comment saying that you do the following:

That's 6 chances to win! Be sure to include your email address on each entry-good luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Prize Pass Catalog with Polka Dots & a Kohls Discount Code!

Hey everyone! Well, it's been a year since I decided to toss that dreaded "Prize Box" from my classroom & switch over to the "Prize Pass Catalog". And let me tell you I LOVE IT! {& so did my firsties!} A year without constantly trying to find stuff to fill the Prize Box....ahhhh....it was wonderful! No hassle searching for "prizes" and it didn't cost me a penny! Last summer I made a zebra print version of my Prize Pass Catalog {click HERE to see that post} & throughout the year I have had requests to add prizes to the catalog. So this summer, I put all those together in one file & added a polka dot border. {I'm mixing a lot of polka dots with my zebra print this year & lovin' it!} This file includes full-page sheets to make your Prize Pass Catalog, individual Prize Passes to give to students when they earn the prize & the Punch Card. If you would like a copy of my Prize Pass Catalog just click the pic below for your FREEBIE!

I used a 3-ring binder with those clear sheet protectors & put the full-page prize descriptions in them. Then I printed & cut the individual Prize Passes & stored them behind each prize description so they are ready to go when a student chooses a prize. Easy-peasy!!! I also put the zebra-print version all together in one file so if you prefer that border...just click the pic below for your FREEBIE!

Ok, time to share a lil something with all my bloggin' friends that love to shop...
This lil critter gets cuter each time I look at him-don't ya think?!? Did you know that you can go to kohls.com & find lots of other books & stuffed animals that are part of the Kohls Cares program? Check it out by clicking the pic of Skippyjon Jones! Well, since my trip to Kohls when I bought my adorbs lil Skippy, I have had tons of emails about that cute lil critter. Well, imagine how excited I was to receive an email from Kohls Department Stores offering an online discount code to my blog readers! Here's what it said:
I noticed that you offer your readers great savings advice. Therefore, I also wanted to share an exclusive 10%off code for kohls.com. You can use the code BLOGIT10 through August 23and stack your savings with one other department specific code as well.Feel free to use this code and share it with your readers!
WOO HOO!!! Just in time for back-to-school shopping!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Do you need a lil Jitter Mix?

OMIgoodness! Do you have the back-to-school jitters? Well, if you saw the pic of my classroom on my post yesterday, you know I've got a bad an extreme case of The Jitters! {That room is a disaster zone! YIKES!!} The beginning of a school year can be a really scary thing for kids {& teachers!} As much as we try to prepare our kiddos with cutsie lil postcards & open house goody bags, there are still gonna be some "first day jitters." I absolutely LOVE to read this book on the first day...
I know this book is specific to first grade, but there are tons of other back-to-school books-here's just a few...

I love love the idea of making "Jitter Juice" to go along with this book & decided to add a lil snack with our juice....TaDa! "JITTER MIX"! Who doesn't love to nibble on their favorite lil snack? Especially if you are a little bit nervous or uneasy...Yep! Jitter Mix is gonna take all those first day jitters away. There really is no secret recipe....just mix together your own special ingredients, scoop into ziploc bags, attach the special "Jitter Mix" labels and you are set to go!
You can find these labels & tons of  "Jitter Mix" & back-to-school activities in my "First Grader at Last!" Back-to-School unit. It was inspired by several cute back-to-school books such as First Grade Jitters & Junie B. Jones First Grader at Last! Click HERE or on the pic to check it out!

And by request, I have put together a little mini-unit: "Back-to-School Jitter Mix Fun!" This lil packet contains only the Jitter Mix activities {that are included in the First Grader at Last unit} & is not grade specific-perfect for PreK thru 3rd grade! Click HERE or on the pic below to see more!

Ok, back to Pinterest for more classroom inspiration {I need a lil more "pin-couragement" before I can face my classroom again!}

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Scary Sight & Classroom Labels {Freebie}

I'm back!!! I feel like I've been running in circles for the past week! Trying to enjoy a little bit of summer time, but then you get that anxious "back-to-school" excitement running through your body so you start working on some great back-to-school ideas...then you decide to stop by your classroom for just a min and....... AUGGGHHHHH!!!!! {take a deep breath!!!}
OMIword! This CAN'T be my classroom!?! Not the neat, organized classroom that I have been fantasizing about all summer as I'm browsing around on Pinterest! Come on y'all know exactly what I'm talkin' about...it is just a darn ugly mess! Should I just turn around and leave real quick?? Maybe it will look different if I come back another day?? Well...I got brave & worked til 9pm last night. {I've got a looooong way to go yet!} Thank goodness that cute lil cat "Pete" has captured my heart cuz when I got home, I forgot all about that scary classroom mess and....YES! finally finished up my "Fun with Pete the Cat" unit! Yeah! I'm really excited to be incorporating Pete into many activities in my classroom this year. I would love to offer this unit, but just found out that the "Pete People" are not allowing this....so sad.... Oh well....
Last year I posted my Freebie Back-to-School Labels {click HERE to see that post} & Classroom Labels {click HERE to check that post out} and I have had several requests to add to the list! I decided to put them all in one file & offer this FREEBIE again! Click the pic below to grab a copy!

Be sure to check back real soon....I've got some awesome giveaways coming up! :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My "Trash to Treasure" Project

Yowzie! I just love DIY projects! Check out Jena's super cute "Made It Monday" project over at 1st Grade with Miss Snowden. Her "Happy Teacher Box" turned out so cute! I decided to join Jena & link up with 4th Grade Frolics.

Well, here's a look at the lil projects that I've been working on... This is the BEFORE pic of a desk chair that was sitting in my basement looking all ugly.
Before: ugly & boring right?!?

...and this is the AFTER!!! Ta-Da! What do you think?

After: polka dot cuteness!!!
This project was super simple-just unscrew the chair back & seat. Cut a piece of material to fit around them & use a staple gun to attach the new fabric. Since all chairs are a little bit different, its kinda hard to give specific directions for this project. The back on my chair had a hard plastic cover that I had to remove also. I stapled the fabric & then attached the cover over the edges of the fabric that you see here in this pic.

And this is my polka dot chair with my new crate seats! Yes! they are finally finished! WooHoo!

I hate to admit that those crate seats have been on my To-Do list since last year. Cutting the plywood to fit inside the crate is really the hardest part. Since summer seems to be flying by, I decided that I better move that part of the project to the "Honey-Do List" & the boards were cut in no time! {Thanks Bryan!!} They turned out so stinkin' cute- I can't wait to get them in my classroom!

What's your summer project?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Look What I Found! & Some Updates... {FREEBIE!}

Hey friends! It was super hot here again yesterday so whats a girl gotta do to keep cool??? SHOP! {& the temperature in Hobby Lobby & Kohls was just right!} Just take a look at what I found...
Isn't that Skippyjon Jones adorbs??? Lovin' those ears! This lil cutie was only $5 at Kohls. It the newest offer in the Kohls Cares program. The hardcover Skippyjon Jones books are also a steal at only $5! {I love that I can find this great deal & know a portion is being donated to support kids' health & education.} Now speaking of deals...look at that cutie-patootie ribbon {just don't count how many rolls I bought!} That 50% off sign just speaks to me. My mind goes nutty & I start thinking of all kinds of projects that I could use ribbon for and....well....yes! I want to buy one of each! I also found just the patterns & colors of material that I needed to make my crate seats. I'm trying to coordinate all of my zebra print with bright polka dots. I just love seeing some of those totally color coordinated classrooms on Pinterest! They look soooo amazing AND ORGANIZED don't they? I want that! ...maybe someday I'll get there?? Anyway, after I had all the material that I needed, I found this floral print...
I definitely want need that too! It's perfect-6 different materials for 6 crate seats! Hopefully I will be able to post my finished project pics soon. Now, I thought I was finished with Hobby Lobby, but on the way out we passed these irresistible wooden letters for 50% off! Just $1.50 folks! WooHoo!
I was so inspired by my sweet friend Katie over at Queen of the First Grade Jungle when she did a reading center makeover last summer-Love it!! That is a must-do for me this summer. {Click HERE to see Katie's awesome reading center.}

A Few Updates: My Bright Dots Word Wall Words have been updated to include the entire Pre-Primer through Second Grade word list {plus a few extras requested words}. Also I have just posted the "Primary Dots Classroom Kit" that I've promised to do.

Now here's a little something to share...

My friend Jenny {from our kindergarten crew} called me the other day & asked if I could put these super-cute poems on those bright dots colors. And look at that...I already found a great use for some of that new ribbon I bought yesterday! I made these in both the Bright Dots & Bright Chevron backgrounds-just click HERE or on the pic for your FREEBIE!

Let me know if any of you find yourself shopping seeking shelter from the heat {...oh, say maybe inside Target, Hobby Lobby or Michaels} Can't wait to see what y'all find!