Tropical Storm Issac, Mud Race and Canceled School

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On Friday our admin warned us that Issac may shut us down Monday and turn our classrooms into shelters. Being the born Floridian that I am, I think a little rain, thunder, wind and lightening is all part of the summer. So I basically paid no attention to it! However, before we left on Friday all teachers had to pack up their equipment that may get damaged or stolen if our school was used as a shelter. Keep in mind this is day four of school and I just finished making my room "perfect!" My intern and I spent 45 minutes securing the room by zip tying the cabinets and packing the computers, projector and anything else that would be considered valuable. After being a little annoyed that teachers were responsible for making our rooms "shelter proof," I packed up and went home and mentally prepared for my very first mud race!

The race was AMAZING and I would highly suggest that everyone should add participating in a mud race to their bucket list!!! During the race the sky gave out and it down poured! It was kind of like a out door shower though, so it was nice considering the moment!

All teachers in my surrounding counties got the call today saying, school is closed Monday due to the weather! I must admit I'm a little bummed it being the 5th day of school, but an extra day of raining day planning is always helpful!

First Day Down & Going on a Classroom Tour

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Today was the first day and it was … hectic and stressful, but whose first day isn’t???  (No answer required) However, I LOVE my students already!!!  I love how every year the dynamics of my classroom changes and I get to start fresh with a new group of kiddos!!! Bring on the rest of the year . . .

It's Classroom Tour Time!
I’m linking up with Beg, Borrow, Steal, Time 4 Kindergarten and Swimming into Second for a classroom reveal . . . I LOVE looking (A.K.A. snooping) at other classrooms! So now is your chance to take a sneak into mine . . .  

Entrance to my room ... The wordwall in on my cabinets.
To the right of the door - My school is really enforcing the  fire code that says "No hanging items 12 inches from the ceiling" so that means no fancy hanging things. Anyone have any ideas???
Directly to the right of the door. The non-fiction classroom library and my "teacher" area.
Classroom library up close.
One of the wonderful windows in my room. I hang past pictures from my class up under the window, so the students can look at them. They love looking at past kiddos - I had a student tell me "You've been teaching along time to have that many pictures." I thought in 20 years if I still post the pictures, then what will they think? LOL

The black wall will soon have writing posters made by the kids.
Math centers and manip baskets. The Accountable Math Talk Stem rings and Networking for Help rings are hanging on the wall.

The front view ...

The back view ...

So there it is ... I'm looking at the pictures now and realizing I didn't take any close ups. I will do that tomorrow and add a few more pictures.


A TINY sneak peak ... ONE more day!

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I've been in my room for 3 days organizing, decorating, rearranging and whatever else teachers frantically do to get ready for the first day of school!

I want to show you all some pictures of just a piece of the work I have been doing ... ENJOY = )

This is my student center. The students have everything they need. They know if this area is misused it will be closed. Students can come here almost any time of the day of they need one of these supplies.

This is my Fireworks Frame Wall (from more of these pictures go to this post) for my kiddos VERY best work!

This is me applying the duct tape. It was hard not to get wrinkles in the tape. The best way was using a continuous strip of tape for each section. And go SLOW!!

This is a BEFORE and AFTER picture of my mostly nonfiction classroom library. The duct tape totally changed the look!! I LOOOOOVVVVEEEEEE it! It looks more inviting! Here's the link to the basket labels shown here.  

AMAZING Rug and Tissue Paper "Fireworks"

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This will be short . . . Check out this amazing rug that matches my color scheme perfectly! I've never kept a rug in my room because they didn't match . . . but not this one!!!! YIPPEEEE!!! 

Ths is by far the most expensive thing I
have bought ($20 from Big Lots), but I just
couldn't pass it up!

Some of the "fireworks" that will be placed throughout the room - I'm going to make about 15. These are made with Dollar Tree Tissue Paper - Gotta' keep it cheap! I'm using all the bright jewel tones still - You can't tell in this picture.

*** Please excuse the lack of picture quality -
They were all taken with my phone.

FIRST day back in my class & some WONDERFUL finds!

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I completed day one (about 4 hours) of “Put My Class Back Together Again!” This will take MANY more days! First of all, I am exhausted, but before I came home I had some time to stop by Joann’s and Walmart for a few classroom items!

Here are some of my FABULOUS, cheap, buys!

From Walmart: Elephant ($11), Colored Sticker Letters (.88 each)
and Striped Boxes (.88 each) From Joann: Zig Zag Edging (.97 each),
Paper Packs ($2.59 each) and Materail ($23 total)  Tissue paper was
something I had - I will reveal this project at a later time! . . .

This is the material I will use for small curtains and shelf coverings. I LOVE IT!!
It's perfect for what I wanted to do. It has all the colors, but it's not to bright!
I'M SO EXCITED!! I think the kids might think it looks like silly bands.
It reminded me on different stars - Kinds like fireworks.

My teaching partner and I wanted to do the same theme for consistency, but incorporate a message with it. We are using the Fireworks song by Katy Perry as a starting/inspiration point. We are using some quotes (See the Firework Frames Brag Wall) from the Fireworks song in materials and décor throughout the room, along with bright jewel tone colors. I’m using black as a back ground color to tone down the brightness a little. I didn’t want to over simulate some of my easily distracted kiddos. =  ) Picking a color is also a way for me to save some $$$. I would get bored with a theme too specific. For me, colors are endless and easy to change!

*** BTW: You may have noticed an elephant and wondered how it fits in (LOL) . . . I collect elephants. I rarely buy one for myself because I get them as gifts frequently. HOWEVER, today was an exception. This elephant gel lamp was on clearance at Walmart! It’s so adorable – I can’t wait to bring it to school!   

Here are some updated pictures of the current state of my classroom . . .

The AMAZING windows from the second floor!

What is seen when walking in the door . . .

View from the front of the classroom . . .

View from the back of the classroom . . .

SCARY cabinets - Can't believe I'm showing this!!! = /

T minus 14 days and counting!

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I'm off to my classroom today . . . I have mixed feeling - Anxious, because I will soon be meeting my bright eyed kiddos. There's always the sadness because my days of leisure and sleeping in (7:30AM) are over!

There are two things on the docket today:

1.     Reclaim my car and home! Every summer I have WAY TOO MUCH school décor and resources in boxes, leaning against walls and on the table. It takes over my home – which is usually VERY clean and tidy. My car is also usually stuffed full with miscellaneous items for my classroom too! TODAY . . . these areas become mine again!

2.     Clean up the garden, so it is presentable at open house. (Thank God I have a brother who is able to help me today!) I had a grant give last year for a large garden that is nothing short of amazing. I am now responsible for the upkeep over the summer. I’ll share a picture on the garden before I left it. When I return home today, I will post updated pictures.   

This is a picture on our hydroponic garden from the second floor in May/June.
This is when things were in full bloom and producing veggies!
*************UPDATE ************
I am so exhausted - I worked my butt off today! I'm so glad I didn't work out this morning. If I had worked out, with all this work outside, I would have NEVER made it through the day! Today it was sunny and 95 degrees (felt like one thousand degrees!!!!) in Tampa and I have the sunburn to prove it! The picture below is the finished product.
TODAY - Four hours after my brother, Chris, and I started cleaning out the
plants and their roots. It's ready for Spring planting!

What I have to look forward to tomorrow morning . . . Let the decorating begin:

Walking in the front door of the classroom you will see the front of the classroom.
I have my desk here, but I use it for the projector and lap top computer. I don't really use my
desk so this was a great alternative. Check out my large window!

This is the back of the classroom. This is also where wer have to pile up
all our things during the Summer. You can also see the other huge window we have - that's
my favorite part of my room. We're on the second floor so we have a wonderful view.

This is a close up of my "classroom in a pile."

These are all my cabinets. GREAT for storage! The hall connects to my team
teacher's class. On that connecting wall is where I'm putting the "Firework Frames!"

New to Hopping!

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I’m a newbie blogger and now a new hopper (I guess that’s the terminology) – I had to Google “what’s a blog hop” to figure it out! LOL After a little research, the idea sounded great to get to know some new bloggers!!!

Thanks to Janis at Grade 3 is the Place for Me for hosting!

Here are the questions and answers:

1. What state do you live in? Tampa, Florida – Less than an hour from some of the best beaches in the world!

2. What is your current teaching position? 4th Grade

3. What is your teaching experience? This will be my 5th year in fourth grade! Time flies . . . I have actually taught over 160 students so far in my career! 40 kids in 2 classes a year X 4 = A lot of wonderful smiles and memories! I teach math, science and writing - I come alive in science, but math in my muse. It simply excites me!

4.When did you start blogging? June 2012

5. Share a blogging tip/resource. Other bloggers have been my resource - If I have a questions I simply ask! Also, when ever in doubt  . . . Google-it and research away! = )

NOW . . . "LINK UP" - I feel so much better now I know what this means! Smiles for miles!! ==== ))))

Parent & Family Communication Cards that are Magnetic

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Here’s another project I am checking off my TO-DO list.

I started giving out information business cards to my students’ parents and families last year. On the card I include the class website address, my email address and cell number, and all the school information. Some teachers tell me I’m crazy for giving out my cell number, but my students and their family really become part of my family through the school year. I want them to know I am there for their child. Parents appreciate the communication and can never say they didn’t know how to contact me.

I saw another blogger, Kindergarten Cupcake Crumbs, use a magnet communication card that had her email address. Because I already had communication cards from Vista Print's FREE Business Cards Offer, I just laminated them and attached magnet strip tape to the back of it. Here they are!

This Scotch laminator is AWESOME and
worth the money (all $25 of it)! = )  
Here I'm laminating the cards.
The magnet tape and laminated cards

The magent tape cute into pieces

They all stick to the fridge! LOL -
I just wanted to double check!

FIREWORK Wall ... Basically a Brag Wall !

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Click the picture to take you to my TPT store where you can download it for FREE!
I just finished the frames for my display wall in my classroom. This project was inspired and mixed by two of my fellow bloggers -  Teaching in Cardigans and LittleNanny Goat. I gave them a little twist though – Which means cheaper and more colorful of course! I also included quotes that the students will come familiar with as they learn about our class theme.

It won’t be the average display wall. I’ll use this area to show the VERY BEST examples of student work - The wall will be called "FANTASTIC FIREWORK FRAMES.”  These frames will be on a wall that connects two classrooms. This wall has the water fountains and bathrooms next to it. It has the most traffic by both classes, so students will see the wall often and be able to brag about it!  


1.     Find CHEAP frames from Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. – the more unique the frames the  better!
2.     I took out the glass (I don’t use glass in the classroom) and backing
3.     Painted the frames the color of choice (I covered mine with glitter after painting!)
4.     Lined the back of the frame board with foam sheets (cheap and more colors available)
5.     Put the frame and backing back together
6.     Painted clothes pins to hold the papers
7.     FINSIHED!!!