Friday, July 27, 2012

Classroom Rug {cheap!!}

You know these cute rugs, right?

Also, can I please have 5 children in my Kindergarten class?!?

Well, spending $400-$500 on a rug for my classroom is not something I will be doing anytime soon ever.  But, I think I've come up with my own solution. 
When in doubt, duck tape!

Here is my drab greenish rug.  The kids were crowded, they whined, they stole each others spots, they sat on top of each other, they tried to sit as close to me as humanly possible, and they got on my each other's nerves.

So, I spot this colorful duct tape and I decide to make my OWN grid.  

Note:  I haven't actually tried this yet.  My parents are coming to help me with my classroom and I decided that measuring and laying the duct tape would be the *perfect* job for my Dad.  You'll just have to stay tuned!

Have you tried this before?  If nothing else, that's some darn cute duck tape, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Right now, I'm on my way to my favorite place in the world.
Image from here
I'm ready for sandy feet and quality time with my Kindle.

 I'll be rested, relaxed, and ready to tackle my classroom when I get back.  Stay tuned for my final classroom setup and activities and plans to start the school year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Classroom Set Up {Before}

I went to my classroom last Monday for the first time and worked for about five hours.  I left feeling like I had accomplished a lot (and really, I did!), but I went by today and didn't quite remember the piles that remained.  Who doesn't love a good before and after story, though?!?

I decided to re-purpose my teacher desk for my writing center this year.  I rarely sat there, I didn't keep anything useful in the drawers, and it just took up too much space.  This is my new teacher zone tucked into a corner and taking up a lot less space:

The drawers are very wide and I love the new storage already!  In the top drawer, I have baskets with the typical desk supplies so they are handy.  In the next three drawers, I will keep the copies and materials for upcoming lessons.  This is especially nice for those long sentence strips or the oddly sized templates for craftivities (thank you, Abby, for that word!)  The bottom drawer has those random teacher items: bulletin board sets, old nametags and die cuts, etc.

 I will be using this area as my small group area.  The shelves behind it will store my teacher binders and small group materials.  Before and after school, I will have everything I need at my fingertips but I'm not sacrificing any room for kids with this set up.
You can see this unit in the corner of the picture above.  It's stuck in a narrow spot between the two windows (that can't be blocked) and it fits perfectly.  It has 15 trays on each side.  The side closer to my teacher computer will house various extra materials labeled with my *free* classroom labels.  The other side will house work station materials.

I already love this set up.  Even though my teacher area is now *technically* an entire side of the room, it really opens things up and my "teacher fortress" is gone.  

Do you have a teacher desk or did you give it up?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tell Me More!

I have a new found love of Linky Parties!  I'm linking with Step Into Second Grade this time.  Thank you to everyone who popped over from the Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop.  I'm on day 20 of blogging, so even though you basically know nothing about me, I'll tell you more ;)  

Travel back in time with me:

 We have been married for three years.  In that time, we've moved from Ohio to North Carolina, started new jobs and renovated a house (ourselves).  The only other thing we could have done to add some more stress is have a baby- but we're not ready for that yet!
 I was a cheerleader and competitive dancer growing up.  Dance was my passion but now I just bust a move at weddings and around my house.
 I grew up going to my family's beach house in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.  Yes, it is on the Jersey Shore.  No, it is nothing like the TV show.  It's my absolute favorite place in the world and I hope to own a home there someday.  It is the perfect family spot and I want my children to grow up on the same beach that I did.
 I have an older brother named Ryan.  This is my parents favorite picture of us.  He is extremely proud of his homemade boat cake and I have blue icing all over my mouth.  My facial expression gives you a little glimpse into my personality.
 This is my first day of Kindergarten!  I absolutely loved school.  I was one of those kids that hopped off the bus, ran inside, and taught my stuffed animals my homework.  If you ask anyone I went to school with what I do for a living, I guarantee they would all say "teacher".
Another classic 80's pic of my big brother and I.  I love accessories just as much now as I did then.  I'm also pretty sure those sunglasses are back in style.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

0-10 Number Signs

I made new number signs for my classroom this year.  They are very simple, but I wanted the focus to be on the number and not overwhelm the posters with too many graphics.  I plan to hang them on colorful cardstock and put them underneath my whiteboard so they are easy for my kiddos to spot.

The sayings I found in Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller.  I hope you can use them!

Newbie Blog Hop

My first "linky party", and so timely...

1.  What state am I in?  
I'm in North Carolina.  I will be starting my third school year teaching here, but taught for four years in Ohio previously.
2.  My current teaching position
I will be starting my second year teaching Kindergarten.
3.  My teaching experience
I will be starting my 7th year teaching= five years in third grade and two years in Kindergarten.  But, if you count all the hours logged in my mom's high heels teaching my stuffed animals my  homework, I should be qualifying for retirement soon.
4.  When I started blogging
A few weeks ago!  I have been reading teaching blogs for a long time and finally decided to dive in.  I hope to make my blog a great place for my students parents as well as the teaching community.
5.  Blogging Tip/Resource
Based on the other blogs I read, I love the labels sections.  That way, if I'm looking for "back to school" ideas, I can click on that label and see everything relevant to that.  

Join the fun with Grade Three Is the Place To Be

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blog Stalking

I have been reading teaching blogs for a few years now and am continually amazed by the community and the ideas that are passed around the country on the inter-webs.  One of the first Kindergarten blogs I found was A Place Called Kindergarten written by a very talented teacher named Jonelle Bell.  The funny thing is, I drove through the cute little town where she teaches daily when I was teaching in Cincinnati!!

She compiled a link list of 80 Kindergarten Blogs!!! that I hope to someday be a part of.  Happy stalking reading!

Classroom Labels

As I'm sure everyone else is, I've spent a lot of time thinking about and planning for the upcoming school year.  Since this will be my second year teaching Kindergarten, I'm evaluating what worked and what didn't work for me last year.  I read Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller this summer and am inspired to launch them in my classroom this year.

Though my classroom is always organized, I'm taking it a step further and labeling everything- starting with the math manipulatives.  After a quick search, I found KinderTastic's free math manipulative labels and loved them.  She was generous enough to offer them for free.  Since her labels didn't cover all that I needed labels for, I used her tips to create more of my own to meet my needs (the font she used is Tweed from and I immediately went and downloaded it!).

I hope you can use these labels!  Thank you to Judy Lau at KinderTastic for the inspiration.  Hop on over and check out her fantastic ideas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Birthday Balloons

This project from Once Upon A First Grade Adventure was the first classroom project I completed this summer.  I picked up my twisty straws at The Dollar Tree and used her free templates.  Her templates are adorable and matched the straws very well.  It feels good to have birthday treats ready to go!  Thanks, Mrs. Hilderbrand!

pic from Once Upon a First Grade Adventure blog- her pic in the sunshine beat mine in a pile!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Landing in K

I started my career as a third grade teacher in Ohio.  I loved third grade and was so thankful to go to work every day.  Even still, near the end of my fourth year teaching third grade, I started to feel restless.  I needed a new challenge.  I didn't want to teach third grade forever.  What if I was really meant to be a teacher for a different grade level- I'll never know!  But, this was also around the time that we were moving, so I needed a new job anyway.  I figured the chances were slim that I'd find a new job teaching third grade...until I did.  I taught third grade for another year in North Carolina and while I was happy to be in my comfort zone amidst all the other changes in my life, that restless feeling never left.  I jumped at the chance to move down to Kindergarten the next year and fell in love.  I had a lot to learn and I was challenged as an educator, but I loved the challenge.  Though tying shoes constantly left a little to be desired, I *loved* Kindergarten.  After being inspired by so many other teaching blogs (especially the Kindergarten blogs that were my lifeline during that transition year), I wanted to create my own version to inspire myself and others.  Come join our adventure!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meet Mrs. Stone

  • I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA.  Go Steelers!
  • I was a competitive dancer growing up.  
  • I've been known to compete in a few dance offs at weddings.
  • Cooking is a stress reliever for me.
  • My husband and I don't have television.  Instead, I just stalk read blogs.
  • We renovated our 1929 home ourselves- it's our only baby.
  • In my next life, I'm going to design stationary and own a gift shop.
  • I'm teaching myself how to sew.
  • My favorite place to be is at the beach.  I haven't figured out how to keep that going year round yet.
  • I've wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade (Mom's high heels, my stuffed animals, and an easel with a fancy chalk holder prepared me well).