Countdown to the Last Day of School

So many of you lucky educators are already out on summer vacation! Congrats!However, I am not yet and my kiddos and I are on the countdown. I saw this idea the other day on Teri's post at A Cupcake for the Teacher and thought my students would just eat it up. We made a colorful rainbow paper chain with the number of days left in school. I labeled the cloud "Days Until We Are 3rd Graders" to get them super excited.At the end of each school day, I choose a different student to tear off one of the paper chains and everyone cheers and claps. It is so super cute and gets them even more excited for the next school 

 I took a picture of this and put it in my May Ideas notebook so I will remember to do it again next year. It is super easy to make and a huge motivation and happy moment each day for the kids!

I am so excited that I was given the One Lovely Blog Award from Jess over at From Blood to Books! It absolutely made my day and now I have the privilege of passing it on to another 15 amazing bloggers who have inspired me in some way.

After you are given the award you have to follow these rules:

1. Follow the blog who gave the award to you
2. Mention that blogger that has given it to you in a blog post
3. Pass the award to 15 new blogs
4. Make a list of the new blogs so others can check them out

Here are my 15 new picks:
1. Amanda at One Extra Degree (first teacher blog I ever followed)
2. Kelly at Teacher Idea Factory
3. Erin at Tales From Room 112
4. Amy at Step into 2nd with Mrs. Lemons
5. Mrs. Carroll at The First Grade Parade
6. Sara at Smiling in Second Grade
7. Nancy at First Grade Wow
8. Mandy at Tickled Pink
9. Traci at Dragonflies in First
10.Teresa at Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
11.Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts
12. A Clutter-Free Classroom
13. Crystal at Kreative In Kinder
14. The Lesson Plan Diva
15. Lindsey at The Teacher Wife

All of these bloggers have inspired me, given me ideas and made me a better teacher. Thank you for sharing what you love to do with me. Please check out these blogs and follow them if you aren't already.

Summer Reading Linky Contest

I never know what I am going to read during the summer because I am a binge reader. What I mean by that, is I read in spurts. Sometimes I read a ton of books day after day and then I go through a dry spell where I don't read at all (except for People magazine and the newspaper headlines). However, this summer I know two books I am going to read, which many of you may have already indulged in. One is for pleasure and one is professional.

Book #1 50 Shades of Grey

Product Details
My teaching assistant read all 3 books in this series in about 1 week, so I am going to save it for my vacation this summer. Can't wait!

Book #2 The CAFE book
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I have seen so many blog comments and pins on Pinterest about the ideas in this book, so I figure it is another must read this summer. And it will probably give me things/ideas to prep for classroom for the next school year. I love that!

What are you going to be reading this summer?

This Is My Obsession

So I have decided to link up with Bonnie from Living a Wonderful Life for her This is My Obsession linky party. I have so many obsessions right now, it's crazy! Here a few of mine at the top:

Obsession #1. Cubs Baseball- When I am not teaching or blogging I am with my boys at the little league field watching them play baseball... and guess what team my oldest is on? Yep, you guessed it, the Chicago Cubs. I am not from Chicago, but my husband's family is and we have all been brain washed to root for no other team. So much fun!

Obsession #2. Pinterest- I can't get enough of it. Pinterest is the reason I entered the blogging world. I found so many amazing ideas from teachers, like you, and started being inspired to share my ideas too.  Every day I find a million new pins of things I want to make or create for my classroom.  I have to narrow it down. It is so AWESOME!

Obsession #3. Blogging- This is a completely new world to me and I get so excited every day to see if I have new followers (or if I am just writing to myself). I love hearing from others and getting feedback on my items I have in my stores.  I love designing, changing and figuring out how to make my blog the best it can be. It is just so exciting!

Obsession #4- Planning- I love planning for the next school year.  I love getting my room perfect for the kiddos before they walk in on the first day. I know it's weird, but I just really enjoy it. So, of course, I have already started planning and prepping and getting ready and I have 3 more weeks to go in this school year.

These are just a few of my favorite obsessions at the moment. What are some of yours? I would love to hear from you?

Memorial Day SALEabration!

Sunday and Monday all my items in my TeachersPayTeachers store and Teachers Notebook store will be 20% off. I hope you enjoy and start to stock up for your next school year! Have an amazing holiday weekend!

Punctuation and Parts of Speech Posters

I am super excited to post two new items to my TpT and TN stores today. The first is a set of Punctuation posters which I use as reference when teaching and reviewing punctuation concepts with my students.  I  have seen different versions of them online, but none of them completely suited the needs of my second grade students. Each poster has the name of the punctuation, a meaning and a sentence to show how it is used.They are also color coded for easy reference. Included with the posters is one overview page which has the punctuation marks the kids will need to use in their writing for the year. I made a copy for each student and put it into a plastic sleeve to keep it from ripping and getting destroyed easily. The students keep it in their writing folder in their desk and use it during writers workshop. Click on the following links to get your copy: TpT or TN.

The second item is a set of parts of speech posters that I am so thankful I have in my class. This set of posters also has an overview page for students to use. This is in my kids writing folders in a plastic sleeve as well. I love watching them use these resources throughout the day. This is a picture of the page they have in their folders. Each part of speech has the meaning, as well as, several examples to remind the kids how to use it. Click on the links below:
TpT or TN
I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend and for some of you, your first weekend of summer vacation!

My Blog Signature

WOW! I have spent the whole evening trying to figure out how to put my blog signature on my posts. I followed 3 different step by step online directions and still couldn't get it right. I was so frustrated that I finally had to ask for the hubby's help. All the online tutorials explained how to install it with the OLD blog interface. I was trying to install it using the NEW interface and it just didn't work. So, my brilliant husband swooped in and installed it (after several tries) using the old interface and it worked! WooHoo !!!! So, it is official.... I have a signature!

I hope there is someone out there who can post a step by step tutorial (with pictures) on how to insert a signature using the new Blogger interface. It would be priceless. I think I just got lucky tonight!

Track and Field FUNdraiser

Today we had our 1st annual Track and Field Day at my school to help raise money for our P.E. program! We usually have a Jog-A-Thon, but this year we decided to change the event a bit, and make it into a track and field event. It was a HUGE success! The teachers that organized this event did an amazing job.  All the elementary teachers, along with our local YMCA, ran each event and the kids rotated through 10 different stations.

The students pre-ordered special event shirts, fruit smoothies and colored team wrist bands (this is how we raised the money). As you can see, the kids were thrilled and couldn't get enough of it.

Of course, it was the hottest day of the year but the kids didn't seem to mind. They loved every minute of it. I was in charge of facilitating the standing long jump. Each child jumped 2 times and I recorded how far they jumped. Then the first, second an third place winners of each class were noted. We are going to have an awards assembly in a couple of weeks to give out ribbons and trophies for all the "winners."

This was a great way for our school to raise money, culminate the school year and come together as a community. Over all, this was more of a FUNraiser than anything else, and it is something our students will always remember.

School Calendar and Lesson Planner

I am always up for improving things and finding better ways of getting things accomplished. I am however, way behind the times with my school calendar and lesson planning technology. I have always had my yearly calendar and lesson plans in a spiral notebook that I find at a local teacher store. That means, I have been HAND writing everything! Not this new school year. What a concept to have your calendar and lesson plans typed on the computer. I have no idea why this concept did not enter my brain sooner. I am so grateful to all the blogs I follow and shops online that have helped me get ideas to make this work for me.

My first WOW moment was when I read Leslie's post at Kindergarten Works about her binders and and saw her calendar template. She has so many ideas and great advice about organization and planning. I took her idea and created something I think will work for me. I think it is all a work in progress, so I will have to see how it goes. But, I am super excited about trying it!

I couldn't stop at just having my school calendar on the computer, now I am working on tweaking and adjusting templates for my lesson planning. I have always had all 5 days of the week across two pages. However, I was searching TpT for some ideas and came across Nicole Shelby's template from Teaching With Blonde Ambition at TpT. Her lesson plans are all on one page for each day. At first I wasn't sure I could make the switch from seeing all 5 days at once, but I took the plunge and I am going to try it. I will post pictures of my final products once make all the adjustments.

What do you use for your yearly calendar and lesson planning? I would love to hear your ideas.

Planning Ahead

As many of you are entering single digit days before the school year ends, I still have 5 more weeks to go. We just finished state testing last week and my kiddos are fried! Once state testing is over, I usually starting thinking and planning for the following school year. I'm a planner, can't help it. We have a very short summer this year because our district is switching from a traditional school calendar to early start. What does that mean? Basically we only have a 6 week summer this year. So time is of the essence and my planning must begin.

I wanted to come up with a few cute ideas for the kids to do the first few weeks of school, to get to know one another. I came up with this project.

Each student will make an All About Me glyph. Each face they make will represent things special to that student. They answer questions about themselves and then follow the provided key to make their face a certain way. There are graphs and tally charts to complete so the class data can be all in one place and displayed with the glyphs. I am going to have mine up for Back To School Night so all the parents can see what their little kiddos said about themselves.  You can get a copy for your class at my TN or TpT store here.

I would love to hear about some of your beginning of the school year ideas too! Have a great rest of the week.

I'm Entering the Blogging World

Drum roll is official! I am entering the blogging world. I have been a lurker for some time now and it is now my turn to get my feet wet in this uncharted territory of blogging. There are going to be some bumps along the way, as I blog about my teaching life, but I think it will be an awesome journey.

As many of you know, I am obsessed with Pinterest. This is where the teachers' blogging world was introduced to be about 2 months ago. I had no idea there was a virtual world of teachers, sharing their ideas with one another. So now, I have decided to try to become a contributor to that world.

I have been working on lessons and projects to post on my blog and teacher stores at TpT and Teachers Notebook. Trying to figure out how to upload and download everything and make it look attractive is taking me some time. I am hoping that within the next few weeks, I will have a better grasp of it all. Guess what my summer project is going to be?

I hope you will join me on this crazy adventure. See what teaching life is like for this veteran teacher of 14 years in Los Angeles, California. I look forward to sharing, learning and being inspired by all of you.