Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Year of New!

This past year has definitely been the year of "new" in my life. I bought my first house in September. It has been an exciting adventure! I have loved every second of putting together a new home. Choosing all of the new furniture and decorations has been a lot of fun! I had a clear vision for each room, except my home office. I avoided even going into the room, and it eventually became a dumping ground for every random thing I had. Movies, craft supplies, things I bought for school use... It all ended up on the floor in this poor room. Until, inspiration struck. A couple of weeks ago I decided how I wanted to design my home office. I blew up my Pinterest board with ideas. After a successful trip to IKEA (and the new Portillo's restaurant in Tampa) I had all of the "stuff" I needed to finally put this room together. I am still waiting for just the right storage bins, but I painted and put together all of my new shelves. This once neglected room has quickly become my go to space. I can honestly say that I have spent more time in this room in the past week than I had for the entire preceding 10 months that I have lived in this house!

 Adding to my year of new, at the end of May I finally met my new little love! I am now the proud mother of a 5 month old Shih Tzu named Oliver. He has certainly spiced things up around here. I love that I have the whole summer to bond with him and really get to know him. He is a real character!! He loves to play fetch and has mastered the whole "sit, shake, roll-over" routine. His favorite toy is a little squeaky Lambchop stuffed animal.

Look at this sweet face.  I love him so much!
Yes, he has a shark bed.  No, he isn't as thrilled about it as I am!
 I figured, since I now have an office that I love, it was time to update my blog and get started again. I am so excited about this upcoming school year! I am returning to a classroom that I spent 3 years in. I am going to be teaching 4th grade again. 2nd grade was fun, and I thought that was what I wanted to teach, but I soon realized that I love working with kids a little older. So, back I go!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Day the Crayons Quit Writing Papers

I JUST finished the cutest writing papers ever!  I am going to use them with Drew Daywalt's "The Day the Crayons Quit".  We have finished with the Reading curriculum for the school year, so I'm trying to come up with fun, yet enriching, activities for the last couple of weeks of school.  I figured this book was a great way to incorporate both letter writing as well as persuasive writing into 1 lesson.  I'll post some pictures of what my students come up with this week when we finish with it!












Here is the cover of my little set, just to show off my first successful hand drawn clipart images!  I love my sweet little version of crayons!  What do you think?!  I'm working hard to teach myself graphic design, and am getting a little more confident each day that goes by!

Product available HERE

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Countdown to Summer

Well, that time of year has come again!  It is time to start counting down the days to SUMMER!! This year, I have decided to celebrate the end of the school year a little different than I have in the past.  We started with 26 days left, and are having an ABC Countdown.  Each day has  different activity that corresponds to letters of the alphabet.  Friday the 17th was the letter "A".  We completed an Awesome Art Project.  We read "The Lorax" and made our own beautiful landscapes with truffula trees and the "Unless" quote.

Monday April 20th was "B", which brought a Beach Day.  My students brought in beach towels and their favorite books from home.  I found a video of an idyllic beach with great sounds of waves crashing and even seagulls flying overhead.  Add in a few beach balls from the dollar store, and we had our own tropical paradise.  (I had planned for us to go outside and lay in the grass, but a sting of severe weather went through the area in the afternoon.  Two nearby schools sustained some damage from the strong winds.)

Some of my students enjoying a tropical twist to their
normal reading time.

I brought "Anne of Green Gables" in memory of
Jonathan Crombie who passed recently.
The 21st was our "C" day.  We celebrated by dressing CraZy!  Think backwards shirts and mismatched patterns.
Lots of mismatched patterns!

Backwards shirt!
This countdown has been so much fun!  Here is my full countdown calendar.  Some of the days were a little difficult to come up with special events for the letter, or I tried to incorporate already assigned days into the cute calendar. 

What is your favorite way to celebrate the end of a school year?  


Easy to Follow Math Multiples

Hey Everybody!

I just finished a new product for my Teachers Pay Teachers store, and I couldn't wait to share it with you!  I have been teaching my littles multiplication to get them ready for 3rd grade.  I have been going over skip counting and different ways to remember the multiples of each number, and this idea came to me.  I made up pages with number outlines on them.  Inside the numbers, are the first 10 multiples, in order.  The idea is that the kids can trace over the shape of the number while reciting the multiples.  I think this will help them memorize the multiples.  Simple memorization of the facts is, in my opinion, the best way to multiply.  That's the way I learned it, and it's so much faster than drawing arrays and all those new-fangled methods people keep coming up with.  Since I just finished the product, I haven't even had a chance to laminate my own set yet.  When I do, I'll add pictures to show it in use!

I put 3 different sizes in the product.  Full page, half page, and quarter page versions.  They can be placed in centers, made into posters and hung up, used in lessons, or sent home for extra practice.

Here are some pictures, hope you like it!


Click HERE to download your own copy!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Earth Day 2015

This year, to celebrate Earth Day, my class is reading and discussing Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax".  It is one of my very favorite Dr. Seuss books!  The subtle changes to the landscape really impact the kids.  They get so emotional when the once beautiful Truffula Trees are all chopped down and the bleak and toxic nothingness is left in their place.  To bring the beauty of the story to life in our classroom, I "grew" a beautiful hot pink Truffula Tree of our very own!  There is still plenty of time to make your own!

I started with a big styrofoam ball.  Whichever size you choose,
just be sure you get enough feather boas to cover. 
Using a LOT of hot glue as I wrap and wrap the hot pink
thin boas around and around the ball.
Almost finished!
Yay!  I had just enough!  I want to say I used a 9" ball
and it took 3 feather boas.  I thought I bought 2, but
luckily, when I unpacked my bags, I had grabbed 3!
Look how beautiful it turned out!
Of course, the Lorax is keeping watch over my Truffula Tree
at all times!  I made his beard out of pipe cleaners so I could
style them the way I wanted.  LOVE how it turned out!
The picture I uploaded to Pinterest. 
It's hard to tell how tall it really is based on the last picture.
I used a 4' bamboo stake that I cut about 6" off of.
I had it outside my classroom for about 3 days, then
I worried about its safety with little hands walking by.

I didn't take a picture of how I anchored the tree down.  I placed a block of styrofoam into a plastic container.  I hot glued it into place.  Then, I anchored that into place with a lot of rocks.  It does not tilt at all if you properly weigh it down.  You could always use a large dowel rod for the trunk, I used the bamboo because I didn't want it to be perfectly straight.  I like the imperfections and interest in the bamboo.  I found a pack of 12 for about $3 at Walmart.  Hobby Lobby had some as well, but of course they were about $10 for 3 and much more mature than I wanted.  I hope you can find a use for this in your classroom.  I would LOVE to see what you come up with!

-Tara

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Starting Over

Wow!  So, it turns out, I'm really bad at this whole blogging thing!  I started, fell off the wagon, restarted and then fell BACK off the wagon!  This time, I am going to try and stay on the blogging wagon!  I'm currently wrapping up my first year teaching the marvelous 2nd grade!  I have a lot of fun things planned for my littles.  In addition to finishing up a fantastic school year, I'm renewing my dedication to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I'm hoping with summer quickly approaching, I'll have renewed energy and ideas.  Plus, I finally caved and bought a new computer, so that is incentive to get to work!  Stay tuned for more fun and excitement!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Classroom Tour!

3 weeks, countless hours and many rearrangements later, I have finally "finished" getting my new 2nd grade classroom ready for the new school year.  Of course, we all know that we are never really finished!  Today was our first official work day, and open house is tomorrow evening.  I have not yet finished perfecting my area of the room, and curriculum has barely been looked at, but I still have the weekend and Monday and Tuesday of next week to get that done before my little ones are officially mine!

I have always wanted to be a 2nd grade teacher.  It is a year of such joy and excitement.  I can't wait to get this year started.  I have a LOT of ideas, I'm going to stray from the curriculum after I get adjusted to the kids' ability levels and plan on doing a lot of interactive notebooking.

Here are a few pictures of my classroom as of today...  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

These are my Vocabulators, 2 glitter calm down bottles and my
cute little monthly themed writing centers.
My library is about as good as it's going to get before open house.  I need to
put labels on the book bins and fill up the other book shelf, but it can wait.
My small group table.  I put it in front of my literacy focus wall.  
Close-up of my literacy focus wall.  I just stuck those posters up
there to get the spacing right.  You can get my focus wall headers
in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.
These are the curtains I made into a valance a few years ago.  I only used
4 single panels, 1 of each color, cut them in half and HOT GLUED
them together!  I don't know how to sew so that was my only option,
but it has held up great for 4 years now
Another little nook under my cabinets.  I'm still finding places for things,
so please ignore the randomness of this shelf!  But, don't you LOVE
the 1, 2, 3 bins I found at IKEA!?
Old discarded keyboards that I let the kids practice typing their
spelling words on.  The rack was left in my room from a retired
teacher, and I couldn't find any games that fit it, so this worked
out perfectly.  They were made for each other!
A view from next to my desk out across the classroom.  I just love how
bright the yellow bulletin boards make the room.
A small collection of cute little owls!  In real life, birds of all types
terrify me.  They are so erratic and fly at people and cars!  No thank you!
The view from my small group area across the room.  I love that beautiful
atrium view.  Totally makes up for the weird layout of the room.
Small group supplies.
Writing center that is not completely ready, but looks good for open house.
My teacher tool box and some small trinkets.  I made tool boxes for
two of my friends this year for Christmas, too!