Saturday, September 6, 2014

Classroom Pictures 2014-2015

I hope everyone's school year has been going smoothly thus far.  I just started school this past week and I have been having a blast with my new class.  This year I am teaching a combination class of Kindergarten and First grade.  I have taught combo classes before, and although sometimes it's a little more planning and work, I love it - teaching really is more about differentiation and teaching to the individual child. I am able to do that with my small class size of 10 :) 

Here are some pictures of my room!
 Here is our calendar area - Amazing products from Georgia Grown Kiddos (Calendar set), Good Enough Teacher (Calendar pieces), and First Grade Parade (Schedule cards.)
My classroom library is continuing to grow.  I feel so blessed to have great teacher friends and parents (and find great sales!) to continue to grow my library.  I am a bargain shopper and found all of my bins from the dollar store.  The red bin shown below contains read aloud books and informational texts that we will use together.
  I created my own book bin labels to meet the needs of my classroom library.  I combined different authors and topics to fit all of the books in a limited amount of bins.
It took me a while, but I finally found 10 book bins at Target in all of the same color :) The ones at Really Good Stuff are amazing too (especially when you can pick the color(s) you want!) but they were only $3 at Target, and I am not paying for shipping.  It's all about saving money :)

My word wall is completed by Erica Bohrer's amazing product and an adorable turquoise maze border from Creative Teaching Press. Do you notice the black background? I saved money by using a dollar store table cloth instead of bulletin board paper.  It worked great, I just have to be careful of tears :)
My math area includes where my math centers are, and different supplies such as shapes, unifix cubes, dice, tools for measurement, and more.  It is important that I always review how to properly use these materials with my kiddos - they have been great with them and love to use them! On the bottom shelves (3 shelves stacked together to make one! Awesome idea from K-2 is Splendid!)  I needed more room for supplies, so as you can see we keep the scissors and glue there as well.
I made almost all of the labels shown in my classroom pictures using a cute border from Jason's Online Classroom and Kimberly Geswein's font "Beneath Your Beautiful Chunk"
 
 I have to share with you that I won the absolute best giveaway I could've won this summer.  Through Third Grade Love, I entered a contest (like I would do any great contest) and won the opportunity to use SO MUCH of their upcoming back to school supplies - borders, stickers, posters, and even their GNOME math program.  Heather from Creative Teaching Press was so amazing in helping me pick 3 additional prizes besides the back to school supplies.  I am telling you, I felt like I won the lottery.  And the people at Creative Teaching Press could not be nicer and want to help educators more.  I have talked with different companies, but they have been incredible to work with. 
Creative Teaching Press logo
With a smaller classroom, I couldn't use all of the products at once, but they are going to definitely be put to great use - and I even shared some with my co-workers.  Thank you again, Creative Teaching Press!
You can find this adorable birthday pack HERE
GNOME math display for your grade level found HERE

 Our Back to School bash in August was a success - I made these "Welcome back" goodie bags and customized them to meet the needs of my kids - I am glad I am getting better at creating things so they are personalized for my cuties!

Here is my bulletin board door! We love Pete the Cat in my room ;) You can find this adorable product HERE from First Grade is Fantabulous - I love that I could customize it with their names.  The wreath was made by my dear friend Georgie, who's kids I have been working with for years!
 I love our new bulletin board outside our room.. I found these cute All About Me iPads and made up a cute saying to go along with them!

I hope you enjoyed my back to school blog post :) I love comments/questions, so leave them if you have them! Here is my e-mail too if you ever need anything - lauralove2teach@gmail.com

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

DIY Pointers

During the summer when looking at my classroom I said to myself... "What do I need more of? What is missing?" And one of the things that I came up with was... pointers! Many of us are on a budget so I went to my good friend Kindergarten Smorgasboard, and he had this fabulous blog post and idea....
I am so glad that I am able to collaborate and bounce off ideas with such amazing teachers like him! Check out his post HERE to find out how to create these cute easy-to-make pointers for a great price!

Michael's craft store is the place to be ;)

 
I hope you are all having a wonderful back-to-school experience... I wish you a great year, and I will be putting up pictures of my classroom very soon!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5 Back to School Must Haves

 I am very excited to bring you my 5 must haves for back to school.  Many purchases I am sure you already have, but if you are a new teacher or forgot a few items, I hope I can help you out!

1. First and foremost, I wouldn't be anywhere without my laminator! I can print any of the amazing TPT products that I have bought or created, and LAMINATE them to stay durable for years to come.  Not only is this perfect for fun and engaging printables for activities and hands-on work, but also for classroom decor and materials that I just want to make sure stay in place!
The Scotch laminator shown above is the exact one that I have had for years! Love it, and very inexpensive.

2. I don't know about everyone else, but I am hooked on smelly stickers and markers, and so are my students!  My 4th graders loved them just as much as my Kindergarteners did last year.  It is a little treat for them and more than a reward to them :) Besides Trend Stinky stickers, Scentos, and Mr. Sketch markers, I also love the scented ink pads (and they last a long time!)

3. Cardstock is something that I always make sure I have enough of.  It can get expensive, but I usually get great deals at Michaels with a coupon or a deal that they already have.  With cardstock, I will print out special projects for my students that are keepsakes or gifts for their families.  I will also use it for important cards or if we are doing a project that requires durable paper.  I don't use it often, but the children know and respect that when the cardstock comes out, we are doing something special! :)

4. Paint! This is something I definitely ran out of as a Kindergarten teacher.  So I make sure, that if I see a sale or a coupon, I get a bunch of colors that I know I will be using.  Painting is so freeing for children and can be used in SO many ways... for example, last year we did dot paintings.. canvas paintings for gifts.. finger painting.. hand print painting... and painting for fun!  Art supplies in general I make sure I pick up if they are on sale or if I think I'll have a need for them. 

5.  My last must have is something that you personally may not need to think too much about in your school.  However, at the school I work at, we all make sure that we give the best parent gifts that we can.  Of course we are all on a budget, and for the holidays that we celebrate, I always want to make sure that I purchase craft and gift items ahead of time, or make sure that I have money saved up. 
Examples of parent gifts are from this post and this one as well. 

Also on my list:
Glue gun (holds anything!)
 
 Book bins (why didn't this make the cut as one of the 5?! A must!)
 
Mailbox (to stay organized and the best way for your kiddos to get their mail)
 
 I hope you enjoyed my must haves for back to school :) I will be posting pictures of my room soon!

If you liked this post, please consider following me on my blog, facebook, and TPT store.  Thank you so much for stopping by, and make sure you check out the other bright ideas in the hop :) There are tons of different ideas with different grade levels!
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shark Week Blog Hop

All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers have come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!

Slide5
One way I help my students get excited about learning is to constantly change up activities - they love hands-on learning, and I try to make sure that I expose them to all different types of activities.  
I love that we do the Daily 5 at my school.  There are so many inexpensive ideas for Daily 5, and the children are constantly making their own choices, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and working the whole time :) Being given responsibility and choice as to what the students are most interested in, will quickly engage them in the learning!
http://lovetoteach123.blogspot.com/2014/05/5-easy-word-work-ideas-for-daily-5.html


Slide 10.png
My Shark Week freebie is a nonfiction shark fact book.  This includes real life pictures and an ending page for students to reflect about what they read.  I have included 4 pages per 1 sheet of paper to save space and allow for less printing.  This can be used in Daily 5, reading groups, the possibilities are endless.  A lot of my students love learning about sharks too and are very engaged with texts like these. 
I hope that you and your students enjoy this freebie!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREE-Shark-Information-Text-1384182
Click HERE to try it out!

Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )

Thursday, July 31, 2014

TPT Sale and Giveaway

I am very excited to announce the annual Back to School TPT Sale August 4th and 5th -- ALL of my products (including bundles) will be a total of 28% off with the code: bts14.  There will be so many amazing sellers participating in this sale, so please make sure that you fill up your wishlists now!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Laura-Love-To-Teach/
[Graphic from Creative Clips]

Here are a few of my favorite products that I have on sale--just click the photos of the ones that you would like to look at further! xo 
Thank you to all of you for following me on my shop, blog, facebook, etc.  It really means a lot! 
Happy Shopping!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/5th-Grade-Common-Core-Math-Pack-1306662
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Figurative-Language-Pack-661134
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/4th-Grade-Science-Bundle-1137469
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Math-Bundle-1231038

And my latest product that I just LOVE... My Grade 1-2 Nonfiction Close Read Product :)

What would this post be...without a giveaway?! :) I am giving away a $10 gift card to Target.  There are so many wonderful things to buy at Target (especially my favorite--the dollar spot.)  So as a THANK YOU to all of you for being so awesome, please enter the rafflecopter below from 8/1 - 8/6 midnight! 

Homework Notebooks

I am getting ready to get my homework notebooks ready for my kiddos.. but I wanted to show you pictures of my last years kids :) These worked out PERFECTLY for my individual students who were in all different places (especially Kindergarten! They come with all different experiences and knowledge, and I LOVE what they all brought to the classroom!) This year I am teaching a K-1 mix, so I will definitely be doing a lot of differentiating :)
I wanted to share some GREAT products for Math with you for homework journals.. these are perfect because I am able to cut and paste and put right in each journal.  Not every notebook is the same - if someone needs more practice with subtraction, then I'll focus on that, etc.  It's the perfect way to differentiate and I really emphasize the

Word Problems for the Younger Learner {1st grade}
Those two are my favorites!
 And I also have my own Kindergarten Word Problem Set as well.. 16 total questions :)
Like I said, a great tool for smaller class sizes where you can differentiate and really teach to the individual :) Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Real Treat

Good evening everyone! I should be trying to get to sleep since I am working summer school early in the AM, but I just have to tell you about a wonderful site called Treat.  To me, there is nothing better than a homemade or heartfelt gift - and a card is just that.  I love looking through cards at the store, but I never knew that CREATING cards could be so fun and personable (for around the same price!)
On top of their quality cards, the workers at treat.com are there to help you and make sure that you are completely satisfied with your experience and your purchase.  They are awesome!
Treat is a greeting card company that want to create that special memory for you to send to your loved ones! There are so many different options at Treat, and there are wonderful "Thinking of You" cards just like the one I created below :)

I recently created this beautiful card for my mom.  Why?  Just because.  I think those are the best kind of gifts.. unexpected, and just from the heart.  I was able to easily navigate the site and pick the template that I liked... and on top of that, I could add any picture that I liked!  The picture I featured was on my phone, a little blurry and out of focus.. but it's one of my favorites, and I knew my mom would love it too.  I was very impressed with the quality of the print, and I couldn't imagine how amazing it would've turned out if my phone picture was even more in focus!

Something else that I love about making these personalized cards, is that you can PERSONALIZE almost everything about them! Instead of handwriting your message (which you can gladly do so with these cards as well) I was able to type the message I wanted, AND... it came with a beautifully typed up envelope to send straight to my mom's house.  Perfect!

Needless to say, treat.com takes greeting cards to a whole new level - sharing memories through photos and words from the heart, cards are something that will never go out of style - you can personalize them as much as you want, and make them PERFECT for your loved one : ) These can be printed or sent digitally - there are so many options!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fun Way to Book Shop

Happy Summer! I am already thinking about "bright ideas" for back to school - how can we not, they are all over the place ;) 
A cheap and fun way for students to book shop is with... book bags! Not the book bags you put on your back, but the cute little shopping bags that you can find in Target and other stores near you (I got "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "One Fish, Two Fish.." at Target for only $1 each!)
My students use these books during Daily 5, but you can incorporate them into any of your literacy blocks.  After talking about good fit books, the students are able to exchange their books weekly.  Especially with the little ones, they find it so much fun to use these bags and book shop! I let them do it a couple at a time, and with consistency and modeling, they quietly select books that they will enjoy and read for the week, while putting their other books back.  
 
 I use the little hooks like these and they will hold forever since the bags are so light :) I also recommend making a schedule for your children so they know when their book shopping day is!
Thank you so much for reading about my bright idea :) If you would like to stay in touch with me, please consider following me xo
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Click below for more bright ideas ranging in all different topics and grade levels! Keep enjoying your summer, and remember to do things for you!