Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday

I can't believe teacher work week is over and that students will actually be back on Tuesday! It doesn't feel like it's quite time yet, even though I know many of you have been back for almost a month now (or at least 2 weeks). I feel like I'm as ready as I need to be with just a few things to work on before I actually start pulling kids in a few weeks.

The past few days, we have been at probably the best professional development I've been required to attend. We had Fred Wolff from Six Traits Live! come and do a workshop on getting the traits started in our classrooms. 
If his name sounds familiar, this book may be why.

I first heard about Six Traits (or 6+1 Writing) a few years ago when I was doing my Master's program, but this was the first time I truly had a chance to learn what it was all about and how to make it happen in my class.

The workshop even inspired my new door decor! I had been browsing Pinterest, but nothing really felt right for me. I saw a few cute doors for if I had a regular classroom, but I wanted something that connected to my being the Reading Specialist. When we were talking about good leads, I finally saw my future door!

I came in this morning and put it together, and now I'm in love with it! So bright and cheerful :-). I think my para will be proud when she comes back on Tuesday. 

This afternoon, I finally got my order in and am SO excited about my new professional book that came with it! 

Maybe you've already read it and I'm behind, but vocabulary is an area where my kids really struggle. I'm making it a big focal point this year, especially with my older students. A girl I met this summer highly recommended this book, so I'm excited to check it out. And of course, I'll share any wonderful insights or tips I find!

Here's my book selection this time around. A little bit for everyone! I spent most of my money this time on different odds and ends I needed around the classroom, like duct tape, construction paper, hanging file racks, folders, and....

...those blue bins that now neatly organizing my books for independent reading! That shelf and the other one behind my stool on the right have FINALLY been painted and returned to the school. I really like how they turned out, and now I just need to make some labels to show what levels each bin holds. The other shelf has larger sections, so I'm thinking of collecting diaper boxes and covering them...maybe even in burlap?

It was a VERY busy week, and this is really only focusing on the past three days. I also had to run a quick PD for each of my grade levels about setting specific goals during reading conferences. Hopefully next week will be a little calmer (yes, I know it's the first week for kids) and I can do a whole post explaining it. For now, I'm going to prop my feet up and relax! It's a THREE DAY WEEKEND!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I have a freebie in the midst of my craziness!

Wow, this week has been PACKED with preparing for the beginning of the new year! Even though we had seven workdays this year, I feel like I'm not as ready as I usually am. Maybe I should have come in more over the summer...

I wanted to share a freebie that I put together. If you follow me on Instagram (@dalton_gang), you've already seen this, but click on the picture to take you to the file.


My room is very small, and I debated having a word wall last year. It ended up that I put one up, but I didn't feel like we used it the way I wanted because of the layout of the room. I started to put it up again this year and decided it wasn't worth my time or the wall space it took up. So I decided to make word collector folders! They're very simple, but cute like I love. I'm just going to have two for each group I meet with, but you could easily print off enough for every individual. These are laminated, and I plan on using dry erase markers throughout the year as we read and find more interesting words!

Right now it's just on TN because I couldn't open the TPT website for some reason. I will add that link as soon as I can get it to work. All I ask is that you please SHARE it with your friends (Pin it!) if you like it and leave feedback!

Now I'm going to prop my feet up and prepare for one more day of running. Fortunately I'll be in my classroom most of the day tomorrow. I haven't even done my door yet!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five for Fraturday - Back to School

It's time to link up again, and as promised I have a few things that have to do with school since I had my first two workdays back. Without further ado, here goes! (And as always, feel free to steal my cute numbers if you want)

Keagan went back to the sitter on Monday, which was hard for both of us (probably Steven, too). Actually, Monday was fine for him. But by Tuesday, he understood that this wasn't just a play date with his friends. When I pulled up to get him, he was standing at the window and went into hysterics! Broke my heart...fortunately his papaw had something to cheer him up!

He LOVES this activity board, and now we don't have to deal with him wanting to turn all the other light switches on and off.

We started attending a new small group Monday night (we recently switched churches). It was weird because we're still close to the members of our old life group, but we didn't want to be split between two churches. This group is about twice the size, so it was a little overwhelming at first (especially since we really didn't know anybody), but everyone was really nice. It will just take some time to adjust.

I just finished two books this week (figured I needed to end my summer reading with a bang since I won't have as much time now). The first book was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Not my absolute favorite, but it wasn't a bad read. Now I can cross it off my list and sell it at the next yard sale. Immediately after, I started the Divergent series.

Oh. My. Word. If you haven't read this yet (especially if you teach upper grades and/or liked The Hunger Games), you need to! I finished it in two days only because I was working and had to go to sleep earlier (and I try not to read while Keagan's awake). It's similar to Hunger Games, but they don't throw kids into an arena to fight to the death. There are 5 factions of people, and you choose your faction at 16. Of course, their version of the perfect world is starting to crumble, and the main character, Tris, has to learn how to survive! I finished Book 1 last night and can't wait to start Insurgent. Good thing it's the weekend!

On Thursday, we officially went back to work, and I'm starting to make a lot of progress. Everything now has a home (although I had to make stacks of books so I could take my two furniture pieces home and finally paint them), and I have begun the decorating process...barely. I made my school purchase order, and now I'm checking my emails constantly to see when they ship!

Finally, I want to give you a sneak peak of what I'm working on for my next TPT product. I'm SO excited! Instead of coming right out and telling you, I'll just let you know it has to do with these guys that I purchased during the TPT sale at the beginning of the week! Hopefully I will finish it by the end of next week, and I'm thinking of doing a quick flash sale right after they post.

Now it's time to get to work painting that furniture, which means I may actually be linking up for Monday Made-it for the first time this summer!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More glimpses of my classroom + Who doesn't want a Silhouette?

Today was my first official day back to school, and I feel like I got a lot accomplished. Everything now has a home, and I'm to the decorating point. I even got a few of my things on the wall already. Maybe a Walmart trip later today (or at least tomorrow) to buy the tablecloth and duct-tape for my CAFE board, and I will look even more accomplished!

Anyway, I decided to play with the panorama feature of my camera today so I could show more over my very tiny room. It's crazy how big it looks like that, but I made a full circle. The only thing your missing is the wall with the Promethean board actually on it (which is pretty boring).

I also wanted to make sure you knew about this amazing chance to win a Silhouette Portrait although secretly I hope I do and not you because I'm such a nice person! It's kind of similar to the Cricut but WAY better, and I've been drooling over them for over a year now. The price is high for one, but it seems totally worth it! Click on the picture or don't to head over to Megan's blog for a chance to win!

Now I'm off to read more of Divergent. SOOOO good! I will blog about it later though.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tried-it Tuesday: Duct-Tape Borders

I feel like it's been FOREVER since I last linked up with the amazing Holly for her Tried-it Tuesday, and honestly this link-up today was something I tried last year. I really still haven't done much in my room other than move furniture, but we officially go back on Thursday and have all day Thursday and Friday in our rooms (at least, that was my understanding and I hope it's true because I have a LOT to do).

This post is something new I tried last year for my new room, and I'm going to be trying it in a slightly different way this year. Hoping for some suggestions and feedback!

Since my room now is super small, I don't have any bulletin boards (or a way to hang one where I need it). My walls are magnetic, so I put the little magnet circles on the back of everything. Still, I like having something behind my CAFE board to make it stand out (and add a break from the boring cream walls). I first taped up paper and a regular border, but it was falling and messy. Then I decided to try duct-tape. Some of my coworkers had done it, and they have all these cute patterns now. So I did it!

CAFE headers from Ladybug's Teacher Files

I've found a few other patterns that I may use this year:

Fortis Design PT-CHEVRON Platypus Pool Chevron Designer Duct Tape, 32' Length x 2" Width
This one's pretty pricey, but I LOVE it and may just suck it up!

I can get this pattern at Walmart, which is more convenient, but it's actually only a little cheaper.

Anyway, that's not my dilemma. I wanted to use a tablecloth or fabric so it wouldn't fade and could stay up longer. Ideally, I'd like to go with a tablecloth because it's cheaper. I can get some cute colors at Walmart for under $1. The issue is that if I have to take it down over the summer, it will probably rip from the duct-tape and need replacing.

The fabric would be sturdier, but I'm not sure my magnets would be strong enough to hold from the other side of it AND it's more expensive up front.

I'm leaning toward the tablecloth, but I wanted your opinions. And what color tablecloth would you recommend (with which duct-tape). I saw a cute turquoise that I almost bought, but that may be too much with the first duct tape. Maybe yellow? Thoughts?

Monday, August 19, 2013


Recently I was asked to participate in giveaways for a few fellow VA Bloggers, and I couldn't have been happier to help out! Both of these started on Saturday and are definitely worth your time to check out!

Andrea is giving away one of those amazing pencil sharpeners that you really MUST have and winner's choice of items from a bunch of stores, including mine.

Mrs. O has SIX different prize packs!! There's another chance to win that pencil sharpener, a cute personalized sign, quick response white boards, and some items from various TPT stores (including mine, of course). 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Walmart BIG Teacher Reward + TPT sales!

I got a very exciting piece of news today that I want to make sure you all know about. Walmart is currently giving away $50 gift cards to teachers so they can spend it on school supplies and nutritious snacks!

Thank you for your service ...

"What?" "No way. That can't be true!" That's what I thought when I heard it, but it's true. Steven's mom called after she heard it (apparently it was announced in our Walmart yesterday), so being that Keagan decided he was going to skip out on his nap after church anyway, we decided to just head up there and see if it was true.

Apparently it's very new because the customer service people had to call and ask a few different people in the store (after giving us very strange looks), but the woman eventually came over with a handful of gift cards and thanked us for letting her know. We had to activate them before using, but that's what smartphones are for, right?

Steven has already spent half of his, but I'm being very strategic. They have these adorable floor poufs (sp?) that I wouldn't mind getting for my room. I want to price things out though and see what I would most like to use the money for. Plus I'm not sure if that fits under school supplies. I'm still looking for an official list.

But go and check it out. Be ready to ask and wait because they may not know about it, but this appears to be a nation-wide deal!

And don't forget that today is the last day for 20% at my TN store, but it is the FIRST of two days at my TPT store! If you order on TPT, make sure you enter the code BTS13 for an extra 10% off, making it 28%!
Button courtesy of Traci from Dragonflies in First

Happy shopping, and stay comfy. It's rainy and a little chilly outside here. I may even have a hot chocolate later (in my jeans and sweater)!

***Update! It's also time for Give with Target again. Click on the link to vote for your school. Twenty-five votes earns a $25 gift card for your school, and every vote after that equals $1. You can vote once every week.***

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five for Friday on the last week of summer

This linky has been back for a little while, but I'm finally jumping back on board. This is my LAST full week of summer and the last week with Keagan at home. He goes back to the sitter on Monday, and we go back to work Thursday for our first of SEVEN workdays (yeah, I'm a little annoyed about that and felt the need to mention it again). So I thought I would share what we've been doing to make this last week special! We've been busy!


By the way, I made these numbers at the end of the school year (using a Kevin and Amanda font, but I don't remember which one). Feel free to borrow them!

My brother came into town last Friday before he goes back to GA Tech for the year. He was in Bosnia for 6 weeks with a mission group, so he couldn't come visit with my family last month. We had a great time! Monday was his last full day, and we decided to head out to Redskin's Training Camp. They moved it to Richmond this year, and it was free (you just paid for parking). We didn't stay long because it was hot, but it was neat to be able to go!

Isn't my brother such a cutie?

RGIII started actually practicing with them on Monday, which was really exciting!

When we were at training camp, Keagan and I each won 2 tickets to the Flying Squirrels game for Tuesday night (that's our minor league baseball team). Steven and I ended up going with friends while Keagan spent the night with his Papaw and Grammy. He's not quite ready for an evening game. Maybe next year!

The stands actually filled up nicely, but I took this picture shortly after we sat.

Wednesday was going to be another trip to the beach, but temperatures dropped a LOT the night before, and it was too cold for the beach. However, it was a perfect day to be outside. We headed to Maymont park so Keagan could go to the petting zoo. His new favorite sound is the rooster!

Yesterday morning, I had to go to school for a meeting with my principal and the other reading specialist, so Keagan had some daddy time. When he woke up from his afternoon nap, we went to a local mall for Keagan to play in their play area. There was a childcare there, and Keagan loved having extra kids to play with. I didn't get any pictures because I couldn't get any without other random kids.

This afternoon, we headed out to Steven's aunt's pool for some fun since the temps had risen to the 80s. We picked up two of Steven's younger cousins who stay with his grandmother so they could have some play time (and it helped keep Keagan entertained). This little fish loves water and is getting braver every time! We're definitely doing swimming lessons next summer!

It's going to be harder to leave him this summer because he is growing so much and learning so quickly! He's been such a blast to hang out with, and I'm going to miss our morning snuggles and play time.

Next week you will begin to see more school-related posts. And don't forget that I'm having a sale in my TN store through Sunday. Then I am participating in the big TPT sale August 18-19. You don't want to miss it!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

TPT Back to School Linky

I know, I know...posting twice in one day (and within such a short time-span), but TPT is having a Back-to-School sale, and of course I had to take part in it! Then I found out that some of my favorite bloggers were doing a linky to promote the sale. Why not? By the way, you can get 28% off at participating stores (including mine) by adding the code BTS13 at check-out (hence the button).

Button above made by the talented Diane at Fifth in the Middle!
The graphics below are by the wonderful Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn!  
Feel free to use the graphics!  Just give them credit in your blog post:)

For this linky, we're sharing our top two wish-listed items from our own store and then our favorite item on OUR wishlist. Link up and see what every else wants!

This was actually one of my very first products, and I revamped it this year after learning more about creating products!

My #2 and #3 were very close, but I chose to talk more about this one because it's more related to what I do now (technically my Measurement Conversions pack is #2, and I'm surprised because it needs a major facelift to it's cover page. On my to-do list now!).  I have SO much fun creating these drawing conclusions mysteries, and this was my very first. All of my kids loved it, and I had them hooked and begging for more after the first one. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Morphology Dictionary: A Student Reference Book of Prefixe

Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files is a GENIUS! I want to focus a lot more on vocabulary this year, and this product looks amazing. It's expensive, but judging from her other work, I'm sure it's totally worth it!

Alright, go fill your wishlist and get ready to shop!