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International Day of Peace Idea

I love that our school always makes a big deal about the International Day of Peace, which will be on September 21 this year.  We've always participated in the Pinwheels for Peace project and have the kids make pinwheels that we plant around the school grounds, which are adorable. You can learn more about that here.

This year we're celebrating a little early, which works out for you if you want to join in! Today all the kids in the school decorated a tag (like these) and wrote their wishes for peace. Then we all went outside and tied our tags to a tree. There was some soft music playing in the background while we tied and then we checked out the tags that were already there.

It was a quick and easy way to take part in Peace Week activities and it was a really meaningful experience for the kids.

Here are some great books to help kids understand the concept of peace, just click on the cover to see them on Amazon:

Peace Out!

Open House Ideas

Whew! We're wrapping up our first month down here in sickeningly hot and humid sunny Florida and I kinda sorta finally feel like maybe I have both feet on the ground. Personally, I had a weird start to the year. I'm always so excited to get in and start working on my room, but between having work done on our house, no AC at school (which in Florida equals sauna times a thousand), and an infected wisdom tooth, the first couple of weeks did NOT go the way I had carefully plotted and planned as I feel asleep every night over the summer.

Maybe you noticed that I didn't have a big "classroom reveal" post. Maybe you didn't, which I totally understand because sometimes I don't even have time to notice that I'm wearing two different colored shoes or that I've been wearing my shirt inside out all day. #truestory

My room didn't really come totally together until about 10 minutes before the parents came in for Open House on Wednesday, and even then it's not exactly what I want but really, the important thing is that we're building a nice little community in our classroom and I love love love love my kids. Like super love. Like I walk around the room and watch them sometimes and I'm almost on the verge of tears when I realize how lucky I am that I get to spend my day with such amazing little kids. I mean, look at them! See those sweet smiles? They're genuinely happy little kids. Which makes me a genuinely happy teacher. These faces are what help me forget the crazy political bureaucratic testing baloney that can threaten to overwhelm most of us on a daily basis.

Here's a little peek of the parts of the room that I did manage to get looking sorta like I pictured. I'll blog a bit more about my room at some point I'm sure. But I do like how our science center is shaping up and I'm really lovin the fact that I got rid of my big honkin teacher desk. Now I just use my horseshoe table and behind that you'll see the two Ikea Kallax bookshelves that I'm using for storage. It's working out really well so far!

Ok, so I promised Open House ideas. Here's what the tables looked like as the parents came in:

That lapbook was something I just stumbled upon on Tpt. You can see it here. Super cute and perfect for open house. The colored strip is for the parents to make a bookmark for their kids. The little poster is from my friend Gina at Beach Sand and Lesson Plans. The kids make a welcome poster telling the parents about school and their classroom and they don't know it, but we have the parents make a version to welcome the kids the next morning! You can see it here on tpt.

Kids Work:

Parent's Work:

And look at these priceless reactions when they saw the little notes from their parents on their desks.

Open House is the first time I put out the Estimation Station jar. Before this, the kids haven't seen it. They really get a kick out of seeing the guesses their parents made. We put their guesses in order from least to greatest and then see whose mom or dad came closest. That student then takes the jar home and fills it for the next week. You can read a lot more about how we use Estimation Station in our classroom every Friday in this blog post and this one which has a few freebies.

So things are slowly coming together in our little corner of the world. The decor in the room may not be picture perfect, but the little people in it sure are!

Win a Mailbox Gold Subscription!

Mailbox Magazine is one of the most trusted names in educational publishing. I've been using their inspiration and ideas since I stepped foot in my very first classroom 21 years ago (what?!). So when they contacted me about participating in their #BeTheDifference campaign, the answer was an immediate and resounding yes!

Mailbox wants to know how you make a difference in the lives of your students. They sent me a fun little box to help with that endeavor, and among other things there was a beach ball. I knew right away that I would put that to good use! One of my most tried and true first day activities is the Name Game. We gather in a large circle around the room and toss the ball to each other. If you catch it you have to say the name of everyone who caught it before you in order and then add your name to the mix before throwing it to someone else.

It gets a little tricky by the end. We help out by pointing and gesturing when someone gets stuck. I kick it up a notch and first ask my kids to think of a word that tells a bit about them that starts with the same letter as their first name and we say both when catching a ball. So, for example the fourth kid in our group had to say Musical Mrs. Boehm, Awesome Andy, Elegant Elisa, and Bowling Brooks. Poor Brooks. The first child said Bowling Brody and then just about every other kid said Brody then Brooks. So we kind of renamed him BrodyBrooks. It's ok, he was a good sport about it and everyone giggled when we got to his name in the line up.

So how do you make a difference for your kids? What fun things do you do to welcome them to school and create a fun learning environment? The Mailbox wants to know and there are some pretty awesome prizes for telling them. Head over to their Facebook Page. Look for the #BeTheDifference tab & click.

You'll see some easy peasy directions to enter for some primo prizes.

But wait, there's more! {Couldn't resist...}

They are also giving away a Mailbox Gold subscription to TEN lucky blog readers! You can learn more about Mailbox Gold in this video.  Now, this is a quick giveaway so act fast! If you are a winner your name will appear on the Rafflecopter widget as soon as the giveaway is over and I'll forward your email address to the fine folks at The Mailbox.  Good luck and go #BeTheDifference!

Classroom Library tips!

Hey everyone! I'm Ashley from The Teacher's Treasure Chest! My sweet friend Denise let me stop by to share some ideas with you!

Classroom Library

I don't know about y'all but my classroom library is always growing! My classroom library is like a hobby for me. In my free time, I love going out and searching for nice books! The trick is, finding a deal and using the resources that you already have! 

 I love using different kinds of text in the classroom so the children are exposed to anything and everything. I like for my students to be able to recognize text in the real world and WANT to read it.  

There are several ways to do this. I have started making Printable Books to use in the classroom. These are books I can use as interactive read alouds to introduce or review a subject.

My  printable Graphs book was a huge hit this year in my classroom. Before we started our Graphs unit, I used this book as a read aloud. Then I put in my math book bin! 

Here are a few more pictures of my Printable Math Books

 One of my printable Science Books

 I have a large collection of magazines, brochures and menus as well in my classroom. These offer students the exposure to real world text. I received a lot of my magazines by going around to different libraries and asking to look through their discard pile. They usually throw out magazines after a few years!! 

Another trick is that I always save the books that come from kids meals! These are a great addition to the classroom library! This helps me with my diet as well! I always order kids meals if I am forced to eat at a fast food place. The toys go straight into the treasure box and the books into my library! 

One thing that I do is purchase high text coloring books. I usually find them at the dollar store.  I do this especially for those students who we are trying to get  to WANT to read, read ANYTHING. They do often ask to color them, but if you set the routine from the beginning and discuss that we do not color in these, you  should be fine. My first year of doing this it was hard, but I didn't set the routine. Now that my routines are in place, it's fine.  Some teachers let them color in them as a reward. I am thinking about trying that this year. It does actually work and you can get the students engaged in the reading process through high text coloring books. 

Another tip, I  check out our local Goodwill. They typically have books  3 for a $1.00! I only purchase books that are in great condition and am always finding great deals at Goodwill! My husband laughs at me for this..until I tell him I *could* go by them brand new for $8.00 a pop ;) That gets him every time haha!

Thanks again to my sweet friend Denise for letting me stop by!!! 

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First Day Fun & Freebies!

Ok, so as far as smooth starts to the year, this has been anything but. I was allowed to go back into my room a week early, as usual. Between the air conditioner not working right and having workers at the house I really didn't get much done there at all. I went in on Saturday devoted to just plowing through and getting tons done. Well, I woke up with the WORST pain in my jaw. I thought it would probably go away, but about an hour into working it was killing me. Luckily my dentist was able to see me on a Saturday afternoon. Turns out that after 25 years of being in my mouth, my wisdom tooth decided it was a great time to become infected. Talk about PAIN! Long story short, I had to wait a few days, but the tooth was eventually pulled and all is well, but most of my preplanning week was spent in severe pain or a pain killer haze. So not the start I wanted. But, as always, it came together in the end.

Ok, so enough of my sob story. Let's get to the goodies. This year my gift to the team was a blingy whistle in this cute little bag. It's ok, they get my sense of humor. I got the whistles here. (They're nice and loud!) I just stuck on a rhinestone initial sticker that I picked up from Michaels. The bags are from there too. Here's the label if you want it. You need to download the KG Eyes Wide Open font free from tpt in order to edit the "Love, Denise" part.

Next up are the bags I give my kids during Meet the Teacher. We give out a few things for parents and I always give my kids the "Ready Confetti" card. Here's a link that explains that a bit more including a free download. It's just easier to put it all in a bag so they don't have to go down a table and take one of each. This year I added a little bag of Goldfish with the "Ofishally a Second Grader" tag on it. You can grab that here.

When the kiddies actually came for the first day, it was a whirlwind as usual, but we got to do a few fun things. First up was our handprint puzzle. They decorate a blank puzzle with their handprint, then attach this label to the front of a business size envelope and take it home. You can download the label free here.  There's a girl and boy version. The puzzles are from Amazon. You can get them here. The description is a little confusing, it's a pack of 24 puzzles. I promise.

Then we pulled out the play-doh. What kid doesn't love that! They had to use it to create something about themselves, then tell the class about it. My partner teachers' class did it first, so we visited them and then we made our own. We had a plate of cookies:

A girl and her family:

A dog:

A stack of pancakes! 

There were a lot of other good ones too. This was the first time we did this one, but I'll definitely keep it in the rotation for next year.

Then we played our You & Me Under the Sea Icebreaker game. It was a big hit and a great way to practice expectations for how to play learning games (like don't roll the dice across the room or throw it so hard it bounces off the table...)

Things are going a bit more smoothly and I have to say, these kids are covered in all kinds of awesome sauce! I'll be back to share my room reveal soon. It's actually not all the way done yet. But that's ok. It will happen eventually!

And here's a bit of fun news! TpT is throwing another big sale! It's for one day only, August 20. My  entire store is set at the maximum discount of 28%. Happy shopping!

Less Stressful Notebook Collecting

Today I have a simple management tip for looking at student journals or notebooks. It can be really overwhelming to have a stack of 20 or more notebooks on your desk needing your attention, but this method makes it a little easier.

Each day I ask for a different group to leave their journals out or bring them to me. By the end of the week, I've had a chance to look through all of them without feeling so stressed out!

There are lots more more bright ideas just waiting for you at the posts below. Happy hopping!

Lots of Chevron Freebies!

Thanks for visiting our blog hop! :)
I am the

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Today I'm showcasing my Number of the Day/Morning Meeting board with you guys because I made some awesome freebies to go along with it. The board itself can be found HERE on tpt. It includes all of the parts you see here to cut and use on your bulletin board.

Once I made the board, I started to really fall in love with the whole rainbow chevron pattern and wanted it everywhere I could put it. It's so cheerful and happy. Who doesn't need a whole lot of that were you spend most of your day, right?

So, on to the freebies! First up, I made a fun Quote of the Week piece to add to the board. There's a lot of inspiration for kids quotes all over the internet of course. Here's just a sampling. I'll be blogging throughout the year about the quotes I choose and the discussions we have using them.

I also made some fun labels for baskets in my room. They're meant to fit on the sides of paper baskets, like these from Really Good Stuff. I made a few that you can choose from to fit your needs. If the size doesn't work for you, play around with your printer settings to print them at a smaller size.

In the same file, you'll find this fun trash tub label. I loved this idea from my adorable friend Nicole at Rowdy in Room 300. The plan is to put one of these buckets on each table during big cutting projects to collect scraps. Love it! I got these paper buckets at the Target Dollar Spot. They're about the size of a big movie theater popcorn bucket. Everything above can be found in one file HERE.

And finally, I gave my clip chart a chevron makeover too! I'm going to try to put this on my whiteboard and use magnets for the kids' names instead of clothespins. Stay tuned for more on that, but in the meantime you can find the freebie here!

Something fun that we've added this year is an instagram puzzle!
Here are the rules! :)

Your instagram letter clue for my page is...

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Don't forget to write down the letter from each of your hop stops! :)
Solve the mystery word and post a selfie on instagram with your answer!
Don't forget to add


That way we can find you for the drawing! :)

Follow our adventures on Instagram by clicking on our pictures below! :)
Image Map

One lucky winner will win this amazing set of prizes!
Check it out!!

Only one winner will be chosen! ;)
Good luck! :)
If you started the hop with me, but you want to start at the beginning, you'll want to go to Mrs. Russell's Room by clicking HERE.
If you want to just hop on through...the next stop is...
The lovely Tammy Wathen of...

The Resourceful Apple

Just click on her button and hop on to the next stop! :)
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