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!

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!!! 

post signature
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!

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!

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!


Happy Wednesday to everyone! 
A big blog hop is coming your way this weekend. I'm so happy to be partnering up with some fantastic Florida bloggers to bring you fun, freebies, and prizes. The fun starts Sunday, so be sure you're following all of us to make the hop easy peasy lemon squeezy!

 photo Slide1_zps33949d43.png

 photo Slide5_zps58464a20.png

 photo Slide8_zpsb95d92b7.png

 photo Slide4_zps2923fe46.png

 photo Slide6_zps8d67a9fd.png

 photo Slide3_zps383734f3.png

 photo Slide2_zps338856e9.png

 photo Slide7_zpsb321252c.png

 photo Slide9_zps39d34bef.png

 photo Slide10_zpsdf14748a.png

Click on any of the images above to be directed to our Facebook pages for more information in the next few days. Lots more to come soon.

The hop starts on Sunday at 12noon EST! 
We can't wait to see you! 

I've been thinking of my classroom set up pretty obsessively, especially my bulletin boards. They haven't been what I've wanted for a long time, but I wasn't sure what I wanted, so they just stayed pretty mediocre. But I'm super excited to change that this year!  The first step on the road to better bulletin board is going to be my Number of the Day/ Morning Meeting board. 

My plan is to model writing on the board for the first couple of weeks and then gradually turn it over to my students. I posted this pic on Instagram, and asked what other components I should add and the response kind of blew me away! One thing led to another and I said I'd do my best to get it listed in time for the sale. Somehow I did it! Yay!

I have a feeling that I'll be adding more to the set, but the great thing about tpt is that you can always download any revisions once you own it.  You can see it in my store HERE.

I made lots of different components so you can change it up and customize your board according to your needs. I'm definitely open to suggestions too. I'll post some pics of it when it's actually up in my room. {Which I get to start tackling tomorrow. yay! I think!}

Don't forget the big sale is Monday and Tuesday on tpt! My cart is full. I may have a problem...

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Purell 30 Day Challenge that was full of fun and prizes. You can see that original post here. There's still time to get in on the action. If you haven't visited  Purell's Facebook page, stop by soon. I love that they offer lots of fun tidbits and trivia along with the usual product information.

When I was asked to partner with Purell and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network, it seemed like a natural fit. I mean, what teacher doesn't have a bottle or ten of sanitizer  in their room? It's a common sight to see teachers squirt their kids as they line up for lunch, during bathroom breaks, or after recess. I have a few bottles out for my kids to squirt freely (and upon my request after a sneeze or cough) Sometimes the kids go a little pump crazy by themselves, but I recently saw this awesome tip on Pinterest that will definitely help! Just wind a rubber band or hair tie around the stem of the pump so they can squirt just enough into their little hands. I'm totally doing this on all of my bottles this year!

Another great way to keep Purell close at hand is by clipping one of these cute jelly wraps to your belt loop, lanyard, recess bag, lunch tag basket, or other stuff only teachers seem to haul around with them during a typical day.

What are your tips for keeping sanitizer close at hand? I'd love to hear in the comments. And be sure to check out the 30 Day Challenge. Fun and fabulous prizes are waiting for you!

Back to Top