Sunday, August 19, 2012

Please Bring It!

School has officially started in full force! And I'm pretty sure the "honeymoon" period is already over... Here I thought that if I got my blog started over the summer, I would easily be able to keep up with a post or two each week once the school year started! Ha! First week of school and I haven't even thought of "blog-land" until today! :o)

When pondering different post options, I decided to go with a technology/management tool that I have use a few times already this year! I am very thankful that someone told me about it, so I thought I would pass it along!

Bring It is an easy to use online sign-up sheet site that can be used in a number of different ways. Each year there are many times when we need parents (or students) to sign up to bring different materials or food for parties or activities we are doing in our class. Before I found this site, it was a pain to have to send home notes in Thursday Folders and hope that they made it home to the parents... But now the process is so much easier!

One way that I am going to use this site next week during Back to School Night is by having parents sign up for my different volunteer opportunities. Here is how you get started:

1. Go to

2. Click on "Get Started" in the upper right hand corner.
3.  Then fill in your information. 
** Make sure you choose something for your custom domain that you will remember! This is what you will use whenever you want to sign in to your account! **

4. Once you've created your account, you can start making new sign-up sheets by clicking
5. When you create your sign-up sheet, you can title it with what your event is and then select your event type. It doesn't really matter which type you choose because the formats are all the same. 
6. Now you can start to put the items or tasks that you need into your sheet. You can also add a note to whoever you are sharing this with to add more details about the event. 
When you're ready to share, you copy the link on the right-hand side of the page and email that to your parents. They will be able to view your page and sign up for what they are willing to do. The best part is that they can include their email address and Bring It will send them a reminder email!

Here is the form that I created for my Volunteers:
What I really love about this is that parents know exactly what I need and I won't get multiple parents who are interested. I've used a Google Form for this in years past, but then I get parents who are interested in the same opportunity, but I only need one. I'm really looking forward to using Bring It throughout the year!

Now, time to plan the rest of Back to School Night...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Currently

Wow... August... where has this year gone?!? I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for my August Currently!

B2S Must Haves:
1. Costco Photo Center - For most of my classroom designs (banners, schedule signs, teacher binder dividers) I use my scrapbooking software to make it look pretty! Because colored ink is so expensive, for most of my colored printing, I use Costco Photo Center. I like how inexpensive their printing is and the photo paper is a little more substantial than printer paper. So, needless to say, I've spent a lot of time uploading and picking up my things from Costco this summer!

2. Lamination - After I print from Costco, I still have to laminate! I'm waiting for someone at my school to cut me off... We have a wonderful aide who has been coming in periodically throughout the summer to do our copy room work, so I haven't been the one doing my own lamination. Hopefully she's not keeping track... ;o)

3. To-do lists & my planner - I'm obsessed (OBSESSED) with making lists and crossing things off! I'll add things to my list after I've already completed them, just so I can cross them off!! Pathetic... I know... But I've relied heavily on making my To-do Lists in my new planner. I have sooo much to get done by next week that I would be lost without it!

Now it's time for me to tackle that To-Do List...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fiction Friday - Chris Grabenstein

My Fiction Friday post is more about an author instead of a book. Last year my teammate connected with author Chris Grabenstein through Skype With An Author, and it was such positive experience that we have already booked an interview with him for this year. Chris Grabenstein has been writing for many years and has had experience from tv show to adult novels to children's novels. He even spent some time doing improve comedy and it showed - the kids thought he was hilarious during his interview!

In preparation for his interview, each of the 5th grade classrooms read one of his books. At the time he had four different scary, haunted books that were all apart of the same series. The Crossroads is the first book in the series, which tells the story about a young boy named Zack who has the ability to see ghosts and just moved into a haunted house. Throughout the book, he tries to solve the mystery of what happens at The Crossroads.

The books in this series are well written, but may be a little scary for some audiences. There were a couple of times we had to do a little censoring for our 5th graders, but overall they really liked how creepy the books were! Many of them continued to read other books from the series!
This year he has released the first book to his new series Riley Mack. I am planning on reading this book aloud to my students before we Skype with him in September. I think this one is more of an adventure story instead of scary story. 
Before we Skyped with Mr. Grabenstein, the students put together a list of questions to ask him. As a class we decided which questions would actually be asked and those kiddos were the ones who got to go in front of the camera to talk with him. Here is the Lino it they created with all their questions:

On the day of the interview, we shoved all 75 students into one room and set the computer up so that Mr. Grabenstein could see everyone and he was projected onto the Smartboard. He talked about the process he goes through to write his books and then he showed us around his home office and how he covers the walls with all his ideas. After his part, he answered the questions that we had compiled. We learned a lot about him during this time. At one point he called over his dog - the kids really liked that! :o)

After the interview, we had each student send Mr. Grabenstein a Thank You email, and he took the time to respond to each one! He also sent us autographed bookmarks for each student!  It was amazing to me that an award winning author would take the time to Skype with us and then give us so much attention afterwards... all for FREE! It meant so much to us, teachers, and the students!

He also has some adult novels that he has written and if you like scary stories, I urge you to check them out! All the titles are on his website! I also urge you to check out Skype With An Author because so many of them are willing to do an interview for free! It was a really great experience and I am excited to do it again this year!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ahhh... Finally!!

 Finally, I think that my classroom is close to finished! I've spent hours rearranging and redecorating, but today I feel like it's ready for students. Unfortunately, I'm not ready for students. I found this picture on Pinterest and thought that it totally explains how I feel! Now I need to start working on the important things (you know, like lesson plans...).

One of my biggest projects of the week was working on my Boggle bulletin board (INSPIRATION). Thanks to Simply 2nd Resources for making the super cute letters that match my theme exactly! This activity is something new that I am trying this year, so I have been thinking about the logistics of how I am going to manage it. I think I'm going to change the letters once a week (probably on Monday) and I wanted to find a way that I could quickly make the change without taking a lot of time. I went to the dollar store this morning and bought 36 clothespins and 300 tacks and glued them together. Then after taking A LOT of time perfecting the spacing, I put the pins into the wall where each of the letters would go. I think this is going to work well, and I'm very happy about the way it turned out!!

On a side note, I might show my students the math work that I had to do to figure out the correct spacing for each of the letters. Hopefully some will see that the math we do in class will help them in the future! 
As for the rest of my classroom...
Outside my door - Wordle with all my students' names. 

 View from the door. 
 View from the classroom library.
 Classroom library - Waiting on my Vista Print order to finish the wall over the shelves.
My reading board isn't quite finished. I spent a lot of time this year organizing all my books by genre. I am using Classroom Organizer for students to check out books.
 Science & reading.
Window banners & tissue pom-poms. I spent a lot of time making all of those pom-poms! 
My desk. Gonna add more about me on the bulletin behind my desk.

I also made this Today's Number poster today too (INSPIRATION). I like the idea of students practicing these skills everyday with different numbers. I'm not sure if I am going to have my students complete this as morning work or a warm up during math. I may even do it every other day... Not sure...

So, there it is! Now I can start working on my lesson plans for the start of the year!
I'm joining up with Brigid's Classroom Tours Linky Party!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


While I was on vacation, I got two emails from future parents... They both made me feel sooo special!!! Here's what I got:
 From Kayla - 
From Grant - 
I think these are signs that it is going to be a great year!!!!!

Also, I can't believe that I started my blog less than a month ago and I already have 50 followers! I really appreciate all of the positive support that people have given me! Thank you so much to Erin at Adventures in Third Grade for nominating me for the Liebster Blog award. This award recognizes blogs with under 200 followers. 

Here are the rules for the award: 
1. Copy and paste this award to your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blog. 

Here are my nominations:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vista Print!

Holy cow... I have just spent the last 5 hours lost on Vista Print (in between cleaning the kitchen, doing 4 loads of laundry, and taking care of a husband who got his wisdom teeth out this morning...)! I've pinned a few ideas from other teachers in the past, but hadn't found the right deal to pursue making anything.

On Sunday night I bought a Groupon for Vista Print where I paid $20 to get $80 worth of product; and I got an email this morning from VP reminding that they are having a huge clearance sell that ends tonight! So, I decided that it was as good of time as any to use my Groupon. And, can I just say: I had a hard time finding $80 worth of product to purchase because the sales were so great! So much of what I got was FREE or under $5.00! The prices that are listed by the products below are after my Groupon discount. I spent $25 extra so that I could get free shipping ($28 in shipping, or $25 in more product!?!). I'm an addict now! Here's what I got:
Inspiration: Ms. Nobel's Class
250 Business Cards = $3.58
I liked the idea of rewarding students by giving them money towards a new book. I'm not sure exactly how I will use these, but I think it will be something that I just hand out when I see something I like!

250 Business Cards = $3.58
This one I know that I will use frequently! Just a quick way to reinforce actions and behaviors without giving food/candy.

Inspiration: Caffeinated Conclusions
30 Business Card Stickers = $2.11
We use technology A LOT and each student has a Google account in my district. This started last year, so I made these stickers to go inside their planners so they can access Google Apps at home successfully. I am so tired of "my computer wouldn't let me sign on last night!" What kind of excuse is that?!? Hopefully this will help them and their computers! :o)

Dr. Seuss Poster 18"x24" = $2.10
I love this quote! This is going to go in my classroom library!

30 Thank You Note Cards = $2.99
Always good to have on hand!

50 Small Business Magnets = $3.58
In my first couple years of teaching, I used to assign specific jobs to specific students. Teaching the older kiddos, I just have two helpers who do anything I need them to do. Last year, I had a tropical theme so I made the helper names using the fish dicut, but this year I didn't know what I would do to match my theme. I plan to write the students' names in the middle of this square and then keeping them on the white board.

And then, after each order I made, they have items already put together or that match the theme I just used and there were a couple of items I couldn't resist!

Notepad = $0.63

Sticky Notes = $FREE$

Notebook = $1.78

I also order a couple of personal things, but they were under $5.00 as well. In total, I paid $47.45 for over $150 worth of product! I'm SUPER happy!! Now I just have to wait 14 business days for my goodies to arrive.......ugh!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Another Award!

Yesterday, my husband and I cruised down the PCH from LA to San Diego, moving from one hotel to the next. While we were enjoying the warm sunshine and a little sand in our toes, I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award from two different people! :o) A huge thank you goes out to Vicky at Keep Calm & Imagine and Cathy at C is for Cookies, Cakes, Children, Classrooms, and Crafts

For this award, here are the rules:  
1. Follow the person who gave me the award.  done :)

2. Link back to the person that gave me the award.  done :)

3. Pass to 15 new bloggers and then let them know they have received the award. 

Here are the awesome blogs I'm passing this award on to:
*I'm trying to find 15 blogs... but here is what I have so far!