Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yes, I'm still here!

First of all, my most sincere apologies for not posting anything in a very long time (bad blogger!).  To sum it all up, last year was EXTREMELY rough.  31 kids, 2 building moves, fighting to get an aide and upteen million curriculum changes kicked my behiney.  You know that back to school, first few weeks exhaustion you have?  I had it all year.  :(  I was treading water and barely making it.  I basically quit doing things for me and it made me very unhappy.  My new plan is this:  MAKE time for what I love, even if that means all the laundry doesn't get done and the house is a little messy.


I'm sure you all in gearing up mode, just as I am.  I've decided to take the plunge and change my color scheme that I've had for 15 years--going from primary colors to a more "adult" look-turquoise and purple with lime green accents.  I'd never been to a Back to School sale at Mardel and let's just say, 90% of my shopping was done while I was waiting in line.  I was inspired by this:

The color scheme perfectly fits my new retro-antique-repurposed decorating I've been doing at home.  It just seems so calming to me.  I'm an all or nothing kinda girl so I've got stuff everywhere in my house.  My hands are still stained from all the spray painting I've done!

I get into my classroom Monday, so I will be posting a definite before and after glimpse of my room.  Until then, I'm headed back to my spray painting, laminating, and creating.  Thanks for sticking with me and just remember this...


Saturday, January 4, 2014


Whew!  You know that feeling you get every year thinking about all the things you need to get done before school starts in the fall?  I just had that feeling all over again and I'm pooped!

Back story:  My old school (Emerson Elementary) and my new school (Irving Elementary) were the two elementary schools that were destroyed in the May 2011 F-5 tornado that ripped our town of Joplin, Missouri in half.  Both schools were placed in temporary facilities comprised of several FEMA modulars and small school buildings.  This year, both schools were merged into one new school, Irving, and split into a K-2 and 3-5 campus for the first half of the year while our new "super school" was being built.  The construction was completed late in November and on December 2, we got our first look. 
The front entrance to the building

My empty classroom waiting to be filled!

Our Learning Neighborhood
There are 3 neighborhoods-K-1, 2-3 and 4-5.  Each neighborhood has it's own theme.  Ours is The Park.  The colors and "decorations" reflect the theme.  These areas have several SmartBoards and will have tables and comfortable seating for collaborative learning.

We started the big move on December 20th and furniture was moved December 23 and 26th.  To say that I have had any sort of break this holiday would be a misnomer.  I feel like I really do live at school.  But it will be so worth it when the kiddos come in on the 6th to see the building!

Here's a 360 degree tour of my new room! 
Welcome to Room A128!  All rooms has interior glass walls so that the learning that is going on is evident!

Check in area
Writing Center.  The black shelf on the right holds different kinds of paper, pre-made books, magnetic letters and magnet boards.  The blank wall is kind of bothering me, but I can't figure out what I want to put up there.
Reading Center.  I am so excited about this area!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my seating bench on the left!!

Calendar and meeting area.  My rug is on back order.  :-(
Front of the room.
Our voice level chart, daily schedule and my bulletin board.  
My "desk"/small group area.
Science Center.  I have BIG plans for this one come Spring!  Under the table is my sensory tub. 
This is our "think spot".  As a PBiS school, we have these spots so that students can reflect on their behavior choices.  I have some cards that need to be laminated for the pocket chart that show some calming techniques and the basket in the window sill has some calm down jars, a notebook and crayons, some squeezy Eagles and a really soft turtle puppet.  I love that they can also just sit and chill out and look out the window if need be. 
My storage cabinets.  You can see the extra crayon drawers and supply buckets on the counter, pocket charts for all our station rotations on the tall door and our work station drawers on the left.
Now....don't be (too) jealous....I also have a storage CLOSET!!!!

student cubbies

more student cubbies (I have 30 kiddos!), Puzzles and Games Center and the Building Center.  And behind that door is...

the tiny toilets!  My principal brings everyone down when she gives tours just so they can see them!  They are VERY tiny!!  I share this bathroom with the teacher next door.  Only Kindergarten has these.  I'm not sure if I'm too keen on it or not.  
Is your head spinning yet?  Mine is!  And I've had a month to get used to the idea of it all.  I can just say that I am so very thankful for everyone who has given time, energy, money, thoughts and prayers to help us through this whole ordeal. 

Our little Eagles are finally home!!

Now, if you have gotten this far, you deserve a little somethin' somethin'.  Here is a freebie I whipped up to use this week with my kiddos as we are relearning everything, getting back in the hang of school and adjusting to schedule changes and a new home.  It correlates to my new best seller, Hibernate? Or Migrate?  If you are interested, you can check out the mini unit  by clicking on the cover below or click on the worksheet picture to snag it.

I'm off now to cut out about five pounds of laminating that I drug home!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 6, 2013

My 5 Senses and a Snow Day {freebie}!

This week we discussed our 5 senses.  We started with reading Aliki's My Five Senses and put together a Mr. Potato Head as we read the story. During the week, we practiced using our senses A LOT, especially the listening and seeing senses :) Then we set up our Science center so we can make observations and record our findings.  Here's what we're using:

Smelly jars--I found some awesome containers (salt and pepper shakers) at the glorious Dollar Tree that work perfectly for this.  Then I bought some root beer, lemon, orange, and peppermint extract and grabbed the cinnamon and baby powder and coated cotton balls to place inside the containers.  Then I whipped up some matching cards for the students to place the containers on.
Feely bags--I actually found this on Pinterest while looking for some ideas.  I loved it!  You take balloons and fill them with objects for the students to feel.  I also made some matching cards for this as well.
I Spy and Peeky cards--I made a few homemade holiday I Spy cards...
...and some peeky cards inspired by Tana Hoban's The Look Book.  I used enlarged images from Google, cut a hole in a black cover to show a small peek, taped the cover and picture together at one end and secured the other with a velcro dot.
I'm still working on the hearing activity.  My plan is to modify an old AIMS activity and create shakers using plastic Easter eggs (who doesn't have a few dozen lying around??) and students will match pictures of the objects inside to the egg.

In my pocket chart next to my Science center, I placed the sorting cards from my new My 5 Senses packet.  Here's a picture I snapped after some students sorted the pictures.
If you're interested in the pack for your classroom, click on the cover below to go get it from my store!

Well, here in Missouri, the weather saying goes something like this--if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes.  It will change.

All week we've been getting the Snowmegedon forecast...freezing rain, sleet, ice and snow.  It was supposed to start yesterday morning around 9 and according to my kiddo's behavior, we had already gotten a few feet when a single flake hadn't fallen.  I woke up this morning to see this--
Just a bit of snow and not seeing a cancellation, I started getting ready.  In the middle of drying my hair, I get the text.  :(  At that point, there was no chance of me going back to sleep, so I started working on a new activity for my kiddos after we return from break.
And yes, you read the cover correctly.  A freebie, but only until tomorrow night.  After that, I will re-post it at a steal-worthy price.  I'm sorry but I'm no longer offering this as a freebie!  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  You can still get this fun activity for cheap...$1.50!  Click on my store button to get it for yourself!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkeys, elves and a little shopping surprise!

Wow!  When I thought I would have to take a small break from blogging, I never thought it would be this long.  I truly underestimated the amount of crazy that would be going on at school.  Not only did my school merge with another school, we had to split our campus so I moved to a new building AND I have a class of the most energetic (read wired), diverse (read no two kiddos at the same level) and chatty group of THIRTY!!!! that I've ever had.  Add to that several new initiatives and a mid year move to our (finally!!) permanent building, and my life has been nothing short of an endless running game.  I've been first week of school tired since July.

Anywho...I'm back and I am trying to learn to rebalance life again.  I just wanted to update you on all the goings on with my Eaglets, give you a long overdue freebie and let you in on a little secret.

Last week was all about the turkeys.  Because we had a two day week, I felt justified to "gloss" over the recommended curriculum and have some fun learning.  In Math we concentrated on patterning.  On Monday we made these adorable paper plate turkeys, creating a pattern around the rim to act as feathers.  Here are a couple of my favorites!

On Tuesday, we made Native American headbands.  After learning about how Native Americans used symbols on a lot of their attire, my students created a pattern that represented things about them, then added some feathers.  Here's the finished project!

In ELA, we focused on retelling the story.  After using Fran Kramer's retelling cards for the story of the first Thanksgiving( I forgot to snap a picture, but click here to get a set for yourself!), we used Marsha McGuire's emergent reader and made a retelling bracelet (a HUGE!! hit) to go with it.

We also worked on making a good prediction with the story A Turkey For Thanksgiving.  Do you know this story?  If not, it is a perfect book for this time of year, and for making predictions.  Click on the picture to go to Amazon to snag a copy for yourself!!

Here are some of our natural predictions that made me smile and laugh out loud!
The turkey got cut up for Thanksgiving.
He got dead.
(I actually laughed so hard I snorted!)

With my little angels this year and all the craziness the month of December seems to bring,  I know I'm going to need to pull out all the tricks I have in my tool bag to help with behavior. The problem is, I've used most of them already!  So time to call in reinforcements!

Meet Hermie!

Last year I used a little stuffed elf I'd made in my college days and most of my kids fell hook, line and sinker for it.  This year, I knew I'd need him again, but I can't find him!  So off to Target I went to buy the book and the elf.  I even snagged one for Little Miss at home.  Check back to see what mischief Hermie stirs up.

I'm going to try to milk every educational opportunity I can from it, so we are going to journal as often as possible.  I created a elf journal for my kiddos and want to share it with you.  Click on Hermie to download it!

And now for the surprise....

Several of my Kinderland friends and I are giving you an extra day of shopping!  Why not do a little Black Friday shopping for yourself?  Today only, my entire store is 20% off!
Then check back Monday and Tuesday for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale.  My store will be 20% off and if you use the code "CYBER" at checkout, you'll receive an additional 10% off!!  Buy a little now, get some credits after doing your feedback, then shop again on Monday and Tuesday.

I had a creative spurt the other day and created 3 new products!
I'm off to fill my cart as well.  Happy Shopping! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School and a Sale!

I can't believe the summer flew by like it did!  After Summer School in June, I had about a week to relax before meetings, moving schools and setting up my room.  The last week has been a flurry, with my class list growing and changing several times a day sometimes.  I finally ended up with 26(!!) little kiddos and they are a very interesting bunch!

Just wanted to remind all ya'll about the Teachers Pay Teachers big Back to School sale this Sunday and Monday, August 18 and 19. My entire store is 20% off and if you use the promo code BTS13 you will get an additional 10% off for a total of 28% (I can't do the math, but they say that's what it works out to).  Click the button below to go to my store. I did manage to get some new items posted this summer.  Check them out!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


It happens every year.  I give myself one week after Summer School is over to be "lazy"...not that I do it, but I just want to give myself some down time.  Then it hits...the panic.  I have 3 weeks?!?! 

The panic happened so innocently.  I was out to lunch with a few of my co-workers and the conversation casually turned to next year.  All of the sudden, my mind was racing, I was jotting down notes and lists on anything I could write on and I went nuts.  Needless to say, this morning has been very productive.  Let me share my busy-ness with you!

I can't stand for the house to be quiet while I'm working.  These were my choices for background noise this weekend.  I have to admit I watched a bit of Fast Five.  Oh la la la...Vin Disel and The Rock are so yummy!!

This was the scene this morning at my table.  Just me, my coffee, laptop, printer and laminator.  I started out with about 200 sheets of cardstock and a full package of laminating pouches.

About 4 hours later I had this stack, no more cardstock and about 10 sheet of laminating left.  I think I'm seeing blisters in my future!

That humongous stack included 2 sets of popcorn words I made, 4 sets of Marsha McGuire's Top Banana letter cards, Kaci Hoffer's Vroom Vroom alphabet cards for my building center, Kathleen Pederson's Fun in the Kitchen pack, some freebies I picked up from Kinderland's Facebook Freebie Hop and my new center signs.  My principal told us in order for us to have centers this year, we needed to tie them to Common Core.  Well, I took it a bit further and made a sign that lists the standards for each center.  I may be posting these to my TpT store before school starts!

I also have to confess something to you.  Hi, my name is Erica and I am addicted to Pinterest.  Shocking, I know.  It's how I've been spending my evenings after Little Miss goes to bed.  It's going to be the death of me!  But, I did finally get around to making a few of the things I've pinned. 

First was this easy-peasy counting game I found.  I've decided to make some "I'm Done!" bags for kids to use when they are finished with their work and this is going in one.  Just takes some clothes pins and some paint chip cards from Wal-Mart. 

Next was something I found and pinned after looking at Little Miss Hypothesis' blog for ideas for a science center.  I have always wanted to do one, but just never got around to it.  Well, thanks to Laral's blog, I'm doing it!  This is a magnetic discovery tin I made.  It's a muffin tin from the Dollar Tree (seriously, what did we do before the Dollar Tree?), wedding favor tins from Hobby Lobby (50% off!) and random stuff I scrounged from around the house.  This tin has a birthday candle, screws, a cotton ball, staples, a penny and some buttons.  My kiddos will predict whether or not the items are magnetic and test their theories with a magnet wand that I will tie to the hole at the end of the tin.  I've got another muffin tin and plenty of favor tins so I'll make at least one more, maybe two. :-)

Tomorrow is our big moving day at school, so I'm sure I won't be making such a big mess at home.  I'll post again when I've whipped up a few more items!