Monday, July 30, 2012

Official Day Back= Back to School Sale!

Today was officially my first day of school WITH students. All I can say is that I am exhausted and my feet hurt! I forget how tiring it is to stand up form 7:45-2:10 on my feet...all day long. I guess I got used to sitting around and relaxing. I just finished off a much needed cup of frozen yogurt and am now needing to plan for tomorrow (I know, last minute) and laminate some things since our school laminator is broken. What does this all mean for you?! A SALE, of course!!

Everything in my TPT store is 15% off until this Friday 8/3. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ready or Not..School's Here: Classroom Reveal

Today was my very last day to get things done before the first day of school. I didn't have any time to work in my room today since we had faculty meetings all day. We also had Meet and Greet where students dropped off their supplies and got to meet their new teacher. I had a little more than half my class show up. Earlier in the summer I had sent postcards to each student welcoming them to the new year and introduced myself. In the postcard I got to let them know about Meet and Greet as well, since not all parents keep up to date with school happenings over the summer. This is what the postcards looked like...

They sell these at most teacher supply stores.

I'm totally not ready for the school year. My room is ready, I have plans but I had a breakdown today panicking because I wouldn't be able to go into my room until the first day of school. I'm currently at 26 students (had a surprise 26th student show up to my class...without me knowing they were in it). That student filled up my VERY LAST student desk (after I had requested another student desk). We still have about 40+ students who have not yet been placed into a class..I'm freaking out that I will come on Monday morning and have 30+ student, NO desks, No textbooks, NO cubby space, NO chairs. I had to just leave because I had a meltdown..needed to get out. I will just deal with whatever comes and happens on Monday..Until then I WILL enjoy my mini vacation. SO I leave you with some pictures of my new home  oh I mean classroom for the next 10 months. 

The students who came to Meet and Greet today were surprised with this little treat. I got this super cute, convenient and ready made label from Jodi at Fun in First. This saved me so much time! All I had to do was print, cut, and tape onto a bag of popcorn. 

Here's my Hello Kitty Poster a former student bought for me one year. This was the sweetest ALL kids who come to my room know that I LOVE Hello Kitty. :)

Here are my cubbies...housing the set of books that I have for 25 students..not 26 or anymore :(
On top of my cubbies is where students turn in their work. Each subject has a different bin, and will house a clipboard. When students turn in their work, they check off the assignment next to their name. I can easily scan through the checklist to see who is missing what assignment 

Each cubby is labeled with a cute sea creature and a number. I decided to go with numbers so that I didn't have to change them out each year. This is the first year I did this, we'll see how well they hold up. 

These are plain, old and ugly storage cabinets. I cover them to make them look a little nicer and decided to use it to hang things..since I don't have much wall space!! This is my job chart. Students names are written on surfboards. I use velcro and can easily change them around.
Supply center

Picture from back corner..

Classroom Library
Finally finished organizing!!
Non fiction books are in the blue baskets
Close up of one of the labels. All of my library labels are available in my TPT store.

I laminated all the labels so that they would last for many years to come..
I then attach velcro to the back and onto my book bins. If you noticed, I have quite a few smaller bins as well. These are books that I don't have too many of. As my library continues to grow I sometimes need to move books into larger bins..I can easily move the books and change the labels because of the velcro. 

Genre posters from Beth Newingham.  This is helpful when students are book shopping since my library is labeled according to genre. They can easily refer to the posters if they forget the difference...

CAFE board
Daily 5. My CAFE and Daily 5 posters all fall into my ocean perfect! If you are also rocking an ocean theme this year head on over to Janaye's wonderful TPT Store to pick up these awesome freebies. Be sure to leave feedback..all sellers appreciate feedback :)

My board to display student work. YES, I know that 'Sea' and 'fintastic' are spelt wrong. HAHA I'm sure the students will think they caught my spelling errors too :P 
I used 12x12 scrapbook paper because I can easily display student work samples horizontal and vertically and still have a beautiful and perfect border! Also, I won't have to mount work on background paper..just pin it up

My daily schedule. I'm missing my time cards because we don't even know what time we will be having all of our special classes (library, music, pe, hawaiian studies, computer, character education). I can't even create my master schedule or my time cards..It is totally driving me NUTS! It makes me feel unprepared :( 
On the other hand, if you would like a copy of these cards, they are available in my TPT store as well.

Magnet created with VistaPrint. I write my list under this each week 

Our Where are we sign

Hand Signals from The ClutterFree Classroom. 

WBT rules, Boggle Board, and that rectangle up top is where I write my homework. I also used the borders (with magnets) to create the rectangle for my homework. I love that it has magnets so that if I don't have enough room to write homework..I can always make the rectangle larger by moving the border pieces (they are longer than they look because they are tucked behind the outside borders). 

Students check in here.

3 B's: Be respectful, Be Responsible, and Be safe!

These are my bathroom passes. If a student has to go, they take the pass and leave it on their desk.

That's all. Hope you enjoyed my class preview!! :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Grade 3 Math Pre Assessment aligned to Grade 2 CCSS

This post is for all of you grade 3 readers out there..I guess it could also be used by 2nd grade teachers as well. While I was sick, I created a pre-assessment to give my students that contains *most of the grade 2 CCSS. I left out the measurement standards because I mainly wanted to check up on their basic skills. In the past, I have found that my students are so weak in their basic addition/subtraction facts and place value. Many don't know how to subtract with borrowing. Is this just me or do you all see this in your new third graders?? In the past, we've always given a pre assessment that contained all of the standards the kiddos needed to learn for their third grade year. This was just a huge, overwhelming test! Instead,I'd like to give them the opportunity for them to show me what they DO know. Plus, this will really help me in the first few weeks of teaching as I'm getting to know them as mathematicians.
2nd grade teachers could also use this to see what their kids know coming in..and can use the same test as a post-test. This test is available in my tpt store. First one to comment this post wins a free copy!!
The test covers the following:
Place Value
Standard/expanded form
Time and Money
Word Problems
Adding and subtracting within 1000
Mentally adding and subtracting 10 or 100 to a given number
comparing numbers
basic fractions
number patterns/skip counting
even and odd

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Calling ALL Daily 5 and CAFE Users

I've been busy working away at getting ready for the new school year. I officially head back to work next week Monday (for a voluntary data team meeting), Tues. and Weds are work days. Wednesday we get to meet our new students and the kids get an opportunity to drop off supplies. I have been busy setting up (still nowhere near done), writing out post cards to my 25 new students welcoming them to our class, introducing myself, and inviting them to meet and greet day. On top of that..I've been stressing about planning. I need to make sure that EVERYTHING is ready to walk into on the first day of school because Thurs. and Friday we have DLWOP days (directed leave without pay). This is basically a furlough..but with a different name :/ Anyways, my best friend had invited me to my home island, Maui for a weekend getaway at one of the most amazing and beautiful hotels! For those of you who have been to Maui, it's the Grand Wailea
This is one of their many pools

They also have a bunch of different water slides all over.

Picture of the swim-up Grotto Bar and Restaurant in Maui, Hawaii.

The coolest thing is that they have this bar in the pool!! I remember as a kid always going and being so excited to order an oreo milkshake!! This will be my first time actually ordering an adult beverage I'm looking forward to that!! They also have booths further into the cave....

ANYWAYS..before I can get to there, I need to finish planning for the school year. I'm stuck planning at home and haven't' been in school because..I'm getting sick :(. I came home from working in my room on Monday and felt really weak, had the chills, and had a really bad headache. My boyfriend came home and took my temp. I had 99.9. Not so bad. I took a nyquil and went straight to bed. I was so uncomfortable in my sleep and was freezing yet burning up. I woke up at 5 because I needed some ice cold water..I was just too hot (especially with Hawaii weather and no AC). I had a 102 fever. NOW my throat hurts :( I've luckily been able to keep the fever and chills at a minimum by taking some aspirin. SOOO as I'm planning..I need some help from all of you Daily 5 and CAFE users. I know this is the perfect time to shout out for some help, since I know so many are reading the book this summer and jumping aboard. I

This year I really want to begin implementing Daily 5 and CAFE. I remember in my student teaching days, the first time I was placed into a public school classroom that used a basal; I was so disappointed! I went home and vividly remember telling my mom that I HATED the basal, especially those awful workbooks!! I felt that the students weren't even being challenged and that they didn't care or try when doing the pages. They did it without thinking and it had no meaning to them.

Fast forward a few years..and I'm guilty to say that I am a basal user :( When I entered my grade as a new (fresh out of college) teacher, my gl was HUGE on common assessments and specifically said that i NEED to use it. We have spent the past two years creating common assessments for our basal stories..and this past year we worked on changing them all to fit the common core standards. As a first year teacher, I felt safe using it. I was really glad to have it because I felt like I had no idea what to teach, how to teach, and what the students needed to know/where expected to do. This past school feelings have changed. I had an extremely low group of readers. The basal did NO GOOD. Just as the sisters say, students need to choose books that interest them that are at their level. Some in my grade level do not agree, and feel that they need to be reading at their grade level. That is the reason I continued the basal my second year. The students struggled, didn't understand the stories, weren't interested (heck, I'm not even interested in those stories..and I love to read!). Most of the language block was spent explaining the story to them in my own words and me getting very frustrated. I felt that it did not help them at all :( I felt horrible as a teacher. During the last few weeks we began reading Charlotte's Web. The students LOVED this story and for many..(I hate to admit) it was probably their first time REALLY reading a chapter book and being engaged in what they were reading. I saw so much growth in the last few weeks than I did the entire year. Because of this, I decided to take a stand...I put on my big girl pants, and announced to my grade level I was probably going to ditch our basal for Daily 5 and CAFE.

I've been doing my reading and have a few questions for those of you who are experienced in using this in your classroom.
1. How do you do assessments?? I've been hearing people talk about DRA's (I have no idea what that is?!)
2. For those of you who are in testing grades, have you seen a significant improvement in scores since you have been implementing daily 5/CAFE compared to the days of using a basal?
3. I was thinking of assigning the basal stories for homework and maybe one constructed response question a night based on the story. Then on Friday giving them our grade level assessment. That way we still do have common assessments..What are your thoughts on this??

I would REALLY appreciate your help on this because I'm really stressing about starting this. I have kind of figured out a schedule that I would like to use. I don't have as much time for my language block (about 90 minutes). I would love to hear what your schedule looks like. I'm nervous about not being able to help my students..I don't consider myself a strong reading teacher. I really LOVE teaching math and that comes easy for me. Reading on the other hand has always been a struggle. I love to read and as a child I loved to read. BUT I was that child that when given something I did not choose, I did not understand one word. I read beautifully but didn't understand what I read..yet none of my teachers really taught me comprehension....I keep telling myself that just the time alone of being able to get real reading done will help my students. I thought about it and really..I don't give real reading time. It's always used as a time filler or to keep them busy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fab. Five for Friday (a day late) so a Freebie to Make it Up.

I'm about to head out the door in just a bit to go and work some more in my classroom, so this will have to be a quick post! On to my late fab five and a freebie at the end to make it up to you!

I absolutely love all of the super cute ways to do a save the date! Perfect for those of you who are getting married!! I'm currently waiting for my rock ;) haha

This seems easy enough to do each morning..especially if you will look like that girl in that picture..totally worth it, right?!

I'm loving all of these fabulous tutorials from all of the great Bloggers. It's such a help to newbies, like myself! Thanks Angella!!

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

This is such a cute wedding/bridal shower gift. You can give them 5 bottles of wine each with a poem for firsts: champagne for first married night, red wine for first fight, white wine for first Christmas eve, Rose for first anniversary and sparkling apple juice cider for first baby! You can also add the glasses too!

Also loving this! This is like a box top piggy can just leave on your desk and kids can deposit when they bring them to school!! Such a great idea. 

This is my freebie

I use these home lunch tags with my attendance chart. I love these OWL attendance cards, they are so simple.

The cards are double sided- if a student is absent they have an empty nest..if they are present the nest has an owl who is ready to learn! I wish they had cuter cards that matched my theme, but I continue to use these year after year since they serve the purpose I need and are fairly cheap year to year. All my kids do is stick their home lunch tag into their pocket and the attendance monitor can easily complete their job. 

You can pick up my free home lunch tags at my TPT Store. All I ask is that you leave some feedback and/or a comment telling me about your attendance taking procedures..I'd love to hear how attendance is done in your room! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Label FREEBIE and Some Class Set Up Tips!

Some of you have just started your summers and have a relaxing break ahead of you. Unfortunately, I officially got my Welcome Back to School letter from my Principal in the mail this past Saturday..which means my summer is coming to an end. I return back to school in less than 2 weeks. I have a ton of work to do in my classroom as well as a to of planning. I keep thinking to myself..why have I wasted so much precious time?! Just long do you have for your summer break?? I remember as a kid having 3 months off..but here in Hawaii, is just about 2 months. 

Oddly, the post that I posted yesterday showed up really funky! Did it for you?? A lot of my text didn't show up. Anyways, if you were able to read my post..I promised book label freebies. For those of you who have purchased my library book bin labels:

I have created individual labels to put on each book in your library, so that your students know exactly which bin to return their books. I'm very anal about my class library and can't stand when books are misplaced. This is a free word document in my TPT Store. For the labels I used the Clear Easy Peel Address Labels (1" x 2 5/8") by Avery. They are way pricier than the standard white labels..but I like how they look better. They also have 2 boxtops on I'm planning on turning in my receipt for these with my box top money!
This is a word file so that you can type up your own titles. I left out a few of the picture book series and  favorite authors since I didn't print those for my library. 
Avery Easy Peel Clear Address Labels 5660 Packaging Image 

In my post yesterday, I shared a few pictures of my classroom..and the huge mess in it. I am nowhere near done setting up, and have really got to step on it! Anyways  I discovered some awesome tools that came in handy while setting up this year. 

First one was: 

These SOS Brillo pads are AMAZING! Be careful though, because you can't use them on all surfaces. I posted a picture yesterday of the paper organizer that has been in my room since my first year in my class. It is disgustingly filthy (actually everything was when I first moved in). My boyfriend had painted all of my shelves white again but this organizer stayed dirty looking since it is extremely heavy and we couldn't carry it outside. I had tried scrubbing, and scrubbing year after year and it wouldn't' come clean. Finally, this year my mom bought some brillo pads and it looks completely new (well, compared to before)

This sure was a workout scrubbing all of this. I went crazy with these and scrubbed down all of my desks and cubbies as well. It actually makes cleaning kind of fun! Wait, did I just say that?! haha 

Another awesome tools is:

This magnetic Staple Remover. It works wayyy better than those pinch removers. Plus, the staples don't fall to the ground (and you don't have to pick them all up!) they just stick to the remover. So cool! It's also way easier and doesn't tear anything.

I don't know about you but I go crazy with my stapler and have staples all over the place. I even staple on my door, cabinets, everything I can get a staple into. I have an extremely hard time getting staples out of wood. I user this remover to loosen the staple but a lot of times one side ends up sticking up (poking me) and being really hard to take out...SO:

 All you need is a handy dandy set up pliers. The staples come out SO EASY and quickly!! 

I also bought these magnetic circles. I've been making new signs for my whiteboard as well as adding the borders to my white board. I found these little magnetic coins at my local teacher supply store:
I love them so much more than the magnetic tape. I feel like the magnetic tape rolls don't stay on very well. This is my new fav.

Well that's it for now. I'm off to the dentist :/ Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Prepping for the New Year, A Peek into My Class...and Some Wonderful Awards!!

Sorry that I have been neglecting this mom flew in from Maui this past Wednesday and we have been busy working in my room. My mom is also a teacher (preschool) of almost 30 years and flies to Oahu each summer to help me set up my room. I sure am a lucky girl to be so loved!! My dad also flies in for the weekend to help as'll see what his job is...
My room is a MESS..and is nowhere near complete but I"ll give you a peek anyways. I just checked my class list and realized that I don't even have enough desks in my room to accommodate all of my students this year...and I will definitely have to change my desk set up as it only seats 24 students.... this looks GROSS! This is a paper organizer that has been in my room since before I moved in three years ago. It has been this color since I moved in. I've tried wiping it down with cleaner, scrubbing with sponges but could never get it clean. BUT my mom had the brilliant idea of using a brillo pad to clean it worked like MAGIC

This is a picture from the back of my room. I was working on sorting out my library book bin labels. I have been busy labeling each and every book so that my students will know exactly what bin the books belong in.
I'll be sure to share these with you soon..perhaps tomorrow.

THIS is what my AWESOME Daddy does for me!! He takes off ALL the cabinet doors of my closets, takes off all of the handles and locks.... and covers them for me..since they look 'ugly'. The closets look so much better covered!! I used those cheap table cloths that you can find at party stores...I wish I had got a thicker one though because you can kind of see the cabinets through the table cover...and I'm thinking they will probably rip when I put things on them nd take them off. SO they may just stay plain and blue...

I totally can't wait to reveal the rest of my room to you all! I've also discovered some AWESOME tools  to use while setting up your room that I"m sure you can all benefit from. Hopefully I can share those things with you tomorrow....I have been having a horrible toothache the past 4 days so I will be at the dentist tomorrow. If I don't end up posting on's probably because of my poor tooth and will be posting on Tuesday.

During my short vacation from Blog land...I've been honored to receive SEVERAL awards from SEVERAL wonderful bloggers!!
I'm so excited because I've seen this award on so many other blogger's pages..but have never been awarded one..until now!!
  With all great things come I need to carry mine out!

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2.  Include a link to their site.

3.  Include the award image in your post.
4.  Give 7 random facts about yourself
5.  Nominate other bloggers for the award.
6.  When nominating, include a link to their site.
7.  Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

First of all, Thank you so much to Laura at:
Jaime at:
Grab My Button

Heather at:Button
And..Michelle at:
No Monkey Business
Now..7 random facts about me:
1. I have danced hula since the age of 4 and danced professionally in a traditional Luau show for 5 years. I was also one of the soloist who performed solo hula and tahitian dances alone..on that huge stage

2. I have never called my older brother by his real name...EVER ( well except for calling his work place and introducing  him to others). Since I was little, I called him "BA" since I couldn't pronounce brother

3. I LOVE Sushi and Taco Bell. I could probably live on the two for the rest of my life and be content.

4. When I eat too much sweets or salty hands and feet get sweaty (Yuck! I know!) haha. did say random facts :P

5. One of my girl friends from work and I are trying to start a crafting business. We hope to sell our products at this year's Christmas craft fairs.

6. My boyfriend and I are HUGE dog lovers. We each have out own dogs at our parents house..but unfortunately we can't have any at our apartment :(

7. I am a Hello Kitty fanatic! I have all things HK, even a pair of shoes. All my students know I love HK and I get tons of HK gifts :P

I've also received the LIebster award for blogs with less than 200 followers. 

Thank you so much Second Grade Smartypants!

Now I'm to pass these awards on to some other bloggers. There are so many wonderful ones out there..but here are my fav. ones to follow as of this week :P

Courtney at:
Swimming into Second
Tonya at:
Tonyas Treats for Teachers

Amber at:

Hopefully my tooth will be feeling better tomorrow and I can share some of my great finds for decorating your room AND my labels for my books.