Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made-It/Classroom Update Day 2 and Happily Teaching Instagram!

So....a very LONG day two of setting up my classroom is over!  I felt productive and like I got some stuff done today (and not just walking around talking to my coworkers...though that also took up a big part of my day)!

Here are some pictures of the progress I have made in my class and that fit perfectly into 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made-It linky party!

My big book holder needed a total rehab, didn't it?!  So, I stole a bunch of blogger's ideas out there and ordered these awesome shelf liners off of Amazon.  The aqua and white chevron print is PERFECT for my color scheme.  Do you love it as much as I do?!  I took the big books out of the holder and pushed it up against the wall.  I plan on using it for my phone and parent communication binder so that all my materials are right there and ready for parent phone calls!  Because who doesn't love parent phone calls, am I right?

And...since I had to fine a place for all those big books after I emptied my big book holder, I got a cheap big tub and stacked them all in there.  This actually might turn out to be an easier solution, as my kids can just flip through them and see all the covers.  This picture also shows the backs of some of my shelves that I finished today!  My shelves face outward and hold some supplies and materials and I hated despised how the backs of the shelves looked in my library.  Well....nothing a little wrapping paper and borders can't fix!  Love it!

And here's another picture of how I used that amazing shelf liner in my classroom.  This bookshelf houses some of my leveled books.  It was an ugly brown and so I took the shelf liner and lined the backs of the shelves.  I think I just love the way it turned out!  Now I just need to make/find some new cute level labels!

I also put up my green and blue daily schedule cards and my lunch count board today!  I'm trying something new this year and am going to have the kids move their name magnet from the "What's For Lunch?" pan to their lunch selection for the day.  I like the way they turned out but I can't figure out what to put in that awkward white space above.  I already have my calendar up...any thoughts about what could be put up there?

And last but not least....drumroll...I finally created a Happily Teaching Instagram account!!!  I've had a personal Instagram account for a while but am now finally creating one for my classroom!  Come follow me at @happilyteaching...yay!

How is your classroom set-up coming along?  I can't wait to check out everyone else's classrooms and continue posting with mine!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back In the Classroom and ABC Signs!

Hi All!

It has been almost two weeks since I've blogged!  What have I been up to lately?  Well, I have actually started to get back into my classroom to get ready for the rapidly approaching school year.  Seriously, we only have two weeks left of a "no morning alarm going off" summer bliss and I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to handle this drastic change in lifestyle quite yet...

But, nonetheless, I can only put off the idea of waking up for work every morning for so long and it was time to get right back at it in my classroom!  I'm extremely OCD about the way my classroom looks and the color scheme.  I'm sure you're thinking, "Yeah, yeah, yeah...aren't all teachers?"  For real...I take it to a new extreme.  My classroom color scheme is bright green, bright pink, bright aqua blue, and white.  I went a little crazy buying things for my classroom two years ago and now that I'm a rent-paying, utility-paying, Chicago expense-paying teacher, I have to limit myself with the whole "spend my entire paycheck on my classroom" thing.  SO...I'm really trying this year to spend as little money as possible and work with what I've got.  Which, to be honest, is extremely difficult if you're as crazy as I am about things matching and something as simple as a paperclip cup on my desk bothers me because it doesn't fit in with my color scheme.  

This all being said, I went in to my classroom for the first time last week and this is what I saw...

Okay, okay, so it might not look THAT bad in these pictures but we all know how overwhelming it is to walk into your classroom when it is all torn town and stacked up on counters.  Luckily, the things I had ordered with my school money had come in (all those boxes)!  So on day one I spent about 7 hours just moving furniture and getting it set-up how I want it.  I'm hoping this will help me feel better about not being able to revamp my room with new things.  I've also been working on finding other people's resources on blogs and TpT as well as creating my own cute things to spice up my classroom a bit.

One of the things I have just finished making and am super excited about are my new ABC Signs for the front of my room!  I usually use one of those pre-made ABC lines from Lakeshore or Really Good Stuff.  This year, I wanted it to be more personalized and have pictures to go with the letters.  I came up with this!

I am loving my new signs!  They are bright and fit perfectly in with my color scheme.  Feel free to hop over to my TpT store and check them out!  Included in the file is my matching ABC Chart for the kiddos to use at home and at their desks for reference.  Here is a freebie of that file for all of you!  Just click on the picture and grab it for free!

I hope these creations help some of you with your own classroom decorating!  This week will be full of classroom preparing so be ready for some pics and updates...only 2 more weeks until school starts!!  Are you all ready?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fabulous Freebies on the 15th (July)

Phew!  It has been a crazy weekend and I have spent the majority of my day resting and recovering from my best friend's wedding!  We had a BLAST at the wedding and I was so happy I could be a part of her special day.  And now she's in Maui for her honeymoon so, needless to say, I'm not jealous at all...

Here's a picture of the beautiful bride and I on the big day!  Is she not the prettiest bride ever?

Okay, so back to teacher-related things.  I honestly can't even believe that it is mid-July and the summer is slowly disappearing before my eyes.  This realization got me thinking about the first day back.  As a teacher, I'm sure you're all aware that your summer is never truly a summer off.  I am constantly brainstorming and thinking of new and fun ways to revamp my classroom, trying to wrap my head around new curriculum, and keeping my fingers crossed for another successful year.  With that all said, I was looking back on my first day plans from last year.  I know there's a couple things that I want to change but one thing that any and all primary teachers know you need to have on-hand is an activity for kids to do when they come into the room and find their seats.  Which is where Molly from Lucky To Be In First's "Fabulous Freebies on the 15th" linky party comes into play!

To help eliminate MADNESS (though can it ever really be eliminated?) on the first day as we wait patiently for all the kids to arrive, I put a really simple coloring/drawing sheet on their desks. 

I allow the kids to draw a picture of anything they want and add words if they would like.  I then save this page the entire school year and send it home on the last day with their last day drawing and writing page.  It's so fun to see all the progress they have made through the year!

I hope some of you are able to use this simple freebie!  Have a great night!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hip Hip Hooray for the Liebster first ever!

Hey all you bloggy people out there!  I'm so excited to share that I was nominated for my first ever blogging award.  Okay, so I know this may not be a huge deal to all you fancy bloggers out there who have won countless awards of all types but I'm super pumped for my first one!  Thanks so much to Bria over at Teaching in Organized Chaos for the nomination! :)

So, in order to accept this award there are allegedly some requirements.  Lucky for me, I love answering questions and, well, talking in general so this shouldn't be too difficult!

The requirements are:
1.  Link back to the blog that nominated me.
2. Answer the questions created by the nominator.
3.  Share 11 random facts about myself.
4. Nominate 5-11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
5.  Create 11 questions for my nominees.
6.  Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them!

For starters, I need to answer the 11 questions provided for me by the fabulous Bria.  Here goes!
1. Why did you become a teacher? Though this is most likely a super simple question for most people to answer, there really isn't any one reason I became a teacher.  I don't remember any moment where I stopped and thought, "And this is why I want to be a teacher."  The best answer I can give for this question is that for (literally) as long as I can remember, there was no other job even on the radar for me.  As far back as kindergarten when we did our first "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up" project and I most likely wrote something along the lines of "a tejr", this has pretty much been it for me!  There are certainly lots of reasons now, however, why I love this job! :)

2. What is your favorite picture book?  Growing up and until I started teaching, my favorite picture book was Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse.  Clearly, I still LOVE that book but ever since I discovered the Knuffle Bunny series, Kevin Henkes has been given a run for his money!  LOVE those books!

3.  Who inspires you the most?  Fine.  Go ahead.  Call me a cliche.  Every person I surround myself with truly inspires me and has in some way shaped who I am.  I have been extremely lucky to have an amazing family and outstanding friends who have contributed to who I am and have inspired me to be the best possible version of myself.

4.  If you could meet a person who has already died, who would it be and why?
Is Whitney Houstin a really crazy answer?  I just want her to serenade me and maybe make an appearance at my future wedding to sing "I Wanna Dance With Sombody" that too much to ask?

5.  What is your favorite candy?  I've never been much of a candy person (gasp!).  However, I do enjoy the occasional Laffy Taffy and Starbursts.  Definitely not much of a chocolate person if you ever want to buy me chocolates just go ahead and redirect yourself to the "chip" section of the store.  Sour cream and onion chips will do just fine, thanks!

6. What is your favorite holiday to celebrate in your classroom?  I love winter holiday time!  My school does "Polar Express Day" on the last day before winter break and it is SO much fun.  We have train whistles over the speakers, watch the movie in our pajamas, and go to hot chocolate stations around the school.  I think I love it more than the 6 year olds!

7.  Why did you start your blog?  I talked about this a lot in my first post but I pretty much stalked followed blogs for a couple years and got so inspired and looked up to so many of these people that I decided to just create my own!  Hopefully people will one day be inspired by my blog as well!

8.  What is one thing in your closet you could never give away?  I admit, I am a sucker for shopping and probably have more clothes than the average girl.  There's really not many things I wouldn't get rid of except old t-shirts from college.  I literally never wear any of them but they are too sentimental to get rid of!

9.  What is your favorite beverage?  Is this a "I really like a good bloody mary" kind of question? all seriousness, I don't drink pop and really only drink water.  I DO love a good cup of coffee, though.  Or a bad cup of coffee.  So there's that.

10.  What are three things you love about the state you live in?  Umm, HI, my name's Elyse and I LOVE Chicago.  How can I even limit it to just three things?  Here's my best shot.  I grew up in the suburbs so I love that almost my entire immediate and extended family is near by.  I just love the hustle and bustle of Chicago without feeling too overcrowded and crazy.  It feels like it can never be lonely because there are always people around.   Also, I love that Chicago has it all; beaches, buildings, museums, major sports teams...there is ALWAYS something to do!

11. What is your favorite thing in your classroom?   I bought the huge paper lanterns from IKEA a couple years back and they are, without a doubt, my favorite thing!  I almost never have the flourescent lights on in my classroom because the paper lantern lights are so calming.  When I do turn the lights on, all my kids freak!  Here's pictures of my classroom before school started a couple years ago to get an idea of why I love their light so much.  I will post updated pics when I get in to set up for the year because things have changed!

Now onto my 11 random facts about goes!
1.  I have a (severe) phobia of ladybugs and a mild phobia of lightening bugs that originally stemmed from my older sister putting them in my hair so my head would light up as a small child....because what are sisters for, am I right?!
2. I broke my toe in my bed sheets.  So...yep, that happened.
3.  I went to Purdue and am obsessed with everything Boilermaker.
4.  If you asked me never to eat french fries again I would ask you to kindly remove yourself from my life.  (Okay, that was rude....but seriously.)
5.  I consider myself an expert closet organizer and wouldn't mind making it my second job.
6.  I watch any television show that anyone has ever claimed is "the stupidest show on the planet."
7.  I was a Chi Omega in college.
8.  If I start reading a good book I will not put it down until it's finished.
9.  I fall asleep as soon as a car starts moving.
10.  I'm not, in any definition of the word, an "animal person".
11. I think stopping to get gas is the biggest chore in the world and I put it off until my car is about to run out...everytime!

And now I want to nominate the following rockin' bloggers! (I know a few of them have just under 200 followers but a rule's a rule!)

Here, my newly nominated bloggers, are my questions for YOU!
1.  What is your favorite thing to use in your classroom?
2.  If you had one extra hour in every day, what would you do?
3.  If you could pick one song to describe you, which would it be?
4.  If you had to pick another career, what would you pick?
5.  Where did you go to college?
6.  What food could you never live without?
7.  What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
8.  Who is your celebrity crush?
9.  What is your most memorable birthday?
10.  If you had to switch grades, what grade would you teach?
11. What was the last song you listened to?

THANK YOU again to Bria over at Teaching in Organized Chaos and to all my followers so far!  You guys are the best!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th and My First Flash Sale!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

What are your plans for the day?  A bunch of friends and I are packing up some coolers and headed to the Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls concert at an outdoor pavilion venue near Chicago.  So fun!

Of course my other big plan for the day is to throw my (drumroll.....) first...ever....flash sale!  Everything in my TpT store is 20% off until Saturday, July 6th! I'd love to add a button to my page to advertise for the sale but I'm not sure how!  Anyone out there want to give me some pointers for creating buttons?  I'd love all expert blogger help I can get!

I'm still working on adding some more things to my store before summer break is over...I can't believe it's already the 4th of July and there is only a little over a month left in my break!  Ugh.  Ya know how you get to that point of summer where you are itching to get back in the classroom and get started?  I haven't quite hit that point yet...sleeping in has been treating me too well!

Everyone have a WONDERFUL and SAFE Fourth of July!