Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Word Wall woes

I have to admit, my least favorite area of my previous classrooms have been the Word Walls!

I know, it sounds kinda crazy; you'd think maybe I'd not like the hallway outside my classroom door or I would have hated the floor to ceiling windows or what about those space-suckers...weird nooks and crannies that you can't fit a durn thing into.

Nope, not me...I actually love (ok, like) those areas and make them work to my advantage.

But the Word Wall is my nemesis!!! I can NEVER get those dang things to look just the way I want them to.

And don't think I haven't tried...I've been known to "re-do" a Word Wall multiple times BEFORE SCHOOL EVEN STARTS! The problem is I just can't seem to figure out how to fit all the letters plus the words into the space allowed and have it all balanced. I'm a stickler for spacing so the gap between each letter and each word needs to look precise. Woe is me!

Have a I ever achieved the perfectly balanced word wall? Um, no, but I think I've come pretty close to creating just what I need to achieve it...
(Click on image to purchase)

I created these beautiful, colorful ABC letter cards with picture cards to dress up that Word Wall and here's the best thing about it (for me!), they are all perfectly sized to match each other and I don't have to worry about looking at a hodgepodge of sizes.

Oh, can you sense my joy?!?!

Each letter card has 11 picture cards that are associated with it...except X, it has 7 and Z has 9.
The cards are colorful and eye-catching from across the room!
I think my future students will really like seeing big pictures that they can associate with each letter.
Each page is divided into 4 equal sections so each box is approximately 4.25 x 5.5. Additionally, boxes are outlined in a thick, black line so cutting them is easy-peasy.

But, since I was so excited about these "wonders", I kept going and included some of my favorite ways to use alphabet picture cards. My (past) students have L-O-V-E-D playing ABC Charades and illustrating during Saw It, Draw It. Not to mention, that anytime I've let kids roam around the room (or playground, common area, etc.) to find hidden objects, it's always been a favorite!

Friends, can you tell I'm excited about these beauties?!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Oh my word! What have I gotten myself into?!?!

Ok, remember how I said I LOVED those cute blogs that all the other teacher-bloggers have?
Yeah so, my "go-getter" self decided to take on such a task...

Internal dialogue went something like this...
"Those other blogs are so much more appealing to the eye...they're so darn CUTE! Maybe I should look up where they got those cute layouts? Yeah, I'll do that!"

(Searched said blogs for names of blog designers...Designs by Kassie, Design by Christi, A Bird in Hand Designs, and the list goes on...and was overwhelmed with all the choices!)

"Man, I'd really love to fork over the money to have someone do this for me. 
Crud, I don't have that to spend right now...maybe I can save up over the next month...yeah, I'll save up and buy a custom design from one of those awesome blog designers. 
WAIT, what about in the meantime?!?! My blog is hideous! 
Hum, wonder if I could spruce it up a bit? I'll Google how to (fill in the blank)...
can't be that hard, right?"

Oh friends! There is a reason there are BLOG DESIGNERS and I'm not one of them. Granted, there are tons of fabulous tutorials out there on how to create X or enhance Y, but HTML code is just NOT MY THING!

So, needless to say, I've taken a good number of hours...lets not actually count them because then it would confirm that I've probably spent a good 2 days...to just make some minor changes. And I have a few more to go...

I'm taking my own advice and entering at my own risk b/c blog designing (when you don't know what you're doing) has the potential to be hazardous to your health - lots of coffee consumed & late nights, and your time - spent a beautiful, sunny day indoors staring and trying to figure out what's what.

And for the record, I'm still saving for that gorgeous blog (designed by someone else!).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Falling out of their heads

A couple years back in the land of second grade...

I'm not lying when I say I, literally, had 4 different kids loose teeth all in the same day. 

Not quite sure what all was taught that particular day, because all I did was clean bloody mouths and try to wrangle small pearly chompers from their death grasps, so I could put them in snack baggies to send home. 
I mean, don't they know objects (the size of a small push-in) are MOST DEFINITELY GOING TO GET LOST ON THE PLAYGROUND...no matter how careful they think they'll be. 

But all bloody tissues and spit cups aside, watching the sheer joy spread across an 8 year old's face when another tooth comes flying out of his/her mouth is simply one of the best moments. Who can deny the simple happiness they experience...not me!

So, as another school year is getting under way, I thought I'd share this little token of "accomplishment" for those sweet friends who wiggle and jiggle those pearly whites until all they all fall out of their heads. 

{Click on the image to download PDF)

Monday, August 11, 2014

The More You Read

As everyone prepares/has prepared for the first day of school, I thought I'd share a little something I created for the reading area in a friend's classroom.

{click on the image to download a 8x10} 

Ring, Ring, Ring...

Wow! Just wow!
I'm an awesome blogger. 
Start a blog and then neglect it for exactly a week! 
That's gonna serve it's purpose of making connections. 

BUT! I have a really legitimate excuse. I PROMISE!!!
I've been knee deep in creating one of my most favorite products.

Want to know what's been occupying all of my "alone time"?
Well, before I tell you what it is (and more importantly show you!), I guess I should tell you how I came about creating these beauties...

It all started last year when I was soooo tired of not having a lesson plan book that met every single one of my teacher needs. Now, don't think I hadn't searched high and low for that PERFECT plan book, I HAD. 

And I must admit, I found some pretty AH-MAZING plan books...can we say Erin Condren?! 
But unfortunately for me, I didn't have that kind of money to buy one of her drool-worthy teacher planners. 

So, I put my creative skills to work and started the process of building a personalized planner that fit MY SCHEDULE! And when I say my schedule, I literally mean my specific classroom schedule in blank and white ink where I didn't have to pencil in times on a weekly basis. 

Now don't get me wrong, I've typed up a lesson plan format in MS Word before then printed it all out but then had to pencil in plans...and let's be really honest here - IT WAS NOT CUTE!!! 

With the lesson plan pages fitted to my schedule and formatted in my favorite fonts and colors, I add the rest...monthly calendars, to-do lists, print & copy areas, and so on....

But hold the phone, I need a fabulous cover and back page to round out this "masterpiece" and that's where my personal plan book came to LIFE. And I have to be honest, I was in LOVE

I ran to the local print shop and had them print (double-sided), laminate the covers, and bind that bad boy. 

I stared at the final product for the remainder of the day and (secretly) didn't want to write a single thing inside of it for fear of messing up it's beauty. 
***Don't worry, that feeling passed quickly as I realized I needed to get busy with lesson planning for the upcoming school year. 

Took it to teacher planning and then the concept of having a personalized plan book swept like a wild fire...literally made 5 other books that week for fellow teachers (including my bestie in Colorado).
Fast forward just over a year and I have been swamped with personalized plan book orders from teachers in all over the country.
It's a crazy time of my year (Back to School usually is) with the all the orders, but I honestly LOVE making these things, because I know they're affordable AND they match each teacher's specific needs in a plan book. 

...And that's why I haven't picked up the phone!
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Interested in ordering?
I don't currently advertise these on TPT or Facebook since I'm a one-gal operation.
If you'd like more info on how to order a personalized plan book,
email theparentsteacher@hotmail.com

Monday, August 4, 2014

Uh hum, is this thing on?

Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to be one of THOSE teacher bloggers? 

I mean, where do they come up with all those incredible ideas and can their blogs be ANY cuter??? 

I'll fess up! I've been a huge fan (read: STALKER) of many teacher bloggers for a long time now. 

I can probably tell you which ones have kids, what grades they teach, which ones just got engaged, blah, blah, blah. 

BUT, I never thought I would actually become one...I mean WHO CARES WHAT I HAVE TO SAY? 

I'll admit, I'm not the most inventive person or even the craftiest, but I do LOVE teaching and creating activities to use in the classroom has really become something I enjoy doing. 

I started a TpT (TeachersPayTeachers) store and then I ventured out into a Facebook page and then...

This seemed like the next logical step! 

Granted, I still don't think I have anything ground-breaking to share, but the blogging world is all about making connections and that's exactly what I want to do...
meet more wonderful teachers, promote creative teaching, and inspire kids to have FUN and LEARN