Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Fabulous First Giveaway! Hooray!

Alright all you lovely people out there, are you ready for my first giveaway?  I know I am!  Thank you all so much for the comments and support as I get my little blog up and going.  I learn so much from all of you on the blog-o-sphere and I hope that I can give a little back through my own blog.

There are three great prizes being offered to the winner of my first giveaway.  They are: (drumroll, please) a $5 gift card for Target, $10 worth of free stuff from my TPT store (your choice, use it now or later), and Misty over at 3rd Grade's a Hoot has very generously offered to give away her Owl Classroom Decor Pack (a $10 value!).  I'm honestly a little jealous about this because I love owls and that pack is so stinkin' cute!
You can earn up to 10 entries for this giveaway by doing the following:
  • Follow my blog if you don't already. (2 entries)
  • Follow 3rd Grade's a Hoot if you don't already. (2 entries)
  • Leave a comment on any of my other blog posts. (Not this one!) (1 entry)
  • Follow my TPT store if you don't already. (2 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway on your own blog! (URL of blog post required) (3 entries)
A big thanks to Misty for donating her owl decor pack so generously and a big thank you to all of you who follow my blog and made this giveaway happen!  Hopefully this will be the first of many. The giveaway will end Sunday, August 5th at midnight. Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It

Hey, everyone!  I'm linking up with Tara today from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  This is my first time joining this linky and I'm very happy to share my projects with all you amazing teachers/artists/crafters out there. :)
 During all my blog hopping and Pinterest perusing this summer, I came across the "Teacher Toolbox" that so many of you have made and shared pictures of.  I thought it was a great way to get my desk organized and it didn't break the bank either.  I got my toolbox, called a 22 Stack-On, from Lowe's for about $15 I believe.  My hubby spray painted the outside black for me so it would match my labels better.  The original blue was pretty but just didn't vibe with the colors on the labels.  Here is it all finished!
I'm very pleased with how it turned out!  I got the labels for FREE from TPT, can you believe it?  Thanks so much to Kristen for being so generous! They're customizable and everything, so if you're interested, click HERE to check them out.
Do you remember the Bedazzler, ladies?  I got one for a birthday or something when I was a kid and I remember I went crazy with that thing!  I bedazzled everything I could get my hands on, except for my clothes, which my mother refused to let me bling out.  I tried to explain to her that the whole point of a Bedazzler was to add some fun stuff to your jeans, but she wasn't buying it, lol.  Barbie's wardrobe benefited most from my gift. :)
Anyway, to this day I love to embellish boring things with shiny or glittery components.  I'm like a bug to a light that way, I suppose.  I'm easily distracted by bling!  When I started teaching a few years ago, I took a boring desk bell and used some Mod Podge and tiny rhinestones to make it gorgeous.  After two years, I've only had 2 jewels fall off, and I replaced the missing ones this week.  Here's my bedazzled bell!
I went into my room today and got a lot done with the help of the hubby.  (Thanks for doing all the heavy lifting, babe! <3)  Tomorrow I'll be back to announce my giveaway, so make sure you check back to get yourself entered to win some goodies!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Short VCCV Practice Game Freebie

Good morning, everyone!  Right now I'm on my way to Nevada with the hubby, but I was able to schedule this to post by itself.  Technology can be so awesome sometimes! :)  Other times, it can be a pain in the butt, like TeachersPayTeachers is right now.  I know they've been updating for the past few days, but I keep getting comments from people who are trying to download my freebies saying it won't work.  When I try it on both my computers, it works just fine, so I don't know what the problem is!  It's so frustrating and I hope they get it all taken care of soon, because it doesn't look great when no one can download your stuff.  Is anyone else having a similar problem or is it just me?

I'm going to take my chances with posting another freebie and hopefully it works for people because I won't be around for a few days to fix anything.  Like I've said before, my district is implementing the 2011 Reading Street program this upcoming year.  It calls for daily center-like rotations and I'm not a big fan of some of the suggested activities so I've been planning on making a few games that I can substitute with the poor practices.  The first one is pretty basic, but it turned out well, I think.  It's a practice review game for the Unit 1, Week 1 phonics lesson, which is short vowel consonant consonant vowel words.  You don't have to have Reading Street to use this at all, but it's aligned if you do have the program!

The download comes with the game board, instructions, 8 monster game pieces, and 40 game cards with short VCCV words. Hope you can use this!  Get it from my TPT store (maybe, lol) by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Word Wall Cards and Another Award

I was so flattered to wake up and find I had been nominated by three different bloggers to get the Lovely Blog award!  It's so nice that these awesome bloggers thought of little 'ole me: Crazy Daze in First Grade, Teise's Tidbits, and Miss Fuerst's Reading Adventures!  Check out their wonderful blogs and follow them if you aren't already!  

Now, to be honest, I feel a little silly because I've gone through the blogs I follow (it's a looong list) and everyone has gotten these awards already.  I guess I'm a little late to this party.  The rules for the Lovely Blog Award are:
1) Follow the person who gave you the award.
2) Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3) Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers.  (This is too many for me, so I'm doing 3. Please don't hold it against me!)

I'm nominating three people for this award because they've got great blogs and I don't think they've gotten it yet (I hope!).  Drumroll, please....

Mrs. Kelly's Klass  (she's brand new-go show her some love!)

Congrats to all you lovely bloggers out there!

I'm also happy to show you the latest project I got to cross off my to-do list: Whimsical Birdies Alphabet Cards.  I'm going to use these for my Word Wall, but really you could use them for tons of other activities. Just off the top of my head, they could be flashcards for younger kids learning their letters or used as part of a language sorting game or other center activities.  They are part of my Whimsical Birdies theme and you can check them out HERE at my TPT store if you're interested! :)

Tomorrow the hubby and I are off to Nevada for our one-year anniversary celebration. Gambling will be fun, but I really can't wait for my massage! It's looong overdue.  I think I'm going to start gifting one to myself at the end of every school year just for surviving. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clip Chart Freebies! Yay!

I am so excited to start using the clip chart system.  It seems like such a simple, yet effective tool for classroom management.  I feel like I've tried everything from a money system to stickers to self-monitoring and it's just all so much work for me as the teacher.  I wanted something that would work, but not break the bank or wear me out. I've found lots of teachers (a few even teach 3rd!) who have used this in past years and have nothing but good things to say about it.  I really owe thanks to Pinterest for helping me find wonderful bloggers who had experience with this system.  I was then directed to the leader of it all, Rick Morris, and his FREE (can you believe it?) Clip Chart e-book.  I was hooked after reading it!

Now that I've changed themes, I needed a new clip chart to match.  Here's my Whimsical Birdies Behavior Clip Chart from my TPT store.

Isn't it darling?  It was kinda difficult to come up with bird-related sayings to use, but with my help of my genius hubby, I found ones that I felt fit well.  You can get this for free by clicking HERE.  I've been wrestling with the TPT site all morning and for some reason it won't let me post any pictures for this item because it redirects me to log in.  I've tried it like thirty times and have given up for now, but I will fix it as soon as I'm able.

I've also finished making the take-home part of my clip chart system.  I'll have the kids color the boxes each day to represent their behavior and take home for parent initials.  I'll collect again on Monday and give any student with a completed chart a treat or prize of some kind.  I'm happy with how it turned out.  I made it more generic with just colors in the key instead of specific headings so you can use it with any clip chart as long as the colors match up.  However, the product is an editable word file so you can change it however you like to fit your room!  You can get this for free from my TPT store (once again, no pic yet) by clicking HERE.

I spent a big chunk of my time yesterday going through the first week of Unit 1 for Reading Street and besides feeling like I won't have enough time for everything, I'm feeling pretty comfortable with it.  I no longer cry when I look at the teacher's manual! :) LOL

Saturday is my wedding anniversary and the hubby and I are going to Nevada for the weekend.  We're getting massages and going to try our luck with the slot machines.  I'm crossing my fingers that I can win enough to retire in five years. If that doesn't work out, I'll be happy to just break even! :)  This is our first anniversary, but I really hate saying that because we've been together for over 7 years now and I don't like that I have to start all over again.  I hope you all have as much fun this weekend as I'm going to be having! And if you haven't noticed, I finally reached 50 followers and will be having a giveaway soon.  I'm hoping I can find some TPT sellers to donate something small for the occasion.  If you're interested, send me an email at rrboudin@gmail.com.  Thanks all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Blogger Hop and an Award!!!

 I was so excited that the blog world led me to Grade Three is the Place for Me!'s blog.  She was hosting a newbie blogger hop and I was able to enter for the first time.  I'm hoping to make more teacher/blogger friends, otherwise, what else was the point of this blog?! :)  To participate in this blog hop, I need to answer 5 questions.
  1. I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah, although I was born and raised in Illinois.
  2. I am currently a 3rd grade teacher. 
  3. I've taught 2 years of self-contained 6th and this will be my first year in third.  Before I found a job, I was a special ed aide for first and second graders.  I student taught in 8th and 5th grade.
  4. I started blogging this past spring.
  5. Blogger tip: Make it easy for others to visit your blog.  When you post a comment, leave a link to your own blog.  Copy this code and replace the caps with your information to create a link:  <a href="http://YOURBLOGURL">BLOG TITLE</a>
On another WONDERFUL note, I've been given 'The Versatile Blogger' Award from Grade Three is the Place for Me! I have to give 7 random facts about myself so here goes:
  1. I am (trying) to teach myself how to play the banjo.  I can play Bile 'Em Cabbage Down and that's about it! :)
  2. I love watching Disney movies even though I don't have any children. 
  3. I got married in Alaska and honeymooned in Paris.
  4. I got a Bachelor's degree in French before I got my teaching degree.  Oui, oui!
  5. I played softball in high school and college, but didn't hit my first home run (it was legit!) until the annual faculty vs. 6th grade softball game this past year.
  6. I'm only *slightly* embarrassed to say that I love watching America's Next Top Model and Vampire Diaries.
  7. I "met" my husband on the Internet. (I know, I know!) BUT we've been together for 7 years and married for 1 of those, so I'd say it worked out in our favor. <3
Here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Include a link to their blog
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

These are my nominations:
  • iTeach 
  • Multiage Moments 
  • Reaching for the TOP! 
  • Button 
  • Teaching Third 
  • Third Grade Bookworm 
  • Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After 
 If you're here as a newbie blogger (or not!), follow me and then join the blog hop below!  I'm anxiously awaiting 50 followers so I can have my first giveaway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm Jumpin' Ship!

Well, I hate to say it after all the work I've put in this past month or so, but I'm jumping ship on the whole camping theme.  Maybe the disappearance of my tent poles should have been a sign.  I wanted it to work so badly, but it's not coming together the way I would have liked in my classroom and I just don't have the funds to bring it all to life.  I don't like being a quitter, but I also know it will drive me nuts all year if I hate the look of my room, so it's best to change things up now while I still have some time before the year starts.

I'm still going to do a nature-related theme, but the camping and the dark browns and oranges have got to go! I need a visually bright and fun room, so I'm going to do a modern-style forest with different colors and patterns for the leaves.  It'll be based on my owl theme from last year, but I'm going to expand it to include lots of birds and trees as well. I'm making large flowers right now with my Cricut that I'll put up along the base of the walls to make it kind of look like a field.  I feel so much better now already with my decision and things are starting to come along.

Since my camping-themed calendar won't fit anymore (which is a shame because I really did love it!), I made a new one with some adorable bird clip art.  Here is the new calendar which will go along with lots of other products for my new theme.

Click on the photo above or check out my calendar set HERE.

To celebrate the changing of themes (I can really find a reason to celebrate most things, lol!), I am also offering a freebie that goes along with my Whimsical Birdies theme.  I've made up some name plates with these cute birds and you can get them HERE.

Don't those little birds just warm your heart? I can't help but feel a little happier when I look at them and I think it'll help keep the dark and dreadful portable bright and cheery during the winter months.  I hope you like them! :)  I do have a lot of work to do now that I'm starting over with my theme, so I'll be back soon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reading Street, You Will Not Defeat Me!

Anyone else use Reading Street? We just picked up the 2012 version for next year and like I mentioned before, I attended a training on it. Depending on when I think about it, sometimes it seems manageable and other times it seems really overwhelming. Right now, I'm just taking baby steps.  I put up my concept board today and have been working on typing up all the Big Questions and Questions of the Week. I used my Cricut to make the headers they'll go under. I thought someone out there might want these for their concept board as well so I've put them up in my TPT store.
These are for the latest version of Reading Street for the 3rd grade. Click the links below to download these resources for free:
Big Questions
Questions of the Week

Friday, July 20, 2012

Classroom Freebies Too!

Hey, all! I'm just writing a quick post to announce that I will soon be a contributor on the Classroom Freebies Too! blog.  If you haven't been there, you should really check it out!  There are many different bloggers who use it to post freebies, so there are plenty of resources for all grade levels.  In order to post on there, I have to have a signature to add to the end of my blog posts, so I'm trying out a simple, free one from MyLiveSignature.com.  There may be many edits to this post if it doesn't work right the first time.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clip Chart Freebie

I went to school today for the first time to work and I didn't get as much done as I hoped.  My carpet wasn't finished, so I couldn't move any furniture around, which meant I could only work on my bulletin boards.  I am starting to regret my forest theme because I'm really sick of brown, orange, and green by now.  I have a big bulletin board reserved for my Reading Street concept board and I'm going to use a red background with my Dots on Turquoise trim and letters.  I don't care at this point that they don't fit my theme because I just need something BRIGHT!  Since three and a half hours of my day are going to be dedicated to Reading Street, I need my board to scream energy and brown just doesn't do it for me.  Here are my (unfinished) boards that I worked on in 90 degree heat today since being in a portable means my air conditioner gets turned off in the summer!

My calendar board will have the birthday chart, school lunch menu, student lunch cards, and lunch choice pockets on it as well.  It looks a little bare at the moment, I know!  My 'Camp Rules' board is going to be rearranged so that the rules are farther up and my class jobs will be below them.  Right now I'm not too thrilled with how they look, but I'm hoping that once I get everything else I need up there, it'll look much better.

You may remember that I painstakingly put together a bright clip chart to use this year.  With my new theme, I just didn't feel like it matched too well and I was worried it was too big for the kids to use (how tall is the average third grader anyway?) so I made a camping themed one on the computer instead.  It took a lot less effort and I was very pleased with the result.  My favorite step is the 'Something Stinks!' with the little skunk.

Cute, right?  I've put the chart in my TPT store for free.  Get it HERE!  It doesn't include how to use a clip chart in general, so if you need more info on that, let me know.  Hope you like it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just 5 Weeks! Eeek!

I can't believe I've only got about five weeks until school starts up again.  I have so much to do between now and then, it's stressful to think about!  I just keep reminding myself that if I was able to get my room ready to go my first year of teaching in only 3 days, then I can definitely get it together with 5 weeks to go. Just breathe, wooosaaaa! :) 

I had a mini-meltdown when the hubby and I pulled out the little tent I was planning on using in my reading area of my classroom only to find that the rods were all missing.  Evidently they got put away somewhere else and got lost in the process of our move. I panicked and pouted for awhile and almost scrapped the camping theme altogether in a vicious fury.  I recovered and still have yet to solve my tent dilemma as I really do not want to spend money on another tent, but if that's what I have to do, I guess I have no choice.

Tomorrow I am going into my room for the first time to work.  I popped in to pick up a few things a couple of weeks ago and I saw that my room had been half cleaned.  I'm hoping that tomorrow everything will be shifted to the other side of the room, telling me that I can really get to work.  If not, then I'll just have to stick with getting my bulletin boards up and ready to go and do the bigger stuff when I can.  Overall, my goals for tomorrow are as follows:
  • get my 'Camp Rules' board up and done (which means I have to make my rules today, bleh)
  • set up calendar and lunch count board
  • put up welcome board (not sure if I want this on an actual board or on the door)
  • get all other boards covered and with borders
  • set up the furniture in my room (assuming I can, of course)
That's probably more than a day's work right there, but we'll see how it goes.  I'll take pics to post as I get finished.

I've been working hard on making more projects with my 'Camping in the Forest' theme and I have a freebie for you all today, should you want it!  I made up these charts to match the theme and they're available HERE in my TPT store.  You can use them to keep track of attendance, reading minutes, behavior, achievements, etc.  There really are so many things to do with charts like these.  I plan on using them for attendance and keeping track of who's mastered their various multiplication facts.  Hope you like them!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gettin' Organized

I find it funny that the majority of teachers have a Type A personality (or so I've been told).  I fit in that category and while I have given myself a few weeks to not think about teaching, I'm all ready to go again.  I've been thinking more about my theme and getting the more mundane things checked off my to-do list.  I went shopping the other day and picked up some brown fabric for my bulletin boards as well as a cursive book and some borders.  Cursive is no longer in our curriculum, but I am still going to teach it anyway.  I should have thought about the fact that I always write in cursive before I decided to teach 3rd grade.  I'm going to have to print most of the time which I absolutely HATE to do.  Not to mention my cursive is much prettier! :)

I also got around to making my plan book for this year.  I kind of want everything to coordinate (hello, type A!) so I made a teacher plan book to use that goes along with my name plates and calendar set.  I really liked how it turned out and I learned some things since the last plan book I made for my first year of teaching.  Here are a few pics.  I'm excited to use it and listed it in my TPT store.

On another note, it's RAINING!  We can definitely use it around here.  I think I might go relax in the rain in the hot tub and 'chillax' to quote my students.  Hope everyone's staying cool!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Turn Down the Heat!

Whew....it has been so miserably HOT!  Bleh....I'm happy to have the sunshine but this is getting ridiculous.  I'm wearing out the path to the pool and I'm terrified to see the next electric bill.  I haven't been too productive as far as school work goes, but I did get my entire math year planned out so I'm happy to have that map done with.  Now all I've got to do is start getting some plans for Reading Street which will be taking up 80% of the school day.  I've been procrastinating because I'm super stressed about it.  It's going to be such a huge change and I just wish my understanding of the program wasn't so foggy.  We'll see how it goes, but right now all my Reading Street stuff is shoved in a drawer out of sight, just the way I like it.  Hope you're all staying cool!