My Last Monday Made It!!

Ahhh, summer.  It's almost over.  I think this will be my last Monday made it.  I'll be in full get the classroom ready mode pretty soon.  Pretty time is almost over.  Tara's link up has been so amazing.  I need a deadline, and this linky party has gotten my booty moving this summer!

This is really a Monday Made It Makeover.  It's semi school related.  Cause it has to do with my kids school stuff and it stresses me out before and after school.  That counts, right?  Here are my awesome before pictures.  This is real life, people.

This room is a source of major stress for me.  And not because I hate doing laundry.  I don't hate it.  I just don't love it.  It's really the right side of the room that makes me crazy.  You see those four hooks?  I bought that when my older daughter started PreK.  She hung her little backpack there and her jacket in the winter.  No prob.  Fast forward seven years.  Two kids, two large backpacks, two dance bags, two swim bags, and jackets in the winter.  I honestly don't know how that thing stays on the wall.

I had visions of this loveliness:

**Click on pictures to see original posts**

Well,  I did not reach Pinterest perfection.  But I am SUPER happy with what we were able to accomplish in just one weekend.

What a difference a weekend makes! We got a new cabinet from Ikea and shelving from the Container Store. Yes, I know the tall part of the cabinet is supposed to go on top.  My kitty boy has to have his litter box somewhere.  Hence the small cabinet on the bottom.  No chandelier, the boob light stayed.  Marriage is all about compromise.  Apparently one of us knocking our head on a light fixture calls for compromise.  My husband put everything up, including the beadboard and hooks.  Um, I made the magnet boards and the art.  Also, I went to the store and got stuff.  Somebody had to do the hard part.

More beauty shots:

Ah, the fabulousness of organization.  Some of those baskets are empty.  I didn't get my counter, but I was sick of looking at my washer/dryer connection ugliness AND all the stuff that falls behind.  This curtains solves the problem.

Need to make a template for putting on handles?  
             Painter's tape to the rescue! 

So now I am one happy Momma.  We're just going to ignore the concrete floors that we painted green. Three years ago.  They're getting tiled this fall.  Really.  And I'll probably add a curtain in the window at some point.  But for now, I'm completely satisfied.  The hooks already have our swim bags hanging from them and await the backpacks and dance bags that will replace them in four short weeks!

Making Connections

Reading ones, not love ones.  This is an educational blog.  I can't help you with real life stuff.  ☺

Anyway, I was thinking about real teaching stuff today.  We were driving back from the beach.  I can feel summer ending and back to school time is quickly approaching.  I think I do a good job during the year of weaving in making connections while reading.  Here are posters I put up for students to refer to during the year during book club or reader's response:

You can download these posters here.

Well, part of having a blog is about sharing.  The other part is about being reflective.  So here's the reflection part.  I feel like I need to do a better job at the beginning of the year teaching connections.  I made good use of my car time by surfing Pinterest for some inspiration.  Here's what I found.

Some great anchor charts:

Some great ideas for those "I have an Uncle named Owen!" moments:

Some great books for teaching connections:

Okay, seriously Chicks and Salsa? I've never heard of it, but I'll take a book anyway with a chicken wearing a sombrero.

And a foldable idea:

This is why (okay, one of the eight million reasons why) I love summer.  I have time for stuff to sit in my brain, think about it, and make plans for the new school year.

What are your best ideas for teaching connections?

Bunting Love

I'm posting over at Endless Pinabilities today on my massive love for all things bunting. While I was writing the post, I kept thinking about this picture from Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten:

And then I couldn't stop. I love this. If you love it too, then click on the picture and download it for free! Due to my crazy OCD, I knew I needed one that matched my room. So I spent a few minutes forever on my computer and came up with this:

I love it! And I'm sharing the pieces with you. Click on the picture to download or click here.


Prove It!

So, I've been on a reading roll over here at I Teach. What's Your Super Power?  I've posted about themesummarizing, and now character traits.  So here's a conversation that has happened more than once in my teaching career:

Me: Who can tell me a character trait that describes Sally?
Student: Short
Me: No, that's on the outside.  Character traits are on the inside.
Student: Nice
Me: Okay, why do you say nice?
Student: Because she loves her mom.


It can get better!  If you replace "Okay, why do you say nice" with "Prove it!", your students will instantly change.  Watch.

Me: Prove it.
Student: Because she loves her mom.
Me: How do you know she loves her mom? Prove it.
Student: Because her mom hugs her at night.
Me: Why does that mean she loves her mom? Maybe she hates those hugs at night and just doesn't want to be rude.
Student: Well, instead of using her money to buy the toy she'd been saving for, she buys her mom a special gift.


Here are a couple of activities I use in small group.  The first is from when I taught second grade.  The second is from when I taught fourth grade.  This year in third, we'll start with the simpler version and ease into the more in depth version.  You can click on the picture to download.

And there you have it people.  We work on proving it all year long.  The kids get it.  I can hear them in book clubs saying, "Yea, but that doesn't prove it."  It just warms my little teacher heart to over hear that!

Then I had myself a good old time looking up character traits on Pinterest.  A real good time.  Such a good time in fact, that I wound up with a whole new Pinterest board.  Here are a few peeks:

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

I'm linking up to Freebie Friday at Teaching Blog Addict.

Freebie Fridays

Do you have any good character trait tips for me?

Made It Monday and Whew!

I don't know about you, but I am loving these Made it Monday linky parties. A big thank you to Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for starting this!  I've been so much more productive this summer. What can I say, I do well with a deadline.

I'm shocked I've gotten anything done this week. We went to San Antonio Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday for a tag along trip. My husband worked, we relaxed. Then we left Friday to visit my husband's family in Dallas. We left the kids behind Sunday (not on accident) and zoomed home just in time for a date night! Now (once I finish this post) I'm off to Baton Rouge for a quickie trip to see some of my favorite girls. Can you see why the fact that I have anything to link up for Made it Monday is a miracle?

First up, what I've gotten done for school.

Everybody and their grandma has been making these shared journals, and I wanted in on the action. So, of course, I had to make my own. I planned on making 4. It turned into 10 once I got rolling. I printed them on sticker paper, cut them out, and voila. Shared journals. You can download my covers here for free!

I've linked these babies up to Manic Monday.

I posted earlier about this cutie. Here's a staged action photo complete with green post it notes to go with it. You can read about it here and download this poster for yourself.

Next up, my house!

So what does this get you? 1x2 flashing, 12x24 inch canvases, Gorilla glue, fabric and a glue gun?

These beauties!

Lovely magnet boards with pockets for a make over I'm planning. While the girls are at Camp Grammie's this week, I'm planning to get some beeswax taken care of.

Also, apparently I made an awesome kid, too. Observe:

She's 10. She did all of her laundry and her sister's. On her own. For real. Wash, dry, sort, fold. Now, however, as I'm posting this I'm worried that it's a reflection on my parenting. Maybe one day she'll write a memoir and be like, "My mom was a total slacker and never kept up with our laundry. So out of desperation, I started washing my little sister's laundry and mine too just to be sure I had clean clothes to wear. It was a tragic childhood."
Seriously, they've never had to wear dirty clothes. But maybe it did get close once or twice.

That's all I've got! I can't wait to start hopping around this linky party. A word of caution, this linky party is a black hole. Once you go in, you'll blink, and be all, "Where did those three hours go?" You've been warned.

Have fun,


Snazzy title, right?  Guess I'm not feeling too creative today.  But that's okay, because I spent some quality time with my computer.  Summarizing, like theme, isn't just something you can teach a unit on.  You have to keep coming back and coming back and coming back.

It all started with this pin on Pinterest:

I thought, WOW! How easy would it be to do this run down every time we read a book?  Then I can easily hit summarizing over and over and over and over and over.  You get the idea.

So, I decided to make my own version because I have an obsessive need to coordinate.  Duh.  Then, while writing this post, I decide to check out where the original came from.  And it's a blog I already follow!  Guess I started following after this post.  The blog is Runde's Room, and it's awesome.  She even has a whole fictional narrative unit to go with it in her TPT store. (FYI-I checked with her before I shared my copycat version.)

Anywho, here's my version.  Click on the post to download it.  I would actually like to stack 10 or 15 post-its on each square in the poster.  Maybe we could do something with them after we write on them?  Like a mini summarizing board?  I don't know.  I'll let you know how that goes.
Click on image to download.

I had it printed at Office Max in an 11x17 poster for about $1.50.  I know, I know.  Good thing Office Max isn't a real man, or my husband might start getting jealous.

Then I started thinking maybe a poster wasn't enough.  Maybe I would want something bigger sometimes.  So I made it for the Mimio.  It will at least be great for the beginning of the year when I'm introducing it.  You can download the Mimio lesson here.

Take some time and go visit Jen at Runde's Room for some more great ideas!

So what about you? Do you have any good summarizing strategies?

Teaching Theme

Did you just cringe a little when you read that post title?  I know every time I hear that concept come up, it makes me cringe.  Why?  Cause it's just so darn hard for kids to get, that's why.

So, I had a mini-break through this year with theme. (As opposed to a break down, which was earlier in the year trying to teach theme.)  Here's how the lesson went:

Hey guys and gals!  Can anyone explain what the theme of the story is?
(Blank stares)
(More blank stares)
(One brave soul) It's what the story is about?
No, not quite.

Sound familiar so far?


Then, I pulled up some billboards from  I know you've seen them on the Interstate before.

I shared several of these over the next few days.  We discussed the story behind the billboard and how one word was chosen as an idea that the story could teach others about.  I read several to them throughout the week.  After the first day or two, I asked them to put themselves in the role of teacher.  If you were the teacher, what idea would you use the story to teach?

Voila!  Theme.  During this time, we also did an author study of Patricia Polacco.  Her books are wonderful for teaching theme.  She's one of my very favorite authors.  I loved listening to their conversations about which idea the story could be used to teach about and why.  On Friday, I let them get on the website to see all the different billboards.  It was a big hit.  These billboards made a huge difference in my classroom!

Monday Made It and an Inspirational Giveaway

I've been busy around here!  I love summer because it gives me time to work on all the projects I want to.  During the school year, I don't have time to do all the things it takes to finish a project, which include:

1.  Look on Pinterest for hours
2.  Go to Hobby Lobby/Michael's/JoAnns/WalMart/Target/Lowes/Office Max for supplies
3.  Start project
4.  Mess Up
5.  Go back to Hobby Lobby/Michael's/JoAnns/WalMart/Target/Lowes/Office Max for more supplies
6.  Fix it
7.  Finish Project
8.  Clean Up
9.  Force my husband and children to admire my hard work.

All that in one weekend?  Dream on.  Hence my love for summer.

And now for the projects!

For my classroom, I had this really original idea to use a hardware organizer to store all my desk supplies.  Oh wait, it's all over teaching blogland.  Guess you're not buying that line.

You can download the labels here.

I may or may not walk by this once a day and pet it lovingly.  The only thing is, these organizers only come in shiny country blue.  A few sessions with a can of spray paint fixed it right up!  Because I'm completely OCD, I wanted my labels to coordinate with my classroom theme, so I made them myself.  But I'll share with you!  I attached the labels with Elmer's spray adhesive.  Tread lightly with this stuff.  A little goes a long way.  Think gentle misting, not spray.

**Sidenote** I was about 98% done making these in Photoshop when our neighborhood's power went out.  Had I saved them? No.  So, I got to start all over again the next morning.  This pales in comparison to the fact that when it happened it was 9:20 at night and still 90 degrees outside, I was home alone, and convinced that a murder was in my house who had cut the power so he could kill me and be unseen.  Nice.

I made a birthday present for my BTFF (best teaching friend forever!)  She pinned this on Pinterest:
Source: via Diane on Pinterest

And now, my version:

I wrote about how much I was missing my sweet girl, here, when she left for camp and was forced to shop through my sadness.  Well, she came back Friday, and she needed a special welcome home banner.  I used a digital kit called Social Butterfly from Sweet Shoppe Designs.
And yes, she did deserve a banner.  What was one of the first things she did when she got home?  Walk by my teacher toolkit/labor of love and squeal.  

Last summer, I had time to begin sewing.  I can do anything that involves a straight line.  Other than that, I'm out of my league.  I'd read multiple tutorials on sewing curtains, and I finally did it!  Woohoo!

The fabric is a Premier Prints fabric.  You can find their fabric online for about $7.50 a yard.  Makes it a little less scary to buy a bunch of fabric for a project you're not even sure you can complete.

I made some pillows, too!  I use an "envelope style" pillow cover.  Which is code for I don't want to hand finish or buy new inserts every time I want to change pillows.

Now get on over to the Made it Monday Linky Party and find out what everyone else is busy with this summer!

Have fun!