Part 2- Easy as ABC

I was a bad blogger and didn't take pictures of each part of my letter making process. But that's okay, because it was mainly trial and error. Steps 1-8 are in my previous post.

STEP 9 begins on your couch with a Project Runway marathon playing. [I can't believe they are starting a 9th season! Crazy!]
Lay out your felt, scissors, and di-cut letters- one of each letter in capital and lowercase.
Contemplate giving up and buying pre-cut letters. Compare the cost of the $2 for felt to pre-cut letters. Re-commit yourself to the felt.

STEP 10: Trace the di-cut letter on the felt using blue marker so it won't show. Then try to re-trace inside the letter because you want the letters smaller. Cut it out and decide it's still too big, so trim around the edges until you like it.

STEP 11: Do some variation of step 10 about 52 times. Painstakingly match previously made letters to make sure they're all the same size.

STEP 12: Get stuck on the X. Consider removing X from the alphabet to save you the trouble. Finally accept your best attempt.

STEP 13: Sit back and admire your bounty of letters.

Oh and an added bonus to this project...

You can feel a teensy bit like the blue man from Big Fat Liar. (You know you saw this movie.)

Now I just need to add these letters to this:

And of course get more ribbon [and the correct ribbon] to finish sectioning it off. Then I'm going to use the space to the right of the board to title it. I think I'm going with "Garden of Words".
Hopefully it'll all come together soon!!!


How To Come Somewhat-But-Not-Really Close To Completing A Word Wall

STEP ONE: Go to Joann's in search of the perfect ribbon. Get distracted by the 70% off aisle for 10-15 minutes, but ultimately decide you don't need any of it. Arrive at the ribbon aisle and search in vain for flowered ribbon to match your vision. Give up the vision and spend more time than you will admit holding different ribbons up to see how they look together. Finally purchase your ribbon:
The ribbon trifecta: green with checks, blue with dots, plain yellow
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STEP 2: [Important note: already have the paper & border up from the day before, when your boyfriend came to help but instead you kept taking the stapler and doing it yourself, you control freak you.]
Carefully measure the width of the board and mark off every 9.5" so you'll have 13 boxes across and 2 down.

STEP 3: Cut the ribbon into strips and start stapling.
It's all straight, riiight?
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STEP 4: Realize that you do not have enough ribbon. Grumble angrily at yourself for not thinking about this at the store.

STEP 5: Go back to Joann's. Grumble angrily when you notice there is no more of the blue ribbon. Snatch up the green and yellow anyway because you are determined to finish this project.

STEP 6: Go back to school. Start to put up the yellow ribbon and realize you bought the wrong style. Grumble furiously at yourself for not paying more attention.

STEP 7: Switch your focus to the letters for the wall. Try using the felt you bought in the di-cut machine but it gets stuck. No need to grumble...those letters are too big anyway. Di-cut one of each letter in capital & lowercase to be a stencil for the felt.

STEP 8: Realize you have a lot of tracing and cutting work ahead of you. Decide it would be best completed in front of your television.

PART TWO Coming soon:)


New Teammie Love

I know I promised pictures...but things sure are slow going in my room. I mentioned that I was moving grade levels, but that's not all-- out of 24 classroom teachers, 12 are changing grade levels and 5 are new to our school. That's a grand total of 17 teachers trying to set up new rooms! With even seasoned veterans up at school since mid July, it's been a little chaotic.

One major roadblock is that all the big paper for making bulletin boards is used up. Well, not all, but of course all the colors that I need! (I'm sticking with blue, green, and yellow to keep it from becoming a rainbow explosion).

Since I decided to do my word wall on white paper and use colorful ribbon to separate the letters, I should get that finished today (if I can find the ribbon I want! My perfectionist/OCD tendencies really come to light when I make bulletin boards!).
Yes, I'm the crazy teacher who uses a ruler to make sure my borders are straight!
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BUT I will share one small project I'm working on-- my first Pinterest project!

As I said, our grade levels are changing a lot. So my second grade team is brand new!
Teammie C is the only one staying in 2nd. She was one of the teachers that opened our school 20 years ago (we're the newest elementary school in our district).
Teammie S and I were first year teachers together last year, but she taught first grade while I taught third. Now we're meeting in 2nd!
And finally Teammie J is a first year teacher this year. She's actually completing the same program I did last year, the Mizzou Teaching Fellowship Program.

I wanted to give them a little something on the first day of school to show how excited I am to work with them this year. Since I am low on funds (read: broke!) and any $ I do have is funneled towards my classroom, I wanted something affordable (read: cheap!) and easy to make (since again, I am not crafty).

I saw this on Pinterest:
Cute idea from A Place Called Joy

And this is my re-creation on Microsoft Publisher...I could not for the life of me get it to look right as an image. Even in the link, the word MINT looks white when in my actual creation it is mint green of course:)

I'm going to print these on 2"x 4" mailing labels and stick them on a mint tin. Coupled with a cute card, I hope they'll be a nice little treat for my team! I'll share the finished product later on.

Off to school--wish me luck on my word wall:)


New School Year Resolutions

I'll be up in my classroom later today and will take pictures of some of the projects I've been working on (slooowly, it feels like!).

Until then, I saw that Clutter-Free Classroom is having a linky party about New Year Resolutions for the school year. Since I'm brand new to blogging, this is my first linky party...but it was seeing a friend's post (Hey, Messy Girl:)) for Clutter-Free Classroom's favorite author's linky party that finally made me get this blog started!

So now on to my resolutions for my second year of teaching...it will be good to put them into writing so I can remind myself as the year goes on.

1. Stay true to myself as a teacher.
I do feel like a little bit of my teaching philosophy got lost last year as I felt overwhelmed by curriculum, limited time, an emphasis on test scores, and older teachers with unwavering ideas that didn't quite match mine. This year I want to stand my ground more firmly, and stick with ideas that I firmly believe in.

2. Stay on top of grading.
I'm not sure if this will be as big of an issue in 2nd grade as it was last year in 3rd. It seemed like I could grade from school's out to bedtime and still be behind! I need to get into a routine early in the year and make sure to get all work back to students QUICKLY. Otherwise, the feedback and ensuing reflection are less meaningful.
Going along with this, I want to make sure to make time for going over work and prompting that reflection.

3. Stay inspired and connected.
Already in my first week of blogging, I've tackled and completed more projects than I would've otherwise. I'm not a crafty person by any means, and only marginally creative...so it's been great to borrow and steal ideas from the web! I only hope I'm able to contribute as well.
Also, reading other teachers' experiences and thoughts re-energizes my love for my job. Belonging to such an enthusiastic, inventive, and dedicated community is inspiring.

4. Stay focused on the students- ALWAYS!
To cope with all those factors listed in #1, all I have to do is remember my students, and I automatically feel less stressed. Their needs will guide me and their personalities will make it all worthwile. As I set my room up this summer, I keep thinking about the 21 little ones that will populate it, and I get excited all over again:)

Happy almost New School Year!


Buzz on in...

I know it's summer, and I'm supposed to off lounging by the pool every day or jetting off on vacation every week...or whatever all the non-teachers accuse us of doing during our summer break (out of jealousy of course). But as July winds down, all I can think about is my classroom.

I'm staying at my same wonderful school for my second year of
teaching, but moving from third grade to second grade. As I prepare for my new room & new grade level, my mind has been buzzing non-stop with ideas for decorations, activities, and management tactics. Every night before I fall asleep, I am envisioning the ideas for the school year.

The first thing I wanted to get straight was a theme. I know themes aren't necessary-- last year I had the very bare bones of a "town" theme and learning still happened-- but since my ideas for my new room kept zooming all over the place, I wanted a focus. I found that focus through my rug. Last year, my extremely generous principal let me choose a new rug for my classroom. I absolutely love this rug and it was complimented by everyone who came into my room.

A portion of the seriously gorgeous rug :)

Its pattern inspired me to choose a nature-themed classroom for this year. Since "nature" still spans a pretty expansive spectrum, I honed in on the "garden" aspects (think: sun, flowers, bees, ladybugs...).

Once this was chosen, my mind immediately hooked on coming up with a catchy phrase to put around our doorway. Again, not necessary...but oh so cute and fun! I racked my brain (and the Internet) for days before finally landing on the right combo of words when at the mall with my boyfriend. (I don't think he was as excited as I was, about the phrase or our activity).

So here it is... Buzz on in to our 2nd grade garden!

Much more to come... can't wait to share :)