My Back to School 2018

Getting Ready to Start My 26th Year of Teaching

I don't know if you still like to do Back to School shopping before school starts, but I still do!  I think that is part of the fun in starting a new year- getting to try new things and starting with fresh supplies!

I found some new things this year that  that I wanted to share with you.  Let me say upfront- these are not affiliate links (I am not being paid for any of my opinions on these), these are just fun or new things I thought I'd highlight for you. 

Do you use mini erasers?  I love using them for so many things.  I use them for math manipulatives (they are great for using with ten frames with all kinds of activities), game markers, counting activities, and other fun things.  I definitely don't use them to erase anything.  LOL   You have to be quick to grab them at the Target Dollar Spot because all these go quickly!

I have always stored them in ziploc baggies, but what a mess!  This summer I was on a hunt for a way to store them.  I thought I'd found something good at Michael's and they were out!  I was telling my husband about what I needed & he said he thought we already had something I could use.  He went to our guest room closet and came out with this!

It seems I had purchased this 6 years ago & never used it.  OOPS!  It sure came in handy this summer!

Here's the link if you're interested  CRAFT CABINET

I'm so excited because I still have extra drawers!

I have always used Boogie Boards in my small groups, but mine bit the dust last year.  I bought some new ones this summer, but was disappointed with the design.  I returned them and decided to use my magnetic white boards until I can find just what I like.  I found these cute little magnetic board erasers at Amazon and am anxious to try them.  I'll let you know later if they were any good.
Find them HERE

I searched several Targets looking for the new multicultural Crayola Crayons that I've seen on Facebook and Instagram.  Of course, I should have just started with Amazon!  I got 3 boxes in the set I purchased.
You can see those HERE
I have been buying premade planners for the past few years & decided I'd finally personalize and try one I bought on TpT (I bought it over 3 years ago) because I get tired of writing out the same things that stay the same week after week on my lesson plans.  It maybe took me one hour to get it personalized to what I wanted.  It has everything in it that I usually write over & over.  I am super happy with it.  The best thing is, our print shop at school printed it for me!  I bought a separate calendar planner at Target because I like to have my calendar open at the same time as my lesson plans.  Because I already had the planner, I only had to pay for the calendar planner I bought at Target- I saved big bucks on this!
The planner I bought  is by A Modern Teacher.  It was very easy to use!  You can see it here:  PLANNER

Of course I had to get a new set of the Frixion pens.  I LOVE these because, well, I make lots of mistakes and these are ERASABLE!  I have always bought sets that had maybe 5-6 colors so I was stoked to find these!  See them HERE

Well, I bought quite few other things too,  BUT probably the most important thing I bought is my chocolate bars.  Probably 20-23 years ago I started something on the spur of the moment where I told the kids that I'd give them a chocolate bar if they learned to spell chocolate (since I LOVE chocolate).  I now have to be prepared because so many kids know about it. They come in spelling chocolate on the first day of school!  I take their picture holding their chocolate bar and put it in their memory book with the date they spelled it.  They also get a special brag tag.  You can read a little more about it in this OLD blog post.

I am part of TWO big give aways right now.  Who knows, maybe you can win one and buy some of these fun items I highlighted today!

Here's a great one for Amazon:

Prize: $200 Amazon Gift Card (2 Prizes!)
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 8/11/18 and is open worldwide.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here's one for Teacher Pay Teachers 

(you could buy a new planner template ):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let me know in the comments if you have bought anything fun or new this summer!

Happy 2018-19 school year!

Things We Love Giveaway!

I am so excited to be joining with some of my blogging buddies to offer this amazing giveaway of things teachers LOVE!

Check out everything below and then be sure to enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win this amazing bundle of goodies.

I think I love these markers almost as much as my students do!  They make my anchor charts smell so good!  They also add some fun when I correct their papers.  They love to try to guess the scent.

Ummm- hello?  Who doesn't love flair pens!  I have a set at home and a set at school PLUS I always order a box of 12 purple Flair pens from Amazon to use on everything at school (because I LOVE purple)!  I have learned my lesson about buying knock off Flair pens- don't!

Confession time.  I own 4 personal laminators. I keep 3 at home and one at school.  It really comes in handy when I am laminating a lot of pages (like during back to school time).  I always watch for the laminating sheets to go on sale at Amazon and then I stock up BIG TIME!

When I need kids to be able to write on and erase quickly- I grab one of these.  They are wonderful to be able to change out the activity inside in a snap.

Expo pens.  I don't think I really need to say more- but these are the best that there are!  Again, purple are my favorite color of these (with blue being my second choice).

I think I go through quite a few packs of the cardstock and paper each school year.  I love to run my sight words and spelling words on colorful cardstock  and my notes home to parents are eye catching on the Astrobright paper.

Do not buy any other pencil besides this brand- seriously!  I have used these for years & years in my classroom and there are no other brands that even compare to these!

Woo hoo- isn't this the best one?  I would love to have a $50 gift card to TpT!  I always have a wishlist running on my account and would have no trouble spending this amount.  This would be great for adding some fun activities to get you through the end of the year!

Here's the information you need to win this amazing bundle!

Prize: Things We LOVE prize pack including: Mr. Sketch Markers, Flair Markers, Personal Laminator, Dry Erase Pockets, Dry Erase Markers, Astrobrights Paper, Ticonderoga Pencils, and a $50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 2/21/18 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Simple Trick and a Giveaway

A Simple Trick

I don't know about you, but sometimes my very best ideas come at random moments.  I had one of these ideas during the last trimester of this past school year & had such great success with it that I'm doing it again!

I have struggled with my kiddos NEVER having pencils for the first 24 years of my teaching career (I am now in year 25).  Last year I had one of my ideas mentioned above.  I decided to give everyone in my class 2 pencils with their number written on both of them (I assign numbers to my students for their mailbox, papers, etc.).  I told them that I would be giving Dojo Points and brag tags for kids who could hold onto their pencils for a certain time period (maybe one week at the beginning of this trial and then stretched to several weeks towards the end of the year).  I had quite a few kids earning Dojo points, then a fewer amount the brag tags.  Towards the end I even increased the prize to a candy bar of their choice.  I think I bought candy bars for 10 of my 22 students at the end of the year (I call this a major victory!).

I want to mention that I passed out new numbered pencils several times during that last trimester to allow students who had lost theirs to start over again.  I went through so many less pencils than I had in previous years!

This year I started out the school year giving each of my 25 students 2 numbered pencils.  I did a spot check the first week for a Dojo point and then another check this past Friday (2 1/2 weeks into the school year). I ended up giving 22 of my 25 students a brag tag!  I am thrilled that this simple solution is working so well for me.

You don't have to use student numbers to use this idea.  You could write their names on their pencils.
If you'd like to try this idea (or another for keeping their pencils), I made brag tags last year that you can download and use.  You can click the pictures below or click HERE to get them.

I think this idea was much better than the time I had the random idea to let it "rain" mini marshmallows.  But... that's another story.


The last time I blogged I showed you my summer project of putting together my tubs of base 10 blocks.  You can see that blog post here if you would like to see the tubs and read about them.
I have been so proud of my students and their understanding of place value.  We are not there "yet" but I see lots of glimmers of lights (this is why I LOVE first grade!!!!).

I decided to put together an engaging activity for them to use this week to practice what we're working on.  I think they'll love the idea that they are going "apple picking".

Students will look at each card and count the tens and ones blocks.  They will then "pick" the correct answer by poking a thin stick through the hole.  The back has the correct answer circled, so they get immediate feedback on their answer.  I know my kids will be using this one over and over!  
If you're interested in this fun September activity (or really any time of the year), you can see it HERE or click the pictures below.

Giveway for $75 gift certificate to TpT

You have the chance to win a $75 gift certificate to TpT. I know that would come in handy right now at the beginning of a school year!  Use the rafflecopter below to enter!


Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 9/13/17 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great rest of your week!

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