My Best Back to School Tip

With back to school right around the corner for many of us, we are all looking for ways to be efficient.  There is so much to be done at this time of year that it can be overwhelming.  Today, I'm joining Hanging Around in Primary & Pop Into Primary for the latest #littlefishteacherblogger link up!

I always put my class list on the back of my teacher badge.  It's great for line order and to make sure you have all of your kiddos when transitioning to different places at the beginning of the year!  My biggest fear has always been that I could lose someone else's child.  GASP!  Having my list at hand helps me keep my sanity when I'm counting my students and the number doesn't seem quite right.  We've all had those panic moments when we're not sure we have every one, especially during the first few days when we are getting to know our new students.  I always leave room to add names of students who may join us later in the year, too.

Now head over to Hanging Around in Primary or Pop Into Primary to see what other tips have been shared!


Monday Made It: ABC Jar & a FREEBIE!

I'm super excited to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It linky!  This project has been on my to do list all summer and I finally got it done!

Alphabet Calming Jar

I found an amazing tutorial on Preschool Inspirations.

Here's how I made mine:
I gathered an empty VOSS bottle (the small one is pictured but I used a 850mL bottle), 2 bottles of corn syrup, hot water, uppercase letter beads, and a hot glue gun.

Step 1:
Place the letter beads in the jar.  I got my beads here.

Step 2:
Add corn syrup.  You'll want to use light corn syrup.  
I filled my bottle about 80% of the way full.

Step 3:
Add just a little bit of hot water.

Step 4:
Have your adorable assistant shake it up!

Step 5:
Add more corn syrup until you have the consistency you want.
Once you are happy with it, use the glue gun to seal the lid.

Still with me?
For hanging in there, I've got a FREEBIE for you!

Click here or on the picture to download the
  Alphabet Jar Flip & Find recording sheets!
Please remember to leave feedback if you download the freebie!


Weekend Warriors: Money Saving Tips & Tricks for Teachers

Hi all!  As we get ready to go back to school, many of us are spending money like crazy trying to get our rooms ready and the supplies we need for a successful school year.  Some of us are lucky enough to get reimbursed for some of these expenses but many of us do not.  It can quickly become very expensive.  So this month the Weekend Warriors are bringing you money saving tips and tricks to hopefully save you some dollar dollar bills y'all!  

I love books.  Like, puffy heart love books.  But they can be expensive and Kindergarteners (even when taught!) can be rough on books.  I have used Scholastic Reading Club (formerly Scholastic Book Clubs) orders in my classroom for years.  Each month, I send home the book order flyer.  Parents can choose to order books and either submit payment to you (that you mail in) or they can submit online.  Because all of the families I work with have computer access, I only accept online orders.  As parents order, you earn points that you can use to order your own books!  Scholastic also has a catalog where you can order other learning materials and use your points as well.  Shipping for you is also free with any parent order.  I have been able to supply so many books for my students this way. is an online charity that is free for teachers.  Public school teachers can post a classroom project request on the site and anyone can give any amount to the project they choose to support.  You can post projects for classroom materials, a class visitor, a class trip, and even for professional development.  I have received tables and chairs for my classroom, leveled books, and an easel over the years.  It's a great way to tap into donations outside of your immediate school community.

If you follow any teachers on any form of social media, surely you have seen pictures of what people are stocking up on at the Target Dollar Spot.  I, myself, have fallen victim to the peer pressure.
Check out my haul!
Most items are $1 or $3.  They clearly know that teachers LOVE the Dollar Spot, too.  It has been stocked with so many great classroom items and decor this year!  The Dollar Spot is great for back to school but also around the different holidays, too! I've picked up a lot of holiday themed items to use as counters and manipulatives in my classroom as well.  

As you head back to school this year, check out some of these great resources to help save you some money!

Do you have great tips or tricks for saving?  Leave a message in the comments or link up with us below!  Grab the images for sharing and don't forget to link back to this post!

Check out what other tips and tricks the Weekend Warriors have to share below:

Miss Johnston's Journey Bloggiversary & GIVEAWAY!

My fabulous blog designer and friend Lindsey at Miss Johnston's Journey, is celebrating her 2nd Bloggiversary!  

There are over 50 products up for grabs, $125 in gift cards, happy mail and some FREEBIES, too!  Included in one of the prize packs is my
Color Me Happy unit!

This giveaway runs from July 23rd - 30th.

Click here or Lindsey's blog button below to enter!
miss johnston's journey

Tell All Tuesday: My Dream Classroom

Hooray for Tell all Tuesday!  This fantastic linky from my girls Jayme and Diana have really kept me going this summer.  I may be a #newbieblogger and I'm definitely a #smallfishteacherblogger but what better way to get to know some other amazing teachers while letting you all know a little bit about me each week.  

I'll be honest though.  I'm having a tough time with this week's topic...

What!?!  How can this be hard?  Who wouldn't want to design their DREAM CLASSROOM!?  But as I sit here and think about it, I become overwhelmed with amazing ideas.  Pinterest can be a great place for ideas.  I'm a visual learner so it works well for me.  But it can also be too much of a good thing.  I see ideas and I think, "Oooooh!  I wanna do that!"  There just aren't enough hours in the day or enough dollars in the bank.  

So here's how I'm going to tackle this topic...
The top 3 things I want for My Dream Classroom:

What would you want your Dream Classroom to look like?

Comment below or link up with

Here's how to join in on the fun:
1. Grab the picture and banner above and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2. Write a post about the topic of the week.  
This week is: My Dream Classroom
3. Add your link below.
4. Advertise your post using any social media of your choice.


Five for Friday

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  It's a problem really, not knowing what day of the week it is.  Oh who am I kidding, I love summer!  
Here are my five random ramblings for this week...

Although I didn't attend the conferences in Vegas this year, the bloggers who were there have done a great job of sharing many of the things they learned.  One of the messages that came out loud and clear was #findyourtribe.  I'm so grateful to have found some other great California teachers to connect with.

My Erin Condren teacher planner arrived this week!  I love, love, love it!  It almost makes me want to go back to school....almost.  If you want to order one, they are currently 25% off.  And you can use my referral link to receive $10 off your first purchase!

Have you joined Periscope yet?  My #FOMO was in hyperdrive while everyone was in Vegas and after an internal struggle with the thought of managing yet another form of social media, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  I have to say, I LOVE all the amazing things I have learned from the scopes I have seen so far.  I have yet to broadcast myself (although I have been challenged by my girls at Hooo-Ray For Teaching and My Day in K!).  Maybe I'll work up the nerve soon. ;)

My principal texted me this picture of my classroom this week.  This was right after he told me that we can't get back in until early August. is such a pain.  If you've read about my classroom, you know that construction at our school site began LAST summer.  I'm over it.  I guess the bright side is that all of my rugs have been cleaned!

On a personal note, my big girl got her braces off this week!  She was SO excited (I was, too.)!  Such an awesome mommy moment.  

How was your week?  
Let me know in the comments and then head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see what others have been up to.


Tell All Tuesday: If My Life Was A Reality Show

I can't believe it's Tuesday again already!  My how time flies during the summer.  I'm late to the party this week (which actually fits with my show title!) but I figured better late than never.  So here we go...

We are a busy, busy, busy bunch!  We live in a big city and both work full time.  Add two kids in the mix, and we are constantly on the go.  But to tell you the truth, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love that we are always doing things and making memories.  We have our occasional down days and those are great, too.  So even though it's chaos, it's a HAPPY chaos and I love it.  

So, what would your life be called if it was a reality show?  
Share in the comments below or link up with my girls
  Jayme and Diana.

Here's how:
1.  Grab the banner and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2.  Grab the TV graphic and write the title of your reality show inside.
3) Write a post about the topic of the week.
This week is:  If my life was a Reality Show it would be called...
4)  Add your link below.
5)  Advertise your post using the social media of your choice!


Tell All Tuesday: Top Ten List

It's Tell All Tuesday and time to link up with 

1)  Keep expectations high:  High expectations for students shows them that we believe in their abilities.  We need to teach with support, kindness and purpose.  High expectations for ourselves models this for our students as well.

2)  Fair doesn't mean the same:  It means everyone gets what they need to be successful.  I'll never forget the first time I heard this.  But it is so true.  We differentiate instruction to meet the needs of our students for a reason.  People are different and everyone needs different things to be the best they can be.

3)  Mistakes happen:  We're human.  We make mistakes.  The important thing is to learn from them.  So that lesson bombed.  Ok.  You're fine, your students are fine, make adjustments and come back tomorrow and try again.

4)  You ARE making a difference:  even if you don't see it.  Sometimes we struggle with a student or a class and we get down on ourselves.  But the truth of the matter is, we ARE making a difference in their lives.  We may not see the progress we wish we could.  We may not get the validation in a way that is tangible.  But in the heart of that child, we've made a difference.

5)  How to be a team player:  Collaboration and teamwork are at the core of what we do.  As teachers we learn so much from each other.  Building meaningful connections and feeling like a valuable part of the team can help reduce the stress of being a teacher and trying to do it all on your own.  We need to support each other and build each other up.  We are in this together!

6)  Patience:  Learning takes time...especially in Kindergarten!  We have to teach things over and over and over again.  Our students will test us, push our buttons, and sometimes drive us batty!  ;)  But that's their job.  Patience is key even when it's really hard.

7)  Flexibility:  I've always thought there should be an Improv class taught in teaching credential programs!  As teachers, we are planners.  But how many times have we had to throw out a lesson because it wasn't working, change our schedule due to a last minute assembly, cancel that outdoor activity because it started raining, run out of time due to a fire drill and the list goes on.  We have to think on the fly and just go with the flow.

8) How to Listen:  Sometimes I talk too much.  But what I've learned is that if I let the kids do the talking and really listen, they learn from each other and teach me so much, too!  I have to remind myself to shut up be the listener sometimes and let the children do the talking.

9)  That I like a challenge:  This was a big eye opener for me.  I'm a planner.  I don't like surprises.  I like to know what's coming and prepare for it.  But, I also LOVE a challenge.  Have a student with behavior challenges?  I want 'em.  Have a student struggling to learn?  Give 'em to me.  Multiple IEP's?  I'll take 'em.  It's hard.  It's a challenge.  But I will take it on.  It's what drives me as an educator.

10)  To trust my gut:  Education is always changing.  There will always be new curriculum, new standards, new ways of doing things.  If something seems awful, don't stress too much, it will change soon and something new will replace it.  What's most important is to trust your gut and do what you know is best for YOUR students, not what someone else tells you that you should be doing.  I'm extremely lucky to have a very supportive administrator who respects me as a professional and allows me the freedom to teach what I know is best for my students.  If this isn't your situation, then do the dog and pony show, close the door, and do what you know is right.  Trust your gut.  If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Thanks for hanging in there and reading through this novel I've just written!  

What has teaching taught you?  

Comment below or link up with Diana and Jayme!


TPT Seller Challenge: Make Your Masterpiece

Happy 4th of July!  I am so excited to share that I have finished my masterpiece for the TPT Seller Challenge this week!  Week 3's theme is Make Your Masterpiece.  One of the first math units we tackle at the beginning of the year is all about shapes.

There are 6 great activities included to build fluency with identifying shapes and reading shape words.
 With 2 different recording sheet options.

 Great for building fine motor strength!

 Gets students up and moving and looking for shapes in their environment.

 Both color and black and white options are included!

2 different ways to sort and record.

Who doesn't love Bingo!?  Color and black & white options are included.

You can find this unit in my TPT store by clicking here!

A HUGE thank you to these ladies for the motivation to create something new!
Make sure to head over to their blogs to see the other masterpieces!

  Sparkling in Second
Peppy Zesty Teacherista  
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