Monday, August 19, 2013

We Painted, We Sewed, We Built.

I had a funny moment today where I laughed at myself out loud...for thinking classroom set up got easier your third year.  HA. HA. HA.  I'm sure it would be easier if I didn't want to redo everything, every year.  Needless to say, I'm tired and a little stressed.

An empty classroom is inspiring and exciting.  A set up and finished classroom is amazing.  A classroom in the process of being set up with things EVERYWHERE and you working for 8 hours and feeling like nothing was accomplished....that's stressful.  But this is my kind of stress.  I live for it.

This is how my mind and life work....

I didn't want my teacher toolbox to be blue I painted it pink.

I didn't want my curtains for my fake window to be fake my mom sewed me real ones.

I was not even a little bit happy with the book shelf situation in my my Daddy custom built me one this weekend.

I needed a table for the two laptops in my room....we found an old one in the shed and the sister repainted it.

I needed smaller stools to fit the above said table, but they don't make small stools for above said we bought regular ones and Dad cut the legs off. 

Moral of this post written out of pure family is exhausted, they wish I weren't so type A, and I am extremely blessed to have them.  Another moral is that my room is not done quite yet, but I will post pics as soon as I am happy with it!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Now Teach! I love me some organization!

Ok guys, I'm super excited because I eat, sleep and breath organization.  Seriously, my mom always knew when I was stressed growing up because I'd be awake organizing and cleaning (OCD much?!?!) But seriously, organizing is something you can control.  So when your day in the classroom seems chaotic, rest assured your instructional materials are not. It truly is calming.

I am by nature neat and organized, but my true love and need for organization in the classroom came from Shafer. She was like the Mr. Miyagi of classroom organization.

Now, I will say, there are things that I slip up on, get sloppy with, and forget about.  Typically, these are the things that during the school year are just too much to tackle and they get labeled "that will be my summer project." This year, that happened to be my LA and Math game bins.

So, here are some things that keep me sane throughout the year....

1. GO BUY A LABEL MAKER...enough said.

2. Get your binder on!  Have a binder for everything....I'm serious, its a game changer.  I am soooo excited to get to school and print and stock my binders for the year with all the Common Core goodies I need.  

3. Bins and Labeling! I have an obsession with organizational bins, anything that's a cute color that can hold something, I buy.  Its a problem. But seriously, bins and labels! 

 4. Keep your desktop neat and tidy...nothing gives me hives more than a desktop that has things not in folders. eeeek!  It breeds anxiety.

You can't see it very well, but I have a folder for each subject, a TPT folder, a school year folder and a "to print" folder (this is my favorite).  When I know I need to print something, as I'm planning the night before, I drag and drop to this folder so in the morning I don't forget to print!

5. Milk crates, zip locks and hanging file folders. This was my summer project and I'm so excited to use them this year!  This is a trick of the trade I learned from's so simple, but so amazing!

Print, laminate and organize all of your games/activities and store them in big ol' Ziplocks.  Then, label (with above said label maker) the bags with what unit or theme the game/activity is from.  Now, in your milk crate, label and organize hanging file folders for each theme, subject, or unit.  Stick your labeled Ziplocks in their designated spot, and holy moly its a life changer.

EXTRA EXTRA! And guys I finally jumped on board with this last year....get your kiddos organized DAY 1!  Set the example and give them incentives.  I was skeptical, but this so works!  There are tons of amazing ones of these on TPT.  I created my own last year that worked with my class.  Check out the post where I introduce here.  Also, for teacher week, grab it for free below!
Link up and rock out this Teacher Week.  Tomorrow is my first day back to work. I have to be a geek and say I am soooo excited!  My mom took off work and her, J and I will be setting up tomorrow. All of the summer printing, labeling and laminating will finally be put to work tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yea...This is Happening.

So, I'm in love with this whole teacher week thing!  However, unfortunately, I am not entering my classroom until Thursday....which means you get a big fat...


on the whole come inside my classroom party. I'll be here tomorrow linking up to talk about organization, but to get acquainted with my classroom digs, you're going to have to stop by next week!  


Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week...Say What!?!?!?

Oh, Happy last Monday of the summer for this girl to you all friends!  I am loving that Blog Hoppin' is hosting this fun week to soften the blow of the's time!

Today is a toughy because honestly if you just hit the "Always Me" tab up top, you'll get to know me....but when teacher week calls, we deliver!  So here goes...I'll try not to bore you!

1. If you know me personally, you'll know that I have wanted to be a teacher since I could walk and talk.  Seriously. Between the type A personality God gifted me with, the only child symptom of slight bossiness and the dramatic flair that kept me always thinking I was on stage...teaching was it for me. When I was in third grade, my teacher gave me an overhead projector that the school was going to toss.  I took that baby home, set it up in my room, pulled down my shade screen and the rest is history. Teaching isn't EXACTLY what I imagined it to be when I was 8...but I still can't imagine doing anything else. 

2. I grew up in the 90's so my mom had a perm, I wore vests and leggings, lots of bangs, very thick white socks that scrunched down and of course scrunchies. 

3. I adore my dog. She is 95% of the time a scraggly mess, she typically has something wrong with her, she is scared of her own shadow, and she sheds ALOT....but she's mine. I love her clumsiness, curiosity, innocence and gentleness.  

4. I have a huge family.  You come to my town and you realize, we are everywhere.  My Dad was one of five....all five of them live in our small town, all five of them have 2-4 children, and at least half of those 2-4 kids have their own kids.  And the kicker, most of them live in a 20 minute radius.  Not to mention my Dad's cousins and their families who live in the area. I grew up with all of them and am lucky now to call them friends. 

5. Hi, my name is Caitlin and I am dairy free. ("hi, Caitlin"). I have been dairy free for almost two months.  I have had issues with my stomach since I was an infant.  It ain't fun. Since adulthood, I've tried umpteen million not super fun things to kick my stomach into gear (including....gluten free, liquid diets, teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before meals, and much, much more). I've never tried the dairy free thing though, because I LIVE OFF DAIRY. I could drink a gallon of milk, eat a block of cheese, a carton of ice cream, and three things of Greek yogurt a day.  I finally gave in and tried it. I will say that I have not been cured, I still struggle with issues, but WOW do I feel better! I feel so much better that I haven't cheated once in the past 6 weeks!  

6. I am not southern (even though some would consider Maryland a southern state). But, I am from the shore.  I can't imagine living where there isn't water, boats or seafood.  Yesterday, after church, we headed to our town's watermen's festival.  The Watermen's Association put together this awesome event that provided over 300 bushels of crabs, a boat docking contest, and pictures and autograph opportunities with Liz from Swamp People and Edgar from The Deadliest Catch. 

7. I have dear friends that I have had since I was itty bitty, but the ones I have made in my adulthood truly make me understand what friendship is.

 8. I am starting a high school youth group at my church.  I saw the need, heard the call and opened my big mouth.  Prayers please!  I have big dreams for this.
9. My middle name is Paige.  Caity Paige, yea that's me. 

10. I am going to be a third year teacher....oh that sounds so good!  My first year was pure survival, sinking or swimming, soaking in every nook and cranny of new information, and learning who I was in the classroom.  My second year, I was on fire with ideas, organizing, new curriculum, keeping up and growing.  This year, my third year, God I am excited to teach!  

Whew there you have it!  I'm going to eat a brownie for breakfast and enjoy this last Monday of summer.

Hop on over and enjoy the fun!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Oh Lordie Bee!

You guys remember that sweet, nice, calming, reflective post I wrote last week about the joys of the last days of July?  Well scratch that!  I've moved to the I GO BACK TO SCHOOL IN A WEEK AND STILL HAVE SO MUCH TO DO post. I've moved to complete crazy. Last year, I started in the classroom literally as soon as summer school ended because Shafer and I had to switch classrooms.  I have to say I was burnt out and exhausted by the time the kiddos arrived.  This year, I'm giving myself a vacation and only going in two days (before we have to report) early!  That's blasphemy right!??!?!  All I know is that I need the break.  I need the break to be creative on my own time in my own space while watching Pretty Little Liars and eating dairy free ice cream (no joke found one that tastes just like the real stuff...So Delicious is the brand!)

Now, just because I'm not going in for another week, doesn't mean that I'm not getting ready.  Prepared is my middle name. I'm preparing daily....just from my living room. I'm even prepared to escape my sinking car in the 1/1,000,000,000 chance I go over the Bay Bridge. Yes. It. Is. In. Pink. What can I say?

I also have this little girl heading to HIGH SCHOOL in a few weeks...which is giving me so much excitement heart palpitations. 


I am taking full advantage of the five foot ball of awesome that is my little sister...while she still thinks I'm semi-cool and helping me with school stuff is fun. So, we have been getting our craft on!

The first thing we did was attempt the no-sew pennant banner that Abby did over at The Inspired Apple for a TBT post a while back.  I had been looking for something simple to jazz up the hallway outside of my classroom where I hang student work...and I figured I'd try. All I did was buy the fabric, ribbon and the double sided iron on sticky stuff from a craft store. 

Had sister friend cut, and cut, and cut, and cut.......

And then I placed and ironed.  It honestly was easy.  Of course I took a picture of the section where I screwed up the patterning (Common Core's fault for taking patterning out of K and First)  and my ribbon is fraying slightly, but other than that success! I then decoupaged (my favorite word ever) a lot of teeny weeny clothes pins with chevron, stripes and polka dots of the same types of colors to hang their work. I'll show pictures next week when its up and running hanging. 

While sister friend was cutting, and cutting, and cutting some more, I moved to another decoupage project.  Have you all seen those awesome hall pass boards with the teacher's name painted in a super cute way and then the clothes pins for the passes?  I so wanted one. And I was going to order one from Etsy...except I had already spent my "school" budget for the pay period on ink, so I had to make my own.

SIDE BAR WARNING: I hate hall passes.  Frankly, they gross me out. Seriously.  Have you ever thought about that?  We're trusting 6 year olds to carry something into the bathroom with them?  Really!??!?! Who thought that was a good idea? That is why I figured the clothes pin idea was a good one because they could stick it to their shirt, no touching in bathroom necessary and then when they get crusty and nasty I can toss and grab another one super cheap.  Don't get me wrong I know this isn't a flawless system, and the janitor is going to have my hyde the first time one of these falls down the toilet and clogs the septic system for the whole county...but a girl can dream right?!?!

Anyway, to create my own, I just grabbed a cheapo wooden S from Hobby Lobby and some cute scrapbook paper. 

I then just started cutting random chunks of paper and decoupaging. 

And it sucked and looked awful and I hated it so much I wanted to cry. It looked like a Raggedy Anne dress.  It was 50 shades of not even a little cute. So I pouted and then started over.  

I covered the whole thing in gray, added a cute ribbon and voila!  I adore it now! 

Pheww! I can see my projects and must do's dwindling here at home and I realize holy moly, lordie bee...It's that time friends. Sweet sweet summer is wrapping itself up into a cute little GET YOUR BUTT BACK TO WORK bow and there's no stopping it.  

Cami kind of has the right idea.  We know we need to be gearing up and back to school soon...but we're so comfy where we are...we're taking our time getting there. 

Enjoy your last few days friends!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Prayer is very important to me....I pray all day long.  I think a lot of times we get confused and think that prayer can only happen when you kneel, bow your head and put your hands together.  But honestly it's just a conversation.  I turn that crazy voice inside my head that never shuts up, into a meaningful conversation with God. Before my first year of teaching, a principal from another school gave me a copy of a prayer she keeps in her classroom. I've had it taped to the drawer of my desk for the past two years and every morning before the first day of school, I pray that prayer.  When I am worried about a student, a situation with a parent, or just a bad day, I pray. I've already been praying for my upcoming year and the kiddos that will enter my room.

This morning as I was having my coffee and already thinking about what I need to print, create and laminate this week, I came across an article that The First Grade Parade shared on her facebook page.

Wow! How cool is it to think that maybe there are parents out there praying for us right now as we go through the craziness of August.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Facebook and Freebies!

Hi friends!

I'm super excited to introduce my new fan page. (I don't really have "fans" but it sounds really cool to say). Check it out by clicking on the icon to the right or click on the images below!

If you head over, you can find a few free things to grab in my fan freebies tab.

You can grab the titles I made for each theme of the first grade HM series. I hang them up on my language arts focus wall as we work through the series.

I'm slightly obsessed with pennants, chevron and these cool and calm colors.  Super bummed they won't really work in my room :( Head on over to grab them too!

Remember how I said I learned how to make chevron backgrounds on Adobe Illustrator?  Here's my first pack, free for my Facebook fans! I call it "And All That Tan...Chevron"  (you have to sing the title of the freebie with the All That Jazz mentality...just saying. 

I hope someone out there can enjoy and use!


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