Monday, July 28, 2014


Do you have any of these?

Our reading and Social Studies series came in them.  We seemed to have a bunch laying around in the workroom that no one was using.  They are strong, sturdy, and I was sure very useful.  I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics and Made it Monday to show you what I did with mine.
I thought maybe my students could use them.  Five tables....I needed to round up five boxes  (and a couple extra for me)

I didn't like the writing on the boxes.  Let's face it, I like matchy match and a cleaner (cuter?) look.  I figured duck tape was the answer.  It comes in so many different colors and patterns. 

I just wrapped the boxes with the colored duck tape first around the top and the bottom, then the gap in the middle was filled in with the pattern.
They fit nicely on my shelves and under my computer desk.  This one is holding ten frames, hundreds charts, and other math work mats.
I made this for my principal...but then decided to keep it for myself.  Love when I get to show school pride.  Right now it has student folders (for writing), but I think it will find it's way behind my desk as soon as I round up one more box.
Easy Peasy.....all ready to go!
What are you working on?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for decluttering journey has begun.

It has been a VERY busy week for me.  I started.  I started cleaning out my stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff, school stuff, things I bought for others but haven't given them stuff, stuff that belonged to my children, and books. 

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Five for Friday to share my journey with you.

I know I said last week that I was going to start at school....but I decided to start at home first.  I pulled all my tubs out and sorted them between house stuff, school stuff, and books.

Then I ignored house and books and got busy on my school stuff because that is where I wanted to focus first.

I lined up tubs for each month...August through May.  Then as I was sorting I discovered I needed some tubs for topics as well as months.  So I grabbed some more tubs for reading, math, Dr. Seuss, farm and cowboy (they will be separated later), and then odds and ends (I was sorting at home and this was stuff that belonged in the classroom in different places).

I also know I said my first sort would be yes or no.  Turned out it was easier to sort by month or topic first.  However, I did keep that question in mind....Did I use it, Yes or No?  If I knew I didn't use it (and wouldn't use it) I tossed it right there.  I did start a stack of things that belonged to other grade levels.

I found some treasures while I was sorting.....

This is my prom dress from my junior year (1973), you do the math.  It will become Little Boo Peep at Halloween!  So glad I found it again.

Lots of old pictures in my house stuff.  I was missing some of this and wondered what happened to them.

See the package from Oriental Trading??  Those are the penguin thermometers I wanted to make in January.  Now they are in the right place and I will be able to find them.

Here are the stamps I wanted to use with my 100 Valentines book.  Now they are also in the right spot and I will not be panicking trying to come up with a plan B.
Yesterday I took all my school tubs to school and now the emotional work begins.  What to keep, what to toss, and where to best store things.  This is where it really will get worse before it gets better.  I have my monthly tubs and I am determined to stick to that plan.  But topics and files are going to be trickier.

Stay tuned...I still have my storage unit (that is where my file boxes are stored right now).  And don't forget my books!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting Organized....a hoarder's Bright Idea

I am a hoarder....There I said it.  I am not really proud of that fact, but I have a Bright Idea on how to fix it.

I searched high and low for ideas and a plan of action that would work for me.

I read blogs, checked pinterest, and ended up back where I started 30 years ago when I first realized that my kindergarten stuff wasn't fitting very well in file folders.  I kept my samples in paper boxes (have your custodian save them for you) and labeled them by months.

In the mean stuff has expanded and the boxes are gone (three schools, and two states ago).

True confessions....Do you have a mess like me?  Maybe not this bad, but teachers are notorious. We save things because we might need them.  You never know....projects, grade level changes, and just the money invested.

That is why I came up with this Plan of Action!!  Join me on this journey (it is not over yet).

It is hard.  I am not going to lie, this is not easy on me emotionally.  I have a lot invested.  I am afraid of changing grade levels.  I am afraid of not having something I need (or want).  But speaking those fears out loud, make them seem not so scary.  I am already getting psyched for this journey!!   I can do this!

Don't take too long on this step.  Don't think too much, there is more sorting to come.

Label your boxes with sticky notes.  It will make it easier to change things up and you can make it better looking and more permanent when you are done.

My thought is one tub for each month (right now my stuff is scattered in lots of different tubs and all mixed up), but I may need to add one for holidays that have lots of stuff (like Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and Thanksgiving).  I may also designate a tub for math and reading, so I can store things that do not fit a month or theme.  My tubs must fit along my garage wall, and I will bring them to school as I need them.  I do have a craft closet at home and my supplies will have to fit in there.   My space available will determine my limits.

Now comes the hard part.

Keep getting rid of those NOs

There in a nutshell is my plan of action.
Join me on this journey by following me on facebook or here on my blog.  I will be posting pictures of my progress.  Now that you all know my troubles.....I don't think I can quit.   I have someone watching me.  I can do this.

I am linking up with a fabulous group of more than 80 bloggers with amazing ideas to brighten up your life, your classroom and your teaching.  Check them out below.  There are lots more wonderful and BRIGHT ideas!

Monday, July 14, 2014

What happens in Vegas....comes home in your heart.

I have just spent the most amazing week meeting the most amazing people!  I want to link up with What a Teacher Wants

and a Burst of First and share my experiences.

It started early Sunday morning with hundreds of miles and not much to look at except this:

7 1/2 hours later we were in Vegas, checked in and ready to have some fun.

My plan of action was to try to meet some of my favorite teacher/blogger/presenters before things got crazy and it was still quiet.  My plan worked!  I introduced myself to Deedee Wills of Mrs. Wills Kindergarten (we have emailed few times) and as luck would have it Kim Adsit of KinderGals was there too.  They are amazing ladies...sweet, talented, and I learned so much from both.

Deedee Wills and Kim Adsit
 Then....who should I see in my second class of the day?  Fran Kramer of Kindergarten Crayons.  She is A...MAZ...ING as well.
Fran invited me to sit next to her for the session.  Could the day get any better than this??  YES!!  We went to lunch.  The chance to connect with Fran (and the amazing bloggers she introduced me to) was beyond words.  I cannot tell you how intelligent these ladies are, yet they are also kind, humble, and funny!  I laughed so much all week long.
Katie Mense of Little Warriors, Tanya Solano of Ms. Solano's Kindergarten, Tiffani Mugurussa of Time 4 Kindergarten, and Fran Kramer of Kindergarten Crayons

Tuesday started the same way...searching out this fabulous lady in the quiet before classes.  I spent much of the day learning from her.  Let me just say she lives up to the hype.  Deanna Jump is real.  She is down to earth, fun, friendly, kind, generous, and smart.  I am going to spend the rest of the week digesting what I learned from her.
Am I using the same adjectives over and over again??  That is because they fit all these ladies and gentlemen I met. Here is just a sampling of people I begged to take a picture with me:

Dan Colquhoun

Just for the one complained.

What did I take away from all of this??  My heart is full.  These ladies are so encouraging.  I want to improve my teaching, my blogging and my creating so I don't let them down.  I want to get better and better and these ladies helped me to believe that I can.

This is Paul and he is the founder of TpT.  He and Amy are creating a community of teachers who care about students and each other.  They want to help us reach each student in the very best ways possible.   In the process of doing that lives are being changed...for the better.

I am spending this week creating a plan of action.....Have you set any goals?  for the summer??  for next year??  I would love to hear them.