Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Made-it and Elfie!!

So I SHOULD be going to sleep right now because 6AM is going to come really soon and I'm not going to want to get up, but I'm blogging now anyway, because Monday Made-It, MAKES me blog at least once a month.  So I'm doing it!!!

So we'll start off with my Made-Its.  Again I don't have anything really for my classroom.  I kind of do with my Elf on the Shelf, so you'll see that a little later.  I'll show you the other Made-its I have though.
So for Thanksgiving, my sister, niece, and I made these cute little turkey napkin rings for everyone.
Do you see my niece photo bombing at the top of the photo!  Too funny!  
Then I wanted a winter wreath to replace the fall one I have in my classroom that I made last year so I made this yarn one.  
I got everything at Michaels.  That snowflake came in a pack of 6 for $1.99!!
Then I have my Christmas decorations up so I'm including that as a Made-It cause I made it happen!  lol  
My Department 56 North Pole/Elf Land village.  
My Christmas tree.  I used to work at Hallmark so I love ornaments!

Now on to my Elf, which is also kind of a Made-It.  So just like last year, Elfie came to visit this new class.  My elf writes my class letters to let them know he's keeping tabs on them and to give them encouragement for making good choices.  He doesn't do anything really silly because I don't want my kids to do anything silly or get worked up by the silly things he does.  So here are some pics of Elfie this past week:
He's back!  
Elfie decorated the room again with snowflakes and Christmas lights isn't that nice?  He stayed until 5PM on a half-day to get it done too!  ;)  
Day 2 he was next to my globe again.  I forgot to take a picture, but I have one from last year that you can look at if you want to see.  Just click on the Elf label on the side.  :)  
Day 3.  Hanging out above the cubbies.  Bribing the students to be good, and boy did it work!  16 kiddos moved up on the behavior chart after this note!
So the next day,
Thursday, little prize for some kiddos (bell garland, cut, pack of 16 bells $1 store)
Let me tell you everyone was really good after that too because they were hoping to get one the following day, no luck though.
And this is where Elfie was hiding on Thursday.  Hanging out with my snowman and leaving a note on how proud he was and how he told Santa about how awesome the class was.  
Friday I had Elfie on top of my Smartboard projector.  Again, forgot to take a pic, but again he was there last year so you can see a pic in the Elf section.  
The students will find him today by the clock and he is leaving another treat and note for students who moved up on the chart.  Really does seem to help and is fun!  
So those are my made-its and Elf scoop.  It has been one busy weekend!  Friday night was out til after 10PM for our annual girls family shopping night (first Friday in December) and got some more shopping done (still have more to do).  Saturday I watched my niece and we baked cookies for a cookie exchange we then went to and then I went to my parents for my weekly dinner and stayed until after 10PM watching Elf and helping them put up their Christmas decorations.  Then Sunday was our annual girls family cookie baking event, where we each pick 2 Christmas cookie recipes to bake and we get together at 1 house, help each other bake them and split them up for each other.  Here's what that looked like:
Everyone's containers lined up and filled.  
A close up of mine.  
Super fun, but busy, busy, busy.  Now I need to go to sleep.  Luckily we can wear jeans all this week if we pay $1 each day for charity, so I can get up and go more easily tomorrow.  
Happy Monday!!  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Currently and Monthly Made-it!

It's November!  How crazy!  October was hectic, as usual!  We'll see how this month goes!
I'm starting off this post with Farley's Currently for November:
Not much to explain for Listening.  I always do these once I'm in bed for the night so it's pretty quiet around here.  
I love my family so much and we are a very close bunch.  I'm one of 5 kids and my 4 siblings all have families and we live around each other and get together all of the time.  I'm very lucky.  So today I went to the circus with my eldest sister and her family and my younger sister and her daughter.  Fun time.  Let me share one of the pics I took:
So fun!
Thinking - So I follow Hip2Save on fb.  If you don't know about it, it's this great "couponing" site.  So the gal who runs it posted about this great Little People toy that amazon had on sale for $22.99.  Then a reader tip was that Target would price match and you could use the $10 off coupon that Hip2Save had posted a few days earlier.  So I went to Target and got a regularly $39.99 toy for $14 with my Red Card!  Woohoo!  I was very excited.  One present down for the holidays.  Couldn't pass up a deal like that!  Then I put away all of my Halloween decorations, printed out a whole bunch of center games for math, and went to my parents.  Then today was the circus, cutting and laminating all of the center games, grading papers, and updating my classroom website.  I got it all done!  Another big Woohoo!  And now I'm blogging!  
Wanting is pretty self-explanatory.  I have a great group but sometimes we can be a little chatty and not pay attention.  
Needing is also pretty self-explanatory.  I'm very happy with what I got done this weekend, but I never feel that accomplished during the week.  I would love to have 1 day every week where we didn't have students and I could get everything done then.  I would take longer school days so I could have that 1 day where I could get stuff done at school without running around like a crazy person.  
No onto the yummy pin.  I pin yummy things all of the time.  I have a dessert board, a cookies board, and holiday boards with yummy things.  This pin is one of the newest so I thought I would put it in:
I mean come on, does that not sound soooo good!  There is nothing in that title that I do not love so I had to pin it!!  
Okay so that is my Currently.  Now onto my Monthly Made-Its!  

So first things first, I pinned this really cute pumpkin sign from The Polka Dot Pavillion that I loved, but did not want to spend $50, so I thought I'll just make it.  So I headed over to Michaels to pick up a wooden pumpkin.  No go.  I found one I liked online, but it was a set of 6, so I said okay, I'll make them for my family too and give it to them at our yearly Trick-or-Treat party.  I had 1 extra left over so I made it for my friend Krista.  Hers is below.  
Now I just made the pumpkin.  She added it to her basket she keeps on her door.  All I did was get 11in. wooden pumpkin cut outs (6 for $19.50), painted them, used my Cameo and vinyl for the lettering, and some tulle for around the stem.  I texted everyone and told them they couldn't ask me why, but polka dots or chevron.  2 picked polka dots the rest were chevron. Painted it orange first and then added the yellow polka dots or chevron stripes.  I was very happy with how it turned out.  On mine I just put Happy Fall Y'all.  Krista jokingly told me she needs one now for every season.  lol  
To go along with the pumpkins, I made these cards:
I followed this video and used my cameo.  Very happy with how it turned out!  I also gave them to my teammates with a purple jar of candy that I cut out Trick-or-Treat in vinyl and added to it (forgot to take a picture of that).
On Friday, October 25 is when my school had their Halloween celebration.  The neighborhood does Trick-or-Treating on Sunday so starting last year we do it the Friday before.  Really love doing that.  This year my teammates and I dressed up as scarecrows.  
It was great because this cost me no money!  My teammate bought the raffia that we used as our straw (I used blue painters tape to tape it on the inside of my clothes and it was not itchy) and I had everything else, just turned it into a scarecrow costume.  Super fun and my kiddos loved it!  The pic above was taken at my parents house for the Trick-or-Treat party.  
Well that same night (Friday the 25th) I had Jodie and Brynn come over to my house for a Halloween themed dinner.  I made mummy dogs (but with sausage because oddly enough my niece doesn't like hot dogs), smiley face fries (thought it was like masks) and Halloween mac and cheese.  I also made witches brew drinks with lime sherbet, ginger ale, and lime concentrate with gummy worms as garnish. My sis got the pics of all of that.  I finished it off by making these stackable surprise cookies:

You just get the tube of sugar cookie dough, slice them into round cookies, bake them and then put one cookie down as your base, for the next cookie, cut a circle out of the middle, put it down, do the same to another cookie, and add a full cookie on top.  Before I put the cookie on top I filled it with Reese's Pieces.  Frosting is the glue holding all of the layers together.  Yummy!  
For my family's party on Sunday I made these:
They were green velvet cupcakes that I made to look like witches by using the cookies that have the hole in the middle and chocolate bottoms.  I just flipped it so the chocolate was on top and added a caramel kiss to the top.  Melted it a bit to stick to the cookie, added frosting and presto.  I thought green would be a nice touch to make them witchy with orange hair.  lol  Big hit.  :)
So those are all of my Made-its I did in October.  Can't wait to get some things done this month too!  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Time

First, since I'm behind, here's my October Currently, thanks to Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade.  Click the pic below to join the linky.
Listening - had a busy morning, so just sitting blogging while my computer fan goes off, no other noise.  
Loving - spent the morning with my parents at a craft fair and am getting ready to busy circus tix to go with some siblings and nieces/nephew.  
Thinking -  about everything I have to do for school: conference goal sheets, art of the week project, grading...
Wanting - So conferences start this week and the only goal sheet I have done is for the conference I had early, this past Thursday.  The other 24 are waiting for me...
Needing - to get off the computer and get everything mentioned above done!  
Trick or Treat - A freebie is down below if you would like it!  :)

This is my favorite time of year.  I just love it!  I love the leaves turning colors.  I love that it's apple picking and pumpkin patch time.  I love the cooler weather.  I love that fun holidays are coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  It's just the best.
We have been busy in my classroom with fall.  We have done the projects that I do pretty much every year: the build your own ice cream cone (for the first ice cream cone patent on September 22nd),

This pic is from last year, but it's the same idea.  Students build ice cream cones and then have to write about them.  
and also our fall tree craft with tissue paper.  
Students write about what they love about fall and make a fall tree (this pic is also from last year).  
We also did a great Johnny Appleseed activity from Mandy Gregory (Johnny Appleseed Common Core ELA Lesson and Craft).  

I read the students different books about Johnny Appleseed and then they watched the Disney Legends short about Johnny Appleseed.  I told them that they were going to be writing about Johnny before we did this, so they were going to need to pay attention so they would be able to think of things to write.  Then I gave them the great brainstorming web that's in her pack.  They wrote the main idea and then a fact in each apple.  Then they wrote up their little biographies and made Johnny Appleseed holding their paper.  The pics above show the wide range of abilities in my classroom.  I loved that it was a fun activity and it was very common core with having to write about what they learned.  
All of these are hanging up in the room for parents to see this week for conferences.  We do goal setting conferences so we always have them the week before Columbus Day, so we can have a 4-day weekend to recuperate.  The first 2 projects were part of the Art of the Week I do as one of the choices for Work on Writing for Daily 5.  They were optional.  This week I am going to have them do their first Have-To Art of the Week and we are going to do a Jack-o-lantern glyph.  I found a ton online and I liked components from a few of them so I made my own using the great ideas.  
I'm going to draw in the mouths before I copy it.  
Since the Art of the Week is part of Work on Writing, there is always a writing component with it.  This writing component is going to be a PUMPKIN acrostic poem that I do every year with my class.  I thought they would look good next to each other.  You can find tons of those online too.  I added the pictures for my class because I have a lot of LOW readers this year and I am hoping that it will help them.  I have to make my example today so they can see it.  My plan is to give each of them a copy of the direction paper and have them circle what is true for them.  Normally I wouldn't do this, I would just hang it up, but with this class, I think this will be better.  I'm also going to have them fill out the Pumpkin acrostic poem as we think of ideas for each letter too.  Again, normally I don't do that, we just brainstorm some ideas and when it's their turn for the art of the week, they write things down, but with this class, I'm going to help them along.  lol  
I'm joining up with Classroom Freebies Manic Monday to give the above to you for free if you would like it.  
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Have a wonderful week!  :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Monthly Monday Made-It September

So I'm joining in with 4th Grade Frolics to show what I've been up to since the last Made It.

I've actually been pretty good with blogging lately so you can see what I've been up to in my previous posts and see some classroom pics.
So I finally did what I have seen floating around the web and what I pinned from pinterest last year and did the above.  I know.  My "h" in lunch fell off.  Of course I did not notice that while I was taking the picture.  lol  I could not find it either, so I have to make a new one.  Did I remember to do that this weekend?  No.  So we still have Lunc.  lol  I used $1 clocks I got from the Target Dollar Spot last summer I believe and my adhesive vinyl and cameo.  I'm happy with it and it beats the kiddos asking every 5 minutes if it's time.  It is definitely helping with that, although they still ask for recess.  I didn't have a clock for recess and since we only have it 2 days a week, that's the clock I didn't do.  
You can see more things I did here and here.  I also finished up the Grammar Game activity pack that I have been working on to go with Unit 2 of my reading series.  
As you can see it just works on grammar skills and it doesn't HAVE to go with a particular reading series.  It doesn't go with any of the stories or anything.  I just did a grammar pack of games that go with the skills we learn in that unit.  I thought it would be a handy thing to have for review and for Word Work for Daily 5.  It has 5 activities in it: a noun sort, noun scoot, plural noun match, proper noun scoot, and possessive nouns silly sentences.  I am very happy that I got it done.  You can go to it on my tpt page by clicking on the pic above.  Unit 1 I finished before school started.  You can find that pack by clicking here.  
Well that's it.  As I mentioned in previous posts, it's been busy but we're starting to settle in.  This weekend it was nice because I didn't have to go anywhere and the piles of papers to grade haven't started yet.  Monday starts Day 13 for us and my students will start spelling tests and homework packets so the grading will begin!  lol  I hope it's going well for everyone else as well and I hope you'll take the time to check out my other posts (they only have a sad 4 views).  Have a great day everyone!  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Getting into a Routine

This is the last chance (thru 9/8) to have Donor's Choose double your donation using the code INSPIRE.  I'm really hoping to get this project funded so my students can have these resources to use in the classroom.  I have a lower group this year too.  We took the NWEA MAP tests this past week and I got the lowest scores I have ever gotten.  9 kiddos scored in the 150s or below (and they were NOT my sped kids) and the target for beginning of 2nd grade is 176.  I really think that the iPods would get my reluctant readers reading.  If you are able and willing to donate, here is the link to my project.

So things are slowly starting to get into a routine at school.  We started our first story in language arts, David's New Friends and we got everything done with it, we needed to.  Of course since I haven't started guided reading groups, we have extra time to fit everything in, even with the day off on Monday.  I won't start guided reading groups (book clubs as we call them) until October when we are finished building our stamina on all of Daily 5.  Otherwise it is a disaster.  You really DO need to take the time to do it and practice it.  My co-teacher usually rushes it and she has more problems with the students staying on task because of it (I don't tell her that though).  So we have been working on Read to Self and we are up to 10 minutes of stamina, although to be honest I have 3 boys who are probably at 1 minute of stamina.  I just didn't want to make the whole class stop when the other 22 ARE at 10 minutes.  These boys are my low boys, get reading help, and don't want to sit and read.  I get it, it's harder for them, and let's face it the books they CAN read are not that interesting.  We did I-PICK and I  had them pick 4 books at their reading level and 4 books using the I-PICK strategy, however as I mentioned before, they did not do the I-PICK strategy.  One of my boys that I mentioned above, picked Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, my fattest chapter book with the most words.  They are tiny and a ton on a page.  I think that book is a level U and he is reading at a level H.  There are no pictures nothing.  That's what I'm saying.  Just picking a book because he thinks it makes him look cooler, even though he can't read it.  I just let it be because he does have 4 books in there that he can read.  We need to practice I-PICK some more.  This upcoming week I'm also doing the idea I saw on Pinterest of a "Shopping Schedule" for trading out the books in book boxes.  I made my cute little posters and will introduce it to them on Monday so they can start trading out their books and hopefully do a better job of picking books since they have to last a week before they can "shop" again.  It will also be good training for making sure they are putting the books away correctly in our book nook.
We also started Work on Writing this week.  When I mentioned how we were going to be doing Work on Writing, what it meant, and showed them my writing center, they were not all that excited.  lol  We made our i-chart and got started and they LOVED it.  They were very sad when they had to stop at 3 minutes!  I said, "See, I told you it was fun!  That's why it's on our chart!"  So they have been excited every time we have done it and are up to 7 minutes of stamina on that.  My plan is to introduce Listen to Reading next week as only 4 kids can do it at a time, so the others will practice 1 of the other 2 while they are working on that and we will rotate so everyone gets a turn 1 day next week.  I also need to take their headshots so I can add them to the check-in sheet I made for my Smartboard.  The students will drag their picture to the activity they are doing.  My goal is to start book clubs and full fledge Daily 5 by the week of October 14th.  That gives us time to learn all 5, build up our stamina, and practice how changing between them will work.  Have to practice that quiet transition time too.
I will leave you with some pictures of our classroom from this week.  :)
Read to Self

My Writing Center

My poor "h" fell off the wall for Lunch.  I can't find it so I have to make a new one!  My writing center has the kit from A Cupcake for the Teacher, the topic cards from Teaching with Love and Laughter, and the Common Core prompt Cards from Falling into First.  
Work on Writing

Have a wonderful weekend!  :)

Monday, September 2, 2013


I'm going to TRY and keep up with this in the blog world this year.  I'm linking up with Farley's Currently for the 2nd time ever I think!
Doing this reminds me that I need to print out the ones for my students to do!  That's another goal I should have put down!  lol  It will be a good way to kick off their writing binders this year.  
I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  I was happy with all of the stuff I got done this weekend, which you can read about in my previous posts.  I also had a great day with most of my family grilling out and hanging out.  We tried a pinterest recipe of taking sugar cones and filling them with mini marshmallows and different baking chips and cut up fruit (strawberries and bananas), wrapping them in foil, and putting them on the grill.  They were really good!  Definitely a keeper!  
I'm also excited because my Donor's Choose project is one of the projects featured on Mrs. Fultz's Corner Donor's Choose page!  Woohoo!  You can check out my project here.  
Well I really DO need to go to bed now or I will be really sorry in the morning.  Have a great day/night everyone!  :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Donor's Choose & More

I have been lucky over the years to have 2 projects funded through Donor's Choose.  Both projects were for 2 iPod Nanos for my listening center in the classroom, so I now have a total of 4.  This is great and has worked out well for Listen to Reading as part of the Daily 5.  I also had CD walkmen that I bought from, these did not work so well.  The students had a hard time working them, the batteries died a ton, and we had a heck of a time finding headphones that would work AND actually stay on/in their ears.  So I just posted a new project (first time in 2 years) to get 2 more iPod Nanos so I can have a total of 6.  You can check out my project here:  Through September 8th, you can type in the promo code INSPIRE when making your donation and Donor's Choose will match it.  That's an awesome deal!  I'm hoping this project will get funded too.  The last 2 times I was lucky because big corporations came in and ended up funding them for me so I didn't have to rely on the few donations I got.  If you would like something for your classroom that your district can't afford for you and you don't want to bankrupt yourself, I would definitely recommend going on Donor's Choose.  It never hurts to try!  :)
So I was very happy when that went through this morning and then I worked on school stuff today since my colored ink and lamination sheets came in the mail and I printed and cut out Common Core - Writing Galore - August/September by Stephanie Stewart over at Falling into First.  Love that it has all 3 types of writing students need to be able to do for Common Core plus a creative one that has to do with the theme for the months and that students can choose the topic they want to write about.  I'm putting this in my writing center as some of the choices for Work on Writing and even Writer's Workshop time.  Can't wait to get started!  I'm introducing Work on Writing this week.  Writer's Workshop will have to wait until next week due to NWEA MAP testing.  I also actually printed out my own units I have on TPT too, which I have never done!  lol  It was always about getting them done and ready for others!  I am very excited to use them this year and am so happy I had the time to get it ready to use this week!  I printed out my unit for our 1st Treasures story, David's New Friends.  I won't be starting guided reading groups yet, but I'm excited to use all of the whole group things I made to go with the story.  I also printed out my 2nd Grade Grammar Pack to have all of the games and activities ready to go for Daily 5 Word Work so the students will have extra practice of the skills.  So I was very happy with what I got done.  I just need to put on my shopping list that I need to pick up another ream of card stock!   lol
One last thing I just have to say.  So I'm watching the MDA telethon and it's great that it gets more attention now and they have bigger acts involved, but I was a little sad that it was only on for 2 hours and that Jerry Lewis can't host it anymore.  That was always a huge part of Labor Day weekend growing up, having the Jerry Lewis telethon on and seeing him stay up the whole time, over 24 hours, fighting hard to raise money for "Jerry's Kids."  I donated using the text donation tonight and I hope that they are able to raise a ton of money now that it's down to 2hrs.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day off tomorrow in honor of all of your hard labor!  :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Catching Up

So it's been a whirlwind this past month.  I was gone on vacation at Disney for 8 days, then went right into setting up my classroom, and then right into school starting, and I can now catch my breath for a bit for a 3-day weekend and tell you what's been going on!
So Disney was of course WONDERFUL!!  It was HOT, but we had a great time and didn't let that stop us.  We took afternoon breaks everyday where we could relax and cool off in the pool before heading back to the parks.  We also took a day off from the parks, and were able to sleep in.  Doing all of that definitely helped make our trip better.  We were also happy because we pretty much got everything done that we wanted to get done and had all of our MUST DOs done.  I think we also met every single character that there was to meet.  I think my niece got autographs from 50?  Our homemade autograph book was a hit.  All of the characters and handlers loved it and we actually got special treatment because of it.  One handler told us when the character was coming back so we could be near the front and many other characters were excited that they had their own page!  Goofy was uber excited and even wanted his picture taken with his page.  Naveen from The Princess and the Frog couldn't get over it and was funny.  Buzz who only stamps his autograph actually had his handler give him a pen and he hand wrote a note to my niece.  Phineas and Ferb danced and spent a lot of time with my niece.  I also think it helps that my niece is super cute AND everyone liked the outfits we customized and made that I showed on previous posts.  So it was definitely a hit!
Day 1 at Epcot.  I have a Disney VISA and they have a special meet and greet for card holders.  We probably spent 30 minutes with Minnie and Goofy.  They were dancing with Brynn and Minnie was very excited about my purse and mickey hair bow.  We got a lot of special attention.  
Day 2 Magic Kingdom, in front of the castle with Walt and Mickey.  
Day 7 Magic Kingdom, posing with the Fairy Godmother
Trying out the hyped up Dole Whip.  I enjoyed it, but didn't go nuts over it like everyone on the internet!  lol  
We came home on a Sunday and I took the Monday off from going into my room to relax, unwind, do laundry, and catch up on things at home.  Then I went into school on Tuesday and went in every day.  I was very thankful for getting the big stuff all done before my trip so I was able to get everything else done in less than a week.  
My revamped job board for this year.  I had green clothespins and I just used sharpie to write the kids' numbers but I didn't like it.  I had these tree frogs, so I glued them on and added the numbers and I like that SO much better.  In the past I had kids fill out job applications for the jobs they want, but they don't do a good job filling them out and they complain when they don't get the job they wanted (I can't have 18 board cleaners, I'm sorry).  So I went back to rotating the jobs.  I figure I'll rotate them bi-weekly (if I can remember!).  
I had Office Max print out some of the inspiration posters I found and framed them and put them on the top of my cabinets for something different.  I used the free birthday posters from THAT'S SO SECOND GRADE and decide to do the idea I've seen around of taking the kids pictures for that month.  So I made numbers for each kids birthday for them to decorate and then I called the students up by month and took their picture, then printed it out and put it on the birthday poster.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I usually just do an 8 1/2 by 11 chart of all of them, but I thought this was more fun.  I decided to put their number cards up too since they had spent time decorating them...
My reading area with the book boxes filled with "Just Right Books" for the students, that I had ready for them based on their reading levels from last year so they could practice Read to Self before I taught I-PICK.  Let me just say, I wish I could have the 2 Sisters come teach I-PICK.  I do the shoes lesson.  I model.  I explain.  I tell why it's important to take the time to do it, and they still just grab books based on the cover and do not do the I-PICK strategies or the 5 finger rule!  Oh well.  I try.  
You can see in the bottom picture my Daily 5 rubric that I made that you can find as a freebie in my TPT store.  I had Office Max enlarge it to poster size as a visual reminder for the class.  
Here you can see my CAFE board on the left.  Under it I plan on doing like a "parking lot" kind of thing where I will have students put index cards in the pocket that matches their number to show me their level of understanding on topics.  Kind of like an exit ticket.  I saw a pocket chart online that you could buy, that gave me the idea to do it, but I thought I'll just create my own with what I have and save money.  So I took 2 Target $1 pocket charts I had, put green masking tape down the middle to create 2 columns of pockets on each chart and then used my Cameo and adhesive vinyl to put their numbers on (Tip if you want to do something like this, use the outside vinyl.  I used regular vinyl and it did not stick very well to the pocket chart, so I put clear packing tape over it so the numbers wouldn't fall off).  There is also my WHO AM I? activity I do on the first day every year.  Students give clues about themselves on the top page and then on the page underneath, draw a self portrait and write their name to reveal themselves.  I also tape the pics I take of them on the first day on the self portrait page too.  These end up going in their writing portfolio and I love looking at them again at the end of the year.  Then on the far right is the pencil from TEACHER'S WIFE I believe, that I had Office Max print out for me along with the Be-GUMing Great Writer's, Writer's Workshop system Facebook freebie from SECOND GRADE SHENANIGANS.  That table and items to the right, not pictured, is my writing center area.  
And here is my team and myself with the awesome shirts I ordered for us from TEACHER T-SHIRT.  They loved them and it was fun to wear them all together.  We got A LOT of compliments.  
So those are all of the pictures I have taken of my room.  We started on Monday the 19th with inservice and actually had a really great speaker, Dave Weber.  He talked about how relationships are what cause us and the students to excel or fail.  He was funny, enthusiastic, and held our attention the whole 2 1/2 hours he talked.  I usually can't stand inservice speakers, but he was great and really got you thinking.  Definitely look him up.  Then it was meetings, meetings, meetings.  Wednesday the 21st was the first day, half-day with kids.  I have 25 second graders this year.  Two are autistic, but very high functioning (the highest I've had in a while) and I got THE CHILD from last year.  I knew I was getting him.  He got on meds at the end of last year and was a little better so I'm hoping for good things this year.  So far (8 days) we've had no issues, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  As we move from review to things getting harder though I'm a little more worried.  He has shown extremely short flashes of what could come over the last 2 days when we started moving on a little.  I love my students and they are mine the second they walk through that door and they are mine forever.  My students always seem to love me too, but I do not put up with disrespect and am very strict when it comes to correct behavior because it's not fair to the other students if "little Johnny" can do whatever he wants because otherwise he has a meltdown and they can't.  So because of how well I work with the students (and it's not always easy) and get them to learn they can't do what they used to do, in my room, I always get THOSE students.  It can give me the reputation from some parents of being mean, but oh well.  They're not in my room so they don't realize I'm not mean.  I'm sticking up for the other 24 students.  I'm hoping that this year is a break and it stays fine.  As of the 8 days I've had them, I LOVE them.  They are a WONDERFUL class.  So sweet and polite!  I have 15 girls and 10 boys, and my girls are the best girls you could ever hope to have.  My boys are typical boys (sweet but squirrelly), but my girls are angels.  I think they built the class that way to give me some relief from the craziness they thought I might have. 
To start the year we did a lot of class building and getting to know you activities.  We've done a lot of partner activities and my students have loved the iPartners cell phones for picking partners.  There have been some kinks to work out each time I've told them to get with a certain contact (I have so and so, but so does this other person, and that other person), but we have been able to work it out each time so far.  It does help that I have to have a partner since I have an odd number of students, so I'm usually able to switch out my partner to make it work.  This past week I did my tattling vs. reporting lesson and read A BAD CASE OF TATTLE TONGUE and we did an emergency/not emergency sort.  I also had the social worker come in to remind them of how to handle situations besides tattling (SWAT, Stop, Walk Away, and then Tell).  We also did our germs lesson where I read GERMS, GERMS, GERMS and did the apple experiment.  Put a quarter of an apple in a container where only I have touched it, put a quarter of an apple in a separate container, this time where all of the students have touched it.  Then we leave them out.  I did this last year and let me tell you, the Germs apple got extremely gross so it really is a good lesson on germs.  We also did our Start Smart unit from Treasures and I used my TPT resources to help with it. 
Also this week, I had Back To School Night (BTSN).  20 of my 25 families showed up.  It went very well.  I got through everything I needed to in the short amount of time I had. Hopefully I didn't talk too fast and they were able to understand me.  I got a smart board (3 days before school started) so I was able to show them what my spelling lists look like and how I do them, what my homework packets look like, and our classroom website.  It was nice being able to show them that on a big screen.  I told my students how I'm new to the smart board and they have been patient with me and have even given me suggestions (myself and my teammate were the last ones in the school to get them, so the students have always had them).  
Next week we start our first story and spelling pattern for Treasures.  We also have NWEA MAP testing.  At least it's a short week!  
Today I pretty much vegged.  Tomorrow I have grocery shopping and dessert baking to do, and I think I'll print and laminate some more stuff now that my ink and laminating sheets have come in again.  Monday family BBQ.  
Hope everyone else has been doing well and if you have started school it's going great!  :)