Otto Storage {Flex Seating Giveaway}

There's no tired like the first day of school tired!  I had high hopes for today and wasn't let down. The kids were fantastic. We explored the alphabet through different morning tubs while unloading supplies. We giggled at First Day Jitters when we met Sarah Jane Hartwell. We collaborated on rules with David Goes to School and hung them for all to see. We generated a list of writing topics and introduced how to manage supplies independently. We combined numbers through six and explored numbers through 20 in different afternoon tubs. We successful created our first sentences in our brand new student planners after recess. See, high hopes met!  

Okay, it wasn't all bliss. I arrived early to place their name tags on the tables and realized I forgot a stack at home. I was first to place my fresh prints into lamination but later realized first is last when other lamination projects are placed on top. I forgot about my coffee and let it get cold, even in my Yetti. I cut out my laminated activities instead of eating lunch to ensure I had enough materials in for afternoon tubs. I never managed a bathroom break throughout the entire school day but I survived.

Insert exhaustion here!

I know it seems crazy but this tired teacher wanted to pop in and share a great flex seating option with additional storage that any teacher would cherish.

Let's talk about the product...

Otto Storage has a collection of stools made of a solid polypropylene material that can support a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. The stools provide a comfortable place for children and adults to sit. It's remarkable to think 7 pieces assemble so easy without hardware.

Yesterday was a profession planning day. I raced to get all materials set out and ready for today, the first day with kids. I played around with my set up and decided to use this multi-purpose stool/table at each of my team groupings. Having a place to store team materials while providing seating to push into small groups is a key factor in why I selected the solid stools. 

Today was my first opportunity to use the storage and seating during instruction. I was able to easily manage my stored materials. During transitions, I set the materials on the stool which served as tables. Once students began interacting with their literacy and math tubs, I was able to push in with the kids without displacing a child from their seat.  
I have lots of color in my room and decided to balance the colors with white stools. I encourage you to visit their website to see all the colors and designs available. I'm thrilled to be given an opportunity for one of my followers to win a pair of stools for their own classroom. Please answer the question in the Rafflecopter below and make sure you complete the entry by selecting "I Commented" in the Rafflecopter. I will be back on Saturday to announce the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To follow up with a message I've received... 

I'm selective with my flex seating. I wanted to have alternative places to sit on a budget. The kids work, standing or sitting at desks. My independent stations, early finishers, and collaborative times are positioned around the room in different forms.  I have low tables, a hut, scoop chairs, seat crates, a rolling table with stools, rug seats, and cushions for my counters.  Find the balance that works for you and your management.  My students were eager to know more about the alternative places to work but using the options wisely and without conflict is my goal.  I'll incorporate all options by mid September.

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Celebrating Yummy Birthdays

Hi friends! I hope you all are rested from the summer break and ready to head back to school. Today I writing to share how I make birthdays special for each of my students. After all, celebrating the day you're born is a big deal when you're a kid!

Many students don't always have the same opportunity for celebrating their birthdays. Each year a small percentage of parents will contact me to celebrate their child's birthday. My heart breaks for the ones who don't.  It's the little things we do to make the kids feel like they matter.  

The first display you see when you walk in my classroom door is our birthday graph. It's a beautiful and purposeful. Later in the year, it will become a focus lesson for graphing and data entitled "Celebrating Yummy Birthdays!"

The cupcakes are editable.  I not only add the name but a full date so I'm aware how old each child will be.

During preplanning, I prep the materials shown below for each child. Having the materials already prepped and easily available will help later in the year when I am focused on lesson, assessments and data. 

Each child receives a crown to be stapled on a sentence strip and worn at specific times. I have a birthday sign which is displayed for all to see. The birthday badge has a safety pin adhered to the back and is worn throughout the day. The most beloved item is the personalized lollipop from Oriental Trading.  

The birthday file is editable, allowing you to easily enter your student's name. The document autofills each editable fields within the file to make prep and printing easier. I keep a sheet protector adhered to the classroom door and simply add their birthday sign to be displayed for all to see. When my students enter the room, they are aware we are celebrating one of their friends.

The crowns are precut and ready for sentences strips. 

I store all the artifacts in my birthday buckets at the front door. As I enter, I can easily pull the button, crown, certificate and lollipop to place on the birthday student's desk.

From the moment the kids realize the personalized lollipops are for their birthday, I receive real time updates. The personalized swirl lollipops are from Oriental Trading and come in packs of 24 for $13.99. Don't they look delicious?

This is the first year that I didn't say "Love, Mrs. Saoud". I decided to say Happy Birthday without thinking the label already said Happy Birthday. Lesson learned. Oriental Trading allows three lines with 12 characters and spaces per line for your personalization needs. Thankfully, the kids are more excited about the delicious looking sucker rather than the label.

I take super simple steps in hopes that each child's day is a special day on a budget. For my darlings who celebrate during summer break, I feature them in a "unbirthday celebration" in the weeks leading up to our final day of school.  

I would love to hear how you recognize each child for their birthday! Each of the pictures above have a direct link if you're interested in Celebrating Yummy Birthdays or the Personalized Swirl Lollipops from Oriental Trading.

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Father's Love {Freebies}

Hi primary peeps. I'm aware many of you are probably enjoying your summer. For some like me, you are so very close to a long break. In fact, I have two days left of this school, so I'm keeping this post short and sweet. This tired teacher is squeezing in one last activity before the kids are out, and the file is FREE for you!

The coupons are a duplicate of the Mother's Day coupons.  I changed out the cover and Mom's Big Helper to Dad's Big Helper.

Printing on colorful cardstock helps keep this card standing on it's own.  I shrank the writing template to fit inside the card.
Not interested in using cardstock?  I created a card on white copy paper with a color and blackline image of a tie.  Print to meet your own classroom needs!

Prefer a full page for writing practice?  This format is available too.  It's perfect for any occasion since it's not Father's Day specific.

Click the image above will take you to the free download. Hope you enjoy the resource. Have a fantastic summer!

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Elmer {Low Prep Resources}

Goodness, being out of the classroom can be extremely stressful. I prepped some lessons to help ease the transition. It took moments to print and cut the chart art and scrabble tiles. I needed a few additional minutes to write notes for each content area. I'm fairly certain I spent more time looking for the book which was in a secret stash for this day. My only problem with secret stashes, I can never find them.   

This file was created with a themed day of activities that revolves around the story, Elmer. The resources are perfect for your own lessons or for an unexpected absence. A quick narrative will be needed if you're leaving these activities for a sub. The resources are easy to print and prep. I provided a preview of all contents of this file. {{Note}} This file does not include scripted lesson plans. It's the resources for the lesson and include: predicting, cause/effect, adjectives, character traits, and adding number strings.

After quickly prepping the file, I drove up to school, glued the color graphics to chart paper, placed the color cards and scrabble images in a pocket chart, and laid the plans on my desk. I'm always so jealous at the activities a sub gets to do in my class.  

Here's a glimpse at what's include in the my low prep resources for Elmer.  As you can see from the preview image on my plans, I use the preview pages to write notes about the specific lesson to my sub.  

I sure hope you love what you see. I have additional themed resources for A Case of the Stripes. If you're interested in this set of activites that compliments the Elmer resources, click the image below.

Otherwise, I embedded a link in the cover graphic and previews for the resources to go with...

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Mother's Love {Freebies}

Hi friends! I hope your week is starting off with a bang! I wanted to share a few ideas I completed today. To be honest, Mother's Day creeped up on me. I'm usually much better prepared. The activities were created this weekend and completed today.

I began with a read aloud. Have you ever read, My Mom by Anthony Browne? I love the simplicity of this text. The author reveals characteristics about mom through the voice of an unseen child. The text can be used in a variety of ways, from comparisons to similes. 

Tomorrow we will create similes using the same text and lesson ideas from Amy Lemons at Step into Second Grade.

The above picture was created by A Full Classroom via Amy Lemon's Lesson linked above.

As for today, we shared a list of what makes our mom special. It was a quick round robin that we used to helped generate the start of our chart, similar to the one shown above.

Once the students were engaged with a read aloud, I introduced the messiest task of the day. Normally I'd wait until the end of the day to paint, but I wanted time for everything to dry. I gave each child four tongue depressors and two popsicle sticks. The kids were asked to paint all their pieces white. The pieces were assembled and glued later in the day. The frame takes me back to my early years of teaching. The adorable fenced garden picture frame will make a perfect compliment to their crafted cards.

I picked up the flower stickers at Walmart.

At the start of the writing lesson, I read the story, I Love My Mommy Because by Laurel Porter Gaylord. It's another simple text that effectively activates my student's schema. We discuss ways we love our mom and why we would take the time to thank her.

My class studied letter writing during February, so we reviewed parts of a letter prior to my students writing their own thank you notes.

As my littles awaited a quick teacher conference, they crafted a card to be glued on the back side of the friendly letter. I set out the different templates and paper. I had one visual on display and told them they could use any color and flower design. The craft allowed me the time to move from student to student while the masses stayed engaged. FYI, I used paper from Michaels. Their pastels are on point!

With the wildfires sprinkling snow like ashes all over the campus, we are stuck indoors. A little Go Noodle and the creation of coupon books kept us moving along after our math block.

All the parts of this post are freebies. You can download your copy by linking to my store through the graphic below.

If you're looking for a sweet idea for teachers appreciation or an EOY gift, I found yummy writing pads at Michaels and matching pencils at Target.  Simple, useful and effective.

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Contraction Surgery

Hi friends! Just popping in to share a few activities we are worked on this past week. Contraction surgery is a themed day to support our previous learning of contractions. My kids have enjoyed this idea for years, so I'm excited to finally have a product that meets the needs of how I teach the skill.

Here's a little background on building my theme. I purchased the lab coats several years ago on Amazon. The store is called Makerspace Lab. The coats came in a pack of 10 for $19.99. I've used the same coats for years even though they're disposable. As you can see, they've held up nicely. With that being said, they're disposable. I've lost a few snaps over the years.

The goggles were purchased with my lead money several years ago. They're made by Learning Resources but I purchased mine from EAI Education. They were cheaper, costing under $3 each. There are several reasons I prefer to use the goggles over mask. The goggle are easier for primary students to adjust since they're worn like glasses. The adjustment extends at the ear. Also, I can place them in my dishwasher to clean them after they're used.

The lab coats and goggles are over-the-top and not at all necessary. I can tell you from my personal experience, my students are much more excited when they hear we will be dressing as scientist today. They're aware this means an investigation.  

If you're looking to complete the activity on a budget, ask your school nurse for a donation. We had masks and gloves on hand at school. The materials were donated to my students to use during our learning sequence.  

The following preview pages perfectly describe our learning sequence. I started the lesson with a quick brainpopjr video on contractions. We paused the four minute video throughout to determine the contraction before Annie reveals to Moby how the sentences are manipulated. Following the video introduction, we began a whole group activity. I'd already glued the chart label, doctor and contraction pill bottle to a piece of chart paper. The kids assisted me in locating the pill parts scattered in the center of the rug. As they're located, we glued them to our chart, corresponding with the correct pill bottle.

Once we completed the whole group activity, students were given the "will" and "not" contraction foldable pages. I saved the mixed pages for the following day as a follow up to the concentration game. The foldables allowed independent practice while writing a contraction. 

The next day, my students worked in groups playing a contraction matching game. The game provided practice with a variety of mixed contractions. My low level students worked to match the puzzle parts while my higher level students place the puzzle parts upside down and played concentration. Once the game was complete, my students were given the mixed practice foldable pages to complete.

The day of the investigation, my students were given a doctor hat {nurse, but I didn't tell them}. They glued the blackline to a sentence strip and wore in the operation room. Here's what the kid's desk looked like as the activity began.  

The day went well with the prescribed activity below....

Here's a glimpse in our operating room! 

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If you're interested in this file, you can link through the first image.  

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