September 5, 2016

Restoring Hope: Love 4 Louisiana Teachers

On August 11th, 2016, a stationary weather system resulted in torrential downpours with upwards of two feet of rain that devastated several parishes across South Louisiana. The extreme amount of rainwater, close to 7.1 trillion gallons of water, caused rivers, lake, and other bodies of water to reach and exceed flood stages in the following days. In the blink of an eye, the water began rising and encroaching upon not just areas that typically flood, but the flooding waters found their way to places that had never even had the threat of flooding before. The widespread devastation of the rising water quickly destroyed countless homes, businesses, and schools.


As the water began to recede and people were allowed into the areas that were flooded, the full extent of the damage was visible. For many people, they lost an entire lifetime of memories and personal treasures. While the loss of personal property and people's livelihood were tragic, an equally tragic loss was the impact that the flood waters had on area schools. There are over 30 schools, both public and private, across several parishes that suffered significant water damage to their campuses. Livingston Parish alone had 15 public schools that suffered water damage with at least 8 schools that experienced extensive damage that will take months to repair. While the school buildings will have to be repaired to be safe for students and staff to return, this work will be done and funded through the individual school systems, but what can be done to help the individual teachers replace their classroom materials, personal items, and everything else that made their classrooms whole?

I'm pleased to announce that I have joined forces with an amazing group of Teacher Authors from Teachers Pay Teachers to create a fundraiser, Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers. The core team behind Restoring Hope is comprised of Kristen from Teacher Playground, Andrea from This Literacy Life, Shanon from OCD in First, and Stephanie from The Creative Classroom. We came together and created the fundraiser as a way to help our fellow Louisiana teachers rise up and rebuild their classrooms. Our fundraiser has been made possible by the generous donations that we have received from 90+ TPT sellers that include high-quality products ranging from Kindergarten to High School. In total, there are six product bundles available and four donation options. The TPT store will go live on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 and will remain open for at least 30 days. You can click the banner below to visit our store and support Louisiana teachers by buying product bundles or simply donating money to the fundraiser.

Where will we be donating the proceeds raised from the fundraiser?

One of the biggest pieces of this fundraiser was trying to decide where we would donate the money we raised for Louisiana teachers to ensure that it would be fairly and equally distributed to those in need.100% of the proceeds that are made through our TPT store will be donated to the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana's Disaster Relief Fund. This organization is donating 100% of all money that they receive to public and private schools teachers who lost some or all of their classroom materials due to the flooding.

Our team knew that we wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing teachers who have supported our fundraiser by purchasing a bundle or donating money. Shannon from Blogs Fit For A Queen has graciously donated a FREE BLOG DESIGN. When you purchase one of the bundles from the Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers TPT Store, you can enter for a chance to win! All you have to do is complete the form that is attached in the product bundle or donation page by October 15th, 2016.

We would like to take this opportunity to send out a huge THANK YOU to our sponsors who have donated resources to the fundraiser bundles. Without your help and generosity, none of this would have been possible. 

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August 26, 2016

Writing Center Activities

Hi there!

Today I'm going to talk about our writing center!  This little area is something I always wanted, but it took me a while to get there.  I first saw this writing center in the Lakeshore catalog.  I knew I had to have it, but it was many years before I did that center justice!

After many years of this being a HOT MESS of scrap papers, half-written in books, broken colors, messy stamps, etc., I finally decided to change it up!

My last year of first grade, we made binder books.  I would introduce a new binder cover every few weeks.  We would discuss words that should go on the word wall for that topic so that they could refer back to write their stories.

Here's an example:

One of your binder covers is All About our Classroom and Friends.  For each binder, I have the colorful cover, along with a word wall, and lined pages for students to write their stories.  For this word wall, I typed in the names of the students.  For other word walls, we meet in our reading area, discuss words, and I would write them down on the pages.  Once that was done, this binder went into our writing center, and students were able to not only write in the binders, but they also used the binders during reading time to read other students stories.  We also used the end of the school day as a time for students to read their stories.


Click on the picture to see this in my store.

For this product, I have BINDER COVERS:
17 different topics with Cover for Binders. We used these covers to put in the front of binders, and we made class books with these topics. The kids loved looking through the books on a daily basis, and it was also a nice addition to our seating area during parent/teacher conferences. These also come with word wall sheets that we used to write words that students might need help with - this also helped tremendously!! *ALSO COMES WITH THE SHEETS TO WRITE ON.

108 Quick Write Cards - With these cards, my students used their writing journal to either finish the story, or write their own story - depending on what the quick write said. They range from If I were a magician..., to write a story about a time you hurt yourself. **My students LOVED these last year!!! Easy - Print, Laminate, Cut, and put in a jar!
So, this is how I did it my last year in first grade.  As most know, I am now at the technology department teaching teachers how to incorporate technology into their classroom.  We are slowly moving our district to 1:1 (meaning each child will have a student device throughout the day).

As I began to look at things differently - I realized that we could take a writing center to the next level!  We are a Google district (Thank GOD!) and so Google Drive, Docs, Slides, Forms, Drawing, Sites and Classroom have become my new best friend!

So - I decided to make a writing center activity using slides for teachers to GO PAPERLESS - WHAT?!?!?!

Here's how it works!  
1.  Teachers are given links to products created in Drive.
2.  They take those links and make folders in their own drive.
3.  If they have Google Classroom - they share with kiddos.
4.  If they don't have Google Classroom, then they share the folder with each student (directions included)
5.  Once students have the folder - they have access to the writing activities.  All they have to do is start typing.  Teacher also has access to all of the kiddos work, and can even print the sheets and make into books.  OR... they can put the pages together and make an online book.  EEEEEKKK~~~

For my Google Drive Product - I have 180 different writing topics for teachers to use.  Here are a few examples:


This product also comes with directions incase you aren't sure how to share items with your students.

Our teachers don't have their student devices yet, but I can't wait to share how this works!!

July 23, 2016


Decorating my classroom was always one of my favorite things to do over the summer!  Check out some themes I've created throughout the years!
EEEEKKKKK - I just loved RE-decorating my classroom YEAR after YEAR, and this will be the first second year I don't get to do that.  With my new position, I no longer have a classroom, but the ideas are still flowing!!  I have several friends who are going to let me live vicariously through them, but I'm not sure it will be the same.

I've come to realize that teachers go through a process.  Well, at least I did!

Three weeks before school lets out... I can't wait for summer.
Two weeks - AHHHH CHAOS!!  There's so much I didn't get to do!
One week - Chaos, anxiety, feelings of guilt cause I'm anxious for summer.
5 days... Really I can't believe it's almost over.
4 days... What can I do with them? They're done, and so am I!
3 days... I'm just going to enjoy them and not worry about picking up my classroom.
2 days... What was I thinking?  My principal is giving me two days to pick up this entire classroom, and I want to just sit and read to my kiddos and listen to them talk about the year!  REALLY?!?!
1 day... Oh MY GOSH!!  I can't believe the year went by so fast.
Day zero!!  WOOT WOOT - Cum folders, report cards, things off the floor, CHECK!!!  (not really!)
Day 1 of summer - I'm not thinking about school until JULY!
Week 2 of summer - I'm at the Dollar Store - Hummmm  - how could I use these in my classroom.  Day ? (after the Dollar Store visit) HOLY COW - How am I going to be ready for the next school year?  I only have 45 days... AHHHHHHH!!!!

Well, OK - that might be a little dramatic, but I swear - if people (husband and kids)  knew what was constantly going through my head, they would totally understand why I can't seem to keep one extra thought or memory in my brain. ;)

Anyway... I just had to get that off my chest!  Here's what I really wanted to share - Classroom decor.

As I said earlier, I just love RE-decorating my classroom every year.  I'm one of those teachers who constantly re-arranges, paints, adds, takes away throughout the year.  I actually kept my theme the last two years, and I was shocked with myself.  But I really loved the colors and was able to add things to it throughout the year that made me happy.

If I didn't "have" to work, (As in - I won the LOTTERY!) I think I would be a classroom decorator (FOR FREE)!  I absolutely LOVE making classroom decor!

Classroom Themes

Here are some of the themes I've created!

Most of my themes come with alphabet posters, number posters, word wall, classroom rules, classroom discipline chart, classroom labels, name tags, classroom tents, color posters, shape posters, and a door poster.  If you find a theme you like, but I don't have one of the above items, just email me and I'll create it.

alphabet posters, polka dot print, classroom decor POLKA DOT THEMED

(Turquoise, Pink, Purple, Green)

This is the theme I used for the last two years in first grade.  It was so easy to add things to my classroom with these colors.  This was by far my favorite!


(Green, red, orange, turquoise)









I created this for one of my pre-k friends!  Her room is precious!



I created this for one of my kindergarten friends!  OMG - her room was crazy cute!  She added all kinds of things to her room - burlap backing to her bulletin boards, stuffed animals all around the room, and different jungle themed material to cover her bookshelves.  So stinkin' cute!






Each color has:
Alphabet posters, number posters, classroom rules, discipline chart, color posters, 2d and 3d posters, word wall words with banner, and classroom labels. The word wall and classroom labels also have editable templates for you to add what you want (as long as you have PPT)


I know a lot of people don't believe in overly decorating a classroom - and I get it.  BUT...  I've always said, "Let me do what I want in my room, and you can do what you want in your room.  I will not judge you, but please don't judge me either!"  For me - my classroom was really my first home - I spent more time there, than at my house.  I needed it to be cute for ME - not anyone else.  The students loved our classroom, and so did the parents, but honestly - I needed it to be my happy place. It wasn't cluttered, but it was colorful! :)