Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale! And a FREEBIE!!

Unless you've been hiding under a rock you must have heard about the Teachers Pay Teacher Back to School sale today and tomorrow... who doesn't love a sale??

Now, I don't have a TPT store to direct you to for great savings...all my stuff is always a freebie here at my blog.

But I did buy some great items!

Since I am only going back to school for 9 short days before my mat leave starts I have been racking my brain about how to go about planning and teaching for those 9 days. I don't want to set up too many routines in case they're aren't what the teacher coming in will want for the class, but I also don't think I should teach any routines at all. Such a dilemma.

Then I start to think about school board has a process every September/October called re-organization. This is where schools and classes that have either too many students or not enough students get re-organized into proper class sizes. I understand the need for it but it's a lot of disruption for staff and students as classes can end up collapsed and teachers moved from one school to other overnight. Horrible, right?

Well, the chances are high of my school getting re-organized because our numbers are so high. This has happened to us every year for the last three...this year isn't looking any different. I want to spend my short time in the classroom creating small portfolios that my students can take with them in case they are moved to a new class and the teacher will have a glimpse into what they can do and have been doing without feeling like he/she needs to play catch up.

So when choosing my products for the sale I looked for items that covered a lot of general expectations and would allow the students to have fun while showcasing their abilities.

So what did I get?

Click on any of the images to be taken directly to the sellers TPT store and the product.

I love the idea of Math About Me...students start to think about numbers and math in a whole new way. I think this will be a great starting activity for my grade 3's and to pass along to their new teacher. 

After a whole summer off it can be difficult to get students to start writing again. I am hoping this will jump start their writing muscles and provide some diagnostic information for their new teacher. 

Gotta see how well they can make connections. I am hoping to do a 9-day (LOL) intensive connections unit while I am school to gain some insight into my student's reading ability that I can then pass on.

This product has some great get-to-know you activities and many of them could be used to create some cute class books. I think I will use a lot of them as time-fillers and seat work as I try to complete as many reading assessments in 9-days as possible.

Math diagnostic!! Grade 3 is a testing year in my province so I want to get my students started on the right foot (even if I won't be there at testing time) so they can be prepared. 

Lastly, I got some more of the ADORABLE Pink Cat Studio clip art that I have been using for my Back to School Teacher Binder Series. I am in love with it. 

If you've missed on on the freebies so far make sure you check out

And now for Part 4...more freebies for you!

Here is a little form to help you keep track of all your student's birthdays!

This a is cute package of forms I put together to help you prepare for a substitute. This freebie includes a spot to leave information about your class/students, classroom rules, procedures, behaviour management, recess routines, lunch information, dismiss routines, morning routines, and a feedback form.

Finally, I'd love for you check out the TPT stores for my fellow contributors over at A Class*y Collaboration.
Click on the buttons below to head to their  TPT stores.

Kathy is participating too! She has a tonne of math games that would be great for math centres.

Brenda has some amazing Beanie Bag Decoding Strategy Posters...just added to my cart!

Everything in Ciera's store is sooo cute! I love the Author's Purpose Powerpoint and colouring set.

Jacque has some super cute alphabet posters.

Rachel is in on the sale too!! She has a wide variety of sub plans available.

Sabra has two cute fraction sets- Fraction War! The kids would love it. 

Hope your shopping is going as well as mine!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Teacher Bag Linky Party

Well, now that all the Schoolapalooza over at A Class*y Collaboration has reached an end (sad face) I can post about my...


I must say, I don't have just one. I am a self-diagnosed bag-aholic and having Thirty-One come to Canada was probably not the best thing for my wallet. I change my purse at least twice (if not more) a week and probably only carry the same teacher bag for a month at a time. That being said, I do have some go-to faves that stay in rotation longer than others.

Last year the bag I used the most was this amazing canvas tote from The Bay. 

Photo via Gracious, Good's Blog

I loved that it had the traditional Hudson Bay colours (I wish I could afford one of their blankets!) and how sturdy it is. 
Plus, it was on sale for $25! Awesome.

I could pack this baby full of stuff and it would still hold more. My car often told me that my passenger wasn't wearing their seatbelt when I carried it to school. A sign that maybe there was too much in it? Hmmmmm.

Photo via Thirty-One

My best friend just bought me the Organizing Utility Tote from Thirty-One for my up-coming birthday (August 19th if you're wondering) and I love it. She got this print with my initials on it. I'm sure for the next year while I am on mat leave it'll be put into service as a diaper bag, but look out September 2014! I've got a new Teacher Bag.

Photo via GreenThinkers

Sometimes I just carry a few reusable grocery bags from a local grocery store because they're big, sturdy and can hold a lot. Plus, they come in all sorts of cool fruit and vegetable designs!

Photo via Thirty-One
Photo via Thirty-One

Since I am only going back to school for nine days this year, I don't anticipate needing to carrying a lot of stuff so I am going to rotate between my new Retro Metro Bag and the Inside Out Bag from Thirty-One.

I've been carrying these bags everywhere with me since they arrived and I love both of them!

I would love for you to link up with my ongoing linky party and share your Teacher Bag...or bags, as the case may be.

As a thank you to everyone that links up, 
I'd like to offer them a personalized Teacher Planning Binder cover page like the one pictured below. 

Would you like to display the linky party on your blog? Then grab the code here.

get the InLinkz code

Friday, August 9, 2013

Teacher Binder Cover Pages- Freebie

Welcome to Part 3 of my Back to School Teacher Binder Series.
I hope you have found something to your liking so far. If you are coming over from A Class*y Collaboration's Schoolpalooza- WELCOME!

Please make sure that you have see the first two parts to this series so that you don't miss out on any of the freebies.

I've saved a good freebie for the day that I was being highlighted for Schoolapalooza...I think it's my favourite part of my series!
How can you resist chevron AND owls?

Today's freebie is COVER PAGES!
That's right. These can be used as cover pages for your Teacher's Planning Binder or to for the divided sections inside. Which ever suits your fancy.

In this freebie there are 17 different covers! Whew...There has to be at least a few that work for you. BUT if not, please leave a comment or email me. I can add more covers to please everybody in their organizational needs.

Here's a few samples.

of these 17 (!) cover pages.

This freebie includes the following 17 cover pages:

- Anecdotal Observations
- Assessment Profiles
- Common Core Standards
- Curriculum Planning
- Grade Book
- Guided Math Planning
- Guided Reading Planning
- Homework
- Lesson Planning
- Monthly Calendar
- Communication Log
- Staff and Team Meetings
- Standards
- Student Information
- The Daily Five
- Year Long Planning
- Teacher Planning Binder 

Thanks for visiting and please leave a comment below... especially if I am missing a cover you would like!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Back to School Freebie Series- Teaching Binder Printables

Thanks to a follower who emailed me to say that the links for my freebies weren't working. I'm so sorry. 
The problem has been fixed and they are working now.

It's back to school time and I have been working hard on updating my Teacher Binder printables from last year (here and here) and adding new ones for y'all. 

This is going to be a series of posts so make sure you check back, some of my freebies will only be offered over at A Class*y Collaboration as part of a special event we have planned. Whew, can you handle all that excitement? 

I am basically attempting to create all the forms and organizational tools I need for my class...the things I find most useful. If you don't see something you think you would like, please email me or leave a message and I will do my best to try and create something for you.

My first two freebies are for the all important act of communication. My very first associate teacher in Teacher's College told me that one of the best things a teacher can do is 
C.Y. A. 
(Cover Your Ass!)
Which means documenting all communication between home and school. Believe this type of thing has saved me a lot of trouble in the past.

A quick tip: For those student who always seem to have trouble returning notes and tests signed...especially if the grade/mark is not so great, I photocopy the test BEFORE I send it home so that I still retain a copy even if it is "lost" before a parent sees it. 

Student Contact Information
This is a sheet to help you keep all your students contact info in one place. My board doesn't allow emailing between parents and teachers so I did not include a column for that, but you could always use the notes section. 

Parent Communication Log
In the past I used one sheet per student to record communication between home and school, but I found there were some students who required little communication and it was a waste of paper. So this year I am going to attempt a monthly log. That is I will record all the communication that takes place within a given month on one sheet. We'll see how it goes. 

All of the gorgeous clip art I will be using during this Teacher Binder series comes from Scrappin Doodles ( and Pink Cat Studio ( I am in LOVE with the owls!!!

And...please, link up with my What are you carrying? Back to School Linky Party. There just might be a surprise freebie for all those who link up!

Teacher Binder Printables- Part 2- Behaviour and Missing Assignment Logs

Thanks to a follower who emailed me to say that the links for my freebies weren't working. I'm so sorry. 
The problem has been fixed and they are working now.

Thanks for coming back to check out the second post in my Back to School Teacher Binder Series.

Part 2

Today I am offering you two different logs to help you track student behaviour in your classroom. 

Behaviour Log

Click on the image above to get your own copy. 

Missing Assignment Log

Click on the image above to get your own copy. 

I find that these simple logs are powerful tools in your classrooms. It will help you to communicate with parents or guardians about their child's achievement in your class. Also, you will be able to track patterns of behaviour that your students are exhibiting and be able to intervene to help them. 

My Teacher Binder series is just getting warmed up! I still have an amazing collection of Cover Pages that can be used at the front of individual binders or as dividers, a Substitute Teacher Notes set, as well as much more!

Want something for your binder? 
Leave me a comment below and I'll get to work.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Classroom Pictures...Revealed!

These are pictures from last year's class. Why last year? 
Well, here in Canada we don't go back to school until September and usually can't get into our rooms until the last week of August.

Plus...this year I will only be teaching for a grand total of...wait for it...9 days! What?
That's right, I will be going on mat leave with my second child nine days after the start of the year. So setting up a room and starting the school year is going to look very different for me this year.

Here is what my room looked like when I walked in after the summer last year.
Everything on one side.

And nothing on the other...

Yes, all my stuff is piled up behind all the furniture in my classroom. 

Here is a round about tour of my room, starting at the back of the room. 

 In an effort to make my room more "numeracy rich" (as I learned about while reading Guided Math that summer), I downloaded the Math Alphabet Posters from Bridget over at Little Lovely Leaders...and they are super cute!!

Little Lovely Leaders

These are the bins I will use to organize my student's notebooks and work. So far I have them labelled for Math Journals, Reading Journals, Science and Social Studies. I also want to create a label for a Homework bin. 

My bins started here on the back table but didn't stay there for very long. A few weeks into school I had to move them to a shelf at the front of the room as I gained 6 extra students from a split class for all my Science and Social Studies class and they needed a place to sit. 

This is my Math focus board. You can start to see the first hints of my Suess theme which I decided upon in the summer. I LOVE it. 

This did not stay my Math focus board. I ended up using my Math Huddle board a lot and then hung my anchor charts over the shelves in my room in an effort to gain extra wall space. 

You can head over the post about using Command Hooks for my anchor charts here

This is the set of Math Problem Solving Posters I created last year that I love. I think it's good to have a resource for students to refer to during their Math lessons.


This is the view my easel on the edge of the carpet area. You can also see my teacher desk in the background. Last year, I faced my desk away from the class and loved the extra space it gave me in the room. As I hardly ever sit at it I figured I didn't really need all the space it always took up.

Once again I loved the extra space pushing the teacher desk against the wall gave me. The only thing I would change next year is to put it closer to my u-table so that I could still access the drawers and filing cabinet easily. 

You can also see the number line I put up over the windows. Another attempt at a numeracy rich classroom.

This is my classroom calendar board. The 2 hooks under the calendar are where I will put the daily helpers. After trying classroom jobs for many years, I moved to just having two daily helpers last year. It was so much easier to keep track of then changing a million jobs every week or so. 

I love having only 2 helpers, but I ended up moving these 2 hooks very soon as the calendar was actually behind my chair and a big pain to switch everyday. I moved them over beside our daily schedule. 

Here is my classroom library. I changed the book bin labels...again!! Why do I do that every year? 

When I return to the classroom September 2014 (!) I am planning to purchase a set of Ladybug's Teacher Files Genre Library Labels. I just love how she organizes it and can't believe I've never thought of it before. 

I also want to buy ALL new bins from Really Good Stuff. 

I was a little worried that I wouldn't have enough books for a Grade 3 class. After 6 years in Grade 7 and 8, I really had to cut my classroom library in half, less than half a few years ago when I moved to Grade 4. But it turns out that I think it's okay...okay, not great, but okay.

Still need more age appropriate books. 

This is my Power of Retelling board that I posted about earlier. I am very excited to get it going with my students. 

Loved this! Loved my Book of the Week. Can't wait to do it again.

This is my agenda board. I've put it close to the carpet area this year so my students can sit on the carpet to complete their agendas each day. Plus, more Suess fabulousness!

I liked this but it took up too much room...I made it too big. Something to remember for next year. 

I hung 3M clips on a wall last year for chart paper and LOVED it! It was so great to be able to stand and write during shared writing and brainstorming sessions without having to be cramped over in a  chair by an easel. This year I have the easel on one side of my carpet area and the chart paper hung on the wall on the other. 

This was the inspiration for my Must Have Monday post about Command hooks. Click here to check it out. 

Brillant? I think so!!

So here is the main area I plan to be in when I work with my students. As I pushed my desk against the wall, my u-shaped table will be my command centre. From here I will be able to do guided reading, math workshop and conferences.

In real life it didn't look that messy to me, but here in the picture it does...looks like I have more work to do. 

This is my Math Huddle board. A teaching partner of mine organizes his math lessons this way and it made a lot of sense to me, especially after reading Guided Math. I will definitely be posting more about it soon!

This is the best thing I implemented into my Mat teaching last year. Click on the Math Huddle category to the right to check out more posts. Now if I could just get the process of Guided Math the way I like it. 

Class supplies. I decided to organize my markers by colour after seeing a similar idea on....where else, Pinterest!

I might create the Sterilite drawer organizer I've been seeing everywhere for next year and save table space. 

This is our daily schedule board. I created labels and put magnets on the back so I can easily change them. I also created some blank ones that once they are laminated I can write on them for days when we have an activity that doesn't fit into our normal routine, like a field trip. 

The view of the whole room from the back door. 

Whew!! I hope you enjoyed the tour of my room from last year....there will be NO pictures of this year's room as it will just be too sad!

I'm heading over to link up with A Class*y Collaboration's A Class*y Cruise.
 Hope to see you there!

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