Saturday, June 30, 2012

To 100 and Beyond! Quick and Easy Giveaway

As of this morning, I am only 8 followers short of 100.  I am amazed how fast my little blog has grown so far! 

I've never had a giveaway and thought I'd play around with Rafflecopter a little bit.  I decided to keep this giveaway quick and easy so I couldn't mess anything up. 
Help me reach 100 followers....and go beyond 100!!!  Spread the word and join my quick and easy giveaway below.


Here are the prizes:
- A $10 giftcard to Dunkin' Donuts

- Your choice of one item from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
So, what are you waiting for?  I've provided you with multiple ways to enter so enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stop back often.  When I reach a 200 followers I am going to have a super-de-duper giveaway!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spark a Fire & Inspire with Kindle Fire from Donors Choose

Amazon Kindle Fire - tablet - 8 GB - 7"
One down, four more to go.  I have posted 5 proposals on Donors Choose in hopes to get 5 Kindle Fires, screen protectors, and cases in time for this upcomming school year.  One has already been funded and another is down to just $96.

Whats my trick? 

1.  I seperated the Kindle Fires into seperate, smaller, projects.  Smaller projects get funded faster.

2.  I checked out the Partner Funding Opportunities and geared my proposals to fit the guidelines to receive those.  For example, various companies are offering help with funding financial literacy projects, so I geared my projects towards those.  Check back often to see what new opportunities are available.  The list is frequently updated.

3.  Try to think of a snappy title like: Spark a Fire & Inspire Us to Develop Financial Literacy (notice how I also include Financial Literacy in hopes to draw attention from the Partner Funding Opportunities.)  Make your title interesting enough that someone will be drawn to click on it and check it out.

4.  Shorten the length of your proposal to expire in a few weeks, rather than a few months.  Why?  So that your proposal will show up first when someone is searching for one to donate money to.

5.  Spread the word.  Share your project on Facebook, Pinterest, through email, on your blog.  You never know when the right person is going to stumble across your idea and decide to help out.

If you are questioning whether or not Donors Choose is for you I strongly encourage you to try it out.  I have had thousands of dollars of classroom materials donated to my classroom through the site.  Materials that I would never have been able to purchase myself without the thoughtful donations from others.  Donors Choose is quick and simple.  They provide step by step instructions for how to submit a project and they offer examples of what to write.  Worried about what will happen if your proposal is funded over the summer?  Worry not!  They will hold off on shipping you the materials until your school is back in sesssion.

You can view my proposals on Donors Chooose here.  So what are you waiting for?  Try Donors Choose NOW!

Oh, and one more thing.  Cassandra from Adventures in Room 5 is having her first giveaway.  Check it out and help her reach 50 followers!

Monday, June 25, 2012

...and my back to school theme is....

Drum roll please.  My back to school theme is....

I found the cutest robots on Caron-Dellosa's website that persuaded me to go with this theme.  I needed something I'd never done before and robots will fit in perfect because one of our first science units in the fall is simple machines (with wheels, screws, gears, etc...)
I know, I know...major contrast from my cute garden blog design.  But definitely showcasing another side of my personality seeing as I come from a family of gear heads.
My classroom bins and containers are all red, blue, and green (primary colors) so I needed something to fit in with those, as I do not want to have to purchase them all over again.  My walls are also going to be painted some time over the summer, or winter (whenever our maintenance crew gets a chance).  2 will stay beige and 2 will become blue.  The robot design should still coincide with my color combinations.
So, now that school is finally out, I decided to join in with Tara, from 4th Grade Frolics, for Monday Made it!  This week, to coincide with my robot theme, I made some robot art for my classroom walls.
I gathered canvas (on sale - 50% off), paint, glitter paint, paint brushes, wiggly eyes, and star confetti from A.C. Moore.  I gathered some nuts, bolts, screws, and other miscellaneous items from Lowes.  When I got home, I spread out all my materials.

I was inspired by some artwork I found posted on Pinterest by Krissy Venosdale.  I decided to model my project after her robot design.
I started out by making some templates on Microsoft Office (squares, rectangles, letters) because my hands shake too much to draw free-hand.  I cut out the templates, traced them onto the canvas. determined what color I wanted where, and began to paint.

After the paint dried, I outlined each object and letter with glitter paint, glued on the miscellaneous items along with the confetti stars, and shazam....robot art complete.  What do you think?

I also found some really cute robot printables from Krissy Venosdale.  Click here to download them for yourself!  She has them posted for free!
Pinned Image

Join in with Tara for Monday Made it!

Stop back soon for more Robot related art and school supplies that I find along the way.  It'll be a few weeks before I can get back into my classroom again.  But, once I start setting up, I'll take lots of pictures to share!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Notice Anything New?

Ta Da....Check out my new blog design.  What do you think?

I've been working over the last week with Honey Bunch Blog Designs to create a new look for my blog.  Their design blew me away.  Coming in to the process I had an idea what I wanted...a garden, outdoorsy theme, with flowers, an iris (my favorite flower), a butterfly, and the colors purple, blue, and green.  A week later, shazam...welcome new blog design.

I also have a blog button (also located on the right hand side of my blog)!

If your in the market for a new design I highly recommend Honey Bunch Blog Designs!  Their design packages are affordable and they will help you select the best graphics to meet your needs.  A lot of the graphics in my design came from  Meryl Barthlo and I have custom graphics from their in-house designer, Melon Headz.  She created the butterflies and the iris to match  my design. 

Check out The Honey Bunch Blog Design. They truly have your best interest at heart. You will love working with them!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Last Day, Blog Design, and Giveaways!

Hip Hip Hooray!  Today was officially the last day of school!  I know most of you are already out for the summer.  Up here in New York we are a little behind with our school calendar.  Better late then never I guess.

The end of the year is truly bitter sweet. Although I am sad to say goodbye to my kiddos I am ready to start fresh next year....and extremely ready to enjoy the hot summer weather!  Hello hiking, camping, swimming, and hanging at the beach!

I'm excited to announce that will be getting a more professional and unique blog design soon.  I am in the planning stages with an amazing design team: The Honey Bunch Blog Design.  They have been super helpful and I can't wait to see what they have come up with for me.  Check back soon to see how it comes out!

If you on the look out for awesome giveaways check out:

Dirty Hands and Lesson Plan's 250 follower giveaway

- and -
a 300 follower giveaway from No Monkey Business!

No Monkey Business

How was that for a random post?  Welcome summer vacation!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yummy Awards

Today was our 4th Grade Award Ceremony.  I don't particularly like award ceremonies.  Growing up, I was always the child who sat with her fingers crossed, hoping and praying my name would be called as each award was announced.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to see my students’ hard work and accomplishments rewarded.  However, there never seems to be enough awards to go around.  Our district has strict guidelines about selecting only one student for each award.  ½ my class is able to get one, ½ is not.  I can’t help but feel uneasy about the students who do not get the chance to shine on stage.  It’s uncomfortable and upsetting.

So, this year I decided that when we returned from the award ceremony, everyone in my class was going to get an award.

I found adorable Candy Student Awards from Reagan Tunstall on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I printed them off in black and white because our school no long allows printing in color.  Dollar Tree has a great selection of candies for just $1.00.

After the awards ceremony students came back to the classroom.  Surprise!  I handed out an award to each student.  Although they did not get to go up on stage, they were thrilled to get a candy treat along with their award.

Reagan's Student Candy Awards were a huge success!  Check them out on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Erie Canal Field Trip

Sam PatchFriday was our last full day with students and what better way to celebrate then to go on a boat ride along the Erie Canal.

We rode on the Sam Patch, an 1800's packet boat replica.  Students had a blast learning interesting facts about Sam Patch (whom the boat was named after) and the Erie Canal. 

We got to ride up and down in a lock (water elevator) and travel along the canal.  On the way back we sung Erie Canal songs.

This field trip served as a culminating event after our extensive unit on transportation and the Erie Canal.  Students created a Living Timeline and performed for their families, community members, staff and other students.  Viewers boarded mock packet boats and traveled around the gymnasium through time.  At each stop, students performed a little skit to teach about the Erie Canal.

I am sad, yet excited, to say there is only one week left of school.  (Three 1/2 days with students and 2 teacher conference days.)  My report cards are done, paperwork is filed, now time to enjoy the last few days with my wonderful kiddos.  The end of the school year is bitter sweet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Need Help - Back to School Themes

Last summer I found these adorable frogs from Tend Enterprises.  I used them for my frog back to school theme.  I love them because they are bright, colorful, and fun!

T-10969 Frog-tastic!™ Classic Accents® Variety PackT-72370 Frog-tastic!™ Note Pad–RectangleT-92640 Frog-tastic!™ Frolic Terrific Trimmers®

Luckily, I was smart enough to laminate them this year so I can reuse them for a future frog theme a few years down the road.

However, now I am faced with the challenge of deciding upon a new theme.  Usually this comes easy to me.  I have 2 weeks left of school.  Usually by now I've already decided on what I want.  This year, I'm clueless.

I originally decided to go back to a cooking theme next year.  Except, rather than with pizza, I was going to go with cupcakes.  Trend also has an extremely cute bake shop design.

T-8350 Happy Birthday Bake Shop™ Bulletin Board SetT-69211 Cupcakes (The Bake Shop™) Desk Toppers® Name PlatesT-10979 Cupcakes (The Bake Shop™) Classic Accents® Variety Pack

Why can't I just stick with this adorable cupcake theme?  Two reasons:  1.  My friend Amanda is using a cupcake theme for her 4th grade classroom next year and I don't want to look like a copycat.  2.  I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 2 1/2 months ago.  Looking at cupcakes every day will just be a sad reminder of how I can no longer eat them as often as I'd like.  At this point, I just don't think I can do it.

So, I need your help!  What classroom themes are you thinking about for next year?  I am in desperate need of inspiration!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Obsession

Today I'm linking up with Living a Wonderful Life.

So here are my obsessions:
1.  Donors Choose - I am obsessed with getting free stuff for my classroom.  I have had over 34 projects funded over the last 4 years.  If you are not currently posting projects on Donors Choose, I highly suggest you do!
2.  Scholastic Clubs - I can not get enough of Scholastic Book Clubs!  The points, the free books, the sales!  I have collected thousands of books for my classroom and personal library.

3. Thirty-One - My latest obsession is Thirty-One bags.  They have luggage, purses, and an amazing assortment of bags for school supplies! 

Rockin' Resources

Today I'm linking up with Kelley from the Teacher Idea Factory for her amazing Rockin' Resources linky party!

So here is a quick list of some classroom resources that I absolutely can not live without:

1.  Scotch Packaging Tape - This is the only tape that I can get to stick to the wall when I hang student work or posters in the classroom!

2.  Book Bins from Really Good Stuff - Students place their books and materials for guided reading and centers in these durable and colorful book bins.  We line them up along our bookshelf for safe keeping!
Durable Book And Binder Holders - Primary Colors
3.  No Yell Bell - Need a new way to get your students' attention?  Try a No Yell Bell!  Turn the handle to hear 7 fun sounds that will surely get your students' attention!

4. Super Teacher Worksheet - A website with a wealth of useful worksheets for all subjects.  I love their measurement worksheets.  They are perfect for homework because they include the rulers and protractors on the worksheet which is wonderful for students who do not have these tools readily available at home.

Super Teacher Worksheets

5.  My Smart Board - I am in love with my Smart Board.  I can't remember how I ever taught without it.