More Organization, More Labels (for FREE), More Ideas, More Crossing Fingers and Saying a Little Prayer!

 Thanks for all of the great feedback on my organization post! Yes, you read correctly, I do not have a classroom for all of this - but actually with that just said I have an interview on Monday morning. Normally I don't speak of these things until afterwards and if they have gone well, but if you have read any of my chapters on my life story then you know I need this. So if you could cross your fingers or say a little prayer or whatever it is you do when you are back in your classrooms on Monday morning I would appreciate that. 

Now, back to my organization - you saw me getting my classroom ready in my closet.  Here I am being organized in my own home - the home I moved into this past summer that I said was such a big deal, so of course I got down to business on decorating and organizing. I finally got to show it off this week and I felt so vindicated:

my living room

my bedroom - this is the wall across from my bed - the hoops of fabric I did on my own. The galvanized letter are from Anthropologie

These organizers are my pride and joy. They hang behind my bedroom door. I saw them on Pinterest and my mom helped me replicate it. I had a lot of fun doing it. I went to Lowe's found most of my pieces on my own in the plumbing aisle. I needed them to cut and thread the pipes for me. When they asked what I was using it for I laughed when i told them a jewelry hanger - and so did they, but doesn't it look good?! Loving the industrial look too. 

Below is my pantry. I must warn you this picture is old, and by old I mean a couple of weeks old. I had it open at one point during the evening and I looked at my friend and was like, I rearranged this since the last time you were here. She was like you are nuts. My other friend (who is married, and I am not) says "look how many spices you have that I don't!" 

I hung a command hook on the door for my aprons and lunch bags.

This apron was one of my end of the year teacher gifts from a few years ago from some awesome room moms. It reminds me of how fun this class was. 

And below this was another room that got lots of comments - the bathroom, weird I know, or is it weird to show you?

yep, so here I go again, OCD with the organization. I have a bin for contacts, sinus & cold, first aid, travel size shampoo, etc, toothpaste, razors, dental (I keep floss and toothbrushes in there), ointments, the open stacking bins on the right have haircare, the one below is soaps, etc, the little green one is nail polish, etc. 

what teacher isn't big on the germs?!

the organization above is self explanatory

and yes, people even spoke about the organization in my closet

stacking bins on the left - the top is purses and clutches, the bottom is socks. to the right are pull out drawers with shoes.

scarf organizer - from IKEA

I am still organizing the classroom too. A while back I posted some library labels. They were enough to organize through last school year - but here we go for this school year, unless I wind up in like 5th grade or something: 

1. The first thing I did was get all my categories in Alphabetical order. It looked something like this. I just put this in here so you could see it - this is not anything you cannot do nor is it formally typed.

Classroom Library

2. Then, I made the labels bigger, I color coded them (picture books, chapter books, non-fiction books), and I added a bin # to each label. These all will print on Avery shipping labels, 6 to a page 5164. Now your bin # may not be the same as mine, so if you actually do want to use mine (cause let's face it I think I'm only like the 1000th person to do some of these) and you need the word document, I am happy to email it to you.
You will notice that I used the 'smiley monster font' which does not always use capital letters in the front, but again I am that OCD that I have changed the font for the beginning letter so that it is uppercase. After all, that is what I try to teach my students to do.

3. Stay tuned for the color coded bin # labels to match these that will go on the back of each book. For example, each Eric Carle book will have a small label on the back that says bin # 6 in blue. Those should be here soon. (man I have way too much time on my hands!)

4. You may have been wondering why I finally got to show off my new place this week. It was  for a Stella & Dot party. Have you heard of them? I am sure a lot of you have, but since a lot of my giveaways and deals have been for places that I try to introduce you to, I definitely wanted to share Stella & Dot with you. You can only buy through a rep. If you don't have one, my party is open for one more week (til August 6th, so you can just click on any of these links in this paragraph and then where it says "find your hostess" you just find my name: Sydney Cohn. Have fun. There are some great inexpensive and teachery (made that word up) pieces. For example, I love these:
and these
and this

I just can't decide in gold or silver, but it was a big seller that night. 
Can't wait to see how it looks hanging on my cool jewelry organizer. 


Organization Crazation!

 What's a gal to do when  everyone else is prepping their classroom and getting everything ready for the fall and she doesn't have a classroom in which to do that? Well, she'll do exactly the same thing, that's what she'll do - but in her closet of course! Haha. 

Yep! In May when I had to move everything home it was more of a drop it on the floor type of situation. Remember (for those of you who have been reading along all summer) I was getting to move out of my parents' house, so for the time being everything went in a somewhat organized fashion on my brother's bedroom floor (thank goodness for older brothers). As soon as I moved out and had an empty closet again, this is what everything began to look like, a mini-school supply store in my very own closet! 

I already had the clear containers, they are actually shoe bins from The Container Store. I use them to keep my shoes in in my own closet and when I did a big clean out I had a lot one time, and well there's some OCD in me so everything has to match now! Each supply has its own bin. I like being able to see what is inside. 

top view of the shelves - on the very top, all the way to the left are my book baskets. They do stack if I need them to, but I actually have white cubby shelves that they fit perfectly on (those are in the garage and my mom stole one of them for my 20-month old niece's toys) - all baskets and shelves were/are from Target. Moving over to the right are some smaller bins for math centers (those were from the Dollar Tree).

Moving down below the book basket are larger and smaller plastic bins for larger items (base ten blocks, felt, magnetic geometry shapes, etc.) and smaller items (magnetic letters, numbers, I have Who has cards, other card games) - those bins again were from The Container Store. Some of the index looking holders are from Wal-Mart by the company Sterilite and then the plastic bins with the green latches are from Target. I keep flat games in those - Bingo, Scrabble, etc. (I don't like to keep games in the cardboard boxes they come in because they eventually just rip or break or something. 

Again more bins, more supplies, and the top three clear ones are just little school supply bins that I got on sale this year. Oh and on top is just one of my handy dandy label makers. 

Four big boxes - plastic eggs for centers, a treasure box, teacher books, one is filled with pencil cases, then the crates with handles are all of my book organized by category (because I am that OCD to do that before I put them in the baskets for my kids - I'm CraZy).

Same on the other side - more books, more supplies

Composition books, pencil cases, Lunchboxes from EmTanner where I keep Crayons and Markers during the school year. Small plastic case has pencil grips inside is from IKEA.

This was a plastic file cabinet I used for Word Work last year. On top are some Leap Frog Tag Readers for Listening to Reading behind are some more plastic bins (those are from Hobby Lobby.

My grade book - awesome freebie from Really Roper!

Organizing my bulletin board materials. I could buy stock in sheet protectors. Each different one has the materials in its own protector and then right into a 3'' binder. These particular glue bottles are from The Teacher Wife. I printed them directly onto magnetic sheets and they go right onto my white board

I did the same thing with these schedule cards. I printed these directly onto magnetic sheets. They are from the amazing Mrs. Carroll

These awesome science cards I printed onto cardstock and laminated. They are from Ladybug.

This paper is from Mrs. I. I love her paper!!! Our school had a poster maker. I made three, am backing them on poster board and then I can demonstrate on them with a Vis-a-Vis for Beginning, Middle, and End. 

Look at my stack o' laminating! Oh boy. 

I mean, it is thick!!!

Check out these CAFE headers. They fit so perfectly with my food/cooking theme. They are from Mrs. Jones' Creation Station. Please go give her some follower love!

My Listen to Reading. I really struggled with this for a while last year. Each book has its own Ziploc with a sleeve for its own CD. I have two CD players (I need to get one more). I have my kids wrap the headphones neatly and store them in a Ziploc so that the cords don't get tangled and knotted. 

Some more small containers for cards, etc. They are from Target. 

I'll be back tomorrow with more!


Math Daily 5, labels, labels, and FREE! * Updated

 The labels below are to go with these from Ms. Winston's site for The Daily 5. We sometimes allow students to go to the library with a buddy when their group gets to that "station" - so sometimes it is Daily 6. Or you could just switch it out for variety.

Daily 5 Library Label

The labels below are for the Math Daily 5. The first page are for the stations for the actual Math Daily 5 as The Sisters title them. I wanted them to match the labels I have for my Daily 5 (I link to them above). Then the pages that follow are for organizing games for centers/stations that I will use within my Math Daily 5. These can work whether you are using the Daily 5 or Work Stations or what have you. I know I am still missing some as far as the games are concerned. I wasn't satisfied with my graphics. So stay tuned for those. Also I will probably organize even further with a little initial or something reminding me if its a fact game, or strategy game, etc.

Daily 5 Math Labels

Enjoy! Don't I have a glamorous Saturday night?!

**This post was made possible with special permission from ThistleGirl Designs**


If the shoe fits...and a fun little tip

I am sure by now many of you have heard about this amazing Shoe Unit giveaway over at Another Day in First Grade. Mrs. Tabb makes the cutest stuff, but I have to admit what I was most excited about was the poster featured in the bottom right hand corner of the picture below. See the hands showing left and right? That is exactly how I explain it to my kids - your left hand, if you hold it up looks like the letter L. BUT - here's the best part, and even other teacher's like this part - if you hold your right hand up it looks like a check mark, like you are right! hehe ;) Happy Saturday. Can't wait to show you my organization madness that's been going on over here.


Things I always say, Linky Party

 Mrs. Bainbridge is having a fun linky:

1. "Too bad, so sad." (I say 'too bad' and they learn to say 'so sad') <--this actually cracks me up by the end of the year.

2. "I don't teach Kindergarten..." (and they fill in, "she teaches first grade!" <-- that's for when someone is acting up and I don't have the patience for that behavior). This one also cracks me up.

3. "Kapeesh?" And they say back, "Kapeesh!" so we are all on the same page.

4. "1,2,3, eyes on me!" and they say back, "1,2, eyes on you!"

5. "For crying out loud!" <-- I think I realized I said that too much, or either needed to stop saying it when one of my kids laughed and said, "my mom always says that!" greeeaaat.

6. Really? <-- yeah I say it. I'm pretty straightforward with my kids. Maybe that is why we work so well together.

Hope you will join in!

Do fairy tale endings happen in real life?, ch. 9

Yes, I finally got my long awaited teaching job. I became one of sixteen 1st grade teachers. I was out in a trailer with the other new teacher. We were on our own and taking on a class after the first nine-weeks of school had already come and gone was no small feat. Our students came from six different teachers and now we had to blend them all together and readjust them to us. The were used to six different sets of rules and procedures and without changing too much for them, I needed to set some boundaries of my own.   

My class began with 17 students. It took us a while to get in our groove but we got there. My class fluctuated throughout the year between 17 and 19 students. I ended the year with 19. 

this was a floor puzzle that I mod podged together

Then came the time of year in February when every teacher begins to worry (at least nowadays, it didn't used to be like that, there used to be security in teaching, but not anymore). Our principal was up front with us. She told us that really the only people who were not going to receive contracts were those who she had already spoken with and anyone who was a part year hire. Great, she hadn't spoken with me and I was not a part year hire. I mean I kind of considered October closer to the beginning of the year than say, December and well there were people who were hired in December. I mean, I had already done a round of report cards and I had already sat through two rounds of parent conferences. I had to be in the clear, right?

our class ceiling tile for the library

Friends of mine from other schools in the county were calling to check on me and see how I was taking the news. I did not understand. My principal really had not said anything to me. Then one day in February I happened to be at home sick and I was checking my school email. The email was from my principal and it mentioned again something about people who were part-year hires and so forth. I finally wrote her back and asked if she could please clarify who a part-year hire was. She wrote back that yes, I was a part-hire and if I was near a phone to please give her a call so we could discuss it over the phone.

All I can say is thank goodness I had such a head cold and was so congested that it over powered the tears. She probably could not tell I was crying. She tried every way to reassure me and said that a lot could happen between then and August when school would start again but that things would have to get sorted out with displaced teachers first. I thanked her and hung up.

There I was again, at a low point for about a month and people could tell. I really tried to pour myself into my work and my kids. I taught Saturday school for our 3rd graders in preparation for the CRCT.

The year came to an end and there I was in the waiting game again (man, that Seuss!). My final class statistics were as follows:

Class size: began with 17, fluctuated from 17 -19 throughout the year, and I ended with 19
Withdrawals: 3
Enrollments: 5
SST (student support team) meetings: 8 students, with an average of 2 meetings each
Sp. Ed. Referrals: 3, 2 eligible, 1 ineligible
Retention meetings: 4, 2 retained
Court Subpoenas: 1 for my child in foster care. I reported on June 1st. (at which point I was out of contract, but the subpoena was served a week prior while I was in contract)

The other in a local paper.

Last day of school received this email from a parent: 

Well Ms.Cohn, its finally the end of this school year. I want to take the time to say how honored I am to have such a wonderful teacher 
for my daughter. This was such a good year for her and I'm so proud of all her accomplishment. You have taught her to believe herself and so much more. Once again Thank You!! I wish you all the best towards the future and have a great summer!!!!! Thanks for ALL your help!
Best Regards,

Those statistics and the pictures within are what I have left as I sit and wait with two more weeks until school starts. This story is obviously very much unfinished. 

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