Summer Stock Up - OCD Much?! (and a Freebie or so)

I'm fortunate to be part of an awesome Facebook blog hop happening this weekend. There are some very talented teachers out there. I'm just an amateur (slightly kidding, she said sarcastically). We wanted you to be able to stock up early and avoid the 'back-to-school' rush. I know most of you are in complete summer mode - beaching, pooling, chillaxin'. Nonetheless, if you're around, hop along with us. Find some new blogs, new ideas, new resources, and maybe even some freebies (*that's correct you may have to read to the bitter end, gotchya). 

So okay, peeps here's the deal - I'm finally going to share some things I spend hours making on my computer. Most of the time I think, oh I just make this because it works for me and there is stuff like this out there. However, the people I work with like the stuff in my room, so here goes...

Now, I know, I know, there are a TON of binder covers already out there. I can't say that the idea for binder covers is something new and original. I can't even say that I made the designs, because I'm not a graphic designer. BUT, I am OCD to the nth degree. Allow me to take you back to a photo from the days of yonder:


Nothing about this is fancy. Yet, here is what I love about it - the bins are clear. I can see what is inside. The labels are from a regular 'ole label maker by Brother (the brand). I own 3 - one for school (actually, my favorite L snagged it- if you've been around this blog, you know who she is - da bombdiggity), one for home (those are two that just print white tape), and one a tad fancier and it does fun colored tape. Again, what I love about this is that no color ink is used. No laminating pouches are bought. There is no cutting. These pictures are from my very first classroom. These bins still exist with the same labels. I know, you're probably thinking 'get with the program already!'). But, it does the job. 

With all this said, I will also say that I love decorating.  I've also recently discovered my love of fonts and clip art. So I am getting slightly with the program. The clear plastic bins are still in my room. The pops of color I use are book baskets and such. I like things clean and simple. I like things organized. I like that at the end of the year when teachers move into my classroom (yes, I move every year) they say, 'if I'm moving into a room, at least it's your room.' And so, here's my: 

Binder Covers
Desk Trays 
A place for this, a place for that
Are you still reading?

Let me answer some questions about what I have for you. 

Binder Covers

This image is of my, personal covers, so they are uber detailed (hence OCD, with which 9 weeks, etc.)

1. SO - what makes my binder covers different? Absolutely nothing! Hey, I'm about as honest as they come (and sometimes that gets me in trouble, but you will always know what you get with me). 

2. Why did I create them? When I first started teaching at my school five years ago I had one filing cabinet in my trailer and it didn't work.  I used a two drawer plastic thing made by Sterilite and everything else went in binders. I didn't really have a system back then. I think I was just kinda, reading, math, yadda, yadda, yadda. Ya know, when you're a first year teacher, it's more of a stay afloat method. Put this here, and that there. Just make it out alive and sort it later. Well, I've evolved and developed. I've learned my standards (both personal and professional ;) and learned them well. I dare say I make some of my teammates sick. So, each subject has a different pattern/color, yet they still coordinate. 

3. How do I organize my binders? That's a really great question. I'm still a work in progress. Aren't we all! I used to have one big binder for each subject, and then each binder was divided by tabs for each unit, but the binders were getting big and it was hard to turn the pages and it just wasn't easy. 

So, I started reorganizing this year (I think I just start to reorganize things when I get stressed, anyone else do that). I began with Science and Social Studies. I created a binder for each unit. Then, I also created a spine for the binder and a matching square label to go on the front of a white magazine box/file (I use the white ones from Ikea). The magazine file holds all mentor texts or laminated  hand outs/posters I have for the unit that do not fit in the binder. On my shelf behind my desk I have binder/magazine file, binder/magazine file, etc.

4. Other ideas/options - I will probably not use as many binders for writing or reading. For writing, for example, I will either use 4 binders, one for each 9 weeks, or just one for each type of writing we teach (narrative, opinion, informational, friendly letter, I know I'm forgetting one, etc.). So clearly next week when I set up my trailer, I will still figure a few things out. 

Just so you can see, it's clean and simple. I've put the topic, below is the subject, grade level, and which grading period/quarter/etc. Obviously, you can edit them however you see fit. 

I put the unit, then topic, then the standards
on the bottom I put which 9 weeks/quarter - again these are mine so they are super specific because I am following my county common core standards.  

Here are some for you:  


Desk Trays
I saw this idea on Pinterest and an awesome teacher blogger pinned it too and gave me the idea. I can't find hers but I totally want to give her credit. If you see hers please let me know. Naturally, I made my own. 

Note: the black looking S to the right is a doodle, I rotated it to appear as an S since it is my first initial. I took it out in the editable version since I didn't think many people would want it. Please let me know if you do. 

1. Why I made it? Well I think it's pretty. Ha, but also because I am constantly looking for ideas to conquer the paper mountain! My kids give me drawings and parent notes ALL the time. This past year was the worst. My kidney table would start off clean almost (note my use of the word 'almost' as a qualifier) every morning and at the end of each day it was disgusting. I had three girls that came up each day and said, "Can I clean your table?" Yes, yes you can!

2. Again, what makes mine different? Again, nothing! I may be OCD, but I also like options. I move my decor and rearrange. I'm learning change is okay. Options are good. Which design do you like best? I can't decide!

3. It's FREE. It's Editable. If you like it, take it, use it, enjoy it. Be kind. You know the drill. Click here.

Hope you enjoy and get lots of ideas. Let me know if I have left something out or you need something I haven't thought of. :)

What Would You Tell Your Old Self? - Monday (Meet Up & Made It)

It seems the Linky for The Teaching Tribune has already closed tonight, which is a little sad. However, I went ahead and did this assignment, because I thought this was an awesome one. You were supposed to write a letter to yourself when you began teaching, and maybe even this blogging journey.

Things like this are cathartic and, obviously, a tad reflective. There's so much that has taken place for me in the past school year - personally, professionally, and academically. I enjoyed writing this. If it is hard to read because of the font size, I have put it below the image as well.

Wow! Do you remember yourself back then? You had done your time pounding the pavement in NYC. You did – you made it there and you could make it anywhere. You went there without a job and on the very last day of your timeline, you landed one.

Who would have thought it would have taken you longer to find one in teaching?! Your mom still tells the story of when she asked you why you wanted to teach and you told her because you’re good at it.

It’s true. You are a good teacher. There’s no doubt you’re wiser though. You’ve made it through some tough times in the world of teaching. You’ve stuck to it and held true to your path.

Don’t forget that path – don’t forget why you started. You started for the kids. You started because you wanted to make a difference. Remember to just close your door and teach - every. darn. day! There are people, including administrators who will beat that door and you down. Do not let them. Smile and nod. At the end of the day leave – leave the building and the worries.

That’s easier said than done. There will be those who believe in you. Appreciate them, cherish them, learn with them, and collaborate with them. There will be those who sell you out at times – learn from them, too. Learn from everything. Make yourself better.

Sometimes blogging is a part of it. Maybe you have items to share on TpT, maybe you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers (which I don’t). What matters is whether or not it is the outlet you want or need it to be. Does something resonate with the people who are listening or reading? Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. It’s much like in life.

Accept the challenges set before you, but don’t out wear your welcome. Know when it is time to go and blaze a new path (it may seem scary, but you’ve done it before). Create. Explore. Ask. And ask some more! You are never too old to keep learning, to continue growing, and to be the bigger person.  Remember, as a friend once told you when you were having a down day, “cut yourself some slack…on your worst day those kids are still lucky as heck to have you!” She was onto something and so are you. Keep on truckin’ & teachin’ - S

I am also joining Tara, finally, for Monday Made It! Woot Woot!

Okay, this is super easy and simple, but I noticed that when I did my "Thirsty Thursday" linky the other week, well only person linked and commented, but over 5,000 peeps viewed the page and loads of you like/pinned/viewed that recipe on Pinterest. You little sneaky people!
So here's the thing - I don't know if you like my motto, the recipe, totally disagree with me, or what - but here's another recipe for you (and I use the term recipe loosely):
- Whole Wheat Linguine (2 servings before boiled - I have a portion thingy)
-Broccoli (however much you want from bag, fresh)
- Spinach (however much you want from bag, fresh)
- Mushrooms (half a package)
-Artichoke Hearts (half a can, quartered, packed in water)
- Bruschetta Tomatoes (jar from Costco, Gluten Free, pictured)
Organic Valley Cream (About a Tblsp.)
- Rotisserie chicken breast (diced)

1. Boil noodles
2. in pan saute all veggies
3. Add tomatoes, cream, and chicken last. 
4, heat til thick (as desire)
5. drain noodles, mix all together, season to taste - would be good with red pepper flakes. 
Makes a lot. 

Okay, my next made it(s) will be a little more creative. 
Thanks :)


Five for Fraturday? - A Week Full of Thanks and Cute Stuff!

It's another Friday Saturday (whoops) and I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.

Well, I was back in the saddle again. Summer school began this past Monday. I was supposed to have 3rd graders (rising 4th) who didn't pass the math portion of our State test. They have to pass reading, so this is for remediation and bridging the gap. Only 6 students showed up the first day. Since there were two teachers I didn't really have a class. So I helped the director and our AP that day. As we loaded the last car at the end of the day I looked at my phone to check my email. I had one from DonorsChoose - "Project Funded!" Y'all I couldn't believe it. It took exactly a week. I am beyond blessed!

I went back to summer school for more the next day. I still didn't have a class. BUT, I knew they weren't going to cut me. They had budgeted for me as a teacher. We just needed the kids. Unfortunately, they weren't in 3rd :( They were in kindergarten. I don't have anything against kindergarten, I just haven't taught it in like, oh um 7 or 8 years. Oh. my. lawd! Y'all I appreciate all of you K teachers out there. I have 9. How do you do it all year? I will try not to gripe about having 26 2nd graders again (I said, try - not promise). 

I knew what to do with them, but I didn't know where my resources were! And what I did have was ALL packed up in a trailer outside. I got home and scoured all of the blogs and and TpT. But let me tell you, Hadar at Miss Kindergarten is AMAZING!!! I may not speak of her often because she teaches K and I'm 2nd, but way back when we were starting this journey (years ago), we were starting around the same time. We were both in the same boat, searching and searching for jobs - on opposite coasts. She became one of my very first blogging buddies. Though I've never been able to meet her in person she continues to inspire me. If you are in need of ideas, creativity, or resources you must run to her blog. Oh, and she has no idea I wrote any of this about her. It's completely unsolicited. 

These are some of items she hooked me up with that have been lifesavers:

My kids loved what we've done so far!

I've also been doing my Little Red Hen Reader's Theater and Somebody, Wanted, But, So Unit with them. They love it!

This isn't in my TpT, yet. Are people interested in it?

We joined with our 1st grade summer school buddies (some of my 2nd grade teacher friends are the teachers for that) and we made the cutest little father's day cards. I found it through this pin on Pinterest. It had it for a Hershey bar inside, but instead I put their writing inside. 

I submitted my proposal to be a presenter in the fall at a state conference for ELLs on differentiation. My teacher for my Endorsement and the County head of the department liked the lessons I was doing (the Red Hen one above and these below). Fingers crossed. 

Again, not in my store, but coming soon!

Have a great weekend!


Five for Friday

It's another Friday and I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.

I had put this on Instagram with the caption "Ain't nobody don't like a parfait!" #Donkey
Please tell me you know what movie that is from. Anyway, I felt so accomplished having that ready for summer school pre-planning this past Monday. It's Greek Yogurt (plain), with a little bit of honey, vanilla extract, and a splash of orange juice. Then it has walnuts, orange, raisins, and I added some peaches too (I'm a GA girl after all) - all fresh and very refreshing. Oh and that's right, for all of you still in school or maybe you just finished, don't feel too bad because I'm headed back on Monday. 

I knew something felt a little off Monday afternoon and my doc squeezed me in bright and early Tuesday morning. Sure enough, I know my body. So while I was at home resting, my Stitch fix showed up. Now my last one was a good one but the fit was off slightly on most pieces (but I loved the style) so I had high hopes. They nailed it. I kept everything. I've never kept everything. I asked for flowy pieces, maybe even some dresses or skirts for the Atlanta heat and humidity.  Here's what I got (excuse the pictures, my apartment has the worst lighting, so I took it to my parents and my mom took the pics. I told her, "no face!")
This was my favorite! I love the color and the detailing. It even goes down the side, if you can see. To teach it needs a tank/cami, but to go out it'd be fine either way. 


This is very loose and flowy, like I can see a kid asking if I am pregnant - but that's more because they are kids. I have on jeans in this pic. But this will be awesome with leggings, which they suggested. The cardi is also stitch fix and what teacher doesn't love a cardigan?!

I was a little torn on this dress, but the straps are perfect, they cover everything. I think I just need to add a belt for a pop of color. What do y'all think?

I was going to send back the green shirt. It hits a little too high for me, but it was cheaper to keep it (by $2) than to return it. Nice job Stitch Fix. Nice job. 

These mugs I ordered also came this week. This one makes me laugh. 

You see it? It says, Too Legit to Quit. 
Have you heard of Mulberry Press Co.?
I originally found her because of the Everyday I'm Hustlin'

Four days ago I sent an email out about my Donors Choose project. It started at $1452. As of this morning it has $216 left to go. I am amazed and humbled. 

If you wish to donate and help me cross the finish line, my project is still in the matching phase until Tuesday, June 10th with the code 100WOMEN. Click on the picture above to be taken to my project. 

I'm focusing on this a lot this summer. 

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