Thursday, May 31, 2012

Looking for Tips!

So I'm really thinking about making materials to sell on TPT. I make them for classroom use all the time and would really like to take it to the next level...however, (and this is where you come in!) I'm not sure the best way to go about starting. Is there anything helpful you learned along the way? Anything special to know about copyrights and such? Freebies vs. Not Freebies? I'd love any and all advice!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm told there's this light at the end of the tunnel...

*This* is definitely what I'm feelin' like right now!


Wow. Today was B.U.S.Y.

Summer Packet? Done.
Grades Finalized (almost?) Done.
Class Lists for Next Year's 3rd Grade? Done.
2 Parent Notes Created and Ready to Go Home? Done.
Field Trip Forms For Next Week? Done.

This end of  the year business is CRAZY! As a first year teacher I did not expect it to feel this hectic (all you veteran teachers can feel free to laugh at my naivete...I know I am!)

And then the paperwork.....OH the paperwork..... *sighs and hurls it to the back of my mind for another day*

They say that there's a light at the end of the this point, that "light" is looking a little like a pocket flashlight shone from about 500 yds. away.

BUT (yes, there's a but!) even after all this typing and mental checklist making (I am nothing if not a multitask-er), I still cannot believe these are the final days with my first class of little seconds! I'm so proud of them I could just GUSH (but I'll save you all from that and just think it. haha)

I just love it all, though. Even when it's crazy. Ok, maybe a littleteensybitless when it's crazy...but I still love it :) What about you?

Summer Reads and Linky Party!

Hi all, I'm doing (another....) Linky Party--this time courtesy of  Jodi at Clutter Free Classroom.

Her question: What are you going to read this summer?

Well. If there's anything I can talk about for hours on end....well, it's coffee. BUT SECOND IS BOOKS! :) I am a readaholic in every sense of the word. Books to me, are better than almost anything else :)

My summer reading list is about a mile long--chock full of both fluffy reading and fun professional reads. That being the case, I shall share both lists.

Fun Professional Reads:

1. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
 This has been sitting next to my desk now for MONTHS. It's all about "awakening the inner reader in every child" and all I have to say is if this book can teach me how to do that, I am all ABOUT it. :)

2. The Daily 5
This is one I like to read again...and again...and again....I always seem to be able to pull something new from it with each additional read--plus, it's something I can usually put right into my classroom.

3. Educating Esme
An oldie, but a goodie. I was introduced to this book during college in one of my education classes and it has been an absolute favorite ever since. If you have not read it--I highly HIGHLY recommend it. For serious.

Fluffy Reads (Where to even begin....):

1. Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
Christopher Moore cracks. me. up. I loved his book Lamb so much that I adapted it for the stage in college! Long story short, I'm pretty pumped to read his new book.

2. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
I loved The Giver so much, and with the last book in the series coming out this year I really need to catch up!

4. The Likeness and Faithful Place by Tana French
She wrote this crazy good mystery book In the Woods that I just loved. I hope her other two books will be just as fantastic.

What about you guys?? Any other book crazy teachers out there who just can't wait to dive into their summer reading lists? :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I was in a bit of a pickle....

It looks so innocent....

Let me just start this post out by saying how much I LOVE sweets and all things sugary and delicious.

So, today an adorable little second grader from another class came into my room. It was her birthday and she and brought in these DELECTABLE looking cupcakes--funfetti (my fave) with bright pink frosting and sprinkles....

I didn't really have time to eat lunch today and I don't like to eat birthday treats in front of my I found myself in a bit of a pickle. To eat? Or not to eat? That was the question.

Here, this perfect little cupcake is sitting on my desk...waiting...I swear I could almost hear it calling my if in answer my stomach began to growl.

I summoned all of my strength and found the willpower (somewhere....I kid you not, I was SO hungry!!) to not eat the cupcake in front of my students. (*does a mental happy dance and marvels at the shocking display of inner strength*)

Anyway, as soon as the kiddos left for 2nd recess, that cupcake was mine.

And, yes, it was as DELICIOUS as I thought it would be :)

Does anybody else have a crazy sweet tooth??

Another Linky Party!

It's another Linky Party! Wahoo! (I may love these WAY too much)

Anyway, this Linky Party is brought to you by Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory

These are my "Rockin' Resources: Things I Couldn't Live Without"

1. Spelling City
Spelling City is this fabulous little website for (you guessed it...) spelling words! Registration is free and virtually painless (there is a paid version as well, but I'm quite fond of the free version thankyouverymuch). It lets you upload and save your own spelling lists. From there, the kiddos can access your list and play games to help them practice. I *Love* using this site during Daily 5 for Word Work :)

2. Teachers Pay Teachers
I do not say this lightly--I could not LIVE without this site. (A bit dramatic? Ha. I think not.) All you teacher folk are so darn creative and wonderful. I only WISH I had half the talent you have at creating all these wonderful resources. My kiddos love them, I love them. I salute you of teachers pay teachers because (let's be honest) you keep my classroom running :)

3. My Sub Tub
I saw this idea online--looking back I CANNOT for the life of me remember where--but it really has put my mind at rest. This is a tub that's created specifically for those days when you wake up with some version of the Bubonic Plague (or some other dastardly, ridiculous illness), cannot make it to school, and didn't have time to come up with detailed sub plans (as a type-A personality, the mere THOUGHT of this happening chilled me to my very core--No time to write detailed sub plans?!?! Inconceivable.) **ENTER THE SUB TUB** This little guy has everything  necessary for a sub to run the classroom for the entire day. I got the actual materials inside the tub from Clutter Free Classroom's TPT's the link. If you have time to read her blog, you should because she's GREAT. To read more about how I set it up, click the "Ideas That Have Worked" tab :)

4. Pinterest
Pinterest, i.e. the "Pandora's Box" of it all :) Pinterest is, in my opinion, the ultimate resource. It's how I find the best blogs, the best projects, the best ideas for teaching, life, and/or anything else in this world. If you are not on pinterest....WHY?! You need to be. That is the end of my service announcement. haha

5. Pandora
Speaking of Pandora's Box....PANDORA! I love this sight and, to be honest, so do the kiddos. I have a few stations on pandora that are nothing but great instrumental music; classical and otherwise. I like to play it while the kids are getting settled and doing their morning work before the bell rings. It gets them to settle in, focus, and get ready to learn. Love me some Pandora :)

Well, there you have it! My Rockin' Resources!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Classroom Must-Haves!

I'm joining up in my very first linky party (thanks to Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten) are my top five classroom must-haves!


So I bought *this*guy earlier this week....

and I've been using him to sort the kiddos unfinished work. It's great because before we were just using an unfinished TRAY. If the kids have unfinished work, I usually have them stay in from 2nd recess to get it done. However, with that little tray, this is how that conversation usually went...

Sweet Little Kiddo: Miss Rudakas, do we need to stay in for unfinished work?
Me: (looks at unfinished tray full of papers and doesn't have the time--or let's be honest, patience-- to really sort through it and figure out who needs to stay in)......NOPE!  Head on out to recess!
Sweet Little Kiddos: YAAAAY!!!

Well this FANTABULOUS organizer has fixed that problem. With the numbered pockets it's so easy to see who needs to stay inside and who can head out. I really do love how super useful it is.

The only problem is.....

It's red.

Like RED red.

Like stoplight red.

Like Rudolf's nose red.

Like sunburn red.

(sidenote: I don't really dig red....if only it came in another color!!)

I like for things to match and go together, and as I don't really like the color red, there's not much of it in my classroom--so this little guy kinda sticks out haha

Oh well. This pocket chart is so darn useful that the color doesn't even matter haha

Anyway, here's the link to where you can order him online:

Mega Cool Pocket Chart

Happy Long Weekend, folks!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Stuff that Works Update!

I've update the "Ideas that have worked" tab with *this* little baby...! Great, inexpensive way to keep organized! See the "Ideas that have worked" tab to learn more :), check out that yellow wall! haha

Ahh Pinterest...what would I do without you?!

The Race is ON!

As the end of the year draws closer and close, I've noticed that my little friends are getting chattier...and chattier...and (you guessed it!) chattier.

As an extra motivational incentive, I've started a little competition--which group is quietest? I've put the kiddos into teams (boys vs. girls) and arranged their desks as such. Each group has been assigned a captain, and it's the captain's job to make sure the groups are staying focused, listening, and on task.

This will be a competition that goes on until. the end of the year. At the end of each day, I'll reward either the boys or girls a point based on who was quietest. I'm curious to see which group really rises to the occasion! At the end of our competition, the winners will each receive 3 charger tickets (incentive cards passed out around the school for good behavior).

The kiddos are so excited, and I have to admit, so am I!

Bailey School Kids...An oldie, but a goodie

So for the past school year, I've been trying to find a series of books to read aloud to my kiddos. Many different ideas went through my brainbox--Junie B.? Nah. Too young. Roald Dahl? Nope. Too old for my kids. The classics? Some might be above their heads....

THEN. It hit me. It hit me and it'd been right under my nose the WHOLE time.

Bailey School Kids...DUH STEPH!

These were some of my favorite books when I was in 2nd/3rd grade and I can't BELIEVE I didn't think to read them out loud to my littles--especially since our classroom library already has a whole heap of them!

Long story short--the kiddos Luuurve them (with a capital L). The suspense, the clues, the "monsters"....I think it's safe to say that Bailey School is a Hit! Definitely goes on my "Recommendations for 2nd Grade Read Alouds"


Hi All!

All the little tabbies have been updated with new fantastic teaching blogs and links...happy clicking!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

9 DAYS?!?!

Are you for serious??? This CANNOT be. I can't BELIEVE there are only 9 days of school left--we're in single digits, people!

My little seconds are well on their way to being totally grown up and going into third grade--I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I don't see them every day!

As of today, the rest of the school year has been tentatively planned...tentatively being the key word. My plans usually go up in smoke and then the day must be improvised--though that's been happening less and less...could that possibly mean I am (dare I say it??) getting better at planning?!

I've decided now that free time is a bit easier to come by (a bit, I said, a BIT) I'm going to really and truly try* to start using this teaching blog to share my ideas and experiences.

So my littles and I went on a field trip this past Wednesday. A few weeks ago, we had a bluebird preservationist come in and talk to the class about "bringing back the bluebirds." They even built a sweet little bird box :) And so Wednesday we went on a field trip to help hang up the box--the kids loved it! They got to see swallows and bluebird babies and hang up the box we made. It was so sweet how excited they all got. Though, about 1/2 way through the trip they were all getting VERY thirsty. However, if that's the biggest speed bump we ran into, then I have nothing to complain about :)

Keep teaching, sweet teacher friends!


*TRY. It's the key word in that sentence. Try