Monday, August 31, 2015

Bloghoppin' Linky-Five Fun Facts!

I am so glad that Bloghoppin' is having a fun week of link-ups this week! I needed the motivation to jump back into blogging after a long few first weeks of school got me out of the routine of blogging! I can't wait to read everyone's fun facts! I hope you enjoy mine :) 

If you've been following along on my blog over the summer then you might already know this, but I am expecting a sweet baby boy this December! We had fun this weekend starting the process of turning my office into a nursery! My sister came to visit for the day and (after finding new places to put all of our office furniture) we got the walls painted! We are doing a nautical theme and I can't wait to decorate! This anchor from Hobby Lobby is my favorite of the decorations we've collected so far! :) 

I have a wild pup and crazy cat that both drive me insane half of the time, but I love them!! They provide us with plenty of laughs and sweet cuddles. 

I have a bit of an obsession with dinosaurs. I'm not sure exactly when it began, but I think it might have had to do with watching The Land Before TIme and Jurassic Park a million times when I was younger. When I was a freshman in college I had the opportunity to participate in the Disney College Program and was lucky enough to get a job in Dinoland, U.S.A. in Animal Kingdom! My love for dinos has now made it's way into my classroom as well (and obviously my blogging life!) 

I have been incredibly blessed to have many opportunities to travel the world. I fell in love with visiting Kenya after a mission trip in college and after a few more visits I decided to go on a longer trip after I graduated college. I lived in a small village for a few months and was able to teach for a while in a Kenyan preschool! There are so many little ones that I love with big pieces of my heart. My time in Kenya acts as a constant reminder to me  to remember how incredibly blessed and privileged I am and to be thankful for the comforts that I have! If you want to read more about my time in Kenya, you can visit my blog journal that I kept while I was there! 

I love first grade!!! This might be an obviously one, but it is such a huge part of my life! I fell in love with first grade during my student teaching and I am so glad I get to be a first grade teacher! I have had so much fun getting started blogging and on TPT and absolutely love creating new things for my kiddos. I have an inclusion group this year and we have been working really hard these first couple of weeks on drilling our sight words! It has been so fun to see how much they enjoy some of the resources that I created for them and it thrills my teacher heart to see the growth that they have already made! Today I received a note from a parent telling me that her son tells her every night how excited he is about sight words! Here are some of our favorite sight word centers/games :) 

Thanks for checking out my fun facts! Be sure to come back and visit later on in the week for more Bloghoppin' fun! :) 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back to School Blues

Can I be honest with you for a minute?

This girl is EXHAUSTED!
Back to School has hit me so hard this year and I found myself sad because I miss sleeping in and working on TPT units and relaxing with my hubby and I'm ashamed to even say it, but I really really miss NETFLIX.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having new little ones to teach and I love planning new lessons and learning about my class and there were plenty of things that I missed over the summer (GONOODLE!), but I found myself halfway through the week last week just sad and missing summer. It doesn't help that I was sick all week and too stubborn to go to the doctor. Finally on Thursday I was so miserable that I couldn't take it anymore. So I went to the doctor and found out I have a sinus infection and strep and I just thought "Awesome, welcome back to school!"

Yesterday I took the day off to recover and (of course) as I was sitting at home all I could think was "I wonder how my kiddos are doing." And I missed them! And then I realized that the reason I was sad wasn't really because we were back at school, it was because I was forgetting that I needed to find my balance for the year.

I was burning myself out fast, staying at school late every night and taking home even more to do and not sleeping enough or eating enough or relaxing with my husband enough. I admit that finding balance is something I have never been great at because I am, by nature, an OCD overachiever. So here is my question to all of you out there in the teacher blogging/TPT/teacher mommy real world--How do YOU conquer the back to school blues and find balance?!

Help a girl out?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five for Friday: The Longest Week

Is it just me or do we all agree that there is no tired like the end of the first week of school tired?! Seriously! My eyes are for real struggling to stay open so I'm going to make this Five for Friday short and sweet :)
This week was our first week back with kiddos! We had pre-planning Monday and Tuesday and started on Wednesday! I loved getting my classroom all ready to go-dinos and chevron make my heart happy! 

I loved sporting my AWESOME blog shirt from A Plus Images during pre-planning!! I had so many people tell me how cute it was (even though most of them didn't even know it was my blog button!) If you haven't checked out A Plus Images, run over there immediately! They have so many incredible shirts for teachers! 

I LOVE my new focus wall!! I can't wait to have a place for my kiddos to reference our standards and essential questions, as well as a pretty display for when administrators walk through and like to see what we are working on! If you would like these posters, you can download them here (for free!)! I'd love to see pictures of how you display them in your classroom! :) 
I loved spending time with my grandma last weekend making some ADORABLE little reading buddy monsters!! Check out my post about them over here to learn how to make some for your own library! (Like the sign? It's free if you check out my post!)

I LOVED using my reading profiles with my kiddos this week and I was pleasantly surprised by how much they loved them too! One of my munchkins even said "Mrs. Browning, I think this is a FABULOUS idea!" 
Be sure to check out this awesome FREEBIE so that you can learn about your little readers, too!


Be sure to check out this blog post to learn more about the reading surveys!

Happy Friday everyone! :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Made It: Monster Reading Buddies!

We have open house tomorrow so I am in full swing back-to-school mode, but I had to take a break just in time for Monday Made It and tell you about the best little project that I worked on over the weekend!
Over the summer I got the idea in my head that I really wanted to make some take-home book bags for my little readers with different books and sight word resources to help them with their at-home practice. One of the things that I really wanted to include in these bags were some little reading buddies! I am lucky to have a crafty family and quickly commissioned my grandma's help for this part of my project. I don't have the bags all ready to go yet (but will definitely post about them when I do!), but I spent the weekend making some adorable little monster reading buddies and I couldn't wait to share them with you! 

Follow along for a short step-by-step look at how to make your own little monsters! 
Step One: Cut monster body shapes out of fleece (or a fabric of your choice). We choose just to cut all different "blob" type shapes- my hubby actually did most of this part! 
Step Two: Pick and cut out fabric pieces to decorate your monster. We made little pockets, ears, and eyes out of fun fabric scraps and ribbons that we had laying around.  
Step Three: Use a sewing machine (or maybe a glue gun?) to sew the monster's eye and ears. Sew ears facing down like in the picture, once you sew the sides of the monster together they will flip up the right way! Sew a seam into the top of your pocket fabric but don't sew your pocket down yet!
Step Four: Use your machine to stitch a second eye and mouth onto your little monster.
Step Five: Sew up and around the edges of your monster, making sure that the front of the monster is facing to the inside. Leave a hole in the bottom big enough for you to flip your monster right-side-out and stuff it! 
Step Six: Flip your little monster right-side out and stuff him up! We tore apart an old pillow and used the stuffing from it-nice and cheap! 
Step Seven: Use your machine or hand-stitch your little monster up! 
 And there ya go, lots of little monsters ready to read with your kiddos! I was lucky to have so much awesome help making these little cuties and we made 25 completely different and weirdly adorable little monsters over the majority of one weekend. It was such a fun little project and I can't wait to introduce them to my kiddos! I am planning on having a few visit our class reading center so that my munchkins can get used to reading them. If you decide to make some of your own little monsters, feel free to use this fun little sign I made!

Thanks for checking out my project! If you make your own monster buddies be sure to share-- I would love to see them!!! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Made It: Gearing up for back to school!

Summer is coming to an end and I am FINALLY just jumping on the Monday Made It bandwagon! Better late than never, right?!
While I was in Montana a few weeks ago, I asked my sweet husband to help me out with a classroom project I had seen on The Kindergarten Smorgasboard. 
I am such a lucky girl because he agreed to help me out!! I wanted to brag on this wonderful new PVC Pipe Center Organizer, even though my hubby is the one that made it :) I am so excited to use it for all of my math centers this year, now I'm just trying to hunt down enough paper trays to fill it up!!

I am so excited to have all of my Sight Word Sentence Strips laminated, cut, and ready to go! I know my kiddos are going to be so excited to have different themes of sight word cards to help them learn and practice fluency with their words! If you haven't checked these out yet, make sure to head over to my store during the back to school sale for 28% off! 

I am so excited about my new Daily Language series! I can't wait for my kiddos to solve their first mystery as we head back to school! This series is set up so that students can take on the role of "detective" as they work to solve different daily language mysteries! The first case (The Case of the Messy Alphabet) is a super fun way to start of the year with some great handwriting practice! Be sure to check out this pack during the sale to get it for a super low price! 

Tomorrow is my last official day of summer before pre-planning! I am feeling pretty good about having so many little projects done and ready for my kiddos, but still have a million ideas in my head! I hope you are all enjoying your last days of summer, or not stressing TOO bad as you start off the year! 
Thanks for stopping by!