Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day OOTD

Today is the first day!
No matter how many 'first days' of school that pass, I will always be eager to pick out my first day of school outfit. 

The first day is going to be a hot one with a high of 90 degrees here in Pennsylvania. I'll be bringing a white cardigan with me but I doubt I will be wearing it. 

Good luck and best wishes to all of you on your first day!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Classroom Reveal 2014-2015

I am ecstatic to show off my first classroom. Over 40 hours of work later and I don't even know if I can say the room is 100% where I want it. I came to the realization that it may never be exactly how I want it. My goals were to make it functional and at a state where I could stand to stare at these same four walls for over 8 hours a day for the next 10 months. I think I accomplished both goals. My students have not arrived yet so some boards are blank.
The pockets on the cubbies are for students' jobs.


 This chair is my favorite part of my room. It's an old office chair covered with fabric and secured with about 200 staples.

The sign is very blurry but it says "Under Construction Waiting for Student Work".

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How To Fund Your Classroom and I GOT A JOB

Great news: I got a teaching job!!!! I will be teaching 4th grade in the same district that I was a building sub and a 1st grade long term sub. I am very excited to really "start" my career.

My dreams of decorating my own classroom will finally start to happen in the next few weeks. I am a nanny for two girls over the summer and they are also looking forward to help me set up my classroom. Luckily, I wont be starting from scratch. The teacher that was previously in my room is leaving me most of her classroom materials. That being said, a lot of new teachers may have to start from scratch. I compiled a list of websites that allows teachers to ask for donations and funding for their classroom supplies. These are great to set up a classroom supply registry and share with  your friends, family, and eventually the parents of your students!

1. Brighten Hall 

2. Teacher Supply Registry

3. Adopt A Classroom

4. Supply Your Schools

5. Digital Wish

6. Donors Choose
The last website is probably the most familiar classroom registry website, Donors Choose.

Since I am fortunate to have a lot of major supplies I will need from the previous teacher I wanted to feature a teacher from Donors Choose, Ms. Armentrout. She is a first year teacher starting at a low income, Title I school in North Carolina. She is in need of some of the basics, supply caddies, chart paper, and a Time for Kids subscription.

Click the link to visit her page: Ms. Armentrout's Donors Choose Page

I think it is awesome that these resources are out there to help teachers and students and are often funded by complete strangers inspired to help.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Classroom (P)inspiration

Designing their classroom has got to be a future teacher's dream. I have been collecting pinning classroom decor inspiration and have finally narrowed it down to what I think I would really like in my classroom.

I started by searching for a color scheme. I wanted to stray away from typical classroom primary color schemes. Personally, I find them too harsh especially combined with the harsh lightening found in most classrooms. I chose shades of yellow, grey, and teal. They are soft, calming colors that I wouldn't mind staring at for 8+ hours a day.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Binder cover sheets in the TPT store

Summers are for rest and relaxation and also for getting ready for September. I have created super adorable binder cover sheets and they are now in my teacherspayteachers store.

New on TPT

Hi everyone! Happy Sunday!! Head on over to my teacherspayteachers' store and get your hands on my new vertical 2014-2015 school year calendar. Perfect for putting into your plan book or having on a cute clipboard on your desk.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Interview Season

For most of us, school has ended and interview season has begun. I wrapped up my school year as a first grade "short" term sub (it was an 8 and a half week assignment). It definitely felt a lot longer than two months. Getting a class towards the end of the year can be a challenge. Procedures and routines are in effect but the kids start to get a bit coo-coo for cocoa puffs as they get closer to summer. Now that it is over it is time to get ready for interviews. I have already started interviewing and have made it to the second round in the district. It was a challenge to get my head into the interviewing game. I have a folder at home that helps me get back into the swing of things and refresh myself with questions and answers that may be asked.

On the left side of the folder I have written out how I would answer common interview questions. You can see those questions here. On the index cards I have written out strengths I have with examples of how I exemplify them on the back.

On the right side of the folder I have information on schools I have prepared to interview for and information on school curricula. It takes some discipline but I also try to go back in after an interview and make a list of the questions that were asked.

After the interview, I take some time to sit down and write out a thank you note to my interviewer. I try to incorporate things we discussed and reiterate why I would be a good fit for the position. I think sending a tangible card is more personal than sending an email.

The most important piece of advice I can give is BE YOURSELF. It is said all the time but really is true. If you say what you THINK your interviewers want to hear you then it wont come across as the genuine you. Plus, you want to be at a school that is the right fit for you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I felt like a genius today

Dilemma: I've run out of clipboards during a math activity.

Solution: Whiteboards + Binder clips 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preparing for your LTS position

Can you believe that we are already half way through April? My spring break here (or what is left of it because of the snow) was this week. When we return from spring break, I will be leaving my building sub position to be a long term substitute in a first grade classroom for the remainder of the school year! It is very exciting news and reassuring that my hard work is paying off and not going unnoticed.

As someone who likes to be prepared, I began searching for information on how to prepare for a smooth transition into a long term sub position. I found a lot of great resources for teachers preparing to leave their classroom to a long term sub but nothing for someone like me! I have been going through the process of preparing for my assignment and have compiled a sort of "to-do list" to accomplish before your start date.

Get in as much face time
The school I will be starting my assignment is also one of the schools where I am a building sub. I am lucky that I have exposure to that classroom. If you are not as lucky and have to opportunity to, try to come in and visit the classroom as much as you can. It's a good idea to observe the class before your start date. There are of course extreme circumstances where assignments are very last minute but if it's an ideal situation, get in that classroom. It's important to watch the routines and class behavior. From my observations, I was able to see what I liked about how the classroom was run and decide what things I wanted to tweak.

Figure out what you'll need
Computer access? Printing capabilities? Access to student records? 

Meet grade partners
I am very fortunate that I will be working with some fantastic first grade teachers during my assignment. It is a good idea to set up a little meeting with the grade partners if you can. Find out how much the grade team plans and works together. You may find that the like my situation, the grade level team does most or all of their planning together. In that case, you want to be careful not to step on any toes yet come prepared with lesson and activity suggestions. In other cases, grade level teams do their planning separately. Try to get a feel for how that grade level runs.  

How will lesson planning go?
Like I said above, you should figure out if your grade team preps for lessons together or separately. Get a good look at the curriculum. Some lend themselves better than others at easily figuring out the scope of a unit. Ask the teacher you are filling in for how they lesson plan. See if you can take a look at their plan book from the past few weeks.

Will you need to partake in major assessments
With my assignment being in first grade from April until the end of the year, there will be some district wide assessing that needs to be done. Find this out what and who would be best to get you up to speed on procedures and protocols where testing is concerned.

Depending on your start and stop date you may need to participate in parent-teacher conferences. I will be in my classroom only 3 weeks before having to do conferences. I wont be in the classroom with the students very long before conferences start so I asked the teacher I am replacing if she could help me out and give me some notes on each child so I have more than my 3 weeks of observations to discuss with parents. I think the parents will appreciate that.

Informing Parents?
How will parents be informed that there child's teacher is gone and you are going to be their teacher now? See if there is protocol in your school for this. You should definitely ask your principal if it is acceptable for you to send a letter home introducing yourself and have the principal look it over. It will probably be your first introduction to the parents so you want to start with your best foot forward.

Enjoy it!
This is what you love to do. Take this opportunity to shine!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

6 Apartment Hunting Tips

1. Visit the locations
Apartment websites will put their prettiest pictures taken with wide lenses from their best units. You won't be able to get a good grasp of what everything looks like until you go and see it with your own eyes.

2. See More Than Just The Sample Unit
If the apartment complex you are visiting has a sample unit that's great. It allows you to see how furniture would look and fit rather than looking at an empty unit. That being said, you should still push to see an empty unit, preferably the one you would be moving in to. Leasing companies are going to make sure their sample unit is in tip top shape and probably with the best and newest upgrades.

3. Hidden Costs?
Try to find apartments that include some of the utilities (sewer, free hot water, heat etc...) in the rent. If nothing is covered in your rent, remember that when budgeting!

4. Don't Cross Them Off Your List Just Yet!
Some apartments will be out of your budget but I don't think that necessarily means you need to walk away. Visit those apartments and keep an eye on any specials they may run. The apartment I live in now was an apartment originally that I could not afford but they ran a great summer special that fit in my budget!

5. Check for Outlets
Pay attention to how many outlets are in each room, bathroom, and kitchen. A room with a good amount of outlets has at least one outlet on each wall. This is especially important if there is no overhead lighting. I saw an apartment with no outlets in the kitchen. Where will my toaster go?!

6. Check for Cell Phone Reception 
If you are visiting apartments check your phone to see if you have enough bars!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's In My Gym Bag?

When I am not snowed in, I do go to the gym. I have found that when I pack a bag in the morning and put it in my car, my chances of going to the gym that day after work double. Packing the right items can help with your gym-going success. I think we all know what it's like the moment we arrive to the gym WITHOUT our headphones!!!! Ahh the horror! Here is a complete list of what I consider my gym bag essentials:

1. Gym Clothes

My gym uniform consists of athletic leggings, a loose fitted tank or a Hanes v-neck white undershirt, sports bra, socks, and sneakers.

My favorite places to buy inexpensive and long lasting gym attire:
Old Navy : They run 40% off sales on all active-wear a few times a year. That is definitely your chance to strike
Target : I love Target sports bras. At the end of season sales, look for their sports bras. You can easily find them on sale for $6-$7.
Marshalls & Tj Maxx : You can name brand active-wear at really affordable prices

My favorite go-to socks:

Is is weird to have a favorite brand of socks? Hanes No Show Socks are it for me.

 I love to wear these headbands at the gym. They don't slip, they don't squeeze my head, and they don't crease my hair. That's a quality headband! A pack of 4 is only about five dollars. Affordable too!

***I found tiny travel containers at target to hold my jewelry so it doesn't get lost or tangled at the bottom of my gym bag. 

2. Music
Of course, I bring my iphone and that has my music on it. I use basic, inexpensive ear-bud headphones.


I recently started using an armband to place my iPhone in. I was given it as a gift and while I understood the concept, I thought it would be really annoying and I would fiddle with it. However, I really like the Nathan armband I have. It is super stretchy and is very comfortable. You can still manipulate the iPhone screen behind whatever that plastic shield is made out of.

  3. Water Bottle
Find one that will fit in a cup holder. If it fits in a cup holder, it will fit in most gym equipment.

4. Reading material, sometimes.
If I am doing weights, I won't bring something to read. If I am doing cardio, like the elliptical or stair master, then I might bring a book. Especially with all of the reading that goes a long with a grad class, I like to kill two birds and get my reading assignments and fitness done at the same time!


Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Day Centers

January is coming to a cold and frosty close. Stop by my Teachers Pay Teacher's store to get your own Valentine's Day themed centers for February.

You can purchase each center individually or purchase the bundle! These centers are geared towards first grade but could easily be used in kindergarten and second grade.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Survive Cabin Fever

I don't know about you all but I am SICK of snow and I am sick of this cold weather. Be gone frigid air, BE GONE!!!!! If icy roads and horribly low temperature are keeping you inside, stay put and read my top ten list of ways to survive cabin fever.

1. Pamper Yourself
Exfoliate with body scrubs, give yourself a facial, and paint your nails.

2. Bake
 Try out some recipes you have been wanting to bake. If you are running low on ingredients with no chance of making it to the store try two-ingredient cookies from Pocket Full of Sugar.

3. Netflix Binge
Here are my top three shows I have binge watched:
    1. Friday Night Lights (5 seasons)
    2. Parenthood (4 seasons)
    3. Orange is the New Black (1 season)

4. Purge and maybe sell?
 Start spring cleaning early. Decide if any of the stuff you want to toss would be worth anything. If so, take some pictures of it and list it on eBay. They say one man's trash is another man's treasure so you might as well make a profit out of it.

5. Wine and Cocktails
yeah, I don't think I need to explain that. If you're going to be stuck inside, drink until your heart's content. 

6. Attempt to make some sellable items for TPT
If you are a sub like me, you don't get paid for the days you don't work, including snow days. Play around and make some original worksheets to sell on TeachersPayTeachers.

7. Workout at home
It's so cold outside that even leaving the house to drive to the gym is torturous. Find some fun printable workout guides on Pinterest or videos on Youtube and get your sweat on.

8. Rearrange the furniture
It's a good workout and a fun change.

9. Wash your make up brushes 
If you are like me, you put off washing your make up brushes. Seriously, just go, take 10 minutes and wash them! 

10. Light a candle and sit with that good book you've been waiting to read 
Enjoy the slow snow day(s) because life moves too fast.

P.S: Happy 100th blog post to me!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Decorating At The Dollar Spot

* This is not a sponsored post

The first week of January I took down all of my Christmas decorations and I was disgusted. The apartment looked SO bare! My eyes couldn't stand it. This is our first year in our first apartment so we don't have a stock of decorations at our disposal. What's a girl to do when cute and affordable decorations are in need? Go to Target! 

I knew with February fast approaching that Target would have great Valentine's Day themed decor. Off I went to Target, grabbed my red shopping cart and made a bee line for the Dollar Spot. 

If you are not familiar with the Target Dollar Spot, then you need to actually stop reading this, get in your car, and go to Target. The dollar spot has crafts, school supplies, supplies for the classroom, themed decor, storage, and more ranging from $1-$3. Every month or so the inventory changes. 

This is what I did with my purchases back at home.

 Everything on the shelves were $1.00. The bird and clothes pin were also a dollar each and from the dollar spot from earlier in 2013.
 This Valentine's Banner kit was $3 and very easy to assemble.

 $3 rug for the bathroom
 $3 rug for the kitchen

$3 accent pillows for the living room

Everything shown totaled to $24 to add some Valentine's flair in the living room, kitchen, and bathroom of the apartment.