So friends, this is my last Thursday before I return to school.
Summer FLIES, oh my goodness!!
As I prepare my classroom,
I always wonder what other teachers use to make their classrooms work.
Well, maybe today's Throwback Thursday will help you in some way.
We're going back to one of my first posts in January, 2012.

I love seeing what works for others in their classrooms, 
so I thought I'd share a few things that work for me. 
Seriously, seeing other classrooms never gets old to me!

1) The Take Turns Bucket
I'm sure many of you use this or something like it, 
but in case you don't, let me share. 
Update: My Take Turns Bucket is much cuter now!! Ha!

Students' names are written on clothespins and placed in a container. 
I use a little pail. 

When we do ANY activity that requires taking turns, the bucket comes out! 
The rest I think you can figure out. 

The first time I tried something like this, I used popsicle sticks.
The problem with those was there was nowhere to put the sticks once they came out of the pail.
Clothespins easily clip onto the pail. 

My Tip for you: (What I learned the hard way!)
*I paint my clothespins first so the ink from the Sharpie won't bleed.
Actually, this year some other teachers' children painted them for me. They loved it!

Side note: One of my sweet girls should NEVER buy a lottery ticket but should ALWAYS enter a draw-down because her clip is consistently pulled last. She's a really good sport, though!

If you don't use something like this, I encourage you to try it! 
Makes my life much easier!

2) Mini Brooms and Dustpans
The next things that work for me, and I truly could not live without, 
are my mini brooms and dustpans! 

That may sound nuts to you, but they are an enormous help in this classroom. 
My kids LOVE using the little brooms and can share the workload with a friend. 

I promise, they all use them without being asked! 

I hang my brooms on 3M hooks behind my classroom door. 
You can tell there isn't much room back there.

My Tips for you: (Things I learned the hard way!)
*Make sure the plastic is thick enough to withstand little hands that aren't always gentle. 
*I also suggest angled brooms. They're easier for the little ones to handle.
My current brooms are straight and not as easy to use.
*Make sure you hang the brooms where all kiddos can reach.

 That's all for now! 

Happy Thursday!


Do you remember when TAPE consisted of cream colored masking tape,
silver "duck/duct" tape, or clear "Scotch" tape?
Dating myself?? I'm sure I am, but let's face it!
Tape has come a long way, baby!

No longer are cream, silver, and clear our only choices.
Today, you can find tape in any color and pretty much any pattern or size!
It's not just used for adhering things anymore, either!

Here are a few ways I use tape in my classroom.

1) Arts and Crafts-
This one is a given! Tape is an arts and crafts tool!

2) DIY Bulletin Boards-
Tape provides a great border for bulletin boards, especially duck tape.
The tape is strong enough to hold butcher paper to the wall
and also provides the straight line needed for the border.

 I thought I had a better pic than this. Evidently, I did not...

3) Board Dividers-
Tape works great to separate sections of your markerboard.
Make sure you use removable tape for this task.

 These cute numbers and headers are from Cupcake!

4) Booklet Borders-
This is probably my favorite way to use tape in the classroom.
Not only does tape fancy up a booklet, it also covers the staples
so precious little fingers don't get sliced.

Here are a few booklets I have ready for August.
DeAnna's Monster Mess Color Booklet

Our Back to School Journals

Sheree's Nifty Number Booklets
You get the idea!

5) Highlighting-
We do love some highlighter tape.

We use on charts, in big books, and in small books.
You can read all about that here.

6) More Tape Decor-
Take a look at a few more ways to use tape in the classroom.

 These washi covered clothespins are from Rachel at SubHub.

Washi covered pencils from Beckie at Punk Projects.

 Washi covered handprint from Apartment Therapy.

However you choose to use tape in your classroom, have fun!!

IF you are a tape fan, I'd love to know how you use tape in your classroom!

Happy Week!!

Paint Can Fun!

I've found myself a craft and I've completed it! 
 Yee Haw!!

Paint Can Make-over
Does Melanie at Schoolgirl Style inspire you as much as she inspires me?
Well, I noticed she's been using paint cans in some of her decor lately. 

I've been wanting to make something fun with these paint cans ever since I saw Melanie's pic. 
Here's my craft - a paint can make-over!

Pick out the size can you want.

 Choose some fun scrapbook paper.

 Measure the can vertically, then cut the paper to that length.
The small cans from Hobby Lobby measure 4 1/2 inches.
If you want color on the inside, fold the paper once it's measured.
If you prefer white on the inside, just cut to 4 1/2 or the size of the can you find.
Does that make sense?

 I folded mine before I cut it so the zebra print would be inside, as well.

 Curl the paper until it fits into the can like the above pic.

 This is what it will look like after you've placed the paper in the can.
Once the paper is in the can, push the paper under the rim inside the can.
This will secure the paper. I did not use tape.

You can tell the paper is secure in the two cans above. The rim is over the paper.

 The finished product.
Now there are several things I can do with these cans.
Add labels or ribbons, raffia, anything!

 I won't throw away my lids. I'll place them in a basket for circle patterns.
We always need some! 
Happy Monday, Friends!!!

PIrate Teaching: The Awkward Question...

I can't tell you how many times my non-teacher friends ask me things like, "Why do you go to school on the weekend?" or "It's summer. Why are you reading THAT book?" Honestly??
Because I want to be all that I can be! I want to be a super teacher! I want to be GREAT! 

The question is: Do You Want to Be GREAT? Dave Burgess hits it on the head in Teach Like a Pirate. That's a really awkward question. Do YOU...want to be...GREAT???

Hard question to answer, isn't it?

What he's asking is "Do you want to be a great teacher?"

Does that question make you uncomfortable?
Are the people around you rolling eyes and mumbling under their breath?
Or, do you just think it's selfish to want greatness? 

Maybe you don't want to be the overachiever teacher, the one who stays past the bell?
Maybe there's too much peer pressure dragging you back to the pit of negativity?
So...you settle for mediocrity.

Well, Dave tells us in Pirate how mediocrity leads to nothing.
And, if you are leading a group of children, it doesn't motivate, either.

Why would we want to do that to our students? 

If we aren't giving our kiddos all we have, all day long,
then we aren't "doing our part to shape the minds of future generations"
and ultimately, change the world!

Y'all, we've been given a gift!
Teaching is a GIFT!
It's also a calling.
It's a huge responsibility.
One I don't take lightly. 

If you were an attorney, wouldn't you want to be the best one in town?

If you were an author, wouldn't you want to be a best seller?

I would! 

Then why wouldn't you want to be a Super Hero Teacher?

It's okay to aspire to greatness, especially when that greatness leads children to the love of language and words and books and... I could go on!

Dave uses the story of The Little Drummer Boy as a perfect example of using our gifts.
This small child had nothing of material worth to give his king.
So he played his drum with all his heart.
He used his gifts and shared his greatness.

Dave Burgess tells us to "Play our drum for all its worth!" Get your sticks ready, my friends!