Holy pickles!  I made it through the first week of school.  Ok, maybe not week... only 3 days... but it certainly FELT like a week... or longer...

Now that I have napped and gotten my sense of school back, I thought I'd take you through my classroom.  I know, everybody else has already been in school and has great pictures of what they did the first week... honestly bloggy people - how do you remember to take pictures?  Three days of school gone by and I never took a single picture.  Trust me though, we had fun.  I have a great group of second graders and I have TONS of ideas for this year.

Ready for the tour?    (Disclaimer - this post is really heavy on pictures.  I may not remember to take them all the time, but when I do, I go a little overboard.  I had to be selective here.  And I made them big... I like to really SEE what's in a picture.)
Here we go!
This is the bulletin board outside my room.  My students made it last spring and they were sooo excited to know it would be up at the beginning of this year.  I've already had kiddos stop by and say they loved seeing their work out.  That's a nice side benefit - the best part for me was I didn't even have to think about what to put up there for the first day!  (This came from Hope King's end of the year writing bundle, which you can see HERE.)
Here's the door to my room.  (Blurry picture... not sure why...)  I have to warn you now - all the wood in my room is old and covered with scotch tape marks, etc.... every year I think about actually fixing it up, but I never do.  It's just easier to cover it :-)  I found this door idea on Pinterest and loved it.  I actually read the statements to my kiddos as we go out the door.  I really think it helps build a sense of community and belonging, and I refer to the door during the day.  That way the kids see they're not just words. 
Time to go inside!  This is the view from the door.  I have 3 main tables for kids to sit at (only 18 kiddos this year!)  You can see the rug area to the left and the new curtains I made to cover the fact that the new blinds they installed show too much wood.  I sprayed them with fire retardant spray so the fire marshal will be happy.  He's very picky, which is why you don't see any cute pom-poms or signs hanging from the ceiling. 
You can't really see them, but I have Hope King's subway art posters hanging on the window frame.  I put the rules on the window, and the inspirational quotes will go on the wall next to he window.  We focus on one quote each month.  You can see those HERE.
This is taken from the front of the room by the word wall.
Here's the view from the window side across the room.  I have all my leveled and themed books on shelves behind the curtains.  Confession - the curtains are just a big piece of material folder over a spring rod and STAPLED.  I do not sew.  They have worked fine for years.  I was going to make my nice yellow window curtains the same way but when my mother found out she insisted I bring them home and she would sew them properly.  Maybe she'll fix the black and white ones, too?  (You can get the clock numbers for free HERE.)
On my closet door (I LOOOOOVE the fact that I have a big double closet in my room AND a small single one.  Because my room is a corner room I get the closets.  I plan on taking my last teaching breaths here in this room.) - on the door is my clip chart (you can get the clip chart as part of my Clip Chart bundle HERE)
and my "check chart" for when students come in the room.  I used to have just a poster kind of thing that listed what students needed to do.  This summer I had a brainstorm to make it cuter.  What can I say - it takes me a while to think of this stuff.  (Due to the TOU of the clip art I used, I can't share this file with you.)
Now you are looking at my word wall.  We'll add words throughout the year.  I start with high frequency words they should know how to spell from first grade, then we'll move to second grade words and skills in a couple of weeks.  The word wall is just a piece of fabric attached to the board with really amazingly sticky double sided outdoor tape that I got at Home Depot.  It is the ONLY thing I have been able to find that will keep the fabric on the wall when it gets humid.  Three days of school and so far, so good.  Ask me at the end of the year if it stayed up.
That picture also shows what right now is my science center.  When we go back on Tuesday I'll have monarch caterpillars in the tank so we can watch them change into butterflies.  It is the most amazing thing.  Every year I think about how lucky I am to be able to see a caterpillar ~ LIVE ~ making a chrysalis, or a butterfly emerging.  Nature is incredible.
Around October this will morph into our listening center.  We do Daily 5, so I'm waiting until I introduce "Listening to Reading" before I put everything out.  The tape player (yes, I still use one!), CD players and books will go on the table and the headphones will hang on hooks.  The stools were old gray metal ones that used to be in our art room.  I spray painted them black.  Now I'm looking for cushions that are cheap and will fit on them so my kiddos don't come away with a black bottom.
Ok, on to the rug area.  You can see my calendar (we do most of our calendar activities on the Smartboard), schedule chart and  - *NEW* - mini chart for holding the "I Can" statements for the day.  (You can see those HERE.) My principal wants us to post the objective or statements in the room so that's my way of doing it.  We're on the rug for most of the day so that's the perfect spot.  (The black and white bins used to be white and blue, but I spray pained those, too.  I love spray paint.)
Speaking of spray paint - did you know it works on file cabinets, too??  Oh happy day!  This picture is really bad - the cabinets look MUCH better than this.  I modge-podged scrapbook paper to the top half and hot glued ribbon on.  Who knew my cabinet drawers were two different sizes?
Ok, here is what I am most proud of doing this summer.  This is my teacher desk.  I do still have one, but it is pretty small - which I like.  It is also REALLY old.... which I also like.  Here's what it looked like before.... (ok, after some stripping and sanding..... I apparently didn't take a picture of the desk immediately before....)
And.... drum roll, please......
Does that not look beautiful?  I considered just putting it in the middle of the room for everyone to admire and NOT TOUCH, but that didn't seem to practical, so I had to move it.  I do make sure to stand by it and glance in that direction when someone new comes in the room so they will notice....
And finally, just a random picture of my birthday balloons for my kiddos.  I have a straw, sticker badge, certificate and pencil for each of them - all set and ready to go.  That makes it so much easier to remember when it's birthday time!
Whew!  I'm tired just looking at all this again!  I really am excited to be back in school and to spend the days with my second graders.  Hmmm... what cute name do you call kiddos in second grade?  First graders are firsties.... kindergarteners are "K"s.... any thoughts?

Are you ready for some celebrating?  Back to school time is finally here and what better way to celebrate than with a big sale!  I have been a buyer on Teachers Pay Teachers for a few years now, and just recently took the plunge and became a seller.  I have always found TpT to be a great resource for things I need in my classroom - things I know I will use ALL of, not just one page or one chapter or one activity.

And this weekend is the perfect time to buy!
(graphic by Dragonflies in First)
Most sellers (including me!) will have their stores on sale - some for up to 20% off - AND you can get an extra 10% off your total purchase by using the code BTS13 at checkout.  Click on the sale graphic above to visit my TpT store and see what you can find.  Don't forget to use the code for an extra 10% off!  The sale starts this Sunday August 18!

I'm not sure if I'm more excited about being a seller or a buyer during the sale!  I have a TON of things on my own wishlist, which brings me to....
Button above made by Diane at Fifth in the Middle with graphics by I Teach What's Your Superpower?
The graphics below are by the wonderful Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn!  
A fun linky where bloggers share 2 of the top wishlisted items in their store, and 1 item on their personal wishlist.  Here we go!
The number 1 wishlisted item in my store right now is my Grade 2 Common Core Standards Based Gradebook - editable so you can add your student names every year!

There is a gradebook page for EVERY grade 2 Common Core standard.  I created this because y school was moving toward standards based grading and this made it easy for me to not only know how each of my students were doing on the standards, but also to keep track of what I have taught.  Click on any of the images above to visit my store and try it out.  I also have gradebooks for grades 1 and 3, as well.
My second most wishlisted item in my store is "Prefix Power!"
These activities are a great way to practice prefixes in a fun way - whole class, small group and independently.  I have used these activities each year with my second graders and they love being superheroes for the day!  (Click on the picture to see a more detailed description of what's included.) 
And finally, the item I am most looking forward to purchasing is one I've been keeping an eye on for a while.  Michael from A Home for Teaching Resources created Reader's Notebooks for various Henry and Mudge stories... then bundled four of them together to create a seasons pack!  (Can you say second grade common core theme?!)
They are filled with great critical thinking activities, close reading.... I can't wait to use them with my kiddos.  And be sure to check out the rest of his store - he has activities for Frog and Toad, too!
Don't forget to click on the graphic below to visit the linky and see what other great resources are out there!

And don't forget to check out the TpT back to school sale starting this Sunday!

Well... What do you think?  I'm so excited to share my new blog design.  It's perfect and it's definitely ME!  I worked with Christi from Design by Christi.  It was so easy and she fiddled with every detail I asked about to come up with this A-DOR-A-BLE design.  Thanks, Christi!

On another note - I went into my classroom last week with the intention of doing some serious work getting things ready.... But, that wasn't meant to be!  I had supplies and materials for our new math program and bunches of stuff in boxes that had been put in my room to be sorted out to all the grade 2 teachers.  

Soooo..... My goal went from "get my room mostly set up" to "get everything out of my room that wasn't mine!"  Oh well.... I am definitely going to have to go in this week and get serious.  Our first teacher day is next Friday!

Here are a few pictures of my classroom right now

Not exactly the cute designer classroom everyone else is revealing on their blogs. . . but it will be better soon!

One last thing to share with you - I know many of you are already in school, so here are 2 word searches you can use with your kiddos.  One is a little easier than the other.  I was planning on including them in a whole back-to-school printables pack on TpT, but that's not going to happen... so, enjoy!  Click on the image below to download the files.
It's bacccccckkkkk!  August has finally arrived.  It is amazing to think that in just a few weeks I'll be back in the classroom all day with my kiddos instead of sitting on the deck with my feet up reading my kindle all day... ok, maybe not all day... but that's what summer is about, right?

I know that some of you are already BACK in school.  Blah... I can't even imagine.  Of course, you'll all be glad for that come May when I'm sitting here with more than a month left and YOU'RE reading your kindle...

It never really seems like a new year on Jan. 1 when everyone starts talking about what they're going to improve... what they want to stop doing... or start doing.... At that point, I'm always thinking - "I'm right in the middle of my year!  Too crazy to start changing things now..."  So, my resolutions come more at this time, when it's back to school... which leads me to some fun...
(Is that not the cutest graphic?  It's my first try at creating an image like that... thanks to Krista at Creative Clips for the stars and frame, and to Jen at Hello Literacy for the perfect fonts!)

What are 3 resolutions you have for this coming school year?  Anyone.... anyone?  Ok, I'll start:

1.  Clean out my file cabinets and THROW AWAY what I don't need...

this includes papers and folders that I have not touched in years... like from our old math program (the 3rd one back... not the new one we just got this year).... I tend to clean by just taking things out and putting them back nicely.  Nope, no way, not this time..... roll out the big garbage pail, people... I'm cleaning out! (and btw... that is not really a picture of my cabinet... nope... of course not...)

2.   I'm going to implement "Closing Circle" in my classroom this year.  I do Morning Meeting in my classroom every.single.day.    It becomes such an important part of our day that the kids really look forward to it to set the tone for the day,  The end of the day however... not such a calm tone.... what with announcements, packing up, Sammy don't forget your lunch box.... Sammy, your lunch box.... Did Sammy leaves his lunch box again?  I really would like to end the day on a better note. 

Introducing - "Closing Circles" from Responsive Classroom.  The book makes it sound so wonderful... students in a circle, already packed up and ready to go... calmly and enthusiastically sharing things from their day and doing an organized activity together.... what better way to end the day?  Ok, I know it won't work like that from day 1.... I have lots of work to do to get to that point, but I really WANT to get to that point so I'm excited to try it.  You can click on the book image above to go to the Responsive Classroom site and find out more about it.  Have you done this in your room before?  Any helpful hints to share?

3. (I have to admit... I got stuck here for a moment.)  Ahem.... #3 is try to get some kind of exercise everyday... I know, that one was a let down... but I'm not getting any younger you know.. and as the snarky doctor explained out at my last check up "as we get older, out bodies don't deal with stress as well, so exercise everyday is important."  Who said I had stress?  Have you been in my school?  We have a no stress school.... and of course there is no stress in the rest of my life either... and just what do you think I do all day in a roomful of second graders...??

Now don't get the wrong idea here - I'm not THAT old... I might not even BE old in some people's eyes... let's just say I am getting old-ER and my penchant for daily trips to the gym to be toned and svelte seems to have disappeared in the past couple of years.... (it was much easier to just buy a bigger size bathing suit for the summer than go to the gym all the time anyway....)

Soooo.... even if I can't go to the gym, I'm going to go for a walk or something... get my body moving and my mind relaxing... I'll let you know how that one works out...

Now it's your turn!  Snag the button and join the linky to share your "School Year Resolutions", or if you don't have a blog, leave  a comment below.  I'm excited to see what everyone else's goals are for the year!

Thanks for stopping by!

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