Indiana Goes Back to School Blog Hop +FREEBIE!!

Hi there!!! Thanks so much for joining in on our "Indiana Goes Back to School Blog Hop" today!!! I have to admit, I'm still in disbelief that we're already going back THIS MONDAY!!! The kids come Tuesday which means it's been a very busy couple of weeks! You know how you sometimes feel like there is no way on this earth that you will get everything done, but somehow you do?!? That's how I feel! haha However, after today, I'm feeling great and ready to go!!! 

As a way to kick off the new school year, some of us Indiana bloggers wanted to do a fun back to school blog hop!! Don't forget to read through all of them for your chance to win a $75 Winner's Choice Gift Card at the end!!!!! You don't want to miss that!!!

Now on to Back to School Ideas!!!

Aside from my BRAND NEW THEME, COMMUNITY, this year (click on the picture to check it out!!)...I've been working on many, many other activities and materials to get my students learning!! 
Click here to read about my blog post on my new theme above!

One of my projects was creating new genre posters with matching book bin labels minus the definitions!! I wanted these reference posters to be written in simple terms that could be understood by anyone who read them.  I also wanted to make the poster relatable to my students by putting scenes that they recognized! I love to find ways to integrate subjects so these posters can easily spark discussions and conversations of the stories/text/events that they portray and lead to background knowledge, connections, etc. I am so proud of these posters and so excited to start using them!!! I would show you a picture of them on my windows in my classroom, but the lighting wouldn't allow that to happen (I'm definitely not a professional photographer either to problem solve that!).  

Continuing on...last year, I changed my library by buying awesome plastic colored bins from Lakeshore Learning to hold my books. However, not only did they hold my books, they also represented different genres. So all of my red tubs went with fiction genres, orange tubs with nonfiction, and yellow tubs with poetry. 

Here is a picture of my book bins at the beginning of last year.
Organized but not at the same time!

Here's how it looked by the end of last year! that's organized! :) The extra colors of tubs were for other categories like books in Spanish, class books, math books, etc. I will be putting on the rest of my new book bin labels onto these bins this weekend!! I can't wait!! :)

So to take it a step further this year, I created my own genre posters that align with the color system of my library! Since my fiction genres (realistic fiction, fantasy, traditional literature, mystery, historical fiction and science fiction) are in red tubs, the poster frames for these genres were also red along with the letter corresponding with the genre. The orange tubs are nonfiction so informational, biography, and autobiography have orange frames. The yellow tubs go for poetry so that poster has a yellow frame. (I also sticker the books with the same colors for the genres along with the letter representing each genre.)

 Click on any of the genre posters or book bin labels to go to my TPT store to get a closer look!

This way when students are looking for books and figuring out which genre they are, they can use this system as a resource to help them! 

I've also created exact replicas of these posters minus the definitions for book bin labels so everything coordinates! 

The posters and system that I have for my library really help my students to start making connections with the literature they read. One other activity our genre studies lead us to in Room 402 is "The Genre's Court."  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE "The Genre's Court," and my students literally BEG to have it!!! It is my rendition of The People's Court but in literature with genres!! We even set up the room as a court room! I wear my college gown and have an official gavel!!
You know as well as I do that you want to KEEP those activities around when they mean so much to the kids, and they learn soooo much!! So definitely check that out!! :)

Click on the picture below to learn more about "The Genre's Court!"
FREEBIE TIME!!!!!!!!! As a little back to school gift, download my freebie which includes 2 products in one exclusively for you all!! Click here to download your freebies!!
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog on our Indiana Back to School Blog Hop!!! Have a great school year!!!

Now, click on our logo below to head over to Learning in Progress to meet Krea and learn about her back to school ideas!! Happy hopping!!

Don't forget to hop through to the end of our blog hop for your chance to win a $75 Winner's Choice Gift Card!!!!!!! You don't want to miss out on that!!! :) Thanks for such a great blog hop!! :) 

10 Things I've Learned + BDAY FREEBIE!!!

Hey there!! I'm finally back on my blog!! PHEW, it's been a busy couple weeks getting ready for my new bunch to walk in this Tuesday!! I feel like I couldn't sit down, but I'm feeling pretty good now! :) So to get back into the swing of things here, I am linking up Miss Kindergarten and her...
What a great idea for a linky party!!! :) So here goes my 10 things!! Don't forget to grab my Birthday Frame FREEBIE at the end!!!

My 10 Things I've Learned from Teaching:

1. You are NEVER done!  No matter how long you work, there are ALWAYS more things you can do! It's exhausting to think about! hah I have to run and workout to channel that down! 

2. Gong to Walmart in workout clothes or "around the house" clothes is NOT recommended! You will more than likely run into a student or see one and end up jolting behind a clothes rack to disappear. :) 

3. Never throw away anything of worth from your house before seeing if you can use it in your classroom! 

4. Certain names I may have wanted for my future children have altered a bit!! :)

5. If you know a parent is talkative, make sure to mention right away that you only have a few minutes to talk due to other obligations! That way you're not wondering how an hour just went by!

6. Keep all food items sealed unless you want furry friends leaving presents around your classroom! 
7. Don't leave your purse under your desk especially when you want to keep your money!! Thanks to Dave Ramsey, I had cash! haha I always make sure all the students are out of the room with me now! 

8. "Breadsticks" is code word for teacher fun after school! :)

9. Forget about going to Target, Walmart, Meijer, etc. without buying something school related!

10. On a serious note: Teaching is one of the most challenging, rewarding, exhausting, inspiring, and influential careers out there! I'm proud to be a part of it! :)

Wishing everyone a WONDERFUL start to the new school year!!! You are ALL a blessing to so many! How many people can say that they get to influence the world through children?!? We are some very lucky teachers!! :) Happy New School Year!

I found these ideas on Pinterest and decided to make my own!! The paper balloons are FREE on my TPT store. To grab those, click here! I found the giant Pixie Stix at Sam's Club for around $11.50 I believe for 50 of them!! Steal of a deal! I love the idea of the frame since it takes up less space and really lets those students have the spotlight for that month! I'm going to have the kids stand in a group for each month to take their pictures. I will then cut around them and tape the picture to the gray box to make it look almost like 3D. I can't wait!!
Click here to get my Birthday Frame Posters FREEBIE!!! There are plain color versions as well as fun backgrounds!! Take your pick!! :)

Milestone SALE and Indiana Blogger Meet-up!!

Background Papers by Ashley Hughes, clipart by Melonheadz, font by Jen Jones and circle frame by BaBaPuffBaby

I can't believe it!!! Well, I can because I saw it happen; however, I never thought that I would be at 200 followers from 51 at the beginning of the summer!! (6 weeks later!!!) I'm so incredibly thankful for all of you teachers, bloggers, and all visitors for being so supportive of my journey into the TPT and blogging world!! I have had a blast so far, and I can't wait to see what's yet to come! As a token of appreciation (and in advance of the actual Back to School TPT sale that I will also be participating in:), I am putting my ENTIRE TPT store on sale starting TODAY all the way through this Friday, the 19th!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this year sooooooo fantastic!!!! :) 
Now, on to a post that I've been itching to get to since the activity took place last Thursday!!
You know how teachers are the worst when it comes to actually sitting through presentations, meetings, etc. without talking and sharing with others?!? haha We always have good intentions and usually ;) are talking about related ideas. Well, this AWESOMELY AMAZING meet-up was no different except that we were ALLOWED to talk during it! hah You couldn't get us to stop!!! It was fabulous!! I just wish I had more ears and mouths to be able to be in each conversation going on! There was so much great talk about personal lives, professional lives, experiences, and so on! Instant friendships were made upon arrival, and we already started planning for the next get together. It's amazing what energy a room has when you put in 15 passionate, committed, and enthusiastic teachers!! Sooooo cool!! Here are some pictures from the event! 
 Here we all are!! 
This is right before we started the game, Dirty Teacher (same as the Dirty Santa game). It was awesome! At first, everyone was a little hesitant to steal, but once one started, it kept going for a while!! hah 
 Ciera from Adventures of Room 129 and Heather from Teaching Through Turbulence did an awesome job organizing and even had these beautiful DIY frames for each of us!!  
My Dirty Teacher gift I won was from Aimee at Pencils, Books, & Dirty Looks. It is a back to school activity in a container with different cards inside stating questions to get to know each other along with handouts to go with them. It is adorable!!! Definitely check it out in her TPT store! :)
This is a picture of me, Anita from i live 2 learn, i love 2 grow and Hilary from 2nd Grade is Out of this World.

It was absolutely awesome!! :) I can't wait for the next gathering!!

(Submissions close in 9d 14h 46m)
Link tool by

Sunday Smorgasbord 7/14

I'm so excited to link up with Michelle from Fabulous in First!! Since school is starting for us in 2 weeks, this past week has been FULL of randomness!!! :)

Sunday, July 7th- Fly back home into Midway
Tonto Natural Bridge, AZ
So this past Sunday, my family and I ended our family reunion trip to Payson, AZ. :( It's always a great time getting together with family, but it's so hard to say bye for now! During this trip, I definitely realized how much I love the midwest! :) Nothing against Arizona because it has so many cool, picturesque places and plants in nature. However, I can't deny how much I love the lush colors of the midwest (when there's not a drought in the summer with crunchy grass like last year!). I was super excited to get a couple books for my classroom, though! Anytime I travel, I ALWAYS buy a kid's book to do with that area, national and international.
One other thing about my family is that everyone LOVES some White Castle Sliders!!! My immediate family and grandma live in the midwest where we can have them all the time, but everyone else moved away (Arizona, Florida, Wyoming) and don't have that luxury anymore. So, we kind of rubbed it in with our late night snack after getting into Midway! :)

Monday, July 8th- Back to Indy
So after the trek back from Arizona, it was time for me to drive back to Indy to get some school stuff done!! (3 weeks from that day, 2 weeks now till we start!) I'm not panicking, though!?! hah I immediately got going on cutting, laminating, and organizing all of my new Community Themed Decor so that it was ready to go up in my room later in the week once the carpets were cleaned and the go ahead was given. I have absolutely fallen in love with all of my new decor!! I'm still not even close to being finished decorating in my room, but it's coming along.

To finish the day out, my sister and I went for sushi!!! How I love thee!!
Crazy and Crunchy rolls!! YUM!

Tuesday, July 9th- Lunch with a student, Back to School Shopping with my reading co-teacher
At the end of the year, it was bittersweet as one of my students who I had for 2 years was moving on to a new room. So my reading co-teacher and I took him and his grandma to lunch! He chose Steak 'n Shake! It's so fun to do things like this outside of school especially with a student who made a complete 180 from where he started!! He's on grade level across the board now!!! 

Following this, my reading co-teacher and I decided to hit the stores!! TONS of stores!! We started with Garden Ridge, on to United Art and Education, Walmart, Apple Store, Lakeshore Learning, La Hacienda for dinner :), and finally Target!! Boy was that an awesome day!! :) Here are some of the purchases I made that day!! 
 Lakeshore Learning I love you!
This was actually from Hobby Lobby the day before! I love it! 
My new reading area with 2 fun cube seats from Target!! I can actually sit on them, too! ;) So excited!

Wednesday, July 10th- New Hair Do!! 
So today, I took some time off to get my Back to School Do!! I got about 4 inches chopped off to chin length, changed the color back to chocolate brown and added a few red stripes in the front!
Here's my dog, Gracie, my nephew and me. :) I love my family and new hair! 

Then I got into my room where I wasn't really supposed to move anything yet, but our AMAZING head custodian said I could move the things that were already on the floor!! So I was off arranging the room; however, I literally stood there staring at the space because I had no idea where I was putting things! haha Then I just started with the desk arrangement and worked my way around!
A glimpse into the chaos! :)

Thursday, July 11th- Indiana Blogger Meet-Up!!!
Aside from helping some of my friends learn about Class Dojo and working in my classroom, I was sooooo excited for the Indiana Blogger Meet-Up!! It was so awesome to meet great teachers that think alike with that same passion!! How awesome! We had a great time playing Dirty Teacher with excellent products and gifts! It took a while for someone to "steal" a gift, but once it started, it was hard to stop!!! I cannot tell you how fun this was! We had great conversations and hopefully will be meeting up again soon!! Indiana rocks!! :)
The awesomely, beautiful gifts!

Ciera from Adventures of Room 129 and Heather from Teaching Through Turbulence did an awesome job organizing and even had these beautiful DIY frames for each of us!! 

Friday, July 12th- Back Home to Parents for Nephew Time
Thursday night I returned home to my parents 2 1/2 hours away to get some nephew time before my brother and sister-in-law head back with them to Wyoming next week! My sister, mom and I took both of them to see the movie Despicable Me 2! It was sooooooo cute!! Definitely worth seeing!
Saturday, July 13th- Sisters Pedicures and Cookout!
Every summer that my brother and his family come home to my parents, my sister, sister-in-law and I get pedicures and lunch! I tried out a new color, jade, on the toes, and I love it!! We ended up at Chili's for lunch which was delicious!! Can't go wrong with some Southwestern Egg Rolls and chips and salsa! Yummmm! Then we had neighbors and family over for a cookout that night which was where the picture of my nephew, dog and me came from!!! 

SOOOO I know this was EXTREMELY LONG, but I had a very RANDOM but WONDERFUL week!!! Thanks sooooo much for reading!!!

Have a great week!!!