Today I'm sharing with you one of my favorite teacher gifts that I have made!  I created this "bouquet of flowers" for my daughters daycare teachers.


The weekend is almost over, but I wanted to join up with the Weekend Warriors to share a few things about myself!




1. I am all about routines!  I think they are crucial in a classroom.  It helps students know what to expect so that they can focus their concentration on learning.  Some might think that routine = boring.  I disagree!

2. Social Studies and Reading are my absolute favorite subjects.  Lucky for me, those are the 2 subjects that I get to teach!  And my 5th grade social studies curriculum (American History) takes the cake!

3. Making connections with students is a HUGE part of teaching.  Students learn better when they know that their teacher cares about them.  Whether we discuss a sporting event, a book or their vacation plans, I always make sure to touch base with all of my kids.  This year, one of my students had the same 3rd grade teacher as me (in a different district) - talk about a connection!


These two were originally on The Teacher Me board, but I realized they spilled over into my real life as well.

1.  I have a passion for learning.  Whether it's about my profession or a new skill (helllooo TpT),  I always want my brain to be moving.  I am always reading...professional books, novels, etc.

2.  Yeah, I'm organized.  Yeah, I get teased for my organization.  Yeah, I don't care.  A place for everything and everything in it's place (usually labeled) is my motto.  I can't stand clutter.  I can't even watch the commercials for those hoarder shows.  Seriously.  My friend once joked that my idea of a mess is a neatly stacked pile in the corner.


I've been lucky enough to visit Hawaii twice and, in doing so, I fell in love with the islands.  Now, I want to live there.  I want to live like a local to experience their culture and way of life.  The gorgeous beaches and warm weather are just an added bonus!
When I started blogging, I was instantly drawn to not only what was going on in other teachers' classrooms, but their lives outside of teaching as well.  Blogging has given me the opportunity to connect with teachers all over the world.

I've discovered that a typical Sunday meal may look very different for someone in Texas than for someone in Wisconsin.  That summer vacation in Australia might mean something different than in Canada.  Or they might be exactly the same!

I've enjoyed getting to know teachers from across the globe.  So this is why I am joining Classroom Confections' link-up on "My Favorite Mug."  It's such a simple concept, but I really want to know what your favorite cup is!

 My favorite mug is actually brand-new!  I was using some pretty plain, boring ones before.  I won't even show those to you.  One of my students gave me this mug as an end-of-the-year gift last week and I've used it every day since!  {Confession: I dug it out of the dishwasher to take this picture}  The flip-flops and summery background make me think, "yes, life IS good."

 I like the back of the mug even better!  As much as I like the summery feel of the front, the quote on the back describes the rest of my year.  I truly love what I do.  Everyday.

Inside my cup, you will ONLY find Cafe Escapes: Cafe Mocha K-cups.  It's the only "coffee" I'll drink.  Yeah, it's not really even coffee.  But it sure is delicious!  Once in a while, some hot chocolate will make it's way in there.  If the weather is cold enough.  {it made it's way in there a LOT this past winter}.

So...what's your favorite mug??  I want to know!


After all that snow, summer has finally arrived!  My students tried to tell me that it was "illegal" to go to school past June 20th.  Can't say that I've ever heard of such a law, but luckily we were out before then anyways.

Since I'm not teaching, but my daughter still has a few days left of daycare, I am taking full advantage of my quiet time.  Books have been read, house has been cleaned, and TpT products have been updated!

The first project to get an overhaul is one of the very first products I ever created, my Non-Fiction Text Features book.  Despite it's less-than-stellar appearances, it is one of my best-sellers, believe it or not.  I used this every year in my 2nd grade classroom.

This product not only exposes students to the different text features in non-fiction books, but also gives them an interactive way to share their understanding.

First, check out the new cover.  A few less dots and a little more Melonheadz and KG fonts.


I revamped the inside as well!

Students can create a 1/2 page booklet, which will save on paper.

 Students could also create a booklet with full-size pages.  This allows more space for students to demonstrate their knowledge of each text feature.  I have students use old Scholastic News magazines to complete their booklets.

 In the third option, students create full-size booklets with 2 text features per page.

The update even includes a bonus item!  These can be used for a word wall reference or a matching game.  Students could use the images to complete their Non-Fiction Text Features book, as well.

If you've already purchased this item, please be sure to re-download the updated version!  If you haven't purchased it, you can grab it on sale for the rest of the week!

It's the moment you've all been waiting for...the Calendar Notebook is ready for the 2015-2016 school year!  If you purchased it last year, all you need to do is head over to my store and re-download it {for FREE}!

A few summers ago, I thought about something that didn't work quite right for me.  I have blogged in the past about my Hold-It-All Notebook.  Learn more about it here.  


I bring it to all my school-related meetings to take notes.  The only downfall was that it didn't have a calendar in it.  I always had to bring a separate calendar book with me.  We have our meetings in what is probably the smallest room in the school.  There's not a lot of space for extras!

So I thought, why not create my own calendar/notebook?  Then everything is in one place!  And the best part?  I got to customize it and use my favorite colors and designs!


The first page is an overlook of the whole {school} year.  It is July 2015 - June 2016.


Each month has a 2-page calendar.  Every day has lines - I must have lines!  My newest update includes a calendar without lines since not everyone needs them like me.


The last set of pages are all for notes!  I will probably tab the pages similar to the picture above.  It will make it easier to access the notes I need for each meeting.  I just printed as many notes pages as I thought I needed and I was good to go!



I made one for my resource teacher as well!  I took them to Staples to have them spiral bound, which only cost me about $3-$4 each!  Wayy cheaper than a store-bought calendar.

The girl who bound the calendars at Staples even said to me, "Oh did you buy those online?  They are so cute!"  I very proudly responded that I had made them myself!

Just to clarify, I use the Calendar Notebook only for my meetings.  It is not my teacher planner.  There are some wonderful bloggers out there who make more intricate, detailed planners.  Be sure to check them out!  I needed something that was very simple and basic.  I hope you like it!
So I'm not actually on vacation yet, but I thought I would get a jump start on my Summer Bucket List for this year!  It just so happens that What the Teacher Wants is hosting an awfully cute linky party!


School
Now that I've got a full year of 5th Grade under my belt, I have a much better idea of where my students need to go and how to get them there.  Last year was my first year in the upper grades and I only taught until February due to my {earlier than expected} maternity leave.  I feel much more confident in my teaching now that I have completed the year!

Re-arranging my classroom is going to be tough.  My room is not only one of the smallest in the building, but it is also in an L-shape.  This makes it challenging for all the students to see the board and I need to make sure my working area allows me to see all the students.  I definitely have my work cut out for me on this one!


Personal
We moved into our house 2 months ago and I still haven't finished unpacking.  I was able to get out all of the things we need on a daily basis, but there are still a LOT of unpacked boxes floating around.  I'll blame it on my husband's work trip to Guam, Baby Girl's birthday party and now the end of the year craziness.  

I have a hard time reading for pleasure during the school year.  I love to read.  So much so, that I have a very hard time putting a book down.  Before I know it, it's 2am and I haven't gone to bed yet.  I'm trying to get better at this!  However, summer is the perfect time for me to catch up on my reading since I can stay up past my bedtime!  I just joined Goodreads to keep track of the books I've read and want to read.  I'm always looking for new recommendations, so come join me!

Blogging and creating have become one of my absolute favorite things to do.  Having a 1-year old at home means I don't get to do that quite as much.  It's my go-to activity during nap-time though!

Fun
Beach.  Beach.  And more beach.  I think growing up in the Ocean State automatically qualifies me as a beach bum.  I plan to spend as much time there as possible!


Now that Baby Girl is old enough, I am already enjoying taking her on some awesome adventures.  Nothing fancy - the playground, zoo, aquarium -  but to her it's a whole new world.  Watching the joy on her face is amazing.

A majority of my family works in the school system, so when the end of the school year rolls around, we don't see a lot of each other.  Once the summer hits, though, it's all about family time!  And most of that time will be spent on the beach.

And, lastly, Vegas!  I wasn't sure if I was going to head back to Vegas this year {even though I had an awesome time last year}.  Then I met up with some New England bloggers and they convince me to go!  I am so excited to experience it again and meet so many new people.  I am hoping that I won't be as shy as I was last year!


What are your plans for the summer??  Share over at What the Teacher Wants!

 I'm going to join Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Lucky Little Learners to share my home office space!  It's a little boring right now, since we just moved into our new house.  I have definitely been inspired by all the other home offices out there!


One of the things I love most about my new office space is the amount of light.  The high ceilings and skylights are so awesome.  And I have a triangle window.  You can't go wrong with a triangle shaped window.

My chair and filing cabinet are from Staples.  The desk is from a local store that sells unfinished furniture.  They recently closed, which I am terribly sad about.  It was not only high quality, but inexpensive as well.

My office is on the loft, so I can look down over our living room.  If you look closely, you can see that I have the TV on downstairs (The Office - ha).  

 Of course, there is a photo of my daughter on my desk.  This was taken by my talented photographer of a sister-in-law {show her some love}.  I love how this photo captures her constant curiosity.

Love me some flair pens!  Can we talk about how I didn't even know what flair pens were until I started blogging?  Um and I worked at Staples for 8 years.  I blame all you inspiring people!  This isn't even all of them.  I brought the other half to school.

And my Clipart & Fonts binder is never far away from my desk!  I use this ALL the time.  Want to learn more about it?  Check it out here!

What does your home office look like?
When I started blogging, I thought that it would just be a way for me to keep track of the daily goings-on in my classroom.  And then, well, it took on a mind of it's own.  Blogging has changed my teaching career in ways that I could never have predicted.  One of which is meeting teachers from nearby states who share a similar passion for helping children succeed.  Last night I had the privilege of spending time with many of them!

At the first New England Blogger meet-up that I went to almost two years ago, there were five of us in attendance.  Now look at how much we have grown!  I don't think I even made it to everyone to talk to!  We went bowling, but I was chatting so much that I didn't even pick up a bowling ball!


We met up at Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium.  I looked for Tom Brady.  Unfortunately, he wasn't around.


Had to do a bathroom selfie before I left.  How awesome are these shirts created by the oh-so-talented Ruffles with Love??  I want to wear it all the time!

Just hanging out with the amazing planners of our event - Deirdre from A Burst of First, Jillian from Starr Spangled Planner, Vera from The Tutu Teacher and Mary from Adventures in Kindergarten (who somehow didn't make it into the photo).

 Jillian made these awesome name tags for everyone.  It made it so easy to connect faces to names and names to blogs!  They were so easy to read and even had some Boston skyline clipart on there (see more about that below).

Got to spend some time with Furnell from Owl Always Love 2nd Grade and Dianne from Hopelessly Devoted to Teaching.  Furnell and I spent most of the night talking babies!  She has the most adorable 4-month old.

We walked away with some pretty sweet SWAG bags too!  Got a cool GoNoodle bag, Heidi Songs dvd and, my favorite, Boston clipart from Melonheadz!!  {P.S. - I heard she's having a sale today - go check it out!}

I also won a $100 gift certificate from Teaching in the Tongass!!  Do you even know how much clipart that is?!?  Time to buy all the things!

I am so excited to spend more time with these teachers (and so many more) in Vegas - one month from today!!


It's Friday already??  Actually, I think it might be Saturday...  It's that time of year when all the days start to blur together - and I'm not even on vacation yet!


1. Poor Baby Girl had to have surgery at the beginning of the week.  Just ear tubes, so it was a simple surgery.  Still nerve-wracking for mom!  She wanted to bring her "puppay" with her.  He looks just like our real-life Yorkie.  She loves both of them!


2. I was pretty okay with our unusual temps and rainy weather this week.  I teach on the third floor and it gets pretty warm up there with fifth graders.  It was close to 90 degrees in there last week.  I'll take the warm weather once we are done for the year!


3. These last few weeks of school, I've had to do quite a bit of reading testing.  This meant pulling out all the stops to keep my students engaged.  VIP seating officially made their debut!  The kids have been eyeing these bean bag chairs all year.  Check back soon to learn more about my VIPs.


4. I don't think this needs an explanation.  Last one of the year!


5. Anyone still in school for Father's Day?  We finish the Friday before.  This is such a fun craft to do with your students or your own kids!  You can pick up Dad's Toolbox for FREE or you can grab the full version (includes grandfather, uncle and brother as well).

Tonight I am off to have some blogger fun and I can't wait to share my adventures with you!

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