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Monday Made Its

Monday already? I only have two more days of summer. I'm really sad that this is my last Monday Made It for a while. The next time I'll be linking up will be in the fall. That's one thing I am excited about... FALL. It's my favorite season. This week I got a lot of planning finished with my first grade team. We mapped out the standards for the ENTIRE year using Traci's yearly planner. All I have to say about that is.... BUY IT.
Next I finished printing and inserting my BEE Binder covers. They are free if you use BEE binders!

 Do your students ever complain when they reread a story? These fun fluency voice cards make practicing fluency FUN.

 My biggest fear on the first day of school is not getting all of the students in the right places during dismissal. If you have the same fear then you might need some transportation tags like me.
 I made these transportation tags but this time I made them easy to cut.

My printer was working overtime this week. Next, I printed these great discussion cards for all of my table groups. My students loved using them last year. I will add them to a ring for classroom discussions. We use them for all subjects but they are fabulous for MATH TALK.

Lastly. I added some clip art and changed the font for our WBT rules. You can find this freebie here. 

Thank you Tara for keeping me busy!

Fabulous Find

Are you ready for an app that can replace all of your various communication tools in your classroom? I am currently using remind, sign up genius, blog, newsletters, etc. I have a feeling this app is going to rock my world. In the past I would text parents, send emails and even allow parents to  get a hold of me on my cell. GASP! Not anymore. With Bloomz, everything is in one place. It is going to streamline my classroom communication. 

Tools to Replace with Bloomz

1.  Flyers/Handouts
Swap in all your print materials for a simple, easy to digest post. Attach photos, files or links. Avoid printing costs and the effort of distribution.

2.  Newsletters 
Deliver bite-sized information more frequently than your newsletter allows. With Bloomz you can break items into calendar events, multiple posts, alerts, reminders, etc.

3.  Websites
Give parents easy access to up-to-date information, wherever and whenever (on mobile or web). Websites can be static and require the help of email to draw members to information.

4.  Multiple Calendars
School and PTA events, class activities, volunteer coordination, and family calendars can all be managed in one consolidated calendar. Reminders and alerts make planning and participating easy.

5.  Email
Bloomz posts and calendar events are easy to access and can be sorted by category, making it quick and easy to find important information and dates.

6.  Volunteer Signup Sheets/Sites
Volunteer requests and signups are integrated into the Bloomz calendar so you can replace paper signups, google spreadsheets, or dedicated apps that only do one thing. 

7. Text Messages
Send a private, in-app instant message to any individual or group in your network. Avoid texting fees and the hassle to search for phone numbers.

8.  School Directory
Reach parents, PTA members or school staff in your Bloomz network anytime and anywhere.  Membership directories are expensive to produce and often get misplaced.

9.  PTA/Class Pages
Create sub-groups within your school community such as your PTA board or committees. Use the same Bloomz tools to simplify your communication and coordination. 

10. Facebook and Twitter Updates
Bloomz serves the single purpose of building stronger parent communities. Other social networks can filter information, but with Bloomz you’ll see every piece of communication that is posted to your community/groups.

Bloomz is very user friendly and allows parents a chance to engage with the classroom. It kinda reminds me of facebook but in a good way. Since I love taking photos I am going to love to upload images through out the week. Only parents of the class can see these fun updates. It has the ability to  instantly send out phone notifications and emails to parents just like remind. You can send messages to the whole class or individuals. It works on mobile devices as well as desktops. Best part= It's FREE! 

I am so excited to implement this app during Open House!
Have you used Bloomz?

Picture THIS! Monday Made It

Monday already? It's been another busy week of getting my classroom somewhat set up. I can't wait to see all of the Monday Made Its.

I've been crafting using photographs from family sessions. The possibilities are endless.I think it would be neat to document family vacations using different states you have visited. This idea might be great for geography lessons too. In first grade, we use the book ME on the MAP to create a great unit. I think this year I may assign students to fill in a state with magazine pictures or even real pictures. 

My sister in law helped me create the popular letter collages that I've seen floating around on Pinterest. You can click here to see step by step directions.  Now I want to find a source for wooden state cut outs to help me document my past vacations. Who doesn't love anything that involves mod podge and photographs. Smaller letters will make great Christmas gift ideas for students.

I finally got around to adding these labels to my bins. You can find these editable labels from KNJ creations. I am in love with them. Can you believe the difference? It also hides my clutter! I need all the help I can get in that department.


Do you use Kagan Management Mats? I did until I decided to create my own using vinyl. You can use a cricut or silhouette to make these durable numbers. I love to group my students this way. Kagan is all about engagement.  When tables are labeled it allows for shoulder partners and face to face partners. It's also great to call all the ones to pick up papers or the threes to sharpen pencils. You should check out Kagan if you haven't heard of their awesome structures. 

 I went to Target on Sunday and found 18 more black cubes. I found them ON SALE. #SCORE 
Now each student will have a numbered cube to keep their belongings. This is in addition to their mailbox, cubby, and seat pocket.I have the top 18 cubes filled with various supplies. I like how they can hide clutter. Is it bad that I like to organize by stuffing? HAHA! I just throw my stuff in different bins. At least they are labeled. Hopefully this will hide my junk from Alison

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Can't wait to be inspired this week.You should  join Tara with your Monday Made It.

Monday Made It

Where did my summer go? I can not believe that I will be going back in less than 15 days. YIKES it went by way too fast. I'm usually great about Monday Made Its but not this summer unless you count photographs. My summer has consisted of family beach sessions most nights. I'm not complaining because photography allows me to be creative. My husband loves it too because I'm not taking over the dinning room table with crafts. HA! 

Today I'm joining Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It! I can't wait to see the other ideas because I actually have a few free days this week.

My first Monday Made It were these " The Buzz about Me" bags that I will be passing out at orientation. I love this first homework assignment that I assign for my first graders. It's a fun way to get to know my students. I usually have about 5 students share each day during the first week of school. The bags were only .62 cents at Target so I just had to snag them up. To download this free tag click here.

I have never really had classroom jobs because I pick one student helper for the day instead. Last year I started using bee bucks. I got to the point where I wanted to pass out bee bucks for little jobs around the classroom. This year I'm going to try classroom jobs. Do you have them? Like them or Hate them? I hope it won't be too much to manage. 
Aren't these bee bucks adorable? You can find my bee job chart and bee bucks right here. They will be free for Monday only.

This is a free product I made years ago. I just added some real life examples underneath. 

Do your students have to track their learning on a progression scale or self assessment tool? This is currently how I will be having my students rate themselves with various standards and skills. It's also a free download here. The sticks have my free insta-sticks that I use  in many different ways in my classroom. They are great for calling on students, labeling cubbies, check-in magnets, AR trackers. etc.

My last Monday Made It I designed and ordered from Paper Concierge. I love that when I get to the bottom of the notepad I usually find a 40 % off coupon. I love fun notepads. How about you?

I've missed this fun linky. Thanks again Tara for hosting such a great linky.

Destination Vacation

Life is about making memories, not diamonds.-Chris Riotta

Have you seen this article in your newsfeed about spending money on experiences instead of things? It's been my philosophy the past 8 years of marriage. Instead of swapping gifts for holidays,we usually invest our money on trips. There was a long period of time that I didn't fly so I found my favorite spots to drive. Recently, I've put my fear of flying and now I'm scouting out my next vacation spot. Alison from Rockin' and Lovin' Learning and I want to know your spots.

Where do you LOVE to vacation?  
and I would like to know if you 
are you willing to give up your secret spot?

Let's Talk!

Gosh, this is hard so I'm going to name my top 3 spots in no particular order.

I guess I will start with Asheville, North Carolina. We have been vacationing here for the past 8 years. My husband and I go up for Fall Break and then the week of Thanksgiving because it happens to be our anniversary. We love sleeping with the windows open and building a fire. It even snowed a few times which was a treat for us. In Florida we NEVER see snow. Have you been to this funky little town in the Blue Ridge Mountains? They have the best weather, food scene, music/arts, and tons of beautiful landscapes.

Must See: The Biltmore Estate , BlueRidge Parkway, Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Contest

My next vacation spot is Malibu, California.  When we are here we do hit Los Angeles for the sight seeing but return to the peaceful scene in Malibu. Once again I love the weather. 75 degrees in Summer is HEAVEN for me.  I'm used to temperatures past 100 with tons of humidity. 

Must See: Santa Monica Pier, Rodeo Drive, Third Street Promenade 

My last spot is the Disney Fantasy. I finally convinced Randy to go on a cruise with me. He was hesitate because he doesn't like  crowds. He deals with a lot of tourist so when he vacations he wants it somewhere quiet. Guess what? He LOVED it. You can relax and not worry about a thing. The Adult Only section is where we hung out the entire time. Great place to relax. They also have the best gym and spa. I *might* have taken a nap in the heated lounge chairs daily. We loved everything about the Fantasy. Great rooms, great entertainment, great food, great spa! I'm already trying to book one for the fall. 

Must See: Aladdin Play,  Fireworks, Rainforest Spa heated lounge chairs
Must Eat: Palo ( Try the konk kooler from Castaway Cay)
This linky will be open until August 10th...one month.

Chocolate Milk, Por Favor! Book Tour and Giveaway

My favorite part of the day in first grade happens to be right after lunch.  After lunch, I love to incorporate stories that empower students to live life with positive character traits. Childhood can be tough and children face many challenges. To help me make a difference in the life of my students, I choose books from Maria Dismondy.  Maria Dismondy is a #1 best-selling children's book author, former teacher, and highly sought-after speaker. Why do I LOVE Maria so much? Well, what's not to love? She's absolutely precious. Maria has a passion for spreading an anti-bullying message and making a difference in her writing, blogging and charity work. She shares fabulous tips, simple lessons, crafts, and books to use when working with children. Have you checked out her resources lately? She continues to add great resources for educators and families on her website and blog.  I am so happy that I was able to get a copy of her latest book, Chocolate Milk, Por Favor, to review AND giveaway a signed copy to a lucky reader.

Maria Dismondy is an award-winning author, specializing in
books about challenges children face. A topic close to her heart,
Maria’s own childhood experience inspired her first book, Spaghetti
in a Hot Dog Bun. Maria’s dedication to empowering children with
courage and confidence has reached new heights, touching the
hearts and hands of children the world over. Grounded in her belief
that all children deserve a voice, Maria’s latest book, Chocolate
Milk, Por Favor, drives home the important message of celebrating
diversity with kindness, inclusion and empathy. As a sought-after
speaker, Maria spreads her message by presenting at schools and
conferences across the country. She holds degrees in education
and child development. Maria lives in southeastern Michigan with
her husband, Dave, and their three book-loving children.

You have to get your hands on a copy of this story. It's perfect for teaching students about diversity and acceptance. This book is about kindness, friendship and inclusion. It's a story where children celebrate the diversity among their classmates.  I can not wait to share with the other teachers at our school. Would you like to win your own copy? Leave a comment or share a resource on how you celebrate diversity in your classroom. Winners will be announced on Friday!

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” 

Johnny is a big fan of school but that all changes when the new kid, Gabe arrives. Gabe doesn't speak any English, and that doesn't stop Johnny from going out of his way to be unkind.

But what will Johnny do when Gabe starts to make new friends? Will he join in the fun of making a new friend or turn the other way? Johnny realizes a powerful message in this story where student differences are celebrated. Read to find out how chocolate milk plays a major role in the discovery of the real universal language. 

The tour continues so be sure to visit The Organized Classroom Blog tomorrow for more! 


I'm really embarrassed to say that I didn't even remember my password to get into my blog. That's crazy talk. Hopefully, I'll be back to sharing the fun things I've been up to in first grade. In the meantime, you can always see a glimpse on Instagram. I think it's made me lazy. You know I'm all about sharing photos and I can do JUST that. #sorrynotsorry 

 How is your school year? My year has been a whirlwind which may explain why I haven't been able to blog. We are rolling out many new things in our district. Common assessments, PLCs, new curriculum, new standards, new testing.... sound familiar ? Well, no fear I'm hear to brighten your day  and share some LOVE.  I'm also going to be giving away some of my favorite things so please link up.

My first thing I'm LOVING saves me so much time in the classroom.  I was just introduced to MobyMax and all it’s features a few months back. Boy am I LOVING this resource and I think you will too!  I definitely would recommend this engaging, individualized instruction to anyone. You will love how easy it is to start up.  Students will be able to get on a placement test and the program differentiates lessons based on skill needs. It covers math, language, vocabulary, literature, writing, test prep and MORE! My students absolutely love their Moby time. The lessons are fun and engaging. My students are highly motivated and competitive trying to earn badges for their collection. It’s great for intervention or enrichment. I love that they can practice and reinforce skills at home. Teachers will love the detailed reports and data that can be used for progress monitoring. I promise you will see students improving in tons of areas because the program fills in those gaps. I’d love to share the Moby Love. 

I’ve been using the RainMate for years but just haven’t shared how much I LOVE it. It re-circulates the air, gently infusing it with the scent of your choosing.  I use peppermint or spearmint from NOW Essential Oils. They are highly concentrated and work wonders. The kids love the smell and all the teachers who have allergies like to come and stand in my room to breathe in the essential oils. Peppermint and Spearmint both offer the benefits of cooling, invigorating, revitalizing, stimulating. 

My last thing I've been loving is not really teaching related. Well, it sorta is because I'm always attending baby showers for adorable co-workers. I'm obsessed with photographs, fonts, and colors. I've found something that has all three. 
Meet these adorable LUCY DARLIN monthly stickers. I ordered a bunch for our gift shops. I'd like to giveaway a set. There are many options to choose from. Stickers for baby bellies or monthly stickers for babies. 

Happy Valentine's Day! I can't wait to see some of the things you are LOVING. It doesn't have to be school related.