Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Dream Desk is a Reality!

I love, love love my new desk!  I actually don't sit at the desk except during recess and after school.  My aide uses the "teacher" desk in my class.  I switched out my old desk (which I really liked) for a smaller desk that belonged to a dear friend of mine who is no longer with us.  I was helping clean out her classroom the day after school ended and saw that she had written her name inside the desk drawer.  This melted my heart and I knew that I REALLY wanted that desk in my room.

There were a few problems with it.  It was really small and the wood on the top was dark brown (and if you have been following this blog, you know I am getting rid of dark brown).  Despite these problems, this desk is really special to me and I am honored to have it in my room.  I called up my cabinet man (I secretly call him Cliff Cabinets) and asked him to order some more of that lime green counter top.

I had him make it ten inches larger than the desk so that I could stick a kid on the end if my aide needed to work one-on-one with a student.  Cliff Cabinets showed up today with the counter top and it is better than anything I imaged.  He wanted to screw it to the desk, but the desk belongs to the school so I said no.  The surprising advantage of leaving it unattached is that I can easily slide the counter to one side or the other.  I can center it over the desk if I don't want to put a chair on either end.  This makes the desk is so practical and versatile.  It looks amazing with the lime green top and it is so sentimental.  It really is my DREAM desk!  I am going to be jealous when I see an aide sitting in it!  It is MY dream desk!  :)
Cliff Cabinets will be back next week for a REALLY crazy project!  I will blog about it as soon as it is finished!  This next one may be too much even for me! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Classroom Set-Up

LOVIN' the counter tops!
My mission to create my dream classroom continues as I get ready for the new school year.  I have spent the last three days at school and feel like I have barely made a dent!  I decided to blog about the progress to motivate me to keep on truckin'.  I will just focus on the good stuff that is happening in room 203!

I am LOVING my new cabinets!  I rip out workbook pages and sort them at the beginning of every year.  Having all this counter space has made this job so MUCH more enjoyable.

I am still trying to decide what I want to store inside of the cabinets.  We have five different reading books in my room.  Five books times 25 copies of each = 125 reading books.  YIKES!  They take up so much rom and they are so heavy!  I managed to fit all of them in the bottom of one cabinet.  Out of sight and out of mind!  The best news is that I still have more space under the other cabinet.

I had some small shelves lining one of my walls.  The shelves stored lots of materials, but they had some issues.  This was the best picture I could find of the old shelves.  See them in the background?
This was an old photo so I don't have a release for this little lady.
Trust me when I say, she is WAY cuter than the cartoon face!
Here is what I did not like about my old shelves:

  • All of my clutter was visible.  I love my stuff, but I don't love looking at it!  
  • The shelves were cheap particle board and the bottoms had buckled from storing all my reading books. 
  • They were also a dark wood and I am trying to get everything to match.  
  • The tops of the shelves were getting very worn.
I looked at many websites and stores.  To get really good classroom shelves would be crazy pricey!  I found some shelves at Target that I think will be a great solution for me.  

Threshold™ Carson 5 Shelf Bookcase with Doors
This is my new shelf from Target!
Here is what I love about the new shelves:
  • They have closed doors that will hide unsightly boxes!  
  • They are tall so that I can take full advantage of my space.
  • The shelf on the left is the finished product.  Still working on the others.
  • I can change the knobs to match my classroom decor.
Polkadot knobs!!!
I put four of these shelves side-by-side on one wall.  I just started filling the shelves and am so excited about how it is coming together.
I have most of the bottom filled and am working on filling the open shelves with containers that match and hide the contents.  I have buckets on top with books sorted by authors that we do for author study.

I found these cute clear paint cans at Joann's and I am such a hoarder that I think I need them everywhere!  I have already put a ton of small ones in my writing area.  Now I am using the gallon size cans to store random materials.  I think they look super cute!  I keep buying all that they have at my local store and then checking for more like a maniac.

Just looking at this makes me happy!!!

Hopefully, I will have some awesome "After" pictures to post soon.  Setting up the room takes so much time!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celebrating Summer - Our Family Traditions

When I was a kid, I always secretly wished my mom was a teacher.  I thought it would be SO cool to have access to all the school supplies my heart desired.  I imaged how fun it would be to stay at school when it was closed to other kids.  I never thought about how annoying it might be to have to stay at school long after other kids were already home.  I didn't realize the work teachers' kids did wiping desks, filing papers, and shelving books.  Being a teacher's kid can be rough!  Every year when school is finished, I take my girls for pedicures to reward us for our hard work.  This tradition began with my oldest daughter when she graduated kindergarten.  We have set this as the age requirement to participate, so my little Lilly is not included yet.   I love spending time with my girls and this is kind of a thanks for sticking it out with me.
Morrison family pedicures 2014!

My oldest daughter is now in high school.  She will be a sophomore this year.  I got to thinking that we don't have many pedicures left and that made me so sad.  Will she drive home from college for a pedicure?  Maybe not!  I have invented a new family tradition to try and bribe her to participate a little longer.  For our new tradition, we will have a girls trip to Vegas.  The rules are, you must be in high school to participate and we can't stay at the same casino twice.  I am hoping that this will create some fun memories and my girls will want to come home for this even after they have left me.  My oldest has very extravagant taste and has requested that we stay at the Venetian.  After spending all last week working at the Venetian for the SDE conference, I am not overly excited to go back.  I am hoping that this will be a really fun and relaxing time.  Our trip is scheduled  for Tuesday-Thursday next week.  I am also feeling guilty about ditching the rest of my family after I just left for a week for the conference.  Summer is zooming by, and I don't have much time to do it.  My daughter starts high school July 21st!

No matter how busy life gets, it is important to let the kids know that they are a priority and take time for them.  My girls really love the pedicure tradition, and I hope that this Vegas vacation becomes another fun ritual for my girls.  Do you have any fun family traditions?  Share them with us in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dream Classroom Makeover Continues...

LOVE getting packages in the mail!!! 
Yesterday was a VERY exciting day for my big classroom makeover!  I got a new writing table, buckets (which will become stools), and my upper cabinets arrived!  Woo-Hoo!!!!  Time to get busy!

I had a dark, rectangular table in my writing area and upgraded to a new round one.  This seemed to be a better fit.  I really disliked the color of the dark wood with the light wood on my new cabinets.  I ordered a 42" table.  I felt that this was still big enough to be comfortable for a group of students, but small enough to allow room to move around.  I chose a light maple with black edging because I felt the black would make the light wood pop.
Love the matching wood!
My writing area is coming together just as I had hoped! It feels fun and creative, but clean and organized.  This area is close to being complete.  I am thinking of getting a new shelf for paper.  The one that I have is not quite fitting in with the "clean and organized" feel!  I need a few more buckets for my wall.  I keep buying all they have at Joann and have to wait for more.

This is a shot of the finished upper cabinets.  This is going to be a terrific work space!  Before school ended, it was SO nice to have the counter top to lay out papers covered with wet paint, sort papers, and laminate projects.  I have always wanted a surface like this in my classroom.  

My next plans are updating my desk, getting a new shelf for my writing area, decorating stools, creating cushions for stools, and adding a magnetic dry erase board to the backside of the cabinet.  After I get these things done, this area of my room will be finished!  Watching my room transform just makes me want to do more, more, more!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celebrating 10,000 feedbacks with Ten $10 TpT Gift Certificates

I am SOOOOOO  excited that I have just reached a HUGE milestone - 10,000 feedbacks left on my TpT store!  TEN THOUSAND!  I am just in shock!  I want to celebrate big, so I am giving away ten $10 gift certificates to Teachers Pay Teachers.  I am also throwing a 10% sale for the next few days.

You can enter the raffle by:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you know anybody else who likes to win free stuff, please share this with them.  I love giveaways!  This is such an exciting milestone for me.  I can't begin to thank you enough for all of your support.  Good luck in the raffle!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fight Back-to-School Bankruptcy!

I don't know about you, but every year I just about go broke when it's time for school to start.  Crayons are up to $0.50 PER BOX!!!  Sorry to yell, but that one really irks me!  Border, new name tags, notebooks, postcards, the list goes on and on.  And that is just stuff for my CLASS.  My kids need new lunchboxes, backpacks, shoes, uniforms...What's a teacher to do???  I am sure I am not the only one who faces "back-to-school bankruptcy".

I was thinking about this little problem when a light bulb went off!  Why not encourage teachers to stock-up on school items over the summer?  Why not offer items HALF OFF over the summer?  Why not discount the things teachers want most?  Let's do it!!!

All summer, I will offer a new item for 50% off each week.  I will choose items from those that are most wishlisted.  Make sure that your most wished for items are on your list.  It is like "voting" for what will be on sale.  Encourage your friends to wishlist with you so you can get more "votes".  Visit my store by clicking here and start wishlisting!

Week #1 I am featuring the Telling Time MOVE IT games.  Really, only Telling Time to Five Minutes is on the most wishlisted list, but what if YOU wanted a different set?  I better put them all on sale!  These games are SO much fun!  Kids review time with built-in brain breaks.  There is a worksheet for students to record answers or you can have them show answers on dry erase boards.  I like dry erase boards because it's a quick assessment tool.  You can choose to click on the slide and reveal the answers or advance to the next slide without showing answers.  After a few problems, kids get out of their seats to MOVE IT!  There is fun music during the breaks.  After the break, a skunk walks across the screen and tells kids to get back to work.  Watch carefully to see him spray an owl in a tree.  My kids LOVE that part!  It is a guaranteed good time!  Click here to check these games out!

There will be eight weeks of awesome savings!  Please remember that discounts are only offered for one week!  Don't miss out on great savings this summer.  Just think of all the extra boxes of crayons you'll be able to afford when school starts!  :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Update on Building My Dream Classroom

Work in progress!
We have counter tops!!!
Friday was a VERY exciting day for my classroom makeover!  I had to get to school at 5:45 to meet the guys from the cabinet shop.  They installed my counter tops and I LOVE them!  It looks so much cleaner with the fridge under the counter.  The best part is that now I can fill the cabinets up!  I have SUCH a mess in the back of my room.  I got rid of three large book shelves, two small book shelves, and a large cabinet.  All that stuff is just piled up and driving me nuts!

I have ordered upper cabinets.  They will be installed over the summer.  The cabinet guy is also going to attach a dry erase board on the back of one of the cabinets.  I found a magnet dry erase "sticker" that looked great for the job, but I think I am going to go with another option.  Here is the link for the magnetic sticker board.   I did find some info on cutting these types of boards.  You can read what I found by clicking here.   I would really like for the board to be magnetic, but the sticker is over $100 and I found a place that will cut it for me for $50.  My cabinet guy will supply and install a non-magnetic board for $40.  I pretty much HAVE to go with that option.  It doesn't seem worth the money for it to be magnetic.

This shows where the dry erase board will go.
One side of this area is where I share a desk with my aide.  The other side is my writing area.  It will be really nice to have a dry erase board in the writing area.  Kids LOVE writing on the board, but since my white board doubles as my smartboard, it is often not available during centers.

I also love having the cabinet that opens on the writing area side.  I have filled it with paintbrushes, ink pads, water color paint, etc.  It will be great to have all those resources in the right spot!

The OCD in me loves this drawer!

There are many things I still need to change in this area.  The desk is too big for the area.  I am looking for a smaller one.  I also have a mauve chair (which looks awful!).  I will buy a round table for my writing area over the summer.  It will match the wood on the cabinets and fit the area much better than the rectangle table I currently have in the space.

I am trying to find solutions to things that I KNOW are problems in my room.  One thing that bugs me is my jacket.  I like to keep a sweater or jacket in my room all year.  I get chilly when the air kicks on.  I usually keep an extra sweater on the back of a chair.  It slips off and I roll over it.  It looks ugly.  I need some place to keep my jacket.  I also need a place for my purse.  It is never in one spot!  My kids also come in and toss their backpacks in the middle of my floor everyday after school.  This is annoying!  I have solved all three of these problems by adding hooks to the wall in an unused corner.
No more purse on the floor!!!
Before I glued buttons.

I got rid of two small book shelves in my writing area.  They were cheap shelves that had been moved a few too many times so they were wobbly.  The wood was dark brown, so they had to go!

I want more floor space so I am hanging many of the supplies that were on the shelves.  I bought some wooden peg hooks and painted them green.  I attached them to the wall and hung supplies from them.  The screw holes looked ugly, so I hot glued buttons over them.
I bought these little, clear "paint buckets" from Joann's.  I have filled them with buttons, pom-poms, google eyes, and craft sticks.  I definitely need some more.
This is starting to look like my dream classroom!  Hooray!
I will post more as soon as I make more progress.  I am hoping to make a huge transformation over the summer!  It is SO much fun!