Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's my BirThDaY! #tamsbirthdaybash

Hey y'all... I AM SO EXCITED! It's my BIRTHDAY!!! WOO WOOO!
I love birthdays!! I am no where near the age yet where I am NOT excited about my birthday in any way.. I still LOVE celebrating it and look forward to the presents!! ;)

I am also so excited for my birthday because I get to celebrate with so many AMAZING teacher friends and want to say THANK YOU for your support, love, friendship, and collaboration in this virtual & social world with a big ol' giveaway bash! My entire TpT and TN stores are on sale beginning today for 28% off!! (they will be on sale through Saturday!) I have TONS of giveaways going on over on my Facebook page through the rest of the week, with 28 total winners and 9 flash freebies for 28 minutes each! It's going to be a GREAT day and week, so make sure you've "liked" my page in order to enter!

The BIG giveaway, in detail:
I wanted to share *a few* of My Favorite Things inside and outside of the classroom... sooo, here's what they are and why they're my faves!

Papermate Flair felt pens & Staedtler Fineliners: I LOVE felt pens! I am very picky about my writing utensils, but these are the best! I especially love them for grading!

Nate Berkus paper clips: I LOVE giant paper clips! They come quite in handy when it comes to teacher manuals. These gold ones from Nate's line for Target are beautiful!

EOS lip balm: I am pretty sure this is everyone's favorite! I chose the passionfruit one because it smells soooo yummy....but the mint is also wonderful

VS Beauty Rush mascara: this is my go-to mascara! It lasts me for a few months and works wonders on my lashes. Plus, it's from VS and is no more expensive than a pharmacy brand!

Scotch washi tape: let's be honest for a minute....pretty much every teacher on IG and TpT love washi tape. So I found some awesome orange & fall-colored designs because orange is my favorite color and I love this time of year!

Ghirardelli caramel chocolates: yuummmmm!

Julep nail polish: in my birthstone color & a beautiful maroon for fall! I love getting my monthly Julep box in the mail! So many great surprises and products for only $20! Click here if you want to get your first box free! Both come in that adorable orange polka dot bag from ipsy. I just love the Ipsy surprises too! only $10 a month for awesome make-up products and samples!? yes, please!

arm candy from The Limited: I buy pretty much ALL of my clothing at The Limited. So, I included some great arm candy to dress up your daily outfits!

soooo... I've decided that my Blogger Buddies can get an *extra* entry by commenting here on my blog! Comment to tell me which of my favorite things is your favorite and what your email is to be entered here! You can also enter on my Facebook page by liking and commenting there!
Follow me on Instagram to get another entry! That's 3 total! GO FOR IT!

The winner will be announced Friday, September 26th at 5:30pmEST before I hit the road to visit my sister for the weekend!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Erin Condren + post-its = LOVE!

So the other day I was handwriting my lessons on my gorgeous new Erin Condren teacher planner....
isn't it lovely!? {sigh}

when I became frustrated! I wrote something wrong and couldn't fix it! Plus... I am not a big fan of my handwriting and writing them out (seems to) take longer than typing them on the computer. Last year I used post-its and a daily At-A-Glance planner that I loved....

....but it just wasn't enough.

The Erin Condren planner (everyone on IG seems to have one!) is great because it is my calendar, lesson planner, attendance, and grade book all in one! But I still disliked writing my lessons.... until an idea hit me. I opened my desk drawer and found my mini post-its. I laid the stack on top of one of the spaces for a lesson in the week, and low & behold... IT WAS THE PERFECT SIZE! 

So I quickly got to work as soon as I could. I opened a file I have on my computer that has boxes already the size of the mini post-its for another use (I make my students reminders for different things to put in their binder... but I digress...)
 I copied the file and started moving everything around to see what I could fit on one page.
Since there are 7 blocks per day in the teacher planner, I put 7 of the boxes at the top of the page and 7 more at the bottom with a gap between the two to delineate the days. I duplicated the slide (I use Power Point) and added in text boxes. To help myself in the future so I don't get confused while typing, printing, and transferring it into my planner, I put titles by the post-it boxes for the subject they will go on, and labels for the day. I also wrote in (very small) the color that the post-its for that day are, just to help me remember. None of those will print onto the post-its themselves. They will be on the paper. They are just a good reference for me.

Here's what it looked like at first:
sticky note lesson plan template
then, in those gray boxes, I put my transparent text boxes with my lesson info for that day. You can format the font (any font you want!) to be bold, italic, shadowed, outlined, and any size you need! I continually duplicate my slides so everything is in the same format and I only have to change the lesson info.

Here's what a two-day page looks like all typed up:

sticky note lesson plan template

So...once everything is typed for the week, I can start printing. First, I print the blank template, which is slide 1 in the file I shared below (you didn't think I wouldn't share the love, did you!?!)

It looks like this:
sticky note lesson plan template

It is just light gray boxes the size of the mini post-its in the same place as the above slides. I print a few copies of those (so I can print faster) and put the post-its where the boxes are. As mentioned, I use different colors to delineate the days. The top 7 are one color, the bottom 7 another. I use 5 different colors for the 5 days of the school week.

Once all the post-its are on the papers, I insert the paper into the printer and all of my lesson plan info will print right onto the post-its! Then, I transfer them onto my planner, add some washi tape to show where snack & lunch are in our day, and that's it! The whole week is done! Then, when you don't get to something or need to switch it around, just move your post-its! You can also flip them up and write underneath of them, too, if you want additional notes/details, or want to write notes after you teach the lesson for future reference. It's that simple!

You could also use post-it flags for writing the date so your lesson planner is more reusable if you like. I use them under the date for notes specific to that day. and write the date in because I know I will probably use a whole new planner next school year. I use a pack I got at the Dollar Tree that come in a bunch of sizes, are transparent, and are only $1!  
So... here it is, all finished!
sticky note lesson planner

I just love the colors and the neatness of the fonts! What do you think?!

You can get the template for this here! It is a Power Point file :)

You can also view my YouTube video tutorial to see it in action!

I hope you find it as useful as I do and find that the instructions are clear. Feel free to comment or email me at mrstamilynnmo@aol.com if you have any questions!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spelling Homework and a Teacher Hack!

Most of us are probably into the full swing of school now, and mean-old-teacher- me is already assigning homework! I have an organizational system I use to keep it streamlined for myself and fun for my students, so I thought I would share! How do you keep spelling homework organized??

First, I use composition notebooks. I usually purchase these for my students since they are primarily inexpensive and it also allows me to prep them before schools starts. Students must complete all homework in the notebook on the nights it is assigned (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday). They turn it in to me the next day with their S.O.S. Binders and I check them over. [I don't give grades on homework. They do it only for practice so they can have a successful spelling test on Friday and can earn a reward by staying in the Homework Club!]

I made this cover that I have my students color and decorate to their liking. I then use packing tape to tape them on and cover them with it completely so it lasts all year.

On the inside of the cover is a page of guidelines and rules for spelling homework that I also taped and covered with packing tape. 

Next, I put the first month's spelling homework choice menu. I have different options for September to May. This year I am putting them directly in the notebook so they have their choices with them when doing their homework (they are made to fit into the composition notebook). I copied them onto colored paper so they will be easier to locate, especially as we get father back into the book. 

Their Always Good Choices include a practice test (written or verbal), writing words 3x each, writing sentences, or typing their words on the computer. I also put in an option for them to email me their spelling homework to save paper and time!

This is 2 nights of homework that one student completed already this school year. Above is her computer fun words typed and pasted in. The bottom is 3x each in her neatest cursive. I *starred* them when I checked them over with different colored pens so I knew one day was different from the other.

.....and that's it! All I have to do once they are prepped at the beginning of the year is copy the choice menus and glue them in once a month. They have their spelling words in their binder each week, and just choose how they complete their homework at night. I only have to check them over - the rest is done for me! I find it pretty simple and after three years of using this system, I have a great rhythm and love it! I couldn't imagine assigning homework any other way! What do you think!? If you like this system, you can grab it over in my TpT store! Just click the picture below :)

Now, as promised.... a TEACHER HACK!
I saw on Pinterest a great idea for hanging items when there is a lack of wall space.... specifically: anchor charts! One teacher used magnetic hooks and a curtain/tension rod to hang on a magnetic surface. What a great space-saving idea! So I was at Wal-Mart the other morning and was taking a gander at the curtain rod section trying to recreate this idea when I stumbled upon the most magical invention I have seen this back to school season......

IT IS ALREADY DONE FOR US! and ........ drum roll please....
It is only $9! SAY WHAT!? I was so excited I bought it right then, took it to school and hung these babies! Best purchase of the year! GO GET ONE!

I hope you are having a successful start to your new school year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SLANT box!

I LOVE being in the SLANT Box exchange! It is soooo much fun! If you don't know what it is, or have never even heard of it, or just aren't sure about it, read more about it here at my friend Jameson's blog - it's so cool!

Last month for June/July our theme was sunshine! Perfect for summer! This month we had to send each other boxes themed for Hometown Pride! I'll admit I was nervous about this one when I first signed up... I'm from a little nowhere town in NE Ohio! But while the Mr. and I were driving to Michigan at the beginning of the month, we talked through some ideas and inspiration finally hit! Granted, I had to go mainly for state pride and Cleveland pride, I still sent a pretty sweet (in my opinion!) box to my new and dear friend Leslie at A Life of Firsts! I also got to chat with and get to know the adorable Emily over at Love and the Librarian! She send me an uber cool box from San Diego I'm about to show you! But right now I'll tell you: go check these awesome ladies out!

So as I just mentioned, Emily sent me an awesome box from San Diego! Since I've never been further west than Michigan (wow, that's sad!) I don't have must experience with the west coast, so I was super excited to paired with her! She sent some really unique pieces from different parts of her town and I really felt a sense of the culture there! She explained each item so thoughtfully too; it was an awesome gift.... so awesome I felt like I had cheated my friend Leslie with what I sent her! haha

Here's the goodies:
some beautiful anchor note cards - LOVE!

a piece of the ocean.. I just love the soothing blue of this starfish!

an attention getting maraca for the kiddos!, a deck of Cali playing cards (Hubby and I love playing cards so these are perfect!) and a medal representing her husband and the active military community.... Thank you to Emily and her husband for their service to our country!

I love the pouches she sent - so unique and colorful! It looks like a great town to go shopping in :)
I also LOVED reading the postcards she sent. She wrote down a lot of information about her area, in case I ever go visit. I will definitely be holding on to those for insider information on where to go and what to see in San Diego! 

She is right! We can never have too many notepads ;) I bet watching the boats is so fun and relaxing!

Last but not least, this beautiful cross. The picture doesn't do the colors justice! I can't wait to take it to school to hang in my classroom. I have been wanting a cross to hang, but never could find one I liked well enough. Thanks to Emily, I have the perfect one and it will always remind me of her! <3

Next month's theme is Teacher Voice: ON! Umm...yes! Teacher themed goodness, I can't wait! PLUS, September is my birthday month so this will be a blast! Sign-ups are on through TOMORROW if you want to join in on the fun!