Sunday, December 9, 2012

Classroom Makeover, CC Assessments, & DIY Project

Does anyone out there love a good makeover as much as I do?  It doesn't matter what you're making over.... a person, a room, a house-- I LOVE MAKEOVERS!  Did anyone else out there used to watch "A Makeover Story" on TLC?  Oh, that show seems like forever ago!  Anyways, back to the topic at hand... I'm in the midst of an extreme classroom makeover!!  If you saw my post of classroom pictures at the beginning of the year, then you understand why a makeover is needed.  I was hired the Friday before school started so, needless to say, there was minimal time to set up.  My room has been driving me crazy since day one.  The mismatched border all over my room is enough to push me over the edge!

Of course, the first step to any good makeover is Pinterest-- that is where I began.  I hit the jackpot of all links with this one.  After looking at TONS of other classroom pictures and knowing what colors I'm working with in my classroom {furniture, carpet, etc.} I decided to go with red, bright green, and bright blue/teal as a starting point.  I'm going to use polka dots to help tie it together.  I was inspired most by Deanna Jump's old beach/pirate classroom.  {P.S. That woman is AMAZING!}  Here are some items I've bought to get my makeover started:
I think I have a calendar illness.... this is my 4th calendar set in 5 years of teaching.  I guess I like changing it up!  Thank you to my super duper amazing husband who drove over an hour {each way} to buy this for me.  :)

I was going to just plan out my makeover and do everything over the holiday break, but I can't help myself so I'm working on it a little bit at a time before and after school.  The kids are very excited and have told me we'll have a "very cool" classroom when I'm done!  Silly kids, but I do agree with them!  hehehe

I promise, classroom pictures will be posted as soon as it's ready!  I'm so E.X.C.I.T.E.D.

Ok, on to Common Core Assessments.  I've been searching for some assessments to use on my kids as quick checks on their understanding for the different standards.  I was also looking for a way for my whole grade level team to be on the same page.  I came across Mrs. Vanmeter from Primary Possibilities during my search.  In her TPT store she offers a ton of assessment freebies and some for sale.  You should definitely check it out if you're looking for Common Core Assessments!

Finally, my DIY project {in addition to my classroom makeover}.  I went to Lowe's last night to get materials to make this pirate ship, but I got completely distracted by the aisle of PVC pipe.  My kiddos are having a heck of time with the whole concept of whispering so I'm going to try whisper phones.  I really liked this post from Chalk Talk so that's what I followed to buy my materials.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale, New Units, & a Freebie!

I'm sure you've all heard by now... TPT is having a huge Cyber Monday sale {running Monday & Tuesday}.  I'll be offering 20% off every item in my shop for this sale.  In addition to this discount, TPT is offering a promo code {CMT12} for an additional 10% off your entire purchase!


With a few days off work for the holidays, I've had some time to create a few new things for my classroom.  Check them out in my TPT shop!

And now, on to that freebie.... gingerbread playdough recipe!  For one of my literacy stations {included in my new "Jingle All the Way" unit}, students will be stamping high frequency words in gingerbread playdough.  It smells wonderful!  Here's some pictures of how to make it.

Click the image to download this freebie!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Oh. My. Goodness.  I have been the WORST blogger ever!  I can't believe I haven't blogged for over 2 months!  I'm so sorry I've been M.I.A.  I've been keeping so busy learning the ropes in Kindergarten.

Here's a little recap of my October adventures in the classroom:

Can you tell I used my new camera to take this picture... love it!

I left my old tree in NC when I moved and I just couldn't live without it so I made a new one!
Check out this link for directions to make a tree of your own: Mrs. Jump's Class

My hubby crafted this little beauty.  The colors make me happy.  :)

I promise to be a better blogger as the year goes on.  I hope everyone is having a great year!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm a Kindergarten Teacher now! :)

I feel bad that I've been so absent from my blog lately.  If you've been following my blog, then you know I left my job as a first grade teacher in June and moved back closer to home with my husband.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find a job since teaching jobs are so hard to come by up north, but I got lucky.  It all came about very quickly, but now I'm a kindergarten teacher here in Ohio!  I can't believe I have my friends and family so close AND I'm teaching.  It's my dream come true!

It's been a busy start to the school year.... and HOT {my classroom isn't air conditioned}.  We've been busy learning our classroom rules and routines and getting to know each other.  Since I'm in a new grade I've had an excuse to buy lots of amazing resources on TPT.

I love using Mr. Wiggle at the beginning of the year to help kids learn how to use my books in the classroom.  After reading "Mr. Wiggle's Book" a few times, we brainstormed everything we can do or not do to make sure we take care of our books.  Then, we made our very own Mr. Wiggle using a craftivity I found on TPT.

To help us all learn each other's names we've been doing "Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar" each morning.  For this, and many other awesome beginning of the year ideas, I got Kim Adsit's Going to School unit.  I love this unit-- everything is so easy to just print out and laminate!

Another great purchase is Deanna Jump's Chit Chat Morning Messages.  It has been so super easy to just look at her messages, write them on my board, and use her images.  It has seriously saved me so much time!  This is just the first set in a series so I'm looking forward to more to come!

Finally, I got an alphabet book unit.  It has a booklet for each letter with pictures for the kids to color and repeatitive text.  We're not quite ready for it now, but I will be getting it ready for upcoming months.

Once things settle down a bit I'll be getting around to making my own kindergarten units, but for now I'm more than happy to put other's hard work to use in my classroom!  And now, I'll leave you with a little tour of my classroom.  {Keep in mind I had 3 days from hire to the first day.  It's very different from my previous classroom, but I'm liking it.}



Since these pictures there have been a lot of changes... I got new tables {circular/flower shaped}, a carpet, easel, and more!  I'll add more pictures later.

If there are any fabulous kindergarten teachers out there with advice for a new K teacher, I'd love to hear it!  Happy school year!  :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mega Back to School Giveaway

Y'all must go check out this awesome Back to School Giveaway over at First Grade Fanatics.  Erin and Leslie have put together an amazing giveaway packed full of back to school essentials... and they asked me to be a part of it!  The giveaway runs August 16-20 and the two winners will receive 22 different items!!  SU-WEET!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lost Crayons?

I know each and every one of you teachers out there has this problem... lost crayons.  It's amazing how these things can just grow legs and walk out of their boxes, but it happens.  I've always had one big crayon box for these misfit crayons where students can go retrieve them as they need a color.  My problem with this is that finding that one special crayon can take forever!  My fix to this problem?  Individual color cans-- each color crayon has its own lost can so you just go and grab the color you need quickly.  Just train your kids at the beginning of the school year to put any crayons they find on the floor in the correct color can so it's ready when someone needs it.  {Be sure to teach them to politely ask someone who is coloring right by the crayon if it is theirs before taking it to the lost cup.  Some kiddos are just too eager to 'help'.}

Head on over to my TPT store and grab this lil' {freebie} for your classroom!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School Sale

It's that time of year... back to school.  {Although, I've seen some of you have already had your first day back.  CRAZY!}  Now is the time to stock-up on all of the teacher-created materials perfect for your classroom this year.  Seriously, I love TPT!!!  Who knows better than teachers what teachers need?!

I'm offering 20% off every item in my store today and tomorrow.  Plus, TPT is offering a coupon for an extra 10% off!  Just click the picture to go to my store.  Be sure to use the promo code BTS12 when you check out.  Happy shopping!

I just posted a new classroom decor unit this weekend.  If you like polka dots and chevron stripes like I do, you'll want to check it out!

And totally unrelated to school, I just got my first Birchbox in the mail yesterday!  I think I'm hooked thanks to Kate.  :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

I Love Makeovers!

I've been watching a lot of makeover shows this summer... What Not To Wear and Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition to name a couple.  Stacy and Clinton can really work wonders!  Well, with all of these makeovers going on I decided to get a makeover for my blog!  Let me tell you, Erin can work wonders with a blog design!  Erin is a teacher like all of us so she really gets what a teaching blog needs.  Check out her blog Creating & Designing if you're interested in a little revamp of your own.  She can do a complete overhaul or just a little sprucing up.  I love what she came up with for my blog and she was super easy to work with.  Ahhhh, it feels so fresh!  :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

First Day of School Writing {Guest Blogger}

Hey y'all!  This is definitely a post you'll want to read!  Mrs. Crow is an amazing teacher all around, but I especially consider her an expert in creating a classroom of passionate writers.  Enjoy the post!
--Mrs. Pollard

My name is Trish Crow and I had the pleasure to work with Mrs. Pollard last year.  I have taught kindergarten and first grade over the past 5 years.  Mrs. Pollard asked me to share my beginning of the year writing lesson for K & 1st grade.

I am extremely passionate about writing, it is my FAVORITE subject to teach!  To have a class that enjoys writing there are a few things you must do.  You must start the first day of school, write everyday, and no matter how frustrated you become, keep writing!

On the first day of school before writing, I share a “mini lesson”.  The purpose of this lesson is to remove the pressure.  I begin with talking to the kids about the stages of writing.  To do this with Kindergarteners or First graders I bring up siblings, you know YOUNGER children :)

I am at the board with my marker and I draw a four square.
I ask the question, “who has a little brother or sister?”-someone always does.  I ask how do they write?  I usually get a couple responses, “sloppy”, “with crayon”, or my favorite, “they don't write”.  I always hope for the last reponse because then I can say, “Oh, but they do”.  Everyone can write, but we all write differently.  Then, I tell them to watch and I'll show them how people write differently.

I draw a scribble while I say my sentence out loud.  I went to the park.  Then I ask the important question.  Who has seen someone write like this?  Hands fly into the air.  Then I say if you have a baby at your house I bet they write like this.
I go to the next square and as I say my sentence I draw a picture.  I went to the park.  I saw a house and a butterfly.(remember I am just saying the sentence)  I draw the picture and ask if anyone has ever written like this?  Again, hands fly up.  I say, I have seen a lot of kids in pre-school write like this.
In the third square I say, “I have seen a lot of kids write like this too”. Then I say the sentence- I went to the park- I take my time, I write very slowly as I am sounding out each word before I write a letter. I use invented spelling and link all of my letters together. This one usually gets a laugh. Then I point and read my sentence. For the laughs I point out that I used my sounds to find the letters, that's what writers do.
In the last square I write the sentence out. I take my time, stretch words, and use finger spaces with a lot of emphasis. I have used invented spelling in that square as well. Remember it's the first day of school!
After all of this is up on the board I tell the kids that I want to see how they write.  Remember, you just took the pressure off.  I ask them to write to tell me something about themselves or their family.  I pass out the papers and they start writing.

As soon as the first pencil hits the paper I start walking around with dramatic “oohs & ahhs”.  I make my first stop where I see someone using letters, “wow, you know how to write words!”, I say.  Then several other students get the confidence to show me words as well. 

We continue this for about 20 minutes, more or less, depending on how much they are willing to share the first day.  Once everyone is finished we have a share square.  We all come together and I invite the kids to share their work.  This is a proud moment for them to showcase their skills to their class.

Thanks for sharing, Trish! This is definitely a must-do lesson for the first day of school!  :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have gotten numerous emails and comments about where I got my black hanging organizer as seen in this post last year.

I just went to the website where I got it and saw that they are having a sale on their classroom decor... and filetastics are only $5.00!  Seriously, folks, only $5.00!  I can't believe the deal.  The website is  They have lots of different colors so surely they have one to match your classroom decor.  Here's the link directly to the filetastics.  Go check it out!  :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More, Tell Me More! {Linky Party}

My personal rule is to not share personal stuff on this blog and keep it strictly focused on teaching.  I saw this linky party, however, and just couldn't resist.  I enjoy reading about the amazing teachers who are behind all of the wonderful ideas and resources I find in the bloggy world so I'm linking up with Mrs. Lemons from Step into 2nd Grade for her Tell Me More Linky Party!

1. I have forever and always wanted to be an elementary teacher.  When I was little I would make all of my stuffed animals sit at 'desks' in my bedroom and pass out work for them to do.  I then corrected it and recorded it in my grade book.  Oh, how I wish I still had my pink jean backpack full of my childhood teaching materials!  Who's with me?!

2. I hoard teaching materials.  I knew I had a lot of teaching stuff {books, games, etc.}, but it wasn't until I was packing up to move that I realized just how much stuff I have.  I used to have teaching stuff in my classroom, in my storage unit, and at my apartment.... now, it's ALL in my garage.  There's a lot of stuff in there!  I think it's an official illness.

3. I have some OCD tendencies.  For example, the volume on the tv and radio must ALWAYS be on an even number {or end in 5-- somehow that's ok even though it's not even}.  The same rule applies to the thermastat even though sometimes it'd be way more comfortable one number up or down.  I also check that the doors are locked multiple times each night before bed even though my husband has promised me he locked them.  Please, don't judge me.

4. I have two furry children who make my life complete {in addition to my hubby, of course}.  People think I'm a little crazy, but both of my pets have complete names.  My cat is lucky enough to have a hyphenated last name because I had him before I met the Mr.  I'm happy to introduce you to Reese O'Riley Church-Pollard {cat} and Hamilton O'Malley Pollard {dog}.  No, I'm not Irish... I just like how the O names sound!

And this is what their typical day looks like.....

5. I'm OBSESSED with The Small Things Blog.  This blog is all things hair, make-up, beauty, and home.  I L.O.V.E. it!  You've probably seen her hair pics and tutorials pinned on Pinterest.  Well, now that I've mentioned Pinterest I might as well admit that I'm obsessed with that, too.  {I know you all are, too.}

6. I used to love roller coasters and scary movies, but in my old age the thought of either one nearly gives me a heart attack.  Has this happened to anyone else out there?  Please, don't tell me I'm alone.

7. I truly appreciate my experiences living in the south for four years, but the north is my home.  I am loving every second of living in Ohio and being so close to family.  The Mr. and I have already had so many adventures with our families in our first month here.  Home is where your family is.

8. I love going to the zoo.  The highlight of any zoo trip is definitely the polar bears.  The Detroit Zoo has an amazing tunnel under the polar bears.  Let's just say I become mesmerized by these fuzzy white guys.

9. I think cowboy boots are amazing!  As a final nod to southern living I asked for a pair of cowboy boots for my birthday.  I thought they'd be the most uncomfortable things ever, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  Cowboy boots are awesomely comfortable.... and they look really cute with a dress!

10.  Yes, it bothered me to only have 9 items on this list so I added 10 just to make myself feel better!  :)

Now, tell me more about YOU!  Link up with Mrs. Lemons and share the quirks that make you YOU.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Are you organized?

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  I can't believe it's already the middle of July!  I'm certainly enjoying the free time and loving exploring my new town.  Let me just tell you... the Farmer's Market here is awesome!  I got a bunch of beautiful sunflowers and an upcycled windowpane last night.  I can't wait to go again next week!

So, back to my reason for blogging today... ARE YOU ORGANIZED?  Before we know it it'll be back to school time and we'll all be rushing around to get ready for our little ones to come to our classroom for the first time.  Check out my Teacher Keeper to help get you organized and ready for that first day.  It'll be one less thing you need to get ready in August!  Last summer I created an organizational binder for myself that housed all things important-- lesson plans, monthly calendars, teaching standards, meeting notes, and more.  I loved using my binder so I wanted to share with all of you wonderful teachers.  I have added 9 different themed Teacher Keepers to my TPT and TN stores.

Here are the themes I have available:

I have just updated all of my Teacher Keepers with customizable features so you can add your name to the cover and add any dividers you need!  Check them out in my stores: Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook.  {If you've already purchased one of my Teacher Keepers, you can go back to your purchases and redownload it for the updated version.}