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{Book Looks}: The Fruit Salad Friend

Welcome back to {Book Looks}: Book Reviews for the Classroom! I absolutely LOVE using picture books in my classroom and it makes my teacher heart so happy to share them with my readers! You can read all about The Jelly Donut Difference here and Sneaky Spinach here

One of my ALL TIME favorite books is Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy! Whenever she publishes a new book, I {have} to add it to my library! Her newest book, The Fruit Salad Friend, was no exception! 

The Fruit Salad Friend is the sweetest book all about finding the recipe for a true friend! What I love most about this book is that it teaches SO many lessons and you can incorporate it into your classroom in many different ways to meet academic standards AND teach social skills! 

This book is all about Chloe, a little girl that loves fruit and school! However, lately something is different and she wonders, "What do you do when friends don't treat you with kindness?" This brave character navigates the trials and tribulations that pop up on her way to discover the recipe for a true friend! This book is perfect to read at the beginning of the school year, or anytime! 

Maria Dismondy is an inspiring author whose books focus on topics that challenge children. Maria has a background in early education and is commited to teaching the importance of character building, which allows her to touch lives all over the world! She travels as a public speaker to schools, community forums, and national conferences! When she is not busy writing or speaking, she is at home in Michigan with her family!

In my classroom, we started our activities by reading the book! One of my absolute favorite parts about teaching is reading aloud to my students. I love it even more when my students get really into a book! Since we have read other Maria Dismondy books, they were SO excited to hear this book! 

After reading the book, we discussed different characteristics of a good friend. I wrote down some of my students' responses inside the fruit on an anchor chart. They came up with so many different words to describe true friends! It made my heart so happy! 

In our classroom, we have been working really hard on finding the lesson or the central message of a story! This hasn't been the easiest skill for my first graders, so I love using Maria Dismondy books because they are so relatable for my young students! We had a class discussion on the different lessons that this book taught us, and my students got right to work! 

We also got to make our own {fruit salads} by naming students in our class and writing about HOW they are true friends and show those characterists. I absolutely LOVE ways to make spread smiles and happiness, and I love how this little activity allowed my students to give sweet shout-outs to their friends! 

These activities made the sweetest display for the hallway! 

You can grab these activities and more in my Kindness Counts: A Maria Dismondy Unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! 

This is such a great book full of sweetness and kindness! Do you want to WIN your own copy of The Fruit Salad Friend and my Kindness Counts unit? Enter the giveaway below!!

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The Best (and Prettiest) Teacher Bag EVER!

Over the last ten years, I've used a lot of different teacher bags. I mean, A TON. I'm a bag lover and just can't seem to say no to a pretty new teacher bag!

A few years ago, I fell in love with the Stella & Dot Getaway bag to use for weekend getaways and as a carry on bag for airplanes. I tried using it for school, and even though I have a ton of stuff in my bag, it was really just too big.

So, when Stella & Dot released a smaller version of the Getaway bag- the Daytripper- I couldn't wait to try it out for my teacher bag! I immediately fell in love!

This bag fits every single thing I need for school.  My laptop, Erin Condren Teacher Planner, notebook, Flair pens, snacks, a water bottle- EVERYTHING! And, it even has room to spare!

For the nights that I need to bring home more, the bag is expandable! So it can fit a ton without being too bulky!

I also LOVE the simple black and cream striped print. It literally goes with everything I wear and is perfect for every season!

Another favorite part of this bag is the wipeable surface! I feel like I'm constantly making a mess and using baby wipes - so having a bag that is easy to clean is a MUST for this teacher mama! And, I love that you can get a matching pouch to use for Flair pens!!!

And, of course it is a great bag that you can use for other fun adventures! I LOVE pairing it with my Getaway bag for weekend trips!

I hope you love this teacher bag as much as I do!!! 

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Meet the Teacher Made Easy!

It's hard to believe it's only the beginning of August and I'm already done with Meet and Greet, the first week of school, AND Open House! Wow!  I wanted to share what I do for Meet and Greet and Open House!

At my school, we begin the year with Meet and Greet during pre-planning as an informal event for our students and families to meet the teacher! Like I said, very informal! As a new teacher I used to stress TONS about this event and wanted my room to be absolutely perfect and LOTS and LOTS of information to send home with parents. Now, I realize that doesn't have to be the case! Less is more! I mean, my room is pretty much ready- but I don't have that much on my walls and I don't send a ton of information home!

I've tried many different options for this event over the last ten years, and this year I used a super simple checklist that families grabbed when they walked in my room and I LOVED it! Very simple and easy to use! I placed all the signs in clear sign holders (affiliate link) and I loved how easy it was to just slide papers in them!

I had everything my families needed on students' desks. Each year I copy the pages that parents need to complete on colored Astrobrights paper (affiliate link) and the few information pages that they can take home on white paper. This year, I added some post-it notes on the top to make this even easier! You can grab my free template here and just type your message in the box!

I always like leaving a little treat for my students! You can see 20 different ideas for Beginning of the Year student gift ideas here!

After the parents completed the paperwork, they sorted the large supplies into the tubs at the front of my room. This really helps save me A TON of time during the first week of school! I do have students keep some of their supplies in their desks, like their pencil boxes and composition books!

Afterwards, our students and families were invited to use our {photobooth} and take a picture! I absoltuely LOVE using this DIY photobooth in my classroom throughout the year. I use a 60 x102 sequin tablecloth (affiliate link) for the background and they are perfect! They come in tons of different colors and are very inexpensive!

And that's it for Meet and Greet! Super simple! Next up is Open House!

Open House is a more formal event that is held in the evening and includes a presentation that my co-teacher and I present to our students' families to explain our classroom and curriculum! I find that it's much easier for me to have a PowerPoint presentation to guide me through everything I need to say! Here's a preview of some of the slides in my presentation!

I always have some type of refreshments or treats for parents that attend Open House. For the last couple of years, we've just put water bottles and small treats out! I really feel like this adds to the presentation! You can see I reused the sequin tablecloth from Meet and Greet!

If you are interested in the Back to School Forms, you can grab them here!

And you can grab the editable Open House Presentation and corresponding signs, here!

I hope you have an AMAZING start to your year!!!

For more {Fashion, Fun, and Favorites} make sure to follow me on InstagramTwitter, FacebookPinterestBloglovin', and Teachers Pay Teachers!

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Getting Ready for Back to School! {My Back to School Routine}

It's that time again! Time to head back to school! With a busy schedule and two kids of my own, I don't have a ton of time to spend in my classroom before pre-planning officially starts each year! I wanted to share my routine for getting {Ready for Back to School}!

The very first thing I do each year is figure out how I want to set up my classroom with a map! It's not anything fancy, just a quick sketch of where I want all my furniture to go.  I try to be as productive as possible, so I have this ready before I head back into my classroom. Since I've been teaching for awhile, I have a pretty good idea of how I want my room set up each year! However, I always make some type of map of my classroom- even if it's just a picture in my head!

After I've got an idea of how I want my classroom set up, I go ahead and move all the furnture around and set everything up! Here are some progress pictures of my classroom this year!

After everything is set up how I want it, then I try my best to clean and organize! I can't stand starting the year off with things dirty and dusty. I usually do this at the end of the year, but after moving and sitting all summer, I usually have to dust off bookshelves, clean inside tubs, wipe down tables- everything! After I get everything clean, I am ready to {organize}! I try to do as much as I can to organize everything at the end of the year, but I always have new thoughts over the summer! This year I need to organize my files into a better system!

After my room is ready, I begin to get my {Meet and Greet} resources ready! At my school our Meet and Greet is a time when the students and parents come to meet the teacher. It is very informal!

This year I used a simple checklist that parents used to make sure they completed everything! I absolutely LOVED using this checklist! I had it sitting on my cubbies at the front of the room and families just grabbed one as they walked in and I introduced myself! It made it easy if I was already talking to another family for them to go ahead and get started and gave them something to do!

This year I had all my Meet and Greet papers on students desks pretty early in the week because I had printed everything before I went back for pre-planning, so I all I needed to do was make copies!

I always print the forms that parents need to fill out on Astrobrights paper (affilate link) and all the information pages for them to take home on white paper, it makes it VERY simple!

I always like to give my students a little treat at our Meet and Greet! Totally not necessary, but I just love starting the year in a positive fun way! You can check out this post for 20+ Ideas for Easy Back to School Gifts for Students! 

And, last but definitely not least- 

It's finally time to plan out the {First Week of School}. I LOVE trying to do this during post-planning and having all my copies ready! But, last year I had to move classrooms and just didn't have a lot of extra time!

This year I've been OBSESSED with these Back to School resources from Haley O'Connor!

I absolutely LOVE using my Erin Condren Teacher Planner to help keep me organized! My planner from the previous year comes in very handy at this time because I look at what I did the year before and go through all my resources and start to map out our week! My beginning of the year plans are always a VERY rough sketch and I always over plan all my activities!

If you want to save $10 on your first Erin Condren order, click here!

This year I bought some new resources from Teachers Pay Teachers and bought some fun new books!! I am very excited about using the book You're Finally Here on the first day of school this year! {Tip- Order this book from Amazon Canada and get it for a great deal!) I even went ahead and prepped my anchor charts for the first day of school!

How do you get ready for heading {Back to School} each year???

For more {Fashion, Fun, and Favorites} make sure to follow me on InstagramTwitter, FacebookPinterestBloglovin', and Teachers Pay Teachers!

Happy Teaching,

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