Thirty Minute Thursdays!

Wow! Back to school is {rough} y'all!!! I come home every afternoon completley drained and feeling so useless! We may or may not have eaten fast food one too many times in the last few weeks! But, now that things are starting to slow down I've had more energy to actually cook a decent meal for my family in the afternoons!

I'm excited to be linking up with Crystal from The Balanced Teacher to share an easy meal AND score some new recipes to use that are thirty minutes or less and that are tired teacher approved!

My husband and I participate in a Fantasy Football draft every year! It's so much fun and a way for us to spend some time together AND it gets me pretty excited about football every weekend. We had our draft this past weekend and I made these amazing little sandwiches to take with us. It's defintiely an easy weeknight meal and one that my kids will enjoy, too!

And, of course I forgot to take a picture when they were done! But, they were SO good! Super simple and easy! Perfect little appetizer for football or a weeknight meal! 

Make sure to head to Crystal's blog for even more meals that can be done in 30 minutes or less that are perfect for busy teachers! 

Happy Teaching AND Cooking! 


BTS Surivial Kit

I've already been back to school for a few weeks and I'm honestly still in shock that school has already started. The beginning of the year has been such a whirlwind! Moving classrooms, switching grade levels, and doing a training the week before pre-planning had this teacher pretty stressed! I was so happy that I signed up for the BTS Survival Kit hosted by Mrs. D's Corner and Terrific Teaching and Learning! My box came at THE most perfect time!

For our exchange, I was paired with the amazing Traci from The Bender Bunch! I aboslutely LOVED reading her blog and stalking her Instagram to get to know her a little better and make her box perfect for her. And, I can tell she did the same for me! My box was absolutely perfect and just what I needed to survive the back to school rush! 

The box on my doorstep was huge! I couldn't wait to see what was inside! I just LOVE happy mail! 

Traci wrote the sweetest little card! And, she did an amazing job matching my classroom! 

Look at all those fabulous goodies inside! Seriously, this was the BEST box ever!!

These fun little clips have already gotten SO much use! They are way too cute! 

Isn't this little guy the cutest!? To be perfectly honest, I had to steal him away from my own kids! They loved playing with him! 

And, that tub. I LOVE it! It has officially become my Sub Tub! I'll have a blog post on that soon! 

I'm completely obsessed with quotes, so I may have squealed as soon as I saw this fun board! It has found it's home above my desk! I just love this saying and that it's black and white! Absolutely perfect for my classroom. And, it is the truth! Life is BETTER with friends!

This was such a FUN exchange and the perfect way to kickstart the year! Thank you SO much Traci for sending me a box full of love! You really helped get my school year off to a great start! 

Make sure to check out all the other survival kits! Thanks to Stephanie and Destiny for coordinating such a fabulous and fun activity to start the year!


B2S Building Blocks: First Week of School Activities

Welcome back for Week 3 of the Building Blocks of B2S!! I'm just a {little} behind on these posts, but I'm here and that counts, right!?

This post is dedicated to some fabulous activities to do the first week of school! The first week of school is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I just LOVE planning fun, get-to-know-you, get back into the swing of things activities! 

This is probably my FAVORITE activity to do on the first day of school. It's a great activity for community building and one that you can use throughout the year. 
And all you need- a ball of yarn! 

Ignore the dirty carpet! 

For this activity, all the students (and YOU) sit in a circle! I start by holding the ball of yarn and share something about myself. Then, I hold onto my piece of the yarn and throw the ball of yarn to someone else. They share their name and something about themselves, then hold onto their piece and throw the ball to someone new. It continues until everyone has shared and there is a large web of yarn in the middle of the circle! We talk about how unique this web is to our class and that it cannot be broken! We talk about how it would be completely different if just one person was not in our class, and that it would change if there was someone else in our class. 

This activity continues whenever a student leaves- we get out the SAME ball of yarn and share things about that student that we will miss. And, we do the same activity whenever a new student joins our class. We tell them all about the procedures and routines of our class! On the last day of school, the ball of yarn comes back for the last time! We make a new web and share our favorite memories from the year! 

Love, love, love this activity! 

In math, I've started the last few years with the exact same activities. Even going back to first this year, I STILL used these activities. I've always loved Amy Lemons, and this unit makes me love her even more!

Her "Let's Get Started: Beginning of the Year Math Activities" is the best way to start the year in math- I promise! 

Your students are get to sort {Tools vs. Toys}, explore math tools, and work on team work! It even has the cutest little Mathematician craft! 

I just love giving my students the opportunity to play and explore our math manipulatives at the beginning of the year, so they are less likely to want to play and explore later on! 

Instead of just having my students write the typical, "This Summer I..." this year we wrote about why this summer ROCKED! I started by reading the book "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" and we created an anchor chart of all the fun things we did over the summer! Then, my kids created these cute little guitars and wrote about their summer! It's been the cutest addition to our hallway! 

Make sure to head back to Stephanie's blog for even more First Week of School activities!

Happy Teaching!


HP Instank Ink= Printer LOVE!

I don't know about you, but I used to dread printing things in color. I loved the way it look, but I hated thinking about how much it cost. #poorteacher! For our old printer, ink usually cost us around $50 and wouldn't last long at all. I only printed the most important things and would print everything else on my school printer on colored cardstock. It worked. I just always wanted more! All these pretty little things I was creating, and I wouldn't let myself print them!

Enter HP Instant Ink. I first heard about this on Instagram, and to be perfectly honest, I thought it was too good to be true. I mean printing 100 FULL color sheets each month for only $5! Couldn't be real, right!?

The best part- it is REAL! There is a list of eligible printers on the website and I chose the most basic printer. I only need it for printing classroom (and some home) things, so I didn't need anything fancy!

I paid $59.99 at Best Buy, but I've heard other people have got some much better deals on the same printer! A lot of the printers are also available on Amazon!

I also purchased an enrollment card, which made signing up SUPER easy! It's all done online. You simply just follow the steps and you are enrolled! You don't have to have the enrollment card, you can easily enroll on their website!

It took about a week for my {welcome} package to come, and in that time I had a lot of pages just waiting to be printed! Luckily my printer came with some ink- but it's the beginning of the year and this teacher has a TON to print!

The welcome kit contained two ink cartridges and a return package to recycle your ink cartridges when they are finished. The cartridges are supposed to have A LOT more ink than usual cartridges, so they should last a lot longer than my old ink cartridges. As soon as they are getting low, the printer will tell HP when to send you more ink!

There are three different options you can choose from ranging from $3 a month to $10 a month, depending on how much you print. Since you are not signing a contract, you can easily switch from the various options once you figure out what is best for you! If you print more, there are additional printing charges for a great deal! And, if you don't use all your pages, there are rollovers- doesn't that remind you of cell phone minutes!

So far, I'm really impressed with the quality. And the fact that I'm getting to print 1200 pages a year for what I was paying for ONE pair of ink cartridges- makes this teacher's heart VERY happy!

Happy Teaching!


B2S Building Blocks: Building Relationships

It's week 2 of the Building Blocks of Back to School link up with Stephanie from Mrs. D's Corner! And, this week is all about Building Relationships- one of THE most important pieces to have a successful year!

I think it's important to build relationships with everyone!

In order to build relationships with my students, I do something extremely simple- TALK! That's right, I just talk to them. I honestly don't do any special surveys. I just spend time talking to them. During the first couple weeks of school, instead of always focusing on assessing them on their work, I simply have a conversation with them. I ask them questions about their interests- favorite foods, siblings, favorite tv shows. They just love to share!

Something I tried this year to help with relationships AND lunch time behavior is eating lunch with my kids during lunch. At our school, my students eat lunch in the cafeteria and we have monitors. I spent the first week of school eating with my kids to model correct cafeteria behavior and spent time talking to them! I sat next to a different group of students each day. Simple little lunch time chats really helped begin a positive relationship! 

One of the very first things I do to build a positive relationship with my parents is have them write me a letter about their child. I send their {homework} home on the very first day of school. My kids always LOVE that their parents are the ones that have homework! I tell them to let me know their childs likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, their goals and hopes for their child, and anything else they want me to know from who knows their child best! Let's be honest- their child is their pride and joy and I've never met a parent that doesn't love bragging on their kid, and this is the perfect time for it! I've had so many parents thank me for giving them the opportunity to write this letter, and it's really just the perfect way to start the year! 

Communication is key in building positive relationships with parents. It's important to me to communicate with my parents as often as I can. I try to update my classroom blog as often as possible. I also send home a weekly newsletter- {A Peek at our Week}. I use Remind to send home reminders to parents. Check out the blog post I did at The Primary Peach about how easy it is to use Remind! It's not always easy, and it can be time-consuming, but it's so important to communicate as often as possible! When my own son started school it made me realize even more how important communcation really is and how parents really do want to know what is going on in their child's classroom! 

Make sure to head to Mrs. D's Corner to read more about Building Relationships! And, head back next week for some First Week of School activities!


B2S Building Blocks: Meet the Teacher

It's here! It's here! Back to School is here!! I'm so excited about this series from Stephanie at Mrs. D's Corner to share the Building Blocks of Back to School!!!

The first part of this series is all about {Meet the Teacher}- such an important event! First impressions mean SO much and are incredibly important! It's all about setting a positive tone for the year, building a relationship with your students and their families, and sharing important information!

At my school, we call this particular event Sneak a Peek- and that's exactly what it is- a peek! It's not an extravagent event with a long presentation. It's simply a time for students and families to meet the teacher. Our Open House is where we share TONS of information with parents!

First things first, don't stress about your room NOT being completely ready! To be perfectly honest, my room has never been "complete" at our Sneak a Peek! We've been in school for a couple days now, and I still don't have my alphabet up, my new library labels to match our theme, or official name tags on the students' desks! And, it's okay!

Here is my classroom a couple hours before Sneak a Peek! Still trying to hang up some borders! 

Here's my room all ready for Sneak a Peek! 

I always use this time to get some important information from my students' families. Sometimes I may only see them once more throughout the school year, so it's important for me to have them fill out their information/contact sheet and a transportion information sheet. 

I don't like overloading my families with information to fill out, so these are the only two forms that I have them fill out at Sneak a Peek. I always make sure to copy these on colored paper. I make sure to copy all the information sheets that they can take home on white paper. This makes it really easy to know which forms they need to fill out when there is a bunch of papers on their child's desk. 

I also make sure to leave a fun little treat for my students! Last year I used Starburst and this year I used chips! Both tags are a freebie in my store!

The MOST important part of Meet the Teacher is setting a positive tone for the year. My biggest advice- SMILE! 

A smile means so much and let's be honest, who wants to walk into a classroom with a grumpy teacher. I know I wouldn't want my kids in a class with a teacher who wasn't smiling when I met them! 

I'd LOVE to hear all about your Meet the Teacher event! Make sure to head back to Mrs. D's Corner to read all about what other teachers do for this special event and share your own!

And, check back next week for Week 2: Building Relationships!