Happy Saturday everyone!!  Today is the Top Teachers' Blog Swap and Hop!  Below is a post from my awesome guest blogger, Lori!  When you're done reading her post, be sure to hop on over to Apples and ABC's where *I'm* guest blogging!! I have a great FREEBIE there with your name on it!!! ;)
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I am so excited to be posting over here at Teri's blog! We are participating in the Top Teachers' Blog Swap and Hop. What a great opportunity to find new blogs to follow and to get some great ideas and activities for the new school year.

First, I'd like to introduce myself in case you don't know me. My name is Lori and I am the author of Teaching With Love and Laughter. I am getting ready to enter my 18th year of teaching. And, I still love it! I teach kindergarten, first grade, and second grade writing, science, and social studies. This is me:

And, this is my blog: 

My post today is going to be about a back to school activity. Back in April, I posted about an activity I liked to do called Words that Describe Me. You can find that post here. After reading some of the comments posted, I came to the conclusion that I would like to do this activity during the first week or two of school. Now, what exactly is the activity that I am referring to? Glad you asked! First, I will discuss with my students what an adjective is, and they will make a list of words to describe themselves. Then, they will choose their favorite adjectives and write each one on a separate label. Students will then draw a large portrait of themselves on long white paper. Finally, they will cut out the labels and glue them onto the long white paper. Once the children have completed their portraits and labels, they can use the describing words to write an essay about themselves on the All About Me Stationary. You can find everything you will need to complete this activity by clicking on the image below.

I included a picture of this activity that one of my first graders did in April. Of course, the labels are cuter now and I added in the stationary. Children LOVE to write about themselves, and this activity should give them a good start. Younger students may feel more comfortable already having some of the labels filled in. They just need to add the adjectives in the boxes. The remaining boxes can be used for their own adjectives.

I hope you enjoyed my post and find the activity meaningful and useful. If you are not yet a follower of my blog, I am formally inviting you to come over to my place and make yourself at home. Thanks so much for being with me here today. Enjoy the rest of your blog hopping adventure!

Thanks for having me Teri!

I'm taking a long quick break from cleaning to say hello and let you know what I'm up to!  On Sunday my husband and I are having my family over for a BBQ... our first real family gathering at our house since we moved in a year ago!!  So now I'm running around like a crazy person trying to get the house in tip-top shape.  Reminds me of this pin:

Yup, that's me. :)
Since the BBQ is pretty much a July 4th celebration, I'll be making this:

My tummy is rumbling just looking at it!  And how easy?!  I love easy!
For the 4th, my hubs and I are hopefully heading down to the Hudson River to watch the Macy's fireworks... I can get "VIP" passes to avoid the crowd and get a good spot right on the water... holla!  {Just kidding, I don't normally say "holla!" but it kind of fit right there! lol.}

Tomorrow {Saturday} I'm participating in the Top Teachers' Blog Swap and Hop:
A wonderful blogger will be guest posting here on my page, and I will be guest posting on another wonderful blogger's page!  Seriously so excited about my partners!  So please check back tomorrow for some fun blog hopping!!  There will be FREEBIES too, so you don't want to miss it!!!

Also, keep your eyes peeled for some new units from me: I've been working on a Johnny Appleseed pack, and I've gotten more sweet requests for a reading/phonics starter kit!  Not only that, but I have SO MANY things that I want to share with you for the fall!  I LOVE the fall {and my birthday is in the fall}!!!

Okay, I guess I need to get back to cleaning...
or maybe just a little more blog stalking... >;)
Ever since I posted about my writing center starter kit, I've been getting a lot of sweet requests for a math center starter kit!  Now that I have tons of time {yay, summer!!} I was finally able to deliver!  Here it is:
Again, I used a tri-fold, because I have limited bulletin board space in my new classroom {and my old classroom, too}.  You can certainly make a bulletin board out of the pieces, or use them in a math journal or folder!  I also designed the pieces to coordinate with my writing center, classroom labels, and these freebies. :)

Here's a close-up of the center, where I put "I can" examples:
{Also included: examples for multiplying and dividing.}

Next is a close-up of the right and left sides, where I placed reference sheets:
{Also included:  multiplication/division key words, time, fractions, number chart 1-20, number words by 10, hundreds chart 1-100 and 1-120, and multiplication table}

To check out this listing, visit my TpT shop and my TN store, too!!  I hope you love it!!  Let me know ;)  And if you have any ideas for more starter kits... I'm your girl!

I'm linking this post with Tara's Monday Made It linky party:
Be sure to check it out!  Everyone has such wonderful ideas!
Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files is hosting a Summer Shopping Linky!  Perfect timing, because I discovered a new place to shop!  It's called mpm School Supplies and they.have.everything!  Not only do they have it all, but the prices are discounted.  I don't know about you, but I love a good price! :)  Check out what I purchased:
*bulletin board storage bag
*border storage bag
*crayon pocket chart
*2 packs of ready letters
*3 packs of borders
*welcome mini BB set
*monkey chart
*oil pastels
Navigating the site is super-duper easy.  Along the top there are drop-down menus for different categories such as supplies, furniture, etc.:
When you click on the categories, a very organized menu pops up.  I clicked on bulletin board letters under "supplies" first.  Once it brought me to the letters page, a sidebar appeared, allowing me to narrow my search in a few different ways:
This made it really easy to find exactly what I was looking for!  When I had all the desired items in my cart {which, believe me, I had to restrain myself!}, checking out was a piece of cake.  I received my purchase within a few days, and everything was packaged well and in perfect condition.  I would definitely shop at mpm School Supplies again!

Feel like making some summer purchases?   {HERE} is a link for 15% off my readers' first 25 orders!  If you go shopping, let me know what you buy!! ;)

Disclaimer: A sweet representative from mpm School Supplies contacted me to do a little shopping as well as an honest review of their store.  The opinions expressed in this post are my own and were not influenced by the company or the incentive given.
Today was my last day of school!!!  Let summer begin! ;)
Of course, back to school will be on my brain 24/7.  I can't help it!  Am I the only one!?

Last night I whipped up a fun craftivity that I've wanted to make for three years but never did.  It's a greater than/less than alligator!  Whenever I teach number comparison, I always have my kiddos imagine an alligator munching on big numbers!
This craftivity is *double sided* so your little ones can flip the alligator back and forth to help them visualize the greater than/less than concept.

Here's what's inside:
*alligator pattern {both with and without words}, pictures, & directions
*greater than, less than, & equal to cards for center work
*number cards 0-20 for center work
*3 posters: greater than, less than, & equal to

As always, please let me know what you think.  I hope you love!!
And now it's time to blog stalk... :)
I know you've seen it all over Pinterest: melty crayon art.
I decided to give it a try today, and here's how it turned out:
I'm pretty excited about the final product!  I will quickly run through what I did.  First, gather your supplies:
{If you want to add words to your art, follow the next few steps.  If not, skip.}
Once I had my supplies, I typed my words using "word art" in a Word document.  Then I flipped the words horizontally so they printed as a mirror image:
Then I flipped the printed paper over so the words were facing the right way, with the ink side down, and I taped it to the canvas:
Next, I rolled up a paper towel, wet it, and pressed it down on the words:
I made sure to press enough to soak through the paper so that the ink would transfer onto the canvas:
I get impatient, so I didn't wait as long as I should have, and the ink was very, very light.  But it was good enough for me :)  I let the canvas dry used a blow dryer to dry the canvas and then grabbed a black paint pen {a regular Sharpie would work, too} to go over the letters:
After finishing the letters, I gathered my crayons and used hot glue to attach them to the canvas, Crayola symbol face up:
To prevent the words from getting messed up, I covered them with painter's tape.  Then I set up my work station {aka the floor} by covering it with newspaper, both against the wall and on the floor because the melty crayons will splatter:
Finally, I turned the blow dryer on and got to melting!  The crayons took no time at all to melt.  If you want a drippy look, it seriously takes like five minutes.  I went for a blended look {which does take longer} because the painter's tape didn't work as well as I wanted.  I ended up ripping it off and letting the entire canvas fill with wax.

When I had the wax blended the way I wanted, I grabbed paper towels and began to "scrub" the wax.  It gave the piece a "weathered" look AND it allowed the letters to show through the wax.  I went over the letters a second time with paint pen and added some details too:
And that's that!!  I linked this post up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It linky party!  I hope to keep up with this... at least every other week :)
I also linked up with Miss Nelson's linky for a chance to win an Erin Condren gift certificate!!
If you made it all the way to the end of this post, I have a little surprise for you!  I hit 1500 followers last night {WOOT!!} and I wanted to offer a little something to my fabulous friends.  Leave a comment on this post with your email address, and I'll use random number to pick a winner... The winner can choose any item from my TpT shop! :)  This mini giveaway will end tomorrow at 3pm Eastern.  Good luck!!
Congrats to Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies!

Just 500 followers away from a big 2000 follower giveaway. ;)
Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there! :)  This morning I had brunch with my daddy and family, and this evening we went to my husband's parents for dinner.  Now I'm home relaxing before my last week of school :)  I wanted to make sure to stop in tonight because I haven't posted since Tuesday... ahh!!

Before I took down my bulletin boards, I thought to snap a picture of my behavior system:
I've been using this system for a few years, and I really like it!  I love the cute monkeys and all the fun phrases that go along with the theme!  The title of my board is "Are You Monkeying Around?" and the title on the chart says, "No Monkey Behavior!"

To put the board together, I used colorful index cards, a package of library pockets,
and playful monkeys {from Trend's Monkey Mischief collection}:
I use five different colored cards:
blue {super day}
green {great choices}
yellow {warning}
orange {no recess}
red {note/call home}

Everyone starts on green.  Yellow cards can change back to green.  Orange and red cards can't change back to green.  Blue cards are for super-duper behavior... but next year I'm scrapping the blue card and looking for "Top Bananas" instead.  {Don't you just love all the cute monkey phrases?!}

Of course, we need to communicate both good and bad behavior to parents.  I do this by having my students color in a behavior calendar {which is in their take-home folders} at the end of each day:

If a kiddo is on yellow, orange, or red, I will write in a behavior code and then he/she will color the appropriate box.  The codes make it quick and easy for both teachers and parents to note behavior!  At the end of the month, I have parents sign the sheets and I keep them in my student folders.  I've been using this method for a few years now, and it seems to work really well!  

If you'd like your own copy of my 2012-2013 behavior calendars, head to my TpT shop to DL them for free! :)  Of course, let me know what you think!!

What behavior system do you use in your classroom?

I started moving things to my new room yesterday.  I am gaining not one, but TWO, walk-in closets!!  I.am.SO.excited!  And let me tell you... those closets are filling up FAST.  I have sooo much stuff.  I might be a teaching-supply-hoarder {the best kind, right?!}.

While I was cleaning and organizing, I came across my math manipulatives and decided I needed a storage change!  So I set off to Target and picked up two sets of Sterilite shoe boxes {$5.99 for a set of 5}, printed and laminated my new labels, and got to work:
  I think even math should be pretty :)  I like these shoe boxes because they are clear, stackable, and the lids are easy to pop on and off {and they actually stay on}.  Also, they come in my classroom colors!!

Here's a close-up of the labels:
If you're interested, these labels come from my classroom labels starter kit! on TpT.

Hmmf, my hubs was supposed to grill for dinner tonight... but the rainy weather, his lateness from work {he's an accountant and it's his busy season}, and the lack of lighting on our deck means I'm making some Kraft mac and cheese instead!  I'll talk to you soon :)
Happy Sunday!  Today I'm heading to my parent's house for a little BBQ.  Tomorrow is my baby brother's 21st birthday!  Hopefully there will be some ice cream cake ;)

Anywho, I wanted to share something with you!  I've been working on a line of coordinating products, and I finished the latest one: classroom labels!
There are 138 labels included!
*word wall letters a-z
*supply bin labels
*math manipulative labels
*around the room labels
*fun extra

My classroom labels starter kit! pack is 43 pages, with 4 labels per page {except for the letter cards, which are 2 per page}, and the labels are mostly in order.  The last few pages are filled with the ones I forgot about until the end! ;)  If you decide to purchase this pack from my TpT shop and I missed something that you need, please just email me and I'd me more than happy to add it in!!

I also have a coordinating freebie!!  I made some picture directions cards:
I included two different glue cards, just in case!  Print onto white cardstock, cut, and laminate for durability.  You can put a magnet on the back and use them on any magnetic surface.  You can download these from my TpT shop, too!

Other coordinating items:

Okay, I'm off to stuff my face with my family!  See you soon!!
8 days left with the kiddies and 1 extra for the teachers!  Finally, single digits!!!!  Don't get me wrong, I *love* my class, but I am SO.ready. for summer!  {I know you hear me, Hadar!}

As I mentioned before, I started cleaning up this week.  My walls are looking quite bare, and the piles are stacking quite high.  I am switching rooms and getting ready to move everything.  I have to move all this:
This stuff, too:
{Thank goodness it's on wheels.}
Oh, and let's not forget:
{Yea... the closet is a disaster!!}
Having a new and bigger room to design is pretty exciting!!  My mom comes to school with me for two weeks straight at the end of the summer and helps me scrub, organize, and decorate.  She's awesome!  And she's a perfectionist like her daughter, so my room always looks fabulous... if I do say so myself!! :)

Before I head to the dining room to eat some Chinese food with the hubby, I want to let you know about a fun giveaway that I'm taking part in!
My pal Kimberly hit 200 followers {woo!} and asked me if I would donate something.  Of course! :)  So head on over there to enter to win... There are seven goodies, including one item of your choice from my TpT shop!  Good luck and happy weekend!
It's June! That means....
School's {almost} out for summer!
Annnd it's time for a new Currently! :)
I seriously sat for 10 minutes thinking about what I was thinking.  Apparently, I wasn't thinking anything except, "What am I thinking?!" ;)

This month's change-up is all about trips: where we wish to go, where we went recently, and where we want to go!  My dream is to take a European vacation and visit both Italy and Spain; I went to St. Lucia on my honeymoon last summer {I recommend it!}; and I'm going to Myrtle Beach, SC with my husband, parents, brother, and his girlfriend in July.  My family goes every other year!  Love, love it there!!

While I'm joining linkies, I thought I'd share my favorite fonts with you:
I love fonts!  Share yours or find new favorites over at Natalie's font party!

I have 11 days of school left!  I starting taking things down and packing things up yesterday.  I have a lot of work to do!  I'll post some pictures soon of how I "organize" the end of the year... if you call piling things into bins organizing ;) Hehe..
I said I'd be back today with a new craftivity, and here I am!
It felt good to work on it :)
This craftivity doubles as a back to school activity, and a lesson on bus safety:
*back to school bus craftivity {and a safety lesson, too!}* on TpT & TN

On the left, the writing prompt says, "On the Road to Learning."  On the right, the writing prompt says, "ABC's of Bus Safety!"  These are only two of many options included in this 46 page pack!!  Once I got started, I just couldn't stop! :)

There is so much more to see!  Here is a preview picture:

And here's a list of what's inside:
options included for each are in ( )

*On the Road to a Great Year
-bulletin board poster
-full page prompt (color, b&w, primary, secondary)
-half page prompt (color, b&w, primary, secondary)

*On the Road to Learning
-bulletin board poster
-full page prompt (color, b&w, primary, secondary)
-half page prompt (color, b&w, primary, secondary)

*Bus Safety Lesson
-"ABC's of Bus Safety" poster
-"Bus Safety" poem poster
-"Bus Safety Rules" prompt, full page (b&w, primary, secondary)
-"Staying Safe on the Bus" prompt, half page (color, b&w, primary, secondary)

*How Do You Get to School?
-write & draw prompt, full page (b&w, primary, secondary)
-class survey
-bus tags (color, b&w)
-word search

Some more pictures:
You can find this new pack in my TpT shop, and TN too!

As always, please let me know what you think!! I hope you love it! :)
Psst... First person to comment will get it free!
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