Whew, it's officially HOT in New Jersey!  My classroom is getting sticky and my students have a full blown case of summer fever... 19 days left until school's out!

While I *can't wait* for summer, I can't help but think about next year.  I've been going over the things I tried that didn't work {hey, it happens!}, as well as the ideas I used that worked really well.  I can tell you two things that worked really, REALLY well:
Hand signals & voice levels!  Do you use these in your classroom?

Before this year, my only "signals" were holding two fingers up for bathroom and a pencil in the air for a sharp pencil.  Then, every time I called on a student to answer a question, I'd hear, "Can I get a drink?" or "I need a tissue!"  It drove me insane!!!  So over the summer, I made myself a set of hand signals.  And can I say it's made a WORLD of difference?!

Here are the signals I use now:

1 = pencil
2 = bathroom
3 = drink
4 = tissue
5 = question
a-ok = I'm done

I added that last one mid-year because I got tired of hearing "DONE!" 22 times after every assignment!  Now my littles flash me the a-ok signal and I give them a little nod and a smile.  It's perfect!!

I also love the visual of a voice level chart:
*Most of the time* my group will be on the appropriate level!  If I forget to mention what voice level we should be on, you can bet that one of my babes will remind me!

I put these bright chevron management tools together into a little pack: hand signals & voice levels! {chevron theme}.  You can grab it on TpT if you're interested!  This set is also included in my brand new classroom set-up starter kit! {chevron theme bundle} pack... which I will blog about this weekend!

I hope you LOVE them!!  I'd love to hear what you think! :)
Happy Memorial Day!  I hope everyone had a GREAT three day weekend!

Mine started out good with a little game night...  and took a turn for the worst when I came down with a bug on Sunday :(  I was stuck in bed aaaall day, womp womp!  On the bright side, I did watch 10 out of 20 DVR'd episodes of The Young & the Restless.  Hah!

Anyway, enough of that nonsense!
On Friday, my kiddos and I had a little fun with paint!
Even I got my hands dirty!

We made flags with our handprints for Memorial Day!

To make these flags, here's what you'll need:
*red, white, & blue paint
*three foam brushes
*giant popsicle sticks
*silver star stickers
*red & white ribbon
*single hole punch & scissors {not shown}
*blue construction paper {not shown}

Paint your kiddos' hands like I painted mine above, and press down on precut pieces of blue construction paper.  While the handprints are drying, glue the popsicle sticks under the paper.  Punch a hole in the top left corner and loop & tie red and white ribbon through the hole.  Once the handprints are dry, have your little ones place silver stickers on the blue palm print!

And there you have it!  The cutest Memorial Day flags!

This idea comes from one that I pinned the other day.
Follow the pin for the original post:

Hi, friends!  Around this time last year, two friends and I hosted a summer linky... and we had so much fun, that we're doing it again!!  Get your summer to-do list ready and join me, Hadar, and April for the second annual Summer Bucket List Linky!
In case you missed it last year, this linky is all about what we teachers want to *get done* during our beloved summer off!  Whether you want to make something for the new school year, try out a new dish, or attempt to recreate an idea you saw on Pinterest, we want to hear about it!!  Be sure to grab the button above and include it in your post if/when you link up!

So, what's on my summer to-do list?? :)

Besides create, relax, and get a nice tan.....

{1} I want to go on VACATION!
My family and I are heading down to Myrtle Beach again this summer... we LOVE it there!  We usually go every other year, but even though we went last year, we loved the resort so much {a new place} that we couldn't resist!!

{2} I want to SHOP!  For next year's school supplies that is:
Okay, I'm sure I'll be shopping for more than just school supplies {hello, shopaholic here!} but these are some must buys for September!  Clockwise: neon book & binder holdersprivacy shields; neon paper baskets; nametags... all from Really Good Stuff!

{3} I want to ORGANIZE:

I want to make something just like this, except for all of the assessments we have to give:  placement, reading fluency, Dibels.  Right now I have these scores here, and those scores there, and I go crazy looking for them when I need them!

I also want to dress up a paper bin like this to keep my mess {yes, sometimes I do have a mess!} hidden from view.

And I want to be ready for new kiddos throughout the year!!!  Sometimes they pop in and I'm frantically searching for the info I need.  This will solve that problem!

{4} I want to PREPARE:

I plan on prepping math journals like these, on top of all the other things I need to get ready for my new kiddos {like first day gifts, birthday balloons, BEE Books... the list goes on!}!

Now tell me... what's on YOUR summer bucket list?!
I can hardly believe it, but it's true... Memorial Day is *almost* upon us!  Do you have anything fun planned {at school or at home}?  If not, then maybe I can give you some ideas with a little Memorial Day Roundup post!

First up is a little freebie that I created for Veteran's Day, but it can be used for Memorial Day, too!  It's called thank you, hero! free printables} and it includes includes writing pages with graphics for the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy:
All pages are titled, "Thank you, Hero!" and feature different graphics.  They're also available with primary and secondary lines.  One page has space for little learners to draw a picture instead {pictured above}!

Next, there's my heart the flag {a craftivity} unit.  I've blogged about it a few times before, because it is very versatile!  I included writing pages for Memorial Day, Patriot Day, and Veteran's Day:

If you already used the heart this year {like me, for September 11th}, then what about this cute and simple handprint activity?

This idea came from Muffin Tin Mom!  I adore it!

I'm also loving this popsicle stick flag craft from Ginger Snap Crafts:

So pretty!  Follow the link to the site for a quick tutorial on how to make these!

Of course, 3pm Friday marks the official start of Memorial Day Weekend {and the unofficial start of summer}!  I'm throwing a little BBQ at my house, so I've been looking up fun dessert ideas.  Here's my favorite... can you guess why??

Delicious, and easy to make!

Another treat that I found {and made once! SO good!} is this Jello flag cake:

Doesn't it look yummy?  And healthy-ish? :)  It was a hit!

Last but not least... a Red, White, and Blueberry trifle:

I also gave this one a try!  It was easy and... you guessed it... tasty!

That's it for my Memorial Day Roundup!
Hope you found some ideas you can use!! :) :)
I'm excited to announce that the gals of Freebie-licious are teaming up with A+ Teacher Images... the best t-shirt company for teachers {and more}!

Each of us at Freebie-licious received a sweet, custom designed t-shirt!
Check it out:

I am *in love* with my custom t-shirt!  Not only is it cute, it represents friendships, fun, and business relations all in one!  Where else could you get all that from just one t-shirt?!  Here we all are, rockin' our new attire:

Now that we're dressed to impress, we are sharing the love and giving away t-shirts to 23 lucky winners!!!  Each winner will get to choose one t-shirt, and the design is WINNER'S CHOICE!

Entering is super easy!  It's a blog hop, so you will have almost 50 chances to win one of 23 t-shirts if you follow it all the way through.  Of course, you can enter as many or as few giveaways as you would like.  Use the Rafflecopter below for two chances to win from my blog... then hop on to the next, and the next, and...!!  Keep going 'til your fingers are too tired to click! :) :)
The giveaway ends on Sunday, May 19th, at 12:00 a.m. EST.  Winners will be announced on the following Monday.  Easy peasy, lemon-squeezy!

Now head on over to visit Marsha's blog, A Differentiated Kindergarten, and enter there!

If you don't win one of the giveaways, but you see a shirt that you just can't live without, don't worry!  A+ Teacher Images is offering our Freebie-licious followers 20% off of orders $20 or more by using the code FREE20!  Enjoy!!

Don't miss out on anymore freebies... follow our blog & like our Facebook page!!

A special thanks goes out to Doug from A+ Images.  He worked with us to make just the right shirt to represent our company, and is still offering us a shirt to give one lucky winner from each of our blogs!  Yay, Doug!!
Phew, what a week!  I felt like I was constantly moving, both at school *and* at home... hence why I haven't blogged since Monday!  I hate to let my baby go days without attention!

But I am here now, with some Five for Friday fun... Insta-Style!  I must be honest, two of the five pictures aren't from this week, but that's okay, right?!

#impulseshopper #teacherhoarder #teacherlife
Only a teacher would stop in at Target and get completely distracted by the dollar spot!  30 pairs of sunglasses later...

#dressdownday #davidandgoliath #giraffes #flipflops
I love dress down day!  Especially when it's warm enough to wear flip flops and show off my neon pedi! ;)

#pandora #coach #teacherstyle #sharewhatchawear
Lately I've been into layering on my wrist!  I love to wear my new wrap-around watch from Coach {thank you mom & dad for the birthday gift card back in October!} with my Pandora bling... and of course, an evil eye bracelet inspired by one of my littles!

#flowerfriends #firstgradeparade #craftivity
This pic isn't from this week, but I don't think I ever shared it!  We made Cara's flower friends during our plant unit a couple Fridays ago.  I am in love with them!!

#diy #firepit #iactuallyhelped
A couple weeks ago my hubby & I decided we needed a fire pit in the yard, so we spent hours at Lowes deliberating, and more hours in the yard digging {I HELPED}, and this is the end result!  I love it!!

Link up or check out others who have!! :)
Have a great weekend!!
Hi everyone!  Hope you're having a great Monday! :)

I'd like to introduce you to my new behavior reward system:

But before I get into it, let's backtrack a little!

You might remember that, just about three weeks ago, I decided to change up my behavior system.  Flipping cards wasn't working with my group anymore, plus it focused too much on negative behavior, so I made the switch to the clip chart.
I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with all the clipping up and down, but I have to say, I am *loving* it... and so are my kiddos!  Most are doing everything possible to clip UP, even my behaviors!  {Click HERE to check out the chart!}

When they clip up, kiddos receive tickets {green = 1, blue = 2, purple = 3, pink = 4 and a jewel}.  I keep the tickets in these colorful pouches that I found at Staples:
At the end of each week {okay, on Mondays because Fridays seems to fly!} we count up our tickets and turn them in for prizes!  That's where my new reward system comes in!  I had two 3-drawer mini containers and picked up another one to complete the look.  I numbered each drawer with fun scrapbooking stickers 1 to 9, and filled the drawers with prizes!
I tried to separate the prizes by "worth," or by what I thought would be more popular.  I also didn't want to make the good prizes too "easy" to earn!  For example, here's a list of what's currently in each drawer {#1 is one ticket, #2 is two tickets...}:

*1 = stickers and magnets {the drawer needs a refill!}
*2 = special pencils
*3 = fun erasers
*4 = bracelets, frogs
*5 = sparkly bracelets, sticky lizards
*6 = mini koosh balls
*7 = poppers, bouncy balls
*8 = stampers
*9 = finger skateboards, kazoos, mini flutes

I order new prizes each summer through places like Rhode Island Novelty, and I also pick things up here and there from Dollar Tree or Target.

If kiddos earn 10 tickets, they can take a look through the coupon book:
Some kids turn in a few tickets for little prizes, but I see that a lot of them are practicing patience and saving tickets to get in the book!  They love to choose things like Furry Friend {bring a stuffed friend to school} or Move It! Move It! {10 minute dance party for the class}.  This coupon book has fun, easy rewards, and it will end up saving me money as more and more kids start saving tickets to take a look inside!

And last but not least, when kiddos clip up to the top of the chart, Super Student, they earn jewels on their clips.  Once they earn five jewels, their clip moves to the Hall of Fame {or "Wall of Fame" as some of my cuties keep saying}.
They are trying really, really hard to get up there :)
The Hall of Fame idea comes from First Grade Glitter and Giggles

Phew, that was a lot!!  I hope I've given you some great ideas!!

I'm linking up with Monday Made It!

Now I have some Chinese food calling my name... sweet & sour chicken, yum!  XoXo!!
First, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported me during the big TpT sale. You all ROCK!!  I love reading & responding to all your feedback, too!! :) :)  Thank you again, sweet friends!!!

* * * * *

I am *exhausted* after a day FULL of learning and crafting!    All week I kept pushing off my Mother's Day activities, thinking, "I have plenty of time!"  Then last night, I realized that we'll be on a field trip Friday, and therefore only had TODAY to get everything done... on top of math, language arts, and the like!

The end result made my rushed day totally worth it, though...
Aren't they just adorable?!  I found the idea {HERE}.
I wrote my kiddos' names where you see the rectangles... I have to protect my babies :)

My hand was clearly too big to fit on the tile, but I wanted to make one for my own mom!  She loves this stuff :)  So I made flowers with my fingerprints instead:
I used Sharpie for the accents!

I know it's too late to make these this year, but if you want to file the idea for next year, here's what you'll need:
*6x6 white tiles {45 cents each at Lowes}
*acrylic paint
*black Sharpie
*Mod Podge
*foam brushes
*felt sticky buttons

To make the tiles, follow these steps:
*Flip the tile over and place four felt sticky buttons in the corners {so the tile won't scratch surfaces}, then flip over again.  *Write your message, kiddos' names, & the year with black Sharpie.  Let the Sharpie set before you move to the next step.  *Paint your kiddos' hands with a foam brush, position their hands over the tile, and press down carefully.  *Once the paint is dry, use a foam brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge {it's important not to brush it too much because the paint will begin to curl... learned my lesson after the first one I did}.  *Let Mod Podge dry overnight, wrap the tiles, and send home to Mom!

Because I'm so last minute, I did all of these steps in one day {except I wrote the messages last night}.  First thing in the morning we did the handprints, and about two hours later after lunch, I put the Mod Podge over the tile.  Another three hours and they were dry enough to send home! :)

We also wrote letters to our moms, made some promises {"I promise to brush my hair everyday"}, and of course made our Mother's Day ice cream cones!  They were a perfect tie-in to all the adjective learning we've been doing.
The kids ate it up!!  They thought the sprinkles were the best thing EVER.

One more thing before I go :) I stopped in at CVS to grab Mother's Day cards.  I found this one with a cute button inside, and I had to get it...
...For myself!  I'm not a mom yet, but hey, sometimes teacher's need a time out too!!! :)  I'm off to have a little "time out" in front of my TV... I have soap operas to catch up on!

Have a great night!
"Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning."

As a *big* THANK YOU to all the fabulous, talented, and dedicated teachers out there, Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a sale!
Everything in my little shop will be 20% off on Tuesday, May 7th and Wednesday, May 8th!  And if you enter code TAD13 at checkout, you will receive an extra 10% off... for a total of 28%!  {I'm still not sure how that adds up, lol}.

Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on next year... and to grab whatever you need to make the end of this year a great one!!  Take a look at some things I have up in my store!

Set up a colorful and HELPFUL reading reference area!
reading center starter kit! {printables}:

Make parent/teacher communication easy!
Also available in Spanish!

Brighten up your end-of-year OR back-to-school bulletin board!!
summer kids {a craftivity}:

Celebrate Memorial Day {or any patriotic holiday}!

Don't forget about dad!

Set up some last minute centers

And SO much more!  Click {HERE} to browse my shop!

Happy Shopping!! ;)

{{Heading to fill up MY cart!!}}
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