I've been looking at Pinterest on ideas to help organize the packing-up process.  I like leaving school knowing that things are cleaned and organized and I'm not returning to a mess in August.  These are somethings that I always do each year.
  • Organize filing cabinet
  • Clean out files
  • Throw stuff away!!!!!
  • Finalize Data Notebook
  • Clean/Organize Desk
  • Update computer files.
I love leaving school with my binders organized!  This usually takes a half-day (usually I do this on the Saturday before school gets out), but it is totally worth it.  I try really hard to file everything on Friday before I go, but the last weeks of school have so many priorities, this doesn't always happen.

Since I keep a binder system,  I also keep the same system electronically.  My files are all in folders that match the same title as my binders!  I love it :)  That's the last thing I do before I leave.  Sometimes my electronic life gets a little out of control and things just end up in Downloads or on the  Desktop (so I don't loose them).

Years ago, The Clutter Free Classroom suggested using clear tubs for packing! This is one of my favorite packing tips EVER!!!  Just don't buy them too big or you won't be able to carry them out of school!

Here are some of my favorite packing ideas from great bloggers.

This is my favorite way to organize anchor charts at the end of the year!  Thanks to Teaching With a Mountain View for the great idea!

Conversations in Literacy has a great packing up post with lots of idea!  You can tell we think alike in terms of throwing stuff out!  She also discusses having a classroom map done before you leave!

True Life I'm a Teacher has a great freebie to keep you organized!

Here is a link to my classroom packing Pinterest Board where there are ideas on packing, organizing, and even possible ideas for organizing files next school year.

I love this fun link-up!  This month, I thought I'd share two teacher appreciation gifts and one of my house projects!  

For the teacher's at my children school, I will give them Starbuck's gift cards with this cute saying (Pinterest Inspired).
For the teachers at my school, I plan to do this again!  

 Click here to download the Teacher Appreciation tags!  I need to give a shout out to Cara Carroll's Fun Fonts!  They were used to make the tags :)

The prior year, I made these gifts for the teachers and brought soda pop to the lounge!  

We've been remodeling our house.  It hasn't been very expensive, because it has mostly been paint and our labor!  We had dark brown trim from 1985 and we are replacing or painting all the trim white.  This is an "after" picture in my office.  I had looked for months at gallery walls.  This is what I did!  (As I look at this picture, I think I need to make sure everything is straight)!

These are some of my favorite spring activities for grades K-1!

This weather work pack from Kindergarten Smiles has both reading and math activities!  

Pocketful of Centers has these bright and beautiful word wall cards!

Color Me Kinder has these fun calendar cards!

Linda Post has these fun sequencing games for letters and numbers. 

Yeehaw Teaching in Texas has a fun cvc work station game! 

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year.  I'm not a great cook, but I like making treats!  Each day, we have a school-wide theme and special guest readers for each classroom.  Our guest readers include local news anchors, local authors, college sports players, and our superintendent.   The students get to dress a certain way each day based on a book title.  For my reading groups,  I make treats.  Here is this year's theme days and the treats I will be making!

Monday:  One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
This is by far the easiest day!  We wear red and blue and our treat is Swedish Fish.

Tuesday:  Cat in the Hat
On this day, all students are allowed to wear a hat, and I bring Cat in the Hat Hats.  Over the years, I have found that this recipe is the easiest!  The Oreos provide a great base!  My son and husband are happy to eat the Oreo tops!  Thanks to the Fancy Frugal Life for the great idea!

Wednesday:  Green Eggs and Ham

These treats were made by a Practically Functional and are very easy!  

Thursday:  The Lorax Day
This day, I don't do food treats.  Students wear bright colored clothes and I give them truffla tree pens!  Embrace My Space has lots of ideas (both food and non-food) for The Lorax.

Friday:  Fox in Socks
Crazy Sock Day!  I found this easy to make fox cupcake idea this past fall. This year will be my first year trying it out.  Thanks to Simple as That for the idea!

I cannot believe it is almost February!  The year is going by too quickly!  Here are a few of my favorite freebies for kinder and first grade!

I have reading stamina graphs for February in my store.  They are in one minute and five minute increments.  

Here are some fun reader's theater scripts from a Teeny Tiny Teacher!
To practice comprehension, here is a great set from Kaitlynn Albani!

Kindergarten Works has a fun activity that students can use their Valentine's.

To decorate your room, Erica Boher has an adorable Valentine's banner students can complete.

I love teaching with magnetic letters, especially during word work at guided reading.  I also use magnetic letters at the following work stations:

  • Word Work
  • Sight Words
  • Spelling
  • iPads

My favorite magnetic letters are from Lakeshore Learning because they have the vowels in red.  They can be purchased as an individual set for about $9 or you can get a classroom set that has 240 letters for about $45.

My biggest issue is how to keep them organized.  I have found that each workstation needs their own set of letters. Depending on the goal of the work station, I may change out how students are working with letters.  For example, if it is for a group of students that is still struggling with their letters and sounds, I always make sure that the letters are organized.  This container can be found at a craft store for about $3.  It is study and has a lid.

I have also had great luck at work stations using the container that the magnetic letter organizer that comes with the classroom set at Lakeshore Learning.

If I want students, to have to "search" for letters, I will give them a container.  Over the years, I have found that as long as I don't put too many letters in a container without a lid, they stack just fine.  Many times I can find cute ones at the Dollar Store that are 4 for $1!

Then for small group guided reading, I don't want students to have all the letters at once because it is too overwhelming.  I found these containers from Glad work perfect!  The students love the Frozen and Star Wars theme!  I specifically pick the letters I want for word work each week.  This way word work time is used efficiently.  I have a fifth grade volunteer that helps me with this on Fridays.

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