A lot has gone on in my classroom in the past two weeks!

We went on a field trip to the zoo, and it was an amazing experience!  First of all, we didn’t lose any kids, which is my biggest fear, so it’s automatically a successful trip.  Second, all of the kids and adults had a fantastic time.

Our science unit is on land animals (although I was kind enough to let them see water animals 😉 ), so I chose the zoo for that reason.  When we arrived, the penguin exhibit was our first stop.  The penguins were just leaving the water when we got there, and they were all shaking off, which was adorable!  After a few minutes of watching them, I told the students it was question time and asked them if penguins were mammals, birds, or reptiles.  One boy yelled out, “They’re all mammals!” very excitedly.  It was great.

The favorites by far were the monkeys, who were eating and throwing out the leftovers into a bag; the giraffes; and a stingray touch tank.  One student really wanted to go to the touch tank, and he asked about it continually.  We went there right before leaving the zoo, and he wouldn’t touch the stingrays, which amused me!  He loved when they splashed him, though, and he was happy that they got his clothes wet.

We also received a new student a week before going to the zoo, and, of course, going on a trip with a student you don’t know very well is anxiety-provoking, but she handled it well.  However, the class sizes were uneven, and I had twice as many students as another teacher, so they decided to move one of my boys down the hall.  It will be better for him in that class for a few reasons, but I do miss him and made him promise to come and visit us!

I haven’t been making much for the classroom, instead using resources I find on the interwebs.  The most time-consuming part (or at least it feels that way) of creating resources is keeping track of whose products I’ve used and making the credit pages.  Plus, I don’t want to put incomplete units up, and it feels wrong to charge for a product that’s only a page or two, even if some of them take more time to make than some of my ten page products!  It’s a mental thing.

So, since I have that guilt, here are two free worksheets for students to record their observations after going on a fall nature walk.  We are going to take one on Monday.  First, we will go outside and read a short book called Fall by Gail Saunders-Smith.  After we’ve read the book, we’ll walk around the grounds and use four of the five senses (saving taste for Tuesday while we’re in the building!).  We’ll talk about the changes that happen in fall and how animals prepare for the winter.  Our Monday mornings are rather long, and this should be a nice way to break it up a bit!



Fall Nature Walk Observation Worksheets, Free on TPT












Two of my students are working on multiplication facts.  I give them three to four facts at a time, and we go over them until they are mastered.  We skip over multiplying by 0 and 1, as they understand those properties. This is working well for them so far, but I’m running out of activities since so much is mixed practice!  I put together this file folder game pack.  It has 12 sets, one for each times table 1-12.


$2 on TPT

Now I really need to get myself to bed- I have a new student tomorrow and that means more to get done in the morning!

Have a great week!


I survived my first back to school night.

I’m not sure how I did it.

When I was an aide, I loved meeting the parents.  I still do, I just don’t like talking in front of a group.  Luckily, only two sets of parents came, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

These were my opening lines: “After I found out I got this teaching job, I was excited for about five seconds.  Then I realized I would have to do back to school night.  Whatever happens tonight, I promise I am much better at teaching your children than I am at talking to you.”

Thankfully, they laughed, and that helped.  I didn’t stumble on any words, which was a huge surprise, as I constantly trip over my words, and I didn’t turn bright red, which was another huge surprise.

I have been working sixteen hours a day nonstop.  This is the only thing I have made for TPT since whenever I posted the self-monitoring behavior board.

Speaking of the board, it is helping one student, but not the other.  When student A gets to yellow, he can take it back to green.  Student B repeats, “I don’t want to be on red.  Red is bad.  I don’t want to be on red.  Red is bad.”  Over and over.  I never said red was bad, just that it would mean they had to take a break and calm down.  But, I can definitely see his line of thinking!  I stopped that with him.  Time for something new!

Anyway, here is my new product.  I made it for my students who need to work on one-to-one correspondence and counting.  There are ten mats, and you can use any manipulatives you have sitting around for it.


$1 on TPT

Have a wonderful week!

I finished four days of lesson plans and activities (minus one).  It only took about forty hours.  I also spent a little bit (of a lot) of time downloading more center-type activities.

But I did accomplish some things.  And I made dinner.  That’s enough on its own.

Here is another freebie, a traffic light for behavior management.  This is, of course, not a new concept, but I wanted one that my students could use to self-monitor, and it had to be simple but effective.  Here’s to hoping that it is effective!

traffic light beh prev

Free on TPT

I always heard being a first year teacher was incredibly stressful.  I didn’t realize how early the stress would start!  I have back to school anxiety, back to school night anxiety (it’s not for another two and a half weeks), and getting everything done anxiety.  My nerves are already shot, and I haven’t even begun teaching yet!  I can’t sleep, and if I do, I wake up constantly with more ideas of things to make or things to do.  I’m hoping that this will improve once the year starts.  For some reason, I’m not so sure about that!

Everything I need for the first week is complete, but I still have so many things to cut and materials to prepare.  I think it’s one of those things where you will never feel completely prepared.  That’s what all the veteran teachers are assuring me.  Actually, that’s both reassuring and terrifying!

It’s not just for my own sanity, but mostly for the students.  I want to do everything I can for them!

It’s also probably a problem that I want to make everything myself.  It might be different if my class dynamics were different, but I have students who are on a pre-K level on up to third grade, so there are vast differences, and I want to make sure everyone’s needs are met.

I just posted a free worksheet for your students to write their goals and how they will achieve them.  I’m going to use them on the second day and have them on the students’ desks on back to school night.

Anyway, before I go on forever, here’s a link to the freebie!

scs student goals preview

Free on TPT

Happy Labor Day weekend!






I have been busy.

Extremely busy.

I am very excited about teaching/having a classroom, but there is so much work.  I know I’ll get it all done, but it’s daunting.

The teacher whose classroom I inherited retired and left everything behind. I kept some things, but she was there for a long time and had a lot of stuff, so cleaning everything out of the cabinets and file cabinets took about two full days.  I really wanted a fresh start, and I wanted to start my own organizational system.

It’s funny, my house and car are disaster zones, but when it comes to work, I’m a huge perfectionist.  I want everything just so, and I’m incredibly organized.  And I wanted everything in my classroom to match.  I tried that in my own house, but, well…it didn’t quite work out.

Here are some before and after pictures.  I didn’t realize how bad they look until I got them on the computer, but so it is.  It’s not work, so I’m not worried! 😀



I used clothespins and twine to hang the welcome bunting and washi tape to make the calendar.  That took a while.


I think storage bins are quite expensive for what they are, but I really wanted everything to match.  I saw the striped and gray baskets at Target, and they were perfect, so I spent the money.  Once again, wouldn’t do that for myself unless I got a great deal!

I put the classroom decor set that I used and some extra stuff in a bundle on TPT. It took forever.  Story of my life!

serenity decor preview 2

This is $5 on TPT and has a ton of stuff!


$1.50 on TPT

As the title says, there are 10 papers in this pack.  They are colored newspapers with a wrinkled paper texture and grungy overlay.  I love the grunge look, and although it’ not necessarily popular on TPT, I enjoy making it, and my grungy watercolor papers are doing well.  At least the free ones are.  😉  I get it, I’m a broke teacher (teacher in two weeks, anyway), too!

PowerPoint Presentation

$2 on TPT

I made these journal prompt cards and a little journal jar to go with them.  Looking at the journal jar reminded me that I never finished the quarter page labels to go with my decor set.  There are plenty of other labels, but ugh.  I made 12 out of 22, so keep scrolling, and you’ll find a link to Dropbox.  Blog freebie!  Woo-hoo!


quarter page labels

Free on Drobbox

It’s a PowerPoint document, so you can edit them in PowerPoint (surprise!), Google Slides, or OpenOffice Impress.

Now that that’s out of the way, more TPT stuff.


$1 on TPT

This is part of the decor bundle, but it’s also available as an individual product.  It’s also a clearer image of what’s in the bundle!

snip preview

Finally, we have the bright watercolor/spray paint papers. They’re $2 on TPT.

I have such a long list of things to do tomorrow- lots of stuff to cut out, lesson plan templates to make, individual work folders, and differentiated journal writing papers to go with the journal jar tags.  That is taking a while (there will be over 120 pages), and I have to keep reminding myself that they aren’t going to get through 40 journal prompts in the first week of school!  Or any time soon.  There are about a million other things, but I won’t bore anyone (not that anyone is reading this, so my future self- I still feel weird writing to myself, but I do like looking back) by going on any more.

Have a fantastic weekend!