Monday, December 31, 2012

My New Year Challenge

Happy New Year to all 12 people who have visited my blog.  LOL...yes, I know there have been more than that, but sometimes blogging without comments makes it like talking to yourself.  And ask my teenage daughters, I do enough of that already.

My blog is a fairly new blog...just a fun little thing I'm trying to get started.  I love blogging.  I have been doing it for about 5 or 6 years now.  Ever since we got real internet in our last house.  Most of my blogging time has been about our life in the Inland Northwest.  If you want to learn about life in North can read my other blog: Life in Idaho

This blog is my teaching blog....ergo...Primary in Idaho.  Kind of catchy I think in a first grade sort of way.  I have lots of ideas to post and very little time to do it.  I guess I could stop trolling through the 'net and actually spend some time drafting my stuff...but there are so many really cool teachers out there that already have there teacher 'stuff' together and apparently have lots more time on their hands somehow.  I think they must have one of those time turner necklaces.  You know the one Hermione had in the Potter movie?
Until I can get one of those awesome necklaces...I am hobbling my way along in the teacher blog world.

Ah...but then I got to thinking there must be other teachers out there in the same proverbial boat.  Perhaps there is a way I can help them out as well as making a great resource for myself as well.  So I won't always be looking for the biggies in the teacher blog world...but instead I am looking for the 'little guy' out there.

So my Project for the new year is to post a blog a day.  That's 365 blogs to find.  They will be primary of course...because those are the ones I stalk for ideas and freebies.

So, if you subscribe to my blog you can discover what I've found.  Maybe you will find a new favorite.  If you are an active teacher blogger and you want to be linked up on my blog, just let me know...I'm happy to add your blog as one of my 365 in 2013.

If I link your blog....I will send you this blog button

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Martin Luther King Day Ideas

Here are some links to ideas to use when studying about Martin Luther King...

You have to start with a good book.  Here are a couple good ones I've used:

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr

Then after you've read a good book or two to build schema...then you can move on to planning and plotting and writing and interpreting.

Here is a freebie I made...this is a sample of what the finished product could look like.  It is on my TpT store with the writing template.  Feel free to use it :)  Click HERE to download.

Here are some other teachers with some fun and clever some other sites too:

Free coloring page on TeacherVision

This is a good video on Brain Pop (I had never found this site before.  It's cool!)

Check out this Fingerprint Peace Dove art project.  It's amazing!

This site has a historical narrative for you to read if you are rusty on the details of Martin Luther King Jr's life.  

Well, that should get just about anybody started.  If you still haven't found what you need, then pop over to TpT and search for free Martin Luther King stuff.  There is quite a bit more on the site.

Giveaway on Second Grade Nest's Blog

Hurry on over to the Second Grade Nest Blog.  She is having a big giveaway in honor of 500 followers to her TpT store.  (Ahhh....maybe that will be me someday)

I would love to win...but if I don't, maybe you will.

Actually, there are going to be 5 winners!  So my odds are increasing already :) So head on over and maybe you can win with me!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Early Happy New Year!

Our disrict has a weird schedule this year.  We don't go back until January 7th.  New Year's will seem to be done and gone by then.  Then to make things even more complicated, we will be having our "Christmas" parties on January 11th.

It seems that some very naughty kids decided to spread rumors about shootings and bomb threats at some of our local schools.  They posted and spread rumors on some of the social networks locally and so we had school cancelled in the three largest districts here in North Idaho.

So we will come back to school in January enjoying some Christmas/New Year activities...combined with the end of the quarter assessments of course.  Piece of cake.

So, optimistically, I've come across some fun things to celebrate the New year with--in a perfect world of course.  Perhaps some of these ideas will be useful for you too.

I thought this poster would be a good start!  This poster was made by +Sarah Winchell.  She posted it on her blog: I Dream of First Grade.  

Fun in First has a fun poem she posted last January.  She also included a goals worksheet that you could adapt for your class and the new year.

Here is a great time matching game to start the New Year.  The First Grade Parade (one of my favorite blogs to visit because she has wonderful freebies!) created this one.

Jennifer Drake's TpT store has a lot of fun, low cost activities for the New Year.  This coloring page is a freebie in her store.  It will be great for the end of the first day back when my first graders burn out and are ready to go home :)

And here are an assortment of freebies on TpT related to the New Year.

New Year's Writing and Craft project (perfect for hanging in the hall!)

Explaining what a resolution is can be difficult with young children.  They haven't had time to make all those mistakes that we resolve to fix each year :)  But here is a fun book that puts it in terms that kids can understand.

I am certain that this is more than I could ever complete in a week.  But it's a fun list to choose from just the same!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Math Coach's Corner Blog

So I am always on the lookout for someone else who has already created what I am looking for...saves time that way.  I don't know about you, but I have to admit I purchase more on TpT than I have ever made in actual sales.

So when I find cool things that are free...I am in teacher heaven!  And my husband is happier too :)

As I swim, barely keeping afloat, through my school year,  I am trying hard to make Saxon fit in with our math standards with the Common Core.  I feel like I am doing more filling in with materials I make or find, than actually doing the lesson they include each day.

Our district is on a shoe string again this year, but if you had the money, then this is what every school needs...a Math Coach...and I just found an awesome one this morning.  Her name is +Donna Boucher and she has lots of amazing fun stuff on her blog:
I found a post on her blog that lists all her free stuff on TpT!  I have already downloaded three of them to use with my 1st graders!  Visit and see what you can find for your class :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jumping and Hopping

So teaching is tough and I am tough.

Meetings, new curriculum adoptions, standards that change, puking students, soggy shoelaces, boogers, parents who don't read newsletters, piles of papers to correct...and more.

But there is one thing that has me quaking in my shoes.  Or rather, itching in them....


Just the mention of those little critters makes my skin crawl...or rather itch.

and itch...and itch.

Man all day I kept scratching my head and checking my shoulders to see if anything was crawling down my arm!

This is so not fun.  Fortunately the school nurse was in our building and tackled the situation head to speak! 

I think I need one of these shields in class tomorrow...think the kids will notice?

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Almost Gingerbread Time!

I love December because it's gingerbread time!  I do lots of fun things and I found even more this year surfing around the web.

Here is a freebie that I made after seeing a cute Tennessee version of it on Swamp Frog First Graders.  She made a little booklet telling about the Gingerbread boy traveling through Tennessee.  I live in I made a few changes and made it a bit longer and turned it into an Idaho book.

Now we have something fun to send to our 1st grade pen pals in North Dakota!

To get a copy of this on the title:
The Gingerbread man runs through Idaho!
It's loaded into my TpT store.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Zebra Fun

Sometimes I do goofy things...sometimes without really thinking they are going to be goofy, but because I meant something else at the time.

This morning was one of those moments.

I typed "zebra" into the search on TpT because I was looking for something that had to do with the "Sam Likes Fried Zebras" saying that goes with Vowac.

Well...I didn't find what I was looking for...but instead found out that you could purchase everything with a zebra theme on TpT.  Apparently it's not just for the junior high girls anymore, but us teaching gals have a thing for it too??

Laura Carson, from South Carolina has just about everything Zebra for sale on her TpT site.

D'Ann Haffner has these alphabet cards...I think her kinders are going to throw up zebra with these alphabet cards and banner.  They are bit too hard on the eyes in my opinion.  Young eyes need a better contrast.  But they are pretty even if they are a bit over the top for kinders.

Mrs. Croak has a Punk Rock Zebra package.  I would have thought with a name like croak that maybe she would have leaned toward frogs...but perhaps her wild side is coming out for TpT.
Crayon Box Learning has a very bright pink zebra theme that will be all over your room in no time.  If you like pink and you like zebra...this is the one for you! lol

Here is a different spin on zebra in your classroom.  How about teaching about zebras!  This is a cute little unit on zebras.  Megan Mitchell from Ohio put this one together.  At least now you can have  a purpose to all the stripes showing up in your room!

There is a whole lot more on TpT.  The choices went on for pages.  There were multiple choices for everything from calendars to word cards to name tags to lesson planning pages and more.  So if you need to add a little zebra to your life...just know it's already out there and already been least half a dozen times!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Computer Center

I don't do organized group rotations for my centers.  I have done it that way in years past. But when you don't have parent helpers it takes a long time to teach to and if a group has a problem, it totally eats up the time from the group that I am supposed to be with.

So last year I started doing centers where students choose the center that they want to do.   I have a chart with 12-15 different choices.  The students put the card for their choice in their name pocket.  It works well.  I have a combination of math and language arts centers to choose from.

They know that they have to do more than one center a day...anything with a worksheet has to be done sometime during the week or they don't get their reward activity on Friday.

The one center I always have trouble getting them off of though is the computer center.  I have 3 computers in the class and 22 that makes it tough for them to all get a turn when you get a couple of them that camp out on the keyboard.

The computer game we are using right now is Starfall.  So I came up with a solution that is working so far!

My teacher partner last year had signs she hung on her computer monitors that she flipped over when the computers were out of order or off limits.  This gave me an idea...

I screen captured the list of learning games on Starfall and printed them out in color so they would look just like the game on the computer screen.  Then I popped them into a sheet protector.  (Most of the things in my class are either laminated or in a sheet protector...except for my students...although sometimes that seems like it would be a good idea too).
Then I made a little arrow out of a sticky note and put it on the game I want them to do that week.  They can only stay on a computer long enough to finish that game.  Then they have to choose another center.

This is working really well for my class this year.  I feel like a genius sometimes! lol

Monday, November 5, 2012

Found a Free Font!

I love fonts!  I am truly addicted to them.  I have bought some that are just to die for...but most of my favorites have been found free!  Just look around and they pop up all over the place!  You have to be patient for your collection to grow if you just want free ones, but they are out there!

Here is the free one I found the other day:
This is from Graphics from the Pond.  There is a lot of fun clip art on this blog as well as fonts. is addicting!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Fun Stuff

So I spent part of my weekend avoiding my report cards.  Starting them always overwhelms me because they start out so empty and it seems like there is so much to fill out! lol

As a break, I hop around looking for fun new ideas to make learning fun.  I don't just mean for my students, but for me too!  I never do everything the same every year.  I would get bored, and if I'm bored, I sure can't be all that inspiring to my students.

I love Pinterest and I post what I find on my board...because I am sure I wouldn't be able to find things again otherwise.  Here is my November board: LifeInIDaho

Cute Turkey Craft--would need a glue gun to make it work though

I found this one on Erica Bohrer's 1st Grade blog. It is such a stinking cute craft project.  It would take a glue gun to get it done and a parent it is not very feasible for my class of 22 kids...but cute just the same.

Here is a fun freebie that I am going to do at least parts of it on Tuesday.  It's from First Grade Fever on TpT.  I love the little characters for the two nominees.  I'm not sure which site she got them from....but these are the ones she listed as purchasing her art from:

Scrappin’ Doodles, KPM Doodles, Melonheadz & From the Pond

Let's Vote! {Classroom Election Kit}

Then we also have Veteran's Day this month.  Here is a cute parts of speech sorting activity.  Perfect for my blue chart at centers!  The only thing she didn't include was a response sheet for them to fill out after they sort the words.
I found this one on TpT as well.  It's FREE.  I like Free!

And one more for the big turkey day....Blair Turner posted a freebie on TpT that is awesome.  It's a template for turkeys.  Perfect if you want to teach about writing main ideas and details or if you want an art project that includes writing about what the students are thankful for.  I have an older version that I made...but it's not on my computer...was before I was such a computer geek.  So Blair's project can help you out:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Snuck Up On Me!!

I don't know how it happened, but it is already November.  My first quarter at a new school site is completed.  Do I feel caught up now?  No!  I still feel disjointed and worse even -- disorganized!  it's amazing to see that  even in the same district, things are not done exactly the same in each elementary school.

Although we use the same curriculum, all our assessments are not exactly the same.  It has been a struggle to pull it all together...and now that I need to be filling out report cards, I feel that I don't have all the assessments completed to do my report cards.

Now, that is not to say that I don't know what each child can and can't do, but I just don't have a summative assessment in hand to back me up.  It's more anecdotal and formative type assessments that give me my information.

Why do I not have what I need?  Well...long story short...we have Scot Foresman as our reading series.  We also have a transition going on toward the Common Core.  Our report cards are standards based.  The standards that are on the report card sort of jive with what we are trying to do with the Common Core...but our assessments are in limbo because they are from a curriculum that we now only partly use.  Our district is trying to create stand alone assessments to measure our students growth in achieving the standards in the Common Core, but they are a long way off from accomplishing that mighty goal.

We are a district that was curriculum driven for a very long time and now are trying to switch to being Standards driven.  This is what I am used to doing all along (from working in other states and other school districts)  The thought of relying solely on a publisher to tell me what and when to teach things to my student was alien to me.  Also, having assessments tied to a curriculum always seemed biased to me.  Stand alone assessments not only 'test' your students, but it 'tests' the ability of the curriculum to meet their needs.

So I am trying to find a clear path between assessments and standards and teaching.  I know there is one there.  It's just a matter of finding the time when you are mired in it all to rise above it and figure out the path I need and how to organize my direction to meet all my students' needs!

If anyone has some good advice or resources, I would love to hear it!

O.K.  back to my report cards!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Constructing some Deconstructing

I gave up my valuable report card day to attend a district level workshop about creating effective assessment.  It was a good workshop for getting my brain thinking, but I didn't walk away with more answers than questions.  Good formative assessments are in important to have  in light of new Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Unless you teach on the moon, or perhaps Texas or Alaska, you have to have been impacted by the CCSS by now.

Most of the states, except for the two mentioned above plus a few more, are in the process of changing their state standards and state testing to follow the guidelines of the CCSS.  So far they have ELA and Math.  The CCSS are a new set of universal standards that follow a scope and sequence throughout the grade levels, K-12.

Quite a few states have been swimming in the sea of CCSS for a few years now.  Our state, Idaho, has been a little shy of jumping in.  Our state sat on the sidelines for a bit just to make sure they really had to jump in.  They decided at the end of last school year to dive in....head first...with no flotation device and pretty much no swim trunks either!

The frustrating part is that Idaho doesn't have an ESD (education service district) or a COE (county office of ed) to help oversee this process of changing over.  In states like Arizona, Washington, California, Kentucky, and North Carolina (among others) there is a 'middle man' --the county office of education--that helps organize the big stuff.  In Idaho, the individual school districts deal directly with the state.  Which means they administration passes the buck to the teaching staff.  I suppose there is a positive side to that, but when it comes to huge tasks like new state standards, it would be nice to have some education organization to help unify the districts so we are all doing the same thing.  It also means that we have to take time away from lesson planning and our students to come up with new learning targets and new assessments.

As it is now, each school district has been left to interpret the standards and create local assessments to measure student growth.  Don't get me wrong.  We will still have an annual common state test through The Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium.  I don't know what those of us in K-2 will be seeing.  I personally won't miss the IRI (Idaho's state reading test for k-2).  It is an assessment tool that can only be improved upon in my opinion.

For those of you new to education, or maybe teaching in a school district that is dragging its are some sites to visit for more information about Common Core and creating assessment.

Arizona Department of Education -- they have been working on this for quite some time and have a lot of information on their state's website.

North Carolina has come up with Extended Common Core State Standards.  They took the CCSS and added to it.  They aren't exactly Learner objectives or deconstructed standards.  It looks like they just added things that they thought CCSS was missing at each grade level.

Here are some sites with lots of support information about the CCSS:

Common Core State Standards Initiative
Achieve the Core -- I like the name of this one although it's not my favorite resource.
Education Northwest --Great resource for finding some meaningful assessment tools, both formative and summative.  Dig around the's full of lots of treasures!

School Here is a free webinar to help you learn how to create learning targets from the common core standards.

I could go on forever listing resources...but these are a good start.  I now have to put the whole assessment piece on the back burner for now and complete my 1st quarter report cards!  If you have a great resource that you find to help wade through common core, please share!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Common Core Math Assessments part 1

I wish there were more hours in a school day.  I just can't do everything that I would love to do. It is so frustrating.  But on the first graders are learning.  I love my little sponges!  They make getting up at 5:00 every morning so worth it!

It has been awhile since I posted anything.  I have really wanted to...but I also need more hours in my day!  It's crazy some weeks.  Running on 5 hours of sleep...not a good thing.  Mochas on my way to work...a very good thing!

So scary thought...the end of 1st quarter is two weeks away!  Eeek!  Got to get those end of the quarter assessments ready.  With Common Core, things have changed and so must my assessments.  Saxon doesn't have great assessments.  So much spiraling that I get dizzy.  So I have been making my own assessments over the last few years.  This year I am updating them.

So I am posting them online.  Here is the link to the first posting.  Still learning the best ways to manage uploading on TPT while still keeping things saved and organized on my laptop.

Here is the link to the first of my assessment posting.  I can't figure out how to add the link to the click HERE to go to my TpT store :)  You can see a preview of it in my store.
It is assessing for CCSS1.NBT.  They are my naming numbers and writing numbers assessment sheets.  Quick and easy...and cumulative.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another Funny Thing I Heard...

One of the best parts of teaching first grade are the first graders.

They are a lot of work, but they are a lot of fun!

And they say the darndest things!

On Friday I was explaining to the 1st graders that we would be having 4th grade buddies.  I told them what fun things we would do with them and how they were so excited to be their buddies.

So I started telling them the names of their buddies.  (Now, keep in mind this is my 1st year at this school and I don't know any of the kids here and since I didn't get last names, I didn't even know if any of them were siblings).  Every once in awhile I would ask if they knew the buddy who they were assigned.  None of them said yes.

Then it came to this one 6 year old boy.  Upon telling him the name of his 4th grade buddy he shouts "Yeah!"

I'm thinking...yeah means he knows this boy.  So I asked, "Is he a friend of yours?"

"No," he answers, "I just like the sound of his name."

Seriously!  This is what this 6 year old said!  Are kids getting older these days or what? lol

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Boo Boo Strips

This is how I handle the band aid issue.  Let's face it.  1st graders get owies...lots of them.  Some you that actually bleed and that you can see.  Some are not seen so well but still exist.  My cup of boo boo strips are there for all sorts of owies.  I make it accessible to all and it cuts down on all the interruptions...

well, except for the shoelace issue...but that is another story. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Things Kids Say...part 1

So I have to share...

Keep in mind I teach 1st grade and most of my students are 6 years old....

Yesterday in class we were settling down to the carpet to hear a story.  One little girl was looking at her leg and when I asked what was wrong, she said she needed a band aid.

I told her to go ahead and get one from the boo boo strip cup on my desk.

She walks over.  Picks a band aid out of the cup and turns to me and asks:

"Mrs. C...are these band aids Latex Free?"

I didn't know how to answer that one! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A couple of back to school freebies

Here are a couple things I created for my class this year and thought I would share.  Sometimes it's tough to start from scratch and finding something that will help you out is always good.

This is my parent survey. I send it home the first day so that I can grab those parent helpers and get them trained right away.  It's posted as a freebie on TPT...I am still learning how to post things on there. Here is the link:

This second one is a simple, quick list for the end of the day.  Now that I'm at a school with bus pick up I want to keep all 22 kids going in the right direction...especially if I end up with a substitute.


I hope that the beginning of your year is going well so far!

One Day Down...

I survived the first day of first grade in a new school today.

My feet didn't 3:06 I kicked those puppies off to give my feet a break.   I just spent the last 3 months in flip flops...close toed shoes...ugh!

So overall I call it a success.  Found the lunchroom without getting lost...phew!  Learned all 22 names by lunch.  Got all the school supplies organized and almost put away.  Even managed to clean off my desk at the end of the day!

All in all a very good first day!  Looking forward to day number two in about 8 hours :)  Time for bed....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blog Hoppers Unite!

Blog hopping or Bird Walking as my friend calls it--is addicting and never ending.  I don't know if anyone hops on to mine yet.

Hellloooo....(was that the echo of my own voice I hear?)

Oh well, maybe someday I will be helpful to someone.  If so, I am glad I got to share something with somebody.  In the meantime, it's just me and the sounds of the keys clicking away on the old laptop.

Like I was hopping is addicting and never ending.   It's like the book series that my daughters got me hooked into last summer...
The Maze Runner Series
The twists and turns you take throughout the variety of web pages out there.  I never know where I have been and worst of all, how to get back to where I started!  And the path I take is never the same twice!

Fortunately there is this really great tool that helps me keep it all organized.

Life in Idaho Pinterest Board
Are you on there yet?  You need to be on there if you are a blog hopper.  All you have to do is 'pin' your find in a category on your bulletin board.  It's awesome!  Check out my board...there's lots of fun stuff on it.  With Pinterest I can find my way back to my favorite stops along the blog hopping trail!  No more worries of writing down lists of sites in a notebook or trying to bookmark them on my computer and then having long lists of bookmarks.  Best of all, it saves time...and we all need that!

So today's fun find I added to my board is a clip art site.  It's called Scrappin Doodles.

You can click on the link over there on the right side bar ----->  ----->  ----->

I found it when I was downloading freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The teacher used her art on her planning sheet she had created.   There are kids and animals that are as cute as the Thistle Girl designs.  And unlike Thistle Girl, you can use the Scrappin Doodles designs you buy without purchasing a $120 resellers license--like Thistle Girl requires!

Things that save time and money are two biggies in my world!  How about yours?  Now on to lesson planning...ugh...I hate that part of getting ready for school.  It brings out the procrastinator in me.  But you can't teach like you blog hop :)  So planning I must go!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Finding Places

It's hard to start over in a new classroom that has a different configuration.  It would probably be easy if I was going to an identical room, but life is never so perfect.  And actually, my old classroom wasn't all that perfect.  Now that I think back on it, I've had a lot of imperfect classrooms.  The closest to perfect was the last classroom I had at Ridgewood.  LOTS of storage...I would give one of my kids to get that kind of storage again.  Well, maybe not since we've put so much money into them thus far. lol

But when little things happen that just's like I'm almost brilliant.  :)

Case in point....

I had two ways I kept my 'stuff' organized.  One was in binders in plastic sleeves for easy copying and storing.  Each month had a different binder.  It is really handy.

Then I also had those Costco milk boxes for storing the things that wouldn't fit in the binders.  It was handy too.  I had a big shelf in my closet that they were all stored on nice and neat and in order.

But then I moved classrooms and didn't have a nice big shelf any longer.  So as I was frustrated yesterday because one of the file cabinets didn't have those metal racks for holding hanging files...I got an idea...
I though that maybe these would fit in there...and looky, it does!  Just right!!  And almost organized too. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It Passed!!

The Facility Plant Levy was in its second go around this month.  It didn't pass last winter.  We were all so sad that there were pockets of voters in our district that didn't support our students and their need to be in a safe environment to learn.

So the powers that be within the district revamped, reworked, fine-tuned and put up for vote a newer snappier version of the original Facility Plant Levy. They also learned a few lessons about publicizing and getting people to vote...during a strange time of the summer.  Some buildings had 'Meet the Teacher' nights and BBQ's on voting day because many of the schools were polling places.

That helped quite a bit with voter turnout.  Speaking of voter turnout...

There are 13,663 registered voters in the Lakeland School District.  Of those only 1,940 voted.  That's only 14% of the voters!  Wow...I find that amazing that so few people were willing or cared to, take a stand either way on the issue.  These are the future doctors, lawyers, dentists, mechanics, teachers, parents....who will be taking care of us some day.  How sad.

I am curious to see if the voter turnout for the presidential election is higher than 14%...I should hope so.

Fortunately...of the 14% who felt like voicing their opinion...the majority--over 60%--supported the Levy and it PASSED!  Big sigh of relief could be heard by every building in our district...not just the people, but the actual buildings!

Here's the actual numbers...looks like the town I'm teaching in was very supportive of our Levy...yeah!

Monday, August 27, 2012

In the Middle of the Mess

Moving, unpacking, sorting, re-organizing...that is how the last few weeks have been.  Just plain crazy.  And this new school has an alarm system that I can't wrap my mind around yet so  I have only been there while the office staff is there--which of course never seems like enough time.

 But it's starting to look like a classroom.  with a cozy little reading area...
The 1st graders love these chairs. They are covered in that soft corduroy and they are big enough for two of them to sit together.  I found them last summer at Walmart for $10 each.  It has been well worth the money!

 A writing center with all the supplies at their fingertips...well they will be soon enough.
Notice my bulletin boards.  They are all covered with fabric.  I love it so much more than the rolls of paper. Even "fadeless" paper seems to fade.  But the fabric stays vibrant and I leave it up all year.  Plus it doesn't show the pushpin and staple holes like paper does.

Then there is the always favorite computer center.  I will have to get rid of these chairs.  They are like 6th grade sized and the three chairs don't fit together under the table...I see problems this could cause down the road.

You see the white tubs next to the computer center? That's my math.  I hate this math.  It takes up so much room for storing it.  But you will see more of these tubs around the room.  They are my hidden storage bins.  Most of them have a little fabric table cloth over the top to camouflage fancy them up.  I thought my last room was bad, but there is less storage in this room. 

This is my meeting's still in progress.  I don't like the way my math wall is coming together yet.  And I'm still missing my little table that goes up front.  My dear husband is sanding off all the old paint and layers of ugly contact paper and repainting it for me.

Here are my desks...I mourn the loss of my tables in my last school.  Perhaps if the levy passes I can get some again.  Desks are dirty (they shove all sorts of stuff in them), they are uneven and most of all they take away the feeling of being a group.  They are all individuals pushed together...not the feeling I try to instill in them.

Next problem....managing all my books.  After teaching for almost 20 years, I have gained quite a collection.  I don't fault myself for this, but I do have to work around this 'problem'.  I guess on the list of top problems--a first grade teacher having more books than her students could read in a year--isn't too bad. :-)

My  husband is also making me an extra shelf for that bookcase so I can put another row on it.  

The math center...still a dumping ground at this point...give me a few more days to tackle this corner.

More pretty fabric to brighten up the blah white walls...

Not the fanciest curtains I've ever made but they make a nice color splash over the backpack/coat hooks.  Behind it is a big shelf with tons more books (my monthly stash is hidden back there...I have to save a few 'new' books to share each month to keep my readers inspired.)  I also have more boxes of things stored up there as well.  Oh yeah, and the 5 sets of Anthologies that go with the Scott Foresman reading curriculum for our district.  They take up half the shelf all on their own!

More books...these come with the classroom.  I'm trying to figure out how to store them for easy use as well.  One of my problems with this classroom is the heating system.  It's baseboard heaters.  So we can't put anything that's not metal near them.  I am trying not to stress out our wonderful building custodian...but I'm also trying to stretch the limits a bit as well!

This is the one and only closet.  It's stuffed full in an organized way.  It should be better as the supplies get used up.  This school isn't one that instills hoarding.  In my last school we were taught to hoard our supplies in our classroom.  In this school, they have a supply room that is stocked and not locked!  So I may be able to clean out a few boxes soon.

"If the Levy passes"....that's how many sentences begin around here.  But if it does, this wall will become a whiteboard.  Then it will be the 'front' of my room because 'if the Levy passes' you will also see a projector hanging from the ceiling from in between those ugly  light fixtures.  Which would be a good thing because I have a document camera (Elmo) collecting dust until it does.

This is a good sign...empty baskets and boxes!

These are the bad signs....

My desk and my reading table are still full of piles!

Well soon I will be done...I have to be because the new group of 1st graders will be walking in the door in just over a week!