Saturday, November 1, 2014

I Love New York!

I do!  I really do!  I <3 NEW YORK!!
Granted, I am from the state of New York and I do love the beauty of New York State; however, last weekend I fell in love with New York City!  I think it happened somewhere around the corner of 46th and Broadway (really, I have no idea where I was at any point during my stay so I just threw out those streets because I know I saw them).  

Why did I go to NYC you ask?  Well, there are multiple reasons, but the main reasons were to meet some amazing teacher bloggers and to visit the Teachers Pay Teachers office.  Eeek!  I'm still a little giddy about it all!!  After my amazing trip to Las Vegas there was a group of people who decided that we NEEDED to go to NYC to see the TpT office and have another meet-up.  I was so excited to jump in.  So the wonderful Angela Watson organized the weekend for all of us.  Not an easy undertaking but she did an amazing job!!

The first night started with just a small group of us meeting.  I met my roomie CaseyJane Cooper from Wiggling Scholars and then we went out to meet Amanda Richardson from Mrs. Richardson's Class, her husband, and their suuuuuuuper adorable little boy.  We met up in Times Square and walked around a bit. We went into the M&M store and spent way too much time in there.  

I stepped into the "Discover your Color M&M" Machine to check my mood.  It was highly technical, but as you can see I was a red.  It says, "You have a fiery personality, but right now you're feeling a little nutty.  Do you crave roasted peanuts?"  Haha!  Too funny!  I guess I can be a little fiery and you'll see when you scroll down that I also got a little nutty.  Amazing how it could know all that! 

We later met up with some other FAB ladies: Tamara Russell from Mrs. Russell's Room, Leigh Langton from Applicious Teacher, and Tammy Wathen from The Resourceful Apple for dinner.  I loved these ladies and had so much fun hanging with them for the evening (oh and Amanda's hubby and son too).  =)

After dinner, CaseyJane and I headed off to a Broadway show because THAT is what you do in NYC, folks!  We went to see Kinky Boots and it was great!  The music was written by Cindy Lauper so you know it's good.  (*this is where the night got a little nutty like my M&M machine predicted).  Sorry for all the blurry pictures - darn iPhone!  

After the show we strolled around and found a cute Irish pub to hang at for a bit, but not before we took the opportunity to get a picture in a telephone booth.  Who knew these were still around?  I of course channeled my inner Superman and figured that is what you do in a telephone booth.  

Day 2 began with an amazing trip the Brain POP! office.  That's right - BRAIN POP!!!!  I mean, come on people, it just keeps getting better.  

We may have roamed around the office and taken a few pics.  Look at all the pictures of Moby on the wall that kids have sent into the offices.  How fun!  And speaking of Moby, he was not in the building while we were there so I found this little one on someone's desk and had to get a picture.  

Here is the whole group of us.  It was so great to meet all of them and get a private look into the future of Brain Pop.  Surely you use Brain Pop! in your classrooms, right?  If not, get moving!

After that we took a little walk around the city.  Actually it was a VERY looooooong walk around the city --- ALL around the city!  I loved it, but it was definitely exhausting.  

We made some typical tourist stops like Radio City, Rockefeller Plaza, Bryant Park, and of course Central Park. 

After a couple hours of walking around the city, one has to use the facilities - am I right?  So we thought we would find a coffee shop to sit down, grab a cup, and ahem - go potty.  I really wanted to go to Serendipity so we walked what seemed like 25 blocks to get there and it was packed (duh, of course it was!).  So instead of waiting, we went around the corner to a Starbucks, but I still had to get a picture because it's so darn cute.

And after our stroll around Central Park I saw a real life NYC rat.  Can you see him trying to get away from the Paparrazi (aka ME)?

We ended the day again with a fun dinner organized by the fabulous Brenda Tejeda.  Some more friends joined us but you can't really see them all.  The only new ones that you might be able to see are Reagan from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits and Sally from Elementary Matters, who were actually with us earlier in the day but just not for the full 100 mile walk.

The final day was our day to visit the Teachers Pay Teachers office.  This little message was scrolling across the TVs in the office.  How sweet!

And although I met many of these fabulous people in Las Vegas, I was just so happy to meet them all again and some others too.  I cannot say enough about how warm and welcoming they all were - including Adam, the CEO, who Skyped in to chat with all of us.  

Do you see the Post-It wall in the background above.  Well these are Post-Its from Las Vegas after the TpT Conference and LOOK . . . 

I found mine!!!  I think I must have been too excited to write neatly at the time, but who cares, I'm ON THE WALL!

And of course, one last group picture to end the trip!

 I really had the best conversations ALL weekend long and especially here at the TpT office.  Everyone was genuinely interested in our experience, our input, and just us!  What a great feeling!  I wish I could sit and chat with them every Monday morning over bagels and coffee.  =)

So thanks to everyone for an awesome weekend!  Let's do it again next year!!! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekend Warriors: Organization Day 2

Back for Day 2 of Organizing October...

Today I thought I'd do a little Throwback to some of my previous posts that include some ideas and freebies for you to organize yourself.  

First one up are these Binder Covers.

Do you ever have something that when you see it it just makes you smile?  That's how I feel about binders that keep my organized.  I LOVE having important papers all in one place, and even more than that, I love when those things are also pretty.  It's not the most important thing, but it does make me smile :)  (Click the picture above to go the post and grab these for yourself)

Here is a post all about one of these binders I am referring to - the most important one really - Student Data.  I am constantly in and out of this binder and just love having all my student information in one place.  (Click the picture below to go that post and read about my Student Data binder)
This next one I found on Pinterest from Math, Science, Social Studies, Oh my!, because of course all good ideas end up on Pinterest at some point.  

 I wanted to use something like this in my classroom as a lost and found for crayons.  Kids lose crayons ALL THE TIME and never seem to have the right colors when they need them.   I used small plastic drawers for mine because I didn't have a lot of space.  

When my classroom supply letter went out this past summer I asked for students to bring in two 24-48 packs of crayons (We switch crayons in January.  It's a VERY exciting day!  You would think I told the kids they were going to Disney World with how excited they get about new crayons).  I also asked them to send in a pack of 8 or 16 crayons to be shared with the class.  I use these boxes to replenish my crayon drawers when they get low.  So far this has really helped eliminate many of our crayon issues in the classroom so I would highly recommend this little trick.  Click on the picture above to go to the post and grab the crayon drawer labels.

So, if you are looking to find more ideas, check out my Classroom Organization and Decor Pinterest board.    I am always looking for and pinning more organizational ideas for my classroom, too.  And if you have a Classroom Organization Pinterest board, leave the link in the comments - I'd love to check it out!

As a matter of fact, you can find more Pin-worthy ideas by clicking on my lovely friends' blogs below and checking out what they have to share with you today.  

Thanks so much for joining me for Weekend Warriors!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weekend Warriors: Guided Reading Organizational Tips

Coming at you this weekend with some of my absolute FAVORITE bloggers for our monthly Weekend Warriors posts.  This month's theme is...

Today I'm going to share a little bit about how I *try* to stay organized for my guided reading groups.  

First, and most important, I like to keep everything I need as close to me as possible.  I try to find a spot in my room for my guided reading table to be where I can have bookshelves, plastic drawers, and whatever else I can to hold all my STUFF!  Because after 13 years of teaching - I have A LOT of stuff!  

In the picture above I am showing just a few things I keep close by for guided reading time.  There are so many things that are not pictured, so I will try to list as many as I can that are not pictured.  I always keep: plenty of sharpened pencils, erasers, highlighters, markers and crayons, whisper phones, sight word flash cards, letter tiles (pictured below), letter stamps, running record timer, table top pocket chart, sight word/word work games, and SO MUCH MORE!

Then there's the question of where to store the centers and activities students work on during guided reading time.  I have a variety of different centers so I have multiple storage techniques, but this is one of my favorite ways to organize centers (when they fit).

I have tons of these file organizers.  I have one for each "set" of centers that I use and then a bunch more for flash cards.  I actually need to buy more :)  

So those are just a couple ways I try to stay organized during guided reading.  I need to utilize my time for instruction and not finding materials because 5 reading groups go by in a flash and need to be time well spent.

If you are looking for more resources for your guided reading time - click HERE

Now hop around and find out some more organizational ideas for your classroom.  I am on my way too because I can always use more organizational tips.  
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