A place to share thoughts, ideas, gadgets, and giggles from my classroom. 💜

Book Character Day

Hey guys! Halloween can be such a fun time in the classroom. At our school, we don't let kids just dress up, we do a Book Character Day! This is one of my favorite days of the year!
My teaching partner/bestie {Primary Scribbles} and I like to make our costumes go together. The past couple of years, we joined 3rd grade to add to our mix!
Our neighbors around the hall, 4th and 5th grades always kill it with their costumes too! 
Our first grade teachers are a little more creative than everyone though I think! Miss Spicer will not tell ANYONE her costume until she shows up that morning! The kids can't wait to find out what she will be every year. 
For the record... The Cat in the Hat was actually for Dr. Seuss day, but it would have been perfect for book character day too! 
Almost a month in advance, we send home a letter for parents giving them a heads up for when our Character Day is going to be. The letter explains that students must have the book, and be able to tell about their character from the book. They have to send in a slip that states the book and character for the teacher to allow. 
The morning of Book Character Day, we have a school wide parade so everyone can show off their costumes!
I love that Book Character Day allows the kids to dress up at school while still being educational. After the parade calms down, I have my students show off their book and tell us something about their book to show they have actually read it before. I do the same with mine! 
Book Character Day is always right around Halloween time so costumes are easy to find. We also talk about how to be safe while Trick or Treating. This infogram from {Andy Mohr Kia} gives great tips to help you get the conversation started!

From Trash to Tables

I had one of those horseshoe tables in my room for the past 5 years. I never, ever, ever used it! I like to sit on the floor or use a chalk board table I painted last year. I finally decided to get rid of the horseshoe! In place of it, my super sweet husband made four small tables for students to use! No more than 4 kids can comfortably be at these tables. They are perfect for groups, flexible seating workspace, and for keeping clusters of kids from forming around that stinking horseshoe table! 

I saw on a yard sale site that these tires were up for grabs, totally free! I grabbed Phillip and off we went. When I got them back home, I washed and washed them. I even put some bleach on them just to make sure whatever they were used for before was gone.
When they were dry, I took my two favorite colors and sprayed them. It took a couple coats to cover the old color, but I love how they turned out! 
From Home Depot, we got two sheets of plywood and had it cut into 4th's. From there my husband attempted creating circles. They may not be perfect circles, but they are a zillion times better than I could do myself. He made two circles for each tire, a top and a bottom. 
From there we had to attach some legs to keep the tire from caving in when kids leaned on it. We already had a 2X4 so he cut some legs from it. Each tire has 3 or 4 stands inside it.
This is the close up of how the legs are attached. 
The tire slips right over the legs. Then we put glue on top of the legs and put the other top on. The glue was to help know where on the top we needed to drill the holes to attached the other circle. 
Once it was screwed on, my husband attached wheels to the bottom. You could also put a hinge on a side of the top and have the top open for storage if you liked! 
Lastly, I used chalkboard paint for the tops. I love that they not only are functional as tables, but also as workspace! My goal is for students to sit on the floor to use these tables. I have pillows, rugs, foam pads, and a rug to make it a little more comfy for my kiddos! 


Top Teacher Tools from IKEA

Y'all, I talked my husband into taking me to IKEA and I found all kinds of goodies! There was ONE main reason I went to IKEA in the first place....
PENCIL PILLOWS! I just love them! They are pretty tall (long?), and absolutely adorable. I wish I would have gotten two, one to decorate with and one to let the kids ruin, I mean, use. They are also just $14!
My goal for this year is to make my room more homey for my students. Fake plants are great for giving a space a cozy feel. I grabbed 3 fake plants, and I don't even have to worry about watering them! #bestpart

I'm sticking the plants in these metal tubs, but these would also be amazing for pencils, markers, pens, clips, anything to help organize your classroom! They are also just 99¢! 
Another of my favorite finds was the Torsby frame! They are only $1 and so versatile. I spray painted mine to match the colors in my classroom. Some I am using for posting directions for groups (and open house), others I am taking out the plastic holder using a loose leaf ring to hold flash cards. Students can easily flip through the cards for practicing our sight words. 
OHHHH this was a great find! These chair tops (SNILLE) are like scoop rockers for bigger kids. I actually got these for our 3rd grade teacher, but they are too awesome not to mention. They were $6 and feel very sturdy and durable. The only part that isn't my favorite is the white color. I'm sure with the group we are handing up, they will have very pretty crayon decorations through the year. ;)
Book boxes! These are 4 for $1. They are so cheap so you won't even feel bad letting students decorate their own and then taking it home at the end of the year! 
This is another storage tub that I just love! They are adorable and come in different sizes. I can put these in cubbies, on the counter, bookshelf, or use them on my desk to help keep me organized! 
These markers were just the coolest! They are stamps, and could be used for younger grades for patterns. For 2nd, we can stamp out our spelling words with fun shapes. We can make addition and subtraction pictures with them. There are so many possibilities! 

If you have an IKEA nearby, GO, RUN, NOW! I got a cart full of things, and still spent less than $100. Even if you don't want to buy anything, go look around, it's worth a drive. 


Using Google Forms for Calendar Time

When I taught first grade, calendar is a HUGE part of the day, like a whole 15-20 minutes every. single. day. What is today? What was yesterday? What will tomorrow be? and so on and so on. When I moved to second grade, calendar didn't go away, but it did not need to be a big part of the day. I have been searching for a way to keep calendar time part of the day without making it too first grade-ish. 

Now that we are 1:1, I have set up my calendar time on {Google Forms}.  It is part of our daily morning work routine. Students are able to reach the calendar form through a {QR code} that is in the room. Students are required to tell their name, day of the week, how to write the date, weather report, and a daily question to start the day. This one is set up for the first week of school when we practice procedures. 

Are you new to {Google Forms}? They are very easy to set up! I use them for all kinds of things around the room. At the bottom of {this post} I have a video explaining how to set up your form!

<3 Aimee

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