Saturday, January 12, 2019

Newest Classroom Projects {Clipboards and Class Store}

Second blog post of 2019... already  miles ahead of where this blog was at this time last year!

We were so excited on Friday when we had the first opening of our CLASS STORE!

Students were able to spend (or save, which only one of my kiddos did!) their Dojo points from the week for goodies at our store.

To make the store, I just went to Target because, duh, I'm there thirty times a week anyway, and scoured Bullseye's Playground for the best gear.  I may have bought a few things from Amazon too... but most of it comes from my other home away from home- Target.

I decided how much each item would cost, made up some "price tags", and put everything into a hanging shoe holder.

Easiest, peasiest contraption ever!

I'm only using 12 of the 24 shoe spots, so I just used some binder clips to hang the "extra" behind.  Once this week I used it to cover the front of the store so the kids couldn't see the prizes... but it looked so sad when it was closed up so we fixed that and hung it right back behind where it belonged!

Want to make your own store with this shoe holder?  Click the picture for an Amazon link!

I was also in need of some clipboards.  I hit up Dollar Tree and bought 10.  I had so much fun adding my name to them that I'll probably go and get 12 more so I have a class set!  How fun would this be as a Christmas gift for the kiddos?  Or maybe Valentine's Day since that's right around the corner!

Ignore the giant messy corner of my desk here!  I could just not share this pic, but I love how these turned out.  So, I'll just share and hope you don't notice the piles or other STUFF!

That's it!

Currently working on some simple sorts and matching activities.  I am excited to actually be CREATING again!  I'll share here when I've got them ready to go!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New Year... New Blog Design!

When I was a little girl, I hated my name.

Perhaps an abrupt way to begin a blog post, but in the end, it will all come together.

So, anyway.

The name.


Hey, it was the 80s and everyone else seemed to be named Tiffany, Jenny, or Jessie.

"Christina" just didn't roll off the tongue.  It didn't sound fun or happy... to me, a little girl in mid-80s, it just sounded OLD.

It wasn't beautiful, it ended with a 'schwa' sound... you know, that ugly "UH" sound that you almost have to frown to make.  That was the complete opposite of the joyful, smiley, airy long e of TiffanY, JennY, and JessIE.

I vowed, right then and there that when I grew up, I was going to change my name.

I chose a name that was simply elegant.

I loved it more than anything.

And I just knew that, as soon as I was 18, I was marching to the courthouse to change my name.

No more "ChristinUH" with that frowny schwa at the end.

I came up with something beautiful.

Something to rival the Tiffany's of the world.

What did I love in the 80s... my My Little Ponies, of which I had an extensive collection full of unicorns and I loved the show "Jem and the Holograms", who had a giant star RIGHT in their logo!

(You are definitely going to want to Pin this blog post so you can remember this name for your future daughters.)

Are you ready?

So, naturally with my love of My Little Ponies and the truly, truly, truly outrageous Jem, I created a beautiful marriage of those two favorites, chosing the name Unicorn Starr, and adding the twist of Starr with TWO R's.

Go ahead, say it out loud.  Let it roll off the tongue.  The two R's are important, so draw out that last sound just a little bit.

Unicorn Starr.

And, at that time, my full name would have been Unicorn Starr Marie Rowe!

Seriously.  Until this moment, have you ever heard of a more lovely name?

I loved that beautiful name and dreamed of the day I would be able to call myself by my rightful name!

But then, one day I grew up.  I grew into my name.  I found out who I was and realized that I AM Christina.  My parents chose right!  And no other name, not even one was amazing as "Unicorn Starr" could suit me.

BUT... I have often thought back to all that time I spent wanting a different name.  And I have shared that story with lots of friends over the years... even the fifth graders I student taught waaaaay back in 2004 heard that story when we read a text about someone who didn't like their name.

Unicorn Starr has always been a part of my story and so, today, I have a re-designed blog that honors that fun little memory and "re-brands" me & this blog, now that I'm back in the classroom.  Yes, I got the opportunity to return to my passion, TEACHING!!!, in since September after two years as a principal, and it was time to turn "Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas" into a new space on the web... in honor of Unicorn Starr, this blog is now "The Uni-Corner"!

I am hopeful that 2019 will allow me to find "teacher time" again to blog and share ideas from my 1st grade classroom and that you will join me over here at "The Uni-Corner"!

Gotta give credit to my girl, as I totally stole the phrase "Uni-Corner" from my dear friend and best Special Education teacher EVER, Bethany, as the name for this blog.  She has a love for unicorns as well and has a spot in her classroom full of all of her unicorn stuff, aptly named her "Uni-Corner"!  And super happy with the re-design from Kassie!

Please stay tuned and join me, Christina/Unicorn Starr, over here at The Uni-Corner!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Our Number of The Day Routine {AKA- One Proud Teacher!}

So yeah.  It's been about 6 weeks that I've been back in the classroom and this little blog has been neglected as I've been adjusting to being a teacher again.

Can I just say that I love it?  And how much I missed being in the classroom?

I loved being a principal too... but nothing beats having your own little group of tiny humans to connect with and love.

We complete a daily number routine that helps us build our math thinking skills and our automaticity.  I've been noticing lately how AMAZING my kiddos have gotten at understanding how numbers work and I had to come on and brag...

Don't mind the messy handwriting, but check out their subtraction sentences from yesterday... and remember, these are FIRST GRADERS!

A friend had something similar in her classroom at my previous school and so I created this and sent the file off to Office Max, where they posterized it and laminated it for me!  We just use a Vis-a-Vis marker and wipe it off at the end of each day.

We go through this routine every morning as part of our daily calendar activities.  We can get all of this done in less than 8 minutes now and I love hearing their confidence grow each day as their math fluency grows!

You want to print this out at Office Max too?  Just save the image below and upload to their site.  Mine is the 24" x 36" poster and here it is hanging from my easel to give you some perspective on its size:

Open this and save it to use to make your own Number of the Day poster!

Have a great rest of the week!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

My BIG News...


It's been a while on this blog.

As a building principal, I didn't have too much to blog about.  You surely didn't want to hear my stories about Kindergarten lunch, or a student who was having a rough day, or that awesome classroom observation I did.

But, I have BIG news.

This blog is about to come back to life.


I have decided that I miss being a TEACHER, so I'm going back to the classroom!

Yesterday was my last day in the principal's office.

After a tearful day and some silent moments in my office, by myself, at the end of the day, I closed the door on that chapter, literally, and left the school district that has been my home for the last seven years.  It was a bittersweet day.  Leaving the friends, students, and memories behind wasn't easy.  BUT... my heart has been calling me back to the classroom for a while and, when I got an opportunity to teach less than 10 miles from my home, I could not pass it up.

So, starting Monday, I'm teaching FIRST GRADE!

It's been a crazy week trying to get the room ready while wrapping up things in the principal's office.  But, it's done and I'm in love with my classroom.

Want to take a peek?

Come on in!

Gotta do Brag Tags!  I loved these when I was teaching before, so this was one of my first projects when I got this new job.

Here's the view from behind my desk!

Small group table...

View from the back...

View of the front!  We'll be doing a math routine daily.  After seeing a teacher friend with a similar poster, I knew I needed one for my firsties.  So, I created this and the good folks at Office Ma blew it up for me!

Side view...

Dollar Tree for the win with these book boxes!

Of course... D5!

And my favorite spot in the room... the library/rug area.  I do SO much teaching back here and am simply in love with my new rug from Way Fair!

Get ready for new posts, freebies, and TpT creations... teacher Bainbridge is back... and I am ready to go!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Valentine Bulletin Board- Freebie!

This is an oldie, but a goodie... from my last year in the classroom!

Just click the picture to download!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Jazz Up Your Holiday Party {You need these hats in your life!}

I know, I know... it isn't even Halloween yet and I'm posting about Christmas.

But, trust me.

You want to read this post and I want to get it to you early so you can order these hats!!!!!

You need these hats in your life!

Exhibit A- these metallic cone party hats from Oriental Trading:

Click the picture to view the hats on Oriental Trading or HERE for all party supplies.

Your standard metallic party hat, right?


These hats are the canvas for the most fun your students will ever have at your holiday party.

The good people over at Oriental Trading sent me 300 of these hats... one for each student in my elementary school.  We are going to use them to create the "costumes" for our Holiday Music Program in early December.

Of course, as soon as these arrived this week, I could not WAIT to put the vision in my head for these "costumes" into reality.

Cue the glue gun, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, craft pom-poms, tape, and ribbons!!!!

A few short minutes later, I had created the most adorable hats for my kiddos to wear for our music program!  (Ok, I didn't make all 300 in a few short minutes.  But I did make one of each with the help of some of my little elementary friends...)

We have a Santa hat that just needed a few cotton balls...

A girl elf hat- just add ribbons and paper ears.  The ears were super easy to make- it's just a heart that I cut in half!

Yellow = REINDEER!  This took three brown pipe cleaners and may be my favorite hat of all.

Ok.  I lied.  The green is my favorite.

Blue is a boy elf- ribbon and ears!

And the silver make the perfect candy cane... just add some colored tape!

Here they are... all in a row...

I love them.  Like, seriously love.

I am so thankful that Oriental Trading helped make this possible for our school holiday program.  But, as a former classroom teacher, this would have made the PERFECT station at my classroom Christmas party!  I was THAT teacher... with organized stations and crafts at the party... and this would be the perfect one!

I know you have three thousand craft pom-poms, a variety of pipe cleaners, and miscellaneous ribbons in your storage bins in that closet right now.

Dig them out and order yourself these metallic party hats!  Your kiddos will LOVE making these hats at your holiday party.  Don't miss out on these other holiday finds at Oriental Trading too!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Mobile Principal's Office

Happy weekend, bloggy friends!

We just finished our 15th full day of school and it's been awesome to see how far our little kiddos have come in these past few weeks.  There is so much learning going on in my school and I'm incredibly proud of my staff and students!

I love going out and about to visit my classrooms and see the learning in action... but sometimes it's hard to get away from the mound of e-mails and computer work I have going on.

However... problem solved!

Meet my new Mobile Principal's Office!

Anyone else have billions of random carts around school?  I found this beauty this summer and commandeered it.  I thrilled when it was not needed and the mobile office was born!

It's decorated (or course!) with this cute banner that used to hang in my classroom and equipped with everything one might need in the course of a day in the life of a K-2 principal:

A bucket of treats for my teachers:

Stickers, tissues, hand sanitizer, and books:

These books have come in handy on two occasions now...
1.)  a specials teacher was running a few minutes late (oh the joys of shared staff!) and I had to cover in her room.  Grabbed "The Seals on the Bus" and had a rip roaring time reading with the kinders!
2.)  kiddo didn't want mom to leave and was very distraught!  We sat in the hall together and read "You Don't Want a Unicorn" (which is seriously funny) and "LouElla Mae- She's Run Away" (with has a serious twist ending) while kiddo calmed down.

And, on top, I have my Surface (which I LOVE), sticky notes, SOAR tickets, "Eastside is Proud Of"... cards (staff can write and turns these cards in to me to praise a student and I read them on the announcements), chapstick, and my clipboard with "Fast Feedback" forms when I decide to do an impromptu quick observation session.

I love this!  I have had it out several times and it allows me to roam the halls while I continue working on my computer stuff.  I park it outside of classrooms to handle quick issues and it allows me to be even MORE visible in the building.

Some days it's tough to get out of the office and the cart stays parked in the corner of my office... but, when I have the chance to get out and about, I'm LOVING having my Mobile Office to do it!

Other administrators... how do you stay productive AND visible at the same time?

Have a great weekend, friends!  It's a scorcher here in Michigan... so stay cool!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Go Tell Your School Secretary "THANK YOU"

Go.  Now.  Do not walk.  Run.  (But not in the halls!)

Tell your school admin assistant "THANK YOU".

Our admin assistant was out of the office for two days this week and I tried to fill in her shoes.

What a tiring job!

I answered the phones, put on band-aids, passed out hugs, coordinated transportation for kiddos, kept an eye on the bathroom in the hallway, let visitors into the building, sorted mail, called parents about playground ouchies... and did a teeny bit of "principaling" too.

My admin assistant wears so many hats and juggles so many responsibilities during the day.  I knew that, but now I KNOW it!

Needless to say, I was thrilled to have her back today!

So, please... let yours know how awesome he/she is... it's well deserved!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Try 3 Before Me {Free Printable!}

So, school starts on Monday and I'm ready to hit the ground running for the 2nd year in the principal's office!

As a former classroom teacher (who is always a teacher at heart!), I would ask my students to ask three friends before coming to me for assistance.  Now that I am wiser... fine, older too... I see that I missed a huge opportunity by asking them to check with 3 before me.  I wasn't helping my students become THINKERS... I was enabling them to rely on others for information that they should be able to gather on their own.  This is definitely one of those things that I would do differently now if I were back in the classroom!

I had this very conversation with a colleague today and this sign was born!  I have printed (on bright blue paper) and laminated a copy for each member of my staff and have asked them to display this in their rooms as we encourage our students to display tenacity to solve problems!  This sign gives students options and teaches strategies for continuing on when stuck and encourages independence.

Enjoy a free copy on TpT and have a great school year!

Oh... and don't miss my newest product on TpT either!

This set of 40 png files are the perfect pick-me-ups, messages of inspiration, and reminders to educators just how important our job is.  I print these every few weeks and put them in my teachers' mailboxes.  You can also attach the image files in an e-mail or insert into a document- which I sometimes do too for staff meetings!

Happy 2017-18 school year... may it be the best one yet!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blog Post Re-Rewind! {Back to School Freebies!}

Tomorrow the office officially opens... even though I've been going back in a few days a week, it still feels like tomorrow is the REAL start of being back at school!

I'm excited... but not loving the idea of a real alarm clock at the very real time of 5:30 in the morning!

But... to celebrate, I wanted to come on and do a blog post RE-REWIND!

I rewound to this post last summer... but here it is again.

So, this blast from the past features some freebies you can use to start your year off right!  I'll even share a link at the bottom for a REALLY old freebie... a "first day banner" you can print out and hang to welcome your new friends in on day 1!

I know some of you are gearing up to head back already too, so I wanted to do a little FREEBIE REWIND!

I've shared these before, but, in case you missed them... there's a few at the very bottom too, so don't miss them!

Super cute random partner making cards...

A "Classroom/Hall Hunt" style first week ice breaker...

These are some of my products to help start your year smoothly and keep it running smoothly too...

EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEAZY newsletter templates...

Jazz up your writing instruction with Interactive Notebooks.  My format provides a teacher page to be used for your mini-lesson and then a student page where they practice the skill on their own!  My 3rd graders have LOVED these for the past two years!

100 Days to CCSS Success for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades... easy ways to review Common Core literacy skills!

Make assessing a BREEZE with these Snapshots!  I could LITERALLY grade two classes worth of these assessments in under 10 minutes.  Just a half sheet of paper, so totally do-able and not overwhelming for the kiddos either!  Available for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in reading, grammar, and math!

Start it early!  Encourage homework completion with this easy-to-implement system!

Dress up your room with one of my 20+ themed bunting banners!  Personalize them however you want!

Make these adorable pennants with your students' names!

Hang up a photo backdrop for open house!  Pre-K through 6th grade!

And... make the first days a snap with these ideas from all of your favorite teacher bloggers!

Phew!  I hope you enjoy the freebies and maybe find another product you can't live without too!

Happy back to school!

As promised... a long-ago freebie for a really cute printable banner you can hang up on the first day!


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