Sunday, February 26, 2017

Musings of a First-Year Principal

It's been a while, little blog!

I am now just over mid-way through my first year behind the principal's desk and, I must say, I love what I am doing.

The hours are long, the work is BIG, and the responsibilities are huge.  But, I love it.

I love helping kids solve their problems.

I love going into the lunchroom and spending time with each grade level.

I love eating my lunch in the lunchroom and seeing the faces of the Kinders when I eat my pureed asparagus soup which must look pretty funky to them!

I love digging in to curriculum and helping teachers reach their full potential in the classroom.

I love brainstorming ways to make my school even more amazing.

I love knowing all almost 300 students in my building and, I'm proud to say, I know almost all of their names.

I love standing outside each morning during arrival and waving to parents as they pull in and greeting kids with their first school smile of the day.

I love being outside each afternoon during dismissal and waving at parents as they pull in and saying bye to kids with their last school smile of the day.

I love how in-tune my ears are now to children's tears!  I can hear them a mile away.

I love how I've learned that a baggie with 2 ice cubes can make any scratch, scrape, or bump feel instantly better.

I love doing little things to let my staff know they are appreciated.

I love my morning pop-ins to each classroom in the building.

I love that, when I'm not at school, the kiddos realize I'm gone.

I love my Monday morning all-school assemblies.

I love reading the day's lunch choices on the announcements and, on the day when they have french toast with peas, I love making little jokes about it.

I love that, even when I have to discipline a student, they still give me hugs the next day.

I love the silly things my kiddos say.  It is a K-2 school, after all.

I love seeing parents coming in to help in the classrooms.

I love hearing kids say things like, "Yes!  We get to do math!"

I love seeing Kindergarteners doing "read to self" and working to build their stamina.

I love how I can recognize their individual voices when they say hi to me from across the room.

I love the people I work with.  Seriously.  My staff is amazing.

I love the school secretary.  We'd be lost without her!

I love that I still get to read to kiddos.

I love that, even though I'm not in the classroom, I still feel connected to what is going on in the classrooms in my building.

I love how the bucket of chocolate I keep in my office acts as an instant barometer for how everyone is feeling at school... on stressful days, the bucket gets a lot of action from the staff.

I love when I walk into classrooms and kids tell me they saw me in the parking lot saying good morning.  Yes, I just saw you too.  When I said good morning.  When you got out of your car 10 minutes ago.  I love it!

So much to love!

I hope all of my bloggy friends are having a great year too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Oriental Trading Holiday {with a Thanksgiving FREEBIE!}

Can I just shout from the mountain top that I LOVE ORIENTAL TRADING?????



They sent me this...

... full of these Christmas goodies...

Be sure to check out their HOLIDAY stuff.  It's pretty rad!

I will have each class down to the library in December and I will read my favorite Christmas books to them.  Then I will give each kiddo a candy cane and a holiday sticker.  I did this for Halloween and the kids LOVED it!  And my teachers loved getting a little breather too!



...I got these winter items for my school prize box!


...and these for my teachers!  Every holiday I have the staff do a little activity and the prize is a box full of goodies!  I can't wait to fill these cuties for them!




...I also got these stockings and fabric markers.  Shhhh... it's for a Christmas surprise for my staff!


I am so thankful for Oriental Trading sending me these goodies.  Head over to their site to get some great goodies at some amazing prices!

And now... for the Thanksgiving FREEBIE!

I said above that I do a little goodie box for my staff.  This month, I used the "pie favor boxes" that Oriental Trading sent me in October.  I put one card from the pack below in each staff member's mailbox.  They had to find a complete meal and then come show me to get their "dessert"... a cute pie shaped box full of goodies!


Click the link below to download the freebie and spread some Thanksgiving love around your school!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Want a FREE Halloween Party Game?

If you do... then...

BOOM.

It's your lucky day!

Check out this FREEBIE rewind!



Friday, October 7, 2016

Oriental Trading... All TREATS and NO Tricks!

I am so excited to share some goodies I recently got from Oriental Trading!  I was thrilled when they offered me a mini-shopping spree to get some fall goodies for school.


As a building principal, I didn't need to get any stuff for a classroom this year... which was kind of a weird feeling!  BUT... I was able to get some amazing goodies to benefit the students in my building.  (And... shhhh... some treats for my staff too!)

Check out my amazing haul!

Did you know Oriental Trading has Halloween costumes?  There are SOOOOOO many and they are super affordable.  I got several costumes to share with kiddos who may not be able to afford a costume of their own.  I know they will be thrilled to have these cute costumes!



I love these simple vests... what a great way to turn an ordinary outfit into a Halloween costume!  We have an indoor recess play room and I plan to make these part of our play room when the holiday is over.  These are perfect for a dramatic play area!


Shhh!  These cute little boxes are treats for my teachers!  I'll fill them with goodies and place in their mailboxes for a Halloween and Thanksgiving surprise!


Last... I got these absolutely ADORBS pumpkin stickers!  I am going to give one to each student in the building for Halloween.  I love the variety and I know the kiddos will get a good chuckle!




Go forth and shop!  Don't miss out on these amazing TREATS (and no tricks!) from Oriental Trading!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Start the Year Off Right {Back-to-School Freebie Rewind and other Stuff too!}

School starts FOUR WEEKS from today!!!  I am so excited to meet my little people... except, this year, I'm meeting them as their PRINCIPAL!

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!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Back-to-School Photo Backdrop... Quick, cheap, and easy {and a FREEBIE reminder!}!!!

Looking for a fun way to jazz up your Open House or just want to take pictures of your students the first week of school in your classroom?


I wanted to make something fun and interactive to make my Open House this year memorable.  If you follow my blog, you may have seen that I'm out of the classroom now and in the office... I'm the principal at a K-2 elementary school.

I am SO excited about this new journey.  The staff has been AMAZING and we've all been working this summer to plan and prepare for next year.

Last week, I decided that adding a photo backdrop for Open House would help make the night even more fun for our school families.

So... I printed these letters and went to the Dollar Tree.  I literally spent $3.00 there buying colored tablecloths to use as backdrops.  You could use large rolls of butcher paper too!

The next day, I hung the tablecloths up in the hallway and used packing tape to attach the letters.  I LOVE how they turned out!


 You can find this on TpT with printabes for PreK through Sixth grades!


While you're at it, check out this pack to get organized for your Open House event!

And... don't forget this FREEBIE to make your Open House Scavenger Hunt even MORE fun!




Saturday, July 30, 2016

Most Amazing Prize Box Ever... Thanks to Oriental Trading!

I was so excited to get an e-mail from Oriental Trading a few weeks ago.


Katie asked if I had anything on my wishlist that I would like them to send me...

UMMMM... YES!!!!!!!

And, since I'm not in the classroom anymore, this was such a great opportunity for me to build up my prizes in my office!  Kids in my building receive SOAR tickets for good choices and, if their ticket is pulled, they'll be able to get a prize!  And, now, thanks to Oriental Trading, I have top-notch goodies for my kindergarten, first, and second grade friends!

So, I got home the other day and this little beauty was waiting for me...


I opened it up...


And...


Here's what I got.  You can click each picture to learn more about the goodies!

FIFTY cars for about $20!


A huge assortment of pens!

And the coup de grace of the pen assortment was these lovelies that let you change ink colors!  Who isn't going to want that from the prize box???  Can you tell I'm super stoked?




Along with pens, we had to get an assortment of notebooks, of course!


Had to have stickers...



And tattoos!


 Last... bubbles!!!!!

Would you believe that the total cost for all of these items was under $75.00?!

Here's my wish list so you can see more about these goodies and some of the other things I'd like to get in the future.  YOU should definitely create your wishlist and share it out too.  What an EASY way for parents to help support you in the classroom!!!!!!!

I'm particularly psyched about the Back to School Photo Booth Props on my wishlist.  As a classroom teacher, I took pictures of my students at the start of each month and used lots of these types of props.  I would have LOVED adding those to my collection if I had stayed in the classroom this year!

I hope you enjoyed seeing this items and maybe got some ideas of your own!

Like I said... check out Oriental Trading and build up that wishlist.  I'm sure it would be a hit with classroom families who want to help support you with STUFF in your classroom this year!


F.Y.I.- I was provided with these materials from Oriental Trading.  This post contains my opinion based on my experience with the products.

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