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!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cute, Trendy Printable Signs... FREEBIE!

I found some super cute graphics on Etsy and decided to make some printable signs with them!

Feel free to print and use as well!

Just click the picture and you can snag them!  There are nine different signs with llamas, the sun, a rainbow, ladybug, peach, and more!  I'd love some feedback if you like them!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Teachers' Lounge Decor

Since I don't have a classroom to decorate now that I'm in the Principal's Office, I enjoy decorating the lounge at school.

Today I spent time putting up new bulletin boards and decor on the walls.

One thing that I want is for the stuff in the lounge to serve a purpose... not just be STUFF on the walls.  I know my teachers may want to kick back and relax when they enter the lounge, and I want it to be a place that is cozy for them... but I also want to keep things that are important up where everyone sees them every day.

Check out what I added today!

Everyone needs a birthday display.  I got the "Hip Hip Hooray" stickers at Target in (duh!) the Dollar Spot.  {On a side note... NOTHING makes me miss being a teacher more than that Dollar Spot!  My brain spins with educational possibilities every time I go past it!}  I also got the mini-party hats in the Dollar Spot and made the month pages on the computer.

I also bought the adorable printables on the bottom from TpT.

This year I'm trying something new... I bought a calendar (Target Dollar Spot... but was actually $5) and went through and wrote every event on the calendar for the year... every meeting, every fire drill, every family event, every day off... and have it hanging in the lounge so the staff can see EvErYtHiNg going on.  They are also encouraged to add events as they come up (like field trips, etc...).

The banner above is one that I made and is in my TpT store.  I hung one in my classroom for holidays for an instant holiday decoration!  I'll use them this year in my lounge and change them for holidays.

I also have a display up of our School Improvement goals.  It goes one step deeper, though, and shows what the teachers' and my responsibilities are in order for us to meet our goals.  You can find an editable version of this visual display HERE on TpT!

Last, we are focusing on data displays this year so I will be hanging up grade-level assessment data when we give our benchmark assessments throughout the year.  This will help us as we work toward having honest conversations about data and using it to make decisions.  The "Talk Data To Me" comes from a spoof on a Jason deRulo song that one of my colleagues and I recorded last summer... still working up the courage to share that one with you and my staff!

Looking for more ways to spruce up your teachers' lounge?  Click HERE to check out some more things out on TpT!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Feedback for Teachers {Administrator FREEBIE!}

How is it that summer is more than HALF over?!

I'm getting prepped and ready to start my 2nd year in the Principal's Office and, though there are going to be a few changes, one thing will stay the same: providing loads of feedback to my teachers.

When I was in the classroom, I loved craved feedback from my principal.  What was I doing right?  What needed work?  What did she/he notice that I did not?  How can I be the best that I can be in the classroom?  I have had principals who were good at this, and some that didn't spend enough time in the classroom or who didn't know how to help me become my best teacher me.

I try to be in classrooms as often as possible.  I visit every classroom every day after the morning announcements and I pop in and out throughout the day.  Sometimes I just stand outside of classroom doors and listen (how creepy does that sound?!) or just peek into doorways.

One of the things that I do is provide my teachers FAST FEEDBACK every few weeks.  I sit down in the room for about 10 minutes, tally positive and negative oral feedback, jot down feedback, and ask questions.  When I leave the room, I drop the form off on the teacher's desk.  I don't require meetings afterwards, but we usually end up having informal conversation at some point.

I believe my staff has enjoyed the feedback this year.  I love that I see these papers hanging in their rooms.  I love that, as the year went on, things I jotted down on these forms I could see action on in subsequent visits (stalkings outside the door).

How would you like to be able to provide quick an easy feedback to your teachers?

Here is an example of what this form might look like after a classroom visit.  Bonus points if you get the name on the teacher line!

You can click HERE to download this for free at my TpT store.

If you are in the market for other "Principal/Administrator" stuff... I also have some morale boosters on TpT.  We used each of these items with huge success in my building this year.  It was fun to see the competitive side of my teachers when we did the monthly match-ups (that's the one with the Santa on the cover- it's a bundle with activities for different holidays)!

And this one is actually FREE!  A printable award you can give to teachers.  I give one a month at our end of the month student awards assembly!

Ok!  Enjoy the rest of your summer... it's going quickly!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Personal Update and New Stuff at School for a New Year!

It's been a while.

That's an understatement.

And it feels like I start any blog post off with those words (or some variation) lately!

I wrapped up my first year as a principal.

I loved it.

My staff... amazing.

The kiddos... amazing.

The support from admin... amazing.

I learned a ton.

And I can't wait for next year!

In fact, this was the table on my office the last day of school... already piled high with things for next year.

So, what are we doing NEW next year?

Wow! Words

We are going to get a new Wow! Word every day on the announcements this year as a way to squeeze in some tier 2 and 3 vocabulary words.  This book is laid out excellently with words that 4, 5, 6, and 7 year olds should know.  The vocab is very rigorous and I'm excited to implement this in my building!

What else is new...


I'm soooooo excited about this one.  Each staff member (teachers, aides, librarian, speech, counselor, etc...) has chosen something of interest to them and we will be doing once a month "CLUBS" where kids get to choose which club to be a part of and then attend to do something that interests them.  We have everything from baking, crafting, sports, and drama to a sensory club, geocaching club, and dance party club!  We are going to start each club off with a picture book that focuses on some sort of social skill or character building lesson.  Then, the clubs become a vehicle to grow relationships and provide students something positive that is of direct interest to them.  I can't WAIT for our first club day in September!


We will be focusing on creating and using anchor charts in all classrooms this year.  At each monthly staff meeting, each teacher will be required to bring an anchor chart that he/she has used with students in the last month to share with the staff.  Shhhh... I'm even surprising them at our first PD day with a set of these amazing Sharpies that don't bleed through the paper, sticky notes, and a large chart paper pad so we can start right away with this initiative!

I'm also reading this book, Beyond the Bake Sale, and we will be having lots of conversation and taking action to increase positive parent relations in the building.  This is a great read... I recommend it highly!

And finally... personal update!

I don't often share a ton of personal stuff here, so feel free to skim over it if you aren't interested.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you may know that several years ago I went through a divorce that was quite a shock to me.  I stayed in "our" home for a while afterwards but it was hard living in the place where I once shared a life with someone.  So, I bought a new house on my own and moved about 30-minutes away from the old house.  I loved it!!!!!!  Not only was it FREEDOM not living in that old house, but it really gave me a chance to find ME and who the "not-wife" version of me was.  It was soooo good for me!

Back up two years ago... I met a wonderful guy.  And life was good.

And it's about to get even better!

We are closing on our new house next week and I can't wait!

Here it is...


Here's to wishes for an amazing summer for all of you, bloggy friends... I'll be unpacking and getting situated, but it felt really good to write this blog post so I'm going to try and be back soon with new news from the Principal's Office!

Happy 4th!

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