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At our building, we have an Open House of sorts in August.  This is where students and families come to meet the teachers.  It is typically during the day (in the afternoon) and is a week or so before school begins.  Open House is also an opportunity for parents to drop off their kids' school supplies.  I love the format of our Open House, because there is no formal presentation; parents and kids come in, meet us, look around the room, organize their supplies, and share how their child is getting home when school starts.  It's always a whirl-wind, but well worth it.  Today's post is all about how I organize Open House.  As with anything in elementary education, the more organized and prepared you are, the smoother the Open House will go.  Over the years, I have just about perfected my system for Open House and wanted to share it with you in case you are a new teacher, or just looking to improve your current system.

First up is prep.  Here are things I do to get ready for Open House: 
  • Prior to Open House, I set up bins with supply labels on them.  Think glue sticks, crayons, pencils, hand sanitizer, tissues, baggies, etc...I also have bins that say "markers," "headphones," and "pocket folders."  In these three specific bins, I have sheets of name labels.  *More on that later in the post.








Another thing that I have done in years past is place all the forms in my "Open House Board."  This is a 3-panel board that I made one summer that houses forms for parents for Open House.  They simply go to the board and take one of each form.  It's a great alternative to sorting forms onto kids' desks!

  • Also on the middle of the tables (I keep my kids' desks into groups), I have table-top sign holders.  (You can grab those by clicking my affiliate link below)  These house directions for parents in terms of opening supplies.   Asking parents to open and sort supplies was something new I started doing a few years ago and I will never go back!  The parents don't mind helping at all, and it really is a game-changer!  This has been such a huge help for me.  Because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, opening packaging is difficult and painful.
  • At the start of this post, I mentioned that you'll want to have labeled supply tubs ready.  What I do is have my parents fill their child's supply box and then open and sort the remaining supplies in the tubs for me.  I do not put names on anything.  I do not keep track of who brought what.  We always have more than enough with the extras I purchase during BTS sales.  The only thing I pseudo keep track of are crayons...each child brings 2 boxes of 24.  They get one to start the year and one additional as needed.  That's it.


  • I prep a clipboard with a checklist of student names as well as a transportation checklist.  The name sheet allows me to make notes about things the families tell me.  The transportation checklist ensures that I know how each child is getting home from school each day.  I also lay out Sharpie markers, safety pins,  and "Transportation Tags" for my families to complete.  They quickly complete a tag for their child and place it on his/her book bag prior to the first day.  This allows any adult who may see this child wandering the hallways to take them to their classroom.  


  • I also ensure that my classroom is presentable and ready.  This is by no means necessary, but I do want to get my kids and families excited and what's more exciting than seeing a clean, organized, and prepared classroom ready for the first day of school?!  Teacher Tip:  In more recent years, I've learned NOT to tape name tags down.  Oftentimes, parents will tell me that their child is BFF with the person I randomly sat next to them.  Or they may tell me the opposite about their child's relationship with their new "neighbor."  In addition, some students do not show up and then I have tons of stuff with their name on it.   Instead of taping name tags down, I lay them on the desks.  This allows me to switch them around as needed.  The only names I put up for Open House are a class list outside my door and cutouts on my door with kids' first names.  Both of those can easily be changed/removed.   I use a number system for the kids' cubbies (praise the lord for not having to re-label those every year!) and mailboxes. 




That's about it, folks!  Open House can be as involved or as casual as you want it (depending on what your administrator asks of you).  The biggest thing for me is to be organized prior to starting.  The chaos of having so many new faces in your room is overwhelming enough; the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around the room looking for something.  I hope you found this post helpful!  

xo
Megan 
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Hi friends!  Welcome back to another "Sunday 6."  This is a post that I try to do each Sunday.  It highlights 6 events from my week.  This week's post is a culmination of a few weeks, as we were super busy in June and then were out of the country.  Enjoy!
At the beginning of the month, I treated my mom to her Mother's Day present...pedicures, shopping, dinner, and gambling!  We had a wonderful day together.  My mom is in her 70's, so at this point in her life, she really doesn't need anything.  I have been gifting her experiences for Mother's Day for the past 4-5 years now. 



June included lots of leisure mixed with fun!  We purchased a new patio set because our "starter" set that we were given when we got married 13 years ago finally bit the dust.  I am loving our new set!  I've spent many mornings sitting on our deck enjoying my coffee and breakfasts.  My favorite summer breakfast is avocado toast with hard-boiled egg whites.




I just received my Kindergarten Crate for the month!  The KC is such a great idea!  It's a subscription service and they send you a themed-box each month.  Each box includes a read-aloud picture book, student activities, supplies, and a teacher gift (or two)!  It originally began as a subscription box for kindergarten teachers, but has expanded to pre-K and first grade.  If you are interested in checking out Kindergarten Crate, click HERE!  You can always try one box first to see if you like it (or ask for a subscription as a gift!).  This month's box was a "stock-up" box.  It contained some items that teachers frequently run out of...pens, post-it's, Googly eyes, etc...I have all of my goodies in my school bag and ready to take to my classroom in August.  



We spent a week in Jamaica mid-June.  We stayed at Sandals South Coast.  It's on the South coast of Jamaica (duh lol).  This was our second trip to Jamaica and our fourth Sandals vacation.  We have been to St. Lucia, The Bahamas, and of course Jamaica.  We love Sandals because it has always felt safe, the service is top-notch, and the resorts are beautiful.  Staying at Sandals is a great way to see the Caribbean!  Our next planned trip is back to the Bahamas.  After that, we want to check out Barbados or Antigua.  Hooray! 

We travel often, and I am always on the lookout for good travel items...things that make packing and traveling easier.  I stumbled across these packing cubes a few years ago and liked them so much, I ended up buying my husband a set.  They come in a set of 5 and are a variety of sizes.  There are also 7 colors to choose from.  I like that they are lightweight.  When I pack them, I roll my clothes.  Rolling them and placing them in the cubes helps prevent wrinkling.  Once I arrive at my destination, I simply place the cubes into the hotel drawers.  I prefer not to put my items directly in the drawers in case they might be dirty/dusty. 

I also found a wonderful jewelry organizer!!!  If you follow me on Instagram (@mrswheeler44), you probably saw my Insta Story about it.  It's so compact but holds a TON.  I am obsessed with jewelry and wear a lot of it, particularly large, statement pieces.  This pouch has tons of pockets and pouches and zips up to fit anywhere! 

I also got a new backpack.  I use a backpack as a carry-on, and my prior backpack really hurt my back.  It was heavy to start with.  It was also ridiculous trying to find anything inside.  This new backpack unzips all the way around the top and fits SO MUCH STUFF!  Many pockets/pouches make storing all your items super easy.  Everything is so easy to find.  I love this purchase so much.  *It, along with the jewelry pouch, was an investment, but well worth it! 

If you would like to check out the cubes, jewelry organizer, or backpack,  you can CLICK HERE.   You'll find these in the "travel" area of my Amazon storefront.  * I only share products that I am pleased with and believe in.  Clicking my link gives me a small commission percentage.  Thank you!








As I mentioned above, Mr. Wheeler and I went to Jamaica mid-June.  Here are some photos from our trip!  *The trip started out shaky...I got food poisoning (or the flu???) the second day there and was violently ill for about 2 days.  I had to see the nurse AND the doctor (and got a nice bill to coincide).  I was given 2 medications and some drink pouches for dehydration....I made the most of the situation and pushed on, despite feeling awful.  By the middle of the week, I was able to eat (can we say $$ lost?) some.  I think I might be the only person who goes to an all-inclusive and loses weight!  Hahaha! 





In February, I shared that I have an autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis.  If you are not familiar, RA is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints.  It's biggest symptoms are joint pain and fatigue.  It is also systematic and can effect major organs.  **You can read more about my diagnosis and living with the disease HERE.  I had my 6 month appointment in early June.  I was expecting the same news I had received during my prior 2 appointments: many joints are swollen.  You need to start prescription meds, etc...However, I received the opposite news!  My rheumatologist was very pleased with my progress.  I only had 2 swollen joints!  She told me to continue to do what I am doing, because it is helping to manage my symptoms.  She did mention prescription meds again, because although my symptoms are being managed, what's happening to my joints is not.  My pain comes and goes and always will.  The fatigue is a beast.  I can deal with the pain and fatigue for the most part.  With the pain, comes joint destruction.  Joint destruction is irreversible.  It can be slowed with medicine.  However, I have chosen to forgo meds.  They are just too scary for me.  Forgoing meds is a risk I am taking and I will have to live with my decision, but I am ok with it.  In the mean time, I am taking lots of vitamins and supplements.  I am also exercising 6-7 days a week.  I have become very consistant with lifting weights, because it really helps me by keeping my joints lubricated.  Overall, I was pleased with the news from my dr.  I wanted to share it with you all!  

xo
Megan 
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I just finished my second year using the Wilson Fundations Phonics program.  If you are not familiar, Fundations is a multi-sensory and systematic Phonics, Spelling, and Handwriting program that benefits all students in grades kindergarten through third.  Up until two years ago, I had never taught Phonics using a systematic approach.  *I have been teaching first grade for 15 years.*  My teammates and I had the freedom to do whatever we wanted with Phonics, and we thought we had a good system in place, but seeing the gains our kids have made by using Fundations, I now know that our system wasn't what was best for kids.  I truly believe now that explicit, systematic Phonics instruction is what kids need.  That being said, I wanted some additional materials to support what I was already doing in class with the Fundations program.  


My kids have a 20-25 minute literacy center time that I used to fill with thematic practice activities.  However, those activities no longer aligned with our new Phonics program.  Last summer, I began creating activity, or game packs, to coincide with the Level 1 (aka first grade) Fundations program.  There are 13 packs in all, each containing several games/activities and between one-three sentence scrambles.  Most games/activities have coordinating recording sheets to go with them.  I used these packs all year last year and let me tell you:  these games are a GAME CHANGER!!!  Because they directly go with what I am teaching in class, the kids are able to complete them in their small groups independently.  They rarely need any support from me.  Having these meaningful activities for them to work on allows me to pull small groups and work on Guided Reading or RTI.  I am so looking forward to using them again for the upcoming school year!  


Do you use Fundations?  If so, I highly recommend you check this bundle out.  Don't want to spend the money on the whole bundle at once?  No problem.  Each unit is available for individual purchase, as well.  Summer is a fantastic time to print, laminate, and prep these activities.  You will thank yourself in the fall if you do so! 










Please Note: *This file is an independent product and is not affiliated with, nor has it been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Wilson Language Training Corporation. Wilson®, Wilson Reading System®, Fundations®, Just Words®, and Wilson Fluency® are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the Wilson Language Training Corporation.

xo,
Megan







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Hi, friends!

I know lots of you are still working, but I am one of the lucky ones who is FINISHED!  I wrapped up my room last Friday and enjoyed the weekend by resting and visiting with some friends.  I recently had a friend at school ask me to do some organizational posts.  I thought about it and realized that I have always loved organizing and putting things in their place.  Hence, today's post is dedicated to the dreaded classroom cleanup!  Last Friday marked my 15th classroom cleanup.  I am by no means an expert, but I would like to think that I have some good tips to offer you after doing this 15 times!  Here we go with my top 10 tips for classroom cleanup/pack up!


1.  Get the supplies you need ahead of time.  

Just like any other task, prepare yourself ahead of time to make the most of the time you have to pack up your room.  Having the materials you need on hand will help your pack up go much faster.  Below is a list of items that I recommend you have readily available for your packing up adventure.
  • Gallon Ziploc bags-for bagging up games/activities
  • Clorox Wipes-for wiping things down as you go.  Hello dust bunnies!  Gross!
  • Magic Erasers-for removing the stubborn crayon marks on your containers
  • Large scrubbing brush (handheld)-for washing bins and containers
  • Dish soap-for washing bins and containers
  • Small notebook/pen-for making lists
  • Canned air-for spraying your keyboards and computers out
  • Tote bag or extra box-for transporting items home and/or to Goodwill 
  • Wheeled cart-for wheeling the stuff you don't want down to the "Free Table" in the lounge 
  • Masking or Duct Tape-for labeling furniture with your name 
  • Signs labeled with your last name and room number printed off the computer (example: "Wheeler, Room 8"-for labeling your large furniture items 
  • Large, wheeled trash can-for all the TRASH you will have!
  • External hard drive or cloud storage 

2.  Go through everything.  

While you are going through your items, keep in mind the following three categories:  keep, donate, trash.  Remember that I said to have a large cart and large trash can in your room prior to starting?  This is where they come into play.  As you are going through things, put things in their correct spots!  Ask yourself, "Do I use this regularly?"  "Have I used this in the last year?"   If you answer "No," then donate it or throw it away.  Everything you keep should have a place and purpose.  If it doesn't, get rid of it!  No shoving or piling.  No "I'll put this stuff away later."  Doing it right away ensures that your room stays tidy.  The last thing you will want to do in August is put away a pile of stuff that you should have put away in the spring!

I filled THREE of these this year.  Oops.


This was my "give away to other teachers" cart...I filled this up twice.
Here's a crate full of things that I gave away to my kids.  

Inside recess games were gone through and organized
3.  Sort through your student library.  

Go through every book in every basket in your student library prior to packing the baskets up.  Make sure all the books are in the correct basket and that they are all in there neatly and going the same direction.  Think about thinning out some baskets that have a lot of titles in them.  Give those books to kids, donate them to Goodwill, or give them to a new teacher.






4.  Create a "Back to School" bin.

This is where you'll put all those pre-prepped labels, copies, cutouts, etc...that I mention in tips #7 and #9.  Keep this BTS bin very handy, so you can grab it quickly in the fall.




5.  Clean as you go.

Yes, the custodians will (hopefully) be cleaning your rooms during the summer.  However, wiping things down as you go will make you feel better.  Use those Clorox wipes to wipe out bins.  Use your Magic Eraser to remove pencil/crayon marks from tubs.  Use your dish soap and scrub brush to scrub out bins that are extremely dirty.




6.  Make lists as you go.  

Keep a notebook and pen handy as you are packing up.  Note the supplies needed for fall (tape, magnets, Velcro, etc...).  When you come in to set your room back up in August, you'll have what you need to start right away.  Assess which containers need labels.  Note that in your notebook.  During the summer, you can get your labels ready.  I love the labels below from The First Grade Parade!  Also note what you want on your bulletin boards.  Did you have boards that you really loved this past year?  Write down/draw a sketch of what it looked like.








7.  Get ahead on your copies if possible.

Some people get completely overwhelmed with this, but I am telling you, if you spend a little time getting some copies made in the spring, you will thank yourself in August!  The copies that I am referring to are those that you know you will need regardless...think behavior calendars, desk name tags, handwriting bookscomputer login cards, data binder supplies, transportation tagsreading logs, beginning of the year assessments, Positive Notes Home, etc...You get the idea.


Transportation Tags are ready for August! 
Reading logs are ready to go for August!  

8.  Take pictures! 

Take pictures of bulletin boards that worked well for you during the school year.  Photograph the way you had specific areas organized.  This will help you remember how to set things up again in the fall.

Calendar Board 
Front Board 

My "Whole Group Classroom Rewards" fit nicely on this board! 
Fundations Trick Words Word Wall
9.  Plan and prep your "Meet the Teacher" materials.

This goes along with "getting ahead on your copies."  If possible, copy off those meet the teacher forms, Open House Supply Signs, Transportation Tags, and letters that you distribute during meet the teacher day.  I keep all of mine in a container that is labeled "Back to School--see tip #4!"  This container is the first thing I pull out when setting up my room.

Open House directions pages make putting classroom supplies away a breeze!  
Open House Signs make sorting supplies so simple for families!

10.  Enlist the help of your family/friends!


Here's Mr. Wheeler helping me tear everything down from my front board.  He is 6'7, so he comes in quite handy!  I decided to remove everything because it was over-stimulating for my kids.  I am using my Fundations Phonics alphabet above my word wall now.  I'm also hoping that this front wall will get painted this summer...lots of  chipped paint and hot glue marks.  Whoops. 


My final tip is a self-care one: TREAT YOURSELF!  You've earned a massage, manicure, or whatever else you might enjoy!  Congratulations on making it to summer break!



xo
Megan 
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 Hey, friends!  Coming at you as a FREE WOMAN tonight!  School's out for the summer!  No Sunday Night Blues over here!  Woo Hoo!  Here's a peek back at last week.
We had a fun weekend last week...spent some time together and then went fishing at a friend's pond.  Look at the Bass I caught! 


 In addition to fishing, we also took a bike ride.  Our first outdoor ride of the season!  21 miles.


 I have been hitting Ibotta hard the last month or so.  If you follow me on Instagram (@mrswheeler44), you've seen my hauls.  For those unaware about Ibotta, here's a quick explanation:  Ibotta is a free app that earns you rebates for shopping.  You can use it at grocery stores, big box stores, and many other retailers.  You can even use it online.  I use it solely for grocery/big box store rebates. 

Prior to shopping, you look through Ibotta and click the rebates you want.  *I typically only purchase items I know I will use, but occasionally I will try something new to see if I like it! 

Then you go to the store and purchase those items. 

Once home, you open the Ibotta app, take a photo of your receipt, and then scan each item you've purchased.  The rebates are almost always instantly added to your account. 

Once your account accrues $20 or more, you can request cash back via Paypal or Venmo, or you can redeem for gift cards.  I love getting Sephora and Starbucks gift cards!  Never paying for coffee is amazing!  Below is a photo of what I snagged last weekend. 

If you want to download the app and check it out for yourself, click HERE.  You will automatically get $10 added to your account once you redeem one rebate!  Such a great starting bonus! 

Monday night (Memorial Day) was interesting.  We had 15 confirmed tornadoes hit our area.  It was a very scary (and late) night.  Luckily, our home was not affected.  My school was ok, but the homes right across the street and behind it had some significant damage.  Another neighborhood where 90% of my students live was destroyed.  The whole city was on a boil advisory for 5 days.  Some areas are still on one.  Additionally, some areas do not have power restored yet.  Some fellow teachers and I took a cart of drinks and food/snacks around to the second neighborhood I mentioned.  It was so awful seeing the devastation, but we were happy to help out, even if it seemed minor.  Everyone was extremely appreciative.  I would share some photos, but for privacy reasons, I am choosing not to. 


With the tornadoes, we had one of our teacher work days taken away.  Our school lost power.  Luckily, I was able to finish my classroom.  It took me about 3 half-days to do it.  I threw away so much.  It was crazy!  We have gone to mostly box curriculum programs, so I just don't use a lot of what I had in my room.  I filled 3 of these large trash cans and gave away 2x the amount of things you see on that rolling cart below.  Yikes.



My teacher bestie and I (and our spouses) went out for dinner and drinks last night.  It was so much fun!  Don't ask me why we have the weird pose below!  Maybe it was the drinks....Cheers to summer break!


Have a wonderful week!
xo
Megan 
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 Hello and Happy Almost Summer to me!!!  I have 2 teacher work days left this week and then I am a free woman!  I hope you all are getting close to being finished, as well!  Thanks for stopping by for another "Sunday 6!"  This post is about 6 random things from my week.  Enjoy!
We received a surprise in the mail from Sandals!  Our trip to Jamaica is quickly approaching and I couldn't be more excited for it!  Have you ever done a Sandals trip?  This will be our 4th in a row (we are obsessed!) and our 2nd time to Jamaica!  So pumped about heading back to Jamaica.  The people there are very friendly, the area is beautiful, and the food is amazing!


Speaking of great mail, my "June Kindergarten Crate" arrived last weekend!  Can you figure out the theme by the photo below?  Such fun activities were included!  I especially loved the teacher gifts this month: s'mores coffee and new smelly markers!  The KC is such a great idea!  It's a subscription service and they send you a themed-box each month.  Each box includes a read-aloud picture book, student activities, supplies, and a teacher gift (or two)!  It originally began as a subscription box for kindergarten teachers, but has expanded to pre-K and first grade.  If you are interested in checking out Kindergarten Crate, click HERE!  You can always try one box first to see if you like it (or ask for a subscription as a gift!).


 Last week, my kids worked on/completed their Memory Books.  Each day, we completed one or two pages and when they were complete, I binded them together (and added in a few fun surprises: a class photo and student photos).  I gave the completed books to the kids on the second to last day of school (many kids do not show up on our last day because it is a 1/2 day).  They were DYING when they saw their books!  They loved the binding and the photos I added in.  Such a simple yet great gift for them!  If you want to check out the binding machine and coils I use for the memory books, click HERE.  Once you are at my Amazon store, click on "Classroom Supplies" to see the machine and coils.  Sidebar: We have a binding machine at school, but it's super old and the coils are cheap.

**In the future, I will most likely bind them first, to save time.  You can check out my memory book listing by clicking the cover page below.  Covers are included for grades k-2 and several pages are editable.  Check out the preview for more information.





 This next photo is simply a snack PSA.  It's legit the bomb.  Try it this summer and thank me later!


 Here's another simple gift I gave my kids: a personalized note.  I tried to include several compliments in each note as well as a note about what the kids told me they were doing during the summer.  The personalized touch really makes a difference!  My kids were THRILLED with their notes.  Their faces as they read them were truly priceless and it brought tears to my eyes.  When they were done opening them, they asked if they could read them aloud to the class.  So I said "Yes."  18 kids came up to the share chair and read their notes aloud.  It was so sweet.




 The last two days of school were full of tears, surprises, and excitement.  Below are a few goodies I got from my kids.  I NEVER get gifts for anything from my kids and I am totally ok with it.  I work in a low-income school district.  This year, however, I received several bouquets of flowers, a hanging basket, a $15 Starbucks gift card, some chocolate, and a fun wine glass!  I was shocked and so appreciative!





And THAT'S A WRAP, YEAR 15!  CHEERS TO SUMMER!


For end of the year ideas activities, click HERE!
XO
Megan 
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Hey friends!  Are you in the final stretch?  I have 4.5 days left with kids and then two work days after Memorial Day.  I can see the light!  Today's post is all about what I have done in the past/am doing during the final week of school.  I'll also be sharing what end of the year gifts I've given my kids over the years.

My "End of the Year Countdown" is a a great way to end the year!  You can choose to include as many links as you'd like.  On the back of each link is an activity...these are activities that you can add into your final days as something special for your students.  There are editable links included if you want to customize your own ideas!  In addition, I've included an "ABC Countdown," which includes links for every letter of the alphabet.  Each letter corresponds with a fun activity that begins with the letter's name!  So many options and so much FUN!



We love playing "I Have, Who Has" games!  This is the summer version and it will be put to good use during our final days together this year!



A memory book is a simple yet thoughtful keepsake to give your students.  I have my kids work on their memory books a little each day.  *This product has some editable pages included for you to add photos!!  Then, I bind the pages together using my binding machine.  Having the binding makes the books feel "real."  If I am extra ambitions, I'll laminate the front cover and a blank piece of white paper for a back cover.  This helps the books hold up.  



*The horizontal book is an old version of one I had in my store.  It's since been updated to the one above.




Crafts are a MUST at the end of the year!  They take up time and keep kids busy!  This year, we made these great ice-cream cones by Crafty Bee Creations.  In years past, we made the cars shown below from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  They have an optional writing page to go with them.  The saying is "Cruisin' to 2nd grade."  So cute.  Finally, the paper plate suns.  These are always a hit.  This year, I have saved them for the final week of school.  Typically I do them sooner and display them in the hallway.  This year, I just didn't find time.






Building in free play time the last week if school is something I have always done.  It allows me to spend time playing with my kids some of our final days together.  A few of the days, I will take for myself and work in the room while the kids play.  This year, my kids love playing school with markers, paper, pointers, flash cards, etc..They also love Legos, Play-Doh, and anything they can build with (Lincoln Logs, blocks, etc).

In addition to free time, there is always BINGO!  This week we will be playing both sight word and addition/subtraction BINGO.



Mini books + Markers= Another win.  Really letting kids use markers for anything is a sure hit!  We will be working on my "Summer Mini-Book" this week.  It's a great way to squeeze some reading instruction in at the end of the year.  We will search for punctuation, capital letters, and sight words.



I don't know about you, but during the last week, I am still trying to squeeze in a few assessments to ensure I have everything I need ready for report cards.  Assessing sight words is one thing I'll do as a final check.



This anchor chart is always a huge hit!  I prep the chart by writing the "I am"  and the kids tell something about themselves.  It's a great reflection tool.  Click HERE to grab free writing pages to go with this!


I pull out all of my summer themed read alouds and read one or two each day.  These always get kids excited for summer!


I always set up a little awards ceremony where I play music and use my microphone system.  In preparation, I get a large red piece of bulletin board paper and tape it to the ground.  It serves as the "red carpet."  I plan out an award for each student ahead of time.  These awards from Teaching in High Heels are the ones I've used for years.  The kids love getting recognized and walking the red carpet!


On the last day of school, I give the kids their end of the year gifts.  In the past I have done a book (we love Junie B. Jones!) and a personalized bookmark, a personalized water bottle, sidewalk chalk, and full sized candy.  *Not all of that in one year!  Just sharing some different ideas I've done over the past 15 years.


 These water bottles were from Dollar Tree.  The custom name labels were made with a Cricut.


The sidewalk chalk was purchased at Target and the free labels are from Teaching in the Tongass.


These Skittles were purchased in bulk at Costco and the free labels are from Pocketful of Preschool.
*She has tons to choose from!!*


I have put together summer review booklets and bags for my kids.  This includes Math and Literacy mini-books as well as some writing paper, reading logs, etc...I place them in a gallon ziplock bag with their gift and a last day certificate, and stick a name label on it.  One year, I bought white gift bags and stuck a cute tag from First Grade Blue Skies on the front.







These "____ is a 2nd grader!" stickers are from Creative Teaching Press.  I give the kids one on their way out the door on the last day!  *Unless of course someone is being retained.  In that case, no one gets one of these.


Love notes are my favorite thing to do the last week of school.  I tell my kids I won't look and I give them about 5 minutes to leave me a message on the board.  Once they've all left, I read through the messages (and usually cry).  I photograph them so I can always remember what they said.




Hope you found some new ideas! 
xo
Megan
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Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade Tidbits by Mrs. Wheeler - 2M ago
Hi, everyone!  This post has been in the works for about a month and I finally sat down to write it!  I finished teaching my kids all about silent e (through our Fundations Phonics program) about 2 weeks ago.  They didn't do so hot on the post-test, so I re-taught it, using my OWN Phonics supplements and re-tested.  The results were SO MUCH BETTER!  I love Fundations, but for some reason, my kids didn't grasp the silent e content.  I was so happy to have had all of these silent e resources to use for my re-teach!  I wanted to share the activities with you in case you want to check them out for your students.  *Everything will be linked for you below the activity pictures.

I always start with these Short Vowel, Silent e transfer mats.  I call out a short vowel word that can be transferred into a silent e word (example: fat--fate, not--note).  The kids write the words on their individualized mats and I model on the board by projecting the same mat and writing with dry erase markers.




I also include activities into centers.  This first center is from my Fundations Level 1 Phonics games and activity bundle.  It's a sentence scramble using unit words.  The kids assemble the sentences and then write them on their recording sheets.  Great activity! 


Here we are working on some silent e word building with magnet mats.  I printed the mats and laminated them.  The kids are using cookie sheets and magnet letters to build the words.  As an extension, I printed another set of the mats in black/whtie so they can write the words they build.



We practiced silent e words with these silent e mini stamping books.  The kids used stamps and ink to stamp the words.  When finished, they colored the pictures on each page.


Here, the kids sorted silent e words by their vowel sounds.  They then completed the corresponding recording sheet and wrote the words they sorted.


Below, the kids had fun painting silent e words.  This activity was purchased from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  This makes a highly engaging center!  Everyone was anxious to do this!


These are small silent e blending flashcards.  They are awesome for a quick review.  I have used them as an entrance into the room in the morning, as a review during Morning Meeting, and during Guided Reading.  They are also fun as an early finisher activity.  *I also have these available in cVc words.*


These silent e fluency strips are great fun, as well!  Kids read the words down the strips and mark an "x" at the bottom each time they do.  They practice each strip 3 times.  *I also have these available in cVc words.*


More silent e stamping.  These pages are less prep than the mini-books if you are in a hurry!  They also do not include pictures like the mini-books do.


I hope this gave you some fun and new ideas for teaching/reinforcing the silent e skill in Phonics!
xo,
Megan 
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Hi and welcome to another "Sunday 6."  Just a few more Sunday's left for me in the 2018-2019 school year!  It won't be long until summer...here's a recap of last week!  *Everything is linked for you if you are interested in seeing more!  
On Monday, Mr. Wheeler INSISTED that we go out to dinner for a date night.  I was super exhausted...but I went with him and was glad I did.  We went to BJ's Brewhouse and I got some yummy Brussels sprouts as an appetizer (he hates them so more for me!), chicken tacos, and then we shared (he ate most of it bc he is obsessed with these things) a pizookie!


 With just 3 weeks of school left, I have been trying my darnedest to keep things as normal as possible.  This includes having centers every day.  Lord knows they need them, as it's really the only time they get to move around...you have heard me talk about our MANY box curriculum that we have now...Anyways, last week for centers they played a board game, did a silent e sentence scramble, did silent e stamping, built silent e words with magnets and magnet boards, and listened to "Miss Nelson is Missing" for the listening center.  Usually 2-3 out of my 4 centers each week are games that correspond with our Fundations Phonics program.  You can check them out by clicking below.  It's really great to have the kids practicing what I have taught them during our Phonics block.  If you teach Fundations, I highly recommend this pack.  It would be great to snag now and prep during the summer months!






On Friday, I *gasp* strayed from the curriculum and we made a summer craft.  I wanted something to hang in the hallway for the last few weeks of school.  I had taken our Easter bunnies down and it was looking bare out there!  I think these ice-cream cones turned out so cute!  They are from Crafty B. Creations.



My best friend came to visit yesterday and we did some shopping at a few local shops and TJ Maxx.  I found a SJP "Lovely" perfume roller ball...it smells so good and it was our wedding perfume so I of course had to get it!

We also went out to brunch and attempted to take some car selfies!  Haha!





Yesterday I hit up Kroger strictly for Ibotta Rebate shopping.  I have talked about Ibotta here on the blog before, but if you are new, here's a quick rundown about how it works:

1.  You download the Ibotta app on your phone or tablet (use my code: yqbyqy) to get a free $10 for signing up).
2.  Browse rebates (you can select which store you shop it the most, or do multiple).
3.  Add rebates to your list by clicking on them.  Sometimes they have you watch a little 1 minute video advertisement.
4.  Go to the store of your choice and purchase items on your rebate list.  *Many rebates let you buy up to 5 of the item, so I like to stock up if it's a product we like or will use a lot.
5.  Once home, open the app.  Take a picture of your receipt.  Scan the items you bought.
6.  Money back/rebates will hit your account within minutes.  You will then have money in your account.  Once you reach $20, cash out.  Cash out for actual cash/Paypal/Venmo, or cash out for a gift card.  I love getting Sephora & Starbucks gift cards!  *I actually just shopped the Sephora sale and only paid $3.00 because I had $60 in gift cards from Ibotta.
7.  Check back weekly for new rebate offers to be added to your account!

I have been using Ibotta for a couple years and have earned close to $1,000!  It's so simple.  I highly recommend you signing up!  Be sure you use my code to get your $10 credit!






I have been printing all the things for the fall...I like to get as much ready now as possible!  My ole' faithful printer has been running great per usual!  A lot of people ask me which printer I have, so I will share the link here for you.    This is not a scanner...just a color/bw printer.  You can do labels in it if you choose.  The toner is expensive, but you don't have to replace it too often.  Click below to check it out.



Have a nice week!
xo
Megan 
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Hi and welcome back to another Sunday 6!  I have been on a 2 week hiatus!  Easter was last Sunday and the Sunday before I just didn't have time to get my post up.  Nonetheless, I am back!  Here are 6 random happenings from my week last week!  Enjoy!
Ok, I know I've shared this before (and recently) but it is seriously a game-changer!  This is a newer product in my store.  It's an "Early Finisher Board." To assemble, you put Velcro on the board and on the choice cards.  Each day or several times throughout the day, you can change the early finisher activity.  Having this visual eliminates kids asking "What should I do now?  I'm finished."  I tried to included activities that aren't ridiculous and don't take tons of prep...think coloring, play-doh, flash-cards, etc...*I have also included an editable page so you can create your own, specific activities.  I usually change mine twice...once in the morning and then once for the afternoon.  Click the cover below and experience this greatness!  Hahaha! 




If you have been with me for a while now, you might remember that I used to be an extreme couponer!  I love saving money and finding good deals!  I began my extreme couponing adventure about 8-9 years ago.  I have since stopped because the tv show ruined it and it became much harder to do.  One thing I did keep up with, however, is the Ibotta App.  Through this app, I simply look through grocery store rebates that are currently available.  I click "add" to add them to my list.  Then, when I go to the store, I make sure to buy those items.  When I get home, I open the Ibotta app, snap a picture of my receipt, and scan the items I bought.  It takes no time at all!  I get the money back into my account.  When I reach $20, I cash out for gift cards (I love getting Starbucks or Sephora!) or deposit the money into my Paypal account.  It's so good!  I have earned $900 back over the last 3 years doing this.  You can, too!  Just click this link to sign up and you will get an extra $10 after you redeem your first rebate!!  You will love it once you start!  I am obsessed!  

Below are a few photos of things I got this week.  

 I got $10.05 back for the items below:


This screen shot was for a trip earlier in the week, where I got $10.70 back.


I picked up the face cream for just $8.89 at Kroger.  Regularly almost $20.00!


I got my most recent Kindergarten Crate!  If you aren't familiar, KC is a monthly subscription box created for teachers!  With your subscription, you receive a themed box each month.  Inside you will find a grade-specific read-aloud book, a student activity, classroom supplies, and a teacher gift (woo hoo!).  KC can be purchased one time, in a 6 month subscription, or in a 12 month subscription.  The gals at Kindergarten Crate recently added a pre-kinder box and a 1st grade box.  When I saw they had a 1st grade box, I knew I had to have a subscription!!  Our days are full of box curriculum and the Kindergarten Crate has been providing more fun for us!  

The Kindergarten Crate is shipped on the third week of each month.  The box you get is intended to be used the following month.  For example, the third week of April, my box below was shipped.  It's the May box and is meant to be used in the classroom next month.  Take a look at what was inside this month's box!  Can you spot the theme?!   My kids love little "figures" and they are going to swoon over the ocean animal figures that are in this box!  Are you loving that teacher tee, or what!?  I can't wait to wear it to school.  So fun.  *Side note:  I always love that KC includes a picture book.  It's a great way to build up your library!  

Disclosure: I received my subscription in exchange for marketing.  However, all opinions about the Kindergarten crate are my own.   


 We have been earning our whole-group classroom rewards pretty steadily!  Last week we celebrated earning a gum party!  I picked up a few packs of gum and let the kids pick the piece they wanted to chew!  It was definitely a hit!  You can check this pack out below; there are many options included! 





 We have a beautiful, big deck on the back of our house.  However, it has aged.  It was here when we moved in 13 years ago and we believe it had been there for at least 12 years prior.  We usually power wash it and re-stain it every few years, but many of the boards were splitting, so we decided to replace some of them.  "Some" turned into "all."  Hahaha!  Mr. Wheeler has been replacing all of the boards and it has been a tremendous job.  He has nailed every nail in by hand.  He is just about finished.  The only thing that he left was the actual frame of the deck.  He's put in new benches, steps, and of course a new main area of the deck.  The next step will be to power wash it and get it stained.  We are looking forward to enjoing it this summer!  We're also in the process of finding a new patio set, because it just so happened that our patio table broke after 13 years as well.  LOL. 


Here he is about 1/3 of the way through the main deck board replacement.


Do you use Bob Books in your classroom?  Have you seen them before?  I have used them for many years.  I have used them during small group time as well as during silent reading time.  They have a clean layout, short words, and simple Phonics skills.  I have a bucket that is called "Readers" and I place the Bob Books in there.  I notice that many of my students who are just learning to read will select from that bin.  These books help build confidence!  You can check out Bob Books by clicking here.

I recently got a chance to check out a new set from Bob Books: Animal Stories.  Most of the words in this new set are mostly one or two-syllable words and contain short vowels.  This set also has tons of repetition and introduces consonant blends.  The silly animal characters will be sure to keep students' interests high!  This year, I have several students on academic IEP's and are just now beginning to read.  I know they will love these books.  The level of words in them is just right.  I am looking forward to trying these new Bob Books with them!  

Disclosure: I received this set of books in exchange for marketing.  However, all opinions about Bob Books are my own.   






xo
Megan 
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