Sunday, August 3, 2014

Who Doesn't Love a Sale???

Pssst....Hold off on those TPT purchases for just a little while longer! Your patience will pay off! Their huge sale is being held Aug 4-5. My store will be 20% off and many other sellers will be offering great deals as well. With all the money you save, you can buy a few more bottles of glitter glue, Diet Coke, or hand sanitizer (you'll thank me later for the ideas).

So...are you ready for tip #2 in our efforts to get and stay organized? 

 (Sorry the picture is dark! Still working on camera skills!)

I got this idea from my partner teacher Sandi Hoon. These cardboard boxes (also called magazine holders) marked with days of the week are perfect for sorting worksheets, mail, and any other papers you will need for each day. As soon as you make your copies, put them in the right box. If you don’t get to them, just move them to the next day’s box. 

A bonus tip is to leave extra copies in the correct day’s box.  That way, when a student returns after being absent, you’ll have their make up work at your fingertips!

This REALLY comes in handy when you have to call in sick and have your plan book at home with you! At least your sub will have the resources they need to get through the day while you sip on hot tea and chicken soup.

Don’t forget to comment with your great ideas also!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Organizing and staying organized in your classroom

As the end of July draws near, our thoughts turn to back to school sales, Teachers Pay Teachers, laminating, bulletin boards, and all those other tasks that if done now, will make our teaching lives easier in the year to come. My main goal every summer is to get my classroom perfectly organized. And I start a new school year in fairly good shape.

But although I start out by having all my ducks in a row and everything labeled and in its place, barely a week goes by when I look around at my classroom and disarray and wonder what happened!
Although there are many blog posts out there about getting organized, I have not found many that focus on staying organized.

After teaching for 15 years, I have found a few things that have helped me keep my sanity and keep my organization within working parameters. I'd like to share a few of these with you over the next few days. Please share your ideas as well in the comments. Over the years, I've learned more by collaborating with others than any other way.

TIP #1:
Assign each student a number. I try to do these alphabetically but you know how that goesthe minute you get it all done, a new kid moves in that should be #15 alphabetically, but will now have to settle for #22. However, if you can still the OCD demons, this system makes handing back papers and recording grades SO much easier.

This little song helps them remember to put their dang names and or numbers on their papers. I did the poem/song both ways.
Click on the link below to grab your FREE copy at my TPT store!

That’s it for this post! Be back soon with another handy tip!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thank you for your patience!

We're baaaack!
Hi! Sorry for the incredible delay in posting! Life just got in the way. 
But with all the snow days we've had lately, I feel like we're a bit ahead of the game, for once. So I managed to create a new file for the Chinese New Year to post in our store at TeachersPayTeachers. Unfortunately, uploading it didn't work for some reason. So I went onto TeachersNotebook and signed up for a store there. And the upload worked! Too bad it's a day late! Oh well, maybe someone can use it for next year! 
I went ahead and tried it out with my class yesterday. They were absolutely THRILLED to get a little red lucky envelope sealed with an Asian stamp with a fortune tucked inside. You would have thought I had handed them an envelope filled with money! 
They giggled as they read their fortunes. And I heard oohs and ahs as they claimed their fortunes came true. The little girl who got "You will smile at someone" giggled as another boy pointed out to her that she was always smiling so it obviously had to be true. A boy who got one that said "You will take 100 steps or more today" opened his eyes wide in amazement as he claimed that he never thought he did that much walking in one day!
I have 22 students and had 33 fortunes. So I read all the leftover ones aloud at the end. They were all pointing out that these were all true for me (especially the one that said I would be cleaning something soon--ahem, as in my desk!).
Here is the cover of my upload:

I was really happy with the purchase I made of Chinese clip art. It makes it all look so polished. Here is a sample page of the kid-friendly fortunes I created:
Here is what the final envelope looked like:

So darn cute, right? 

You can get this fabulous file by clicking on the following link:

It's parent-teacher conference time. I'd better get back to work!
Be back sooner this time!

Meenal Parikh

Sunday, June 30, 2013


It's that time of year again... In my 14 years of teaching, I have moved or changed my teaching space 12 times. This year is one of those times, again. 
The good news is, I'm moving from a wide-open pod classroom to an enclosed room with walls and a door! I'm super-excited about that. 
But the not-so-good news is, it's a LOT smaller of a room than what I had before. So that means all my 14 years of accumulated stuff can't come with me. 
So I'm taking this opportunity to make lemonade out of these lemons and make the best of the situation. I've decided to de-clutter!
I had to start with my classroom and professional library. Even my principal resorted to calling me a book hoarder so I knew it was time to do something. I went through and pulled out all my professional books that I haven't referred to in years (if ever!) and then I went through 50+ baskets of kids' books. I pulled out duplicates, old books and much-loved books that were not-so-much-loved anymore. I mean, has anyone had a kid actually ask for a Rugrats, Amelia Bedelia, Berenstain Bears, or Arthur book in the last ten years?
I'll be honest. My books are my treasures to me. Last year, several kids in my class said that next to me, they'd miss my library the most. So just giving the books away was not my first thought. But after making a trip to Half Price Books in hopes that they would offer me about $30 for my awesome professional books, I was instead told that they couldn't use any because they were overstocked in that category. 
So, I decided to pay it forward. I am donating my books to a brand new teacher who has nothing. I've had fabulous friends through the years who have done the same for me, so now it's my turn. Here's a picture of just the kid books that I'm giving her.

So when I titled my blog entry "Moving", I realized that it wasn't just about moving my stuff into a new physical space. It's also about moving on and letting go. And being totally okay with that.
I hope to do a much better job of keeping this blog updated. Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Time for BIG Numbers!

It's been quite a week at school! We've had parent-teacher conferences Tuesday evening (which I truly enjoy!) and the 100th day of school on Friday. To top it all off, us three first grade teachers decided to dress up like "old people" just we asked the kidsto do in order to celebrate the day. Needless to say, it was a CRAZY day! Here's a picture of us nuts:

I'm the one in the rollers, head scarf, slippers, and housecoat on the left. My two co-workers needed walkers so with only a cane, I was the nimblest of them all. It truly gave everyone a good belly laugh to see Sandi (the one in the middle) take ever-so-long to get down the hall in her walker. Her large pill-box and bingo card also made the picture complete. Heather (on the right) got the gray hair bun by using baby powder!
We had so much planned to mark this special day and actually got to about maybe 10% of it. The best was the self-portraits the kids did of themselves as 100 year olds. They wrote about what they WON'T be able to do at that age and what they WILL be able to do then also.
But boo to me because I forgot to take pictures before leaving school on Friday (justifiable exhaustion is the excuse here!). I promise to add those next week.
To top off the week, I turned 50 today! I don't feel 50 and I truly believe it's because I work around so many young souls. And one is as old as one feels, right?
The highlight of my week was when my class, while counting to 100 by tens, stopped at 50 to sing Happy Birthday to me! It's been a while and I was so tickled!
I know our blog has a lot of followers out there and we truly appreciate all of you! But unfortunately, only 8  show up on our page as followers! I'm wondering if it has something to do with "Google"? If any bloggers out there know why, please let us know! Also, is there a reason some people can't post comments on our blog?
Next week is going to be a short week as we're off for a nice, long 4 day weekend! Yay! More time to post stuff on here.
Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More Fun with "Fundations".

Who would've thunk it? Certainly not Stephanie and I! We are surprised to find that 6 people actually purchased our Fundations Unit 7 SmartBoard Lesson that was posted on TeachersPayTeachers a week ago! We really haven't had a chance to advertise or push it on other people's blogs. So it's been a pleasant surprise.

It feels so good to have someone out there that can use what we've created and have been using in our classrooms all along.

Like we said when this blog was first started, it's nice to give back.

Unit 8 is a similar lesson and was posted late last night (well, actually REALLY early this morning **YAWN**). It's been priced the same as Unit 7. We hope that people who are purchasing this are finding it useful. If anyone has any suggestions, they are much welcomed and appreciated.

Here is a link to our TPT store if you would like to check out our newest product:

And we're up to 8 followers on our blog! Please help spread the word. I know it's not the prettiest blog out there but we mean well and will add more as we learn it to make it more appealing.

By the way, TPT is having a big sale today and tomorrow. (Just type in code word SUPER when checking out to get a discount).

Now that the Superbowl frenzy is over, I get my TV back and I can watch Downton Abbey in peace.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And We're Off!!!

Hello friends!
We are happy to announce that we made our first sale on Teachers Pay Teachers! Our share came to a whopping $1.50 but everyone has to start somewhere, right? We will follow our friend Sandi's advice and not spend it all in one place!

Today we spent the day at an in-service looking at the Common Core Standards for first grade and developing a pacing guide to go with it. We used google docs to adjust the document as we went. It was really cool to see our collaborative efforts take shape! In a few months, we will meet again to choose assessments to go with these standards. It's exciting work and felt good to work with other first grade teachers that we don't get to see very often.
So tomorrow will be our first day back with our students since last Thursday. Meenal plans to follow Reagan Turnstall's (fellow blogger) advice and take LOTS of pictures of our products as the students create them.

Since Meenal has an owl theme going on in her classroom this year, here are the PERFECT bathroom passes:

(Ok, confession time here.  Meenal just wanted to practice inserting a picture into the blog format. And it worked!)

But if you really like the owls, they are from a local teacher store and are made of rubber. In class, they are wrapped around a bottle of hand sanitizer. They leave these on their desks while they go to the bathroom. When they return, they can use the hand sanitizer if they forgot to wash their hands (yes, first graders really DO forget...often!) and then it goes back on the shelf. It's a system that works well.

Report cards are almost done. Parent teacher conferences are next. So we'll try to slip in a blog post or post a product on TPT as soon as we can.

Sounds like most of the country is in a deep freeze right now. If that includes you, try to stay warm. If you're living in warmer climates, enjoy (and pardon us while we shoot you dirty looks)!