Friday, June 29, 2012

Ideas and IKEA! My first independent post!

Hello bloggers!  Thank you all for your sweet comments about my blog, believe me, I needed the blogger confidence because this is all a little overwhelming at the start! Read all the way to the bottom to see how to receive Binder Labels, a teacher resource, for FREE! I feel like I word vomit (ew!) when I blog…but here I go…
Last year, as I have said, I moved to 4th grade.  Since all of my personal materials were first grade related, I felt that I was thrown in and never quite got completely organized.  All of my boards, binders, posters were a hodge podge of things given to me by other intermediate teachers and it was a MESS!  My room ended up looking like a rainbow exploded- eventually I couldn’t handle it and made a decision that next year, this upcoming year, this would change!  So, I have moved away from a disaster of colors to a simple three color scheme of beauty! I think my new color scheme will pose less distraction for my students AND it will make ME want to be in my classroom everyday!  I want to have a classroom where I want to be there, a place where I am excited about what I do, and an environment where that excitement is infectious to my students! To put it simply, I am trying to make my classroom my second home -  and why not right?! We’re there enough! ;)  
So…I have been on a gray, yellow and blue/aqua hunt since the idea popped into my brain last school year.  Everywhere I went…Target, IKEA, Dollar Tree, etc, I tried to make anything gray, yellow or blue into SOMETHING useful, even if it was a stretch! HA! Though I cannot get into my building until August, I am planning the layout, purpose, and décor in the BUSY, BUSY place called my brain.  Anyone else already waking up in the middle of the night with classroom thoughts and ideas?! We just can’t help ourselves can we…?! Summer break, schwummer break, we work year round!
Anyways, through my classroom decor exploration I have found several things I LOVE! The products I shall share today are just some of the things I bought from IKEA. These items are simply at my house right now, but I can’t wait to put them to use! (Before and after classroom pics to come in August! Wahoo!)
Magnetic Round Tins – $4.99/ 3 pack These will hold various school supplies in my room.  I just LOVE the idea that they will be readily accessible on my white board! I bought a set of three and I think I am going to grab a few more sets on my next trip! (Teacher trip #2 to IKEA is planned for mid-July!) They are found in the kitchen section, but of course my brain started wondering elsewhere.  These tins can also be used as a center/ activity storage for word sorting, etc. Due to the clear lid, you can place a label in the lid and the possibilities are endless!
How they come in packaging rom IKEA.

Frames- $1.99/ 3 Pack   I am SO EXCITED about these!  I bought enough for each student, plus extras (our school tends to, unfortunately, have a revolving door of children throughout the year).  Though there are SO MANY ways these could be used, I plan on putting silhouettes of the kiddos in them and have them write a “biography” about themselves to go along with it at the beginning of the year. I also have had the idea of creating a “frame wall” and putting something like “The Faces of Readers” or something of the like!  I am going to paint them or cover them/decoupage them with scrapbooking paper, to fit my color scheme of course!
Plant/Buckets- I am using 4 of the metal buckets ($0.79 each!) for fake plant holders (fake plant at IKEA for $5.99).  Each table of mine will have a small book shelf at the end (as seen on a VERY cute blog that I cannot recall?!) and I want to place a little plant there to simply make it homey! The rest of the bins will be used as supply storage or team/table supplies. I plan on labeling them…with some adorable label of course! ;)
Pillows- $9.99 I bought two of these for student reading spots.  My independent reading time (this year as part of the Daily 5!) consist of students reading in a reading spot to build their reading stamina. Fun reading spots also of course help increase student motivation! I have a rotating chart in which students rotate through all of our reading spots in the room- if they don't want to be in a certain spot they always have the option to stay at their desk. Regardless of where they are, whether it be the floor, on a pillow, on a bean bag, I like for them to be comfortable while also learning that reading can be done ANYWHERE!
Stools -  $5.99   I am THIRLLED about using these stools at my reading table.  I purchased six of them in light blue.  Not only will they look adorable, but my kiddos will be forced to sit up and be more attentive since there is not seat back. I think these stools will motivate the students simply because they are different then chairs they usually sit in everyday and hopefully they will enjoy them!

All of these items are getting me pumped about this school year and I think, as teachers, sometimes that little “umph,” whatever it may be, that gets us back into our groove is a good thing! Below are binder labels I have created to help me get everything organized and prepared, so that my décor and planning are equally ready to go…see below!
NOW…since you all have been SO kind as I enter this blogging world and I need some followers, I wanted to give away one of my teacher resources that I have created to use in my room this year…!

The first 15 people who email me, will receive the 30 page packet for FREE! (I plan to put it on Teacher’s Pay Teachers sometime today…I am having trouble loading it, I am still learning! It's my trial packet!) 
 SO… 1) FOLLOW ME !   2) EMAIL ME @ TELLING ME THAT YOU ARE NOW A FOLLOWER! Then, I will hit reply and send ya the file! J 

I hope you enjoyed a few of my “ thinking about back to school motivators” !  Talk soon!

Helllllllo blogland! I am SO excited to start blogging! I have followed so many people across cyberspace and have stolen/borrowed various ideas to use in my classroom that I simply adore- I can’t wait to share a few of my own with you! So… let me tell you a little about me and what to look forward to with At Home in First… My name is Ali Arnspiger (arn-spy-ger), recently changed from Ali Sorrels a few weeks ago! (It’s definitely going to take my kiddos a while to get used to the new name!) I married my best friend and love of my life in May! We have been together since high school and look forward to our new, married lives together. We have a dog, Max, who we adore and we introduced puppy #2 to our home this week! Although my blog will not be about dogs…be on the lookout for pics, I can’t help myself…they’re presh! ;) I am 25 and am passionate about teaching/literacy, kindness, friendship and hard work. My undergrad is in elementary education and I have my masters as a Reading and Writing Specialist (K-12). I am obsessed with… following teaching blogs, re-doing thrift store furniture/décor, organizing and contagious teachers! Nothing is better than being around a positive teacher with undying energy for his/her job. See picture below for a sneak peak of my classroom welcome sign/thrift store frame make-over…it’s still in the works! I am entering my fourth year of teaching…man, time flies! My first two years I taught first grade, and last year my principal asked me to move up to fourth, so I did. Fourth grade was different, lots I loved and definitely some things I missed about primary. Needless to say, I am moving back to first grade this year- I’M SO EXCITED! First grade gives me energy, excitement and simply a feeling of where I belong. I am VERY thankful that I taught fourth grade last year as it helped me to better see where my little firsties are headed long term! It also helped me to better understand the pressures of testing and how we ALL are SO important in preparing our students for the testing years! It starts in Kindergarten and EVERY person along the way has a HUGE impact. (I look forward to taking part in more vertical teaming this year- I say it’s a must!) This year I am re-doing a lot and I hope to share the changes in my classroom and new ideas in my blog! I have changed my color scheme, to gray, yellow and blue…I can’t wait to show you my great finds that I am using in my room this year! (A few teacher pals and I went to IKEA over spring break and went a little crazy…!) I plan on re-organizing all of my teacher “stuff”, labeling my activities/games and simply feeling more purposeful about EVERYTHING in my room! GOAL OF THE YEAR: Everything in my classroom (paper, books, binders, markers, activities, manipulatives… EVERYTHING) will have a place and purpose. Thank you to Jena Snowden (1st Grade with Miss Snowden) for the beautiful blog design! Jena was very helpful and patient with my changes along the way! You’re wonderful! Thank you, also, to Katie King (Queen of the First Grade Jungle) for persuading me to get started and showing me the ropes of blogland! Katie and I went to college together and her children were in my wedding this May! Love her to pieces! Thanks Katie- watch out though, I guarantee questions will continue to come your way. ;) Feel free to email me: Thanks for reading! I am just so excited about this blog and even more excited about being back, at home, in first! Stayed tuned…

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Blog and intro coming soon!

Hello blogland! Katie King (Queen of the First Grade Jungle) has asked me to guest blog for her Friday! She is a good friend from college and is so graciously helping me to jump start this blog! Be on the lookout for my introduction Friday, followed by IKEA finds and a freebie! (That is IF I can figure out all this blogging jazz before then!) Be patient with me...I'm still learning! AND I'm busy training this sweet pup this week, our newest addition! I can't wait to really get this ball rolling. Stay tuned...