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!


  1. I cannot wait to read more from you :) Blogging is so fun. You are going to love it. :)

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

  2. I follow your blog and I am loving it!!!

  3. You are just precious...I understand about word vomit! =)

    I am so happy to have a new 1st grade bloggy buddy! =)


    Heather's Heart

  4. I'm your newest follower and I totally understand. I'm new to blogging too! Stop by sometime=)

    The Busy Busy Hive

  5. Precious blog, Ali! So happy for you that you will be back in first! First is my favorite!!! :)

    Kelli :)
    Castles and Crayons

  6. I just found your blog through your guest post on Katie's blog & I'm your newest follower! I am excited to read more of your blog!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  7. Enjoyed your guest post on Katie's blog! I'm a new follower! :-)

  8. I'm a new follower! Love you blog and look forward to future posts.

  9. I'm following you. :-)

  10. I am a new follower! :) Love your blog.

  11. I'm a new follower. I couldn't go to sleep the other night because I was thinking about my new theme in my classroom. I had to get up and blog about it. I would love if you stop by my blog sometime. I'm a newlywed as well.
    Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

  12. I am a new follower too! I am starting my first year teaching in 1st grade! Gathering lots of ideas!Love IKEA, what a great place to shop for classroom ideas!

  13. I have never been to IKEA. I'm going to hve to see if there is one near me.
    I gave you an award, buzz by to pick it up=)
    The Busy Busy Hive

  14. I was just in IKEA loading up supplies! I love your color theme, I am hoping to do the same this year. Looking forward to following your blog. -Erin

    1. Yay- hope you got some great goodies! Thanks! I went crazy at Target tonight...look for a post here soon, SO MANY gray and yellow items!

  15. Hi Ali,
    Thanks for sharing so many great ideas! I love the use of the magnetic round tins (I'd only ever used them for spices) Am so glad that I found your blog and I am giving you the One Lovely Blog Award. :) Come by and see.