Well, people...I'm about to be a real adult.  On Sunday, I will turn 30.  I'm creepin' closer to "mid-adult" status and getting farther away from "young adult" status.  BOOO!

I'm just kidding!  I'm so thankful for the 30 years God has given me so far.  And I'm really not one to celebrate my birthday in a big way.  Just a simple family dinner will do.  Probably because I don't like to have the spotlight on me.

But this year...

....I got challenged to do the ALS #IceBucketChallenge by my dear friend and teammate, Elizabeth Powers.

So, since it's my birthday week and all, I decided to go all out.

Monday, I did the Ice Bucket Challenge at school...with my first graders.  24 of my babies got a cup of ice water and they each got to dump an "ice bucket" on Mrs. Shaddock.   Yeah, they pretty much thought this was hilarious!  Of course, when I showed my almost 2 year old, he bawled.  Like uncontrollably.  I had to turn it off after about 3 dumps to calm him down.  Seriously, ya'll, it was SO. SAD.  After deep discussion {errrr.... my yes/no Q & A session}, I learned that he was scared Mommy was being hurt.  What a sensitive boy!  Poor thing!

Anyways, I decided to take this challenge a step further.  My sweet first grade team is in charge of our first Awesome Attitudes Assembly on September 5th.  That means, we provide the entertainment and teach the attitude and profile words for the month.  This month's words are risk-taker and caring.  So, I challenged our school in our video to be caring thoroughbreds and donate to ALS.  We are starting a dollar drive on Tuesday.  The kids {or adults!} bring in a dollar, and get to vote on who they want to challenge for our LIVE ice bucket challenge on September 5th.  That teacher or staff member will do the ice bucket challenge on our stage in front of our entire school!  How FUN!!!

On top of that, I learned this afternoon that my sister-in-law is doing a Pay It Forward celebration in honor of her sweet angel baby who only lived a few minutes, and left behind a beautiful twin brother.  They each just celebrated their 1st birthday last Tuesday.  Jax on earth and sweet Harper in Heaven.  I immediately thought of this drive and thought it would be the perfect way to acknowledge my angel niece in honor of her "angel-versary" {as my sister-in-law calls it!}  You can read about her amazing journey and testimony here.

Check out my ice bucket challenge video below!

PLUS, everything in my TPT store will be on sale 10% off this through my birthday on Sunday.  And an additional 10% of my sales will be donated to ALS from now through Sunday.

Visit my shop to help me celebrate my birthday and honor a great cause!

We made it!!!  For my teacher friends who, like me, survived the first week of school: YAY YAY YAY for us!!  Thank you, Jesus, for the weekend to relax with my family--I haven't been able to do that in a few weekends!

I had a fantastic first week with kids.  Exhausting.  But so great.  I love my class already.  Every year just gets better it seems like!

As I'm sure most of you know, the first 2 weeks of school are spent doing procedures and testing every single kiddo individually on reading levels and in math.  A week later, I have a little over half of my crew tested....phew!  So, here's a little "mash up" of the highlights from our week when I wasn't neck high in DRA papers!

On the first day of school we read David Goes to School and wrote rules for our classroom {Read about it HERE.}  Because the first day of school is always sooooo cRaZy busy, we waited to do our David craftivity until Friday.  And they turned out. so. cute.  I just love the individuality that comes out in the "Here's my model, you do it and make it your own" crafts!  You can seriously see each of their little personalities in their Davids!

This David is from a co-teacher's room.  How hilarious is this??  Spiky hair, don't care...
You can find the lesson plans, craft instructions and writing master in my Responsibilities Unit.

In writing, we did a time capsule activity with a little *FROZEN* twist.  When we came back from lunch, we had a special visitor sitting on an ice chest awaiting our arrival!

The picture is after the fact, but I taped a note to the front of the ice chest straight from OLAF!

We opened up the ice chest and found our time capsule pages to fill out.  I had left the ice chest in the freezer at our school with the papers and OLAF in there and the kids thought it was so amazing that their papers were frozen!  The papers were still pretty cold when they got to their desk with them!  And while we were working, I had one kid say, "So THAT'S why it's so cold in here!  OLAF made it cold in our classroom!"  I. Love. Firsties.

So, we wrote our first week memories down.  Then, my intern stamped handprints and I measured our heights with a string while the kids colored their pictures and finished up their writing.

Then, we placed our time capsules  back into the ice chest and sent OLAF back to the freezer to *freeze* our memories until the last week of school.  We will, of course, get our first week memories back out and write the last week of school memories! {Edit...read about how we used this at the end of the year HERE.}  Hands down, this is one of my favorite and most engaging activities yet!

This was so easy to do and doesn't have to be done on the first day of school...in fact, we had too much to do on day one so we didn't even do this until our 3rd day of school.  So, it's not too late!  You can find my FROZEN in time packet HERE.

In math this week, we have been exploring our manipulatives.  3 out of 5 days a week are dedicated to math word problem solving {Read about it HERE} which means my babies use our math manipulatives a LOT!  So, they have to know Math Practice #5 really well....
You can find posters and I Can charts for all 8 Standards for Math Practices HERE!  Using these practices to set goals for my kids each week has changed my teaching life!  Seriously.  I don't know why I was so scared to use them before last year!

We spent one day exploring our tools by rotating through 3 different stations of tools.  Then, we talked about the "don'ts" with our math tools.

The next day, we talked about using tools to learn math.  We brainstormed a list of things we could do with our tools for math {counting, patterns, sorting, composing and decomposing numbers...} and then we practiced using our tools for math.  Then we added a try new tools and they were to try a new tool for math.  Then we practiced using a tool of their choice to model a problem and show their thinking.

Now they will be ready when we start our math mysteries next week!

A lil' bit of this and a lil' bit of that this week!  But plenty of fun and engaging learning amidst the piles of assessments!

Our district superintendent says it best:  "Teaching is the only profession where you get to start over again, year after year."

Had a rough group of kids? You get to try again next year.

Didn't like the way certain things went? You get to try again next year.

Had a perfect class and everything went smoothly? You can loop with them and start over learning a new grade! :)

This was my 9th time to "start over" and it was a great day!  But I am also currently wondering if 7:48 is too early to go to sleep... {not kidding!}  My precious husband has learned how exhaustion the first two or three weeks back can be and even bought me chocolate to get me through the week AND offered to buy groceries yesterday!  Man, I'm lucky to have that man around!

I start every year off reading First Day Jitters.

This year, when we were talking about what the word "jitters" might mean, I asked {as I usually do} who all had jitters in their bellies this morning?  Several kids raised their hands, some said that they didn't have any, but for the first time in 9 years, I had a boy say,

The first day always seems to be filled with rules, rules, and more rules.  As I told my intern this morning, I try to make the first day as memorable and fun as I can, but there are just so many procedures to go over.  I seriously feel like I talk for 7 hours straight!  And I feel so sorry for my sweet 6 year olds by the end of the day!  We went over rules in the cafeteria, rules for the playground, rules for the hallway, rules for our own class, how to do morning procedures, how to clean up to go home, how to transition between desks and carpet, bathroom rules...and the list goes on.  

This book makes going over rules a little more exciting for the kiddos and they love inferring about what David is doing wrong in the story!  It's a great text to get some high-level thinking going on from the first day.

After we read the book, we brainstormed rules for our classroom.  Then, they each wrote their own rule for our class.  Later this week, we will be making a David craft to hang in the hallway with our writing.  My personal favorite rule this year...

We read through everyone's rules and then fit them together to make our 5 rules for our classroom.  We have motions that go with each of our 5 rules and we practice them 5,342 times a day...or at least it seems that way!  They were already becoming pros by the end of the day today!  {You can find my rule posters plus the rest of my classroom management materials HERE.}

Other than procedures and introductions, the biggest part of the first day of first grade is making sure kids get home!  We graphed how we go home {from this packet.}

....and *slapped* labels on kiddos this afternoon! Ha!  I just about did the hallelujah dance this afternoon, too, because all but 3 of my bus riders already had their bus number memorized!  It's the little things, people!

Maybe it's because I always remember how mentally exhausting it is to go over rules all.day.long.  Maybe it's because I feel sorry for 6 year olds having to listen to my voice so much during the day.  Or maybe it's just because I want my firsties to have a special first day with a little bit of fun memories to take with them.  But whatever the reason, I love sending home a treat with my kiddos on the first day of school.  And for my ELL babies learning English, it's a perfect opportunity to talk about what the idiom, "piece of cake" actually means.

In the midst of all of the craziness of lining up to go home, and passing out cakes, one sweetie said to me as we were hugging goodbye,

Oh. My. Word.

This group has my heart already.  But who am I kidding?  Nine years later, no matter how many times I "start over," each group seems to steal my heart in their own way by the end of the first day!

One of my goal's this year is to link up with the Peek At My Week greatness going on at Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten.
Nothing too detailed, just an overview of what I'll be doing in each subject area during the week.  Pictures of products with related materials, charts, and/or lesson plans will be attached.  So visit my TPT store to find the products to use yourself!

On day one, I'll be sending home a "Meet the Teacher" note with parents, along with a note about Class Dojo {the classroom management system I'm using this year}, and our daily schedule {see below!}

Here's the first week.  Just looking at it makes me completely exhausted and totally excited all in one...and my week hasn't even started yet!

Stay tuned, because I'm sure there will be *p*l*e*n*t*y* of memorable things to blog about this week!

Best of luck on your first day too!  Let the GOOD TIMES begin! :)

{{The following pictures are my dad's original idea...who asked for them for a back-to-school rally he is speaking at!}}

Just a little back to school fun based on the favorite children's book...

If you take a toddler to school...

He'll probably ask for a lunchbox.

When you give him a lunchbox, he will put it away and see the flag.

Seeing the flag will remind him he needs to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

When he finishes the pledge, he'll sit down at his desk.

...and take a look around...

He might do a little math.

And read a dictionary.

When the toddler reads the dictionary to the Sneetch, he will notice the word MAP.  That'll remind him to practice his continents...

Practicing the continents will remind him about the planet Earth.

Which will remind him to teach the other planets to his friends, Sneetch, Grinch and Moose.

Reading about the planets to his friends will make him tired.  He'll be ready to run out the door to go home.

The ride home will make him hungry.

So, he'll probably look for his lunchbox.

...and chances are, if he finds his lunch box...

He'll probably want to go...

...back to school!


Pre-Cooper my classroom was ready to go by the fourth of July...

Now, here I am 22 months post Cooper.  It's the day before I go back and I'm just now--almost--finished setting up for my firsties!  {What a difference a baby makes!}

9 years later I'm still doing western in my room.  Sure, I could re-do, but I just love it too much!  Plus, with all of the new burlap and chalkboard stuff out, I can add new touches here and there to make it fresh!

Here's a look at my room so far!

**It should be noted that my group shelves always have plants on them, like the picture below from last year.  I just haven't bought them yet, because I don't want them to DIE before kiddos come since I'm not up there full time yet! :)** {{EDIT: plants have been added!}}
Here is a close up of the plants.  The plants are a whopping $4.67 at Wal-Mart.  I add a little ribbon to the pot it comes in...and this year I add the Fruits of the Spirit to each of my pots in chalk marker as a personal reminder for me throughout the year.

My hallway area! "Hats Off to Great Work!"
The "Wanted" posters are empty now, but will soon have 25 precious cowboy and cowgirl faces pictured on them! Can't wait to love these babies!  Plus, I bought a new rustic chalkboard to display our standards and objectives for work.

My desk...which I never EVER sit at...are there any teachers out there that actually *sit* at their desk?  It's beyond me how that happens with 25 littles in the room!  Still need to add our theme poster for our first unit and its essential questions! {...add it to the list, people!}

Small group intervention area.  I pretty much sit at this "desk" with 6 firsties at least half of my day!

Still in love with this bandana lamp I made a few years ago with some el-cheapo bandana fabric and thick twine.

Saw this quote at God's Gift To Teachers, errr, Hobby Lobby, and just HAD to have it this year.
And I'm soaking up the fact that the clipboard is empty...for now!  It will be holding formative assessments and checklists soon enough!

Writing area with my filing cabinet in a not-so-random spot between my writing station and classroom library.  What a great "blocker" it makes during station time! :)

New this year is my calm down area.  I've always had a designated spot for this, but this year I've added the chair {which I repurposed after not using for a few years}, book, signs {which you can get in my classroom management packet-->HERE} and a basket of calm down goodies {mirror, stress ball, hourglass timer, and Telly the Turtle...who is sure to hear about all of the trials and tribulations of first grade this year!}

This is our classroom library area. "Reading Corral."
New book tub labels this year.  Find them and 4 other designs-->HERE!

Out with the old word wall, and in with the new word wall cards!
You can find the complete word wall packet in 3 designs, including letter cards, sight word cards, abc charts and student word wall booklets {chevron, jungle and western}-->HERE!

Setting up a classroom is all in the details!  Here are a few of my favs!  Border around the sink mirror!

A little scrapbook paper and button details make our Promethean Board look like overalls! :)

 And "cart skirts" Velcroed on hide all of those nasty cords!

This year's "What We're Learnin'" focus wall.  You can find the schedule cards and Common Core "I can" objectives with standards-->HERE.
And last, but not least, my welcome area which gets seasonally decorated throughout the year.  

My birthday balloons, copied from an idea on Pinterest. {Pixie Sticks taped to a balloon cutout.}
 I take birthday scrapbook accessories, laminate them and attach them with mini-magnets on the back to display each month's birthdays!

This year, I added one of my all time favorite poems in a frame.  Love the daily reminder of my mission as a teacher!  Download you {{FREE}} copy-->HERE.
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