First of all. . . THANK YOU so much for all of the kind words of support after my last post.  All of your emails, and comments made me feel so much more confident about next year. You guys truly are AWESOME and I WILL be coming to you for help.  Now on to today's post. . .

I love Tara's Monday Made It because I get lots of great ideas and knowing I want to participate helps to keep me motivated to get stuff done but. . . today I am soooo cheating.   Last week was a CRAAAZZZZY week for me (click here to read) so I didn't get anything new created. So today I'm sneaking in something that I made for my summer workshop SEA Lab last month.
Here is a simple math game that I made to go along with having students practice addition facts.  I call it Diving Into Dominoes.  These are the supplies I started with: 
One reality show later and I had created this with a recording sheet for the students to use during math time. 
Here is what the final product looked like during center time.  Students reached into the container (dived in) pulled out a domino and recorded their math fact on their sheet. 
That's it. . .short, sweet and to the point but the kids loved it.  I'm planning on using it with my firsties, what do you think????  I'll be sure to post the recording sheet as a freebie as soon as I can find it.  Until then, I'm off to be productive (ish).
SHINE on everyone!   
So I'm getting ready Monday morning and my phone rings and it's my principal.  I honestly couldn't tell you what she said after "Hi Stacy this is Mrs. ______"  because I think I went into some kind of shock. I do know that ten minutes later and ~ ~ I am now a first grade teacher -YIKES!  Oh by the way, did I mention for the past 17 years I have ONLY taught kindergarten?

There are tons of reasons why I am excited to make this change but I'm not gonna lie. . . I'm a little SCARED!  This is soooooooo out of my comfort zone.  Needless to say I have already called / texted all of my first grade friends, called my new grade chair and started a first grade board on pinterest.  If anyone has some first grade links, tips, blogs or ideas please, please, please send them my way.

Well my philosophy is when life gives you lemons ~ join Mrs. Lemons' Linky Party.

So here are some things about me:

1.  I was born in Kingston, Jamaica but I grew up in Miami, Florida.

2.  I started college when I was 16 (I turned 17 two days later).

3.  Speaking of college, I went to the University of Florida GO GATORS. I was actually in school when Emmett Smith was there pre, pre, pre Dancing With The Stars.

4.  I've been to Paris, Italy and England.

5.  I love baking but I HATE cooking.

6.  I was once on stage with Bob Barker and a winner of The Price is Right who I just met that morning.

7.  My sister and I flew to Vegas last year to see a Sting concert.

8.  I am addicted to Micky D's sweet tea.

9.  My mom and I have driven to Miami (4 hour drive one way) several times just for lunch.

10.  I'm a little bit addicted to reality T.V.  Some of my favorites are: Amazing Race, Storage Wars, Project Runway, The Real Housewives of (fill in the blank), Hollywood Exes, Big Brother, Bridezillas, and Teen Mom (don't judge me).
Since I've already answered most of the questions, I'm going to join the Newbie hop hosted by Grade Three Is The Place For Me.  Here are the rest of my answers for the party.

* * I teach in Florida.

* * I started posting at the end of January. 

* * My blogging tip is don't be afraid to ask questions.  I have learned so much by simply asking my fellow bloggers.  
I know, I know three linkys in one post is crazy but joining up with Fierce In Fourth was really a no-brainer. To join this party Ashley would like to know 3 things that I am jittery about for this new year.

1.  We are getting a new assistant principal this year.  My old A.P. was with our school since we opened and she and I had a great working relationship. . . I'm going to miss her.

2.  We are implementing lots of new things this year including: Common Core Standards, On-line Grade Book, and Performance Based Teacher Evaluation System. Just typing the list makes me jittery.

3. Helllllllooooooooo, did I tell you that after teaching kindergarten for 17 years I will be teaching first grade next year????

WOW, I'm starting to freak myself out but like Dory says from Finding Nemo ~ "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming".
SHINE on everyone! 

Today I'm jumping in with a quick post so I can join the party going on at Tara's blog 4th Grade Frolics.  It's time for Monday Made It.  I'm kind of starting to panic now that summer is almost over so I'm focusing on the "functional" like Tara said a few weeks ago here.
Each year I try to make my kids feel super special on their birthday. They get a special crown, they get to be the line leader all day, and the birthday frog sings happy birthday while the rest of the class dances for them.  Inspired by all of the birthday pixie sticks that I've seen floating around Pinterest, I decided this year to go back to one of my old favorites . . . birthday bags.

A quick trip to Walmart, some dollar spots and my secret magic closet and I got these supplies together.

One or two reality shows later and ta-dah ~ my birthday bags.  I think that the kids are going to love getting these as an extra special treat.  

Each bag ended up costing around $1.00ish to make but the looks on my kids faces when they get their bag is like the commercial says . . . priceless!

Click here to join the party.  I'm off to try to be productive today. SHINE on everyone!
Today I am linking up with one of my all time FAVORITE blogger   babes the hilarious, Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory for her linky party Rockin' Resources ~ Part Deux.  I love, love, love this party.
If you want to see my post from the last time we rocked this party out click here.  

Here are my must haves for the classroom:

1.  Cordless Glue Gun ~ This is one of the best purchases I have made.  My classroom has concrete walls and only ONE bulletin board.  The only way that I can hang things up is with my glue gun so it being cordless comes in very handy.
TIP: Laminated things stick to my wall and then peel off fine.  For construction paper I put masking tape on the back first before using my glue gun.

 2.  Stikki Clips ~ Since I only have one bulletin board, I created a wall using laminated scrapbook paper and these stikki clips (thank you Proteach for this idea).  It's hard to see from this picture but each sheet has 2 clips on the top.  When I'm ready to switch the kids papers, I just pull off the sheets and slide in their new project.  I've seen some people use clothespins but these have worked great for me.
This is the fourth year that this wall has been up and I haven't lost a clip or scrapbook paper yet.

3.  Name Badges and Clips ~ I write my kids name and lunch number on name tags, laminate them and put them in these badges.  My kids wear these for lunch and special area time for the first few month of school until the other teachers learn their names.  We also use these for field trips, substitutes and guest speakers.
I buy mine at Walmart but they sometimes have the vertical ones at the Dollar Tree

4.  The Desk Apprentice ~ It's big, it's expensive but it was worth the money.  This is one of the ways I try to keep piles of stuff off my desk. This baby holds a ton of my stuff and I love it.
The original is only available at Staples but only buy it when it goes on sale for 50% off.

5.  Handwriting Without Tears ~ Ahhhhh my new favorite classroom tool.  This is a handwriting program that I started using in my classroom this year and I saw amazing results.  I pinky promise that I will be doing at least one post about this soon (when and if I can ever stop hooking up with these great linky parties).

There you have it, my updated list.  Be sure to hop on over to Kelley's blog and join the party. 
Well, I'm off to stalk some more. SHINE on everyone!
I'm back from my little mini vacay ummmm. . . I mean I'm back from the wonderful workshop that my principal sent me to last weekend (more information about that to be posted soon). While I was on my little hiatus, I only posted once but I did have the chance to do some blog hopping.  There are so many great linky parties going on that I still want to hook up to.  For today I'm linking up with Michelle from Teach 123  for her linky party First Day of School.

As much as I HATE to admit it, I need to hunker down (is that a term others use or is it just a Florida thang because of our hurricanes???) and start getting ready for my new batch of superstars.  Good news / bad news time for me.  The good news, I will only have 5 - 6 kids in my room for the first three days of school.  Bad news, our students start school on AUGUST 20th YIKES!!!!

Our county does staggered start for kindergarten which means I only have 5 - 6 kids come on Monday, then I get a new group on Tuesday and a new group on Wednesday. Starting on Thursday all of the children report to school.  This has been such a great idea.  We get to do small group lessons, bond with the kids, teach them the procedures and even do initial assessments.  Since we have began implementing this I have noticed SUCH an improvement in students when it comes to their separation anxiety.  Knock on wood I haven't had many criers for the past few years.

Since we have such a small group of kids I take full advantage and try to put a lot into our day. We read books, sing songs, create a project, do a whole group math sorting activity, practice writing our name, and play in centers.  Below are some of my favorite beginning of the year books and a picture of our first classroom project. Thanks to Michelle from Teach 123 I will be doing a new activity for their writing portfolio on the first day (click here for your copy)  .

I always read I Love School on the first day ~ it's short and simple with cute pictures.

Students practice tracing, cutting, gluing, and following directions all in one simple project.

I have two objectives for staggered start:

1. Teach as many procedures as I can ~ our basic daily schedule, walking in line, washing hands, center rotations, cafeteria procedures, daily routines blah, blah, blah.

2. HAVE FUN ~ as long as the kids leave that day with a smile on their faces then I know I've done my job and hopefully they will be excited to come back.

What are some of your first day of school activities?  Click here to join the party. Well I'm off to hunker down.  SHINE on everyone!

CONGRATULATIONS to the 15 winners of my very first giveaway (see picture below). You can click here to see the official Rafflecopter results.  Ladies, be sure to check you emails soon for a message about your prizes.  I would like to say a big HUGE thank you to my fellow Floridian bloggers who donated items for the giveaway. . . you ladies really are FABULOUS.
I would also like to take the time to say THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the time to follow my blog.  I know how much I love reading everyone else's blogs and I feel honored that you would choose to follow me.  I have a lot of ideas floating around in my brain that I will be sharing soon so be sure to check back.

Until next time - SHINE on everyone!
I don't think that I have officially said this yet so here I go. . . I LOVE SUMMER VACATION!!!!! All of my friends know that this is without a doubt my absolute favorite time of the year.  I love hanging out with my friends and my family, I love staying up late, I love going on vacation, I love doing whatever I want to do.

Tomorrow I'm heading down to south Florida for a little mini vacay with my mom.  I'm really looking forward to seeing some old friends, eating some great food, and shopping in some of my old stomping grounds.  All of the pinterest projects that are pinned so neatly on my boards, will just have to wait, it's time for me to enjoy one of the perks of being a teacher.

If you haven't had a chance to enter my Florida's Fabulous 15 Giveaway be sure to click the picture below to enter.  15 people will have a chance to win a prize from 15 Fabulous bloggers who all live here in Florida.  Don't forget the giveaway ends at midnight on the 15th.

Well, I'm off to finish packing - SHINE on everyone!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to follow my blog.  In celebration of you, today I am hosting my very FIRST GIVEAWAY.  When I saw that I was close to 115 followers, I decided to do a giveaway featuring 15 different blogs.  Here's the twist, all of these blogs are from right here in Florida.  I am calling this giveaway. . .
Of course for this giveaway I had to feature all of my new blogging friends that I meet last month at our Florida Blogger Meet Up (read my post here).    I will be using Rafflecopter to select 15 different winners. Wait until you see all of the fantastic items that these ladies donated:
One person will win
 One person will win
 One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
  One person will win
Since this is my first giveaway I tried to keep things simple.  All you have to do is enter through Rafflecopter.  The links are all provided below but remember if you already follow these fabulous blogs or TPT stores you can enter by just clicking on through.  The last day for the giveaway will be on JULY 15th (of course).
GOOD LUCK - SHINE on Everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Today I am FINALLY linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It linky party.  I finally got a little productive last week and had the perfect project ready to link up but then SCREECH (imagine hearing me slam on the brakes) change of plans.

Last night I joined Farley's Currently Party and that changed EVERYTHING. On my list (click here to see my post) I mentioned wanting an ice-cream sandwich sundae.  Several people commented on this so last night I HAD to make one so I could share it with my blogging friends.  So here is my Monday Made It.

I got this genius idea from Stephanie's blog Falling Into First near the end of the school year.  My kids loved it so much and it was so super duper easy (click here to see my post).  I've been a little obsessed with them ever since then. 

Step 1:  collect all the items you like for your sundae

Step 2:  put it all together and enjoy 
Like I've said, I'm never scooping another bowl of ice-cream in my classroom again.  My kids loved it!!  Some of the kids didn't want any toppings and were perfectly happy to enjoy just the sandwich which was fine (more left overs for me to take home and use during the summer).  BTW Publix has the Fat Boys brand on sale BOGO until Wednesday - - I'm just sayin'.

The plans for my very first giveaway are almost set.  Be sure to check back later this week to check it out.  I promise, you won't be disappointed.  Until then hop on over to join Tara's Linky Party.

I'm off to see all of the great ideas.  SHINE on everyone!

Well it's the first of the month and that means two things.   Number one, it's time to pay my mortgage and number two it's time to link up with the one and only Farley of Oh Boy 4th Grade for her Currently Linky Party.  Here is what is currently happening . . .

I couldn't decide on just one favorite read aloud so I picked my newest favorite read aloud.  My friend Susie just introduced me to Memoirs of a Goldfish two weeks ago while we were teaching our summer SEA Lab workshop and I fell in love with it.  It's a perfect book for introducing journals to kids.
I know. . . I know. . . under the "reads"  I don't have a professional book listed but truth be told. . . I get most of my ideas from reading blogs and Pinterest.

Be sure to check back soon.  I will be hosting my very FIRST GIVEAWAY as soon as I hit 115 followers.  Until then, I'm off to stalk some more.  SHINE on everyone!
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