Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Classroom Reveal!


I didn't post yesterday so I am sneaking it in here too :)

Thanks to Amy Lemons for making this cute little background. Here's a little bit about ME (Shelby) - the author behind First Time Firstie.

Here's my lovely home away from home. My theme is bright colors :)

View from the door :) There's LOTS of good stuff in this picture. I have 6 tables (all color-coded). The back counter is full of toolkits for Writer's Workshop that students will use at their tables. There's also paper baskets which will hold special papers for our Daily 5 writing. We will be using Cara Carroll's Work on Writing packet so each basket will hold a different type of writing: letters, lists, stories and prompts. There's also the ultra important word wall and my GORGEOUS book cover banner. Wish I had a better picture of this! My mom is a craft goddess. Also, shoutout to Maria Manore for the AMAZING tutorial (or so my mom says - ha!).

This is on the direct left of the door. This is the library where students will pick their dessert books. We wrote our own classroom rules so I won't be having the cute WBT rules up anymore :( I still need to cute-ify our rules we wrote down.

Front of the room! Obsessed with my easel.

Yes, a close up was necessary.

My desk, organizers, and Leader in Me clipchart.

Don't mind how blank everything is. This would be the first day of school - there's more up now but still lots of anchor charts to make! Also, obsessed with my Big Lots containers.

Leveled library! Can't wait to put this to good use. The baskets above are for Writer's Workshop and hold rough draft paper, writing booklets, extra booklet pages and final copy special pages (covers, about the author, etc).

What do you think? Comment with questions about where I got anything. A lot of it is new and may still be available :)

Linking up with the Blog Hoppin' girls.

Happy Back to School,

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently.

Hey friends! I'm here linking up with Farley for August Currently.

Listening: Love me some Queen B. Anyone else become obsessed with certain songs and listen to them repeatedly until they have them memorized?!?!?! Yeah…me neither.

Loving: I'm dog sitting for one of my sweet teammates and loving it! She's such a lovey dovey dog (and I can actually pick her up unlike my dog who weighs 90 lbs). I'm loving the quiet, quality time with myself. Oh okay, and Netflix.

Thinking: Sooo I totally forgot my hairdryer at my house. Which means my hair is air drying (scary town). My hair is also really thick so it's going to be awhile. Guess I won't be going anywhere haha.

Wanting: I JUST WANT TO DECORATE MY CLASSROOM. We are completely renovating our entire school this summer. Notice I am using present tense because it's not finished yet. I truly mean everything in the school: ceilings, carpet, bathrooms, library (including furniture), gym floor, cafeteria floor. All the classrooms got new little shelving too! I can't wait to get in there and get to work!! I have my fingers crossed that we can get in Monday.

Needing: I have been meaning to read Harry Wong's The First Days of School all summer. AND I just found a book one of my teammates loves at a garage sale for $2. Anyone ever read The First Six Weeks of School by Paula Denton & Roxann Kriete? My teammate swears by it. I really need to get these read especially since the first week is right around the corner!

First Day: I go back the 6th. However, most teachers are going back the 7th. I'm on our school's Lighthouse Team for Leader In Me (any other LIM schools out there?!). We are implementing it this year so we are starting a day early to do some prep work and additional training. I'm really excited! We had our 3 day training from FranklinCovey at the beginning of this week and it was great :) Kiddos come the 13th so that's right around the corner!!

Happy Back to School Season!

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Friday, August 1, 2014

How I Saved $100 At Lakeshore

Alright friends. If you know me, you know that I love shopping. If you know me well, you know that I'm secretly kind of a cheapskate. An interesting combination of my parents. I live in a constant struggle of hating to spend money and spending it like a lunatic. But when I DO spend it, I always always always wait for the perfect moment.

Disclaimer: Ignore my hot mess living room in the background of pictures. It's my storage unit for all my classroom things while my school is being remodeled.

Primary Set: SALE for $15.19
Orange & Purple: $4.99 each

Privacy Partitions (set of 10): DOORBUSTER for $16.99
Ten-Frame Set: 4-pack for $19.99

Classroom Carry-All: SALE for $15.99
Sound Phones (set of 10): DOORBUSTER for $29.99

Now, who here uses coupons? Probably all of you (and if not, you need to get on it). I used to do that, get a coupon for $15 off of $30 at Express and buy a cute top or something. Until I got smart. I started working retail and saw these women coming into the store and getting CRAZY deals! Because they doubled up.

Well, people. I quadrupled up. At Lakeshore Learning. The Holy Grail of Teacher Supplies; the best stuff on the market (and one of the most expensive!). Don't worry, though. I'm sharing my tips with you:

To opt in and start receiving messages, you can sign up at your local Lakeshore store or here online. The image here shows some of the past offers I've received. For this shopping trip, I had a 20% coupon that I used on giant magnetic ten-frames. I can't wait to use these in math this year!

You absolutely have to get their e-mails. I know getting tons is annoying, but how else would I have scored BOGO Half Off? Helllllo unifix cubes and a math game!

As you might have noticed above, I purchased a lot of their doorbuster items. Any of the links above that say DOORBUSTER will take there :)

The coveted coupon. You can't use it on door busters or for sale items, but you can use it on anything full priced! I used mine on a math game (listed below).

Who doesn't love FREE?! I already have my planner for next year, but my mom is going to use this one.

A few of the deals are only for Teacher Club Members, but it's free to sign up for so DO IT! They also offer special discounts all year for Teacher Club Members. Here's the scoop on how to sign up.

Several of the items I purchased were things already on sale! I couldn't use my coupons for them but still! Here's the other things I got (I don't have pictures for you because they weren't in stock at the store so they ordered them for me!):

Time Math Discovery Can

Addition/Subtraction Math Discovery Can

Geometry Math Discovery Can

Place Value Math Discovery Can (2nd Grade)

^I love these games. I have the place value one for first grade already & am obsessed! I went on ahead and got the 2nd grade version for my high kiddos.

Hope these tips helped you! Happy Shopping!

Also, I didn't receive anything from Lakeshore to advertise their sale - just wanted to share ways to save!

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Popping In

Hi friends!

Just popping in to show that I'm still alive. I have just one week left of graduate school & then I can finally get to work on prepping for back to school. It'll be here before we know it!

This has been my life lately:

I'm too lazy to get out of bed and do my homework from my desk. HA! Thankfully, we have professional development coming up in a few weeks so I will be forced to start planning.

Okay, I won't lie. I've also been online shopping. VS Swim had a huge sale so I snagged some mix & match pieces. Don't mind the terrible quality, I took pictures off my computer screen to send to my cousin:

I also launched my career as a Stella & Dot stylist.

This is a company that I've been following on fashion blogs & Instagrams for about a year. I'm so excited to be able to share these gorgeous pieces with other women.

Click below to be taken to my website where you can see what's new this summer:

STAY TUNED: By the end of the week or next week, I'll be giving you a visual walkthrough of how I use my planner to lesson plan :) Mainly, show I can show you how gorgeous Erin Condren things are.

See you soon!

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Friday, June 20, 2014


First off, how do you like the new blog design?! I'm obsessed. It's from the super talented Blogs Fit for a Queen. She's a dream to work with!


Just needed to get that off my chest. I've been a busy bee since the day the bell rang on our last day. I'm finally breathing (a little). What have I been doing, you're wondering?

Working. I'm working with some special friends in preschool 3 days a week half days. It's a lovely change of pace from regular ed first grade. It's my second summer doing it.

Studying. I started my Master's. GOOD GRIEF, friends. Let's just be honest, I knew I wanted to go back ASAP because I'd be out of the habit of schoolwork. Holy cow! One year out and I am beat! There is so much to do. All the time. I've been working nightly on assignments and going a little stir crazy. But I have just two weeks left. Then I'll have 6 hours down and be even closer to walking across that Maryville stage (again).

Watching. Netflix is an addiction. I'm rewatching old seasons of Grey's Anatomy (because it's my favorite). And watched Breaking Bad. And I watched Season 2 of Orange is the New Black (AH-mazing). Now, I've started Scandal. HELP ME.

Spending. Friends, I have a problem. Sonic drinks, Mexican food, clothes, shoes, accessories and MOST OF ALL: teachery things. I have bought more books than I know what to do with. AND math games and borders and professional development books.

Reading. I love to read. Firstly, I read a for fun book: Girls in White Dresses. Friends, I laughed so hard I cried. This is a great book for all you 20-somethings who get college life to adult life. I'm also chipping away at my professional development books: The First Days of School (Harry Wong!), The Great Eight (Scholastic), Launching the Writing Workshop (Scholastic), Leader in Me (Stephen Covey). I'm also wanting to get the newer edition of Daily 5. I have the first edition but am liking the updates I'm hearing about in this new version!

What are YOU up to this summer?

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Talk: My All-Time Favorite

Hey friends!

I couldn't be more excited for this fun link up with Deanna Jump!

I love books. I mean I really, really love books. I have a confession. I have 600 books in my classroom.  I've taught for one year. So when I say I really, really love books…I'm really saying I have an addiction to books. I'm talking go garage sale-ing every weekend, stalking thrift stores, binge shopping at Scholastic (warehouse AND reading clubs) full-out addiction. The first step is admitting, right?

Here's a prime example. This is me. Two days ago. At Target. Leveled books were $2. WHY did I feel compelled to buy these when I had just spent $67 on garage sale books?! Because I have a disease.

No matter how many books I acquire or how many classics I have from when I was a kid, I still always come back to this one book.

This book is a game changer. If you don't have it, go buy it now. I already have 2 copies (Judge me). I used this book for no less than SEVEN different lessons this year. My kids know and love Moose. Even the 7th time I pulled out the book to read it to them, they perked right up. Moose is baaaack, what is Miss Culver going to teach us about him now?!?! I used this book for fluency, expression, character feelings and as an intro to our reader's theatre unit.

Here's the scoop on Moose:

Once upon a time there was a Zebra who was putting on a play about all the letters in the alphabet. They all had their part: the apple, the glove, everyone knew when it was their turn. Except Moose. Our overeager friend comes on during D's turn. He is very sad when Zebra tells him it's not his turn and he runs right into the elephant on the next page. 

He spends the next 6 letters asking if it's his turn, awaiting with excitement for the M. Sadly, they "decide to go with the mouse instead". 

Moose is LIVID. He storms through several pages, smashing the pie, terrorizing the queen and using a red crayon to draw moose antlers on everyone. He is later found crying behind the xylophone. Zebra relents and lets him be in the play as Z: Zebra's Friend Moose. It's an adorable story full of lots of emotions and opportunities to use mad/sad/happy/etc voices.

There you have it! My all-time favorite book. Click the cute icon below to see other posts about great books!! Can't wait to read about yours :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Bucket List

Looove Deanna's idea for a link-up all about SUMMER.

We have just 3 and a half days left in school so I can practically touch summer. My list is half bucket list/half plans I already have.

1. Ace my first 2 graduate school classes! I started my Master's program 2 weeks ago & want to graduate with a 4.0!

2. Spend quality time with my friends! I'm still very close with a group of girls from my sorority pledge class. Even though we group text all the time sometimes, I want to see them in PERSON. We did so well at the beginning of the year with birthdays, holidays & engagement parties. Luckily one of them is getting married in three weeks so we will all reunion soon for the bridal shower, bachelorette party & wedding day!

3. READ. I love reading. Apparently I'm not the only teacher who does, because this has been on just about every list I've read. Check out my Pinterest board of books that are on my wish list! Also, wanting to finish the Divergent series; I'm on the last book!

4. Speaking of my Pinterest, I need to organize my hot mess of teacher boards. I have 3 teacher boards: one for teaching ideas, one for anchor charts & one of classroom inspirations. Lately, it's been hard to figure out WHERE things are. I didn't want to be "that girl" with 100 boards of different teaching things, but I'm not in college anymore so teaching pins are 99% of my pins anyway. That and animals. I have a problem with animal pins.

5. Get off the couch and work out. I've been wanting to make this a priority for a long time, but it never happens. Maybe this is the summer I'll do it!

6. Binge-watch Netflix. Orange Is The New Black, Private Practice, Scandal. Oh and old episodes of Grey's Anatomy for no reason except that it's my favorite.

7. Go to California! I haven't been on a vacation in awhile and I am so excited! Can you believe that every family vacation we've been on has been on the East Coast?! We've never gone all 5 of us to the West Coast. I can't waaaaait!

8. Of course, thinking about teaching. I can't turn my brain off for the summer completely! I'll be reading professional development books, spending unnecessary amounts of money on things from Really Good Stuff, Lakeshore & Scholastic. I have a problem. I have tons of little projects I've been holding off on until summer. I want to make a banner of covers from hardback books. Like this one from Maria. I am also creating a leveled library in addition to my already themed library. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?! Oh, and buying some sort of math manipulative organizer. I'M THE WORST.

9. Looking into becoming a Stella & Dot stylist. I love the jewels and know someone who already sells it. I miss working at Express and styling people, but I'm not sure if I really need another job?!

10. Spending time working at the preschool! I love working with kids with autism and have been a teacher's assistant in the summer before. I'm so excited to spend time with some little ones.

What are you planning for summer?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My First Stitch Fix!


I have been waiting a month for this baby to come in the mail and I couldn't be more excited!

For those of you who don't know - here's the scoop on Stitch Fix. It's a website where you fill out a survey about your style, sizes, what fits you like - a "style profile". Then you pay $20 for a stylist to read your profile, stalk your Pinterest fashion page & pick out 5 items for you. Then you try everything on at home. That's the beauty of this. How many times have you gone shopping and thought - oh I wish I had my scarf/cami/tank/pants/shoes to try on with this?  NOW YOU CAN. And the stylists even make it idiot-proof with styling cards like this:

You also fill out information about price ranges you are comfortable with for different types of clothing (accessories, pants, dresses, tops, outerwear, etc). They stay in your budget and that $20 styling fee? Yeah, it goes towards the clothes in your fix that you want to keep. AND if you keep everything, you get a sweet 25% discount.

As of now, Stitch Fix has clothing, jewelry, accessories & bags. Everything I got in my fix was clothing! Here's my reveal and review :)

First, we had this amazing dress! Not going to lie, I have a couple similar to it (obviously my stylist got my vibe!) but this one is chiffon and long enough to teach in.
This was a KEEP.

Modeling the dress with my new wedges! Don't mind the forlorn dog.

Next was this blazer. Not a fan. It felt very "grandma" to me. Definitely out of my style comfort zone. But I do appreciate my stylist giving me something out there to try!

Third was this cute tulip print top that I PINNED two weeks ago! How crazy is that?! I'm telling you, these stylists pay attention. And use your Pinterest board if you provide the link (which I'm recommending if you haven't caught onto that yet).
The price was a little higher than I would have normally spent on a top, but c'mon I pinned it. How often do you actually BUY something you pin, amiright?!
This was a KEEP.

Fourth was this adorable top. By the way, sorry about the hair. Long days in first grade, you know how it is. I love this color and this is such a versatile top. I can wear it with shorts in the summer or with a cardigan for teaching!
This was a KEEP.

Last was a pair of skinny pants. Let's just say they were a little too skinny ;) Nobody needs pictures of that!

If you're interested in trying out Stitch Fix, click here. That's my referral link - if you liked my recommendation and decide to try out Stitch Fix using that link, I'll get $25 in credit (enough for another fix!).

I had a BLAST getting a Stitch Fix! My style profile is updated with some summer wants: maxiskirts/dresses that actually fit my 5'2" body, printed shorts that don't clash with my ghost legs and more printed tops! I've already scheduled my next one for June 17th so stay tuned :)

Linking up with Maria from KinderCraze for her Stitch Fix Link Up!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Life Happened.

Wow! So much to share, friends.

It's been awhile. I guess that life just happened. But, I'm back and feeling very reenergized. I have just 8 and a half days of school left. I have to box up and move my entire room by the last day of school. I have report cards to do. I have end of the year summer workbooks, awards, and gifts to prepare. I have just started my Master's. And yet, I feel energized. This must have been why I kept so busy with classes, activities, work & my sorority in college. The busyness just keeps me going.

Here's what I've been up to. We are having SO. MUCH. FUN. lately. We are doing Reader's Theatre until the end of the year. Here are some cute anchor charts I whipped up for my firsties:

This first one is from Pinterest. Not sure who came up with it originally (sorry!), but it's genius. It totally MAKES SENSE to my kiddos. Fluency has been a big focus for Reader's Theatre in the past few weeks so this is perfect.

This one is actually an original. Shocking, I know. 99% of my anchor charts are copies from Pinterest. This is allllll me :) We refer to this everyday. My firsties totally know what 3 things they need to do to become their characters in their acting. I have quite the little actors in my class, let me tell you!

This week we will audition for parts for our plays and begin practicing them. The past few weeks we have been just working with our partners on being characters in books from our book boxes. They have been doing a great job with it. They're ready to make the leap to reading scripts! So proud of them!

We ALSO had Teacher Appreciation Week. GLORIOUS. Our PTA was incredible! They went with a  Movie Star theme & went above and beyond with decorations:

^apparently I'm married ;)

^I die. 
You can tell they let any kids write on these; my firsties wouldn't write anything with a hashtag haha!

I received so many gorgeous flowers from my friends!

Speaking of flowers. Here's ME in flower form! Haha.

We wrapped up our flower/plant study with this cute craftivity from the lovely Cara Carroll. You can find it on TPT here.

We made these cute, simple crafts for Mother's Day. It was one of my teammate's ideas. Simply have each student trace their hand on green paper and use die cut flowers and baskets to make the bouquet. I also didn't get any pictures but my kiddos also made Haley's free All About Mom booklet. They turned out SO cute!

Anyone else's laptop look like this all the time? We are living the Go Noodle life in Room 102. It has been SUCH a lifesaver. We did Flow the other day and it was AWESOME. I keep testing out new ones with my kids to see which ones I like!

SADLY I haven't been doing very good at taking pictures of my outfits lately. I did splurge on some Tory Burch Reva flats with my tax refund and am dying to get some pictures with them on. It's been rainy so I haven't been wearing them too much & am still trying to break them in!

I also purchased my teacher planner for next year. I have (and love) my current Erin Condren planner but went with a different cover this time around. I can plan a blog post later about how I use mine if some of you would like to see how I use it! I know it seems weird to still write it out but that's the way I remember everything! I would be lost if I didn't write things down. Here's the NEW one I ordered. Get 20% off ALL MAY on teacher items with the code: LIVELOVELEARN.

Annnnnd I signed up for Stitch Fix! I am dying of excitement. After seeing Maria post about her Stitch Fixes, I just knew I had to sign up. It's coming Tuesday so expect a blog post about it!

I'm hoping to keep everyone posted over the summer about my preparations for next year. I'm planning some reorganization of my math manipulatives AND adding a leveled library to my classroom. It's going to be a LOT of work, but I am so excited! Here's a sneak peek of something new coming to my classroom. I snagged this beauty for just $20 at a yard sale (a total steal!):

When does YOUR summer start? What changes are you planning for next year?