Aug 6, 2015

Back 2 School Link Up: Parent Communication

It has been a busy week… I started moving into my brand new building. All of the teaches are busy setting up their new classrooms. August is always a whirlwind, but I feel like it especially will be this year.

That being said, I haven’t had a chance to announce last week’s giveaway winner. So, drum roll please…

Debbie, Jessica will be emailing you about getting your gift card!

As I am gearing up for my first day on Monday one thing I always think about and prepare for is parent communication. So, this week Notes from the Portable and I are sharing some of our favorite ideas for communicating with your student’s parents.

I have a communication notebook with a divider and clear page protector for each child. In front of the page protector I put this sheet:

I use this simple form to keep track of how often, when, how, and about what I contacted parents. It makes recording these things super easy. In the page protector I put any absence notes, tardy slips, and conduct referrals.  Want this form? See below how you can get this communication log plus many other amazing beginning of the year resources for FREE below.
I also make sure to print out any email correspondences between myself and parents. I store these behind their communication log.  It is always good to cover your rear-end. ;)
Another thing I like to do is call my parents at some point during the first week of school. This helps establish a positive relationship, and makes those not-so-fun conversations a little easier.
This week we are giving away our Teacher Time Savers: Everything You Need for the Beginning of the Year pack, plus any item you want from each of our stores! That’s 3 fantastic products all for FREE!! Just enter below…

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Jul 29, 2015

Back 2 School - Getting to Know You Activities

Time to start planning those back to school activities! This week Notes from the Portable and I are sharing some of our favorite getting to know you activities and games.

Getting to know your students is important. Knowing their likes and hobbies will allow you to engage them throughout the year.... if Little Johnny loves baseball he will enjoy solving baseball themed word problems in math.

One 'get to know you' activity that I love is NAME ART. It is a minimum prep activity (love that too!). All I do it type my students name in bubble letters using Power Point.

Print their names out and have them decorate the letters with things the love. While they are working on this you will have a few minutes to do those tedious first week tasks (you know- organizing 20 packs of paper so they fit in your cabinet). Then, when everyone is done have the students share their name art. I like to hang their name art somewhere in the room.

Another good and time consuming activity I have my students do is an All About Me banner. Each kid decorates a pennant, then they share it with the class. I take there picture with this frame and they put it on the pennant. Then, I string the pennants into a banner and hang it in the hallway.  You can download these banners HERE!


Lastly, now that you have gotten to know you students, now it is time for them to get to know you! I like to play a little game... 25 Facts About Your Teacher! I tell the students 25 facts about me, and when I am done I try to see if they can remember them all. I have played the 'game' several ways...

 *Students can call out facts until you get to 25

*Students can work in pairs/groups to list as many as they can

*Students can list as many as they can on their own - see who can list the most.

I created a Power Point that I use to share my facts. This ensures I won't forget a fact as I am introducing myself and allows me to quickly check off the facts that they can remember.
You can download this editable template HERE for FREE!!
Of course, we have another great prize this week... a $25 Michael's gift card! Enter below!

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Jul 28, 2015

And the Winner Is....

Thanks to all of the people that entered our $25 Target Gift Card Giveaway! Notes from the Portable and I have randomly selected a winner....

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We hope you will join us again this Thursday for another Back to School Link Up and of course, another fun give away!!

Jul 27, 2015

Monday Made It {July 27th}

Wait! Summer where did you go?
That’s right people, I go back for preplanning next week. AH! In honor of my last few days of summer I have a completely non-school related Monday Made It for you. So here we go for another link up with 4th Grade Frolics!
Who else loves Etsy? Last week I shared wine labels I purchased and used for hostess gifts. This week I have two more Etsy related items.
I had this monogram S custom made for Savannah’s nursery earlier this summer. It is beautiful. If you are looking for a wooden monogram check out MonogramDecorNest on Etsy. It came unfinished as you can see below.

I waited till her room came together a bit more before committing to a color to paint it. My husband and I finally decided on a color and I think we made a great choice. It will hang above her crib. Now, all we need is for her chair to arrive!

My next made-it is one that I had made. Last summer I introduced you to a very talented friend and sorority sister that makes the most precious baby clothes. I have placed many, many orders from AnnaMorganDesigns on Etsy, but this by far is my FAVORITE (probably because it was for my baby). 

She designed a mint coming home gown with Savannah’s initials and a matching bow, an adorable Auburn themed game day outfit, and a precious burp cloth. Please check out AnnaMorganDesigns this fall when her Etsy store fully reopens, but for now she is taking custom orders. You can get something sweet like I did someone a special baby in your life.

For my last made-it I tried to get ready for baby! I wanted to make a few freezer meals to have ready for those stressful nights where making dinner is not an option. I found several recipes I wanted to try from Pinterest, so I decided to start with two yesterday.
I made Chicken Parmesan Sliders in the crockpot. SO easy!! Of course I made the chicken and froze that, without the bread for the sliders. The second recipe I made was Spinach Lasagana Roll-Ups. This recipe was pretty simple and looks delicious.

I’ll let you know how they taste in the coming months. Do you have an easy freezer recipe to share? I’d love some ideas.
Before I go and enjoy my last few days of summer, I must remind you to enter the giveaway Notes from the Portable and I are having. Today is the last day to enter to win a $25 Target gift card! You can enter HERE!

Jul 22, 2015

Back2School Link Up: Procedures & Policies

What procedures and policies do you teach at the beginning of the year? I am excited to read about what you all do as I link up with Notes from the Portable for another week of our Back 2 School Link Up!


The first procedure I have to share is one that makes my skin crawl. Yes, the dreaded pencil sharpener!  I HATE it, absolutely HATE the sound of the pencil sharpener! My students are not allowed to use it during the day.

How do I enforce this? By always having sharpened pencils ready! I bought these cups last summer and use two for pencils… one for SHARP and one for DULL.

So, when your pencil is dull you exchange it for a sharp one. This procedure takes A LOT of practice. Many kids want to just put the dull one in their desk and get a new pencil. Well, that causes a problem. At the end of the day, when my trustworthy students go to sharpen the pencils, there won’t be many in the dull cup. There is no trick to perfecting this procedure, just lots of practice and reminders.


The next procedure I start teaching early on the first day of school. Lining up is a very important procedure. I am not talking about lining up in a certain order, I am talking about lining up in a proper line.

I refuse to be that teacher who can’t control her line. I want my students to be able to walk nicely down the hallway without me and especially when I am absent.

We start by lining up in the classroom and reviewing expectation for a line. I like a 4S line. Straight, Still, Silent, and Smiling!

I hang this cute poster by our door. I say “Show me a 4S line” and the students hold up 4 fingers. As I say each S, if they are doing that thing then they put their finger down.  You can get this cute poster HERE in our Teaching Tips: Everything You Need for Back to School Pack.

When we are ready to venture into the hallway the 4S line should continue. I teach my students the first week where to stop in the hallway, that way they are never too far from me. Practice makes better, so we practice our 4S line a lot the first week by touring the school.
Another procedure I am pretty strict with is our bathroom sign out.
Let me start by saying that my students can use the bathroom whenever they want unless I am teaching or they are in a small group with me. I teach them to hold up a 1 with their finger to signal they need to use the restroom. No interruptions, which is especially important when I have a small group with me.
 Our school has a policy that students must sign out before going to the bathroom, but this is something I have always done.
Why? Because I can quickly check to see where a child is in case of a fire drill or emergency. But won’t you remember you gave them permission? No! I’ll give them permission and go back to who I was working with.  I print this simple sign out sheet and stick in on a clipboard.  This sign out sheet is also available I our Teaching Tips: Everything You Need for Back to School Pack.
Want to know more about the procedures and policies Notes from the Portable and I teach at the beginning of the year? Check out our Teaching Tips: Everything You Need for Back to School pack in m TPT store {HERE}.
Now, for some real fun! This week you have a chance to win a $25 Target eGift Card! Enter below!
Giveaway will close Monday evening.


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Jul 21, 2015

Getting to Know Me!

You want to get to know me a bit better? Well… let’s see.
I am an Auburn graduate and this will be my 8th year teaching. Have taught in three different schools, and I actually moved my first four years. This year my school is moving into a temporary location for the year while they tear down and rebuild our school. So, basically I am no stranger to packing up a classroom.
My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years. We are serious homebodies and couldn’t be happier with takeout and a movie at home.

I am slightly obsessed with our goldendoodle, Rosie. She is two and a half and full of energy. This is her hanging out in a pot on our back patio.

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in 8 short weeks! Savannah Faith Shurbutt is due to arrive September 17th.

Other fun things about me…
I have an older, yet shorter sister.
I love purple and navy!
I was in special ed in elementary school, because I had a hard time reading. My struggle encouraged me to become a teacher.
I LOVE cheese dip and ice cream… but not at the same time.
I must always have chap stick on me. I am an addict.
I love watching Big Brother!