Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Are You a Pirate?

Ahhhhh, learning, how I love thee. I got to spend the last 2 days at a big conference our district puts on each year. I love to learn new things, so even though I had already gotten more than my required inservice hours for this year, I decided to go. Boy, am I glad I did. Yesterday wasn't too exciting. I learned some cool,new Math games, got to see Rick Morris again (mostly the same topic I heard last week) but nothing that blew me away. I do love some Rick Morris though! Today was the blow me away day! I had read a little about "Teach Like a Pirate" on some other blogs I follow, but didn't know much about it other that that it was a great new teaching book. Then I happened to see the book at the exhibit yesterday, and the cover alone intrigued me, but again just sort of passed by. 

Then today, I went to my first class. It was by a presenter that didn't really excite me yesterday. I sat down, sort of dreading the class. Then I started freezing. WHY do they keep these things like ice boxes??? So to take my mind off of the coldness, I started glancing at the schedule for the day to see what else was going on. My eye immediately fell on "Teach Like a Pirate" with Dave Burgess. In my mind I said, "Ahhhh, I wish I could go to that". Then I looked at my watch and realized I still had 15minutes before the first session started! I gathered my stuff, felt bad for a split second that I was leaving, and then walked out of that class and found my way to Dave. Boy, did I find my way. I might be a little bit in love. ;) I already told my husband that, so it's ok. 

Before the class even started, I was intrigued. He was dressed in a pirate outfit. Of course, who wouldn't be dressed like a pirate at a teaching conference?! He was playing cool music. There were silly things written on the board, fun props on the table, etc. Then I got passed a note passed to me from him. That sort of dampened my spirit a bit. He picked the wrong girl for that job! Haha! I'm not going to tell you what my "job" was, just in case you get to sit in on one of his sessions, which you MUST do if you ever get the chance, but it was definitely not me and not in my comfort zone. Oh well, I lived. It was worth it to be in there. 

Anyway, student engagement was the main focus. It was all about making learning fun and active. Ummm, right up my alley! I wanted to get right up there with him and shout from the rooftops that he was exactly right! If only everyone could see that! Learning CAN and SHOULD be fun and interactive! The class was constantly laughing, everyone was involved, it was magic! Again, exactly what the class was about! Pirates are unconventional, and that's what we can be in the classroom. Do crazy things,be crazy  things.Getcreative! People always tell meI'm creative, but no, I just take several different ideas and meld them into one to create the best ideas.  That's exactly what he was saying. Creativity is not something you are just born with or some bolt of lightning that its you from the sky. It is work! It's not really magic.It just looks like it!

Anyway, it was so awesome. I loved every minute of it. Get the book. Go see him! At lunch, I told my tablemates all about it. I decided to change my schedule and go to all the rest of his sessions for the rest of the day! That's how amazing he was! Well, I convinced some others to come with me. We went in, got a seat, and guess what?! The room was overflowing. In fact, it was so overflowing they had to come in and tell us to leave if we weren't signed up for his class! MAJOR disappointment! News had traveled fast and everyone wanted to get in on his sessions! 

So I went to my regularly scheduled class. Um, can I say bummer! This guy was pretty much the exact opposite of Dave! In fact, his big thing was that you had to cause anxiety in students to get them to achieve. Um, no. He needs to go sit in on "Teach Like a Pirate" that's for sure! Anxiety does not belong in my classroom, but fun and engagement sure do! I pretty much tuned out at that point. Hmmm, which way might be the better teaching style? ;/ 

Thankfully, after that class, I was signed up for Dave again and didn't even know it! Woohoo! This one was about teaching outside the box. It wasn't quite as good as the first one, but it was only and hour and 15 minutes long, so not enough time and too much info to fit in,but it was still great! 

So if you didn't get my message, let me just tell yon again that Dave Burgess is awesome andI definitely teach like a pirate. I hope you do too! Don't be scared! Anyone can do it! Go grab the book and change your classroom into an environment that kids want to be in. He asked us to write down 5words that  you would want your students to say about your class at the end of the year. What do you want your 5 words to be?

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Communication Binders

Happy Sunday! I bet some of you start school tomorrow, so maybe not so happy? ;) We start next week, and while I'm excited, I know I'm going to dread not being able to sleep all night, getting up early, etc. I worked in my classroom ALL DAY LONG yesterday. I don't even know what I did. Haha! If you look at my classroom, it looks completely finished, but every time I go, I leave with a bigger list than what I came with. All those little things add up!

So I finished my Take Home Binders yesterday. I don't know why I didn't take pictures. Grr. I'll come back and add them tomorrow. I did, however, make a new Take Home Binder packet for you!

Click on the picture above to take you to the item on Tpt.

Jungle themed, of course! It's super cute, I think. I also made those ziplock baggies reinforced with duct tape to hold my Word Club cards, but again, no pictures.

I have a thousand other things to make, so this will be short and sweet, but I wanted to give one of you the chance to get this new packet for free! Be the first one to leave a comment and like my Facebook page and the new Jungle Take Home Binder Pack is all yours! :)

This is the cover for your take home binder.

Here are the labels for the pockets. 

This is the label of the behavior system to add on to the front of the agenda, so the parents will always have what each color/code means.

There are labels for your behavior system. Labels for your word or math cards. 2 homework pages. THe front and back page for the outside of the binder, and the labels for the inside and back pocket. Pretty much everything you need to get your binders started.  Love it and hope you do to!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Parent Helpers- FREEBIE!

Coooommmmeeee and Get It! :) New freebie for you!

I must say I haven't always liked parents in the classroom. For a while it freaked me out to have someone in there "watching" me. Then I really needed the help, so I let it happen. Then I realized, that was exactly how I learned and figured out that I wanted to be a teacher. I started as a mom in the classroom helping my son's teachers. I loved what I was seeing, I got lots of ideas, and I loved being able to help someone who did so much for my child. So, I want to repay that favor that my own children's teachers gave to me. So I'm happy to let parents in my room. I've noticed that parent help isn't as utilized or wanted her at my new school, but I hope to change that. Soooo much help and good can come from allowing helpers in the classroom. Just think about all that cutting out and stapling that gets done, and it doesn't have to be by you! Score!

I hate tons of forms and I know parents do too, so I made a one stop shop for a Parent Helper Sign up. Everyone signs up on one page, rather than trying to get one back from each person. Easy peasy for me, and all they have to do is sign their name. It's a win, win.

If you like helpers and love simple and concise, then grab this freebie for yourself. Share it with your friends, and come back and see me. :) Click the picture below to download or you can get it on TpT, whichever you prefer.

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Calendar Countdown

I spent today listening to Rick Morris speak at a training! He's awesome, and I have 2 more days to get great ideas. Yippee! I love learning! Whew! It sure is hard to get my body back into getting up early mode! I tried so hard to go to bed at a decent time last night, but it took me 2 and a half hours to go to sleep, and then I had to get up soooo early. Yuck! I have the next 3 days of early mornings, then 2 more days next week, so hopefully, I will be back in the groove by school starting. I am definitely tired today though! Get used to it, body. There's no turning back now. Do you train your body to get back in school mode after summer?

Now, on to my fun, new packet! I "relaxed" tonight by making a new product for TpT! :) I don't know about your kiddos, but mine LOVE to count down to special things. I have to admit, I do too. :) We do this during Calendar time and it really helps their Math and Time skills. Plus, they don't have to ask me every day how much longer until.... Soooo, I made some Calendar Countdown cards. I know my kiddos will love them, and I bet yours will too!

All the holidays and special events I could think of are included in the packet! There are 32 different special days, at least one a month, so they will always have something to look forward to and count down. All you do is print either on white or colored paper/card stock, laminate, then cut out the middle. Stick a set of numbers (I use calendar numbers) on a ring, stick a hook magnet in the hole, and you've got an easy way to count down to all the fun, special days in your classroom. Click the picture above to find this product in my TpT store.

Make calendar a bit more fun and they are learning math without even realizing!

~Be fun and fabulous!

Mrs. Sweeney

Monday, July 22, 2013


I was "chosen" to be on the Celebration Committee at my school. Basically, we are the party planners for everything. Fun, fun! Sort of... ;)

We have to do some kind of team building, fun activity to get everybody mingling once a month! Yowzers. We'll really get to know each other. It's all good though, because I NEVER see the teachers on the opposite side of the building. Now I will. We have about 1000 students, so there are a lot of us.

So, my question to you is, what does your school do to welcome teachers back to school? I am thinking a Family picnic at a park or something along those lines. I'm open to ideas though, so feel free to tell me what fun things you like at your school, or wish they would do. Remember, I have 10 months of activities to plan. :)

I worked in my classroom pretty much all day today. I did all the little odds and ends like putting my calendar up, getting my behavior chart and clips ready, putting the kids names on the door, etc. Nothing new to really show you, so no pictures today. We also lost our Assistant Principal today. She's leaving to be the Principal of another school in the county. Good luck to her, but she will be missed. I feel bad for both her and my principal. It's 2 weeks until school starts, they are gone the rest of this week for a conference, and then have to come back to crazy chaos with the big change. It will be interesting, that's for sure!

Time to go work on more stuff so I can pretty much finish up my classroom tomorrow. I have training the rest of the week and then a conference the week after that, so I need to be as done as I can be.

Be Fun and Fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Welcome to Fun Fabulous First!


I just want to welcome everyone who is visiting from The Hands on Teacher in First! Thanks, Marie for featuring me today! I love visitors!  I hope you can find some ideas or items to help you on your teaching journey. I just started blogging this summer, but am loving it, and hope to help someone, just as other blogs have helped me. Anything to make life easier, right?!

As promised, my Spelling Sparklers Freebie is ready to download! Click here for the original post about how this idea formed. Click the picture below to get this for free in my TpT store.

I had another idea that I sort of like even better! That goes right along with Spelling Sparklers/Skywriting.

You know these little finger flashlights

Wellllll, I have a couple and tried them out and they are perfect to use as Spelling Sparklers. The kids just stick them on their finger and can write in the air with them and it actually looks like a sparkler. They would LOVE to use these in spelling, especially if you turn the lights off. :) You can get them from Amazon for cheap at this link. Finger Flashlights I'm totally getting some. 

So there you have it. Several ideas for making spelling fun and exciting. 

Follow me on Bloglovin' and Facebook! Let's help each other out!

Be fun and Fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Friday, July 19, 2013

Classroom Jobs

It's past bedtime, so this will be quick. :) I made my classroom jobs labels today, and thought I would share them with you. I'm just going to slap the label on these bad boys and be done.

Here's the freebie for you! It's just simple, but it might give you some ideas, and it's easy to just print and be done. The font I used was Hello Chalk Talk. Just click on the picture below. 

Be fun and fabulous even late at night!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Heart Classroom Stuff!

Crazy Boy and I spent some time in my classroom today. He was not excited, but he did it without hardly any complaining. Woohoo! I got to organize a bit and get my class list! So far, I've got 18 kiddos and they are exactly split in half, 9 boys and 9 girls! That's a miracle. I've got a good idea who most of the kids are, and I'm sure I will recognize more once I see them. So exciting!

I also got to finish my crazy idea. Wanna see?

This is my reading area and YES, that is a crib. Last year, we were going to have a yard sale so I had plans to put the crib in there, too. After looking at it, I got the idea to turn it into a "couch". So I kept it. Then I started putting my classroom together and sort of forgot about my plan. I finally got the last load out of my hoarder  teacher room and saw the crib again. I kept going back and forth, trying to decide if it was a good idea. Finally, I just decided to go try it out, so I hauled it over to the school. I made my husband put it back together and decided I hated it. Hahaha! I thought it looked a little weird. My husband kept insisting it didn't, but what do husbands know. :) I looked at it from all angles, still didn't like it. Then I turned away and did some other work. When I looked back later, it had grown on me. Plus, I knew the kids would LOVE it.  So I decided to keep it up and see if I still hated it in a couple days. Well, I came back today and added the fabric. It's a shower curtain. The back is from what used to be a bench crate seat. I just took off the crates and kept the bench seat. Added it to the back, covered it in fabric, and guess what?! I Love it! I think it looks great, fits right in, and the kids will definitely like it. I got 2 cute, fluffy pillows tonight to cover the sides, and that's it. Free classroom "couch".  I still thought I might be a little weird, but one of the K teachers walked in my room today and was amazed by it. She loved it and thought it looked great. So whew! An idea that actually worked. Yippee!

I went to Big Lots tonight, looking for those fabulous baskets I keep seeing posted all over blogs, but no such luck. I left there and went next door to Dollar Tree. I heart Dollar Tree. They had TONS of teacher stuff, and it was cute, and even better, it was CHEAP! Cheap is good, especially when it will be laminated anyway! :) Look what I got. 

I've been having trouble with my calendar area. So I am in the middle of making my own calendar stuff. Now I don't really have to, but I'll finish it anyway. Just for you. :) That is a package of 2 calendars, in my classroom colors, and it's smaller, which I wanted. They had TONS of colors and patterns and they were cute. Really! Then there are 2 sets in the package of calendar days and they even come with the special day icons, which I wanted. The clock, again, is in my colors and it's interactive. Those blue things in the left corner are magnetic organizer holders! This was my favorite item. I did not want to spend $15-20 on the counting pockets that holds the straws. Plus, I really didn't like the yellow that all the ones I can find are, so these will be perfect! I got coffee stirrers to go along with them, and voila, it's perfect for keeping track of how many days we've been in school with hundreds, tens, and ones. The middle item are tactile letters. They are glittery and feelable. :) Yes, I made that up. Remember, I told you I made up words all the time. Love them! Then of course, I had to get monkey items. The cute broom and dustpan will be perfect for little hands, the monkey gift bags will be just the thing for my back to school goodies. 

So, I've had a great day and found great stuff. What could be better. Oh, even better is that I got the stirrers, clothespins, and safety pins all for free today because I found an old gift card. Fabulous! How was your day fabulous? :)

Be fun and fabulous! 

~Mrs. Sweeney

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Making Us Better

I keep reading about all of these fabulous conferences, trainings, and in-services going on. The "I teach K" conference looks like so much fun. It ALMOST makes me want to teach K, but not quite. :) My friend from my last school was a presenter for the Early Childhood Summit this week with standing room only because she is so fabulous. It made me think about all the things we do to keep growing and finding the best ways to help and teach our kiddos. Teachers rock! :)

I did the training for our new reading series earlier this summer. Last week, I went to the RLA Common Core Training. I so wish I could have gone to the Math, but no such luck. Next week, I go to a 3 day training for teachers with 0-3 years experience. Then the week afterwards is DI conference. I signed up for lots of fun things, so I am sure it will be fabulous. I love learning, and am always  teaching myself new things.

So what about you? What trainings or conferences have you or will you attend this summer? Are you excited about any of them?

By the way, my Sparkling Spellers are ready to go for Sunday's blog post. Woohoo! I tried it out on my own kiddos and they think it's fun. :)

I also am working on some calendar stuff right now. You should see my table filled with laminator stuff, paper, and cutting instruments. My desk is full of calendar pieces, and my computer is probably overloaded with all of the windows and applications I have open. Back to school time is upon us!

Tomorrow, I hope to make it to my classroom to show you another awesome idea I had. I hope it turns out as fabulous as I hope! I know the kiddos will love it!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Just Around the Riverbend

OK, so, I'm not Pocahontas, but every time someone says "just around the corner", in my head I sing, "just around the riverbend, waiting just around the riverbend." Weird, I know, but pretty much everything in my head is a song. :) Haha! Back to school time is coming up! I'm a planner and definitely NOT a procrastinator, so I've pretty much worked on school stuff every day this summer. I can't help it, it's what I do. In fact, I can't imagine waiting until the last week or two to suddenly get everything up and running. I would go insane. My husband, on the other hand, would be just like that and it would be great. I'm sure a lot of you are like that. I just can't!

What kinds of things have you been doing?  I've been organizing my digital files. Printing off stuff for the year, laminating galore, decorating my classroom, making my Jungle Books (take home binders), putting together my parent folders for the first day, etc. I have trainings and conferences these last 3 weeks before school starts, so I wanted everything as done as can be. I know I'll still be doing a ton of last minute stuff, but maybe I can keep my head above water.

Today, I wanted to talk about the first day parent folders. Mine aren't done, and of course, I don't have any of the official school stuff yet, but have them at least started.

Here's the front. I will also have a label with my class, name, and room #, but I want to do all of my labels at the same time, so I haven't printed them yet. 

Then, on the inside, the left side will be for stuff that needs to stay with me on registration day. The right side will be for stuff they can take home. Again, I still have to print the labels. 

Here's what I have in there so far. 
My awesome brochure from Vistaprint. I LOVE Vistaprint, especially their free stuff. AWESOME! This brochure wasn't free, but I had a Groupon for $70 worth of stuff, so I went ahead and had these made. They tell all the crucial info like discipline plan, snack info, what the Jungle Book is, Homework policy, my info, etc. that they will need before we have Parent Orientation  later in the month. 

My business card and cute magnet for them to hang their work on their fridge. Again, Vistaprint rocks and these were free!

My "Meet the Teacher" Introduction letter. Cute!

Discipline Plan with class rules, rewards, and consequences. 

Supply List! Yea for school supplies! I pretty hit up every school supply aisle in every store I'm in. Love the Target Dollar Spot! 
This awesome "Successful Student" sheet. I have it downloaded to my DropBox, but there is no information sheet, so I'm not sure where it came from! Thanks to whoever made it. It's great!

Then I have my Student Information Card , which you can get from my TpT store, just click on the pic. These are the perfect cards with all the student/parent info in one place. 

That's it so far, but they will be jam packed soon! What's in your folder? Did you say that in your "What's in your wallet?" voice? I did. :)

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!

Three days of Common Core Training- check! Today was our last day AND we got out over an hour early. Woohoo! It was a good training, but I'm glad it's done. I'm excited though because I got some great ideas, not just for my classroom, but also for you! My mind is filled with lots of things I can make for TpT that go right along with Common Core. Yippee! I'm excited and can't wait to get started. In fact, I haven't waited! I came home, made dinner, and got right to work. I'm gonna share a preview with you, but I think the thing I am most excited about is going to wait a week. I'm being featured next weekend on Marie's blog, and I think I'll include this little freebie at that time. :) Thanks to The Hands-On Teacher in First for being so fabulous!
So Common Core is majorly into Phonics. Guess what?! Me too! I think it is SOOO important and I'm glad it's being pushed. I did not do my typical Phonics instruction this year, and I think it showed. So, I am back in action, full force. There was a lot of talk in class the last few days about Phonics programs. What do you use in your classroom? What do you like about it? Dislike? I really like Johnny Can Spell. We also do 95% Group, which I wasn't sure about at first, but I really see the benefits now, especially when mixed with more Phonics instruction in the classroom. Now on to the preview! Thanks to my table-mates: Jessi, Pam, and Miriam for helping refine the idea and being a great team to work with this week. We didn't know each other before, but I'm glad I got to know them. Hi, Girls! :) So, we were doing a spelling activity today and part of it was to skywrite the word, which means to write the word with your finger in the air. I do that a lot, but the comment was made that it is better to keep your arm straight out in front of you, rather than bent at the elbow by the side of your head. I believe that is because you can see what you are spelling, so it makes a connection with your brain. I think most of us, at least most that I have seen, always just bend at the elbow and do it close to our bodies. As we were talking about it, I said, it's like writing with a sparkler. The idea kept growing and I decided I am going to make Spelling Sparklers for my classroom. Awesome! it will help remind the kids to keep their arm straight, let them see what they are spelling, and it's fun! I'm going to make a paper version for everyone to use and a "souped" up version for them to use in small groups. I like the idea so much that my husband has practically convinced me to make the product and sell it for real. I'm really thinking about it. I think it is a great tool. We'll see. :) can you tell I'm excited?! Soooo, get ready because this baby will be ready for you next week. I know my kiddos will love it, and I'm sure yours will too. Anything to make spelling fun!

Check back next week and you might get this little gem for free! :)

Be fun and fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Positive Classroom


I've been at Common Core Training for RLA all day today. Fun, fun! ;) We did Common Core last year so I think I've got a pretty good handle on it, but am so thankful to have training. I've heard that many districts are struggling because they've had no training and have no idea what they are doing.

We've heard some staggering statistics! I left my book at the training since I'll be there the next 2 days, but one I remember is that the vocabulary a student has in 1st grade directly correlates with Reading Comprehension in 11th grade! There were LOTS of other things like that. It's amazing how what children are learning and doing, even as early as 3, can impact their lives so much later. Teachers have super powers! We can make such a difference, especially in 1st grade. I love my job!

So we talked today about talk in the home from the time a child is young. There's some crazy numbers about how much talking is done and how that effects student learning, especially in Reading. They are all connected. What I found interesting is the positive affirmation part of it. In a home where most of the talk is "business talk " like "get down from there", "clean that up", etc., positive affirmations are barely higher than the negatives the children hear. In homes with a lot of talking, that number is greatly increased. Children hear much more affirmations than negatives. I was thinking about that in the classroom. We have a lot of business talk, but do our positive affirmations outweigh the negatives or the typical classroom talk that goes on?

What are some positive affirmations you use in your classrooms? We talked about things like "Kiss your brain", classroom cheers, etc. One of my favorites is "You're a smart cookie!" Whenever one of my kiddos gives an out of this world response, especially if it surprises me with their smart thinking, I tell them that they are a smart cookie and they get to pick a cookie (Famous Amos) out of my cookie jar. It's small, but they LOVE it and try hard to really think about their answers. I love it and they love it! So tell me some of the cool things you do to keep a positive classroom. There might be a positive affirmation freebie coming up on my Facebook page as soon as I get it up and running. :) Hint, hint. Go like my page!

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Be Fun and Fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Monday, July 8, 2013


I'm pressed for time today, but just wanted to let you know that I started a Facebook Page for Fun Fabulous First! Yippee! I've not done much yet, but I will get it up and running soon. Then, there might be a fun Freebie Surprise on there. :)

Check it out and like my page!

Be Fun and Fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Friday, July 5, 2013

Crafty Classroom

I've been a busy bee this week beautifying my classroom. Yippee! :) Let's take a peek.

The first thing I did was make curtains! This was my big challenge and worry because I don't sew. At all. But I did it, all by myself and in my own way. Plus they are cute and turned out great!

So I started with cute polkadot fabric.

I picked a ribbon border to go with it. I chose brown,wide ribbon because my classroom colors are sky blue, lime green, and brown. My walls are the blue so I wanted to accent with the green. I then took good scissors, my rods, and fabric glue with me to school. 

My idea was to let the fabric do most of the work so I didn't have to.:) I did not want to mess anything up and the more I worked with it the greater the chance of mess up! I also couldn't find my tape measure, so there was even more risk for mistakes! Yikes!

So I started by making sure I liked the length of the already done fabric in the window. I thought it was great, so yea for no more cutting! I then checked my fabric against the curtain rod. Since I didn't have a way to easily measure, I just rolled out the tension rod to the right length and then "measured" with it.I had exactly enough fabric to do my 2 windows! What a miracle! 

I kept the fold that was already in the fabric. It was the perfect length. So all I had to do was "sew" the bottom. I folded my ribbon in half. I glued one half of the ribbon to one side with the fabric glue. I then turned it over and folded the other side of the ribbon on to the fabric and glued that.

What do you know?! A curtain!Without any sewing and only fabric glue. You could use iron on webbing as well, but I sometimes have bad luck with that. It eventually comes undone. Fabric glue never has, plus I didn't want to lug my iron and stuff to school with me. 

I just thread the fabric onto the rod and hung it up. A window with an actual curtain!

Not only one, but two! It only took like 15 minutes max, too!

 I also found the greatest stuff! Glitter tape! I got mine at Michael's but I saw that Wal-Mart had somein their scrapbook section. My Wal-Mart was out though. :( I thought it would be perfect for my hanging work wall to show off their awesome work. So I bought some glitter tape and clothespins and  I was ready to go. 

Easy peasy! It did take longer than I thought it would. The darn back wouldn't come off very easily. I finally figured out that if you bend the corner back and forth a couple times then it comes off much easier. All you do is peel and stick! How great is that?! Boring to bling in a flash! It took less than a 3 yard roll to do 22 clothespins. :) 

And now for my fabulous work wall! I love it!

Woohoo for fast and easy fabulousness!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Art in My Own Way!

At my school, all of the 1st grade teachers and even the EAs, have a door sign with their initial on it. I think they are super cute and of course had to have one. So I went to Hobby Lobby, then Joann's, then Michael's, then back to Joann's. I had to have the perfect fabric and letter, of course!

Hobby Lobby had some cute chevron fabric, but it wasn't really in "my" colors so, although I liked it, I wasn't sold. They didn't have a cutesy letter anyway, just the boring blocky type.

So then I went to Joann's. I looked through all of their fabric, couldn't decide, so I looked at letters. I found the perfect letter that was cutesy and in white. I didn't really want to paint it, so I decided to choose fabric that matched the white. I went back to the fabric. Then I went to the bathroom. I would NOT recommend going to the bathroom, at least not at my store. It was the most disgusting bathroom I had ever been in. Um, how could a fabric store bathroom look like that?! It hadn't been cleaned in quite some time, that was obvious. I was disgusted, so I left.

Michael's was next. Wasn't really happy with anything I found there, so I went back to Joann's. I definitely did not use the bathroom this time. In fact, it was so bad I emailed their corporate office and complained. I think it made it worse that it wasn't somewhere you expected to have a gross bathroom, like a fast food restaurant or a truck stop. Haha! It really was bad, but I digress.  I found the perfect fabric, got my cutesy letter, and a 16x20 white canvas.

No letter in this pic. Oops!

I then cut the fabric so that the edges went around to the back of the frame. I then stapled it tight. I have a heavy duty wood stapler, although I have seen them stapled with a regular stapler. You just have to use a lot of staples. Try it if that's all you have. After it was all stapled tightly, I used Elmer's adhesive spray on the letter and stuck it to the fabric.  I thought I had a picture of this, but nope. 

I liked it, but thought it was a little plain. I wanted to add a ribbon to the top as the hanger, but all of my ribbon has a design and that is too much with the fabric, so I left that off. I'm thinking I will probably go back and add that later. I went ahead and hung it up at school. After I kept looking at it, I decided it definitely needed something else. On one of my many trips to Hobby Lobby (what can I say, I have to kill time while Crazy Boy is at gymnastics for 3 hours) I found the perfect thing! A small bag of little crocheted flowers in colors to match. Woohoo!  The next time I went to school, I added the little bling and VOILA!

I love it! The ribbon will finish it off, but for now it looks great! Yea for quick and easy art. It took me like 10 minutes tops to make and adds so much to the boring brown door! I'd love to see yours if you do something similar. :)

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I've decided I really love fixing up my classroom. Haha! I love it so much that I have to limit myself to only going twice a week or my kiddos would kill me. They probably already want to kill me! Oh well, I can't help myself.  Plus, I really need to get this done. All of my bazillion teacher trainings start next week and I'm not going to have much time for putting together my classroom. Pretty soon school will be starting and I will have a million other things to worry about, so I don't want to worry about decorating. Sooo, do you wanna see what I've been working on?! I do! It makes me happy. The front of my classroom is getting there. I pretty much just have my calendar area left to tackle there. Here we go!

This is to the left right as you walk in the classroom. 

My fabulous teacher area. I wish I knew where my missing computer is, but my iPad will do for now. I love, love, love my birthday board and can't wait to get those pictures up there.

From the back of the room. See it looks like a classroom!

                           Looking into the rest of the room. Still pretty blank, but more coming soon!

My project for today (besides all the classroom stuff) was to make my 1st grade portrait letter. One of my kiddo's fabulous teachers had a picture of her when she was in the same grade, and I thought it was so cute, so I made one too. I just need a frame, but this will hang right outside the door for my new firsties to see before they walk in to the classroom. Hopefully, it will make them feel more at ease.

Love it!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Goin' on a Blog Hunt!

I love, love, love the Book Going on a Bear Hunt. I love it so much that I bought the expensive pop-up version.  :) My class loves it. I highly recommend it!

I also recommend joining Blog Lovin'! It is a great way to keep up with all of your favorite blogs, especially those fabulous teaching blogs. Google Reader is no more, but Blog Lovin' is the better choice anyway! It keeps all of your blogs in one place. You can have it email you daily or not. It is the one stop shop for all things Blog related. Do it. Go join today! It's free and easy!

While you're doing that, click on my link to follow me on Blog Lovin' to the right of your screen. Why would you want to do that, you ask? Wellll, I am a new teacher blogger, but I think I have some pretty great ideas. :) Plus, I'm probably following you. :) If you are a 1st grade teacher, you should especially click on that link. We can share ideas together. :)

Laura Candler is hosting the "Going on a Blog Hunt Linky", go check out all the blogs. You might find some new ones you like, plus some of your tried and true favorites.

Be fun and fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Monday, July 1, 2013

From Blah to Fabulous!

I wanted a way to keep all of my behavior stuff easily in one place. I'd seen the tool organizers people were using to hold their award cards, etc, and I thought it was a pretty good idea so I asked my husband what he had in the garage. He always has random, extra stuff laying around. Weirdo. :) Anyway, he had this pretty cool tool organizer that he had gotten on clearance for like $2 and it was completely empty! Score!

I actually loved it and thought it was PERFECT! Not only could I fit all of my award cards in there, I could put my behavior strips in there as well. My kiddos move up or down my jungle behavior chart, and I have them glue the picture of their behavior of the day in their agenda.
 I needed an easy place to keep up with those little pictures and this was perfect.
I can also fit my special reward coupon for making it to Marvelous Monkey and my Behavior Reflection sheet that I send home when they clip down. Everything all in one spot! How perfect! 

What was not perfect was the color. BLAH! It did not match and was ugly. I tried to deal with it, but I couldn't. First, I tried wrapping it in matching paper.
I liked the paper, but it just didn't look right. I tore all of the paper off and decided spray paint was the way to go. 
PERFECT! It matches my room perfectly, holds everything I need, and looks great. I wish I could bling it up a bit, and I probably will add some wording with my Silhouette, but for the moment I really like it.

Definitely much more fabulous, that's for sure. :)

Thanks to Mel at for her awesome reward coupons! Click the picture to take you to her blog post about these little gems. 

Be fun and fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney