Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Orange Ya Glad It's Summer?!?!

First things first...I realize it's been forever plus a few days since I've last entered into the land of blogging. Hundreds of reasons (too tired, lack of motivation, major writer's block), but the biggest of all...I have a little guy baking inside of me. Nothing that I could have ever read would have prepared me for the brutal existence of the first trimester. Morning sickness is a cruel joke...it doesn't come and go with the rising of the sun or the ending of the morning talk shows. It stayed around all.day.long and it by far one upped the worst hangover that I've ever had. Think back to college days when you were young, dumb && ate the fruit from the PJ like it was a fruit bowl from Publix. What??? That didn't happen to you? Me either...((hanging my head in shame)). Awful, pure awful. I'm certain that I'll never drink ginger ale or eat saltines willingly ever again. I'm also certain that I'll never again feed into the Old Wives Tales floating around out there && that my "mommy intuition" is seriously busted because I was 100% sure that I had a little girl on the way...wrong...couldn't have been more wrong. He's a boy and made it very obvious throughout our entire gender reveal ultrasound.

With summer finally arriving and the sickness of the first trimester being an almost distant memory, I have my fingers crossed that I'll have a little more time on my hands to share what's been going on in this brain (and classroom) of mine. Looking through my post history I've been M.I.A. for everything since Valentine's day. Eventually I'll get caught up...I did take pictures and I did manage to struggle through the bouts of nausea to make a portion of my OCD plans happen. For today I'm focusing on the end of the year fun that every teacher is counting down to (or relishing in it's arrival). I had my last work day of the year yesterday && I made it through. The reality hit that my kids  left the nest as I sat in a quiet classroom void of my noisy, pencil destroying, we put glue on every surface 7 year old crew. While I'm stoked out of my mind to have summer at my doorstep, it's such a bittersweet time of the year. As close as my bus came to breaking down permanently in crazy town I adore each and every one of the 17 little billy goats that I shared 18o days (give or take) with. My talkers, my drama queens/kings, my wiggle worms, my sneaky sneakies...they're all moving on to a new teacher and it has me feeling some kind of way. I know that it's part of the "circle of a teacher's life," and after 7 years I so should be used to this, but it's always the same. They leave pumped up on the dreams of summer, I'm beyond excited too, and then when I'm laying in bed the night after the storm (or sitting in my eerily silent classroom) it hits me...my babies that I know everything about, the voices that I have memorized, the I know who's doing what without even looking up from the paper on my desk have left me. I'm on vacation from the days of yelling from the classroom bathroom that I need 2 seconds, yes I can hear you the walls aren't sound proof, and have I mentioned that I have a peep hole and can see everything that you're doing?!?! (I don't really have a peep hole for anybody out there that might be thinking ermergerd this chick needs to be reported). I'm on vacation from having to sharpen gnawed up pencils that had brand new erasers yesterday and are now eraser-less. I'm on vacation from watching kids attempt to glue their hands together with glue sticks during spelling...wait you don't need a glue stick during spelling??? As cheesy as this sounds...every year a piece of my heart leaves when my crew packs up all of their things and walks out of my door for the last time. Teachers must certainly be born with extra large hearts right?!?! As if that weren't enough to get the tears flowing, perhaps watching some amazing friends pack up their classrooms to move on to new chapters in their lives will open the flood gates. I'm in denial about this last part...if I don't speak it, it won't really happen and we'll still be the well oiled, fun loving, woohooing COMPLETE grade level that we are. #MustStopNow #TearsAreNotGoodCoffeeAdditions

Sooo let's talk end of the year greatness. There's always so much that I want to pack into the last few days and I never get to everything on my list. Surely I can't be the only one with this problem? Prego or not, there just isn't enough time in the day (or energy in the body) to make all of our end of the year dreams come true...right?!?!

Last year the first grade ladies decided to celebrate the end of the year using a Pinterest idea that one of us found. I don't know the original source to give credit where credit is due, but whoever thought of it first--- you're brilliant! The original pin had a 20 day balloon pop count down. Each day you pop a balloon and a piece of paper with a "special treat" falls out. The 20th day count down snuck up on me last year && it snuck up on me again this year, so I opted to do a 10 day count down. Much easier on my sanity and my bank account. The best thing about it, you can fill the balloon with any treat you want...it doesn't have to cost you a single penny and the kids are just as stoked about it. For my 10 day count down I filled my balloons with these treats (they aren't in order because I can't for the life of me remember which treat came on which day of the count down):
-Lunch in the Classroom
-Shoes Off to Learn (with the expectation that if there was a fire drill they better grab their shoes and run barefoot down the hallway if need be)
-Write with Markers
-Sit Wherever You Want
-Bring a Stuffed Friend to School
-Make Ice Cream in a Bag (amazing idea...didn't happen because of time and they never knew I swapped it for Fudgesicles)
-Extra Recess
-Special Treat (Cupcakes)
-Pizza Party

There are thousands of ideas floating around out there in Pinterest land to make this work for you. It's been an amazing way to encourage positive behavior (no behaving=no surprise) and oohhhh the excitement that fills the room right before the popping of the balloon. The favorite of the line up was Stuffed Animal Day...I've never had a quieter and more focused Read to Self block...for serious how cute are they?!?

Another must do on my end of the year list is tie dye. We have a love/hate relationship, but the end product is way too cute to pass up on. I've done tie dyed t-shirts with my kids for 6 out of the 7 years that I've been teaching and I curse the process every year when I'm hunched over my tub cutting the rubber bands, rinsing the extra dye out && then scrubbing my once white/now multi colored tub with a magic eraser, but every May I find myself buying a kit and going through the steps. Word to the wise: double up on gloves...somehow the die ate/leaked through my first pair and my fingers looked like I had been digging in some seriously nasty places....and I forget this every year...which adds to the cursing of the process. BUT it's so worth it! See what I mean?? The cuteness far surpasses the tedious, pain in the butt process!

Also mixed in with the end of the year nutiness: awards, memory books and gifts. We have a huge award ceremony to recognize the academic achievements of our kids, but with only 5 awards to pass out, it leaves a lot of friends high and dry...well not so high or dry because there are usually a lot of tears and hurt feelings...even after a talk about being happy for our friends and to remember that everyone got an award at some point throughout the year. In my world, academic achievements are only part of the kids that I teach. They each have unique personalities and qualities that should also be celebrated. Honestly my warm & fuzzy awards are my favorites to give. I blogged about them last year {{here}}. If you like what you read, you can grab your own copy at my TPT store {{here}}. As always, if something's not in there that you need, let me know and I'll customize the file for you because after hours of googling I still can't crack the treasure chest of creating editable PDF files...and I'm tired.

Moving right along ...taking a walk down memory lane. Ahhh the end of the year memories...all placed into one neat little memory book. My kids are typically the can't wait to be finished so I can just sit there and stare at my neighbor type of kids, but they really, really took their time filling in their sweet little memory books. I can't for the life of me find the picture on my laptop (and again I'm tired of searching) so if you're in need of something to get your little ones reflecting on their year head over to my TPT store and check it out {{here}}. If you like what you see snag yourself a copy.

Last, but certainly not least, end of the year gifts. I went with my kid tested && kid approved gift from last year because lets be honest...Baby stuff is crazy expensive yo, and baby brain doesn't allow for too much extra creative juices to flow when you've had a few 12 hour work days thrown into the mix. I'm in the process of putting together a mega pack of gift tags for gift giving throughout the year to add to my TPT line up. Be on the look out for that new product within the next week or so! I'm beyond excited to get started creating all kinds of tags and treat combos!

&&& just like that I've officially spent waaaaaaay too much time attempting to catch up. In the words of Arnold...I'll be back! Buuuut until then, live, love &&& enjoy the start of your summer break because YOU'VE EARNED IT!


  1. Congratulations on the little guy! Babies are the BEST thing in the world!!!!
    Love the baloon idea! I think I have a little time to get that together still and I will make it my weekend project! Thanks for the great ideas!!


  2. Hi Amy - I hope you and your little guy are doing wonderfully! I found your blog because I was searching for "what the teacher wore" posts and saw that you did some this past year. I did one myself this past week and was hoping to make it into a linky party coming up. Since you used the phrase "what the teacher wore" first - I wanted to see if you were ok with that. Thanks Michelle