About a month ago, I signed up for a Back to School Blogger exchange with Jessica from Covered in Glitter and Glue!  I love gift exchanges, so I was so excited to participate!

I got matched up with Stephanie from Polka Dot Palace!

In her letter she said she loved good pens, bright colors, personalized things, and chocolate!  In her box, I gathered some Hawaiian Host Macadamia Nut chocolates, Ink Joy pens, fun post-it notes, hot pink nail polish (which I had to mail separately because I forgot to put it in the first box - doh!), and a hand-made coffee cozy with her name on it!  Check out how she liked it all on her post here!
{sans nail polish, since I'm a dummy!}

Here is what she sent me!  I love it all soooo much!  I feel so spoiled!

I got a new box of Mr. Sketch markers.  You don't even know how happy this makes me!!!  I love them!!!  I use them for anchor charts, drawing smiley faces on student work that was done in class, and grading papers.  

Puzzle-piece post-its.  So fun!!

Scentos stamps = LOVE!  I bought a set of stamps at the Target Dollar spot when I was in Oahu last, but they don't smell.  These ones smell!  The kids love when they get one of these stamps on their papers!

Ink Joy pens.  I've never been a pen snob, but I think I might be turning into one, now!  These pens are seriously awesome!  Lovely colors and they write so smoothly!

A picture frame with a personalized notes page and 2 Expo markers for writing on it.  She even made me a couple more pages to put inside if I want a different look!  So sweet!  It's now sitting right next to my desk at work.  I love it!

I've also uploaded two new units to TpT, three addition QR Code games, and supply organizing labels. I'm over at Owl-Ways Be Inspired today talking about how I set up my math centers.  I'd love for you to check it out!

Did you get any fun, new supplies for back to school?  Make sure to check out Stephanie's post, too!
Yay! It's the Back to School Sale! My entire store is on sale! Check it out!


Tonight my grade level had our Open House!  We called it Ohana Night!

I sent home this flyer last week.

Then sent home this half-page reminder today.

At Ohana Night, families did this fun scavenger hunt when they first came in.  My teaching partner Shannon made it!
If you live in Hawaii, or are interested in doing a Hawaiian or tropical themed Open House, you can snag all my forms for free.

Once families completed the scavenger hunt and turned in the paper with all the info on it, I had them fill out a Permission to Photograph form that I doctored up with clipart from Jen at A Teacher's Cauldron.  Click here to get Jen's editable version.

To get ready for Ohana Night, the kids drew pictures of themselves using the Guess Who page from Jessica Tobin's Open House/Back to School Night Forms.  I taped them up on my white board and the first part of the scavenger hunt was for parents to guess which one was their child.  So fun!
Via Second Grade Nest
Then, as parents finished the scavenger hunt, I handed out glow sticks with a cute tag that says "You Will Glow in 2nd Grade".  You can grab the tags for free from The Bubbly Blonde.  
Via The Bubbly Blonde
After the scavenger hunt, handing out goodies, and parents filling out the permission to photograph form, I passed out my classroom newsletter and pulled up my powerpoint on my iPad.  All the info was in the newsletter, but I wanted something visual to project while I talked.  Ladybug's Teacher Files had just the right product for me!  This is a FREE editable PowerPoint!  I just opened it up, typed in my info, saved as a PDF (because I added one of my own slides, so I wanted the fonts to stick), opened on my iPad through Dropbox, and connected to my projector with a VGA adapter.  It went so well!
Via Ladybug's Teacher Files
At the very end, I passed out a parent guide from PTA.org and my editable magnetic business cards (you can find them for free on my Back to School Projects post).  

Does your school have Open house?  What are your plans?

This past week was brutal! The first week of school is so much work and so tiring.  However, I'm super happy that I got all my planning and copies made last weekend, because I didn't have to stay after school for very long each day.  I was able to focus on printing student pictures, organizing paperwork that came in, writing my first week newsletter, and other fun stuff that teachers have to do the first week.

To help celebrate my first week, the lovely folks at Barker Creek sent me some materials to review!

They sent me the boxed set of Draw Write Now curriculum.

And also the Get Organized Go Green set.

I love the Draw Write Now series.  I actually had one of the books that I had bought my first year of teaching.  I like the guided drawing lessons, especially for kids who say "I can't draw!"  With Draw Write Now, everyone can draw - even me!  I also like the writing piece.  I usually dictate the sentence to the kids and use it as an end of the week formative assessment.  When the kids are done drawing and writing their sentence, then they add a background to the picture before turning it in.  the other thing I like is that the lessons are themed, so I can always find one that ties in with what we are learning!  They are great lessons to leave for subs in lieu of complicated writing mini lessons.  I find that subs have a hard time with writer's workshop because there are so many routines and management.  Draw Write Now is such a nice alternative!

My first year of teaching, I used an overhead projector to draw for the kids to copy.  Then a couple of years later, I switched over to a document camera and Elmo.  In my new classroom, I have an Elmo, but it's not my favorite.  The wind blows the paper around, the camera head doesn't adjust like my old document camera did, and my cart is not large enough for everything to fit comfortably.  Instead, I like to use my iPad whenever I can.  I connect it to my projector with a VGA adapter and project the image on my pull-down screen.  This set-up also works with my iPhone! 

I use my Dropbox app (free!) to pull up posters and copies of worksheets to show the kids.  I use the Quick Office Pro app ($14.99) to show PowerPoints or to type something in front of them.  I also use Sketchbook Pro ($4.99) to draw or sketch something.  I tried out using Sketchbook Pro with my son and did a Draw Write Now lesson with him about astronauts.  I chose that particular lesson because he had been working on the planet experiments in his monthly Magic School Bus Young Scientist Club.  

I had the lesson book out for me to look at, the iPad on with Sketchbook Pro open to draw, and writing paper for him to follow along.  

Here is the completed astronaut that I drew.  See, I'm not a perfect artist!  

If you are interested in the writing paper, you can snag it for free here.  Feel free to leave me feedback if you like it!

The second item Barker Creek sent me was the Get Organized Go Green set.  They have 11 different themes to pick from and they are all cute!  It was hard to decide!  In the set, you get matching file folders, computer stationery paper, and name tag stickers.  

I knew that I wanted the decorative file folders to use in my new parent communication area.  

I bought the Ikea Kvissle file rack on Amazon (with Prime shipping - woot woot!).  I simply screwed it into my bulletin board, plopped the files inside, and taped on my laminated labels.  You can snag the labels for free at the end of my classroom tour post.  

For the paper, I typed up each student's name, my name, room number, and year and slid them in the front of our Nicky's Folders.  I use these for daily take home folders.  I love how durable they are, how things don't fall out, and how they are easy to personalize with a full sleeve on the front and the back.  

For the name tags, I simply printed each child's name on an address label, then stuck them on the front of the name tags and had students wear them on the first day while I learned their names.  I actually knew almost all of my students' names, but there were a handful I didn't, so these name tags were definitely helpful.  And since there were 45 name tags in the set, I gave half of them to the teacher next door since she had forgotten to order anything cute.  Score for both of us!   

In the Go Green series, Barker Creek also carries incentive charts, library pockets, letter pop-outs, desk tags, bulletin board border, and a large chart.  I'm trying to figure out what else I need!  Haha!

Now for the giveaway!  Barker Creek is giving away a set of the Draw Write Now series, worth $100!  Also, a Get Organized set of your choice!  Enter the rafflecopter below to snag these amazing prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I've gotten the amazing opportunity to team up with Melanie from School Girl Style and April from A Modern Teacher, along with some awesome teacher bloggers, to bring you a new eMagazine!  We're all sharing our must have items for Back to School!

Speaking of Back to School, this was my first week!  I'll kick it off by giving you a virtual tour.  Later this week I'll share some of the activities we did, some of the new units and products I made, and also give you a breakdown of my organized library.  I can't wait to share it all with you!

My bookboxes from Really Good Stuff.  The chevron bins on top hold linking cubes that I use for whole group math instruction.  I got them on Pick Your Plum daily deal site.  You can barely see the pencil on the side of the shelf because of the glare from the sun, but I got it from The Teacher Wife.

Zoomed out of that same shelf area.  You can see my fish tank, and low shelf with math manipulatives.  Under the blue sheet are computers that currently are not up and running  Hopefully hubby can get them fixed soon!

The back of the room.

Corner behind the computer table.  TORCH is our schoolwide discipline.  It standards for tenacious, observant, respectful, compassionate, and honorable.  The blank board is where my Whole Brain Teaching Super Improvers Board is going to go when I get done with it.  Hopefully this weekend!  You also see my Mac Shortcuts mini poster and Sandy's Acceptable Use poster.

iHelp classroom jobs.  You can find those {HERE} in my TpT shop.  I'm super happy with how they turned out!  Above that is my 1-4 posters for formative assessments.

Hawaii General Learning Outcomes from Angelia at Extra Special Teaching.  And my Whole Brain Teaching scoreboard that I made on a whiteboard.

My new writing process clip chart. You can find that {HERE} in my TpT shop.

Parent area.  You can download the labels here.  The racks are from Ikea, but I found them on Amazon.  The "news" bunting I offered for free last year.

New schedule cards.  You can find them {HERE} in my TpT shop.  The "schedule" bunting I offered for free last year.

Zoomed out of the front door and the front bulletin board.  Aloha bunting on the door is from Surfin' Through Second.

Student mailboxes and my tropical WBT classroom rules.

My carpet teaching area with my new READ sign.  Miss Kindergarten's cupcake birthday display is on the long skinny bulletin board.

My desk and teaching area.  I downsized to just a computer desk this year.  All my supplies are in a teacher tool box on top of the filing cabinet and a 3-drawer sterilite cart under the table.  I made the fabric bunting above the windows.

Front of the room.  I made the hanging poms with tissue from the Dollar Tree when we visited the mainland.

Newly organized library with book bins from the Dollar Tree and Really Good Stuff.  I made my own library labels and stickers.  You can download a free set here.

Make sure to download those super cute Parent Communication labels, here! :)

Thanks for taking a tour with me!  Be back soon with more Back to School fun!

Freebie Fridays

Today ends my Back to School week and my first day with kids is Monday.  Are any of you in Back to School mode yet, too?

Lucky for us, OfficeMax has set up a bunch of awesome opportunities for us to snag some supplies on the cheap.

Teacher Appreciation Days at OfficeMax

To help teachers stock up and save on much-needed supplies, OfficeMax is hosting its special, three-day Teacher Appreciation Days events where teachers receive 25% off their purchase of hundreds of essential classroom supplies, exclusive coupons and other great values, increased purchase limits just for teachers and a free reusable tote. To participate, teachers can join OfficeMax’s MaxPerks Rewards for Teachers program at no charge either in-store or online at officemaxperks.com

Visit www.officemax.com/celebrateteachers for details on Teacher Appreciation Days events in your community or others across the country.

OfficeMax’s A Day Made Better Support for Teachers

OfficeMax is hosting its annual A Day Made Better In-Store School Supply Drive where community members can donate much-needed supplies for local teachers. OfficeMax associates will donate the collected supplies to local schools on October 1st during the annual A Day Made Better events in which OfficeMax associates surprise 1,000 teachers in their classrooms with a total of $1 million worth of OfficeMax-donated school supplies. 

Learn more about A Day Made Better at www.adaymadebetter.com.

Save on School Supply Purchases at OfficeMax

OfficeMax is providing big deals on education essentials and more throughout the season, offering 25-cent, 50-cent and $1 value deals on a variety of supplies, including markers, notebooks, glue, scissors and more. Visit OfficeMax’s back-to-school web page at www.officemax.com/backtoschool to shop or search by zip code for in-store and online promotions.

Teachers also receive special discounts at the OfficeMax Print Center in-stores nationwide and can select from one of two bundles including:
  • Teacher Value Bundle includes 100 B&W copies, 1 poster (18” x 24”), 3 feet of lamination and 50 business/event cards for $19.99 ($60 value)
  • Teacher Premium Bundle includes 50 color copies, 2 posters (18” x 24”), 3 feet of lamination, 50 business/event cards and a teacher planner for $29.99 ($100 value)

I've teamed up with OfficeMax to giveaway a package of school supplies worth $150!

I got this entire box in the mail and was so excited!  First off, there is a pencil sharpener that is ah.ma.zing.  The pencils are so sharp!  It's relatively quiet for an electric sharpener, and it's really lightweight.  In love already.

New scissors are a must every year.  I hate nothing more than dull scissors that you have to squeeze together to get them to cut.  Annoying!

Gel pens, pencils, and pretty highlighters.  How can you go wrong?

Paper clips and binder clips.  The paper clips have plastic coating on them, so I actually really like them.  Regular paper clips rust over time here, so the plastic coated ones are kind of a necessity!

Big pack of Post-its.  Nuf said.

$50 OfficeMax gift card.  I definitely plan to take advantage of the deals and buy as much ink as I can!

The nice people at OfficeMax are also giving away one of these packages to one of my followers!  Enter from the Rafflecopter below!  Giveaway ends on Friday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received the school supplies and gift card mentioned in this post from OfficeMax in order to facilitate my review. The items featured in this giveaway are also provided by OfficeMax and will be sent to the winner directly. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.