It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Christmas in July, that is! I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for their annual Christmas in July Sale.
For the next 4 days, my entre store is 20% off!
( word work bundle was already on sale so that's an additional 20% off!)
To check out my store, click on the link below!

Back in December, Ashley and I had visions of sugarplums of starting our teacher blog. I really wanted to blog about my absolute FAVORITE Christmas craftivity and bulletin board display, but sadly, there was no blog. Sooooo... since we're celebrating Christmas around here, and we happen have this little blog, I thought I'd share!
I give you... Winter Wonderland. (Sorry the lightning in our hallway is terrible.)

We turned this into little math/social studies lesson. For the social studies part, we discussed what you would find in a community: businesses, homes, parks. schools, etc. We also listed activities that people do in the winter/holiday time (not easy since we live in Texas, but they came up with some good ones.)

 Here they are sledding, skiing, making snow angels, and singing Christmas carols.
Those snow angels kill me. So darn CUTE!
Yes, these are pics of my kiddos. They brought in "winter" outerwear one day because it's not that cold here. I had them pose and then printed out small pics.
They turned out so sweet. I just cut out little pieces of construction paper for the sleds and skis.
 Next we have our ice skaters, snowman builders, and our shoppers.
(That's my co-teacher and me having a blast as we leave the candy shop!)
For the ice skaters, I printed out little ice skate clip art.
 And, of course, we had to have a snowball fight!
 Finally we have some kids skiing and choosing Christmas tress. If you live in Texas, you KNOW we had to have our favorite grocery store: HEB! And seriously, how precious is that church?

Okay, so now to HOW. We started by brainstorming the buildings that we would need in our community, and then I gave the kids measurements for each building. This is the math part. It worked out perfectly because we were right in the middle of our measurement unit.

 This is the fire station. You can see the measurements and the ruler because this is serious business! The kids had to sketch their idea before they were able to start with the  construction paper.
I also told them everything needed to be cut out. I's cuter, right? Plus, once it was all finished they were able to use my SUPER-SPECIAL oil pastels to add details like Christmas lights or menorahs in the window. This is quite the privilege (because they are smeary and you must be very mature to use them), so they were super-excited about this part!
 I kept having to say, "Less is more, people. LESS IS MORE."
Sorry I don't have a pic of that part, but you can see the details in the final product pics.

There you have it! So fun! Thanks for stopping in! Let me know if you have any questions about this project. Be sure to check out my sale and hop on over to Blog Hoppin' for the rest of the Christmas in July deals!

We Heart Teaching
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Five for Friday: Classroom Organization Sneak Peek



We had so much fun linking up with doodlebugs last week that we decided to do it again! This week I've spent most of the week in my classroom, so I thought I'd give you a sneak peek of what I've been doing!

I've been a little crazy this summer working in my classroom. Ashley and I do a Jumpstart to 1st Grade summer camp each year, and it's happening next week! This has really gotten the ball rolling on classroom set-up. Plus, there were some projects that I wanted to tackle, and those just don't happen during the school year.

 I'm the kind of person that LOVES a neat and organized classroom. I like it to feel cozy but not cluttered. It's a tough balance! I also do not want to spend the week before school stressing like a crazy woman, so I like to do little things here and there throughout the summer.

I LOVE these bins from Walmart. At this point, I've pretty much converted all of my old plastic shoeboxes to this. They come in every size you can imagine!


I just love everything about them. They are super-sturdy, and those green handles...perfect. I use them for any and everything. Storing group markers, word work bins (the ones with the random play-doh in them), and now storing my seasonal books! (See #2)

Last year I started using these monthly drawers to store things: math tubs, décor, books, etc.

While reorganizing my library this summer, I started thinking about my holiday/seasonal books. I only take them out during that month (which frees up lots of space in my library AND gets the kids excited when the new books come out.) I like keep them separate, but my drawers were getting super-full.

Not pretty. I decided to pull the books out and store them in my favorite Wal-Mart tubs. I chose the medium size because they were thinner and would be lighter to grab each month.

Ta-Da! These will be labeled and stored in the corner of my classroom.
A couple of quick organization tips. This one is so simple and makes my life much easier.
It's not rocket-science, but it took me a few years to get this going! I keep it right next to my printer, and I can easily switch out paper when I need to.
I also wanted to share what I use in place of my filing cabinet. Now, this does not mean I've gotten rid of the cabinet yet, but it's on it's way out!

I keep a binder for my team and try to stick one copy of everything that we do in the binder (in order.) We meet weekly to plan our lessons, so I bring the binder to the meeting and we can go through and see what we did previously and make copies. I also try to keep my examples and books used. It is not a perfect system, but it's a little easier than pulling out files. library. Whew! That was quite the task! I'd been looking for some labels for a while now and contemplated making my own, but then I saw these kindercraze labels and KNEW we were meant to be!

I like to have some of my books sorted my character and author, and I was able to use the editable file to create my own. This was not easy and took me 2 days, but how cute are they? So worth it. (Thanks kindercraze for making it editable!)
Once all the books were sorted, it was time to label! Another great tip from Maria at kindercraze was to HOT GLUE the labels to the bins! O.M.G., ya'll. This is genius. No more nasty tape! I had to take a few off to combine with another bin, and the glue easily peeled off.
I'm never going back.
HG4L (Hot Glue 4 Life)
So this is what it looks like *mostly* complete.


I was so pleased and ridiculously excited that the labels matched nicely with my new chalkboard alphabet décor! Love, love, love!

You may have noticed a tiny gap of space, and you may also be asking yourself..."Where are the random fiction books that don't fit into a theme?" Yes. Good question.

 Oh! There they are! Boo.
This is part 2. I'm planning to level these books and either display them by level or by the first letter of the title. For now, they are hiding in the corner. My dirty little secret. :)
Finally, while you're here, feel free to head on over to the We Heart 1st Facebook page and follow us. It's a pretty sad situation over there, and we need some friends! :) We started strong with instagram and forgot all about our Facebook page. It' so much to manage! I'll be giving away my new chalkboard-style alphabet décor pack on the FB page very soon! 
That's it for now! I'd love to hear some of your fave organization tips. Do you use binders? Have a favorite bin? Sound off in the comments, and remember to head back to doodlebugs and check out some more blogs!
We Heart Teaching
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