Wednesday, August 15, 2012

T minus 2 days...

Alright guys, I'd LOVE to share some pictures of my classroom with you, but I am EXHAUSTED.

I've been working on school stuff until 11:00 the last two nights, in addition to 6+ hours at school. Tomorrow is teachers' first official day back, and I still have a bunch to do-but I have to be totally ready to go before I leave tomorrow.

'Why,' you ask. Well tomorrow is a full work day, but Friday is all meetings. Saturday is my bachelorette party, and Sunday is my first shower.

So you could say that I'm a little busy.

Here's where you come in:

I need some REALLY great beginning of the year activities.

Think you could help me out? :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

A "Faux Whiteboard" Makeover

I'm keeping this one short and sweet because I spent HOURS working in my room today, and quite frankly, I'm pooped. 

But I still have a bunch of printing, laminating, and creating that needs to be done. 


First off, I'm participating in the big TpT sale this weekend, so all of my resources will be 20% off AND you can use the code BTS12 to take off a grand total of 28% off of your order. Not too shabby.

If you click that graphic, it'll take you to my store.

Don't forget: August 12-13.

Be there.

In other news, I've been furiously working away in my classroom. I don't know how some of you guys get everything ready in a couple of days.

Really, I don't.

I've been spending hours in there several days a week, for probably the last month, and I STILL have a ton to do.

Maybe I've tried to bite off more than I can chew. Definitely wouldn't be the first time.

I did finally finish up (at least for now) one of my "bulletin boards." Here's the thing. Back in the day when the school started replacing chalkboards, they installed one real whiteboard and then used a slick panel board that's probably meant for shower walls for the other boards. But this faux whiteboard doesn't erase well. At all. And so now it looks gross. Plus it has Velcro dots stuck on there from a previous management system, and I cannot get them off to save my life.

And I have an uncontrollable need for things to look pretty, remember?

So here's what it looked like before. See what I mean? Nastiness. (Ignore the pretty blue paper, this was an 'in progress' picture because I forgot to take a 'before')

My original plan was to use colored plastic tablecloths from the dollar store. Turns out, they're super thin. You could see ALL of those icky Velcro dots. And every scratch, scuff, and Expo marker that would never come off.

I found that gorgeous blue paper at the teacher store and bought 3 rolls (Bonus: it's fade proof!), and finally found a purpose for those rolls of zebra duct tape that I bought a few weeks ago.

First I measured and cut the paper (it's not very wide), and then stuck it to the board with masking tape. After I got the panels positioned, I took the masking tape off of the sides and covered the seams with duct tape. 

After all of the vertical sides were covered, I went back and took the masking tape off of the top and bottom and covered them with duct tape. (I'm not the most patient person, so this project was trying for me.)

Since I also bought a bunch of ribbon at Walmart a month ago...and had no purpose for it...I decided to  hot glue it to the tape to spruce up the vertical dividers.

I could have SWORN that I had a picture with the ribbon, but I can't find it.

Moving on...

I also needed a really good way to display my ADORABLE CSS posters that I got from Kate at To The Square Inch. (They're seriously awesome!)

I wanted to display them in a way that would be super easy to change out, but still look good.

Enter my new best friend, Mr. Hot Glue Gun.

Seriously, this guy is AWESOME.

I decided to use a binder clip and a clipboard for each set of standards, so I could display the cluster (binder clip) and the standard (clipboard). I toyed around with the idea of using my X-Acto knife to cut a hole in the paper and then use a 3M hook, but I figured that I would royally screw up my beautiful paper.

So I very hesitantly, very cautiously, heated up the hot glue gun.

By golly, it stuck!

I did the binder clip first, you know, since it's small and therefore more likely to stick.

And it stuck.

Then I slathered the back of a clipboard with the molten hot glue and pressed it to the wall.

And held it for a long time because I was sure that it was coming down.

But stayed. 

And it looks awesome!

I even glued a pocked chart up there!

After adding some letters that I punched out (I don't think I've ever bought the prepackaged punch out bulletin board letters before-now I know why. I hate punching them out. It took about 2 hours to punch out all of those letters!), that once UGLY board now looks FABULOUS!

I'm in love.

The upper left hand poster will be a cluster poster, too. I just didn't have another one printed off , and I really wanted a complete-ish picture.

I'm hoping to get some pictures of the completed room before the kids come back, but now I'm hearing that our rooms won't be painted until school starts. Such a conundrum. Do I take pictures before the kids come and have the room look great but the walls look ugly? Or do I wait until the room is painted and take my chances with the damage caused by the kids?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

6th Grade Blog Link-Up!

I hadn't planned on posting today, but I wanted to show off the shiny new button at the top of my blog!

See it? The one that says AMAZING 6th Grade Blogs?

That's the one.

Here's the deal. If you're anything like me, you follow half a million blogs and can't keep most of them straight.

And there aren't a TON of 6th grade blogs out there (at least that I've found).

So I thought to my self, "Self, wouldn't it be great if all of your favorite 6th grade blogs were in all in one place?"

"Brilliant!" I replied.

Thus, I've created a nice little place where you can link up your 6th grade blog and stalk visit all of your other favorite 6th grade blogs.

I know, I know, it's awesome. Best idea of the day, if not the year.

Don't mention it.

Now go link up!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

SO much left to do!

First off, congratulations to Meghan from Third Grade in the First State for having the closest guess to the total of my little shopping trip last week!

Remember all of this?
Sorry, adorable brown dog not included.
Meghan guessed that I spend $34 on these goodies, and boy was she close! I spent a whopping....


That's it! 

(I'm not so sure about some of you...over $100?! Whoa-I'm planning a wedding, remember?!)

I am happy to report that the rug has made it into my classroom and looks FANTASTIC!

I mean, seriously FANTASTIC.

I'm kind of in love with it.

Except for the part where it slides across the floor if you step on it. I'm clumsy enough as it is, I don't need to have it trying to kill me. A rug pad (or something along those lines) is on my to-do list.

Sadly, those little green lamps are looking a little faded. I didn't think about the fact that they were sitting right next to the windows last year. Apparently the sun worked its magic on them. 

Sad face.

In other news, my poor, lonely, crate seats are finally getting a friend.

I got word yesterday that my grandpa had finished building my new table that will be the PERFECT size for these little crates! It still needs a couple coats of paint (which my AMAZING grandma volunteered to take care of!) before it can move in to my room, but it's going to be AWESOME!

 I'm thinking that it'll be the same lovely shade of blue as my zebra chair. Thoughts?

I mean, I have a gallon of the stuff sitting in the garage, it should probably be put to good use, right?


My pal/bridesmaid Mallory helped me start refinishing some chairs that I stole saved from the office's junk pile.

Unfortunately, I underestimated how much one can of spray paint can do, and ended up with one painted chair, one partially painted chair, and one untouched chair.


I did manage to reupholster 2 of the 3 seat cushions and the back cushion (only one chair had one-weird). 

They're going to be super cool. 

But of course I forgot to take pictures of the work in progress.

I did remember to take a before picture.

That is on UGLY chair. 

But not for long. 

(Insert evil villain laugh)

I also finished printing, trimming, and framing my PBIS posters; covered my "doesn't erase at all" whiteboard, and made super cute name tags.

And I forgot to take pictures of them.

Get your head together, Laura.

I don't plan on spending any time in my classroom tomorrow since it's supposed to be super hot (and I am going for my first dress fitting tomorrow!). And I'm also hoping to squeeze in a little end-of-the-summer pool time. There hasn't been nearly enough pool time in my summer.

Until then, I'm going to work on some schedule cards and some name/number labels (because I can never remember who goes with what number). I'll probably post them to TpT when I'm done, so make sure you're following my store.

One last thing that I've been meaning to do for awhile now-

Shout out to Melissa over at Teach-Bake-Love

Her blog was one of the first that I started following, and it's also one of the blogs that I look forward to reading the most! I was absolutely SHOCKED when I noticed how few followers she has-you guys are missing out! So when you get a minute, hop over to her blog-you can thank me later.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Successful Shopping and The Proposal Story

{Edit: I've decided that this post is a PERFECT candidate for Elizabeth's Fabulous Find Friday-come on, these are some FABULOUS finds!}

So as promised, I'm finally going to tell you all about my AWESOME proposal!

But before I do (Get it, I do, like wedding vows? I'm so funny!), I have to show off a few awesome purchases that I made today!

I've been trying to cut back, really, I have...

I made 3 stops today: Lowes, Staples, and Target (you can see where this is going).

Stop #1-Lowes:

I got this AWESOME rug that will be moving into my classroom (though Charlie has already approved it staying here).

Dark brown and off white chevrons.


You're jealous, aren't you?

It's ok, it's an awesome rug. I'd be jealous, too.

Wait until I tell you how much I paid for it-you'll be even more jealous.

No joke.

Stop #2-Staples

Come on, it's school supply season. I can't just ignore school supply season. That would be wrong. And sad.

So to prevent myself from slipping into a deep depression from lack of school supplies, I stocked up on 25 pocket folders (which just so happen to match my adorable crate seats) and these super fun markers for anchor charts.

Did I mention that the markers are smelly?

I. Love. Smelly. Markers.

I see LOTS of anchor charts on my horizon.

Stop #3-Target

You know I can't pass up a trip to Target. And I needed coffee. And it just so happens that we have a Starbucks in our Target. It's heaven.

You should be proud of me-this is probably the cheapest Target trip I've had in months. (No seriously, months.).

I found these super fun picture frames (that match my classroom perfectly) at the Dollar Spot for $2.50 each. (Not exactly a dollar, Target. Shame on you.)

While I was lurking around in the Dollar Spot, I found those super cute birthday cakes for my birthday display (that I am finally getting around to having for my 3rd year of teaching, sigh). Did I mention that they're reversible? They are. One side is blue, the other pink. Hello, color coordination.

And lastly, check out that super cute bunting that I got for a whopping $1.18. Even better-it's actually fabric, not paper! Woot!

I've decided that the first person to leave me a comment and guess the grand total of my shopping trip (to the nearest $1, because I don't know where I left the Lowes receipt) before midnight tomorrow night can pick a resource from my TpT store for FREE! (Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!)

I know, I'm the best.

Now, onto that proposal.

The Proposal

Ok, let me preface this with the fact that Matthew is NOT a planner. He's just not. I'm lucky if I can get him to plan a cookout with close friends more than a day in advance.

So Matthew had been telling me for a couple months that he was going to plan a surprise day for me, because he knows that I LOVE surprises...and because he's not a planner.

Let me remind you, at his point we had been dating for about 2 weeks shy of 3 years, so this girl was itching for a proposal and he knew it. So he made it very clear that I was POSSIBLE that there could be a proposal at the end of my surprise day, but not to expect it and then be disappointed if it didn't happen. 

We met up for lunch downtown at Jimmy Johns that day, and he had worked from home that morning because he had a project that he needed to finish up without distractions. All through lunch, I was trying to talk him into just taking the afternoon off so that we could hang out, but he wouldn't bite.

After procuring cookies from a nearby cookie shop, we walked back to our cars, where I made a final plea for him to take the afternoon off. 

Didn't work.

Instead, he got a smirk on his face and told me to go sit in my car and wait about two minutes for an email because, and I quote, "Your surprise day starts now!"

He hopped in his car and drove off while I sat giddily waiting for the email.

I finally got the email, which had a link to a website.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Matt is super smart when it comes to computer stuff. Programming, the works.

The past week or so, he had been spending a lot of time coding in the evenings, which really isn't all that uncommon. He gets caught up in a project and can't stop thinking about it until it's done.

Well, turns out that he wasn't coding for work.

You see, Matt had been spending all of that time writing a web app. (For those of you who don't speak computer geek, a web app is like an app that you would install on your iPhone, except it runs from a website instead of a standalone application.)

So the link that was in this email was a link to the web app he had created. 

A web app for a scavenger hunt. I LOVE scavenger hunts. 

The scavenger hunt took me all around town to different places that were significant to our relationship (and included features like location verification to make sure I was where I said I was).

And since I'm a bit of a geek, I took screen shots of each step. (And I'm really glad that I did!) Since it would take me forever to upload all of the screenshots onto Blogger, I've posted the album to my Facebook page, so you can check out the whole scavenger hunt there.

You REALLY don't want to skip that part.

Remember, even though this totally SCREAMS proposal, I was told not to expect it, so all afternoon I was trying to convince myself to not even CONSIDER it.

So after the scavenger hunt, I got all dressed up for our dinner date. We went to a pretty fancy restaurant in town that we like to go to for our anniversary, Valentine's day, and other important events.

During dinner, he told me that he had a couple ideas for things we could do after dinner, but he hadn't decided which one he wanted to do.

I was convinced that the planning had ended and that he was simply winging it. Sigh.

After we finished eating, Matt decided that we needed to have dessert. 

I don't turn down dessert.
He then told me that we needed to kill a little time before our next activity, so we slowly ate dessert, and then went for a walk around Central Park (not the New York one...). After meandering aimlessly through the park and failing in our attempts to take a picture of ourselves, we finally headed toward the car.

After we got in the car, he pulled out a blindfold that he told me I had to wear on the way to our next location.

Now let me preface this with the fact that I do NOT like not being able to see. That's the main reason why I don't like haunted houses. I actually LIKE being able to see where I'm going-it freaks me out if I can't. I apparently never conveyed that to him. Whoops.

So the whole way there, I'm bugging him about taking off the blindfold and whining about how I hate not being able to see. You guys, I was paying attention to every turn trying to figure out where the heck we were going. 

Apparently I did a pretty good job, too. I found our later that we took a few trips through some parking lots to throw me off. (I knew we didn't have any roads that curvy in town!)

We finally park at the mystery location and Matt comes around to help me out of the car (and I'm still really wanting to take that blindfold off). We walk around the car, and then up 3 stairs (NOT cool while blindfolded) into this building.

As we walk in, I can hear on of our songs playing...go ahead and click play. You'll want the soundtrack for this one. I'll wait.

I'm totally clueless as to where we are, there's a musty smell like an old building, but I just can't figure out where we are.

He leads me into a room that has a concrete or tile floor, and then onto carpet. We dance around for a few minutes (still blindfolded, sigh). 

Then he takes off the blindfold and I'm...

In my classroom which he and some of our friends had decorated. They had strung lights from the ceiling-he had been waiting for it to get dark. They had taken one of my rugs and put it in the middle of the room and moved one of my tables to the middle which had the ring box.

And then another one of our songs know the drill.

Yup, that's right-he proposed in my classroom. I know. Gets me choked up, too.

After I said 'yes,' he walked over to the door and asked if we should go see everyone-our friends who had helped decorate had been sitting down the hall in the computer lab the whole time. And apparently, one of them recorded a video of me walking into the building blindfolded, you know, when I was complaining (oops).

Of course, orchestrating a proposal at school, during the summer, and at night required some collaboration. Apparently my principal was in on it as well as our district's head of MIS.


Turns out that Matthew can be a bit of a planner after all.

Just a quick update...

So I'm off to spend a few more hours in my classroom this morning (hopefully with some coffee in tow), but I just wanted to remind you to become a fan on Facebook so that you can get all sorts of little mini-updates! My classroom is finally starting to come together, so I think my Facebook page would be an excellent place to maybe give a few little sneak peeks at my classroom before my big reveal (don't you agree?), and you KNOW that you're dying to see my masterpiece.

It also occurred to be last night that I never told you how Matt proposed! (How could I have possibly forgotten to tell you about that?!) So, to fix that major error, I'm planning on posting about that sometime soon (maybe tonight?).

So hop on over to my Facebook page and Like it, and I'll try to pull together a post about the proposal for later today!