Saturday, August 30

Banish Lamination Glare! Quickly and Easily!

I'm just not much of a DIYer.

I see ideas on Pinterest and pin the bejeezers out of them.

My mom and stepdad are inCREDible DIYers.

I'm a WANNAbe DIYer.

Ya know those Pinterest fails?

That's me.

EXCEPT with this!

It was QUICK!

It was EASY!

I'm swooning over the loveliness of Jen Jones' Chalkboard Alphabet over at her Hello Literacy store on TpT. It is gorgeous and the pack includes 150 pages of alphabet goodness, including a spelling dictionary and alphabet cards in multiple sizes.

But when I finished laminating it and put it up, the classroom lights hit it in a way that made it so full of glare that my firsties wouldn't really be able to see it. With something things it doesn't matter so much...but with this it did. So I looked into what I could do about it. And found out about clear spray paint with a matte finish.

So I tried it!

And it worked!

All I did was lay out the pieces on a whopper piece of cardboard from my school's receiving room. I set up just outside to avoid too much odor. It took about two minutes to spray the first coat. Then I waited a few minutes (five mn max) and spent another two minutes to spray the second coat. Then I waited a few more minutes and carried it back to my classroom.

The directions say that it dries to the touch in five minutes and it will be fully dry in 24 hours. It dried to the touch really quickly.

I started hanging it up...and one of my colleagues stopped in, saw what I was doing and mentioned that I was supposed to hang our Handwriting Without Tears alphabet.


So I did hang the HWT up (and dropped the J card behind the true-to-me-fashion) in the more prominent, student-viewing spot....and then hung this gorgeous set up as decoration on another wall.

I loved the results so much that I sprayed these guys down, too...(they were too bright for my now matte-needing eyes). Here's a picture before they were laminated....

Read, Write & Solve were all stapled up, so I took them down and sprayed them. LOVE the result.

Care was attached more securely to the mason block wall...and I didn't want to deal with taking it down. So...shhhhhhh....I sprayed it (one coat) while it was still on the wall. I held an open manila folder to the side with one hand and held the spray paint with the other hand and did a quick spray. It worked!

Pics to come soon. I was so kerfuffled about getting ready for my new crew of firsties' first day on Tuesday that I forgot to take the pictures! But if I don't post this post this weekend, I'll be sucked in to the B2S Transition Vortex and I'll never even remember that I wanted to share this with you guys.

Product Deets...
I used Rustoleum Matte Finish spray and it did have a bit of an odor, most noticed, but still not terrible, when I sprayed it inside my classroom...So for future projects I tracked down a Low Odor version from Krylon.

By the you read this, I'm guessing you've sorta maybe thought that technically this is not really a DIY project. Thank you for not telling me that all I really did was spray laminate with a special finish to banish the glare. Which doesn't really constitute a DIY. You guys are the best!


Sunday, August 17

It's O-Fish-Al...You are going to SHINE in ___ Grade! Freeeeeeebie!

I'm guessing that you're like me, in that you always feel like there's more you could be doing in each and every area of your life.

I'm working really REALLY hard to give myself grace and mercy and to focus on what I HAVE done versus what I have NOT done.

Blogging falls into that category for mind is constantly whirring with ideas and intentions.

However, my real life always needs to come first. And by real life, I mean the people I have relationships with. Not the cleaning or laundry or meal planning. I'm definitely willing to cut corners in those departments.

Cereal for dinner? Sure.

Laundry piled for miles and putting the kids to work on it. Absolutely.

Floors and windows not so clean. Fo Sho. an effort to focus and savor this last week before I officially go back to school, I'm gonna make this a serious potpourri of randomness...

So I can get rid of the, "You haven't blogged much," thought to just go away! 

Thanks for bearing with me!

To begin with...I have put together some bundles and uploaded them to TpT...thank you for your patience. You guys are soooo seriously the BEST!!!

I've even PRE-BUNDLED my Math Common Core Crunch for the the earlier you purchase it, the more you save - cuz I'm not done with a few of the months.

Based on requests and feedback...this is what I've bundled.

The bigger the bundle, the bigger the discount. :)

All three Reading Workshop Packs...

All months from the ELA Common Core Crunch Series...

And a unique opportunity to pre-purchase and get October through December free! Sept should be uploaded by Tuesday. I so love a great deal and wanted to offer this as a show of appreciation for your loyalty.

Have I mentioned that you guys are the BEST????

Last year you might have snagged up my "You're o-fish-ally" tags...from this post.

But this year I really would like to give my students a bag of goldfish crackers AND a glow stick...but I didn't want to prep two gift tag items...

Then this saying hit me like a ton of bricks...

While I was trying to ignore my daughter's tantrum (she's got a tentative diagnosis of anxiety, so at six years old we are still enduring suffering experiencing tantrums) today.

I quickly left the area and wrote it down on a post-it so I wouldn't lose it later on.

Then, later, instead of making dinner, I whipped them up.

I only need first grade, but I have grades pre-k through 5th grade.

When I printed them on my NEW and amazing color laser printer (purchased on Amazon at a GREAT price), I set the pdf to print two pages on one so that eight smaller tags printed on each page. The pdf is set up for four per page...cuz that's the best I could do while crazily multi-tasking.

Of course I want to share them with you! So just click the picture to download them! :) did end up being chicken for dinner...not cereal. :)

Thursday, August 14

B2S You Tube Party & HUUUUUUUGE Giveaway

Friends! I am SERIOUSLY excited (and MORE than a little bit nervous) about this post. 

My blogging friends and I at the Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you.


We decided to throw a party. 

A YouTube Partaaaaay! 

We are here sharing lots of tips -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!


We are having a huge giveaway!

$100 Amazon Gift Card

$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card

A fabulous Michael Kors bag 
(you know, the one you want but can't justify spending the money for?)

So what do you need to do? 

Did you see that?You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopter (but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5ish new videos every day this week... so you can come back, watch, and enter every day!

My video includes books I LOVE to read aloud to build classroom community and culture.

I seriously can't get over how dorky I look on video AND how messy my room is. Granted, I JUST moved in, but oh my word, there's lots of work to be done!

And here's my video!

In the video I shared a poster from this blog post - you can download it for free RIGHT HERE.

Now - go head over to the Primary Chalkboard to watch more tip clips and enter the giveaway!

Saturday, August 2


I'm soooo honored to be participating in the book study for my friend Barbara Gruener's absolutely INCREDIBLE book!
Affiliate links included in this post

If you have not seen her blog, you MUST GO! She blogs at The Corner on Character. Her posts resonate. 'Cuz she's just so special.

I even got to meet her last summer and then saw her again a few times this summer! Lucky, lucky, LUCKY me!!! Here we are in San Diego, with Shauna from The Picture Book Teacher's Edition...where Barbara (who lives in TX) and I (who lives in WI) both happened to be at the same time!

I absolutely adore this entire book...Barbara's anecdotes and examples make each trait come alive and help me know exactly what I want to try in my classroom. It's more of a handbook than a one time read and I know that my copy will be dog-eared and tabbed sooooon!!!

The entire book is amazing and I have lots of pages tabbed already! You can find ideas and examples for each of the character traits highlighted.

She's set the book up so that each chapter highlights a character trait...using the acronym:


    • Service
    • Unconditional Love
    • Perseverance
    • Empathy
    • Respect
    • Honesty
    • Enthusiasm
    • Responsibility
    • Obedience
    • Encouragement
    • Self Discipline
Brilliant, right?

I am super late to the party (sometimes life just explodes, right? Thank you for your grace and friendship, Barbara. Love you!) with my post on Chapter 3...but better late than never, eh? This is a party that I absolutely did NOT want to miss!

'Cuz I LOVE the book and I LOVE Barbara!
Book Study - Perseverance Chapter

In this chapter Barbara emphasizes the importance of Perseverance...aka...stick-to-it-iveness.

What's Under Your Cape? Superheroes of the Character Kind

When something new is hard, ya gotta have it.

When challenges come your way, ya gotta have it.

When learning to read or write or solve is hard, ya gotta have it.

When learning has been easy and all of a sudden you're stretched, ya gotta have it.

It's especially powerful when perseverance is demonstrated with a positive attitude.

Along with fantastic examples and ideas, Barbara recommends several picture books...

I can't describe how lucky I feel to have my review quote selected and placed on the back of the book...

Barbara's entire book has me thinking about how I will tweak my classroom setup and though I always infuse character development into my classroom community, I'm wanting to go decorate with the Superhero theme...of the character kind! I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I LOVE to combine our initial study of perseverance with finding text evidence - this best seller is engaging for my classes every year and produces powerful results! They LOVE holding each other accountable for finding text to support their answers. You can read more about this unit by clicking the picture below or {this link right here}.

You might also be interested in these posts about Growth Mindset...

In the meantime, here are some freebies for you to use when you work with your students on this mission-critical lifeskill! Click the pic to download!

Don't forget to pick up your copy of What's Under Your Cape? Superheroes of the Character Kind!!! Click here to get it personalized from Barbara!
© Growing Firsties. All rights reserved.
Design by Laugh Eat Learn // Theme by Pipdig