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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Well hello there internet universe. It's been a while, and let's be honest, it might be an even longer while until you hear from me again, but while I'm here I'll offer you full disclosure that my throat has a literal lump in it and my eyes might be a wee bit wet after reading my last blog post from, oh, just 2.5 years ago. Two and half years! I have not one, but two sweet babies and boy are they growing fast.

My three year old has recently and suddenly caught on to reading and is trying to sound everything out, and I'm melting into a puddle of mommy/teacher pride, but also overwhelmed with an emotional wave of teaching nostalgia and passion and love and a weight of sadness that time is such a thief and so many good times and memories are behind me. It's like, blink! My once first graders are in jr. high and my first third graders are graduating and my first baby is reading. (insert bawling emoji) Before I know it I'll be sending her out the door with a boy I'm not so sure about. (more tears of hysteria...) But enough of those unnerving thoughts...


 So... why am I here? I've neglected this little blog for a couple years now, why come back? Well... I guess, because I was touched. I'll be honest that I haven't really kept up with my Teachers Pay Teachers store either, but I happen to follow Erica Bohrer  on Instagram and noticed that there's a valentines sale going on. Back in the day I was all over that and made sure to join the fun. So I figured, my computer is out, why not?! And you know what I saw when I logged in? I saw that thousands, literally thousands and thousands of people have viewed and purchased things from my shop and my jaw kind of dropped. If you are reading this, or have even viewed or purchased something from me, thank you!

 I feel so blessed and grateful for the support of so much family, friends, and strangers. It makes me so happy that teachers and students and parents have benefitted from my teaching resources. Teaching is and always will be a passion that gets my blood running hot through my veins.

So, what have I been up to in the last 2.5 years since I last blogged? Well, if you happen to follow me on instagram (Tangled with Tinkering) you know I stay very busy. I'm a mama and wife to the people I love and cherish the most. I'm a preschool teacher to the cutest bunch of kids that I love almost equal to my own. And I bake. Lots and lots of cookies (and occasional cakes and cupcakes). But the baking is the fast part! I spend hours and hours decorating. Why??? Because I can't stop and I love it. It's like the same fire in my blood as all those late, long hours at my schools prepping for all those little people that I miss and adore so much.  So... that's my life in a nutshell. I love it and I'm so incredibly grateful for it.


And in case you missed the hint above, everything in my store is 28% off today and tomorrow only.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dr. Seuss Classroom x3

It's been a while, I know.  Well if you've perused my most recent (not-so-recent) posts at all you'll know that I've been busy with mommy things.  And SURPRISE! My little girl is not even a year old yet, but we are adding one more to the team.

Can't. Believe. It.
I'm 21 weeks pregnant and have been sick, sick, sick for, oh, the  last 4-5 months.  Ug. But I would rather not dwell on that, so let's get on to the real reason I came to the couch: I'm starting a preschool! (Big cheesy, plastered on grin with deer-in-the-headlight eyes). Am I insane? Yes. Yes I am.  But it makes me happy! So that's what I do. I do crazy and I like to think I do it pretty well.  I'm starting a preschool and mid-school-year I will be the momma to not one, but two babies under the sweet age of 15 months.  Heaven help me.
To the credit of my questionable sanity, I should add that I decided to quit teaching elementary to teach preschool from home BEFORE I found out that I was pregnant with baby #2.  I already had a full class enrolled, so here. we. go!

Anyway, if you made it this far you really deserve a ticket, or a token, or a sticker, or something. Good job! And don't let my candid apprehension fool you.  Let's get one thing straight: I love to teach. I was born to be a teacher. It's in my blood. Just like I know I was made to be a mom. I'm so happy and grateful to do the things that I love. What a gift.

Alright, alright already. Pictures, yes, the reason you visited my obscure, neglected, little blog in the first place. Can I get a drumroll please? And thanks for visiting! Come again.
Months ago, before I knew I was pregnant {again!} I deliberated long and hard about what to name my preschool. If you know me at all you know I've been kickin' around the Dr. Seuss theme for a few years now (Dr. Seuss Classroom x3 - yes it really is my THIRD Dr. Seuss classroom. 1st grade. 3rd grade. Now Preschool.) Finding a name was not an easy feat! But eventually I decided on 'Thinkin' Things.'

My handiwork sign I'm not such a fan of, but check out my little helper. Could she be ANY cuter? 
(Okay, fine, I admit I might be a little biased.)
So we had a little Open House and here's my front door...

And here's your view as you descend the stairs...
 And here's a little-bit fish-eyed attempt at showing you what the whole place looks like...
...and the other half. 
Have you ever taken an iphone panorama? 
I hadn't, (guess I need a little practice - those stripes really DO line up on the wall) but what a cool little feature! 
Here's the hooks and alphabet (an awesome baby shower gift from a friend!) where the kiddos will hang their backpacks.

 The snack/art/craft/science table AND our pull-down maps. Probably my FAVORITE feature. I convinced my old principal to let me buy them from the school. :)


Our Thing 1 Buddy to "watch out" for everybody and make sure we are all playing safe and be a "model student" for us too - sitting on the special "Thing of the Day's" chair. 

(My "Thing of the Day" is basically like a "Student of the Day" or "Teacher's Helper". It does WONDERS to help with behavior and keep kids motivated) 
 Our writing/listening/reading/drawing table with student cubbies and the special Thing 2 chair cover for my "Thing of the Day" (see how I made it here). 
The AWESOME Dr. Seuss shelf facade my husband made way back when but that didn't get assembled and painted until just now! And a $5 thrift store chair I sanded, painted, and recovered.
 And the playroom! $10 door from the thrift store, easily cut in half by my handy, handsome hubby with a perfect puppet-show ledge stained and added to the top.  
Too bad the lighting makes it near impossible to get a good view inside the playroom. Just take my word. It's pretty awesome. Imagine one blue wall. One bright pink. The rest is a chalkboard. And filled with toys, games, puppets, dress-ups and more. Is it obvious I love it?
 And last, but not least, we have our math wall complete with calendar, shapes, months, days, and color-coded hundreds chart (Want a free copy? Check it out here)

And that's just about it.
 But wait! I want to see pictures of your classroom! Leave me a link so I can check it out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seriously Spectacular Space Projects



2 Summers ago I saw these little bags of styrofoam balls at DollarTree. They caught my attention instantly because an idea had already been tumbling around in my head for a couple of years but
styrofoam balls from the craft store are ridiculously overpriced, especially when you need about 8 (sorry Pluto :{ ) for 25 or so kids.  

I just couldn't believe how perfect these little $1 bags were.  Each one has 8 styrofoam balls AND 4 of them are small and 4 of them are larger!  Could it be more perfect?  
(Well... actually, yes, I suppose it could, and I did have a little discussion with my kiddos about how these 8 little balls weren't PERFECTLY proportionate to all 8 planets, but they are perfect for approximately representing the 4 inner Rocky Midgets and the 4 outer Gas Giants.) 

Anyway, I'm sure you can see where this was headed.  I saw the bags;  The idea was already brewing and just waiting to burst out of my brain; I had to buy them, that is 30 bags of them.  :)  So there they sat in my classroom cupboard for 2 years waiting for the perfect opportunity to be put to use.  I wanted to use them with my little firsties last year but it just seemed like a little much.  So this year when I switched to third grade the timing was perfect and they couldn't have turned out any more amazing!

WANT TO MAKE SOME WITH YOUR STUDENTS? YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR FREE HERE.

I gave each student a little bag of balls and a note of instructions that explained that they needed to represent the sun, all 8 planets, (and Pluto if they wanted), the stars, and the asteroid belt and each celestial body needed to be labeled.  I gave them some ideas for mounting/displayed their project and offered wire hangers for any students that wanted them, but most found their own way and they seriously turned out so awesome.  Can you believe 3rd graders did this?

We left them on display in the entryway of the school and they were quite the hit!  

Some kids cut them in half and mounted them.  Some kids used wires and sticks to mount them.  Some hung them.  
Quite simply: They were amazing.
This one was quite possibly my favorite. It's impossible to tell from this poor phone photo, but she went far above and beyond.  She labeled several stars and even added little labeled moons to the planets with toothpicks.  And of course you can just barely see little Pluto there on the end.  The whole thing was about 5-6 feet long and pretty impressive hanging from our ceiling.



When we were all finished learning about the solar system and completing our Planet Books, (click image to purchase)


and had finished our test, we celebrated by making delectable Solar System Cookies. 

I haven't quite caught back up with blogging/teaching/mommying/and creating teaching projects... so I don't have a picture of the 3rd grade cookies from this year, but here's one from a few years ago.  You can check out more details about the cookies and a few highlights of our Space activities from last year here.  


Friday, April 11, 2014

Hooray for the Humans...Part II

Since our little angel was born I have been busy with returning to teaching half-day, adjusting to life as mommy and teacher, and settling into our new home.  My third graders and I recently had a blast learning about the Human Body.  We used the Human Body Book that I created last year, 
  
and of course displayed the Human Body System Posters I created. 

Plus we added lots of fun new things to our learning! 
Unlike last year, we didn't have access to real-life skeleton so we had to settle for this little guy that the 6th grade let us borrow:

Like most, my kiddos love everything hands-on.  They were so fascinated with the human body and all of it’s amazing systems and I wanted them to have the opportunity to CREATE something to help solifidy their understanding of each system and its parts so I created this Human Body System Craft Book.  We used common household/classroom items to represent the different parts of the system (for example – little pink water balloons for the lungs, gold pipecleaners for the nerves, and a sponge for the brain).  When we finished learning about all of the systems we bound them in a book and wow, they look fabulous!  What a neat learning souvenir. 
 

You can purchase the Human Body Systems Craft Book here.  It includes a materials list and instruction page for each system, as well as a template for each body system, covers for the book and pictures of the completed crafts.

Of course we also made our little body system paper dolls (the kids LOVE them) before we took our test.  


Want a copy of the study guide and test I used?  You can download it for free here:


 And I had a wonderful TPT follower ask if I could provide her with the Human Body System Posters so she could translate them into Spanish.  Well… since I work in a school with a Spanish emphasis and LOTS of great Spanish-speaking teachers I went ahead and did it myself (with their help of course) and you can purchase those here if you’re interested.  They are PERFECT for Spanish-speaking schools or Spanish-immersion schools where science is taught in Spanish.  I hope somebody finds a good use for them!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm BACK!!! With good reason {and adorable pics} of my absence

So... I really don't know how many people ACTUALLY follow this little bloggie thing of mine, especially since I have been absent from the blogging world for quite some time, but I have a really good reason.  
And here she is:


If you've visited my blog before you probably know I have a bit of a Dr. Seuss obsession... so I just can't get enough of these pics of my little girlie holding Daddy's glasses and sleeping on some of my favorite stories.

She was born in October so of course I couldn't resist a few Halloween-themed baby photos...

 And a little Very Hungry Caterpillar one too...

And one to capture it all.  LOVE.  We Love her. She loves us.  We love having her.  We love our little family.  We love it all.  

And here are a few winter family photos taken in the blustery cold of January.  

Want to see more? Well don't you worry.  I have LOTS more (more than I can possibly ever post) and more Human Body System products & updates.

*Our baby girl's newborn photos were all inspired (with thanks!) by ideas I saw on Pinterest, so I don't claim them as my own, except for the Very Hungry Caterpillar one... that one I came up with with just the inspiration of my mind :) , and they were all taken thanks to the talented Alesa Larsen