Best Year Ever

I don't know about any of you, but my stress level and anxiety are THROUGH THE ROOF at the moment.  My summer break is quickly coming to a close and the start of the #bestyearever is about to begin.  I got the bright idea to do a mini classroom makeover, which includes reorganizing my classroom library.  I had ALL summer, but I, of course, saved it for the last two weeks.  Here are some pics of what I have been up to...


I actually have already been to my classroom once in JULY! I have never done any work in my classroom in July.  What is this world coming to???  I moved my desk against the bulletin board.  It used to jut out from the white board and I decided it was taking up valuable real estate.  I was then able to move my small group table to be next to my desk.  I see this being great for so many reasons!


The family and I also took a trip to Ikea.  We were on the hunt for rugs to go with my classroom makeover.  While we were there I noticed a ton of great choices for alternative seating.  I currently have Kore wobble stools, bean bags, crate seats, and Ikea stools in the classroom.






The biggest undertaking has been leveling and reorganizing my classroom library.  It has been quite the undertaking.  I am using arbookfind to locate book level and I am also adding the corresponding AR quiz number.  Then I am using a few conversion charts and labeling with the TRC level.  I haven't quite figured out how I will display the books yet.  It has been an eye opening project as I now see how terrible my lower level book selection is.  More shopping is in my future!


As with any good project I do it can never stay in one place.  I usually end up on the floor. Its just a better work area!

I am curious what changes you are making in your classroom this year?  Comment below to win a $10 TPT gift card remember they are having a sale on Monday August 1st and Tuesday August 2nd (oh and also please leaves some titles of your favorite beginning of 1st grade level books)!  Stay tuned for pics of my updated classroom.

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Top 5 Toys Played with By All Ages



Hey everyone! It's summer time, so I obviously have been spending a TON of time with my 3 kids.  It has been glorious.  It has also made me realize how much s#*t we have.  I sat down after several visits with family from out of town and I realized there are a few staple items that ALWAYS get played with despite the ages of the children/adults playing with them.  This thought has seriously made me consider getting rid of everything else.  After all, my kids can have fun in a cardboard box, no lie!

So here are the top 5 toys in no particular order...

#1
Play Kitchen and accessories


My kids got their kitchen for Christmas (VERY similar to the one above).  We invested in a wooden kitchen because we liked the look and hoped that it would be more durable.  We had a plastic one in the past that we picked up from a rummage sale.  It did the job for awhile, but the knobs broke off and stickers began to peel.

Along with the kitchen we also decided the wisest investment would be in wooden play food.  Melissa and Doug has many awesome play sets.  Learning Resources also has some very sturdy plastic sets that we purchased too.






#2
Doodle Pad


I love this item because my 1 year old loves scribbling those preliminary marks, my 4 year loves practicing her name, and my 7 year old can write words and sentences.  I even enjoy challenging myself to draw a picture without having to erase.  We have a simple one that has one pen.  I know others come with stamps, but I know we would lose those quickly.

#3
Drums & other musical instruments

We are a very musical family.  My husband was actually a professional touring musician for awhile.  I love to sing, but really can't carry a tune.  Hopefully my kids take after him. Haha!  We don't mind the noise, in fact, we encourage it.  EVERY.SINGLE.KID that comes to our house has to try their hand at the drums.  I love it!  Last week, one of my son's friends who also has CP was playing up a storm and even attempted to use the drumstick with his weaker hand!  I think our drum set has been instrumental at building my son's core strength.  The set above is the one my son currently has.

We are also big fans of other percussion instruments.  We love to turn the music up loud and sing and play along.  This was one of our first percussion sets.



#4
Barbie


I remember playing with my Barbie's for a LONG time.  My 4 year old has been playing with them for about a year.  Above is her latest addition to her collection.  Sometimes my son even joins in.  I love hearing them role play and create stories.

#5
This one is probably the favorite.....
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Inflatable Bouncy Animals


My sister-in-law came home from the Covered Bridge Festival in Southern Indiana one year and I was so upset that she came home with not one, but TWO of these LARGE inflatable bouncy animals.  I thought where am I going to put these in my teeny tiny house?!  Needless to say, I don't feel that way anymore.  They sit proudly in my living room (they are one of the only visible toys when you walk in-on a good day).  All of the kids that come play for hours on these silly looking things.  They LOVE them.  We have never once had to re-inflate them.  My husband and I have even been caught racing on them in our living room.  Haha!

So there you have it... my top 5 toy items that are sure to be a crowd please for those young and old.  Please comment below with any toys you feel have the same longevity.  I would love to replace my million dusty toys with some really awesome ones!

Thanks for letting me step outside the teacher box for a few minutes. :)

This post does contain links to my Amazon affiliate account, but these are products that I own, have had for years, and LOVE!
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