Back to School DIY with Michaels

I'm officially getting back in the school spirit.  I spent the day running errands and gathering Back to School supplies at all my favorite stores.  I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Michaels to create some Back to School DIY goodness.  
Also loving their BTS Pinterest Board!

What is #Create2Educate?

o #Create2Educate is a sweepstakes to keep you inspired all year long! Create an original

back-to-school project and upload a picture of it to Instagram, using #Create2Educate and #sweepstakes. While you’re there, tag @MichaelsStores too. The contest runs Friday, August 1 through Friday, August 15. A random winner will be selected daily and will receive a $50 gift card to Michaels. All entries will be shared on

How will Michaels choose a winner?

o Each day’s entries (4 p.m. to 4 p.m.) are gathered and a winner is selected randomly.

When does the contest begin and end?

o The contest begins on Friday, August 1 and runs through Friday, August 15. Entries

beyond this date will not be eligible to win.

What does the winner receive?

o Michaels chooses a daily winner, and the winner will receive a $50 Michaels gift card.

Can I enter more than once?

o Yes, entries are unlimited.

What must be included in my entry?

o Tag @MichaelsStores in a picture of an original and unique back-to-school project on

Instagram using #Create2Educate and #sweepstakes. If you don’t have an Instagram,
upload the photo of your creation to

I’m not a teacher, can I still enter?

o Absolutely! Teachers aren’t just in the classroom, anyone can be an educator.

Do I need to give permission for Michaels to share my project?

o Yes! A link is provided in Michaels Instagram account bio. You must follow the link and

complete the steps in order for Michaels to share your photo on and/or social channels.
I submitted my project and was directed to a link to grant permission. Does Michaels need my permission?
o In order to share your photo on, you must grant Michaels permission to use that photo using the link in their Instagram profile. Once approved, you creation will be shared for all to see.

Do I have to use only supplies from Michaels?

o Where else would you find such a wide variety of supplies?

I entered my #Create2Educate project. Why don’t I see it on 
o Be sure that you’ve given permission to Michaels to share your unique project by
following the link in Michaels Instagram profile. Once your content has been approved,
it should be viewable on Michaels Create2Educate site.
easy teaching tools, 1st grade, back to school, education, teacher
Psst! I’ve been working on a little something to kick this school year off right and
@Michaels is helping me along the way! Want in? Get crafting! With the #create2educate #sweepstakes, who knows what your back-to-school creation will get you. 
Follow my Instagram to see what I create!
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Guest Blogger: iPods and Differentiation with Miss Peluso

Hey there! It's Gina from Miss Peluso's Kindergarten.  I am SO beyond excited to be here today blogging for the amazing Kristen! Thanks for the opportunity, doll!
I am fairly new to the blogging scene, so if you haven't stumbled upon my blog yet, I hope that this post will make you want to hop on over and check it out! I am a kindergarten teacher from Connecticut and I started blogging about a month and a half ago to share my love and passion for teaching and creating with all of you.  Today, I want to tell you all about one way I am transforming my guided reading block for the new school year.
This past year, one of my teammates and I applied for a grant and each received 2 iPods for our classrooms.  I am so excited to have an iPod listening center instead of using a large CD player with a splitter.  Now, when students choose to go to the listening center, they will take an iPod caddy, book, and response sheet to a quiet spot in the room.  To make my iPod caddies, I personalized some small caddies that I found at the Target Dollar Spot {my favorite place!} with mod podge, a glue gun, and my Cricut.
You can see that in the caddy, there is the iPod, pencils and colored pencils, and headphones.  Everything my kinders will need to complete their response sheets! No more wandering around the room to find what they need!

I uploaded each CD from the Scholastic Listening Library onto the iPods.  I love these audio books because they come with 3 tracks: a track with page turn signals, a track without page turn signals, and a comprehension question track.  My favorite thing about having these iPods is that I uploaded an image of the book cover along with each story.  This will allow my students to find the book that they are listening to without having to worry about reading the titles.  All they have to do is match the book cover to the picture on the iPod! AMAZING!
So, I bet you're wondering, how am I going to hold my students accountable for their work at the listening center?  I love products that allow my students to work independently, so what I created is just that! We all know that every student in our class is SO different, so I made multiple versions to allow me to differentiate for all of my students' needs. Here's an example for your kiddos who need extra support, or for the beginning of the year in kindergarten.

And here's what the same recording sheet looks like for more advanced students.
I've created an entire Listening Center Snapshots pack with 12 differentiated recording sheets.  Here are just some of the recording sheets that are included:
~my favorite part
~character swap
~setting switch
~different ending
~problem and solution

I love collaborating and sharing with other teachers, and I'd love to share this pack with you! If you would like to use these recording sheets in your classroom, I will be giving them away for FREE on my blog today. All you have to do is head on over to my blog and follow me {click here}! Later on today, I will publish a blog post with this entire pack for free, and all of my followers will be the fabulous recipients!! After that, you can purchase this pack for just $1.50 in my TPT store, {here}! Thanks again for allowing me to take over Easy Teaching Tools today!!
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Five for Friday: San Diego, Beach Time, and Classroom Prep. and a Giveaway

I've loved blogging and creating resources to use in my classroom and I'm grateful for what Teachers Pay Teachers has brought me.  I've loved connecting with new friends through Instagram and Facebook.  I've learned so much from all of you…BUT…it's put a bit of pressure on me to be on top of things rather than truly enjoy the summer.  I've found myself feeling anxious to leave the beach so I can get back to work.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I scroll through Instagram and then my mind goes crazy with a bazillion ideas.  Heck, I've even had crazy insomnia where I'm up until 4am.  I blame the TpT conference for that!  Here's what I've been up to this week!

I'm still so in love with these beautiful bracelets made from the pages of Cinderella.  I can't wait to buy the Dr. Seuss and map bracelets next.  Check out these bracelets from Kim at the Trashy Crafter.  Congrats to Melanie for winning a set of bracelets from our giveaway!
I've been avoiding writing about my TpT experience in Vegas.  I just know it's going to be a meaty post and I want to share so many ideas.  Thinking about it overwhelms me so I'll leave you with a few photos from the weekend.
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Courtney from Ramona Recommends and I held a meet up for over 70 teachers.  How cute are our cookies???  
My roomies and I had so much fun at the Go Noodle booth.  We did one of the Zumba workouts and I was exhausted! I was so happy to meet Holly from Go Noodle in person after months of e mails back and forth!
I went to Champy Hour with other Go Noodle bloggers.  We had wine and yummy appetizers. We shared ideas about how to improve Go Noodle.  Stay tuned, HUGE things coming up for Back to School!

I loved the Q&A session with these fabulous bloggers.  Can you name the bloggers?  First person to name them all gets any item from my TpT store.  
My mister's entire family came from all over for a bit of a family reunion and to spread his grandma's ashes.  It was great to have a staycation and spend time with family.
Man he's handsome, how the heck did I get so dang lucky?

It was a brisk morning on the boat.

It was finally sunny on Sunday so we spent it around the pool.  They kiddy pools was being redone so I did my best to ignore the inner teacher in me wanting to tell kiddos to be more respectful and not throw a football at my face.  Seriously people, it happened!

The San Diego Marriot Marquis was awesome!
I live in the coolest beach town.  I love walking down here and reading the names on the tiles and seeing if I know the people.  My first friend when I moved to this town in high school was hit by a drunk driver in college.  So I like reading the tiles that are dedicated to her.
We love coming to the pier for happy hour and watching the sunset.  Their drinks are known to be strong so pace yourself!
I've been on a crazy decorating kick.  I feel like it's when mommas are nesting and getting ready for baby.  That's me…getting ready for all of my new kiddos coming into 2nd grade.
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I bought this tub for 6 bucks at Target in the summer section.  I added cute washi tape, which is ridiculously flexible and easy to use.  I'll add some mod podge so it will hold up if I put it outside with P.E. equipment.
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This is party of my Whimsical Decor pack that will be posted this weekend.  My tables are labeled with vowels, instead of numbers.  I hang the sign above each table and kiddos earn table points, which are clothespins.  It's an incredibly effective classroom management tool.  It's great for kids to actually see me add and take away points.

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Loving these Target bins for 3 bucks.  They're perfect as-is!

teacher, back to school decorations, 2nd grade, 1st grade, elementary school, teachers pay teachers, easy teaching tools
I'm digging this banner I made from my Whimsical pack.  The ribbon I bought was way to small so I hot glued it together.  I cut out the letters and attached them with a baby clothespin.  I haven't seen my new classroom so I'm not sure where this will go…just yet.
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I made a clip chart to show how students go home.  I think this will be great for a sub.  It's also a great tool to see who is absent.  In the morning, all clips will be at the very top, where the question is.  When students come in, they will move their clip.  Clips that aren't moved tell me who's forgetful absent.
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I spray painted the clothespins and added numbers.

teacher, back to school decorations, 2nd grade, 1st grade, elementary school, teachers pay teachers, easy teaching tools
I'm thinking of doing jobs differently this year, using this little clip chart.
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This is how I have done it the past 9 years.  Don't mind the disorganized clips, that's me being lazy.
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Which way do you like?

That's what I've been up to.  I'm off to San Francisco for the weekend and will try to be better at enjoying my summer without working.  Excited to see the Giants play in SF.  Here's a photo from the 4th when we saw them in San Diego.  Happy weekend, friends!

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Adorable jewelry made from recycled books like Cinderella, Dr. Seuss, Where's Waldo, and more {Giveaway}

I received THE most adorable gift in the mail today from a fellow So Cal girl who is super talented and creative. 
easy teaching tools, 2nd grade, giveaway, books, 1st grade
How stinkin' cute is the packaging.  I loved that the gift was wrapped up in a map and tied with a precious ribbon.
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The thoughtful packaging let me know that there was something inside that was good…like really good!   Kim and her momma make amazing bracelets from recycled books, maps, and sheet music.  They hand roll the book pages into beautiful beads.  How cool is that?
easy teaching tools, 2nd grade, giveaway, books, 1st grade
I absolutely love the packaging.  Can you believe it, the bracelets were made from the pages of Cinderella.  That explains all the fun pinks and blues.

easy teaching tools, 2nd grade, giveaway, books, 1st grade
I seriously love how adorable these bracelets are.  They're easy to put on and are comfortable.  They remind me a lot of the shell jewelry I bought when I lived in Hawaii.  Super sturdy and simple.

I tried out my jewelry during a beach day.  I didn't want to take it off but it's not waterproof people…so I left it in my beach bag while I frolicked in the waves.
I can't get over how cute they are {notice that they match my logo, they're so me}!
easy teaching tools, 2nd grade, giveaway, books, 1st grade, cinderella

This close up seriously melts my heart.  Look how gorgeous these little beads are.  I can't get over the fact that they're paper.  I love that these bracelets tell a story…literally.

According to Kim, "Everyone has stories, and connects with them so well, the reason we continue to create recycled book beads, map beads and sheet music beads is that when people purchase a set at a local craft show or online they have a story behind what they wear…. Perhaps they went on a road trip across the country, and that map bead bracelet they wear reminds them of the fun they had, or they had a band teacher that taught them to play an instrument, so they give them a sheet music bracelet as a token of appreciation… or even a gift for a mom or teacher that read you a book as a child that connected with you and stayed in your memory to this day.  As humans we all connect universally with stories, and it’s a beautiful thing to throw away, so my Mom and I plan on fighting the good fight and continuing to turn old books into beautiful, wearable works of art."

"My Mom Helen and I gather the books from a lot of different places, sometimes we find them in cardboard boxes outside of library’s, in thrift stores on the clearance shelf or in the bins, and even get books, maps or sheet music donated from folks that love and support our mission. 

Once we gather all of the books we measure and hand cut the book pages into long narrow triangle strips and roll them one at a time onto lollipop sticks.  Once they are on there we coat each bead 3-5 times depending on the thickness of the paper.  Once that is done we spray them with a matte finish and then we start to make them into the finished jewelry.  We purchase damaged necklaces and bracelets from the local thrift store and strip them apart to repurpose the beads.  We create the jewelry with a mixture of the paper book page beads we made along with the repurposed beads. Once that is finished, we hand cut recycled cardboard bracelet holders and place the book labeling on to each set so folks know what book their bracelets were made from." 

I'm seriously in love with these and can't wait to buy the Map bracelet for all of my travels and the Dr. Seuss bracelet when we celebrate Read Across America Day.  I'm not the awesome teacher who dresses up like Cat in the Hat; this bracelet is much more my style!
Look at the other books they've saved…the reader in me just loves this!
Oh my, they make earings too!
If you're in love with this adorable collection, head on over to Trashy Crafter to fall in love with some jewelry for you!

You can also win 2 bracelets of your own by entering our giveaway.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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