Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Off To A Positive Start???

First days of school are happening like crazy right now! Every time I sit down to catch up on my fave teacher blogs, I find myself reading about someone else's beginning. So, is everyone totally exhausted yet?

I mean, what with all the organizing, the cleaning, the BTS shopping, the planning, the thinking, the worrying, the decorating, the reading, the alarm clock setting....ugh! I'm worn out just typing all that. (Plus, the old blogging muscle -along with *cough* my thighs- is out of shape these days.)(My two goals for September by the by? Blog more and lose fifteen ten pounds.)

So I think we've established that the beginning of the year is brutal, yes? However, it is also insanely exciting. Your classroom is all picture perfect with (nerd alert!) everything color coded and at perfect ninety degree angles. You can practically smell fresh Sharpie from all that recent labeling lingering in the air. (Does anyone else have goose bumps?). And then, at the pinnacle of your exhaustion, the kids come...

And it's frightening.
And anxiety inducing.
And wonderful.

Every year, after selecting the perfect first day outfit and coordinating heels, I am a nervous wreck. Fast forward less than 24 hours to that moment when my new friends are on their way home and I'm totally exhilarated. Still exhausted, but totally, nerdily and completely ready for the new challenge.

If only I could take that positivity with me for the rest of the year.

But let's be honest my lovelies, those smiles, helping hands and pleasant good mornings fade fast and before you know it, the same old bullish*t is hitting the proverbial fan and spraying all over you and your positive attitude. (And if you haven't guessed by now, that bullish*t? Oh it's all on the part of the other ADULTS....)

Recently I read a post from one of my fave blogs (Penelope Loves Lists) with some words of wisdom that might help us hold onto our positive attitudes when the sh*t is blowing our way. Because really? We can't control how ridiculously lazy and mind numbingly thoughtless some d-bags can be but we CAN control how we react to said behaviors of those particular ass hats if we follow Penelope's sage advice:

1.We can reframe our thoughts.. Instead of thinking to yourself, "How stupid can that (insert relevant name of notorious school slacker here) be? I mean, do I really have to do THEIR job too?" while contemplating punching them in the neck try taking a moment to be grateful. (Yes, you read correctly, I said "be grateful.") (Has motherhood changed me?) (Don't worry...I haven't put away my soap box yet.) Be grateful that you have a job you care about SO MUCH that you want everyone around you to be great. Be grateful that you do not wander through your days in a clueless fog because really? It must suck to be that useless. Be grateful that you are able to contribute, even if it's in a small way, each and every day to the learning of one of your friends.

2. We can decide to be in a good mood. We can plaster a smile on our faces, grab our fave read aloud and push the bullish*t aside. These were the moments when I scrapped my plans, pulled out the paint brushes and got messy with my friends. They deserve it- so figure out what DOES put you in a good mood and cling to it for dear life when having one of THOSE days. Or just man up and order pizza for lunch. Mrs. Mimi + cheese -crappy PB&J from home = better mood.

3. We can keep our mouths shut. Gasp! Did I really just type that? Why yes I did. Believe it or not, sometimes I kept my big mouth shut because botching can often beget a bitchy mood. So, before you open the old pie hole, think if a venting session is really what you need. (Because when it IS, a good closed-door rant with your fellow Super Colleagues can be total amaze-balls.) Sometimes, I know I just need to go back to my room, turn up the Pandora and throw myself into crossing things off one of my five running To Do lists. (And then run home to blog about it.)

I'm feeling very zen, like I should close this post with a "namaste" or something. However, for now, let me just say that I hope the beginning of your year is rocking and that you have a big bottle of wine waiting for you when you get home!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Winners All Around

Hi friends!  I'm still in Mimi-in-law Land, so will keep this one short and sweet.  (Also, apologies for being late with some of the giveaway announcements...can I chalk it up to a time change, lots of family time and too much food??) 

Aaaannnnnddd because I'm in Mimi-in-law Land, I'm not writing on my own computer and therefore have no clue how to include a screen shot of the random number generator I used to ensure that these giveaways were fair.  So, you're just going to have to trust me.  I mean, teachers are honest folk, so I think we're all good.  Rest assured that I am dilligent in my rule following.

Okay, on with the winners!! 

The winner of the Bob Books Sight Word Giveaway is.....

Katie Wilson!!!!!  Wheeeee!! 

Hold on though, friends.  We've got another announcement!  The winner of a SIGNED COPY of The Teachable Moment written by my internet BFF with an original essay by MOI is....

Can you stand the tension?

Are you just DYING?!


High fives all around!  I hope you are all having a lovely Monday.  Wish me luck as I fly my way home with Mini Mimi today (insert panicky expression here although she did great on the way over...).  I promise we'll be back in full swing next week once I've fully recovered and finished the nine jillion loads of laundry we seemed to have created during our time away.  I'm living the dream, people, living the dream.

Katie Wilson and Debbie - congrats again and don't forget to email me with your info so that you can get your prizes asap!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Her Pet Peeves Giveaway Winners

Hey y'all.  Mrs. Mimi is going to keep this one short and sweet.  Mr. Mimi, Mini Mimi and I are away visiting family, but don't you worry.  More fabulousness to come next week!  The giveaways are wrapping up too, so we can get back to bitching business as usual. 

Sooooooo, without further ado, the winners of the Her Pet Peeves iPhone app giveaway are...

Emily and Steven
Books That Heal Kids
Patty N.
Oh, Snapp!

Email me at meemerdo at hotmail dot com and I'll reply with the codes to download your boot-ay. 

Don't forget to enter the other fabulous giveaways in the top right hand corner of the blog!  (How's that for lazy?!)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Got Pet Peeves? Well, Then Enter THIS Giveaway!

Yeah, I said, "giveaway."  Another one!

I know!  Shut the front door, right?

This month we (meaning all of us over here at F&S) are getting HOOKED UP!  The Back To School Giveaway madness continues with this totally fun new app for the iPhone that may just save you from punching someone in the neck on one of those days.

The app is called Her Pet Peeves and already you're nodding your head and thinking, "I have some of those."

Come onnnn....I know you do.

It's kind of like Whack-A-Mole, except you're popping bubbles that fly by on your screen.  Some of the bubbles have "preening studs" which in my mind translates to "self-absorbed douche bags."  Other bubbles have a symbol for bad dates.  But the best part, THE BEST PART is that you get to enter your OWN PET PEEVES.

Translation: you can very easily and quickly take or upload photos of your own pet peeves and have them also float by on the screen in bubbles just waiting to be popped.  Seriously, they are calling your name and just asking for it.  Asking. For. It.

Immediately, I uploaded photos of several choice individuals who are featured here on this blog, took a photo of the copy machine, another picture of my cluttered desk (GASP!), another picture of an overflowing garbage can (GAK!) and another picture of (deep breath) a pile of dried up pens.

As the images of my pet peeves flew by on the screen, I tap tap tapped my way to a good mood.  I even found myself talking at the screen...you know, a few well placed, "take thats" and "suck its."  It may sound silly, but it works.  And it won't get you in trouble, but punching someone in the neck will.

Here's some info about the app:

"Know someone at work who thinks they're super important, when all they really do is make everyone's life more difficult? How about a boss that decides to dump work on you the Friday before a 3-day weekend? Now you can burst their bubble by playing Her Pet Peeves™! Pop away too much work, your annoying boss and much more! Cartoon-style animals represent the types of people who annoy you and the goal is to burst their bubble before time runs out. You can also go back and re-visit previous stages as many times as you like either for fun, or to beat your previous scores. You can even upload images of your personal peeves and they become a part of the game!"

Wanna get Her Pet Peeves for free?  Wanna win it in a giveaway? 'Cuz Mrs. Mimi has five free apps to give away....YOU get an app and YOU get an app and YOU get an app and YOU get an app and YOU get an app!

Four Different Ways To Enter:
 1.  Leave a comment here about your school related pet peeves.  I'll use a random number generator to pick TWO winners!
2.  Follow Mrs. Mimi on Twitter AND AND AND tweet about this giveaway.  (Don't forget the @MrsMimiTeaches!).  I'll use a random number generator (AGAIN!) to pick the tweet that wins.
3.  Sign up on my Facebook fanpage and join the discussion about school related pet peeves...most creative or interesting pet peeve WINS!
4.  Become a follower of my blog and then email me to let me know that you are an official subscriber...then we'll put the old random number generator to work again.  (By the by, my email is meemerdo at hotmail dot com.)

Enter once, twice or four times to win this fun little distraction.  Get in on all the August Giveaway Madness!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And the Little Pickle Press Giveaway Winner Is....

It's giveaway time people! I'm assuming that since we are all adults here I don't need to give my patent-pending speech entitled "Not Everyone Can Win Every Time But We Should Always Be Happy For The Winner: The Anti-Party Pooper Edition. Right?

I'll keep this short and sweet! The first winner of the LPP fabulousness is (insert drum roll here).....

Are you excited?

The winner is comment #35 from futureflstar!!  Wheeeeee!!!

Just to prove I'm on the up on up:

So, futureflstar, email me (meemerdo at hotmail dot com) your info to claim your oh-so-wonderful prize!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Books # 31-27

We are rounding the bend, friends, rounding the bend and entering the home stretch on this list of Top 100 Picture Books!  I say high-fives all around!

This week, at #31 is No David by David Shannon.  One of my faves although the space between this little boy's teeth totally tweaks me out.  But, loose teeth (and really teeth in general) have that effect on me. 

No, David! (Click on the image for links...and shop, shop, shop your  hearts out!)

David is hilarious and you can totally see why this book went all Caldecott times, right?  Basically, the whole book depicts a variety of scenes in which David is being super naughty with very simple text...usually along the lines of "No David!" or "No! No! NO!"  We're talking mega-naughty...tracking mud into the house, running down the street naked (guaranteed to get a hearty laugh from your friends), and playing with his food.  Eventually, his mom has had enough and sends David to his room.  Clearly, he goes bullshit in there too.  In the end, David finally cries and his mom gives him a big hug and reminds him that she loves him.

The illustrations in this book are fantastic - David has a very distinct look and the pictures say more than the simple text ever could!  I used to use these books to help my friends practice stretching out their description of action (we did it orally or as a Shared Writing).  Plus, if you look at the David books collectively, your friends should be able to pick up on a pattern to the stories, giving you the perfect opportunity to discuss author's craft or looking for trends across a series of books about one character.  Clearly best for friends in the lower grades, this book is fabulous.

In position #30 we have a re-appearance by the illustrating genius Eric Carle. (Did you know they have a whole MUSEUM about his fabulousness??  I so need to go to there.)  It's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: 40th Anniversary Edition (Brown Bear and Friends)

I don't think there's a need to summarize this puppy.  It's a repetitive text which asks a bunch of different animals what they see.  With a predictable pattern and strong images, this text is totally perf for your friends who are new to this whole reading thing.  I mean, PreK, K and even early first grade friends who are struggling with love this book.  I used this in big book form to work on strategies like picture and first sound, using the pattern in a book to help you read and practicing intonation with a question mark.  Why, hello, possibilities, you're looking quite endless today...

Be still my beating childhood heart, #29 is Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.  I.  Heart.  This.  Book.  Intensely.  Big Mama Mimi is also a huge fan, so you know it's a must-have for your classroom library. 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

I think most of you know this story, but to sum it up quickly...Sylvester finds a magic pebble which grants wishes.  One day, while picnicking, he is frightened by a lion and wishes he could turn to stone.  Poof!  Boyfriend is stone.  The pebble rolls away (he needs to be holding it for it to work) and therefore, no more wishes.  His parents are very upset (natch) and eventually assume he will never come home again.  Seasons pass. Then, one day when his parents are picnicking on the very same hill, they set up their lunch on Sylvester!!  The dad finds the pebble, puts it on the rock and Poof!  Sylvester is back!  Can you say, "be careful what you wish for" or what?

This book is fabulous five ways til Tuesday.  (Note: I have NO IDEA what that means, just know that this book is BEYOND!)  There are some wonderful places to stop and think with your friends, places to try to make connections with your friends and places to discuss the lessons that Sylvester learned with your friends.  It is the sort of read aloud that is perf for initiating and practicing the difficult skill of holding a focused whole class conversation that is more than just a smattering of popcorn like ideas that are really all over the place.  And YOU KNOW that Big Mama Mimi and I will be sharing this one with Mini Mimi asap.

Oh and #28 is another classic as well.  It's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.  I mean, haven't we all felt like Alexander...spilled our coffee, come in to realize all our posters have lost their stick and fallen off the walls, we've lost our preps and then AND THEN find out that we need to go to a meeting about nothing after school...c'mon.  We've all been there.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I'm not sure you all really need a summary for this one either.  It is certainly a gem, but definitely not hidden.  I mean, Alexander has a bitch of a day...and I think we've all been there.  His morning sucks, school sucks, after school sucks, his friends suck....suckity suck suck.  And in the end, Alexander learns that some days are just like that.  (Amen to that, right?)

With black and white drawings and funny text, this book will totally hold your friends' attention, even if it's not their first reading.  Plus, it is FULL of places for them to practice making text-to-self connections as well as inferring how the character is feeling.  So, this is a no brainer.

And, at #27 is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.  Another oldy but goody.  I had this book, and a bunch of others, in the real tiny form on my shelf for YEARS!

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

If it's been awhile since you've read this classic...Mrs. Rabbit warns her four children not to wander into Mr. McGregor's yard.  Peter, who is a bit cheeky, goes ahead and hits up Mr. McGregor's garden for some lettuce when he gets caught!  This reminds me of a younger version of myself.  My mom (aka Big Mama Mimi) told me not to go in our neighbor's yard.  I then made it my goal to play in said yard and was caught eating strawberries right out of his garden.  Cut to me standing in a corner. 

Anyhow, it's a wonderful story with a well drawn sibling rivalry that will be easy for your friends to relate to.  (Hello, text-to-self connection, nice to meet you.)  Clearly a better choice of read aloud (or independent text)  for your small fries.  I can even envision a read aloud study of classic children's texts that, because of their publication date, might not be at the top of your friends' lists.  Or a Beatrix Potter author study = HOT.

My friends, we are half way through August.  Some of you are already back at it.  Throw a little Bailey's in your coffee and enjoy the morning - you deserve it!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #86

I have to admit that I feel i've cheated a bit with this list. You see, those two times I didn't finish the book (despite trying pretty hard to get into it) made me feel pretty guilty. I am not a person who abandons books. I am a person who embraces books. Who reads during every spare moment. Who has multiple books going at the same time. I am a person who regularly reads at least two books while on a vacation.

But now...

I am a person with a baby.

So now, those multiple books I've got going? Let's see...there's Moo Baa La La La by the great Sandra Boynton, The Very Hungry Catepillar by the brilliant Eric Carle and, of course, Pat the Bunny in the name of always reading a classic.

Oh and like a zillion books on sleep habits.

Sounds like a literary party, no?

So, I did not read novel number 86. Recently. I did read it. And loved it. And highly recommend it to the two people on this planet who haven't read it.

Yes friends, I speak of Harry Potter. Novel # 86 is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

I read these early books as a young graduate student. Ah the good old days when all I had to do was go to class....and then wait tables until 3am. Maybe it wasn't so fabulous.

Anyhow, I read most of this book when I should have been finishing my reading for class whilst riding NYC transit to and from school. It was my first foray into reading children's books in public and I went to great lengths to conceal the cover and title. I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen if someone saw me reading this particular book. After all, I was in a city that fully embraces public urination and boasts a Naked Cowboy with a guitar in Times Square.

These days I proudly show off my love for children's books. (Read: I spend heinous amounts of money at Barnsey and am proud of it.).

Anyhow, you can probably guess by now that I'm not going to summarize this uber-popular text which is why I feel like I'm cheating a bit). I think these books are wonderful and can totally spark a Childs love of reading. I'm not sure they would make the best read alludes as they are fairly lengthy, but let me know if some of you out there have rocked this read aloud style. I will offer a word of caution though. My small fries were always jonesing to read impressive looking books. And by impressive, they meant thick and way above their independent level. Harry Potter books were of extreme temptation and I had a few kids even lug that sucker back and forth to school to "read" it. Couldn't understand a damn thing that was happening but hey! Look at how many pages!

So while we want to encourage our friends to push themselves, we have to find a way to gently remind the. That actually understanding what we read, not just saying all the words, is our goal.

That's all, my fellow book worms! Enjoy those weekends!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Giveaways Just. Keep. Coming! Enter To Win THIS Bit of Genius!

As we all gear up for this school year (and word on the street is some of you have already STARTED!), I think we need to take a moment and think some positive thoughts.  Try to find something that will keep us motivated when times get tough (read: the classroom phone won't stop ringing, your friends are busy picking their noses and/or there's a last minute assembly and you're late).

Clearly, today I am feeling very zen. 

But I know I'm right.  Because no matter how difficult one day in our classroom is, we have to go back the next day and do it all over again.  With a smile on our face. 

Friends, I have found a bit of inspiration to help you smile when all you want to do is hide under the covers with a cocktail and perhaps burn your planner.  Lucky for us, this inspiration comes straight from my internet BFF, Rebecca Branstetter (PhD - ha cha cha!) who writes the brilliant blog, Notes from the School Psychologist.  And while her blog is also all sorts of wonderful, today I'm talking about something Rebecca has given us that we can take with us under the covers along with that cocktail.

Yes, girlfriend has written a book and it is fabulous.

The Teachable Moment: Seizing the Instants When Children Learn (Kaplan Voices Teachers)

The Teachable Moment is a collection of essays (edited by the wonderful Dr. Branstetter) written by real teachers about real moments that are not sugar coated or glossed up for the movies.  (I'm looking at YOU Michelle Pfeiffer!) 

This book begins with a wonderful introduction written by Rebecca herself.  She very candidly tells us about one of her first (and most difficult) moments as a school psychologist.  (Imagine telling a whole class of sixth graders that their friend's father has recently been shot and killed ANNNNDDD their teacher was arrested for sleeping with a student...yeah, THAT kind of difficult.)  Armed mainly with good intentions and a whole lot of graduate school readings, Rebecca learns to seize the moment and take what could have been a disaster and turn it into a learning opportunity for herself and the children. 

Now don't get it twisted.  You know Mrs. Mimi is pretty anti-tying everything up with a neat little bow.  But that's not what this book is about at all.  As you continue to read these stories, written by real teachers far, far away from a Hollywood sound stage, you can hear the truth behind their words.  You get sucked into the moments they cherish as the reasons why they continue to teach.  And you feel inspired and ready to face another day. 

With my love of Naughty Boys well established, you know I focused on stories of moments with this particular batch of challenging student.  I read about Carlos and his teacher's struggle to get him to cut the comedy and recognize his own abilities.  I read about Ryan, a child suffering from Fragile X syndrome who challenged his teacher in so many ways yet, many years later, thanked her for all her work in a way that brought tears to my eyes.  And I read about Max.  A little boy who actually BIT AN ADULT'S ANKLE, but still found a way to work his way into her heart. 

Read them all at once, or save them to read one by one on the days when you really need a pick me up.

These are the real moments that make teaching worthwhile.  (And, you'll notice that I contributed my own moment to this fab anthology!  A never-been-told-before moment between me and my sweet little Muppet.)

How excited are you?  I mean, are you grabbing your keys and running out the door to Barnsey yet? 

Well, today is your lucky day!!  YOU can enter to win a SIGNED copy of The Teachable Moment right here!!!  (August just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?)

Three ways to enter:
1.  Leave a comment on this post.  Fabulousness welcome.
2.  Scoot on over to Rebecca's blog, check it out, and then leave a comment HERE telling us what you love about her.  (It will be hard to narrow down, I promise.)
3.  Join the Notes From The School Psychologist Facebook fan page.  Leave a comment on her wall or email me and tell me you've signed up for the fabulousness.  (Remember, the comment/email part is required or else how am I supposed to know you've been over there??)

I'll put all your entries together, assign them a number and, using my trusty random number generator, I'll pick a winner.  The contest starts TODAY and runs through Sunday, August 22nd.  I'll announce the winner on the old blog on Monday, August 23rd

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If I Had A Million Dollars....

Well, let's be real. If I had a million dollars, I'd move to Tahiti or buy out the shoe department at Barneys...

Anyhow, if I had a million dollars and decided to stay in the classroom, this is what I would spend it on- fabulous school supplies to make me feel chic amid all the mouse poo. Clearly all this talk of Back To School shopping has gone to my brain!

Am I the only one who believes that fancy school supplies are like porn for nerds like us?

Here are some of my current too-pricey-for-the-classroom-when-I-have-to-buy-freaking-pencils-for-my-students favorites...all of these images are brought to you by the fabulous peeps over at See Jane Work. I just love a virtual shopping spree!  (Even if it is imaginary.)

Clearly, I will need one of these lovelies to plan out my time. I might keep this as a To Do List/Everything Else calendar and use it in conjunction with my planner - 'cuz you know those little squares are never enough space!

Because I am anal retentive  an organizational freak  a dedicated teacher, I'll need another outlet for my incessant list making.  I am all about these....decisions, decisions.

Of course, because teaching requires a great amount of "flexibility," I will need some post it notes to help me juggle lessons that must be moved around due to all the freaking interruptions to our day *cough cough* supremely important goings on.  Feast your eyes on these babies:

And I'll need a vessel to store all my fabulous pens, pencils and Sharpies.  This one caught my eye:

How about something gorgeous to open up all those oh-so-important memos?

Everyone needs a little shiny in their day, no?

SPEAKING of shiny, I was totally digging these desk accessories too...

But if I was in a more colorful mood, or needed a pick me up, these super cheerful guys would totally do the trick:

Can't forget about paperclips....how I love me some paperclips!

At the end of a long day, how wonderful would it feel to slip our mountain of paperwork into these?

Those portfolios are real leath-ah, friends!  Mmmmmmm.....I think it would make it a little easier to roll my eyes at the asshats who insist on making comments such as, "Must be nice to be done for the day at 3:00."  Or, I could just smack them with my fabulous leath-ah folio...

I hope these images made you smile.  You know what?  It's the beginning of the school year - you deserve something fabulous!  Go nuts and buy yourself something pretty to make all the correcting, all the list making, all the filing, all the paperwork, all the notes home (holy crap, I'm tired already) a little bit more fun.


P.S. Here are the links, if you're interested.  (I won't tell.)
1. Bob's Your Uncle 8-Days-A-Week Pad ($20)
2.  Bob's Your Uncle Grid Journal ($16)
3.  Thomas Paul Journal ($20)
4.  Good On Paper Sticky Note Set ($8)
5.  Jonathan Adler Sticky Notes ($7)
6.  Susy Jack Pencil Cup ($10)
7. Folle Classic Stapler ($150)
8. Silver Tape Dispenser ($30)
9. Anything Tape Dispenser ($40)
10.  Anything Stapler ($40)
11.  Clipit Shaped Paper Clips ($6)
12. Magnetic Birdie ($16)
13.  Jonathan Adler File Folders ($10)
14.  Bella Leather Portfolio ($55)
15.  Bella Leather Expandable Tote ($96)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ready, Set, SHOP: Back To School List Del Mundo

Well, friends.  Here it is.  My Back To School list.  Keep in mind that I made a few assumptions (silly me!) such as you will not have to buy your own math manipulatives (and if you do and teach small children, totally get coin and clock stamps and ink...worth every penny!), and writing paper will be provided for you.  Sorry if you have to shell out for all that too.  And people have the balls to call us lazy and greedy.  

Crap You Desperately Need To Have Around Your Room:
* That blue sticky stuff you can use to hang posters on the wall I am addicted to this stuff.  Hello, lover.  Hang anything anywhere on my walls?  Why, thank you, don't mind if I do.
* Magnetic tape Stick something up to cover your ugly radiators.  Use it to hang things on your whiteboard (I made a set of base tens with magnets that were killer!) Have it on hand for a last minute picture frame for Fathers' Day...
*Velcro tape  See above.  It's also super convenient to have on hand.
* Push pins Also known as the Thumb Tack.  
* Envelopes Letter sized and the big yellow size too.  Wonderful for sending home all that beginning of the year crap, a note to parents, permission slips, you name it!
* A homework bin To collect folders, notebooks, assignments.
* An "in box" For friends to hand in notes, permission slips, etc.
* An "out box" For you to dump all the hand outs that go home, new homework packets, whatever needs to get passed out at the end of the day to go home.  Also, when you get rudely interrupted by someone from the office who has a mammoth stack of copies that MUST GO HOME IMMEDIATELY OR THE WORLD WILL END, you can discreetly/passive aggressively/angrily point to the bin and thank them for not interrupting your instruction.
* Manilla folders.  These things are the bomb.   
* Binder clips
* Sharpies Ha!  You thought I was going to forget SHARPIES?!  Shame on you...
* Ziplock bags Sandwich size, gallon size and snack size.  Another great item to ask parents to donate to the room. Perfect for flash cards, Just Right book baggies, centers...
* Paper towels
* Kleenex
* Sponges
* Cleaning solution
* Cleaning wipes Pass these out after an art project and viola!  Clean desks.  Let your friends do the work.
Shaving cream will take almost anything off a desk or table.  Have them squirt on their desks and practice writing sight words. I'm all about two birds with one stone, people.
* Band aids Get the boring ones.  That saves you friends who want a Band Aid just because they're obsessed with Dora and will therefore find any teensy tiny little scratch and beg for said Band Aid.  
* Stickers Lots and lots of stickers.  Smelly ones, shiny ones, thematic ones, tiny ones.  STICKERS.
* Labels In a variety of sizes.  I used these for everything!
* Index cards Perhaps the most useful things in the world.  Lined, colored, unlined.  I used them for everything from flash cards to name tags.
* Packing tape  Can't say enough about the packing tape.
* Staples 
* Stapler I had at least three good ones in different spots around the room.  For Mrs. Mimi only!
* Decent sharp scissors
* Three hole punch
* One hole punch
* Something to use as name tags on field trips Stickers, name tags, things around their neck.  Decide and buy them.
* Sentence strips
* Chart paper Large and small sizes
* White out
* Class set of rulers
* Hanging file folders Start filing (NOT PILING!) from day one to avoid chaos central.
* Pocket charts A couple of big ones for a word wall, medium sized for content specific word walls (e.g. math, science, socials studies word walls..yes they should be seperate!!), a 100s chart pocket chart and maybe one for your daily schedule.
* Alphabet
* Number line
Post Its Saved the best for last.  All sizes, all shapes, all colors!                 

Decoration Station

I heart the decorating portion of the program.  You know, where you get to set everything up and it's all clean and color coordinated?  *nerdy sigh*
* A set of letters for tracing  I never used these for my bulletin boards, rather I traced my own letters from a set I had for millions of years.  A little more work, yes.  But cheaper.
* Borders I go color coordinated and generic so they fit all subjects for the entire year and don't have to be changed until they start to look like dump.
* Fadeless paper for bulletin boards.  Although I have heard of people painting their boards (ask first!), and/or hanging up fabric or a table cloth as a background.  
* Pre cut shapes  These can be pricey so don't get carried away.  I used to just grab a few hands to make my Helping Hands job chart and maybe a package of stars. You know, cuz we were rock stars?                

Supplies For Your Friends To Have At Their Seats:

For a moment, let's swallow those feelings of rage that can bubble up from time to time when we really think about why OUR money is going to buy THEIR school supplies, shall we? I'll wait if you need a moment to chase all that rage with a sip of your cocktail.

(Pssstt...I didn't hook you up with links because I figured teachers = best bargain hunters around and therefore, you will know where to go for the hottest deals in your area, no?)

* Pencils As many as you can get. Good old fashioned #2 pencils. Beware- don't fall for the cheapy pencils with the crappy erasers!!
* Cap erasers I always like to start the year with these...I'd buy enough to give nor to everyone in September and then have some extras to randomly dole out.
* Dry erase markers. Two per child. I'd hand out one in September, one in February. The rest? $1 to purchase or bring your own. Mrs. Mimi does not equal your fairy school supply godmother.
* Pencil boxes I used to buy one for every child in my class.  I know.  I KNOW!  You can totally hunt down a rad deal on these though and it's worth it.  No arguing over who has the cooler pencil case, no pencils jammed in the back of the desk (Thank you, Clean Desk Fairy!), no nothing.  I also am a crazy woman and didn't allow outside school supplies.  Either your family donates them to the ENTIRE CLASS to use or you keep them at home.  We don't have time for getting worked into a snit because so-and-so has a super shiny pencil and you don't.
 * Four or five class sets of Two-pocket folders.   I used these babies for everything.  My friends got one for homework, one for writer's workshop, one for science, one for social studies and I always like to have a few spares lying around.
* Scissors. If your school didn't buy you a class set, they should be ashamed of themselves.  But chances are you'll have to pony up for these yourself, especially if you're new.  Hey, welcome to teaching.
* Crayons. I'm one of those teachers that bought a pack for every child.  Because when I was a Mini, I hated sharing crayons with the d-bag who chewed off all the paper and then broke them.  I took pride in my crayons...
* Small personal 100s charts.  Obvi, this one is geared more for the small fries, but having one for everyone at their seats?  Amaze-balls.  I bought plastic ones that lasted fo-eva, but you could always print some out and laminate.  Totally worth it.
* Composition notebooks.  I used to request that parents send these in.  GASP!  I know. I actually asked them to donate to the cause.  And you know what?  Uber generous.  It never hurts to throw a few of these on a list and ask.  My rule?  No names on supplies.  They were donated to the entire class.  I labeled them as necessary.  Can you say, "control freak"?

Supplies to have around the room for your friends:
* Glue For me, glue at their seats = disaster.  I had several bottles at the front for sharing.  My rule of thumb, one bottle per every two kids.  Sharing is caring!
* Glue sticks I happen to be of the opinion that glue sticks blow.  But they do come in handy for certain activities.  
* Pink erasers A lot of pink erasers. I used to leave these in a labeled basket at the front of the room. I'd put our room number on each one. At the bottom of the basket, I'd put a label that read, "There are ten erasers in this basket.". They knew it. I knew it. Thieves beware.  Why not give each child their own eraser?  Because I wanted them to spend their time WRITING and not RUBBING A HOLE IN THEIR PAPER.
* Markers  I always kept several sets (one for every partnership) on a labeled shelf at the front of the room.  And, because I am a control freak who prefers children's art done in colored pencil, getting to use the markers was similar to winning the lottery.
* Colored Pencils I had a HUGE class set of these babies.  LOVED THEM.  I would buy extra pencil boxes and fill them with colored pencils for tables to share. 

If You Have Money Burning A Hole In Your Pocket:
* A class set of clipboards
* A small laminating machine
* A class set of small individual white boards
* A Label Maker * drool *      

Supplies For Your Writing Center and Writing Bribery:
*  Plastic Caddies  Really Good Stuff has an amazingly drool-inspiring collection of bins, including plastic caddies.  I bought one per table to store special writing supplies.  I doled out these special writing supplies to tables that were rocking it...a lovely prize AND related to their work.
* Mini staplers I bought one for every table to be added to their caddies eventually.
* Tape I bought a lot of tape...so I could have one roll per table, a fancy dispenser with tape at the front of the classroom, and my own rolls around the room.  
* Mechanical Pencils  I dished these out as prizes for good work to be used during Writers Workshop and to be stored in the Writing Caddy.
* Smelly Erasers I gave these out as prizes to be added to the caddies as well.  They were fancy and smelly and all the rage.
* Paper clips I gave some out for the caddies but had ho-jillions for myself around the room.  Note: Always store your paper clips in some sort of bin or cup, otherwise they end of EVERYWHERE!       

Fabulousness For Your Prize Jar:
We can't forget the prize jar, or bin, or treasure box or whatever you call it.  I was a fan of useful prizes, not toys.  Because eventually the toys will annoy me or come out to play during math and then I'll have to take them away which makes me feel like a total b*tch, so to avoid that particular shame spiral, I give out useful, yet fabulous, school supplies.  Perhaps I'm just cultivating a whole new generation of office supply nerd....

Anyhow, I'd hit up the dollar aisle at Target, Oriental Trading online and Really Good Stuff to snatch up things like fancy pencils, smelly erasers, shiny notepads, cute puzzles, and cool rulers. 

Things For A Fairly Rad Art Center:
Maybe your school buys you all this stuff, maybe they don't.  But hopefully, this list will help you fill in the gaps.

* Water Color Sets  I love watercoloring.  Love Love Love It.  I tried to have at least one set of watercolors for every partnership and a few spares in storage.
* Oil Pastels  (a.k.a. Cray Pas) So many fun possibilities for layering color, scratch art and watercolor resists.  I heart arts 'n farts. 
* Construction Paper Large and small.  No brainer, right?
* White drawing paper Large and small sizes.  Again, duh.
* Water color paper  If you're feeling in the money.
* Brushes  Large and small.  One for every friend.
* Tepra paints
* Meat trays - I know, gross right?  But they make fabulous palettes for paints!
* Pipe cleaners
* Popsicle sticks
* Yarn
* Beads
* Card stock
* Clay or play dough  You can make your own....recipes are super easy to find on line.

Some Things To Think About:

* What are your storage needs?  Plan before you buy when it comes to bins and other storage containers.  Look around your room, make a list (whee!) and then hit up the dollar store, Target or Really Good Stuff online.  
* What are you going to do for birthdays?  Cards, crowns, special pencils?  I used to have a basket of birthday read alouds and the child in question got to pick their fave for our read aloud that day.  Whatever you decide to do, think about it NOW and buy what you need.  Don't say you'll do it when a birthday comes up, cuz (newsflash!) you won't have time.
* What are you going to do for a loose tooth?  My answer was close my eyes, write a pass to the nurse and point at the door.  But some of you may be more giving and want to have something ready for your toothless wonders.  Again, decide now and buy it...you won't have time for this crap as the school year really gets under way.
* What are some things to have in the room that make you smile?  Remember, it's your room too!  Do you want to have a special coffee cup, lotion, chap stick....whatever you think will make your day easier and more pleasant.  OH - and don't forget to stock up on Tylenol and special "monthly" supplies to squirrel away in your closet!!  (Sorry boys.)

And for the love of GOD, don't forget to buy a planner!

Did I forget anything??  Feel free to add whatever in the comments section.  Mrs. Mimi could always use a little help!



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