My Favorite Things Linky & A HUGE Giveaway!!

Every year that I've been teaching (now four), right before school starts, I've spent tons of money on all things back to school.  Of course you need crayons, scissors and glue, but there are things that, especially as a first year teacher, you'd never think of.  I've learned along the way which purchases aren't necessary and which ones I HAVE to have.  

I'm linking up with Amy Labrasciano from Learning Lessons With Mrs. Labrasciano and Mary Church from A Classroom Full of Smiles for a "My Favorite Things" linky where we're sharing our must-haves for starting off the school-year.  You also have the chance to enter to win an AWESOME giveaway package at the bottom of our posts!

So here are the things I HAVE to have:

I use these EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  I use them to grade, level my reading groups by color, and for color-coding my plans (see below).

I don't know what I ever did without this.  Cutting stations, task cards, booklets, and everything in between is so much faster with this handy little guy.  I loved it so much I went ahead and bought another so I could keep one at school in my classroom and one at home.  No more carrying it back and forth to and from school, and no waiting in line in our school workroom to use a cutter!

I don't know how your school works, but at mine, our laminator is only up and running on Fridays.  If we don't have our items in for lamination by 7:30 a.m. on Friday, we have to wait another week to get them laminated.  :(  Crazy, I know!  In order for me to have the things I need laminated on time, I have one of my very own... Actually, two.  :)  Yes, that's right.  I have one at school and one at home (the 2nd was a gift from the in-laws - I love them!)!

A Teacher Bag

Every year, I find a cute bag, use it and find some fault in it.  This year, I found the ultimate teacher tote.  It's by Thirty-One and it's called The Keep-It Caddy.  

They also have larger utility totes that would probably fit better around your shoulder.  But this one is perfect for my to-be-graded papers and planner.  I love that it has all the compartments on the sides to hold my water bottle, flair pens, post-its, stickers, and EZ grader.

Colorful & Bright Storage/Baskets

I've collected my storage bins, baskets and book bins the past few years from Walmart, Garden Ridge, Dollar Tree, & Really Good Stuff. 

I usually have my tables grouped into 4 cooperative learning groups (green table, pink table, blue table, & orange table).  I got these bins from Walmart and they're where my kiddos store their interactive journals, reading folders, and data binders.  You can see my 3-Drawer Storage Cart spray paint project here.

My books bins and journal baskets are from Really Good Stuff and I really love that they match my color scheme.  Not only are my learning groups color-coded, but my subjects are too.  Our Writing journals are pink, our Math journals are blue, our Science journals are green, and our Social Studies journals are orange.  With my firsties, sometimes it's easier for them to pull out the correct journal when they're color-coded.

Don't you just love all the color?  How can you not be happy each day with all this brightness around you?!

So there you have it - my list of must-haves.  Tell me what's on your list because now you have the chance to cross some things off your wishlist!

Just enter below for a chance to win:

  • Over $350 of Amazon vouchers, 
  • 30 Sit Spots of your choice, & 
  • A Teacher T-shirt!  
I mean, can you believe it?!  This is HUGE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday Made It: Colored Sterilite Drawers

I'm so excited about my first "Monday Made It" hosted by Tara from 4th Grade Frolics.  You can click on the image below to see more "Monday Made It"s from other creative bloggers!

Because it's only my first "Monday Made It", I'm going to ease into it with 1 project!  Here it is...

As teachers, we all have seen/bought/used these Sterilite 3-Drawer Storage Carts.  I used them this year at each cooperative table group for storing journals, data folders, and library books/reading folders.  They were white and boring and I had to fix it!  

Here they are in all of their boringness:

With a little help of Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Gloss Spray Paint (Colors: Key Lime, Berry Pink, Seaside, & Real Orange), I was able to create these beauties!

I mean, what teacher wouldn't want these in their classroom?!

My kiddos' desks are set up in four cooperative learning groups and each group is assigned a color (Green Table, Pink Table, Blue Table, & Orange Table).  So these are going to look so perfect in my classroom!  I can't wait to get them in my classroom and see it come all together!  

What are you doing to prep for the school year?


June/July SLANT Box

I am so excited to share with you the SLANT Box (Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers) that I received from Jenn at 2nd Grade Snickerdoodles!  This month's theme was "Sunshine".

I ripped open the box she sent it in and saw this gem!  My first gift - a cute container that will match my neon room!

Mrs. Dow's little Owls' Nest

I opened up this cute container and right there laying on top is a monogrammed card she's made me!

Mrs. Dow's little Owls' Nest

I opened the card up and see that Jenn has put the "Sunshine" theme in the card!  She's so sweet!

Mrs. Dow's little Owls' Nest

She really took the time to get to know me and what I liked to get my box just right!  

Mrs. Dow's little Owls' Nest

I mean, just look at all of the owl loot!  I got an owl composition book, owl notepad, and owl stickers!  LOVE!  She also included a super adorable tumbler, some colorful binder clips, colorful pens, some post-its & one of my favorite snacks.... RICE KRISPIES TREATS!  Thank you, Jenn!!

I absolutely loved receiving my SLANT box!  But honestly, I have loved buying gifts for the SLANT box I'm sending off today to Martha at 2 Smart Wenches just a little more!

If you're not familiar with what a SLANT box is, visit Jameson's blog at Lessons with Coffee read about it, and sign up for August's SLANT box exchange - deadline to sign up is this Sunday, July 27th!  I've already signed up and can't wait to get to know another teacher across the nation!


Currently July

After wrapping up the school year and packing up my room, I immediately got to work on my blog and TpT store without taking a breath and it caught up to me.  I needed a break so I spent a couple of weeks doing absolutely nothing with the exception of a four-day workshop.  I've been MIA on my little blog the past few weeks but I'm back!  Even though we're seven days into July, I'm still going to put up my Currently July hosted by Lucky to Be in First.  Better late than never, right?  

Mrs. Dow's little Owls' Nest

Listening:  I should get better at this, but during the summer when I wake up, I immediately turn on the TV and turn on the Today Show and pretty much stay in bed until it's over.  Kathy Lee Gifford & Hoda are crazy!

Loving:  Over the weekend, the Mr. and I spent most of our days cleaning and purging our apartment.  We packed his car with a huge load of things (clothing, shoes, pillows, some small kitchen appliances, a television!, etc.) to take to our local Goodwill.  We came back yesterday afternoon and couldn't get over how good it felt!

Thinking:  Tomorrow I start a 3-day math workshop with Kim Sutton & I am soooo excited!  I've gone to her workshops at least 5 times before but each time I go, I always come away with something different to take to my classroom.  If you've never been to one of her workshops, you are missing out!  To learn more, check out her website.

Wanting:  Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the first annual TpT Seller's Conference is this Friday.  To say that I'm sad that I can't make it is an understatement.  We'll just leave it at that.  :(

Needing:  Like I said before, I took a couple of weeks off of my blog and TpT store to rest up.  But the summer goes by quickly so I need to get as much done on these fronts before school gets started again.  

4th Plans:  The Mr. and I went over to my parents' and got together with my sisters and their boyfriends.  We grilled some burgers and went to their neighborhood park to watch the fireworks show.  We'd never been before and we were amazed.  For such a small community, the show was pretty spectacular!  It sure beat driving to downtown Houston to maybe get a glimpse of some fireworks and then get stuck in hours of traffic.  This will surely be the way to go for years to come!