Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Classroom Teddy Bears!

Hi friends!
Last week I posted some pictures on Instagram of one of my FAVORITE classroom traditions: my class bear! This is something that I have done every year since I started teaching 4 years ago, and I have now been able to pass this fun tradition to one of my best friends which has been so fun. :) 

At the end of each Summer, I go to Build A Bear to build a new bear for my class. This bear will be our "mascot" in a sense. He will live in my class "reading corner" and listen to stories with us all year. He also will travel to each of my kiddos houses for a weekend, and will even serve as a classroom management tool! 

Here's a picture of my friend Carolyn and I getting ready to build our new bears for next year! Last year was the first year that she was teaching Kinder and she started
 adopting my tradition. :) 

 Here are our bears right after we finished them!! They are so cute and fluffy right now, but will not stay that way for long. Soon they will be well loved by a whole class of kiddos. :)

On the first day of school, I read the book Where's My Teddy and introduce our new "nameless" friend to my students. Together, we come up for a name for our bear. This can be VERY tricky with Kinders, and they usually need a LOT of guidance. My past classes have named our bears: Blackie, Honey, Grizzly, and Eddie. They REALLY like to have that "ie/y" sound at the end of the names. :) 

I created a journal/binder for my kiddos to use when they take our class bear home. I let each student take the bear home for ONE weekend. I try to do the schedule so that none of the kiddos get the bear on a 3 day weekend so that it is fair to everyone. That means that there are some weekends where the bear stays at school!  I include directions for the parents to follow about adding pictures, etc… 
I also have the child who is going to be my VIP for the week take the bear home on the weekend before it is their special week.  The picture below shows one of my class binders. :) 

The first person to take the bear home is usually me, so that I can set a good example for my students. Last year, my friend Carolyn and I had our bears go on a weekend outing together and took pictures of it for our students. Yes, we REALLY were those teachers who took our bears out in public and took pictures of it. But, it was SOOOO worth it!! My kids LOVED it!! 

During the first few weeks of school, I have had to put our class bear away in the closet if the kids get out of hand with behavior, or are being too noisy, etc.. But let me tell you, once that bear gets put away, any negative behavior that I was seeing in my class goes away very quickly!! They want our friend back!! 
I have even pretended like he was knocking on the closet door to get out, and they totally bought it. 
I also pretend that the bear whispers in my ear and talks to me, especially when we are reading stories or sharing. It really helps the kids to maintain their innocence and use their imagination. 

Throughout the year, our bear does everything with us!! Here is Grizzly dressed up for Halloween!! 

And probably one of my favorite pictures ever is my little sweetie below hanging out with Honey in the listening center. He put the headphones on Honey during free choice time so that they could listen to a story together! 

During the last few weeks of school when behavior can be really tough and kids are ready for Summer, I use our class bear as my final behavior motivator!! I raffle the bear off for one of my kiddos to keep at the end of the year. However, the way that the raffle works is that they earn tickets into the drawing with good behavior! I use the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? throughout the year in my classroom, so at the end of the year, my kids want to "fill" our bear's bucket with good behavior! 

I end up with a lot of names in there, but I pick only one on the last day. Surprisingly, the kids are really supportive and happy (for the most part) for the person who wins. 

Now for a freebie!! If you would like to create a class journal for your class bear or stuffed animal, I have some free and editable templates that you can use!! I also am including the cute little "Let's Fill Eddie's Bucket" sign posted in the picture above that you can use at the end of the year. It is editable too! 

Click on either picture below to download the freebie for your classroom. ***THIS FREEBIE HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR THE 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR!!***

I hope that you have a wonderful school year!! Please email me if you have any questions about my class bear system. Since I'll be teaching first grade this coming year, I am still figuring out how I will use my bear in my classroom. I am thinking of making him more of a reading bear, and having each kiddo that takes him home take a book too and read to him! Or something like that.. 

I would also LOVE to know what you do with your class bears or stuffed animals! Feel free to share a comment below. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Favorite Things For Back to School- Linky!

Hi Friends!
I am here today with a SUPER fun linky party brought to you by Amy from Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano and Mary from A Classroom Full of Smiles

We are bringing you some of our... 


Stay tuned for a Back to School Giveaway too! 

My first favorite are these AMAZING and inexpensive bins from Big Lots! I just love the bright colors and variety of sizes that I was able to get. Not sure at all where and what I will use them for in my new classroom, as I don't get to see it until tomorrow (so excited!!)… I feel like there are so many possibilities here. From libraries, to centers, and holding kids' folders, there are a lot of options!
What would YOU use them for!?
 Next up is this AMAZING bag from OilCloth Alley! One of my students gave this to me as an end of the year gift, and I just love it!!! I used it every day this Summer while I was teaching a dance camp to lug all my shoes, binder, and CDS and it held up great. It's also super easy to clean!! Click on the picture below to check out these amazing bags for yourself. :)

Look how cute it is on the inside!?? I can't wait to use this bag during the school year!

 Next up, is what appears to be merely a pack of card stock… but for me this is my "go to" pack of card stock from Michaels! I go through 4-5 of these packs each school year and use them for everything!!! I back pictures and signs in my classroom, and make TONS of cute banners!!

Here is my FAVORITE banner that I made from this card stock for my "Kinderbration" graduation ceremony at the end of the school year!! The polka dots are just perfect :) 

My final favorite thing: these adorable polka dot magnetic labels from Teacher Created Resources.
I bought these towards the end of last school year before I knew that I would be changing schools, grade levels, and classrooms! I wanted to use them for the magnets with kids' names on them on my class behavior chart. In the past, I have found that putting my class "clip chart" on magnets has been a lot easier!! The kids simply move their magnet up and down for their behavior choices. I usually make each kid a magnet using my cricut, card stock, and magnet dots BUT after I found these labels, I thought it would be super easy to stick the kids' names on them and be good to go!!

We shall see what I end up using these for in my new classroom!! Hopefully I have magnetic boards somewhere :)
And now for a giveaway!!!
We are giving away…

 over $300 to spend on Amazon, 
as well as s"Sit Spots" and a Teacher T-Shirt!
Check out the giveaway below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So Cal Blog Hop!

Hi friends! I am SO excited to be participating in the SoCal blog hop! I hope that you have enjoyed hopping along so far and collecting fun freebies from some amazing SoCal bloggers. Stay tuned to the end of this post for my freebie and a chance to 
enter a giveaway to win a TPT gift certificate!! 
We are giving away 4 $25 gift certificates that you can
 use during the upcoming TPT sale. Woo hoo!!!

I absolutely LOVE SoCal!!!! 

I was born and raised here and never want to leave! My hubby is from NorCal and often jokes that I live in a bubble because I love my hometown so much, 
but what's not to love!?! 

The two pictures above were taken just a few days ago in beautiful Newport Beach! My friend took them for me and I just love looking at that beautiful sky. We enjoy going down to Newport to walk, hike, or just hang out with friends. :) The weather is just wonderful in SoCal too…not too cold and not too hot. We are very lucky!!

My FAVORITE beach of all however, is 26 miles off the coast of SoCal…

Catalina is a small island with a cute little beach town called Avalon right in the center. My family grew up vacationing on Catalina every Summer and I have such fond memories there.
Here's a picture of my cousins and I about to get on the 
boat in Long Beach to travel to Catalina: 

And… here I am at 4 years old on my favorite beach in Catalina!!!

My hubby and I travelled to Catalina 2 summers ago and had such a fun and relaxing trip! The best part of the island is that everything is in walking distance and people even drive golf carts around instead of cars. There are wonderful restaurants, great shops, and a 
fun pier to hang out on too! 
It's a great place to vacation. :) 

The adorable picture frames that I used to go around my pictures are from Ashley Hughes
I just LOVE this new pack that she made! 

And now, for my…


I am a stickler for proper sentence structure in my classroom and always try to instill that in my students as well. I created an anchor chart about "building" a sentence. It's on a beach bucket to go along with the idea of "building" a sandcastle at the beach! I plan on hanging it near my writing table in my new classroom. :) The freebie also has one of my beach sentence builder worksheets in it for you. Click on the picture below to download. 

Enjoy! :)

Make sure to continue hopping along!! The next blogger is the fabulous Michelle over at 
Apples and ABC's. Click on the picture below to see what she has in store for you! 

Thanks for joining me, friends!! 

Be sure to enter the giveaway below to win a
 $25 gift certificate to TPT!!
We are giving away 4 of them!!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway