Preparing My Planner for the School Year

Last week I shared my Erin Condren teacher planner with you. I mentioned that I purchased one for the 2016-2017 school year already, because I want to get a head start on my planning. No I am not lesson planning… yet. I am, however, getting my calendars set up so I can start planning when new things come up. I won’t have to be trying to set everything up at the beginning of the school year AND trying to prepare for my incoming students.

I filmed my process and it ended up being over 40 minutes long. So after a week of editing I decided to break it into two parts. You can see those two parts here…

Β Part One

Part Two

If you want to check out Erin Condren for yourself and pick up a teacher planner for the next school year, visit my referral link and receive $10 off your first order. Also, as a thank you for watching my extremely long videos… here is the freebie mentioned in part two.

FREE Teacher Planner Stickers





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Erin Condren Teacher Planner

I love planners and just being organized in general. This is essential in my every day life. It allows me to be more relaxed and more prepared for the day. I have a planner for my every day life, but I needed something for my classroom. That’s when I found my Erin Condren teacher planner. I have been using this planner for a year now and I am in love. I love it so much that I decided to repurchase it again for next school year. In this video I walk you through what comes in this amazing planner. If you like what you see and want one for yourself, you can get $10 off your first order by using my referral link…Β https://erincondren.com/referral/invite/jenniferruiz-8920



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Best Classroom Sharpener EVER!!

There are some tools in your classroom that are MUST need items. You know… paper, crayons, pencils, and pencil sharpeners. Ever since my first year of teaching almost 9 years ago, I was on the search for a good pencil sharpener. I don’t know how many powered sharpeners I had been through, not to imagine the HOURS I spent hand sharpening on sharpeners from the dollar store. Sharpening pencils is my least favorite thing to do and I go as long as I can without having to sharpen pencils for my students. Well that has all changed because of this pencil sharpener!!

SharpenerThis pencil sharpener is from Classroom Friendly Supplies and it has seriously changed my life!!

The owner of the company is a school teacher so they know the struggles we have as teachers. Broken pencils are my biggest pet peeve and you need them all day long!! One of my secrets to staying sane is having a huge stock of pencils ready to go. So if a student’s pencil breaks, all they have to do is get a new one. That means that I only have to sharpen pencils once every month. When the end of the month rolls around, I am dreading sharpening pencils, but not anymore!! This sharpener makes sharpening pencils so easy. I can easily sharpen all of my pencils quickly and the best part is that it’s quiet!! I hate having to sharpen a pencil in the middle of class because the noise that comes along with it is just as distracting as having to sharpen your pencil in the first place! This pencil sharpener is so much quieter and I am able to sharpen pencils without disturbing my students.

You know what else is great about this sharpener? You know those ANNOYING, but beautiful pencils that have the sticker wrappers? I love giving those to my students as rewards and special occasions, but I HATE sharpening them. I sharpened a class set and it broke my electronic sharpener. I had to clean it out after every three pencils. It was not fun and the pencils didn’t even come out that great!! With this sharpener you can sharpen these pencils!! Whoo-hooo!!! How amazing is that??

Not only does is sharpen the decorative pencils, it also sharpens the “cheaper” pencils. I only buy Ticonderoga pencils, because anything else is just not good quality. I usually don’t ask for pencil donations because I know I am going to get a whole bunch of pencils that just won’t cut it! Now I don’t have to worry, because yet again this sharpener will sharpen them no problem. The lead will not break and you can actually use these pencils for long periods of time, you know longer that one lesson!!

sharpener clamp

What else can I say about this sharpener? Did you know that you can attach it to a sturdy surface? Well you can!! Not that you NEED to because it is fairly sturdy on its own, but having the option to make it more permanent while you are sharpening is nice.

I am definitely in love with this sharpener and I plan on adding to my collection. I already have a purple and black one on my wishlist. I plan on getting one for my house as well because I love them so much!! They also have… large hole sharpeners that sharpen the bigger “beginner” pencils. Did you know that those pencils will last you all week on one sharpen!? True story!! I love using those big pencils because you don’t have to sharpen as often. I’ve even used them with older kids.

If you are a teacher, know a teacher, or want to make a teacher extremely happy then RUN to get them one, two, or five of these sharpeners!! Teachers can never have too many sharpeners, but luckily for us, we only need one of these!! Wanting more is another story. πŸ˜‰

Make sure to check out Classroom Friendly Supplies to pick yourself up one today. Also, take a look at my review to see this sharpener in action!!



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100th Day of School Activities

Tomorrow is the 100th day of school. It is one of my favorite days in my classroom because it’s jam packed with fun. My students get to come to school dressed as 100 year olds. It is the cutest thing ever!!

There are a lot of things that I try to get accomplished throughout the day so we get started right away. First thing in the morning I complete my reading and intervention block. I like doing this first thing in the morning to get my students into the routine. Fun days can create distractions and starting off the day right can avoid problems later on in the day. Once my reading block is over, I move onto the 100th day activities. Instead of teaching my every day lessons, I replace them with topics related to the 100th day.

In writing we are doing my favorite project by Deanna Jump. I have been doing this project in my classroom for years, even when I taught 2nd grade. It is definitely a project that I look forward to all year. You can find her unit HERE. The art project itself is probably the most time consuming activity that we do all day, so I make sure that we get it done first so we don’t run out of time for it. After the art project, we brainstorm what we would be like when we are 100 years old. This takes us directly into writer’s workshop when the students can write about their life in the future. Some of the things they come up with are just precious!!

IMG_4762That alone takes us up until lunch. After lunch we go into our math block. We are going to be doing a lot of counting to 100. We do this every day and this kids are getting so good at it by this time of the school year. We will practice identifying numbers by coloring our 100 chart to find the mystery picture. We will also be singing our 100 songs. Here are a few of our favorites…


This year I am also going to be incorporating some STEM projects through math tubs. I will be using Brooke Brown’s STEM freebie.

original-2297288-1Finally, we will end out day with silly 100th day glasses and watch Emily’s First 100 Days of School.

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Cricut in the Classroom and iPad App

IMG_4779I have been using my Cricut for my classroom for years. If you don’t know what a Cricut is, it is a digital die cutting machine that can save you hours of work. I have used it for things like creating bulletin boards, manipulatives, and even centers. Up until recently, I have always created at home. This has it’s advantages and disadvantages. I love the fact that I can create whenever the mood strikes while I’m at home. I also like to be able to create at school. If I am at school I can get correct measurements and if I make a mistake, I can fix it right away. Now that I have a Cricut both at home and in my classroom, I am able to have the best of both worlds.

When I first brought my Cricut to my classroom, I have to admit, it was a pain to use. I wasn’t able to install the plugin to get the design space website to work. I ended up bringing in my personal computer from home as well as my iPad, but the wireless connection in my classroom wasn’t the greatest. So my Cricut just sat there collecting dust. Then something AMAZING happened. Cricut released the Design Space app for the iPhone. This opened up a variety of possibilities to me. I am now able to create whenever the mood strikes in my classroom and the best part is… I can use construction paper!! How amazing is that.

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Five for Friday {11.27.15}

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and if you are out Black Friday shopping have fun and make sure to get some sleep when you’re done.Even though Thanksgiving is over, I want to share what we did this week in my classroom., Five for Friday style!!

2I have been working on a product for winter time for a few months now. The concept was in my head for months and I finally got around to putting it into action. It’s called, Sweater Weather. I plan on using this craft and writing project with my kinders next week. I will definitely be sharing with you how it went with detailed pictures. You can get a copy HERE.

5Do you ever get yourself in a funk? I do all the time. When I find that I am just “going through the motions” it’s time to change things up and most of the time that means my room. Since moving to kindergarten and a new school I am still trying to find my perfect set up. Until then, I will just get the pleasure of trying new things every few months.

3A new part of my room that I am LOVING is our new “stage”. I have seven HUGE tables in my room. My room is not that big and my kindergarten students really do not take up that much space to fill all of the tables. Instead of taking tables out of my room and potentially causing more work than is necessary I decided to remove the legs from one of my tables and turn it into a stage. I placed it in front of our Promethean board. It serves so many purposes: my students can stand on it to reach the board, I can sit on it when I am reading a book to them, it’s a great way to display current read alouds.

Every year a do our Disguise a Turkey project. When I taught second grade we did it in class, but now that I am in kinder I’ve made it a take home family project. I love how each turkey is different. The parents are always so excited about this project because it’s all about working together as a family. At the end of the project as a celebration we have a Turkey Fashion show. I wrote a blog post all about it that you can read HERE.

1Do you remember making Thanksgiving place mats in school when you were younger? I made them every year and so did my husband. In all of my 8 years of teaching I cannot believe I have never made place mats!! Well, I put a stop to that this year. We started off by writing what we were thankful for. Then we made Hand Turkeys. Next year I will definitely not include the legs, but they were so cute and added so much personality. *Side note* I must of had good luck because on Monday the laminator was broken! Oh no, I can’t send these home without being laminated, then they would just be art projects. They needed to be place mats! I was going to pass them out, but I totally ran out of time. I am so glad I did because as I walked into the office on Tuesday it smelled like hot lamination. It worked… yay!! I ran back to my room and 10 minutes later I had Thanksgiving place mats!!
fiveforfriday2_thumb3_thumb2Also, don’t forget to head on over to Doodlebugs Teaching to link up to share your Five for Friday!!

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Turkey Fashion Show

Did someone say fashion show? That’s exactly what went down in kindergarten this week. I sent home the turkey disguising project home for students to complete with their families. I told them that we were going to have a fashion show, so they should have their turkeys dress their best. Needless to say, there were some pretty outstanding turkeys, none of which I ate since they were disguised so well.

We started the show off with a catwalk, runway music, and even a photographer. I would announce each student, they would give us their best runway walk and strike a pose. Afterwards they would head over to our photographer and get cheers from the audience. It made sharing our turkeys even more fun than it already was.

The rest of the day we learned about turkeys with this Thankful Turkey activity from Lita Lita.




Of course no holiday is complete without holiday read alouds. thanksgiving comes by so quickly. The anticipation of Halloween and the excitement of Christmas almost makes your forget about Thanksgiving all together. Even though it seems impossible to fit in those fun activities, make sure to make time for them because creating memories for your students are what they will remember and cherish forever.



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Plan with Me Sunday

I am so excited that Plan with me Sunday is back!! I have definitely been busy since school has started and that means that I have been using my planners like crazy!! Today I am going to be sharing with you my teacher lesson planner as well as my personal planner.

First up is my teaching lesson planner. I use this planner for so many things. I take it to meetings to take notes, I plan out my week and month in the calendar section, I keep checklists and grade in another section, and of course I use it as my lesson planner. Since I love all things decorated and cute, I also decorate my lesson plans. So I love using this because it makes me happy throughout the day!

2Something that has been a life saver are my custom stickers. I created these header stickers because I was tired of rewriting the same things week after week. I needed to add something useful, but yet colorful and decorative. That is when my lesson plan header stickers came to be!! If you want some of your own you can get them two different ways.

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The first way is by visiting my Etsy shop and purchasing the Teacher Planner Header Stickers pack. In this pack you will receive 8 sheets of stickers. These stickers are kiss cut and ready to be peeled off the backing sheet with no cutting on your part. You will have enough header stickers for 16 weeks!! The stickers will be mailed to you in 1-2 weeks.









The second way you can get these stickers are by purchasing them from TpT. You will receive these an an instant download from TpT. You will need to print and cut them out on your own though. I recommend using full sheet sticker paper. The benefit of buying them digitally, is that you will have an unlimited amount of headers that you need. All you have to do is assemble them yourself.

7Next up is my personal planner. Yes, I am an Erin Codren lover. I have way too many planners from her as well as planner supplies. It makes me happy though!!

8I know I’m not the only one out there… right!?

9If you are a planner, I also offer more stickers in my Etsy shop. The only stickers I offer as a download are my teacher stickers that are available in my TpT store. I plan on making more teacher stickers available both in my Etsy store and on TpT, so if you have any requests please feel free to leave them below in the comments.

Now it’s your turn to head on over to Kreative in Kindergarten and Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris to link up and to see even more planner happiness!!








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Classroom Reveal

2gether slides.001Hello friends, it’s finally time for my classroom reveal!! This is the second year in my classroom and I feel like I have it a little more of my theme put together. I’ve never had a really classroom theme before. I’ve tried a purple theme as well as a woodland theme. Themes for me are a little overwhelming unless you fully commit to it.

As I was taking pictures of my classroom I realized that I have a colorful rainbow going on, so I just went with it!! I hope you enjoy my classroom reveal.



Math and Reading Wall


Rainbow Display


Word Wall/ Teacher Desk

Front Door

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my classroom. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me through my contact section. Make sure to head on over to link up your own classroom reveal. Also, don’t forget to link up with the girls from Blog Hoppin’ for even more classroom reveals!

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wednesday classroom


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First Three Weeks of Kindergarten

Wow, where has the time gone? I am about to start my 4th week of teaching tomorrow. That’s a whole month!! I really don’t feel like it’s been a month. I have to say that this year has been way easier than last year. I think having one year in kindergarten under my belt has really prepared me for this year.

One of my goals for my blog is to update every Friday with highlights from the week. This is fun to record future ideas and also look back on what an awesome week it was. It’s also a great way to focus on all of the positives. I wanted to update my blog during the actual first week, but you know how busy that gets. This week I will make a weekly recap post on Friday, but for now here are some highlights from my first three weeks.

The first week of school is all about routines. It’s also a way to transition from summer to school and for kindergarten it’s a major transition to school. No more nap time and they are now having to learn how to socialize and communicate with 20+ students every day. I also had a lot of fun activities planned like free choice centers as an incentive to get our work done throughout the day.




During the second week, we started incorporating Kagan strategies to get the students up and learning. These have been a hit in my class. They especially love Quiz Quiz Trade as well as Mix Pair Share. I guess the fact that I play Disney music while I’m doing it makes it fun too!!


The third week I started “introducing” literacy stations. They were spread out all over the room and worked with a partner. So far we have done Alphabet memory and ABC arcs. The kids love both and it keeps them entertained for at least 20-30 minutes. Perfect for when it’s time to start interventions.



Last but not least… writer’s workshop. My kinders last year hates writing at the beginning of the year. They were afraid to make mistakes and the thought of getting it wrong scared them to the point of tears. This year our district has luckily slowed down the kindergarten writing calendar and I am able to ease into our teaching. Just remember to model, model, model. I can share a post all about how I do writing in kindergarten in the future. I think the more exciting part is the fact that they can sit anywhere they want.

IMG_2913I’m sure you noticed my students sitting on the floor a lot of the time. Well, most of our time is spent on the floor. I find that the students are more relaxed and actually get more work done when they aren’t restricted to a table and chair. It also eliminates all of the extra unnecessary talking. Most of the time you want your students to be talking with one another, but sometimes there is a need for a quite classroom where kids can just focus on the task at hand. If it were up to me, I would get rid of my tables and chairs just like Greg over at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, but unfortunately that isn’t an option.


All week I struggled with how to set up my room. True fact about myself… I get bored easily. Last year was my first year in my room so once it was set up, I was all good to go. Now that it’s my second year in the same room it was time for a change. I experimented with seating in many different ways. All week my kids were forewarned that when they came in the next day that their seats would be at the same table, but that the tables would be moved. They were very flexible and even gave input into what they liked. In the end, we finally figured it out. I ended up going back to how I started my classroom layout LAST year. I guess if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Want to see the final product? You’ll have to check back on September 2nd for my classroom reveal post.

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