Shhhhh, it's a secret! {Mystery Readers}

Mystery Readers can be parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or anyone else that is a special part of students' lives.  They secretly sign up to come in and read a story to the class.  They also send in five clues that we read the week of their visit - one clue per day.  The clues start off rather vague and become more "revealing" until Friday's clue reveals the Mystery Reader's identity.  The kids love having their family members visit!

***This is NOT my original idea.  I found it on Beth Newingham's website and altered it to fit my classroom.  You can visit her site by clicking HERE.  

Click HERE to download parent letter, sign up sheets, & sample clues!

I saw this idea on ProTeacher a few years ago and made my own so it would match my classroom.  

On Monday, I write the five clues on sticky notes and place them under the corresponding books.  The Mystery Reader's name goes on a sticky note under the question mark.  I used Velcro dots to attach the books to the poster board.  We read Clue #1 on Monday, Clue #2 on Tuesday, and so on.  Then on Friday after reading the fifth clue (and the kids have {hopefully} figured out who it is) we take off the question mark to see if we're right! :)  They love it!

Download the pieces below to make your own poster!  

Click HERE to download!

Click HERE to download all five books!

If this is your original idea, or you know who thought of it, please let me know so I can give them credit for being my inspiration. :)

P.S. I can't believe I only have 2 more *days* of summer vacation!!!

Check out this jungle themed giveaway!

Christie at First Grade Fever is having a giveaway that everyone can win! 

Check out this adorable welcome sign that she will personalize just for you!!

You can also get these cute name plates and a copy of her back to school welcome note for students!

Click below to head over to her site!


Fill in the Blank Friday!

Join Playground Duty for Fill in the Blank Friday!

1.   My favorite color is...hot pink! I love it with lime green and black. :)

2.  My travel destination of choice is...the mountains.  The hubs and I went to Gatlinburg before we got married and I loved it.  That was over three years ago, so I'm ready to go back!

3.  My favorite  food is...lasagna.  Homemade or store bought, I don't care! Yum.

4.  My happy place is...home.  :)

5.  My favorite saying is..."You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  Well, this is my new favorite saying for my classroom.  I need to make a poster!

6.  My dirty little secret is...I have a lot of obsessions: office supplies, teaching blogs, Pinterest, children's books, caramel frappes, and the list goes on...

7.  Something friends might say about me is that I...am sweet and a good listener. :)


Extra Crayons :)

Don't you just hate hearing, "I need a green!" or "Someone stole my blue!"

Well, I sure did.  And I was hearing it all.the.time.  Until last year.  My solution?

The "extra crayon" box.

I bought the bin (which actually has colored pencils on it, but who cares, right?) at Lowe's last summer for $4 or $5.  Then I saved my Weight Watchers yogurt containers to hold the crayons.  Only eight would fit in the box, so I had to group some colors together.  No biggie.

Now, when a student doesn't have a crayon because it's lost or broken, they just go to the crayon box and get the one they need.  They can then keep that crayon for themselves.  I check the extra crayon box every once in awhile whenever I hear "There aren't any yellows left!" and replenish it as necessary.


Classroom Pictures!

I *finally* have my classroom arranged.  For some reason, I just could not get things the way I wanted them.  So, here are a few pics.  There's still some cleaning out/organizing to be done.  And then decorating!!
This is my Smartboard/meeting area. 
This is a view from the doorway.
My teaching easel, table that houses magnets, student number sticks, and pointers.
The blue crate holds clipboards and dry erase boards.
Instead of a desk, I have a bookcase.  I've always had a small "teacher" table.  But this year, seeing as how I will have 25+ children, I need all the space I can get.  The bins are labeled Monday - Friday. The binders are for lesson plans, parent communication, behavior documentation, etc.
My library.  The blue shelves will house leveled books.

The blue bins on top of the book case hold AR books.
The other bins are sorted genre/category.
Not sure what I'm going to do with the colored bins yet (found it at a yard sale for $20!).
 I'm thinking either math manipulatives or math stations. The crates have cushions with them that the kids use as "book nooks" during independent reading.
Student tables.  The one on the left and directly in the middle are lowered.
The kids sit on rugs.
Last year was my first year trying it out and they LOVED it!
More student tables.  The small one looks awkward there to me, but I'm thinking I'll need it for those extra kiddos that show up !
That's all for now!  I'll post more next week!! :)


Share Box {Explanation & Downloads}

My Share Box is "show & tell" with a twist.  I use this:
I didn't share a picture of *my* share box because it needs to be prettied up. :)

The Share Box goes home each day Monday - Thursday.  I don't send it home on Fridays because the kids are more likely to forget to bring it back after the weekend.  

The child that takes the box home chooses ONE object to put inside.  The object can be anything: a book, toy, photo, etc.  My rule is:  Nothing edible, living, or dangerous. :)  The child must then write (parents can help!) three clues about the object. We do Share Box right after our Morning Message.  The child comes up, sits in my chair, and reads the clues.  S/he then chooses kids to guess what is inside the box.  After a student guesses (or I have to say "we all give up!"), the student takes the item out and is allowed to pass it around the carpet or show us how it works.  

The kids LOVE it! (And so do I!)  I'm always the first one to take it home to show them how to do it.  I'm also included in the rotation throughout the year.  The kids love reminding me when it's my day to take the Share Box. :)

Here is the label I'm going to put on the outside of the lid.
Click HERE to download!

And here's a parent note that I will tape to the inside of the lid.

Click HERE to download!
Happy Tuesday!


Back 2 School Bonanza!

12 awesome bloggers are giving away an amazing prize pack!

Head over to Erica's blog to check it out!


Pinterest Linky Party!

Head over to Michelle's Math in the Middle to link up and to find some awesome Pinterest boards (and blogs)!

Check out my "PInterest Button" over here -------->

If you're new to Pinterest and need an invite, just leave your email address and I'll send one out to you. :)  

Creating & Teaching's 100 Follower Giveaway!

Check it out for your chance to win a personalized name sign!! :)


New Blog Alert!! Check it out!

My friend and coworker, Amanda, just started a blog!  

Please head over and show her some support! :)

Here are a few things she's created...

Check out these adorable crate seats!

And how cute are these hall passes??



What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Link up with Jamie!


I'm loving that I got a new car today!!!  Well, it's *new* to me. :)

I'm loving that my Vistaprint order came today!  :)  My super cute key chain got here just in time!

I'm loving Harry Potter!  Can't wait to go see it this weekend!

I'm loving these lazy summer days!  Can't believe I only have two weeks left!

I'm loving all the great ideas I find when blog stalking!!

Happy Wednesday!


More Jungle Theme Stuff!

Here are a couple of binder covers I made last summer.  I write the students' names on the big line above the space for teacher name.  I plan on using the TIGER this year.

Click here to download!

Click here to download!

Here is a sign I attach to a crate to hold lunchboxes.

Click here to download!

And lastly (although not jungle themed) is a "password of the day" sign.  I found this idea on ProTeacher.  You can hang this by your classroom door and have the kids read the "password" whenever you leave the room for lunch, recess, etc.  The passwords can be sight words, spelling words, important vocabulary.  These could work perfectly!

You could even incorporate math and use addition or subtraction facts and have the kids recite the problem and answer. Or how about shapes?  Fractions?  The possibilities are endless!

Click here to download!
Hope you are enjoying your summer! 
Mrs. D

And the winner is....

#46....Alysia Battista!

Congratulations, you just won $15 to spend at Dollar Tree!

Please email me with your contact information!

(You should be able to email me through my profile.  Let me know if you have any trouble.)

Thanks to everyone who participated in my first giveaway!


I finally made a button! (I think...)

Okay, I have been working hard all morning trying to figure out this button business and....

I think I finally did it.

So, would someone please try placing it on your blog to see if it works?  

Pretty please??  Thanks a bunch!

My giveaway ends TONIGHT!

Be sure to check it out if you haven't already!  
You know you would like $15 to spend at Dollar Tree! ;)

Giveaway ends tonight at 10 p.m. EST!
Click HERE to enter!


Two great giveaways!

Hey, everyone! Hope y'all are enjoying your weekend! I had a great time with all the ladies in my family at our "girls night" last night. It has taken me awhile this evening to catch up on all the happenings in Blog World. :)

Okay, first up, Anna at Crazy for First Grade is teaming up with two wonderful bloggers, Donna from Kinderglynn and Jodi from Clutter-Free Classroom, and hosting a jungle themed extravaganza! Check it out!!

Secondly, Mrs. Saylor's Log is giving away a $30 gift certificate to Doodle Bugs Paper!  Click below to check it out!

P.S. I'm so excited to see that I'm almost to 100 followers!

(Don't forget to check out my 50 followers giveaway, HERE!)


Blog Mixer Linky!

Yearn to Learn is hosting a blog mixer! Join the fun!

In your link up find the following:

1. A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers)

2. Post a blogger in your same grade level

3. Post a blogger in a different grade level

4. It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

Here's mine:

1. New Kid on the Blog:  Mrs. Teachnology has some awesome ideas for integrating technology in the classroom!

2. Same Grade Level:  First Grade...a la Carte! is an amazing blog!  Kathy shares TONS of games!

3. Different Grade Level:  Teaching in Flip Flops has some wonderful zebra and polka dot stuff!  Love it!


4. Cute Button:  Dishing it Out.



Please help spread the word!

I'm having my first giveaway to celebrate 50 followers!

Please help me spread the news!

Click here to enter to win a $15 Dollar Tree gift card! :)


What I'm Loving Wednesday!


My very first giveaway!  Be sure to check it out (HERE)!


McDonald's McCafe Caramel Frappe!  Would you believe I had never had one until last week???


Owls!  Seriously, I have been obsessed with all things owl all summer!  I can't remember exactly what sparked this love, but here are some super cute things I've found on Pinterest.

Source: thecraftingfiend.blogspot.com
Source: modcloth.com
Source: modcloth.com


Mark Wahlberg!  I'm watching "The Other Guys".  Not his best movie, but who cares?


The impending thunderstorm!  Hopefully it will cool things down.  We're suffering through temps in the high 90's down here in Georgia.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to link up with This Kind of Love to share what you're loving!