Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pinterest inspiration

I am LOVING Pinterest!  There are tons of great DIY projects that are so easy to make.   My first inspiration was taken from all the vinyl that is being used for labeling anything from mason jars to plastic boxes.  For this DIY project I used chalkboard Contact paper on a mason jar I already had. I got the chalkboard from a flea market and put it in a plate stand.  I love to change the message for dinner. 

The next project was making hurricane candle holders for $2 a piece!
 It was done using taper candle holders and cylinder vases from...  
I used Gorilla glue to adhere the cylinder to the candle holder.  I'm still debating what I should put in them, but for now they are on the window ledge above the kitchen sink with some random balls I had.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Wreath

Have you seen the DIY book wreaths?  This has been on my "Summer To Do List" since school got out in June.  Last week I finally found the perfect old book to tear the pages out of,  got out my glue gun, stapler and a foam wreath.  It was pretty easy and I love how it turned out.

The project took about 2 hours and was fun to make.  But now I think I want to change the wall color in my living room to a darker shade!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Labels

I am constantly adding books to my class book collection and I needed an easy way to label them.   I started using custom address labels that say:  

                                This belongs to Julie Mooney   
                                           Please return

It's so easy to just peel and stick them inside a book cover.  They can also be put on other things such as crates, baskets,  games, etc.    Here is a picture of one:

I lend out my books to students and I have a good return rate because these labels really stand out in the front of a book.  I prefer to use the shiny jewel tone labels.    What do you do to label things?

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's HUGE!

We are so lucky to have four blueberry bushes growing in our backyard.  This year we've had jumbo blueberries that are so delicious.   Take a look at Alex holding one as Dave measures it.  I just noticed that I'll have to teach Dave to start at the end of the tape measurer!  We made two blueberry pies (with homemade crust) and they are to die for! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Desk arrangements

At the beginning of the year I like to arrange students in what I call a "U shape".  This has every student sitting next to a partner and has the most number of students with desks facing the front of the room.  Here is an example:

(You can also see the pencil cups in action that I posted a picture of not too long ago).

It doesn't take long before I make some changes.  Who knew that a few students were best friends outside of school or which students are not good role models for each other??  

As the year goes on I actually survey students to see if they prefer to have their desks arranged in a table,  U shape or row.   Usually they are honest with how they learn best and I honor their request.

How do you arrange your desks  or tables?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This year is the first time I am designing our classroom around a theme.  I picked sports because it appeals to girls and boys and I value to the concept of working as a team.  Here are some things I have picked up for the room: wall decals, a soccer bowl, popcorn cups, a baseball bank and double sided ball decorations for a bulletin board or hanging from the ceiling.  

I've been keeping an eye out for things related to this theme and checking blogs for sports themed classrooms.  Our jobs are going to be on baseballs and have the saying "Look who's pitching in".
The Inclusion teacher and I are going to be "Coaches" of  "Room 36".   I'm really excited to see how this year is different using a theme. 

Do you use a theme in your classroom? 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fish meets cat

One of my students moved to N.C. this summer and gave me her fish, Fresco, and his many accessories to keep as a class pet.  The class loved having him in our 3rd grade classroom.
 Fresco is in my son Alex's bedroom and was enjoying his summer vacation until he met our cat, Katarina.  We've been keeping an eye on Katarina's interest in Fresco.  Here she is caught in action:

Friday, July 8, 2011

basket addiction

Hello,  I'm Julie and I have a basket addiction.  I'm not sure exactly when it started, but I can't resist buying baskets for my classroom.  Whenever I go to a yard sale I always find a basket for a quarter.  As you can see from this picture, I do use them for books, but most of them get stacked in my closet.  Any creative suggestions for all these colorful baskets?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

desk cup holder

These are gatorade containers that my co-teacher saved for me.  I used velcro to adhere them to the desk so they don't fall off.  It has made finding materials so easy for my Third Graders and I love upcycling!  I'm sure that you could use any large plastic cup to do this. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

classroom clean up

I was inspired by all the classroom organization several people have been blogging about.   At the end of the school year (which was only 2 weeks ago) I had to pack up my classroom.  Before I did this I knew I had to tackle the mess in my closet.  Here is the before and after:

Now I just have to keep it this way when school starts in September!  Thanks for the extra push. : P

Monday, April 25, 2011


Check out this cool website at:
I am going to have my students brainstorm words to describe their mothers and then we'll create some. Mom's will love this!

Here are a few examples from the Website:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bye Bye Blockbuster

Our local Blockbuster is going out of business.  I stopped by hoping to snag a few DVD's.   I didn't find anything, but was lucky to snag these backers for 10 for $1.00!   They are the cards that go behind the DVD box on the shelf.   

I am going to have a writing lesson and have students be movie critiques. I know they will give this writing assignment 2 thumbs up!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Community Helpers

My son is a 2nd grader and he learned about community helpers.  His teacher is AWESOME and I wanted to share the work he brought home. 

                                          This is his tri-fold of a community.

Here is his grocer.

Check out the food inside the bag!

He wrote clues about his community helper on the cover and drew a picture inside:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

President's Weekend Buys

Today I went to Michael's Craft Store because I had a 25% off coupon for my entire purchase.  Not that I needed anything, but for $15.00 I  found....

These Smencils are great for reluctant writers. They smell so good!

I am going to use the scrapbook paper to make origami bookmarks.  These are so easy to make.

The stretchy frogs and glow in the dark spiders will go in our Mystery Reward Box.

We are working on "quotation marks" and the Making faces stickers will be perfect to create some fun dialogue.  After we do this I'll post.

I'm thinking they might be really
cute on a balloon, too!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cursive Valentine's Day project

Our Third Grade class is learning cursive.  We copied a Valentine's Day poem in cursive, glued it on paper then laminated it.  I love to memorialize student's writing so someday they can look back at how they wrote in Third Grade.  They gave them to parents today.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine Robots

Our Third Grade class created valentine robots to use when we distribute our valentine cards on Monday.  Here are a few:  

Directions were to use recycled materials to create a robot that would fit on your desk and have an opening big enough for valentines.   They are all so unique!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warm up with a good book!

Our class created these mugs of hot chocolate for a bulletin board.  We used cotton balls for the marshmallows and wrote the title & author of our favorite book along with a book summary.

We could all use some warming up around here!  We've had 6 snow days this winter! This was taken during our last storm.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Symmetry Valentine Hearts

These are Valentine hearts made using symmetry.   They can be designed to be simple or elaborate.  I have done them with my Third Grade students and they turn out great using different colored backgrounds.   The craft of Pennsylvania German paper cutting is called Scherenschnitte.  (Try to say that 3 times fast!)

First create half a heart design on white paper and place it on two colors of 12" x 18" construction paper.  Be sure the paper is on the fold:

Then cut the outside of the heart shape and separate the two papers.   Keep one color solid.  Cut the inside heart design out:
Open up the paper:

Glue the heart on the background:

Here is an example of a heart with cats. It is more challenging due to the cutting:

These activity can be done with a range of grade levels and differentiated by difficulty.  Students may enjoy making up their own designs.  

I have also seen paper doilies cut into heart shapes and they look great! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Meet the Teacher

It feels like Back to School Night. I'm so excited to introduce myself to you all.

I'm originally from upstate New York, but I've lived in New Jersey for the past 13 years.  I promise you that not everyone here in Jersey acts remotely close to what you see on the Jersey Shore.  Well,  except for a few people....

I have been married to my husband Dave for 12 years.  Here's a picture of us at an apple orchard:

We have one son,  Alex, who is soon going to turn eight years old.  This is one of my favorite pictures taken when he was only four years old.  It's perfect for a valentine's card!
We love to spend time together as a family.  Here we are at    
 Acadia National Park, Maine.

I taught Special Education for 10 years before becoming a Third Grade Teacher five years ago.  I love Third Graders and I would spend the rest of my teaching career in Third Grade if I could.  I've been so lucky to teach on the same Inclusion Team for the past 3 years. My teammates rock!  Here is a picture of part of our classroom that doesn't show any faces.  We are so happy to have a big, air conditioned classroom. 

Q & A from The First Grade Parade

Q:  What would you be doing if you weren't a teacher?
A:  I would own a book store.  I  L*O*V*E  BOOKS!

Q:  What are your hobbies?
A:   Reading, crafting, and now blogging.

Q:  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A:   A marine biologist and teacher of course.

Q:  What are your guilty pleasures?
A:  Reality t.v. shows (American Idol, Survivor, Hoarders, What Not To Wear), Coke and Pizza.

Q:  What is your biggest fear?
A:  Throwing up in front of my class.  It has almost happened twice!

Q:  When you're on vacation, where do you like to go?
A:   We've been a few places I'd like to return (in order from most recent):  Outerbanks, Maine, Rome, Cancun.

Q:  What's the best advice you've ever received?
A:  Be yourself.

Q:  What do you value most in others?
A:  Being dependable

Q:  If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
Q:  Sense of humor

Q:  If you could have lunch with anyone in the or dead.. who would it be?
A:  This is a tough one. Maybe the Take Home Chef Curtis Stone would cook me up something good!

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:

I love t.v. game shows, even though I don't have time to watch them.
I would love to be a contestant on Jeopardy.  I swear I know all the answers sitting on my couch!

Thanks for this great idea  First Grade parade!

A Visit From the Tooth Fairy

Yep, you guessed it.  Alex lost another tooth yesterday.  At the rate he is going the Tooth Fairy is going to be broke!
Here's a picture of him from the Fall with a nice smile.

The dentist said the gap is good.  I myself find it adorable. 

The Tooth Fairy left 2 gold dollar coins.  They were burning a hole in his pocket all morning.  This afternoon we went to Walmart and got a small Ninjago Lego set. 

The best is... he has another loose tooth!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Boy and A Bug

It has been a C R A Z Y week!  This morning I woke up to moans and whimpering from Alex's bedroom.  Unfortunately he is the latest victim of the tummy bug.  Since I have already been out of school for 2 snow days it was Dad's turn to stay home.  Luckily after playing video games and watching t.v. he is feeling better.  His dinner is going to be rice and applesauce.  Sounds delicious, doesn't it?

My Third Graders have been off the wall after being out of school so much.  We all need to get back into a routine.  Come Monday we'll be reviewing rules and procedures. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm gonna give this a try!

I have been home from school for 2 days due to snow and ice and I stumbled upon some amazing blogs by teachers.  I felt like such a stalker because I didn't have my own blog.  So I was inspired to give this a try.