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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back to School Time

Did August sneak up on anyone else as much as it did me?! I was not at all prepared.

This year is full of changes for me--new grade, new school, new state! I am super excited, slightly anxious, and a teensy bit terrified! 

But look at all of those windows! I'd say that's a pretty big step up from my one tiny window at my old school.

More pictures to come as I get my booty in gear and get some things done!

In other news, I finally have an Instagram! Hello 21st century!
Check me out--@mscranfillsclass
(Disclaimer: I already had a personal Instagram. I didn't want you to think I was that behind the times ;)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My New Favorite Tool

If there is one thing I dislike about first grade, it's the pencils. 

I hate sharpening them, picking them up off the floor alllllll day long, keeping kids from fighting over them. Ugh! I hate all of it.

I also hate pencil sharpeners. I have only been teaching for 4 years, and I bet I have been through about 12 pencil sharpeners. 

But this week, my life changed forever.
 I got a Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener!

I have been seeing pictures of these and wanting one for a while now. And let me just tell you--best pencil sharpener ever. You neeeeeed one! You won't regret it!

Just look at how sharp that pencil is! I was a little bit worried that it wouldn't be worth the extra time that a manual sharpener takes, but it totally is.

Head over to their website and get your own!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


So every year, I have a list of about 83 things that I want to try/change/do better/etc. Then, the year starts, and let's face it, it's survival for the first quarter. Maybe even longer!

One thing that was not on my list--implementing STEM. Don't get me wrong, I loooove teaching science and my kids love doing "experiments", but it just wasn't on the list. Well, needless to say, the list changed!

I found this super easy, very engaging unit on TpT, and I. Love. It.

We made boats...

We used the gumboils as "people" to see which boats would hold the most people. It ended up being a two day venture, because the boats are the first day were a flop! But the second day, you could tell how much they learned about the structure of a boat and they worked together so much better!

Then, we made turkey "fortresses" as my kids liked to call them.

They were so great! Basically the room was a disaster of Legos, linking cubes, place value manipulatives, etc. But they amazed me! I loved watching them figure out how to manipulate the objects and debate on who had the better idea.

Go check out Brooke Brown's STEM units on TpT! I will probably be picking up the December unit soon!

Monday, August 17, 2015

One Day Bonus Sale

It's time to go buy all the things you wish you had bought during the last sale!

Use the code MORE15 to save 10%. My store will also be 20% off--saving you 28% with the code! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Updated Product

And school has officially started! I am happy to say that I survived the first day and my class seems wonderful so far! I am looking forward to a great year!

With the year just starting, I am (of course) filled with thoughts of beginning Daily 5 and engaging, meaningful literacy centers. So I've updated one of my favorite literacy centers!

Draw the Room is a staple in our classroom. It keeps my students moving around the room, ensures they are applying phonics skills accurately, and is an easy center to rotate when needed.

Click here to check it out on TpT!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Best Purchases I Ever Made

When I get back to my room after the end of summer, I start to think, "What do I really need this year?" I try to find the happy medium between what will actually last through the year and what will not cost me an arm and a leg. Here are some of my absolute favorite things that I have bought over the years!

This easel from Lakeshore. I actually asked for this for Christmas one year, and it was the best present! I love the storage at the bottom, how easily it swivels, and that is it low enough to the ground for my students to easily reach the top. The other side is lined, which I also love. When I first got it in, one of the whiteboards had a huge scratch on it, and Lakeshore was super accommodating and easy to work with in exchanging it.

My book baskets in my classroom library are from Really Good Stuff, and they are great! I fill mine to the brim, and they are still in such great shape! I've had them for 2 years and haven't had to replace any of them.

Sit Spots! Oh my goodness, I love these soooo much! I really thought hard for a long time about getting a rug for my room, but all of the ones I wanted were crazy expensive. But these are perfect! They give each of my kids their own space on the carpet, they stay put, and they last!! I've had mine for 2 years, and the corners are just starting to curl up. I will definitely get 3, maybe 4 or 5, years out of these! Definitely worth the money!

What are your favorites in your classroom?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tell All Tuesday

I'm linking up with Teach Talk Inspire and My Day in K for Tell All Tuesday!

Of course dreams, goals, and wishes are what all teachers think about when they are going back to school! We're getting back into our classrooms and everything is clean and organized and full of possibilities! As much as I love summer, getting back into my classroom really does get me excited for a new year and a new group of kiddos!

My goal:
So I've done Writer's Workshop for the past few years, but I am the worst at actually planning ahead for it! I typically realize on my lunch break that I don't know what our exact focus is for that day. Eek!! So it's a lot of last minute scrambling... My goal this year is to actually plan ahead! Even if it is just a week at a time!

My wish:
We are adding a new member to our team this year! I am hoping that our team will mesh well and be able to work cohesively, collaborate well, and support each other when we need it. 

My dream:
So every day when I leave school, I reflect on the day as I'm driving home. No matter how much "wonderful" happened that day, I always find (and then fixate) on something I could have done better, how I could have reached a kid more effectively, something that makes me think I didn't do all I could. Wouldn't it be great if I never had that feeling?! Of course, I don't think this is the most attainable. I am still human and not at all perfect, but what an amazing thing it would be!

For now, I will just bask in the excitement and newness of a new year, new kids, and new energy! Happy back to school!