First Week Complete!

I can't believe that school has already started and we've already finished the first week of school! It's been such a whirlwind!

Does anyone else ever find it hard to connect with their new group at the beginning of the school year? A lot of times, I think back to my previous class who already knew all the routines and I had trained to be super fabulous and thinking about getting my new class to that point is a bit overwhelming. Well, this year that is not the case! As of today, I have twenty-five super amazing little seven-year-olds in my class. My husband keeps rolling his eyes at me because I come home every day raving about how amazing these kiddos are! I'm so excited for this school year - I can't even stop saying it! 

There was one day this week where we were practicing independent reading for small group reading. We flex group during this time, so I had a mix of students from other classes as well. We had gotten to the point of practicing and they were so good at it and I was so excited that I ran over to my camera and started taking pictures of them just sitting there. It was amazing. Ahhh! This year is going to be so fabulous!

Anyway, I thought I'd check in here to give you a peek at my classroom. I did a lot of work over the summer to clean it up and give it a real polished look.

Here's the hallway display! I love, love displaying their work with clips. Especially since I don't have an actual bulletin board. It is seriously time consuming to have to display word on cinder blocks without clips!

This is my objectives board. Our team decided to call them learning targets. This was before school started and I ran out of mounting tabs, so I only put one objective up. Hopefully you get the idea!

Here are our classroom rules. I shared these a while ago, but they are up right now. I'm super excited about them, especially now that I've seen them in action. Rule #5 is probably my absolute favorite to see during the day. You can purchase my rules here!

This is the other side of my board. It's where I post my weekly posters, the sounds that we're learning about this week and our vocabulary words for the week. I'm still on the fence about whether I'm going to put math vocabulary in the math section or something else.

Here's a wide view of the front of our classroom. All of our classrooms were fitted with TeamBoards this summer which has been awesome. There's also a final board on the left that I can't find a close picture of. On that board, we record our test scores and make goals for future testing.

Next up - my updated word wall! I went through and recreated my word wall letters and words. I had to force myself to do it since I had spent quite a bit of time doing it last year also, but the kiddos just needed bigger words and letters so they were visible. Please excuse the fact that I have B words listed under E. I have no idea why I put them there!

Every year, we get a small budget to purchase new items for our classrooms. This year, I purchased these bins to give the area above our backpacks a more clean look. I love how it turned out. We store our community school supplies and student math manipulatives in the bins.

This was another fun summer project. This classroom wall used to be an exterior wall. Now it butts up to the office's conference room. For some reason, when they made the switch, they decided to simply paint what used to be a window. This summer, we added some cork board to make it more functional. Our school has a Pride Board that features outstanding work from one student in each class. I wanted to give the kids in my class more of an opportunity, so this is one just for our room.

This is my small group reading board to help me keep organized. I decided to laminate paper this year for listing the kids in each group instead of printing the group lists. I want my groups to be flexible, so this makes it much easier. I can just erase whenever I need to make a change.

I'm going to need to train a student to switch these each day because I'm so bad at remembering to, but I love how this looks! You can find the free, editable schedule cards here from Kelli! They come in a whole bunch of colors.

Here's a view of my reading table area. It was still a little messy when I took the picture.

Here's a view of my desks. Each student has their own cup to keep their everyday supplies. All their other supplies either go in their 'art box' (read: pencil box that I don't want them playing with all day) or in our community supply bins.

I got the idea of the numbers and letters from The Brown Bag Teacher. Her info probably describes it much better than I can, but I'll let you know some of the ways I plan to use this tool. I call helpers from each table all the time. Each of my tables as a number 1, 2, 3, and 4 to make it easier to get a volunteer from each table. It also lets me organize students if I want them to discuss with their group. If I want them to share their answer, I can tell them that number 2's get to share first. The As and Bs are the same idea, but they are for when students word with a single partner at their table. I can let them know that partner A gets to talk first or partner B.

Finally, here are two shots 'whole' classroom shots.

So that's my classroom this year! What do you think?

Meet the Teacher Blogger

Hey all! I'm so late linking up with Falling Into First, but I thought - better late than never! I've been working on this post for a few days now between setting my classroom up for the beginning of the school year. I didn't know what would be posted first - my meet the teacher blogger post or my classroom setup post! I'm very excited to post both (eventually).

Hey there, everyone! I'm Kristin. I'm heading into my fourth year of teaching. This will be my third year of teaching second grade. I'm a 26 year old teacher blogger from Illinois. I'm so excited to finally be staying in the same room and grade for a second year! It was wonderful this summer not having to fully pack everything up and set up again, but it was still a lot of work getting ready for the year. I'm so excited to welcome my new students into the room, especially the ones I had in summer school who know what it looked like before I got it fully into working order.

This is me and the Mister hanging out at Citi Field on our vacation to New York last year. We've been married for just under three years now. It's crazy how time flies by! Our puppy Murphy completes our family. He's just the right amount of obedient, stubborn, quirky, and lovable.


Decorative journals, colored pens, new clothes, chocolate croissants, Camelback water bottles, Google Play Radio, Jimmy Fallon Lip-sync Battles, laminating sleeves, organization systems, eggs in a basket, to do lists, freshly threaded eyebrows, and 2048.

There are so many things that I am interested in! I originally started school for Hospitality. I wanted to be an event planner. Sometimes, I enjoy doing graphic design which is why I opened my own design blog That Fancy Blog Boutique. Other times, I like to pretend I could make it big if I ever auditioned for a show like American Idol. I think I might be a little delusional. OH WAIT! I really want to be an author! That's it!!

Excitable. Storyteller. Nosy.


"Sure, we can do birthday cupcakes at 8:30 a.m."


I'm a HP fan (well, moreso in HS than now), so probably a cast member or two. I wouldn't even care which ones! I'd need to invite my HS bestie also because we both were HP super fans in HS.


Teaching in a Nutshell

It's kind of a toss up between teleportation and telekinesis. Both are very tempting.


"If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing."


I've almost auditioned before but couldn't decide what song to sing. I had my wristband and everything, but ended up not going the day of. My #1 song contender was Love Song by Sara Bareilles.


It really just depends. I'm more of a late afternoon/early evening person.


I have the most fabulous dreams. In HS, one of my friends and I used to share our strange dreams every time we had one. I've ridden a bounce house like a magic carpet, escaped from invading soldiers, spent an entire day hanging out at the library with my teaching friends, and been chased by a purple and green spotted Jaba the Hut like monster who wanted me to lay an egg. I recently started sharing my strange dreams with a teacher friend. She is super amused.

Have you linked up yet? If you're late to the party like me, there's still time. Head on over and link up!

Holy Wow!

All I can say is Oh My Goodness!

Yesterday when I saw that it was time for the August Currently, I was surprised that it was August already (even though I have been looking at the calendar all week and knew perfectly well that August began yesterday). Today, I've had another surprise due to my lack of attentiveness.

My Teacher Institute days start a week from Thursday! That means I'll only have one week to flip my classroom between the end of summer school and the beginning of our teacher work days. I've been banking on two this whole summer. I guess maybe I don't know how to read a calendar. Oh dear!

All my plans for beginning the transformation post-summer school have been squashed so now I'm speedily trying to craft all of the new goodies that I planned on creating for the upcoming school year. I wonder how many I can cram into this weekend. I've already called in the troops (my grandma and mother-in-law) to help me start getting everything put in place.

Because I can't actually sit and do sustained activities all day long - especially ones that require my immediate attention - I've decided to take a break to post my progress here. What do you all think?

A New Year - New Rules

Click here for purchase!
I do, of course, have rules like no running in the classroom and don't get up out of your seat whenever you want, but I wanted to focus more on rules that will help us improve as learners and create a positive atmosphere rather than ones that were solely focused on improving sometimes naughty behaviors. While some of them seem like they still may be focused on behaviors, each of them is explained in a way that ties directly back to how it will help us learn. This isn't exactly how they will be explained to the students, but it is the gist of it.

Rule 1: We do this so that we hear what our friends say so that we may add on our own comments after to give extra details.
Rule 2: This one is more focused on the fact that we NEED to participate. It also goes along with rule 4 kind of. We want all our friends to be successful and if the same students are shouting out the answers, then our other friends (who know better than to shout) will not get a turn to participate.
Rule 3: If we take too long to follow the directions, we lose out on important learning time!
Rule 4: This relates to both helping friends who do not understand something - if we understand, we can help them too - and to helping others stay on task. This is a big thing at our school. The kids are supposed to take charge of the classroom including academics and behavior.
Rule 5: Some students are nervous to participate. We want to help everyone feel comfortable answering questions. When a student gets an answer wrong, we should focus on positive things - like the fact that they were participating at all. This rule went over really well last year. We had friends giving high-fives when they got an answer right and whispering "yesss" when they shared the same answer as another friend who was called on for the correct answer.

I really want to keep my rules to a minimum, but I feel like I'm missing something important. It may just be because they fall into our general school rules of "Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe." Can you think of any good rules in the style of what I have so far that I'm missing?

Word Wall

I'm not sure if I've ever posted a picture of my word wall here. Every time I look at classroom pictures on Blogger, I get jealous of the amazing classrooms that some of you all have! My room is pretty much less than ideal because although there is a lot of storage, there is very very little wall space.

This picture is a pretty terrible one. It was taken after I packed my room up and there are a ton of things that aren't usually there, but you can see the word wall hanging from the curtains above our cubbies.

It was my first year in the room and I needed to throw something up there. Unfortunately, the words and letters that I used are pretty difficult for second graders to see when it is that high up. I'm working on creating a larger option to go in the same place - since I really don't have an alternative spot for my word wall.


I only have the alphabet done so far, so now I need to get started on words.

Hanging Signs

I also finished table number and center signs, although I saved most of them as PDFs so I don't have a preview.

What do you think? All I have left are the word wall words, math number words, shapes, school supply storage labels, and teacher organization labels. I'll eventually (soon) need to create some library labels, but since my summer school students messed up my library again - I reorganized it at the beginning of the summer - I don't know what exactly I'm going to do.

And this is just organization/decor stuff. I don't even want to think of all the learning prep work there is to do. Why didn't someone warn me sooner that the school year was coming up?

I'll keep everyone updated!

August Currently

It's the first! That means I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this month's Currently!


Last year, our district threw together a teacher choir for the district wide 'Back to School' pep assembly that all the teachers go to on the first teacher training day. They sang Don't Stop Believin and I was tempted to join, but I am sometimes lazy and thought it might be ... eh. This year, they're doing it again, but I decided to join in even though I already know some of my teacher friends will be laughing at me. Anywho, we'll be singing Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie. I'm pretty excited. I've been practicing the rap in the middle of the song in case I decide to volunteer for a solo - and endure additional laughing from my teacher friends.


My weekdays have been incredibly busy with summer school, but my weekends have also been jam packed with life. This is the third weekend this entire summer that I have not been completely over-scheduled... which means I can get stuff done at school. I'm a bit late to the party, but I just signed up for an Instagram account. Follow me @teachinginanutshell to see what's going on tomorrow as I makeover my classroom!


One of those fabulous friends who will be laughing at me as I rap my heart out in a few weeks laughed at me today when she walked in my classroom. She knows that I've been having a hard time getting started prepping my room for the school year because of summer school. When she walked in, I was making a list on one of my white boards to go with the other four lists on other white boards around the room. She just rolled her eyes and told me I should stop making lists. I guess I see her point but what teacher doesn't love a good list (or 10)?


I'll be joining several local teacher bloggers for brunch on Sunday morning. I am super excited and a bit nervous! It's my very first blogger meetup and these ladies all sound so fabulous. I've been putting off getting my haircut for a few months now since I'm trying to grow it out a bit and getting a pedi because I've just been so darn busy! I thought this would be a perfect excuse to go out and get one. But no - my hair stylist was all booked until Tuesday! Oh well. Maybe I can still do a pedi.


Did I mention that I made three more lists after my friend came in the room? Luckily, I have a few things in the works with my new design blog to keep me distracted!

School Starts

I suppose the dates I wrote down are a little misleading seeing as I am already teaching summer school and am already at school every single day! However, those are our official start dates for the regular school year. Even though I have so much to do, I'm getting excited. We had thirteen teachers change classrooms this year, so now they're all coming in early to get their rooms set up. It's like a party at school every day! Plus, two of my teacher besties moved into my hallway which should make for a promising year.

I'm excited to see what everyone else is up to this August! Be sure to check out Farley's blog for a list of all the other teachers participating!