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My FIXER-UPPER Classroom

Any Fixer-Upper fans out there?! I LOVE me some Chip and Joanna Gaines, and their HGTV show is one of my favorites! A popular classroom theme the past couple of years has been their "Fixer-Upper" style- lots of shiplap, chicken wire, and burlap! But, let me tell you, I had a REAL Fixer-Upper Classroom this year! I have learned this year to hold everything, especially my dreamed-up perfect classroom, with my hands open!

It's been such an awesome opportunity to teach at a very new school - and to be here for 3 years now! My first year here was the third school year of Hope International School. Every year has been very different - both with it's challenges and successes!

This year (it's 5th). as been especially exciting, as we've moved into our OWN campus!! They worked hard to get it ready for us, and it's been really neat to be a part of the progress. When I left Tanzania at the end of last school year (mid-June), we had moved our entire school to this new campus, and the building my classroom would be in WASN'T EVEN BUILT YET.

Fast forward to August, and we arrive back, ready to set up our classrooms for the new school year, and this is what mine looked like. I'm sure your face looks like mine did!! We had a building, and rooms, but were still waiting for plaster to dry and concrete to harden. 

We had to be flexible- as we weren't able to get into our classrooms until 3 days before the students came!! We were able to get paint on the walls, though, and this is what my classroom looked like before I started working.

But, MUNGU NI MWEMA (God is good), and we were able to get things set up enough to function for the first few weeks of school. We had our meet-and-greet the day before school started, and it was awesome to see our excited kiddos! Some of the parents didn't even notice that the windows, doors, and ceiling were missing!

We were lacking in funds to complete our classrooms, but we made the best of it! Packing everything up into our closets at the end of every day, and bringing them back out every morning, was not ideal. But, by God's grace, we made it work, and the kids hardly noticed. I was SO thankful that, due to a large donation by one of the parents, we were able to get windows and doors put on our classrooms by the end of the first week of school!

It took us a couple of months to get ceiling boards, which meant lots of dust and ashes (they burn trash here) entering our classrooms. But, on the bright side, it was a breeze to hang things from the ceiling! It was very "open concept" too! Bright, airy, and cool, as the heat was able to rise high into the rafters. We were all very thankful not to have hold class at the picnic tables outside!

In October, we got another large donation and we were able to get ceiling board and electricity! That means, out with the dust and sound coming from the Pre-School and 1/2nd Grade rooms, but in with quite a bit more heat and echo. It all takes time to adjust- but we are VERY happy to have both of those things! Especially electricity!!

Getting ceiling board allowed me the "opportunity" to redecorate...meaning I had to take a lot of things off my walls, pack everything back in boxes, etc. so everything didn't get coated in dust/dirt. Hindsight is 20/20, because I realized I didn't ACTUALLY have to take everything off my walls, but that's life sometimes! You just have to laugh it off and move on. ;)

We did a fundraiser in February to raise money to get fans put in our classrooms- a necessity on the hot days! (No A/C here!) I really am so thankful for my classroom. It's a great size for my group, and I love it! Let me show you around...

This is our reading corner. I used a bookshelf to section off my room, and make this cozy nook. We have cushions for afternoon quiet time, and my students love reading on them too! My classroom theme is bright colors and jungle, so my assistant added these leaf cutouts to the wall for a fun design! We also have our stuffed animal friends hanging out! ;)

The back wall of my classroom is mainly used for my word wall. I used 12x12 scrapbook paper squares and this chalkboard word wall pack for the letters and student names. Under the word wall is where I store all our center baskets, table baskets, pencils/sharpener, and Friday Folders. It's not super organized, but it's nice to have somewhere to keep everything! Each basket is marked with what center it goes to.

I LOVE that my room has so much natural light! The four windows make it feel brighter and more spacious. I love opening them up to get a nice cross-breeze. 

The front of my classroom is one of my favorite parts! We have a white board and chalkboard, which I really appreciate. The calendar area is colorful and fun! The clip chart worked really well for my kiddos this year too. 

Here's our whole-group teaching area! All my kinders sat in a circle on the floor. I use the whiteboard to teach on. My cart next to my chair was super useful for teaching supplies! I love my class rules by Simply Kinder!

Thanks for coming on my classroom tour! "Fixer-Upper Classroom" took on a whole new meaning for me this year! What theme is your classroom? What's your favorite part of yours?

It's Summertime and the Teachers are HAPPY!!

I don't know about you, but there is something special about summer. If you're a teacher, you most likely get some time away from the classroom - to unwind, relax, and catch up on life! Okay, also SHOP! 'Tis the season of Target hauls, Staples stock-ups, and Amazing Amazon deals! Not to mention, TeachersPayTeachers perusing for next school year!

Well I have teamed up with some friends to fuel your fire for finding the best deals! We are giving away FIFTEEN gift cards this weekend, at $25 each!! And all the teachers say AMEN. Each Rafflecopter below is featuring one shop. Enter to win all three gift cards to have the best chance of winning!
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Good luck! I hope you win! Make sure you're following me on Facebook and Instagram to see more of my summer snapshots and more summer surprises coming your way!

This One's for the Teachers (GIVEAWAYS INSIDE!!!)

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!! I celebrate all of you AMAZING educators, and am so happy to be connected to so many of you through blogs and social media. It seriously makes being a teacher so much better!!

To show my appreciation for you, I have LOTS of fun things for you: a big sale and TWO giveaways!! Let's start with the SALE!
Teachers Pay Teachers is having one of their GLORIOUS sales, and you can get up to 28% off in my store, and many others!! Click the picture above to be taken to my store and fill up your cart with goodies to finish this year and prep for next year! Here are some of my recommendations:
This resource just got a MAJOR update!! I have 40+ writing prompts for your students to use all throughout the year when they're having writer's block, or when you want to change things up a bit! All prompts come in color and black/white, and I'm also adding themed prompts for holidays, seasons, and events as they come!

If you teach Pre-K - 1st grade, this one's for YOU! Get you beginning writers stretching out the sounds they hear and writing them with my LABEL AND COLOR resources!! Click the picture to get more info, but I have 11 resources in this bundle for you, and with the sale you get them for less than $1 each!!

Here are some of the things going in MY cart during the sale, in case you need more suggestions!
The majority of my students are English Language Learners, and on Wednesdays I have dedicated time with them to work on English. I'm snagging this from Momma with a Teaching Mission's store to help them with grammar!
I might be switching grades this next year, and am going to be grabbing some back to school things so I'm not scrambling for when that time comes!! I love all of Jennifer Findley's work and these flipbooks look awesome for the first week of school!

FUN FACT: Ladybug's Teacher Files was one of the FIRST teacher blogs I ever discovered/thoroughly read! I LOVE her classroom signs and labels, and I'm thinking these are going to have to come in my cart this sale!! They're just so pretty!! #allthehearteyes

Hi. My name is Allie and I'm a fontaholic!!! I loooove Alexis's fonts, and may have to splurge on her bundle!! She's just so creative (she's the one who designed this blog!!)!!
What are you snagging at the sale? Let me know what I'm missing out on in the comments!!!

And now for the GIVEAWAYS, to help make your wishlist your reality!!!

I'm teaming up with lots of teacher friends to give one of you a $100 gift card to TPT!! Enter in the Rafflecopter below!!

I'm also a part of a BLOG HOP PARTY! You have the chance to win several goodies! I'm giving away a $10 TPT Gift Card and a Resource of your Choice from my store! Enter using the Rafflecopter, then click the image to hop to the next blog! Good Luck and Happy Hopping!