Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet Teacher Blogger Linky

Hey bloggy friends!  I have not been blogging for very long, so I thought that this fun linky with Stephanie over at Falling into First would be the perfect way for everyone to get to know me a little better!

My name is Nadya Bafitis and I am 31 years old.  Sometimes when I think about being in my 30's I cringe, because I am really not sure where the years have gone.  I remember being a kid and riding my bike through my neighborhood until the street lights came on...

Anywhooooooo, in case you're wondering what my name is all about, it's Romanian - though I am not of Romanian decent.  My dad is Puerto Rican, my mom is German-Irish, I was born in Germany (Army brat), and I married a Greek.  WOW - how's that for multicultural ;) I grew up in Maryland, and will be teaching in the county in which I attended school.  Pay it forward, right :) I can't wait to meet my first class of firsties!!!  Two weeks!

The beach, pedicures, the NY Yankees, Starbucks White Mocha (hot or cold), shoes, a good book, minty gum, Erin Condren planners, organization, and naps ;)

I would absolutely be an actress!! I actually pursued it for a while and did some fun things like commercials, theatre, and independent films. I was young and I didn't quite have the guts to move away on my own, so I missed my shot. But I figure I get to work on my craft everyday in school anyway :)

Professional, Adventurous, Determined

"I neeeeverrrr think about school during my summer break, said NO TEACHER EVER!!"

Derek Jeter, Jay Z, Robert DeNiro, Tiny Fey, and Stephen Colbert

Better Late than Never

Mind reading like Edward Cullen :) - because I'm nosy curious.

"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." --James Bryant Conant

The Cup Song - because my daughter would love it and vote for me ;)

I am a complete night owl!! I have to force myself to go to bed EVERY single night. It's hard. Mornings are my enemy. I set three separate alarms...and snooze them all. Then I jump out of bed and sprint to the shower when I realize I've slept too long...

This will be my first year teaching, and TPT is very new to me. I am currently in love with so many of my fellow blogger's products, and hope to add some of my own very soon!! Stay tuned...

I almost flunked out of high school, but earned straight A's in college, graduating with honors.  Maturity works wonders!

Now go get to know some of those amazing bloggers who inspire me everyday!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Made It - One Week to Go!!!

Wow - I go back to school in ONE WEEK (well, technically I go to orientation in one week, but still)!!!  I have so much to do, and so very little time...where are those crying emoticons when you need them?!

Now enter Tara's Monday Made It :) I didn't get much "made" this week that's worth showing...I guess my classroom reveal (whenever I actually get to move in) will officially show what I have been up to all summer ;) But I did get something done that I have been waiting to prep until the last minute - mainly because they take up a bunch of space in my basement...

I made my kidney table crate seats!!!  YAY!  I love crate seats because they fit so well around a kidney table and push right under the table when you're done with them.  I knew I wanted to go all out with the padding, because I have personally sat on crate seats that were not well padded, and they were NOT too comfortable to sit on for very long (errr...not that I want my kiddos so comfy that they fall asleep while I am teaching guided reading/guided math...).

In case you want to make these for your classroom space, here is a list of materials you will need:

*3/4" plywood, cut to fit the crates
*About a half a yard of fabric for each individual crate seat (you will have some leftover depending on how you wrap the wood/foam)
*2" thick foam padding - I got mine in a roll on sale at JoAnn Fabrics ONLINE
*Ribbon for the seat pulls
*Spray glue
*Staple gun (with LOTS of staples)
*Crates of your choice - make sure the have the hanging file lip!

Hubs was such a big help cutting the wood.  I have no fear of little old staple guns, or even hand saws, but I don't do electric saws!!!  Once the wood was cut, I used an old pair of scissors to cut the foam to size.  I started with a serrated knife as some other bloggers recommended, but I found that the scissors just cut a little easier.

Once the foam was cut to size, I used spray glue to hold it in place on the plywood.  With the spray glue holding the foam in place, it was easy to staple the fabric in place.  I also assume it also helps the foam not move around under the fabric when a wiggle worm is sitting on the crate ;) A lovely family friend helped me hold the fabric in place as I stapled.  It's not difficult to do it on your own, but having a second pair of hands was a little bit more efficient. 

Once the fabric is on, the hard part (that wasn't really all that hard) is complete.  Next, I stapled pieces of ribbon under two sides of the seat.  The ribbon loops will make it easy to pull the seat off the crate if I want to use the empty space for storage.  

The finished product turned out beautifully.  My classroom theme this year is rainbow chalkboard, and these crate seats will bring that beautiful pop of color into my room.  The fabric was PERFECT - such fun, vibrant colors :)

Isn't my little model adorable?  I wanted her to sit on the crates, but she insisted on being right under the rainbow :) 

I can't wait to see other fun projects on the link up!  Until the next Monday Made It...ciao for now folks!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Currently

Wow - August?  Really?!?  Where, oh where, did our summer go?  Actually, I'm not sure if it is because I am entering my first year as a teacher and the anticipation is getting to me...but that was probably the fastest summer break of MY LIFE!

To welcome August the right way, I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade to bring you August Currently (which also happens to be my very FIRST Currently - yay!)....

Listening - I have taken every opportunity to attend PD sessions for first-year teachers this summer.  This week I attended sessions that focused on issues that teachers face in their first year.  Consider me a sponge - I will do whatever it takes to relieve some of the stress that this first year will inevitably bring to me.  So bring on the PD! :) 

Loving - I had forgotten what it was like to have a favorite show and to be able to watch it on the night that it airs.  Well guess what - all summer long I have been watching my favorite shows on their designated nights!!  I HAVE NOT been searching for little chunks of time here and there to catch up on a recording!  It's the simple things :)

Thinking - I only got to go to the beach for five days this summer.  I know that it may sound like a lame complaint to those of you who haven't taken a legitimate vacation in years, but you have to understand that I. Am. Spoiled!  My sisters live in Ft. Lauderdale, so I make it a point to get down to those blue waters as often as possible.  Also, the hubby is Greek, and we fly over the pond every other year to visit family.  I didn't get to either place this summer...and so yes, I am whining! *sniffle sniffle*  I was built for sun, sand, and surf.  Salt runs through my veins.  So I am salty this summer...

Wanting - My school is home to a camp over the summer.  Today was the camp's last day.  Building Services will hopefully clean the primary cluster first thing next week.  Until that happens, I can't move anything into my room.  As you may have noticed from one of my previous posts, I have bins and boxes stacked high in my basement.  My anxiety about getting moved in and ready for the kiddos is quickly mounting.  I only really have the end of next week to at least get all my "stuff" in there before I have to attend New Educator Orientation the week of August 11th.  The week after that is Preservice.  I'm running out of time....AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! 

Needing - Sooooooo, my brow girl left me.  I don't know where she went, but Brow Bar refuses to release her new home address to me.  I can't imagine why!!!  I just want to knock on her door and ask her to please wax my brows.  I mean, she didn't tell me she was moving....she left no forwarding address...  Doesn't she know that I look like Oscar the Grouch right now???  I can't greet my first Firsties (and their parents...and my new colleagues...oh boy...) with brows like these!!  I desperately need to find a new brow girl now!  Problem is, I don't trust anyone.  And I don't do places that double dip!!!!  OH NOOOOOO!  This girl right here is a GERMAPHOBE and PROUD OF IT!!!

1st Days - Well folks, we're wrapping it up now.  I hope those of you who are already back are having a fabulous first few weeks!  As for me, I start New Educator Orientation on August 11th.  After that is Preservice (August 18th).  I meet the kiddos for Open House on August 22nd, and they officially join me in the classroom on August 25th.  It's coming so fast!!!

So cheers to a beautiful school year everyone!  XoXo!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Show Me Your Teacher Bag!!

I recently found Jen at Teacher by the Beach, and wouldn't you know that I found her through her Linky Party about teacher bags!?!  If you know me, then you know that I have a "bag thing" (...as well as a shoe thing, a Stella & Dot thing, a colored pens thing...oh jeez...), so it's sort of perfect that I have stumbled upon her blog for this linky :) I LOVE IT!!!  **contain yourself Nadya**

During student teaching, I went through a number of bags until I found one that minimized how many bags I actually needed to bring to school each day.  I mean really people, at some point in the beginning of last year I had my purse, my lunch bag, a small tote for my student teaching materials, and a Sterilite container that clipped shut to carry materials that I needed for my lessons.  Thank goodness for Pinterest - saved my life as usual.  I had never heard of the Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote until I saw this pin by Tiffany at The Nest Effect...

That photograph changed my year!  I immediately got myself one of those amazing totes and stocked it right up with everything but the kitchen sink.  Though I have an obsession with fun things like bags and pens, I have an aversion to all things too busy, so Thirty-One gave me the best of both worlds with a pattern in boring muted tones.  Here's my Organizing Utility Tote.  It's empty now, but you can see how it can be home to a medium sized, open-top filing container.  I got mine at the Container Store.  I also LOVE all the pockets that this bag has.  SPOILER ALERT ----> the newest model of this bag has a zipper on the top!!!

The fun doesn't stop there folks!  Before Christmas last year the hubs realized that I had an issue organizing my materials, so under the tree sat this beautifully bowed box...

Now, I wouldn't say that I am necessarily a label snob, but I do love my Coach.  I haven't really gotten into MK bags, or Vera Bradley...but Coach, well, Coach has my heart! <3

That lovely box held a treasure inside - a treasure that I decided to wait for a special occasion to break out...my first year teaching :) New start, new bag!  So this year I will add a little color to my life and bring this baby to school....

It's so pretty, and though it was empty before I took these photos, I stuffed it so that you can see how roomy it is.  There are also two pockets inside for pens/phone/wallet/etc. and a private pocket with a zipper.  Oh be still my heart <3

Well, those are the bags :) I can't wait to see everyone else's little (errr, or not so little) beauties!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

My 1st Monday Made It

Okay bloggy friends (whoever you may be out there in cyber world), it has been two whole months since my first blog post.  LOTS has happened so far this summer - I have been hired to teach firsties this fall (YAY!), and so I have been getting centers ready, organizing books, shopping, shopping, and more shopping (it's sort of fun to build your first classroom - hehehe...though not so fun for our bank account - oops), and making all sorts of things that I have hoarded in my Pinterest boards over the past few years.  I thought it would be appropriate to get this blogging party moving by participating in my very first linky party.  Hopefully I do this thing correctly...

Aaaaaand here we go folks...

I have seen firsthand how helpful whisper/phonics phones can be for emerging readers, so one of my first summer projects was to make a class set for my future firsties.  I found them all over pinterest, but no one really had their list of materials posted.  Finally, I found Teacherific in Second Grade. My materials differed from hers just slightly.  My list of materials included:

* 1" PVC pipe (save $$ and buy the 10' long pipe, then cut it into 3.5" pieces)
* 1" PVC elbows (Home Depot sells bags of 10)
* Fun duct tape (one roll was more than enough for 25 phones)

At home depot they only provided a hand saw to cut the pipe, so my husband cut the 10' PVC pipe into pieces that would fit into my tiny hatchback.  He then cut the 3.5" pieces using a circular saw (makes for a super clean cut) at home.  I love my handyman hubby :) Beware, putting the phones together requires a little muscle power!  I had the hubby put together about half a few of the phones because my shoulder blades had had enough!  

These will fit nicely into my Rainbow Chalkboard themed classroom (check out Schoolgirl Style's other awesome themes too)!

Up next was another Pinterest project of organizational value.  I have been known to display some OCD symptoms organizational savvy!  Throughout my year of student teaching, one of my biggest challenges was finding a way to stay organized in a classroom that was not my own.  At home and at work, I NEED to be able to have a place for everything.  "Organized chaos" makes me a little nuts - I just need the organized piece to be at my best.  My teacher tool box (which will soon be moving into my new room) has helped to keep my go-to supplies organized over the last year, but now it was time to make a home for papers and student supplies...

And so the famous Copy, File, Grade Sterilite bins come to life in my world :) This time Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations labels fit in quite beautifully with my theme.  Thank you Mel D - your products are AWESOME!!!  I used her fabulous labels for my color station as well!

Okay, okay, so I didn't really "make" much with these bins, but I printed, laminated, cut, and assembled ;)

My final Monday Made It project was a HUGE task!  Over the last two years, I have not only been hoarding pins, but I have also been hoarding books and other classroom necessities.  Everything was shoved in random bins to keep my house from being overcome by elementary school "things."  As I mentioned earlier, I don't do well with organized chaos - it literally gives me anxiety (I know, I know - I need to accept it because I will be working with kids, who can be quite messy for crying out loud!!!)!  So once again I didn't necessarily make anything - but I did clean a whole lot up!   Here is the final product...well part of it...there may or may not be other boxes in bins floating around my basement waiting to move out of my house and into my classroom...

Thank you for stopping by my baby of a blog, and my very first Monday Made It.  Tara, I hope I linked up with you correctly.  I also hope that I correctly included the links to the fabulous ideas and materials that I used in these projects.  Though my blog is beautiful, thanks to Christi @ Design by Christi I know NOTHING very little about blogging and HTML.

Till next time!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A New Adventure

Hi everybody!  Welcome to New Adventures in Elementary!!  My name is Nadya, and I am a 31-year-old career changer getting ready to embark on my journey into Elementary.  After so many years of not knowing where I fit in, I finally found my calling.  When I was a student, I would have guaranteed that you would not catch me stepping foot into another school building again.  I HATED SCHOOL - in fact, by the end I slept through most of it!

(That's me on the lower left)

I am currently in my last two weeks of the Elementary Education/Special Education (EESE, though it was definitely NOT) program with Towson University.  Though I have enjoyed my time in the program and am grateful for the new bonds that have been created, I am ready to get into my very first classroom.  This program has broken me down, built me back up, and made me realize that I was made for the classroom!

I started this blog because throughout my student teaching, and over the last semester of this program, when things got really tough the teacher blogs are what have kept me going.  There are so many inspiring teachers whose fires burn so bright that they can't help but light beautiful flames for those around them.  I hope that one day someone tells me that my blog helped to inspire them through their journey.  Thank you for joining me in my journey.  Over the next few weeks, you will see me reach a goal that I never thought I would (get a college degree!!! - AHHH), and begin my terrifying job search in elementary education :) Stay tuned for what happens next...