Monday, September 3, 2012

Classroom Jobs

First of all… I am sorry I have neglected my blog for the last 3 weeks. I have been exhausted everyday after school, and just not motivated at all! I guess moving to a new school and being in a new grade really took it out of me! I will say that I LOVE everything about my new school and grade. It has been such a smooth transition and beginning few weeks of school. And most of all I LOVE my class. I have a great mix of personalities, and they have been great to work with. One thing I am really loving about moving from first grade to third grade is the level of independence you get at the beginning of the year. I can already count on my kids to help around the room, complete assignments, help others…. (and not to mention tie their own shoes). I started the second week of school with classroom jobs, and it is going great! Here’s a picture of the job chart.

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This picture was taken the first day of school, so everyone is “on vacation”. I hot glued the paw print notecards to ribbon, and used Command hooks to hang them from a closet door. I also used some Velcro at the bottom of the ribbon to keep it from swaying back and forth when I open the closet.

The jobs we have are:

Clip Chart Manager- At the end of the day this person passes out “brag tickets” (positive notes that are sent home if you clip up) and this person also returns everyone’s clothespin to “Ready to Learn” for the next day.

Lunch Count Manager- This person helps me take lunch count by counting how many packed lunches we have each morning. And at the end of the day this person returns all of the magnets to number order for the next day.

Computer Manager- This person turns on our 6 student computers each morning, and turns them off at the end of the day.

Line Leaders- I have a boy and a girl line leader each week (I use a double line whenever we are in the hallway so that our 28 person train doesn’t take up the whole hallway). Their “job” is to be a good model of hallway behavior so that everyone behind them is reminded of how to act.

Bathroom Monitors- Again, one boy and one girl each week. They are only to report unsafe behavior (no tattling!) in the bathroom. We had to have a big discussion on tattling vs. reporting before starting this job. They are doing great so far.

Librarian- This person is in charge of checking the library for messy book boxes, books left in the wrong spot, books bent or folded, etc.

Messenger- This is my “runner”. He or she has the job of taking lunch money or notes to the office in the morning, and picking up our lunch cards before we go to lunch. Anytime I have something to deliver or pick up, I send the Messenger!

Custodian- Everyday the custodian is in charge of putting down/putting up chairs at the extra table, cleaning up big scraps of paper on the floor, and every Friday cleaning the desks with Clorox wipes (my favorite job!)

Materials Manager- The Materials Manager is in charge of many things. If we are out of pencils in the spare bucket, out of paper at a center, out of Kleenex, etc. this person lets me know or takes care of it himself. Also whenever we turn in classwork, this person collects it from the basket and puts in in a neat pile for me.

Teacher’s Assistant- Basically- if there is anything else I need that is not listed above, the Teacher's Assistant takes care of it. If I need help carrying things, if I need a model to explain something, if I need a back rub after a long day (just kidding!) I also let the Teacher’s Assistant pass out papers.

Each week 12 kids have jobs, and all the others are “on vacation”. I keep an Excel Spreadsheet to keep track of who has had each job so that I can rotate fairly and make sure everyone gets a turn at everything. Also on Friday I pay the kids using our “school money” called Cardinal Cash. And throughout the week if someone is slacking on their job I can remind them of pay day coming up. This is my first year using classroom jobs, and I cannot believe how much time it saves me. In my first grade years I was the one straightening the library, wiping down desks, returning the behavior and lunch clips, turning on computers… now I have more time for the important stuff!

Anyone have any cool jobs that I didn’t think of? I thought about adding another since there is an odd number of cards on the ribbons. Hope you are all enjoying your Labor Day Weekend! I will try to stop in more often now that I am settled down in third grade!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Classroom Tour!

I now have two days in third grade under my belt! On the first day before the students arrived I snapped some pictures of the room while it was nice and tidy. Check out the before and many after photos!

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Here is my classroom before I started unpacking. I ended up getting rid of the teacher desk you see, and having only a table for both my “desk” and guided reading.

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And here is the after!

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           Class library and “meeting place”                             My area/guided reading table

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           Student  Mailboxes                             Class Job Chart                         Center Area

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          Math Wall                                 Clip Chart and Lunch Check in        Hallway Bulletin Board

There she is! My new room! I hope my kiddos are starting to feel at home. They think I am totally obsessed with dogs. LOL!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It- DIY Lunch Count Magnets

Well today is my last Monday of summer. Next Monday I will be meeting 29 third graders for the first time, and teaching in my new room for the first time. Oh boy, so much to do until then. Anyway, here is my Monday Made It. I needed some magnets for lunch/attendance check in. I went to Staples and Target looking for some that were all the same that I could just write numbers on with a Sharpie. I was going to have to cough up about $20 to get enough that were the same size. So I decided to make my own. I wanted this project to be simple, though. I have seen a lot of very cool DIY magnets using clear stones and scrapbook paper, but I knew I didn’t have much time to give on this project. So I headed to Hobby Lobby and found everything I needed.

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I got a pack of 50 magnets for $6.99, Gorilla Glue for $4.99, white spray paint for $3.27, and wooden buttons for $1.47 a pack. I got two packs, but now I have to go get another one because I’m now at 29 kiddos. Ok- so I spent the $20 that I didn’t want to spend at Staples, but at least I have extra magnets, and spray paint and gorilla glue for future projects.

Making these magnets was pretty simple. First, I spray painted the wooden buttons all white.

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After they dried, I started gluing the magnets to the wooden buttons. Make sure you get glue that works for metal and wood, and read the directions on how to use it. If you get Gorilla Glue, you have to wet the surface first. So I used a sponge and got the button a little damp before applying a small amount of glue.

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Then I put the magnet on, and carefully placed it somewhere to dry. You have to keep all the magnets spread out or they will start attaching to each other and cause a mess. I also had to put a heavy book on top of them and let them sit for 1-2 hours.

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After they were completely dry, I used a black Sharpie and wrote the classroom numbers on them. Pretty easy! Here is how they look on the board.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

August “Currently”

Alright, this is my first time linking up with Farley for a “Currently”. I love reading them, so I gave it a shot. Here it is, and just a short post because like I say below I need to get busy on my Monday Made it! Enjoy your Sunday!

August Currently

Friday, August 3, 2012

First 20 Days of Reader’s Workshop

Officially one week until I report back to duty! I am actually getting really excited. I don’t know very much of what to expect being in a new school, and in a new grade, but I’m not the only one. The rest of the third grade teachers will be learning with me. That is very comforting! Anyway, I know I post A LOT about Reader’s Workshop. I guess that’s because it’s one of the only things I get to keep (mostly) the same in my transition to third grade. I am using the same back-to-school lesson plans this year that I used the last 2 years in first grade. That’s because the first 20 days or so are all about teaching procedures. The kids will learn how I run my Reader’s Workshop, what they will be expected to do, and we will talk a lot about reading and what good readers do. So even though the rest of my day is completely unprepared right now, I am good to go for Reader’s Workshop. I revamped my lessons plans and now have all 20 lesson plans in one product at my TpT store. It’s only $3…Check it out!

20 Days of Rw pic

I have been posting these lessons week-by-week for awhile, so if you have already purchased one of the weeks, you do not need to purchase the 20 days packet. You will want to keep buying the weekly packets. There are 4 weekly packets. The first packet is my free download if you want to take a peek!

Monday, July 30, 2012

DIY bulletin boards, 99 and 100

This is my second week linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for a Monday Made It! This is something way out of the ordinary, or even very artsy or DIY. However, I am very happy with the end result. My new classroom has TONS more wall space than my first grade classroom. And they are all staple friendly! I wanted to take advantage of it all, but wanted to have designated spaces (like bulletin boards) instead of just throwing a bunch of poster and anchor charts on the walls. I have had three big empty walls that I wanted to create bulletins boards for things like Writer’s Workshop Board, Math Wall, Data/Focus Wall, etc.

To start, I wanted to make sure my new do-it-yourself bulletin boards were perfect squares or rectangles. I hate when things on the walls are not straight. Crooked lines seem to stare at me all day until I fix them. So I used yarn and push pins to map out how big and where exactly they would go on the walls. I had to measure a bit and do a little bit of adjusting before they were perfect.

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Then I covered the insides of the big, yarn rectangles with colored butcher paper. I did three different colors that go with my color scheme. I didn’t worry about the edges being perfect because I bought some thick ribbon for the borders. I used the yarn as my outside edge when putting the ribbon up. This way everything would still measure up perfectly and be nice and straight.

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This was my first time using ribbon instead of the border from teacher stores. I was so happy with it. It was fast to put up. I only needed to cut 4 pieces for each board (instead of trying to line up those precut pieces with scalloped edges!) And I love the way they stand out when you come in the room.

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Here’s a sneak peak of my room. This was taken around 10:00 am…check out the storm we were in the middle of!

Before I go, I know this is late, but last Monday was the beginning of United Art and Education’s Teacher Appreciation Sale. Did anyone else wait in line to be one of the first 100 people to receive a mystery envelope? My husband and I got there 30 minutes early, and watched about 5 people cut in line (I wanted to yell “She cutted!”) We were pretty sure we had no chance, but somehow Clint was #99, and I was #100! We couldn’t believe it! AND we got the two top prizes- $10 and $20 gift certificates. I am never lucky, so this was pretty cool.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Classroom Library Series #3 (AND LAST!)

I can officially check another project off the list! And this one turned out even better than I expected. Mostly because everything was free, but I also love how it looks in the room. In my last post I gave a step-by-step of how I transformed an old box into a book tub. The only steps left were creating book labels and attaching the book tubs to the book shelves.

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The best part of it all was getting to use a power tool!! The book shelves are not very deep. They were from Blockbuster and made to hold dvds. Chapter books fit perfectly. But I REALLY want to use them for my picture books. So I decided to screw the boxes onto the shelves. They will still hang off the front a few inches, but they won’t go anywhere. And since I am using cardboard boxes, who cares about the holes? I might not have done this if I had invested money in the project.

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So now I have 24 book tubs that are securely stuck to my bookshelf. The kids can still browse through the books, but they cannot take the tub down. I didn’t see this as a problem since all of the shelves are low to the ground.

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After getting everything drilled in place, I added the book labels. Book labels were pretty time consuming. I luckily found some on TpT for free, but they didn’t have every label I needed. So I made 10 or so myself. I backed them with blue construction paper, laminated them, and used Velcro to attach them to the book tubs.

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I just love how uniform everything looks. So much better than my old mismatched tubs that were falling apart! I hope you have enjoyed my library makeover. I am almost ready to post my new classroom before and after pics!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Classroom Library Series #2

I have been in the blog world for over a month now, so I think it is finally time to join a linky! I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics to share my new DIY completely FREE book tubs for my new and improved classroom library.

In my last post, I shared my solution to my mismatched classroom library. Today I want to share how to use laminate butcher paper (the big rolls of paper that many elementary schools or art departments have) to wrap boxes. The reason I decided to try this is because it is absolutely FREE! I figured laminating the butcher paper would make it more durable. Butcher paper is gets wrinkly and tears easily. The lamination did keep the paper durable and clean-looking, however, it is harder to wrap the box because of how stiff and thick it becomes. So here are some pictures and captions to give you the step by step of wrapping a box using laminated butcher paper. You can DIY any box into a decorated storage container using this idea!

Here’s what I used: laminated butcher paper (measure and cut before laminating), cardboard box (fold and duct tape the top flaps down into the box), stapler, scissors.

First, the size of the butcher paper to wrap one of the Scholastic boxes (about shoebox size) should be at least 1 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet. That was how big mine was and it fit pretty perfectly.

Center the box long end to long end. Make sure it is centered.

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Start with the short end flaps. Pull the paper as tight as you can, fold them up, and staple them to the inside short ends of the box.

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Then you will need to make 8 cuts. Cut into the inside top corners (4). This will relive the pull that might make it hard to keep staples in.

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Then cut into the bottom corners (4). This will create two large rectangle flaps.

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Now you will fold and staple the top four flaps. Fold them across the box, and secure by stapling on the inside of the box. You should have some paper in the corners that are kind of tricky to staple down. I used 3 or 4 staples for each flap. Repeat for all four flaps.

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You should only be left with the two large rectangle flaps. Pull this up and over the top edge of the box, and staple on the inside of the box. Repeat on the other side.

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And that’s all folks! If you pull everything tight enough you shouldn’t need any staples on the outside of the box. That’s what helps keep a nice, clean look.

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Next step will be adding colorful book labels! To be continued…

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Classroom Library Series #1, new RW mini lessons posted!

Happy Saturday everyone! It is gorgeous in Peru, Indiana today. A perfect day for my teacher buddy Caley to get hitched!

So I am really excited about my new classroom library! I spent a lot of time yesterday getting my boxes together for my new bookshelves from this post. I still have some more work today but I got step one done (which was hopefully the biggest step)! So here is what inspired me to update my classroom library this year:

The Problem:

This will be my fourth year teaching, and every year my library seems to double in size. And every year when I go back to school shopping I am guilty of buying about 5 new book tubs from Dollar Tree, Dollar General, or Target. And every year I stuff them to the max and they break or get misshapen. This year I decided to stop that habit and come up with a new solution. Some of my tubs are still in good shape, but they are all different colors- mostly neons and bright colors. This year I am sticking to a different color scheme. One thing I decided on was to go with either all black or all white book tubs. I want all matching, simple, and clean. But my problem is that I am FRUGAL! Especially with my teaching stuff. If there is a tub at DG for $1 why spend $5 at Really Good Stuff? (because they will last longer, duh!)

The Solution:

Well, I am sticking to my frugal ways! An idea popped into my head one day when I received an order from Scholastic. The cardboard shipping box that my books came in was the same size as most of my book tubs. (Light bulb!) I asked my fellow teachers to save boxes for me the last few months of school, and I came up with 30 boxes! I currently have about 20 tubs, so this way I can spread the books out so they don’t ruin the box so quickly.

Another Problem:

How do I get these boxes completely black or white? I thought about covering them in contact paper (too expensive), wall paper (not strong enough), and then decided to try spray paint. I went ahead and decided on black, and after two boxes, I threw in the can. The can was already empty, the boxes were messy, my index finger was numb and black. I was not feeling it.

Another Solution:

I was frustrated that I had 30 28 boxes in my garage and no plan. Then my husband came up with the solution. At first I thought it would be too much work, but then what sold me was the fact that it would be completely F-R-E-E! His idea was to use the big rolls of butcher paper at school and laminate it. Then wrap it like a present. I was a little nervous that it would look a little sloppy, but after the first one that I tried I knew it would be perfect!

Tomorrow I will have pictures and a step by step of how to make these completely free book tubs! I love how they turned out, and know my room will look great with the uniform look. Stay tuned!

But before you go, I just posted my third packet of Back to School Reader’s Workshop Mini Lessons. If you haven’t seen my other two packets be sure to grab those as well in my TpT store! The third packet has 5 lessons on procedures, skills, and reading strategies.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RW Vocab Matching Center

One of my back to school goals is to get some fresh, new centers ready for my third graders. I have always enjoyed centers that you can leave out for many many weeks without the kids getting bored. Matching games are something that my kids have always enjoyed, and once you teach how to play the game, you can change out the skills and topics very easily.

When we go back to school, we all know you can’t just jump into centers. You have to teach procedures first with lots and lots of modeling. I always start teaching centers with easy activities or games that everyone can understand. That way they aren’t focusing as much on learning how to do the activity, but learning how to go to centers, how to work with others, how to clean up, how to rotate, and so on. This took my first graders a good month of practice before I gave them challenging activities. I am hoping my third graders will catch on a little faster, but I don’t see any reason to rush this at the beginning of the year.

On my to-do list is to come up with those easy, “everyone understands how to do it” activities that I can use while I teach through my center procedures. However, instead of using linking cubes, coloring, and puzzles (like I got away with in first grade) I would like to try some review skills and centers that they have guaranteed been exposed to before (matching games, memory, word searches, magnetic letters, etc...) That way we can start right away with learning centers to be task-oriented and not just “play time”.

My first back to school review center is focused on vocabulary that we use in Reader’s Workshop. At my district, we have only been using Reader’s Workshop for 2 years now. I went ahead and used it my first year because that was what I was comfortable with out of student teaching. So the majority of my new class will have had Reader’s Workshop vocabulary since first grade. I think the majority will recognize these words that I have put in the matching game, but will have to stop and think to remember their definition. It will probably take a few rounds of playing this game to fully recall all of the definitions and get 100%. Why not use this time to review? It’s better than taking up our precious time throughout the rest of the day!

Grab a copy of my new Reader’s Workshop Vocabulary Matching Center at my TpT store

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer To-Do List Update and an Award!

Before I share my progress from my previous post about my Summer Project To-Do List, I want to give a BIG THANKS to Patti at One Class, One Sound for sharing the Liebster Blog Award with me. This award was created to give recognition to blogs with 200 or less followers. I am a newbie to the blog world and definitely appreciate this! Thanks again Patti!


Here is what you do if you receive this award:

1. Copy and paste the award to your blog.

2. Thank the person who gave it to you, and link back to them.

3. Nominate 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blog.

So here are my nominees…

Teaching Third

Third Grade Grapevine

Psyched to be in 2nd

That’s So Second Grade

Forkin’ 4th

Make sure you check out these super cute blogs! I’m excited to find 5 new blogs to follow!

So I was checking the calendar a few days ago, and realized that I go back to school in less than a month. (!!!) So much to do- so little time. But half of me is so excited for the first day in my new school with my new class. A while back I posted a Summer To-Do List, and I want to check on my progress.

Classroom Projects

1. Crate Seats- DONE! See how they turned out here. I absolutely LOVE them!

2. New Book Boxes- making progress… I have my student book boxes ready, but I am still trying to DIY my classroom library boxes. I went ahead and used some magazine files that I hadn’t used yet for my student book boxes this year. They are colorful and brand new! Stay tuned for the others…

3. Teacher’s Tool Box- DONE See how that turned out here. It’s already set up in my classroom!

4. Move in to my new room- DONE! Still working on bulletin boards and organization, but all of my boxes are unloaded and furniture is all arranged! Pictures coming soon!

Total- 3/4 complete! Not bad!

House Projects

1. Clean/Organize Garage. DONE! As of 11:00 this morning! I definitely put that one off, but it is finally done and lookin’ good!

2. Finish building the deck- DONE!!!!! This one is so exciting. My father-in-law and husband put in so much time. My F-I-L gave up more than a week of his vacation time to build this for us. Check it out. We are so thrilled! Here is the Before and After!

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3. Paint living room and hallway- DONE! I got this done a few weeks ago. I really do not like painting. I think I am going to retire from it as of now. It looks great though, and now I can get some pictures on the walls!

4. Window Treatments- halfway there… Clint and I took a trip to IKEA on our anniversary and I found two sets of curtains that I have put up in the living room and master bedroom. But I am still looking for something cute for the kitchen and family room. Guess I need to do more shopping!!

Total- 3/4 complete!

Other Projects:

1. Teach Meatball to skateboard- Major FAIL! He is still afraid and wants nothing to do with it! I tried picking him up and putting him on it, and he just ran away. :(

2. Relax- Well, to my standard I would say yes. I have enjoyed quite a bit this summer. But summer’s not over, I will keep working on this one!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A few weeks ago, all of my boxes and furniture were moved from my old school to my new school. However, I had a weird situation with furniture. Since I am moving from first to third grade, I had to leave all of my classroom furniture (teacher desk, teacher chair, student computers, and most importantly my beloved kidney-shaped table). I inherited the classroom furniture of the third grade teacher who retired. And here’s the wah wah- no kidney-shaped table. I love using this shape for guided reading. It’s functional, it’s not too big, not too small, nobody fights for a spot because they are all the same, it’s NEEDED! (for me at least!) So after asking custodians and being shot down I thought of something: Donors Choose!

If you have never heard of Donors Choose it is an amazing program that finds donors to fund projects/supplies/books/etc. requested by teachers. It is free for teachers to sign up and submit a project. Many teachers post projects that need special materials like science experiments or lab kits that can be too expensive to buy ourselves. Other teachers have been able to get complete classroom libraries funded. I checked before I submitted a request for a table, and noticed that many others have had tables, chairs, computers, rugs, and other furniture completely funded. So I gave it a go! Here’s a quick and simple overview of how to post a project:

1. Sign up. Again, completely free. Just like signing up for other websites. Once you are a member you can create a project.

2. Creating a project requires spending “points”. You automatically get 3 points just for signing up! The number of points for each project depends on how expensive the items are that you are requesting. My table is a $300 project (they add a lot for shipping, processing, site fees, etc.) and it only cost me 1 point. So I could still post 2 more projects!

3. I won’t go into too much detail here because the website does a fantastic job of walking you through the project-creating process.  First they ask you a lot of questions to make sure you really are a teacher and that your school qualifies for the program. I am guessing some private schools may not be able to qualify, but if you are a public school teacher you shouldn’t have any problems.  Then they ask you to write a few blurbs about your school, students, the item(s) you are requesting, how it will be used, and why you need it. You will also upload a picture to attract donors to your project. This part took me awhile because I wanted to sound professional, but also say “HEY LOOK AT MY PROJECT!! DONATE TO ME!!” (Don’t worry I didn’t go all shouty capitals.) The last big part of the process is shopping. If you don’t want to spend a lot of “points” you should pick items from their catalog or suggested manufacturer websites. They have tons and tons of products. If you are requesting something that isn’t really unique or specific it should be in their inventory. I had many kidney-shaped tables to choose from. Read the directions or watch the tutorial they have for shopping before you try to figure this out on your own. Once you have your items picked out you are pretty much done. It will have to be approved which takes a few days, but after that, your project is out there for donors to see and donate money to if they so desire (fingers crossed!)

It is a little time consuming, but I hope it is all worth it. I’m already trying to think of something to spend my other two points on. Has anyone had a success story with Donors Choose? I hope I will soon! Here is a link to my project. If you are a donor, LOOK AT MY PROJECT! HELP ME GET A PRETTY KIDNEY-SHAPED TABLE!! Smile 

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P.S. While posting today I ate one of the best ice cream bars of my entire life. Haagen Dazs Salted Caramel Ice Cream Bars. HOLY MOLY! Go get them!