Monday, December 31, 2012

Currently January

If you are a frequent reader, you know how much I love Farley's Currently party.  I wish I had my own classroom because I would so buy her Currently for the Classroom to use with my students.  If you haven't seen it, you need to check it out HERE.  I know today is still December, but I am posting early (yay! I am on the ball for once!).


I am not listening to Gamechanger by choice.  In my household, Saban is the devil.  BUT my husband got it for Christmas and wants to watch it for reasons I cannot fathom.  I am seriously LOVING, dare I say puffy heart loving, Christmas break.  While I have thought about school some, I have really taken time off.  I needed it.  I have spent the time reading, reading, and reading some more.  I am caught up on my Google Reader.  I have read books that I have been wanting to read all year.  It has be WONDERFUL!!!!

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am probably not going to be able to have my own little one, so my husband and I are starting to look into process of adoption, which leads me to my OLW: balance.  I need to find a better balance between my school life and every day life.  Right now, work takes all of my time.  I have a very understanding husband, but I need to get my house in order if we are going to adopt.  I need to find a better balance, where family time takes precedence.  I LOVE my job, but I am getting burned out with spending twenty-fours a day working or worrying about work or thinking about work.  So, I am going to try to find a balance.

Make sure to go check out what everyone else is up to at Farley's place.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 in '12

As the year is coming to a close and the holiday break starts on Saturday (just one more day of school!),  I am going to share some of my favorite things from 2012 and link up with Miss Kindergarten and A Teeny Tiny Teacher.

12. Favorite movie you watched:  Hunger Games, The Avengers, Battleship, Bourne Legacy, Pitch Perfect, The Hobbit
I just couldn't narrow it down to ONE.  The one movie that was a surprise was Pitch Perfect.  I am an action movie gal but I had fun watching Pitch Perfect and love the soundtrack, which I listen to all the time.  I chose The Hobbit even though I haven't been able to see it yet.  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was fantastic and I am sure the Hobbit will be just as great.

11. Favorite TV series:  Sons of Anarchy, Justified
I continue the action packed theme with Sons of Anarchy and Justified.  Neither show is for the faint of heart, especially Sons of Anarchy.  There were some episodes this season that I had to close my eyes.  The story line is fabulous though.  Justified is starting back up in January (the 8th to be exact) and I can't wait!

10. Favorite restaurant:  Buckley's
If you are ever in Memphis and want a fantabulous steak, you need to go to Buckley's.  There is always a wait but it is so worth it.  The BEST steak EVER!

9. Favorite new thing you tried:  Paint Party
During Thanksgiving break, my husband and I went to visit his sister and we all went to our first ever Paint Party.  It was fun!  An instructor walks you through creating the painting of the night.  Each night there is a different painting.  The night we went, we were supposed to make Christmas flower paintings (poinsettias).  Well, you can tell they are flowers but you wouldn't know they were supposed to poinsettias without me telling you.  I want to go back and do it again.
This one is mine.
This one is my husband's painting.
8. Favorite gift you got:  Pandora necklace with rings on pillow bead and Adipose stress toy
My husband and I have already exchanged Christmas gifts because our anniversary is this month also, so we combined the two.  I love Pandora beads and have a couple of bracelets.  My husband knows how much I love them, so he gave me a necklace to add beads to and a new bead.  The new bead is a pillow with a two wedding rings on it.  I love it!  It was perfect.  And to feed my Doctor Who addiction, he got me a adipose stress toy (picture below) that proudly sits on my desk at school for when I need to a little stress relief.  He is almost too cute to squeeze though. (I know, nerd, I have come to terms with it).  
7. Favorite thing you pinned:  Narrowed it down to my top three most recent
I have a slight obsession with Doctor Who, so I devoted an entire Pinterest board to the show.  It took me a long time but I finally fell in love with the last companions' story (Amy and Rory Pond).  This is one of recent favorite pins.

If you can't tell from my first pin, I will tell you that I am a total geek (have another board devoted to geekdom) and love everything about this next pin.  I love Star Wars, LOTR, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter and this pin combined them all into one.

This last pin is school related and something my third graders and I just did this week.  We are studying the layers of the earth, so we created an edible version.  They LOVED it!

6. Favorite blog post:  Crafting Sentences
My favorite blog post that I have written this year was on writing a complete sentence.  Last school year I was working with a first grade class.  One of the things they were struggling with was turning their prewriting into complete sentences, so we used my crafting sentences graphic organizer to get them going.

5. Best accomplishment:  Making the decision to adopt
I haven't been able to talk about this because I haven't been ready for a long time, but I finally have come to terms with not being able to have children.  After two years and two miscarriages, my husband and I have decided that there are plenty of children in the world who need a loving home.  So we are in the beginning stages of looking into what we need to do to make that happen.

4 and 3. Favorite picture and Favorite memory:  Paint Party
From left to right:  sister-in-law, beautiful niece, husband, mother-in-law, me (this may be the first picture I have ever posted of myself on my blog...I hate taking pictures).

2. Goal for 2013:  
My goal matches my OLW: I want to balance my school life and my personal life.  Mu husband is very understanding, but I want to build a family and have time for that family.

1. One Little Word: BALANCE
My word last year was connect.  I tried to make the connections I had with family and friends stronger.  This year, I want to work on balancing work and the rest of my life.  There doesn't seem to much time for the rest of my life because of how busy and time consuming school life is.  If I want to adopt a child, I know that I am going to have to do better about the balance.  School cannot consume my life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In Honor In Memory

Words cannot fully express my feelings about yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut.  I don't even know where to begin to try to process what happened.  All I can say right now is that I am mourning for the families of Newtown.

Tomorrow teacher bloggers are going to have a day of silence to honor the families that were forever changed yesterday.  Each participating teacher blogger will post the image below with the title "Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary" and nothing else.  Feel free to join and honor the memories of the lives that were ended too soon.  For more information, visit Farley's blog:  Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Thanks to Michelle from 3am Teacher for creating the image we are using in honor, in memory.

I snagged the following poem from Erica Bohrer's First Grade because it sums up a teacher's feelings about his or her students.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Currently and Pretzel Bark

My life has been hectic lately and I didn't even know it was December until I saw that Currently was up on Farley's blog.  CURRENTLY!  How can it be December already?  Where has the year gone?

Currently from Thinking Out Loud, random acts of kindess, Pinterest, and Christmas

RAK...In my job, I actually work at two different elementary schools.  Four days a week, I spend at one school (home-base school) and one day a week at the second (they are in two different towns but same district...small town life).  Once a week, the teachers from that school (there are only four of them...really small town life) come to our weekly meeting at my home-base school.  Who is with the students while their teachers are gone?  Each teacher has an aide that takes their place and makes sure the kids are still learning.  Without them, we could not have our weekly cluster meeting.  This is our second year to be doing this, and I haven't shown them any appreciation for taking over the teaching responsibilities.  I am going to make a small gift basket for each aide and give them this month.

WANTING...I went to my favorite bookstore in Memphis tonight for the first time in a looooong time.  I forgot how much I love the smell of new books because I have been buying my books through my kindle and iBooks apps.  There is something about opening a new book for the first time.  I smile each and every time.

LOVING...I am not gifted in any way in the art of using the kitchen :) Honestly, I can't cook or bake, so I need simple recipes in order to make anything.  I finally decided to try something from all the pins I have on my cooking Pinterest boardsalted caramel pretzel bark and it was GOOD!  I was completely surprised when it came out and my husband ate it.  That is always the test.  He is such a picky eater.

Thinking Out Loud toffee pretzel bark recipe

So, for my wonderful followers, I created a step-by-step picture guide for Toffee Pretzel Bark.  I changed the name because as soon as my husband tasted it he said, "this is good toffee."  Looking up the difference between toffee and caramel (cooking newbie here), the recipe is really having you create a toffee because there is no milk (or any other liquid involved).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sale, Sale, Don't Miss the Sale

Welcome to the Cyber Monday Plus Tuesday Teachers Pay Teachers Sale linky where you can check out what everyone will have on sale and fill your shopping carts!  Sit back and relax because this is going to be a longish post.

 Thanks to the 3am Teacher for creating this cute button!

I plan to be out on Black Friday grabbing those deals.  How about you?  I go out with my sister-in-law.  It has become a Thanksgiving tradition.  Now that my niece is older (a senior in high school...can't believe it sometimes) she comes with us.  Then I plan to get the rest of my shopping done online, starting with Teachers Pay Teachers.  I have so many things in wishlist right now.  Let me share a few with you.

UPDATE:  Back from Black Friday shopping (1:00 pm) and had a great time.  We went to Michaels and Wal-Mart last night.  Then we hit the mall for Belk, Victoria Secret, and Bath and Body Works at midnight.  After coming home and sleeping for a few hours, we went back out to the mall for American Eagle and Tommy Hilfiger (both having awesome 40% off sales).  Now on to what I plan to purchase on Cyber Monday at Teachers Pay Teachers.

First, two of my favorite graphic artists are Michelle from 3am Teacher and Ashley Hughes from School Supply Addict.  I have Michelle's Sweet Doodles: Frames, Borders, Lines, and Accents and Ashley's Blends & Digraphs set in my shopping cart.  I have a clipart addiction and it must be fed.

I am working with third graders this year and one of the most fun activities (according to them) came from Jen at Runde's Room.  She has created a series of drama circles.  Drama circles are fantastic.  The students get one or two cards that have activities that they must act out.  She has created ones for the major holidays and beginning and end of the year.  She keeps adding new ones all time.  The two I have in my wishlist right now are here End of the Year one and the Christmas one.

My last share is from one of the sweetest ladies I have had the opportunity to meet online this year:  Debbie from Rainbows Within Reach.  She is an author and musician who shares her passion for educating through entertainment on her blog and with school visits.  She has recently started her TpT store where you can buy mp3's of her songs and activities to complete with your class for each song.  One of my favorite songs is "You're Wonderful" which we are going to use for our kindergarten graduation this year.

I hope you found something that you can use in your classroom.  I love all of the ladies that I shared about today.  If you aren't following their stores and blogs, I urge you to check them out and follow so you will not miss a single fantastic thing they produce.  Pocketful of Kinders is having a linky party where other bloggers are sharing what is in their wishlists.  Make sure you check her out (by clicking on her blog name or the button below) after finishing here.

Before you go, I would like to share a few things from my store that will be on sale for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale on TpT.  I have a little bit for everyone.

First up is a Making 10 for kindergarten and first grade.  Early elementary students need to be fluent in adding and subtracting within ten to build a strong foundation for future mathematical thinking.  This product includes three activities and three word problems to help students practice making different combinations of ten.  The activities can be used whole group, small group, or as interventions.

Fact families are way for students to become fluent in adding and subtracting withing 20 before they leave first grade.  In my winter fact family packet, I have included three activities that can be used in math centers (tubs) or individually for interventions. The first activity has students created the equations to match the three numbers in the fact family (Snowman Families). The second activity has the student find the missing number before creating the fact family equations (Missing Numbers). The final activity has the students pick two numbers and create fact family equations using those two numbers (Snowflake Families). 

I have been working closely with a third grade class this year to implement vocabulary instruction in the content areas.  I created one unit covering vertebrates and invertebrates.  The unit focuses heavily on teaching four words: classify, trait, vertebrate, and invertebrate.  The teacher is given a step-by-step framework for how to teach the words explicitly.  The students create graphic organizers using their knowledge of the words.  Students have the opportunity to create a folding organizer, sort animals, and complete a scavenger hunt.

Not to leave out the older students, I have a novel unit that focuses on vocabulary instruction also.  Reading aloud cultivates the joy of reading and motivates students to read more.  Read alouds also are key to developing vocabulary.  One of my favorite read alouds is The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  The students can connect to the main character, Percy Jackson, and it is action-packed so it holds their attention.  I love it because I can teach Greek mythology as I read the book.  The packet includes lesson plans (one per chapter with before and during questions), vocabulary word cards, and graphic organizers.

Thanks for sticking around through this long post.  In honor of my fans, I am giving away one of my products (winner's choice) on Saturday.  Enter through the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Check out what these other teacher bloggers are offering for sale on Cyber Monday plus Tuesday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Being Thankful

The beginning of the Holiday Season!!  First Thanksgiving and then Christmas...both in my top three favorite holidays.  Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful and I have much to be thankful for.  I joined Stories by Storie expressing how I am blessed this holiday season.

I am thankful for the life I am able to lead every day.  I blessed in so many ways.  Here are just a few.

I have met some of the best teachers across the world since I have been blogging and shopping/selling on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I want to share one of them with you today because I am thankful for her monthly Best Teacher Freebies.  Every month she shares freebies for all grade levels.  It is a definite go-to every month.  She has the freebies divided into three categories to make sure there is something for everyone:  PK-2, 3-5, and 6-12.  Who is she?  Angela from Cornerstone for Teachers.  Click the button below to be taken to her November freebie post.

If you have missed previous month's freebie lists, click HERE and you can scroll and download to your heart's content.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently and a Helping Hand

I have tried to write this post twice last night and it wouldn't work.  Here is hoping the third time is the charm!

Can you believe that it is already November?  The year has flown by!  The beginning of a new month means that it is time for Farley's Currently party!  Yay!!  One of my other bloggy buddies is having linky party also.  ESOL Odyssey is hosting Teachers help Teachers.

Teachers help Teachers was started by Laurah from ESOL Odyssey to help teachers who have lost teaching materials due to the damage from Hurricane Sandy.  How can you help?  Donate products from your TpT or TN stores and donating hard teaching goods by filling out her online form HERE (you can also click on the button above to be taken to her post).  Then blog, tweet, and post on your Facebook page to get the word out.  Over 90 teachers are donating so far.  If you blog about it, link up on her post HERE.  I donated three of my products (Vocabulary in Context for the The Lightning Thief, Making 10, and Vertebrate and Invertebrate Unit).

If you are a teacher who has been affected by Hurricane Sandy, fill out this form HERE.  You can also click on the button below.


My husband bought the new Xbox game, Assassin's Creed III, so I will be hearing this in the background all weekend.  I know, we lead an exciting life. :)

Friday was a no school day, so I am in the midst of a three day weekend.  Even though I have a three day weekend, lesson plans are still on the mind.  Although on my mind is as far as it has gone, I won't write any until tomorrow.  A girl needs a few days off to read books.  This has been a really hectic year and I haven't had any time to read lately.  I miss it.  MISS IT!

I don't usually play music in my classroom, but i really need to start.  I think about it and then forget to look for something.  i will be checking out hwat every one is using in their classrooms.  My current favorite album is the soundtrack to Pitch Perfect.  Pitch Perfect is not my usual type of movie.  I am more of Die Hard kinda gal.  However, my husband really wanted to see it, so we went.  I loved it!  The soundtrack is great and is fun to listen to as I clean the house or drive to work.

Now it is your turn.  Stoy by Laurah's and help out a teacher in need.  Then go to Farley's Currently and see what everyone is up to this month.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

This is year has seemed busier and more difficult than previous years, but there are still great things going on in my life.

Something Good at School:
I have had a blast teaching science to third graders this year.  We have learned about the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates and the muscular system.  We have been focusing heavily on vocabulary instruction.  My students have grown so much this year in their knowledge of science vocabulary.  As part of my instructional coaching position, I test a strategy before having the other teachers implement it in their classrooms.  On the pre-test, three students scored basic and sixteen scored below basic.  On the post assessment, I had five students score advanced, seven score proficient, four basic, and four below basic.  The students who were still in the basic and below basic category increased their score by at least 15%.  I am so proud of them!

To learn more about how we are teaching vocabulary, check out Tales from Outside the Classroom where I did a guest blog feature on Interactive Vocabulary.  In this feature, I layout the strategy and give you a link to my pre-assessement and a packet about the interactive vocabulary strategy.  If you are interested in the first unit I taught in science where I embedded the vocabulary instruction, check out my Teachers pay Teachers store for my Vertebrate and Invertebrate Classification Unit.

Something Good at Home:
My husband and I have been bonding over Doctor Who.  I hesitated for the longest time thinking I would not like the show.  I was oh, so wrong.  I am in love with Doctor Who!  The Doctor is one of my favorite characters on television.  I have only seen the three current doctors (nine, ten, and eleven), but we are trying to find the old episodes to see Doctor Who from the beginning.  I think I may have an obsession because I even created a Doctor Who pinterest board.  Some of my favorite pins so far:

I love this second one so much of because I love the song Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) has Penny sing to him when he is sick:  soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur, happy kitty, sleep kitty, purr, purr, purr.

Something Good in the Bloggy World:
I don't even know where to begin here.  I found a fabulous community in the teacher blogging world.  Everyone is so supportive!  To all my Top Teacher friends, I love our group and hearing about your joys and upsets.  One of the best things about being a teacher in this day and age is teacher blogs.  I have found some fabulous resources that have made my life as a teacher so better.  One of my favorite blog posts recently was from Runde's Room:  A Little Big of Blood and Gore.  She shared how she made blood with her students.  As soon as I read it, I knew that I had to make blood with my third graders.  We have been studying the muscular system and the heart and it was near Halloween.  They loved it!  We did it right before parent-teacher conferences, so they got to take their bottle of "blood" home with them that night.  They were excited to explain to their parents all the components of blood.  We are currently writing a two paragraph piece about the heart and blood that we will finish next week.

What is going well in your life?  I would love to hear in the comments below.  Then go check out Rowdy in First Grade's linky party:  Tell Me Something Good.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

BOO! Favorite Things Fall

Fall is here or so I am told.  The trees are still green in my little corner of the world.  I love where I live but I want the trees to start changing.  To me, that is the real change to the fall season.  I am a little worried that we are going straight from summer to winter this year. 

Jake Olsen Studios shared this picture on his Facebook page with permission to use.

With the fall season comes Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Halloween is one of my three favorite holidays (Christmas and Independence Day are the top two).  I love to decorate the outside of the house (haven't done it yet but plan to work on it next weekend) and always have candy ready for trick-or-treaters.  One day (hopefully) I will have my own children to go trick-or-treating with and it will make the holiday even better.

I have been boo-ed by the fabulous Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade. It is fun way to share resources blog-style.

How it Works:
If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
  1.  Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
  2.  Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else) or freebie(s) that you love!
  3.  Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo 
       someone again:  Tori's Teacher TipsAnd don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!
  4.  Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas!  And while you 
       are there... check out the other great blogs!

Favorites for the FALL season

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll is a great twist on the "monster under the bed" story.  One of my favorite things about this story is that it is a great Halloween read but never mentions Halloween.  So if your school does not allow holiday parties/activities, you can still read this book!  I found an YouTube video of the book also.

My students LOVE the drama circle activities created by Runde's Room.  We started the year with her Back to School drama circle and a few weeks ago did her Any Day Fun drama circle.  They beg me to do these.  She even has one for Halloween!  We are going to do this one, you probably already guessed, on Halloween to kick off our party.  

They are very easy to prepare for:  print the cards and cut them out.  Each student gets one-two cards (depending on the number of kids you have).  I give them time to read the card and think about what it is asking them to do.  Then I let them talk to a partner about what the card is asking them to do.  If they still can't figure it out, they can then ask me.  We get in a circle and the student with the first card (they are numbered) steps into the circle and preforms the task on the card.  That student steps back and the next student steps into the circle to perform.

Ashley Hughes from the School Supply Addict and Krista Wallden from the Creative Chalkboard have some really cute monster graphics.  Ashley has a set called Monsters and Krista has two sets called Monster Mash and Monsters Under the Bed.  I own all three sets because they are so adorable and colorful.

Looking for more places to get great graphics?  Check out Second Grade Math Maniac's blog hop:  Where do you get your Graphics?

Now for some FREEBIES!!!

Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade makes fantastic Bump games to go with everything.  She made one for October that has students practice addition using three numbers.  This would make a great center activity.  I would also use on Fridays as a reward game because it is FUN to play.

 Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 shared homework passes she plans to give her students instead of candy on Halloween.  Fantastic idea!  I know that some schools do not allow candy to be given out, so these are an excellent alternative.

Mary from Sharing Kindergarten shared a fun comprehension game for the book Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White on the new blog Freebielicious.  The game includes a cute game board of pumpkins and 36 question cards.  There is an answer key included also.

Sharing the BOO!

Here are some fabulous bloggers to follow.  I love going to their blogs because they all share great teacher ideas. 

A French teacher from Canada sharing her love of teaching.  Even if you don't teach French, she shares ideas that can be adapted to other subjects.  She has a beautiful blog design also!

A homeschool mama that shares everything she does with her littles for FREE.  She has a fantastic preschool curriculum that she adds to as she creates it.  I love it so much I added a preschool resources page to keep everyone up to date on the lessons she has posted.

A blog full of ideas, ideas, and ideas on how to keep students engaged in all things school related.  I shared her homework passes above.  Another great recent post is about how to use all those Scholastic book order forms teachers get to have students practice adding, subtracting, and multiplying with decimals.

Innovative Connections

Innovative Connections is not only a blogger but she also creates fun border graphics.  She is always sharing the great things others are doing.  She is a Mississippi State fan, but what can you do.  :)   I probably shouldn't say anything because they are doing much better than my favorite team, the Razorbacks.


Debbie is author/performer who shines happiness.  She loves connecting with children through song and literature.  She shares all the wonderful ideas she sees through her school visits.  She is also a Pinterest queen and you must check out her boards.  Wow! is all I can say about them.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...