September 5, 2015

Subject and Predicate Song

Hey y'all!! It's been a crazy three weeks of school! I am LOVING being in upper elementary, and it has taken me no time at all to feel comfortable with kids in this age group again! :) I have a lot of different things I want to share from the first 3 weeks, but first I wanted to start out sharing a song! :) My fifth graders have not had a very strong background in language, and they were really struggling with finding the subjects, and predicates. No matter how many times I went over it, or how many interactive activities we did with it I had almost half my class that still didn't get it. I NEEDED to move on, and I was racking my brain, when Taylor Swift's "Shake it off" started playing on my shower radio. And the lyrics just came to me. I was hoping the kids would like it so I sang it for my daughter who's in second grade, and she just LOVED it. The lyrics are simple and repetitive, because I needed to teach it in one day so they would have it in their brains for the quiz the next day.

I used an instrumental version of the song on You tube to sing with. You can find the version I used HERE.

And you can download a copy of the lyrics for FREE in my TpT store, which you can find HERE!

I hope this helps you teach this skill if your students are struggling like mine were, or if you just want to add a little more fun to your language lesson! :)

August 22, 2015

Five for Friday

Hey y'all can we first just Oooh and Aaaahhhh over my new blog design!! I am so in love with it

! Shanon and Courtney from Blogs Fit For a Queen did a fantastic job, and the whole process went so quickly! In fact they were always waiting on me to make up my mind about things! :) I appreciate them being so patient, and easy to work with!

I have been MIA lately, but I have a lot of really good reasons! :) To kinda recap the end of my summer I'm going to link up with doodlebugs teaching for her Five for Friday linky! It's more of a summer summary though!



I finally graduated from graduate school!! I am so excited! It's been a crazy 2ish years, but it was well worth it. This year is going to be a whole new world with out homework looming over my head every weekend! :) I'm excited to be able to use this  time to work on lessons for my class and TpT!

Please excuse the crazy cap. I shoved it back on really fast to take a pic with my little! :)



My husband and I celebrated our 9th anniversary! It's really hard to believe we've been married that long, but here we are! So thankful that I get to live life with this guy! :)


P.S.- We can never take a "normal" couple selfie! :)
I also had a birthday! I turned 31 this year, and we had a small family party. My husband bought me carpets for my classroom (woohoo!!!), and a dishwasher!! Oh. My. Goodness. Our old one was such a goner. It took 2-3 runs to get our dishes clean, and that was after pretty much hand washing them before I put them in. I'm pretty sure it threw more junk on the dishes than it got off, and I always had to hand wash the majority of them after I was done. Needless to say we almost always had a stack of dishes in our sink. Now, the sink has been clear for 2 weeks, and that's even during the first week of school! :) This is a sure fire sign that I'm getting old! :) But I'm so dang excited about my gift!!




We started a new school year as well! My kids are in 2nd and Pre-K. I can't believe it! Second grade just sounds so much more grown up to me than first grade. #timeslowdown If you don't know I moved from teaching kindergarten to fourth and fifth grade literacy and social studies so it was big changes for all of us! It was a WONDERFUL week, and we celebrated on the way home Friday by stopping by our favorite drink stop for a treat! :)


Ha! Don't let his face fool you! He was excited about school, but I made him put down his dragons to hold my sign. He wasn't pleased! Lol! :)










I also got my first gift from my secret pal this week! My secret pal is super sweet, and hilarious! I'm already trying to figure out who it is! :) Oh yes..... that's a cupcake maker! ;)




So, that's it for me! I had a wonderful first week of school which I'll share about later! I hope the rest of you are enjoying the rest of your summer/first weeks of school! :)

July 11, 2015

What's Next?!!

Hey friends! The beginning of July was a lot busier than I anticipated!! And, my summer of no worries is officially over! Even though my teacher brain never turns off completely I took a month after we got out of school, and worked only on things I wanted to, only after my kids had gone to bed. This summer was about family time, and we packed A TON into June! :)

So, as Jed Bartlett would say, (any other west wing fans??) "What's next!" Here is a rundown of what I have planned for the rest of July! I anticipate it is going to be busy and productive...hopefully! :)

FOR SCHOOL

* Next week I am leaving on Monday and taking my daughter to gymnastics. Then, I am meeting my mom for lunch, and dropping my kids off with her for the week. I am going to a PLC conference out of town, and my husband works nights 2 of the nights I'll be gone so they enjoy spending the week at Grammy and Big Pa's. :)

* The week after that I'm headed our for a literacy coach training. It's about an hour away, and I will get to come home everyday, so my mom is staying with us for that week. I see a lot of my mom in the summer, but I'm so glad she is able and willing to help us!

* Redecorating my classroom!! This is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm moving classrooms and grade levels  so I'm going all out with a new design!! :) But, I haven't even been able to get into my room yet! They are STILL waxing the floors, and meet the teacher night is in less than a month!!!

* Figuring out what the heck TLI is. Do you know? Do you use it?? DO YOU LIKE IT??? I'm afraid I'm going to hate it. I've heard it dictates what standards are taught weekly, and they are assessed every 1 or 2 weeks?? I feel like I'm going to lose some creativity, and losing the ability to work on what my kids need to work on. Because, ya know I've heard teaching has a lot to do with kids. ;)

* I'm also going to work on having an open mind about that TLI stuff. ;)

FOR HOME

I still have some things to do at home too....

* Stain my porch. It has never been done. 
* Redo the floor in my kid's bathroom, and put in a new toilet. I am so glamorous! :)
* Finish graduate school! I graduate in August!!!!!
* Still find lots of time to snuggle my kids. 
* Celebrate my birthday! I'll be 31! #noshame
* Celebrate 9 years of marriage! 

We shall see how much of this gets done! And now since you read my lists I'll give you a funny story. I was deep cleaning my couch, lets just pause for a moment and savor that fact....., okay. I THOUGHT my kids were playing together. All of sudden my youngest comes out of his room smelling an awful lot like baby powder, which we do not own. I looked at him, and said, 
"Jake what's all over you??!"

 He replied, "SOUR CREAM!!!!" 

Me: " Yeah I think you mean Vaseline."

That nut had Vaseline ALL. OVER. HIM. Head to toe AND all over his BED!!!! He ruined about $100 worth of bedding, and I was cleaning Vaseline off of everything all the ding dong day. I didn't even know we owned Vaseline. However, since this is my second kid I totally snapped a pic before I cleaned him up. :)


So...How are you spending the rest of your summer?! I'd love to know!! :)

July 4, 2015

July Currently

Hey guys! How in the world is it July already??!! July is the month this year that is going to get crazy busy, and hectic. While I love it, I've also loved the slow pace of my June. It was perfect. I promised my kids June. No working, no crazy projects, nothing but finishing up grad school which I was able to do at night while they were sleeping most of the time. We so needed some slow quiet, and fun time together! July is a whole different kind of beast. Back to school prep, PD, etc... I already saw composition notebooks and loose leaf paper on sale so it. is. coming! :) It's raining today on our 4th of July celebrations so we are taking another slow day, and while everyone is napping I thought I'd link up with Farley for her Currently linky! :)

Listening: to the rain, and the quiet. My whole family is napping, even the dog and cat! We had a really fun morning at the Clinton Presidential Library. Today was a free day, and they have an awesome dinosaur exhibit right now! My little man is loving dinosaurs, so we took the kids. We got there about 20 minutes after they opened, and walked right in, No lines, not crowded. Perfect! :) So now we are napping!

Loving: Our quiet and fun 4th of July. As I've already mentioned our July is about to get crazy! So I'm enjoying this quiet, lazy day with my sweet family!

Thinking: How to spend the last few weeks of summer. Most of my summer is scheduled for me. An out of town conference for a week, another week of PD, GRADUATION! That one I am so ready for! Working on my classroom, since I'm moving grades and rooms I've got a lot to do. But, there are still going to be some fun days, so I'm looking for way to pack as much fun into them as I can. :)

Wanting: The floors to be done at school! Our floors have not been waxed yet. Which means that we can't arrange anything until they are done,,,I would at least like to get my furniture placed soon so I can see what kind of wall space I have to work with.

Needing: Ummm...can I have another June? Please?? :)

All Star: I think I am pretty good at prioritizing. I try to be anyway. Balance is such a struggle for all of us, but I try to make it so that when we work, we work hard, and when we play, we play even harder :). Some weeks are more balanced than others...always a struggle...And I try to just be present when I'm home, and at work, and focus on the now. My kids are growing so fast. They just turned 7 and 3 in May, I just don't want to miss out! Not everything gets done, like ever, I haven't cleaned out 1 closet and my sink is full of dishes, but I try to make sure that the important stuff gets done. And by important stuff I mean the snuggling ;)....

June 28, 2015

TpT Sellers Challenge Week 2: Dream Big!!

Hey y'all!! I am so behind this week, as I was busy with VBS and visiting my parents! Plus, I'm still in the middle of graduate school so I'm just now getting to post! I thought I'd better hurry up before the next challenge was announced. ;) This week we were challenged to dream big, and share what we wanted our TpT store to accomplish. I'm not gonna lie, this challenge was a bit scary for me. I don't like to put my personal goals out there. I almost didn't. But, then I read some of the most amazing stories, and personal goals of the other teachers, and I thought if they can do it...so can I. So, thank you all for pushing me out of my comfort zone a bit. :)

I'm linking up with Emily at Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate, Peppy Zesty Teacherista ,and Sparkling in Second. :)



1. This one probably resonates with most of you too. :) We have various forms of debt, mostly student loans, and it would be so nice to only have to worry about our day to day living expenses.


2. My youngest first cousin is graduating from high school next May. They live in Indiana, and I don't get to see them often. My family is wanting to go on a big trip to celebrate his graduation, and to spend time together somewhere out of the country. Right now that is off the table for my family, but I would love if my TpT store could fund that trip.

3. Fueling my classroom is what my earnings have been doing. Every dime has been spent on resources for my kids. Granted, it's not much, but every little bit helps, and I will continue to use this money for my kids.

4. Giving back is very important to me. When I first started teaching I was excited to have my own classroom, but mad that I couldn't stay home with my daughter like I had always dreamed. For us, it wasn't a matter of just cutting back what we were spending to make it work, we absolutely would not be able to pay all of our bills if I didn't work so I felt stuck. Until I walked into my first classroom, and I saw 20 pairs of eyes looking to me. Until I heard 20 different stories, from kids with 20 different backgrounds. Some good, some not so good, and some heartbreaking. Then I decided since I couldn't afford to stay home, teaching would not only be my job, but my ministry. To guide the students in my classroom, to give them everything that I could, and to show the love of Christ through my teaching. I knew I could still be a good mother while being a teacher, and now that my youngest is going into the pre-school at my district I know I am exactly where I should be. My personal children are flourishing, and I get such immense satisfaction from teaching. I truly have the best two jobs in the entire world. :) So, my longest term goal, my dream is to be able to get to a point where all of my earnings can go to helping those who need it more than I do. Where I can afford to not only take care of the kids in my classroom, but also give to their families. To be able to give, and give freely, and bless others.

June 17, 2015

Work It Wednesday!



Hey hey! I'm here linking up with Katie King at Queen of the First Grade Jungle for Work It Wednesday! I'm just all about the linky's this summer. ;) I've been following Katie for a little over a year, and I actually found her through one of her fitness hashtags on Instagram, and THEN realized that she taught 2nd grade! :) I was so inspired by her fitness journey, but I never got around to get really serious about my own. Ever since I've had my kids I've felt so guilty taking time out to take care of myself. Like ridiculously guilty. I suffered from postpartum depression after both of my kids. I didn't even realize what it was until it was over. But I used to think "Why would I spend an hour working out when I could spend that hour cleaning, or holding my baby, or...." The excuses would go on and on, and so did the weight gain.  Last year I realized I wasn't as good as I could be, as I needed to be. I wasn't all that happy, and quite frankly things were suffering and getting forgotten left and right. I finally realized it was because I was taking zero time for myself. I wasn't as healthy as I wanted to be, I was tired, depressed, and felt constantly overwhelmed. So, I decided to start doing little things just for me. It was hard at first, and it was as simple as leaving the kids with my husband to go grocery shopping, or buying myself a new shirt. This year, I decided to focus on my health, and getting my body back in shape so that I can be a better mommy, and wife. So..school was crazy this year, and I never really found time to get started but I promised myself I would start this summer. And, so far I have! So here's what I'm doing this week.I hope blogging about it will help keep me accountable....

Drinking a ton of water, and I've found SPARK!! A friend of mine from college sells Advocare, and I was talking to her about how I needed to give up diet soda in a serious way. She promptly sent me some samples of Spark, and I ordered more right away. I get great energy, and my mind is clear all morning, AND when I drink Spark in the morning I don't even crave a diet soda the whole day!And this is a girl that could drink 6 cokes a day...easily. I've always been a bit leery about "weight loss companies", like what are they not telling me is in here?????  BUT, I realized the spark is probably way, way, way more healthy than the cokes I'm drinking so I'm leaving my paranoid brain behind on this one. ;)







I am also walk/jogging. Ha! I've always hated running. I played sports in high school, and even ran track because my basketball coach made me, but I've always hated it. It was the first thing to go when I went to college, and man do I wish I had stayed in shape. I'm not doing much, but it's a start. I'm walking 1.25 miles per day. Last week I did 1 mile a day. I'm hoping to increase the amount by a quarter of a mile per week until I'm up to 2 miles a day. Like I said it's not much, but it's 1.25 miles per day more than I've been doing :). Plus, I'm also having a lot of outside summer time fun with my kids! :)






I am also eating better. It's summer and the farmers market's are open, and we are LOVING all of the fresh produce. I've always told my husband we need to live somewhere the farmer's markets are open year round. I'd eat so much better more consistently ;).



So that's it for me this week! Now on to get my kiddos down for a nap/quiet time. :)

June 16, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge!!

Hey guys! I am participating in the TpT seller challenge over the next 4 weeks, and I finally had time to sit down and complete my first challenge!! We were suppose to pick one product in our store, and give it a face lift. I totally knew I was going to grab the first product I ever made, (and my all time best seller!) and change the cover page. Boy, was it ugly!! :) I just had no idea what colors/papers to use or how to position clip art for a cover page. So here is my before and after!!


BEFORE:





Things I didn't like: Too much white space
                                              Random placement of clipart
                                                      Not the best background or border
                                         So...pretty much all of it ;)
                                                             (And sorry about the terrible picture...)

After:

I am just in LOVE with this cute cover!! I am going to be changing all of the independent cover pages for these products as well! My bundle set is on SALE until Friday! So if you're looking for an adorable room decor set snag it while it's cheap!! :) You can find it HERE.

June 15, 2015

Monday Made It!

Hey guys! I'm back again!! Can y'all believe it, because I barely can ;). I'm linking up with Tara from 4th grade frolics for Monday Made It! Today has NOT gone as planned, and it was a busy day anyway so I'm a little late to the party, but I'm here. My made it this week is not original at all, but since I'm switching grades and have fewer subject areas I needed these.



I made myself some READ letters! I will be teaching literacy, and social studies next year so I thought I would integrate the two into my decor some. 
 I started with some basic letters from Wal-Mart. They were $1.97 each. I already had the acrylic paint, glue, and I was given a map of Georgia from my father-in-law. I didn't realize I was out of Modge Podge so I'm going to have to go to the store tomorrow and finish these up! :)
 First I squirted some turquoise acrylic paint onto the back of the letter. This step isn't really necessary I guess, but it will make your edges look more finished. I rubbed the paint around with a paper towel, because I can't remember to get more brushes!!

 Then I dabbed this glue on the front of the letters, cut out a chunk of map, and laid the letter face down on the back of the map. Then I let the glue mostly dry, and trimmed around the letters with an x-acto knife, and Whaaa Laa!!!


I just LOVE them!!! They are going to look precious over my reading corner. Now all I have left to do is slap a layer of Modge Podge on them, and hot glue some orange ribbon to the back to hang them!!

June 14, 2015

Summer Bucket List Linky!!

Hey y'all!! I have officially been on summer break for 1 week, and it has been a fun one! I thought I'd join Natalie at What the Teacher Wants, and share my summer bucket list!




School:

So, I have quite a long list for school this summer. My first thing to do is redecorate my classroom next year. I am moving from kindergarten to 4th and 5th grade literacy and social studies. It is a HUGE change, but one I am excited for! However, I don't think my 4th and 5th graders will really appreciate my current decor, and I had to move rooms too so what better reason for a classroom overhaul!! 

Pacing guides will be next on my list, and I have actually already started them. The teacher before didn't use pacing guides??? And my principal only had one based on TLI....which we don't do....SOOOO.... I will be working these up for myself next year along with, of course, my scope and sequence.

I'm excited to start making TpT products for upper elementary, and will be starting my first creation next week! 

And, I'm also starting to make anchor charts, and other things that I need to update for older grades. I typically make the "bones" of the anchor chart at home, and then fill them in with the kiddos. I'm finding tons of great inspiration on Pintrest, and I'll be sharing some of those with you soon! 



Personal:

I am using this summer to refocus my mind, and get busy working off all of this baby weight. Especially since my "baby" is 3!!! ;/ But it's better late than never, and I have run out of excuses. So, I've started running and focusing on my eating last week, and I am starting to feel great!


I began remodeling my kid's bathroom in April. I have re-done their cabinet, counter, sink, removed a mirror, painted the ceiling, trim, and walls, and added some new decor. I still have to put in a new toilet, redo the floor, re-trim the door, and add baseboards!! It's looking so cute, and I am ready to have it finished!

AND I need to finish up grad school!!! Woohoo!! I graduate in August, and these next 2 classes can't go by fast enough! 


Fun:

I promised my kids the month of June would be for fun playtime. I promised not to do any work, except for maybe grad school work, while they were awake for the month of June. And, so far I have kept my promise, which has sometimes been hard since I'm now switching grades and I have so much more to do than previous years where I've taught the same grade from year to year, But, it has been so worth it! Last Monday my daughter had gymnastics, and then we went out for lunch. Tuesday we went shopping. Wednesday we went to visit my parents because my mom recently had surgery. Thursday we went to our local splash pad. Friday we went to the zoo on our way to my son's well child check up. Yesterday, we took a little road trip and went to the Memphis Zoo. Which we get into 50% off because we are members of the Little Rock Zoo! So that was a great deal! Today...we are exhausted and spending the day watching movies in our pj's!! 


I'm also going to do something really fun for my birthday and anniversary this year! Both events always seem to get pushed off to the back burner because they are both in August, and right before school starts. My anniversary is the 12th, and my birthday is the 16th. Sooo, we usually go out to eat and grab a movie or something basic. This year, however I'm not sure what we are doing we are going to take time out of our crazy schedules at that time to celebrate!

AND I'm getting a blog design!! I can't really call it new because I've never had one made for me, and I'm EXCITED about it. 

That's it for me! Stop by What the Teacher Wants to grab your template, and link up! 


June 12, 2015

Teach Inspired

Teach inspired. That is my mantra for the new year. I hit kinda a valley if you will last year. I just felt, for lack of a better term, uninspired. I needed inspiration, I needed to fill my own teacher cup. It can sometimes be hard where I work to feel full all the time. I guess you could say that for every teacher everywhere at some point, but it was true for me last year. I work at a school that has one teacher per grade level. Collaboration, even though it can and should be, is not our building's forte. Teachers tend to keep to themselves and since we don't have a team to bounce off of weekly, or even daily it's hard to get that inspiration you need during those hard days, weeks, and let's face it...months.

And then a group of teacher bloggers,( I follow most of them and they have truly kept me going with some of their blog posts,) went to the Ron Clark Academy. And, their posts about their trip truly inspired me. I had heard of Ron Clark before, but that was about it. After I read about their experiences I watched The Ron Clark Story, and read every one of his books in a week. I am rereading them again this summer, slower, so that I can let it all sink in, and get the most from it, but then I couldn't get enough of them. One of the biggest things I took away from him is that he teaches inspired. Everyday. Even, when he worked with a less than inspiring colleagues, in less than inspiring situations. When people told him no, he still taught inspired. And, he changed lives of his students, and is continuing to not only change his student's future, but he reaches out to teachers and inspires them as well.

So...all that to say this summer I am seeking out ways to inspire my students. Little things that I don't necessarily talk about, but they are just there. Inspiration in every corner for them, and for me. So,  I decided to turn my boring old, drawn on, brown, clipboards into a small source of inspiration. My kids use clipboards all them time, and I have a class set of them. I thought it would be fun, and inspiring to write a quote on each of the clipboards. Now, I am no artist, and I have no skills with hand lettering so don't expect these to be eye catching :). Here are a couple that I have done already.




Now this is a super complex craft y'all. :) I took the .97 brown basic clipboards from Wal-Mart. Then I grabbed some black acrylic paint (because that is the color I had the most of on hand), and a paper towel. I squirted (that's the technical term by the way) the black paint on the clipboard and rubbed it around with the paper towel to coat the whole board. Because, I didn't have any paint sponges or brushes on hand, and then I really liked the way it looked once it was done. I had to do 3 coats of the black paint. Then, when they dried, which was very quickly I might add, I took a white paint pen, googled inspirational quotes, picked one out, and wrote it on the clipboard. Whaa La! They are not perfect, but they are perfectly mine! I love them, and I hope my kids do too, and just maybe they will read the right quote on the right day and it will give them the little intrinsic push they need to do their best that day! :)

Teach Inspired Friends! It's the best way to be. :)

June 1, 2015

June Currently

I love this linky, and I seem to really love it in the summer! Ha! It's such a fun way to get to know other teachers. So without further adieu here's mine!





* Every single blessed person, and animal is snoozing. Except my cat. And me. I can't sleep because kindergarten graduation is tomorrow so I thought I would get some work done! :) I am so proud of these kiddos, and I am going to miss them terribly. 

* I am still in school. STILL!!! The snow really got us this year, and we are not used to this much snow and ice living in the south and all. So needless to say, I have been so jealous of all the teachers I see on summer break already, but it's only 3 more days!! :)

* Even though I am so ready for a break I can't help but think about all the work that lies ahead of me. I am changing grade levels next year, and while I'm excited I'm also feeling the need to get busy so I'm not drowning the first few weeks of school. 

* Yeah...but first I really need a break. ;0)

* I'm also moving classrooms so I've been poaching all of the printer paper cartons I can find. 

* I feel, like many of us, that I have been stretching myself too thin. I'm doing a ton of things okay instead of the things that really matter to me very well. So my summer goals are to have lots of family time. I told my kids that June is their's. We will only have fun. Mommy will not work (at least while the kids are awake) at all. I am also renovating our home so I have a lot of projects that I am working on around the house. June will be my time for all of that. Then to go along with stretching myself too thin I am simplifying things. My kids are getting older, and we aren't having any more so I am going to start cleaning out all the baby stuff, and making sure that I preserve the things I really want to keep for my kids. I am also putting a few projects on the back burner for a while. I made a list of things I'm going to focus on, and that's all I'm worrying about. It's time, past time, to get my life back. And, we are also saving.We are going to visit my aunt and uncle in New York next year so we are going to start saving up for that trip, and we might be able to sneak away for a few days to the beach and that will aide in saving my sanity! ;)

Well, that's it for me! If you would like to join in link up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for your template! :)

March 14, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 4

Oh goodness....I thought I was doing good, and then I went to link up and BAM! I'm behind....I looked at the schedule wrong. So here is my very quick, and very late take on Chapter 4: Games!!

"The need for survival, belonging and love, power, freedom, and fun are the five critical needs that must be satisfied if people are to be effectively motivated," (Glasser, 1999)

Motivation...one of the most important things, in my opinion, that we can give our students. If we cannot motivate them to want to do their best, then we are never going to be able to reach their full potential. What better way to motivate kids than by playing games?!! Kids love to play, and I love to indulge them. My games are usually pretty simple in my room, sometimes I come up with them off the top of my head.

One of my kid's favorite games is a very easy sight word game that I made up one day after a few of my kid's were completely stuck on about 4 words. I call it Pass A Word. I gave them all a sight word card, and they all had to read their word card, then, we sang.

Pass, pass, pass your word. Pass it to a friend..... {tune: row row row your boat}

Then their pass their cards to the person next to them, and they all have to read their new card.You keep going until all the kids have had every card. Y'all. The asked for this game every day in small groups. (I can't find my pictures right now, but I will update this post ASAP.Sorry!!)

I'm so excited to read y'alls posts and file away some new game ideas! Tonight I'm linking up with Katie at Queen of the First Grade Jungle!! 

March 7, 2015

Book Study:Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites:Chapter 3


Book study time!! This chapter was all about FIELD TRIPS!!!! Field trips are one of those things that a lot of teachers don't have control of. Most schools around here, including mine, get 1 spring field trip to end the year. I have gone to the zoo, and to the Museum of Discovery with my classes over the last 3 years. My first year I worked at a private school and the parents were COMPLETELY in charge of the field trip. They took us to the skating rink. It was a lot of fun, and my kids couldn't believe I could skate! :) It was a good bonding experience for the end of the year.

Now I teach in tiny town Arkansas, and not only do I get just 1 field trip per year, I am 1 hour away from anything....and I mean anything...even Wal-Mart. And I am 2 hours away from the nearest museum, zoo,( insert any other good field trip spot here). So, we don't get to stay at our location for more than a few hours before it's time to head back to school. So one thing that I have delved into the last 4 years are virtual field trips!!! They are a ton of fun, and they get the kids creative juices flowing!!

Here is picture of my personal daughter on our zoo field trip last year. :)

One of my favorite virtual field trips we go on is to Sea World! I use this little field trip when we study penguins because they have online live surveillance from their penguin exhibit!! You should see those kiddos sweet faces when the animal they have been learning about for several days is alive right in front of them! And, it's the best writing they do all year. Some kids just start writing what they are observing the penguins doing. Some, make up stories for their favorite. We also look at the maps, and talk about the features of the map, and what all they have at Sea World. By the end of the week my kids are rearing to go to Sea World. I just wish we had the means to take them all! :) Here is the link for the penguin cam if you are interested!

http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/animalvision/viewanimals/penguins/


Another thing that we do at my school are community trips. I LOVE this, and I just think our principal is the best in the world for letting us do this because I know what a luxury it is. We visit the surrounding nursing homes at least 4 times per year. Each grade does this. In the fall we sing them songs, and in the spring we read to them, and perform our show stopping number of kindergarten graduation. Sometimes, if it's around the holiday's or just because we make and take them cards. My kids are always reluctant at first, but it's amazing to see how much they grow up, and how much compassion that they show for their elders. I think it is so important to teach the kids about community service at such a young age, and I'm so thankful to be apart of a school that does as well.


This chapter also talked about making use of the space you have. Have class outside, do things around the school, have speakers come to your classroom, etc. I can do better at this, and if it EVER stops snowing I can have class outside! :)


So, the summation of this chapter...field trips are important! :) We all knew that, and it's nice to see some research behind it. What did you think? If you haven't joined in yet it's not too late! :)

March 5, 2015

March Currently

I'm linking up with Farley tonight for Currently! I love doing these! :)



1. Listening: To 101 Dalmatians. I bought it Monday night because I love this movie, and I heard another winter storm was coming in and I thought the kids might like something new to watch! We watched it on Tuesday, Wednesday, and twice today. I think it will get lost for a week or so after tonight ;). It is so fun to see my kids love the same Disney movies I grew up with!!

2.Loving: I am so excited about the changes that are coming to me next year! I currently teach kindergarten, but next year I am going to move up to teach 4th and 5th grade Literacy and Social Studies! I started my teaching career in 3rd grade, and while I love teaching the little ones I'm excited for the new challenges that await me! :)

3. Thinking: I'm never gonna go back to school.....I haven't had a full week of school in 3 weeks, and I am so tired of all my plans getting interrupted. This snow stinks, and I'm not a fan of it anyway. I'm just trying to enjoy my kids, and get a few things done. As of right now we will be going until June 4th, and if we are out tomorrow, which I'm sure we will be, it will be June 5th before I'm officially on summer vacation.

4. Wanting: If I can't go to school I would at least like to be able to take the kids somewhere. We have some serious cabin fever.

5. Needing: To clean my house. It is a hot mess since we've been cooped up so much lately. And I need to sort out my mess of lesson plans and plan for next week. And praying for no more snow.

6. Spring Break Plans: Not a thing. :) And I'm actually happy about that this year. We are going to do some fun things around here to pass the week by, and hopefully we can get out into the sun some!

That's it for me! What are you doing??

March 1, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapters 1 & 2

I was quite inspired by the girls that went to the Ron Clark Academy, and blogged about their experience. I'm so thankful that they did. Their experiences gave me the last little kick in the pants that I needed to finish this school year strong. Anyway, I decided to join in their book study. There is nothing more exciting, or inspiring for me than teachers discussing and learning from each other. I teach at a small school where there is only 1 teacher per grade level usually and I miss having a team that is all on the same grade level. That is what I love most about teacher blogs, the sense of community and having a "team". I got my book a little late, and we were out of school all last week because of snow, except Friday, so I haven't had time to implement anything from the book yet, but I'm going to next week. :) So let's get into it, shall we??


Chapter 1: Brainstorming and Discussion

This chapter was all about talking. More specifically, the IMPORTANCE of talking. I love that this book started this way. I've seen some QUIET classrooms. Too quiet. In fact when I first started teaching I was convinced that no one would think I was a good teacher because all of the other teachers had silent classrooms, while my 3rd graders were bustling. One teacher always popped her head in my room the same time every day. And she always, ALWAYS, said, "It's pretty noisy in here don't you think? I could never work with this much noise." However, she came in every day when my literature circles were in full swing. They were discussing. I, being super new and not wanting anything said that could get me in trouble, started shushing my kids far too much. I had a great group that year, and I tried to conform to the school. It was my first year, and I made a lot of mistakes, but this was a big one. Because, I didn't stay true to myself as a teacher, and I didn't trust myself. 

Skip on 5 years down the road, and I care a lot less about what other teachers in the building think about me. I moved districts, and while there are still a lot of teachers that think a quiet room is the right kind of room I'm able to do what works for me and my kids. And talking is one of them. 

Some things that were mentioned in the book that I do already are Think-Pair-Share, I plan my essential questions for each lesson around Bloom's to make sure that I hit those higher order thinking skills, and I use A LOT of wait time. We think-pair-share about everything, especially in math. I also use this strategy a lot during my content time. I teach kindergarten now, and I'm so impressed with how far my kids have come with this strategy, and I know it's only because I model, model, model, and then they have practiced all year. Practice makes perfect for sure! Or as close to perfect as it gets ;). My principal actually requires that we use Bloom's and writes down the level in our lesson plans. At first I hated it, but now I love it because it really helps me focus in on what I want my students to know, and how to hit those higher order thinking skills. And, I use a lot of wait time. So much that it's almost uncomfortable, but it works. I had a peer review and the teacher wrote down how she thought I had too much wait time, but then she was surprised when what seemed like a terribly long time the student would come up with the right answer, and she realized it wasn't really too much time.  One thing that I do want to try is more debate. I think that would be so awesome, and I'm going to work on it with my kids the rest of the year. :)Whew, on to Chapter 2....




Chapter 2: Drawing and Art

I just wanted to shout "AMEN!" at the end of every sentence. Art is so so important, and I hate that it is being taken out of some school districts. I actually am no longer allowed to buy art supplies with my teacher supply money that we are given at the beginning of the year. That was new this year, and I was heartbroken because I always bought some new art supplies every year. So everything we do now comes out of my pocket. Art is not looked at as "quality instructional time" in my district either. Which just means that I really have to be able to justify every craft we do in case I'm ever questioned about it. Luckily, I haven't been this year, but I'm always ready just in case. My principal is actually fairly cool about projects and things as long as they are in our lesson plans. However, he doesn't make the policies regarding our supply money, and if our superintendent ever checked in I better be ready to explain everything on my walls. 

Some things that I already do that were mentioned in the chapter are that I have the students illustrate vocabulary, poetry, and in their math journals. We also do a lot of craftivities, mainly focused on literacy. Some new things that I would like to try are the murals, and incorporating more art into math. There are more things out there for math than illustrating math journals :). I'm just going to have to find/come up with them myself. :)

The most important thing from this chapter to me was that art is important. It can't be done away with. It gives kids a new way to look at things, boosts their self-esteem, fosters their creativity, and provides an outlet for kids no matter the level of their artistic ability, and it engages students in your lessons and makes them own it. :)

So far I am really enjoying this book, and I look forward to reading the next chapter! :) I'll also have pictures next time, pending us actually being in school. I heard there is more sleet coming our way     :(....

February 25, 2015

Mission: Bring Spring

Sooo, I'm on day 3 of snow days this week! We also had 1 last week, well 2, but we were out for President's Day anyway so it didn't count against us. This is the most snow we've had since we moved down here. I was hoping moving to southern Arkansas we would miss all of this mess, but nevertheless it seems to have found me. We have about 4-5 inches right now, and it is still pouring. We should have 7-9 inches before it's all over. :( I'm not a fan of the cold if you can't tell. So I've been on a mission to BRING SPRING by going ahead and decorating for St. Patrick's day! Since it is in the middle of the month I always hate decorating the first of March because after it's all over I just want to take it down, and I only get to enjoy it for a couple of weeks! So I decorate so I can enjoy it for a month! I LOVE St. Patrick's Day. Which is weird I know, it's not a holiday that a lot of people really celebrate or even like to celebrate because of the whole pinching thing, but there is a lot of awesome stuff about St. Patrick's Day, and Ireland that people don't really know about. And, it's a great way to get some more geography into my little kinder's minds. :) I'm working on a St. Patrick's Day unit right now, and I can't wait to break it out!!

I also went to Dollar Tree and found these precious shamrocks! Actually, I dug through some boxes at Dollar Tree and I came upon these gems. I bought the whole box. Which was 10. Perfect. :)  I was able to hang them up on Monday before we got let out early for the ice and snow. They are perfect for my ceiling, and will look great with our St. Patrick's Day crafts I have planned...if we ever get back to school. When my kids walked in they asked, "Why are there leaves on our ceiling??" Oh boy, we definitely have some learning to do!! :)



I also love to change my desk tags out seasonally. It just makes me happy, and no matter how many expectations I've set for the name tags someone will inevitably pull the tape from around it or mark on it, or something and they look a hot mess after about a month anyway. So, to keep me from losing it, and our tables pretty I change them out monthly. Which works great for the beginning of the year since there is pretty much a new holiday every month! :) So thanks to the most precious clipart ever from Glitter Meets Glue Designs I have some pretty cute ones made up, and I'm giving them to you as a FREEBIE! :) I hope you like them, and they make your desks a little prettier this month too! :) Just click HERE to pick them up in my TpT store. :) Oh, and TpT is having a little sale right now! My store is 28% off with the code: HEROES Click the picture to check out my store! :)



I hope you are all having a wonderful week, whether you're inside or actually getting to work this week! :)

January 1, 2015

Hellllloooo!I

Hi! Anyone out there? No? Maybe? I hope so! I started out so good this school year, and then September hit, and I got so crazy busy that I thought I would catch up my blog by the end of October, and then I got a cold, a typical first of the year cold, that OOPS, turned into a sinus infection, which turned into bronchitis, which turned into pneumonia!!! I was sick for 6 weeks! After a ton of medicines, and doctor appointments I finally started feeling better in time for Christmas. I lost 12 pounds during my pneumonia bout because I lost my sense of smell, therefore my taste was gone, and I was nauseous from the pneumonia. I didn't get to eat at Thanksgiving, but I made up for it during my Christmas break. :) (And didn't gain any of that weight back! Score!!) Then on December 29th I had a terrible burning pain in my abdomen. I had pains like this last year, but my doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong. And then it went away, and hasn't returned until now. That landed me in the ER on the 30th, and I was told that I have a TON of gall stones in my gall bladder. And, I have to have it removed. REMOVED. SURGERY. Boo....I was hoping to have it out this week, but they couldn't get me in until next week for a consultation and then we'll schedule the surgery then for probably the next week. Which means I'm going to have to take time off from work. Not what my kids need. :( So I'm exhausted from all the tests and doctor's and just feeling like crud. So that's why I haven't been blogging. Whew.

On the plus side I'm going to meet my deductible the first month of the year for my  insurance, and after this surgery I will hopefully feel a million times better! :)

My sweet little class is also coming along nicely. More on that later :). I hope you are all enjoying your break, and are having a Happy New Year!  I'm so enjoying the time with my family, but tomorrow we are heading to my classroom to finish prepping for January, and getting sub plans ready just in case I'm out longer than a couple of days. :)