Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I'm Loving Linky

I'm linking up again with Covered in Glitter and Glue for her weekly party.  I LOVE this linky!  It's important to remember the little things... or big things that sometimes we take for granted. So here are the things I'm loving this week. 

#1. John is HOME!  I'm so happy he's back and as you can see, so is Tuffy.

#2. I LOVE this face!  After 35 days without it all I want to do is stare at him. (and his patchy beard if you can see it in this picture)

#3. I'm thankful that I've gotten a ton done in my classroom already.  If I had to, I could spend maybe only 2 more hours in here and teach. It wouldn't be perfect, but it would be workable. However I realize how lucky I am to not be locked out of the building until the week before school starts.

#4. Brad Paisley's Wheelhouse album.  I'm not a huge country music fan, but I am a huge Brad Paisley fan and I can't wait to go to his concert next month!  This new album is awesome. I've been listening on Spotify since my birthday, but we finally bought the exclusive Cracker Barrel version on Monday. Beat this Summer, Outstanding in our Field, Mona Lisa, and Officially Alive are my favorite tracks so far. Music is for sure one simple thing that can make me happy! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching Linky

Today I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten for her:

  1. Some things that are funny will always be funny.  For example: I like to play on the monkey bars was written:"I like to play on the munchy bras."  by one 2nd grader several years ago.  Makes me LOL every.single.time.
  2. It is hard to train yourself to use the restroom only at appropriate times.  It is even harder to untrain yourself each summer to go whenever you want to!
  3. Administrators experiment on teachers just as much as teachers experiment on children!
  4. Children have a very warped sense of reality. This is especially evident in their drawings of me.  See picture below: With me on the left and the student on the right.   (also see #1)
  5. This was a gift after I was out of school when I had swine flu.
  6. Teaching buddies are the best.  I LOVE my teaching friends.  In fact, some of them are besties for life. They're stuck with me! 
  7. The hands down best part of my job is the children and families I get to become part of for a year (or more if I get to teach siblings).
  8. Closing my door and doing my thing is the best decision I ever made! March to the beat of your own drum.  There's no bigger disappointment then letting yourself down. 
  9. Teaching for a career means learning is my number one priority!
  10. Small towns means everyone knows more about me than I do.
  11. There are children out there that will do more for me than I will ever do for them. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lets Get Acquainted:Advice for New Teachers Linky

I'm Linking up with Latoya again for her weekly Get Acquainted linky party! This week it's all about advice for new teachers! So, here's mine:

I know, I know there is SO much out there to buy.  
There are SO many cute things. 
There are SO many practical things.  

I have spent the last 9 years teaching.  I've had to get rid of another teacher's career's worth of crap that she left behind and it's taken me the last 8 years to finally have *most* everything in my classroom be things I USE and not crap (mine or hers).  I feel like I work with a bunch of hoarders and have become one.  (I know that sounds mean, but we all have SO much crap! Me included.) 

You don't need it.
You don't have to spend it.
Just stop yourself even HALF the time from buying STUFF and I promise, you'll thank me in 10 years! 

You will NEED the secretary and custodian, more often than anyone else in the building, to do things for you.  Know their favorite candy bar, candle scent, or just be willing to HELP them out while they do you a favor.  I've been known to file papers while my secretary finds me a certain form or report or pick up garbage bags while my custodian adjusts desks in my classroom. Cookies also help! 

Complacency is a downfall of every teacher.  No two children are the same, no two classes are the same, no two lessons will accomplish the exact same thing or work in the exact same way.  You have to know your kids, what they need and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.   Complacency is when kids get lost in the "but it has always been this way".  

Even after 9 years in the classroom, I still have teachers in my building I look up to and go to for advice. You HAVE to have a mentor.  You also have to find someone in the building to have mutual trust with whom you can confide in, vent with, and commiserate with. There are going to bad moments and even some bad days.  You'll need someone to talk with who can keep your frustration between the two of you, but also allow you not to take it home. 

You will spend more time in your classroom then at home for a better part of the year.  You need your classroom to be a place you LOVE to be. Fill it with things that make you happy. Make it comfy, keep your favorite snacks hidden somewhere, and have a space that is all your own in it.

I cannot tell you how many times a day something will change with your schedule, with your assignments, with your students.  You MUST be flexible. Learn to roll with it and not let it frazzle you. That will be the number 1 way you will get stressed is when you can't just roll with it. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

2nd Annual Vegas Blogger Meetup

So last year I went to the first teacher blogger meet up in Vegas. It was a ton if fun, but I wasn't a (teacher) blogger at the time, and honestly didn't read a ton of teaching blogs. But I went, talked to a couple people, and went home with a ton more blogs to read! 

Over the last year I've read all these *famous* ladies blogs and some of them I feel like I know even though I've never met them. This kind of blogger meet up is very awkward if you're not out going and willing to just talk to everyone, so I drug my sister along this year. She's not any more outgoing than I am, but she's able to push me to get out of my comfort zone. 
Here's us before the blogger meet up with our frosties in honor of what would have been our dad's 60th birthday. He was a Wendy's lover!   

The blogger meet up has been in conjunction with the SDE I Teach K conference for the last two years. 

I love reading Tanya's adventures and LOVE her products! It was also very cool for her to see my name tag and her to say "I know you!" MADE MY NIGHT!! 

April from Idea Backpack
Elvis and 

April from Idea Backpack
Amy from TPT
John, CEO of TPT 
TPT was one of the main sponsors for the night.  They provided the refreshments and prizes (A ton of TPT $10 gift cards).  Dana and I each won one!  Sweet!  I had such a great conversation with both Amy and John from TPT. It was fabulous to get to chat with them! They were extremely encouraging and so warm and inviting.  They never turned anyone away from talking with them and were honestly, just a ton of fun. Maybe one day I can work WITH them.  There's a new dream for me!

Hope King from Second Grade Shenanigans is seriously the sweetest lady EVER! I mean, you can totally tell this from her blog, which makes her even easier to approach. I also love her products. They're so well made and always cute and practical. She remembered meeting me last year, too. I'm so thankful her husband arranged for her come a midst their big move! I can't wait to hear about all of her adventures this next year. 

(Pardon the blurry picture!) Hilary Lewis from Rockin Teacher Materials that teaches at a school in the district I went to middle and high school in! So cool to meet her! 

Group picture of all the teacher bloggers. So many people I still didn't  get to meet that I had wanted to.  Next year I need to make a list of all the bloggers who have said they're going that I read and then I can check off when I meet them!  

A HUGE thank you to everyone who made this evening possible!  I'm not sure of everyone so be sure to head to the Vegas Blogger meetup After party Linky for a complete list of all of the fabulous sponsors and check out all of your favorite bloggers posts!!  I had a BLAST and can't wait to meet even more people next year! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A First x2!

Well thanks to both Finding the Joy and iHeart Second Grade for nominating me for the Liebster blog award.  How FUN!  In all of my years blogging I've never received a Blog award.  See, teacher bloggers really are the best!  

Here are the "rules" for accepting this nomination: 

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you. 
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 250 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees by commenting on their blog or sending them an email to communicate the nomination. 

Questions from +Melanie at Finding Joy

1. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
If I wasn't a teacher I honestly don't know what I'd be.  A few years ago I REALLY contemplated this as I was DONE teaching... luckily, I now only have fleeting moments of those feelings.  However, with the current state of education in this country I'd love to go teach abroad somewhere!

2. What is your favorite thing about your classroom?
My favorite thing about my classroom... my library maybe?  I'm not a decorator or theme person... never have been.  But I've worked HARD to get my kiddos LOTS of variety in books. 

3. What do you like least about your classroom?
My classroom is on a corner of the building so it is funny shaped (which I don't mind).  It makes it a tad bigger, but I loose a wall of cabinets.  I only know this because when I moved in my husband moved everything from one cabinet straight into the corresponding new room cabinet... until he ran out, SIX cabinets too soon!  

4. What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading blogs.  I read several books in June, but haven't started any in July.  I'm fairly sporadic in my reading.  However the last three books I've read have all been written by avid bloggers. 

5. How long have you been blogging?
I've been blogging here on this blog since January of this year, but blogging since April 2007 on my personal blog (which I still blog on randomly).  I had a year long blog about my puppy's first year (and then combined with my personal blog), which I then turned into a book, which I LOVE. And I also write a blog about my life with PCOS and Endometriosis which has left us dealing with infertility for 9 years and resolving to  live happily without our own children. I've never been a regular blogger, but I like the journal of my life that I have because of blogging.

6. Pets?
Yes, one West Highland White Terrier named Tuffy.  He is my pride and joy and entertainer.  I LOVE him! 

7. What school supply can't you live without?
I cannot live without my favorite pens... which changes often, because they keep discontinuing the ones I pick as favorites.  Right now my favorites are Zebra flight pens.  FLAWLESS! 

8. What is your dream vacation destination?
I dream of going to Paris.  Or on a Disney Cruise.

9. What's on your summer bucket list?
It was to design my very first product for posting on TPT and TN... but I'm fairly certain it isn't going to happen.  Every idea I have is already out there and done better than I could do it.  So, yeah.

10. What is your "go to" blog?
Oh my gosh, I read almost 1,000 different blogs... but I have one that has from day one, has been in my favorites folder all by itself.  I've never met Casey, she's not a teacher, but I LOVE her blog: Moosh in Indy. Most real blog I've found on the internet. I've never missed a post!

11. Favorite snack?

Pretzels with frozen chocolate chips or m&ms (whatever form of chocolate I have on hand really)  Or John's homemade popcorn. 

Questions from +Najat at iHeart Second Grade

1. What is your favorite food? 
My favorite food is no longer a simple answer.  I like so many different things chile rellenos, chips and salsa, tortellini, baked potatoes, hamburgers, pizza, fondue... It honestly just depends on where I am.  

2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why? 
I LOVE teaching math... but I LOVE math, so that's probably why.  Most students are so easily confused and it's so great to watch them explain to one another what they're thinking and I LOVE to watch the light bulb come on when they've finally got it!

3. Name one book that has inspired you and explain why.
I've been inspired by SO many books.  One of my favorite is Frindle by Andrew Clements.  I love what an impact Mrs. Granger left on her students and her reputation.  I first read it while in college and working in an after school tutoring program.  Read it to my 3rd graders ever year! 
4. Name one talent you have.
I love singing Alto.  I LOVE harmonies! 

5. If you could go on vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you choose? 
Again, Paris, or Cruising with the Mouse (preferably to Tahiti or Hawaii)!

6. What is your favorite TV show? 
I don't have TV service, but I've been loving watching The West Wing on Amazon Prime! However, I'm a sucker for reality TV (bachelor/ette, big brother, say yes to the dress, diners drive ins and dives).

7. What is your favorite movie? 
Favorite non-animated movie is The Holiday.  LOVE it!

8. What is your most favorite place to shop for clothes? 
Old Navy Clearance or Lane Bryant

9. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Making Connections!  Come find me in Vegas if you're coming to the meet up! 

10. If you weren't a teacher, what career path might you have chosen?
I always wanted to train dolphins at sea world or be a flight attendant when I was younger when people said I couldn't choose probably both out of the question at this point!

11. What chore do you like doing the most?
I hate chores, in fact my husband does most of them.  However, I love doing the laundry now that we have our new washer and dryer! (still hate putting it away!) 

11 Random facts about me
  • I got married at 19.
  • My favorite comfort food is Knorr's Garlic and Herb Shells, which I can only buy from Walmart (or amazon!).
  • I hate shopping at Walmart.  It always ends with my blood boiling because they didn't have what I needed, they won't take my coupon, or something is mis-priced and they won't honor it. 
  • I have 2 nieces and 4 nephews.
  • I have 1 sister and 3 brothers.
  • My family loves my husband, a lot.  If they didn't need me to have him, I think they'd be okay with that ;)
  • I'm a big city girl at heart!
  • My favorite drink is water.  Honestly!
  • I hate milk! (and eggs! and mushrooms!)
  • I love making things for other people.
  • When I'm feeling stressed, the best way for me to de-stress is to find someone else to help!

And honestly, there aren't a whole lot of blogs I follow with 250 or less followers that haven't already been nominated.  So If you fit the bill and read this consider yourself nominated.  But I may come back and nominate some people if I find them! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Curriculum Planning: Help requested!

Hey everyone! I'm currently waiting while my car gets worked on, apparently we "have a problem child transmission" (mechanic's words, not mine.) 

So, to pass the time I'm working on my curriculum planning for next year with transition to CCSS and how that fits in to the programs we have at school. Lucky for me, most of the work has been done for me by the various companies that make our various programs. However, I have some logistical questions. 

So, do any of you use EnVisions Math? 

They've put out a new pacing guide, added in some (28!!!) new lessons, and went through the old lessons and put in the standard it goes with, reviews, or prepares for. It's an awesome document to have, but it brings up a lot of questions for me.  

We have 169 school days with students next year (yay for 2 more school days!)... This document says it has ~160 days worth of curriculum. Are you seeing my problem yet? 

So my questions to you are these:
Can I count on my students knowing enough to leave out the review lessons? 
Can I leave out all of the pre-teaching lessons without the fourth grade teacher suffering the next year? 
And how about the lessons that teach concepts that will be on my state test? (That are an additional 15 lessons not in the 160!) Because, yes, we still have to take the state test, on the state standards... That aren't all transitioned, yet. 

Ahhhh! Help! 

Also, anyone have HMH 2012 Journeys? It is all apparently aligned to CCSS... Yet I can't find 3rd grade standards for half of the actual concepts I'm teaching. Help? 

Finally, 6 traits of do they fit into the CCS writing standards? 

Ok, there you have it, my current quandaries. 

Thanks in advance for your help! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tried it Tuesday: Swagbucks

Hey everyone!  I'm linking up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for her one Tried it Tuesday for July.  I LOVE this linky and will miss it, but totally understand.

I don't know about you, but I'm ALWAYS looking for ways to save money using sales or coupons (both is better!) or earn a little extra however I can.  Today I'm sharing with you one of the EASIEST ways I've found in my 4 years of trying everything under the sun to earn a little extra money.  I've been using this site for 2 or 3ish years and we LOVE it!

Today I'm going to tell you about Swag Bucks.  Taken from their website: " is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called "Swag Bucks", which can be redeemed for exclusive merchandise."  

In my own words, is my search engine (it uses bing and google and gets awesome results!) that I use to "Search" for any website I'm visiting in order to earn swag bucks which in turn, gets me Amazon gift cards.  I use the internet EVERYDAY.  I visit TONS of websites. Whether I know the website or not, I search for it using swag bucks.  Swag bucks are awarded randomly in both amount awarded and frequency.

As you can see, over the years I've been using swag bucks I've earned over $200 in Amazon Gift Cards simply by using the swag buck search engine. They may come $5 at a time, but they come, and can build up quickly!

There are faster ways to earn swag bucks.  There are also LOTS of other time consuming ways to earn swag bucks.  I don't have time for them, so I earn slowly, but surely!  Searching for the website I want is worth the extra 30 seconds and few clicks for $200 I wouldn't otherwise have (see movies, books, crafting supplies, music, etc).

Check it out! It's super easy to get signed up and even easier to use.  They've got tool bars or plug ins for every browser possibility which make earning even easier!  Have fun searching!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Favorite Things Linky: 4th of July BBQ

Favorite Graphic

Happy Independence Day!  So thankful, especially today, for the freedoms I enjoy because I live in this free nation. 

Today I had planned to link up with Across the Hall in 2nd to share with you some of my favorite 4th of July BBQ Must haves, but she's not hosting, today.  But here are some of my BBQ must haves!

Oh man, 4th of July is SUCH a great holiday and a BBQ is my #1 favorite tradition.  

I'm a fairly simple girl when it comes to me being happy at a BBQ.  Nacho Cheese Doritos, dill pickles, and grilled hot dogs and burgers make any BBQ of mine complete.  It's even better if my husband makes homemade potato salad.  

My 4th of July BBQ would also be perfect if it took place here, Cascade Lake, Cascade ID.  I grew up with this as my yearly destination and LOVE fireworks over the lake! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Currently July

It's July... and it only has been July for 15 hours or so... but I'm apparently late to this party!  Oh well, I refused to post early because I've kinda been dreading tomorrow.  It's my 30th birthday.  However, after all of the worrying about how much I haven't accomplished in my life by 30 that I had wanted to, I'm over it.  I'm excited that tomorrow i get to hang out with some of my favorite people and I feel silly that I've been freaking out about this birthday so much.

So, on to bigger and better things!  Farley's Currently! 

Clearly this was written fairly early this morning... however I forgot to post it, so now that I've vacuumed the house, its getting done.

Silence is golden around here.  Tuffy is not a fan of loud noises made by moving things (see ATV, garbage truck, and bulldozer) As soon as I got him out of his crate he was a barking maniac.  Not sure what the bulldozer is doing in the lot across the street, but Tuffy is telling him to STAY AWAY!

Last summer was my first "fish camp" experience.  For most of it I heard how there wasn't any fish in 7 weeks they caught 39,000lbs.  So imagine my surprise when in week 1 (when there were NO fish last year) they caught 6,000lbs!  I'm glad there are fish.  He's there to catch fish, and when there aren't fish I start to resent him being gone so long.  This year however, they've been working as much as possible and after two weeks had already caught 28,000lbs of fresh Alaskan sockeye salmon!

This creating business is HARD work!  I can't find exactly what I want so I'm making my own... but I may cave and just buy something that'll mostly work.  OR...I may go into business as a professional editor of teacher materials instead.  Please don't get offended if I e-mail you telling you about an error I've found.  I'm not trying to be rude, I just know I'd want someone to tell me.

Cockroaches.... EWEWEWEWEWEW!!!! Especially when you think they're dead and so you get brave enough to scoop it up and throw it away while it decides to flip over and run up your arm... TRUE story.  I told John next year he has to spray for bugs a month before he leaves so I don't have to pick them all up when he's gone!  I vacuumed up 8 today... wasn't letting them have another shot at running up my arm!

I'm so afraid that I'm going to miss a payment on a bill while John is gone.  Most of them are automatic or he paid before he left... I hate bills and can't stop thinking about them needing to be paid, that's why it's his responsibility!

REAL.  No one likes to read about product after product advertising or even giveaway after giveaway.  Sprinkle some of the advertising in with being REAL and you'll get loyal followers.