Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Never Have I Ever...Until Now!

Never have I ever, Ever, EVER let children of any age color, write, stamp, or paint on anything other than paper products or materials that were meant for such creative glory. It just goes without saying right?

But, I was inspired by something on Pinterest. Shocker?!?! I know, not so much. I saw pin that mentioned that students can write on some table or desktop surfaces in dry erase marker and easily erase their writing. about that. 

Fast forward to my first Place Value lesson this year. Well, I have everything set out and think I'm ready. Then, I realize....OMG! I don't have my Place Value mats anymore! (Left 'em at my previous school). And of course, I realize this as students are entering the room. No time to panic, no time to spare!

What did I do? Tried an expo marker on a table really quickly while no one was looking. To be honest, they didn't erase magically with a paper towel or tissue, but those Lysol or Clorox wipes do the trick!

Solution! As I began to teach my lesson and model building number on the Smartboard. I told students that I was going to let them create their own Place Value mats. They thought they'd be cutting, pasting, copying from the board. Nope! I told them: Today, I'm going to let you do something you never thought a teacher or a grown-up would allow you to do. Today,we are living on the wild side! Today, you get to write on your tables. Never have I ever seen students sooooo excited for a Math lesson. :)

Here's how our first Place Value day looked!

To those of you, that are thinking ohhhh now you have to wipe down those tables! Think of it this way: it's cold/germ season, Norovirus is here (I had a student hospitalized with that...bummer), why not kill 2 birds with one stone?!?! Everyday we do or use Place Value now is another day our tables get cleansed. And seriously, if you were doing several lessons in a row, you could just leave the writing there.

Happy Snow/Ice/Storm day to all who are home!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

13 in 13

Hi There bloggy friends!

Long time no talk, but I'm back to bloggy world and now, you're gonna hear me roooarrrrr! Or not...I just can't get enough of that song! But, I am linking up with Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher to celebrate and share my 13 in '13
Without further ado...

13. Favorite Article of Clothing....FLEECE LINED LEGGINGS! I'm wearing them now, and I can't get enough of them. Mine are from White Plum Boutique, check them out, I promise you won't be sorry!

12. Favorite Movie
The Butler!

11. Favorite TV Series

I can not get enough of Mr. Jack McAllister! And seriously, affairs and dishonesty are typically not my cup of tea at all.

10. Favorite Restaurant

I got pretty addicted this year to Zoup! They're like a soup bar...I mean their lobster bisque is just the best I've ever had.

9. Favorite New Thing You Tried

I went on my first cruise last NYE. I seriously can't wait to go again. 

8. Favorite Gift You Got!
Seriously, I just got these for Christmas. I just can't get enough of them. I'm always cold, so not only do these look cute they keep my feets warm at night. :)

7. Favorite Thing You Pinned

I couldn't pick just one. The first quote inspired me to make some big, but necessary, and maybe even slightly overdue changes in my life this year. The second provides me a huge sense of comfort and it's something I'm still kinda learning...that you're never truly alone. 

6. Favorite Song or Album...

ROAR or really Prism! 
Katy Perry, I just find her so very motivational and catchy and fun. 
My fav track currently is Unconditional.

5. Best Accomplishment.... new job, new school, new start! I'm much closer to my friends and family now. So for me, that's a huge accomplishment! :)

4. Favorite Picture of the Year!

The port in Cozumel! 

3. Favorite Memory!
 Learning to ride...and successfully riding scooters through all of Cozumel! 
Never felt braver or more on fire.

2. Goal for 2014
Well to start small, I'm getting a puppy! So my biggest but smallest goal is just to housebreak and train a puppy. My personal goal, is just to continue finding and pursuing my absolute bliss... to seek out things and people that make me happy and then forget about all the rest.

1. One little word

It's real, and true, and sometimes with just a little faith you can move mountains. Trust me, I did this year. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where I've Been

Okay to sum it up, here's where I've been....
So far (since August) this school year I've been assigned 5 different class lists across 4 schools and 2 districts. I spent time setting up 3 classrooms in August, really only teaching in 1 and then, yes NOVEMBER 5, I finally settled into my brand new room, at my brand new position.

So how'd all this happen? And am I super-human?? The answer to that is no. But here's what went down....I'll do a bulleted approach to sum it up.

  • August Friday: I interviewed for a position much closer to home and a larger metropolitan area
  • Same Friday, I got a call from my brand new principal who told me that I was being reassigned to a different building due to class sizes. Seniority was not considered, asking for volunteers was not thought of...I was just told to leave the only school I'd worked in for 4 years and move everything, every single desk and chair across the district. The best part of this was...this was all literally the Friday before in-service began and hardly A WEEK before the students were coming.
**Yes, my current classroom was ready to go for the most part.**

  • 3-8am Saturday morning: I was awake watching Ice Road Truckers on demand, trying not to panic. Just self-talking and pinching myself really hard and concocting moving schemes and making lists of all the good things to look forward to in the new school.
  • Saturday night allll night and Sunday morning = moving fast!
  • Monday morning: I'm icing a pulled groin thanks to moving so fast & I get a call saying I got the position I interviewed for = KINDERGARTEN (AM and PM sessions)
  • Monday afternoon: resignation time

So one would think this story, would end. Nope! Things got more bizarre....

  • Monday evening: Resignation not accepted. Instructed to attend in-service and informed that due to PA law, my district could hold me for 60 days and they intended to hold me to every last one of 'em.
  • Tuesday was more moving and setting up the room I was reassigned to: a choir room upstairs by 5th grade. Then I called the district that had just hired me and told them I'd be held. They found a sub to cover my K position (both the AM and PM) section.

So that was that, I opened the year and taught for almost a month I think before I was replaced. Then I handed off to the teacher replacing me over a 3 day period and thought I was going to K. But WAIT! God was too good, he must've known I was a little stressed about teaching a new grade and starting halfway through September. God had a different plan for me. A first grade teacher where I was going resigned to stay home with her kiddies and so... I'M STILL IN FIRST! :)

Now here I I unpacked my last trunk load and last box. It may be November, but I'm finally organized in my classroom. :)

It's been crazy, it's been wild. It's been real. And looking back, I still don't know how I did it. Did I mention that I had to move personally during all of this, too??? Yup, I had to move closer to my new position. Anyways, I think it was Pooh that said: Always remember, you are braver than you seem, smarter than you think, and stronger than you know...or something close to that. That's what I learned from this whole ordeal.


I learned to dream, dream big, and hard. Chase your dreams professionally and personally. And girls, when you stop one day and realize you've achieved all of your dreams and goals then, well then it's time to make new ones! For me, I made a change for personal happiness. One day, I just realized (with the help of Pinterest) that I wasn't a tree. I could get up and move...and move I did. It wasn't easy. It wasn't simple. It was a little sad. It was definitely ending that first job, first apartment chapter in my life. But I knew it was time to pick up the pen and begin a new chapter in life.

Have a blessed week my friends! I promise I'll be back with more real teaching talk soon.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fun Purchases!

Okay, so now that I'm done my summer traveling I've pretty much been spending the rest of my time reading, shopping, resting and repeating that much fun! Check out some of my latest, fun purchases!

My first back to school stop is usually Target. I feel as though their back to school stuff comes and goes so fast (especially everything in the dollar bins)! Everything here is $1.

-Seuss bookmarks (it's never too early to prepare)
-Super cute nametags (first day? field trips?)
-Mini (lined) whiteboards (Work on Writing tool, the firsties love 'em)
-Foam hands to somehow go with our Detective/Mystery theme.
-Washi tape (can't wait to get creative w clothespins) **actually I got that from Office Dept for 2.99 I think?

From Office Depot....they have some great deals!

-Clear pencil pouches only 1 cent!!! (these go in my GO/FISH/homework folders)
-Green Apple large post-its (for list making, because I'm always making and losing lists)
-Speech Bubbles (onomatopoeia or character dialogue crafts maybe???)
-Pink Heart post-its (so parents can leave "love notes" during Meet the Teacher night)
-Mustache post-its (I "mustache" you a question! Cant wait to teach question marks now!)

So that was what I bought this weekend and then today, impulse buy!!!! My FIRST, EVER purchase from Very Jane...thinking I'll wear it with a cardigan on the first day of school. I always love dressing up for the first day of school. :)

Check out more of the sweeeet deals from Very Jane .

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

International Pen Pals

Long time, no see friends! I've been traveling all over-NY (Long Island), Florida (Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral), and last but not least, Gretna (aka church camp). So here I am, back in PA. from most of my summer whirlwind adventures and I wanted to share something really neat with you!

Ever have a pen pal when you were growing up???? I always wished I did! Ever considering having pen pals for your class?? Well you should. People to People International offers a free pen pal matching opportunity. In the past three years that I have participated, I've been matched with other 6 and 7 year olds in England, Egypt, and Africa. England was the most rewarding experience for us-we wrote monthly and couldn't wait to receive new letters. You can also use skype, email, and videoconferencing to communicate with your assigned pen pals.

Writing to pen pals gave us a purpose for friendly letter writing and just great writing (with correct grammar) in general. The children in England amazed me! Their writing was so superior to that of our American system, that it pushed me as a teacher and gave me the opportunity to collaborate with someone in another county. So cool!

So how can you sign up? Well, just click the picture link below and then click on the "Register my class" icon. All you really have to do is fill out an online form. You'll receive a confirmation and then I believe in October, you'll find out who you are matched with. Finding out who my match is each year is like opening presents on Christmas morning!

You'll want to register sooner rather than later, so give it a whirl and be sure to let me know how it goes!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five For Friday!

It's my first every Five For Friday Linky! Figured I'd better get in on one before Doodle Bug takes a break during the month of July. :)

So this week...

1.) I had book club with my lovely teacher friends this week and we decided we'd do a Chelsea Handler book next. Can't wait-I've heard these are a hoot!

2.) I've been shopping for blog templates forever and had my eye on The Honey Bunch. If you're looking for premade templates, that are reasonably priced, this is THE place to be! They now make $20 templates that they sell a few copies of. Some of them are darling! I'm currently debating between two...

3.) Met new neighbors this week, too. Definitely a change, but I think it'll be a good one. 

4.) As I was at the post office today, I snuck next door to the Dollar Tree. I told myself I'd avoid the teacher's section, but I didn't. Of course! I spent the best 5 bucks ever and got:
-A large, reusable cute venn diagram template
-Happy Birthday large certificates
-"I Can Tie My Shoes" certificates--think I'm going to turn these into necklaces
-"I Lost My Tooth" certificates
-Random blue, plastic serving tray. I'll use that for something...

I stopped myself at 5 items. But there are a few more things I have my eye on!

5.) Hoping to be at Hershey tomorrow with some fantastic ladies! I just love Hershey Park. It's my fav amusement park. I'll be a little scared before the first roller coaster ride, and then I'll be an addict. Here's to hoping the lines aren't too long and that there are no mischievous teens trying to cut the line...That happened to me once, and just because it's summer doesn't mean I've completely lost my teacher tone. :)

Hope you've had a fantastic week full of summering activities, too!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Annual Purchases!

So each Spring, I get to order whatever I want for my classroom, up to a specified amount of money of course. It's called my annual budget, and each classroom teacher in my district gets one. Awesome! 

Every year I agonize over what I'm going to buy and I scan, scan, scan catalogs-then compare shipping costs, etc. I'm strategic, I'll utilize every penny. Last year, I even used my last few bucks to buy some googly eyes. But hey, googly eyes are everything in first grade!

So what did I get this year???? Check it out below! 

Hear Myself Sound Phone
Purchase #1: 5 of these from Lakeshore Learning. These "Hear Myself Sound Phones" have been around for years and while some people are crafty enough to make them out of plumbing pipes-I have NO idea where to begin. 

Reusable Write & Wipe Pocket
 Purchase #2: Also form Lakeshore, their Reusable Write and Wipe Pockets. I think you get a set of 10. I am so excited to use these for all sorts of word work, worksheets, etc. The Mailbox makes great grammar worksheets (as in, not boring) and I can't wait to just put them in here and not have to make a zillion copies of them!

Purchase #3: I got five sets of set 1. I think they're prettier than set 2. These were from Resources for Reading . They have a much better deal than Really Good Stuff on these bags. A four-pack is only $10 and our Reading Specialists recommended them to me. So, they do hold up well or at least let's hope!

I may have a few more bucks left and I'll order like velcro hook and loop squares or magnet tape or maybe even googly eyes! But I can't wait for my purchase to be delivered in August. It's like Christmas morning, even though I already know what I'm getting haha.

In the past, I've used my budget to buy a set of those 10 colored drawers on wheels, letter sponges, a class mailbox system, wikki stixx, etc. Do you get a budget? If so, what's on your wish list???