Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Button & Upcoming Giveaway

     I'm very excited about the growth of my blog recently.  It has been really fun this summer getting to catch up on blog posts.  Now that I'm starting to grow I'd like to expand so I made a better blog button.  Feel free to add it to your blog and let me know so I can link back to yours.

     As I'm approaching 200 followers I am planning on doing a nice giveaway.  If you would like to help me with this giveaway and donate something please contact me.  I will add your blog to Rafflecopter so other people can follow you to earn an entry. I would like to start the giveaway as soon as I reach 200 followers so contact me as soon as possible and let me know what item or product from your TPT store you would be willing to donate. 

I also wanted to link up to What I'm Loving Wednesday!  Today my local education store, All about Education, had a back to school event that I was definitely loving.  They give away bags full of goodies to the first 75 customers.  I've gone the past 4 years and it is always a lot of fun.  They also have storewide discounts and vendors set up inside showing their new products. 

I'm also loving how awesome my cheerleading squad is this year!  We have been working on our stunt groups this summer to prepare for camp next week.  They have already came a long way and cheer season hasn't even started yet.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

3 Link Ups 4 Tuesday

I am catching up a bit today because I haven't been posting as much lately.  I found three great link ups I'm excited to be a part of.

First up is when do I go back to school with Literacy Spark.
     I have already been in and out of school this Summer for cheer practice.  Next week we have cheer camp so I will be there even more.  As for when teachers start we go back on August 20th, while students return the following Monday.  I'm happy we at least start back on a Monday this year!    I will probably go back to school much earlier than the 20th so I can move rooms.  I will be in a different classroom this year and I want to organize my classroom library very well so it will probably take me a while to get my room ready.

      Next up on the link up list is Teachers, show us your Read-Alouds with The Teachers Chair.  The book I really like to read to my sixth graders is The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm. The reason I like to start off with this book is because it talks about the issue of bullying and how to deal with them.  It is also very engaging so my students will remind me to get to the read aloud each day.  I think it is very important to address social issues at the beginning of the year and this is an age appropriate book that speaks to many of the challenges middle school students face.

Finally, I wanted to share my back to school goals through the linkup at I {heart} Recess. It was fun to get to think about these.

Personal:  I really want to get into a routine to run after school.  I started this at the end of last year and it gave me a second energy to get work done after running. I'm hoping to run some more 5k's this year so I want to keep up this goal of running on a daily basis.

Organization:  I have seen so many ideas on Pinterest for teacher binders. I think this is a great way to keep important information organized.  I plan on making my own with a section for lesson plans, student information, parent contacts, calendars, IEP information and assessment data.

Planning:  This year my school is using Powersource for tracking student grades and attendance.  Another teacher we bought is PowerTeacher which is where you can enter your lesson plans online and search through them later.  I think this is a great management system for keeping up with lessons so I'm looking forward to learning all the features of this program.

Professional: After reading "Teach Like a Pirate" I am very excited to use more engaging strategies in my classroom. I want to create lessons that my students would buy tickets to be a part of.

Students:  Last year my students had the hardest time forgetting the things I thought were so simple to remember.  I would get so frustrated when they didn't have a pencil, forgot to write in their agenda or left their name off of their paper.  I do need to remember that they are kids and cut them some more slack when they forget things.

Motto: Practice your passion means to remember why I first wanted to be a teacher and live that our everyday.  I didn't become a teacher because I love grammar so much that I couldn't stand not to teach it.  I became a teacher because I want to make a difference in the lives of children.  Therefore, everyday I want to be passionate about teaching, whether the content I'm covering that day is interesting or not.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

It's hard to believe it is already Friday.  This week has flown by and I know the rest of the Summer will too.  I have so much I want to do to prepare for next year before school starts back.  Today I'm going to share some of my favorite pins for back to school.

This is a great bulletin board idea for poetry. Students pick what they believe is their best feature and write a poem about it.

Use a jar to fill with positive notes throughout the school year.  Whenever students want to write something great that happened they can put it in the jar. At the end of the year read all the positive moments that happened during the year.

I pinned the link to my post about using Twitter for education.  If you haven't read it yet, or joined Twitter yet you should definitely check out this post.

I found a website that sells children's books by the box for $12.99.  Shipping is around $15 but to get over 100 books for under $30 is an awesome deal.  Has anyone tried this site yet?

I plan on implementing whole brain teaching this year.  I love these alternatives to using Class..Yes!

I also found a great resource this week that is a google doc. For anyone who teaches middle school language arts check this out.  It is a collaboration document that has lists of read aloud books, picture books to use and contacts of other middle school teachers.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Learning through Twitter

    Today I wanted to share with you all how useful Twitter can be for professional development.  I just started using it a little over a month ago and have already learned so much.  It is a great way to expand your professional network.  To get started make a twitter account, here.

      A great way to find more people to follow is to join in on a Twitter chat.  There are chats for each day of the week about specific topics.  You can find a list of weekly chats here.  To participate in a chat you just search the hashtag at the time of the chat.  For example, last night there was a chat using the hashtag #elatlap.  That stands for English Language Arts Teach Like a Pirate.  This chat was about how to make your Language Arts class creative.  If you do a search for the hashtag #elatlap you can find the tweets from the chat. In a chat, a moderator posts questions and anyone who wants to participate responds to the questions using the hashtag at the end.  If you find someone who you think has great ideas during a chat then follow them. It is likely they will post other things you will like that will come up on your newsfeed.

   Once you have built up your followers and have started learning from others you need a way to organize your tweets. There is a great website called Storify that will help you organize your tweets.  When you find a tweet you like on Twitter, favorite it.  You can then create a story quickly by dragging your favorites into a category.  Here is an example of a Storify I recently made:

    If you are just getting started on Twitter, here are some great educators I recommend following.  To follow them just go to twitter, search their usernames and click follow.


And of course, don't forget to follow me.  If you go to my followers you can find additional educators to connect with.

The word cloud above was created by @NYtechprepper.  He asked his colleagues to tweet one word about their experience using Twitter.  As you can see there are multiple reasons to start tweeting. I hope to see you all on Twitter and hopefully we can participate in an upcoming Twitter chat together.  If you have more questions about how to use Twitter, please feel free to send me a message.  At first it can seem confusing but it is definitely worth your time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Belize Mission Trip in Pictures

  I arrived back home last night and I almost wish I was still in Belize.  Last week was one of the best weeks of my life. I learned more about myself and the world than I ever have before.  The devil tried so hard during the week to bring our team down but we overcame every obstacle we were faced with.  We did some amazing things in Belize and I can't wait to go on another mission trip.  There is so much I could say about the trip so I'm just going to try my best to show you through some of the pictures I took.

Some of the kids I played with during Vacation Bible School

Our team built a Sunday school classroom for the church we worked with.

The children there were so happy to see us and learn more about the love of God.

We started every morning with a tunnel for the children to run into the church through.

We drove through a Mennite community which was very interesting.  They live like the Amish.

This was the bathroom at the church we worked at. 

Every meal consisted of some form of chicken and rice.

This is a tamale.  I got very sick the night after eating this, as did a few others.  The devil tried to bring us down but we got right back up and kept serving!

We climbed to the top of many temples at the Mayan Ruins.

We swam in a lagoon in Lamani.

The bugs there were big and plenty. I don't think I will mind killing a small bug here anymore.

We went snorkeling in the barrier reef.  I even touched some stingrays in the water.

We woke up early enough on Caye Caulker to see the sunrise.

Sunday morning we took a water taxi back to Belize city and headed home.  

    There are many things I will not take for granted anymore after this trip.  I made a list of a few of them while on the bus one day. 

  • Clean water
  • Air condition
  • Being able to throw toilet paper in the toilet
  • Passing lanes on the road
  • Homes with good roofs
  • Easy transportation
  • Beef
  • Showering in warm water
    I'm sure I could list many more things but most importantly I will never take for granted God's love and protection.  I'm very blessed to live in America with all the material things we are fortunate enough to have, however God's love is greater than anything of the world.  The people of Belize were always so happy and friendly and they don't have half of what we have in America.  It was a great lesson in realizing that the only way we can be truly happy in the world is to follow God's plan for our life. I'm greatly looking forward to serving the Lord and sharing his love with even the people that live right around me.  

    If you want to read more about we did while in Belize, you can visit the Praying Pelicans website, here.  They posted a journal entry each day with pictures about our trip.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back to School Wishlist & Sales

    I have decided to come up with a list of things I know I will need to buy before school starts back.  There are so many back to school sales going on that it is easy for me to say "Oh, that is only 25 cents, I better buy 10!" That is why I need to stick to a list! The list of things I need is based on things I already have left over from last year.  I have hundreds of folders now, so even if they are super cheap, I don't need to buy anymore.

My Back to School Wishlist

  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Tape
  • Highlighters
  • 2 staplers (both of mine broke last year)
  • Hand held pencil sharpeners
  • Composition notebooks
  • Cereal boxes for book bins
  • Printed duct tape (many rolls)
  • Plastic baskets to store books by genre (I'd love suggestions for where to get these the cheapest)

     Now of course our school give us a little bit of money to purchase supplies for our classroom, but I like to use that money for bigger items.  So now for the list of deals that I would actually buy IF I were able to go shopping next week.  I'm hoping my sweet mother will read this and get some of these things for me while she is in town next week. Love you mom!

Office Max has the best deals again this week with:

  • 1 cent wooden pencils - limit 20
  • Sharpie Ancent Yellow Highlighters 4pk - $1
  • Paperpro Evo Stapler $4
  • Buy 2 get 1 free, scotch duct tape
They also have 10 cent hand sanitizer, 25 cent glue stick and pens and 15 cent notebooks and folders but I already have plenty of those items from last year.

Office Depot has a few items this week such as:

  • 2-Hole Manual Pencil Sharpeners - 25 cents
  • Filler notebook paper - 25 cents
  • Scotch® Color Masking Tape - $2


    Office Depot also will have a folding file cart with lid on sale for $15, regular $23.99.  This saved me so much last year when I wanted to carry home my students reading response notebooks. If you don't have a rolling cart yet, this a great deal!

   Staples doesn't have many great deals this week so I'm not listing anything from them.  I'm sure the ads will continue to pick up later in the month.

     In other news tomorrow morning I leave for Belize with 40 others from my church.  We are going to be working on several different projects including construction, food ministries, sports recreation and vacation bible school.  I have never been out of the country so I am very excited about this opportunity.  I have spent a lot of time in prayer for this trip and hope that we can all be the hands and feet of Christ.   While I'm gone I won't be able to make any new blog posts but I will be taking lots of pictures to share when I get back.  I hope you all have a wonderful week and please pray for my church and I while we are away.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

  It is a busy day for me as I get ready for my trip to Belize on Sunday. However, I can always spare a few moments for Pinterest!  I'm linking up with The First Grade Parade to share my favorite pins this week.

My favorite teacher pins this week

I love this idea for making a magnetic board with filing cabinets. I don't have a magnetic whiteboards in my classroom so this will be great to use as a news board.

I think I'm going to use this idea for the first day of homeroom if we have time.

This will definitely be one of my bulletin boards next year.

Recent craft finds

Such an easy idea, I need to find some cute stencils now.

These would be cute to make in certain colors and set on group tables in the classroom. Then I could call groups to line up by color.

Other fun finds

Love this picture of Caye Caulker, I will be snorkeling there next Saturday!

Mint Chocolate Chip icecream cake? Can you say YUM?! I wish I had time to make this now.

It can be hard to be patient sometimes, but in the end it will be worth the wait.

I'm getting my nails done today and I would LOVE to have this manicure.

I hope everyone has a great start to their weekend. Don't forget to link up and share your favorite pins!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Get to know me award!

   I woke up this morning to two emails saying I was nominated for the Liebster award.  This is an award for new blogs with less than 200 followers.  It's a great way to find new bloggers to follow and get to know them a little better.  So I first want to think my new sweet blogging friends Angela @ The Teacher's Desk 6 and Melissa @ Starting in 6th for nominating me for this award!

Here are the rules for accepting my nomination:

  • Link back to the blog that nominated me.
  • Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator.
  • Share 11 random facts about myself.
  • Create 11 questions for my nominees.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
  • Contact my nominees to let them know that I nominated them.

  • Questions for me by Angela

  • What made you decide to be a teacher?  I've wanted to be a teacher since I was a kid lining up my teddy bears and reading stories to them.  What finalized my decision to teach was my high school Spanish class where we were able to teach basic Spanish to our local elementary school.  The time time I was able to present a lesson I created I automatically fell in love.
  • How would you describe your teaching style? My teacher style would be very student centered.  I like  to see my students trying to figure out things themselves without me giving them the answer.  I love group work and am rarely at the front of the room.
  • Do you have siblings? If so, please tell a little about them.  I have one older sister, she is 10 years older than me but we are still very close.  She has two children, a girl and a boy so I am a very lucky aunt.
  • If you were a color, what would you be? Why?  I would be neon pink because I'm very bright and outspoken.  
  • What was your favorite grade in school and why?  My favorite grade in school was probably eleventh grade when I knew I wanted to become a teacher and was able to start taking community college classes. 
  • What gives you inspiration? Recently most of my inspiration has came from professional development books and learning from other bloggers. I am very thankful for my blogger friends!
  • What is your favorite book? Why? Where the Red Fern Grows has to be my favorite because it is my favorite novel to experience with my students.  It was the first book I found where my students were constantly asking me to keep reading.  I also love dogs so this is a great pick for me.
  • What kind of vehicle do you drive? Does this say anything about your personality?  I drive a Colbalt and about all that says for me is that I like comfort and good gas mileage.
  • Do you play any musical instruments?  I took about 7 years of piano lessons and wish that I would have continued to practice more.  I have lost a lot of what I previously could do.
  • If you could meet any historical figure who would you choose? I'd want to meet Leonardo Da Vinci and see if he could give me a painting lesson. 
  • What do you enjoy most about blogging? I enjoy reflecting on my teaching practices and getting to learn from other teachers.  I have taken away so many ideas from other bloggers!

  • Questions for me by Melissa

    1. What was your experience on the first day of your first year in teaching like?  I was overjoyed, that was the moment I had been waiting so many years for.  Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous and was so excited to see smiling faces in front of me looking excited about the upcoming year.

    2. What was/is one of the funniest things that has happened to you as a teacher?  My best stories I probably wouldn't want to share on here in case those students were reading. However, my students love to laugh about my drawing skills.  Somehow my turtles end up looking like tables.

    3. What was one event you learned the most from? I had a student who could never complete an assignment.  For every teacher he had he could only finish a few questions during independent work.  I kept trying and trying to find a way to help him because his grades were very bad.  Some teachers would say "well that is just him" but I never gave in to that.   I came up with an idea of using a timer to help him during independent work.  The student was finally able to finish independent work and became much more confident in himself.  Moral of the story here is to never give up on a student, no matter what anyone else says.

    If you could live one place in the world, where would it be and why?  I would want to live some place warm and with a farm. I don't have any specific countries or states I'd prefer to live in. I would just love to have a farm and be with my family.

    What would be one thing you wish was in your classroom, and how would it help?  I would love an iPad cart.  I would have students use them for things like QR code hunts and creating their own blogs.

    What is your favorite book to read with the students? Where the Red Fern Grows. I recommend this to any fifth or sixth grade teacher. It creates a great experience with your students.

     If you could live in any decade, which one would it be and why? I would probably stay in the 90's.  The economy was a little better, great TV shows and great bands were around during this time.

    Where did you go to college & why did you choose that school? I went to Appalachian State University.  The only reason I chose this school was because it is known as a great education school.  I do not like cold weather so sometimes I question how I survived those years in the mountains.

    If you weren't teaching, what career would you choose & why?  I would probably be working in some kind of computer tech field.  I am great with computers and technology and like to figure out how to solve different tech issues.

     Are you planning on advancing your degree, in which area/endorsement? I have my Master's in Special Education so right now my plan is to just use it.  I don't know if I will go back for my Doctorate or not but if I do it will be for Curriculum & Instruction.

    What is your favorite type of food?  I love Italian food, both eating it and cooking it.  Pizza, pasta and salad are all my favorites.  I love trips to Olive Garden.

    11 Random Facts about me

    1. I'm a Christian.
    2. I'm a perfectionist
    3. I love Summer & being outdoor
    4. I'm probably the happiest person you will meet.
    5. I like shopping, a little too much.
    6.  I love books and the smell of Barnes & Noble
    7.  I love visiting new places.
    8.  New York is my favorite place I've been so far.
    9.  I'm left handed
    10.  My TV show addictions are The Following, Revenge & The Big Bang Theory.
    11. I enjoy going for a run and I'm trying to enter in more races

    Now to nominate some of my favorite blogs for this award!

    1. Amber @ A Little Bit of Everything
    2. Amy @ Middle School Minions
    3.  Jessica @ Literacy Spark
    4. Miss Brigotti @ Write in the Middle
    5. Erin @ The E-Z Class

    Questions for my nominees:

    1.  What is your best advice for starting a new school year?
    2.  What is your favorite book for professional development and why?
    3.  How do you deal with giving homework? Is it the same each week?
    4.  If you weren't a teacher, what profession would you be in?
    5.  What is your favorite thing to cook?
    6.  Outside of teaching, what do you like to do for fun?
    7. What is your favorite place to shop?
    8.  What is your favorite educational website?
    9.  What kind of music do you like to listen to?
    10.  What is your favorite television show?
    11. What book do you love reading with your students the most?

    Thanks again to Angela and Melissa for nominating me.  I love this way of getting to know new bloggers. I hope my nominees have just as much fun with the award.

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Back to school Pinterest ideas

       I know I spend way too much time on Pinterest, but what teacher doesn't? I'm so excited to be linking up with Upper Grade are Awesome for a Back to School Linky party.  To pick only my top 10 is very difficult but here it goes!

         All of these pins make me so excited about making more things for my classroom this summer. I'm also super excited about deciding how I want to incorporate all the professional development books into my instruction next year. I've learned a lot from The Book Whisperer, Teacher like a Pirate and Whole Brain Teaching and it is fun to find pins that relate to those books. What do you have on your top 10 list for back to school?

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    A little inspiration

     As teachers it is our job to inspire our students.  Everyday we try to encourage are students to be better thinkers and to find a love of learning.  It can be easy to forget about what inspires us as teachers since we spend so much time figuring out how to help out students.  So today I'm sharing a little inspiration.

    Keep Changing the World by MIKESCHAIR

    One of my favorite motivational videos for when I need  to be pumped up!

    Go Light Your World by Chris Rice

    So what inspires you?

    Monday, July 8, 2013

    Monday Made It {Magnet Board, Frames & Planning Ideas}

         I am finally starting my list of things I want to make for my classroom so I am linking up today to Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics. My first little project was a magnet board to hang in my room. The white boards in my classroom aren't magnetic so I was excited to find this idea on Pinterest.

    This is just a pizza pan from the dollar tree covered with scrapbook paper and duck tape around the edges.  I then had my dad drill me two holes in the top so I could put ribbon through it and hang it up!

        The next thing I did was simply paint some wooden frames with purple glitter paint.  These frames were on sale at Michael's for .79! They are light even that I will be able to tack them on my bulletin board and put book recommendations from my students in them.  The picture below is an idea of how the bulletin board will look when it's being used. I'm also going to have students actually write out why they recommend those books.  It will be like an extra credit bulletin board and each week three new students will get to hang up their book recommendations.

         I'm also starting to create my own lesson plan book.  One of the first pages on the inside will be a page I created based on the book Teach Like a Pirate.  It is just a sheet that gives me ideas for activities I can use in each lesson to help my students become more engaged.  I don't mind sharing this document, however it didn't show up as pretty when I imported into Google Drive.  If you would like to take a look anyway, you can find it here.   This will really help me as I start to Plan like a Pirate.  If you are getting a head start to lesson plans for next year, link up with me below.

           Also, don't forget to go visit 4th Grade Frolics to find out what everyone else is making!

    Empty Promises Book Review

         I recently read Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing by Pete Wilson.  This book was sent to me for free by to review.  Although this is a book meant to change your Christian life, it also made me think about myself as a teacher.  The book is set up in chapters about things that you believe make you truly happy.  For example, one chapter is about being addicted to approval. I'm pretty sure most teachers want approval from someone and often times we don't get it.  We want our principal to approve of our lessons when he/she comes in to observe, we want parents to approve of our teaching methods and we want our students to accept us as caring teachers.  Not that there is anything wrong with seeking approval but this book really made me question why it is I strive for approval and acceptance from others. 
         The main take away I left with after reading this book is that God is the only person who leave you feeling full.  Looking for happiness through power, approval, achievement, money or beauty won't leave you with the same fullness as God can leave you with.  Searching for empty promises really only makes you tired and always longing for something more.
        I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good Christian read before school starts back.  It will make you remember the real reason you chose to become a teacher because I doubt it was for the money, the approval of others or any other empty promise.

    I review for BookSneeze®

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Shopping for deals Sunday

    Back to school sales started today at most office supply stores.  I didn't really see much I liked in the Office Depot ad so I just stuck with Office Max and Target.  I may go to Staples tomorrow, but there wasn't too much I found intriguing there either.  I'm hoping the ads will get better as it gets closer for school to start.  My Office Max trip went great. I brought my mom with me so I could get double the limit.  The total for everything in the picture below was $12.16!  Also, just as a warning the guy at Office Max was trying to say that their had been a misprint in the sales ad, and now there was a limit of 2 for the glue bottles.  He still allowed me to get 10 since my sales ad said limit 10, but I don't know if all stores will be as kind.

    20 bottles of glue, 20 file folders, 10 composition notebooks, 4 pairs of scissors, paper mate led pencil starter kit,  12 pk of fine point sharpies, 4 pk of gluesticks and 4 pk of expo markers.

         My next stop was to the dollar spot at Target.  They had several racks of items marked 70% off! Each item I bought below was only 30 cents!  I bought a couple of books for my non-fiction section and some awesome Let's Cook pads.  I plan on using the note pads as a fun way for my students to practice writing informational text/how-to's.

         My favorite find at Target were these little bookmarks.  They are in the shape of a digital camera and are magnifiers.  I thought these would be great bookmarks to keep by my classroom library for students to use.  I especially like them for EC students who may want to chunk smaller pieces of text to read. 

         After Target, I went to Michael's to buy some craft materials to use this week.  I will share that in another post though.  To end the shopping adventure I stopped at Moe's to get some dinner.  Nothing like a Joey Jr and some queso dip to end the day.

    Good luck to everyone else on their back to school shopping adventures! I'm linking this post up to the "Show Us Your Stuff" linky party.  It is all about showing the piles of stuff you have bought or are making for your classroom.  Did I really need 20 more folders on top of all that I bought for my class last year? No, probably not but for 1 cent how could I not buy them!  I'm sure I would have many more piles of items if they weren't already at school.  Right now most of my piles are in lockers or boxes outside my classroom. Click the button below to join in the on the linky party and show us your piles of stuff!

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