It’s Been a While

12.08.2012

I love the idea of blogging. Taking the time to journal the things that are going on in life and looking back one day. How fun! It’s just that finding the time to do it is SO very hard. I manage to keep my life extremely busy. I don’t know why I don’t allow myself to slow down but I just don’t.

For example, as if teaching a new grade in a new school district wouldn’t keep me busy and crazy enough I decided to finally be serious about photography. So now I’ve got a little photography business going on the side. Which I absolutely LOVE but I wonder why I do that to myself. You know, get SO darn busy.

Tryp is learning so much and he’s becoming more literal and understanding sarcasm and holy smokes, he’s growing up. 

Audrey has a new love for Elmo and it’s SO stinking cute. She says “Eh Oh” for “Elmo”. She gives him lots of kissies and  has to have him everywhere we go now. She is dancing to music and becoming quite the little toddler. I love this age until the tantrums start.

For my birthday and Christmas I got a new lens. A Canon 100mm macro. It takes great pictures so far but I can’t wait to use it some more. I can’t believe that it’s almost 2013.  I seriously need to get better about documenting things and then of course printing my blog into books for us to read one day.

We have some other big changes happening in our family soon we hope and no it’s not another baby. :)

Mystery Unit

10.13.2012

School has been flying and I keep praying that next year will be so much easier with all the work I’m putting in now.

Our district uses Lucy Calkins for reading and writing workshop. I’m not sold.

I think that Lucy has some great lessons but there are a lot of “fluff” lessons that do not explicitly teach the Common Core Standards. I have spent time looking through them and trying to align them and when I failed to succeed I went hunting for a plan that would work. I will definitely still pull some of Lucy’s lessons to tie into my units but Lucy is not the end all be all for teaching. Unfortunately there are several people in our district that think this way. My teaching style is NOTHING close to Lucy Calkins.

So, while I’m on my two week intersession break (Remember, I teach at a year round school) I have been  mapping out what the rest of the school year will look like in my classroom. For the last two weeks of October we will be doing a mystery unit that I am SUPER DUPER excited about.

I will be covering these reading standards: 3.RL.1 and 3.RL.9.

I really think the kids are going to enjoy it.

I pulled ideas from several resources to come up with this fun unit. I’m using a lot of Beth Newingham’s Mystery unit on Scholastic. I’m also getting some ideas from Amanda Madden at Teaching Maddeness.

The students will listen to me read aloud two different mystery books (same author, same characters) and we will compare and contrast the setting, theme, and plots.

The students will get to be a part of a detective duo (reading partners) where they read a mystery book together that is on their level. At the end of the 2 weeks the students will present a news report telling the class all about the solved mystery.

The students will also be reading a mystery book at home with their parents and will complete a story skeleton to bring in. :)

I am so excited!

Did I mention that I was excited?! I’m going to try to remember to take pictures and do a blog post when we are all finished with the unit. After the mystery unit we will do a characters unit on Sarah, Plain, and Tall during November.

Stick around because I hope to try to blog about all of these fun things! :)

 

 

The post where I tell you how life has taken over…

9.15.2012

Hey blog friends. I couldn’t tell you the last time I blogged and I don’t even want to look because it will make me sad.

School has consumed my life which I knew it would. Which means that everything else is non-existent. Except my husband and kids and crossfit.

So the latest news is…

  • Audrey is walking! Yay!
  • Tryp is get smarter by the minute.
  • Audrey has 7 teeth!
  • Tryp has been having some behavior issues at school. Not at home. I hope these are normal.
  • Audrey is a little pistol.
  • Tryp can identified all letters, isn’t really new but now I’m asking him when we see letters so letters out of normal context.
  • Hank is going hunting tonight. Opening day.
  • I’m thankful that October is on the way. Two week break from school and War Eagle Fall Festival. :)
  • Audrey loves playing patty cake.
  • I can dead lift 165 lbs. Back squat 155 lbs. Front squat 140 lbs.

 

AudreyCollage

meandtryp

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Classroom Sneak Peak

8.19.2012

Hey friends!

I am finally going to give you a sneak peak into my classroom. I haven’t even had time to grab more shots but I’ll share with you the few I did shoot!

First up, my favorite stool! I found this stool at True Treasures. It was $15. I thought I was getting a good deal. I was not thinking clearly, obviously. A few days after I purchased the stool I saw that Wal-Mart sells BRAND NEW stools for…guess how much?! $15! Oh well. You live and learn right. So I took my “antique” stool and painted it blue and added my fun feathers and a cute design on top. The B is for Brockmeyer. :)

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Then another picture I grabbed was of my Math Toolboxes and Writing Workshop boxes. The boxes have manipulatives for each group to work on solving word problems. The writing boxes include folders for each student along with pens and paper for producing writing and taking it through the writing process.IMG_0983IMG_0984

Another thing I managed to take a picture of is my birthday chart and my brownie points pan. I wanted to do something super cute for my birthdays but I honestly didn’t have time and it wasn’t a necessity. I got the brownie points idea from What the Teacher Wants and I did it last year and it worked well for a whole class incentive program. IMG_0987

My daily schedule…I love my schedule cards. I got them from Ladybugs Teacher Files and had her custom make them to match my colors. I then printed blank clocks with times to match my schedule and I made the clock hands with permanent marker. I know I could have made the clock hands with arrows in PowerPoint or word and I TRIED. They weren’t lining up right so I just figured I would do it by hand. You can also see a glimpse of my cursive alphabet (letter A only) and I got them from the same link above. (Ladybugs Teacher Files)IMG_0990

I made Table signs to hang above my groups and I loved them unfortunately my students are awful chatty and aren’t quite ready for groups. Maybe a little later. We are still working on expectations. :)IMG_0994

And lastly, my favorite cabinet. :) If you haven’t ever decorated a cabinet, it’s so much fun and makes things so much brighter. On the left, my jobs and on the right is my behavior and I haven’t come up with a cute saying for it yet. Any suggestions? (yes…there have already been students on parent contact…) ;)

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Things are honestly crazy right now and I’m trying to balance everything. I do love my job A LOT. I’m enjoying being so much closer and I’ve got a great group of 24 students! :) Thanks for still following and bearing with me as I try to juggle it all!

Broken promises and an update

8.05.2012

I know I promised that I would post pictures of my classroom soon. And believe me y’all. I am super duper excited to post pictures to share but the beginning of the school year is crazy and it’s the LAST thing on my to do list.

It will come. Soon. No promising though. I don’t like breaking promises.

Update:

-My husband is amazing and has been so wonderful during this busy busy busy time of getting my classroom ready and starting the school year.

-Tryp has gotten to come to my classroom and couple times and I think he finally understands what I do. He likes coming to mommy’s work because of the playground. :) His understanding of things is definitely deepening. Especially with the asking “why” all the time.

-Audrey is working on her 5th tooth. She moves around the room quickly but not walking yet. She can say “mama”, “dada”, “bubba” and “hi” (when she feels like it).

-I have not been to CrossFit but ONE time in the past month. I miss it. A lot. But my family and job come first.

-I broke down and bought a carpet cleaner. Our carpets are so gross and I couldn’t take it any longer. I hope to share the before and after pics on that, one day. :)

I think that’s it…just a quick update. ;)

MIA

7.25.2012

To all my sweet followers. I have not fallen of the face of the earth. I've simply fallen into my classroom and can't get up. Seriously. I've been working non-stop in there and I can't wait to show you pictures when it's complete. :) I'll return soon...

Newest Creations and Classroom Preparation

7.11.2012

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my classroom and how I will have students in just 20 short days and I can’t even get into the school yet! AHHHHH! :) So I’ve been doing little things here and there. My newest creations are the absent student folders…

Absent Student Folders

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Absent-Folder-We-Missed-You-Cover-758359

During my first year of teaching (6th grade Social Studies and Reading), my mentor teacher used a lot of Kagan strategies and one of the many things she gave me was a copy of a “We Missed You” sheet. I loved it so much that I used it all the time. During my second year of teaching (4th grade) I kind of forgot about that awesome “We Missed You” sheet and only used folders to keep up with assignments during the day while they were gone.

This year is a combination of the two. I made a very cute We Missed You sheet that you can download for FREE here. Why? Because I love y’all!

AbsentFolders
I finished laminating and cutting my schedule signs. Aren’t they SO cute!

ScheduleCards

I got these from Ladybugs Teacher Files. Kristen is AMAZING! She even customized them for me (for extra $ of course!) and they now match my theme. I LOVE them so much!

I’m trying not to pay too close attention to the calendar but my baby girl turns 1 tomorrow. New teacher training starts in a week. Students in my classroom in 21 days. Oh my. Oh my.

Meal Planning, Healthy Eating, and Smart Spending

7.09.2012

Recently I decided that we are going to try the whole envelope budgeting system. I am an out of control debit card user. I have the numbers memorized if that tells you anything. I could use it even if it wasn’t in front of me! :) So to get serious about paying off more debt I figured that I better buckle down! *Note, I have NEVER overdrawn our account for out of control spending. I’ve just never been proactive about paying off debt.*

One thing that has always been a toughie for me is eating healthy vs. saving money. Healthy and cheap are usually not things that you can pull off. Right? I mean, usually the healthiest foods are pretty expensive. Fresh veggies, organic this, organic that, lots of meat and dairy. So because I want to get my spending in check we are trying to eat as healthy as we can but on a budget. Which means that our meals probably have more carbs. Anyone have a solution?! All the recipes can be found on my pinterest food board. Anyway, here is our meal plan for this week:

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So our grocery budget this week was $120. We spent $82.43 at Wal-Mart for our weekly grocery trip. Which left us with $37.57. My husband wanted Fire House Subs on the way home so we stopped and got him some lunch which totaled to $10.65. That left us with 26.92. We buy fresh farm eggs from our friends at $2 a dozen. So we set aside $4 for that which then leaves us with 22.92. My husband put the .92 in the kids’ piggy banks which then left us with $22. We will be eating out at Mad Pizza Thursday night for Audrey’s 1st birthday (holy heck where did that year go?!) so I assumed that it will be $8 each for an adult and $6 for Tryp which comes to $22 exactly. :) I’ll let you know if we go over.

So far this system is working out well. What do you have in place to eat healthy and save money?

Curriculum in the Classroom

7.07.2012

Here is what we will be using this year at my new school. Almost all of it is new to me. I’m posting this because I would like to know your (teachers) thoughts about them!

First up is Lucy Calkins. To be honest, I haven’t heard anything good about her and her programs BUT I am going to see for myself. We are doing the Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop Units of Study. I haven’t quite seen any differences between her workshops and the Readers Workshops by Fountas and Pinnell. (which I think is MUCH easier to read)

LucyCalkinsNext up is Words Their Way. I used this last year in my 4th grade classroom. Although, I didn’t have the main book (the picture below) and this book is SO helpful! :) I am excited to implement this again but have a better understanding of the program. 

WordsTheirWay

This year, Arkansas will be implementing Common Core Standards in grades 3-5. The district that I am in started implementing CGI Math in the past year or so. Basically, this math is based on questioning and exploration. The teacher does not give strategies, only asks questions to further students’ thinking. The students use manipulatives to find different ways to solve the problems given. I’m excited to start this! :) CGI

So, what programs do you use? Any of these? Any advice?! :)

As of late…

7.06.2012

How quickly a week passes when I realize, holy smokes, I haven’t blogged! Well we have been super duper busy around here. My friend Erin posted this 100 Things to Do This Summer list on facebook and I HAD to get busy on it. My summer is seriously dwindling down and I wanted to get some more fun activities in while I can. So I made it into a 50 Things List because some of those things just weren’t realistic for a four year old and our local area.

50ThingsWe visited a new restaurant called Five Guys (this was NOT on the list). It was delicious and even Audrey liked it. AudreyTryp and mommy did lots of running around together. :)MeandTrypI worked on this Reading Binder (which is not quite complete). A post to come soon.ReadingBinderI spent some much needed time laying out by the pool and ended up with this…a sunburn. I should have known better! SunburntWe went to the farmers market and this WAS on the list. Yummy!FarmersmarketJuicy watermelon with a little salt. MY FAVORITE! WatermelonWe also went swimming with a NEW float. Tryp can swim out in the water on his own now.July6d

Audrey was very festive for the 4th but we didn’t do much. Just saw a parade in downtown Springdale BUT it was scorching hot and Audrey didn’t care too much for the fire truck sirens.July6e

We went on a family bike ride. Early mornings are the best. It’s still cool out!

July6hAudrey was ready to rock n roll! July6fAfter our bike ride we spent $1.00 on some bread and went to feed the ducks. July6jTryp really enjoyed this. I thought he would be scared of the ducks but he wasn’t! :)July1cOnce the ducks realized we were tossing bread, they all came running our direction!July6gAudrey wasn’t too sure about the ducks but she was able to give me a toothy grin! Look at those new top teeth!July6iMy first picture of me and both of my kids. Seriously. I’m usually the one behind the camera.July1bSo sweet. Audrey loves to give out kisses. Mainly to daddy and mommy is okay with that. July6a

Classroom Jobs Chart

6.29.2012

Today I’m linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics: Made It Monday. :)

Today I’m going to show you how to make your classroom jobs chart…let’s get started. You will need these things:

I have my calendar that matches my room theme, mainly to keep my eye on the prize. I also have one of the hubs’ old white t-shirts, some beautiful turquoise ribbon that matches my theme, my classroom job signs, thermal laminating pouches from Wal-Mart, a hot glue gun, an iron, and the craft ironing board.

I made these job chart signs to match my theme. If you would like a set for yourself you can get them from my shop here. I printed my job chart signs on cardstock.

Open up your package of laminating pouches and insert one of your job chart signs. Lay out the t-shirt on the ironing board.

Slide the pouch into the t-shirt so that there is material surrounding the pouch. (Why do my arms look so hairy here?! They are not! lol)

Get iron happy. :)

Keep on ironing. I honestly can’t tell you an exact time but I let it sit for about 30 seconds and then I would move it to another section and let it sit. You can pull it out periodically and check to see if it is sealed. If not, keep ironing my friends. Ta-da. Completely sealed. Lamination makes my heart sing. So does glitter. So does my husband. And my kids…okay so my heart is always singing. ;)

Keep laminating all the sheets until you are finished.

Break out that gorgeous turquoise ribbon. Hobby Lobby must have recently got this in because I have never laid eyes on it before! Hot glue the ribbon down the back of the laminated sheets, centered of course. :) Make sure NOT to get hot glue on your leg! Ouch!

I left a small amount of space (inch?) between each paper.  And the final product:

I will write my students names on clothespins and then move them weekly or bi-weekly. I haven’t quite decided yet. Last year I did bi-weekly but might try something different this year! Some jobs will have more than one student like paper managers and clean up patrol.

So what do you think? I didn’t realize that I laminate things at home until I saw the pin fly across my pinterest feed one day!

You can find my jobs here at my teacher shop! :)

Impress them on your kids…

6.26.2012

I’m currently doing a Beth Moore bible study titled Jesus the One and Only. It’s one of her older studies but my goal from this study is to grow my faith in Jesus and learn stories and versus so that I can impress them on my children. Without having to pull out books. Not that books are bad but I would love to be able to talk to Tryp about Jesus more. So last night I did the introduction and one of the verses that we looked up was Dueteronomy 6:4-9 and it really hit home. It talks about my goal to impress them(God’s words) on my children. So I decided to make a printable. Click the picture to download your own. :)

Dueteronomy649

Made It Monday: Hall Pass Sign

6.25.2012

I’ve been plugging away at my summer bucket list for the classroom because I have, are you ready, 22 days left before I start district training. Yes, that is it my friends. Kids come back on August 1st for me so I’m trying to get it all crammed in. :)

I had so much fun linking up to 4th Grade Frolics last week and met so many new teachers that I wanted to do it again! I probably will until I run out of projects! :)

DIY Hall Pass Sign ButtonOn my summer bucket list I posted this:

HallPass

I decided to give it a whirl. It didn’t look too hard and it really wasn’t! The hardest part is waiting for paint to dry! ;) My classroom colors are staying the same from last year but this year I am adding owls and more crafty things since my room is going to be 30 x 30! :)

ColorScheme1ColorScheme

So here is what you will need:

HallPassSupplies

Paint (many colors: background and dots)

Paintbrush

Paint pens (white and black)

Wood

Fine point Sharpie

4-6 Clothespins

Glue gun (not shown)

Ribbon (not shown)

Sand paper (not shown)

Circle Stencil (anything that you can use as a circle guide)

When I unwrapped the board I realized that I could easily get a splinter if I wasn’t careful so the first thing I did was sand all the edges smooth.

MIM16MIM21MIM19MIM20Then I took the board outside and spray painted it blue. The hardest part, again, was just waiting for that to dry. I did several coats because I don’t like to see the wood grain/lines through the paint.

MIM1Using the stencil I began marking the circles and filling them in….which required several coats to get them looking good.

MIM2MIM3Once I felt like the circles were good, I had to let them dry. In fact, I think we went ahead and went to Wal Mart and when I came back they were dry enough for me to start the next part.

MIM4As you can see in my theme pictures earlier, the poster has the white stitches and I love that look so I figured I could incorporate it on this project! If you get the paint pen just right you won’t have to do a second round and you won’t have a big mess. Those paint pens can be tricky.

MIM6MIM5Once everything was really dry I whipped out the black paint pen. I did not have one of these on hand so I bought it. I wanted the big chisel tip. It’s time to write the words Hall Pass and I just do mine free hand and mine don’t look near as good as the original one but it will do! ;)MIM7MIM11I got this ric rac on sale at Hobby Lobby and knew it would be perfect for my little project. I burned the edges so it wouldn’t fray. MIM10Then I hot glued it to the back. Like so…MIM8It’s time to make the actual passes instead of just the holder. :) The easiest part really. Just write your last name on both sides of the clothespins because they are what the students will actually take (wear) to the bathroom. :)MIM17MIM18It is complete! I think it turned out pretty cute and the colors match my theme well. MIM12MIM13

Now it’s your turn. GO make one! Winking smile

Thanks for stopping by y’all!

 

 

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