Thursday, April 3, 2014

Welcome & Currently April

Welcome! I am so glad you're here. 

I am a teacher blogger (or at least I want to be)! I have tried to succeed in the blogging world but too many real world things have gotten in the way. 

Now I am back and ready to make another go of it with a totally different plan. The new plan is to actually have a plan! :)

A big thanks to those of you who have returned after my long absence. I promise to make it worth your while to stick with me. And to those of you who are new to my little piece of the internet check out my "About Me" section and let's get to know each other better! 

And don't forget to leave me a note with your blog link so I can follow you as well!

I love Farley's Currently posts! I look forward to them all month long. Join up if you get the chance!

Listening - My students are getting some time to read today. Yay!

Loving - Unlike the rest of the country California has been unseasonably warm. It doesn't even feel like we had a winter and we are desperate for rain! The last couple of days have been cool and rainy and I am loving it!

Thinking - We are field testing the SBAC and we are taking our tests BEFORE spring break. AHHHH!

Wanting - Our spring break is so late this year. We don't start until April 18th. Crazy! (But that also means less time until summer break when we get back!)

Needing - There is a place down the street that gives full-body, hour-long massages for $20. Oh how I need this but, alas, there is no extra time!

Hours & Last Day - I get to work at 7:00 (I am up at 5:30!) and the kids start at 8:00. They are out at 2:30 and I go to pick up my own kiddos between 3:00-3:30. It's a pretty solid day. On Thursdays my students are out at 1:20 to make time for our grade level PLC meetings. 

Wishing You Well!

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Common Core Concerns

Our district/state is currently making the move to the common core standards. I know many of you have been using the standards for a while now but California is a bit behind. In fact our state department only posted resources in the last six months. Because of this, I am so grateful to all of you who are already sharing your work with the common core! I don't know what I would do without you!

Our district has spent the last year introducing the common core through a series of nine mini-trainings. (Yes, nine...) Many of these trainings have left the teachers feeling overwhelmed and out-of-sorts, especially those who do not keep up with education movements. (I think someone in our first session said "Common Core? What's that?" I almost feel over. How can you not know what's going on in your professional field?)

One of my biggest concerns about Common Core is California specific (I think). We are supposed to begin teaching Core next year (2013-1014) but are still required to take the California Standards Test (CST) for the old standards. Is anyone else in this situation? Is this idea as inane as I think it is? What are your school/district/state plans for the transition?

What other bumps have you experience with the Core?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation 2013

Since I am the assistant principal, I have been working with my principal to create an awesome teacher appreciation gift for the staff members at our school. We did some covert planning and visited each classroom to have the students write down descriptive words about their teachers. I am in love with subway art (like most people right now) and so I wanted to create something that the teachers would be able to display but also make it personal.

Enter Tagxedo! You need to check out this website. It is a word cloud creator akin to Wordle but so much cooler. You can enter your own text, upload a blog or use any URL. Tagxedo then takes the word frequencies and creates a word cloud - which you can then change to any shape you want. They have some set shapes but you can also upload your own. The possibilities are endless and it is still in BETA testing so everything is FREE! I am planning on using the program with my kiddos next year for some kind of project - if my district takes the block off the site! (Gotta love IT departments and their arbitrary web blocks!)

The finished products can be saved in several formats and then printed as needed (another plus that Wordle does not use). I do have to say that Wordle is a wonderful program and works great, on a basic level, so if that's what you're comfortable with then start there. (It's a great place to start students too!) Tagxedo gives you more options and the ability to personalize to a greater extent, which I love! Don't you?

And to all you wonderful teachers out there, keep doing what you're doing! You are amazing! I am so grateful to all the teachers that have influenced me over the years and the many lessons I have learned (including those not found in a text book!). Happy Teacher Day to All!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

And then it was May...


Where did all that time go since my last post?

I have been officially back at work since March 11 and wishing I could be at home with my babies but glad to be back with my kiddos in the classroom at the same time. I did miss them for the most part. It was an interesting transition back into the classroom because my students decided they needed to "test" me and see what they could get away with. They have since learned that the answer is not much and that I haven't changed a bit (except for the missing baby belly!). They really, really want to meet The Boy but I told them they were too germ infested for now. I am planning on introducing them at the end of the school year.

We just started testing and so the last couple of weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of review and such. (It was also fun trying to figure out what my sub covered and what she didn't. She is an excellent sub and did an amazing job but I wouldn't voluntarily miss the middle of the school year again!)

So now I'm getting back on the Currently train with Farley @ Oh Boy Fourth Grade

My bucket list is pretty easy - at least I hope so! I love being in the pool and I live in So Cal so there's really no good reason not to be at the beach! I am praying my baby boy sleeps better soon because I am seriously sleep deprived! My DD never had any trouble sleeping so it's new territory that my almost 5 month old is still waking up every three hours! 

In class we just started our unit on Ancient Rome and I have a mega awesome project I do every year that encompasses the entire Roman world with very little effort from me. The kids love it and it keeps them on their toes until the end of the year since they often think they're d-o-n-e when testing is over! Watch for the next post for more info!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy 1st Anniversary!

I can't believe a year has already gone by since I started my teacher blog. I started off very excited to meet new people and find new inspiration...I was not disappointed. Thank you to those of you who have followed my blog and helped me jump into the blogging world!

I went MIA in September because I found out that I was expecting my 2nd baby! I had planned on continuing to blog but the pregnancy was much more tiring than my first. I gave birth to my adorable son on December 15th and I am now getting back on my feet in the real and blogging world - which is a little easier since I am on maternity leave and have some time to think about what I really want from my blog without worrying about my classroom. (Although I am almost always thinking about how to improve my practice in the classroom!)

So here I go with the start of another year! Thanks for your support and I look forward to getting to know y'all much, much better!

Linking up with my favorite linky party at Oh Boy Fourth Grade! Check it out and join the fun!

My One Little Word for this year is Faith. I have spent the last couple years relying on myself and my own plans WAY too much. I need to back off and let things be what they may. I hope this will help me to see things as they really are and stop worrying so much about every little thing. I am a constant worrier and it's just too exhausting! I have enough to deal with without the things I choose to obsess over with worry. I cannot control everything I want to and that's okay. So I will go forward in faith that all things will work out for my good and be happy because that's what we're here for!

"I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse." -Phillip Yancey

"Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right." -Max Lucado

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Big Thank You!

Recently I have been awarded several times for my blog and I am finally getting the chance to send out a huge thank you! I feel very blessed to be noticed and hope that my blog will be an inspiration to many and live up to these awards!

Thank You to Julie at The Hip Teacher & Mrs. Slocum Teacher's Don't Steal, They Share! for the One Lovely Blog Award:

There are only 3 rules to follow once you've received this award :)
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

Thank you to Antoinette and Emily at 4321...Teach for The Versatile Blogger award!

There are seven rules for this award.

1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you!
2)  Include a link to their site.  (See above)
3)  Include the award image in your post.

4)  Give 7 random facts about yourself.
   #1 - I love spicy food. The spicier, the better.
   #2 - I have been teaching in the same classroom for 10 years now at the same elementary school I attended.
   #3 - I am scared to death of horror films unless they are about zombies...I find zombies to be hilarious!
   #4 - I am a Disney fanatic but sadly this will be my last year with a season pass (I've had one since I was 18) with the outrageous price increases they have made. Just can't afford it anymore and can't justify the expense. :(
   #5 - My husband and I were married 6 months after we met and are celebrating 8 years of marriage in November!
   #6 - I hated math in school but I love teaching it.
   #7 - I love to scrapbook and am a consultant for Close to My Heart. They have the coolest (and easiest) online scrapbooking around and you can play with all of it for free! (I know that sounds like an ad...and it is...but I only share it because I love it soooo much! I'm not much of a sales person. I just like to share what makes my life easier. If you're interested in more info let me know!)
5)  Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.

6)  When nominating, include a link to their site.

7)  Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

And last but not least Thank You to Lisa at Super Pig and Tyrant King for the Liebster Blog award!

The Liebster award is for blogs with less than 200 followers who need to get the attention they deserve--the rules are as follows:

1. Copy and paste the award onto your blog

2. Thank the giver and link back to them. (See above)
3. Nominate 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blogs.

So I am really a terrible person because I am not following all the rules for these awards. It is just so overwhelming! So I am not nominating anyone today because I have already taken so much time to thank the award givers and I want everyone to know that I really do appreciate the thought and I don't want to wait any longer. So thank you and I promise to show the love by visiting and commenting on all the wonderful blogs I follow and will follow in the future!

My Classroom 2012

 As you look at these pictures you may be saying to yourself, "Self, where's all the awesome, cool, cute (insert adjective here) decorations? Where's the coordinating fabrics and papers? This room doesn't look like anyone lives here!" ...and you would be right on point! I decided this room needed to belong to my students just as much as it does to me. So I decorated in a very minimalist style for the beginning of the year. Usually I put up tons of posters and such. I go overboard making sure that the kiddos are visually stimulated when they walk in the room on the first day. This year I have decided to give them the responsibility! We have been creating anchors charts in the first week that have already started to grace the walls and I couldn't be happier about it. Yea for taking some of the work off my plate and giving my students ownership!

The first week went great and I am enjoying the changes I have been making in my physical surroundings and my way of doing things. I feel very confident with all the simplifications I have made. I do not feel overwhelmed at the end of the day and I sure hope that feeling lasts.

I have been starting to implement Daily 5 and will hopefully move into teaching the CAFE menu soon. My CAFE board is one of the only boards that had anything on it the first day of school. I made the marble magnets below to write the kids names on for the magnetic white boards. I am excited to see how it works out!