Sunday, June 30, 2013

July Currently!

Somehow June has already rushed by... and it already time for the July Currently with Farley.

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Snapshot Saturday (or Sunday if you are a little lazy)

One of my favorite bloggers in the whole world wide web is Miss Nelson at Miss Nelson's Got the Camera!  Her blogs are always so informative and fun and she just seems like someone I would really like in real life, ya know?   So I am very excited for her new linky - Snapshot Saturdays!  I kind of missed the boat yesterday but wanted to link up today.    This week it is just some of my random favorite pictures and people! 
This is my son Grant holding the Special Olympics torch - this is HIS smile.  We don't often capture it,  but this time we did and I love it!
 This is my Grandma on her 90th birthday in the fall.   I was so happy to get back to Michigan and spend it with her!
 This little booger is my long awaited daughter Eden last night. I made her this little dress and asked her to stand still as I was taking her picture. She didn't want to!  After three sons she is so much fun!
 This is my cousin Chad and his precious wife Elsbeth.   They got married last month.   We are hoping to live a lot closer to them soon.

 This is my classroom this year.   I miss these babies.   They were such a great class.   I am excited to change my room up for the fall.  

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

When it's time to change, you have to rearrange....

Were you a Brady Bunch fan?   I was obsessed - those little boxes with the whole family... oh my.  I know this makes me old.  But often when change comes about in my life,  I think about this little song,  anyone remember it?   It's sort of like,  "It's a Hard Knock Life" from Annie, which I can randomly be heard singing,   just a symptom of being an 80's kid!

It's time to change from Google Reader to Bloglovin'.   Which a pretty easy switch over actually.  It only takes a few minutes - and you can do it right here.  It is actually a lot easier to use than Google Reader and kind of fun.   The only bad thing that can happen with this switch is that you can lose all the blogs that you follow - which would STINK.  So go head over and make the change.   As extra incentive, the lovelies at Collaboration Cuties have created a little Giveaway Linky to make sure that everyone is making that change.   If you join mine you can have your choice of three of any of the products in my store!  So please jump on the blogwagon!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Why teacher blogs are INCREDIBLE!

Sometimes I feel sad that teacher blogs were not around when I started teaching because they have made the job SO much easier and so much more fun.   Yesterday I was hopping around reading Throwback Thursday ideas and I ran across this adorable blog -  Kelly posted an old post about using pool noodles as tens and ones (like giant ten bars and one cubes).  Freaking GEEE-NEE-OUS!  So I ran out to the dollar store,  bought 7 pool noodles (they have tons of them right now) and made some fabulous whole group math manipulatives for $7.00!  Amazing.  You just cut a noodle in half to make 2 tens - so I bought five of those to make ten ones (which you could later paperclip or tape together to make a hundred block) and two blue noodles to make 40 ones.   I cut each into 2,  measured and divided by five,  cut those out and then cut each one in half again.   They are not perfectly measured (but you could do that if you were so inclined :) ) but each "one" is about 1/10 of a 10 as it should be!   I cut these out in about 5 minutes.  I just cut them with scissors - super easy and kind of fun!
 I cut the ones in half one more time after I took this picture.
My daughter "helping"
This amazing idea originated with Mr. Smith at .   Check him out!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Sale!

I am throwing a 20% off sale on everything in my TPT store!  Go check it out!

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Throwback Thursday! - and two flash freebies!

I love the idea of this cute link up!   I have been blogging less than a year and don't have that many blog posts that I love,  but this one reminds me of starting up again in the fall and all we go through -and how we are kind of rock stars to make it through August and September of each year!

I have been thinking about this a lot today. I have thought of it before as well, but after all the teacher bashing I read the other day (see post below), I think it is time. I am hoping to get NBC, ABC or Oprah or someone on board. People need to know how tough you really need to be a teacher. I have even thought through some of the immunity challenges.
  • Holding your pee for as long as possible
  • Eating an entire lunch in 4 minutes
  • Fixing the copy machine in the 3 minutes before the bell rings
  • Answering the same question 80 times in 20 minutes, without sounding frustrated
  • Figuring which paper belongs to which kid in the pile of nameless multi-choice quizzes
  • Deciphering a paragraph written by a 1st grade, mirror writer
  • Race to find the gluestick with the missing cap
  • Answering the phone about a bus change, answering a parent email and teaching someone how to regroup concurrently
  • Accurately distributing all the jackets left on the fence after recess
  • Figure out who is flushing pencils down the toilet
  • Finish an acronym quiz - IEP, ADD, OHI, RTI, SST, my team came up 161 of them during one staff meeting!
There are a million of them! What would you add??

I think the contestants should start out as most new teachers do - empty room, some textbooks (not full class sets), perhaps a box of pens and a stapler... and some furniture. Provide a class of kids -anywhere from 22 to 35 kids of varying ability levels. First test, second week of school - GO!

First elimination challenge - Meet the Teacher Night (make sure those bare walls are adorably covered!) - answer all questions, memorize each child's name, allergies, likes and dislikes, and take notes as half of the parents tell you that there is too much homework and half the parents tell you that their child needs EXTRA homework everyday, and that they were hoping to get teacher x, and cried when they found out they would be having THE NEW TEACHER - all while smiling!

Next elimination challenge - first day of school, help all students find their desks, sort 4500 forms being sent in, put away supplies, stop the crying (the students, and yours), keep the students busy, engaged and happy, move new desks into the room for students being enrolled throughout the day, establish an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, comfort and fun. Keep up the the transportation changes throughout the day and then....(start praying) MAKE SURE EVERYONE GETS HOME ON THE RIGHT BUS, RIGHT CAR OR DAYCARE VAN.

I could go on forever, open house, conferences, emails, parties, PTA meetings, concerts, FIELD trips.... contestants should be in this for a full school year.

Grand prize - $38,000 - the national average, beginning teacher salary!

Do you think anyone would sign up???

If it takes off, the spin off could be "Desk Hoarders" - a whole show about finding unfinished work (and so much more!) in student desks.

You have to LOVE this job to do it! I am so glad I do!

Hope your day was full of finished work!

I am giving away two of my new classroom packs until midnight tonight!  Each one is over 100 pages of fun classroom decor and premade forms to make the beginning of the year a little easier!

  Please leave some feedback!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Calling BS! - Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 4

Chapter four of Teach Like A Pirate - Ask and Analyze gets down to it.   David Burgess calls us on our BS!   He calls teachers out for excusing themselves from creating great lessons by claiming,  "I am not that creative!".  How many times have we heard that?  How many times have we said it?  He equates being naturally creative with being a natural brain surgeon.   People are not born naturally creative any more than anything else,  they work at it,  they ask important questions that lead to more creativity.   It was a wake-up call.  I think of myself as creative,  so this particular statement is not really my downfall.   BUT, I have said, things like,   "I am not good at math",  and I have let others take the lead in planning for math,  I have said,  "I am not a social studies person," and let myself off the hook when my lessons are less than spectacular.  NO MORE!   I felt convicted by this chapter,  but so motivated to stop setting limits on myself by believing that things are not my "strong points" .   I am going to work hard to ask myself better questions and put forth different energy to get the different results! 

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Funky Monkeys!

It's almost 4 am and I should be sleeping... but I just finished this super cute set and I am so excited about it!  I bought the beautiful aqua papers from Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs -  I love the variety of papers in each color pack.  AND I love sock monkeys!  I was so excited to find these on Etsy from Melissa Bastow at   She is a self proclaimed dork - perhaps we were seperated at birth?   I love the mustache monkey most of all - reminds me of my brother...

Please let me know what you think!  You can find them here

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Arghhhhh- Immersion and Rapport!

Immersion and Rapport...

Immersion - I needed this chapter - like absolutely needed it.  It hit me over the head like a hammer -  and not as a teacher today,  but as a mom.   It is all about really being there in the moment, in your classroom and in my life.   I was reading it as my kids were laughing at each other around me and I stopped,  put the book down and went and played with them.   As teachers (and parents) we have information zooming at us from every direction - emails and tweets,  Instagram pics,  kids asking us questions every second,  other adults needing things from us.... it gets overwhelming.  Sometimes I am doing 5 things at once,  and not focusing on what is most important - the precious ones in front of me,  whether they be my own babies or my classroom babies.   And they FEEL it.   I really internalized this chapter and I hope that I don't lose sight of it in the fall when things start flying at me.  They deserve to have my full attention - to feel like they are they are the most important thing to me in that moment.   It reminded me of a quote from one of my very favorite children's books - The Three Questions by Jon Muth - "Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world."  Ummm... Amen!

The next chapter was Rapport.   I loved this chapter.   I kept thinking I love this guy while I was reading it.  I have no doubt that he is loved in his school.    And he has their attention.   One of the best trainings I have ever been through in my career has been, "Capturing Kids Hearts by Flip Flippin (for real, that's his name!).  It was all about building rapport and relationships and this chapter reminded me so much of that.   They don't care what we know,  until they know that we care.   I build my year on this concept.   I live my life on this concept.  I love that this chapter serves as such a fabulous reminder of that.     If you haven't been hooked to read this book,  please consider it.   I can't imagine there is a teacher alive that this book couldn't touch in a positive way.

Join in the book study right here or here..

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Free through 6/16!


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Five For Friday - Second Friday of Summer!

Last Friday was our first Friday of summer and crickets could be heard on my blog.   I had nothin' left.  I was dealing with kidney stones,  my abnormally emotional reaction to saying good bye to this class of kids and pure EXHAUSTION.   I spent the first weekend of summer sleeping as much as a mother of 4 can.  I fell asleep watching tv with my kids,  I fell asleep the minute my husband was able to "take over".  My in-laws took our kids Sunday and Monday and I seriously slept the whole time.   The hubs and I rented a movie and I fell asleep.  I think he was worried I had mono.   It was bad.

But after a  few days,   I am settling in.   I have actually already had 2 inservice days this week - but also LOTS of pool hours,  fun time with my littles, reading time and sunshine!   I am feeling like a new woman!  So,  I am back for Five For Friday with the Doodlebugs Girls again!  Here is some randomness from my week.

Spending lots of time with my tiny techie.  Using the tablet is second nature to her.  It cracks me up to watch how easily she is able to use this at 2 years old!

I am reading this fabulous book as part of a bloggy book study.  I am loving it!   It is not only making me think about my teaching but my parenting as well.   Definitely worth the read.   Scroll down to read about chapter one. 

Seems that just "believing" I can sew,  doesn't really mean I can - dammit!.  So I am seeking some assistance.   I am planning on taking a class with one of my teammates this summer too!  I am excited about that.   You should see what I made last night.   It started out as a outfit for my daughter,  but ended up as a doll dress because I obviously do not understand following a pattern yet!
The hubs and I are working on the details of our Disneyland trip in August.  We are DRIVING!   I love a roadtrip,  but it really can go either way with our tribe.   We are making a stop at the Grand Canyon,  and stopping in LA to visit my brother and pick him up and to subject him to Disney with our four kids.   I think my dad is planning on coming too!  I am super excited.  I have been to Disneyworld a few times but never Disneyland.   I have never even been to CA (never further west than CO really).   If you have any fabulous Disney tips,  please let us know.   I have read  and heard  so many great things about Disney and special needs kids,  so I am hoping we have the best vacation EVER!
And my little Minnie fanatic is potty training so a trip to Target to buy these is on our agenda today! 
Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and join the fun!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


"Light yourself on fire with enthusiasm and people will come from miles away to watch you burn!". 

 I LOVE this quote so much.   I am pulling it directly out of the fabulous book I am reading as part of a fabulous blogging book study - Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.
Thank you so much to Gina and  Jennifer for creating this book study!

I am on fire about this book!   I have just started it,  read chapter one and about half of chapter two.   I honestly bought the book a while ago,  after reading about it on a blog,  but didn't get around to reading it.   I so love summer because of the luxury of time.   This is going to be a two day read at most,  because I am ready to dive right back into it. 

Pirate in this book has a dual meaning.   Dave Burgess uses the term pirate to mean, " daring, adventurous, and willing to set forth into uncharted territories with no guarantee of success.   They reject the status quo and refuse to any society that stifles creativity and independence.   They are entrepreneurs who take risks and are willing to travel to the ends of the earth for what they value."   - WOW - I want to be THAT! He also uses PIRATE as an acronym to list attributes that will improve your teaching - Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm.  

It is a very simple and fun read.   The author has a great sense of humor and is realistic about teaching.  The first chapter is all about passion,  for content, for the profession and in your personal life.   He writes about how we have certain things we are really passionate about teaching - for me that would be things like author studies, habitats, relationships and connections in literature, life cycles, multiplication and division, fractions, techie stuff etc.  And there are things we don't necessarily like teaching - for me that would be things like Irma Rangle and other Texas citizens of note,  weather,  time, geography,   temperature... (that list is kind of long).   His point is that even if you can't find passion for the subject area, you can find a way to use your passion for teaching and your ultimate goals as a teacher to find a way to present the information to set your kids on fire about the topic.    He also talks about bringing some of your personal passions into your lessons - for me that would be crafty stuff,  or technology stuff.   He talks about his own love of magic and how he incorporates it into lessons that he may not be as passionate about,  to make the lesson exciting.  Not rocket science but definitely important stuff.  Sometimes we know it,  but we need to reinforce it and this book is definitely a bridge to get there!  

Today we had our first Project Based Learning meeting.  We talked about all of the things that go into a good solid project.   We read through lots of other peoples project ideas and it was sort of overwhelming.   But tonight as I was reading,   I was already thinking of ways to make our ideas more exciting and I am already getting excited!  LOVE that! Aaargh! 

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