Thursday, December 29, 2016

Time SLOW down....PLEASE!!!

A new year is approaching.  Holy smokes.....I can't even begin to understand how time moves so dang fast.  I really want to slow it down because I have been so blessed with 14 sweet Littles this year.

I know...14!  It is utterly crazy to think that I have such a low class size this year.  Last year, I had 24 almost all year long.  That's overload in my district in WA.  I got paid a little more for that 1 extra kiddo, BUT the scars that the class left behind overshadowed the tiny bump in pay.  So, with 14, I just want to savor the ability to meet with each kiddo and live a less stressful existence. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July, please slow down!

I swear that summer just started. 

I think I just said goodbye to my 1st Grade Littles like a month ago yesterday.

Big Brother just started.  Big Brother is synonymous with summer break.

And now summer is beginning to feel like it's going to leave me broken hearted.  It's almost over.  I am one of the lucky ones that don't go back until the very end of August, but obligations are starting to over shadow my lazy days of sweet summer relaxation.  This is me...100%

I am getting excited about my next year as a teacher though.  Summer break is that magical time where the anxiety about last years challenges just seem to dissipate and dreams of hope come forth.  I hear childbirth is like that.  I know not of this so I can only assume that is why people have more than one child :)

Anywho, I love lounging in my pajamas and sitting in my recliner (named Bessie) and pinning awesome, amazing, too cool, ideas to try out/make/implement for the following year.  Here are some of my favorites.  You can click each pic to go to the spot I pinned it from. 

1.  Homework Club:  Each student's class number is a member of the club at the beginning of every month.  When homework is skipped, their number is removed.  At the end of the month, those that are remaining participate in whatever reward was designated.  Cool beans!
I like the QR code idea for those that don't complete their work on time - less paperwork white still keeping students responsible:

2.  Bottle cap letters:  I can think of so many ways to use these in my classroom.  Building words, sound recognition, partnering kiddos up are just a few. 

Bottle Cap Letters (w/stickers):
3.  Paper plate border:  Holy cow this is cute. 
Small paper plates cut in half and then patterned colors for 3D effect.:

4.  Kindness Bulletin Board:  I think I might make one of these for the staff lounge....cause the reminder is unfortunately necessary.
Confetti Bulletin Board. So cute! Could add student work on top of the confetti.:
5.  Scissor storage
Found scissors on clearance at Walmart for 25 cents and a miniature crate on sale for a dollar. It made a perfect scissor rack for my classroom!:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Class Dojo

Do you Dojo in your classroom?  I started this year with a clip chart and by about December it seemed that those same littles that needed reinforcement, where still my repeat offenders.  My sanity was waning and I honestly was beginning to wish the year to be over.  I still want summer to show up soon, but I have found a way to keep some "on task/ do your best work/I see that good choice" motivation going throughout our day.  Class Dojo is pretty amazing and it's free!  FREE!!!  My Littles love to hear that DING throughout the day and love earning points.  Also, it really gives me data on how my behaviorally struggling students are doing compared to their peers.  I have 6 students that fit this category this year.  1/4 of my classroom!  Here's the breakdown of how Dojo is used in our classroom.

*We earn points for a whole week.
*At 20 points, we earn the choice of changing our avatar.  I have read that you can basically change it to any picture, but my Littles love the Dojo monsters and I haven't mentioned anything beyond those.  I try to save time where I can!  When a Little reaches 20 points, they simply sign their class number on the board and when a time comes that works for me, I call them up to pick a new avatar. 
*At 30 points, they earn some sort of treat from me.  It could be anything.  This week 30 points earns a new pencil with a Dojo character flag (see photo below).  But, the prize could be anything really. (candy, extra bathroom pass, homework pass, read with a furry friend during Read To Self, etc)

*On Friday, if the class has earned 90% positive points, we get a class reward.  We love 10 extra minutes of recess and GoNoodle and almost always choose one of these. 
*On Fridays, we also see who the Dojo point champion is for the week.  That student gets some swag to commemorate their accomplishment.  They proudly display an award on their desk the entire following week, and their picture and name go outside our door.  They love that their Kindergarten teacher or big brother/sister can see them in the spotlight!  They also take a note home to share with their families along with a lollipop. 

I love that families can join and see how their Little's day has gone.  Dojo connects you to families with instant messaging.  You can message all the families at once or correspond with one at a time.  You can also post pictures to the whole group or personally to families.  It really helps track times of when students are struggling and succeeding.

Here is a link to the pencil flags that I made.  Make sure to note that I printed them on Avery Address Labels 5160.  Class Dojo offers a classroom d├ęcor pack to download.  I recommend utilizing their amazing FREE resources!   I used them to create this resource for my own use.  Please feel free to snag a copy if you want :) 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Teacher Confessions...

Rain!  We actually had rain fall last night!  Here in WA, we haven't had rain in months.  It's been d..r..y, ya'll!

 Crazy dry. 

My pitiful little yard is a not-so-nice shade of khaki. 

But, last night rain fell.  According to the weather man, we are supposed to have some more today and tomorrow.  This makes me excited.  When it rains, the world seems right in WA.  Don't get me wrong, I love sunshine.  As a transplanted southerner, sunshine is necessary.  But, part of the charm of the Pacific Northwest is the rain...drizzle, drizzle, drop!

Now, on to today's post...teacher confessions!

As a teacher, there are some days that feel like I have my shtick together and days where I wonder why what the heck I am doing.  I love those days where:
*  Lessons go as planned. 
*  Students are engaged. 
*  The copy machine plays nicely.
*  Student growth is palpable.
*  Something sold on TPT.
*  Appreciation flows from admin.
*  etc.....

Yeah, I kinda love those days!

Those days make the others bearable!

Unfortunately, I don't live in Pleasantville 24/7 and reality isn't always glamorous.  In an effort to keeping it real, I am going to share with you areas that I don't feel so good Struggle Street issues!

*  I am a perfectionist.  This is my worst enemy!  I am not a perfectionist in every way (Hello, extra poundage!), but I honestly think that I am insecure about so much of me that I try too hard to have some things seem perfect.  It drives me bonkers to have a messy classroom.  My skin crawls if I make a chart that isn't cute.  Symmetry is important.  Color coordination is a must.  Lesson plans are detailed (imagine hours of planning!).  I could go on and on, but let's just say that this consumes too much of my teacher brain.  I do plan to work on this during this coming school year.  It just causes stress.  I have to learn to let go and just "be"  more than not. 

*  I am an introvert.  Please know that this doesn't mean that I don't like people.  On the contrary!  I love people...well most people....ok, some people.  It does mean that I feel anxiety around a lot of new people.  I don't like to be put on the spot.  I love getting to know people, but I DON'T want to have to do that as a warm up activity at a meeting.  I would much rather sit and have lunch with someone and get to know them.  I love my co-workers and that really is what keeps me at my current school.  Being an introvert means that I crave/need/require time to chill to recharge.  I know that this isn't really something that I can change about myself, but it is something that I have to be aware of in order to work with others.  Know yourself!

*  Tracking data.....I know that this important.  I know this.  I just wish I was better and more consistent with this practice.  I *KNOW* where my kiddos are, but I struggle with a system of keeping track.  Every year, we have new curriculum requirement, testing methods, district mandates, Principal wishes, and what my heart says is best for kiddos.  With all of that, I sometimes get lost.  Honest!

*  Balancing home and school is difficult for me.  I tend to throw myself into one or the other.  During school, I am all about school.  During the summer, I am all about home.  This is something that I MUST work smarter at this year.  I work in an urban, low-socioeconomic, highly diverse, and transient school.  We have major behavior issues....EVERY YEAR!  My school has been considered low performing for several years.  My colleagues and I are only there because we 1)  Feel called there 2) Love our students and 3) Adore each other.  It's a hard place to teach.  Because of this, I invest myself.  I know that won't change.  Investing in my students is part of the reason I love teaching.  I need to practice leaving school at a decent hour most days.  Possibly dedicating one evening a week to stay later.  I also want to lesson plan during the week so that my weekends can be for my hubby.  He is so extremely patient and loving.  He deserves me on the weekend.

I hope that you all have a lovely Saturday.  I also pray that you find yourselves on Success Street more times than Struggle Street this coming school year.  I want to end by sharing my current favorite artist and song with you all.  Many times, I feel as if I don't understand things that are going on in my life.  I can't see the BIG picture.  I struggle with trusting God...I know it's sad and crazy to admit that....But it's true.  Hopefully this song can minister to your heart if you are in the same boat as me.

Blessings Friends,

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sweet Summer

Sweet Summer, oh how I love you!  Let me count the ways:

1.  No alarm clock needed
2.  Bathroom privileges....all teachers know what I mean :)
3.  Movie matinees
4.  Lunch dates
5.  Big Brother, Food Network Star, and Rookie Blue
6.  Pajamas or comfy clothes ALL.DAY!
7.  Watching Periscopes from teachers that I adore..... @elementaryshenanigans
8.  Zero learning targets or criteria of success displayed, needed, or thought about
9.  Traveling
10.  Seeing my momma and daddy (I live in WA and they live in MS :(  )
11.  Watermelon, plums, cherries, and peaches
12.  Crafting
13.  Netflix marathons
14.  Reading for pleasure
15.  Lesson plans are not needed

As much as I love the sweet little ones that I teach, I can honestly say that summer break makes me a better teacher.  I tend to invest most of "ME" during the school year.  I have trouble with balance.

I am SO THANKFUL for summertime!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Current inspiration and a *FREEBIE*

I don't know about you but the Sunday blues are hitting me on Saturday...Boo....Hiss!   I love my Littles, but I love being at home too. 

I finally typed up my lesson plans.  Even though I had planned out the gist of next week before winter break, it still took so.much.time!  But, who am I kidding, it takes a while each time.  I have the craziest schedule and piecing together what works takes time.  Math is the only solid block of time that I have without an interruption.  And, our principal has had a grand idea to switch that up at the end of January.  I am trying to be positive about the change, but it's just "one more thing" in a long line of responsibilities. 

Anywho, I thought I would share with you some things that have been inspiring or making me happy me lately on pinterest etc.

1.  This frame is adorable.  I am a MS girl living in WA and this makes my heart happy (and a little homesick).  I want to make one SOON!  {original source:}

2.  I tried this *super easy* recipe this week for crockpot country style ribs. It was delicious and the Mr. approved mightly :)  {original source: }

3.  This isn't an inspiration, but I love Taylor Swift and this mashup is crazy good!  I *puffy heart* love it!

4.  If you stuck with me for this long, I turned my next inspiration into a freebie for ya.  Such a simple idea.  I plan to use this as an "I'm Done" activity.  I am always looking for something easy and manageable for my fast finishers.  {original source: }

And my Freebie version for you can be downloaded from my TPT store.  Click *HERE* to go get it now.
Happy Teaching, 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Currently!

Happy New Year, Friends!  I sure hope that your very first day of 2015 has been a little slice of awesome.  My day was filled with lots of happy.  Finally, the Mr. and I saw Annie.  As a child of the 80's, Annie is a very fond memory of mine.  The Mr. has been sick and finally his work schedule and his nose blowing, coughing, aching head was ready to see it.  Better late than never.  Don't let the face fool ya.  He was excited too, but goofiness is a more predominate trait!  He's a softie :)

We loved the movie!  I had heard that it was "cheesy" and "not so good", but I must say that I enjoyed it!  It was cheesy in the right spots and I happen to love most varieties of cheese.  I think I will probably download a few tunes from the soundtrack to play in class.  Cause in first grade you know it's a hard knock life...

It was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest...Cold, Clear and GLORIOUS sunshine!  The mountain was out and gorgeous! 

I am a MS girl at heart and couldn't let the day go by without eating black eyed peas.  My momma couldn't believe that I didn't have any "greens" on my plate for money in the new year, but I hate don't like them. The Mr. was a happy boy with his New Year plate :)

And now my CURRENTLY:
Listening ~ My hubby is a Crimson Tide fan.  He grew up around family from Alabama and has loved them since he was wittle.  Me on the other hand, I just love listening to him root and kick and cheer and grunt.  It's all endearing.
Loving ~ I didn't love that the Mr. was sick, but I have loved being home.  I love baking and crafting and watching TV and doing nothing.  It's been pretty ding dang awesome!  I am thankful that I have a few days left.
Thinking ~ I cannot believe that it is 2015!  I honestly feel like time is set on super speed.  I.don'! 
Wanting ~ I really need a new purse.  I hope to rectify that want this weekend with some needed retail therapy.  I'm picky. And cheap. Hopefully, I can find something that will fit the bill.
Needing ~ I need to type of my plans and make sure that I remember what my team and I discussed doing when we get back.  I just don't wanna!  I am procrastinating big time. 
Yes ~ I will blog more.  I will also eat healthier and move more. 
Maybe ~ I will try not to stress about work, but it's hard not to.  I am never done.  The current situation at my school is stressful:  low income families + low test scores + high stakes testing + changes to curriculum midway through the year....It makes for a less than desirable situation.
Wish ~ I would love to learn how to create clipart.  I doodle all the time and would love to convert that into digital product.  We shall see :)
If you made it though all of that, thank you!  I pray that you and yours are blessed in this new year!


Happy Teaching,