Saturday, July 27, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky: Advice for New Teachers Edition

Hey y' I'm linking up for the Let's Get Acquainted party hosted by Latoya from Flying into First Grade.  It's my first time joining this linky, and I am  excited but waaaay tardy to the party.  Whoops!  But, here we go anyway with my advice for new teachers.  :)  I thought hard about things I have learned these last seven years.  Some of them may seem like common sense, but I know that these lessons are things that I still think about...still remind myself of.  I hope they help you too!


#1 Buy

Buy chocolate! Or nuts, or gum, or beef jerky...what I mean is buy yourself a snack that is your go to pick-me-up.  For me it's Russell Stover sugar-free chocolates.  Teaching is hard, and draining in every possible way...especially if it is your first year.  You will have moments where you think you can't keep the pace up.  When that happens...sit down, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and then eat your snack of choice.  This will give your brain the oxygen and glucose it needs to keep going.  :)

#2 Always

Always start fresh!  What I mean by that comes from my favorite quote.  It's from Anne of Green Gables.  It says, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it."  I'd like to say everyday will be sunshine and roses, but that is simply not the case.  You are going to mess up.  Sometimes a lesson bombs.  Sometimes that student gets the better of you.  Sometimes you will forget to make the copies you need.  It WILL happen.  It happens to everyone.  Forgive yourself, and start fresh the following day.  Kids are remarkably resilient and forgiving.  It's easier the younger they are, but all kids I know want to enjoy you and your classroom.  So, start fresh and do better.  Sometimes that is what gets me through an afternoon or evening after a rough day.  Tomorrow is going to be a brand new chance to do a better job.

#3 Never

Never assume!  I know it sounds cliché, but when you are new to teaching or new to a grade level you just don't always know what kids come to school with.  Don't assume they know what a word means, that they've had an experience, that they've slept well the night before, or that they had dinner or breakfast at home.  Some families are beyond blessed to give their children more than they need.  They read tons of books, they hear lots of language, they go on vacations, have conversations, spend time with different cultures...and on and on.  Then there are other children who are not as blessed.  Enter the 10-year-old whose never tasted an ice cream sundae, or a 6-year-old who doesn't know the word sandwich and calls grapes purple berries.  (Seriously, they were both my students.)  I have had a few student teachers, and all of them have been surprised at what the kids were/were not familiar with.  Even though I try hard not to be, even I am caught off guard from time-to-time.  Also, don't assume that those kids with limited experiences are to be pitied.  Sometimes they have other blessings.  They might have extended families living with them showering them with love.  They might have more responsibilities at home which is preparing them to be awesome grown ups.  You just never know.   

#4 Find

Find a stopping point!  There is ALWAYS more to be done.  And if you are the kind of teacher who is here reading these blogs, you will probably also be the kind of teacher adding tons of ideas to your to-do list.  :)  I used to work, and work, and work.  I NEVER, I repeat, NEVER finished.  hahaha...kinda of funny, I know.  You must stop at some point and go home, go to happy hour, go exercise, go to the movies, whatever.  Just will be waiting for you when you come back.   

#5 Make

Make emergency plans!  I know you think you will always have time to make those perfect sub plans if you are going to be out. might.  I can tell you that I have taught for seven years, and I have never needed my emergency plans.  That's okay.  I still have them, because in those seven years, I have had A LOT of coworkers who were not prepared.  That leaves your team in rough place.  They have to figure out how to get plans and copies ready for your sub while managing their own class duties.  It is NOT fun for them.  Soooooo...make emergency plans.  Please.  Your team will be ever grateful.  It's okay if it's just busy work.  It is only for a day.  Your class will be OK!

#6 Be

Be prepared!  Your teaching will be different on the days you prepare thoroughly.  Winging it is not a good option.  I'm not saying you'll never do it, but it should not be your go to model.  If you are prepared everything about your day is better...including your students behavior and your mood.  I promise!  But if you aren't prepared one day, don't forget #2.  :)  Tomorrow is a new day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What I'm Lovin' This Wednesday

It's time to link up with Jessica at Covered in Glitter and Glue for another WILW post!  I heart this so much. 

This week I am loving me some of this song...who's with me?

I am loving that we cleaned the apartment today.  It helped that the above song came on while we were cleaning.  It feels like a breath of fresh air to be in a clean space again.  #sorrywearentfancier #ignorethattubofbooksandgamesfromschoolinmylivingroom  :)

I am loving this old-school board game that my sweet girl discovered at my mom's house.  We have been playing it over and over again.

I am loving these shows.  Ohmygosh...I can't get enough.  What about y'all?  Are you watching?   (Also, I might have a little crush on Howard from BB.)

I am loving this cutie dry erase weekly to do list decal from the Target dollar spot.  We stuck it up on the side of the fridge for menu planning.  My daughter loves to write down what we are having for lunch during the school year, and check off the items as she makes our lunches.  (Yes, she makes our lunches most of the time.  I know you're jealous.)  :)  This is our simplified summer version.

Last, I am loving this commercial.  (And I usually hate commercials.)  What what!!!  Hump Day!!!  (You read that in the camel voice right?)  Oh.My.Gosh....I just died of laughter.

And that's what I'm loving this Wednesday...I'm hitting post.  It's 11:58  Whew...still Wednesday...I made it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Today I am so excited to be linking up with Covered in Glitter and Glue for the What I'm Loving Wednesday Linky.  When I went to the Eric Jensen conference a few years ago, he talked about how he thinks optimism is learned.  This was a revelation for me, because I tend to worry about everything and lean on the negative side.  One of the best ways we can become more positive and optimistic people is to reflect on the things that we are thankful for, things we are looking forward to, basically things we love.  This linky is perfect for that!

1. Today, I am loving my new computer.  I posted about it the other night, but I am just so happy that I can blog, create, plan, etc. at home!  It is making such a difference, and it is still summer.  I can only imagine how I'll feel about it once school has started and I'm planning lessons, entering grades, and creating new products all at once. 

2. I am loving this scarf that my daughter is knitting.  She is taking a knitting class every afternoon this week.  (I might be loving that 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted shopping/reading/web-browsing time too.)  She is picking it up pretty quickly, and learning her knit and purl stitches.  Now,  I just gotta get her to teach me how to switch back and forth.  :)

 3. I am loving that I FINALLY got a handle on this disaster:
I know, I know...what the heck is all that?  This was all my wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows, ribbons, boxes, gift bags, etc.  It used to live in that giant plastic Dillards bag in the background.  Sad, I know, but true.  Now I bought a cutie patootie container from Marshall's, and it looks like this:
A.Ma.Zing.  Am I right?  I'm totally getting another one of those containers to tame the trunk of my car of all its travel games, reusable shopping bags, flashlight, etc.  :)

4. I am loving my old letter press block letters that spell TEACH.  Aren't they precious?  It's my new Facebook cover photo.  Swoon...

5. Last I am loving this set of digital papers that I created yesterday.  They contain several of my favorite elements in one: monochromatic, textured, and polka dotted.  I'm in love.  Now, it is my first attempt at making digital papers, so I am offering them for free in my TpT store.  You heard me...they are FREE!  10 12x12 digital backgrounds for personal or commercial use.  I am just asking for you to try them out and please, please, please provide me with feedback, so I can see if I need to tweak my process at all before I put up more sets of papers.  I hope you love them as much as I do.  Just click on the picture below to download. 

I can't wait to read all about the things people are loving this week.  You can read more What I'm Loving Wednesday posts too...just click on the icon at the top of this post!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Such an Honor to be Nomintated!

Wow!  I am SOOOOO excited.  Cindy from Mrs. Price's Kindergatgors has nominated my little 'ol blog for the Liebster Award.  
What is a Liebster Award you might ask?  Well, basically it's an honorary award given to blogs with less than 200 followers by other people in the blogging community.  If you are nominated, then you tell a little bit about yourself, and then you nominate other new bloggers who you enjoy.  Isn't that cool.  It's a little bit like a chain letter and a little bit like the Screen Actor's Guild awards.  Actors always say they like being nominated for those just as much as Oscars or Emmys because they are nominated by their peers, and that means so much more.  Well, that's just what this is...other bloggers telling you they think you are interesting and worthy.  Who wouldn't love that? 
To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them


First, I nominate the following bloggers for the awesome contributions to this community!  You ladies can find your questions at the bottom of this post. 
Cindy's questions for me:
1. What is your favorite grade to teach?  Well, I have taught first grade and fifth grade, and I am always asked which I like better.  I really can't answer that, because they are both so different.  They are both wonderful in their own special way.
2. What is your favorite time of year and why?  Definitely fall.  I love when the weather is cool to cold, although it doesn't get very cold in Texas.  I love the smells of fall the most....cinnamon, pumpkin, caramel.  Bath and Body Works is going to have to beat me away with a stick come September.  LOL
3. What was your favorite trip you have ever taken?  That is a hard one.  Probably the first time I went to Washington DC.  It was 5 years ago, when my daughter was 7.  My best friend from college had just moved there, and I had always wanted to go there.  She invited us to come and stay with her during that summer after my mom offered to buy us plane tickets.  We stayed for 3 weeks, and saw the fireworks over the Washington Monument on the 4th of July.  It was magical, and it reconnected me with one of my most favorite people in the world.  Also, there are so many amazing things to do and see that are free.  Great for a teacher!
4. What was the last conference you attended?  It was Eric Jensen's Teaching with Poverty in Mind.  I went with my principal, asst. principal, and about 5 other teachers from my school.  It was great, and I use the concepts about how the brain functions in my personal and professional life.
5. What was the last book you read?  I am currently reading like 5 different books.  I can't remember the last one I finished, sadly, but the ones I am reading now are: The Life of Pi, 11/22/63, The End of Molasses Classes, The Next Best Thing, and The Great Santini.  Talk about a strange variety, but there you have it.  :)
6. How do you relax during the school year?  I love to cook and bake.  The smell of garlic and onions or a baking pie always makes me happy. 
7. How long have you been blogging?  Just under a year. 
8. Where did you go to college?  I went to the University of Texas at Austin.
9. What is your favorite product off of Teachers Pay Teachers?  Probably my Magic E Read and Write the Room.  It really isn't that fancy, but when you print it out on colored paper, it turns out so cute.  It doesn't take a lot of ink, and reading the room is my firsties favorite thing to do...hands down!
10. Do you use a smart board in your classroom?  No.  Our school has two smart boards for all of us to share, and when you want to check it out, you have to roll in down and find room for it to go.  It takes a lot of floor space. :(  But, we did decide to set one up in the science lab last year, and we could go in there to use it.  That was a good option. 

11 Random facts about me:
1. I love macaroni and cheese...could eat it everyday.
2. I am a huge Spurs fan.  I <3 Tim Duncan. 
3. I could watch old episodes of Three's Company all day.
4. I love to swim.
5. I don't have a favorite color.
6. I love to teach science.
7. If I could wear jeans and flip flops every day of my life, I probably would.
8. I HATE hot weather...and I live in Texas.  Not a good combo.  :)  But, I do love Texas.
9. My favorite place to be is on the beach at sunrise and sunset.
10. I would love to visit Europe.
11. I love, love, love Harry Potter.

Alright, here are the questions for my nominees:
1. Where did you go to college?
2. What is the last movie you saw?
3. What is your favorite product on Teachers Pay Teachers?
4. What is the hardest thing about teaching?
5. What are your hobbies?
6. Are you an indoor person or an outdoor person?
7. What is your favorite holiday?
8. What is something you want to make for your classroom this year?
9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
10. Do you cook?  If so, what is your favorite recipe?
11. What is your favorite place to shop?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Computer and Blog Design...Yippee Skippee!!!

Yahoo!!!! I am so excited, y'all. I FINALLY got a new computer. My old computer died several years ago, and I have just been making due. That means it was impossible to blog and still get home in time to watch Dancing With the Stars cook dinner.  Now I can do it at home. While sitting on the couch.  With a glass of wine.  ahhhhh...I can see it now!

After many agonizing web searches and trips to Best Buy (spending that much money scares me), I finally picked out a laptop.  Here she is in all her glory!  (Sorry for the dark picture...I just took it at 3:00 am with my phone.)  I just hope she last a good long time, and can handle all the clip art and fonts that I am about to throw her way.  #clipartandfontobsessed

First things first.  To add to all of this excitement, I used Photoshop, more-than-I-can-even-count Google searches, and web/video tutorials to create my new blog design.  It has been a struggle...that little grab my button gadget just about did me in, let me tell you.  I know it's not perfect, and I will probably tweak some things here and there, but I am so proud.  My little ol' blog is lookin' all dolled up.  :) I also created a Facebook for my blog.  It only has a profile and cover photo so far, but a girl can only do so much in two days.  I would love to hear what you think about the new design even if it's your first time stopping by.  And if it is your first time, don't forget to follow me.  You can find links to follow me in the sidebar.

Now, time for bed.  You heard the part about it being 3:00 am right?  I promise I will start getting back on the blogging and creating bandwagon once I've had some sleep!