Thursday, July 23, 2015

Five for Friday: Summer Creations

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week has been amazing! Thank you Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting the weekly Five for Friday Linky.

My creative juices have been flowing this week. Currently my craft room and my classroom are cluttered with a myriad of project at various stages of completion. I thought I'd share some of my projects for this linky since that's what I've devoted a big chunk of my time to this week.

Today our school principal is turning the big 50! His wife (along with school staff) planned a surprise party. I wasn't quite sure what to get him... the invite suggested collections of 50 items.
Well, there were definitely 50 pieces of candy in this Snickers candy bar birthday cake!

My youngest brother is also celebrated his birthday today and I went with a candy bouquet for his gift. This was seriously so much fun to make! And if you buy too much candy... Always buy too much candy. *crinkling candy wrappers*

I am stoked about finally finishing the assemblage of Reagan Tunstall's See it and Say it daily flip books. When I saw this packet on TpT, I knew it was something I needed.

These RTI intervention booklets are perfect for reinforcing literacy, phonics, and spelling concepts. I have a couple of plans for using them: volunteers doing them one-on-one with students, literacy centers, and at-home practice. Some students need the extra repetition to cement some of those concepts and I think these will be just what I've been looking for!

Here are two of my many "projects in waiting".

I've decided that maybe the glue sponges are worth all of the hype I've been hearing about. Even if they don't "change my life" (like so many blogs have promised), they've gotta be better than glue bottles.

I'm willing to give it a shot.
Especially since I'm going to try interactive math journals this year.

I dabbled with them last year using composition notebooks and a single prompt/problem. My class really enjoyed the journals.
Sample journal entry from last year's math journals

This year I'm going to use Kristen Smith's Interactive Math Notebook packet. My goal is to have them do this more independently while I pull and work with small groups of students on specific math concepts. Do you use math journals? I'd love for you to share how you use them.

This next random isn't really a "creation" ...unless you consider it the creation of healthy eating habits.
I FINISHED the Whole30 challenge! 30 days of whole food, no added sugar, no grains, and no dairy. (Yes, it seemed like a whole 30 days!)

Now that 30 days is over, I can definitely tell that my taste buds have changed. I've learned to develop a taste for natural, good-for-me foods. My clothes fit much better and I've learned how to make wholesome meals for me and my husband. I even invested in some new kitchen gadgets.

Check this out! 

 Veggie pasta!

Of all my summer goals, this one I am most proud of. Getting healthy! Now for working out...

(If you've never heard of the Whole30 and are curious about the program, click on the picture to learn more.)


Growing up my mom made beautiful handmade cards. We never bought cards from the store. There is something special about getting a handmade card. The only tough part is that, as a teacher, I go through stacks of cards each year. I always want to be appreciative. (Christmas + Teacher Appreciation + End of the Year = a lot of thank you cards!)

Thanks to Hobby Lobby, my card box is stocked for this next school year.
This is sooo easy! All I did was buy a pack of "Thank you" stickers at 50% off.... for $1, and then I added them to some cards I made from left over scrapbooking paper.

They turned out adorable!

I'm thinking this would be a perfect gift to give some of my teacher friends - a stack of homemade thank you cards. Easy, peasy!

Head on over to the link up to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top 10 Things Teaching has Taught Me

It's Tell All Tuesday with Diana with My Day in K and Jayme at Teach, Talk, Inspire. Join in the fun as we link up to tell 10 things teaching has taught us.

10. Learning is messy! Your classroom will only look immaculate the day before school starts. After that, there is no guarantee. While it helps to have a place for everything, I've learned not to stress over a little mess. (Sometimes there's painting projects drying on one table, a puzzle (mid completion) on another, plants growing in the windowsill, glitter on the floor...it just means a lot of learning happening! And that I need a bigger room...)

This needs to be my classroom door sign!

9. Always copy an extra.
Whenever we have a worksheet or art project, I always make extra copies/supplies. Chances are someone will lose, rip, spill on, or accidentally throw away theirs. No more mid-lesson runs to the copy machine!

8. Students are sponges.
Everything I say and do is being watched and learned from. *gulp* This doesn't mean I need to be perfect.*sigh of relief* It means how I act is an informal lesson on how to treat others, handle conflict, and ultimately be a learner!

7. Kids love to know that you are a "real" person. They love to hear about your stories. Make things personal. Relate to them! I always try to connect with my students by giving real life examples of learning from my life. Their ears perk up... and they remember it (long after I've forgotten that I told them), When I teach my kinders about "sharing equally" in our fractions unit, I tell about my little sister. When she was young, mom would make us share candy and gum. My sister would share, but she would NOT share it equally. (In fact, she would smush the smaller piece till it was the same length as the larger "half".) They think it's hilarious! (I had to laugh when they later referred to her as my "naughty sister". Haha! I had to tell a few good stories about her to even it out.)

6. I've learned that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of others. It's easy to pour so much time and energy into teaching that you forget to take care of your needs. Take time to relax and fill your tank!

5. Attitude is everything.
Your attitude influences your classroom's climate. I have found that when I'm having a "bad" day...everyone is having a "bad" day. When I'm stressed, I (unfortunately) exhibit less grace, understanding, and humor. This is a nasty cycle. This goes along with taking care of yourself. If you are finding that you are stressed...find ways to reduce it.
(Maybe you just need to give yourself a dose of grace...not everyday will go according to plan. Learn to be flexible and not beat yourself up about it.)

4. Look for the "current" doesn't refer to the present moment. Think of a ocean's current - it is the unseen force creating the waves we see.
This has been some of the best life advice I received from our school counselor. There will be times of conflict, weather with a student, family, or colleague. Sometimes you will receive "waves" of hurtful words or actions. Rather than focusing on those "waves", look at what my be fueling those reactions - the "current". Unless the "current" issue is dealt with... waves will continue to pop up.

3. There is no such thing as a cookie cutter year.
Each year, each class is so unique. I used to tell my husband... I only spend this much time at school because I haven't perfected my lesson plans, room decor, math tubs....  But now I realize that change is inevitable. What works great for one class might not for another. Every class has different gifts and needs. I've come to accept that I will never work a 40 hour week, but each year it will get "easier". Easier meaning, I will have more teaching strategies to pull from and will be quicker at identifying needs and knowing how to fill them.

2. Learn from others.
One of my favorite teaching quotes is Great teachers aren't born, they learn from the teacher next door. My colleagues are my virtual filing cabinets - they are full of valuable information and resources!

1. Each day is a gift!
Teaching is a job and a ministry. You never know how God is going to use you each day to bless a student or a family. Teaching is a privilege and I'm thankful that it's my profession! I couldn't imagine doing anything else!