Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Teacher Mom vs. SAHM

Alright all you Stay at Home Moms --- how in the world do you do it????

What I mean is, how do you motivate yourself to get anything done each day when it's just soooooo easy to stay in your pajamas and watch Netflix or scan Pinterest????

Because here is me when summer hits...

and a little of this too...

So, what is your secret????

I am asking.  This girl's gotta know!  I need some help.

Here is how we are different.  This is my thought process as summer begins.  

No alarm clock to hit snooze on.  Just wait for the kids to come in and lay in bed while we watch a little Disney Jr to try to wake up together.  

Then it's time for breakfast and coffee.  It's amazing how good HOT coffee actually is!!!  I think to myself, Should I make the beds before going downstairs?  No---because I might want to climb back into bed when it's nap time.  Just pull the covers up a little.  

So we all go downstairs in our pj's.  Why would we get dressed?  There's just no answer to that question.  

Then we spend our morning hanging out.  The kids venture into the play room and I sit down to watch a morning talk show.  I've missed a lot in the last 10 months so there's so much to catch up on.  I realize I don't even know what they're talking about so I have to go online to do a little celebrity news research.  

Time for a morning snack.  Then the kids want to go outside.  I check out what I'm wearing and am thankful that my pj's can double for real clothes.  I am a big fan of that kind of summer wardrobe - yoga capris and t-shirts.  Keeps people guessing - Did she just work out or maybe on her way there?  Maybe that's just what she's wearing today.  A total mystery!

We play until it's time for lunch.  More eating of course and I actually have time to chew AND taste my food.  A thing of beauty!

So I could keep going, but I think you see what I'm talking about here.  It's just so easy to let the days slip away without doing that load of laundry or going grocery shopping or really anything at all!

The problem is - there actually are things that need to get done.  And as much as I would like to not be on a schedule in the summer, I might need one.  There's just too much freedom and I don't know what to do with myself.  

So now I'm off to search Pinterest for new blogs to follow or organizing tips that might help me.  This might take a while so I guess the laundry can wait until tomorrow.  ;)

If you have a schedule that you follow or any fun sites for me to check out - leave them in the comments below.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

3-2-1 Teacher Bio: Weekend Warriors Link-up

So school is out (finally!!) and I can breathe. 

(that was me letting out a happy sigh, not screaming.....haha)

So I am finally able to grab a quick moment to jump back on my blog and reconnect with all of you.  I love these Weekend Warriors posts and am even more excited that we have now made it a link-up so you can join in the fun too!  

This month's theme is:

So here is a little bit about me:

The Teacher Me:
1. I have taught 4th grade for 2 years, 3rd grade for 8 years, and 1st grade for 3 years and counting.  I have taught in 4 different schools, but only in 2 different districts.  I had one year in my first school district and have been in my current district for the last 12 years.  There are 3 elementary schools in our district and I have been in each one.  This year they are closing the school I am in so I am moving, yet again, to another classroom and another school.  I like changing things up, but being pregnant and packing up a classroom just really isn't fun!  Who wants to come to my room in August and unpack boxes??? Anyone?  

2.  I love the first day of school every year, but no matter how long I've been teaching I always feel nervous like it's my first year.  I can't sleep the night before.  I have dreams of forgetting to make their nametags or get materials ready.  It definitely keeps things exciting!  

3.  I am definitely very focused on my students' learning and academics; however, my primary focus will always be to teach my students how to make good choices, have good character, and most importantly be a confident learner!  I want my students to never give up, work hard, but also become a family and find ways to be a caring friend and support one another.  

The Regular Me:
1.  If you saw this post then you know we are expecting our third child in October.  We found out a couple weeks ago that we are having our third GIRL!!!!  We are all very excited!  However, I will be accepting donations for wedding funds ;-)  

2.  I love a clean house, but I need a little motivation to really clean.  Not the day to day cleaning, but the "Heavy Duty Weekend Cleaning".  My kids and I turn on Pandora and dance around while we are cleaning.  They don't last as long with the cleaning as I would like, but we still have a good time.  

So now you know a little more about me, but I would LOVE to learn a little more about you.  If you are a blogger, link up below and grab these slides to create your post.  If you don't have a blog, leave your 3-2-1 in the comments below.  

Happy Summer to you all!!!  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Celebrate With Me and WIN BIG!

Hi there!  If you haven't noticed yet, I have a brand spanking new blog design and I couldn't be happier with it!  It is so bright and colorful and just makes me happy.  I hope you like it too!

Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs is the fabulous genius behind this new design.  
A Bird in Hand Designs
You absolutely must check out her site, especially if you are looking for a new design yourself, but even if you just want to look at some gorgeous, fun designs!  She was so wonderful to work with and made the whole process easy and fun.

So in honor of my new look, I organized a little giveaway with some of my favorite bloggers and friends.  Just take a look at all you could win by entering this giveaway...

These packs could make your end of the year the BEST it's ever been --- no joking around here!  

If you are wondering who these amazing products are from, check this out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for stopping by and entering this giveaway!  You will be so happy you are following these ladies (if you weren't already).

Friday, April 10, 2015

Party of Five

Hi there!  Long time, no blog!  

If you are reading this ---- thank you SO much for checking back on me after my looooooong break!  The last 10 weeks have been a little rough around here.  It was right around that time that I started to feel a bit queasy (Is that how you spell that?).   

One day I was out to dinner with Mr. First Grade Smiles celebrating this next stage in our lives, and the very next day I was no longer able to eat anything (or really smell any food for that matter) after 4:00 pm.  It started out slow, but every day was getting a little worse.  

This is my 3rd pregnancy (If you didn't know, we are blessed with two beautiful, smart, fun little girls).  Each pregnancy has been a little worse than the one before and this one decided to really blow the last pregnancy out of the water with morning ALL DAY sickness!  On top of becoming best friends with my porcelain throne, I was also finding that I had little to no energy.  Thank God I have the most amazing husband who didn't even bat an eyelash.  He took over as full time parent and took care of the cleaning and pretty much everything else around the house.  I don't know what I would have done without him.  

I only wish he could've followed me to school and helped out there.  It is not easy to teach energetic, excited, little firsties when you have zero energy and just want to lie down on the ground all day.  My students were also great, even though they didn't know any better.  They went along with their less than enthusiastic teacher and some slightly boring lessons and didn't seem to mind.  

So now here we are, 15 weeks in and I am finally feeling more like myself.  It was also time to tell our girls the big news!!!  We held off telling them before now because my older daughter goes to the school I teach in and I wasn't ready to share until we were further along.  It was definitely not easy keeping it from them.  They would ask why I didn't feel well and were they going to catch it.  
Um, you better not catch this!!!  

So I wanted to share how we decided to tell them that they were going to be big sisters.  We wanted to do something fun for them because they are 3 and 6 and old enough to really understand and get excited about this news.  So we prepared a little surprise package with some goodies inside that were supposed to reveal the big news.  Let's just say it took a little longer for them to catch on than we thought.  

When the girls came home from soccer we told them we had a present for them to open.  

As they opened the bin we had pink and blue balloons come out.  We soon learned that that was a mistake. 

We had a VERY difficult time regaining their attention after they saw the balloons.  Who knew balloons could be this exciting?

So we tried to get them to keep looking inside the bin.  

They pulled out some Big Sister t-shirts and some baby onesies.  
The onesies said, "I have 2 big sisters" and "I love my sisters".

I love Hannah's face in this picture.  You would think she was catching on, but nope!  They still had NO IDEA! 

Another great Hannah face.  Lauren just figured out the baby stuff was for us and that meant........

Here is what was inside the bin (underneath all the balloons).  I used fabric markers to write on the onesies.  

And of course, here they are posing for the final picture and very excited!

Although they were extremely distracted by the balloons, and it did take them forever to catch on, it was so fun for us to watch them as they finally figured out that we were going to have a baby.  

And now we are ready to share our news with the world (or whatever part of it that actually cares).  =)

Thank you again for sticking with me here.  I promise to get back on the blogging and creating track now that I feel like a person again - technically like one and a half persons =)  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Improvements

This year I have really been focusing my time on updating some of my first products.  As teachers, I don't think we are ever able to just teach exactly what we did for years before.  We are always looking for ways to make things better.  I personally think this is a good thing, except that sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its tail.  Stuck in the never ending cycle.  Unfortunately it is who I am and I don't think I will ever be the kind of teacher who can do the same things every year.  Sometimes an activity or lesson is THAT good that you do it each year, but most of the time education is changing around us and we need to adapt as we go.  

So with that being said, here is my latest revision - my St. Patrick's Day pack.  


I love this unit because it includes a nonfiction reader where I can teach my students about what St. Patrick's Day is (without any religious specifics).  

AND it has some super fun activities centered around Leprechauns, which is always fun to read and write about.  Here are some of the books I like to read to my class to get us ready.

Then we will do a tree map about leprechauns so we can lead into how we are going to catch a leprechaun.  This is what I've used in the past and it is still in the pack.

But I've also added this flip book that I will be using this year.  Just a different way to present our writing.  

After we have decided how to catch a leprechaun I share with them an original poem I wrote called 3 Wishes.  It's about catching a leprechaun and then he gives you 3 wishes.  Students get to choose what their wishes will be and then make this cute craft to go with it.  
(I've added the pocket chart pieces to the pack for the poem)

Finally, I've added a couple printables to this pack - some writing prompts, story maps, and mixed-up sentences.  You never know when you're going to need an extra center, morning work, or time filler.  Here is what is included in this pack.  

If you already own it, please re-download to get the updated file.  If not, you can click on the pictures above to check it out in my store.  

And BY THE WAY.........

It's that time again!  Time for another AMAZING TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS SALE!!!!  These are my favorite sales because I can really stock up on what I need.  I hope you are getting your carts ready too!

And in case you are overwhelmed by all the wonderful things on TpT, here are a couple of my must-haves for the upcoming months that you might want to check out:

 Happy shopping!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Favorite Books, FREEBIES, and a Giveaway

Hi friends! 

We're here again for another month's edition of Weekend Warriors.  

This month's theme is Favorite Books.  I think I could write a blog post every day of the school year about my favorite books.  There are just SO many great books out there!  I find new ones everyday it seems.  So here are just a few that I love and a couple freebies to go along with them around making connections to texts.  

These books are actually PERFECT for the beginning of the year and back to school time, but they  can really be used at any time because some classes (all classes, really) need some refreshers now and again about the importance of kindness.  

Before I get into the books, here is a mini anchor chart I put together to use when talking about the different ways to connect to a text. 

The first book I love to use is Chysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  I LOVE using this book, at the beginning of the year especially.

This is the ideal book to discuss Text to Self Connections.  All students can connect with this cute little story about a mouse name Chrysanthemum.  She LOVES her name, until some of the other kids start making fun of her.  Not cool!  

This first idea I got from First Grade Wow to go along with this book.  She cuts out a large paper heart and passes it out to the students while she reads the book out loud.  She says everytime someone makes fun of Chrysanthemum to crumple up the heart a little more.  At the end she looks at the heart and talks about how Chrysanthemum felt when the other kids were making fun of her name.  Then they try to smooth out the heart, but it doesn't really smooth out completely.  She uses this poem to go on the heart and has the kids write their names on band-aids to put on the heart.  This is hung up all year long as a reminder that words can hurt and kind words are best!

Such a cute idea and a great classroom moment!  

After this activity I do some more activities with the students' names.   You can read this post from last year where I discuss this a little more.  I love to spend time where kids get to know each other, but it's also fun to just do some fun activities about something they know a lot about - their names!

Click on this picture to check out this pack in my store:

And here is a little poem I found that I also be using this year when we do these activities.  Just a cute reminder of how we should be proud of who we are!

The next book I like to use is A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon.  

This book is about Camilla Cream who loves lima beans.  But her friends don't like them, so Camilla decides to stop eating them.  It is a great book about how you should be yourself no matter what other people think!  I love to tie this story in with the next book: Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon  by Patty Lovell.  

These two books are PERFECT for a little Text to Text connection.  

Molly Lou Melon is a GREAT character!  She does not care what the other kids think of her because she is proud of who she is!  What an awesome message!  I especially love Molly's grandma in this book because a lot of the confidence that Molly has is because the things her grandma says to her - like this quote: 

I think it's important for students to reflect on why they are special.  I spend lots of time sharing these altogether and celebrating what makes us all special people.

 At the end of all of these books, I try to bring it all back to a very important topic - bullying.  In each of these books there are kids who are being bullies.  Text to World connections come in here.  We discuss what a bully is and how they make us feel.  We also talk about how we can get rid of bullies and one way to help is to stand up to bullies.  Here is a quick little activity we do where we talk about about what we can do if we see bullying or if it happens to us.

I make an anchor chart for ideas of what we can do and then the students complete this sheet.  Since I'm not in school yet I don't have a picture of the anchor chart but some ideas we come up with are: tell an adult, tell them to stop, walk away, avoid the bully, be nice to the bully (make friends with the bully).  I think it's important to give students ways to deal with these problems because we all know they will encounter this at some point in their lives - probably many times.  

So wraps it up for me today.  If you are interested in any of the activities I shared in this post you can get them for FREE by clicking below.  I hope you like them and can use them!

Now don't leave yet!  Now you can enter to win a Teachers Pay Teachers $10 Gift Card and then move on to the other amazing blogs below to read more and enter more giveaways.