Monday, November 4, 2013

The One About Still Being Alive

Which I still am in case you were wondering.  

You know how life can be.  Always happening.  Always going on.  I am loving my new job, new school, new kiddos, new friends, and everything.  But I totally underestimated how much all of the newness for my family would equal so much busyness.  Oh well.

So, I've blogged before about my love of Math Journals.  Something I discovered and began using last year.  Well, I'm at it again.  I started them last month and my kids loved them!  I was so excited to begin using my own November Math Journals today!  That is, until the copier and I disagreed.  Oh well.  Life happens, remember.  So, they're copied now and we will begin them tomorrow.  My kids get so excited when I tell them we are doing something that I made.  They always feel as though I have made it just for them.  :)  But they are loving Math Journals.  Every level of student can enjoy them and it is a fun and easy way to reinforce core Math skills.  

I've lamented in past posts about how my TPT progress (making and uploading at least) has come to a screeching halt.  With no new products posted in a while.  Ugh.  Life again. But last month I saw a huge, and sudden, surge in sales.  Made me smile.  This month, just 4 days in, has proven to be the same.  It's beginning to light a fire under me and hopefully I will be able to harness all of the excitement, and find the time, to create and post some new things.  I've got a list a mile-long so the ideas are just itching to get out.  I've almost reached a milestone, for myself at least, in sales and am thinking about throwing a sale to celebrate.  I'll let you know.  Nothing huge, not like some of the big TPT names out there. But for me it's huge.  Just exciting to know that other people also like what I like and enjoy using the things that I have made for my classroom.  Collaboration is always fun, no matter who it is with!

So, I'm back.  I've got posts partially written in my head and a list of topics is always growing.  So, I hope to be back in full force this month.  This little post is just to say hi and make sure everyone, or anyone, is still out there.  

I hope the 1st Quarter, if you do quarters, of your school year is going well.  I am 2 weeks into our 2nd Quarter and all is great!  So, I'll be back soon.  Promise.  

Thanks for hopping by.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The One About Sub Notes

Wow!  Has it seriously been over a month since I've posted!  Yikes!  Sorry!

Trust me, it's not for lack of wanting to, just lack of finding the time to.  You know how it goes.  But I'm back and hopefully back into the swing of things.  And to say sorry for my absence I am throwing a sale in my TPT store!  Everything in my store is 10% until this Thursday, October 10!  So, head on over there (after you read this of course) and see if you need/want anything!  Sorry!

Now, for another kind of absence.  I was home with my daughter Stella today.  She's all better and will be returning to school, as will I, tomorrow.  This was a momentous absence though because it was a full 7 weeks of school before any of my kids got sick (my son Braeden was out last Friday but Amy stayed home with him).  That's a record.  Seriously y'all, we usually only make it a week or so!  That's why 7 is something to celebrate!  Lucky 7!  Oh, that reminds me of the show!  :(  The first of the new fall shows to be cancelled, and it was one I liked!  But I've gotten off topic here.

Absence.  Now, I don't mind missing school so long as I can plan for it.  Luckily Amy is the one that can take it on the fly.  She gets the times when someone wakes up sick and it's last minute.  I'll take the times when I know I will be out and can prep.  Last minute gives me anxiety.  Planning time let me get organized.  I knew I'd be out with Stella today so yesterday I was able to set everything out and get it all nice looking.  I also wrote my Sub Notes last night and emailed them to school.  Sure, I'd left my lesson plans out on my desk.  Sure, everything the Sub would need was right there.  But still, I have to write notes.  Notes specific to that day.  Those lessons.  The kids.  Do you do that?  Amy always gives me grief because my Sub notes can be lengthy.  For example, today's were 3 pages. That's not bad, right?!  I had stuff to say.  Prep stuff.  Background information stuff.  Little stuff not covered in the lesson plans.  Stuff stored in my head that doesn't get written down.  You know, the million other things outside of your lesson plans that you cover daily.

So, do you write Sub notes?  How specific do you get?  I acknowledge that I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to my classroom.  But I have gotten better over time.  I just like things done a certain way, my way.  I mean, aren't all teachers control freaks deep down inside.  Isn't that one of the things that makes us teachers?  The things that draw us to this crazy, yet infinitely rewarding career?  The ability to control a ton of stuff and little people and do every little thing just the way we want?  Yikes, that makes it sound bad, but I know I'm not alone.  I mean, I know it probably (and likely) will not all be done the way I would do it, because the Sub isn't me.  But the notes protect me and give me a sense of comfort and control.  After all, it was written right there in black and white!  

So, what do your Sub notes look like?  I can't be the only one!  :)

Thanks for hopping by!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The One About Starting Over


So, my good intentions of coming back after summer fizzled away with the busyness of August.  I am sure August is that way for you too though.

After an awesome summer at home with the family, August brought us back to reality.  The reality was that there was a ton of change coming upon us with the new school year.  Me moving schools.  Amy moving grades.  All of the kids changing schools.  The kids being split between schools.  Everything we knew had been turned upside down.  But not in a bad way.  Change can be good, even though I am, admittedly, at times resistant to it.  But we were all very excited about these changes.  They were fun.  Positive.  Exciting.

So, August brought me to a new school.  Well, sort of.  You'll remember that I am now teaching where I attended elementary school forever not too long ago.  The church and school welcome me with wide open arms.  It was an effortless transition.  I have been amazed, humbled, and blessed with coworkers and church members alike eager to have me aboard.  It did make climbing the mountain of change much easier.  

But, as you may know, with moving comes boxes.  As in everything you own.  In boxes.  That you have to unpack.  Find places for.  Hide.  Cram.  Get creative.  You know the drill.  It took me the better part of a week to get everything out and away.  And honestly there are things that I just had to place somewhere with the hopeful promise of returning periodically throughout the school year to finally put away and sort through.

After that faculty meetings began.  As did block planning, lesson planning, back to school planning.  Luckily I am familiar with some of the curriculum so that isn't all new to me.  But you forget about how many little day to day procedures and routines there are to learn at a new school.  Big ones like fire drills and restroom locations and what to do/who to see when you need _____.  Little ones like lunch count and scheduling and recess.  All in all though my coworkers have been eager to help, assist, and offer advice when needed.  Again, I've been blessed.

Despite seeming like I would never be ready and dealing with the hectic schedules of 2 different schools and all of the kids Amy and I made it.  The school year started off very well last Tuesday.  I have 17 kids this year, our cap is 18 and I am sure we will fill that spot soon.  My kids are amazing, as are their parents.  The first day went off without a hitch.  My 10th year teaching and this was the first year with no crying.  One little girl had the sniffles for about 30 seconds, but that was it.  I was pleasantly surprised.

These first 5 days have flown by.  Last week was filled with initial assessments, rules, procedures, getting to know you, back to school activities.  You know the stuff.  This week we began everything, with the exception of Reading Groups.  I am still doing assessments in order to properly group them.  I will begin that next week.

My classroom is huge.  The one downside is that it is an interior room (read: cave) so I have no windows and there are none in the hallway.  In the event of a power outage, I only have the soft glow of 2 red "EXIT" signs to illuminate the entire room.  But, it's all good.  The room I am in now was my 5th Grade classroom so that is pretty crazy.  The walls are cinder block which brings me back to my first job in New Orleans where I also had cinder block walls.  So that was a bit of nostalgia.  I think I am happy with my set-up and haven't felt the need to rearrange anything yet, hopefully I've hit upon a good layout that I can stick with.  I am notorious for changing desk arrangements and/or other room components mid-year.  We will see if this year is any different.  

All in all though, back to school has been a breeze this year.  I have been lucky.  But with all the change and easy transition is nice.  I still haven't been able to make much for TPT but I hope to get back onto that soon and get everything going.  I miss making things, and selling too.  I'll keep you posted though.  

I'll close with some pictures of my classroom.  Nothing fancy, I didn't go all out this year but I am pleased with how it turned out.  I hope your year is off to a great start!

Thanks for hopping by!

Giant panorama of the room when I first moved in.

My box pile.  It got bigger.  Then it went into the recycling because I could barely get in the door.

Finding a home for the frog collection is one of the first things I have to do! 
My name!  On the door!

My word wall.  Literally.  I didn't jazz it all up and decorate it with frogs.  I may do frog letters later and replace those but I didn't have the time or energy.  Note to self: frog word wall letters - make for TPT!

My vintagey (yes it's a word I'm sure) alphabet.  Again, not frogs but a retired teacher from my last school left it and I fell in love with the vintage, old school look and now I just can't bear to be without it.  I get attached like that.

My class pictures.  All 9.  

My door, decorated and ready.

Tags for the kids' backpack pegs.  Not fond of the curtains but I don't have cabinets, just open shelves.  I need to jazz the curtains up though.


Big panoramic 1st day picture.  I hope it gets bigger when you click on it.

Me, ready for the first day!  Bring it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The One About Summer Break


How has your summer been going?  I hope well.  Mine has been awesome.

So awesome in fact that I took a break from blogging for most of the summer.  As you can tell.  

But I am back now.  Tomorrow is the last day of my summer vacation.  :(  I report back on Monday and then school starts on the 20th.  I can't believe how quickly this summer flew by.  Was yours the same?

I did a lot and I have to say, unashamedly, that I didn't do anything for school.  Well, that's not totally true.  I did begin by block plan for the year.  Well, sort of.  I got the dates and quarter breakpoints done.  That's it.

Sure, I had grandiose plans.  Plans for creating TPT products.  Plans for block planning.  Plans for looking over all of the new curriculum I'll have this next year and getting familiar with it.  But other stuff came up.  More important stuff.  Life family time.  Vacation.  Relaxing.  You know how it goes!

So, here I sit, facing the end of the summer break with tons of work looming before me. But I feel refreshed and ready to tackle it all.  I'm not going to lie and say I'm not nervous or slightly anxious about it, I am.  But I needed a break.  Needed a summer.  Needed a time off.  So I took it and I enjoyed every minute of it.

In case you're new or have forgotten, I'll be starting at a new school this year.  So that means I'm a newbie once again.  New policies and procedures to learn.  New coworkers.  A new boss who was my 8th Grade teacher!  Remember, this school is where I attended 2nd - 8th Grade!  So, it is a lot of new, but also a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to it.

We will see how long this positive attitude lasts once Monday comes and the meetings and classroom prep begin.  I have a feeling the anxiety and sense of overwhelming work will creep in as they always do.  But they can be great motivators.  Until then though I have one more day and a weekend to enjoy before it all begins!  I'm going to do my best to enjoy them and relax as much as possible!  Hope you had a great summer and are easing back into August and all of the craziness it brings!

Thanks for hopping by!  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The One About the Move

Happy June!
Are you finished with school yet? If not, I hope it's coming to you soon. As I mentioned in the last post our last day of school was May 22 so technically it's been out for over a week. However, I'm not considering summer vacation to have actually begin yet, I'll save that for tomorrow. I'm totally one of those people who has to begin new things, diets, units, etc, on a Monday. But there's a more logical reason other than being neurotic.

See, I had work to do before summer could actually begin. I know everyone does, but I had some different end of the year work. First of all, I had to finish the yearbook. I am in charge of creating our school's yearbook and I love it. However, I tend to put off the bulk of the work until the spring and then I'm crunched for time to get it in by the deadline. There's another dirty little secret, I'm a horribly procrastinator. Anywho, in addition to finishing the yearbook, I also had to finish packing up my classroom and bringing home my stuff. I'd been working at that for several weeks prior to the end of the school year so I had a good handle on it. But these two seemingly small tasks were, in fact, quite daunting. But with a lot of work I was able to finish them up by Thursday. Due to my moving to a different school and some other things, I didn't have any meetings this year so that ended up being a timesaver.

Thursday also happened to be Amy's last day of the school year and her faculty was having a little lunch party after the half day was over. There was some more motivation for me.

So, here I sit with summer beginning tomorrow even though I guess it began last week. Amy has meetings for the next couple of days so I am home by myself with the kids. We'll be taking it easy with Amy still at work. Lazing around sounds good and I know we all need some of that. Maybe a little time at the pool? Riding bikes? TV show marathons? The sky's the limit people, I'm living on the edge here!

But I guess I've gotten slightly off topic since the title led you to believe this post was about me moving schools. So I'll touch on that. See, it's something that's been working in me all year. God's been whispering and guiding me and I've been doing by best to listen and follow. Around Spring Break it became official, I was moving.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of change, but I'm welcoming this one. I'm excited. A new school. A new principal. New coworkers. A new classroom. New everything. Yet, ironically these things are also quite frightening. I'll be the new kid on the block again (anyone else have the song Step By Step stuck in their head now?). But that's not so bad right? It'll be refreshing. Another fun part about the move is that I am moving to the school where I went to elementary school! Where I first met Amy in 7th Grade! Also, I came to this school in 2nd Grade and that's the grade Braeden will be entering next year! So those things are pretty neat. Stella will be joining me too but Jackson will be attending the school where Amy teaches. We decided to split them for many reasons and they're both exited. I think it's going to be a great thing.
So there. The move. I know I've got my work cut out for me. The hauling of my stuff to school and unpacking alone is enough to drive me bananas. My garage is full of all of my teaching stuff. I'll need to review all of the curriculum. New block plans. New materials. Aaahhh! So much to do! But for now, it's June and I am taking the month to do nothing school related! Vacation! I'll post here, but that's about it.

Come July I want to work on some things for my TPT store and slowly (keyword slowly) begin looking at curriculum and planning. Then in August when I return I'll begin the nitty gritty stuff.

But now it's summer! It was a fantastic year and I know the summer will do it's best to compete! I hope that you're summer is awesome. Whether it has already begun or you're in single-digit countdown days. Enjoy it teacher friends!

Thanks for hopping by!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The One About The End of the Year

Well, hopefully you understand how busy the month of May is and aren't too harsh on me for not being around as much this month.  

Aside from the usual May craziness I am also preparing to move to a new school!  It'll be 1st Grade again so I won't have to change the name of this blog!  :)  However, I'd love to talk about it more but it's getting late and I'm fading fast.  Today was our last day of school (sorry if you're not out yet!) and I am exhausted.  You can read a bit more about the change at my personal blog here or just wait and I'll blog about it here in a day or so.

So, like I said, today was the last day of school.  But tomorrow is our school-wide party/day trip at a local water park.  We do this every year and it is always a great time for the teachers, kids, and families.  Possibly the best part is that every kid has to have a chaperone so we teachers get to go and hang out ourselves.  It is a lot of fun.  This year I'll be taking Braeden and Jackson again and they are stoked.  While I know a full day of fun in the sun chasing those two around will be a blast, I'm tired just thinking about it.

Ok, I'm going to have to sign off for now.  A brief update but I'll be back soon with more. I hope that your end of the year is going great and you can smell the sunscreen because summer vacation is so close!  

Thanks for hopping by!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The One About Reflections

Ok, so this reflections post should have come sooner.  A lot sooner.  But you know how May is.  Yikes.  Right?!  But that's a topic for another post.  On with the reflections.

So I made it!  The first year for this blog and the second for my family blog.  It was a lot of fun.  My favorite part of the challenge for this blog was sharing some of my favorite books.  Discussing them, sharing ideas, hopefully getting someone else hooked on a great book.  It was fun.  The posts were easy to come by, with the exception of X and Q, so that wasn't a problem at all.  

Another bonus was the interaction with others.  Reading the comments and responding to them was fun.  As I stated on my other blog, it is always fun to see just how far reaching the Internet can be and where people visit from.  I find it fascinating that bloggers from all around the world stop by to read my ramblings.  

The roughest part of the challenge, once again, is the fact that I never get around to visiting as many other blogs as I'd like to.  Bummer.  But I plan on continuing to visit and work my way through the list.  It's always fun to discover something new.

So, thanks for stopping by.  If you found me via the challenge I hope you enjoyed it, I know I have.  I look forward to reenergizing the blog and sharing more great things about what I consider to be the best job in the world.  Teaching.  First Grade!  Awesome!

Thanks for hopping by.