Thursday, June 30, 2011

Help my classroom!

Hello fabulous, beautiful, smart, intelligent, sophisticated, awesome readers! (can you tell I'm buttering you up? lol) Remember when I posted not too long ago about my latest Donor's Choose project? Well I just found out that there is a company that is matching your donations! That means if you give $25 it's really $50!! So please please please considering donating to help my students!

You can go HERE to donate safely. Who knows, I may even have a prize for you...

And please pass this along! Re-post this post, e-mail it, share it on FB, whatever- just get the word out!!

Giveaway #2!

Another blog I follow, A Place Called Kindergarten is having a giveaway as well! Winner gets $25 to to buy some new books for the classroom. I would LOVE to win this one to get some new audio-books for my listening center. Fingers crossed!


Erica over at Erica's Elementary Excitement is doing a $75 giveaway! Here's hoping I win! I could do a lot with $50 to Lakeshore and $25 to Target.

What would I buy:
- book boxes for my kids
- more advanced puzzles
- a new pocket chart for our sight words
- baskets, baskets and more baskets for organizing!

fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life Saver

With this new "post surgery" body, there are some things I'm learning I have to do in a different way. For example, I have to bend at the knees to get something off the floor, rather than bending at the waist. Putting on lace-up shoes is a bit tricky, but I'm getting better.

I was worried about taking care of Biscuit- not being able to pick him up, play with him, etc. Luckily he is a good leash walker (this from a dog who 6 months ago wouldn't walk at all!) so that's taken care of. But I can bend down to pick up toys and throw them.

But, I have this:
It's called a "chuck-it" and it is a life saver! It's kind of like a slingshot for a tennis ball. You can pick up a tennis ball without bending over (also nice bc then you don't have to touch a slobbery ball) and "chuck" it. It goes soooo far!! Biscuit loves it and every time I even look at the chuck-it he gets excited.

We have been playing in the back yard a lot and having tons of fun. It's also good because it wears him out without wearing me out. Once I trust him a little better, we can go to the park where there is more room and I can really launch the ball. Until then, the fenced backyard will do :)

I love how happy he is! This dog is the greatest EVER

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Organization station

Have I told you that I love organizing? Because I do. Like, seriously. If I were not a Kindergarten teacher, I would be a professional organizer and go into people's homes and get paid to organize all their stuff. Luckily, being a Kindergarten teacher is often a LOT like being a professional organizer. My favorite bookstore in town closed back in December :( but the one good side to that is that in it's place we are getting a Container Store! Until then, I am usually a bit creative when it comes to organizing things in my classroom.

Here is one of the bookshelves in my classroom:
It has all the "series" books sorted into tubs, then the tubs are labeled with the name of the books and a picture. You will find a lot of pre-made labels for book boxes which are great, but they just have the words. K students aren't reading yet (for the most part) and need the picture to go with the words. My kids NEVER put a book in the wrong place because it's pretty obvious where it should go. Time is precious and if I don't have to be constantly re-organizing my books, I think it's a good thing.

One goal for this upcoming school year is to have a new book center that has leveled books out on display. I'm working on it some this summer and hope to have it up by the time school starts. Stay tuned!

Can I have s'more?

I recently saw a recipe online for S'mores cookies. I had a party coming up so I knew that I wanted to try them out. And I was not disappointed. They are AMAZING! and super easy.

Here's how:
- mix up your favorite recipe of chocolate chip cookies (I use the Nestle Tollhouse recipe)
- at the same time you add in 1 cup choc. chips, add in 1 cup mini-marshmallows
- scoop out small globs of dough onto graham cracker squares you have laid on a cookie sheet
- press a mini-marshmallow into the top of each dough blob
- bake at 375 for about 9 minutes
- take off the cookie sheet immediately because they marshmallows ooze onto the sheet a little bit and get very sticky very fast
- cool and enjoy!

Here's what they look like about to go into the oven:

And here's what they look like after:
The top mini-marshmallow gets browned slightly so you really get that toasted effect. And the mini-marshmallows help the cookies stay really chewy and delicious. My recipe made 48 cookies and they were a huge hit with my friends!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teacher Movies

Like a lot of other teachers, I love teacher movies. They inspire me, they make me cry, and they make me remember why I do what I do. Sure they are corny and cheesy. But do you also realize that probably 99% are based on a true story? That means that these are real people, real teachers whose stories are being told on the silver screen. I caught the very end of "Stand and Deliver" yesterday, and it make me think about my favorite teacher movies.

1. "The Ron Clark Story"- fabulous movie about a guy who decides to move to NYC and teach at an inner city school. He makes a huge difference in his students' lives and now runs his own academy outside of Atlanta. I have his book, The Essential 55.
2. "Mr. Holland's Opus"- I went to go see this movie for my friend's 10th birthday back in 1995. And I have probably seen it about 25 time since then. And I cry every time. I hope someday my students look back and remember me like Mr. Holland's students remember him.

3. "Freedom Writers"- I had to read this book and watch the movie for grad school. I am so glad we had this assignment. It really makes you think about who people are and where they come from. And that no matter where we come from, there are similarities that tie us together. It also makes me remember to never give up on my kids, no matter what.

4. "Dangerous Minds"- this was the first R rated movie I ever saw. It's another true story about an ex-Marine who goes to teach in inner-city LA. It has a similar theme- a teacher who does not give up on her students.
Sure, all of these movies have a "never give up" attitude about teaching. But for where I teach, that's the attitude you need to have. Just because a student comes from a poor background, or has a bad home life, or whatever does NOT mean he/she cannot learn. Every child can learn. And if we didn't have these cheesy teacher movies, we might not have any teachers around to help those kind of students.

They got me into teaching, didn't they???

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Plans

Most of my time this summer will be spent on recovering from surgery. Lots of rest, lots of physical therapy, etc. (not to mention lots of shopping now that EVERYTHING in my closet is too big!). But I do have some time left for other more "typical" summer activities. They include:

- laying by the pool, slathered in SPF 3000 of course (ok, maybe more like SPF 30 but whatev)
- reading- currently working on the latest Dan Brown novel/thriller
- movies- both on Netflix and in the theater
- weddings- I have one next weekend and one in July
- decorating- our family vacation home is almost ready, so I'm spending a lot of time helping my parents decorate it!

I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and getting lots of ideas for my classroom for the upcoming school year. Including these that I plan on making:

Seriously, how cute? They are a pair of pants that have the bottom sewn shut, then filled with "smarties" candies. When a kid does something really smart, they get a treat from the Smarty Pants. I already made a trip to the Salvation Army for a pair of pants, so I'm all set. I'll post a how-to tutorial once I get around to making them.

What about you? Any fun summer plans you want to share?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Baby Steps

Well, it's been 4 weeks since my surgery. It's hard to believe so much time has passed. I was worried before going in that I would be bored out of my mind post-op. But I've actually been keeping busy...busy watching tv that is ;)

I am happy to report that I am doing really well. I'm getting up and moving around more and more, getting out of the house, etc. The biggest thing is that I went to the doctor yesterday and I can drive!! It's not very comfortable and I definitely won't be making a cross-country trek anytime soon, but it is progress. Here are some of the other "baby steps" I have taken towards recovery:

Things I can now do:
- take a shower
- hold the hairdryer
- open the refrigerator door (I couldn't do that at first!)
- walk Biscuit
- pick things up off the floor (still difficult, but I can do it)
- carry my own dinner plate (I couldn't do that when I first came home! crazy)
- driving short distances
- eat out at a quick-dine restaurant
- go to the grocery store w/ my mom

There are many more that I can't remember. I start physical therapy next week, and I'm hoping that will definitely help speed up the recovery process and get me back to where I need to be!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Help my classroom!

Donor's Choose is an awesome website where teachers can post projects and people can donate to fund them. You can search to find projects in your own area, or you can donate to the most needy project. Last year I posted a project and my classroom got a new bookcase!

See how pretty it is? Well, in case you didn't get to help out with that project, I have a new one! All you have to do is follow the link and it will take you to my page. It is a very secure site and you can feel good about helping out my students. Feel free to pass the link along or re-post it for anyone you think might be interested. The more people who know about it, the faster it can get funded and the quicker the materials can be in my students' hands!

Monday, June 13, 2011


I have just discovered the website Pinterest. If you don't know about it, it's sort of like an online bulletin board, where you can "pin" pictures of different ideas, things, etc. to remember for later. It is awesome!! I have several boards going, but my favorite by far is my Teacher Stuff board. You can search for other people's boards, which has been perfect for networking. I can see the boards of other teachers and we can share ideas. I've also found out about a few other teaching blogs which has been fun.

One new blog I'm following is Miss Kindergarten. She's in my blog list to the right if you want to check out her blog. She has great ideas AND right now she's doing a free giveaway! One lucky winner gets a bunch of cool stuff for the start of the next school year. Here's hoping I win!! Oh, the joys of networking! or should I say, "web-working"...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meet the Duggars!

Yesterday, I was just relaxing watching tv when I got a text from my best friend from high school. "I'm really sad you're immobile because the Duggars are in town and all my friends are lame and won't go with me." I immediately called her to say that I can get out and would LOVE to go with her, but she'd have to come get me (still not allowed to drive, boo). "I'm on my way right now." was her reply.

If you don't know about the Duggars, they are that crazy family in Arkansas that has 19 children. They are super religious and have some very crazy ideas and they kinda creep me out (and totally creep out many people), but I can't get enough!! It's kind of like my obsession with polygamy. I would never in a million years live like that, but I want to know all about it.

So Lindsay came and picked me up, and off we went to the local Barnes and Noble. It was so much fun! We were surrounded by fellow Duggar fans, so I did not feel like a freak.

Here I am with Michelle:
When I told her I couldn't bend down bc I had just had surgery, she asked all about it and said "bless your heart! Take care of yourself." She was really nice and much prettier in person than she is on tv.

And here I am with Johannah (aka Hannie). She is my favorite Duggar child. She's just so cute!
And finally with Josh and Anna (preggers with baby #2). Josh was kinda creepy in person and Anna had no personality.
All in all, it was fabulous! My family is having a ball making fun of me and my Duggar obsession, but I don't care. I love the Duggars and know there are plenty of people out there who love them too!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

100th post!

Wow! This is my 100th post on my blog! I was a little worried when I started blogging that I would start it up strong and then it would die out. But luckily, that hasn't happened. I look forward to blogging and sharing cool ideas with you all. I love sharing my story and hopefully giving you some inspiration for whatever you are doing in your life.

So, happy 100th post to me!

Monday, June 6, 2011

best youtube video ever!

When I went up to Montreal in October, my sister showed me this youtube video. Before we watched it, I was like "I don't usually get these kind of videos. They're so stupid." But she made me watch. And now I'm obsessed and have spread the love of Marcel with my whole family and some friends. So now I'm sharing it with you. How can you not love Marcel the Shell? He is awesome!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why Kindergarten Teachers are the BEST

When I tell people I teach Kindergarten, I often get the "oh, that is so wonderful!" look. People always tell me how special it must be to be the first teacher in a child's life, what a difference I must be making, etc. I have to tell you, it's true. Teaching Kindergarten is the best thing ever. And other Kindergarten teacher are just as awesome as I am.

I found this article on Facebook from a K-teacher group I'm a member of. Read it! A K teacher in Mexico helped keep her kids safe while a shoot-out was happening a block away from her school. And how did she keep them calm? She had them singing "If all the raindrops" (in Spanish, claro). How sweet is that??

I teach in an area of town that is not the best. There are a lot of good things going on, I see involved parents, I see people wanting to help, etc. But unfortunately I also see violence and other bad stuff. And I hurt for my kids. But it makes me feel a little better to know that I offer a safe environment for them. And I hope that (God forbid) if this type of situation were to happen at my school, I would be able to stay calm and keep my kids safe just like this fabulous teacher.

Here's a video of the actual thing: (the teacher took it on her cell phone)