Thursday, October 20, 2016

The First Step

I honestly have no idea who even reads this blog, if anyone, but if you do, know that I know that I've been terrible about keeping up with it. I don't know how some bloggers do it, where they write these amazing posts weekly. Part of it is the fear to start--that I have a good idea, but it won't come out great on the page, or it'll take too much time, and then it becomes the post-never-started. I also feel this way about running. That becoming more active, and a runner, is a monumental task, so sometimes I never make it out the door. I've tried to convince myself that all I need to do is put on my shoes, and leave the house. I don't even expect myself to run, although many times I do. I guess that's what blogging is like. I've put on the first shoe, and this post is me heading out the door, again, for another try.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

$10 TpT Gift Card Give Away!

Hey Everyone! 

I hope you are excited to gear up for another great school year! I am running my first give-away promotion, and with the site-wide sale coming up, this is a great time to save! 

As a buyer myself, I know how important positive feedback is on a product before I decide to purchase it. I have two amazing products that are lacking the feedback love! If you have purchased (or do purchase by Sunday the 21st 10PM Eastern Time) my Roots Bundle with Definitions and Assessments, or The Reflective Teacher Planner and Binder Editable for the Secondary Teacher, and leave your positive feedback, you'll be entered to win the $10 gift card! If chosen, I'll respond to your comment with my e-mail address so that we can connect, and I can send you the gift card in time for the sale! 

Thank you so much for supporting and following my store!

Roots Bundle 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Don't Re-Read... Re-Listen!

Kids always ask me if I get tired of re-reading the same book year after year, sometimes 3-4 times in that same year with different class periods. Yes. Yes I do! Since I've already read the book several times, it's hard to motivate myself to legitimately re-read a book, chapter by chapter, so I don't accidentally give away information that's forthcoming. I annotate all over my books and on notes pages, so I already have the information I know is important, but it's really not the same to teach it from memory a year ago, as it is to re-read like the kids.

Confessions of what I've done to avoid this, especially when pressed for time, and it comes between planning/grading, or re-reading:
- SparkNotes/Shmoop...::I know, I know, don't throw things at me::
- Skim
- Just review my annotations

None of these work that well for me.

Last year I decided to get the books that I teach on audio. This has been a HUGE time-saver!! Think about it: going for a walk with the dog? Listen to chapter 2. Driving home from (or, in emergencies, to) work? Listen to the last few pages you didn't finish in class. I, for one, would rather read books for fun that I haven't read yet when I'm at home, rather than re-read TKAM for the gajillionth time. This is just one of the ways I've learned to maximize my time to get all of my work done, but have a life outside of school that I love.

Additionally, I try to find free audio links online for the kids and post it in Google Classroom so they can do the same, because really, who wants to be inside when it's 65 degrees out in March? ;)

What other tricks or tips do you have to maximize your reading and personal time? I'd love to hear them!

Happy Teaching,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Way led on to way...

...and I doubted if I should ever come back! But I did. Wow. My last post was in August...that was so long ago! As is the life of a teacher...

I have had so many post ideas since the beginning of the year, but as you all know, when something isn't a habit in our schedules it tends not to happen. I've made it a goal this month to get back to blogging. Thank you to anyone who has been reading.

Like many people, I created a litany of New Year Resolutions back in January, and also like many people, some have stuck, and some never got going. (Obviously one that didn't get going-until now-was the blog!) Others HAVE stuck, or at least got moving, and they were thanks to several new changes.

1. Maximize work at work, and less work at home, thanks to:
Click Here for Tips!
I joined this club back in October, but the daily time organization system has stuck well into the new year, and I finally feel in control of the endless "to-do."

2. Be accountable for goals and my time at home. Got a personal PAPER planner that I love to plan, goal, dream, and scribble in from InkWellPress. I always used a paper planner until I graduated college and started using Google Calendar. I now use both. A paper planner lets me write down my goals for the month, and record them daily. I got the blue wooden chevron design.
Start Planning Here!
Big Sky Fitness!
3. Exercise more in the winter. I joined a new gym and signed up for teacher yoga classes after school. I was already a member of a gym, but I never felt welcome by the employees, or other people working out. It felt very "corporate." This new gym I joined is only in CT right now, but if you can't get yourself to the gym, it might be the actual building that feels uninviting, not the lack of motivation to exercise (although that is still certainly the case with me sometimes! Who really WANTS to work out?!). I also signed up for another 6-week session of yoga with four other teachers and we practice right after school in someone's classroom. Newer yoga teachers are often willing to offer discounted classes for teachers to get their businesses started. Our current teacher was "new" three years ago, but still charges us a discounted rate!

Whatever your goals were back in January, pick one to even just think about today. Happy half-way through the year!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Love A Rainy Summer Day

Sometimes I love a good rainy summer day. I do indoor projects for home or work without feeling guilty that I'm not enjoying the sunshine! Jack thought for a minute about getting up, and then thought better of it... he loves rainy days, too :P All the dogs are quiet, actually. Yes, we now live with THREE big dogs between us.

Thankfully, the roomie and I did an impromptu trip to the beach and to visit some friends yesterday, so we took full advantage of the gorgeous day, and I don't feel guilty at all about staying inside!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Music in the Classroom

Headphones Icon by GDJ

I love listening to music in my high school classroom when we're doing independent work, writing, working on homework, or pretty much any time when their attention does not need to be wrapped up in someone speaking. Many times they'll ask me if they can listen to their own music (with headphones) when they're doing independent or small partner work, and most of the time, I say yes. They're more motivated, focused, and quite frankly, a lot less talkative!! The only problem I run into is when a student keeps clicking on his phone and says he's "looking for a new song." Even if he is, it can be really distracting, so I tell them that they need to put on a playlist and stick to it--if the phone looks too distracting they have to put it away.

The first day of first grade summer school I didn't have on any music and it was a BIG.MISTAKE. I needed it for my mood and sanity. Starting Day 2 when the kids came in I had a Jack Johnson Children's playlist from Pandora playing in the background, and it was on the entire day unless we were reading, or using a SmartBoard game that had sound. It was glorious.

Do you use music in your classroom? What are your rules for student music?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fixing Small Spaces for Big Results

I am notorious for letting clutter pile up, one day getting incredibly sick of it, and completely organizing whatever is a mess. Today was one of those days where all of the small nagging spots got me!

On my front steps I had this ugly welcome mat, rain boots full of dirt and cobwebs, and doggy poop bags that hadn't made it to the trash yet. (By the way, the bags on my porch is what sparked my whole organization project! Couldn't stand having them out anymore!).
This is before. Ew.

This is after. The little trash can is for the poop bags ;)

It's amazing how a small change entering the house can make you feel. I've always read about how your environment and external spaces are internal reflections, or at the very least, the clutter and mess limits productivity. I feel better already. My plant still looks terrible, though :\. It died while I was visiting family in NJ. I'm hoping if I keep watering it that it will spring back to life!

Next project was fixing the bottom of this curtain to be pulled taut in the window. Jack pulled it off so he could gaze outside, and I never fixed it. It was a huge pain in the butt flapping in the wind and getting stuck in the door every time I opened it!

The "junk/tool/random" drawer in the kitchen was next. I've organized it once before, but I really needed some space dividers and holders to really keep things in place and not slide around. 
Before dividers:


I also figured out the "mystery keys" left by the previous owners. Minus the two with ? marks... no idea what those go to...

Lastly (for now, taking a quick break!) I invested in a sponge holder for the sink, and instead of getting more Scrub Daddys(ies?) I got a Sponge Daddy :P 

What have you done to organize or spruce up your space this summer?