Sunday, November 27, 2016

TpT $10 Give-Away and Cyber Sale!

Hey everyone! TeachersPayTeachers is running a site-wide cyber Monday and Tuesday sale with up to 28% off! As part of the sale, I am giving away a $10 TpT gift card! Enter the raffle to win! The raffle ends Tuesday 11/29!

Click here for a link to my store!


The winner is: Heather! congrats :)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Morning Time-Savers for Teachers (and anyone, really!)

Getting out the door in the morning within the forty minutes I allot to get ready is a challenge. Of course, I could get up earlier, but setting my alarm any earlier than 5:40 makes my skin crawl, so I make it work. Over the years I've tweaked my routine to maximize my time, so I figured I would share in case it's useful for someone else.

What I do in the morning:
Upstairs
Drink water
Get dressed
Hygiene stuff: contacts, brush teeth, deodorant, etc.
Fix hair and makeup

Downstairs
Take supplements
Feed Jack
Make breakfast
Pack lunch
Pour coffee
Eat breakfast
Take Jack outside
Head to the car!

All of this takes just about forty minutes: 20 upstairs, and 20 downstairs.

In my "upstairs" routine, I've done a few things to speed up the process:
1. Have water ready next to my bed for when I wake up
2. My lamp is on a timer and turns on at 5:55 to make sure I get up
3. This is the biggest timesaver; I put five 3M hooks on the wall in my closet, and pick out five outfits for the week on Sunday. I've started taking pictures of outfits I like, and put them in a photo album in Google Photos, so hopefully my Sunday time of picking them out will go even faster with some pre-made choices I know I already like. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not fantastically fashionable, so it's taken me a long time to figure out what I like and looks good!
 (I seem to have been on a red color palate that week)



In my "downstairs" routine, I've prepped a few things ahead of time for this all to go faster.

1. I set the coffee pot on a timer the night before so it's already ready, and I just have to pour it and go. 
2. I usually make breakfast in the morning, but to cut down this time even further, I just started making breakfast casseroles on Sundays, and then I can just heat it up and eat it all week.

3. My lunches are my dinner leftovers. When I put away leftovers, I always put some aside in a glass container for lunch. This way, I don't have to make separate lunches, and it's made the night before. 


It seems like I do a lot on Sundays, but one thing I usually do on Mondays is grocery-shop after work, and then make a large meal to pack for lunches for at least three days. I don't like thinking that my weekends are just to get ready for the week, so the only things I pressure myself to have done by Sunday night are outfits, and a lunch for Monday. It's not a fool-proof system, but it helps a lot! 

So there you have it. What are some of your time-savers?

<3 Ms. P

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Crazy Beautiful October

What a month October was! The beautiful leaves and colors only lasted a few weeks here in New England, and as I was on my walk with Jack yesterday (my Aussie mix), I was reminded again of Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay":

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay. 

I know there is much deeper, metaphorical stuff going on in this poem, but on the surface, it popped in my mind watching the remnants of the orange leaves cling on, while their counterparts had already fallen and died. This picture is from our walk on Oct 26, the day before it SNOWED here.

Oct 26:  Oct 27:


October is also my birthday month, and the best part of the month was seeing so many friends and spending time with them. 
 Wogging (walking/jogging) the Apple Harvest Fest 5k

Yummy Beef stew!

My last CSA haul from the farm

As the month came to a close, and November rolled around, my Reflective Teacher Planner reminded me to look back on my October Intentions, Reflections, and to plan ahead for November. As you can see, my real-life handwriting leaves something to be desired...but I've found (so far from doing it in Sept/Oct) that it really helps me stay focused on my goals when I force myself to write down intentions, reflect on them at the end of the month, and repeat them or add new ones for the next month. 
I use my quarterly goals to help make my "Work and Club" goals (the club is Angela Watson's 40 Hour Teacher Workweek)

One of the main things I learned about myself over this past year is that if I don't write it down, it doesn't seem to happen--so I'm all about writing it down and self-accountability these days! November has some heavy goals, but I think I can do it. I already finished one book (play): Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can't wait for the Fantastic Beasts movie to come out this month! I hope you all had a fantastic month, and are looking forward to what November holds.

 And, as a lasting thought:





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!
ExcellingInEnglish


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!