Sunday, December 1, 2013

Currently December

I am back at it!
Though I have been "out of sight", blogging certainly hasn't been "out of mind".  I think of it all the time and think what great posts I could have, but it's the sitting-down-to-do-it part that I struggle with.
Anyhow... I'm getting there. 
And today, I'm back at it and sharing with you what I am doing currently.

I have been out of school for an entire week!  That's right! It has been great. I have spent 5 days with my Brandon, which has been so fantastic! We have celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends and family, we have shopped a little, crafted a little, cleaned a little, and I planned.... none. So... for now, knowing that school starts back tomorrow and I will have 3 classes of 12 year olds surrounding me all day... I am enjoying the silence, while it lasts. :)

I am so loving that Christmas Break is three weeks from now.  Not only did we have a week off for Thanksgiving, but in three weeks, we will get another two weeks off!  YIPPEEEEE..... who cares we will be going to school until June 12th (until June gets here)

I do not do well with Christmas shopping.  I always think I have much longer than I really do. I'm not sure why I do this considering every aspect of my life is centered around calendar, but anyhow... I do. 

I really want to go to Dollywood, which is Dolly Parton's theme park in TN (about 2 hours away) and see the Christmas lights.  They are beautiful! You should go if you ever get the chance... not only at Christmas, but any season... it will be worth it. Take some time to enjoy the mountains.

How does my car get so messy so quickly? I don't get it.  One day, I will grow up and keep a clean car, but until then, I will continue to schedule cleanings. :/

My favorite tradition is meeting my dad for breakfast on Christmas Eve morning.  I have always loved this tradition.  This year, he and my mom are hosting breakfast at their house on Christmas Eve, which is equally exciting.  I am thankful for this precious tradition that I share with my sweet daddy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ms. Arty Pants Creation Station

I have been hearing about this painting place, which is located a couple towns over, Ms. Arty Pants Creation Station.  I saw an advertisement that they were hosting a Teacher Night!
I reserved 5 spots for myself, one of my teaching partners, and two teachers that are new to our school this year - what better way to get to know each other a little better, huh?

Though I would love to take credit of being one awesome artists, I'm not.  We submitted our pictures to Ms. Arty Pants herself, and she sketched the pictures.  We painted within the lines.  : )

We are soooo going back sometime soon!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently in August

I am lovin' these summer nights.  Lately, our evenings have been pretty quiet.  My husband has recently started his Masters Degree.  When he is doing his homework, I try to limit distractions.  I forget how loud those crickets are, when we actually turn off all other noise to hear them. 

My nail polish is super fun.  Four nails are a fun turquoise color, while the other is painted in silver glitter.  F*U*N.

I am wanting next Friday to get here because this girl and her man are going on vacation! I can.not.wait.  We are in so much need of R&R and I can think of no better place to receive this than in Destin, Florida.  EEEkkkk!

Though I am uber stoked about the beach, I am also beginning to feel a little anxious.  My classroom has been occupied with Summer Edventure Camp.  They do not move out of the rooms, until Aug. 9th, then the floors have to be stripped and waxed before I can get into it.  Because we will be on vacation, I will not be able to get into my room until August 19th, which is the day of our first workday!  & it isn't really a workday, I mean... a day to work in my classroom... it's a day of training.
Oh boy.  I'm hoping the sand and waves are a solution to my anxiety.

I know it sounds lame, but my block operates on clipboards.  A list of the students go on a clipboard with the group as they rotate classrooms.  That way, the teacher can always make any necessary notes.  Therefore, it is important to have a sturdy clipboard, those things go through the ringer by the end of the year... I found some super cute ones at TJ Maxx and for CHEAP... $5

The next thing I use each year is my Common Core Galore Checklist, by Natalie Kay.  I love this thing.  It helps me document what I am teaching and when.  It allows me to keep up with what I am teaching and what standards are left for me to cover.  Take a look!  She provides checklists for a variety of grades and content!!!

Last, but not least, my 3rd Back-2-School Must have is a pedicure. Can I get a witness?!?!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lesson Plan Book

I love it when my husband recognizes my state of deep thought and asks what I am thinking about.  My answer, "What lesson plan book I'm going to use this year."  :)

So... here it is:
I teach two subjects to two classes: Language Art & Social Studies.  I didn't really want or need one of the traditional lesson plan book.  So I'm trying something new.

I went to Target and got a regular yearly/weekly planner book.  It has a fun cover, spiral, room to plan.  This one can be found at Target or online here

Did a little personalization...

I like this "plain-ole" planner because it has a month at a glance- which any other month than August, will allow me to jot down topics and units so I can see the month all at once.

I also have the weekly pages.  I did draw a line down the middle of the weekly pages.  This way, I have two different boxes to write down the plans for both of the subjects I teach.

I will write down the weekly vocabulary & To Do items in the boxes for Saturday & Sunday.

I think this is going to work well for what I need it for. 
Just in case you too are in need of  a lesson plan, that's different than the traditional 100 squares on one page lesson plan book.... try something simple.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Currently - July

Laundry - it's a beautiful sound, when you have nothing clean.  :) I have been gone for the week - nuff said. 

Home with Brando - As mentioned, I have been gone for a week.  Not really out of town, but not at home.  I have been coordinating a program called World Changers in my hometown.  "See what happen is"... youth groups from churches chose to attend a World Changers project (there are around 75 across the U.S.)  I had 200 6th-12th grade students and their adults that came to my hometown.  They stay at the Middle School, where they sleep on air mattresses and cots.  They work throughout the week on homes in our area, needing assistance i.e. roofing, painting, ramps, porches, etc.  It was a great week, but this girl is glad to be home before the next week begins.

Grad Assignments - This journey is coming to an end and I am pumped! All assignments are due by midnight tonight and July 24 is the last day!!!

Clean this House - Because I have been gone for World Changers for the last week and getting ready for World Changers the week before that... completing an internship the two weeks before is safe to say that this house.... needs cleanin'

Blog Tip - The Font Matters! Though we so love those super cute fonts, sometimes they can be difficult to read.  I'm thinking I may need to change mine...for easier reading

Happy July Friends!

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Kids Don't Learn from People they Don't Like"

As an assignment in my graduate class, I was asked to watch speakers on TED talk on Education.  The speakers were great, and I was truly encouraged, inspired, and challenged. 
I am a major advocate for student leadership within the classroom, which is a product of student relationships.  I laughed with Rita Pierson as she spoke, resonated with her address, and was challenged by her statements.  I wanted to share with my blog friends.

I would love your thoughts on this! :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Currently in June

HGTV.... our TV at home literally goes days without being changed.  Some go for the sappy love movies, some go for action packed films, some go for reality, Brandon & I, however, go for the Home and Garden TV.  Now, that's quality! :)

Summer Break! The last day of school with students was on May 24th.  We had work days all last week, which ended on June 1st.  Therefore, this girl is on SUMMER BREAK and that's not even the best part! The most exciting thing about this summer is that .... wait for it..... it is 3.months.long.!!!
That's right.  This last school year, we began school in early August, but the State has mandated that no school can begin before August 25th.  Because we started early, we finished early (May 24) and because of the new mandate, we start late (Aug. 26).  This means that this year, and I'm certain this is the only year, teachers and students are out for 3.Solid.Months.  We are currently on day 2 of 87.  B-LISS!

Just like Farley, my room will be used during summer.  Ugh.  This is beyond annoying!  In fact, it is down right irritating.  Summer Day Camp uses a wing of our school each year, this year, they are on my wing.  I totally get that they will not be in need of my room for the next three years, but I'm not worried about then... I'm ill about now.  :) So... I have locked up, strapped down, and even busted out the zip-ties.  I have one more bookcase to cover with butcher paper and we are set.  That is on tomorrow's Absolutely To Do list.

I do have a couple books that I want to read this summer, but in the amazing case that I finish them, I'm looking for any suggestions that my friends would like to share.... so let me know.  What books are you planning on reading this summer? Any genre: teaching, fiction, nonfiction... I'm game.

We have lived in our apartment for 5.5 years and the time has come.... that spare bedroom MUST get cleaned out and organized - right after I cover my bookcase and read the books you suggest.  :)

My 3 Vacay Essentials are: Sunglasses. Books. Sweet Tea.  I mean, who could not have a super summer day with these three items?  I mean, really.  The three of these items are what transforms everyday into a Vacay Day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Optimum Organization Linky Party

I am linking up with Ladybug's Teacher Files and Fun in Room 4B to share an organizational system I used this school year. 
I am constantly trying to come up with the best way to get classwork into the hands of absent students.  As it has been proven time and time again, I do not do well, by simply giving it to them the next day.  That means, you have to remember they were absent the day before.  It sounds so easy, but it isn't.  Therefore, I came up with this system. 

I teach two classes, each with a different homeroom teacher.  They are known as "Talley's Class" or "Breedlove's Class", based on their homeroom teacher.  SO.... if you are absent, your name is placed on the "Make Up Work" board.   (this is a student job, placing the absent names on the board) Then, the work that the student misses, due to an absent, is placed in the appropriate folder, depending on their homeroom teacher.  Once the absent student has received their missing work, they remove their name from the Make Up Work board. 

When the work is complete, the student places it in the turn in box by the folder.

For this year, it worked.  I am planning on making a few revisions to this system, but overall, it worked out well.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Next Year, I am Definitely going to....

I am linking up with Kim @ Finding Joy in 6th Grade, to begin thinking towards what I DEFINITELY want to do next school year.  Therefore, here it is. 

Next school year, I am DEFINITELY going to....

I am oh-so unorganized.  I don't mean to be, but I just am.  I have the crates, folders, tubs, bins, labels, and everything else I could possibly need in order to organize all my "stuff", but regardless to my great intentions, it just doesn't happen.  This is one major priority of the summer.  Organize myself and my "stuff".  A great place to start would be creating myself a teacher toolbox, like Kristen on Ladybug's Teacher Files, check it out.

Though the two subjects I teach are easily integrated, it is most definitely more difficult to do if that integration is not planned out.  My hope is to use social studies units to 'drive' my classroom, while the language arts tasks support the content and discussion.  In order to do this, I need detailed plans - ones that students will love learning, and I love teaching.

Along with the plans I want to build, one aspect will be students using interactive notebooks.  I have spent the last 8-9 months researching, learning, and processing how to use interactive notebooks within my classroom.  This tool will be used as a resource.  Essentially, it is a student-built textbook.  Interactive Notebooks allow students to make connections between the instruction and application.

One step in becoming a Leader in Me School is introducing and using Data Notebooks.  The purpose of Data Notebooks is that students set goals for themselves: personally and academically.  Students also track (graph) their own data.  This allows students to take ownership and leadership of their own data.  This encourages them to be leaders of their learning.

More on this later, but our school is in the process of developing a Leader System.  Ultimately, we hope to create men and women of character, as well as teach students to become leaders within their school, home, and community.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Students have been on Pinterest

Among the many reasons why I love teaching 6th grade, is that the girls that I teach love pinterest just as much as I do and at the end of the year, I am the one that benefiting from their pinterest interest. :) Thus far, I have received two super cute pinterest-inspired gifts.  I didn't take pictures of the exact gift from my students, so instead, I am using the pinterst pictures.
Happy End-of-the-Year Teacher Gifts!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

*New Look for Summer*

At the beginning of this school year, I began this blog.  I was certain I would keep it up, stay current, and have great posts. However, school started, and well, friends, shortly after, the blogging stopped. 

So to commemorate a renewed commitment to use this blog as a place to store classroom thoughts, projects, and happenings, as well as to celebrate the summer that is t-totally 2 days away.... For Love & Laughter has a brand new look thanks to my new friend Barbara Leyne at Ruby Slippers Designs