8 Years Down...Many More To Go

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Hi friends!

I just finished my 8th year of teaching. I spent the first 4 years in the media center and just completed my 4th year in the classroom.

A little background...

I student taught in the fall of 2006 and graduated in the spring of 2007. I was taking a class during the last semester of my college years and I had a very unsupportive professor. It changed my whole outlook on teaching and did not take a teaching job. I spent about 6 months working a dead-end job trying to figure out my next move. I began to search for a better job and started working for the university that I completed my undergraduate degree. I have always had a passion for reading, so I decided to work on my Masters of Information and Library Science. I thought about working at a university library, but realized that was not my path in life. I volunteered/interned at a local school and found my calling again. That internship turned into my first teaching position in the media center.

I will admit that it was not my best year in life. I had to adjust to working with all teachers and students, but my teaching background gave me a lot of valuable information. Fast forward 4 years and budget cuts created job sharing of media specialists between buildings. I was forced out of my position due to my teaching license, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I moved to a 4th grade classroom and I LOVED my new position. I had so many incredible experiences in that first year back in the classroom and was even chosen as Teacher of the Year in my building. I found my love of teaching yet again and I am so thankful for that first year.

I spent 2 more years teaching at the school (one year a 3rd/4th split class; one year a 4th/5th split class) which is as awful as it sounds! I was also commuting 2+ hours a day and with no pay raise since I began working for the district. I decided in 2017 that enough was enough and left the school corporation.

What about now...

Enter my 1st year at my new school! I taught 4th grade High Ability students this past school year and had a wonderful experience. Was it perfect? No. Will any year be perfect? No. I have become okay with the lack of perfection and strive to improve each year. I am looking forward to my 2nd year at my new school and my 9th year of teaching.

I have been on summer break for a week now and I working on improving myself through downtime and exercise, but I spend a lot of time in the summer preparing for the next school year. I have read 2 PD books, which I will post about later.

If you are curious now, I have read the following books:

Minds on Mathematics                                       Ditch That Homework: Practical Strategies to Help Make Homework Obsolete by [Miller, Matt, Keeler, Alice]

I would love to hear more about your teaching background and your first year of teaching!

Teacher Tidbit Tuesday: Who Am I?

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Hello everyone! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog...people still read blogs, right? I will admit that I am more of an Instagram and Facebook user, but I think continuing my blog will help me share more ideas in depth.

I am jumping on the Teacher Tidbit Tuesday bandwagon! Although I am a couple of days behind, I still want to participate. So here goes my first post!



I have been teaching 4th grade for 4 years and I also was a media specialist for 4 years. I have 8 years of experience under my belt and I am looking forward to year 9! I spent 7 years commuting over an hour each way for my job and last summer I said enough and decided to leave whether or not I had another position. I was thrilled when I was offered a job at my current school teaching 4th grade High Ability, just 5 miles away from my house! 

Being able to cut my commute down that drastically helped save me! I want to go to work and be with my students and teammates. I am at a school corporation that values me as an educator and learner. I have gained so much knowledge in the past year and I am looking forward to next year.

I could not have survived though without this amazing group of women (my teammates)!









I spend my home life with this amazing man! 


I love to read, play games, watch TV and movies, exercise, and travel. 

My Favorites

Food: Deep Dish Pizza
Book: Charlotte's Web
Movie: The Sandlot
Series: Harry Potter
TV Show: Game of Thrones
Season: Fall


Thank you for taking the time to read some information about me. 



Take Care of You!

Saturday, January 13, 2018
After a blissful two weeks off of work, and I really mean off, I am back into somewhat of a groove of a schedule. I spent my winter break and really focused on myself. I watched TV, read books that I want to read for myself, and spent time with family and friends. I really wanted another week to try and get myself back into a school mindset, but that wasn't going to happen.

I went back to school on Monday and what to my wondering eyes and ears did we focus on during our staff meeting?

Self-Care and Wellness

As I stated in my previous blog post, I am at a new school and district this year, and I feel truly blessed to be a part of an incredible teaching community. We spent our morning focusing on ourselves.

For the beginning part of the day, we had the option to participate in a yoga session. I put on my comfortable workout clothes and attended. Now, yoga is not really my thing, but I decided to give it a shot. I know there are a lot of people out there that are devoted to yoga, but I have more of this mindset: NAMASTE IN BED. I love to workout, but I don't have the right mindset to relax and let go. It was a new experience for me, and I like the calm mindset, but it will take a lot more practice for me to truly hone-in on relaxing my mind.

We also spent some time learning about a balanced life (and even participated in some events for balanced) and how the brain and our mood is affected by the amygdala. A few of our staff members attended a brain research PD and are now sharing their learning with us. They will even be coming to the classroom to teach these lessons to my students. As someone with a B.S. in Psychology, I am thrilled to be incorporating this into my classroom and teaching students the importance of taking care of theirselves and their minds. I also can't wait to share what I learn with you!

The Wellness Challenge

One of the ideas that we are implementing, as a staff, is the wellness challenge. We have a list of activities that we can complete each day to earn points and try to win prizes. I love this idea, because it helps keep me accountable, but it doesn't focus on weight loss, it focuses on overall wellness. Are you interested in working on your wellness? Click the image below to download a free template. You can choose to print it on post-it notes or just as the list itself!


Let me know what you do to take care of you! #stopteacherguilt



Back In Action

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Well color me embarrassed...I have not blogged for a year and half! I spent the past two weeks lounging and acting like a slug, so it gave me some time to think about my next steps in my career. Let me give you some background information about me!

New Job

I spent 6 years job searching and I am happy to say that this past summer I found a new school, new school district, and a place to call my school home. I had been previously commuting for 2.5+ hours a day and I decided that I was leaving that teaching position no matter what! The week that I resigned from that position, I was interviewed and offered a position that is less than 10 minutes away from where I currently live.

I spent the entire summer moving in and getting my new classroom ready and working on a grad school class (more information to come). Therefore, I didn't really have the time to sit down and write about anything. Then the school year took off and I was constantly running after it, because I could not seem to stay on top of everything. Even though my commute was cut down, I had to begin over with new curriculum and new expectations. Again, I was taking a grad school class at the same time.

I am now free of my commute and grad school classes (for the time being) so I feel like I can focus more on my professional self (outside of school).

Grad School

This past summer I began to work on my High Ability Licensure to add to my teaching license. I still have 3 classes to go, but I have decided no more classes during the school year...it's too much to stay on top of while working full-time. I have learned so much through the 2 classes that I have taken and I am excited to learn more in future classes. Why did I decide to take on this endeavor?


Teaching Position

So why did I choose to add on this licensure? There are a couple of different reasons! I was always sufficient at teaching the low and on level students, but I felt like I was lacking on teaching the students that needed higher level learning. The other reason is that I am teaching students that are exclusively high ability. All of the students are tested in and added to the classroom, so I need to learn how to meet their needs. The first semester went okay, but I am certain that I can do an even better job the second semester! By continuing to learn in my life, I will be a better teacher for the students.


Thank you for taking the time to read my post and I can't wait to share more with you in the future!

Monday Made It #2 of the Summer

Monday, June 27, 2016

I am back for another Monday Made It!  As promised last week, I am showing some things that I have made for my new classroom theme!  HARRY POTTER!  Here we go,..



I like to group my students into teams.  Well, having a Harry Potter theme is perfect for such an endeavor!  I am going to sort the students into the 4 houses.  I have decided to make some simplistic signs for the 4 houses and found these on the Warner Bros. website for FREE!  :)






The next item I made was for a bulletin board.  I want the bulletin board outside my classroom to be an introduction to the theme.  I was shopping at Michaels and found some wooden owls that would be a cute addition.  Unfortunately, there were only 17 available, so I had to go back and find something else that would go well with the owls.  I want to be able to reuse the owls, so I found some white dry erase paint.  It took several coats, but I was able to spray paint them white and I plan on writing some of the students' names on the owls.




For my next made it, I found some jars in the Target Dollar Spot.  3 jars for $3!  Perfect!  I also found some printable labels, so check out this creation!  I am going to add some things on the inside to make it look like the potion.  I also have some more labels, I just need more vials!




Okay, so I think this is my favorite item!  The Monster Book of Monsters



That is all I have for this week.  I am looking forward to making some more items in the next couple of weeks.  I can't believe that I start school in 5 weeks!!

Also, today is the last day for my giveaway from last week's creations.  Enter the giveaway today!


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One Word

Friday, June 24, 2016
Let's face it, teachers can't always unplug their teacher brains. I know that I have a hard time disconnecting and relaxing over breaks. Summer break is especially difficult for me, because of all of the time I have to myself. Since my boyfriend works all day, I have a lot of time to think. Even with TV show binging, I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind. On the plus side, it gives me a lot of time to read! I pleasure read, but I also like to read and reread professional books. I recently read Matt Miller's "Ditch That Textbook". I went through and made notes of things that I want to remember. One thing that stuck out to me was coming up with one word that I want to focus on for the school year. In the past, I have written several goals, and while I achieve the goals (or most of them), I want to focus on one word that I can keep coming back to throughout the year. The word I want to keep reminding myself of this year is...

Student-Centered

Okay, I guess that is technically 2 words.  It seems like everything I read about education and PD sessions that I have attended are about making the classroom about students.  That may seem like a DUH moment, but have you really thought about what that means?  We know that education is about the students, but how much of the school day is designed for the students to make choices and learn what they care about?  When I think about that in my classroom, I have to think long and hard about the choices they get to make.  Here is what I came up with from the past school year:
  • Recess games (sometimes not due to behavior issues)
  • STEM projects (with some guidelines)
  • Seating (end-of-the-year)
Sigh!  When I really sit down and think about it, they don't have much choice at all!  So how can I change this to make it more student-centered?  Am I going to be able to go in on Day 1 and give up control and let the students decide?  No.  I don't think that is going to be feasible for any teacher, and it is not going to help the students learn.  However, I do have some ideas that I want to implement this year to help give the students more choice in the classroom.

Alternative Seating
  • It seems like alternative seating is all the rage right now.  I think social media has made things we have done for years more global.  I have offered other seating options for years, but it has been great to see other options that teachers provide.  I have always had pillows for students to use.  They love to choose a pillow and find a comfortable spot to read.  So I thought, why not let them have more choices?  This year I added Kore Wobble Chairs and stability balls.  I started with 2 Kore Wobble Chairs that I received through Donors Choose funding.  Two chairs and 27 kids...so I chose 2 students each day to sit on the chairs.  Luckily, out PTO gave me some grant money to purchase 2 more chairs and 4 stability balls.  I decided to let the students choose their seats for where the wanted to sit for the whole day.  I was able to handle that for a few weeks, before we went back to assigned seats.  Next school year I will be keeping my traditional assigned seats, but I will be giving the students more choice on where they want to complete work and sit/stand.  I think this will be a good compromise and I hope that it works out well.
Genius Hour
  • I wanted to implement genius hour last year, but I just couldn't find the time in the schedule.  I now realize that I need to make the time.  I have been doing some research and looking for others that have implemented genius hour into their classrooms and I think the students will enjoy having some choice in what they learn and being able to share it with others.
Book Clubs
  • I want my students to have more choice in their classroom novels.  I have read a lot about book clubs (literature circles) and I want to implement those into the classroom as well.  I did it once last year, but I think I need to work on my approach to it and how the students will read and respond.  I still want to do whole class novels, as well.
Centers
  • I didn't do any centers last year!  I am ashamed of myself.  Teaching a split class left me exhausted and I had to spend some time thinking about how to make it work.  I have an idea of how I can implement mini-lessons and centers, so that I can work with small groups.
Makerspace
  • The last thing I want to try is a classroom makerspace.  I currently have a Donors Choose project to help fund this idea.  I want the students to be able to explore and learn and create on their own, so I thought this would be a good way for them to do just that.
Well, those are some of my thoughts on how to make my classroom more student-centered.  If you have to choose one word to describe how you want your year to go, what would it be?

Monday Made It #1 of the Summer

Monday, June 20, 2016
Hello all!  I am excited to link-up to my first Monday Made It of the summer!


I am excited to share some items for my first Monday Made It of Summer 2016!  I have 2 items that I created and added to my TPT store.  If you are interested in either one, click on the picture to purchase it!  I am also going to show a pic of a future Monday Made It for my classroom theme!  Stay tuned to the end of the blog post for a special giveaway!  


I am trying to incorporate more mentor texts into my lessons.  First, I want to highlight The Boy Who Loved Words.  This is a fantastic mentor text for context clues and writing.  The story is about a boy, Selig, who collects words.  However, this does not make him a popular child, so he leaves his home in search of a new place.  Along the way, a poet discovers his words and his perspective changes!  Check out my product that has lots of activities to choose from!




Another mentor text that I read is Baloney (Henry P.).  This is another great book for context clues!  Check out the product by clicking on the picture below.



I don't have anything officially made for my classroom next year, but here is a peek at some of the items that I will be using!  I am doing a Harry Potter theme, and I am very excited!  I can't wait to share all of my creations and classroom reveal with you!




Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to enter the giveaway below!



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