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Friday, January 31, 2014

My First Five for Friday

I love that the rules of this Linky give randomness the green light.  If you've studied my blog (better cram-there might be a quiz at the end), you know that I like need order and organization.  I feel up to the challenge of randomness because in the bigger picture, I'm following the rules!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to participate in my first ever Five for Friday Linky!  

Not sure how many of you noticed, but I made a How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) reference in my post yesterday.  While chowing down on dinner with the hubs last night,  I asked him if he saw my HIMYM reference.  He said, "No, but I didn't finish reading the post yet." Two points for him-for caring and for reading my posts!  But then I got to thinking.  The HIMYM reference was in the VERY FIRST line of my post.  We tease each other a lot, so I asked him how can I expect other people to actually read my posts if my own husband doesn't even make it through the first line.  Sheesh.  I guess at least he knows I have a blog and could even tell you the name of it!  Now I've guilted you into reading this entire post, right?  Right?  
I'm participating in my first Ragnar Relay "run" next Friday and Saturday!  Why did I agree to an overnight 200 mile relay run?
Simple.  1.  It's from Miami to the Florida Keys.  Enough said.  I could stop here, but…  2.  I'm getting to do this with two of my great girl friends from when I lived in CO.  We're having a mini-reunion "crammed in a van full of stinky athletes" style. Then we get a tiny bit of beach time! 3. I enjoy jogging.  Please notice that I used the word jog instead of run.  I'm a 9:30-10:30/mile kind of girl.  We have a 12 person team and each runner has 3 legs of the race to run.  My total mileage will be somewhere around 12-16 miles because I'm getting one of the easier spots.  It pays to be the "jogger" on the team!   
Have you ever used a kitchen spatula as an ice scraper?  The lady across the street from us did!  Well, just for a second or two until we noticed her through the living room window and took her our ice scraper.  Our town "shut down" mid day Tuesday through last night because of the ice and snow this week.  South Carolina towns just aren't equipped for this rare weather. So while we were cooped up,  I made a FREEBIE!  It'd be silly to post more pictures, because you can check it out in my previous post!  If you download it on TPT and rate/leave feedback, come back and comment here w/ your email address I 'll send you my Subtraction Cards for free!  
Wonder Woman!  For the first 2 years of CrossFit, I couldn't bench press over 100 pounds.  It wasn't something we worked on regularly.  Recently we did a strength cycle that included benching and it paid off!  This week we had to find our 3 rep bench press max.  Yep.  I did 3 in a row at more than 100.  103 to be exact.  I love feeling strong!  I am woman, hear me roar!
There is another FREEBIE hiding out here!  I launched my Facebook this week (woot-woot!) and there is a Fan Freebie waiting for you!  I thought back to my Vision Board post, and reminded myself to take risks.  It took me a few drinks (coffee in the early am and wine in the pm) to get my page tabs up and running the way I wanted, but it's done and I'm hoping you'll follow along!

PS-Did it work?  Did I guilt you into reading all the way to the end unlike my hubs?
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Roll-a-Shape Monster Freebie

I'm giddy.  Really, really giddy.  This was a big LEGEN…wait for it….DARY week for The Rolly Chair!  I posted THREE new 2D & 3D shape products in my TPT store, I saw an increase in Pinterest followers, AND…..I launched The Rolly Chair on Facebook (and I actually have followers).  So what does all this giddiness mean for you?  I feel like a freebie is the most appropriate way to celebrate and say thank you! I know the way to your heart!

Use pink, purple, and red to make it a seasonal craft,
or any other color combo for a different time of year!

Writing paper is included in the freebie so you
can add a writing extension!

Visit my TPT store to download my Roll-a-Shape Monster Freebie!  Please take the time to rate and leave feedback on TPT too!  I'd love for you to follow The Rolly Chair on Facebook for FB only freebies.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2, 4, 6, 8….Well, Duh!

Eight years ago I had a palm hitting forehead DUH moment.  Well, actually, I have them quite often with all of the brilliant ideas I see on blogs and Pinterest, but I'm choosing this one to share because it is so stinkin' simple.  

Do you number your kiddos at the beginning of the year in order of your alphabetized roster?  Of course you do.  We all do.  Sometimes they line up in number order, or you arrange their papers in number order to see who hasn't turned theirs in, and then you keep them in number order to make it easier to add grades to the good ol' grade book.

Do you ever get *blessed* with new students in the middle of the year?  Of course you do.  We all do.  It's stressful!  …..AND now your number order is off.  You had 24 kiddos and now you have to give newbie number 25 even though he fits alphabetically between number 7 and 8.  As if this previous statement doesn't scream it loud and clear, I'm totally type A. You'll put your papers in number order, enter them into your grade book, and THEN realize that you forgot to adjust for #25 that should really be the new 8.  Ugh.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  The teacher in me cringes at this blatant grammatical error, but it's too fitting to leave out.

Are you ready for it?  Can you handle this?  Instead of numbering your kiddos 1, 2, 3, 4, number them 2, 4, 6, 8.  Now you have room for a newbie and you can give them an odd number where they fit alphabetically. Minds blown. BOOM.

I also wait until a few days into the school year to assign the numbers to kids because inevitably my roster changes during the first few days of back-to-school.  

What palm hitting forehead DUH moment sticks out in your mind?
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Squares, and Cones, and Prisms, Oh My!

At this point, most of my TPT products are selfish.  They come from MY needs.  I search TPT for something I want, and if I can't find exactly what I need, I make my own.  It's all about ME. Well, that's not entirely true.  I make what I need and then try and add modifications to make it fit what others might need too.  I work REALLY hard to be thorough.  Maybe that's how my 2D & 3D Shape Posters turned into a 150 page file.  That wasn't a typo.  You heard me right…. 1-5-0.  Phew. Glad that's done. I'm marking them 50% off for a few days while they debut, so if you're interested, grab them while they are only $2.  Maybe you're not interested in purchasing them, but you just want to see how on earth I ended up with 150 pages and laugh at with me.  Either way, check them out.

Full page or half page (half page if you have a fire marshal
that isn't a fan of lots of paper on the wall….
speaking from experience)

Plain, real life examples, definitions….you choose!
PS-I'm exhausted and feeling generous.  If you buy the Shape Posters and leave feedback, leave a comment here with your email address and I'll email you my TPT Subtraction Cards for FREE!   That's 150 pages of shape posters and 42 subtraction cards for $2.  Offer good until Shape Posters aren't on sale anymore.
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's Get Organized: Part 2

If you've read my post Let's Get Organized, you know I think EVERYTHING needs a home! Think about all those cute seasonal downloads you make on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Maybe it's a unit on nouns, but it's covered in Valentine's Day clipart and you want to remember to use it next February. Oh, and what about those seasonal craftivities centered around holidays or famous people?  Surely I'm not the only one that's ever had a mini-melt down trying to figure out where to file things away.  Right? Right?

Just a little secret:  I DOUBLE FILE lots of things.  I know, I know…brilliant!  Maybe you want to remember to use those Valentine's Day themed noun activities next February, but you also want a reminder in your noun files.  Try printing the file cover page and storing that in your noun files as a reminder.  If the cover page isn't enough, print 4 pages/sheet so you have an overview of the activities. Maybe you have a kiddo that needs some extra noun practice even though it isn't Valentine's Day.  

To help you get organized, download my FREEBIE!  These Monthly Seasonal Labels will help ensure you get the most bang for your buck out of all of your resources by getting organized!

I've even been known to triple file on occasion. 
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vision Board

Oh, dang.  I've just left behind Little League for the Majors.  This is my first time participating in a Linky Party!  (Insert loud gasp from my readers…well, three readers wouldn't really make a loud gasp, but you get the point).  I decided to participate in The Ordinary to Extraordinary Classroom's Meet the Teacher Monday by Trina because the questions forced me to do some reflection.  I definitely had a diary growing up so I thought this might be like old times. Except all of you are going to read this and my diary was always locked up for fear of my deepest darkest secrets ramblings and misspellings being revealed. I might have hidden the keys (it came with a spare) on the hoops of my earrings for safe keeping as a child. It sounds worse than it looked.  I think…Back to the Linky Party!  Check out my Vision Board and answers below!

Where did I win in 2013?
If you haven't heard this before, the military moves us every 2-3 years.  This can make creating & maintaining meaningful friendships difficult.  While in CO from 06/11-07/13, I made some pretty awesome friends at work, at the gym, and through my husband's job.  I'm talking STRONG women!  I don't just mean they could shame any man at the gym on the pull-up bar.  I mean they were healthy, passionate, go-getters that were really living life.  I've worked hard to maintain these friendships long-distance after PCSing (military lingo for moving b/c they told you to) to SC.  The women that I met in CO pushed me to be the best me possible, and that my virtual friends, is winning in my book!

Where did I lose in 2013?
This is so opposite of how I won.  I didn't work hard enough at maintaining the friendships I made at my school in TX when we moved to CO.  When you spend so much of your time and energy at school with co-workers, special bonds are bound to be formed.  My TX teacher BFF and I keep in touch, but not enough.  I feel like I lost out on many laughs that could have been shared through phone calls and I let the stress of work stop me from taking the time to email her ideas and games for her to use in her classroom back in TX.

What did I learn in 2013?
Risk.  Take risks.  What's the worst that's going to happen?  I fail?  What does that mean, anyways?  It doesn't mean I die or I'm punished in some way.  What it means is that I've LEARNED.  I can adjust  so that next time I'm closer to succeeding.  I learned that I've got to execute and not be afraid.  Who cares if only 3 people read this blog post?  Who cares if I pick a weight at the gym for the WOD (CrossFit Workout of the Day) that's heavy and I don't get as many rounds as others?  I'm so bad about holding back during a workout because I'm afraid I won't be able to finish.  Who cares if some of the plants in the square foot garden die.  If I don't plant the darn things, ZERO will grow.  If I don't take risks AND fail, I hardly think I'll learn anything.  

Where do I want to be this time next year?
I could say that I want to know exactly what I want to be when I grow up.  I love working with kids in educational settings, but I don't know what I want to be "when I grow up" (when we stop moving and I can actually settle into a long-term job) .  Do I want to get be a reading specialist?  Do I want to be a principal?  Do I want to work with kids with Autism?  Do I want to stay in the classroom?  But instead, I'll say that I want to be closer to finding my niche in the teaching world.

I could also say that I want to be able to do a muscle up. It's considered THE holy grail of movements in CrossFit. I could say that I want to Rx every workout and stop doubting my ability to finish.  But instead, I'll say that I want to be more confident of my ability and be stronger and healthier.

I could say that I will write one letter each week and make one phone call each week to the friends I've made but moved away from.  I could schedule in FaceTime dates on my calendar.  I could say that I will follow a schedule to maintain these friendships.  But instead, I'll say that I want to make those connections a priority, and our interactions genuine and heart-felt.

I could say that no plants in my soon-to-be-planted square foot garden will die.  I could say that I won't let bugs or mold or critters wreck havoc.  I could say that I won't have to buy produce from the market. I could say that I won't over or under water and possibly kill a few plants.  But instead, I'll say that I want to plant, grow, and learn.

I could say that my blog will have thousands of followers and that I'd make thousands of dollars on TPT.  I could say that I'd be on the top of the lists.  I could say that I'll make x number of posts per week, and x number of products, and pin x number of items.  But instead, I will say that I want to share my experiences with other teachers in meaningful ways.

Click on Trina's button to learn more about Meet the Teacher Monday and to link up!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Let's Get Organized

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Everything has a place. It's in my blood.  I just can't help it.  It's my mom's fault.  Color coding is therapeutic.  I'm not ashamed!  After 8 years of being in the classroom and my obsession healthy relationship with TPT, I've accumulated quite the collection of teaching materials.  Have I ever mentioned the Air Force moves us every 2-3 years? See, I have to be organized!  Oh, and I've been hired TWICE on the morning of Meet the Teacher, mere days before school starts.  Again, I have to be organized!  It makes packing & unpacking way less stressful AND it helps me use all of the great stuff I have.  

Storing all of this in an organized way was soooo necessary for me.  In years past, I've realized after a unit or holiday that I had THE PERFECT LESSON already on hand, but had forgotten about it. Does that ever happen to you? You know how the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind."  I've tried filing cabinets, tubs, binders, digital, etc. and I finally decided on a combo.  I use tubs to store my stuff.  For example, I had a fraction tub. Within each tub, I had a binder or two full of all of my printables, formatives, and centers in page protectors in order.   I keep all of my manipulatives, games, books, etc. for that concept in the tub.  

With the introduction of CCSS, I needed to do a little re-arranging so I decided to bite the bullet and make a coordinating AND adorable chevron set of binder & tub labels that used CCSS lingo.  I tackled math first.  Also, I don't have all of the CCSS memorized, so I wanted quick reference sheets that would be handy & stored with each tub.  Remember that whole "I move every 2-3 years" thing? I figured I won't always be teaching the same grade level, so in addition to 2nd and 3rd grade CCSS labels, I made labels for every possible math concept I might ever teach at the elementary level….yeah, SEVENTY-ONE additional labels.

Maybe it's time for a picture or two!
Adorable, easy to stack, see through, and roomy! 
Binder on bottom, books, manipulatives, stuff, and CCSS reference sheet on top.
These sit inside the tub at the very top.  It's the EXACT CCSS language.
The front of the binder has an OVERVIEW of that CCSS.
I wanted this to work for other teachers as well, so I made skinny spines, fatter spines, full pages, half pages, editable pages, etc.  Interested in my 2nd & 3rd Grade Math CCSS Organization set?  Don't forget there are full pages, half pages, and spines for the 71 other math topics too!  Here's a good look at what you get!  
I might have had a *few* cups of coffee in order to accomplish this!

Happy organizing!
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