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Friday, April 18, 2014

Love My Peeps

It's Freebie Friday and I've got a sweet and simple freebie for MY peeps just in time for Easter.  In this post, I mentioned how much I LOVE the Peep clipart freebie from Krista Wallden, so I whipped up an easy printable to show all of my peeps some love!

Use these cards to tell YOUR peeps how "hoppy" they make you!  They'd be great for students, co-workers, and friends!  I'm attaching mine to some baked goods and using them as the tags, but you could just write a sweet note and leave it at that.  All you have to do is print and cut.  No curvy cuts, folding, or fuss!
I showed them to my hubs the other night while I was writing out my messages.  He didn't laugh.  So then I showed him again because clearly he didn't get it.  Why else would he have not laughed?  The second time he laughed.  Smart man.  I know all of you appreciate my humor!

Ready to hunt down your free copy?  Hop on over to my TPT store to put this FREEBIE in your basket!  Show some love and leave some feedback!

Thanks to TBA for hosting Freebie Friday.  If you've never visited, go check it out!  There are so many great freebies out there to take advantage of!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Making the Most of Games

I'm here for another teacher confession session, AKA, sharing my face-palm DUH moments with all of you. This one is an oldie.  I made this swap years ago and I still think about all of the lost learning opportunities prior to switching over haven't looked back.  I bet a lot of you lovelies already do this.  Sometimes I live under a rock...
I'm going to keep this short and sweet:  When your kids are playing a game in small groups or during centers, instead of having kids take turns answering questions, have every kid in the group answer every question.  

OMGracious, did this ever help with maximizing learning opportunities and time on-task!  Instead of players goofing off while it was someone else's turn, it's now always everyone's turn.  I let them let take turns flipping the question cards, but then each player has to record an answer.  Anyone that is correct gets to move their piece/spin/collect/etc.  

For those of you that just crawled out from under this rock, don't beat yourself up.  Beat up your teacher friends that are already doing this for not clueing you in.  Kidding!  I would be gasping for air buried beneath a rock quarry if it weren't for all of my teacher friends!  

Do you have any small group game advice for the rest of us?
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Emmy After Party

Did you make it through all 11 ridiculous random facts in my last post without spitting out your coffee?  Hopefully it made for a good laugh or two!  Just in case you need to catch up, Angela, from The Organized Plan Book, nominated me for the Liebster Award!
Angela sent me 11 questions to answer, so here goes!

1. Why did you start blogging?
Since the military moves us every 2-3 years, I decided to start blogging as a way to "stay connected". Saying goodbye to co-workers that have become your friends & your family-away-from-family is tough.  Blogging, and the friends that come with it, helps to keep a constant.  

2.  What is the most important lesson you have learned while being a teacher?
I learned that I will never be able to do it all.  Accepting that allowed me to prioritize and have a life.

3.  What was your most embarrassing teacher moment?
I haven't really had one (I'm sure my day will come), so I'll share one from a previous co-worker, AC.  Our 4th graders were researching animals and doing oral presentations.  Her class was ready to begin practicing their presentations, so AC was talking to her kiddos about how/what to present.  

AC:  Alright, when you present, don't tell us the basic information that everyone already knows.  For example, if you're doing an elephant, you wouldn't want to tell us that they are gray, have trunks, and known for eating penis.  PEANUTS.  I meant peanuts.  
Yup.  You read that correctly.  OMGracious!.

4.  What is your favorite part of your classroom?
My library.  I don't buy shoes, I buy books!  Because I've packed it up so many times, I know the stats.  Currently, it takes 22 banker boxes filled to the brim to pack up all of my student library books.

5.  How do you de-stress from an exhausting day at work?
Oh, this one is easy.  CrossFit.  I get to pick up and throw around heavy weights!  

6.  What is the best piece of advice you would offer to newbie teachers?
See my answer to number two!  You will be a better teacher if you set work hours/limits because you won't come to resent teaching, which is something we go into because we love it.

7.  How do you organize your classroom library?
I use the metal "build" a shelf system because I can configure the shape/layout to each new classroom.  I use zip-ties to reinforce them.  I use bins in each cubbie.  The bins are sink wash tubs from Walmart.  My library is split NF and F.  NF is then split by subject and then by topic.  F is split mainly by genres and some by authors/series.  The outside of each bin has a printed label and a colored dot (like for garage sales).  Then each book in the tub has the same dot.  For example, mysteries have half of a yellow dot on the cover with an M written on it.  I split genres into smaller pieces.  For example,  within Realistic Fiction, I have Realistic Sports Fiction, Realistic Animal Fiction, etc.  This is to make it easier for kids to find books that appeal to them.   Every book also has a label on the cover that either states NOT AR, or the AR level and point value.

8.  If you could meet anyone for a day, who would it be?
Michael Jackson!

9.  Where is your favorite place you have visited?
Costa Rica!  Great outdoor adventures everywhere you turn.  The food is amazing and the people are so friendly and love their land.  

10.  What is your favorite book to teach?
Someone Named Eva...captivating! 

11.  Do you change the layout/organization of your classroom each year?
Ha!  Since we move every 2-3 years, this is such a pain.  The first year in a new classroom is always the roughest because I don't have a "system" yet.  I usually do quite a bit of re-arranging as we go to make it better match our needs.  I make the kids part of the problem solving so that when I do re-arrange they don't act like the world is ending.  I let them tell me what is working/what isn't and offer suggestions, and then I make the changes I want after school. I try and only do this 3-4 times in a year.  This is uber frustrating.  Sore subject.  Just when I feel like I've got my classroom the way I like it with good flow and purposeful placement, it's time to pack.  

My nominations (click on picture to visit their blog):

Kayla, from Rooting for Third Grade, started her first full time teaching job, working with special education preschoolers, a few weeks ago.  She recently had a competition to rename her blog and she will be revealing the winning name soon!  Go cheer on this young lady as she begins her teaching journey!

Language Arts Bliss seems to do an amazing job making LA fun in secondary grades!  She incorporates projects and centers.  Yes.  Centers...in middle school.  How awesome is that?

Kristin not only has an adorable blog, but it's full of great ideas!  I love her Quote of the Week idea!  She posts a quote at the beginning of the week, and has questions that really push kids to think critically.

I am breaking the rules and only nominating 3 blogs.  PLEASE forgive me.  This time of year is a tad crazy and I figured 3 was better than none!

My 11 questions for the nominees:
1.  What is your favorite hobby?
2.  What style of shoes do you wear to work most often?
3.  Do you get to wear jeans to work?  Is this a big deal to you?
4.  Have you "splurged" on something recently for your classroom?  What was it?  If not, is there something calling your name?
5.  Do you paint your nails on a regular basis?
6.  When given a choice, do you pick a favorite restaurant you've been to many times, or do you try a new place?
7.  Do like to drink water, or does it feel like a chore?
8.  How often does your school have staff meetings?
9.  What are your thoughts on school uniforms?
10.  Beach or mountain?
11.  What is your all-time favorite dessert?

Rules Reminder:
1.  Link back to the person that nominated you.
2.  Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions present by the person that nominated you.
4.  Nominate 5-11 bloggers and contact them.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me!  Be sure to stop by the blogs I nominated and tell them hello!

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