Sunday, August 2, 2015

Back at it!

Hey bloggy friends!

How is everyone doing? I have been so busy trying to prep my classroom before we start our trainings and open house. I figure getting it done before hand will eliminate some back to school anxiety! I wanted to do a quick post on how I am getting ready for the new year. I am in love with TPT like most of us, but I ALWAYS never have enough color's so annoying. I see the cutest things on TPT and I'm like that is so much ink! I'd spend a whole cartridge printing that. We don't have color printers at school so I try to get it done at home. I saw a post about HP and their instant ink. Of course my printer wasn't compatible, but I have been wanting a wireless printer for so long. I made the purchase and it's some of the best money I have spent!

I bought the HP Envy 4500 it's amazing! So fast and amazing! It was on Amazon for $66, which wasn't too bad. Here's a photo:
I am so excited because I also signed up for the HP instant ink. I pay $9.99 a month for 300 pages, and my printer tells HP when to send me a new one. I literally am NEVER out of ink. I would always never have ink at the most convenient times, and now I am not running to Walmart at 10 p.m. on a school night. I am in no way a writer for HP, but I wanted to share how awesome this program is. I definitely recommend it!

I am so excited about my new product! I created Morning Journal Prompts for August that you can just project onto your board every morning! How great? Morning work is pre made for you! No more running around and making copies! It's on sale for only $1.50 and tomorrow is the back to school sale on TPT! Awesome deal! Please put this on your wish list!
Here is my link to my store: CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE!

Okay how cute is my little muffin?! Ugh I just love him so much, and I am getting in all the cuddles I can get! I am going to miss spending my days with him once I start school this week. :(

This past week I started to load up my SUV and get ready to take some things in. As you can see I just took "some things" in! Chris was excited as he finally gets his garage back. This year I am trying to purge as much as I can. I really want to rid myself of things that I don't need. My goal this year is to really let go of some of my stuff, and keep everything organized throughout the year. I am really planning on sticking to it this time!

Once I got to school this is what my new room looked like. I was so excited to get in there, and get to decorating. I told myself I was going simple this year. What a joke! I think I went even more crazy than last year! I really just love decorating my room, because we all know it quickly becomes our second home!

 Here is a sneak peek of my room when I was in the process of exciting! I will be doing a classroom reveal post soon! Once I put all my finishing touches!

On a completely different note I wanted to post something about a news story capturing the nation. This story about these boys lost at sea is completely heartbreaking, especially since it's so close to where we live. I pray for peace, hope, and strength for these families who must be going through so much. I can't imagine how these families are coping, and dealing with this tragedy. I can't help but to keep hoping for the best. Give your loved ones an extra hug tonight. xo

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Unshakeable Chapter 16

I'm back for my last post with " Unshakeable"! I am sad to be ending my portion, because it has been so much fun! Chapter 16 is about connecting with students, and not letting them drain many of us can relate to that?! Whew I know I CAN!

Does anyone else feel like the end of the day is utter chaos? I know I have researched EVERYWHERE how to have a more orderly classroom at the end of the day. To no avail I still felt defeated at the end of the year. I tried the whole classical music, having snack at the end of the day, and having routines that would cause them to be less chaotic. Nope. Not. One. Thing. Worked.

As I was reading this book Angela brought up dismissal...I was glued...and when I thought about what she said it made sense. I spend ALL day making sure my students are on task, and making sure they are understanding their work. Towards the end of the day they are done, and I am done trying to reign them in. Like I said in my last post...I am a crazy control freak. I cringe at giving up control, but I need to let my students become more involved with their learning.At the end of the day they should be AS TIRED AS I AM! They should be the ones doing the work, not just me! I wrote this everywhere as this is something I am really looking forward to implementing this year. 

Something else I took away from this chapter is relationships with my students. This is something I take pride in. I really believe each year I connect with my students, and I get to know so many things about each of them. I love just talking to them, and knowing what's going on in their lives. It's so important to create a relationship with your students. I can't stress this enough. It means the world to them, and I know each one of them has forever changed my life. Knowing I have an impact on just one student is the reason why I get up every morning, never feeling that I am actually going to "work". I'll never forget my first year teaching I was just enamored by everything, and was handed the greatest group of kids. They truly became "MY KIDS". We had a unit on occupations, and we were all talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had students asking me what I wanted to be(in my head i'm laughing) I'm your teacher you crazies!!! THEY WERE SHOCKED! They really thought I came to just hang out with them all day (which I do)! I will never forget those faces, and what I felt at that moment. My kids didn't even realize I was working! That is the goal of teaching for me. They knew I loved them, and just wanted to be with them all day. Looking back I want that response every single year. I want my munchkins to feel that way.
I hang this on my wall every year, and I will leave you with this:

Next up is Sandy from ELA Everyday! Go check out her page! :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Unshakeable Chapter 15

Hello all! I hope you have been enjoying our book study so far...I know that I have! It's been the perfect way to slowly think about school, and learn how to enjoy teaching more than I already do!
Chapter 15 is about motivating students to take charge of their learning. 

I think that this chapter was meant for me...I am ashamed to say! I am a control freak...I like everything clean, organized, and everyone on task. I know I'm crazy! I teach until all lightbulbs are on before I let them work on their own. I have found that I need to let my students become more independent. I know I struggle with it...but hey I'm working on it! 

This chapter really resonated with me, often I find myself going through the motions. Every Friday spelling and reading tests. hour in front of the classroom just assessing...boring! I know my munchkins would NOT be doing this assignment if I didn't tell them they had to. 

The Big Question: What are you doing in your classroom now that you could turn over to your students to do for themselves?

Last year I fell into a rut with homework. I wasn't getting anything turned in, and my kids hated doing it. Honestly, I hated making it! I was so aggravated as I knew they needed the practice. I really had no idea what to do. I was browsing Teachers Pay Teachers and nothing really popped to me, that would work for my class that year. Everything was copies on copies, which was a battle in itself to fight for the copier on Monday's. I found an idea of a spelling menu on a Pinterest, which led me to a blog. I honestly, for the life of me, can't remember who's it was! I made empty boxes for the month, and had my students fill them in on what they wanted to do for homework. There were about 20 or so boxes, and each night they had to color a box, once they did that homework assignment.


Yes, you read that right. every. single. student. brought in their homework. Why hadn't I thought of this before? Why was I always so scared to ask my kids about their homework? Why don't I ask them to help me out? Why am I not letting them take charge of their learning more?

I was in shock, but I realized that the momma bird in me, needed to let my students fly. From that day on I have asked my students for their input so much more. We would research together, they would collaborate with one another more, and they would teach their classmates. My class became so much more student- directed which was fabulous. The one regret was not letting go sooner. Have faith in your students. Let them crash and fall, and pick them back up. Let them take charge in their own learning. 

Come back tomorrow for Chapter 16 :)

Follow me on instagram at: sweetandsassyin2nd 

P.s. I am attempting this whole TPT thing, which I hope I will get the hang of...I would LOVE if you downloaded and rated my first product. I need some encouragement! Please give me suggestions, as it's important for me to grow as a seller...but I am new so be kind ;) ... I'll love you forever!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Unshakeable Book Study Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Uncover the compelling reason for every lesson you teach

So often in my planning I am screaming in my brain "WHYYYYY?!" Why do first and second graders need to know this?! Why do they need to learn this ,because I don't even know what it is? Why are they making everything so complicated? When I am asking all of these questions I feel as if my work doesn't matter, which equals me not caring about that content. I am being totally honest/ blunt so pardon me, but I really like conveying my real feelings about things. Bottom line: Sometime's I don't believe in what I'm teaching myself, so why should my kids? It's a question we all struggle with at one time or another. 

I am currently getting my Master's and I had to write a paper the other week on engaging our students, and using the ARCS Model of Motivation. The R in the acronym stands for " relevance", which is so important to connecting to our students. This year I plan on showing my students and brainstorming with them WHY we need to learn certain things, and how things will benefit them RIGHT THIS SECOND. Posing questions to my students before a lesson, by just asking " Why is it important to learn this?" is a simple question, but it can really get my students brains turning. Before a money lesson asking them " Why is money important?" to your students can give you a wide range of answers, but have students think about how money can help them right now. You may get answers as: " I can count coins to buy ice cream at lunch!" or " I can use our money lesson to buy candy at the store with my parents!" This is when true engagement happens..when students know they can connect with the lesson immediately.

Angela also brought up a great point to join in on the learning with your students. So often we " know" the answer, but why not find the text evidence together? Why do we shy away from saying  I don't know? Why do we have to know everything? Why not search for answers together? 

I just touched on a few points in Chapter 10, but there is so much useful information in this book. I encourage you to pick up a copy from Amazon today! Click here for your copy!

Keep up with us in the book, and grab our bookmark! 

Next up is Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher! 

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Unshakeable Book Study Chapter 9

Chapter 9 of Unshakeable by Angela Watson

I know what you are thinking....another professional development book....I just don't have time! Believe me I know time is scarce, and we are soaking up our summer break. With everything going on I really have been seeing nothing but positive reviews about the Unshakeable book. I wanted to read it, and I saw on Instagram Jessica from Tale's of a First Grade Teacher wanted to do a book study. I was so in! Can I just start by saying how this book is REAL. There is no sugar coating what we go through as teachers, and Angela is giving us REAL ADVICE. 

Angela starts this chapter by addressing the struggle we as teachers go through. We are constantly being attacked in the media, we are trying to gain respect, and we always seem to be defending our knowledge. We are even sometimes measured by our students success. Let me just say that NO ONE can measure YOUR WORTH. We are constantly being told from officials to do this and that, here's more work to do, when I know they couldn't handle what I do everyday. Some days I can be negative, and hate everything about the system, but we need to remember that those days pass. What we do everyday is apart of something much greater.We need to PROVE to these officials and the world why we deserve to respected. We need to get creative with our lessons and show them how valuable we really are. Putting our passion into teaching will in turn create passion in students who will love learning.

How amazing is this quote? Thanks to the fabulous Blair Turner! Her website is on the image please make sure to check her page out! This quote resonates with me. I often put a lot of pressure on myself during observations, walk throughs, and test scores. Why do I put this pressure on myself? Do I want a pat on the back knowing that I'm doing a great job? While it is nice to be acknowledged no one knows what I do in my classroom for eight hours. I am the girl in charge for hours on end, and I know how much love I put into my lessons. I know how I spend hours on end planning my lessons. I know that I give my students love when they need it. I know that I wipe their tears when they seem to be having an off day. I know that I am battling with the tattletales and the ever increasing drama. All of this aside sometimes I want a pat on the back for doing what I do while on my way out the door, but we are often told what the next thing we need to do is. It often feels at times that I can't catch up, and that I feel like I need some recognition. What I need to do is take those thoughts away, and focus on what matters. My students give me the acknowledgement that I need, and I need to leave my classroom knowing I was there for my students that day. This quote is all that matters.

This chapter has hit so many things that I feel day to day. Some days I feel like I'm burnout, and falling short. Keeping the bigger picture in my mind is something that I need to strive to do. I need to remember how much I mean to those twenty-five little second graders, and be the best teacher I can possibly be for them. I need to give 100% every day, and define my own self worth. My self worth will not be subjected for others to tell me how valuable I am.

Here is some food for thought: How do you measure your success? How do you define your value? 

Join me tomorrow for Chapter 10!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Technology in the Classroom!

I hope you all are enjoying this HOT summer! I am so excited to be apart of the " Unshakeable Book Study"! Please follow us while we read this fabulous book by Angela Watson.

Today I had an urge to blog, and share some technology tips with you. This past school year I made a Donors Choose project to receive two iPads. The first week your project is up Donors Choose will match whatever you raise. If I received a donation of $50 Donors Choose would also give $ turn that led to a $100 donation! How amazing is that? I got my projected funded in just one short week. I didn't let my students know until we were close to having full funding...I didn't want to get them excited unless I knew it was attainable. When we reached our goal my students were SO EXCITED as was I! Here is one of my little cuties with our new iPads. Look at that smile!
My first order of business was teaching my firsties how to handle the iPad. I explained to them how fortunate we were to even be given iPad's and that they are a gift to help our brains. We all passed the new iPad's around, after I showed everyone how we are to hold them. I explained to my students that here is no running with iPad's, and they must be on a desk. The center helper will bring you the iPad's so there is no " I got it first!!".The second I saw any " funny business"  the iPad's will be taken away until we can control ourselves.I can tell you I have taken those iPad's away a few times, and my students straighten up pretty quick! :p I really loved these cases for my firsties because they were very kid friendly! Made me worry just a tad less...

My student's wanted to interact with these every second, and in turn there were some "arguments" about whose turn it was etc. I decided to incorporate the iPad's into our reading/ math centers. I have a pocket chart for these centers, and I just move each group down, this makes it easy so everyone is not doing the same thing twice. Adding the iPad's brought so much excitement. On each of the iPad's I found internet- free learning apps...I really didn't want my firsties on the internet without me monitoring them. My solution was to just get rid of the internet all together! I found some amazing apps that my kids loved! I made a folder on each iPad with " Reading Centers" and "Math Centers" students had to click on " Reading Centers" if that's what we were doing. My students absolutely LOVE the iPad's and I am so glad I get to use them again. I often used them for small groups to help with interventions.

At my school we also have Promethean Boards, and Doc Cam's. I don't know what I would do without these. I have the students always interacting with the promethean board, which they absolutely love.  I bought this people sticks on Amazon, which my students each decorate. They then write their name on each side of the stick. I call " sticks" for students to come up to the board. Once I pick a students I put their stick upside down so I know not to pick that student again!
Stick People Craft Sticks

Doc cam's are amazing for guided practice..they can also be used to have students do problems on the front of their classmates. I love when my students can teach one another, often I would call on a student to solve the problem of the day on the Doc Cam. Students could see his/ her thinking, and how they arrived at their answer. My students loved comparing with one another, and having " math talk". I enjoy using technology in my classroom, and am so fortunate to have access to all of these amazing gadgets!

What's your favorite gadget in your classroom?!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Fun!

I have not posted in a while...forgive me! I really plan on updating this blog more often. It's hard finding the time with home projects, and getting my Master's Degree. HELLO IT'S SUMMER!
Since I live in beautiful Florida there has been lot's of fun in the sun! I know I shouldn't be complaining, but it is crazy hot! The other day it was a whopping 104 degrees, which is just crazy. We have had a ton of shark sightings closing our beaches a lot so far this summer. So we have been enjoying the pool a great deal! We are going out enjoying late dinners, and finally fitting in much needed gym time. We just bought our first home, which is so exciting.  With everything going on it has been a crazy year so far, but we are loving and enjoying our new home. I am currently obsessed with Kirkland's getting all my home goods. We have worked so hard to get our house the way we like it, and we recently had a house warming party, just two months in from when we bought our home! Just look at this beautiful paella dish one of our friends made! It was great to warm our house with love and friends.

One day so far, I met up with one of my students. This student always noticed that I got my nails done every three weeks. She would go home and tell her parents what my new design was, and whether she liked them or not. It was the funniest thing to me...I LOVE getting my nails done so I appreciated this little munchkin always noticing. Her mom brought her to my nail salon and I had my technician give her something special, with some cute designs! She was LOVING it! What a fun day!

My dog is really benefiting from me being off this summer. Just look at that face! He is loving mommy being home. We go for long walks, and I am turning into that dog mom that brings her pup everywhere. I am loving getting to play and cuddle with this little one. 

I am trying to really get started on is tough for me as there are SO many resources already on TPT. It's hard to think what else I need to do to make my product stick out. I do love being creative so it has been a lot of fun playing around with clipart and fonts. Below are the Back to School Forms I created they are $1 and I will customize whatever you need me to! If anyone has any suggestions how to get started, and make my products stick out please leave a comment. It would be greatly appreciated! :)

Lastly....I have been reading like crazy! My plan is a book a week during this summer. I am trying to distance myself and school work. I think a break of not thinking about school is in order. I am a crazy planner, but it's time to relax. I see stores prepping for back to school, and putting out teacher products. It's hard to resist temptation, but after packing up my classroom I think I have enough!
Current read: 
The Nightingale 
So far I am enjoying it!

Another obsession we have right now....

Cant. Stop. Watching.

Here's to enjoying summer! I hope you all are too!