Five for Friday 4-29-16

Happy Friday!

I am linking up to Doodle Bug Teaching for Five for Friday! 


 I was nominated for a Liebster Award! Read my post here!

 I have 29 days left of school! NOT that I am counting down! ;)

This week we had Kindness Week at my school. It's perfectly timed for the week after vacation and right before the home stretch. I have almost NO pictures of the events this week becuase this week is so busy! But I just had to share because I love how you really see how celebrating kindness effects the students in a positive way.

 With my kindergarteners this week, I read the book If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen then the students designed their own car using the Make a Car website on ABCYa. They LOVED it! It was so neat seeing how excited they got.

My first graders chose a type of extreme weather then researched it writing three facts. This was secretly a review for one of their SLO assessments but I treated it like a normal class. They had so much fun learning about hurricanes, tornadoes, and so many other storms and watching videos of these storms in action!


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Liebster Award 2016

I was nominated for the Liebster Award!


Thank you to Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments for nominating me! Mindy is a 4th grade teacher from Texas who is funny and has GREAT teaching ideas! Definitely check her out!

My favorite blog is Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd! She was one of blogs that inspired me as I started taking this TPT journey more seriously in February. She is the Queen of Organization and has great classroom decorating ideas. She shares a peek into her brain every Tuesday night on the iTeachTVNetwork on Periscope.


1. I ran my first race at age 11. It was a 1 mile race in middle school that was a fundraiser. Here I am after my 8th grade race. Oh my! #middleschoolisawkward

2. I love to sing, but almost NEVER sing in public unless it's in a group.
 [See this major throwback photo of me singing in my high school Praise Choir!].

3. I have a slight obsession with podcasts. They are perfect for entertaining me when I have to get work done. Running on Om and Real Talk with Nicole Antoinette are two of my favorites and Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield is a great one for entrepreneurs.

4. I run commute to work. I only live about a mile away from where I work and I LOVE it. I leave my house so sleepy and grouchy and at the end of the run, I am energized and ready for the day. It's also super empowering relying on yourself to get to your destination.

5. I am super close to my family. Nothing grounds me and makes me feel happier then spending time with them.

6. I always thought I would become a 5th grade teacher but I am a K-2 tech teacher. I am someone who loves variety and change so this position is actually a really good fit for me. It gives me a lot of space to be creative and provides variety in my teaching content.

7. I have run 3 marathons, 2 half marathons, one trail race, about 7 5Ks and 5 1-mile races. I love running and want to run the rest of my life.

8. I am someone who hated cross training or any type of "workout" or yoga. But running and my goal to run my whole life forced me to embrace weights, yoga and strength training workouts. I actually love it and it helps give me another dimension to my exercise routine so it's not just running. I told you I love variety!

9. I have been a vegan since I was 6 years old. I love it and genuinely don't miss out on food. The hardest part is honestly the social piece where people expect me to eat food or question me [Yes! I get my fill of protein! ;)]. I've gotten better though as I got older to accept who I am and it really isn't as big on an "issue" as I perceived it when I was younger.

10. I have had a hard time thinking about myself as an "entrepreneur" but over the past couple months I have embraced it. I feel like being an entrepreneur is almost a mindset and less about the specific work you are creating. 

1. How long have you been blogging and why do you do it?
I have been blogging since 2011...Five years! I do it because I love sharing what's happening in my classroom and I love the opportunity it gives me to reflect on my days and weeks as a teacher - almost create a snapshot that I can look back on. I feel like the time as a teacher flies so fast and if I didn't have this blog, I would forget a lot. 
2. What is the first thing people notice about you?
I'm tall (5'10") and I have long blonde hair.
3. Who is your favorite author?
Barbara Park for children's books - I cried when I heard she had passed. I'm a huge secret YA book lover and I love Sarah Dessen. I've slowly gotten into adult novels and I love Sophie Kinsella. Most of her books take place in England and they never fail to make me laugh.
4. How would your friends describe you?
Funny. Quiet. Hard working. 
5. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in the classroom?
Oh my gosh. Maybe when I was singing MmmBop to a grouchy 8th grader? Or when a student asked the superintendent if we were married...say what???
6. What brought you to teaching?
My mom always emphasized the importance of education and how school was important. 
I also had some really great teachers from elementary school to high school to college who made their passion for teaching seem fun.
7. What makes you happiest?
Sitting in my backyard on a sunny summer day (after have run in the morning) reading a good book surrounded by family. 
8. What are you most grateful for?
How many opportunities I've had in life that I take for granted - and when I reflect on it, it blows my mind.
9. Name something in your teacher bag you can't live without.
My planner. Hands down! It's an extension of my brain.
10. Who is your celebrity crush?
Cory Monteith. I cried when he died. I never cry when celebrities die (sorry to be callous but we don't really know them and I think our emotional attachment to them is kinda weird) but I did when he died.
Other than Cory - Ashton Eaton, Ryan Hall, Nick Symmonds...elite runners who may or may not be married. ;)
11. What is your special talent?
I don't think of myself as inherently talented...I work hard at things but I feel like I don't have "natural talents". If I had choose one, I'd say singing by myself when I don't think anyone is listening. ;) 
  1. What is your favorite meal?
  2. If you could have an alternate life, what career would you have?
  3. Would you rather run a marathon (26.2 miles) or pet a tarantula? 
  4. If you could wake up and have one thing be true, what would it be?
  5. What is the highlight of your week?
  6. What is your favorite grade to teach? 
  7. Whose celebrity closet do you want?
  8. If you could spend a week anywhere, no costs, where would it be?
  9. What is your favorite or funniest childhood school related memory?
  10. What are you obsessed with right now? 
  11. Where do you picture yourself in 30 years? 

If you are nominated, copy and paste the following into your own blog post and follow the directions!
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  1. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) 
  1. For the 2016 Liebster Award, write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  1. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
  1. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  1. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  1. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or mine if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Don’t forget to create 11 questions for them to answer. Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they’ll know what to do. Once you’re done, come back here and comment with the link to your post so I can check out your answers.
Thanks for reading!

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Sunday Scoop 4-27-16



I heard about this awesome The Sunday Scoop link up from The Tidy Teacher's Link up page and super excited to link up for the first time!

Here are my have to's, hope to's, and happy to's for the week:


Have To:
Starting this week with my first graders I will be giving a practice performance task, then next I give the real-deal-performance task, then the week after I give them my SLO (Student Learning Objective) assessment. I feel so bad for these poor babies! :( My goal for next year is to develop a SLO that relies less on a one time assessment administered three times a year and instead on their actual work they complete throughout the year, measuring growth that way. Because I feel bad for them but I also feel bad for me! Wah wah wah...done complaining now! ;)

I have just seven weeks of school left when I head back tomorrow from my {awesome, amazing, productive and relaxing} spring vacation. I'm a specials teacher so I really only teach three lessons a week [yep, be jealous. I'm also not full time, so there's that!]. I have four lessons that I haven't really nailed down completely and I need to finish those. 

And I have to submit my TEAM paper! If you're not a CT teacher, TEAM is a two year program for new teachers. I am on my last module and SO CLOSE to finishing! I have to finish this paper - they're definitely not fun to write BUT I actually kind of excited! It's has the feeling of Finals Week senior year...so close! Yet still so much work.

Hope To:
Do you ever work on a TPT product and you are just SO EXCITED by it's potential for awesomeness and ability to help teachers? Yep. Me too. I have a product in the work that I use in my own classroom and am now converting to a TPT product. Hoping to finish it this week!

I'm also hoping this first week back from vacation goes smoothly! I am going to be spending the rest of this Sunday warming up my teacher brain and practicing my "teacher voice" because I am out of practice after a week spent outside in this glorious 70 degree weather!

Happy To: 
To be completely honest sometimes I wish I was good enough at running to do it professionally...Don't get me wrong, I LOVE teaching, but running is such a mental release for me!  Love, love, love it. My dream job would be 1/3 teacher, 1/3 professional runner, 1/3 TPT seller....Think that dream could come true?? ;)

Happy Sunday and I hope you have a great week!



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Five For Friday 4-22-16


Super excited to link up to Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

You might notice my blog looks a little different? Well I took the dive and had it redesigned! 
I polled people on Facebook and the winner was Georgia Lou Studios


I was seriously having a mini nervous breakdown the night before it was scheduled to change. I even took this sentimental screenshot.
Before!
I am so glad I didn't back out like I considered [for a brief moment, I was just going to scratch it all!] because I LOVE it! [And I may or may not visit it constantly just to admire it!]
BLOG DESIGN
After!
It's definitely not as "cute" as my old design (which I loved and was a huge improvement on my own attempts), but I wanted something more timeless, streamlined, and fresher. 

The blog design itself was only $12, then I splurged for an extra $35 for them to install it. I would HIGHLY recommend Georgia Lou for their customer service, great designs, and quick production time. I ordered it Saturday and it was mostly done by Monday night. 

It's my spring break!
video
I told you last week how I made a list of everything I wanted to get done. 
It was a CRAZY list. I was highly doubting I would get it all done. 
Then last Friday at about 7 I  thought hmm I kinda want to play around with fixing some product covers. 
Google Docs, Animals, First Grade, Haiku, Zoo
Well 5 hours later: I had revised my Animal Poems product (adding lessons and redesigning it) and uploaded it to TPT. Then I began to revise a second product. What! Yes it was crazy. And yes, I went to bed at midnight! So I was completely expecting to wake up around 9. 

Nope. I woke up at 6 and COULD. NOT. SLEEP. So I decided to get my grocery shopping done since I hadn't been grocery shopping for about 10 days. Then I came home and DID MORE WORK. Legit until 11:30. 
Google Forms, GAFE, Survey, Classroom
I ended up revising my Student Surveys using Google Forms product adding detailed lessons and reformatting most of it.

I only stopped because I was hungry. Then that night I did MORE WORK. Honestly by Saturday night, about 30% of my to do list was DONE. 

And that was ONE day into my vacation. 

So then I crashed. Boom.  I tend to have waves of super production and then a couple days where I'm surprised I ever get anything done because I'm so lazy. That happened this week. And when I wasn't in production mode, I would be stressing about EVERYTHING on my list.

So the list definitely helped me get stuff done, but I also forgot to add some very important things to it: goof off, chill out in the backyard, garden, open the pool, have an adventure at CVS, go the new Starbucks. I forgot to schedule mental downtime. 

I went for my first run since my marathon this week and ended up doing some stretches in a cemetery. Totally normal, right?
run, teacher

I also blogged this week about why being a teacher runner is awesome! Read the post here.

You know that post you have lying around...from TWO years ago...that you ALWAYS meant to publish but never did?
Me too. 
But in a bout of insomnia one night, I finished it! I wrote about Tips to Rock the Interview and would love it if you added your own thoughts at the end!

My goal from now to the end of the school year is to eat healthier. After the marathon, I had an attitude of "I can eat whatever I want". Compound that with vacation and less structured meal times and I was a mess! Jen Jones from Hello Literacy actually inspired me because she kept snapping about all these healthy meals she was making. She has an amazing tip for cutting avocados so definitely go follow her on Snapchat for that tip alone (She's also hilarious!). 

Happy Friday!

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My To Do List is Messy...And That's Okay.

This is some real talk so I just want to prepare you. Not my normal roses and sunshine. 

Last week I mentioned how I was going to use Ashley Schroeder's To Do list to organize my to dos for vacation.

I imagined it as a beautiful color coordinated piece of artwork, using my flair pens to make my to do list so beautiful I would check, check, check everything off. 

Well first I kept remembering things  I wanted to get done and my pretty to do list was nicely tucked away in my Erin Condren notebook.

So I did what I always do when I have an idea I know I'll forget if I don't write it down right away: I grabbed my phone and created a new note. Soon I had a five category list on my phone with all my to dos that I could add to and edit wherever I was.

But of course on Sunday it was still bothering me that I never actually used the fancy To Do list since I had promised I would. So I sat in my backyard and wrote down EVERYTHING that was on my phones list.

Was it pretty? Was it color coordinated? 


NO!

After, I actually became MORE stressed because seeing all the things I had to do FREAKED ME OUT! It was a level of stress I hadn't had since college. I then spent ALL week obsessively working. I got SO MUCH DONE yet my to do list was still sitting there. 
People, it's my spring vacation. A little bit of work, good. The level I was doing? Let's just say anything that reminds me that much of college is never a good thing. 

So by Thursday (today), the drive to DO STUFF was still there but I stopped. I resolved on Thursday, I would do NOTHING work related. NOTHING. I would read a book. I would spend time with my family. I would hide my phone because that's just a gateway to doing work. 

We all need breaks. Sometimes we forget to tell ourselves that and forget to give ourselves permission to relax. My to do list can sit there for a day. That's fine. It will always be there. The sunny beautiful spring day spent with my family? That won't last forever


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Why Being a Teacher Runner Is AWESOME

I am a super passionate teacher. And I'm a super passionate runner. Here are my reasons why the two are a PERFECT match:
Balance! I imagine my two big passions in my life as a seesaw.

Running on one side and teaching on the other. 

Sometimes the running side weighs a bit more heavily, for example when I’m training for a race, and sometimes the teaching side weighs a bit more, especially when I have a lot of school events going on in addition to teaching, like book clubs, night events, Regional PD planning. 

I always feel like if i stopped running the whole seesaw would just TIP OVER! Or if I wasn't really pursuing teaching voraciously the part of my brain that loves challenges and creativity would rebel. 

Is it REALLY hard sometimes? Yes. Sometimes I DON’T want to run 7 miles after a long day at work. Get home at 6 then go run? Hmmm no. And sometimes after a hard workout in the morning when I have a hard day ahead I dream of school magically being canceled. 

But that doesn’t happen THAT often. And when it does, it usually happens when I’m not planning my training strategically enough or when I am overworking myself at school and being a perfectionist. Running helps rein in that perfectionist side because I can’t keep perfecting this worksheet. I need to just print and photocopy it because I need to go running and this is good enough for right now.

Passion! My passion for running feeds into my passion for teaching. I LOVE running. I love my own running, I love training plans, I love my Believe I Am training journal, I love being a part of my local running community, I love my Oiselle running community, I love races, I love all the adrenaline. When I crush a hard workout in the morning, it fuels my confidence and motivates me. If I already ran 8 miles with speed work, I go into the day with this awesome frame of mind and I end up motivated to rock the rest of the day as a teacher.

Organization and Focus. Through running, I have developed organization skills - mapping out my training for the week ahead and planning for races (I love my Believe Journal for organizing my running - let's just say its the Erin Condren of running planners!). I also learned other skills like perseverance, hard work and grit that have transferred over to teaching.
And on a  day to day basis, balancing running with teaching necessitates being organized with teaching or else I wouldn't be able to do both! I can’t diddle daddle on my lesson planning or waste time at work participating in drama or postpone tasks. I know I have to go into each day with a specific To Do List and be DONE with my To Do List the end of day or else my running suffers. 

3D Teacher. I become more three dimensional for my students when I have interests outside of school. My students will mention that they saw me running around town. I’ve run races with my students. I’ve coached the older siblings of my students. All these things build stronger relationships outside of the classroom. 
Mental Health. Being a Teacher Runner helps me handle disappointments better because it’s not my only passion. If something goes bad at school or not as well as I hoped, I use that to fuel my workout later in the day. If my training for the day is horrible, it’s okay, because I still have teaching. We all have off days as athletes and moving on to teaching helps me get over a disappointing run. And we all have bad days as teachers. Letting your mind linger on a bad workout or a bad teaching day makes it SO MUCH WORSE. Having two pretty demanding passions actually makes each one easier because it gives me immediate perspective that there is more to my life and more to me as a person.


The ONE bad thing about being a Teacher Runner?  Balancing the need to drink enough water with the opportunity for going to the bathroom! You can’t go running dehydrated but you know there are also very small bathroom opportunities during the day! 

Are you a Teacher Runner? I'd love to know!


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