Friday, June 29, 2012


In an effort to appear somewhat active this summer,
I'm joining Jeanett's link-up at Life Rearranged. 

Here are my Instagram pics for this week:

This is my buddy, Gus. 
While the older cats tend to sleep all the live-long day,
this guy is my best friend. 
Always under foot.
 Always waiting for some food to drop on the floor. 
He must have been a dog in a previous life.

Last week was my birthday.
This week, my sister found her present for me.
Isn't it lovely?
She knows I don't put up with no fools.
In fact, I pity them.
Also, I don't put up with no back talk sucka.

Here's the newest addition to our family,
Mortoise the Tortoise.
We call him Morty.
He lives in a large pen on the back porch.
Every day, Morty and I chill in the backyard for some recess time.
I've only kinda lost him twice.
Believe it or not, he can be quite fast.
Scott and I eat better now because of him.
Morty enjoys gulping down fresh fruits and veggies.
1/2 for him; 1/2 for us
Life is good!

This week, I went to the Gardens Mall with some friends.
Love this mall!
I could go there every day.
My bank account doesn't want me to go anywhere near this mall.
My credit cards say, "Go for it."
Anyway, my friend, Joe found the cutest pair of men's shorts at Lily Pulitzer.
Unfortunately, Lily Pulitzer doesn't have bags that are
suitable for men to walk around with.
Poor guy!
Actually, he loved the bag.
He thought it was fabulous.
Joe is fabulous.

Tropical Storm Debby 
{Debby Downer}
put a damper to our outside plans for at least 4 days.
So, Scott and I had to think of some fun indoor activities.
Not what you're thinking.
Get your minds out of the gutter.
We went to the movies, the library,
visited family, and enjoyed some fro-yo {maybe twice!}

I whipped up this little goal list for Scott and me.
I remember seeing it on Pinterest a while back.
My Sharpies missed me.
I missed them!
At first, I thought Scott would laugh at it.
But he didn't.
He added more goals than me!
As of today, we have 6 checked off.
Hopefully, we can keep it up {fingers crossed!}

The first set of nieces and nephews are teenagers.
Here are a few of them.
When Scott and I arrived at my mom's house
{aka Grandma}
One was at the bar on the iPad,
one was on the couch on her iPhone;
and one was on the other couch on her Nook.
None were speaking.
Grandma was desperate for them to
play like they did when they were little kids.
My family {the adults} loves to play cards.
We like to play games of any kind.
Scott and I got those boogers to join us at the dinner table.
Of course, the devices followed.
We pulled out the Tripoly and tons of pennies.
Let the games begin!
It was so much fun.
They were laughing and talking {oh my!}
However, two of the teens didn't know the cards at all.
Like we kept on hearing, "What's a club?"
"Does the queen come after the 10?"
One still couldn't hold all of the cards in her hand.
They were struggling!
We taught them something that day.

I had to swing by my classroom to pick
something up the other day.
Look at the mess!
They just dumped everything to one corner of the room.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I hate the summer.

I saved the best for last.
I got my hair did.
Goodness, it needed it so badly.
My grays were peaking out everywhere.
I was using my brown eye shadow to cover it up on the sides.
Deedee, my stylist, is an artist and a saint.
My hair is happy again.
So am I!

Instagram is new to me.
It's fun.
I'm not going to be using it constantly like 
my 16 year old niece does, but I think it's a keeper.

Click on the button below to link up or view others.

Happy Friday and go support Magic Mike this weekend you law breakers!

life rearranged

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Pictures and In Words *Part 1

Have you ever really wanted to do something and just kept putting it off?

Well, I do that all the time. Blame it on procrastination or just sheer laziness. Sometimes, I need a PUSH.

Thank goodness for this glorious blogging community!

I was so excited when I saw a book study for Katie Wood Ray's, In Pictures and In Words, was in the works for this summer. There was my PUSH.

I have been meaning to read anything by Katie Wood Ray for a while now and just never got around to it. Reading and math are always in the way!

Geez, why are they so darn important?

Writing instruction just doesn't seem to get as much screen time as those other two subjects. And it should have equal billing! Writing goes hand in hand with reading, for goodness sakes. 

{And then, they wonder why so many teachers feel inadequate at teaching writing. Duh!}

On to the book at hand:

Katie Wood Ray is a breath of fresh air. In Pictures and In Words highlights the best practices of quality writing instruction for teachers. The first six chapters of the book  explains why illustration study matters. The second section {chapters 7-11} will review fifty different illustration techniques for writing instruction.

Our wonderful host for the first section of the book, Deedee {Mrs. Wills Kindergarten} has written an excellent reflection of the book. I love the way she explains the chapters and includes examples from her own class. What a great way to bring the book to life!

For my contribution to the book study, I'll be answering the Guided Questions:

1. How might you explain to students that illustrating is composing?

I teach first grade at a Title 1 school. I'm lucky if 35% of my class can decode simple cvc words. I can guarantee that about 4-6 of my students will not know all of the alphabet. Getting them to illustrate during writing workshop has never been much of a problem because that's all they can do!

During our mini-lessons, I will make sure to elaborate on the fact that my students are authors, even if, all they can do in the beginning is illustrating. They are telling a story through pictures and soon they will be adding those words.

We'll work on those details in their illustrations. Whether its color choice or the amount of pictures on the page. Each part matters in their story telling. Then, we'll connect it to their words.

2. How might your attitude towards writing affect your students' willingness to write?

Sometimes I refer to myself as a salesperson and not an educator. I am selling them reading, writing, math, science, social studies, technology, etc.

My passion becomes their passion. If I am super excited about something, they are super excited about it, too.

Okay, there may be a few nonbelievers, but that's another reason why I love teaching first grade. I don't get as many apathetic students as I did in fourth grade.

I love to write. I always have. I bring in journals and letters from when I was a girl and share with the class. When I'm not conferencing with a student I'll spend some time writing and share my thoughts during share time.

We make HUGE deals about each other's writing when we share. They eat it up.

Littles love to hear how awesome they are. We make sure to point out specifics from their writing that made it so great.

Last year, one of my students started writing a fairy tale of her own and her characters were kids from the class. Everyone laughed and pointed at each other. They were really funny. Then the next day, another child started a fairy tale as well. The third day, three more kids had written silly fairy tales. They all thought they were hysterically funny and they were writing. Oh, they were writing. The power of their words had created a wave of excitement throughout the room. It lasted about a week and a half and then it died off. But, it was exciting to see them inspire each other instead of me doing all of the work!

3. How might you help students build stamina in their writing?

This is actually going to be easy for me. I've been practicing the Daily 5 management system during my reading block for several years now and its ALL about building stamina for reading and writing.

We start small. Writing for 3 minute increments at a time and slowly build additional minutes every day until we reach our goal of 20-25 minutes of independent writing.

It is NOT as easy as it seems.  Building stamina requires a lot of patience and perseverance, but it works. It works people!

We model, practice, check-in. Model, practice, check-in.

Sometimes, we need to incorrect/correct model many times before we can add on an additional minute.

There are some days that are better than others.

Hold strong and have faith. You'll break them!

I HIGHLY recommend reading the Daily 5.

It's the BEST! {Really, it is!}

4. What language might you use with your students when you talk about reading like a writer, both as a writer of words and pictures?

I really enjoyed this part of the book. Probably because I can relate to it so well. 
As a blogger, I am always reading as a writer.  I look at the blogs that I enjoy and think, "What is it about them that keeps me coming back? Is it humor, pictures, topics of interest?"

As a teacher, I will make sure to include the author and illustrators name often as I refer back to their books during lessons. Students will hear about the decisions the author and illustrators made and how it may apply to their words and illustrations. My language is important because I need to bring these authors and illustrators to life for my students. Bring value and a sense of urgency to their writing.

5. Name several books you would gather for your classroom's units of study on illustration.

I am going to have to get back to y'all on this one because I have a ton of great books in my classroom and I don't remember all of them. Sorry!

Okay, here are a few I can think of that I love off the top of my head:

*Maggie and the Pirate, Ezra Jack Keets

*I am the Dog, I am the Cat, Donald Hall

*Fortunately, Remy Charlip

I'll add to the list when I start going back to my classroom.

So far, I'm loving what I'm reading. Katie Wood Ray makes me feel good about myself and the choices I have made as an instructor. She puts developmentally appropriate practices ahead of all of the hustle and bustle administrators like to demand of us. AND she values conferring and sharing! Sharing time is so important to our littles.

If you'd like to read more about this book study, please go to Deedee's blog {here} and check out her post and the others linked up.

Thank you, Deedee!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lists, Lists, Lists, Lists!

Oh my goodness, I thought this writer's block would never go away!

You know, once school let out --- so did I.
In a big way...

Like, wearing my pjs all day and asking my husband to go get the newspaper because I don't want to put on real clothes,

OR watching tv and lounging with my fur babies for hours {and hours!}
That kind of fun stuff.

Apparently, I am the only one who blogs and is this lazy.
Because y'all are some productive people!

So, in the spirit of appearing productive {although I still haven't put any clothes on, yet}

I have compiled a list of how I am contributing to society:

1. Catching Up on Some Important Television Programs

First, I am all caught up on the episodes of Burning Love

If you are a fan of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, you might get a real kick out of this show. Each episode is about 10 minutes long and they are hysterical!!!! The bachelor, Mark Orlando, is a fire fighter and a total doofus. The girls are all psycho. 
It is a trip, check it out!

Also, I am all caught up on my episodes of Giuliana & Bill. I love them. I know some people don't like reality tv, especially with semi-celebs, but I really like this show.

They are cute and funny and so NOT perfect. Love it.
They just announced the gender of their baby - It's a boy! 
Seriously, I really care about this stuff right now.

My good friend suggested that I start watching the show Grimm. I'm about seven episodes in and it's pretty good. It's no Buffy, but I'll take it for now.

Last, but not least, I'd like to take the time and thank Netflix for always providing me with oodles and oodles of old {and new} tv enjoyment.

How else would I get my Brothers and Sisters fix???

2. Fun in the Sun

My sister was awesome enough to take me and my niece with her to her conference last week. While she worked hard, Molly and I enjoyed the lovely beaches of St. Pete at the bustling Tradewinds Resort.

I love spending time with my nieces and nephews. Now that they are getting to be teenagers, it is a rarity.

Molly and her gator. I had to do a lot of digging
for this guy!
See, huge! I'm working on the gun show!
Molly and I had a so much fun together. 
I can't say that for my sister, though...

3. Blogger Meet-Up

I'm the one holding the sign {tiny head.}
How much fun was this?!?!?
The ladies were A-Maze-Balls! 
I met some new bloggers and some great blog stalkers.
Also, some of the experienced bloggers helped me out with a few helpful tips.
I can't wait to do it again.
I'm so jealous for the Vegas Meet-up! I wanna go :(

Soooooo, I was thinking of adding some of my favorite pins, but I've pinned so much lately I can't decide!

I have 4441 pins. Ahhh! 
Plus, I still need to go back and reorganize the pins I already have.
It's a mess - sounds vaguely familiar to me.

5. New Blog {to me it is}

I have come across this blog, The Pleated Poppy, and I just adore it.

the pleated poppy blog

Everything is so pretty, colorful and fun.
It makes me happy.

6. Go Shorty. It's My Birthday!

Today's, my birthday! I can't believe I'm thirty - blah*%#! years old already.

To celebrate this occasion everything in my store is $1.
Yep, you heard me correctly.
Click {here} to go to my store.

Super Squirrel Landing!

Okay, just kidding!
Hahahahaha! I don't have a store :)

But, it was the thought that counts, right?

7. Maybe Plan a REAL List and Actually Complete It!

Next time I meet with y'all, I am hopeful that I have made or created something fabulous to share.

Until then...
Take it easy, folks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CuRreNtlY - JuNe

As of 3 o'clock today, I am officially on summer vacation!
What! What! Woo-Hoo!

Summer (for teachers) really began today, however, I went to work.
Thanks to teaching at a Title 1 school, we got $paid$ to work on our grade level syllabi for next year. I am so relieved to have this document in the can. My team rocks. We knocked it out in 4 hours. Now, we don't have to worry about it in August when we are are too busy to work on it! Yippers :)

And you know the crazy thing? Only two grade levels showed up today to work on this: the Kindergarten team and the first grade team. We rarely ever get opportunities where we are paid to work (not during school time.) I can't believe none of the other grade levels showed up. Their loss, I guess. Did I mention we got paid?? BANANAS!

Farley's got her Currently up for June. I am SO angry with myself that I spent yesterday cleaning. I could have been in the top 25!

Anyway, here's my currently:

I would love, love, LOVE to go to London for the Olympics this summer.
Watching the games live is so awesome!
I went to the Atlanta Games in '96 and had such an amazing time.
I'd love to go to another games again in my lifetime!

My man and I went to Miami for our anniversary in April. 
We had such a lovely time. We stayed at an unbelievable hotel in the heart of Miami, walked along South Beach, ate some fabulous food, and visited the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Fun, fun, fun!
It was a much needed getaway.

I would love to spend a week in my favorite place, the Keys.
Relaxing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and feeding the tarpon.
Leaving all my cares behind.

However, I'd be totally happy anywhere as long as I am with my family and friends.
Even, if it is in little Vero Beach.