Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teachers of Instagram

Hello? Hello! Is there anybody out there?
It's been awhile, my friends. That is, if I have any friends left. Geez, I had to dust off this old laptop before I wrote this post. Actually, first I had to find it. Then, I had to give it a little life boost (plugging it in.) And THEN, I dusted it off. Google had denied me entrance to my blog, that's how long it has been.

Since Baby Max came along, I really haven't had a reason to blog until now.
Elizabeth at Kickin' it in Kindergarten is hosting a cool Linky Party featuring my favorite social media site to date, Instagram. I say "to date" because my level of dedication to any and all social media is fleeting. I'd say that I have self-diagnosed myself as to having Technical ADHD.



Anywho, Instagram has been a perfect escape, for lack of a better word, for me during the hours and hours spent nursing and cradling my little guy as he naps. I love everyone I follow and continue to find more people to follow and love. I have learned so much about all sorts of subjects through the people I follow. Now that I've become a mother - yuck! I sound so sappy - I have found all sorts of mommas (much better) out there in the world who share their ups, downs, and insights on Instagram. <---That has been SO HELPFUL to me especially considering I was blissfully unaware of anything baby related. AND there is A LOT of information about babies to learn!

Here are my top three favorite Instagram posts of 2013:

ONE

Here is my husband, Scott, and my niece, Autumn, playing by the pool.
They were so cute together and got me excited at the thought of becoming parents.

TWO

Scott and I have three cats. Gus, our baby, is by far the closest thing to a dog there is. He's awake when we are awake. He begs for food any chance he gets. He naps with us. He is just the sweetest thing and my hearts melts every time I see him napping like this!

THREE


If you follow me, you know about every picture is of this little guy. My Max is a week old in this picture. Here, he weighs about eight pounds. Jump ahead ten weeks later and he's at fifteen pounds! I can't believe how big he's gotten so soon. I'll take it as a compliment. I've done something right. Ha!

There are my favorite three!
Gotta Go - Baby Max is calling. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Max

This is a test post. I'm using a new app on my phone for the first time.

While I'm testing this out, I might as well give y'all an update on my life.
Look at my baby, Max!
~Max at 3 weeks~
Isn't he a cutie? I was lucky to get a smile on film. He is used to the camera now and won't smile for me. The second I put the camera down ... he's smiling again!
~Max at 7 weeks~
I took this picture today during Dad's lunch break.

The school year has been so bizarre for me. This is the first time in 14 years that my brain isn't in "school" mode. And, oh my goodness, there is no way I could even concentrate on school since Max has entered our lives. 

He is not a daytime sleeper at all. Plus, he hates the slings and carriers I have, but wants to be held. So, the only things I can do during the day involve my one free hand.

He's a great eater and nighttime sleeper which I am very grateful for. I need my sleep at night!

We are almost past the "fourth trimester" and I am looking forward to getting out and showing off my little guy.

All in all, this has been such an awesome new adventure for my husband and me. We are totally in love with our Max.
Toodles!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Day!

Hi there!  
It's Andi's sister, Auntie Jill, to share about Pumpkin Day!

Do you do "Pumpkin Day"?  So many versions and variety of fun.  
I have had some sort of Pumpkin day since I started teaching in 199hmm, .... scary.

BUT this year is the FIRST TIME EVER that I had my chart done BEFORE the day of :)
Pitiful, I know.  I do get the tubs and supplies ready, but that chart is always last on my list.  And, Ironically, it's my favorite part - sharing!
Over the years I have added and molded activities, 
but here's a quick run down of our morning for this year (we are doing this on Monday the 28th).
I group 3-4 students per parent (depending on who signs up) and say "Good Luck"
OK, no, I give them SPECIFIC instructions.  They are to follow them step by step 
(and not go too fast or else you are stuck with these kids until lunch)
  The kit comes with supplies to investigate the pumpkin.  Each group leader gets a big book and students get their own copy.  The discuss shape and colors found on the pumpkin. They make predictions and then record observations of the number of ridges, circumference and weight of the pumpkin.  I encourage the parents to weigh and measure the kids too and use language such as bigger/smaller, more/fewer, "you weigh the same as 5 pumpkins", "how close was your estimate?" ...
  
Then, we get to the good stuff of scooping out the pumpkin guts and counting seeds. Each year I'm amazed that I teach adults to angle cut and make a notch for the lid. ??
I love to walk around and cut off some pumpkin flesh to taste.  I find my brave few who will take a taste with me.  It doesn't taste bad and I love their little squishy faces!
Then the counting seeds where I get to learn who has endurance.  
I have them make piles of 10 on a paper grid.  They get tired after 200!
(This when I see which parents keep counting and who hide extra seeds! It's true!)
I have them talk about shapes and the students design the jack-o-lantern face.  The parents then help the kids carve out the face.  They love this part.  Sometimes the parents have to go hand over hand, but they love feeling big and helping out.  Each year when the supplies go on clearance, I get more for the following year.  The scoopers are sturdy, but the blades bend and break fairly easy.
As they finish up, Each group records their results on our class graph.  While they take turns, each group also has a copy of my favorite book - Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jean Titherington to read.  Each child then also saves 6 seeds and make a little paper pumpkin with poem to share at home with their families.

So after, I pawn off some seeds to the moms to who have the yummiest recipe for roasting, we read through our chart and compare the results.
Fun morning for all. Mmmmm, I hope they remember the nutmeg!

So, what so do you do for your "Pumpkin Day"?

And, yes, the cutest, little Pumpkin has arrived... 
but I will let Andi tell you about that.
Stay tuned :)








Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Video Tutorial for Making Quickie Flashcards in SMART Notebook

 Hi, everybody!

My school was fortunate enough to get SMART boards over the summer and there are many teachers just itching to create. However, they haven't had the opportunity to attend a training session using the software yet, so there are many questions.

I've had my SMART board for a little over a year now and have acquired a bit more experience using the software, so I've agreed to give a short in-service for some of my interested teammates. 
The in-service is tomorrow afternoon, and I was hoping to prepare for it by playing around with software at home and recording myself giving a wee little tutorial.

Here is one of the tutorials that I recorded. I plan on sharing this with my teammates just in case they forget the steps. This tutorial is just about making easy flashcards - nothing fancy. 
Keep in mind, these people haven't used the software at all. We have to start somewhere.

I'm sharing this with y'all because maybe, just maybe, someone out there might find it useful too.




If you do find this helpful, please let me know. I plan on making more videos for my staff and I can share them here as well.
Thanks!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

Nothing screams the beginning of Fall like sticky humidity and sweltering heat!
Ah, the joys of living in southern Florida.

We get all of those catalogs in the mail that show lovely brown boots and puffy vests.
We laugh as we know that we will have to wait a good three, four, maybe five months before we could ever think of enjoying these fall beauties.

As much as I love living in Florida, I always feel a little sad right now wishing that I could participate in the season known as Autumn.

But I digress,  there are much more pressing issues to attend to and Farley's "Currently" is one of them!
I am very excited to say that I may be joining in on Farley's monthly linky before it reaches 100! Woot, Woot!

Here is my Currently:


*Listening - Normally when I wake up I listen to the news while I get ready, but this morning has been a tad bit lazy and a Parks and Recreations marathon was too good to pass up. Nothing makes me laugh harder than listening to Andy Dwyer. He's my all time favorite!

*Loving - I get these weekly updates in my email about my growing baby and it is so stupid but they bring me such joy. I love reading about his weekly developments and how close we are to meeting him. I am nervous but overall REALLY EXCITED!

*Thinking - I have so much work to do to prepare for my maternity leave on top of my regular work load. I am still the grade level chair for my team this year (I have NO IDEA WHY THEY WOULD PICK ME!!!) but this job requires additional meetings, paperwork, and presentations that I need to do. In addition, I was asked to present a workshop on how to use the SMART Notebook software this week and I should really get a handout prepared for this, too. I need an assistant, STAT!

*Wanting - Kindergarten is a very unique grade to teach. I do love my Kinders, but they are tough to take sometimes. On the flip side, I am in LOVE with first grade. That is my home, my niche. However, my school is mostly departmentalized and so for two hours of my day I teach the Kinders. AHHHH! My teammate and I have nine major discipline problems and three who have never been to school at all! It is bonkers! One of them insists on calling us "Teacher." It isn't cute either. I'm over it! I'll give them a solid and say they have improved overall in the past nine days, but it hasn't been an easy road. "No, David," ain't got nothing over some of these guys!

*Needing - I am really not going to elaborate on this one. The bottom line is the basketball bouncing on my bladder isn't doing me any favors lately.

Well that's all for now. My parents are taking me to breakfast - YIPEE! I'm so spoiled.

Please join in on the linky fun at Farley's blog:




Saturday, August 3, 2013

Currently ~August and Celebrate SAID

Well, well, well!
When you are three days late to a party you are REALLY LATE to the party.

I just checked and Farley has 400+ people already linked up to her monthly "Currently" Linky Party.
Now, don't I feel like a LOSER?!?!

Although my school year hasn't officially started, I did have a very long meeting on the first of August and then all-day Kindergarten Camp on the 2nd of August. So, needless to say, I had to be absent from the interwebs because I was just too tired to do anything else!

Here is my August Currently (hopefully, I make it into the 400's!)


1) Listening: Wow, I had no idea how noisy baby clothes are in the dryer! We had to turn up the television and it is in a room far away from the laundry room. I'll have to remember that nugget when our little man is trying to sleep.

2) Loving: Scott tried out a new recipe for blueberry cobbler and it is delicious.I've gone back for seconds and thirds. Get that pan away from me!

3) Thinking: Pregnancy brain can really be a pain in the butt sometimes. I thought my memory was bad before. It is terrible now! I'm going to have to start writing things on my arm just to keep track of my thoughts.

4) Wanting: This one is pretty self-explanatory. I'm so annoyed with this aching pain that I want to use a knife to dig out the nerve pain that is shooting down my lower back and into my leg!

5) Needing: It really does pay to rip these workbook pages out ahead of time as opposed to during the school year, but, geez, do I hate doing it. This is the time I really wish I had parent volunteers at my school. I know, sad, right?

6) B2s must haves: 
a) Duct tape - for the past few years I have discovered the joys of fancy duct tape. I use it to decorate buckets and boxes, to differentiate between my Kinder stuff and my first grade stuff, and to keep my organizers from falling apart.

b) Ink Joy Pens - these pens are so great for everyday use. I'm a huge fan!

c) Calendars are so important. I've been using them since the sixth grade and I can prove it. Much to my husband's chagrin since they are taking up space in our closet. Basically, a planner is my calendar, scheduler, journal, diary, and note taker. I COULD NOT go a school year without one. Even with the magic of technology, I would still rather use my paper planner. Call me an old lady - I dare ya!

I gotta say I just love this month's currently paper. It is so cute!

Thank you, Farley.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~***************~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*****************~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**************

And now on to something completely different:

My favorite sister, Jill, has an editorial to share.

As a Kindergarten teacher, we lay the foundation for the rest of our students' education.
To belittle what we do as K teachers is to belittle the whole Kindergarten experience.
Personally, I have had some (not all) upper-grade teachers tell me that K/1 teachers shouldn't get pay raises or that their grade is so much more work than ours. I nod my head and move on because I am a total wimp when it comes to confrontations, but it does bother me. A LOT!
I don't think one grade is more difficult than others, but I do think we all work equally hard at what we do and it is a shame to belittle any teacher.

Alright, so here is Jill's POV:

Said is NOT dead!

This is Andi’s sister, Jill. 
As we work through pre-planning days, I am often drawn to the subject of writing as our school wide plan has many great features, yet it is not cohesive.  I reflect on how each grade builds on each other and then I have a mini breakdown when it comes to the word SAID.

Here is my rant about my dear friend – Mama SAID.
While it very cute to have a funeral for SAID, I as a kindergarten teacher, have great sadness for this ritual.  I even heard my principal go on about such a “cute” lesson she saw at some school visit where they went through a whole funeral for my friend.  Oy - the pain I felt and the smile and nod I had to muster to her.  Blech.  I choose my battles carefully and that was not the day.

Well, guess what – Today IS the day.
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD – DO NOT KILL MAMA SAID!!!!!



Here is my story…
I teach 5 year olds that SAID is a VERY special word.  In fact, she even has her own special spelling.  Oh, yes – we will see many “sed” on papers.  And actually it is to my delight.  Yes, delight.  A 5 year old hears a beginning, medial and final sound in the word.  EXCITING – people!!   We kindergarten teachers work HARD for this stuff!

But there comes a day, where you talk about all of the wonderful news and information we: our friends, characters and own creations can say… and we learn that crazy “sed” is actually SAID!  Who knew??
Not 20  - 5 years (ok, maybe a few by now, but not enough to remember to write it that way). 

This is my job, SAID is on my high frequency word list. I break their hearts and mend them at the same time.  SAID makes our stories both read and written come alive.  When we learn SAID, we even get to use the beloved puppet theatre <<that takes up too much room, so I carefully plan this event>> to write plays for the stuffed animals in our room. 

SAID is glorious,
UNTIL… a few years later someone KILLS HER!!!!!
What??? Why???
To me, she is the matriarch of all things wonderful. 
She is still written in all books past, present and future…

PLEASE, I BEG YOU, PLEASE
Begin a new ritual to celebrate her glorious family!
Instead of killing her, celebrate her family reunion and let the whole family shine.

Search “ways to say said” on Google and you will find many lists 300 words strong!!
Glorious, I told you-

Mama SAID has a rockin’ family.
Let me introduce you to some of her family.  Each group is special and yet different than the others. For the older students, you can even go on a genealogy hunt for all of the cousins, twice removed…

Here is a start of the family tree:
The Quiet family:
whispered, uttered, hissed, inferred, whimpered
The Loud family:
bellowed, screamed, screeched, proclaimed, blabbed, called, yelled, shrieked, whooped
The Grouchy family:
moaned, complained, demanded, hissed, argued, interrupted, lied, disagreed, objected, glowered
The Happy family:
smiled, sang, joked, giggled, laughed, cheered, grinned, gushed,whooped
The Sad family:
bawled, begged, fussed, sputtered, pouted, cried, wailed, fussed
The Shy family:
sighed, huffed, stammered, purred, persuaded, breathed
The Noisy family:
repeated,  gurgled, chastised, crabbed, mocked, rambled, retorted, squawked, pestered
The Unsure family:
questioned, wondered, asked, requested, inquired, posed, queried
Well, you get the idea…
Like I said, Mama SAID has a big family. 



My vision for a school wide goal would be to build that family tree grade by grade.  
Kindergarten is that solid foundation- we learn to love Mama SAID:  The trunk and strength to all things vocal. We might get a surprise visit from a few relatives, but for the most part we learn about dialogue, mama’s special spelling and those crazy macaroni things that you use instead of a word bubble called quotation marks.  

First grade begins learning the relatives and gets at least a dozen of them in use fluently.  

Second grade doubles up and works with at least 2 dozen of the family. 

Third grade (the typical FUNERAL YEAR – aaghghhgha)  We arrange a family reunion with about 4 dozen members and begin to sort them into their families.  

Fourth and Fifth grade each get to double the branches.  They learn “cried” might fit in 2 families: loud and sad, just as there is a Robert in the Smith branch and the Thomas side of the family.

Glorious Mama SAID.
Now as she gets up in years, she enjoys her retirement, makes an appearance here and there, but for the most part, lets the rest of her lovely family do the work… 

Do you feel my pain?  Don’t kill her – celebrate her, she deserves it.

And to support my case, here are a few common core standards that can also help keep our sweet Mama SAID alive and celebrate her family:

In our Language Strand:  We want a command for vocabulary acquisition and use in all grade levels.  We learn to clarify meanings through our use of Mama SAID’s family.  We learn word relationships and nuances be defining the shades of meanings when we sort her family and decide “who is stronger/weaker?”  Which word tells my meaning best?

In the Speaking and Listening Strand: We improve our presentation of knowledge and ideas when we are selective of which variation of SAID makes retelling most accurate or clear.

And ultimately in our Writing Strand:  We thoughtful and specific in our writing products and purpose.  We want our readers interpret the meaning we intended.

I shall now step down from my soap box.  Mama SAID and I need now to just relax, be quiet and enjoy a beverage :)
~Jill

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

I am have been meaning to participate in this linky party for some time now, but I have a SERIOUS lazy bone condition this summer!



However, I have decided to get my behind off the couch and do this party right.
Plus, if you are one of my Pinterest followers, you know I just love this site...

Here are my *favorites* from the week...

Favorite TEACHING related pins


My district is neck deep in the Marzano Evaluation System and there are several elements that a teacher must hit in to order to prove themselves Innovative (even in KINDERGARTEN!!!) I really love this "Ticket Out the Door" poster created by Jessica Heeren. It is simple, beautiful and blue!



I absolutely love this anchor chart for partner reading made by Kimberly Shannon.
This will be perfect for when I introduce Read to Someone and a superb reference for the rest of the year. Simple and colorful!


For the past few years, I have had several students on the spectrum. Now, I have never been trained on how to effectively teach students with Autism and it has really been a sort of trial and error for me as a teacher. This pin takes you to this great website, "Living Well With Autism." There are a ton of resources that are helpful when teaching students with ASD.


My favorite FOODIE pins

My goodness these look delicious! I could eat the whole plate. Of course, I'd have to find a suitable GF substitute for myself but that wouldn't stop me from making the real deal for my family. YUM!


This Lava Flow drink looks like the perfect summer concoction.
Get YO DRINK ON!


My favorite FASHION pins

This outfit looks like the perfect southern Florida teaching combo to me. I could definitely pull this off, not anytime soon, though...
Let me tell you, I. Miss. Shopping! 
Love the incoming kiddo, but maternity clothes shopping sucks. Especially when I just get bigger and bigger, bleck!


Since I can't really enjoy fashion for myself, I have this cutie-pie find for my little man. Wish I could knit this adorable outfit (if you can call it that!) found on Etsy.


My favorite PRINTABLE pin...


I just LOVE these parent print-outs made by Jodi at Fun in First blog. They are the perfect way to provide helpful information without overwhelming a parent. Love it!


My favorite FUNNY pins

His little bug-eyed face cracks me up every time I look at it!


Leave it to Buzz Feed to provide another list that leaves me in stitches!
Number 5 and 10 are so thoughtful and, of course, I love number 2 because, you know, nothing is more fun than playing with your kids like you do your animals!


My favorite HOME DECOR pins

This looks really cool and I am sure my husband would be all over it, but I would always worry that the TV was going to fall and kill me in my sleep!
I can't tell you how happy I was when my wittle projector was hooked up in my classroom and they removed that HUGE SCARY television that was mounted on my wall. It hung right over my teacher desk and I was always afraid it would fall on me!



This bar area screams ANDI. Love the color and all the beachy accessories. I'm such a Florida girl!


My favorite Baby pins


I just love this birth announcement. So simple and precious. I can't wait for my little man!



Putting baby to sleep and establishing a sleep pattern has me up all night! I am a nervous wreck about doing the wrong thing with baby Max. Any helpful tips would be much appreciated! I want a good sleeper! Every year, I have to deal with a classroom full of kids who do not get a good night's sleep and I see the damage that is done by it. Makes me sad and nervous!


Well, that's all folks.
Click here to follow me on Pinterest.

Thanks Cara for this fabulous Linky Party!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

*~* Currently - JULY *~*

Oh Boy is right! I haven't visited this old blog in so long my computer didn't recognize me.
My pregnant brain cannot handle what's going on around me.

Case in point, I left a whole class at school when we went on our last field trip. I left a poor first grade class and their teacher at school on a field trip to the local POOL. Totally, forgot them!
Thank god, the teacher was a smart cookie and quickly got a school bus to come get her class. 
I said, "What idiot put me in charge???"

Anyway, Farley has her monthly "Currently" up early and I see that there are already 60 + responses. Y'all don't have much to do this Saturday. I guess neither do I, hahaha!

Well, here is my little contribution:


*I live in south Florida and it is hot. Hot - I tell ya! Pool feels great though :)

*Scott and I have been working extra hard to convert our office into a nursery and we did a ton this week. Got the room painted and cleaned. We bought and assembled a dresser/changing table and a crib. Right now, we are working on two big shelving units. I feel so much better now that my little munchkin has a place of his own.

*My school was assigned summer reading homework to go along with our evaluation system. I still haven't picked up both books. I NEED to get them and get crack-a-lacking!

*I'm only in my second trimester but I have had trouble sleeping for a while now. I can not get comfortable! So a massage would be so nice. :)

*This one is self-explanatory. Working air conditioning for a Florida driver is a must. So, this not having any air conditioning really stinks!

*My blogging tip is based off of all of the blogs that I love. They are interesting, always evolving, and fair to the reader. My favorite websites from before the blogging age were so wonderful and helpful to me. I learned so much from them (like Beth Newingham's site and Jessica Meacham.) Where I live, my school district hasn't exactly provided the most progressive feats in education, so these sites were like mecca for me. I wouldn't be the teacher I am without their knowledge and love for sharing.

Check out Farley's blog and don't forget to follow the rule of three.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Currently ~ MAY

If I thought my blogging was bad before, it is bloody terrible now!
BUT I have a good reason - I swear.

I am super happy to be participating in this month's Currently
(especially since I was a total slacker and missed it last month!)

Here is my Currently for the glorious month of May:


Listening: I'm having a difficult time not watching Grimm on Tuesday nights, so I saved it for tonight. I just love this show.

Loving: The month of May is always jam-packed with social events at school and in my personal life. And although it is also a crazy hectic time of year as far as paperwork is concerned, I am so jazzed to go out and hang with my buddies. This week, my teamie, Kelly and I are throwing a "Gender Reveal" party for our K's and Firsties. I am so excited.

So, my good reason for not blogging is because I am pregnant.
I know, I can't believe it either. Scott and I call "him/her" our little gift.

Plus, I have had morning, afternoon, and night sickness for what seems like forever.
This has been the first week that I haven't fallen asleep right after school or gotten sick. I am pretty stoked about feeling better.

Scott and I waited to tell anyone about the baby until I was past my twelve week mark. That was the hardest secret to keep especially from my parents. Then, after we made the formal announcement, I started to grow. I thought I had a little bit longer before I'd start to show, but boy was I SO wrong. Maternity pants are my best friends right now! The kids rub on my belly so much that I don't even notice any more. 

Our students have been really cute and funny about the baby. They rub on my belly and talk to it. One little Kinder stood about a foot away and screamed at my belly. Not too subtle. The day we told our students that I was going to have a baby one of the first graders asked me if my husband knew about it. Hee-hee! And yesterday, I literally caught one of them running and jumping over the furniture. Which was not the first time I've caught him doing that or that he has been told to walk in the classroom. The other students were freaking out and yelled at him that he could have killed the baby. Then, another student pronounced, "He wouldn't have killed the baby. The baby would just move to her back." I about died laughing.

The kids are very opinionated about the gender and the name of my baby, so it will be loads of fun to have it documented for all to see (and for me to keep.)

Which leads me to my next topic - Thinking: Seriously, I have had a huge list of things to do for months now, and I am so exhausted that I've had to prioritize my time. As much as I LOVE my blog, unfortunately, it doesn't rank high on my list right now. Sorry y'all!

Wanting: This one is pretty obvious. I thought I would be really bummed about not getting my daily soda but it really hasn't been that bad. Plus, I have a ferocious  appetite for water. Just can't get enough. Which isn't always a good thing because I have to go to the restroom a million times a day and throughout the night!

Needing: Stickers - For our gender reveal party, I really wanted to give them stickers to wear and now I am on the search for some that aren't too expensive. I know if I was as creative as many of you out there, I could probably make them myself. That may just have to happen if I can't find them at a store. Which will be really lame, I'm sure.

Summer Bucket List: Numero Uno on this list is to deconstruct our office and turn it into a nursery. Bye, bye sweet office! Hello kiddo bedroom! First, I need to find new places to put everything that is currently in the office. Really it was an office/craft room, so there is a TON of stuff in it. We are going to have to be creative. I have absolutely no time to think about this right now, so I have to wait until school is out. 
Once we get that settled, I would really like to get my hands on our new reading series (if we get it before school begins.) Then, I'd like to have a good chunk of my maternity lesson plans sketched out, too. If there is any time left over after all of that (and any money left over) we'd like to have a mini vacation before school starts and the baby comes.

There's my MAY Currently.

Thanks, Farley!