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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ch ch changes!

Man, I've been absent from the blog world for a little bit. But things got really busy, really quickly! So just to recap...

- As you know from my last post, I'm pregnant. 5 months :)
- We moved houses (OMG, that is SO fun while pregnant -_-)
- I moved schools
- I moved grades, now teaching 3rd!

So that's a lot of moving and shaking that I wasn't necessarily expecting. But it is all good news. Our new place is nice and closer to my new school and hubby's job. Plus we have another bedroom which will be the office/ nursery. My new school is huge, like 9 teachers on the 3rd grade team huge, but everyone seems very welcoming! And it is a gorgeous newer building with a wide range of students served.

Now about moving grades...
I am excited and nervous at the same time. I have been in first since I started teaching 5 years ago and always said it was my ideal grade. I did love it but I was ready for a change. I am eager to see the difference with these slightly older and more independent students. However, all my experience, materials, even TPT products are geared towards 1st grade. So I'm trying to switch my mindset to cater to this new group of students.

With that said I will take any and all advice you are willing to share!

*I have already started following some upper elementary people on social media.
*I am reviewing standards and topics that will be covered.
*I am starting to purchase books that will appeal to my new audience.
*I am trying to visualize how I will set up my classroom which is difficult in a new space.
(Like I didn't even know if 3rd grades still came to the rug until a coworker and I discussed it.)
*And I'm due in November so somewhere in there I need to plan for maternity leave

Whew! I'm a little tired just thinking about it all but I know change can lead to growth and I'm so excited to grow as a teacher and round out my experiences in the classroom. Plus I'm thankful for this summer break allowing me to mentally get myself together, while enjoying all the naps I can squeeze in lol.

Once again please share any tips you have for switching grades, setting up a 3rd grade library/ room, helpful Teachers & Sellers on TPT, etc...

Thanks in advance! :)

P.S. I know, I know I'll need to switch my name...but to what I have no clue. Add that to the giant to-do list

Monday, May 15, 2017

Big news!

Well this Mother's Day was very special because we got to announce Baby Martin is on the way 😄

Due Nov 5th 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A new struggle

You know what's difficult?

Maintaining a blog with a broken laptop
& maintaining my sanity at the end of an eventful school year

I will be back in action soon, with some good news to share 😊

Until then, thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Struggle!

So today was hard for a variety of reasons.
One of my "lovely little handfuls" went 0 to 100 real quick. I felt bombarded with tasks separate from teaching. AND THEN they voted Devos in....

& then I packed my bags

Okay so not really, but it crossed my mind. Like, legit crossed my mind.

I was distraught that someone who seems so underqualified could be put in such a crucial position. I was disappointed that our record breaking amount of calls and emails did not achieve our desired result.

We united! We spoke up! And you muted us for money! (I assume, I can be totally wrong)

So now what? Sulk and cry? Maybe for a minute. But afterwards we must do what we always do.

Despite the pay
Despite the stress
Despite the critiques & criticism
Despite the new secretary....

We will continue to teach. We must. The future depends on it. And even when others ignore it, we will focus on what is best for our kids.

So wake up tomorrow and TEACH!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Teaching Conferences - You going?

As teachers we commit to being life long learners. But this learning doesn't just come from school professional development sessions. Conferences are a great way to meet other teachers, learn something new, and refresh your teaching practices.

So where do you start?

  • Google your educational interests
    - Do you love using technology? Look for the latest STEM conference.
    - Love TPT? They are now holding yearly conferences! And I hear they are amazing! I am trying to convince my husband but it is the day after our anniversary so....
    - All about 1st grade? Look for conferences focused on that grade specifically like "I Teach 1st!"
I Teach 1st Conference - 2015

  • Look through Organizations
    - Are you a member of your teaching association? ( I am! And proud of it!) Look at their upcoming events. Our association has events monthly! I just attended a New Teacher Retreat with teammates and met our TEA President! I also got an article published in our local TEACH newspaper! Talk about member benefits!

  • Check good ol' Social Media
    - Connecting with teachers online has sooo many benefits! One of those benefits is that typically when they find a good conference, they share about it. If you see a teacher posting about a exciting new workshop, look into it!
    - I follow some great teachers who present at conferences. When they post about where they will be next I start looking into it if my schedule & finances agree :)

What next?

  • Location!
    -If you're willing to travel you can definitely expand your search range. But if you know you want to stay nearby look for conferences in your region. I live in southeast TN so I look for events in Nashville, Atlanta, etc.

NEA Conference in Atlanta - 2014

  • Funding
    - Depending on the type of school you work in, you may have funds available for teacher P.D. and conferences. That is how I was able to go to I Teach 1st! Your administrators will be your best source of information on this.
    - Many conferences offer discounts by applying early so if you see an event you really want to go to, apply early!
    - Try to set aside a little each month (or every other month) to save towards your profession. You could use this to buy a new book that may further your skills or register for a conference.

  • Need a Sub?
    - You will need administration approval for conferences that require you to miss work. My administrator has always been understanding & encouraging. In our area this is considered a professional day.
    - Plan for a substitute. Leave clear instructions and materials that are meaningful but easily accessible. If you can talk to the class before you may want to assign student helpers.

  • Pack well!
    - Some teachers have made super cute packing lists online you can find. The one in my picture  is from Enchanted Kindergarden . You can also Google : teacher conference packing list
    - Essentials: Notebook, writing tools, professional/comfortable clothing, comfortable shoes, toiletries, phone charger
    - Any registration materials
    - A little just in case cash
    - Business cards if you have them! (If you don't you should definitely consider them!!)

  • Enjoy!
    - Take good notes. Be ready to share some highlights!
    - Have fun
    - Make new friends! Seriously, networking matters! These are your people! And the connections can last beyond that one event.
So what tips would you add? What are your favorite conferences? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

3 Ways to Rock Indoor Recess

I don't know how things are in your state or district, but around this time every year we end up confined to our classrooms for recess much more than we'd like to be. Between rain, low temps and snow days indoor recess becomes a winter staple whether we like it or not. So I wanted to share a few of my favorite options to use in the classroom when going outside just isn't an option.


My absolute top choice, would definitely be GoNoodle. We use this awesome site throughout the day for brain breaks, but they also have videos specifically for indoor recess. They are longer, 7 -18 minutes, and are grouped by a common theme. These videos are perfect and you don't have to worry about commercials or pop ups like with other sites.



I use puzzles in my classroom every year. I keep a variety of them including small puzzles for individual students and floor puzzles that students work on together. My personal love of puzzles obviously comes through in the classroom. They feel so accomplished when they finish and often ask that I take a picture.


Directed Drawings

I student taught with a teacher who was an excellent artist. She introduced me to a set of books I had never heard of called "Draw.Write.Now"

They show you how to direct others through drawing pictures. They even include handwriting but I usually allow them to do their own writing about the picture.

This is an example of a directed drawing I saw online for my students to do before Winter Break. :)

So those are some of my favorite choices for indoor recess. What are some of yours? Share them out!

Thanks for reading 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New year - New possibilities

The new year is quickly approaching! And for most teachers this means your year is about halfway through. Time flies when you're making a difference :)

The cool thing about the new year is that it provides a sense of renewal and new opportunities. This is a perfect time to....

Introduce a new rule or classroom procedure

Often teachers feel that if a procedure or classroom rule isn't succeeding there isn't much that can be done. So not true! Teachers have a lot of power in their classrooms and one of the greatest powers is the power to CHANGE!
-If they just can't remember to clean their desks, institute a "Desk Monitor" for the new year.
-If they always argue about how to line up, have them line up in number order or reverse number order to switch it up.

Reflect on what has been accomplished so far

The new year usually brings a focus to new goals and resolutions but there is value in reflecting on what has already been accomplished. This is important with adults as well as children! This means that reflecting on your teaching career and goals can be beneficial to you as well, super teacher!
But also take a moment and write about what you and your students have accomplished so far. This could be individually done or completed as a class.

Focus on goal setting

There are many resources and activities on Pinterest, TPT, etc. that provide some structure to goal setting, especially tying in the New Year theme. I personally wanted to start the year in August with student goals but the back to school commotion totally distracted me. But of course I don't have to wait until next August to give it a try. So when I head back to the classroom in about a week these are a few tips I want to keep in mind.

Goal setting tips:
-Goals should be centered on student input (otherwise they won't be motivated)
-Display them or have them easily accessible (otherwise they may be forgotten)
-Track progress, not just completion (otherwise students may get discouraged)

But before you head back....relax!

So now that you have some ideas to get the new year started on the right track....head back to the couch and soak up the last few days of relaxation. Do some reflecting and goal setting for yourself. It is a time of renewal after all...make sure you're giving yourself that opportunity as well!