Monday, February 1, 2016

Classroom Teacher Supplies Sharpener Review!

Happy Monday!

I'm FINALLY back after a crazy two weeks of surgery AND jury duty!  If you know anything about anything, than you know being out of the classroom is absolute TORTURE!  Yikes!  The paperwork and catching up I have ahead of me!  I will say one huge sanity saver has been our new pencil sharpener compliments of Classroom Friendly Supplies.  Click here to check out the awesomeness!
Now to share our experiences with the sharpener that EVERY teacher should have in the classroom. First, it's purple!  How can you not like a purple pencil sharpener?!  Next, it's a fun design and pleasing to the eyes.  Again, how can you not resist?!  If the aesthetic features aren't enough to convince you, than how about the functionality of the sharpener??

Isn't she beautiful?!

THE pencils are AMAZING and dangerously sharp!!  My students get two sharp pencils every morning to start the day.  The pencils are so sharp they actually keep up with my students all day long!  This was INCREDIBLE to watch in action.  To translate in teacher language...the students were not up wondering around to get a pencil!  I also didn't have to listen to the nerve grinding electric option we had before.  Can you say WINNING?!

Several people have asked on my IG account about student use, so I put the question to the test. What I found is for my particular group of 2nd graders, it is NOT kid friendly and becomes a nightmare to get broken points out of the sharpener.  I want to stress it is NOT kid friendly with MY group of kids; however, a colleague down the hall in 3rd grade doesn't seem to have ANY issues with her students using the sharpener.  I guess it really depends on the grade level and group of students in the classroom to see if it's rough and tough enough to hang in there for a school year or beyond.  That being said, it seriously takes only 5 minutes to sharpen a bucket full of pencils each morning, so for me it's worth it to spend 5 minutes of my time getting the pencils ready for the day.

Don't you think the pencil tips are absolutely beautiful??
Another question asked on my IG account was about the noise level.  Is it truly the quietest pencil sharpener ever??  My honest answer is...I'm unsure.  Is it more quiet than the electric option? Yes! Most definitely YES!  To me it sounds like any other crank sharpener; however, it's cuter and more efficient with the sharpening.  You can choose to mount it or move it around the room, take it home for the weekend, or pass it across the hall to share the love with another teacher.  So many options!!!

The final question asked to me was about the dreaded dollar store pencils.  You know, the ones that don't ever seem to sharpen and then unravel...becoming a huge distraction and teacher annoyance?? Well my friends I'm happy to report the sharpener was up for the challenge and does not discriminate against any pencils.  

The dollar store pencils can't bring down the best pencil sharpener ever!

So, basically what I'm saying is...EVERY. SINGLE. TEACHER. could benefit from purchasing one of these fabulous pencil sharpeners.  The past month has been bliss not listening to the electric sharpener.  Feel free to check out this video to learn more about the Best Pencil Sharpener Ever! Comment below if you purchase one and share your thoughts.  Until next time my friends.....

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five For Friday! (First Timer)

Happy Friday Ya'll!

Today I'm participating in my first ever Five For Friday Linky party!  Let's get this party started!  I'm giving you five things I've experienced/completed this week.  Who knows what theme I will choose next week!

I started the week like most classroom teachers with a day off from the classroom because of MLK day!  The lil nugget and I relaxed around the house with a playdate for the both of us!  We love our friends!

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of participating in a half day mandated Human Diversity Training. There is nothing better than spending a teacher work day in meetings right before report cards are due.  #TeacherProblems
On Wednesday I had surgery to help correct my infertility issues for the possibility of baby #2 later this year.  The crazy thing is, at first glance the surgeon thought I had Hydrosalpinx.  After getting in and taking a look, he realized the reason my fallopian tube was blocked and swollen with fluids is because my right ovary was sitting on top of it!  Crazy, right?!  My organs had been relocated to an empty cavity in my body preventing mother nature from working properly.  He thinks when I was pregnant with the lil nugget, she didn't have much room to move around, so she pushed things out of the way to be more comfy while in utero.  Maybe she knew from the get go she didn't want any siblings! ;)  He also discovered I had a mild case of Endometriosis as well as a few cysts needing to be removed.  Basically, the original surgery went rogue and a different procedure ended up happening.   Now I'm just chilling at the house recovering from a very uncomfortable surgery.  The lil nugget is fascinated with my incisions and the glue that is "keeping mommy together".
Yesterday I blogged about a list of 2nd grade Kahoot games anyone can use if needing to spiral review content.  I will continue to add to the list each week, so definitely check back often.  If you haven't tried Kahoot you should!  Easy peasy engaging activities for your class.

Yummy Homemade Banana Bread
A view from our backyard this morning. :)
Last, but not least today is a Snow Day for everyone around us.  The lil nugget's school is closed today, so I'm home recovering with her.  She has been a fabulous assistant running the stairs for me, picking things up I can't reach, and baking with me.  We made some homemade banana bread together and will enjoy it with some hot chocolate this afternoon.  I can't take her out to enjoy the snow today because of the risk of slipping and falling as well as the bending over movement I currently don't have.  The mister will be home shortly to play in the snow with her.  Snow days are the best!  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!  Until next time! :)))

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Oh What a Week!

Happy Thursday Ya'll!

Today I'm home resting from my surgery yesterday.  Why is it when you're at the hospital you look terrible?  So crazy, but I try to always keep it real with my blog visitors and followers.  Today is a new day and I'm thankful for the opportunity!  This afternoon has been uncomfortable, but tolerable so I could blog, create, and organize digital items.

That being said, I've created a list of math review Kahoot games I use in my classroom each week to continue to spiral skills previously taught.  The kids are obsessed with the games and are disappointed on days I just couldn't find the time to set up a new review game.  My adminstrators love the level of student engagement my class has each day in math.  In fact, our hallway knows when we are playing Kahoot, because the energy is off the chain!!  If you haven't played Kahoot with your kids you really should!  Click on the Kahoot picture above to take you to the website.  You can even track student understanding with the data reports.  Doesn't everybody like easy data to drive instruction?!  I  honestly think that's the coolest part of Kahoot.  I use the data to have math conferences with my students and/or teach small group remediation lessons if needed.  If you are needing/wanting to use math spiral review in your classroom, but don't have the time to create it for yourself, please help yourself to the list of games I've created for you to use.  Check back weekly, because I will continue to add to the list.  If you use the links, please comment letting me know your thoughts.  Kahoot is free and can be used in teams if you don't have very much technology in your classroom.  You can use iPads, Computers, and smart phones to play the games.  To grab your free copy of the math review links, click the picture above.  Remember, it will be an ongoing list so check back often!  Thanks for stopping by!  Until next time...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy 2016!!!

Happy 2016 Everyone!

Wow!  Life sure gets busy and occasionally the blog gets put on the back burner.  Kuddos to ALL of the teacher bloggers out there blogging, scoping, tweeting, Instagraming, Facebooking, and TPT creating like a boss!  This teacher blogger can't keep up, but I'm good with it! ;)  Since I last blogged, I've run 3 half marathons, my husband was hired at another NASCAR cup team (thank goodness), and we are beginning to find out the true reasons behind our infertility journey of almost 2 years. Crazy, right?!  I was also fortunate enough to host a Carolina Teacher Blogger Meet Up in Charlotte a few weeks ago.
Savannah Rockin Roll Half Marathon in November
Half Marathon preview run on my birthday
Blogger Meet Up
Our infertility journey headquarters :)
Huntersville Holiday Half Marathon
Jenga and Math...the perfect combination.  More to come on the Jenga picture.

Any who, my goal for 2016 in the blogging land and TPT land is to blog more and create more without sacrificing time with my family.  What goals do you have for 2016?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Keeping the Balance

Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy work/home life balance?  Sure, there are times in the school year requiring more of your time at home than you would like; however, are you the teacher that works at home most if not every night?  Well if I've just described you then you need to continue reading this post.  If not, then I would love to hear what you do to maintain the balance.  I'm always looking for a more efficient way to get it all done. :)

Tip #1:  Write a list with things you will get done every day in your classroom, for your family/spouse/or child, and something you will do for yourself EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Yes, you heard me correctly!  You are important too!  By writing down reasonable goals to get accomplished you have a higher likelihood of checking them off your list each day.  Below are a few pictures of what I use to keep the anxiety down, the since of accomplishment up, and keeping me in the mix as being important as well.  It's super easy to become a/an slave to the classroom overly dedicated teacher that comes in at dark, leaves at dark, and continues the party at the house after all commitments are taken care of.  DON'T BE THAT TEACHER!  At the end of the day, being a teacher is just a job.  It's definitely my passion, but nonetheless it's still a job.  God, family, and friends are more important and cannot be replaced.  Jobs can be replaced if needed.  When reflecting at the end of your life, you will never think "I really should have worked more".  Most people wished they had more time to be with family, friends, and visit all the awesome places the world has to offer; not "data dive", answer parent emails, and attend professional development that could have been delivered in an email.
"Keeping the Balance" has been a huge life saver.  It holds me accountable to tackle small manageable tasks each day in all parts of my life.  You can grab your free copy by clicking here or on the picture below.

Tip #2:  Set a timer and stick with it!  I set the timer on my phone for 15-30 past the required work day and that's it!  The only time you will catch me staying significantly longer is during the few peak times of year (back to school, parent conferences and/or report cards, and end of year). Obviously if there is a staff meeting it's unavoidable; however, I'm fortunate enough not to have those very often.  I've found if you work under a timer you are more efficient.  When the timer goes off, it's time to LEAVE the building.  Nothing will ever be super perfect and that's okay.  DO NOT judge yourself against any "super teachers" you may follow on Periscope, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or blog.  You have no idea what their daily life looks like or resources they may/maynot have access to.  It's no fun trying to "keep up with the Joneses'".  I believe you should do YOUR best each day you're in the classroom.  Be 100 percent present for your students and then be 100 percent present for family, friends, and yourself when you leave the classroom each day.  Also, give yourself permission to "let it go" of anything you didn't get to or wished would've done different. Reflect and then move on.  There's always tomorrow.  More times than not, only you know if things didn't go perfectly during the day.  Most people will be overly impressed with everything you do have going on in the classroom.  Focus on what's going great and not on what's not so fabulous! :)

Okie dokie!  I will leave you with those two very important time saving tips.  I hope you find them helpful.  I truly believe both tips will lead to a happier and healthier you for everything you are to so many people.  I would love to hear any timesaving tips you have; and you know you have something to share with us!  

Have a fabulous week teachers...we are on the downhill slide to Christmas break!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tieks and Why Every Teacher Needs at least 4 pairs!

I'm back!!!  Seriously, keeping everything together has been exhausting!  Thank goodness for fabulous shoes to keep me going.  FYI...This is NOT a curriculum rich post, so if that's what you're looking for, please check back in a week or so.  :))

Today I want to share more reasons why EVERY female teacher needs at least four pairs of Tieks.  I know you're thinking, "seriously?! four pairs?!".  Yes, I'm serious and I will tell you why!  Back in late March I had the opportunity to get my first pair after countless discussions with the mister and I was instantly smitten with my mustard yellow beauties.  The shoes are beautiful, functional, and down right comfortable for the long hours of standing on your feet.  You can read more about my first experiences with Tieks by clicking here.  In August, I was again able to work some magic with the mister to get a second pair of Tieks.  This time I chose leopard and again, fell instantly in love with them.  It was hard trying to balance which shoes to wear because both were so beautiful, comfortable, and different from anyone else I came in contact with.  It's always fun to occasionally have something other's don't, right?!

Leopard Tieks with a summer dress turns into a fall outfit with a cardigan and a scarf.

On Thursdays I'm comfy at school with just the basics.

I'm thinking this outfit would work with either pair of Tieks I have.

Now, fast forward to mid October where closed toe shoes are almost a necessity with cold mornings and mild afternoons.  Prior to owning a pair of Tieks, I always tried to find something comparable to wear to work that was a ballet style flat.  I actually had two different pairs of "tiekish" styled shoes I wore all of last fall/winter.  This fall I decided to get them out to add to the rotation because it's become challenging to design every outfit I own around mustard yellow and leopard.  I figured I needed to buckle down and wear my black and tan/camel flats until I could once again work some magic with the mister for another pair of Tieks.
"Tiekish" black flats from RackRoom

"Tiekish" tan/camel flats from Off Broadway

Well, my friends...I learned two specific things this week.  First, there is NO comparison to Tieks. You may think you're getting something like Tieks; however, you're matter what you may be thinking.  I put on my "tiekish" shoes this week and was instantly saddened by how uncomfortable they actually are.  I had no idea how much support and comfort the Tieks provided until I tried on a pair of non-tieks!  The second thing I learned is I need a pair of chestnut and a pair of black Tieks to somewhat complete a basic collection of everyday shoes, but would love to splurge and get the teal, fuchsia, taupe, and navy; however, that is only WISHFUL thinking.  Unfortunately, like I mentioned in a previous post, my husband is losing his job next month (my birthday month); therefore, there are no new Tieks in my immediate future.  Currently, he hasn't secured his next racing gig, so money will most likely be tight this holiday season. We have our little nugget to ensure has a magical Christmas...meaning no new shoes for this momma!  When I came to this realization the other night in living room, my husband looked at me and asked why I didn't get "normal" colors the first time around?  Why did I have to choose yellow and leopard?  I quickly responded that Tieks has all kinds of fun prints and colors.  I needed to choose "fun" shoes since anyone and everyone has brown and black.  I also told him I thought my "tiekish" shoes would work, but I was WRONG friends!  There is no comparison!

So now, I'm up a creek "barefoot" until once again my hubs has a job and things settle out in our household.  I never would have thought we would be in this position, but I strongly believe our God is a loving God who will take care of our family.  I will continue to try to build outfits around yellow and leopard until once again I can purchase a pair of black Tieks.  My suggestion to each of you is to first purchase your basics (black and/or chestnut or brown).  Then purchase the fun!  You may think you don't need the basic colors, but you will quickly figure out you do need them.  Once you go "Tieks" there's no turning back!

Thanks for hanging with me!  I hope my advice will spare you the sadness I have of no longer having any basic colored shoes.  Technically, I can still wear what I have, but I will be back to the fatigued legs, blistered feet, and plantar thanks!  I would rather be barefoot!  I will keep up with the challenge of creating clever outfits with two of my favorite "neutrals"!  :)))

Friday, September 4, 2015

There's No Tired Like a Teacher Tired After the First Two Weeks of School!!!

Oh my!  I. CAN. NOT. believe it's almost been a month since I last blogged!!  Where has the time gone?!  The long and short of it is I. AM. TIRED!!!  I love my new school, but holy moly am I busy these days.  I thank you for hanging in there with me during this transitional time.

So, I have had several people reach out asking me why I decided to go back to the classroom after announcing I would stay home this year.  Basically, an opportunity I couldn't resist presented itself in the most amazing school in the most fabulous grade and I couldn't turn it down.  My new school is part of a school system referenced as the best school district in the country and it's definitely living up to the article title.  You can read about it by clicking here.  Little did I know this unplanned game changer was actually God at work in our lives.  This past Tuesday, my husband found out his race organization would be closing down at the end of the season.  That means my hubs will not have a job after November 22nd!  This has been core rocking for our family; however, we believe that if God takes you to something, he will bring you through it stronger than before.  I believe in worrying little and praying as much as possible.  So that's why I'm back in the classroom after a summer break instead of taking a few years off to spend more time with my little nugget.  If moms need to work, a teacher gig is where it's at!  I also believe teaching is my calling and I love every. single. day. of it! Even the poopy, not so fun days.

Soooo....that being said, I have some 5th grade/upper elementary items I would like to pass on to a fabulous follower or two.  I can't sell the materials because I didn't create the passages, but I can give them away for free because I did create the majority of the comprehension questions to go along with the passages.  The questions are aligned to 5th grade common core objectives, but could be tailored to better fit your specific grade level objectives.  The binder contains themed shared reading passages and comprehension questions that could be used for a weekly assessment aligned to the common core (binder not included).  I taught in theme because it was important to me to teach the bigger kids in a fun way with grade level appropriate content.  Just because they are big doesn't mean learning shouldn't be themed and fun! :)

If you want to read about and grab the freebie on a fabulous systematic way to execute shared reading in an upper elementary classroom, you need to check out the brains behind my binder cover title by clicking here.  You can enter the contest by completing the raffle copter below.  Good Luck!  Until next time.... a Rafflecopter giveaway