Monday, May 18, 2015

Must Have Monday Linky Party

Happy Monday ya'll!

This is my first attempt at a linky party, so hang in there with me as I attempt the unknown. :)

Must Have Snack:

As teachers we are always on the go and some times food is at the bottom of our priority list when progress reports and report card season approaches.  This BBQ flavored Kind bar is delicious and can be found at Target.  It's totally a must have when needing to grade papers at lunch, but feel like you ate something. ;)

Must Have Accessory:
I'm loving my Applewatch and highly recommend it to any and all!  I've compared it to my Garmin, Polar, and fitness apps and it's a no brainer!  The Applewatch is perfect for the on the go teacher, mom, or fitness junkie.  It does EVERYTHING folks and it's always fun to have something that's new and techy, right?!

Must Have for the Classroom:

If you teach grades 3-5 you need this book in your teacher collection.  Like I've mentioned previously, I use the Vanguard Classroom Economy management system to teach economics while managing student behavior.  This book is a fun way to explain taxes to students and show how/where the money goes without getting too political in the process.   

I wold love to have you post your must haves by linking up with me!  I think we learn best from each other; if you're anything like me, you always enjoy seeing a new idea or product to try!  Feel free to link up below with any must haves you recommend.  Happy Monday!  Until next time....

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Where Has the Time Gone?! (w/a non-teaching idea)

Holy Moly!  I can't believe it's been a month since I blogged!  My life has been CRAZY!  I've been to Oklahoma for a half marathon while visiting family, I've been teaching up a storm in preparation for state testing, and I've been celebrating birthdays with my ladies.  

Any who, here is a picture of me after completing a new personal record (2:11) half marathon in Oklahoma City.  I had never run a half marathon by myself before.  I've always had my ladies to run with, but enjoyed the solo race experience as well.  Running keeps me happy with a feeling of control.  If you don't run, consider it!

Now, for my non-teaching idea.  Below is a picture of my formal dining room around Easter this year.  I made the egg table runner using Dollar Tree felt shapes.  All you have to do is spread them out and overlay them according to your tastes.  No glue needed and they store neatly when finished. The entire "project" cost me $5!! Cuteness, right?!  Again, not teaching related, but it's something inexpensive you can do to decorate your home for the different seasons.  I did the same thing for St. Patrick's Day using shamrocks.  I didn't make it over to the Dollar Tree in time to grab some flower cut outs for May, but I'm looking forward to future shapes this summer to keep the house decorated.

I'm hoping to get back on track and hopefully get the Monday Must Have posts consistent. Happy Weekend!  Until next time....

Monday, April 6, 2015

Must Have Monday!

Happy Spring Break from beautiful North Carolina!

Thank goodness this week is finally here because I. AM. EXHAUSTED.  Being the mom of a very active toddler girl, coupled with a husband who travels weekly, makes me one tired lady!  I don't know about you, but I was definitely more excited about this week than my students!  We need the break to recharge and get ready for state testing season my least favorite time of year!  My last post was sharing my experiences with Tieks!  Update~ I'm still loving the mustard yellow beauties!  I can't get enough of them!  I hope you've had an opportunity to explore the possibility of owning a pair! EEK!  I forgot to mention my review is on Tiek's website!  SO EXCITED!!  How cool?!  Any who, the Tieks post got me thinking about all the other favorites I have; therefore, inspiring this post.  I don't know about you, but I get some of the best products and ideas by searching the internet and social media sites.  I discover things I wouldn't know existed otherwise.  My hubby will tell you I need to keep a job and stay off the internet to keep my shopping appetite supressed!  I disagree! Knowledge is power and I love learning about new things! 

For the classroom:

You can grab this all in one stamp at Walmart for around $4!  I take this baby everywhere, because it has everything I need in one small stacking tower.  I use the 'Terrific' stamp for 100% work.  I use the 'Great Job' stamp for 90%-99% work.  I use the 'Sign and Return' for student work below 80%.  This little gem is a space saver!

For Snacking:

This bag of deliciousness is definitely a favorite!  You can grab them at Publix in the produce department.  They provide just enough sweet, heat, and crunch to curb any snack attacks between meals!  They go for around $5, but are totally worth it to keep you on track!

Running/Working Out:

Lululemon anyone?!  I really enjoy this store and treat myself to one new 'something' a month.  In the picture are actually two new 'somethings', but the norm is one a month.  The black hat is perfect for outdoor running.  It's light weight and breathable.  The fabric will not fade!  If it does, take it back and they will replace it for you.  The hat runs around $30 something dollars and the tank goes for $40 something.  The tank is amazing for the gym, yoga, or running.  It's also long, breathable, and comfy for any exercising you participate in.

Thanks so much for checking out my Monday Must Haves!  I hope to create a linky in the next few weeks to have other bloggers share some of the must haves!  Until next time.....

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Excited About Tieks!

Happy Sunday Night!
About a week ago I took the plunge and purchased something AWESOME for myself with some Christmas money!   A few days later I received the most beautiful package in the mail...Tieks!!! If you haven't heard of them, you should go now and look at the beautiful art in the form of shoes I've seen in quite some time.  Seriously, go now!  Unfortunately, it took me three years to decide to commit to purchasing such a pricey pair of ballet flats for myself.  They start at $175 and go up to $295. All I can say now is...why did I take so long?!  These shoes truly are the the most comfortable, versatile shoe I've ever purchased.  You can run errands around town, wear them in the classroom, use them as a change of shoe, or wear them to church.
The beauties
I chose the Mustard Yellow ones for my first pair of Tieks.  I decided yellow is a neutral and I've had no problem wearing them with EVERY. SINGLE. OUTFIT.  In fact, I wore them every day last week except Thursday when it was supposed to rain.  (I prefer to keep my real leather shoes out of the rain.)  I love the bold, fun prints Tieks offers as well as the subtle neutrals for when you're feeling a little less rowdy.  The biggest decision you will have to make is figuring out how to buy one of each of the fabulous flats!  Seriously!!  I'm already trying to budget for my next pair so the hubs isn't worked up with yet another purchase of shoes.  I'm actually beginning to think I'm the shoe lady! You know what I like about shoes?!  They ALWAYS fit regardless of how much weight I gain in the winter months or lose in the summer months.  Shoes are a constant, guaranteed fit.  

Like I said, it took me a while to decide to spend the money on a pair of Tieks, but super happy I FINALLY did! I've thought long and hard about why it took so long and decided that spending the money on Tieks is clearly a no brainer!  My dad always says, "spend money on your feet because your feet make your money"!  

Classroom teachers...we are ALWAYS on our feet!  There is nothing more frustrating than to have to "break in" a new pair of shoes, get the blisters, and wait for our skin to toughen up so the shoes we've purchased are FINALLY comfortable to wear for MOST of the school day.  Breaking News!!!  I NEVER had to go through the torturous process of breaking in my Tieks!  They fit wonderfully right out of the box.  I was shocked and stoked about being spared from the hazing practice of "breaking in" another pair of shoes!
Support for the long days at school

The shoes are handmade and take approximately three days to make a single pair.  They are made in the USA and are 100% real Italian leather.  They have additional support in the shoe to make them the perfect shoe for a classroom teacher.  I tested them out all of last week and felt great at the end of each day as well as in the following morning.  The shoes fit true to size and have a little stretch as you begin to wear them.   I wear a size 9 in my daily shoe and I couldn't be more happy with my size 9 mustard yellow beauties.  Tieks spares no detail and provides AMAZING customer service if for some reason you need to return a pair.  

I REALLY should be asking myself why I spend so much money on my running shoes that I only wear 4-5 hours a week total!  The only people who see my running shoes are my running friends while we are running.  I'm pretty sure they aren't paying attention to the shoes on my feet and are more focused on the run that is in front of us.  I also don't wear my running shoes anywhere except to run.  My running shoes cost as much or more than the Tieks, yet I don't get nearly the exposure and wear with them that you can with the mustard yellow beauties.  I mean, even my compression socks run $50-$65 a pair...for socks!!  Seriously?! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my running gear AND it's necessary, but it definitely puts the price of Tieks in perspective.  Tieks are an affordable pair of shoes if you budget correctly and slow down on the Target shoes purchases...just sayin'.

The long and short of it is...

1.  Tieks can be affordable...lay low on a few Target trips and you're covered!  
2.  You get what you pay for!
3.  You're worth much of your own money do you spend on your classroom each year?!
4.  Feet make your money so take care of your feet!
5.  It's fun to have something every once in a while people around you don't...right?!  

Free 2-Day Shipping

Beautiful Packaging

The details...

A handwritten thank you note

They fold up for easy travel

Free accessory bag to travel your Tieks

I hope you will consider giving Tieks a try!  The worst thing that can happen to you is you're like me trying to figure out how to purchase one in every print and color!  Like I mentioned earlier, they have free shipping both ways in case you decide to return a pair...I'm pretty confident you won't though! ;) Thanks for hanging in there!  Here's to you and your future pair of Tieks! Until next time....

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Oh, What a Week...Post SNOW DAY Craftivity Freebie

Happy Saturday Night!

Oh what a week!!  Thankfully, the snow has passed and we were able to go to school all five days this week.  Of course, the first thing on the minds of children was if they would have to make up the days.  I knew this would be the case, so I was prepared for the busy minds!  Prior to returning to school I found the cutest craft for winter from A Year of Many Firsts, but knew I would need an upper grade twist. After brainstorming with my team we came up with an opinion writing response to fit the craft perfectly. The long and short of it...our kids had a fabulous time crafting, organizing, and writing opinion paragraphs stating whether they should have a snow day or a delay on the school day. The thinking maps and writing piece was stapled to the bottom of the craft and hung in the hall for all to see.  You can grab your free copy of the writing prompt by clicking the picture below.  Thinking ahead to Spring...What craftivities do you do with your upper grade students?  Until next time...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MobyMax Anyone?

WOW!  Two days of blogging in a row?!  The snow days are definitely helping to free up some time for blogging.  ;)  I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time; however, like I mentioned yesterday, time hasn't been on my side.  

Have you heard of MobyMax?  It's one of my favorite research based tools I use daily in my classroom.  I use it in several ways and I will tell you more about how in just a minute.  One of the first things I do at the beginning of every school year is set up accounts on MobyMax for my students to take an online placement test.  The results of the placement test provide data to remediate and guide my instruction each year in Math.  MobyMax also provides these same services and data points in several other areas.  I took a screen shot of what is offered for you to see the awesome options you have using MobyMax in your classroom. 
This is a screenshot of options/subjects offered by MobyMax.
I've only used MobyMax for math, but plan on beginning the Language lessons/assessments when we return from the snow days.  My students will begin by taking the placement test for Language just like they did for Math.  After the placement tests are complete, they will visit MobyMax Language as a workstation rotation during our literacy block to practice grammar.  Having students visit MobyMax during our literacy block allows them exposure and practice with grammar that otherwise wouldn't get the attention it needs. It's also a clever way to incorporate the Common Core and technology daily in Reading Workshop/Daily 5.

Now back to how I use MobyMax Math in my classroom~
Like I said earlier, I use it in several ways. I've listed my "Top 5" ways I use MobyMax; however, I use it in more than 5 ways and hope to have a follow up post on more ways to use it in the classroom at a later date.  First, I use it to learn more about my student's strengths. Second, I have students visit MobyMax Math as a workstation in math workshop twice a week for 20 minutes each session.  Third, I have students practice online at home twice a week for part of their homework.  If students don't have access to the internet at home, they complete it for morning work the following day at school. Fourth, I use it for progress monitoring of students I'm concerned with and are considering for RTI paperwork and EC/Special Ed referrals.  Fifth, I use it to help my EC/Special Ed students get more practice in math in hopes of making progress towards IEP goals.  Below are some screen shots to help you visualize what I'm talking about.  

Now for the gist of this post....MobyMax is an AMAZING research based tool!  If you don't use it, you should tomorrow!  ;)  Thanks for hanging in there!  Until next time...

Measuring Student Growth

Assign Assessments

Progress Monitoring Graph

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy 2015! It's better late than never...right?!

Hey There!  It's been a LLLLOOOONNNNGGG time since I last blogged.  Needless to say life has kept me busy and there are only so many hours in the day!  Long story short, I was training for and ran my first marathon, had pneumonia, birthday parties, holiday parties, medical issues trying to expand our family, and a resignation letter for the end of the school year!  Oh my!  Those are just a few of my crazy experiences since last time.  Now, I FINALLY feel like I can get back in a groove of blogging and hope you are still hanging with me.  
Family picture after crossing the finish line of my very first marathon!  So proud of my husband for surprising me with a poster at mile 16!
Now, on a school note....Since coming back from Christmas break, the noise volume/talking out of turn behavior has been ATROCIOUS!  I did what any tech savvy teacher would do and went straight to Pinterest for answers!  Haha!!  I quickly found what I wanted to do and have loved every day after in my classroom using the BLURT chart.  You can read more about the BLURT chart by checking out the idea inspiration here.  Of course, I did have to "Seuss it up" to make it fit my classroom decor! I have a classroom economy and each hat has a monetary value/consequence.  You know what they say..."get em where it hurts...the wallet"!  My students are very competitive with earning money for our monthly classroom auction; therefore, making the BLURT chart has proven to be a very lucrative management tool.  If you have off task/chatty friends these days, I totally recommend trying out the BLURT chart! 
BLURT chart "Seuss" style!
Thanks for hanging with me!  I'm looking forward to fabulous posts on a more regular basis!  Until next time...