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...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

CNN Student News Freebie!

Do you use CNN Student News in your classroom?!  I LOVE it!  It's one of my most favorite memories of being a 5th grader!  My teacher used to record it nightly on the VCR and play the recording for us every morning before we started our day.  When I became a 5th grade teacher 3 years ago I knew I wanted my students to have the same memory!  Obviously in 2014 it's played online and no recordings or VCRs required! ;)  Sometimes I get flack from co-workers about spending 10 minutes of my day watching the news with my class; which inspired me to create an accountability component to the news.  

Each morning students grab their clipboards and news tracker and come to and around the carpet.  I show CNN Student News (previewed by me the night before to make sure the content is appropriate...sometimes not all of the news can be watched).  Students then watch the stories and choose one story to complete the chart for.  At the end of the week I collect them for an informal Social Studies grade.  Occasionally, our Time For Kids magazine aligns with CNN Students News and then we discuss how the stories are similar/different in presenting the information using a Double Bubble Thinking Map.  You can grad your free copy of the the news tracker by clicking the picture above!  If you download it, I would appreciate feedback on how you use it in your classroom.  Until next time...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thinking Maps Idea

Hi There!
It's been a while since I've had the chance to blog.  The husband has been traveling, life with an independent toddler, back to school has kept me busy, and training for my first full marathon is consuming most of my time.  I haven't had ANY time to create freebies or products for my TPT store, but I did want to share something that worked well in my classroom this year using thinking maps and a fun book.

We read Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun to discuss student individuality and how to embrace different ways of thinking and being.  My 5th graders enjoy listening to picture books read aloud!  I will tell you this makes my heart melt since it's one of the things I miss most about being a lower grades teacher I like 5th grade, but wish I could be in 1st or 2nd grade.  

Back to Thinking Maps...Our school/county is obsessed  huge with Thinking Maps, so any opportunity you can use a map you should they would argue you can use a Thinking Map for anything, #sorrynotsorry!  We read the book and then created a Circle Map on a paper plate defining ourselves.  Thinking Maps suggest using lots of color with the maps, but most importantly to frame the map with what people/students take away from the data.  I actually sat in on a super long, could've been a few hours workshop during the teacher work days before the new year started. The focus was on making the frame of the map rigorous and relevant.  We used plates and large construction paper for our maps because of the title and events in the story.  The reading and Thinking Map was one class session and the framing information/decorating was an additional class session.  Thinking Maps are awesome and I'm hoping they make a difference with the state testing scores/growth this school year.  I have one other Thinking Map to share with you later this weekend or early next week.  I would love any thoughts/comments on my posts.  Happy Weekend until next time!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2nd Quarter (another 9 weeks of fractions) Now Available at my TPT store!

Happy Tuesday Night!

My first blog hop was a success.  I'm looking forward to future hops/linky parties this school year. I was so inspired by the response of the blog hop that I FINALLY completed the 2nd volume of my newest TPT product "Fraction of the Day"!  Honestly, I had no idea creating fraction problems would be such a time consuming task!  I'm super proud of the product I'm creating and hope it's something you can use as well.  If you missed grabbing your freebie version of this monster, you can grab it by clicking here.  If you like what you see, consider purchasing the first two quarters by clicking the picture below.  Thanks so much for all of the support!  I'm beginning the 3rd quarter pack later this week.  Stay tuned...

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