Sunday, June 30, 2013

Currently wiped out!

Steven and I got back from Puerto Rico last night, so this morning was my time to start catching up on blogs. I was thinking of doing a late Five for Friday AND Currently, but that's too much for right now. I promise a post about Puerto Rico later, but for now I'll just link up with Farley.

Listening: I know I should have stopped him (by the time I did, half of the food was in their water bowl), but I'm tired. Plus he didn't eat any (I hope).

Loving: Puerto Rico was nice, but I have missed my little guy SO MUCH! He's just the cutest thing ever, and he's growing too fast!

Thinking: Obvious

Wanting/Needing: I got pretty cooked the last day at San Juan, and it itches like crazy. I've been putting aloe vera on, but I need to do some more.

Tips, tricks, or hints: If you want to gain followers, you have to actively seek followers. Find blogs that you like and/or connect with (fellow local bloggers, similar grade levels), and comment. Don't just say that you found their blog. Talk about what they're posting, ask questions, and stay in contact! I've "met" some wonderful ladies through blogging that are great resources and blogging friends! It drives my hubby crazy, but I feel like I know them!

Okay, that's it for now. I smell a dirty diaper, and we're getting close to lunch time. Plus Keagan wants to play!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Talk Thursday with Andrea

Hello, everyone, from the beach!  It is Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars

I am doing Book Talk Thursday over at Melissa's blog today while she is on vacation too!  She is over on my blog today with a Book Talk Thursday book too!  The link is in both places too, so link up!

Before, I start with the book review, I have to say that getting to know Melissa has been super fun!  As soon as we started commenting and emailing, we realized how much we have in common!  We have the same job in different schools in the same state.  We have lived in the same places and even like the same sports team!  I am so blessed to be able to call her a friend who is there for any kind of advice!  Now onto the book review!

Fourth of July is right around the corner, and I found a wonderful chapter book to review for Melissa's blog.  It is part of the Capital Mysteries series by Ron Roy called Capital Mysteries #6: Fireworks at the FBI.

Kids love to read mysteries, and this one is a lot of fun to read.  KC, the girl character in the story, gets to live in the White House since her Mom married the President.  Her friend Marshall lives in town, and they are always on the lookout for new mysteries to solve.

This story takes place on the Fourth of July and the days after.  After the fireworks are over, rockets are set off at the FBI building, which is quite unusual.  The next day KC and Marshall are snooping around and find an empty pizza box in the trash, but KC can tell that it has NEVER had a pizza in it.  They go in search of the pizza box and even go ask the security guard for some help in the case.

The secondary story of going to get a greyhound as a surprise for the President leads them to the greyhound rescue and track, where they end up getting more clues to the mystery.

Now, all of this is a little far-fetched for two children (or even the President) to be a part of, but kids will be able to see how KC and Marshall use their inferencing skills to help them solve this mystery.  This is a perfect springboard for helping students understand the importance of making inferences and drawing conclusions, a hard task for many of them.

I always tell my students that to draw a conclusion, we have to use our own knowledge of the topic and the author's clues in the story to help us make that inference.  I always have them help me make an anchor chart to keep up in the room and help them out when they need it.  Since they can't take that anchor chart with them, I have created some great bookmarks to take everywhere with them.  You can grab them here for free or by clicking on the picture below.

Another great and fun resource is Melissa's own Case of the Missing Backpack Activity.  She has several of these, and this one is perfect for the beginning of the year or any time during the year.  Check it out in her Teachers Pay Teachers store or in her Teachers Notebook shop.

Thanks, Melissa, for letting me hang out today on your blog!  It has been fun!!

Link up here or head on over to my blog to link up for Book Talk Thursday!  

Now for your book review!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why I'm not "Trying it" Tuesday

I  wanted to link up with Holly, but I'm writing this from my new Kindle Fire in Puerto Rico! Meaning I haven't figured it all out yet AND it will be short. Don't worry, I'll  pics when I get back!

I know, I could have scheduled a post, but that requires planning (which I'm not the best about). Plus, at one point, I though about sharing how I tried Puerto Rican food. But I'm picky and haven't yet.

Anyway, yesterday was our first full day and seven year anniversary. We went to Old San Juan. Today we're going to the rainforest!

Look for a post on Thursday that I actually DID schedule, then I'll be back this weekend!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Talk Thursday - Summer Reading for ME!!

I'm so excited to link up with Andrea for the first time with her Book Talk Thursday!

She's been doing these on her blog for a while, but last week was the first linky. I didn't get a chance to join in, but I want to start participating in this one a lot more frequently. This week, in honor of my first week of summer break, I'm going to share a good book that I recently finished for myself! Summer is my time to do pleasure reading because I usually can't get through books during the school year. One of my newer favorite authors is Elin Hilderbrand. All of her books are set in Nantucket, and they make for great beach reads. Unlike Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks (who I also love), her books follow some type of tragedy, but they always end happier.

I read Silver Girl during SOL testing, and I was SO involved in the book that I actually got a little upset when my kids finished testing. This has been my favorite of her books so far. It's about a woman in her 50s who discovers that her husband has been running a Ponzi scheme. After losing everything and becoming one of the most hated people in New York, she escapes to Nantucket with her childhood best friend to "hide out" and sort through the mess of her life. But it's not always easy to stay hidden!

Now I'm reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but I haven't made it very far yet. I need to finish it soon though because I checked it out from the library and have to return it at the beginning of July.

I'm hoping to get LOTS of reading done this summer. I have about 8 books stacked up ready to read! Maybe I'll bring a few with me to Puerto Rico.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tried-it Tuesday - Summer Literacy Packets

Today is my first official day of summer break, and I'm SO excited! We had a teacher workday yesterday which was pretty relaxing for me because I always have my room packed up by the last day of school anyway. I'm a bit of a minimalist and have the packing thing down to an arm form. Part of this is because I just cover all my big furniture and put "DO NOT MOVE" signs on them. There's something fulfilling about packing up my classroom (I think it gives me a sense of closure for the year), and I actually have fun doing it!

Since it's Tuesday, I wanted to link up with Holly. I want to link up more frequently, but sometimes I just have trouble thinking of things. This week, I want to talk about putting together Summer Practice Packs. Since I teach Title I Reading, I work with students who need extra support with their reading. Most of my kids are moving up, but they need to keep up the hard work over the summer to prevent too much of a "summer slide". I decided to put together a simple packet (that does not need to be turned in) to help them have fun practicing their reading this summer. Instead of creating everything on my own this year, I browsed TPT for some activities that were already created.

Blair Turner put together these cute little task cards (which include some math, science, and social studies).

I like these because they were quick things to do to make reading more fun. An example: one card will say something like, "Read a poem in a British accent." or "Put on your pajamas in the middle of the day and read." or "Collect a name of a country for each letter of the alphabet." Simple. Fun. Educational!

If I had had more time with the kids before I sent these home, I would have had the kids color each beach ball and cut them out. As it was, I sent them home (only the reading ones) in the solid sheets of paper to let them put together. Maybe next year I'll pull them to decorate the cards and discuss ways to keep up their reading over the summer.

The other thing I put in their summer packet was a list of book recommendations by reading level. Once again, I browsed the internet to keep from remaking the wheel. This isn't the one I sent home, but I like it because it gives even more recommendations. I highlighted their current reading level on the other sheet, but for this one I would probably reformat and just print one sheet for each reading level. If you want something a little more condensed (to keep from printing multiple pages, this one lists book series by level and I like it a lot, too!

I hope those of you who are still in school have a great last few days! Go link up with Holly, then check out Joanne's 300 follower giveaway!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five for Friday - Last day, hooray!

It's finally my last day of school (with kids), and I'm SO excited!! 

Monday was supposed to be field day #2, but it rained AGAIN. This time, we all got to school before we knew it was cancelled, so we were all dressed bummy for nothing. Oh well. They rescheduled it for Wednesday, and I spent some time getting things done for the end of the year.

 I reached 300 followers this week, and Tuesday I had a flash giveaway. It was SUCH a success, and I'm already pretty close to 400. I really do love all of you guys, and the blogging community is the best!

Wednesday was FINALLY field day, and it was so much fun! I ran the ice cube handoff station where kids were given an ice cube and had to run to the end of a line and throw it to the next person on their team until the ice melted. Last team with an ice cube won. They had a blast!

I brought my beach umbrella and chair because it was HOT and SUNNY! With that and sunscreen, I only managed to get a small, circular sunburn on the top of one shoulder where I apparently missed.

We also had a staff team play dodgeball against the winning 5th grade class. It was tons of fun, and I was hoping to post a picture, but I haven't gotten a copy yet. The girl who took the picture is having camera problems. Just picture a bunch of crazy teachers coming out running behind a banner to "Eye of the Tiger". Oh, and we were wearing pipe cleaner headbands to make us look more tough. And some of the teachers might have had signs that said "Teacher Rule, Kids Drool!" I'll be sure to post a picture when I get it.

Despite all of our spirit, we lost. I will say that I managed to be one of the last ones out, even though I did not get a single 5th grader out. I threw the ball 3 times and missed enough that they couldn't even possibly catch it. It was bad.

Yesterday was my birthday! We went out with a few friends last Friday, but last night we had a nice dinner with Steven's parents. I got steak and yummy peanut butter pie, which I will gladly work on finishing later this weekend. My sister bought me an ADORABLE dress from this store called James & Leigh, which is based in Clinton, MS (where she went to college). They're similar to The Mint Julep and some of those other cute boutiques.

Funny coincidence - this is the "Eye of the Tiger" dress! And that's the picture from their webpage, but the dress is sold out. Sorry.

Steven also bought a card from Keagan and helped him write his name. He came in and gave me the card. It was too sweet!

Today, my friend Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars posted her 600 follower giveaway. She's a reading specialist on the other side of Virginia, and she's awesome! I can't wait to meet her sometime this summer!

Next week will be my first week of summer (after one teacher workday), and I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thank you!

Holy cow, you guys are AMAZING!! It was a good thing I could check my email more frequently because there was a steady flow all day starting with almost 10 waiting on me when I got up for you true night owls (or maybe those of you on the west coast where it was only 9, not midnight). Or maybe it's just that most of you are already on summer vacation and don't have to worry about getting to bed at a reasonable hour for work in the morning.

I will be working on getting those emails out, but it may take me a little while since I have NINETY-EIGHT emails to send out. Good grief! Oh, and I'm up to 360 followers - over halfway to 400 in just a day! Plus today is actually going to be Field Day #2, so I'll be a little wiped. Maybe I'll get some pictures though.

Anyway, I want to take a minute to thank those lovely ladies who donated items to my flash giveaway. Please stop by their blogs and shops to follow them if you don't already because this giveaway wouldn't have been nearly as awesome without them!

Jessica is a 4th grade teacher in Georgia.
Ideas By Jivey
TPT Store

Diane teaches 5th grade in Iowa.
Fifth in the Middle
TPT Store

Sara just moved to Alabama and is looking for a job.
Miss V's Busy Bees
TPT Store

Amy is a Title I reading teacher from Ohio.
Eclectic Educating
TPT Store

Nikki is a first grade teacher in Virginia.
TPT Store
Andrea is a reading specialist (like me!) on the other side of Virginia.
TPT Store
Jessica is a 5th grade teacher in New Jersey.
Joy in the Journey
TPT Store

Sara is a kindergarten teacher in Minnesota.
Polka Dot Kinders
TPT Store
Amber is a 4th grade teacher in Massachusetts.
 Shut the Door and Teach!
TPT Store
Mary teaches in Tennessee and works with 2nd and 3rd grade students.
TPT Store

Donna is a 5th grade teacher and fellow Virginian!
Hokie Teach
TPT Store

Laura teaches 4th grade in New York
TPT Store

I also decided for my addition to the flash giveaway, I wanted to do something that was fun and new. My drawing conclusions mysteries have become some of my most popular products, and I finished this one yesterday specifically for you!  However, if you were one of the poor, unfortunate souls who missed my giveaway and didn't have a chance to comment yesterday, you can still purchase it by clicking on the links below. I have so much fun making these, and I plan on making even more!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

300 follower FLASH giveaway!

Can you believe it? Once again, I have reached a milestone, and it's only been 9 months since I started this little blog! I really wanted to have a big celebration this time, so I decided to do something a little different. Instead of having a bunch of donations and only one or two winners, I am having a FLASH giveaway!

That means that all you have to do is follow me and leave a comment below by midnight TONIGHT! Don't forget to include your email. I will send an email (or more depending on the size) with all of the products you win. Then be sure and show your appreciation to their blogs as well! I will post later and list all of them (first I want to make sure I have everything nailed down - plus it will be a nice surprise, right?) thanking them for participating!

Don't forget to pass this along to your friends as well, but they have to comment by MIDNIGHT! It will be over in a flash!

Monday, June 10, 2013

A few random things on my LAST MONDAY!

**Make sure you read to the end!!**

It's the last Monday for the kids this year, and I'm so excited! Today was supposed to be Field Day #2 and I even made it to school dressed for field day, but we had to postpone again. The weather has been nasty since Friday. Last night, we were actually under a tornado warning. Somebody snapped this picture at the Lowe's not even a mile away from my house.

Our power had flickered, but everything was fine. I think it jumped around a few times, though. We were at my in-law's about 5 miles from our house and noticed it was really windy. I think we were very close to the tornado there. Craziness! Fortunately tornadoes in Virginia are nothing like the ones in the Midwest, though.

Have you heard about Sara's big 1 year celebration? She's had a giveaway every day for the past 5 days, and I'm involved in today's giveaway. Winner will get their choice of any item in my store, and you could choose my brand new summer literacy pack! Sara actually was one of the lovely ladies who reviewed it for me. I posted it in both stores this morning.


Since I'm not running games today, I will be busy working on end-of-the-year progress reports, and I may even work on packing up my class. I'm dressed to work, after all!

Oh, and if you're still reading...did you see that I've reached 300 followers? So excited! I have a little something planned to celebrate. Just be sure to check out my blog tomorrow.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five for Friday - June 7


It's a WET Friday, but we only have 5 more school days! I'm linking up with Kacey again to talk about my week so far. Now that testing is finally over, it was actually a more interesting week!

Monday was a personal day for me since we went to Chattanooga for my college roommate's wedding. It was so much fun! I had my camera, but I didn't end up getting any pictures during the wedding because Keagan was quite the handful. We also got to spend a little bit of time in Knoxville visiting Steven's brother and his family. I snapped this picture before we got on the road. These kids are SO sweet, and I wish we could see them more often! Marissa was my flower girl almost 7 years ago, and I can't believe she's about to be in middle school (5th grade for her school), and Jacob was born about a month after Steven and I got engaged. They've grown so much!

When I got back on Tuesday, it was time to get in full swing for running records. My para and I worked on these all day Tuesday and Wednesday, and we're trying to finish helping some more teachers today. Hopefully we'll be done by the end of the day because I want to focus on end of the year packets and progress reports next week.

Wednesday morning right at the end of first lunch, the fire alarm went off. The strange part was that we had had a fire drill the morning before. I figured it was popcorn burning again (isn't that almost always the culprit?), and it turns out I was right!

For some reason, though, the alarm didn't trigger and call the fire department, and there was some confusion with the SRO as to whether it was a drill or an actual incident. The fire department didn't get there until later because of this, and we ended up being outside for about 30 minutes. When I walked back in, they were still in the teacher's lounge with huge fans trying to blow out the smoke/smell. Since this is not the first time we've had this happen (burnt popcorn, that is), these flyers were placed in our boxes and by every microwave in the building that afternoon.

Oops!! Guess I'm not doing a popcorn party anytime soon!

Yesterday was Field Day #1 (for K-2), and I was in charge of running the Sponge Relay. It was the perfect day for a field day! Overcast and warm with a slight breeze. The kids had a blast getting completely soaked!

Today was supposed to be Field Day #2, but...

I should have taken a picture of where I was standing for bus duty. I chose to wear flip flops instead of dealing with my rain boots (regret that decision), so just walking out to bus duty was disgusting. I stood on the sidewalk where the water had already reached the bottom of my feet (it's the lower part of the parking lot) to keep the kids from walking through it. By the time they had passed, only a few minutes later, it was almost to my ankles. I had to quickly roll up my pants to keep them from getting soaked.

We're supposed to go out with our small group tonight to celebrate my birthday (next Thursday) and one of the other guys' birthday, but it's in "the bottom". I really hope it's not flooded down there because I REALLY want some Bottom's Up pizza!

Try to stay dry this weekend if you're in Andrea's path. And for those of you who are already out (and I'm aware that number's growing), I'll be joining your ranks NEXT Friday!!