Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ten Things I Want To Do This Summer

I may not be there quite yet (15 more school days for me), but summer is definitely on the brain! Memorial Day was such a teaser, especially knowing that so many of you are now finished and enjoying your break. Anyway, I have seen a lot of people linking up with Deanna Jump for her summer linky, and I decided I HAD to join!

We don't have any big vacations planned this year, but I still think it will be a fun summer...if it will ever get here!

I have lived in Virginia for eight years now, and I STILL haven't been to Busch Gardens. Oh, and did I mention we're only 45 minutes away? It's ridiculous. Especially now that Keagan is old enough he could enjoy the kiddie area.

Keagan LOVES trains, and we've talked about taking a short day trip to DC where we could also visit the zoo. I just need to check on tickets and get that together. He'd love it!

I've already gotten a good head start on my "summer reading" with testing at school, but there is a LONG list of books that I would like to read, and notice that only one of those pictures is professional development! I plan on taking time to read for pleasure!

I was lucky enough to meet Andrea and Nikki last November after a Reading conference, and we talked about putting together a meet-up then. We still haven't finalized anything, but we are getting very close to it! If you're a VA blogger and haven't heard anything yet, please leave me a comment so I can let you in on all the information we have so far!

Now that Steven teaches and has the summers off, we get a lot of great quality family time. This summer will be even more fun, though, because I plan on spending lots of time with my new nephew (well, once he gets here) and his mommy while she's on maternity leave! Plus my brother is supposed to bring his girlfriend up to visit, AND my parents are planning on making a trip out to see us. And that's just the family side of things. I plan on spending time with plenty of people this summer!

I may burn like crazy, but this little guy makes the beach a MUST for summer! He loves playing in the sand, running toward the waves, and he just looks too cute! We do need to find a new fedora, though. This one has seen better days...

I started watching on Amazon Prime back in January, and I'm now about halfway through Season 3. SO good! I guess after I finally catch up, I'll need to find something else to start!

I've been doing the class for 4 weeks now, and I'm finally getting ready to add some more weight to my bar. But I really want to be able to go more than once a week. Looking forward to taking a few extra classes during the day!

I've heard about these parties and REALLY want to start one up. The girls in my community group from church sound interested, so now I need to start planning. I found this website that will hopefully help (and give you information if you have no idea what I'm talking about)!

I'll be honest. This is something I would LIKE to do, but I may not get very far. It's just not one of my priorities...thus the fact that I listed it as #10. I have some ideas for products, but we'll see how many of them actually come to fruition. First I need to actually finish this one. Maybe if I were doing it instead of wasting time doing things like making each of these items look cute...

Anyway, that's my list! What are your summer plans? Anything big?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five for Friday

We are now finished with week two of testing, and I'm SO glad! I've been doing a lot of reading and can now highly recommend that you read this book:

It was so good that I finished it in a day! Then I finished The Strange Case of Origami Yoda during another testing session. For the past two days, I've been working my way through The Book Thief on my kindle, which I'm enjoying so far!

Yesterday I didn't have anyone to test, so I started on my first new product in MONTHS! So many people enjoy my mysteries that I decided to make a summer one. Then I'm thinking I may bundle all of them together for one big product! 

I also joined the #3weeksnocheats movement on Instagram, although I started a day late. I'm avoiding cokes (which will be REALLY hard this weekend) and cutting back on desserts. Like maybe 1 or 2 a week instead of after every meal. Yeah, I would do that. Anyway, follow me on Instagram by clicking here or on my icon up top to see my progress!

And while you're on my Instagram, will you do me a favor and like this picture? I'm trying to win a contest for one of my FAVORITE boutiques, James & Leigh, but I have a long way to go to win. I'd love you forever and do whatever you wanted! That is, unless it was illegal...

Unlike some of you who had your last day today, I'm just beginning my official countdown in my room. We have a 3 day weekend that I plan on enjoying to the fullest, and then I come back for 3 1/2 more weeks. Oh well. I have some planning to get through in between testing, so I can "make it work". That's become my slogan these last few weeks. Tim Gunn would be so proud! (Sorry, any other Project Runway fans out there? I haven't watched in a few years, but I used to LOVE that show!)

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Virginia Bloggers Appreciate Y-O-U

Welcome to Virginia!

A lovely group of Virginia bloggers would like to show our appreciation of you by extending a bit of southern hospitality. You can follow along the blog hop to visit a few Virginia teacher blogs for terrific teaching tips and fun freebies to help get through the last couple of weeks before summer break. I'm #7 on the hop, so make sure to check the link at the bottom to catch up on the blogs you might have missed!

I like to use my themed centers for some extra fun reading review (plus it's great practice for our tests, especially with Virginia's "Technology Enhanced Items"). Each pack includes 8-9 centers with a mix of comprehension and word knowledge specifically geared toward the upper grades reader. All of the centers also have some kind of graphic organizer for students to show their understanding. You can find quite a few in my store (Duck Dynasty, Camping, Summer, etc), but I decided to share the Summer Context Clues center with you for free exclusively on my blog. Enjoy!

Then make sure to head over to Courtney's for the next stop!

Polka Dot Lesson Plans

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Five for Fraturday: May 16/17

Wow, it's been a while since I've done a Five for Friday, but I'm going to try and pull one together here!

May filled up quickly, especially weekends! Last Saturday we had a baby shower for my sister-in-law. She's having a boy and is doing a nautical theme in the nursery (right up my alley!), so I had to order these precious cupcakes for the shower. A high schooler from our former church made them! She's already building herself quite the little business, and I will probably be ordering from her again!

Oh, and a certain little boy's presence was also requested, so I have to share a cute pic of my silly boy!

We were supposed to start testing Monday, but there was a power surge over the weekend that knocked  out our network for a good chunk of the morning. Since all of our testing is now online, that really messed things up, so I wasn't able to test any of my kids that day. Instead, I helped our Guidance Counselor get video clips to put together a little test-taking video to the song "Happy". It turned out really cute! Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of it, but I can link you to a similar one on Youtube!

It was a long day because that night was our Title I Fun Night, and I had 16 of my 28 students show! I would call it a successful night. We decorated cookies, played games, and made bookmarks to take home. Then we ended the evening with some Wizard of Oz since that was our big theme back in March for Reading Month. It was interesting because most of the kids had never seen it before!

Tuesday began the testing madness! In the past 4 days of testing alone, I have managed to read one "grown-up" book, a kid's book, and I started a new one. Oh, and I finished the last 20-ish crossword puzzles in my book. Glad I have quite a few new books to read through because we still have 3 weeks of testing left!

This was just the reading from Friday! Any book suggestions? I've got Riding Freedom, The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, and The Fault in Our Stars lined up to read after I finish Prisoner B-3087.

At home, we've been getting ready for our annual yard sale. We were blessed with SO many hand-me-down clothes for Keagan that he couldn't possibly wear them all. Some of our Spring Break was dedicated to narrowing the clothes down to one storage bag for each size.

We picked our favorites and put the rest in yard sale boxes. I'm happy to say that we were able to get 5 boxes down to 3 this morning! Becky was taking the rest to her neighborhood to see if more would sell, then we'll take what's left to Goodwill. I love cleaning out the clutter!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Must Read Monday: I'm a Frog

Well, today was supposed to be the big start to our SOLs...and then the internet was down. I had already cancelled my groups in preparation, but at least I had more time to get ready for tonight's Title I Fun Night. I will share more on that later this week. Today I wanted to join Amanda (Teaching Maddeness) for her Must-Read Monday linky because when do I not enjoy talking about a good book or two?

Must-Read Monday Linky

I will be doing PLENTY of reading in the next few weeks since I can't do much else during testing, but today I want to share about a book that I've been reading with my son recently.

If you don't already know (or haven't guessed from my blog title), I'm a HUGE fan of Mo Willems! And I am pleased to say that I have passed that love on to Keagan in the past few months as well. He now requests specific books, and it's usually a Pigeon or Elephant and Piggie book. I bought this one and got it last week with my latest Scholastic order.

The book is all about pretending to be something you're not and how fun that can be. Keagan and I have been having fun pretending to be different animals and having other imaginative play. I mean, we did it some before, but this has sparked a more intentional focus on imaginative play. Last night we were making our feet and hands "sing". I think we need to make some puppets soon!

I've never been interested in teaching preschool, but I'm loving being a mother to a preschooler. They soak up SO much at this age!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Winners, Feeling Appreciated, and One More Day!

Warning ahead of time: this post is very much a hodge podge of events. Sorry.

My giveaways ended last night and winners have been chosen!

You should have received an email from me. Please let me know if you didn't get it!

Have you been getting pampered? Our PTO did a potato bar on Tuesday, and today was dessert day. My goodness, they outdid themselves! There were SO many goodies that I had to really plan it out so I didn't get too many. Every single bit was delicious, and I'm glad it was only today because I would be in big trouble if we had this all the time. Good thing I'm going to Body Pump tonight!

I've seen C.Jayne Teach around the blogging world, but can I just tell you that this picture alone makes me want to go buy everything? I'm obsessed with the fun, bright colors! Collaboration Cuties is hosting a giveaway right now that I seriously am only telling you about so I can get an extra few entries. Otherwise I'd pray you missed it and I won. I know, selfish. But it's SOOO cute!!

Finally, the TPT website couldn't handle all the traffic it received yesterday, so they extended the sale ONE MORE DAY! If you had trouble (or just forgot or want to buy more), enjoy some more shopping!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday and LAST DAY

I haven't participated in this before, but it seems like something right down my alley.

We've been using centers to review for the tests that start WEDNESDAY...eek!! How do you review for big tests?

Also don't forget that today is the last day for two big deals: my giveaway AND the TPT sale!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TPT Loves Their Teachers

It's here! It's here! I don't know about you, but I love Teacher Appreciation Week. We are always treated to some goodies at school courtesy of our sweet PTO (Potato bar today, yay!), and there are usually a few freebies around town to pick up as well. This morning, the hubs and I stopped by McDonald's for free small McCafe drinks. Yummy hot chocolate always helps start my day on the right track!

But anyway, you may have heard that TPT was throwing a sale to honor us as well! My entire store is 20% off today and tomorrow. Then you can use the code TPTXO to receive an extra 10% (totaling 28% at most stores)! You can't beat it! I'm emptying some of my humongous wish list today :-)

Graphic courtesy of Michelle at The 3AM Teacher

And don't forget that my big giveaway also ends tomorrow at midnight!

And I'm sorry for all the short, non-teacher related posts recently. I promise to share something more substantial soon. We're in MAJOR crunch time because by this time two weeks from now, all of my 3-5 students will have finished their Reading SOLs. I'm a little freaked out!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Figurative Language Writing for Mother's Day

If you need an idea for Mother's Day in your classroom, I blogged about a sweet writing solution over at Adventures in Literacy Land today. Go check it out!

And don't forget that my giveaway ends on at midnight on May 7!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Currently MAY!!

Hooray for May!! This year has been tough, and I'm not 100% sure why. Maybe it's because of all the snow days, maybe the kids just aren't as motivated...I just don't feel like I'm seeing the progress that I should, and I'm honestly ready to just start over and hope for the best with the end of this year. I know that sounds terrible, but I'm exhausted and frustrated. Do you ever have years like that? Last year, I could look at most of my kids by the end of the year and say, "Wow! They've grown so much!" What's different this year? I even have some of the same kids. We don't finish until June 17, but May is when we begin our state tests so it still signifies the end of the year to me.

Anyway, let's get down to the real reason why you're here!

Listening: I don't know about you, but I enjoy the quiet of the morning at school. It helps me relax and get ready for the day!

Loving: If you've followed me for a while, you may know that I've really been struggling with motivation this year, including working out. I lost my pregnancy weight over a year ago, and I was just at a plateau where I didn't feel like anything was helping me tone - Insanity, Zumba, Jillian Michaels...I was frustrated. Well, I've been meaning to renew my gym membership and try weights. So I went during Spring Break and got a membership that included classes. So far, I've already gone at least twice a week, and I'm planning on doing Body Pump twice a week once I can get my schedule to work out. That first class was HARD, but it was so rewarding!

Thinking: This is the year of babies! My sister had a baby girl back in March who I finally got to meet at the beginning of April...
Don't you just LOVE her and the little crab bow?

Well, now we're preparing for Steven's sister to have her little boy! Tomorrow is the big shower, and I've got some things to get ready tonight. I'll have to take pictures and share (maybe I'll even participate in Monday Made-It). She's going with a nautical theme, and I'm making a bunting sign for her little boy. Plus I ordered some precious cupcakes that I can't wait to get tonight and see!

Wanting: Kind of explained this earlier, so I won't say much more. Just that we have 1 1/2 more weeks before we start testing. Our tests are all on the computer, so it takes a little longer. However, this year we are taking FOUR WEEKS for all three grades to finish tests. I'm going to be a testing zombie by the end because I help with them pretty much every day. Yuck!

Needing: This is a busy (but fun) time of year. We got a ton of rain earlier this week, and I honestly hoped that the roads would be too flooded for us to have school yesterday. I know. We've already had 12-ish snow days AND I just finished saying how I want more review time. But I'm still exhausted. At least I'll have Sunday to relax all day since our church had to cancel for some HUGE bike race that will basically make it impossible to get to my church. 

Surprise: I went to my last post about my giveaway (which you should definitely enter if you haven't) and picked one of my sweet followers who has already commented. Go show Jamie some love...

...and then go enter my giveaway!