Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Surviving Until Summer

Does anybody else just feel like this cat right now? Maybe it's because I'm 33 weeks pregnant and relate to his Garfield-like stature. Or maybe it's because I'm scared it's how some of my students feel. They're jumping for the moon, but the stars aren't even close enough for them. Or maybe I just died laughing and had to find some way to include it. Yeah, that's the best reason!

But seriously, summer seems SO far away, and I just can't quite get there. So I need a little motivation to make it through. That's when I saw Katie's post and had to join in!


  • I would love to be decorating Caffrey's room (he'll be here in 6 weeks!), but our house is on the market, and I'm hoping that we will be moving soon after he arrives, so I don't see much point in decorating. We have the bed, though, and some of our sweet friends from church bought his sheets (aren't they cute?).  So I guess I can still say getting ready for Caffrey's arrival! Right now, I'm counting down to each doctor's appointment. Plus I don't have to wait quite as long until school is over because I'll miss the last two weeks!

  • Reading. I've got one children's book and one book for me that I'm working through right now, and so far I really like both! The children's book is Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. It's on our Virginia Reader's Choice list for next year, and I will be sharing it on Book Talk Thursday once I'm done. For me, I'm reading the second Veronica Mars book, Mr. Kiss and Tell. If you haven't ever seen the show, start there (it's my favorite ever and I kind of idolize Kristen Bell because of it) and then watch the movie that came out last year. You won't regret it!

  • Spending time outside. The weather has been gorgeous, and I'm so excited that it's finally here! Plus it means that I can wear dresses, which are the best right now this far into my pregnancy. I hope to spend even more time outside in the next few weeks.
  • Going to the gym. Yes, I'm still going! It makes me feel more accomplished and better about myself! My goal through the entire pregnancy has been to at least get in 400 minutes of exercise each month to meet the minimum for our school district's wellness incentive. Each month, they draw names to choose a winner at every school, and I've won the past three months in a row! I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it to any more BodyPump classes because the one this weekend is cancelled and I'm not sure about my May weekend schedules, but I hope to at least get in and do something when I can find the time!

  • I got smart before Spring Break and made my plans for three weeks after. Of course, we are halfway through week two of those plans, but I only have one more set to make before we start testing. Once testing starts, I help with that and no longer pull kids. So basically I just sit and watch them take tests. Boring, but kind of perfect for right before I go out on maternity leave! It helps to know that I don't have much planning left to do at all!

  • Stations and games. I feel like the students start to get overloaded with "test prep" during this time of year, so I try to provide a variety when they come into my room. We've been doing a lot more board games to review skills, and I've pulled out some of my literacy centers for them to use, also. If you're looking for great Reading Comprehension games, I highly recommend these from Edupress! I probably have ten different games in my room alone!
Learning Well® Best Sellers Game Set #1, Red Level (RL 2.0–3.5) (LRN7280)

  • Brain breaks! I do them all year, but they are even more special at this point. The kids are crazy, and they really need a way to release some of that energy. I know a lot of people use GoNoodle, but I love my Pinterest board that I've created for it. When you click to follow me on Pinterest above, it's my very first board! I do have to go through and delete some every once in a while because the video disappears on me, but I try to update them with fun songs that don't drive me crazy and are still appropriate and fun for the kids. My fifth graders are currently obsessed with In the Summertime, and I'm loving it!

What are you doing to stay sane these last few weeks before school is out? And how many weeks/days do you have left?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Reptile World

Just before break, we had my favorite assembly ever! Now don't get me wrong, snakes make me nervous usually, but Reptile Man has been coming to my school every other year since before I was even born. That means this is the fifth time that I've seen him, and I still can't get enough of it!

He has this rare ability to hypnotize a room full of children without ever changing his tone. Actually, I think he's very similar to a reptile himself - monotone, but fascinating. And to make it even better, you would almost swear his partner was mute. He just nods and calmy holds all of these crazy animals most people wouldn't dare touch. Like that huge alligator snapping turtle above.

Or this beautiful 4 year old American Alligator

Or, you know, a crocodile...No biggie...

I tried to catch a few videos for an example. The kids all go crazy when he first brings out a new animal, but you will notice that he never raises his voice, and eventually they calm down. This one took a little longer because Alexander was acting unusual. Pretty funny, though! Also note Reptile Man's dry sense of humor. I love it!

Reptile world
Posted by Melissa Rogers Dalton on Sunday, April 12, 2015

But one of my favorite parts is at the end (AFTER he brings out a few venomous snakes and I conveniently disappear for a few minutes) when he brings out this HUGE Albino Burmese Python. The snake has obviously been around people forever because it is the most docile snake ever. I really want to be one of the ones to help pick it up, but I had a feeling they wouldn't let me this year. Something about being pregnant?

Anyway, they lay the snake out on a table and let the entire school walk by and touch it if they want. Of course, I had to get a quick picture! (And yes, the head is all the way at the other end. I just noticed after 5 years that the guy actually stands right by the head, probably to keep the kids from getting too close to it.)

What kind of assemblies do you have at your school? Any favorites?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five for Friday: Spring Break Style

I haven't linked up in a while, but I figured this would be a great way to quickly document my Spring Break before I head back to work Monday (insert sad face).



First, did you notice my new look? Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs did my first design a few years ago, but I was ready for a little bit of a facelift. I also had her do my personal blog, and I'm in love with both designs! If you're in the market for a blog design, I highly recommend her. She's amazing!


It's rained most of the week, but we did have a beautiful weekend. Keagan decided he wanted to go fishing, so we headed out. He didn't catch a thing, but he had fun!


We had a busy, but fun Easter Sunday! Keagan really enjoyed his Easter Egg Hunt this year with the family, but we laughed because he was the first kid to just decide he was finished. We actually had to encourage him to keep looking by telling him there was candy in the eggs.


I made a mid-week trip to the gym for BodyPump. I love that class and am excited to be able to up my weights some and really shape back up after this baby gets here. I did snap a little gym selfie and was very proud to see that I really don't have all this extra "fat". It truly is just a big bump! This pregnancy has been a world of difference from my first, and I'm praying recovery is much easier because of it!


Of course, I haven't behaved all break. Some friends from work have been talking about going to this amazing dessert restaurant in Richmond for MONTHS, and we finally made a date of it Wednesday night. If you live anywhere near Richmond, go to Shyndigz. It's delicious! I was only able to finish half, so the rest is waiting patiently for me in the fridge. I wonder how long it will last, though...

We also met Steven's mom downtown for lunch yesterday at River City Diner. They always have great classics. Keagan was able to get pancakes while I enjoyed a huge beef hot dog. I love Richmond's restaurant scene, so it's probably a good thing I don't work downtown.

I'm bummed that break is almost over, especially since it was rainy and kind of yucky, but it's crazy to think that we're this close to the end of the year. And to think that in about eight weeks, I'll have my newest little bundle of joy with me! Time really is flying by!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Talk Thursday: Arnie the Doughnut

My friend, Andrea, is hosting her weekly Book Talk Thursday linky, and I wanted to share my most recent find!

As I've said before, I went to the Virginia State Reading Conference a few weeks ago, which was amazing! One of the things I came back with was the list of next year's Virginia Reader's Choice books. I decided that I wanted to do more with it, so I needed to start reading the books ahead of time. So far, I've purchased two of the books and will slowly share them here.

Arnie the Doughnut started as a picture book, and I'm working on getting my hands on a copy now. Anyway, it has evolved into a series of graphic novels, and this is the first. My eye was immediately drawn to the cover, as were my students! The minute my fourth graders saw it, they were asking if they could read it. And this was before I'd even had a chance!

Anyway, the book was a really quick and easy read (it came up as a level R, but that's probably so students understand the humor). Arnie is a "doughnut-dog" for Mr. Bing, and he has to figure out why Mr. Bing is suddenly rolling all gutter balls. Right now, there are two books released, and Scholastic has BOTH in the 3rd grade April catalog for $4 each! If you have reluctant readers, this is probably a great choice for them!

What new books have you discovered?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Currently April!

I felt like March would never end but it's finally April, which also means there are currently TWO months before I meet this adorable little boy and can finally see my feet again! I'm excited to link up with Farley (as always) to share a little about what's been going on around here.

Listening: It feels great outside, but I feel like it always takes a few weeks for them to adjust the temperatures in the building after the weather changes. Our little fan has been running a LOT in our room lately. And, no, I actually don't think it has to do with the fact that I'm 7 months preggo...

Loving: Today is our Reptile World assembly, and I'm SO excited!! This guy has been coming to our school every other year for a really long time (like over 30 years), and it honestly is my favorite assembly ever. You just have to experience him! I'm going to try and take pictures/get a video to share. I'm not a snake person by any means, but he's just so fascinating!

Thinking: It's a good thing Reptile Man is here today because I'm so ready to be on break. Tomorrow is our last day, and I can't wait.

Wanting: My belly has really popped in the past few weeks (I'm now in the third trimester - 30 weeks), and I feel like I have a bowling ball on my stomach. It's hard to get up, and I feel more exhausted standing. BUT I'm still keeping up with the gym and haven't started swelling yet! Fingers crossed I can make it all the way to the end without any of it!

Needing: I'm always beyond ready for break when it gets here, but even more so now that I'm so pregnant. I sleep okay once I fall asleep, but that can take a while to get comfortable. I just want time to relax and sleep in a little.

EGGS-plain your name: I actually was talking to Carla (Comprehension Connection) recently and realized I haven't done that in a while (or maybe ever). Guess I just assumed I had or that people knew. It's a well known fact at my school that I have a slight Mo Willems/pigeon obsession. This goes way back to college when I first discovered Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Even teaching the upper grades, I found ways to incorporate his books. Now that I have a son, we've gone a little overboard on reading his books. To the point that one of my 3 year old's favorite phrases right now is "Okay, fine! If it means SOOOO much to you..." from The Pigeon Needs a Bath, which I highly recommend along with all of Mo's other books.

Anyway, when I was looking for a teacher-y title that fit my personality, I knew it had to relate to Mo (yes, I imagine we're on a first name basis) somehow. I decided on my title based off the book, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late. My BFF in real life - college roomie and all that amazing joined-at-the-hip-for-a-while stuff - has an adorable little kindergarten blog, Teacher at the Wheel, also a nod to our beloved author. Go check her out, too!

Okay, now to survive until tomorrow at 2. Then I get to leave early for a doctor's appointment!