Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Big Move

So…I'm moving! I have boxes strewn across my apartment, plastic bags that are slowly filling up with clothes for Goodwill, and lists of things I will need to buy for the new apartment.

The BF and I made our first major purchase together - some new furniture items for the apartment! Among our new purchases, we got a new mattress (a SUPER fancy, adjustable, vibrating, memory foam/gel one), bed frame, sofa, and matching love seat. It's probably the most expensive thing we've purchased yet - I mean, the furniture I have now was purchased from IKEA about 10 years ago…and it's falling apart. So I am SO excited to be getting our new items soon! All of our furniture was purchased at Ashley Furniture.
I also purchased some other little things from Walmart - two dressers for the bedroom, a living room rug, and a TV center. I'm so excited to make a home with the BF! 

Our move is two weeks away (exactly)! I've been trying to work on more TPT products (think - bundles!), but have been side-tracked with things involving the move. I'm hoping to get some work done this coming week. I will (hopefully) be getting into my classroom this week - pictures to follow!

Until next time...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back to School Shopping!

It's officially back to school season when I head out to shop for school supplies!

Today, I met up with my friend Melissa from The Autism Adventures of Room 83 and we headed out to the Lakeshore Outlet Store in Carson, CA. Shopping is always better when it's down with a fellow teacher who gets the excitement of shopping sales and getting quality goods for rock-bottom prices!

After we had lunch, I headed to Target to hit up their Dollar Spot section. While I adore Target as a whole, the dollar section is where I spend the majority of my time (most of the time on my hands and knees, craning my neck to reach goodies that are shoved to the back of the shelves - the diamonds in the rough!)

I was particularly proud of this "building blocks" (wannabe Legos) find in the dollar section. (My students LOVE Legos…but I'm not about to drop some major change for them, just to have kids lose, chew, and "borrow" them from the classroom.)

I also found these great bins! They look very similar to the ones I already have in my classroom (that I purchased last year through Lakeshore - see here.) I found the green one and BY CHANCE a Target employee was putting the orange one back from a pile of go-backs. I loved them so much that I tried two other Target stores to see if I could round anymore up…but to no avail. (Sad face.)

Although I don't go back to work for another three weeks, today's shopping outing only makes me excited to return to work!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Back and On Track

I'm back from my trip abroad and I'm SO happy to be home! Although I love traveling and I loved having the opportunity to travel to two of my favorite places - Greece and Italy - there really is no place like home. That…and the fact that the 100+ degree weather in Italy didn't entice me to stay any longer.

At the Colosseum in Rome
On top of the world - at the Acropolis in Athens
While we were on program, we were given some disappointing news - the program I was traveling with (and have been traveling with for the last three years) would be closing at the end of this travel season. I'm disappointed that I won't be able to travel with my students again next summer. I guess I will have to find another company to travel with.

But now that I'm back in California, it's time to get back to work. I signed all of my contractual paperwork for my new district and I begin teaching again at the end of August. I've been assigned a 1st-3rd grade special day class for this coming year. I'm nervous and excited about this new position…I just hope things work out for me this year.

I'm also back to working on TPT products - which I haven't done in a LONG while. I've had products that I created (and used) this past year but never got around to posting them on TPT. I hope - that in the next few weeks - I'm able to get them up and active.

On a more personal note, I'm also moving in with my boyfriend in a few weeks! Exciting times! We've decided to stay at the apartment complex I've been at for the last four years. There aren't any two-bedrooms currently available, so we have been wait listed. Until that time, though, we are moving into a SLIGHTLY bigger bungalow (still a 1-bedroom). All of my teaching materials - which have lived strewn across my current residence and taking up every inch of available bookshelf space - will be placed in storage.

New job. New home. I pray that everything works out well. Until next time!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Road Less Travelled

Well, in three days I am off to Greece and Italy for 19 days! I haven't been back to Greece since I was hospitalized in Crete in late 2010/early 2011 (with pneumonia!) And I'm ecstatic about going back to Italy. 

I'll be taking a break from this blog while I am abroad and traveling with a group of 45 middle and high school kiddos across the Mediterranean. But rest assured that I'll be back to blogging full-time when I return at the end of July!

If you're interested in following my adventures, you can follow my travel blog, The Traveling Teacher

Stay tuned for my adventures abroad!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Done and DONE

So, this post has been in the making for a couple of months now. Yesterday was my last day with the district I've been with for the last two years. 

I had to pack up four years worth of teaching into a 10x10 storage unit. And let me tell you…it wasn't easy.

I am a firm believer that when one door closes, another one opens. I already have a job offer from another district. I have a couple more interviews set up - which I am excited about. I know that God will guide me to where I need to be. 

Send positive thoughts my way!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The End is Near

The end of the school year is winding down and this year it can't come soon enough!

The last couple of months have been really rough. I've had two students who have thrown the classroom environment into chaos. I'm bit and kicked several times each day. One of the students has violent tendencies - throwing chairs repeatedly, chucking classroom supplies at staff, and has the mouth of an adult…vocabulary included. Both children elope from the classroom several times each day and the additional aide they put in my classroom hasn't done anything to decrease the behaviors we have been seeing.

I'm exhausted. I come every night and hope this isn't the night I completely breakdown. I tend to my bruises and pray that God gives me the strength to get through another day of work.


Send good thoughts my way, friends. I'm going to need them in order to survive the last three weeks of school. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Busy is an Understatement

It's been a while since I last updated! Things have been incredibly busy for me.

I've been working on a myriad of projects and still trying to survive working full-time as a teacher and then part-time for two different tutoring companies. I'm also a teacher leader with a travel group through People to People Ambassadors Program and have been preparing for my program to Italy and Greece this summer.

So much work and so little time. I'm hoping things calm down a bit this coming week…to provide me with the opportunity to catch up on some things.

Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's Been a While...

AH! I've been absent from the blogosphere for a while. A lot of things (both good and bad) have been going on in my life and sadly, my blog wasn't high on the priority list in the last few weeks.

I'm hoping that I can get some posts up in the next few days as I savor what's left of my spring break. Please bear with me, loyal readers!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teachers Are Heroes Sale!

I am a little late to the game, but TPT is having a sale - for teachers! (Yay!) 

Visit my store here and take part in this sale! Help me reach 100 followers on my TPT store page and I will be giving one of my products away for FREE!

I will also be hosting another sale coming up shortly - more details to follow! Happy shopping!

Monday, February 9, 2015

But First…Let Me Take a Selfie

I'm taking time away from my classroom these next two days, as I am in San Diego for an iPad Summit for educators.

I drove down this afternoon with a colleague and checked into my hotel - the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp District. I scored a suite (SWEET) upgrade, as they didn't have anymore of the studios that I had booked - so my trip has started off pretty well.

I think I'm going to go out to dinner with my colleague later. Our conference starts bright and early tomorrow but the boyfriend is coming down for the day/night, so I have something to look forward to after a long day of breakout sessions tomorrow.

Lots of learning to be done over the next couple of days - so excited!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Library is Open for Business

I have spent the majority of the first trimester of this school year attempting to organize our classroom library - if you could even call it that.

The books were haphazardly strewn across the shelves of an old bookcase that was falling apart by the minute. There was no organization to the books. Most of the books had been items I had found when I took over the classroom back in August 2013 - most were neglected, falling apart, or outdated.

I wondered if I would ever get the "mess" that was my library under control.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and "invest" in some (expensive) book boxes for my classroom. Once they arrived, the real work began.

The classroom "library" with newly purchased book boxes
Any free time my classroom staff and I had was devoted to leveling my classroom library. We used a couple of different apps to help do this - Level It, Scholastic's Book Wizard, and Lit Leveler. If the book wasn't in one of the apps, we would go to the next and so on.

The trouble came when the book wasn't in any of three apps - which happened quite often, especially with older books. We decided to get the AR book level (see here) and then convert the AR level to the Fountas and Pinnell system that we wanted to use in the classroom.

Once the hard part was over, the rest came easily. We color-coded the books and organized the boxes in a storage cubicle that I had bought at Big Lots. I decided that I would only start with levels A-R - one, because I didn't have the space in the 3x3 cubicle and two, because I highly doubt any of my students will be reading past the R level.

And finally the day came when all our books were labeled (books that we couldn't label were sent next door to our library) and our library was open for business!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Black History Month

February is also Black History Month (BHM) and while my class studies MLK Jr. during January, we also revisit him when we talk about influential African Americans during BHM.

We've done several crafts over the last week and my students have enjoyed learning about his life and the change he encouraged regarding black rights.

Our first craft was a MLK Jr. portrait. Students cut and glue the pieces to create their own MLKs. I typed up a quick little blurb about him and they glued it to their portraits.

It's always great to see the students exercise creative license when it comes to arts and crafts. No two projects are ever the same.

The second craft we did was a quick paint and paste. As a 2nd/3rd grade classroom, we don't do a lot of tempura painting, but the kids enjoyed this one.

And no unit of study is ever complete without a thinking map! I created a MLK Jr. tree map last year that my students enjoyed (see the product here) and so I whipped that back out. We read three different books about MLK Jr. and I loved that my students were using all three as a basis for our completion of this map. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Love You, I Love You Not?

February is in full-swing in my classroom!

I pulled out all of my Valentine's Day decor the other day and threw some things up around the classroom. I had bought some pink light strands at Big Lots and was bummed when I returned and couldn't find anymore. 

But low and behold, I had some boxes of pink lights in my February storage box that I had purchased last year after Valentine's Day (and when everything was on clearance!) Yay for planning a year in advance!

I don't think I was this into Valentine's Day last year…maybe it's because I actually have a reason to celebrate it this year?

Happy February!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Four Weeks Later...

And I'm just settling down to a new blog entry! Ugh…I hate not having time to do what I love to do and write!

Here's what's been going on…

  • NEW STUDENTS: I recently got FOUR new students which puts my current count at 14 kiddos. Two of these four just started today - and it wasn't horrible (but that could be - in part - due to our short day)! It went more smoothly than expected - yay! (I love when I am pleasantly surprised by good student behavior!)
  • SAYING GOODBYE: I did manage to exit one of my kids out of SDC and into RSP (yay!) I was so proud of this guy - he's been with me for the last two years and has worked SO hard! He scored in the "average" range on all of his standardized tests - something that is unheard of in the SDC classroom. He's also been mainstreaming into the 3rd grade classroom for math and has been keeping up! I felt my work with him was done and I'd only be holding him back if he stayed in my classroom. I'm so very proud that he worked so hard and can now be educated with his general education peers.
  • WORKING, WORKING, WORKING: I'm still tutoring…recently picked up a few more students which puts my total client count at 6. Soooooo, I'm working full-time and working part-time with two tutoring companies. BUT I absolutely love working with these kiddos - most of whom are in general education. It's great being able to work with students who aren't in special education - I feel like I'm putting my dual credentials to use!
I've been trying to keep up with blogging…I'm hoping to get some major writing time in this weekend. Stayed tuned for more entries (and pictures of my newly decorated classroom - adorned with pink lights for Valentine's Day!) 

Until next time...