Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oh no!

"Oh no!" ---This is the most used phrase from my, now two year old, baby big girl!  "Oh no" is also the phrase that I would use thinking about the fact that in a few hours... google reader will be D.E.A.D!  Thank goodness, I love change, especially when it is for the better...  Yes, I said for the better!! I have absolutely fallen in love with Bloglovin, especially since they have an app for that! :)  Click on the right where it says "follow this blog with bloglovin."  Promise it is easy peasy!  I did a post last week sharing several of my favorite things about bloglovin, if you're struggling with the change, be sure to check it out! :) You don't want to miss out on all the upcoming fun with BTS!! :)
Thank you, Anna Brantley for this precious button! :)

I promise to post something a little better later ... maybe tomorrow... but right now this mama is tired!  It has been one heck of a week! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BlogLovin' Linky!

Ok, ok... are you SO tired of hearing about how Google Reader is going kaputs on July 1st???? I really don't mean to be a pain, but you DON'T want to miss out on your favorite blogs, freebies, new ideas, etc, ect! I shared a few alternatives to keep up... One being my FB page, Google+, and my MOST favorite BLOGLOVIN!
 Tori has an AWESOME tutorial for signing up & adding your faves to it (which is SUPER easy might I add).   If you aren't already signed up... Head to Tori's post NOW & do it before you forget!! :)

One thing I thought would be fun to share to the newbies joining BlogLovin' is all of the AWESOME features it provides!  So here is my little feature preview & commercial for BlogLovin'!


My ALL TIME favorite thing about bloglovin' is this though!!!!!!  

I always hate when I read an awesome post & then have to go back and SEARCH & SEARCH & SEARCH for it!! The "like" option saves you ALL that trouble!! More like "LOVEEEE" to me! :) So click the button below to follow me now!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five For Friday -- Summer Edition!

Whew, where has this week gone?!?!  I can't believe 2 weeks of summer have already zoomed by!  I'm linking up with Kacey for Five for Friday & I even have a fun BTS freebie for you! :)
One:  Monday was SUPER successful.  I managed to grab several great baskets from Ross to organize my closets!  I managed to clean out my spare bedroom, throw out about 3 bags of J-U-N-K & take 3 bags to Goodwill!  It felt great to get rid of that stuff!!

Two: I had the priviledge to go to an awesome PLC teleconference on Tuesday with several other teachers from my school and our prinicipal!  We have done PLC meetings since I began teaching and it has greatly evolved in just the 3 years that I've been at my school.  This year there will be many changes, one being that they will be lead by the teachers, not by admin.  Since I will be serving as team leader next year, a lot of responsiblity will be laid on us!  I am so excited about all of the changes coming our way!! I think it will make our already tight & wonderful team even stronger!

Three:  I have owned my house for a little over 2 years!  It's hard to believe, but in those two years, I haven't managed to get nearly enough of what I want done around the house done!  I have decided this week, that is ALL changing, THIS summer!!  A lot of transormations are already in the makings...some big & some small!!
I've also had a ridiculous amount of trips to Home Depot & Ikea where I went for 1-2 things and ended up spending wayyyyyy too much!!

I am also excited that I will be painting B's room this weekend.... and hopefully my room soon after!  I really can't wait to try the effect with the gloss and stencils in B's room!  Be on the lookout for pictures soon!

Four: I haven't done TOO much work... I've been busy soaking up my time with B and doing house stuff... 

However, I did manage to make a fun little BTS get to know you activity FREEBIE!!! 


Five:  Today B and I are going to see the new Monsters Inc!  I can't wait to see her reaction, she LOVES Sully!  Check out this picture!!!! :) 

I am also planning to do a Monsters Inc. birthday party for her next week!! EEKKK! :)  

Thank you google images for the inspiration!!! I guess it's more if a thank you to the bloggers and pinners who have shared!! :)

Google reader is in its final days! Don't forget, you can click below to follow me now on BlogLovin! :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Tonight I'm linking up with Cara Carroll with her amazing Throwback Thursday Linky!  LOVE!  When you think about how many new readers you've gained over time, it's a fun catch-up post for those readers especially! :)

After reading Ashley Sanderson's TBT post, this one IMMEDIATELY came to mind!  I wrote it on my birthday last year, enjoy! :)

*****************************Originally Posted August 9, 2012 *****************************

I have planned for almost 2 months now to blog about the AMAZING writer's workshop that I went to in June!  Melissa Leach is by far one of the most amazing presenters I have EVER had the opportunity to listen and interact with!  In June, two of my co-workers and I went to a writer's workshop where she was the presenter!  Basically, we all left there shocked and thinking... "YOU MEAN, TEACHING WRITING IS THAT EASY!!?!?!?!"  Well, my amazing friend and co-worker, Diana, had another workshop over Balanced Literacy with her these past two days!! I don't know what it is that Melissa does, but the manner in which she presents and teaches makes it seem SO very simple and easy for us to take it back to our classroom and implement it effectively!  YEEESHH, I can't wait for school to start!

Before I babble on, I have to share one of my teacher nerd moments with you!
Today is my birthday and Diana, showed up this morning with the BEST gift ever!! I was squealing with excitement!! :)
Some people might wonder what these little gems are..... Yes, they are PVC pipe... what makes them so special you ask?  Well, they are constructed in a way that students can use them as a phone... We call them phonics phones, but the purpose of them is for students to be able to whisper read/read quietly and be able to ear themselves nice and clear!! These are a wonderful tool to help students, especially the low babies!  My plan is to add duct tape on all of them like the ones in the bottom right corner before school starts!! I just need to find some super cute duct tape to use!  BEST GIFT EVER!

OK, OK... Writer's Workshop & Notebooks... Here I come!!

I don't know about you, but for me, writing was always the one subject that I hated, dreaded, was not entirely comfortable teaching.... I now know it is more so because I didn't know how to effectively teach it.   The ways in which I had taught it in the past did not get all of my students actively engaged in writing!!

The idea behind Writer's Workshop is starting off with a mini-lesson.  How does a mini lesson compare to that of a regular lesson, well... a mini lesson for writing should be a short 5-10 minute lesson with a specific focus.  You then instruct students to think about or apply what it was that was taught in the mini lesson in their independent writing...
For example: You are teaching a lesson about verbs.  You then have the students get out their writer's notebook or folder with their writing drafts, you have them select one piece of writing, and then instruct them to circle all of the verbs.  Once they have completed this, they go on with their independent writing.

What is independent writing though?!  Independent writing is when students have the opportunity to write about anything of their choice.  Now, this could be structured in a manner to where ALL students are writing a letter, but they get to choose who they are writing it to and WHY they are writing to that person.  This would obviously be something that you do after SEVERAL mini-lessons over letter writing though.  Ideally, after building the stamina, students will write for about 20 minutes on their own.

What am I, as the teacher, doing during independent writing?  Well, it is simple, this is when you are doing your conferences with students.  This doesn't mean that you are pulling students over to your table and marking up their page.  These conferences are guided in a way that you help them to realize what they need to add, change, clarify, however it is done in a manner and a way of which you ask the students questions guiding them to identify these things on their own.  You have the students make the corrections, giving them the power!

Once students have been writing independently for their 20ish minutes, it is imperative to give students the opportunity to SHARE their writing with one another.  Sharing is such a powerful tool and gives students so much confidence, something we really need to continually make a priority in our classrooms!

If you do not go through all of these steps, it is NOT considered writer's workshop! This may seem like a lot, but seriously, this is the SHORT and SWEET, condensed, no fluffs, no frills, version! 

With all of that being said, let me get into the Writer's Notebook!  

EEK, I LOVE the idea of the writer's notebook!

 So this is my writer's notebook, I have my cover, you can't see too many details because of the glare, but it just says "Ms.Pepper."  Then the other side of the note book is my "TWIN."  I didn't realize until yesterday that TWIN was an acronym for Teacher's Writing Interactive Notebook... Anyways... I will keep going...

The purpose of the writer's notebook is for students to have a place to write down their IDEAS.... only their IDEAS!! Melissa called them their "seeds" for writing.  Totally makes sense though, it gives them a place to reflect on when they are struggling to find a topic to write about.  The writer's notebook isn't something that will just be used in the beginning of the year, it will be used all throughout the year.  We will be constantly adding to the book.  Above are a few of the pages we did when we were in our workshop!  Sunshine = things that make me happy, Thunder = things I DO NOT LIKE!!

The top left is another one that we did about things that people call me!  I then googled and pinterested (is that  a word) for more ideas on the writer's notebook!! I have a lots of ideas, but have only done a handful of pages more than we did in our workshop!  There is a "things I wonder about", a quotes section, and an "I am a..." page!  My all time favorite though it "My Life's Playlist."

This one brought back so many memories as I was creating it, eeeek, I love!  The most awesome part about the writer's notebook to me is that none of these are finished products, none of these are extensive pieces of writing, and they are ALL something that I can continuously add to throughout this summer, year, and next few hours! 

The other side of MY notebook is my TWIN, this is my place to write notes, ideas, make anchor charts, reminders about writer's workshop, etc!  For my students though, I have decided after the Balanced Literacy Institute, the flip side will be their word study book, they will keep their personal word wall and different word study activities on this side!

I am not going to lie, I can't wait to teach writing!! :)


I definitely hope you enjoyed! :)  I have thought of a bunch of new lists & idea pages to add over the year, I can't wait to share those later this summer! :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Manic Monday

While I have been on summer break for one week, today was my first REAL productive day!  I managed to clean out the spare bedroom, throw away a ridiculous amount of JUNK, scrounge up 3 bags of things for Goodwill, sell a few things to make some $$ on our local consignment page, OH & I managed to make breakfast, lunch, & dinner!  I didn't even take a nap today, I am way proud of my productivity!  Plus, on top of all that I completed day 3 of Insanity!! EEKKK .... I feel like the "chance" card below was funny and appropriate for a mommy & teacher's life!

However, you know that a day as productive as today can't go that amazing without something going wrong... right?!?  Well before making dinner, I received an email saying that I missed a PD session today.... FREAK OUT!  This is one of the PD sessions I was looking forward to MOST this summer... THANKFULLY they are going to let me go to the second session in early July!    My brain at the end of the school year was complete chaos & I mixed up June with July!  I may have just cried if I would have missed it all together!  Yes, I'm one of those cray-cray people who enjoy most professional development days!

Before I forget ... IF you haven't heard .... Google Reader is about to be kaputs!  This means in order to stay up to date on your favorite blogs you need to find an alternative!  I have registered with Google+ where you can follow me (and all your other favorite blogs!) OR my new fave addiction is BlogLovin!  It's super easy to register & add blogs to your list, but my absolute favorite thing about it is that it sends you daily updates of the blogs!  So .... on days that I don't get a chance to check out my google reader BlogLovin account, it lets me know who has made a new post!  Love. It.  It also shows which blogs you've read and which ones you have yet to read!! :)
You can click below to follow me now! :)

I hope you have had a productive start to the week! :)  I plan to be back later this week with a freebie or two for you! :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

5-4-F: Week 1 Summer Rewind

I got to thinking today... my first week of summer has officially come and gone!  :(  This summer is going to FUH-LYYY by!  Better late than never, I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs!

Tuesday B & I set out on our first of what I expect to many mini-vacays of the summer!  We went to visit some of my best friends in the DFW area!  Our first stop was at my friend Shane & Claire's house!  We were greeted by another great friend, Cameron, too & jumped right into the pool upon our arrival!

You can tell B definitely enjoyed herself!! She learned MANY new tricks and L.O.V.E.D. all of the attention!  Tuesday night she also learned how to blow bubbles ALL. BY. HERSELF.  Talk about a proud baby!! I was a pretty proud mommy, too, even if I am not the one who gets to take credit for teaching her this one! :) 

Wednesday we set out to my best friends house and quickly there after hopped in the car to my first Rangers game of the season, but most importantly B's FIRST Rangers game ever! 
 B rocking her first new Rangers shirt from Aunt Lindsey!

Plus it was dollar hot dog night which makes it even better!!  I'm not sure what was her favorite part... the hotdogs.... the popcorn.... the strawberry Chill .... or the attention from everyone else! :)  B had a stinkin' great time! 

Thursday we set out for some shopping time... Something I DEFINITELY enjoyed!  We hit the VS semi-annual sale, JCrew Outlet, & Disney store to get ahead on some of B's bday presents!  B got to ride the carousel & then got a balloon crown!  Spoiled baby! 
She was all tuckered out afterwards! 

We also made a pitstop to grab a couple bags of the BEST popcorn EV-ER!!  Yummo!  I may or may not have stopped again before we headed home and grabbed another bag... or two!  Seriously... BEST. POPCORN. EVER!  

We took B to the go swimming or "schimmin" {insert wiggle move} as B says!
Later, Thursday evening, we went to my ALL TIME fav restaurant from college... FUZZY'S!

We officially made it HOME!!  B was so exhausted & so ready to be home! I was super excited to see this package sitting on my doorstep when I got home, too!! :)

Now I just need to figure out what these Ring-Its are & laminate my chevron border!!! :) THANK YOU, Really Good Suff!!! 

Today I officially started day one of Insanity by doing the fit test!!  I can't wait to see the results over time!

This week I have a day of professional development and then interviewing for our new 2nd grade position.  The remainder of the week will be spent at the pool, outside with my love bug, & doing lots of insanity!! 

Is anyone else unable to keep their mind from wandering into next year!!??!?!?!  Mine is constantly spiraling forward!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Last Week, Summer Break, Lightening Bugs, Oh my!

Last week was SO busy & emotionally draining that I couldn't muster up the energy to post.  I think I probably would have cried bawled a little more had I tried to post!  So let me rewind....
Wednesday we finally were ready to do our wax museum... I know I posted some pictures last week of the kids.... but I wanted to share some of their month long work!

I made journals for my kids and used part of Tracy Teagler's Wax Museum unit with the organization of their materials.  The kids LOVED their special research journal, they had a pocket, pages for their research stickies, and a flip book in the back, which is where I used some of Tracy's unit!  I also figured since we were at the end of the year and since MOST of my kids are ready for the added responsibility, I made students keep track of the resources they used, so they could prove where they found their facts!  They numbered their stickies according to the resource used so they could keep track!  I am so stinkin' proud of how hard they worked and how wonderful their work turned out!! Proud Teacher!

Thursday was our last day of school.  We started the day with our talent show, after taking my kids downstairs, I FRANTICALLY did a little bit of running around and tried to schedule my little miss a doctors appointment...of course she would get sick on the LAST WEEK of school!  Thankfully, my  momma & siblings were able to love on and take care of her!! Once I made it back I was able to watch most of the acts before we (the 2nd grade teachers) headed back stage to prepare for our skit!  Right before our skit though was one of my little babies.  Of course being the sap that I am, I bawled during her performance.  She did a dance/gymnastics mix thing... This is something she is very passionate about and spends almost every night doing.  It was awesome to be able to see her poise and seriousness about it, it was a completely different side than I'm used to seeing.  One of my co-workers said something to the effect of "we don't need real water for our skit!"  You will get it once you view our skit BELOW!!! :)  I think it was quite a hit!

Forgive me for the awful quality of the video... you can see a little better version on my FB page! :)

After the talent show we cleaned out the desks, loaded the back packs, did our classroom awards, & then it was time for our hula-hoop relay!!

This was one of their balloon incentives!!  I think this was one of their favorites!  Each team was racing to put on the grass skirt and a flower lei, run to the other end of the court and get their hula hoop around five times, run back, and take it all off for the next person!  They had fun, but were super STINKY when it came time to come back in thanks to our wonderful Texas heat! :)

Then it was time for a movie to unwind, followed by a pizza party, and candy bar!! 
I didn't even think to take a picture of the candy bar BEFORE the kids emptied the bucket!  As you can tell from the picture, the kids went home with a LARGE bag full of candy, I'm sure their parents greatly appreciated it! ;) B's picture is actually from Friday, her last day at her babysitters, I just couldn't resist! 

To be honest though, I was the BIGGEST cry baby ever when my kids left.  Seriously, I TRIED really hard to hold it back, but like I've said a ton of times before my class this year was really special!  While some kids had tiffs at times and not everyone was always BFF, we really meshed well together!! I'm really going to miss this group!!  Not to mention that this week I found out that not only were we losing my good ol' neighbor Gwen, but another one of our teachers is moving to a school closer to her house! :(  So now we are down two teachers!  I guess it's the norm... EVERY year for the past 3 years now, we've lost two teachers on our team! Bleh.... I just want it to stay the sameeeee!!!  Whaaa... Ok, I'm done with my whining fest now! :) 

Now that it is officially summer, I have spent quite a bit of time sleeping, playing with my baby, relaxing, and because I can't help it .... working on back to school math centers!! I'm in love with them already! Anyone else obsessed with MelonHeadz!?!?!  I have some great ideas for my back to school lit centers too!! Can't wait!
Of course I have to leave with you with a few weekend pics!!  We had quite a bit of fun to say the least! :)
I finally ordered and got my sweet brother to help set up B's CHRISTMAS present from her great grandma this weekend!!

She is obsessed with her new swing set!! When it was time to come in tonight, she went and pouted under her little fort.......... top right picture!  As she was pouting I saw LIGHTENING BUGS!! Oh. My. Gosh.  It has been YEARS since I've seen them, seriously like since I was a kid!  B had a blast laughing at me running around the yard like a wild one trying to catch it!  She loved seeing it up close too! :) 

Sorry if this has been all over the place, I'm still trying to fully comprehend that it is SUMMERRRR!!!!  

Hope you're all enjoying your week, hopefully you're on summer break and relaxing!