Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Adventures

I am so excited to see my followers increase on Bloglovin everyday - but I want to make sure that everyone knows about my new adventure in life.

In April I took a huge leap and left the classroom after 18 years.  I am now a professional learning consultant with Edgenuity - an online ed company.  I travel the Southeast region and train teachers using Edgenuity, provide support and strategies for blended learning and develop materials at home that complement what we do.

This was a major shift in my life for myself and my family.  I am not home as often for my daughter, she still attends the school where I taught so my presence there is missing for her and that was tough.  My amazing husband has helped pick her up from school when I am on the road and we have forged a new teamwork aspect as I take this job on.  Also, after 18 years of being a "teacher" it has messed with my sense of purpose and identity. This back to school season I am feeling lost a little - however I know I will be super busy and that feeling will dissipate.  All in all I have zero regrets, I love my new job and am super thrilled to work on this new chapter in my life.

All that said, while my blog will remain here for reference and for any one who wants to follow because they see something neat - I will not be posting new entries for now as I continue to get settled.  Since I am very active with blended learning I foresee myself coming back here to blog about my experiences and what I am creating/learning in my new venue.

So - stay tuned - you never know what life will bring....

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Welcome Back and Review

Welcome back to the school year!!! I am so excited to be teaching 4th grade ELA/SS this year!! I will not be changing the name of my blog as my material can be cross grade level.

After reading all the buzz about this "quietest pencil sharpener" I decided to see what all the talk was about. I have used my sharpener for a week in class now and here is my review!

The Sharpener! 

Pull open the pencil holding clamp! 

Insert pencil (and a curious kitty!)


Every single time we used the sharpener, the tip looked as good as this one! It quickly became more than a new novelty in my room - as time and time again the tips were perfect and it was indeed QUIET! The one and only thing that's tough for my 4th graders is the sharpening process - some of them struggle with holding the sharpener in place (even with the provided clamp it moves a little) while sharpening. Other than that - a perfect and happy teacher review! 

Back soon with a back to school review......

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School Role Play and GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Tis the season to look for, pin and blog about back to school resources.  I tend to enjoy finding awesome stuff out there and adapt it for my own classroom.  I am a huge History Alive fan - and went to visit the TCI website - they are the founders of the History Alive program  you can find them here:  History Alive

They now have some AWESOME free lessons posted for back to school and I wanted to share the one I plan on using with you all - check it out!
Back to School

Don't forget about my Starbucks giveaway - it ends Saturday and all you have to do is follow my blog and leave a writing comment on my previous post!!! Tell your friends - I really really want to get to 200 followers and am so close!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Your Two Cents AND a Starbucks Giveaway??!!!!

Is it possible to have too many choices?  When presented with a sundae bar, or seafood buffet - I don't believe so! I am learning when it comes to "how to teach writing" - YES!!!!!

I have made it my mission to become a better writing teacher.  My test scores the past two years have not been good, and throughout the year, I often struggle with writing instruction, making it all fit and finding a good balance.  I know that with Common Core testing fast approaching - I do not have much more wiggle room!

Trouble is - there are SO MANY choices and I have heard good things about all of them!
First - what I have been using.  A combo of Ralph Fletchers workshop model and 6 Traits with graphic organizers for formatting. I use read alouds to inspire and teach mini lessons. I'd like to continue that.

 Now.  Take a look at what I have
Guided Reading - for a whole workshop approach
Word Savvy - For Word Study/Spelling/Vocab
Funner Grammar
Everyday Editing - both for DOL like lessons but "real world"
The Daily Five
Mastering the Mechanics
Getting it Right - Grammar etc.
Mechanically Inclined
How do you Teach Writing

HELP ME!!!!! Where do I start?  Is there another go-to source you would recommend over any of these? I plan on reading Daily Five for reading workshop regardless - but don't want to "waste" my remaining three weeks on others that might not be as tried and true. 
This is where YOU my readers come in
Please take a minute to follow my blog if you don't already
Then, leave me a comment about the writing program you prefer/use and how you like it! 
Lastly, share this blog on pinterest, facebook or any other social media site
(you see - this is two fold - getting writing help AND getting to 200 followers! =)

I'm giving away TWO Starbucks cards just in time for back to school beverages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Reading....

This is my last year on the National Council for Social Studies Notable Trade Book group - my last summer of getting 100 books for kids to read and then my last trip to NYC to review and write about them.  Oh, and keep all the books. Sigh.  Aside from all those books, I am re-reading two of my favorites, highlighting and taking notes on another re-read and reading a new one to me in attempts to breathe life into my literacy instruction.

Two years ago I read the Book Whisperer, had grand ambitions and like always when school started I got overwhelmed and forgot most of it. Re-read number 1 and 2nd attempt at making it work.

Re-read number two is the Daily 5.  This one was read about 5 years ago, attempted for half a year with minimal success and I plan on revisiting it aga
in this year in the form of the Daily 3. I have read some great blogs about it and am excited to give it a try.
Last re-read my Teach Like a Pirate book by Dave Burgess. What a blessing this book is - chock full of great great great stuff! I plan on using his back to school ideas to build community! 

In terms of new reading, I am reading the Cafe book that accompanies the Daily Five again in hopes to be inspired to be super on top of things this year!
What are YOU reading this summer and what if anything are you going to try that is new this year - hard to believe it is coming up so soon! Enjoy every minute.....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Novel Guides and Integration

I hope this finds you all enjoying your summer to the fullest! After a Disney start to the summer, and a beach end to it this month I just can't believe it is already halfway over!!!!

I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the projects I've worked on and are available for sale through two publishers since I haven't done so yet.  Last year, I blogged about all the writing I was doing.  Well, the final products are ready! Check out the two novel guides I completed for Secondary Solutions here:
Shiloh Guide

Harriet the Spy Guide

And for my own original lesson modules integrating ELA and SS for both early and modern US History....drum roll blood, sweat and tears.....

The first 5 published lessons include Reconstruction, Native Americans and folktales, close readings, primary sources, westward expansion, writing content for grades 4-8.

You can download preview Civil War and Reconstruction file here:
Preview on TpT

Lessons are available individually OR as a package and there WILL BE MORE on the way soon! We felt it was important for you to have the flexibility of getting only the ones you want or all of them - your choice!

If you want to check out other books by Compass, including the awesome Laura Candler materials - this link will take you to their website:
Compass Publishing

Thanks for taking a minute to check it out! Happy July!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently Link Up

Time for some Currently that I haven't done in, oh, forever it seems!!!

It is so nice to get back on the blogging trail.  Thought before I share more school stuff I'd get personal.
If you aren't familiar with Currently, it is from Currently and her blog is just awesome. I wish I had half her energy, creativity and upbeatedness - not a word - LOL

Currently - I am listening to lots of keys clicking.  Not only am I typing all morning it seems, my stepkids are both on their laptops around me playing and creating! 
I am loving being ahead of my writing schedule for my next novel guide- however, I am behind on creating other goodies in the meantime! 
I am thinking that summer break is not so good for my low carb lifestyle - all this time on my hands has me having more little "treats" than I am used to! 
I really really really want help cleaning out closets - mine and my daugthters! I have had this on my to do list for 2 weeks now and guess what?  Still not done! *sigh*
My hubby is a manager at Kroger a local grocery store here and lately his hours have been IN-SANE.  We are like 2 ships passing in the night/day and haven't had any time for just US in a month.  Desperately needing some of that! 
And a tip for all - organize your bookmarks.  As I learned the hard way - when you book mark it all, and don't organize somehow, then go look for somehing you want in that very moment and have to scroll through hundreds?? Not. Fun.  
Happy July to all and have a great week!!!!