Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January Currently

What the hay!?!  Two blog posts in one day?  I can never resist Farley's Currently Link Up over at Oh Boy, 4th Grade, so here I go!

Listening:  It snowed in Southern California last night!  It's freezing cold for all of us big babies in sunny So. Cal., so we're all huddled inside, cranking on the heater.

Loving:  I treated myself to some of Philosophy's Hope in a Jar.  It feels soooo nice to put on before bed.  I wake up with the smoothest skin ever.  Please don't let my husband find the receipt for that though!  Doh!

Thinking:  I plan on winning some Texas Hold Em' or In-Between rounds tonight at our annual New Year's poker game.  We've been getting together with this group of friends for over 20 years now--just love them...and their money.   Sorry, but I plan on winning to get more Hope in a Jar.

Wanting:  New Uggs.  I have a worn out left boot and a brand new right boot. I've only worn the left one over the last few months since my right foot was broken.  Now they're all mis-matched. It's not right, I tell you.

Needing:  To get my rear in gear.  Nuf said!

Yes/Maybe/I Wish:  I will continue to pump my ideas and creativity into my TpT store.  What a dream come true it's been for me.  I love the TpT community and philosophy.  Want to try TpT?  Here's my referral link:  Carol Martinez  You won't regret it!  :)

Happy 2015 to all of you!  I can tell that it's going to be an awesome year!

Hello 2015!

I love the start of a new year.  The chance to reflect, improve, let go, or begin is a gift to all of us.   I'm hooking up with Second Grade Nest for her New Year's Resolutions Linky.  Here's a short list of some of my goals for 2015.

Helping your students learn to reflect about their own goals is a very powerful strategy that will help them grow.  I've made a new product that will be fun for kids to use as a template for writing about their New Year's goals and dreams.  My new New Year, New Me! set has 5 girl and 4 boy templates, as well as a black and white option for those of you concerned about ink.  Here's a brief overview of some of the templates.  Click here to learn more:  New Year, New Me!

So, what'cha waiting for?  Make some goals, dream big, and enjoy the fresh slate of a New Year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Currently

Woo hoo!  It's that time again~connecting with one of my favorite bloggers, Farley, for her monthly Currently link up.

Listening:  If there's anything that can get my kids out of bed on a cold Monday morning after a week of holiday fun, it's white powdered donuts.  They zoomed downstairs and are quietly inhaling them, knowing this only happens once in a blue moon.  

Loving:  Our Elf, Marty (named after shortening out last name of Martinez), broke out of his box early this year.  He brought the kids some DVDs they'd been wishing for, and has been moving around every day since.  Even though my kids are in 5th and 6th grade, they REALLY think he's moving on his own.  I'm loving their great acting skills innocence.

Thinking:  I've been home since mid-October with my broken foot. I'm really missing teaching my students, waiting for the new year to return back to the classroom.  I think of them every single day, hoping they're ok, and knowing they're in good hands.  My sub is a KEEPER!!

Wanting:  Nada, zippo, zilch.  I'm really ok. :)

Needing:  Prayers, specifically for my right foot bones to heal.  I really want good news on my next x-ray on Dec. 9th.  

Giving:  Thanks!  We had such an amazing Meal Train over the last few months.  Have you heard of a Meal Train? It's an online system where people sign up to bring you meals.  We were in such chaos for the first month of my injury--it really saved us.  I can't begin to tell you how loved we felt. 

Happy December, friends!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time, of the Year!

Yep, you guessed it...Cyber Monday (and Tuesday!) are on the way, with a Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale.  Most stores, including mine, will be a whopping 28% off!

I usually try to focus my blog posts on anything but my products.  Since the sale is on the horizon, I'm going to indulge and showcase some products. My TpT holiday products are overflowing from my store, ready to help you make it through a hectic, whirlwind time of year.  Click on any of the product titles to go directly to the product listing, where you can see it in detail.   Make sure to go to the bottom of this post for a GIVEAWAY!  

Santa's Stuck is an instant writing activity.  It comes with a "cause and effect" map so that your students can brainstorm what could have caused Santa to get stuck, and the effects of him being stuck.  This map will help your students transition into a creative story of their own.  This makes an adorable bulletin board!

Candy Cane Contraction Task Cards are an effective way to review contraction words.  This product would be perfect for a Language Center in a 1st-3rd grade classroom. The kids will love the movement permitted in a round of Scoot, if you'd like to use the task cards like that! 

This set of Holiday themed Math Task Cards will be a fun way for your students to review basic, 3rd grade Math skills.  Print and place in a math center, or host a game of Scoot, where your students rotate around the room to answer the questions on the task cards.

The Gingerbread Rounding Task Cards emphasize rounding to the tens, hundreds, and thousands place.  Great for high functioning 2nd graders, 3rd graders, or 4th graders who need the extra practice.  Perfect for a math center or a game of Scoot--you choose!

Ready to start a new classroom tradition?  Incorporate Elf on a Shelf to your classroom for the weeks leading up to winter break.  Watch your attendance rates soar--the kids won't want to be absent!  Comes with blank templates for the Elf's notes and a student journal cover and journal pages for your students to write in each day. 

Squeeze in some expository writing with this simple Snowman building/writing activity.  Brainstorm on the Anchor Chart, then give your students a Planning Template to plan their writing.  Finally, the kids will use the Planning Template to write their instructions on how to build a snowman.  A cute Picture Frame is included, so the kids can illustrate what their snowmen will look like.  

So, you can see that there are sooooo many holiday items in my TpT store, designed especially for students, and teachers who need a boost to the curriculum during a busy time of year!  Thanks for taking a peek! I'd love to give one of my holiday products away, so enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of my holiday products!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Happens When You Slow Down

So, I'm on week 5 of 8 of being off on medical leave.  Still healing this broken foot of mine.  (Scroll down a few blog posts to hear the not-so-gory details of how it happened. Ha ha!)  I thought this month of being home would be nothing less than mental torture for this hyperactive (think puppy) 3rd grade teacher, who thrives on multitasking.  Why me?  Why am I the one with the broken foot? I'm always searching for the meaning behind things, and truly believe that there are life lessons involved with any circumstance.  I think I've come to the conclusion of "why me?"  What happens when you slow down?  Well, I can share what I've learned and noticed.

1.  Eating breakfast with my children each morning is a gift.  I've notice that they are eating better, telling me LOTS of stories from school, asking questions about things--silly and sweet, sharing observations about life, friendships, and more.  I get big hugs before my husband takes them to school too.  So special!!

2.  I suddenly love Sundays!  Yes, I love the peacefulness of Sundays in general.  But being stuck at home, with no school in sight on a Monday, has opened up a new world for me.  I love Sundays even more now, even into the evening hours where I used to get that anxious feeling.

3.  Eating is purposeful.  I no longer shove a banana down my throat as I'm walking out the door.  I eat when I'm hungry, and seem to actually put down food when I'm full.  That has NEVER happened to me before!  I'm not gobbling my lunch, with a bell looming in my mind.

4.  I notice light more.  As the day unfolds, I'm noticing the different shades of sunlight as they come through my house.

5.  Laundry can can most of the cleaning!  I can't do much since I'm not allowed to put any pressure on my foot.  So, the constant cleaning frenzy has come to a halt.  Guess what? It's not that bad.  That dust ball?  It can wait!  So can my son's solo sock that's been on under the table all week.  It's ok to let it go for a spell.

6.  My kids are more capable than I thought.  I really have had an iron pan hit over my head on this piece.  I used to make their lunch, fold their laundry, pack their backpacks, fill their water bottles, pick up their Legos and hair clips from around the house, and MORE.  They do it ALL now! Yep!  And they're getting better as the weeks go on.  What a great feeling to know that they are empowered now.

7.  My husband rocks!  This guy is scurrying from dawn to dusk, doing double duty.  He packs my lunch every day and leaves it near my special chair.  I wouldn't be eating otherwise, so this is a good thing. He packs me fruit and veggies, vitamins and water...all things I usually neglect to feed myself in my "old" ways.

8.  Meditation is awesome!  I signed up for the Deepak Chopra & Oprah 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It's a 20 minute relaxation journey, with a daily focus to think about.  I look forward to it every day.  My son has started asking about it, and tries it with me sometimes.  So cool!  He's an energizer bunny like his mom, so to see him slow down and relax brings me so much relief.

9.  Make-up is optional.  I've only put it on a few times since my injury. It just isn't necessary when you're at home with a puggle all day.  He loves me as is!

10.  Baths and washing my hair are my favorite luxury. We've figured out a safe way to make this happen, thank goodness!  It's an ordeal, but I do feel like a new person when it's all done!

11. The electric carts at Target and Costco are semi-lethal.  I won't get into too much detail, but can assure you that they will need some touch up paint in their stores, STAT!

12.  There are people in the world who care.  Yep!  I knew it before, but now I'm certain!  From the Meal Train we were given by friends, to the sweet people at church who come out of their way to ask me what happened (as I sit in my wheelchair), people care.  I think I was always rushing around so much, that I might have overlooked this before.

So, in the midst of this set back, I have learned to enjoy the journey.  All of the twists and turns, sweet moments (minus the crash in Target), and kindness shown to me and my family will not be forgotten...ever.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

I'm so thankful to Farley at Oh Boy, 4th Grade for hosting the monthly Currently blog post.  Since I just unloaded my woe's on yesterday's post, I won't get into too  much detail about what's currently going on in my life.

Listening:  My husband is knee deep in the Sunday newspaper.  It's his Sunday ritual! :)

Loving:  Cooler temperatures, big puffy rain clouds contrasting against a vivid blue sky--my favorite time of year for sure!!

Thinking:  In spite of my temporary set back with my foot, I'm slowing down to really notice all of life's little blessings...more time with my kids, the loyalty of my faithful puggle, fuzzy jambes, warm meals delivered to our door, visits with friends...

Wanting:  To walk.  I'll never take it for granted again.  

Needing:  My Halloween decorations to *POOF* be gone.

Reading:  The Fault in Our Stars, but getting way too distracted by daytime television.  I'm such a couch potato now.  

Until next month...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Everybody was a Kung-fu Fightin'

I'm on week 3 of 6 (hopefully!!) of being stuck at home with a broken foot.  This picture pretty much sums it up...

So, there I was, coming in from a fun Literacy event at my kids' school one evening.  There it was...a big black widow, hanging in my garage at eye level.  I decided to kung-fu kick the spider.  I gave it my best shot, then *thought* I saw that thing on my foot.  The open-toed sandals I was wearing only added to the panic.  I was certain that I saw it rubbing it's pedi-palps together, getting ready to swing up on me from its dragline.  To save my own life, I kicked my foot down on the cement to whack it off. According to my kids, I did it several times, flailing around in a frenzy.  As I stood there in pain, my daughter finally pointed out to me that the darn spider was still up on the wall, as if mocking me.  At this point, I knew I was in pain, but didn't realize I'd broken two bones.  I hobbled over to the nearest weapon of mass destruction (aka: Windex) and grabbed it, spraying the spider to death.  

After a trip to the ER and my doctor, I'm officially on "rest" for the remainder of November.  I was in shock when they told me that I couldn't walk for over a month.  What!?  Right in the middle of my favorite season, trick-or-treat time, decorating time, fun times with my students and children?!  It was the worst news I could've ever received.  I'll admit that I *might* have a touch of ADHD, so being trapped at home, unable to maneuver on crutches, has been tedious, slow torture.   Any busy, working mom will tell you that being forced to sit at home for 6 weeks and do NOTHING sounds like heaven. In reality, it's a bit of a mind game.  I miss being outside, tidying up my house, zooming around to take my kids to all of their activities, teaching, etc.  

My dear friends and mom have been life-savers to me.  Dinners are being delivered to us, rides are being provided to my appointments, and my kids are being taken care of.  My husband is busting and moving to keep on top of laundry, cleaning up, shopping, decorating for Halloween, and forcing me out in my pathetic wheelchair.  I'm beyond touched at the outpouring of love and support.

One of my dearest friends stopped by today to deliver this FUN package from my school staff.  I almost cried!  How clever and cute~all Spider-Themed, naturally.  They know how to yank my chain, that's for sure!

So, that's what I've been up to.  By the way, I'm SO caught up reading everyone's AWESOME blogs, pinning my heart out on Pinterest, stalking the TpT forums, and all daytime TV.  I hope you're all doing well~feel free to leave a comment since I have PLENTY of time to read and respond back to you. :)  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Currently

Jep, it's that time again.  The changing of months~October is one of my favorites too!  I'm hooking up  with one of my favorite bloggers, Farley, at Oh Boy, 4th Grade!  She always cracks me up ewhen I read her stuff, so go check her out!

Listening:  My house is unusually quiet, with my son and husband off at a Cub Scout camping event. My daughter has learned the art of sleeping in now, so besides the horrific licking of my crazy puggle, my house is quiet.  Really quiet.  Let's see how long it lasts...

Loving: Halloween on a Friday~I can hear an audible cheer from teachers around the globe!  

Thinking:  Costumes are always a big deal around our home, so we'd better get a game plan.

Wanting:  My poor daughter's knee can't stay in place, so I'm really hoping her physical therapy does some miracles so that she can attend her 6th grade science camp in a few weeks.

Needing:  I'm all set to make my Boo Bark, but forgot the candy corns.  Similar to my Bunny Bark from a previous post (scroll back to spring!), I make a mean Boo Bark, except I put candy corn and dark colored Oreos in the mix.  Super yummy and oh-so-fall-festive-fun.

Trick or Treat:  TREAT! I just put my Halloween Treat Box on sale for FREE.  Here's a peak...

Until next month,

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Classroom Wish List Items...Go Get 'Em!

Do you have things on your classroom Wish List?  Of course you do!  Why sit around wishing?  Go get 'em!!  Applying for grants is not as hard as it seems.  I have won several over the last few years.  If I can do it, you can too.

The first opportunity that you need to do NOW is through Donor's Choose.  The whole process takes under an hour, with a simple fill-in-the-fields process.  Once you decide what you want, you can shop from dozens of online vendors.  Sometimes, a corporation or famous person funds whole STATES of projects at a time, so it's best to always have one posted.  Take a look at some of my funded projects:

This is a rolling book shelf that holds guided reading books.  {Usually, it's full, with labels in the front label holders, but this picture is from when I had just unwrapped it from summer storage--blah!}

This is my set of composition books that I won, along with a huge box of Avery labels.  Every student gets a writing journal.  I use the labels for printing the prompt (on occasion).

This is guided reading table that I won a few years ago.   The donors were former students from my school who didn't even know me.  They just felt an allegiance to our school and wanted to help.

Here's my latest grant--an iPad mini.  I will use this to support my online Class DOJO behavior management system.  Now, I can log on to my DOJO app where ever my class is in the school to award points. The kids are so excited!

Another GREAT resource is Adopt-A-Classroom.  You simply go online to register your class, describing what you need. I was notified within a month that I'd been sponsored for $104 to shop online.  I bought neon paper for my monthly newsletters, disinfecting wipes for my germ warfare, and a heavy duty stapler for my student dictionaries, etc.  F-U-N!!  The supplies were mailed to me within 3 days, arriving in my school office.  I just set it up again and wrote ANOTHER grant that is waiting to be filled--yipee!!

Another fun grant was offered through my credit union.  If you bank with a credit union, they often have grants for teachers.  I've won several from my credit union.  Here's a picture of my reading bean bags that I bought with one grant.  I also won my Elmo and Projector from them another year.  Too cool!!

Another source you might want to look into is your local Lion's Club.  We have an active Lion's Club in our city.  They generously offer grants to teachers every year.  I've won $250 worth of classroom library books from them twice.  Yep--twice!

The resources are out there, waiting for you.  There are people who want to help. It feels really good to know that there's a support system of good, generous people in our world that want to help teachers and schools.  Show them what you need.  You can do it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back to School Night....CHECK!

Back to School Night is one of my favorite evenings at school.  I love to connect names with faces, and give an overview of the school year with my families.  I tend to talk waaaayy too fast, cramming in waaayyy too many details about the school year, so this year I tried to zip it scale back my power point presentation, and give more time for questions at the end, or even just giving a little time for small talk before they whisked off to another classroom.

One new thing I tried this year was shrinking my QR code {which takes them to my class website} and attaching it to a pencil, as a treat for them to take home.  They seemed to really like it! I made sure they knew that the power point presentation, as well as other great information would be on my website in case they didn't catch all the information during my presentation. You can make a QR Code of your own, and link it to your website.  Just go to a "QR Code" generator on google.  It's free!

I also had the kids write letters to their parents and left them on the students' desks so that the parents had something to read while waiting for my presentation to begin.  This letter was particularly toward the end where she mentions how no one is a "chatter box" at her table.  Too funny!  I loved watching the parents reading their letters from their child...LOTS of smiles and whispers.  

This letter template, along with several more Fall themed printables, is included in my Back to School Night Kit:  LINK

What do you do to help bridge the communication at your Back to School Night?  It truly is a precious half hour or so where you get to be in charge of the first bonding opportunity of the year.   What matters in that half hour?  What's your hook?  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

End of Summer

Got up early this morning to wash my car.  *Sigh*  The end of my summer is here.  As I was vacuuming the last of the beach sand clinging to every nook and cranny of my car's interior, I said my goodbyes to a wonderful summer season, full of memories.  I even found a little bit of window paint left from my TpT road trip to Vegas.  I felt like Wilbur, looking at the remnants of Charlotte's spider web, drifting in the barn's frame.

I've been busy for the last few weeks setting up my classroom.  Although I LOVE summer, setting up my classroom is never a chore to me.  I love the quiet room (minus my own two kids who keep me company!) and the time to re-think the start of a new year.  Here are a few pictures of my walls to show you the color scheme.

I use a three color system in my classroom:  lime green, pale blue, and chocolate brown. I use the  polka-dot border, accented with a second solid brown border to really make it pop.   {Pinterest trick!}  The Common Core Math Practices Standards are a fun addition to my math board this year.  

 Not liking the puckers on this blue paper, but thought I could eek out one more year of use since the fadeless paper is so expensive.  Plus, it will be covered in student work in no time!  I'm going to start off my writing with the "We had a crazy-cool Summer!"  Aren't the popsicle lights cute?  Stole those from Michael's--gotta love the summer clearance stuff, right?!

And then there's my classroom door.  It's the most annoying shade of maroon, so please excuse that!  The kids will get to write their name on the door if they join PTA, so that's sort of fun!  The thing I do love about my door is that it's magnetized, so that makes it easy to put new things up all year long.  Here's a link to the smaller Welcome Back door sign:  Welcome Back

Here's my lil jar of birthday pencils, all ready to hand out to my students throughout the year.  Found the perfect owl erasers at my local school supply store, C & M (Upland).  Sooo cute! I accent with owls as part of my decorations--see my picture in the distance?  That's a Target treasure.  They really have some c-u-t-e canvas art in their home section, for a reasonable price!

So, I hope you are all having fun gearing up for your new school year!