Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Currently

I'm baaack! Took a little break from blogging, getting caught up in my latest saga--broken bone #2. Yep, I'm back-to-back on year #2 of a broken appendage. Ugh!  But, I'm here again, inspired by one on my favorite bloggers, Farley.  I'm linking up with her monthly Currently from Oh Boy, 4th Grade!

Listening:   I'm a total Real Housewives of ANYWHERE junkie.  My husband is a little concerned with  my addiction, thinking I envy the ladies on these shows.  But NO!  No envy here--just an escape from my day to day bump and grind, sitting here in my same ol chair until I can heal this leg of mine. Who's your favorite housewife from Beverly Hills?  Right now, I'm really relating to poor Yolanda.  She's struggling with Lupus and is housebound, so I relate to that in a big way. I also love her Dutch heritage and unpretentious style.  Here are my other favorites from the other locations:  New York:  Dorinda (such understated style),  New Jersey: Caroline (wise and sane), Atlanta:  Nene (she cracks me up!!), Orange County:  Shannon (but I want her to bail from that husband!)

Loving:   My husband and kids got me a treat...Philosophy hand cream.  It feels like such a treat to put on my tired hands. My hands are swollen and calloused from walking on crutches for 2 months, so it really was such a nice surprise.  Amazing Grace is the prettiest scent.

Thinking:  Always wondering how my class is doing while I'm off.  I miss them!

Wanting:  I am SO desperate to walk again.  It's absolutely maddening to be non-weight bearing for months.  If you've broken a leg/foot bone, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  It's funny, but when my family takes me out in my wheelchair, I get stopped constantly by well-wishers who have lived what I'm living.  They all want to share their stories of when they were in my situation.  It's a camaraderie type of thing.  I think I'll be like that once I'm healed.  I'll want to tell anyone with a broken leg that they will survive and be ok.

Needing:  A vanilla banana smoothie delivery.  My dad is bringing me one today--yay!

Real or Faux:  Real this year!  We are supporting our old Cub Scout Pack by getting a real tree from their fundraiser.  Should be pretty and smell good!  

Happiest of Holidays to all of you!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Out of This World Research

Informative/Explanatory writing is a often a overwhelming writing genre to tackle with 3rd graders.  I decided to create a product that I could use to help my students break this task into manageable parts.  Integrating Science seemed like a natural fit, so I geared this writing kit for researching our Solar System.  Here's a look, as well as a link:  Solar System Writing Kit

The contents of the product have the following pages, shown below.  Each student will receive a cover, and one page for each of the planets and the sun.  After researching all of the planets and sun, they will plan their report using the graphic organizer page, and then turn their planning into an actual report.  Two styles of templates for the report are provided, both in color or black & white to suit your printing needs. 

Each student is given his/her own Research booklet.  We take the booklets into our computer lab and hop on an online encyclopedia called World Book Encyclopedia.  Most districts provide a resource for research for their students and teachers to access.  Here's a picture of some of my students looking up facts and information online.  It takes an hour to get through 3 pages of research.  So, the initial research will take at least 3 days of computer lab time.  They are also given time to add information found from library books and their science text books.

Along with the research and report writing, I have my students make a three dimensional project to go along with it.  This is the culminating project that is completed at home.  Here are some cute ones they came up with!  This is absolutely one of the kids' favorite memories from 3rd grade. 

I encourage you to give this a try!  The kids will amaze you with their capabilities.  They feel so "grown up" using the online encyclopedia, actually begging me to work on it!  When they are given choice and time to write information they choose for a report, the quality and uniqueness of their writing is out of this world!  

Go for it!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Round Two...

So here I am again, sitting at home with a broken leg.  It's a major deja vu from last October, when I broke my foot.  This minion meme pretty much explains what I did to myself this time.  No kung fu spider kicks, but a big tumble down my stairs.  I cannot express the amount of pain I felt as I fell down.  I tried to get up, but fainted from the pain.  My daughter, my hero, was the only one home, and helped me call 911.  After an ambulance ride to the ER and a few X-rays, I heard the bad news.  I would be out of school for another 3 walking, no driving, no nothing.  Here I go again.

I'm not one to question God, but I did wonder a wee bit...the classic "why me...AGAIN?"  How could lightning strike again? Hadn't I already learned the lessons of slowing down, appreciating the little things in life last year?  God, what did I not learn last year, that I'm supposed to learn again this time?  Facebook gave me the answer to that question, loud and clear.

Facebook is my link to the outside world.  It can really play mind games with someone who's stuck at home.  I definitely see that the world has not stopped for me.  Life is going on without me--which I learned last year, thank you.  I hadn't expect the world to stop for me, and was super emotional when a friend would pop by, a meal was delivered, a card or call came home.   I've always been super sentimental, where little thoughtful gestures go a LONG way in my book.  Seeing everyone having embracing life is fun to see, but brings the painful realization that I'm stuck at home, not having fun at all.  Anyway, in the midst of my love/hate relationship with Facebook, I saw that I wasn't the only one getting a double dose of misery.  

My old high school best friend had a tragedy with her husband a few years ago.  He had an unexpected aneurysm that they are still battling with.  He survived, but life will never be the same for them. Last week, her son broke his neck while surfing.  When I saw this, my heart froze.  It's happening to her again.  

An old friend who used to be a speech teacher at my school was diagnosed with breast cancer about 4 years ago. She's moved back to the south, where she was originally from, but we've stayed in touch through Facebook. Luckily, she fought and survived her breast cancer.  I've spent many Octobers cheering for her from a distance, as she relived her victory over cancer during cancer awareness month.  Well, recently, she just announced that the cancer is back.  Again.  

I am not the only one experiencing pain or suffering twice.  It's happening all the time, to lots of people.  I am not alone in this.  I guess the lessons are still there for me to learn, for us to learn.  My friend Amy told me that she doesn't ask God why.  She just knows that she will emerge, as she did last time, a new person, with new strengths, with new sympathy for others, with the eyes of someone who knows how to be resilient and faithful.  I will try to look at my plight with her eyes and not ask why.  

In closing, I will end this post with gratitude.   For my dear friend (not naming names), who calls me every day, thank you for keeping me in the loop and laughing.  For my church family, who brings us meals and calls to check on me, thank you.  For my neighbors who feed us and check on us, thank you.  For my Girl Scout friends, thank you for the meals and encouragement.  For my husband's co-workers, who are so kind, thank you.  For my dad, who comes to sit with me every week and brings me apple fritters, thank you.  For my mom, who is with me every single day, helping the kids, cooking and tidy for us, thank you.  For my husband, I can't even put into words the amount of love I have for you.   Through thick and thin--proven over and over again.  My kids--my constant source of happiness--thank you both!  Feeling beyond blessed by the outpouring of love and support.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You...

The first week of school is under my belt.  Well, it was only 3 days, all of which were minimum days, but hey, let's just call it a week, ok?  And let me tell you, this meme is SPOT on!!  I was actually looking like the middle picture by Friday; temperatures were soaring into the 100's, and I was a hot mess!

So, once I got me ever growing class list somewhat settled in by Day 2, I jumped right in with some initial assessments.  The beauty of this first one, Math About Me, is that the kids have NO idea that I'm already getting to know their number sense with this activity.  The students simply write their age on the line, then show me all the ways to make that number.  Luckily, the 2nd grade team is already giving the kids lots of open-ended experiences, so they didn't seem too overwhelmed by this assignment.  Here are some images of the kids in action!

This student only had a few ideas written down when he tried to turn it in, so I had him try a little longer.  He came up with some great ideas!  He has internalized the Commutative Property of Addition--woot!  I see a few answers that equal seven, so I'll sit down with him to have him take a second look.  I'm also loving the repeated addition, and picture of the individual units.

This student has an IEP, so he was given manipulatives to work with.  He was able to find several equations by the time he was finished, mostly involving addition.

This student had the right idea, and even dipped into multiplication, which was exciting to see.  Again, an understanding of the Commutative Property of Addition is noted, as well as some errors that I will work with him on.  The string of repeated addition at the top came with a little help.  He wanted to know how many 1's it would take make the equation correct.  Since it was a "covert assessment," I didn't want to help too much, but got him on the right path.  Then, he came up with the bottom equation with the 2's on his own, which was exciting to witness!
Math About Me can be done on ANY piece of paper, quick and easy!  If you'd like a link to the product you see above, click here: All About Me & Math About Me

There is a cute template for a self portrait and writing, as well as the Math About Me template you saw in the pictures above--both GREAT for the beginning of school!

I also give a traditional Math Inventory Test, which gives me a clear picture of what 2nd Grade CCSS Math Standards they have maintained over summer.  Here's a link to that product as well (sorry, no action shots since it's a bit more "standardized.")  3rd Grade Math Inventory Test

What ways do you get to know your students?  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August Currently

Not quiiite ready to even mutter the word "August" so I'll just whisper it....  ((August)).  It's here.  No turning back.  I really can't's been a totally relaxing, no agenda kinda summer.  Farley's monthly Currently series will put some spunk back into all of us, right? Here we go!

Listening:  If the paper is rustling, then my husband is up, or the dog is making a nest again.  I'm pretty sure it's my husband.  He's in major denial right now, needing to wash our lil camper from a week of beach camping.  Let's just say, our tent trailer must have had a seagull target painted on top of it--not pretty.  I'll give him a few more minutes to pretend that he can sit on our comfy recliner all day, reading the paper.

Loving:  Can I just say that I love Fit Flops so much that I might marry them?  After my broken foot stunt last year, they were the only thing that fit my one fat foot.  However, I'm going to just be known as the Fit Flop teacher, because I can't stop wearing them.  {It's my little way of extending summer all year long.  They are technically flip flops, but a wee bit fancier.  I'll rebel all year long in them!}  I bought 3 new pairs for school:  silver, bronze, and black      Pretty cute, no?  
Thinking:  This one's a no brainer, right?  Every teacher across the planet is thinking of this...getting into the classroom to set up for the year.  I'm a step ahead of myself this summer, I already snuck in and put up my new paper and borders--love them!  I have a lime green, teal, white theme with chevron borders this year.  I had brown instead of teal, but now it looks so much fresher to me.  I still need to put the final headers on the bulletin boards, and finalize my first week with my kiddos--third grade again this year.  

Wanting:  A fresh pedicure to fix the camping feet syndrome.  I won't go into details, cuz it ain't pretty.  I'll just say that since I live in Fit Flops, a pedicure is just built into our monthly budget, ok?

Needing:  I left my 3 hole punch at work, so my lesson plans are all over my dining room table.  I need to lasso them all together to get them in my Lesson Plan binder.  Here's my gingham Lesson Plan Templates & More product that I use each year.  They come in green, purple, and blue gingham; I'm using the blue one this year.  

Click here to get a better look:  Lesson Plan Templates & More

B2S RAK:  It's gotta be for my mom!  As I head back to school, leaving my own two kids behind, she hosts "grandma camp" for them.  They swim, bowl, go to movies, and even play board games!  Isn't she the best?  I will definitely hook her up with some RAKs, since she helps us soooo much!

Hey, that's it for this month!  Hoping all of you are gearing up for the start of a great new year!  If you've already started up, I hope it's going well for you.

Take care,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece

Alright...heading into week 3 of the TpT Seller Challenge.  This week's challenge is to "Make Your Masterpiece."  It's a known fact in the TpT world that we hit productivity blocks and need to step away from making products and live life a little.  The time away from creating is sometimes all it takes to get the creative juices flowing again.  One major hiccup in my summer product creation motivation has been my *attempt* to wean myself from Diet Coke.  Yep.  The time has come.  I decided to do it over summer since I lose control during the school year with all the lunches and treat days.  If I can kick this habit now, hopefully my tastebuds will decide that Diet Coke is no longer a necessity! Is it wrong that I want this necklace?

Errr, I guess it is a little too much evidence that I like DC waaaay too much!  Let's face it, it causes major Mentos explosions, right?  So it's gotta be bad on the innards.   

Anywhoo, I've veered off course.  What was I talking about?  Oh, yes, the "Make Your Masterpiece" challenge.  I mustered up some energy (on bubbly San Pellegrino) and came up with this fun product:

It's an accordion-style book of national symbols, memorials, and monuments.  Fits perfectly with my 3rd grade Social Studies curriculum.  Here's the link in case you want to check it out:  MASTERPIECE

Here are the links to the fabulous creators of this fun challenge:  Third in HollywoodSparkling in Second GradePeppy Zesty TeacheristaTeach Create Motivate   I can't thank them enough for the motivation and creative push that we sometimes need!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream

It's HERE!  Week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge has arrived.  {I'm still doing my cover makeovers from last week's challenge~only 30 more to go! Whew!}  Here are the links to the fabulous creators of this fun challenge:  Third in HollywoodSparkling in Second GradePeppy Zesty TeacheristaTeach Create Motivate

Now, it's one thing to dream.  It's another thing to put your dreams into writing, for all the world to see.  I do believe that there's power in putting your thoughts and dreams into writing, then shooting it out to the universe.  Hopefully, it will swirl and spin, mixing with the right elements to come to fruition.  Here I go...

Family Vacation:  Last summer, we were fortunate to have TpT funds to take us to the east coast~ Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York.  It was a family dream of a lifetime!   My latest dream to splurge on from my TpT savings is to go somewhere tropical with my family.  The Bahamas, Hawaii, the Caribbean would be just fine, thank you!  We want the white sands, high-calorie fluffy-blended drinks, whales breeching in the distance, and NO agenda!!

Bye Bye Visa:  This one is on my last nerve!! Darn visa bill!  We pay it off, then it creeeeps back up on us.  I hate debt and want it GONE for good!  

RAKs:  I love to do Random Acts of Kindness, and would love to do more without worrying about it.  I do have a few homeless people in my city that I keep encountering, and have started recognizing.  I love giving them money, especially Diane.  She is so sassy, and has the sweetest pup companion.  When I give her money, she thanks God first, then says, "Thanks, hun."  There's also a mysterious homeless woman that I see on the way to work almost every day.  I'd love to stop one day and give her a care package or a bundle of cash to make her week go by a little easier.  

So, those are a few of my dreams.  There you go, universe...have your way with them! Also a HUGE shoutout to Teachers Pay Teachers for already making my dreams come true.  What a blessing you've been in my family's life!

What are your dreams?

Monday, June 15, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge

I'm finally emerging from my "Beginning of Summer Coma. " The naps were coming on strong.  My kids were laughing at me, because whenever I sat still long enough, I was falling asleep.  Ha ha!  It takes me about a week to decompress from the end of a school year.  Today, the sleepy fog has lifted, and I'm joining the TpT Seller Challenge.  Yay!   When I saw it, I instantly knew that this was a challenge I was up for.  I'll tackle my house cleaning *later* m-kay? Here are the links to the fabulous creators of this fun challenge:  Third in Hollywood, Sparkling in Second Grade, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, Teach Create Motivate

So, for the Week 1 Challenge, Makeover Madness, I was challenged to makeover a cover or product.  I decided to feature a product cover that is part of a series.  I make "Story Booster Packs" for the stories in my reading series, and have been s-l-o-w-l-y revamping their covers.  This series is one of my firsts on TpT, and probably the most popular.  Teachers are always looking for ways to supplement the stories, so that's where my Story Booster Packs emerged.  Once upon a time, I was very proud of the covers.  Honestly, in my two year journey on TpT,  I have learned SO much!  I cringe when I look at them now, so these covers were the first on my hit list.  I'm already feeling relieved, and have at least 15 more to go.  

Here are my "Before" and "After" photos.  

So, there you go!  Yes, it's embarrassing to see that "Before" shot, but hey, look at it now!  Woo hoo!  I would also like to comment on my very first experience with clip art, which was using free images from My Cute Graphics.  A HUGE shout out to My Cute Graphics!! Her clip art is perfect for TpT products, especially for when you're brand new, and just getting started on TpT.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May Currently

Hello, May!  22 Days and Counting until Summer Break!  Hooking up with one of my favorite bloggers, Farley, for her monthly Currently series.  Check her blog out for some fun reads!

Listening:  Saturday morning madness~as usual!  Looking for all of my son's gear, scattered all over! When will we ever get organized--ha ha!!

Loving:  I put the finishing touches on my kids' Teacher Appreciation gifts for the upcoming week.  I just love doing this for them, knowing how hard they work for all children!  

Thinking:  Eeeek!  Report card time again!  'Nuf said!

Wanting:  I almost have my husband convinced that we need a jacuzzi in our backyard!  It'd be heaven!

Needing:  My cupboards are overflowing again.  I really need to purge the old, and organize the rest. I will do this before school's out, so I can come back in Fall with a fresh start!

Summer:  The sweetest word in a teacher's vocabulary...summer!   I look forward to some me time, and we time with my lil family. Sun, beach, pool time, trips, camping~ahhhh! Can't wait!


Not only am I a teacher, but I'm also an appreciative parent of some wonderful teachers.  Here's what we have in store for them this week!

The first one pictured is for all of my son's & daughter's teachers.   Included is a Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificate (yay!), a Starbucks card, and a "Mad About You" Bath and Body Works lotion.  They each have a homeroom teacher, and also rotate between a few other outstanding teachers for other subjects.  Each teacher has a knack for bringing the best out in kids, and is an expert in his/her particular subject area.  Let's just say, the dendrites are growing more than ever this year in the Martinez household.   The male teachers don't get the hot pink ribbon or lotion, but some candy instead, with a blue ribbon!

 Here's a fun one for my daughter's homeroom teacher.  I'm the Room Mom for his class, so instead of the gift pictured first, we are doing some daily fun stuff for each day of the week.  We collected donations from the kids in the class, and are doing a daily group gift.  The first one is a fuel gift card.  He's a motorcycle rider, so we thought this would be perfect!  "Thanks for FUELING our minds for success!"

 He loves the movies, so we are thanking him for a PICTURE perfect year with a movie gift card.
 What teacher doesn't love Target?  I'm sure teachers keep that store afloat, huh!?
 Our teacher loves to do scrapbooking with his students for math--so creative!  Here's a Michael's Gift Card attached to a jar of funny balls--"We've had a BALL with the scrapbooking!"
 Here's an oldie, but a goodie... We are SODA-lighted to be in your class.  A Subway Gift Card is a handy lunch for a busy teacher.

Here's a copy of the gift tags, just in case you need a quick gift to put together.  Simply drag the image on to your desktop, and presto--instant gift tags.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Currently

No fooling, it's already time for the April Currently, sponsored by my favorite blogger, Farley! Thank goodness for her monthly creativity and nudge to share.

Alrighty then, here we go! 

Listening:   My poor daughter is home sick today.  She's all snuggled up in my bed, watching cartoons.  Oh, did I mention that she's in 6th grade and STILL watching Doc McStuffins?  C'mon now, that can't be cool! (Let's not tell her that I announced this to the ENTIRE cyber world, ok?)

Loving:  I'm knee deep in Spring Break, and LOVING it!  My kids were off last week, and I'm off this week, so let's just say that it's all about me....until I get the kiddos at 2:20, then it's all about them.  Homework, dinner, sports.....

Thinking:  I could use one more Spring Break next week.  I just have so much that I want to do at home and with TpT.  I'm chipping away at my new TpT product covers every day, and attempting to clean the house.  Ok, not really. I'm really just TpTing it all the way--let's be real!

Wanting:  My mom's famous aebleskivers are heading to our house on Easter Sunday.  (Yes, I had to Google how to spell that word.)  They are a Danish round/ball-shaped pancake, with unusual spices.  I dip mine in butter and powdered sugar, and sometimes put strawberry jelly on them.  Can you say YUMMY?

Needing:  I'm seriously addicted to the Eagle Cam in Hanover, PA.  My class and I have been watching the nest since Feb.  The two eaglets just hatched and are beyond cute!! The dad eagle drops fish on the mom eagle's head about once a day.  There's even a skunk fur left over from a meal early this week (poor skunky!).  It's just about the coolest thing ever--nature at its finest.  

EGGS-plain Your Name:  Nothing too remarkable here.  My maiden name was Thomas, and I've been a Martinez since 2001.  

Happy Spring to you, everyone!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Currently

I love February...and I LOVE Farley's Currently series every month!  Here we go!

Listening:  Yep, coffee's brewing.  My favorite time of day is the crack of dawn.  I get up super early, even on the weekends, to catch some quite time for myself.  I get most of my planning, grading, and reading done during these precious hours before the kids wake up.  Then, forgetaboutit!! #it'sallaboutthem

Loving:  Let's just say that I always took the "B" in science when I was in school.  I never did a science project growing up, so every year since my kids were in 1st grade, I've been getting my world rocked.  This year, we have my daughter doing an experiment on Gummy Bear Osmosis, and my son's doing one on how to keep Glow Sticks Glowing longer.  They turned out cute!  

Thinking:  I *might* actually pull up some recipes from my Pinterest board on Recipes to Try.  I swear, if I did all of the things I pin, I'd be a #supermomwifeteacherhealthyhotmama!!!  But, I don't, so I'll probably pull out a bag of chips and call it a day.

Wanting:  Forget "wanting," I WILL have a massage at some point today.  My husband is so sweet about scooting me out the door for a massage for his my sanity.  

Needing:  It's Girl Scout Cookie Season!!  Need I say more?  I will be going around my neighborhood with my daughter today, helping to ruin everyone's New Year's resolutions.  Muahahahahahha!!

Pageant Title:  Tail between my legs on this one...."Miss Anxiety Girl."  I'm super guilty about being like this.  I really need to snap out of it!  

Welp, there you have it!  Thanks for popping by!

Friday, January 2, 2015

What's The Story Behind My TpT Logo?

I found a fun forum thread on TpT, asking us the story behind our store logo.  So, I'm connecting with Jenny's Linky {Art with Jenny K} for today's blog post. You can see my TpT store logo below.  It's the same one I use for my blog (sorry for the double whammy!)  I'm NOT a big fan of photos of myself, but thought this one worked well.  It's taken from an engagement picture 13 years ago.  Add a few more gray hairs, wrinkles, and a few pounds, and it's still basically me--ha ha!  We all have to put our best foot face forward, right?  It looks a little cropped because IT IS!  My poor husband was shaved off of the right side.  He did not want to intermingle with my TpT world I guess.  Would you like to meet him?  Scroll down...
So here's the original picture that my face came from. (It's a little blurry--sorry!)  I'd like to introduce you to my better half, my partner, bestest daddy and husband ever, Jesse!

This is our engagement photo from the summer of 2001.  Awww...look at how young we were!  I dare not put a current picture up...any new teacher would scream and run with the affects of stress on a teacher--lol!  

So there you have it, the story behind my store logo.