Friday, July 26, 2013

Getting Creative and more Giveaways

The past few days I have been in the creating mood. I know its not Monday Made it, but I am moving next week, so I thought I would post earlier and hope that I get a chance to make more on Monday.

Making Banners

This first thing I created was a Homework banner to make my decor.  It was a lot easier than I too easy.  But it turned out super cute!  I am feeling like a rockstar!!!

What you can't see (because it wasn't up when I took the picture) are the labels for the days and subjects.  Believe me when i tell you it looks fabulous.  I even added an area to hang no name papers.

Whatchya Reading?

I then decided to give a shot at using digital paper.  Turns out, it is also super easy!  Geesh, what was I so worried about?  I made this:
Digital Paper credited to : The Hazel Owl
Ok so the idea came from, well, hmm... I have searched through all my blogs I read and cannot remember or find it.  Gosh I feel bad.  If you are the person who has this idea in your room, let me know so I can give you credit.  Heather at Room 4 Imagination when she referenced Pernille Ripp (sorry I have no working linking).  Its an awesome idea, by the way!!!!  The idea is to put the covers of the books I read around this sign. I am excited because it looks so stinking cute!!!

Custom Clothes Pins

Next I tried my hand at custom clothes pins that you see everywhere on Pinterest.  Check them out!!!!
I tried to get them all in one shot...manages to get my toes.  Whoops!

I am so in love with the flip flops!!!!

Some were still drying.

I made 100 in all.  For some I used washi tape.  for the rest I used scrap book paper and Mod Podge.  I really had fun with this.  I am going to use some for the no name papers wall, and some on my other bulletin boards.  I plan to attach tacks to the back to but them in the cork on my walls.  THIS will be my monday made it.  You will see...It will be great!

Whew!  Well, now for the....


First up is Bethany from Hunter's Tales from Teaching. She is having a 400 follower giveaway.  How wonderful.  I want 400 followers.  Click below to go to the raffelcopter.

Next, Run! Ms. Nelson's got the Camera has a cute giveaway for labels and ribbon.  I live too far away for this one, but maybe you can win!

Next up is Alison from Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin' has made some super cute Behavior Beads.  If you don't know what they are, you must click on the image and go read her post.  So, she was so excited about it, she also decided to give away an amazon gift card.  Yeah, we win!!!!!

OK, then there is this!!!  What?!?! Freebielicious is sponsoring a Christmas in July.  Woah!!  Its a freebie hop and some giveaways.  Unbelievable.  And being the super nice blogger friend that I am, I am telling all thins BEFORE I do my hop. I know, I am so kind and selfless..Haha. But it is true. :)
Go check it out!

Then, I found this.  Fourth Grade Flipper is having a pin it to win it giveaway.  I am totally game!  These are cute!

Teaching Tribune is still having their awesome blog hop, freebie, and massive giveaway.

I found this sweet giveaway on Head over Heels for Teaching, Sweet Rhyme-Pure Reason, Pinkadots, Collaboration Cuties, Ideas by JiveyFourth Grade FlipperFifth in the Middle, I love my Classroom, Where the Wild Things Learn, Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road, I Heart Recess, AND Teaching with a Touch of Twang. Its a giveaway for doing something I already was doing...Hello!  That's my kind of giveaway!! Just click any of their names to enter. Click the picture to go to their collaborative Pinterest board.

Looking From Third To Fourth is having a500 follower giveaway AND a pin it to win it.  Head on over join in all that fun!

GEESH!!!! That was a lot! I was going to list all the new and current Linky parties, but its way past my bedtime.  Yikes!  I definitely follow some VERY generous people!  I am going to have to probably stay up another couple hours to just enter in all these giveaways.  It will be worth it when I finally win something. :)

Well get out there and start entering giveaways, people!!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finding Deals

Fun Fact: It is REALLY expensive here in Japan.  Like crazy expensive!!!
So, I am always looking for a deal. I have not gotten into the extreme couponing like so many military wives on island (I hear it a full time job in itself). BUT, I do look for sales and shop around (as much as you can here...its either the Air Force BX or the Marine Corps PX (they sell the same stuff at the same price).  But there is quite a selection of gadgets and containers in the local stores.

BUT, you are not reading this to hear how to find deals in Japan...  

No, you are here to read about deals for YOU!  Well, surprisingly enough, you have come to the right place. Well, at least a link to the right place.  My friend in the states found this blog post from Gift Card Granny.  Crazy, right?!?

Well this wonderful Granny has made a list of 66 Teacher discounts found at stores all around the states (most are major chains).  Then for a bonus, the comments give tons more.  Hey, I am not going to force you to go shopping, but if I was in the states I would definitely check to see if my favorite store, restaurant, or museum has a teacher discount.  Go check it out!

Then I found this guy: Professor Joe Martin E.D.D.  His whole purpose is to save teachers money.  Yeah, you read that right!!! His website is called R.I.C.H. Teachers. Well, hey, that sounds like something I may like to be.
Well, that is all I have for now.  I now need to go see how I can become a rich teacher!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giveaways Everywhere You Look

It seems with school coming back and summer coming to end for so many people, Giveaways are popping up left and right.  I am sure I do not have all of them, but I do want to tell you about the ones I have found.  Be sure to check them out!

The Teaching Tribune

The Teaching Tribune is a new collaboration blog that is starting off with a big bang!  They are having a fun blog hop feeble turned game/giveaway.  Its a great idea, and very well put together.  You hop to 20 blogs downloading the freebie (actual usable stuff) and scan the QR code printed in the freebie.  It will give you a value and then you add all the values up to enter the giveaway.  Be sure to return each day... the prizes are announced with the winner.  BUT: Here is a list of the prizes they have:

Sweet Rhyme-Pure Reason

Sweet Rhyme-Pure Reason is having a 350+ follower giveaway.  Sweet!!!!  Be sure to follow him and he promises to get more people involved for his next big giveaway.  Maybe we can get him to 500!!!

The Sweetest Thing

The Sweetest Thing is still running her big 1 year blogiversary giveaway as well.  You have to hurry, it ends on the 25th!!!

Looking From Third to Fourth

Looking from Third to Fourth has fund herself with 500 followers...Oh if only I could be so lucky!  Anyway, she is graciously having a party of sorts with not 1 but 2 giveaways.  What?!?  I know it!  Exciting!!!!

Teach N' Tex

Teach n' Tex is having a 3 for 3 giveaway.  I was not sure what this meant, but apparently she was fast approaching 300 fans when it boomed quickly to nearly 500.  I think after this giveaway she may have to start planning for a 600 follower giveaway. :)
So, here's a hint: Don't just go to the first rafflecopter and move one; She has 3 of them! Again, WOW!! Excitign stuff!!!  I read her story and its sweet.  I know I am going to enjoy reading about her journey moving to 2nd grade.

Fun in Room 4B

Fun in Room 4B was able to convince School Outfitters to give one of us $100 to spend at their store.  What?!? Count me in! I don't know about you, but I am always up for spending money for my classroom, especially when its FREE money!!!!  So hurry on over and sign up for your chance to win!

Follow along and show the love...

These people work really hard to set up these freebies, blog hops and giveaways.  By sure to follow along with them and show them some love.  I would love feedback as well.  I read every comment, and usually grin from ear to ear because someone thought enough to write me! I think we bloggers thrive on feedback!!!  So do not hesitate to leave a little blurb. Thank you!!!

Life with Matthew

**This is a very honest and real look into my life as a mother to a special needs child. Please do not judge.**

The 2013-2014 school year was perhaps my most challenging year as a teacher.  Not because of my students, because I was blessed with a fairly easy class.  It was more of the balance of my personal life and school.

Last year on August 1st, my family and I arrived on the beautiful island of Okinawa, Japan.  This was the place that we will now call home until the summer of 2015.  We arrived with no house, nothing more than what fit in our suitcases, and no job for me.  Sometimes that is the most challenging part of being a military spouse: picking up and making a home in a strange land, with little to nothing to start with.

Luckily, I was hired while still living in a hotel room, moved into our house on Friday with school starting on Monday.  It was an insane time for us.  But I survived with the help of my colleagues.
It was not long into the school year when we quickly realized my Matthew, in Kindergarten, was not transitioning well.  He had always been delayed but we could never really put our finger on what was wrong.  So, when his teacher explained what was happening in class (hiding, screaming, unable to communicate) I ran to the school psychologist.  I think I always knew, but was unwilling to admit child is autistic.  She was hesitant to use the term until she started working with him.  She was wonderfully honest with me and 100% agreed with my suspicions.  She got me set up with the best doctors on island and by December Matthew had his diagnosis.  This was bitter sweet.  

When your child is born, you start to have dreams for them.  You think about colleges, and marriages, and grandchildren.  You think about all the major life experiences that you treasure and have high hopes for your babies.  Well, I did too.  And suddenly I felt like it was all taken away.  I felt like the hopes and dreams I had for him died that day.  I was mourning. 

However, Matthew was able to get an IEP, he began receiving services and an aid.  He was enrolled in Speech, and OT and Special Education classes.  They worked on social skills, reading, math, communication (both verbal and non verbal).  He was getting help!  BUT, things did not change over night and I was still struggling to cope.

I saw the children in my classroom and wished things were as easy for him.  I watched the way children reacted to Matthew and it made me cry.  they did not understand and I had no way to make them.  Other parents would tell their children to stay away from "that boy."  I would hear parents whisper, "If that was my kid I would beat him." Yes, that REALLY happened, more than once!  I tried to find, but was unable to find anything here on island, a parents' support group.  Nothing, I felt so alone and so sad.

Then, I started reading anything and everything I could find.  Autism Speaks has so many wonderful resources for parents, and siblings, and teachers.  Facebook had some virtual support groups and tons of resources to read. Through all this reading and building a more structured environment, I started to realize that I did not lose a child, he was still here!  He was even better than anything I could have hoped for.  My child sees the world in ways most of us just gloss over.  He sees beauty in EVERYTHING, he loves to dance (and boy does he!), he loves with his whole being.  It may take him awhile to connect with some one, and it may not seem he is always there, but he is.

He still has out burst and doesn't always play with the other kids, but he is trying now.  I was honest with the parents in the classroom and soon all the kids loved Matthew and the Parents would find ways to connect with him too.  Things started to get better.  One little girl who read exceptionally well in Kindergarten, would read Matthew his favorite books.  her mom even remembered Matthew's birthday and brought him a giant blue snake balloon (3 of his favorite things in 1: blue, snakes, and balloons) for him.  I cried I was so thankful.  It was beyond sweet!!!

On the last day of school, Matthew had to say goodbye to one of his aids.  As is the life with the military, she was moving back to the states.  We always knew he loved Ms.G. He would scream at her, and push her buttons, but he always wanted her around.  Well, this last day of school, my sweet Matthew grabbed Ms. G's face, made her look at him, put his nose to her nose and whispered, "I miss you forever, Ms. G."  Oh Bother, not a dry eye in the room I tell you!  That boy can love and he knows when to show it!

So, all that worry of my hopes and dreams dying with his diagnosis was garbage. Not only do I KNOW my child will graduate High School, not only do I KNOW that Matthew will go to some sort of college, I also know that he WILL love.  He may not ever get married, he may not ever have children. That is OK.  Matthew brings so much joy and laughter to our lives.  He is perfect and will be just fine.  

We often find life's balance once our whole world has been turned upside down.  I was someone who had thought she had her life in order. However, Matthew has taught me to take one day at a time, not to sweat the small stuff, and to laugh.  My goodness...LAUGH!  When stress of school, being a taxi service to your football/lacrosse/soccer playing preteens, personal chef and maid to a family of 5, and being the sole advocate for your special needs child starts to get to much, I just curl up with Matthew and he makes the whole world seem simpler. :)

This is the day we got Oscar (Meyer the Wiener Dog), Matthew's "therapy" dog.  These 2 are inseparable.

I wish I could let everyone meet him.  Just being around him makes you smile.  Sometimes there are dinosaurs chasing us in the car, or power rangers fighting in the backyard, he hands you invisible things and expects you to still have them hours later (just put them in your pocket!!!!). His imagination is out of this world, but that is something that makes life so fun with Matthew.

Sometimes life isn't exactly what we expect, sometimes its even better!  

I hope that you can find the simple things in life and I hope everyone gets to work with and love a Matthew of their very own!  Thanks for sticking around for such a long post.  Have great week!

Monday, July 22, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching

During my daily blog stalk read, I found a super cute linky party I wanted to join.  Miss Kindergarten has started 10 Things I've Learned from Teaching Party and I am on board!

So here goes:

1. Pee WHENEVER you get the chance!  The worst is realizing you have to pee just as recess ends and your next break is in 2 hours....YIKES!  Pretty sure teachers invented the peepee dance.

2. Invest in comfortable shoes.  If you are unlucky enough to work where you MUST wear dress shoes, understand you do not get extra points for high heels!  Buy some loafers and slip on flats.  I have been lucky enough to work where tennis shoes are the norm.  I have no problem spending extra on Nike or New Balance.

3. There are many discipline plans, find one that works for you.  My secret weapon is drawing them in early.  Everyone of my kids knows that I love them and will play and laugh and sing, but only if we follow my rules.  I always end up with "that" kid, but I usually have very little resistance because he/she never wants to disappoint me.

4. Do not be afraid to teach from the hip.  If you find yourself in the middle of a lesson that has gone horribly wrong...STOP!  Either switch to the next topic and come back around tomorrow, or just have a pow wow. Pull the kids together, sit on the floor or under a tree outside and just talk about what was good what was bad.

5. Take reflection notes on your lesson plans.  I hated doing this in college, but found it gave me the best input on teaching.  On my lessons I have a place where I have "what worked" and "what needs tweaking". Sometimes I write change nothing, sometimes I write, "Throw it all out!"  Most days I write the good parts and look back on what could be better.  This not only helps for next year, but it helps me plan better lessons next week.

6. Do NOT skip lunch.  I don't care what diet you are on or how much you need to get done.  You must refuel to keep up with your kids.  i have never seen a GREAT teacher sitting at her desk while the kids ran amok.

7. Collaborate!  If you are a first year teacher or a 30 year teacher, we all have something to share and something to learn. The best plans come from many people building on a single idea. Do not ever believe you have nothing to share and do not ever believe you cannot learn from your colleagues.  This past year I learned more from my student teacher than I have in a looooong time. I was supposed to be teaching her....whoops!  She says I taught her a bunch, but goodness, she was good!!!

8. Become best friends with the Janitor, Secretary and all other support staff.  Besides having all the hookups, these people are so under appreciated and are usually stinking amazing people!

9. Let your kids see you read.  I know that when you have a DEAR (drop everything and Read) or a SSR (silent sustained reading) or whatever you may call it, it seems easier to work at your desk and get some things done.  BUT, the kids are watching!!!  If they see you reading and getting excited about the books, they totally want to do the same. I also highly recommend having a novel to read aloud.  When I taught 1st it was Junie B Jones.  In 2nd, The BFG.  In 5th it was How to Train Your Dragon and Sisters Grimm. I learned that I like to start series with the kids and then they want to read the rest.

10. Laugh at yourself! Do not be afraid to say I don't know.  When it happens say, "I was wrong."  It is ok to be human. The kids respect you more for being honest rather than "right."  Its ok to goof up and let the students correct you.  If you must, play it off like you were testing them.  However, think of what it does for the self esteem of the kid who realizes you made a mistake.  It shows them its ok to make mistakes.  Creating a non-threatening, learning from our mistakes, teamwork classroom is just priceless!

Wow!  That was fats.  I still feel like there are so many more pearls of wisdom.  And when I started I was totally going to make this funny.  Well, I did not hit the mark this time.  I will aim for funny tomorrow :)

Thanks for this really awesome Linky party Miss Kindergarten!

Monday Made it

I have a new found love for mondays...and its all thanks to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.  I love reading and making things for this link up.  This week I took a chance and played on power point and realized I can make something really cute.

I found this on Pinterest from Second Grade Shenanigans: (I apologize for not having a Pinterest link, but you can click on the picture to see her post)
Well, I decided it was time I figure out how to make something super cute in my own colors.  So I did!

It really didn't take me too long and I love the outcome!  I am not sure if I want to use small rectangle or small circles, so I made both for now.  here it is:

I took a close up too:

These were my first attempt and obviously, without a class list I cannot add the kids names yet.  You know looking at the picture the colors are kind of funky, but I swear it looks fabulous in my room! 
So here is the thing.  i do not have a TpT store...shock and awe, I know.  Believe me when I say I buy all the time, but I have not actually set up a store.  So, I am happy to share these for free.  I am now going to try my Monday Made it #2 by creating a Google Doc to let you down load. These will be 100% editable since I have not finished reading all the techy tips to lock them and so on and so forth.  I am working on it!  Right now, you just have to click on the numbers to change the dates and the names to your students.  I made the dates and names in circles and rectangles AND in all three colors.  I do hope you like it.  If you do, please let me know.  I will try my hand at creating more stuff and maybe even opening a store...I will probably make everything for free for awhile.  
BUT, until then, just click my pretty J and take a set for yourself. (I should not that it seems to have changed my font in Google Drive...hmmmmm.  I will work on it.  If it does not work, just let me know and I will e-mail it to you. :)

So how is that for a Monday Made it!  I created something, learned how to post it and shared it too!  Wahoo, I am feeling pretty awesome right now. 

My very last Monday Made It is my Signature button below.  Yes, it is still super simple, just liek the rest of my blog, but that is just me.  Maybe I should have named this Plain Jane (But name is Amy, so it didm't really fit, huh?)  Well that is all for now.  Be sure to leave comments and link up with your Monday Made it.

Don't Forget!!!

You must stop by The Sweetest Thing to enter her Blogiversary Giveaway. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Day of Giveaways

I woke up this beautiful Saturday morning (still Friday night for you) to find that many of the blogs I stalk read are doing give aways!  Yay!  I wanted everyone to know about them, so here they are:

$100 giveaway to School Outfitters

So, Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade was super lucky to be offered $100 to spend at School Outfitters.  She is having trouble deciding what to get, so she has asked for our help.  PLUS, School Outfitters was incredibly generous and has offered to give one of her lucky followers $100 to spend as well!  Say what?!?  How cool is that?  Yep, I am totally registered in her rafflecopter.  Fingers crossed!!!

A Really Cool Math Game

Christina from Bunting, Books and Bainbridge had a fun opportunity to try out a math game called tri-Facta from Learning Resources. They were so generous they also gave her one to give away.  Woohoo!  Click on the picture to below to read all about the game and what Christina thought about it. YOu must hurry if you want to win, though.  The raffle ends in 1 day!!!!

A Blogiversary Giveawy

Lauren at The Sweetest Thing is in her full swing of her blogiversary giveaway. Head on over and check it out!

Huge Giveaway and a Freebie Hop

Holy awesomeness!  So Teaching Blog Roundup is having a huge giveaway and hosting a freebie hop. It looks pretty spectacular and I have already found some sweet things to use in my classroom.  Head on over and check out all the good stuff!  I think that I need to start a store so I can link up to this.  Hmmm, what have a made that people will love.....

Well that is all from me...Quite a good thing to wake up to don't you think?  Well I have funthings planned for today, so I guess its time to get the chores done so we can hit the pool and go shopping. Woohoo!

Have a great Weekend!

A Friday of Rambling...but good stuff, too!

Living in the Future...

The hardest thing about living in Okinawa, currently, is the time difference (we are 13 ours ahead of the east coast and 16 hours ahead of the west coast).  When I call back to the states, my family is asleep.  When they call me, I am asleep.  My Dad is constantly asking me who won the "big game" and if I know the lottery numbers (Oh Dad!!!).

The truth is, as you all are headed to bed, I am running out the door to try to get to work.  In some cases, it wonderful have a 13 extra hours to procrastinate.  But I am certainly missing my sister's voice these days.

Yes, I realize I am on a tropical island, in another country.  Yes, it is a dream come true. BUT, can't a girl whine a little? :)

Go team!

Ok, enough of that!  I have been working very hard in my classroom this week.  It just about ready to actually get real curriculum content on the walls.  Nope, haven't even opened the books yet.  My whole team will be back from the states visiting family next week and we will all attack the curriculum together.  I just LOVE team teaching.  We all have our own classrooms and our own style, but 4 heads are so much better than 1.  We each have our own strengths and come to the table ready to learn from one another and willing to hear how our friends/teammates can add to our ideas to make them better.  I am super psyched about this year...can you tell?

Meet the Teacher Night

So until they come home, I have been thing a lot about Meet the Teacher Night.  Its the Friday before school starts and I always want to make a good first impression.  So, i went through my files to remember what went well in the past.  i found this cute thing I did one year that made parents feel more comfortable and opened the doors of communication.  Perfect!  I just attached it on a basket filled with apples on a desk as they walked in the door, right next to the sign on sheet.

I had to do a great deal of hunting to find its source, but i did it!  This little beauty is from Janis Noble from Caffeinated Conclusions.  She was the very first blog I read.  I love her!  Unfortunately, her last post was in October 2011.  Boo!  I wish she would come back. 

Blogiversary GiveAway

So I really excited for Lauren over at The Sweetest Thing.  It's her one year blogiversary.  She is so sweet that she is having a HUGE giveaway!!!  It runs until July 25th but you can enter everyday.  Run on over and check it out!

Happy Friday!!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

They love me!!!

Ok well that is pretty dramatic... How about...They noticed me!? Either way, I am super excited to be nominated for a Liebster Award.  And from what I understand, when you are also win it!  Woohoo!!! I am a winner!

Miss Mandy from The 4th Grade Journey was so nice to have nominated me.  She is smart and funny and has a real handle on this "being a mommy and teacher and still finding time to blog" kinda life.  Everyone should stop right here, go follow her and then hurry back and finish reading my post.  That is just how great she is!

Then this morning while I was getting ready to post this, I got ANOTHER nomination.  Well I certainly did not want to leave Katie from Random Craftiness out of the fun, so I am answering both of their questions below.  I am just meeting Katie and so far she has a pretty stinking awesome blog going on.  Go check it out!

Ok, Lets do this!!!

So what is a Liebster Award?  Well, Liebster is German for "sweet, darling, beloved," and is an award given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers. These are the rules:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with less than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted by the nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees by commenting on their blog or sending them an e-mail to inform them of their nomination.

My questions from Mandy:

1. What is your favorite grade to teach?
     5th grade, hands down.  I have taught high school algebra, middle school multi-subject, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 5th.  The kids in 5th are just such a great age.  old enough to reason and understand more complex and abstract ideas, but still young enough to want to learn from their teachers.  I love that you can see little adults begin to bloom in there.  That is why I am psyched to be moving to 4th.  With the team I have this year, I think I will be claiming 4th as my favorite by next summer. :)

2. Would you ever consider teaching in another country?
     Funny you should ask that.  I DO teach in another country.  I live and teach in Okinawa Japan.  I do not teach Japanese, or even English to Japanese children.  I teach American children who are on island because their parent(s) are military or work for the military and are stationed here.  Its a pretty sweet gig!  Travel the world while still doing what I love.

3. What is your favorite craft to make in your classroom?
     One of my favorites from this past year was when we celebrated the Holidays around the world.  One of my Moms came in to teach us about Christmas in the Phillipines and we created our own parols.  Here is a picture:

4. Can you imagine yourself doing anything beside teaching?
     I can, but don't want to.  I have spent enough time NOT teaching to know that there is nothing else I would rather do. :)

5. Where is your dream vacation destination?
     Anywhere in Europe.  I have been to Germany and LOVED it!  But I still want to visit Spain, France, England and Ireland, Switzerland...everywhere!

6. We all know teachers aren't supposed to have "teacher's pets," but don't we all?! Describe yours from last year.
     She was such a cutie pie.  So smart, so pretty, so sweet, yet humble and willing to help everybody.  She never felt the need to show off or brag about how easy things were, she just sat quietly and read while she waited for others to finish or if anyone needed help she would quietly teach them (not tell them, but teach them) how to do the work.  Oh, I miss her!

7. What classroom theme do you have planned for the next year?
mmmmmI am really excited about large polka dots in turquoise blue, lime green and hot pink. It seems everything over here is in these colors so its so much easier to shop for accessories.

8. What's your favorite subject to teach?
     Although I love math (I taught Algebra for goodness sakes), I actually truly love teaching History.  I love bringing it to life.  Watching the kids learn through perspective and "living"history is just amazing.

9. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
     Coco Curry!  Most Americans probably have no idea what this is, but here in Japan it is a staple.  Japanese curry is so yummy.  Its not Indian or Thai curry; It's soooo much better.  

10. If you could "hand off' one of your responsibilities as a teacher, what would it be?
     Two words: Report Cards. Need I say more?

11. If you won the lottery, for say 150 million, would you still teach?
     Absolutely...I would just have more "toys" to teach with. :)

My questions from Katie:

1. If you could hop in the car and take a road trip anywhere right now, where would it be?
     That's tough since my entire island is a whole of 67 miles by 17 miles....not too far to go.  BUT if I were in the states, I would love to visit the Pacific Northwest.  I am from Florida and miss my family terribly, but since this is a dream vacation, I say they are coming with me!

2. What book/magazine are you currently working on reading?
     Total guilty pleasure novels.  I have done a lot of teacher books already this summer so now I am working through a series of books that my friend has given me.  I am a bit of a Mythology nut and also I like reading about vampires.  these books have both..SCORE! Its the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

3. How did you choose to start a blog?
     I stumbled on some blogs on Facebook and them started to realize there was this whole world of amazing teachers connecting and sharing incredibly useful tips and information.  I instantly became a blog stalker!  Before long I realized I wanted in on the sharing of info, and here I am!

4. If you could get paid to do anything, what would it be?
     If I got paid to be my kids' chauffeur, laundromat, maid and daily planner/calendar, I would be the richest woman in the world.  Instead however I do it for something so much better...hugs and kisses from my boys!

5. Favorite classroom theme?
     My favorite I have seen is an entire ladybug theme, but I can never pull it off.  Ladybugs are not too popular here.

6. Best teaching moment?
     I was teaching Kindergarten and reading Swimmy by Leo Lionni.  Afterward we did a project where the students colored a picture of the story they heard in crayon and then we used water color wash over the top so the pictures popped.
I had a student who was autistic and often seemed to not be paying attention.  When it came time to draw the pictures, each kid had drawn a typical underwater scene adding octopuses, and other fish unrelated to the story.  Not Aidan.  He drew a big red fish with a black eye. and when you looked closer, you could see how he tried to make a bunch of different fish inside the red fish.  It was PERFECT!  The only one who really did it "right." It was amazing!

7. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? (and none of that wishing for more wishes nonsense!)
     Right now? Round trip tickets for each of my family members to come visit us here in Japan.

8. What is the strangest food you've ever eaten?
     I am not super adventurous at eating, but here in Japan we get to try lots of things.  We took some chocolate chip cookies to our neighbors at christmas and they brought us some Japanese treats.  We of course had to try it, but it was not anything we 1. liked, and 2. could recognize. It was a chewy black ball of goo.  I think it was mochi, a rice starch gel.

9. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
     Mr. Boggs was not only in the business of teaching calculus, but in teaching us.  He took the time to get to know each student and got involved.  he came to our games, he chaperoned prom and danced with us.  He joked with us and never made us feel bad about not getting the answer right.  We felt safe in that classroom and I strive to make my room feel the same way.

10. What is your favorite trait about yourself?
     I love to laugh.  I just love to play and laugh and joke and have fun.  I think this quality also makes teaching more fun.

11. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
     I am pretty content with my dogs. I have a Great Dane and a Dachshund.  Both swear they are human and I love them!!!

Random facts about me:

1. I played trombone and marched in high school and college.
2. I graduated from the University of Florida and grew up in Oviedo, Florida.
3. I met my husband in our church choir.
4. I am mom to 3 amazing sons.
5. I am mommy to a 6 year-old mild/moderate autistic son.  He is pretty stinkin' cool!
6. I had my two older sons on the same day, 2 years apart and the day after my birthday.
7. Growing up, I hated reading, but just can't get enough of it now.
8. I have been honored with Teacher of the Year twice.
9. I am a proud wife to my US Marine, Jeremy (thats why we are in Okinawa).
10. I love to put pretzels in my ice cream.
11. I love I mean L-O-V-E candy!!! It is a terrible addiction. :)

My nominees:

1. Mary from Fit to be Fourth
2. Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings
4. Heaher from Room 4 Imagination
6. Daisy from One Click Classroom

My questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite thing to do unrelated to school?
2. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
3. where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?
4. What is the wildest thing that has happened to you while teaching?
5. What are you the most scared of?
6. If you were not a teacher, what would you be?
7. Have you ever lived in or visited another country?
8. Do you have a nickname? How did you get it? (OR, how did your parents choos eyour name?)
9. What is your favorite thing to teach and why?
10. What is your least favorite thing to teach and why?
11. What is your favorite story to read a loud to your class?

I hope everyone checks out all my nominees.  I think they are pretty fabulous!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Joining the Party

So everywhere I read I see all these linky parties.  With help from my new friend Theresa from Pinkadots, I was able to create my own button. Yay! Now I am all ready to link up!  My first party will be with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics.

Monday Made It #1

I think first and fore most I need to say that my most exciting made it was my blog!  It is only a week old and somehow I was nominated for an award (Thank you so much Mandy from The Fourth Grade Journey).  HOWEVER, I am thinking that it it would not be fair to all the other nominees to except this award.  I just started and feel like I have so much to still learn.  I will think on this tonight and decide tomorrow whether to graciously decline or just grab it up and fake it until I make it.  What would you do?

Monday Made It #2

I made my first button!  Its not anything super technical with all the scrappy bling, but its my first attempt and I just love it!

Monday Made It #3

I have worked all last week and the weekend in my classroom.  I have made an unbelievable mess, but that wasn't hard with what I had started with.  Does making a mess count as a made it?  Oh, probably not.  This is what I started with:

None of this furniture was staying in my room...AHHHH!

Yesterday I posted about all my shopping and plans.  I neglected to take a few before pictures but I have some in the process pictures.

This was taken in the same place as the above picture.  Tables! Yay!!!!  I also got some paper up on the back wall (so much better than the 5 year old yellow paper that was there).

Here is one of my sons, Andrew, helping me paint!

This was a ridiculously old bookshelf that looked like it was going to fall apart.  Some new nails and a couple coats of black paint, and viola! This thing is 9 feet long and waist high.  i have really cute bins in blue, green and pink to put in when it is all dry.  Its going to look FAB-U-LOUS!

This wall was completely blank.  BUT, I found these jigsaw cork boards at the Daiso (Japan's Wal-mart/ Big Lots/ Hobby Lobby).  I created two amazing bulletin board spaces for my ELA and Math Focus walls.  Just wait until I paper them and slap on some borders.

This is the back wall above the built in cabinets. You can still see the 25 headsets that were left behind when the computers were taken out of the room.  I decided that I am not fond of the black bulletin board with blue trim.  I have ordered super cute border that should be here next week.  Some times it is tough to live where there are no teacher stores. But at least I have Daiso Stores, 100 Yen Stores (Our Dollar Tree) and Makeman Stores (Like a Wal-mart/Home Depot Combo).

This is the start of my teacher area. Notice the candy jars.  I am such a candy-aholic (its a serious condition, I tell you)!

I am still working on a few more things in my room that I just love!  I cannot wait until I can have a big reveal! Writing this blog, I just realized I need to join some kind of amazing find linky party.  After all, I don't think many people can show off how OCD the Japanese are with their organization containers.  Its awesome!!!  I will take a trip to all my favorite stores.

Thanks for visiting my first link up!  I hope to catch up with you on another link up!  Feel free to follow my blog or leave a comment!  I love to make new friends and have more than a little obsession with reading blogs!

Happy Monday All!