Sometimes, A Few Teacher Moments

Thursday, April 23, 2015 No comments
I love my job.
I feel like what we do is important.
I feel like we make a difference.
I feel like I'm pretty good (not great, but pretty good) at it too.

But sometimes, that one student you have spent the most time with teaching that one thing over and over five different ways, still doesn't get it.

Sometimes a former student comes by to tell you that her mom lost her job and they have to move in with her grandmother in another state.

Sometimes you find out that a student has not been honest with you and your heart breaks into 1,000 pieces and falls all over your primary colored carpet. 

Sometimes you teach this most amazing lesson with Minion type dancing, Taylor Swift like singing, and visuals that rival Google! The kids are applauding, you are bowing, and your brightest kid comes up and says, "What are we doing? I wasn't listening." 

Sometimes you look at the calendar and see that your days are numbered with these most amazing children who sometimes don't listen and sometimes don't follow directions and sometimes don't get it and sometimes break your heart and all the time remind you why you chose to do what you do. 

Sometimes teaching is hard.

Listen To Your Mother

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 2 comments
One year ago this week, I was preparing to step on the stage in front of friends and strangers to tell my story-my story on motherhood, my story on sisterhood. 
My fellow writers (that's right, I call myself a writer these days) included storytellers, published authors, comedians, a childhood friend, moms, daughters, and even one amazing man. We became friends this group and I. We shared this common experience. We shared our stories and created our bond. We were brave.
In a few days, people from over 30 cities will take the stage and share their story with Listen To Your Mother.  I'll be attending the one here in Atlanta on April 25th and if you are local, I hope you will, too! 

I'll also be sharing my story again. When the videos were published in July, I was trying to decide if I would watch it. Here we are nine months later and I'm still trying to decide. In the meantime, here it is-my moment of brave, my story, our story, the story of my sister who I miss a little bit more every single day.
Here's to being brave.

Mental Math Excitement!

Monday, April 20, 2015 3 comments
Prepare yourself for some good news, friends! Wait for it....I had an idea and it came to life! Poof! Magic! Fairy dust! Bippity Boppity Boo! 

Well, kind of! 

While helping A with mental math, I drew a train track and wrote a number in the first box. I then added an action to every other box. It might be +4 or -6 or +10. I told her to solve the number track and she would know if it was right or wrong if the number she ended with was the same as she started. I got the idea from an old worksheet but thought it had way too many steps and it was also way boring. I gave A 4 or 5 steps, told her little stories, changed the ending, and it was perfect! This is confusing, I know, but keep reading! She LOVED it! She wanted to do more and more!

Months, maybe a year or two go by and I decided to share the idea with Really Good Stuff. I mean, if A liked it, other kids might too! 

Months went by and I received a letter. Really Good Stuff wanted to turn my idea into a game for grades K-6. WHAT?!? Wait, WHAT?!?

I spent a few days over the summer writing tracks and quickly realizing I would be of no use to them for writing the fraction game, decimal game, etc. I love math as much as the next girl, but this aunt stopped helping A when she hit 3rd grade!

More months went by and a HUGE box arrived on the doorstep. It was surreal! Computation Trails were born!
Not only that, but the smarties at Really Good Stuff even made trails for addition and subtraction to 20, mixed operations, powers of 10, addition and subtraction of fractions and decimals, and 

You can buy them separately or even in a little bundle! There are 32 double sided mats in each set. They are dry erase and would make a great center! Go ahead, buy one of each, I know you want to! I'm so excited! 

I took the addition and subtraction set to school and my kids went nuts. In full disclosure, I should tell you-this class would tell me if they didn't like it. That's how they roll. :) They could not get enough of the games! They were trading and helping each other and asking for the next level! I felt like a proud mommy~2 boys and a dry erase game!

Here's how to play.....
Click on any of the pics or highlighted words to check them out on Really Good Stuff! Thank you for letting me share my geeky happiness! Have a great week!

If you have an idea, consider submitting it here!!

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, April 19, 2015 No comments
Thank you for checking out our (almost) weekly post, What We're Reading Sunday!

I finished Brain Rules! I finished Brain Rules! I know I usually start with what T is reading, but I'm so thrilled to have finished Brain Rules! Such a great read friends! Now mommy is moving on to this little treasure.....(while waiting for Brain Rules for Baby)
I've worked with many children diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder and it fascinates me. I am hoping this book will answer some of my questions.

So what about T? He's reading a little Junie B at bedtime and some nonfiction with Rainforest Animals.
We are reading to M, too. Of course, we are reading whatever we want just in a sweet voice. T has figured that out and it is pretty much cracking him up! 

Speaking of M, I was quoted in Yahoo Parenting this week about the age gap between children. Check it out here

What are you reading?

Free Books AND Teacher Appreciation!

Monday, April 13, 2015 No comments
Now I know it is a bit early to start thinking about summer reading, but when Barnes and Noble releases their plans, I just have to share!  
Here's how their summer reading plan works. Kids read any 8 books they want and record them on the downloadable journal. Then they take the journal to B&N and exchange it for a FREE book from the list. Let me just say-this year's list is AWESOME!!! The picks for grades 1 & 2 include The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and even BabyMouse by the Holmes siblings! Would you believe there is also a LEGO book on the list? Yep! There are going to be some happy kids!! 
I'll be sharing this with my students, my team, and the whole school! Who doesn't love a free and fab book?!?!

But wait, there's more! Educator Appreciation Days are here! You can save 25% on purchases (online and in store,) attend special events, and even win a prize or two! Check out your nearest location for more info! 
Happy shopping! Happy reading! Happy all around! 

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, April 12, 2015 No comments
Thanks for checking out our (almost) weekly feature, What We're Reading Sunday!

Oh this book. OH THIS BOOK. My new mommy heart loves this book! My primary teacher heart loves this book. I just love it. Maple by Lori Nichols. 
This is one of those books that must be read closely. The reader can't just depend on the words. They have to read the (gorgeous) pictures and take it all in. The story is just as sweet as sweet can be. Parents to be and teacher friends, get it. Get it soon. 

We're also reading A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham. This one (also with amazing pictures) reminds me of Stuck a bit. What you think will happen continues to NOT happen. Another fantastic read aloud and talk aloud for primary grades. T loves it and I am pretty sure I'll be inviting myself to his classroom to read it soon!
As for T's choice, he picked up this little number the other day. Whose Butt? by Stan Tekiela. Now what kind of mother would let her son buy this book? This one! He giggled as he read the title, he giggled while he read the book the first time, and he giggled telling Daddy all about it. Then, on his own, he went back and read all of the facts about each animal. Boom! That's what readers do! 

As for me, I'm finishing Brain Rules. Yes, I know it has been three weeks since I started, but I've picked up a few reads in between~my students' writings, TIME magazines, and a few blog posts on an array of topics! As for Brain Rules, I'm on Rule 9 and am still loving the book. It is marked up and tabbed and I've gone back to reread a couple of parts because they really speak to me. Those are signs of a good book! 

What are you reading for fun, for work, for family?

Spring Break Family Outing

Friday, April 10, 2015 No comments
We opted for a staycation for Spring Break this year. We just made a trip to Mobile and have big plans when school is over, so it just made sense. Of course, I can't wait to go somewhere. I mean, I.can't.wait. I love traveling as a family and am always thinking of our next adventure!!

T requested a trip to the Georgia Aquarium because he was hoping to see this jellyfish he had read about a few weeks ago. With a request like that, how could we say no?? 

So we loaded up the boys and headed downtown, to "the city" as T calls it. We had a blast! 
M was really impressed.
T could have stayed here all day.
It's a chocolate chip starfish!
I love this crew!
Love, love, love.
T was all about this octopus!
Maris, the beluga whale is expecting. The employee told us she could deliver any day, no any minute now. That explains T's face! Needless to say, we are on standby for baby beluga updates!
The Georgia Aquarium did not disappoint! They added a few things including the Aquanaut Adventure. Kids walk around with iPads and take challenges as they explore special areas. T loved it. I was a little confused and thought they needed an employee or two in the area to help, but T did not seem to think so! 

They have also added stroller parking. Maybe they had it before and I don't remember, but I do remember tripping over strollers before so maybe not. 

We did not see the dolphin show, as we have seen it before, but we watched the 4D Deepo show (again.) It was a fantastic day. It was great to see how what he loves each time we visit and how his interests have changed over the years. 

The best part was watching T explain things to M. "These are African penguins. Look how small they are. Check out these piranhas. Look at their teeth M."

Now about that special was not at there. T's thoughts on that? "We'll have to keep going to more aquariums until we find it." 

Happy Spring Break!

Egg Smash Art

Sunday, April 5, 2015 No comments
My friend Emily is such a rebel. She camps (not in a cabin) and she makes all kinds of fun recipes (on purpose.) 

Last weekend she decided to have some friends over for some Easter fun. Needless to say, T was thrilled! The invite said to bring a blank canvas, a bottle of paint to share, and a dozen or so eggs filled with paint. Wait....what?!?

She kindly sent us the link to a fun blog, Growing a Jeweled Rose which gave the details! T and I cracked eggs, drained the "guts," and rinsed them thoroughly. It was much easier than I thought it would be. Then, and I'm serious, I made a delicious asparagus and ham omelet with the eggs! True story!!

When we arrived at Emily's, everyone filled their eggs with different color paints. 
We filled them a little more than half way and then headed outside! The kids (all ages!) were soooo excited! They all started throwing the eggs at their canvas and the paint started flying! 
You kind of have to see it to believe it so here you go! 
They each created quite the masterpiece and I think we will make this project an annual tradition! On the way home, T even started thinking of other things we could fill with paint and smash....thanks Emily! :)
T added his own special touches. He lovingly named his piece "Egg Smash."

Here's to friends and fun and making lots of messes! 

...and with that, Happy Easter from our family to yours! 

Monkey Kingdom

Thursday, April 2, 2015 No comments
Every school year, my class and our book buddies try to attend a movie together. We scope out the coming movies and LOVE getting the first graders and third graders together! We've seen Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman. We wanted to see Where The Wild Things Are (one of my faves!) but it just wasn't quite appropriate. 

This year we have plans on seeing DisneyNature's new film, Monkey Kingdom. It looks like it is going to be amazing! 
DisneyNature did not disappoint with Bears last year and I have a feeling this will be just as good if not better!

I also love that Disney has created these goodies! 
Click the picture above to download the free family activity pack!
Click the picture above to download the free educator's guide!
Click the third picture to download some awesome printables!

As if you need another reason to go see this movie, I mean besides the cute monkeys, great narration, and fantastic soundtrack, go during opening week and Disney will be donating a portion of your ticket sales to protect the monkeys and other animals in need! 

What animal should DisneyNature make a movie about next? T says wildcats!


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