ROCK Your First Year Teaching Linky!

Sunday, June 28, 2015 3 comments
I am thrilled to be partnering with Teaching with Curls and Crayons (fellow peachy pal) to host a linky all about supporting new teachers! We are presenting New Teacher Institute for our County and want to provide an amazing resource for these soon to be amazing educators! 

Thinking about my first year of teaching really took me back in time. I was teaching kindergarten in Mobile at a wonderful school. I was learning right along with my kids! I loved it! I kept a journal for part of my first year (it was hit or miss friends-the first year is all about survival!) That's where I came up with some of my advice!
There are a few I've learned along the way (that last one) but I think they are all pretty important.
1. No matter what the parent said, how badly the lesson bombed, how crooked your skirt was all day long--you must laugh it off. #truth
2. Plan with your team. Listen, take notes, make it your own--but plan with your team.
3. Share your own ideas! Don't be afraid to put yourself out there! Someone will appreciate it!
1. This is a biggy new teacher friends. You are new. Take it all in for a bit. Let the environment, your team, the setting and feel of the school wash over you. Not that you would or anything, but don't try to own the place on the first day. Seriously...not a good idea.
2. Don't be an island! A new school, new team, new job--AH! It is intimidating! Put yourself out there though! Introduce yourself to staff. Chat with the media specialist. Stop someone in the hallway and ask them a question. "Hey, I'm new here..." A friendship could be in the making!
I'm actually still a work in progress on this one! Give yourself a break. Data due? Back to back conferences? Have no idea what anyone is talking about during a staff meeting? Thinking about the 10,000 things you need to do between work and home? Give yourself a break. It is so easy to be really hard on ourselves. Stop and recharge. It will be ok! Walk away and breathe! Grab a Coke and smile. I even wrote it on my calendar this year in a fancy font, Give me a break Lyssa, give me a break.

I hope you will join our linky and share your great advice! If not, please leave your wisdom in a comment below! Let's introduce our new teachers to the blogger community with a bang! 

Thank you! Happy Summer!

Staples Designed By Students

Saturday, June 27, 2015 1 comment
Staples is the sponsor of this post. All opinions and all of the fun I had at The Ron Clark Academy are my own. :)

Who should you ask for help when designing supplies for kids? Staples figured that was easy and asked the kids! The results are pretty impressive!

Staples worked with two middle schools, one being The Ron Clark Academy right here in Atlanta and the other, MS88 in Brooklyn. Students and teachers were presented a curriculum encouraging creative thinking, design, problem solving, and so much more. They were asked to design items for students to REALLY sell in stores. They made prototypes, adapted as needed, figured costs, etc. They more than met this challenge! Students were invested in this year long projects because it was relevant. I love that! What an amazing partnership! Staples spoke highly of the students and teachers (which was awesome) AND donated $50,000 to each of the schools. 
"Our students' collaboration with Staples has been one of the most innovative and engaging projects I have seen during my time in education" said Ron Clark, co-founder of The Ron Clark Academy. "By listening to the opinions and needs of our youth, Staples has been able to create products that speak to the desires and tastes of the new generation; and therefore, as always Staples is completely in tune with the demands of the market."

So what did these student innovators design?
*The Big Pen~It's all in one writing device!
*Big Props Pencil Case~Holds your pencil and your tech!
*Super Folder~It's an all in one!
*Portable Desk~Cozy bottom, spot for headphones!
*Tray Desk~Even has a dry erase board!
*The Bag~It's a washable, silicon lunchbag. I'm buying this one!
*Accordion Bag~Backpack with file space-yes, please!
*Back2Back School Bag~More space, lighter, space for water bottle and tech!
*Floating Locker Shelves~Decorate, rearrange and look great doing it!

Head to Staples and see them for yourself!! Items go on sale June 28th AND teachers can submit their information to learn more about the program and other opportunities on! Needless to say, I'll be signing up! would you redesign a needed school item? I'm thinking a coffee holder on my desk chair! Hear that Staples? :) :) :) 

The Special Dads in My Life

Sunday, June 21, 2015 No comments
Happy Father's Day!

my sweet husband, now father of TWO!
my loving dad
my father in law who we deeply miss

How I Messed Up Imaginary Play

Saturday, June 20, 2015 1 comment
We love using our imaginations around here. T had an imaginary friend for years and we actually miss that guy (and his siblings.) His name was Monjer and he had a brother named John Ponjer. He also had 9 other siblings who lived near and far. Monjer had special abilities and went everywhere we went. My favorite memories of Monjer were the car rides.  T would narrate their many adventures and my heart would smile. It was imaginative and creative and in what seemed like a blink, Monjer left. (He had to go to China, you understand.)

While Monjer has moved on, T's imagination stays strong. He runs a secret service agency now and I occasionally get to help on missions. The agency is top secret by the way. Just yesterday we were rescuing animals. I pushed the button to put on my gear and starting walking carefully around the ocean floor. I was feeling quite proud of my performance, even adding a few moves to show I was being careful around the coral. 

That's when T said, "Ok, good news, I see the blue whale (side eye and voice change) and I see you think we are walking on the moon and not on the ocean floor, that's ok though."

I lost it. I got so tickled and started laughing so hard and then he started laughing so hard. I explained my walk and my extra moves and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "It's ok mommy. Let's just rescue that whale." 
I thought I had blown it. I thought that whale would never be rescued. I thought this was my last mission. But imagination won. T's imagination won. Just like that, we were back on track and that blue whale is safe and sound. 

Now, I really just hope I'll be invited on another mission.....maybe into space. :)

They Say Its Your Birthday!

Saturday, June 6, 2015 No comments
Today is my birthday! Woo hoo! I'm one of those people who enjoys a good birthday. I like receiving cards in the mail (which I never open until the actual day) and the always sweet handmade card T creates. I like birthday lunch and a sweet birthday treat, too. I guess you could say I'm a birthday loving girl!
I haven't always been this way. In fact, my birthday used to be just a birthday. As I get older though and began that slow climb to 40, I find myself getting a little fiesty. Maybe it's the old age talking, but I feel like I'm rocking my late 30's! 

At the conference I attended last week, I sat with a group of young, young, young teachers. They were a fun group. One of them asked me how long I had been teaching and there was a loud gasp. "Wow! I don't know if I'll make it that long." They had between 1-3 years experience and none were over 25. That's right, 25 years old. That's when I let out a loud internal gasp! 

It made me think about being 25. I loved 25. I was dating N. I was teaching kindergarten. I was goofing off, hanging out, traveling. Then I thought about 30. I had gotten married. I was teaching first grade. We'd bought a home in Atlanta. We traveled. Then I thought about 35. I had become a mommy. We packed up our little guy and kept on traveling.  Here I am looking at 38. I have an almost first grader and super cute 4 month old. I'm teaching and still loving it and we are packing our bags for California. 

That walk down memory lane should have made me feel old. I've been alive a long 3 decades and quite a few singles. It didn't make me sad though. It made me happy. On birthdays, happy should always outweigh the sad, good should always win over evil, cake should be full of sugar and void of calories, and old should be thought of as the new young!

Brain Fried (in a good way!)

Friday, June 5, 2015 No comments
I have spent the last week in some very intense training--like really, really intense. My brain is fried. It's mush. It's cooked. It's baked with a side of potato!!! Brain=Done!

It has also been an amazing training. No, amazing is not the word. It has been a beneficial, necessary, where have you been all my life training. It has been an "I'm sorry former students, I just didn't know" training. It has been a validating training. It has been an overall thought provoking experience. 

I am a lover of words. I love to read them and write them and hear them and sometimes sing them. The training I attended is Orton Gillingham. Thanks to a local non-profit, REAP, myself and 30 or so other teachers received this training at no cost. Eek! That's big news because it is well, super expensive. So what is it?

Orton Gillingham (OG) is an approach to reading instruction that is language-based, multisensory (visual, auditory, kinesthetic,) structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive and flexible. OG has proven to be quite effective with dyslexic students. It has also proven to be quite effective with not struggling students. It helps with reading and spelling and stresses the two be taught together. I love it. I just love it.

I'll be writing more about my experience soon, but would like to share at least one rule with you right this minute!
Yes, I knew how to spell these words before but I did not know why or why not. Now I do. Boom world! Boom!

Is there a word or spelling rule you are curious about? Leave it in a comment and I will absolutely NOT be able to explain it but I will find the answer in my binder and let you know!! Word Nerds Unite!

Summer Lovin' Wednesday

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 No comments

"Hey M, check out these ribbons from my first ever swim meet!" 

"Mmmm, yummy!"

Inside Out Printables

Monday, June 1, 2015 No comments
Today is the first day of June so that means only 18 more days until Disney Pixar's Inside Out hits theaters!! We can't wait!!! 

While I feel certain you've seen the previews, here is the trailer just in case!
T and I are really looking forward to seeing this movie and we already love the Joy, Sadness, and Anger characters! Not sure what that says about us!

If you are looking for something to pass the time until the big debut, here are some FREE printable activities! Click the pics to download!

I'm off to print a thing or two! Have a great week! 


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