Teacher Reflection

Monday, November 27, 2017 11 comments
A wonderful friend of mine asked me to share 3 things that I was surprised by when I started teaching. She is a professor and writer and will be speaking to seniors (future educators) and community members in the spring. She was pretty picky about her plea. She did not want any happy, frilly, foo foo stuff. "I was surprised by how much love and joy I found in teaching." NONE OF THAT the email said. She had that covered. She wanted the true surprises. The things parents, professors, the community, these college students, etc would really be surprised by. 

I made my list and it was harder than I thought. I  really am surprised by the joy teaching gives me. I am surprised almost daily. I am surprised how quickly I forget the stress/behaviors/meetings because each day is a fresh start....just like parenting. 

But I did it! I chose 3 and here they are. Let me know if you agree or what you would add!

1. Email. OH MY GOODNESS. The emails.
I receive at least 20 emails every.single.day. to my school account. Some are county, some are ads, some are parents, some are team, some are sweet and some are never read. The emails, while convenient and much easier to track than the paper notes of yesteryear, can be quite overwhelming. Especially if you sometimes respond in your head and forget to send the actual email. :) 

2. Not everyone will like you. 
It does not matter what you do or who you are. You simply will not be able to please everyone all the time. I know this is a life thing, but maybe teachers think we can. You know, because teachers have magical powers. We think we can make everyone happy and that is exactly why I would really like for our future teachers to hear this one over and over. Just do your very best every day. 

3.  Stress eating is real. 

This is actual footage of my first year vs the current year. HA! Seriously though, you need a stress outlet and you can't let it be your family. You must find your thing that helps you let relax-exercising, writing, blogging, doodling, whatever. Stress can sneak up on you. It builds a little tower inside of you waiting to collapse. The outside of teaching universe does not realize we carry it all-every student, parent, grade, plan, colleague issue, email, to do list and so on-right there on our shoulders. It's a lot. Find your thing and remember to make time for yourself. 

I know there are so many others I could put on this list, but these are the chosen ones for now! This also reminds me that it is time to send my new teacher friends a hug and a happy! 

Have a great week everyone!

TPT Giveaway!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017 19 comments
Have you heard the news? Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale!!! I don't know about you, but I have a few LOTS of items (math games, STEM lessons, clip art, fonts, etc) on my wish list. 
Thanks for sharing this graphic, Comprehension Connection!
TPT has gifted me a $10 gift code to share with one of my readers. I'm so excited! I'm making it super easy, too! 

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win the $10 gift code! That should help make a dent in your wish list! Happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wonder Giveaway!

Monday, November 13, 2017 1 comment
I have been counting down the days until Wonder would be released! I loved reading this book (both times) and am hoping the movie at least half way lives up to my high expectations! I'll be heading to a screening on Wednesday and will be sure to let you know. 
Oh wait....why don't you meet me there? I'm giving away free advanced screening passes! Click the link below to claim an "admit two pass" to see the film this Wednesday, November 15th in Atlanta! 

Hope to see you there! 

In the meantime, check out the trailer! 

Santa's Toy Factory

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 2 comments
 ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved. 
Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.[/caption] 

North Point Mall has partnered with Mattel to introduce a new holiday adventure that will be memorable for the entire family. Santa’s Toy Factory will open on November 11 in the center court area of the shopping center. M is SO excited to see the Thomas & Friends toys while T is all about the Hot Wheels! They can't wait to give toys a try for themselves! I'm excited to see it all and know that there will certainly be something for all of the kids on my holiday shopping list! This super shopping mommy is also very excited about seeing North Point Mall decorated for the holidays. 

Here's a bit more about Santa's Toy Factory:

Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Santa’s Toy Factory is designed to empower creativity through an interactive, immersive experience to meet Santa. Within the 1,600 square-foot space, young guests will have the opportunity to “test” new toys in Santa’s Factory before they get delivered to all the boys and girls on Christmas morning. After they “test” the toys, they visit different stations to digitally design, build and paint toys from Mattel’s iconic brands including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, and Thomas & Friends. The grand finale, of course, will be meeting Santa himself for photos and to share their holiday wish list.
“We are proud to be partnering with Mattel to bring this new, one-of-a-kind holiday concept to life,” said Nick Nicolosi, general manager of North Point Mall. “We are always looking for ways to introduce new brands and experiences to our community and can’t wait to showcase Santa’s Toy Factory this holiday season. We know our guests will embrace it.”
The experience with Santa’s Toy Factory is free-of-charge and photo packages begin at $39.99. To make reservations to ensure quicker access, please click HERE. If you'd like more information, please visit www.VisitSantasToyFactory.com. North Point Mall is located at 1000 North Point Circle and is home to a plethora of high-quality tenants including American Girl, Lego and the Disney Store.

Check out these One-Day Special Events Too!

You Can Be Anything Barbie

November 12, 2017 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Center Court

 ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Thomas and His Super Station

November 25, 2017 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Center Court

Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage

December 7, 2017 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Center Court

 ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Get Social with North Point Mall & Mattel! 

Twitter: @NorthPointMall  @Mattel 
Instagram: @northpointmall @Mattel 
Facebook: @NorthPointMall @Mattel 

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with www.blogginmamas.com & North Point Mall to share these free family events with my readers, and am being compensated for this partnership. All opinions expressed are my own.

So We Paint

Thursday, October 26, 2017 No comments
Today was a day. TODAY WAS A DAY! It happens now and again and today was it. So I grabbed the boys, drove home, pulled out the paint and brushes, and we painted. 

The school bag stayed in the car. The dinner was cooked, not microwaved. The stuff will wait. 

Today we paint...tongues out and everything.

DonorsChoose Giveaway

Sunday, October 22, 2017 3 comments
I love fall. I love everything about it. I love pumpkins (to look at not taste!) I love the crunchy leaves and silly Halloween fun. I love being a mommy in fall because the weather is cooler (well at least I hope it will be soon) and we spend more time outside. I love being a teacher in fall because of all the fun Octobery things. 

Fall makes me happy. Fall reminds me to slow down and enjoy the little things. It reminds me to put down my phone and take a look around. It reminds me to share the love, too.       

That's why I'm giving away a $20 DonorsChoose donation! Woo hoo! Enter the Rafflecopter! Contest starts today and ends on Halloween! 

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fire Prevention Week FREEBIE

Sunday, October 8, 2017 4 comments
This post is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and Sparky.org. All opinions, funny stories, and awesome tips are my own! 

Did you know October is Fire Prevention Month and October 8-14 is Fire Prevention Week? We take fire safety seriously around here and find that now is a good time to remind ourselves of the need for a plan. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a really helpful website for parents and educators but they also have an interactive (and super fun) website for kids! They share exclusive content is an easy to navigate format. 

I have spent quite a bit of time on both sites and want to share a few mom/teacher highlights.

Mom Card~

1. When T was little, we took a white piece of paper and drew our fire safety plan. It was basic but effective. NFPA provides a guide for drawing an escape plan that is designed to be done as a family and is suited for where T is now. Click the picture to print your own. There are several other free downloads including a fact sheet (must read,) info on smoke alarms and sprinklers as well as tips for staying safe while you travel. While on the subject, be sure to know where your child goes during a fire drill. I do and I am even in the building with him. 
2. Sparky has a NEW app and we can't get enough of it!  

Sparky's Fun House invites young children to practice their literacy and math skills while learning how to stay safe. It is a win win! While M is a bit under the age range (he's perfect for Sparky's Firehouse,) he has enjoyed sitting with T and being in on all the action! He especially loves the robot game!

Teacher Card~
1. As a first grade teacher, I am all about safety and helping my students know how to stay safe. In fact, part of this month's homework was to discuss your fire safety home plan. I have added Sparky School House to my class blog and LOVE the ready to use resources! Check it out and then visit Sparky to print them all!   
2. There are activities for a wide age range of students, all the way through adult learners. There are songs and videos for the younger grades as well as mazes and challenges for upper grades. There are lesson plans that you can adjust to meet your classroom needs. The NFPA.org is a great resource with a wealth of information for home and school.

For our younger friends, here is a fire safety planning page just for you! It is just a tad fancier than the one we first made with T. Be sure to add the date! His tree drawing on our original is one I will always treasure! Click the picture to download your FREEBIE! 
While October happens to be Fire Prevention Month, it is something we need to be thinking about year round. When we change our calendar page each month, we review our safety spots. It takes 30 seconds. 

Make plans this week to chat about fire safety. Maybe take the quiz as a family. Draw your plan and post it somewhere you know will keep the conversation going. 

Stay safe friends. 

What We're Reading Sunday

T has always loved books but this year (3rd grade) he has really become an avid reader. He can't wait to get his hands on a good book. I am loving it, but you know, trying to play it cool. :) Here are a few of his recent hits:

As for M, hitting the 2 1/2 mark has really changed his reading interests. I'm kidding. He still loves hearing the same stories, playing with the board books, and pretend reading T's books as he snatches them right from his hands. We wouldn't have it any other way. Here are his current hits:

As for me, I am loving every minute of reading with these two. I've been reading lots of teacher stuff but am also visiting these when I can:

What are you reading?

Joy Cowley DOUBLE Giveaway!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 2 comments
Do you remember learning to read? I don't, but I wish I did! Lucky for this teacher, I get to be a part of that reading moment for kids everyday and I love it. I cherish those moments.

Some of my all time favorite books for early readers have the same author, Joy Cowley. I was introduced to her books while I was student teaching 16 years ago. I've been a fan ever since. I've built readers with her books. I've laughed with Mrs. Wishy Washy and stopped with the milkman. I.love.her. When I met her at ILA, I was almost speechless. She is just as I imagined, calm and sweet, a lover of words and children. 
Ah! Sorry for geeking out! I just want to share the Joy Cowley love!! Her books are a must have for early readers, struggling readers, readers who like to giggle, readers who love animals, readers....well, you get the idea! Joy Cowley rocks and Hameray is her publisher! They are hosting a HUGE giveaway and a mini contest, too! Click HERE to enter the mini contest for one Mrs. Wishy Washy big book. 
Hameray Publishing is also giving away a Joy Cowley Collection! The lucky winner will receive an entire set of the Joy Cowley leveled readers (60 books,) Joy Cowley Early Bird lower-leveled readers (45 books,) all of her newest big books (34 of them,) a set of finger puppets and more! The book levels range from C-I and will be an amazing addition to any primary classroom! Read more about the collection HERE.
Enter to win this entire set for your readers! Click HERE or on the pictures! It takes 5 seconds! 

Fall in love with Joy Cowley if you haven't already! Hurry though, contest ends 2/28 and the winner will be announced 3/1!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017 3 comments
If the magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone, then magic, pure magic happened almost three years ago when I stepped on the Listen To Your Mother stage to share my story one of my stories with the world. It is a story of motherhood, sisterhood, friendship, and most of all-love. 

Standing on that stage was a once in a lifetime moment. Being a part of something so much bigger than me was unbelievable. The bond I share with my fellow cast members is the best kind. They became friends and family. We still celebrate each other and cheer each other on. I have only the fondest of memories of the entire experience. In fact, I am honored that I was able to share this moment. It is one of my proudest mom/daughter/sister moments. Here it is.
I'm bringing this up in January of 2017 in hopes that you might be inspired to do the same! I hope you will step out of your comfort zone and write one of your stories. Or maybe share the story you  have written down already. OR maybe even the one floating around in your head. The story, your story, can be about your mom, you as a mom, your grandmother, you as a teacher who gets called mom, your significant other....anything having to do with motherhood! :)

If you are not so sure about all of this, watch the videos. My story happens to be a sad one. Some will make you laugh out loud though. Some will make your heart smile. Some will make you laugh, cry, and smile all in one! All of the stories will stay with you and many of them will remind you of a moment of your own.

If you are not in or near the ATL, visit Listen To Your Mother to find a city near you. If you are in or near the ATL, click HERE to find out how you can share your story.  We have amazing producers and alumni! Grab a friend and convince them to do the same. 

Want more? I wrote about LTYM here and here. Let me know if I can help you with your decision! I can read your draft, chat with you about your idea, or just have a drink with you to ease the nerves before you audition! 

Now, let's do this! Let's focus on writing in 2017! 

One Little Word

Monday, January 9, 2017 2 comments
If you have read any of my ramblings over the years (how has it been years?) you know I am pretty serious about my one little word. I wait for it to find me. I spend hours thinking about it. I say it. I write it in fancy letters like a boy's name on my trapper keeper. I try to be one with the word. I commit to the power of my chosen word. One time I even thought about getting a tattoo of my word (#wimp.) 

Well, that was before I had M. I mean really, I barely have time to tie my shoes and when I do, I think he secretly plots a way to untie them. :) 

This year, my word once again found me, but it was more than a friendly hello. The word hit me like a ton of bricks. Like, HEY YOU! I'M THE WORD YOU SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN ALL THOSE OTHER YEARS.  

Here's my word.
-focus on what matters, including self
-focus on things I can control

Wish me luck with this handful.

What's your word?


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