Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday-Fun Day 12-28-14!

Good Morning!  I'm linking up with The Teaching Trio for their fun Sunday Scoop Linky Party!  I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, so I'm excited to finally have the time to do it!  I just love Christmas Break!  I have time to relax, blog, create, read, rest, and catch up on things I really want to do and enjoy!
There are a few things that I just have to do, but not many!  This brings a smile to my face.  I must replenish the food supply since everyone is home and eating all the time!  I've started my lesson planning, but need to finish.  I keep putting that one off, and both of my doggies need to visit the vet for their yearly check-up.  That's not too bad of a "Have to do" list.  I probably should make the effort to change out of my comfy PJs and actually go to the grocery store today or I could just order pizza and wings...hmmmm.

I'm working on a new product that I'm hoping I'll be able to finish before the New Year!  I'm creating a student goal setting package that includes data analysis, student reflection, and how to write SMART Goals!  I'm very excited about it.  I'm also hoping for a little motivation to start cleaning out my office area.  I have piles and piles of papers that either need to be filed or shredded. It is ridiculous really!  I just keep walking away from it...This might really be a need, but I'm not ready to put it there just yet!  Ha!  

I'm happy to join my sweet hubby on our comfy sofa for some extra cuddle time and football!  I love that he is a teacher too, and we enjoy our vacations together!  Yesterday we were productive and worked together to clean the pool/deck area.  Today, we want to be LAZY together.  

I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday-Fun Day!    

Friday, December 26, 2014

Out With The Old & In With The New!

Only a few days left in 2014!  Wow, where has the year gone?  2014 felt like a whirl-wind of activity & change. I don't know about ya all, but I say, "Bring on 2015!"

 I thought it would be fun to start a New Year Linky Party where we spend a little time remembering, reflecting, and then setting new goals for the New Year!  What do you think?  Want to join me? 

Questions to ponder as you remember...
1.  What were the best memories of 2014?
2.  What do you remember most about 2014?

My best and most powerful memories of 2014 are that...

I started Blogging on 1/20/14!!  What an adventure Blogging has been.  So much to learn and so little time to do it all!  I would like to give a SHOUT-OUT to my Blogging Mentors over the past year:

Joanne Miller @ Head Over Heels For Teaching for inspiring & motivating to get started.  

Megan @ A Bird in Hand Designs & I Teach. What's your superpower for creating my Blog Design and answering my questions when I tried new things!  

Diane @ Fifth in the Middle for letting me become a guest blogger on her Friends on the Fives over the summer!  I gained so may new followers!  

and to Alison @ Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin' for being a great blogging friend.  She just got hitched and I can't wait to hear all about it!  

Then in August, Several things happened all at the same time!  First, I upset the apple cart by moving schools, (I love my new school-home by the way!!)

And, Florida decided not to use The Common Core Standards, (WTH???) Instead, the powers that be in Tallahassee developed MAFS (Mathematics Florida Standards) & LAFS (Language Arts Florida Standards).  The new standards are a hybrid of Common Core and The Sunshine State Standards! FUN!!!!  Learning to teach with the depth & rigor of Common Core, with a Florida twist, for the first time without new materials/resources has taken all of my extra time.  This is the main reason I haven't been a part of the blogging world since August.  I always feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short with everything!

Then there's the fact that my baby boy, my sweet little boy dropped out of college and joined the Marine Corps!  It was enough to drive this mamma insane!  I have had a few months to adjust to the idea and I have to admit that I am now ONE PROUD MAMMA!!

Remembering when he was a boy (4th Grader) wanting to become a Marine...Standing on the Yellow Footprints at Parris Island, SC for the first time...

The next day he believed he was a Marine!!
I thought it was funny then...

I went through a mourning phase from August-Mid October.  Then I was able to see my boy, now a Marine for REAL!!  My heart just swelled with pride...

Questions to ponder as you reflect on 2014...

1.  What was good/bad?
2.  What do you want to do differently?
3.  What do you want to change this year?

Starting a Blog was definitely a good thing!  I want to continue to blog more in 2015!!  My TpT production was definitely bad!! I want to become more productive in that department.  I have to find time to fit it in.  I enjoy it, and it is fun sharing with others.  I need to loose weight.  I've gained 20 pounds in 2014, which is a BAD!!  I want to change my eating habits and walk/exercise  everyday!  I say this as I stuff peanut M & M's into my mouth...<sigh> I want to change the colors in my life.  House color, hair color, and who knows...maybe even my toe color!!  Lastly, I want to finish projects that I have started in 2014!  These unfinished projects include Darci's Quilt, painting the inside of my house, landscaping the backyard, and converting the empty bedrooms left behind by my now grown children into a home office and a Naked Room!  Hee! Hee!  

1.  My first resolution of 2015 is to try and not break any resolutions that I make here today.  Easier said than done, right?  

2.  Blog at least once a week in 2015!  Even if it is a quick post just to say hi to my blogging friends.  

3.  Publish at least one new TpT product each month.  That's only 12 new products!  I know I can, I know I can!!

4.  Walk/Exorcise at least 5 days out of the 7 day week!  (Notice I couldn't give up my M & M's just yet?)  Maybe for Lent...

I'm going to stop there!  Don't want to overload myself.  At least I've reflected and know deep down in the back of my mind what I want to accomplish, so if I do indeed accomplish my goals above, then I can add another one to the list.  After all, I've got 365 days to get er done!    

Okay, it's your turn!  Who wants to go first????  Any takers????

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Missing in Action: "Passion in Portable Land!" Has been Found!!

I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching! It's only been two months since I've blogged!!  Where have I been? Well...I've been MIA!!

I've noticed a common theme among my favorite bloggers during the first quarter of the new school year.  "Too Busy to Blog!"  Well, I'm no different.  I've been MIA!  Otherwise known as "Missing in Action!"  

Don't get me wrong.  I love blogging and really enjoy reading what is going on with everyone.  However, I  have had to cut myself off in order to live my one word, Balance!  I've been pretty successful with dividing my time up between my family and school, so that means blogging is what gets pushed to the side.  

 This makes me sad because I really enjoy blogging! I have come to realize that I was a little LOT obsessed with the blogging world! found myself spending hours and hours reading, commenting, posting, creating, TpTing, Pinning, etc...

So, this weekend I've decided to add a little blogging world back into my "Balanced" life!  I'll share 2 family and 2 school random things with you!

While M.I.A. I've spent my time with my husband Al!  

We have enjoyed our "Empty Net" which means FREEDOM!  It has been so nice to not have to worry what the kids want or need, and just focus on the two of us!  We eat, drink, and are marry!!  HA! We both teach, so you know that means we are poor and can't quite travel the world just yet.  We did increase our $$ going towards our retirement since we don't have kids to pay for anymore.  We do spend time making plans for our future together.  Where we want to go, see, do!  I love our time together.  It is very romantic and comforting.  

I've been working as busy as a bee at school!  EVERYTHING is new to me this year.  I almost feel like a new teacher.  New school, coworkers, teammates, population of students, parents, new Florida Standards for Reading & Math, new programs, and a whole new teaching style!  I have to be honest, I LOVE my new school and it's vision for our students!  It makes a HUGE difference when your leadership is supportive of teachers and what we have to accomplish is a very short period of time.  

I blogged about starting the Making Meaning Reading Comprehension Program with the Vocabulary Supplement Component from The Developmental Studies Center before I went M.I.A.  I am ecstatic with the results I am seeing with the level and depth of thinking my students are expressing!  I wish I had someone in my classroom that would remember to take pictures of what this looks like, but we are always so deeply involved in our discussions of text we forget to capture it!  I did remember to take a picture of our Reading Community Anchor Charts.  They remind us of what our classroom community should look and act like!

Making Meaning Grade 4 Materials

After studying & reading DSC- Vocabulary & Word Nerds by Brenda J. Overturf, Leslie H. Montgomery, Margot Holmes Smith,  I was inspired to create a vocabulary journal for my students.  Here is a sneak peak at what it will looks like.  Not quite finished let me know what you think!

Math instruction has changed the most for me this year.  I'm learning how to teach with more student exploration built into my lessons.  It is challenging for me, but I'm loving the results!!  My district has embraced the Hands-On, Minds-On approach to math instruction.  Many hours of research and planning went into the district Math curriculum map for the 2014-2015 school year.  In my opinion, this year's Math Curriculum Map is by far the BEST I have ever seen or worked with.  Kudos to Volusia County School's K-5 Math Department!! 

Here are some pics of what Math Instruction has looked like in my classroom so far this year.

My fifth random post is about my family.  Mainly my son, Erik.  He graduates next Friday, 10/31/14 from Marine Corp. Boot Camp!  For me, the last 13 weeks have passed by slowly!  It has been absolute torture not being able to see him or even hear his voice.  Erik has written many letters home letting us know how much he LOVES Boot Camp, reporting how time is flying by, and that he can't wait to finally be a Marine!  He also reports how much he has grown, how much he misses us, and that he can't wait to see us again.  We are all proud of him and are bursting with excitement with only 6 more days to go!!  We ordered shirts to wear on Family Day!

Hopefully, I will be able to balance a little blogging into my life now that the first quarter is over.  I miss you all!  I want to hear from you, so send me some love to let me know you are still here too!  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five for Friday Week #2 (Saturday Addition)

I'm linking up a date late again with Doodle Bugs Teaching!  Here's why...

WOOSH!  That was the sound of my second week of school flying by, and Zzzzzz, was the sound that I made by 8:00PM last night!  I was exhausted which is pretty much the consensus of every blogger that has returned to school prior to Labor Day!  

 I'm still loving my new school and coworkers!  Everyday has been a confirmation that the move was a smart choice.  My new principal passed out a copy of One Word that will change your life to all of us during our preplanning week.  

One Word That Will Change Your Life, Expanded Edition,9781118809426

My word for the school year...Balance!  Which leads me to my #2 random thing for the week.

In order to maintain balance this year I scheduled a Mani/Pedi after school on Monday, a Message on Wednesday, and a Facial on Friday!  Repeat after me,
"Relax, Refresh, and Heal!"

Florida added a new Math standard to the Common Core standards on Relational Thinking and my school district decided it should be taught first on our new curriculum map.  This was a mind blower for my 4th grade team.  Thankfully, our wonderful Grade Chair went to several math workshops over the summer and brought back how to Transform Standards into Clear Learning Goals in the form of a Standards Wall.  Have any of you used this?  I loved it!  Here's what my wall looked like for the Relational Thinking Standards MAFS.4.OA.1a & 1b.

This is an example of implementation of "Determine if an equation is true or false by comparing, decomposing, and composing the numbers"  students are not to use calculations and must share/record their thinking.  

This is very exciting!  I have my very own kit and have started to build my Classroom's Reading Community!  I was also given the Vocabulary Supplement that compliments the program!  I love it!!

Making Meaning Grade 4 Materials

So far we have established our classroom Reading Community, routines & procedures for Class Meetings, Listening to our Partner, and how to share our thinking with making connections to the text!  Stay tuned for more sharing on how effective this program is for All my students!!  

Random Thing #5 is dedicated to my son, Erik.  He has completed 4 weeks of Marine Corps Boot Camp.  I have received 3 letters from him so far and he sounds up beat, motivated, and in good spirits!  This warms my heart.  He has 9 more weeks to go!  Next week he has Water Survival Training!  

I'm confident he will excel since he is a Florida Boy, Surfer, and an Excellent Swimmer!  

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!