Friday, July 3, 2015

Another Vacation Week Gone Already?

How can more than 2 weeks of vacation be already gone?

It seems like all I've done is sleep, but I guess I've done a few things. Here are 5 of them:

My daughter went back to her old dance studio and danced in their recital! The studio was celebrating their 25th anniversary, and invited alumni to come back and dance. They learned the dance from a video online, came back and danced it! You may be able to tell from the costumes, the dance had a 70s theme! My daughter danced at this studio from the time she was 3 until she was 16. I went to many, many, many dance competitions and recitals, and even did some dancing myself. (I'm a tapper from waaay back!) I hadn't seen any of their recitals for the last 5 years, but watched this one, and it was fabulous! This studio doesn't just let the kiddos dance, they put on quite a show! Lots of good memories!

Yes, that doesn't look like a health picture, but I've been going to acupuncture since I had a stroke 5 years ago. It helps me keep my energy going, and build my immune system, two things that have been compromised since the stroke. My acupuncturist is fabulous, and VERY helpful! My energy has been WAY down since school got out, and I don't seem to be bouncing back very well this year. She reminded me that my health issues make it harder to bounce back, and my age doesn't make it any easier! She treated me and advised me, and I'm slowly getting my "limited" energy back.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I use beanie babies and cute pillows a lot in my classroom. Well, every summer they go to the laundromat for a "bath" and then hibernate for the rest of the summer. This year it took 2 weeks to get them all washed. (I was just too tired to carry those heavy bags!) As usual, I got lots of interesting looks at the laundromat!

I'm leaving for Vegas on Wednesday, and found it a great excuse to buy clothes! Most of the teachers who go to Vegas wear adorable dresses. Well, I'm just not a dress person, so I bought some new shorts and tops. I won't be the most adorable teacher in Vegas, but I'll be comfortable!

I've spent most of the last couple of weeks working on this baby! It's all research based, brain-friendly, color coded and fact-family coordinated! I already have a set for addition and subtraction that you can see HERE.  Although most of my second grade students don't quite reach multiplication, it's a great incentive for those over achievers! "If you master these, I'll let you work on multiplication!" Every second grader I know is motivated by those words! 

I finally posted my new product this morning, and you can find it on this link: Brain Friendly Multiplication and Division Facts and Assessments.

I'm linking up with these ladies for the "Make Your Masterpiece" Challenge. You can find more masterpieces HERE!
I'll also be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! Be sure to stop by to see what other Teacher/ Bloggers are up to!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently for July!

Wow, how could it be July already?

I just barely got out of school, and I'm still in the "recovery" mode of summer. I'm still sleeping A LOT, and not very motivated to do housework or go anywhere. Experience tells me this will change soon, but right now, I'm still dragging. I guess I really did push myself too hard those last couple weeks of school, and my body is still fighting back!

But it's time for July's Currently!

Listening: I watch The View faithfully during the summer!
Loving: I love my summer mornings! I'm not a morning person, so I get up later, sip coffee while checking email and watching mindless daytime TV, and stay in my jammies until noon!
Thinking: I have to start getting organized for my trip to Vegas. One week from right now, I'll be there! I need to decide what to wear, run off a lot of stuff to bring, and get my head organized! I'm nervous AND excited!
Wanting: I went to the beach once last week. I need another good weather day so I can sit with my feet in the sand, and a book in my hand! That's how I relax! (I need to get away from the laptop!)

Needing: As I mentioned above, I need to get organized for Vegas! I need to decide what to do for clothes! I'm not really a dress person, but that's what a lot of people wear. I may have to pave my own path and wear dress shorts and shirts. I just don't like my look in dresses!
All Star: Ok, I'm not really an All Star at Brain Based Learning, but it's something I have a passion about and I've read a lot about recent research. Here are some links to some blog posts I've written on the topic:

Here are many of the articles I've read about brain research that I've saved:

If this stuff seems interesting to you, be sure to check out some books by the REAL experts on Brain Based Learning:

And be sure to stop by Farley's page to see more Currently in July posts!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Book Club and Giveaway: Unshakeable!

It's a tough time to be a teacher! Expectations are getting tougher, and there seems to be less and less time to do all the work expected! Yet, somehow, we go on! 

Here's a chance to win a book that will help you continue to ENJOY being a teacher!
My blogging friend, Angela Watson from The Cornerstone has published her third book, Unshakable!

To make this even more fun, you can join in on a summer book club featuring Angela and her book by visiting HERE. It doesn't cost a thing! It's a closed facebook group, and it's going to be awesome! (You'll find me there!)

Are you excited yet? Well, here's a little "sneak preview" of what's coming:

Here's the best part: you might actually win an e-copy of this awesome book! Just enter the Rafflecopter below!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Fun and Linkies!

One thing I love about summer is the chance to blog hop! I spend time each morning relaxing with my coffee, watching mindless daytime TV, and reading the blogs of other teachers. Since so many of us finally get the time to blog, we're joining forces to blog about a variety of topics! (Some have NOTHING to do with teaching, which is a nice break!)
Molly from Classroom Confections is having a link up this week about our favorite mugs!

I couldn't decide between the two mugs shown above. It would be like trying to decide between my students and my cat! The mug on the left was given to me by one of my sweet students. The one on the right, I bought for myself because the cat on the mug had the same coloring as my cat, Mia. I love them both. 

What's in them? Coffee! Nothing fancy, just straight caffeine. I don't like sweeteners or cream or anything in my coffee. Just the real thing. I make my own coffee each morning, because I need to be sipping coffee while I get dressed or I'd never be awake enough to drive! If I'm buying coffee on the run, it's got to be Dunkin Donuts! Sorry, Starbucks lovers, I'm from Boston!

Diana from My Day in K is also having a linky party: The Teacher Bucket list!

Yes, I know it's Thursday, but I've been thinking about this one since Tuesday. I hope that counts!

Relax: This is #1 priority for my summer! I've been off for a week now, and my blood pressure is slowly starting to come down. I need a few more days doing this before I start to feel human again!

Work on S.T.E.A.M. Stuff: In my district, we have a whole lot of newness coming this fall, and the only way we will fit it all in is to combine subjects! S.T.E.A.M. is the perfect way to combine the new Science curriculum, the new Math curriculum, Technology, Engineering (two necessary skills for the 21st century) and the Arts, which connects the learning to the hearts of the learners. (I got a master's degree in Creative Arts in Learning over 20 years ago, and everything I learned back then is directly related to everything I've learned about how children learn through recent brain research! I'm excited to sit down with the new curriculums and combine them in ways that will work with the kiddos!

Friends: Yes, I definitely have plans to spend time with friends, including many of my blogging friends in Vegas in a couple of weeks!

One more linky: My dreams! I'm sure you've seen this one floating around, if you follow social media.

Develop S.T.E.A.M. materials! See the comments from the bucket list linky above.

Read more about how the brain learns! I love to read about how the brain learns! There is so much available online, and so many fabulous books out there, I plan to spend some time each day reading about the brain. Sound crazy? Well, it's an interest of mine! I consider myself knowledgeable about the brain. I'd love to be considered an expert on how the brain works. Ah, it's nice to dream!

Continue to develop materials based on how students learn! So much of what I develop is directly connected to how the brain works. I have so many things I want to make. If I only had all the time in the world, I could do it!

Someday: retire (shudder) The thought of retirement terrifies me. It also intrigues me. I've been donating to my retirement fund for close to 40 years now, but we all know it's not really enough to live on. Once upon a time I had some savings. Then I got divorced and ended up spending it all on bringing up my daughter by myself, including putting her through college. I will be completely dependent on what my state provides for retired teachers. (shudder!) There's going to have to be some major downsizing! 

It's also scary to think about NOT going to school every day. It's been such an important part of my life for so long, I don't know what I'd do with myself!

However, I do like the idea of actually having time to do some of those other things I enjoy!

Follow THIS LINK to see the dreams of more teacher bloggers!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Six Things I Love About Summer!

Oh, there's no doubt that I love summer! Warm weather, relaxing pace, not a care in the world... no wait, that's childhood, not summer! I do have "cares", but I can deal with them! 

Here are a few reasons why I love summer!

Sleeping Until I wake up!
Yes, I know, we all sleep until we wake up. But in the summer, it's my body waking me up when it's done sleeping, not the alarm clock! 

Sipping coffee in my jammies!
I do love my coffee! But in the summer, I can sip coffee leisurely while I watch mindless daytime TV and check my email, facebook, blogs, Pinterest, etc. Such relaxation! This is my idea of heaven!

Catching up on all the household stuff!
I finally got time to go through a huge pile of mail I just didn't have time to answer those last few hectic weeks of school. I also can do things like clean toilets, laundry, vacuum, wash windows, work out, pay bills, dust, water the plants, and... cook! I admit, I've haven't actually done many of those things, but I COULD!

Prepare school stuff!
I may not have dusted or washed windows, but I've been thinking a lot about school, and planning a few things for the fall. I know, I'm kind of sick in this way, but I'm all excited about having a new theme for my classroom, and making new stuff to go with it. (My new theme... the Arts!) I've also done a little bit of making over some of my old stuff, like this old freebie: 

That's my letter writing freebie (Click HERE to download) that I've updated. I'm all excited about it all over again!

Get ready for VEGAS!
This the third summer in a row that I'm going to Vegas for the teacher/ blogger meet up... and more! I will re-connect with other bloggers, finally meet face to face with teachers I've been in contact with online, and meet totally new people as well. It's exciting and frightening and exhausting and exhilarating! Trust me, it will be a very busy 3 1/2 days, and I'll be sleeping a whole lot when I get back!

Get togethers with friends!
Honestly, I don't do much socializing during the school year. By the time I get home from school, I crash. On weekends, I catch up on sleep, house work, and school work. So I go "all out" during the summer! There will be beach trips, lunches, dinners, cook outs, and more! I really look forward to those beach trips where I can hang out listening to the waves, with a book in my hand and my feet in the sand. Ahhhh! Sounds delightful!

Be sure to stop by Primarily Speaking to see what more teacher/ bloggers love about summer!

Primarily Speaking

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Active Students? Try Scoot!

It's time for another Bright Ideas Link up! 
Several of my blogging friends and I get together once a month to link up great ideas!

Today I'm sharing a game that helped me through those last hectic weeks of school where the kiddos just couldn't concentrate on much of anything...Scoot!

All you need to play scoot is a set of task cards (I know we all have plenty of those!) an answer sheet, and some desks or tables.

In the picture above, we put the desks into a big square, which is perfect for scoot, but rows, tables, or sets of desks in any arrangement can work. You just need to set a pattern for movement.

The basis of the game:
  1.  There is a numbered task card on each desk. 
  2. Students do the task card at their desk, and write their answer on the answer sheet.
  3. When the teacher calls "Scoot", the children all move to the next desk in the sequence, and do that task card.
  4. Children continue to "scoot" from desk to desk until all cards have been completed.
After completion, I usually let the children self-correct while we go over the cards. (Self correcting with highlighters makes it more fun!)

For added fun for squirmy kids, replace one of the task cards with a brain break. My kids LOVE brain breaks, and look forward to that part of scoot!

If you enjoyed my bright idea, feel free to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Teachers Pay Teachers

For more bright ideas from my teaching/ blogger friends, please browse through the link up below and choose a topic/ grade level that interests you! Thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Makeover Madness, and a Crazy Week Altogether!

It was a crazy busy week! Even more crazy busy than most. It was a week that had me feeling very sad, and very happy, and absolutely exhausted!

Why happy? Well, because I'm on vacation! Look at the sweet mug and the sweet flowers I got from some of my students.  Oh yes, and ice cream sundaes on the last day of school! Of course, I'm quite sad to have to say goodbye to these kiddos. It's not easy. I was on the verge of tears most of that last day, and not just because I was so tired!

Totally exhausted because I had to do this: pack  up my entire room. Yes, I've done this 38 times in my career, and it seems to get harder, not easier! You'd think I'd have this down to a science! Luckily, I had some fabulous help, and not just the kiddos!

Wednesday was my last day, so Thursday I treated myself! Here it is Friday, and my feet are still achy from those marathon days of packing my classroom. But at least they look great!

Besides packing, I've spent the last week or so putting the final touches on my class "End of the Year" slide show.  Seriously, I've been working on it all year, and shared it at the Open House in April, but a lot had to be added since April, including the pages where the children made comments about their classmates and teachers. See what they said about me? The Final Slide show had 132 slides. Yes, there were 3-4 pictures. per page. After I looked at the whole thing, I thought, boy, no wonder I'm so tired! We really did do a lot of great stuff this year, and I hope the kids saved that slide show to show their own kids someday! 

Well, I haven't been completely idol since we got out on Wednesday! I finally got a chance to join in on the Makeover Madness!  I freshened up one of my phonics games: Touchdown R Controlled Vowels.  I'm MUCH happier with the changes I've made!

I also made over one of the first freebies I ever had! I love the new colors, fonts, and graphics! I even added some mini-posters on the parts of a letter!

Here's what the whole set looks like! You can download this freebie HERE!

I'll be linking up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday!

I'm also linking up with Sparkling in Second for the Makeover Madness Challenge! 

Sparkling in Second

Be sure to check out both these fabulous linkies!

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