Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Wish Came True!

Well, if you go way back and read my very first post, you know my reason for starting a teaching blog. (click here)  I have been MIA for a very good reason!  I became a MOM!!!!! Through the miracle of adoption, we received a phone call just 3 short weeks ago and have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Kiley.
Here is a little photo slideshow capturing some of the highlights of our journey.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook

At times, I do get to browse a few blogs and get some ideas in between naps.  At some point, I hope to return to blogland, but in the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying motherhood!    

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering and My First Award!

First of all, in honor of 9/11, my prayers go out to all those families and friends who lost loved ones ten years ago today.  As my husband and I were watching football this afternoon, (Well, he's watching, I'm just listening here and there,while on my laptop and working on school stuff and doing laundry.) we saw some great commercials commemorating today.  The best one was the Budweiser Clydesdale tribute.  It made both of us tear up and pause to remember. Watch it and you'll see. (grab a tissue just in case). Apparently, it is a remake.  It aired just once at the Super Bowl in 2002 after 9/11.  Neither of us remember this, but it is very touching.

Now, on to something happy.  I was honored to receive my first blog award!  Andi, from Pencils, Glue, and Tying Shoes chose me for The Versatile Blogger Award!

I literally almost choked as I sipped my coffee, upon reading my comments and emails! Now I know how my kids feel when I give them a little certificate or recognition.  I'm all giddy!  Gosh, golly, gee!  Thank you Andi, you made my weekend!  Be sure to check out her awesome blog!

Here are the rules of the award:

**Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
**Share 7 things about yourself.
**Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

1.  I love ALL things coffee! Coffee, coffee (the hot drink).  Any time of today, full octane, no decaf!  I love coffee chocolate chip ice cream, coffee flavored Werther's, coffee (mocha) flavored brownies, see... ANYthing coffee flavored!

  2.  I am a neat freak!  I have to have everything JUST so!  I can't leave my classroom unless all signs, posters, or displays are hanging straight.  My desk my be cleared off and neat.  All papers must be filed or in a pile with a post-it of what it is and what I need to do with it.

3.  My husband and I are adopting!  We are currently waiting for a phone call!

4.  I like to color coordinate everything I wear!  Yes, I'm a nerd and took my mother seriously when she said, always wear clean underwear just in case you are ever in an accident.  I took it a step further and have to wear ones that match my outfit!  

5.  I love to take naps!  I always did as a kid and still do as an adult. 

6.  I have never been out of the country.  I don't even have a passport.  Although, I  plan on getting one and traveling some day.

7.  I use exclamation points WAY too much.  Seriously, someone needs to invent a new symbol so I don't look so silly using them every other sentence every sentence or so!!! (See what I mean?!?)  OMG, I did it again!  I just can't quit!

1.  Debbie @ Sailing Through 1st Grade

2.  Laura @ Delightful Daily 5 Cafe

3.  Melanie @ Schoolgirl Style - Cute Classroom Inspiration

4.  Amanda @ One Extra Degree

5.  Ginger @ Ginger Snaps - Tidbits and Treats for Teachers

6.  Kelli @ Castle and Crayons

7.  Leigh @ Precious Perks

8.  Mrs. Magee @ First Grade Brain

9.  Michelle @ Fab-U-Lous in First

10.  Jenn @ Finally in First

11.  Mrs. Pollard @ Tales of a Teacherista

12.  Marisa @ First Grade Glitter and Giggles

13.  Misty @ 3rd Grade's a Hoot

14.  Alisha @ The Bubbly Blonde

15.  Kristin @ A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Check out these ladies and their awesome blogs!  I should say that picking JUST 15 was EXTREMELY hard to do!  I stalk visit soooooo many more and love them all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gratitude Adjustment

Well, it was bound to happen.  The first week of school was one of the best ever!  I kept pinching myself to see if it was for real or just a dream.  Then, today...errr, I had a whole different group!  Everyone came out of their shells!  OMG!  What happened to my precious little class?!  Who took them?!  Where did they go?!  I tried to think, no, we didn't have indoor recess yet.  Nope, not a full moon.  Maybe the cold front that has brought cooler weather was to blame?  One little gem had a melt down and copped a major attitude.  I thought I had gone back to teaching 7th grade.  Holy cow, a first grader?!  Then, the infamous parent phone call followed and more frustrations came about.  I vented at lunch (for the first time this year), but then felt bad about it.  My team is awesome and we all feel you need to let it out, but not dwell.  I think I did a good job following that.  Then, tonight, I came across The Cornerstone Devotion for Teachers blog.  I hadn't visited there in quite some time, but so glad I read it this evening. It was perfect and exactly what I needed to hear.  The topic was Gratitude Adjustment.  Boy could I relate!  Read it and see for yourself.(click here)  I am THANKFUL for today and that I have a job.  I am THANKFUL I get to do something I love every day, even the difficult days.  I am THANKFUL to have a challenging student.  I know God has placed them in my care and I have much to learn from them.  I am THANKFUL I'm a teacher!

I do feel better when I train my brain to think this way!  The next time you have a bad day or feel yourself being pulled in by negativity, jump over to the Cornerstone Devotion for Teachers.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Amazing Giveaway!

Love Thistlegirl Designs?  Love adorable digital clip art?  Then head on over to Fabulous in First for a graphic giveaway to die for!  Thistlegirl Designs and Digital Doodles are cream of the crop in my book!  Best of luck!

On a separate note, I've been slackin' in the regular bloggin' department.  Chalk it up to the first weeks of school.  I'll get crack-a-lackin' next week! (I hope!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keep Calm-O-Matic Poster Generator

I just found the neatest site where you can generate your very own "Keep Calm" poster. You can choose the color, the picture, and the wording.I thought it would be cute to print this one and hang in the teacher restroom that my team and I share.

You could buy cool frames and give them as gifts. The possibilities are endless!
My second creation is this one:

It will be framed and sit near my computer. (For whenever I have time to blog, now that school is starting!?
 ; - /)
What poster would you create?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Three for Thursday AND Free For All Friday

I should have seen it coming!  Open House was last night and I came home with every intention of taking a walk before sunset and enjoying these last little bits of summer. Then, I wanted to log on to my BFF (my laptop) and soak my brain in blogland,  BUT... I made the mistake of sitting down on the couch and the next thing I knew, my husband is saying, "hon, time to go to bed" .  I fell asleep sitting up!!!!  So, without further adieu, I'm linking up for the last two topics with "I'm Blog Hoppin'" for Teacher Week.

Three for Thursday

Favorite Font (Are ya kiddin' me?  I can't just pick one!)  Kevin and Amanda's fonts are THE best, hands down!  No question about it!
Favorite Blog ( Again, just one?!)  OOoooo, well, currently, I'd have to say a tie between:

Precious Perks         First Grade Glitter and Giggles
I have been loving browsing both these for their creativity and inspiring ideas.  I do have several adoption blogs I also "stalk" daily too, Brantley and Richard is my ultimate fav though!

Favorite Online Resource

Now... onto today's topic:  Free For All Friday

For all you Daily 5/CAFE lovers out there, I created a CAFE menu with an ocean/beach theme.  This is what I use in my nautical themed classroom.  

CAFE Headings (Ocean Theme)Alt Set

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday - Classroom Pics

I'm continuing with Teacher Week at "I'm Blog Hoppin' " with classroom pictures.  I did show before and after pics way back at the beginning of August, but I'll just share some of my favorites.  I have a nautical theme, with a little ocean/beach sprinkled in as well.

 Beth Newingham was my inspiration with her nautical theme.  This is the entrance to my classroom.  I have since added little sailboats with student names to the left of my door in the netting.  The kids make their lunch choice on the door (it's magnetic).  I have also added little fish with their names on them and a magnet on the back.
 As soon as you walk in and look left, you'll see my Fundations board, dry erase board, Smart Board, and Math area.  I've added a few things for math as well.
 Rules and Clip Chart, mailboxes made by my hubby.
 Small group area back corner, CAFE menu, word wall, student desks, the door the right leads into a mini computer labette.  It holds 10 computers that I share with the teacher next door.
Book boxes, classroom library, displays for student work.

The sea canopy is always a favorite reading nook for Daily 5 time!

One more day of In-service tomorrow, followed by Open House/Meet the Teacher night.  It will be along one, but I am looking forward to meeting my new crew!  Now... off to see other classrooms on I'm Blog Hoppin'!

  Blog Hoppin

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Teacher Talk Tuesday, Advice for New Teachers

Looking back in my almost 20 year career, I have learned quite a few things about teaching, life, and how to try to balance the two. My advice to new teachers:

1.) Surround yourself with positive people, if you don't have a mentor, find one!

2.) Don't be afraid to ask for help!  It's o.k., give yourself permission to do that!

3.) Beg, borrow and steal - but say "please" and "thank you", give credit where credit is due.

4.) Keep a journal, write down all the funny things your kids say and do.  Looking back, I wish I would've started that my first year.  The old brain can't quite remember everything.

5.) Family comes first, try not to make school your entire life! (although that's easier said than done!) Make time for those milestone moments that you can never get back.  Life is too short.

6.) Remember, whatever is bothering you or upsetting you, keep in mind, "this too, shall pass".  I know that sounds so cliche, but its true!

7.) Remember there is no such thing as the perfect lesson.  You can plan til the cows come home, but 9 times out of 10, your plan will change!  And that's o.k..

8.) Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and not say what's on your mind.  You have to become Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeannie", (I know, I am seriously dating myself here! Yikes!) cross your arms, nod your head and say, "Yes, Master" to administration, to your principal.  But then, you go back to your classroom, shut the door, and teach like you know it should be done!  You know your kids best! That's why they often call us "Mom", instead of Mrs. .....

9.) Don't burn bridges.  You never know what colleague might come back to be your principal or superintendent.

10.) Document EVERYTHING to CYA!!! (cover your a$$) Keep careful records of parent phone calls, dates, times, etc... make copies of notes, this will protect you.  Communicate often and clearly.

and most of all, have FUN!  Enjoy your class, savor those moments with your students that make you laugh or cry!  Best wishes to all those new teachers out there.  Have a wonderful year!

Link up to "I'm Blog Hoppin" and share your advice!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Meet the Teacher Monday…
My name is Kim.  My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years this fall.  We are in the waiting phase of adoption and can not wait to get that call!  It is all we think about right now! I started an adoption blog first, as a therapeutic way to keep family and friends posted on our journey.  Then, began this teacher blog too, to keep my mind busy.  We are BIG Disney fans and travel at least once a year to Orlando.  We ride all the rides and pose with ALL the characters.  We are just big kids ourselves and can’t wait to bring our little one there some day.

How long have you been teaching?
This will be my 20th year teaching! UNBELIEVABLE!! Holy Cow where did time go?!!! I’ve taught Kindergarten, 4th, 7th, and 8th grades, but 1st is the level I’ve taught the longest and enjoy the most!  I love their way of looking at the world and the hilarious things they say almost everyday! 

You might not know…
I am the last person on Earth to begin texting!  I just started doing it a little over a year ago and now I’m addicted!  I know, Big Nerd!

What are you looking most forward to this year?
This is going to sound weird, and perhaps this should go in the previous category, but I’m looking forward to taking maternity leave when our adoption finally goes through!  Yes, I can’t wait to meet my new little batch of cuties, and I’m excited to get to know them and teach them so much.  But, in the same token, given all that we have been through, I honestly feel like we will be matched with a baby soon! 

What do you need to improve?
I need to start saying “no” more often.  I need to start sliding things off my plate, especially if I’m going to be a momma soon! I’ve been involved in more committees, groups, a mentor, a building rep, negotiations team, the list is endless!  I also need to improve teaching writing.  I think I stink at it!  I really want to attend  a conference or read a great book about Writer’s Workshop and how it all works with first graders. 

What teaching supplies can you not live without?
Hands down, my SmartBoard!  I’ve had one for 2 years now and I can’t remember how I taught without one before!   
Sharpies are a must, (( Hence my blog name!))
Starbucks Venti Non-fat Caramel Macchiatos or Skinny Vanilla Lattes ( Again, see my blog name!)
My Vera Bradley Teacher Bag  - Metropolitan in Baroque

Now it's your turn,  join the fun at "I'm Blog Hoppin'" and tell us about yourself! Hoppin

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blog Hoppin'

I am excited about Teacher Week on I"m Blog Hoppin'.  I hope you'll jump on over and participate!  Click here for more details!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Giveaway! Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures - Get a Freebie and Maybe Win My Whole Store!

You MUST check out Teacher Tam's TpT store now!  GO I say!  Click away and get blogging for a freebie! It's totally worth it! 

Let's celebrate the end of summer vacation and the beginning of my blog with a freebie of your choice and a contest!
EVERYONE who participates can pick ONE $5-or-less item from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
ONE lucky winner will receive a CD containing every item in my store!!!" 

My favorites are the Crazy for Coconuts Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Game and the Pirate Sight Word Game.  Both are A.DOR.A.BLE!!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Classroom Before and After Pics

Busy is an understatement! I have never kept record of how many hours it truly takes me to set up my classroom, but this year I did. So far, these last 2 weeks, I have put in 40 hours. I am no where near finished, but I'm liking the progress so far.


 Plain Jane... nothing fancy! We are allowed to keep some things up over the summer, anything above the dry erase boards.

 The wall is retractable and can open up if we wish.  My teaching buddy next door and I, choose not to because the wall is also magnetic.  So we hang a TON on these and if you move the wall, everything comes down.
 Blah, blah...
 sink, closet, cupboards, mailboxes (made by my hubby! : )
 Notice the big ugly box fan... no air conditioning on these hot, humid days!  Uuuggghhh!

drum roll... wait for it, wait for it...

AFTER  Boom Chicka WOW WOW!!!

 Entrance to my door, I will add sailboats with student names on them once they finally give us  we get them.
 As you come through the door and look to the left, front meeting area, dry erase boards, Smart Board...
Small group table, CAFE menu... (the stuff on the table and desks will be cleared soon! it's bugging me!)
 Rules, sink area, clip chart (I am going to tweak that a bit with my nautical theme)
Word Wall - Sorry, I know many of you teachers have blank word walls and add words as you introduce them. I have always felt the need to have common words already up for them on day one!  You gotta hit the ground running right away for those students who ARE writing.  I do add words later though, too.
 This corner is not quite finished yet... haven't decided if it will be my jobs area (All Hands On Deck), or my Bucket Filling Board.  Plus, I ran out of border on the green display.  I know it's hiding somewhere!
 Classroom library, book boxes, "Work to Treasure" for featuring student's best projects/papers.
 "Sailor of the Week" way down on the blue display, counter area...
 Smart Board, Math Wall (more work to do here, more things to add)...
 Our phonics, spelling, and handwriting are all wrapped up in one with the Fundations Program.  I piloted this last year.  All first grades will be implementing this year. (Those dog gone owls are crampin' my ocean theme style!)
 Above the cupboards.  I thought about posting some thing ON the cupboards, but not sure if it will start to look too busy.
 Close up of my ocean themed CAFE (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expanding Vocabulary) Board.
 The kids favorite nook to cozy up with a book is under this sea canopy.  My mom got it for me from Oriental Trading Co. about 3-4 years ago.  It has netting/ tulle material that goes down to the floor, but sometimes they  plop down in the bean bag chairs and it pulls on it.  I don't want it to tear, so I gather it up and attach to the wall carefully.
Outside my door, this wall will display the pictures I will take on the first day.  The kids will wear a captain's hat and hold a plastic ship wheel.  It looks so adorable when the pictures are all hanging up!  I also have them fill out an "All About Me" form before school starts.  They receive it at our Meet the Teacher/Open House Night.  I post their "crew" picture and All About Me papers together side by side. Thanks to Beth Newingham for the awesome idea!

My new area rug in front of the Smart Board.  LOVE this!  Found it for $34.99 at Kirklands.  It's a decent size, 5x7 ft. It's my favorite new addition to the room this year. (so far)  Still more shopping to do!

Soooooo, that's it for now, but I will post final pictures later.  Lots of finishing touches to add!