Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord

Happy Sunday Y'all!  I'm linking up with my girl Michelle again for her Sunday Smorgasbord. 

This week has a bit tough for me. Ever have those weeks where you just don't feel prepared and can't seem to catch up?  That was my week and man do I hate that feeling. 
      Every summer I work at a camp here in MD. It's an awesome opportunity for my kiddos because the camp has all these activities and classes that are far beyond what we do as a family (AJ went stand up paddling boarding this week!) Since the kids get to attend with me and are exposed to things they wouldn't be if I didn't teach there I'm very appreciative of the opportunity and I try my best to give the campers in my group the best kindergarten prep I can. Well, I started my four weeks on Monday and perhaps it's because of just returning from Vegas, or because I was in denial that my summer break was ending, or I was having too much fun last weekend, I showed up on Monday feeling very underprepared and I HATED it.  If it weren't for TPT and my friend Karen who had prepped and emailed me our weekly lessons beforehand I wouldn't have maded it. 
Here are some of my campers playing Cara's Race to the Top game. 

Other areas I felt unprepared in were my eating and exercise goals. I fully intended to participate in Rachelle's #3weeksnocheats challenge but found when I woke up on Monday I hadn't really planned it out well and didn't have enough gluten free stuff to keep it up this week. While I don't think I have celiac disease I do notice a huge difference in my body and how I feel when I eat a lot of gluten.  So I'm trying to eliminate it from my diet but man is it hard. This week I've already stocked up on my gluten free faves so I should be good.
Since I started camp this week my schedule was off and once I added my 3 afternoons of tutoring I couldn't figure out my regular Pure Barre sessions. It sucked big time. I only made it 3 times.  I felt horrible for not going and not eating well but I know I just need to suck it up and move on so I'm signed up for my regular 6 times of PB for this coming week.  I did make it class yesterday and worked my seat off so I rewarded myself with new Lily and Laura bracelets, I firmly believe in celebrating small victories �� 

Skipping several PB has given me lots of time to read. This week I read Kim Bearden's Crash Course, loved it!! I swear I have most of the book highlighted and am already planning my trip to RCA. I was hoping to go April 3 for my birthday weekend but just realized it's Good Friday so I'm back to the drawing board. Kim's book interested me so much I quickly got Ron Clark's The Essentsil 55 on my kindle. I finished it last night and also really enjoyed it. Thankfully I prepared for finishing his book quickly and picked up The End of the Molasses Classes and a few chick lit books.  If you're looking for some good inspiring PD books I highly recommend all three!

Are you guys participating in Blog Hoppin's Scavenger Hunt?  I am. My sweet kids and camp counselors are very into it and so I've been in able to knock out a lot of items over the last few days. Check them out by following me, Racey7 on Instagram. I'll also post some of my faves on Tuesday. 
Before I go I want to share my kids latest pancake obsession: Mel's Kitchen Cafe's Blender Rollup Pancakes!!  Absolutely delish (gluten and all) and easy to make. We had them for breakfast and my kiddos asked for them in their lunches right away.  Be sure to check them out!  Actually I love her whole site and her recipes are always winners. 

Tomorrow I'll post day one highlights and lessons from my Vegas sessions. Till then 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Vegas Recap in Ten Tips (Fun Stuff)

As I mentioned in my last post I thought it would be fun to give y'all a detailed recap of SDE's I Teach First conference. Today's post will be about all the fun stuff and some random tips that may make your visit better. Tomorrow I'm thinking I'll share what I learned or struck me most from each of my sessions. This is not to say it the sessions weren't fun, because they totally were but after four days of presentations my head was and still is spinning a bit. All the ideas, the inspirations, the potential I just need a bit more time to process it. 

So any who, I was lucky enough to go to Vegas with two of my best coworkers.  While I saw a lot of people who went alone I would not recommended it.  Thankfully my girls Sharon and Meghan were just as pumped about the presentations and trip as I was. 
They were quite sweet and let me be all fan crazy when seeing the blog hoppin' ladies I read so much from. They also weren't too bothered by my 5 am wake ups. I had such an amazing time with these two girls. I'm not sure my trip would have been as fun without them. So my first tip to anyone considering going next year go with at least one teacher friend. 

Tip 2:  Bring your own snacks!! I'm not ashamed to say that I thought Vegas was more than a bit expensive. Thankfully I packed granola and Kind bars for each day of the trip. It allowed me to not spend $ on snacks between meals. 

Tip 3:  Stay at whatever hotel the conference is held at. We stayed at the Palazzo and man was it beautiful. It allowed us to sleep a little longer, offered plenty of entertainment, shopping and having everything in one place made it even more convenient. We actually only left the hotel one night. I'm sure I'll venture out more next year but for my first time it was perfect. 
The gondolas in the Venetian were my favorite. 

Tip 4:  Do plan to attend any blog meet up the Blog Hoppin girls host. Let me tell you those ladies know how to throw a party!! They had so many freebies and swag it was a teachers dream. I got to meet the author of Teach Like a Pirate 

AND I won a Tieks gift card!! 

Tip 5:  Bring nice, cute, colorful clothes and dress in layers. On the day I met Hope King I was wearing workout clothes and felt way underdressed.  It is also FREEZING in all the conference rooms so bring a sweater or long sleeves. 

Tip 6:  Bring more $ than you think you'll need!!  Even if you don't gamble you're going to find stuff in the exhibitors hall you never knew you needed. I waited till the last day to buy a t-shirt and stamps but if I'd known all the great stuff people would be selling I'd have gone better prepared. 

Tip 7:  Bring a large suitcase so you can take all your goodies home and not be forced to leave some behind, it's hard.  

Tip 9: Don't be shy!! Make friends with the other teachers in your sessions. Chances are they're a lot like you and who doesn't need more friend who just get it?  

Tip 10: Make it happen. Save up, write a proposal or start fundraising, whatever you need to do to be there next year start now. It's so worth it! 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord July 13th

Hi y'all!!  I'm not sure if Michelle will be hosting a Sunday Smorgasbord linky today but I have so much to share I want to be ready just in case!! O-M-Geee guys Vegas was AMAZING!  If you've never been to SDE's I Teach 1st or I Teach K conferences you must find a way to make it work next year!  I attended so many fabulous sessions I thought it might be fun to share my main take way from each one so in the coming days I'll do just that.  For now though on to the Smorgasbord..... 

1) First and foremost I got to meet Michelle in Vegas!!  It may have been one of the biggest highlights of my whole trip. I means she's just so stinking cute and her amazing ideas, blog posts and products have helped shape the teacher I am today, so to meet her in person was surreal!!  When I first started teaching 8 years ago I had these high hopes of making teaching fun and unique just like the great teachers in my grad program had taught me. Within a couple years I noticed I was getting comfortable and just following the routine that everyone else told me to follow. I used the Basel, did the workbooks and to be honest I started to hate teaching.  I knew better, I knew that teaching without passion was not making the difference I wanted to make in my students lives. I knew there had to be more than workbook page after workbook page and that just because the week ended didn't mean our learning had to shift to the next topic.  I felr we were doing what was most convenient for us not what was best for our students. So I decided to search for a new lesson plan template in hopes of getting ideas on how to teach with the Basel not being the guiding force. This search led me to Michelle's blog and my teaching was changed forever!! Not only did she show me how a fabulous ��, a classroom could look, she led me to other bloggers (Hello Cara and Abby) and so many ideas on how to make learning fun! Her reading instruction and block was exactly what I was looking for. It was proof what my professors taught me at Marymount could be done.  Since then her blog is one of my first stops when searching for ideas. I'm pretty sure I've read the whole thing at least 3 times, there are two others I've done that with but that's a story for another day. So finally getting to meet her?  Amazing 

2) I feel I must share that even though I was in Vegas Sunday-Friday of this week I still worked out 5 times!  This is huge for me. I made sure to go to Pure Barre before leaving last Sunday and then workout in the Palazzo gym and ran outside a few times.  May be the time I've come home from vacation not having gained weight. 

3) I've now been doing PB for 3 months here are my comparison pics.
This was after 50 classes at the end of June. 
I can totally see a difference and feel much stronger. I have a ways to go but certainly feel like I'm on my way.  If you want more info on PB here a link to a write I did as my studios fan of the week.

4) I'm so happy to be home with my kids but also so happy to have gotten away for a bit. Before leaving I was so nervous about it and worried about every aspect of being away from them. Now that I'm home I realized it's ok to leave them every once in a while, sure I may come home to find my husband has cut my oldest's hair because of a knot (yes it's true I may have cried as I've only had her hair cut once) and ya the house might be a hot mess but I also came back more patient, more loving and willing to answer my 4 years old constant chatter in a way wasn't before.  Leaving them made me appreciate coming home to them even more.  It also reaffirmed that I chose the right guy to build my life with. He took awesome care of our kids and made their week just different enough that they missed mommy but had a great time. Peace of mind is a wonderful thing. 

To some this whole randomness all up I had an amazing week.  I got a few days way and was reminded that even in Las Vegas am still an in bed by 10:30, up early non partying girl. I'm a mom and my idea of fun away from my kids is meeting a whole bunch of other teachers who are even more passionate than I am. This week allowed me to focus on my two favorite things, being a mom and improving my teaching.   Monday we start camp. (sob) The kids will all be attending the same camp I am teaching at. It will be Ellie's first time and AJ will be participating in Adventure Camp which means she'll being on her first solo overnight camping trip.  Fun stuff!  


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord

I'm baaack... Or at least I am for today. 

So we can all conclude that teaching and blogging don't mix in my world! It's clear I can't handle both. So now that I've have had a couple weeks to rest up and enjoy some of my summer I think I'm ready for a little Sunday Smorgasbord. 

School ended for me June 13th and since then my focus has been the following: 

Spending time with my lovies: 
Somehow no matter how hard I try these three just won't stop growing!! Next year my AJ will be in FOURTH grade!!! How did this happen?  She continues to be a sweet, loving smart girl who loves to read and be outside. Koey will be going into first. I'm so excited to share my love of first grade with this little man. He's such a lovie who's obsessed with all things sports related.  My sweet sweet Ellie will be finally be joining us at HR as a PreKer in fall. She's so excited and so ready for school. She's my sweetest kid and at the same time the most ornery child ever. Channeling her passion will be the my hardest task for the next 15 or so years. 

I've also spent a lot of time tutoring three of my students from this past year. I'm loving spending one on one time with these cuties.  I tutor about 5 hours a week and it's just enough time to do what brings me great joy and purpose while not feeling guilty about being away.  Wouldn't it be cool if our school years were like that?  

My next summer focus has been getting fit!  I started going to Pure Barre classes on April 11th and have been attending 4-6 classes a week since then. I go at 5:30 in the morning and some days I go at 8:45 at night it really doesn't matter to me. The truth is 
Sometimes I get real luck and get to go with my favorite guy. 
Kev has been such a great sport, so supportive of my desire to get fit. He even knows how to make it even more fun. 
Tomorrow will be my 50th class. If you've never heard of Pure Barre let me just tell you, google it and find yourself a studio to attend a class at. It's amazing!  It's the hardest, most intense yet low impact workout you will ever do!! I still try to run a few times a week because I don't get as much cardio as I need a PB but seem to end up only running about twice a week. So it's my hope that now that it's summer I can commit to 3 runs a week. Here's a littler progress shot for you. 
These are April 13th, May 13th and June 27th. I'll post a pic comparing 2nd-20th and 50th class tomorrow.  One of the things that has me most motivated is Instagram. I've made some great "Insta-friends" who are constantly keeping me going. If you're also working on your fitness I highly suggest following, Katie King, Rachelle, and Katie. Katie has this great daily photo prompt that will really keep you interested.  You can also follow me, Racey7. Here are the prompts for July 

My last focus?!?! VEGAS!!  This year I'm going to SDE's I Teach 1st conference in Las Vegas!!! Are any of you going??? I'm so excited. I'm beyond excited. I'm going with two of my awesome friends/coworkers. We cannot wait!! I am so pumped to know I will be meeting so many of teachers who inspire me. I get to take sessions from the teachers I've dreamed of being when I walk in my classroom!  Sooooo awesome. I am a bit nervous and scared of leaving my littles for 6 days but everyone assures me I'll be ok a few hours after arriving in Vegas. I'm also sad to leave my sweet hubby behind but once again he's being so great saying someone's got to take care of the kids. 

So there you have it, my Sunday Smorgosbord.  Oh but I do have one finale question, if you're going to Vegas for any of the SDE conferences want to join me at the Pure Barre Las Vegas studio for a little LTB?  I've got the class times and am just looking for some workout buddies, so if anyone's still reading my blog and is interested let me know. 


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Five for Friday October 4th

Instead of lamenting on not posting this week I'm going to be excited about linking up with Kacey for the 2nd week in a row!  

My first full week of guided reading was a success!   All the kids loved it and left the table saying that was fun!  I only had one behavior issue while I was running groups and even that wasn't huge. Once again I'm reminded that taking those first 25 days to really teach each component of the Daily 5 is worth it!!  I plan on introducing the Daily 5 choice board in a week and I'm pretty confident they'll be ready. 
I recently started using Deanna Jump's Interactive Reading Notebook and LOVE IT!  Since I added it after sending out our supply letter I merged it with our Guided Reading Journals, so it's a bit more "all over the place" than I'd like but it works. Next year I think I'll ask for 2 subject notebooks so I can have a set space for each. Any who, the notebook is a wonderful way to introduce my kids to a concept and lead them to assessment. This we discussed character so first I gave them the page that says what a character is first, next I did a read aloud and we identified the character together the completed a different page, the following day I read a different story and had them identify the character using yet another one of Deanna's graphic organizers.  Next week I plan on having them read their own just right book and identifying the character. I think her notebook allows for that gradual release of control we all strive for because she has multiple pages for each reading element, strategy, skill.  I also love how it's all in one spot and think it will make report card time so much easier!  Be sure to check it out!  

One area where I am really struggling is getting my workout on. It's so and even Siri is nagging me 
It's a fold problem, first my feet are a mess. They ache like all the time!! I have plantar fasciitis and it just keeps getting worse. I think wearing flip flops all summer did me in. It's so bad I've taken up wearing Danskos, super comfortable but also super ugly and I'm still having some pain at night. So I'm scared to run. Second I feel like there's never enough time for it. Something always come up!! I'm growing quite frustrated. Our schools 5k is in one month and I'd really like to participate so this week I'm throwing out all the excuses and starting back up. Hoping if I alternate between running shoes I can pull it out. 

Since two our kids are now in school we are learning to navigate through all the after school activities and HOMEWORK, we're so lucky Ko only has written homework 2 nights a week. Kev and I have managed to read his nightly library train books with little problem. Making sure we read with AJ, check her home and study for tests has been a bit harder. We always get it done, making sure it gets in her FROG binder and turned in, proved to be a problem this week. Lucky for me she has the best teacher ever, who just so happens to be my best friend and my excuse of well we at least we did spelling is enough. Even better she doesn't make me feel like a bad parent forgetting!  The best part she agrees is AJ's job and willing to echo my message. 
And if all else fails I do have picture to prove we did it!  

Are these all the rage where you live too?  Rainbow Loom bracelets have taken over our school and my home. The truth is I love making them as much as my AJ does.  For some reason making them is relaxing for me. It's kind of like baking, but more figure friendly. I love being able to follow a recipe and have things come out right. Or maybe it's just my inner crafter?  Either way AJ and are enjoying making bracelets.

Till next week!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Five for Friday September 27th

Yes I'm posting this 2 days late but the important thing is I'm back!! What can I say but back to school makes me exhausted and it takes everything I can to stay up past 9. Since we get home around 6:30-7 I don't have much time to blog before my early bedtime. But this week went better and I'm ready to start blogging again, so Five for Friday here we go! 

We celebrated Johnny Appleseed this week.  Just like every other 1st grade class in the US I'm sure. It's one of my faves because we can integrate so much!  After doing Rachel's apple vocabulary page we sliced apples and set up the dehydrator so we would be ready for Friday's taste test. 

I finally finished all my BOY assessments and am ready to pull guided reading groups!! Could not be more excited!  The kids are doing really well with D5. We have mastered 20 min of R2S, WoW and R2S1. I'll launch WW Monday and L2SR.

My kiddos were super pumped to use the iPads this week!  We used the geoboard app instead of real Geoboards and it went perfectly. No geobands flying across the room, no one got hurt. LOVE IT!

The highlight of my week was getting my new iPhone.  I have had the 4 for about 3 years and am so in love with my new 5s!  Takes great pictures and I do love Siri!
Finally I can I just say how excited I am that my Skins won today???

Be sure to link up with Kacey!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Five for Friday for August 30th

I'm linking up with Kacey for Five for Friday August 30th on September 2nd :(

1.  I made it!! I survived my first week with 22 new Firsties!!  
Can I just say (I guess I can since it's my blog) I always forget how young first graders are when they come to me?!  So wiggly, so sweet, so clingy, so antsy. At the same time they are amazed by everything and I love that!  The next two weeks will definitely continue to be all about routines, rule and procedures.

2.  Like many of you I'm a teacher and a mom so my first day was also my sweet AJ's first day of third

And my Ko-Bro's first day of KINDERGARTEN!  
Seeing him in his dress blues just takes my breath away how did this happen so fast how did my sweet cuddly little monkey get to kindergarten?!  I'm dealing ok because I have one more who still crawls into my bed every night and isn't in school but in a blink she'll be in preK and I'm sure my tears will be flowing!  
AJ is loving 3rd grade, she's in my besties class and keeps coming home telling me about the BFG and some book name Dragons Breath that are SO COOL because they are 3rd grade books, "not like yours mom", guess I'm no longer cool?  Kohen is also in love with K and has 2 amazing teachers so I'm looking forward to a successful year in "mommyville".

3.  I'm totes in love with my classroom!  It turned out pretty much the way I wanted and I just have a few more touches and adjustments to make. I feel like one the kids come in there are always traffic flow issues I didn't anticipate. 
I planning on ordering art caddies from Really Good Stuff for my tables and getting a new rug for the back from Penneys, it looks just like grass and is super soft!  It will also fit all my kids. I'm still debating moving my calendar to the back wall so I can do morning meeting & reading workshop lessons there. 

4.  I survived last week with tons of help from my TPT/blogging idols!  I swear when I grow up I will be a mix of Michelle, Reagan, Abby, Amy and Cara!  Most of our first week actives came from Abby's Fun with Firsties Unit, Michelle's Behavior Packet, Amy's Let's Get Started unit, Reagan's Back to School Basics or Cara's blog and Instagram pics!  

Jitter Juice--- I'll suggest you don't use Sierra Mist or Light Hawaiian Punch, the kids loved it but (YUCK)
 My firsties are all confident that they to are Mathmeticians thanks to Amy!  Don't you just love my boys face?!  This craftivity goes perfectly with Saxons first lesson. 
We completed this activity from Reagan's unit after reading chrysanthemum. 
And this one after reading First Grade Stinks! 

5.  We've launched Daily 5 and are reading up to 5 minutes 45 seconds.
Time to break out the gum balls! 
I give my students 1 gum ball to chew once they reach 6 minutes of stamina.  They love it and it keeps them focused on demonstrating their best reading behavior.  Gum balls lose flavor very quickly so I give them a tissue as well. I'm debating switching to chewing gum because it lasts longer but isn't as pretty in a mason jar and doesn't sound as exciting.   Do you guys use anything?  

I'll be back to post my September Currently tomorrow