Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School Goals!

I just love I {Heart} Recess's Monthly Goals Linky!  This month's theme is Back to School. 

Are you inspired!  If so, click on the picture above and commit to your Back to School Goals!  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why did this happen?

Why did this happen?
To read Moxie's latest Commentary, click below:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

HUGE Giveaways

My dear friend, Kristin, at Teach n' Tex, is having a HUGE giveaway to celebrate over 400 followers! Yippee!  Here are the details:

The giveaway ends at at midnight on the 29th and the winners will be announced on the 30th.  

And don't forget to stop by Learning with Mrs. Leeby for her giveaway.  Times running out!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic

Hello friends!  I am visiting my parents in Ohio.  It's a bittersweet visit as I am helping them pack and move out of my childhood home.  It's a stage in my life that I've been dreading. 

When I got there, my mom had everything that belonged to me in the corner of the basement.  My first job was to go through it all to see what I wanted and throw away the rest.  UGH.

I'm not good at throwing things away and got anxious as I faced the task before me.  The first box I opened was my wedding gown.  Great.  Let's just go straight for the jugular.  Keep or donate?  I have two boys.  It's unlikely anyone will ever want to wear it.  But, it's beautiful and I can't imagine anyone having it but me.  I kept it. 

The next several boxes were all my college "teaching" stuff.  What a trip down memory lane that was.  Most of you whipper-snappers won't even believe me when I tell you that I found a box full of hand-made bulletin board sets.  They were works of art by my-20-something-self.  I had traced, cut out and decorated all the borders and lettering.  I hand drew all the graphics and colored them.  If they weren't so faded and crumbling, I might have used them. Now they are trash.

Back then, cross-curricular themes were all the rage. I found folders of units I had built with handwritten worksheets (with required excellent penmanship) and hand-drawn graphics on purple ditto masters (what are those?).  If you were a good typist (no personal computers existed in the early 1980's), you might be brave enough to type your ditto masters before you ran them on a, now-extinct, ditto machine (there were no copy machines, either).  When you passed out freshly run dittos, the students all smelled them because the chemical had a uniquely pleasant scent to it.  I wonder how many brain cells were fried by ditto chemicals?

One thing I did love about my college prep program is how much time we spent in the classrooms of Columbus, Ohio, practicing what we were learning.  I visited every type of school, every grade level, every socio-economic area, public and private.  As I read all my observations and documentations, the memories came flooding back.  I could feel the excitement I once experienced and remember the anxiety I felt, wondering if I would be worthy of the profession I loved.  

It's funny, for as much as things changes, some things stay the same.  All the things I documented in my observations and journals are situations I still continue to encounter year after year. 

On the other hand, I miss how wonderfully pure teaching was.  Teachers were more keenly aware of developmental theories, which played a bigger part in our lesson planning.  I miss how there was room in the curriculum to explore and extend based upon a class's interests.  It created such excitement and engagement in the classroom.  There was more time for children to be creative in the classroom.  Now, I always feel like I am rushing.     It is so sad that there is no time to do these things in our current environment. The art of supporting a child developmentally is gone. Curriculums are jam-packed with expectations to master its standards because, come h*ll or high water, the test is coming.

I'm a sentimental soul. By the time I finished going through my pile, I was emotionally exhausted.  I never thought I would be one of those people who would refer to the "old days".  Education seems to swing on a pendulum.  Maybe we'll swing back to a little "old ways" someday 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Freebie Tour!

I have found so many awesome freebies lately, I just have to share them with you.  Check them out!

Monkey Math
Lory Evan's TPT Store

"Practice Parts of Speech" Freebie.
Link on Amy's July 15th Post.

Daily 5 Goodies (ELA)
From Teaching with Love and Laughter

From Jason's Online Classroom

From The Science Penguin

The Creative Chalkboard

One last tip!  Tales from Outside the Classroom is publishing a list every week with where all the back-to-school shopping deals are.  Look for this graphic on her blog and and the date will tell you when she updated the list.  Woo Hoo!  

Back to School Shopping Linky

Boy, am I glad I've started to do some back-to-school shopping.  About a week ago, I bought three rolls of the cutest Duct-Tape with owls on it at Michaels.  I used it to make a classroom set of whisper phones.  Didn't they turn out cute?  

Today, I went to Michael's and was in shock when I saw their giant supply of Duct Tape that was there a week ago was nearly gone! Wow!  If there's something you really want, don't wait.

After shopping, join my Back-to-School Shopping Linky Party.

If you've already written a post about your shopping finds, link it up!  Looking forward to see all you've found! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Moxie's Commentary

The mission of my teacher blog is to share and reflect upon my teaching.  But, sometimes I encounter topics I'd like to blog about that do not fit my mission….and they usually involve expressing my opinion.  So, I began to brainstorm about how I could reconcile  staying true to my mission yet creating an outlet to express my opinions.  Then it hit me!  I'll create a new page on my blog. And here it is:

So, today I published my first commentary.  It is about Big Box Blogs.  What is a Big Box Blog?  You can read about it here!

As always, thank you for visiting my blog!  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rigorous Primary Math Problem Solving

I'm terrible about dragging myself away from the computer at night.  I look at the clock and it's 10:30.  Next thing I know, it's 1:00 am!  I wish I knew what it was about myself that keeps me from going to bed at a decent hour.  

Well, if you are a night owl, like me, you might be thanking your lucky stars tonight!  Stay tuned!  

I just finished my latest product for TPT.  It's a packet of twelve Rigorous Primary Math Problem Solving Practice problems.   

Each of the problems is a real life situation and is illustrated to support problem solving process. They are perfect for discussion within small group instruction, especially if you use Guided Math/The Daily 5 in your classroom.   

Are you still with me, night owls?  I am so excited about this product and would like to get some feedback.  I will give a FREE copy to the first three people who leave a comment with feedback or how you would use this in your classroom.    Also, please leave your email address so I know where to send it!

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Time Has Come.

Fellow-Bloggers, the time has come.  It is time to shop for "Back to School".  The retailers know we are coming and have begun to put out all their cute stuff and new products to entice us to include them in our classrooms.  

Last year, I got a little behind on this time frame and missed out on some awesome bargains.  And, I still have not been able to find them!  One of these items was a bag of blank foam cubes at Dollar Tree.  I read about this item on a blog and thought, "I have all summer to get those".  WRONG!  When I finally decided to get them, they were nowhere to be found.  I must have visited 20 Dollar Trees and never found them.  So many times during the school year, I wished I had those foam cubes.  This will not happen this year.

I'm hoping we can help each other by scouting for any awesome "Back to School Shopping Finds", then linking up to share with us.  

Here are some guidelines:

1.  Blog about your shopping find or finds and be sure to include a
2.  Tell us where we can find the deals and in which state you
     were shopping.  
3.  Include the price and any other important details. 
4.  Link up with your blog post to the Back to School A+ Shopping
     Finds Linky Party. 

Here's an example:

In Texas, Sam's Club has these awesome education-themed rugs.  They are $19.96 and are 46" x 52.5".  The themes are the solar system, alphabet, world map, animal names, USA map, and counting 1-10.  I got the solar system rug!

Happy shopping and don't forget to link up!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bloglovin' Giveaway Winner!

Happy 4th of July

I feel so blessed to live in the United States!  I celebrate with you all today and join all Americans in thanking those whose sacrifice and service have kept our country free!

I will be celebrating at the Red, Hot and Blue Festival in our community.  I can't wait!

I am also excited to announce the winner of my Bloglovin' Giveaway.  The winner of a $20 TPT Gift Certificate and choice on one item from my TPT Store is fellow Houston Blogger, Juan G. from Teaching Third with Mr. G..  

Check out Juan's new blog design by my BFF, Megan at A Bird in Hand Designs.  Megan designed my blog, too!  In fact, her website has a new design, too!  She is one busy lady!

On a completely different topic, I cracked up when I saw the new Geico commercial yesterday.  

You see, I love owls…..I have a co-worker, Megan (mentioned above)…… and a husband that doesn't always listen to me.  So funny!

Enjoy your day!  

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