Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Year 4

... at this very moment 4 years ago I was at my rehersal for my wedding.  I remember lots of things about that evening.  Running around, Arlene organizing, my grandparents beaming, my handsome brother home from a deployment.  My sister-in-law announced she was pregnant with David. 

I've learned a few things about Mr. H in the past 4 years..

1.  He can't listen to the same radio station for an entire song. I'm talking about constant changing of the channels. It drives me crazy.  I frequently say to him .. "pick one"  and I've also been known to count the number of times he switches.  His view is that there might be a better song on another station. When he's not in the car I leave it on the same station the entire trip.

2. He doesn't want to live an average life.  Whether it's his plan on where we should live, what he wants to do for a living, organizations we should start, business plans that could be put in place...he's a dreamer.  He wants to live boldly and uniquely.  I admire this.

3. He's growing into a 'child person'.  Having never been around children he's slowly getting used to them as our friends and family members have babies.  He's still pretty hesitant to show this skill, but he loves our niece, Kaia, to bits.

4. He can do lots of things he prefers to let me handle.  (Cooking, Dishes, Cleaning, etc)  But he does do all our laundry. He sorts, washes, hangs on the line, fold/hangs and puts away.  I think that's a fair trade.

5.  He makes up funny songs to sing to the dogs.  I always smile when I'm getting out of the shower and he's on the bed singing a random silly song to Ezra. 

I think I'll keep him.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Tree

I'm a teacher. I love Pinterest.  I also have tons of people in my life having babies.  Between these things, I've seen a lot of Owl/Forrest themes.  I also did a little research into my and Mr. H's family trees a few generations.  I have been wanting to decorate my living room with a "Family Tree" of sorts, but wasn't sure how to carry it out.

I knew I wanted it to have pictures of our family and friends with us
I knew I didn't want professional pictures up there
I knew I didn't want the frames to be the main focus

I also knew, I'm not an artist. :)  I have grand ides in my head, but they never turn out right on paper (or the wall).  I'm creative but not talented. Lucky for me, I have a few artist friends, siblings, cousins who are always around to help out my art-impaired self.

Another hang up is that we rent our house,  shack, glorified tent. I'm not 'exactly' sure if we are allowed to paint trees on the wall. oops.

Yesterday this baby came to life and I'm super happy with how it turned out. I love that there's lots more room to add pictures! The whole project cost me $8.00 (the frames were $.95 each)

Big shout out to Zach (who has gobs of talent) I Love it!!!

The tree is painted in dark gray. Frames are back. Sorry my cell phone picture doesn't do it justice.  If you're ever in the middle of nowhere, come by and admire it yourself!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Every Morning this Summer

2:30 am - Ez wants outside
2:33 am - I make Ez lay back down. Trevor snores.
6:30 am - Samson starts barking to be let out of his cage
6:33 am - Ez hears Samson and decides it's time to wake up
7:00 am - I finally have had enough barking and rescue Samson from his crate
7:02 am- I quietly carry Samson and Ez to the window so they can go outside
7:04 am - Make coffee
7:08 am - Samson is standing on the window ledge whining to come back in
7:10 am - Cup of coffee in hand, let boys in and feed them
7: 20 am - Quietly wait in the living room with both dogs and the TV off so Trevor can sleep
---chase dogs, clean up messes, work on school stuff, listen to music, chase dogs, mail bills---
9:45 am - Trevor rolls over
---clean up kitchen, put laundry away that Trevor washed, start a new load, check clothesline--
10:30 am - Trevor stumbles out of the room with gym shorts on and says "good morning"
10:31 am - I consider telling him that tomorrow is his turn, and then return to reality

alternative activities include: Cleaning up Ez's puke off the bed, cleaning up Samson's poop out of his crate and taking out the trash

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Easing back

...this week I've had Literacy First training.  My brain is full of information, so much so that I'm dreaming about vocabulary stations.  It was a blessing in disguise though, having not taught reading in the past year.  It was a good refresher of strategy, ideas, and basic know-how. 

I am excited to work in my classroom tomorrow and start prepping some of the new ideas.

A week from this very moment I'll be headed up to see my favs: David and Kaia.  They live in New York with my brother and sister-in-law.  Of course I'll be glad to see their parents as well.  It's been about 2 months since I saw them... my Aunt Pants are ready to be put on!

Mr. H and I are trying to soak up the last bits of the bearable temps this summer has had to offer Oklahoma. I managed to pry him away from "Fighting Mass Multiplayer Online Gaming Evil" long enough to take this hike thru Red Rock Canyon. Aren't my boys presh?? They are all tired and thirsty smiles.

I also got my (4) VistaPrint orders in. This is a banner I made to hang on my door.  (Pardon the wrinkles) I of course, got the inspiration from Pintrest. Link Here  I added a few words of my own. If I misspelled something--don't tell me :)

It's 8:37 pm and this nearly 27 year old **Yikes** is plum wore out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What teachers do in the summer...

I know my students think in the summer I sit in my room and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for them to return....hhhhhhhhhhhhahahahahaha

It's true I do work endlessly in the summer for their success. But, that's not ALL I do...

I think the greatest part about teaching is colleagues that turn into friends. Not only do you have people to share great ideas with, you have people who understand why you do what you do each day. They share the end goal.  For some reason when teachers turn into "teacherfriends" age, location, grade doesn't really matter.

Yesterday I got to have an amazing afternoon (that was worth my 2 hour drive from nowhere) with 3 such teacherfriends.   All of my favorite things intertwined: sun, chicken salad, laughter, teaching, pool, yummy fruit "lemon aid", Sonic drinks. It was much so I'm ready to work again!

Here's the other great's gonna stay with me a while...both on my shoulders and my thighs!

Yes, that's paneling on my bathroom wall-- you get what you pay for in rent
delish...and gone forever to live on my thighs... click HERE if you want to see how it's made!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fab Finds- Pinterest Edition

Easy Gifts-  I am ALWAYS looking for holiday ideas that aren't "cheesy". But are unique and CHEAP.  I don't want to make yarn wreaths.  :)  I saw this and knew the possibilities are endless.  Christmas- Mother's day- Father's day etc.  Maybe by the end of the year they could each have a family set!  I would even let them use my colored sharpies.  

Student ownership-  I have a set umbrella rules that are tried and true, but I like that the students can come up with rules that fall under them.  I think any time you can post pictures of your students it helps them feel more at home in the classroom.  I would love to do this strategically know giving a certain student a certain rule. :)

Memory Jar-  Each year I have done some type of time capsule, but I like this idea much better.  I love student reflection at the end of the year. Since I have an Adventure/Travel theme this year I've created an 'Adventure Log' with this idea. It's a notebook that will be in chronological order highlighting things we want to remember. I hope to be able to extend the Adventure log to a classroom timeline.

Crate Seats - I can't believe how cheap these seats were to make. (Those aren't mine) I got crates for 3 dollars each at Wal-mart. Then I bought the 1.00 bed pillows at Walmart. I wanted mine to be more comfy then a thin layer of bating.  I had the board at home and I decided to switch out the fabric with an old tarp (blue and silver).  I think the fabric is a lot cuter, but rumor has it that lice runs rampant in my new district. I'm not taking any chances. They are also a lot easier to wipe down.  So I spent under 5 dollars each...compared to beanbags...way cheaper.

Paper Management- I used envelopes for each assignment before, but I've always had them hanging on a bulletin board. I love this idea because it doesn't take up precious board space.  I added the 4 requirements I have  of assignments to my "Work Drop" sign.  (Name, Date, Neat, Complete). I also have a checklist of students on each one so they can check off when theirs is turned in. It's so nice to be able to see at a glance who still needs to complete it. I also love the ease of taking and grading one assignment at a time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fab Finds- Website Edition

This summer I've spent countless hours searching the internet for helpful teaching things.  Below are the things I would recomment to my closest teacher friends.  Enjoy!

1. Sumdog- my go-to website for Math fact practice. ALL the games practice facts. All the games the kids love. All the games are free. They win over the students with multi-player action. They win over me by allowing me to change the skill for each student and sending me reports about their strengths and weaknesses.

2. I'll never lose a classroom library book again! I love that I can checkout a book to a student with my cell phone. I love they can check a book back in on the computer and respond to the book there. It will cut down on kids getting 3-4 books a day and not reading them.  I hope it will cut down on wear and tear too since I can hold them accountable.

3. - Interactive classroom management at it's best!  I love that I can award/deduct "points" from individual, team, or whole group.  I love that you can award/deduct for specific behaviors.  It will even e-mail the parent a report and graph of the day.  My favorite thing is that I don't have to buy prizes or anything.

4. That Quiz-  It's no-frills and I love that. My students know if we work on "that quiz" it's all about work and not about play.  It sets the tone for them to work.  I love the immediate feedback. I love that it grades/records for me.  I love that I can see the most missed question.  I also like that you can give each student a different skill depending on what they need.

5. Studyjams-  Engaging and helpful. I love to use these to preview a lesson or skill. Sometimes I use them to reinforce or show a different way.  I like that it's heavy on science and math.  My students often asked if there was a studyjam for a specific topic. That tells me either they found them helpful, or wanted me to quit teaching a moment :).

To keep this from being an information overload, I'll leave it at that. Hope you find one-or-many you LOVE!

Friday, July 6, 2012


So as I prepare for the upcoming school year, I've been working in my classroom.  Now, I've switched classrooms every.single.year.  so I'm an old pro at moving and arranging my furniture and belongings.

All of my schools have been welcoming. You may remember my post about that here.  But this one blows me away.  It's the support staff ...they...hold your breath...take a you!

1. Ronnie OFFERS to paint my room for me, if I will go get the paint swatch and tape it to what I want that color.
2. Ronnie BACKS my vehicle up to the FRONT DOOR and unloads my boxes onto a roll cart and takes them to my room.
3. I try to tell Ronnie that I can move the file cabinets I don't want into the hall, and he won't let me.
4. He offers to get me a new desk chair (I don't mind the one I have)
5. He comes and paints white over the previous teacher's name before I even arrive so I feel like it's my room.
6. Two native american women offer to hand paint whatever I want on the wall outside my classroom if I'll print them off a picture
7. The Librarian gives me two new BOXES of chapter books for my room
8. The superintendant helps me take the supplies to the teachers workroom (that has more supplies) that I don't want.
9. My principal is awesome about finding out the answers to all my questions (it's his first year too). From how do I laminate (I don't have to, an aide does) to where can I get a room key.

I mean that's off the top of my head. (Ronnie is one of the janitors. He's a nice Native American man in his mid-40s whose children attend the school. All the teachers and the principal say let them help you, they like to) I tried to do each task by myself, which is what i'm used to.  I even got lecture about moving a bookshelf alone.

I can't wait to see what this year brings. Niceness makes me smile.  1 point for rural Oklahoma!