Elementary Teacher

Having fun in the classroom and "balancing" life!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Summer Like No Other

Has your summer ever been...less than what you thought it would be? It starts on such a high. Sleeping in! No lunches to make! Reading the Sunday paper! Home projects!

Then about 3-4 weeks in, you start to fade a little. Still fun. Maybe a vacation to look forward to. A pool if you're in the south like me. Still lovin' all the summer stuff. But feeling a little discombobulated due to a lack of schedule/calendar.

Then a couple more weeks and you start to feel a little panicky. School is coming. The lack of schedule is really starting to get to you, but the whirlwind that is the school year is creeping up. Time is no longer on your side.

Those have been my phases of summer for the last couple years. This year, not so much. I started the first 2 weeks of summer with some health issues that kept me on my bed or the couch. They were resolved. So I started planning for a new jump from first grade to third. And then about 2 days later I lost my job- money and enrollment issues. So the next 4 weeks were filled with resumes, applications and interviews. Questionnaires and phone calls. What a long process job hunting can be. It's exhausting. Scary and stressful times for our family of 6.

I have been blessed with a new job after being able to choose from a few. That is a GIFT. I have chosen a jump to 3rd once again. And now, 2 weeks out from the first day of school, I find myself in a hotel 2,000 miles from home. Visiting Indiana for a family wedding.

I can truly say this was a summer like no other. Not always fancy-free and full of sunshine and sleeping in. But I learned SO much. And I am grateful that I lost my job. Sometimes God takes us by the hand and pulls us into new situations. Growth isn't painless, and steel is strengthened through fire. But God brought me closer to Him and a better understanding of some of life's struggles.

Now, on to find some good 3rd grade blogs!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Monday, April 20, 2015

Candy Shoppe Alphabet word wall freebie- with or without the candy!

I started working on next year's Candy Shoppe Decoration set about 2 years ago. Then school started that year and I never got back to it. Now, finally, I am. In my last post I told you that I'm moving to 3rd grade. I'm still using this set, even though it might seem a little young. It's so bright and colorful and happy, I think the kids will love it. It's full of patterns, and bold, bright colors. I'm making it with and without candy graphics so it can be used even if your not a theme-girl.

So while I finish it up, you can grab one of the alphabets here for free. With and without the candy graphics! Grab it now, because once I add the whole set of decorations, it won't be free anymore!

I hope you like it!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Thursday, April 16, 2015

From first to third!!!!!

I am so sorry I did not post any Easter freebies. My computer was DEAD. Totally out of commission.

I am CHANGING GRADES next year!! Ahhhh!!!!!   I've been in first grade this time around for  5 years. This is the longest I've been in one grade, and I'm sad to say I'm leaving it. I really like the first graders. They're so funny and loving. They get excited over small things. I know the curriculum. (Finally.) I have a grasp on standards. (Mostly.) And now I'm starting over.

I'm moving to 3rd grade, which I have taught before. And when I did, I loved it. Really, really loved it. And double bonus, my room has a bathroom in it! And triple bonus, my new room is right next to the teacher's workroom!

I'm excited to plan. I'm excited to move classrooms. Yes, you read that right. I actually am excited to go through my crap learning tools and purge. And of course I'm excited to decorate. I'm working on my theme for next year. Sweet Shoppe! No, 3rd grade is not too old to have a themed classroom decorating scheme. Who doesn't like candy??!! And since I had these guys last year as first graders, I know they like candy!!! I've been working on it for a couple years and had to put it on hold. So it's back on the burner, simmering as I add details and graphics. I can't wait to get it done and take some pictures! I have big plans!!!!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter math...freebies to come!

I think I am WAY behind in math. We're reviewing adding 3 digits and adding multiples of 10. Many of you are adding/subtracting  double digits with regrouping! Yikes! I better pick up the pace. I also feel like they don't really have a solid grasp of number sense. Do they really know what they're doing when they add and subtract. I'm just not convinced.

So next week, we'll be all about the number sense, adding and subtracting multiples of 10, all with an Easter theme. I'll keep you posted and send out some freebies.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Experiential Learning

What do you know about Experiential Learning?  Did you see those capital letters?  I think it's a capital letter kind-of thing. To me, it's a teaching/learning model or method. Hands-on. Using authentic assessments. PBL. STEM project inclusion. Research-based. Using movement, music and arts. Limited worksheets. (I can't help thinking that a worksheet here and there is not all bad. But LIMITED.) Real-world. Tailored.

These are some schools I have researched that come to mind:

Tessaract School- Scottsdale AZ
Explorer Charter School- San Diego CA
Tuscon Waldorf School- Tuscon AZ
The Graham School- Columbus OH
Ron Clark Academy -?? Not sure if I would call that Experiential or not

What do you think about these schools? This kind of learning environment? It seems so engaging. Check out this video of a community/city/building project from The Explorer Charter School first grade. It's awesome! It's exactly what I would like to do. That is the teacher I want to be. How engaged are those kids? How fun would that be?

I know it takes planning. I know public schools can't do it, most of the time. I think you have to find your way, find your fit, find what kind of teacher you are, what methods you ascribe to, and go from there. I'm still finding those things! But looking at schools like these and teachers like theirs are helping and inspiring me!

If you know anything about experiential learning, please share!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Friday, March 6, 2015

Green Light Classrooms and 48 Days to the Work You Love

Are you a workshop lover? I could be a Professional Workshop Attender and spend the rest of my life living the dream. I had the opportunity to see Dr. Rich Allen last week here in Phoenix. He's a research-based teaching advocate. He was super funny and it was full of great ideas. He's all about movement and music in the classroom. Much like Rick Morris.

*have the kids stand in different sides of the room to give an answer (be it yes or no, opinion, or even multiple choice- it may take longer, but record whether or not they went to the right area, and walla! No papers to correct!

*instead of worksheets, have kids write answers on a markerboard and put it on top of their heads. It's fun for them, and easy for you to see, plus no one can look at each others answers. Again, record answers for an easy grade.
*cut up a worksheet and put it into plastic Easter eggs. The kids go on an egg hunt and record their answers.
*make a hopscotch on the ground full of letters. Hop out the spelling words. Or vocab.

I bought his book (, of course- $2.99 vs. the $25 at the conference) and am just starting it now.
Product Details
But I'm also reading this:
Product Details
I know I probably shouldn't admit that. If I love teaching so much, and have such great, innovative and creative ideas that I can blog about them, why would I need to read a book called "48 Days to the Work You Love"? 
Do you ever wonder if you should really be a teacher? Well, sometimes I do. If you read this blog, you might wonder the same thing about me. Ha. Don't get me wrong, I love the kids and truly do enjoy teaching. But with 4 kids of my own, and a husband and a house, it gets overwhelming. This book is SO good. It's not about finding a new job. It's about how your job/career/vocation is only a small part of your life. It's about finding a new job if that's what you need. But there's so much more to it than that. I highly recommend it.
Spring Break starts tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then for me, its 47 Days to the Summer I Love! Thanks for reading!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A trip to Disneyschool. I mean, Ron Clark Academy

Have you seen all the blog posts that are talking about their trip to RCA? I think it looks awesome. And at this point in my life, expensive. It would take me about a year to save up the money I would need for a trip like that.
My husband and Daughter at the Daddy Daughter Dance

And I think it's my husband who should really go. My husband is my principal, for those of you who don't know. He sacrifices being able to go to conferences the rest of us go to because he is either teaching, or working in the office, or at home with our own children. But with all the changes coming to our school, I think it's the perfect time and place to go visit. So  I asked our Board of Ed for help paying for a trip for him. And they're considering it!!!! I'm so excited. It's not a done deal, but just the fact that they're thinking about it is exciting to me!

Even if he can go, it won't be me going. But I don't even care (although I wish I could go with him) that it's him and not me. At least I can hear about it first hand. And it's payback time for me. He is a huge help to me, and lets me go to the annual conference with all our teachers in Palm Springs, CA. A beautiful place. Especially in November. It's a special time to see fellow teachers and relax without kids or stress. So now it's his turn.

I feel a little like I'm wanting to do what all the cool kids are doing. But what a place RCA seems to be! It's hard not to be curious! So in the mean time, I'm reading this:

Crash Course : The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden (2014, Hardcover) Image
So far, so good. An easy read, and good for me to read at this point in my year. And only $.75 at!!!
"Enjoy" your Sunday. Can a teacher really do that?
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]