Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{My Teacher Heroes}

To all the teachers out there, I want to start off this post by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for all that you do for those students of yours. Thank you for all that you do for your coworkers. Thank you for all that you do for your families and friends. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

You may not know it, but you may actually, truly be one of your kiddos' heroes. Pretty cool title, huh?

I know that I personally had quite a few teacher heroes (5 of them, to be exact). So, I'm going to list them below in a link up that's titled, "My Teacher Hero," hosted by the AMAZING Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad! Love that lady.
Be prepared… *SAPPY ROADS AHEAD.**

Let's start with my 7th Grade Math Teacher. Mrs. Calborn. My love for math started when I walked into her classroom. To be able to love math that much?? I was unsure it was even possible. But, she made it happen for me. She got me involved, got me thinking, and kept me going. Throughout the years, we lost touch a little because of me going to a different school, but the funny thing is, we reconnected when I decided to be a teacher. When I began to sub at her school. To be honest, she's one of the main reasons I began to think I could even BE a teacher when I was in college. She was one of the reasons that made me go, "Well, I remembered her and all the impacts she had on my life, even from 7 years ago, and it would be awesome to have that same lasting impact on students' lives, too." So, Mrs. Calborn, thank you.

I had Mr. Anderson for a science class in high school. He instilled a love for science in me like no other. He challenged us to think as hard as we could, but yet, still have fun doing it. We did experiments, we did worksheets, we did tests. But what we did every single day? We had a blast. The connections Mr. Anderson made with his students are to die for. He made sure to connect with them on a deeper level and really understand them. He was a school favorite, not gonna lie! Mr. Anderson, thank you.

I had Mrs. Pack for a reading class in high school, as well. GOSH I hated reading and I still am not too fond of it even though I'm a teacher - love to read, not fond of teaching it. But her class unlike any other reading class that I had ever taken. The projects she would assign were outrageously amazing and I remember having to read a looooooong book and then present on it. But that book? It will forever stay in my mind. I will remember the exact group of people I had to work with, simply because the book she chose for us was so powerful. She was another teacher that made connections with her kids and they were to die for. She made sure, just like Mr. Anderson, to connect with her students on a deeper level and really understand them, even if she only had them for a semester. She was another school favorite. To this day, I am still friends with Mrs. Pack on social media and I LOVE seeing her updates because she made that lasting impact on me that I will never forget. Mrs. Pack, thank you.

Mr. Ciolino was one of my education course professors in college during my undergraduate. Classroom management. BOY did he run his class with perfect classroom management. Not only that, but he reminded me of why I signed on to be a teacher. He connected with us, he joked with us, he was serious with us, he laughed with us, he worked with us… he HELPED us. Mr. Ciolino taught me things that I never thought I would learn about teaching. Ever see those pictures where teaching looks like the PERFECT job, with the smiling kids who are constantly on task and NEVER goofing off? Yeah, he made sure to let us know that those pictures were a cruel joke. No classroom would ever be perfect, but it could be ran as long as classroom management techniques were in place. He taught us on the level we understood, he put things into perspective. He was real. No sugar coating. And sometimes, that's just what you need. Mr. Ciolino, thank you.

The very last teacher I want to tell you about is one that I will cherish forever.
Mrs. Beckelhimer.
Mrs. Beckelhimer is a professor of an english class in my beginning years at the University of Cincinnati. Mrs. Beckelhimer is one of those teachers that you instantly make a connection with. Her sweet nature, yet high expectations, made me want to stay in touch with her. The same is with english as it is reading - not fond of it. But, Mrs. Beckelhimer took the time out of her days to make specific comments about assignments, was sure to check in with us if we missed class, worked hard to make lessons that were meaningful to us as students in the beginning years of college. She made connections with the students by talking about things on their level, things that they made real-world connections with, things that we liked and were interested in. She had us do assignments that would be relevant to us, not just some topic that we were given and then told, "Write on! Good luck!" Mrs. Beckelhimer was there for us. She was always there for her students if they needed someone to confide in, to talk to, someone to just listen to us. But let's be honest - Mrs. Beckelhimer is still like that to this day. I'm almost 3 years out of college now and we STILL have a relationship that I will forever cherish. She's been a BIG helping hand in my life and I feel like she's one that will always be there to be that helping hand if needed. Mrs. Beckelhimer, thank you.

So, who is your teacher hero OR who are your teacher heroes? What kind of teacher do YOU want to be remembered as?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or read them on a blog post.

While you're at it, check out the following teachers and what THEY say about THEIR teacher heroes. We all have them :) happy blog reading!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

14 in 2014! {A Linky Party}

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!! I'm surrounded by family in my nice, warm living room and our fur babies sitting around, enjoying their toys.

Tomorrow brings Christmas and in about 8 days, it'll be 2015… already!!

So, I decided to link up with 3 AMAZING bloggers, Hadar from Miss Kindergarten, Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher, and Traci from Dragonflies in First for their 14 in '14 Linky Party.
It's time to reminisce in the past year and all the goodness that has happened!

Here goes nothin' :)
I have two favorites from this year.
My favorite is always my Bearcat jacket. Although I'm graduated, I wear that thing like no other! It's so worn out that the pockets have fallen apart. Here's to getting a new one in the new year!
Cannot choose just one. SO, I'm going to go with the following list:
Gone Girl
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
That Awkward Moment
Endless Love
The Neighbors
22 Jump Street
Gonna have to do another list! So, here ya go:
Pretty Little Liars
Chasing Life
Switched at Birth
The Fosters
Walking Dead
Chicago Fire
Chicago PD
The Blacklist
Baby Daddy
Grey's Anatomy
How to Get Away with Murder
Biggest Loser
Big Brother
I really love me some Texas Roadhouse, friends!!
Their sweet potatoes are absolutely amazing and their steaks are just as good, too. OH, and how about those fantastic rolls and butter?!
Favorite new thing I tried was wine. I had NEVER been a wine drinker before, but we found a fantastic, delicious, and sweet Moscato by a brand named Electra. OHHHH so good!
My absolute favorite gift I received is my engagement/wedding ring! OH my gosh, it's beautiful and I am in love-love-love with it. Oh, and the man who gave it to me, too ;)
I have sooooo many pins from this year, but I think my most favorite thing I pinned were all my desserts. I especially LOVED my pin on Buckeyes, or peanut butter balls. SOOO stinking delicious.
My favorite blog post is a Bright Ideas post that I created about organizing the paper trails. As teachers, we allllll know we have such HUGE paper trails behind us of amazing and excellent ideas for our kiddos. So, I created a post about it to help teachers organizer their trails in an easy and beautiful way!
My favorite accomplishment of the year was getting my new position at a new school. I am so happy where I am and my children are absolutely amazing. Where I teach now is not an affluent school, so my students are constantly wanting the attention, which is okay with me! I love seeing them grow and light up when they get something and listen to them talk and gripe and just everything! They ARE my biggest accomplishment thus far - their growth the last 5 months has astounded me and I cannot WAIT to see what else happens this year :)
I have two absolute favorite photos - both were just recently discovered, as well. They were when my then-boyfriend proposed to me at our Military Mardi Gras Ball. It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL moment where I was surrounded by new and old friends and it was just flat out an amazing evening.

One of the happiest days of my life :)
My absolute favorite memory is our wedding day. This man has made me the happiest girl alive and the memories are going to keep on coming! That and our engagement day, too ;)
My 2015 goal is to make more time for my family and me. I do a lot with school and worry a lot about other people that I need to put my husband, our babies, and myself first. It's going to be rather difficult as I love to make others happy, but it can certainly be done! So my goal is going to be:
Make time for us.
MORE. More time for me. More time for my family. More time to do the things I want to do.

2015 is going to be absolutely amazing - I just know it!!

Link up with these gals to share your memories of 2014 and to welcome in 2015!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cooking Up Some Yumminess {and a freebie} for the Holidays!

Happy Holidays!! Welcome to Miss V's Busy Bees. If you've jumped over from the Elementary Grapevine, welcome!! I DO have to thank Krystal from the Good Enough Teacher for organizing this AMAZING hop!!

I do hope you enjoyed Lory's post on her classroom snowball fight and all the other ladies' posts so far, as well!!

You've made it to my blog now and you're here because you want to know all about that YUMMINESS!! You also probably want the freebie, too :) keep reading, we'll make it there!!
Being that I absolutely LOVE sweets and I am from Ohio, and I love Christmas like no other, my holiday sweet I'm telling you about is going to be Buckeyes. No, not the nuts, but they look like the nuts that come off the trees!

If you like peanut butter, and you like chocolate, then you will LOVE these babies. They are easy to make and each batch of ingredients puts out about 150 pieces of yumminess. HOLY CANNOLI, I know.

But, you'll also be eating them as you make them AND your friends will ask for some, so you won't be stuck with those 150 pieces of deliciousness for long.
Below is the process to complete the Buckeyes. I'll be honest, it's REALLY redundant. And it gets boring. But, throw on some Christmas music, dance around, and eat some Buckeyes and you will be A-OK! I promise :)
Buckeyes are absolutely delicious and VERY easy to make.

What a better recipe than to make these babies with your own students in your classroom or your own kiddos at home. They'll LOVE it!! I mean, how could someone NOT like the deliciousness below??? We made some last night and they taste DELICIOUS!!!!
To help assist you, I whipped up this quick "How-To" writing about how to make Buckeyes for a writing activity. My students love procedural writing. Using procedural writing about something as great and yummy as Buckeyes? PERFECT. Click the picture below to head to TPT to download the freebie! :)
Once you've downloaded your freebie, keep hopping! Your next stop is going to be at Ride Away With Mrs. Ridgway's blog where she's talking all about an RAK Parent Christmas Gift! I know my kiddos love doing RAKs, so I'm personally excited for her post!

Click the picture below to head on over :)
Thank you for coming by, and Happy Holidays once again!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A List of Ways to Communicate in the Classroom

Happy Thanksgiving week!! I hope you all have survived your kiddos if you're still in school.

We have been out all week and boy, has it been FANTASTIC!! I do miss my kiddos, though… I'll be honest.

I have a lot to be thankful for this week. I am thankful for my students, my parents, my coworkers, all the tools we have to help us succeed in the classroom, and I am especially thankful for communication.

Without communication, this world would not function properly. We have the obvious verbal communication methods, and then the not so obvious non-verbal communication methods.

But in the classroom? There are MANY ways to communicate with your precious students.
In our classroom, some of our most favorite ways to communicate is non-verbally. We do have our means and ways to communicate verbally, but our non-verbal communication is less disruptive, fun, and engaging!
One of the ways we communicate is by using sign language for specific things.
A student needs to use the restroom, but does not want to interrupt the thought processes and working processes of others. They signal this by holding an R in sign language high in the air. The true sign for restroom in sign language is to hold an R and shake it back and forth. But, we didn't want to add the movement, just the letter!

In our classroom, we are NOT allowed to get up for anything during testing. So, what happens when a student needs a tissue?? They hold up an F in sign language. This was assigned because of the word "facial" in facial tissue. My students and I decided that we would not be able to see a T in sign language being held up, so instead, we decided on the F.

Our last sign language letter we use in the class is a W. The W represents water. Students are allowed to go to the hall at a time when I am not speaking or when their classmates are not speaking to use the restroom OR get a drink of water.

These non-verbal hand signals make it easy for substitutes, as well.

Since my students are WELL aware of the signs, they know that verbal communication for these items are NOT allowed. The amount of disruptions in our class is cut almost in half because of these signals!
We also use a variety of different verbal communication tactics in our room.
One of those verbal communication tactics is foreign language.

My students LOVE that they can use some languages throughout the day that are different than the normal language they speak, which is English.

We like to say things like thank you, please, excuse me, no, yes, and so forth in foreign language.

It's awesome to hear my students talk to each other in Spanish when one has done something nice for another and they say, "Gracias." This means thank you in Spanish.

My other favorite part is where we say hello and goodbye in different languages every day! The kiddos are the ones that choose how we say hello and I love it. They are so creative and love to mix it up every once in a while!

The cool thing is that there are many programs and companies out there that support foreign language in classrooms. One of those companies is Smartling. Smartling is a translation software company whose mission is to break the communication barriers by supporting the importance of language and communication.

A company such as Smartling is a perfect companion with the classroom culture, simply because of the translations they complete. To check out more about Smartling, click here.
Finally, one of our last favorite communication tactics is our verbal cues. These are used when it is time to transition from centers to seat work, line up for lunch, line up for specials, transition from lunch to recess, etc.

One of the ones we use a lot is, "CHAMPS!" As soon as I say this word, students know that they are to  do the following:
C - clean your area
H - help your neighbor
A - assemble your things
M - make sure you're ready to go
P - pay attention
S - sit silently

This is one that I use constantly before we transition to walking in the hallways for any reason what so ever. They are well aware of what CHAMPS means now. Plus, they line up right in front of our CHAMPS posters for classroom management. Kind of cool how it all ties together!

Another verbal cue we use is, "Everybody FREEZE!" No matter what they are doing, they must throw their hands in the air and freeze. This is used when the announcements come on, when I need their attention immediately, or when I want to see who is where in a task.

The fun part? They can freeze however they want - a leg in the air, mid-walk, sitting on the floor, standing up… whatever they want as long as their hands are up and they are frozen. Perfect way to get them to focus and remain silent for important announcements or information.


These, of course, are not the ONLY communication tactics that happen in our classroom. This is just a list of a few. Others that I do:

-write on desks when substitutes are coming
-write on whiteboard the directions for a task
-newsletters for parents/students
-ClassDojo points
-green/yellow/orange/red cards for behavior
-elephant ears when others are talking

What kinds of communication means do you have in YOUR classroom? I'd love to hear about them below!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving week!! Thank you for all that YOU do as educators and parents!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Bash Blog Hop!

Hi there! Welcome to the Halloween Bash Blog Hop, hosted by The Teaching 2 Step!
Are you ready to get your hop on?? I know there's roughly 40 bloggers who are ready for you to get your hop on!

Each blogger will be sharing some tips, tricks, crafts, recipes, and resources for you to kick off your Halloween celebrations, either at home or at school!

So let's get to it!
The first goodie I'm going to share with you is a recipe that is near and dear to our hearts. While this recipe could be made anytime of the year, I love making it around Halloween (thanks, Mom!). There are SO many variations out there, but in the end, it's still ALL delicious. It's called DIRT PIE.
{picture credit goes to Hell Yeah, It's Vegan!}

So, this year, on Halloween, the teachers are all dressing as a favorite book character. I have always, always, ALWAYS been in love with Miss Frizzle. SO, I'll be choosing her. There's lots of different pins out there for teacher costumes, but I love this one the best:
{it didn't link to any blog or anything, but you can get the gist of it!}

So, this Halloween, that's what I'll be! What are you thinking of going as?? What's been your favorite years past??

Finally, you've made it to the TREATS portion of this blog post! Click through below to enter the different rafflecopters that are CHALK FULL of treats! I'm part of the K-2 prize pack, but I encourage you to enter them all. Then, hop around after the rafflecopters to get some good ideas!

There are two other packs that you can enter for, as well! The pictures of what's included is before each rafflecopter. I suggest entering them all! :)
What are you waiting for?! Make sure you enter above and THEN hop around to different blogs to see what their favorite Halloween tricks, treats, and traditions are!

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