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!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What's That In The Sky?? A Weather Project!

For the month of August, we studied all different kinds of weather in our 3rd grade class. I think our favorite project and discussion was all about clouds! Yeah, clouds! Those fluffy, pretty things in the sky.

My kids loved identifying different types of clouds when we walked to and from classes, when we were at recess, and when we were walking to the bus or carpool line. Seeing their enthusiasm and drive for the study of clouds, I just HAD to capitalize on it.

We first read the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw.
While this book was a bit easy for my 3rd graders, it still captivated them! They loved seeing what the different shapes would be, but they also loved the repetition.

After we read the story, we completed a simple art/writing/science activity. They created their own "cloud" and then wrote about what it was. The creativity that flowed from these kids was AMAZING. They worked hard to make something unique and some even chose to create something that was near and dear to their hearts.
Above was our cloud wall - it's still hanging up and the kiddos look at them EVERY morning, as they hang above where the backpacks hang up.

Back to the conversation on near and dear to their hearts, one of my student's mothers just had a baby. So, that student created a baby carriage out of their "clouds" and wrote about it. It was great!
There were ALL kinds of good ideas that my students came up with and they made my heart happy when I was walking around the room, looking at their different ideas and THEN it made my heart happy again when I was putting them up on the wall.

One of my favorites was the BEAR one.
Although it just looks like a mass of cotton balls, THIS student saw a bear in the clouds. Then, she also added a sun. Never do you just get the status quo of work from this child… she always goes above and beyond! I love love love it!

So what types of projects do you complete in your classroom for weather? Share in the comments below!
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