Thursday, August 31, 2017

Adulting

**Note: these are my meandering thoughts ... not school related. SOOOOO you may want to skip this one ;)

Adulting ...It's no long a goal to be a an adult. People are wanting to keep their youth, so refer to life decisions as "adulting."

I'm of the opinion that this is just immature. Sorry if I offend ... kind of. However, if I'm offending you, keep reading.

I'm in that grey area of categories - somewhere between Generation X and Millennial. I lean toward Generation X. I grew up in the 80's and 90's. Ideas became realities ... some of which ended up at the ER. I grew up with friends who displayed the angst of annoyance at their parents. I was really blessed ... my parents were/are cool. I can honestly say I wasn't embarrassed by them. I believed that the sky was the limit, and so I shot for it. I knew/know that my Father God would be there, in everything. His glory would/will be shown.

I was alive during Reagan, the Challenger exploding, Chernobyl's meltdown, DNA being used against criminals for the first time, CDs becoming the new thing over vinyl and tapes, the Berlin Wall being torn down, the internet going global, the Hubble Space Telescope's launch, the first attack on the trade centers in 93, Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine High School Shooting, Princess Diana's death, the bombing at the Olympics in 96, land lines becoming cordless, cell phones becoming typical, 9-11, and so on ...

Why tell you all of this? These are things that happened in my life that were earth shattering. People going out, living, dying. People doing life. It's what we all do. We are created to do good works. During the pain of many events, people came together. We united. We saw evil for what it was. We saw progress for the good it held. We saw growth.

Why do we tend to hold ourselves back from growing? Sure, there will be pain. There will be earth shattering moments that will blaze into your memories when you least expect it. This is life. However, I chose note to hide from the inevitable. I have a purpose. If I stay in the mindset that I don't want to be an adult, I am not growing. If you aren't growing, we tell our kids at school, you aren't trying. Things that don't grow, usually die. I chose life. I chose to BE an adult, rather than just "Adult."


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Becoming ....

Over the last 4 years ... well, really 3 years ... I've started working on selling more on TeachersPayTeachers.com.

I honestly didn't think I'd sell too much. I knew it would be a LOT of work, and I may never see a reward. However, after choosing to stay home with my first child, I wanted to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman. It's a little intimidating when you read the chapter. It calls for a woman who is up first, and goes to bed last ... filling her days with work - tending the home, trading in the market place, working the fields, raising/teaching her kids, and more. I really struggled with this concept. Who could do it all?

10 
Proverbs 31:10-31
A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

See? She is constantly moving, working, doing. This chapter used to overwhelm me. It was a different culture, and it's not typical for women in my area to go out and select wool and flax. However, I considered how this would sound to a woman in the 21st century. If I were to rewrite this in my own words ... for today's woman, it would go something like this ...

Look for a woman who has integrity and compassion.
She is worth her weight in gold.
Her husband doesn't doubt her abilities, because her actions speak for her.
She looks out for her husband above herself, in every situation, because he is God's kid too.
She is frugal and works with what she has.
She feeds her family well, along with anyone who helps in her home.
She works while others sleep.
She is independent in thought and deed. She doesn't take from her own family's income, but finds ways to make her own.
She works hard for others, and it shows. Her effort pays off, and she continues to multi-task to benefit her family and husband.
She is a protector for the poor and lonely. She reaches out to help in all situations.
Seasons change, but she doesn't fear. She has done what needs to be done.
She makes a home not only livable, but inviting.
Her husband doesn't worry about her decisions, and can focus on his work.
She finds creative ways to care for her family.
Her work ethic displays her strength and dignity. She doesn't worry about the future.
She has learned about God's provision. She speaks wisdom to those who ask.
People come to her for advice, because she has been a blessing to her family.
She is not lazy.
Her family is blessed, and they know it.
Her husband genuinely thanks her, not for her looks, but for her love.
She will be honored and praised for her choice to love people as God loves her.

My real take-away?

  • Love God
  • Be selfless
  • Get up and do
  • Be wise
  • Get creative

After I narrowed this beautiful chapter down, it seems totally possible. 

I may not teach in a classroom, but I totally work. Not for an income, mind you. No, I work for my family. Go placed me here. I love God, so that means I love and take care of what I have. Not only that, I am called to help my hubby. Feeding 4 people on one carpentry income isn't totally easy. Throw in a couple of kids who had to go to the NICU, the ER, have tests, medications, etc. it gets downright tough. I always say "God will provide." I truly believe that. As I get older, I realized that God doesn't work as a vending machine, though. He doesn't just hand out patience when you ask ... nope, He gives you opportunities to learn it. Same thing here. "God will provide," but what am I doing with the abilities He gave me? Am I being lazy? I'm I being selfish?

So, 3+ years ago I got creative. Kevin and my teaching team at the time encouraged me to join TeacherPayTeachers. So, I did. In 4 years, God has blessed my family. Truly blessed us. We have never missed a bill/payment. We have no debt (minus the house). We got a new car 2 years ago, and the money was there. He is the Giver of good gifts.  

Why am I saying all of this? Because it's been on my heart. I'm not posting this to FB or IG. This blog is my smallest platform. I want to praise God, so I will. HE IS A GOOD, GOOD FATHER! He gave me a heart to teach. He then changed my heart to be a stay-at-home mommie. However, He didn't remove my zeal for teaching. He actually gave me a brain to use to make money for my family ... on my own time. 

So, LORD, I'm working toward being the Proverbs 31 woman. Thank YOU for giving me what I need. I want to honor YOU.

Amen

   
14 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Locked and Reloaded!

Thanks to my tech-savvy friend, Claire Thweatt for this BEAUTIFUL overhaul on my website! She's GREAT! Oh, and she is also a 21st century technology teacher, who happens to sell on TpT. Check her out at ThweattHearts!

Ah. I love the beginning of the school year. Everything is nice, new, and clean. Paper is smooth, pencils are sharp, and teachers are energized. However, after that first week, I know you're all dragging yourselves home ... sometimes by way of Starbucks.

Let me send out my top ten Rookie Teacher Mistakes, so you can avoid doing them!

*This is my "preaching-to-myself" moment.

Number 10:

-Don't panic.

If you're a first year teacher, I'm going to tell you the best piece of advice I had ever heard before my first day of teaching. "You've got this. Live and learn. Be a student of your students." (Thanks Ms. Keckley)
Basically, we all have to learn WHO we are teaching. We need to know where they are coming from. Kids are not all the same. They each have different family, economic,  and personal experiences that shape who they are, and what they respond to. Learn their names ... all of them. Then, get to know the kid. This seems like such a "Duh" thing, but I've known several educators who didn't learn the kids' names until 2-3 months into the school year. I believe it hurt the teacher's potential with those kids.

Number 9:

-Make your room YOUR ROOM.

I understand that there are restrictions to several teachers. I know that my district expect for less than 50% of our walls to be covered at any point. I'm grateful for my principal at the time who didn't enforce this expectation. He let the teachers actually teach.
So, with restrictions, we can't all do the same things. Take time to be frustrated, but then get over it. Focus on what you CAN do. Isn't that what we tell our kids?
Your classroom will be where you spend most of your waking ours during the school year. Make it comfortable for you. Decorate it for your comfort. This will make the room more inviting to your kids as well as show them more of who you are :)

Number 8:

-Don't spend tons of money.

I know, I just told you to make your room YOUR ROOM. However, don't break the bank to make it look like what you see on Instagram or Pinterest. If you are a newer teacher looking at a veteran teacher's room ... you're going to feel intimidated by their awesomeness. However, I would tell you ... don't compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter twelve. You'll get there ... trust me.

Number 7:

-Set your goals.

Not goals for your kids, although that is an important expectation. No, set a goal for your school year. I set goals every year. One year, my goal was to leave before 4:30pm everyday (unless there was a faculty meeting). Another year, my goal was to not work during lunch (unless there was an IEP, PM, or other random meeting). Doing this helped me complete my work, but not get too burned out.

Number 6:

-Don't stay late.

Wait, wait, wait. I know. "But, I have .... to do!" There will NEVER be enough time. There, I said it. You will always have more that you can do. You will always find something more to accomplish. You think about how many other humans during the day? Right. What do you tell your kids the night before a big test? Rest. Each day is a test of our endurance, but if we aren't taking care of ourselves, we aren't going to measure up.

Number 5:

-Eat Healthy.

Teachers are on their feet almost the WHOLE day. You would think we'd be the skinniest people in the world. If you know me, I am not. Why? Because I eat junky food. Why? Easy access, cheap, and little effort is needed. However, this will make your days feel longer. Did you know that your body craves fat more if you eat junk food? It's basically MSG. If you have a fridge in your room, keep some yogurt, hummus, fruit, raw veggies, and cheese slices in there. Quick, easy, and it won't make you feel sluggish.


Number 4:

-Classroom Management

I don't care who you are ... if you don't have plan on the front end on how behavior is going to be handled in your room, it will destroy you. Science has proven that kids need structure. Be kind. Give them structure. I was the teacher that many other teachers would send their behavior kids to (I know, I was THAT teacher.) However, I only yelled 3 times in 8 years. Once was at a kid who tried to throw a chair at another kid, another time was when a kid decided to see if he could fly by jumping off the top of a slide (he couldn't PS), and the last time was when a boy was yelling so loudly that I couldn't be heard. Other then those moments ... nope. In my experience, the quieter I was, the more dangerous I seemed. I taught 4th grade at one point where most of my students were taller than I was. However, nothing brought a kid back to earth from crazy-town than a small woman whispering how she would destroy your day at school if you didn't "get it together." These are also the kids that email me now that they aren't in my room. They tell me time and again how much they loved me as a teacher. They tell me all the good things that happened. A few times they'll say, "remember the time I tried to .... and you .....?" Yes, Sebastian ... I remember. They don't know the many nights I went home exhausted, and crying. I thought they'd hate me forever. I thought they'd label me the "worst teacher ever." Nope. Not if you do it right. Remember ... I didn't yell. I showed endurance. You want to cry? Go for it. I'll even let you stand over there until you're done. Don't want to do the work during the day? No worries. I know your parents. They are MORE than happy to let me help you until you finish ... even if it isn't until 9pm (yep, that happened.)

Set your expectations and BE consistent!

Number 3:

-Get to know the parents.

I was the BEST hypothetical parent. THEN, I became a parent. All you mommas out there understand. We have a view on kids that all of their problems in class go back to their parents. Let me just say, that CAN be true, but DON'T assume it is. Get to know the parents. Talk to them about what they do in their house when 'johnny' doesn't obey/finish work/etc. Ask them how they would deal with any situations that comes up at school. Ask them what THEY expect of YOU when their kid doesn't meet expectations. While we are professional educators, parents are professionals of their kids. They know them. Ask them about their kids. Also, ask the parents about their lives ... not the kids' lives, but the parents' lives. What's going on? GET. TO. KNOW. THEM. It makes all the difference in the world.

Number 2:

-Get to know your team/faculty.

This is such a HUGE aspect that educators seem to forget. These people are all here with the same intentions that you have ... help mold these kids to be the best they can be and catch the vision for their futures. No, you probably was be best friends with everyone, but do not judge them. Their experiences will be different than yours. They will do things differently. Don't judge. If they are there, you better believe they are in it for the kids. NOW, before you say, "you don't know ....." Yes, yes, I do. I'm not talking about the "exception" teachers ... I'm talking about the "rule" teachers. Those who you don't agree with, just avoid, and move on. Be professional. Make friends. Have fun!

Number 1:

-Give Yourself Grace

You will be awesome. You will fail. Do what you tell your kids when they don't succeed. "Tomorrow's another day." "You haven't gotten it ... yet." Practice what you preach. You need grace. We aren't perfect, nor should we pretend to be. Our kids need to know that we aren't flawless. They also need to see us keep trying. You will have days where you go home feeling like you've been hit by a mack truck. You will want to cry some days. You will question your calling...
But, then, there are moments ... these unassuming moments ... the brilliantly, beautiful moments. That moment a light bulb comes on and shines through a student's eyes. That moment when that child who feels like the reason your career may end, hugs you, or smiles at you from across the playground. That moment when a kid accidentally calls you "mom" because they just feel so comfortable. That moment of pride when a struggle becomes a success. That moment ...
They come. Give yourself grace... for those moments.



When the day ends, these may not be your top ten, but they are mine ... for now. Keep an eye out for some new resources for classroom behavior and management!

Love you all!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Make, Say, Break, Sound, Make, Say What?!

Hey there Bloggin' World!
It's been a little while since I've posted ... I've been busy working on my TpT stuff and being a new mommie ... again! I'm absolutely LOVING where I am in life. TpT is a GREAT place to work, and the other sellers are gems. I love the atmosphere of working together rather than in competition.
So, anyways ...
I posted a new phonics set that has one of my FAVORITE practices in it. I call it "Make, Say, Break, Sound, Make, Say." It's pretty quick and kids get to really engage in each word. Watch the video below to see HOW I use it.




You can find the words for short /a/ and short /i/ words in this new set!



I'm working on a FULL year worth, and will be getting those posted up as I complete them. Every set will have this activity in it, because I pretty much ADORE it!

Happy Teaching!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Freebies

I've been following various teachers on Instagram and have decided to follow suit. Many teachers who have been selling for a few solid years on Teachers Pay Teachers are going back through their products. Each teacher is updating several products and totally removing others from their store. It's kind of like spring cleaning for your store.

I'm so excited to announce that I'm updating ALL of my freebies that are over 2 years old! Oh, and did I mention I'm also ADDING some new freebies? It's been a while since y'all got some free stuff from me, so I thought I'd apologize with 2 sets of puzzles for younger learners.








Be on the lookout for more freeibies AND updates!
Don't forget, you can follow me on the following social media:
 
 




Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite authors, by far!

If you are looking for some great activities to use in your class this week, check out the Seussical Author Study at My Store


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Oh the Life

All I know that is predictable about life is its unpredictability. Through my growing relationship with my Father, I'm finding that I have one purpose... to glorify Him. He's done so much for my family and has given so much comfort to us over a rough period of grief. Thank You, LORD.

To the people who actually read my meandering thoughts ... sorry IF you've missed them ;) They are back. Here's what I have to share with you ...

ALL of the 3rd grade continent studies are complete. PLUS, I've combined them into a full bundle as a slight discount. You can check it out at my TpT Store!!!!













I've also created a nifty little computer "game" for kids to practice identifying real-world 3D figures. I've already had it tested and approved by some kids:) Not only is there a game for practice, but accountability pages for students to show their understanding of the concept. It's all part of the same set and works WONDERFULLY in stations. There will be more in the works soon. You can check it out here.

Okay, now I'm off to bed. I have a girls retreat this weekend that I'm speaking at, a house that needs cleaning before I go, and a 2 month old daughter who will be making her presence know sooner-rather-than-later ;) I couldn't ask for a better/crazier life.