Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Thank you to everyone for the sweet comments and messages about my dad.  He is doing great!  He is back home and acting like nothing happened.  We are so blessed!  However, I got far behind on everything I had planned, but I wouldn't change anything from being there to help him in any way I could.  So today I am going to play catch-up on here.  I have been working on catching up on e-mails, comments, and messages.  Hopefully, I will be able to get done by tonight.

Porch Bed Swing
I just love my porch bed swing that I wrote about Monday in the hospital.  I can't wait to go back to the river house Friday so I can lay on it and catch-up on my books.  It is definitely needed after all the events from this week.  Check my post Porch Bed Swing to see some hear more about the process of building and hanging it.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary.  We really did not get to do anything, because I was exhausted from taking care of all the family items.  However, we have plans to go out Thursday night.  It seems like yesterday that I was planning for the big day.  I am so grateful that God placed Kevin in my life (again...haha).  He supports my love for kids and my dedication to teaching.  To hear more of our story and our big day, check out my post titled God Bless the Broken Road that I wrote on our 1st Anniversary.

Yesterday, I received this package in the mail from Really Good Stuff.  All teachers just have to love that store!  I had ordered the reading basket labels and shelf labels to use in my classroom.  Since I am not able to be in my classroom yet due to the guys still waxing the hall floors, I have just pushed the box aside until I can go up to the school.  Hopefully, I will get to show you my new buys next week. :)

A lot of the blogs I follow are celebrating with giveaways.  I want to hit on a few that I have remembered, but this is definitely not all of them.  Over the course of the craziness this week, I have forgotten some of them. Sorry if I forgot you.  I'll try to do better in the future.

The Idea Backpack is celebrating 100 followers!

Teaching Maddeness is celebrating 300 followers!
Teaching Maddeness

One Extra Degree is giving away a Learning Resources' Luna Interactive Projection Camera.
One Extra Degree

One Lovely Blog
I was so excited to see the other night that Chelsey at The Wild West gave my blog it's first award.  
The One Lovely Blog Award!  
My First Award!
This is definitely what I needed to boost my spirits this week.  I don't have time right now to pass the honor, but there are so many of you that I would love to pass the honor to.  I appreciate you, Chelsey, for picking me, and I appreciate everyone for supporting me as I have started the journey of keeping up a teaching blog.  I hope you gain inspiration as a teacher to keep up the work!

I think that gets me caught up for now.  Hopefully, I will be able to catch-up tonight and will be back in full swing tomorrow.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Unexpected Sunday/Monday

This weekend, my husband and I went to our house at the Tennessee River. I was so excited to go, because my husband had built me something that I had been asking for for over a year. He built me this porch swing bed:

Don't you just love it! I love to swing and knew just where I wanted this to hang. This is going to be my new favorite spot to read at this house when we aren't on the boat floating down the river. You will have to check out my family blog to see more information about this, but I won't be able to blog on there until later due to my "Unexpected Sunday/Monday".

Yesterday (Sunday), my husband and I were docked on one of the small islands on the Tennessee River eating lunch when I got a phone call from my mom. My dad had a heart attack, and they were rushing him to the hospital. Needless to say, we rushed back to the boat ramp loaded up our things and headed to the hospital which was about an hour away. My dad had to have a stint put in, but they were able to fix him up. However, he had to spend the night in the ICU which only allowed visitors at certain times.

I was able to go home and get some rest before getting my mom and coming back up to the hospital today. What was suppose to be a day preparing to get things ready to go back to the school when it reopens has turned into my "Unexpected Sunday/Monday" at the hospital. My dad is doing much better and has been moved to a regular room. We are waiting to see the doctor. In the mean time, I have been reading these books:


I know most of you have been reading The Daily 5. Well, I did not realize it but this book has been on my shelf since I started teaching. I guess the teacher that retired before me had bought it and left it in the classroom. I am looking forward to starting it this afternoon.


I was privilege to hear Tara Brown speak at an inservice that my local school had this past winter. She was a great motivational speaker. Our administrators bought each classroom a copy of Different Cultures, Common Ground - 85 Proven Strategies to Connect in Your Classroom. This book is full of great reminders of what teachers should demonstrate in the classroom to connect to the students. Although most of the ideas are not new, it is great to refresh your mind on these every so often. The book is an easy read, and I was able to read it this morning while nurses were coming in and out of the hospital room. If you are needing a speaker at your school, I definitely recommend Tara Brown.


I will hopefully be back tomorrow with some new ideas for you to use in your classroom.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pants on the Ground

I worked in my classroom on Monday putting all the books away, but then was stuck at home on Tuesday while our new windows were put in at our house. I am so excited about my new windows and actually being able to open them let fresh air in. (I bought a foreclosure house about 4 years ago before I got married. My parents and I remodeled the whole thing, but we never replaced the old windows. You will have to check out my family blog to see the transformation.) On Wednesday, I went back up to the school to do the dreaded organizing. I get a little OCD so things have to be perfect before school starts. Then we got an e-mail from our principal stating that the floors were going to be waxed in the halls starting Thursday so not to come to school until we hear from her again. So now I am stuck at the house working on things here. I keep reminding myself that I have over a month before school starts and usually all of this stuff gets done during the two weeks before school. I just want to make good use of this extra time we have so that I can be ready to roll when school starts. 

On a side note, I wanted to share a funny thing that happened to me on Friday when I was putting things back where they belong in the classroom. We have all heard the song "Pants on the Ground" made popular by that crazy guy on American Idol. Well, last year I had problems with a few of my boys wanting to let their pants hang. They thought it was the cool thing to do, and they knew it got on my nerves. Every time I would correct them and make them pull their pants up, they would sing the song to me. We got a good laugh about it throughout the year, and they eventually only let their pants hang when they wanted to make me laugh. On Friday when I was going through my stuffed animals that I have, I found this:

I can only guess which of the three boys did this, and I am not sure why I didn't notice this when I was packing my classroom up. I can't wait till I see them so I can ask them. I got a huge laugh, and it brought back lots of memories of the year and the progress these boys made both academically and socially. They truly will be three of the students that I always remember. Of course, my OCD kicked in, and I had to change it to this:

Do you have kids that make a lasting impact in your mind? Why do certain kids stick out more than others? I think it's important for teachers to remember that the kids are always watching and sometimes we are the only positive role models they have.



Monday, June 18, 2012

The Great Text Message

Last week, I received one of the greatest text messages ever from one of my colleagues. It stated that my room was ready! That's right the middle of June, and we just got out of school at the end of May. I know this may not seem like a big deal to some people, but typically we are not able to get into our classrooms until one or two weeks before school starts. This causes total stress and irritation on all the teachers. You see we like most schools have to pack up all of our things so that the custodians can move it all out and wax the floors. Usually our school is done last, but for some glorious reason they decided to do our school during their down time. Yay! To top it all off, my room was one of the first ones to be done. I feel sorry for the teachers whose classrooms are not done yet, but hopefully they will get them done this week.
When I received the text message, I was doing the dreaded duty of paying bills. I told the girl that I would be up there all this week, but my mind kept thinking about the room so I had to go up to the school to check it out. I was so thankful that I had already checked out my keys again for next year so I did not have to bug anyone to let me in. This is what I found:

Well after a few hours of arranging, I got everything back to where it belonged. I did not even try to tackle the storage cabinets, filing cabinets, or closet. I was just happy to have everything that had been moved out of the room back to its place. This is what it looked like after:

I know it sounds crazy, but I plan on going up to the school every day this week for a couple of hours to accomplish a few tasks. I don't mind spending a few hours a day up there, because I am still able to enjoy my summer the rest of the hours in the day. School is always on my mind so maybe this will help calm my mind from racing through the millions of things I have to do before school starts back in August. Check back to see what all I get done this week!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Martin Institute Day 2

Yesterday I attended the second day of the Martin Institute 2012 Summer Conference. The day started off with a panel discussion with Bo Adams, Sande Dawes, and John Hunter. It was interesting to hear their views on certain aspects of education.

Similar to Day 1, there were four sessions in which participants got to choose which presentation they wanted to attend. I was only able to attend one session due to presenting during the last two and having to eat and set up during the second one. I chose to go to the session titled "Hotwired to Inquire" by Ms. Melissa Miller Benson and Dr. Clinton Smith both educators in Memphis. It was a presentation on getting students with Autism Spectrum Disorders to ask questions and communcate in class. I was interested in this because I had an autistic child in my class last year, and I enjoy learning ways to help students with disorders. I realize that this subject did not pertain to most attendees, but I was very disturbed by something that happened in the middle of the presentation. Two of the six attendees got up and left during the middle of the presentation - not at the very beginning when the lady explained what the presentation would be about and not at the end but right smack down in the middle. I thought this was very rude and felt very bad for the two presenters. As a presenter myself, I know how much work goes into preparing for a conference such as this one. On a more positive note, I did gain the idea of using the word STAR to get students to Stop, Think, Ask, and Reflect when wanting to ask a question in the room. I think this could be used for any students not just one with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

I presented during the afternoon sessions on "Creating a Classroom for ALL Students". It was centered around using every second to reach students on their own levels. Here is what the description for the session stated:

"Do you have a hard time creating a classroom ful of learning that meets the needs of all students? Come and hear how you can expound on the Common Core Standards in your daily lessons, utilize group learning for all students, and assess student's achievements in unique ways."

I never mind presenting at conferences, but I always am hesitant if what I have to say is worth people's time. I was delighted to hear from numerous teachers about how they gained some new ideas from the presentation. Some even stated that they will be in contact for future help! This made my day. I am not letting you out on the ideas. I plan on blogging about some of my points in the weeks to come.

After presenting, I got to attend a featured session with Dr. Katie Wood Ray on Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration. I loved her thought process about how much goes into making a picture and how as teachers we need to pull from student's thinking behind illustrations to making their writing better. I plan on researching Dr. Ray's works more throughout the summer.

I have to say that the Martin Institute Summer Conference is one of the best conferences I have attended. I am so thankful that I have been able to attend as a presenter the past two years. Hopefully, more will be in my future.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


Laura at Kinder Kraziness is celebrating her 1 year Blogiversary.  She is having a great giveway that includes 14 bloggers giving away 14 products.  Go check her out at!

Elizabeth over at Fun in Room 4B is celebrating 400 followers!  This is such a great accomplishment.  She is celebrating the great friendships she has made by having a giveway.  Go over to her blog to see the amazing rewards!

Tori over at Tori's Teacher Tips is celebrating 100 followers!  I hope to be able to celebrate this one day.  2 winners could win.  Go over to her blog and see what is up for grabs!

Tori's teacher tips

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Martin Institute - Day 1

I had the honor of attending day 1 of The Martin Institute 2012 Conference in Memphis, Tennessee today. I am attending as a presenter and will be presenting tomorrow. Today, I had the honor of attending numerous sessions. I have already learned so much and there is no way I could write about everything I learned. However, I do want to write about some highlights.

The conference started with a screening of John Hunter's movie, World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. More information on the movie can be found at It is truly a movie for all educators to see. The game utilizes critical thinking skills on a collaborative approach in which students find solutions to global issues. Here is a look at the game:

The first session I attended was Creative Content for the iPad it was presented by Mr. Tim Matheny (Apple Distinguished Education- Memphis, TN). I learned a lot about iTunesU and iBooks. I am definitely going to use those apps in the future.

Afterwards I went to Active Learning with the iPod Touch presented by Mr. Mason Grace and Mrs Kitty Hiltenbrand, both educators in Memphis. This was very informative on how to incorporate the iPod in everyday lessons. I have a class iPod that I have not used due to not really knowing where to get started, but I think I am ready after attending this session.

Our lunch was grab and go or sit down and eat and miss a session. I chose to grab and go to another session. I actually had enough time to gulp my food down before the session started. The third session that I went to was titled, Beyone Our Walls - Video Conferencing by Ms. Amy Moody from St.Agnes Academy in Memphis, TN. This was all about using such programs like Skype to connect to other parts of the world. This will be great to utilize in our new iPell lab.

The last session I went to was 21st Century Inclusion Classroom by Melanie Moss from the Department of Exceptional Children of Shelby County Schools. She challenged us to bring a quality education for every child.

As part of the conclusion to the day, we got to hear from John Hunter. The man behind the movie I mentioned earlier. He was truly inspirational!

I am looking forward to Day 2 of the conference. I just finished preparing for my presentation, and I think I am ready to go. I'll try to blog tomorrow on what I learn during Day 2 of the conference.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ups and Downs

I have not done too good with my blogging since I vowed to do better back in January. Between grad school, teaching, and being a wife my life has been a little chaotic. Hopefully, this summer I will be able to get some things done and blogging more frequently will come easier throughout the work year. I have some ideas that I would love to share! :)

This past school year will be a year that I never forget. It was full of ups and downs, but I was able to learn from all the events. Here is a look at just a few of the events:

- My first time teaching special education students. Definitely a challenge, but I have grown to love the experience. I hope I am fortunate to have this opportunity again.

- The first time that a student got his arm stuck on the playground while sliding down the slide on the last full day of school. Yes, I said while sliding and it happened on the last day of school. One of the students came to get me to tell me about this boy, but I thought they were just playing a joke on me. It was definitely not a joke when I climbed up to the slide. The boys arm was definitely stuck and he was holding himself up from sliding with his other arm. It took me holding the child up from sliding while another teacher worked his arm loose. We finally was able to manage to get his arm free.

 - My first time teaching a first grade repeater. I have to admit I was a little nervous teaching the child from the horror stories I heard from the year past, but it turned out to be a huge blessing on my life. The child passed first grade with straight A's.

- The first time that my field trip got postponed due to the school being on lock down. We were all set and ready to go on our Scavenger Hunt Field Trip around Town when the announcement came over the intercom that the school was on lock down. The chaperones watched the students in my classroom while I went to see what was going on. A burglary happened in a nearby town and the criminals had made their way into our town around the vicinity of our school so the school system decided to take precautions. I am thankful for school leaders that do this, but it was definitely a disappointment to my precious students. After two hours had passed and still no release, we decided to reschedule the trip for a different day. We were finally able to get to go on the trip!

- My first time getting thrown up on in class. Yes, it was disgusting! It was small group reading time and I had five students at my table. One of the boys wasn't looking quite like himself so I asked if he was OK. He stated he was fine and that he didn't need to go to the bathroom. We kept on reading our book when all of a sudden the boy starts projective vomiting straight ahead (I know very graphic.). My spot just happened to be right in front of him. Luckily, I was in a rolling chair. When I felt the first of it on my arm, I screamed and rolled back as fast as I could. Let's just say that I definitely go the attention of all my students from across the room. It also just happened to be a day where the District Superintendent was holding a meeting beside mine. The teachers in the meeting definitely had a weird look on their faces when I went into the bathroom. I hope this never again happens!

- The first time my class has won the tug of war challenge. Every year at our field day, we conclude with a class tug of war competition. My class has never won this, and right before it was our turn to compete I told the parents of mine that were in attendance that it would be a great honor to end the year with this under my belt. Well, my class succeeded! We won the first round and kept going forward until it was down to our class and one other. I explained that no matter what we would be good sports and that it would be hard to beat the other class. The other class had some big kids in it compared to some of my little midgets. Somehow, my class pulled it off. It was so exciting to see the class work together to accomplish this. At the end my students went over to the other class and told them good job. This made my heart happy.

- My first year getting a troubled child from another teacher's class. After Christmas, I was asked if I would take a child from another teacher's class that was having trouble. I had an opening and thought it couldn't be that bad. It was bad at first, because I had to reteach the correct ways of doing things. In the end, it was a great experience. The student and I grew a bond during the 2nd semester and you would have thought he had been with me since the beginning.

- The first time I had a student in class who was legally blind. I received a student in my class in the Fall that was diagnosed as legally blind. He could see some things, but he had to be very close to them. The child moved away after being in my class for a week due to some sad home issues. I wonder how he is doing now.

- My first time having student moved from my first grade class to a second grade class. After the student that was legally blind left, I received a student from Belize. Well, Belize has a different school system than the US. The little girl had been in 1st grade in Belize, but after a week we realized that 1st grade would be equivalent to our 2nd grade. The little girl had already read all the stories in our Reading curriculum. Our class hated to say good-bye, but they were excited to know that they would see her again in the hallways and such.

The list could go on and on about the ups and downs from the year. Teaching is definitely not a boring occupation. This is why I want to keep this blog up and running so I can remember these moments for years to come. I hope you join me in my journey! :)