Sunday, June 30, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted and Saturday Snapshots

It's a relaxing Sunday evening after a busy day...

I just discovered that Latoya's awesome linky has returned, and I discovered a brand new linky, so I'm going to join both.

This week's theme is tic-tac-to, so I get to choose to write about any three-in-a-row combo from the following choices.

I'm going to go right across the top row, but I'm going to start on the right cause my college memory is my favorite.  I like to save the best for last.

Dream Vacation

I would LOVE to go back to Italy again to spend more time in Florence and Rome, and to explore places I have not been to before like Venice, Pizza, Milan, Pompeii etc.  In addition to seeing the sites in the big city, I would hope to have time to spend relaxing in some small towns in Tuscany just enjoying the scenery and soaking up the culture.  In an ideal world, all of this would happen with my future husband, whoever he may be, because Italy is SO romantic. 

Favorite Subject to Teach
My favorite subject to teach is definitely writing.  As someone who loves writing, I enjoy sharing my passion with my students and hope that it will be contagious.  I want my students to realize that they are authors and that their words have power and meaning.  They can persuade, entertain, and inform even at their young ages.  I also love reading what my students write.  I am always amazed by their creativity!  Plus, it's so exciting to see each child grow as a writer throughout the year.  I love looking back to compare their first stories to their last to see their progress.

Favorite College Memory*
I went to Liberty University in grand old Lynchburg, Virginia.   Throughout my 4 years there, I had many happy, sad, funny, crazy, and unbelievable moments.  It was hard to choose what to share on here, but I decided to go with one of the most ridiculous experiences of my college career.

For those of you who do not know, Liberty University was founded by Jerry Falwell.  I know people have strong opinions about him, so I am not going to go there.  The information you need is that he passed away before I went to school there, so the school was under the leadership of Jerry Falwell Jr., while I was there.
Jerry and Becki Falwell
Enough background.  Now, on to the story.  One Saturday afternoon, my friends and I decided to do what most Liberty students do on Saturdays...go to Walmart!  Talk about fun times.  Anyway, on this particular Saturday, I was squished into the middle seat in the back of a car full of girls.  We headed out for Walmart and then the driver announced that she needed gas, so we headed to Sheetz.  

It was as we filled the tank, that the craziness happened.  It started when a car pulled up to the pump next to us and we realized that the driver was none other than the chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr.!!  We all laughed to see him at the gas station.  Then, before we knew what was happening, the passenger door of his car opened, and out flew his wife, Becky Falwell screaming at the top of her lungs, "IT'S LIBERTY STUDENTS!!  JERRY!!  LOOK!!  LIBERTY STUDENTS!!!!"

I have no idea why she was so "surprised" considering we were about 2 minutes from campus.  Anyhow, Becki did not stop with the screaming.  No, she ran too!  She ran with reckless abandon towards our car, opened the back door, and DOVE IN THE BACK SEAT!!

That's right. 

She literally dove across my lap and the laps of the two other girls in the backseat.  

I was in shock.  Yet, Becki acted as if this was a totally normal experience for her.  She sat on my lap and proceeded to ask all of us about how our day was going, where we were going etc.  She also scared the driver of the car to death by banging on the window to say "hi" to her while she was pumping gas.  The poor girl had no idea who was in her car!

      Once our tank was full, Becki crawled out and went back to her own car and Jerry came around and sheepishly asked us if we were going to the basketball game that night.  Then, that was that.  We both drove off and our days continued as usual, except for the fact that all of us in the car could not stop laughing and asking each other, "Did that really just happen?"  Hahaha!

      Now that I've shared about that craziness, I am going to share a few snapshots of my life for Miss Nelson's fun Saturday Snapshot Linky Party.  I'm a day late, but so happy that I discovered her blog and linky through the Currently, so I wanted to take the chance to link up now.

This isn't a great picture, but it's a great letter from beautiful Aline in Brazil.  I always love getting letters from my sponsored kids.  It's such a joy to hear about their lives.

I just started reading this book based on a recommendation from my grandma.  She suggested I read it before I go to India because it would make me more aware of the horrid conditions and corruption that so many people there are trapped in.  I just started it, but I know it's going to be a really somber wake up call.

Here's the mess of stuff I need to pack for India.  I hit up Kmart today to get the last of the supplies I needed.  Now, I just have to somehow fit all of it and my clothes in my suitcase.

This is the tub full of candy, stickers, tissue paper, and crayons ready to go delight the children in India.  Everyone on my team is charged with collecting various different items for crafts, games, and other fun.  I can't wait to see the kids' faces when they get into all of the fun and colorful stuff.

Now that my trip is just over a week away, I figured it was time to start my journal.  I spent some time yesterday recording the ups and downs of how I was called to go on this trip and then how God changed my plans drastically, but made them His plans, which are always so much better!  I hope to fill the rest of the pages with the details of the many adventures I will have in India.

So, that's it for this evening.  I thoroughly enjoyed both those linkies.  I definitely would recommend that you link up with both Latoya and Miss Nelson.

Also, start thinking about your teacher's desk for this week's Tricks of the Trade Thursday.  

Do you even have a teacher's desk?  How do you keep it organized?  What are your must have supplies? 

Be ready to link up to Tricks of the Trade this Thursday!

       *Disclaimer: I do not tell this story to represent Liberty University, chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., or his wife Becki Falwell negatively in any way.  I tell it because I think it's awesome that she was crazy enough to do what she did.  I think it's great that she is so enthusiastic and I think that both she and Jerry have done a wonderful job of moving Liberty forward and making it a FABULOUS school.  

July Currently!

It's currently still June, but since July is just around the corner, it's time to join Farley's monthly linky!

Listening- On Sunday mornings, I often put on The Food Network to listen to as I get ready for church.

Loving- Summer break finally came!  It was so hard seeing all of you bloggers on break when I still had to make it to the very end of June, but I did.  I made it.  Now that it's break, it's been hard for me to transition out of "Busy School Mode" where I have to constantly be working on something.  It took a few days, but I think I finally re-learned the art of relaxing.  Ahhhhh.....

Thinking- Only 9 days until India!!!!   After months of preparation and tons of craziness where God changed my plans and taught me more about trusting Him, I am so ready to just go!  I want to finally meet my team in person and to go love some beautiful orphans!

Wanting- I seriously just feel so content in Christ right now.  I do not really seriously want anything.  He has provided so much for me already and has been growing me in leaps and bounds over the past few months.  I am learning that He truly is enough and I can just rest in His grace and trust that He is in control.

Needing- My flight to D.C. for boot camp before India leaves from JFK at 6:00 a.m.!!!!!  That means I should get to the airport at 4:00 a.m.!!!  That's crazy early!  

I'm having a really hard time figuring out an affordable option to get to the airport that early.  The shuttle services that I thought would be good are charging an arm and a leg because it's so early.  Plus, they want to pick me up at 1:00 a.m.!!!  Um, no thanks.  I am not sacrificing any more of my sleep than I need to.  

However, right now, I do not have a better option, since it's too early and too far to ask anyone to drive me.  My mindset at this point is to step back and trust that God will provide.  He has figured everything else out so far, so I know He can do this, even if it means I end up going with the shuttle company.  I just want to wait for confirmation from Him, rather than rushing to figure everything out myself.

Tips, Tricks, and Hints- Link up!  There are so many fun linky parties out there every day of the week, especially during summer.  Take the time to link up whenever you can.  The parties are fun, full of great ideas, and get your blog name out there for people to see.  

Also, speaking of linkies and tips/tricks, be sure to join this week's Tricks of the Trade party hosted by Jessica and me.  This week's theme is...

Also, you can check out the Tricks of the Trade archives by clicking the tab at the top of my page or the button below.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday 6/28/13

It's my last Five for Friday of the school year!

From now on, if I link up my five things will be summer-related!  Woo hoo!


Bee Assembly


About a week before school let out, we had an amazingly fun assembly with a local beekeeper.  He came to teach the kids more about bees and how they are not only not scary, but how they are so helpful to us.  He did a fantastic job of engaging the kids through call and response and movement.  In fact, by the end of the assembly, every single first grader was standing up and acting out the jobs of the different bees in a hive.  We had a queen and court, nursemaids, drones, warriors, etc.  All of the kids had a blast!

Then, the fun continued when each class got a chance to visit different bee-themed centers in the gym.  They got to see and feel what the panels (is that what they are called?) in a hive look like before the bees move in, after the comb is built, and after they are filled with honey.  Also, they tasted different kinds of honey, observed bees, experienced what it's like to see with bee's eyes, and learned the difference between bees and wasps.  They even got to make their own bee's wax candles.  It was so cool! 

I might possibly have made mine upside-down.  Oops!

Realistic Fiction Author's Celebration

The students celebrated becoming realistic fiction author's by reading to their parents.  Then, I passed back all of the kids' published writing from the year, so the parents could take it home and celebrate the amazing progress that their child made.

Year-End Party

For Y-Day on our ABC Countdown, my class had a Year-End Party.  There was food, volleyball, soccer, 2-square, the playground etc.  Then, I gave out Candy Bar Awards for the students' gifts and gave a few of my main volunteers these cute gifts.  Read more about their creation by clicking the picture.  

Classroom Clean Up

For the last few days of school, my kids transformed from students to Super-Cleaners/Organizers!  In between working on memory books, writing letters to next year's students, and doing other fun end of the year activities, I recruited my kids to do lots of jobs for me.  They were so eager to help and I was thankful for all the work they got done putting away manipulatives, testing markers, organizing library books, taking down the word wall, and cleaning every surface in the classroom.  When they were finished, I barely had anything left to do before checking out for the summer.  It's always so weird to see the classroom empty and bare.  

God's Blessings

For my 5th item of the week, I cannot help but praise God for His amazing faithfulness and work this week.  Here are some of the things I have been celebrating and praising Him for:
  1. Thanks to God's provision and many people's amazing generosity, I am now fully funded for India!
  2. My Indian visa was approved after having been rejected the first time.
  3. I finished school.
  4. My best friend Emily got engaged!
  5. Jessica and her husband both got jobs!  Read more about that over at Joy in the Journey.
I could go on because God is so good.  I am blessed to be alive and to be forgiven and adopted into His family each and every day.

Hope that you are all experiencing God's great blessings too!  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tricks of the Trade: Centers Storage and Organization

It's time for another Tricks of the Trade linky.

Now that school is out, I can't promise that I'll always have pictures ready to go, but I'm still happy to share what I do.  If you are in the same boat and don't have pictures to share, Jessica and I would still love to have you link up.

Binder with Sleeves

How many of you love The Mailbox magazine?  I know I do!  It's so chocked full of amazing ideas and colorful resources.  I also can't get enough of the other resource books from The Mailbox.  

As a frantic, first year teacher who was afraid she would not have enough centers materials, I ordered about a million different books from The Mailbox.  While I loved each one of them, I was not sure how to store them.  Finally, I took the time to put everything in a binder with sleeve protectors.  I used sticky notes to tab different subject areas, but plan to put in actual tabs at some point.  Plus, I have so many games that I might need two different binders soon.  Anyways, the point is, I love that I can just flip through to find the different centers I need. 

I keep the center page and any black line masters in the binder rings.  Then, I slide the baggies of cards into the sleeves, so everything is together.

Word Work Organization

This is my current Word Work organization.  I've posted about it before, so I will just give a picture tour.

 Since I have SO many awesome Word Work games and centers and not enough space to put them, I am planning to use my new super colorful and super awesome drawer set to organize them next year.  I plan to label the bins with different types of tasks e.g. Long Vowels, Trick Words etc.  Then, I will rotate materials in and out based on what the students are learning and reviewing.  If you use a drawer set or system anything like this, I would love some tips.This is my Pinspiration for this idea.

Simply Skilled in Second

Math Game Bins

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of my own stuff for this trick, but I will share it anyway.  For math centers, I fill a bin for each leveled group with games and supplies that fit the students needs and abilities.  They may have file folder games, flash cards, card games, spinners, dice etc.  The bins may have some of the same games, but different dice to use with them e.g. 6-sided, 12-sided etc.  I put more challenging games in the high-fliers' bin and more remedial games in the lower students' bin.  The bins are labeled with the names of the students in the group.  When we have math centers, I either teach a new game and have the kids play that or I just have them get their bins right away.  Once the students know how to play a game, it stays in their bins for awhile as an "Oldie but Goodie."  They can access and play these games when they finish playing the new games and/or when they finish their math journal pages.  

So, those are my tricks of the trade.  Link up with the button below to share yours!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Math Ten Pins





In case you couldn't tell, I am so excited about both things.  I am so thankful that this year is officially over and for everyone's generosity in donating to my mission trip fund.  Today was the due date and I made my goal just in time.  Yay!

One reason I am so glad that school is out is that now I will have a bit more time to blog.  Today, that means I have time to link up with Ashley from Just Reed for her weekly Ten Pin Linky.

Check out this awesome Pinspiration!  Just click the pictures to visit the original sites.

Blocks, Books, and Baskets
Common Core Connection
2nd Grade Smarty Arties
Step Into Second Grade
Ashley Reed
Lesson This
You Might Be A First Grade If...
The Organized Classroom
Mrs. Sim's and Mrs. Mathis' 4th Grade Math Blog
Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes
Those are my ten pins.  Now, off to do summery things, like sit on the couch and watch TV.