Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Scoop!

I have seen this adorable linky floating around Instagram thanks to Teaching Trio, and I couldn't think of a better way to start off Winter Break week than by joining in!

Christmas Shopping: I'm serious. I haven't finished. I've barely started. I've had the that even an excuse?? I'm saying it is.

House Cleaning: See above where I told you about the flu.... The craft room is a different story. It has been more like a crap-catcher for several months. So I can't even use the flu as an excuse.

Catching Up: I have so many things I'd like to do with this blog, on Fifth Grade Freebies and with some new TPT products! I'm hoping the next few days will be ULTRA productive. I have an addition strategies product and I'm trying to get a few more freebies ready for the holidays AND some long overdue blog posts about Common Core! Fingers crossed that I can get everything done.

Family Time: My wonderful hubby is working from home this week and that means I get to have him home so I can bug him while he works. It makes me happy that we can spend some time together, even if he will be working. :-)

What's your Sunday Scoop? Head over to Teaching Trio to create your post and link up!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

TPT Cyber Monday SALE!

The Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday sale starts in a few short hours! I am so excited to empty my overflowing cart...not sure my wallet will be, but oh well!

In anticipation of the big event, I wanted to join up with Ideas by Jivey for her 2+1=TPTCYBER linky!

The idea is to share the 2 most wish-listed items from my store and 1 item that is currently on MY wishlist!! (To be fair, it's probably already in my cart...but I digress.)

My most wish-listed item is my Quadrilaterals: 2D Shape Sort with Shape Cards. This item is also my best seller! In this product, you get a set of quadrilateral shape cards, several graphic organizers and ideas for how to use them in your classroom. Normally $2.00, during the sale it will only be $1.60! If you use the code TPTCYBER when checking out, it will be even less!

If you like this one, you might also like my Triangles: Shape Sort with Shape Cards! It will be on sale for only $2.00! Again, TPTCYBER takes that down even more.

My second most wish-listed item is my newest product: Multiplication Match Up! This products features 144 pages of multiplication cards. For each multiplication fact, there is the fact, the answer, a representation with equal groups and an array! It would be a great product for a matching game, flash cards or a center. Normally, it's $7.00, but during the sale it will only be $5.60. With the code TPTCYBER, it will be less that $5.50!

I can't wait to purchase at least one Mentor Sentences unit from the host of this linky, Jivey!! I loved reading the book Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson, and Jivey's units will make it simple to implement. I'm so excited!! I might even have to spring for the BIG IS a sale after all!

Mentor Sentences Unit: Second 10 Weeks

Well? What are you waiting for??? The sale starts in just a couple of hours...head over to Ideas by Jivey and check out more great things you need for the rest of the school year and beyond!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five For Friday - Thankful Edition

Grateful is a word that has been a BIG part of my vocabulary lately. While having lunch with my husband the other day, I struggled to put into words everything that I am so thankful for. I even had a hard time creating a Facebook posting that could accurately describe why my heart is so full these days. I still don't think that I have the right words to say what I've been feeling lately, but I think Five For Friday by Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching is a good way to share just a few of the things I am so blessed by.


Divider 1 

This guy.
I married the man of my dreams 12 and a half years ago. We were high school sweethearts. I've never looked back. Never regretted one moment spent together. He supports me, loves me, points me in the right directions, encourages me and challenges me. This is the guy who took over making the crock pot roast the other day when I was running so late for work. The guy who told me it would be okay when I decided to leave my old school for a new opportunity. The one who sends me pictures like the one above just because he knows it will make. my. heart. pound. I love him so much and I am so grateful for everything he brings into my life. 

Divider 2 

My family.
I am lucky to live close to my parents, sister and niece. I get to see them all the time. We have holidays together and even just the occasional Sunday night dinner or watching a football game. They are hilarious, silly and so supportive! My mom, dad and even my niece sometimes volunteer at my school. My sister supports lots of charitable organizations through her work, including providing much needed school supplies to kids in need at my school. The picture above is from the MS Walk in Denver 2 years ago when my sister was one of the top 100 fundraisers!

Divider 3

My pets.
These guys make my house a home. They are all getting pretty old, but they snuggle when snuggles are needed. They make us laugh with their silly antics. They keep my feet warm on a chilly night and they love us unconditionally. I am so grateful for all three of them!

Divider 4 

Amazing opportunities.
Lately, I have been amazed with the great opportunities that are opening up. I know some great people who are involved with the Core Advocates group here in Colorado, and I was so lucky to attend the Becoming a Core Advocate convening in Chicago. And while I was there, I met even more people and we networked away! It was fantastic to be a part of such an energetic group of teachers. 

Divider 5 

My new job.
Last, but certainly not least, my new position at my new school. I am so so grateful for this big change. It was hard to leave my last position because I had been there so long, but it was SO worth it. I LOVE my class, my teammates, my principal, my parents and the list just continues! Thinking back to my mental state just one year ago, I know I made the right decision to move. I am happier, healthier and I feel confident in my teaching abilities again!

Reading over this post makes me realize that it's hard to get just the right words when trying to describe how everything in your life make you feel like the luckiest person in the world. I am so grateful to this blogging community for giving me the avenue to share my heart full of happiness with the world. :-)

Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and link up with what's going on in your world!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Becoming a Core Advocate

Have you ever done something and not realized until after you started that it was going to be amazing?

Today I started working towards becoming a Core Advocate. If you're not entirely sure what that means, you are not alone! Even as I was on my way here (to Chicago) to attend this convening, I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting myself into.

I was sure I was going to learn about Common Core. I was sure I would hear dynamic and passionate speakers share why they believe in Common Core. I was hoping that I would learn more about Common Core and why it is important to the students I teach.

But I still wasn't sure why it was important to attain the label of "Core Advocate."

I mean, really. Why should anyone listen to little ol' me? Why should I put myself out there to advocate for something so controversial in many ways?

Well, today I started to figure it out.

I was right. I have learned about Common Core. I have heard other teachers share why Common Core is at the heart of their teaching beliefs. And I have certainly gained a better understanding of why Common Core is so important to the students I teach.

Becoming a Core Advocate means that I can adequately defend the importance of the Common Core State Standards as a viable means to "leveling the playing field." I can discuss and defend my position about the Instructional Shifts required to give all students access to an education that will prepare them for college OR career. Or for anything they decide to do after their K-12 journey is over.

I'm no Pollyanna, folks. I know that the CCSS have their down sides. But truly? It's not the standards that have the problems. Who can argue with rigorous standards that ask students to become thinkers instead of answer-getters? The problems lie with how they are implemented. Who makes the decisions about implementation. Text book companies that stamp "Common Core Aligned" on the front cover in order to sell more books, make more money, and continue on with the "old ways" of doing business while duping well-meaning districts and educators into thinking they are meeting the new standards.

I can't get behind poor implementation decisions. I can't get behind districts that twist CCSS intentions, and push teachers into a "my-way-or-the-highway" way of thinking. I can't get behind greedy text book publishers who just see the Common Core as a giant pile of dollar signs.

But the Common Core State Standards? Advocating for a shift in our instructional thinking to improve the lives of students? I can get behind that.

Please stay tuned for more posts about my experiences with Common Core and the journey towards becoming a Core Advocate. In future posts, I will elaborate on what exactly I have learned, and how it is impacting learning in my classroom. I hope to start a (civil) dialogue about what educators are doing and thinking about Common Core around the country! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Calling All 5th Grade Teachers!

Hey fellow 5th grade teachers! I'm jumping in to 5th grade with both feet and I'm so excited to be a contributor to the Fifth Grade Freebies blog!

Fifth Grade Freebies

Even if you aren't a 5th grade teacher I think you will find tons of great freebies there that you can definitely use.

My first post on Fifth Grade Freebies is up today! I hope you will pop over and check it out AND grab yourself a back to school freebie while you are there. :-)

Make sure to follow Fifth Grade Freebies on Bloglovin' so you can get the latest, greatest freebies!

Today is also my first official day at my new school...teacher meetings in the morning and time to work in the afternoon! Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Monday Made It!! What??

There are two things that are CRAZY about this post.

1. Two posts in two days!! A miracle.

2. First Monday Made It... of THE. WHOLE. SUMMER. Seriously.

But, I'm proud of it, so I'm sharing! Thanks to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for keeping this awesome linky up and running.


If you have been following me on Instagram, you have seen some of the shenanigans that went on in my garage last weekend. 

This was the bookshelf that greeted me when I first entered my new classroom in my new school:

Isn't it sad looking?
Not only did it have yucky peach paint on it, but the contact paper kind of looked like something my grandma would have had in her cabinets. And I'm not kidding when I say it had a...smell. It was definitely time for a change!

So, I loaded it up in the truck and brought it home. I assured my husband that he would not have to help me. I could totally get this baby back in tip-top shape all. By. My. Self. 

But would he pretty please take me to Home Depot and show me what I need to buy?

Trip Numero Uno
We made our way home with all the supplies for a complete bookshelf makeover!

I sent my husband in the house to drink iced tea and eat bon bons. Or something equally awesome but more manly. And I got to work. I pulled off all the contact paper.

Then, I got busy with the electric finishing sander - newly purchased from Home Depot.

All by myself, I tell you!
Remember how I said it was sticky?? And yucky? And a mess? It was a serious problem for the new electric finishing sander. Like, it wouldn't sand. Only get the gunk stuck to the sandpaper. I consulted the keeper of the power tools and knowledge related to bookshelf makeovers and he said we needed stripper. Don't get all weird on me. Paint stripper. The kind that takes paint and gunk and who-knows-what off of classroom bookshelves.

And away we went...

The lady at the front door recognized my face, but didn't seem to know my name...yet.
We got the stripper (with minimal middle-school-ish jokes) and headed on home. does look as though he's helping, doesn't it? Well, I didn't exactly make him help me, but I didn't discourage him either. I seemed to be in over my head a bit here. What with the stripper, and the stripping and the electric sanding...

Once the whole thing was stripped of decades old paint and wood finish, we could actually start sanding. Yes, I do mean WE. I sanded!

He also did quite a bit of photography, as you can see.
Once everything was sanded, it was time for the part I KNEW I could handle: PAINT.

But, since my wonderful husband was in the helping spirit, we had to head back to Home Depot AGAIN. Just for another paint brush, but still. They were giving us funny looks.

We wiped the bookshelf clean with a rag and let it sit in the sun for awhile to dry completely. Then, we started painting.

We got a coat on and then headed out to dinner. I took a picture of it, but I'm guessing you don't need to see it. You can always leave a comment if you're dying to know what I had for dinner...

The next morning, we finished painting with another coat. I am SO happy with the results and I can't wait to show you how it looks in the classroom when I post about my classroom setup.

Here it is up against the classroom wall, but it is lonely and doesn't have any books yet!

I am so glad that I brought home that yucky bookshelf - even if it was WAY more work than I anticipated. Luckily, my amazing husband helped me, even though he thought he might have a relaxing weekend. YAY for husbands!

Anybody think he might be up for bookshelf makeover round 2???

 Don't forget to head over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out all the fantastic Monday Made It projects!

Five For Funday(?) with a SLANT!

I just made up this word - Funday. (Truth: I'm sure I didn't make this up. Someone did though.) It's a word for when I've been meaning to blog a Five for Friday post all weekend but didn't sit down to do it until now. Sunday.

Sunday + Friday x Procrastination = Funday.

So much happened this week! It was pretty awesome really. Glad to be able to share it! Thanks, Kacey!


I finally shared my amazing SLANT box that came in the mail from Jamie AKA Miss Math Dork! She spoiled me rotten. I love EVERYTHING in the box and I can't WAIT to wear my new math-y earrings. I have been dying for a pair ever since I saw them a LONG time ago. Do you want to get a box of love from another teacher?? If so you should probably pay attention to Jameson's blog Lessons With Coffee and get signed up for the next round!

The SLANT Box Exchange

Last Wednesday was the Colorado teacher/blogger/TPTer meet up! We had a fantastic time chatting, eating lunch, getting ideas from each other and SHOPPING. At Lakeshore. (See how happy we are? Lakeshore.)

I met Ashley from Teaching In Bronco Country, Cecelia from I Love 1st Grade, Mary from Teaching With a Mountain View, Janet from Bloomin' Bees, Sara from Mrs. P's Special Education Classroom, Pam from Desktop Learning Adventures, Brittany from Big Hair and Big Ideas, and Christa from Learnin' Books! It was so great to meet them all! Check out their blogs for their great ideas and products!

I don't really think this picture needs much explaining, so here you go. Football. Is. Back. I, for one, couldn't be happier. GO BRONCOS.


This was the only part of my week that wasn't super-fabulous. I was in book-sorting hell. And I'm not done. I have to go back this week and finish it. I am trying to do some soul-searching to see if maybe I have a problem and need an intervention. If you see me anywhere near Barnes and Noble or the Scholastic warehouse sale, feel free to hit me with a tranquilizer dart. It will be for my own good.

I am making SOME progress in my classroom though. I am looking forward to being able to show you all my classroom when it's done!! This week sometime I will try to have some pictures up that show the finished product. This little corner is at least starting to make it feel like my that makes me happy!

What's making you happy these days?? Share with me in the comments! And then link up for your Five for Friday - even if it IS Sunday.