Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Cleaning Day 1...down and accomplished!

 I made a list.....
I am sticking to that list...No matter how much I want to get it done!
I usually spend my spring breaks from school spring cleaning.  Many of us do it, I don't usually do like spring breaker crowds and take my vacays in the fall, so this is prime time for me...
Today I tackled the most difficult room of my home... The master bedroom and bath!  My room is like the catchall.  I take our laundry upstairs and just drop the baskets because I have those three kids that need my attention and they will either destroy anything I have already cleaned up downstairs, or come up and strip my bed down and use the bed as a trampoline...So there is no way to get the clothes put away so we live out of laundry baskets.  Did I tell you my husband loves loathes that!  I was beginning to feel trapped in there.  I was not sleeping very well and there was no real relaxation that could go on in there.  AND, my bathroom looked like a hair and dust bomb went off in there!  Hubs was about to move into a hotel!  So, I piled everything from the floor and furniture in the room onto the bed and went to dusting and vaccumming.  Every sqauare in of carpet and dusting every nook and cranny of my furniture.  My back hurts from moving furniture to clean underneath.  But, you can see the top of all my furniture and there isnt a speck of dust in site.  So that makes for a happy me...

I wanted to show an after picture, but I still have a few things to organize and put away.  And, right now at this late hour, hubs in sleeping in there.  No dice on a before pic...I'd be too embarrassed!  I will post an after though!

Good night my sweet friends! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Too Ambitious...

 Boy that should've been my motto today!!!  I got a little cocky when I started those fonts and borders.  I went ahead and downloaded the free 30 day trial of Photoshop Elements 12 and watched a couple videos on how to make digital papers...Wwwwwweeeeeelllll, I should really have checked my pride at the open of the program.  I am still so much of a novice with this whole graphics thing...I think I will reside myself that God puts people on this earth to do certain things.  I don't think he meant for me to make digital paper and other such graphics without the aid of my trusty friendly program I like to call PowerPoint.  I couldn't get my nose out of the Photoshop program long enough to even get my kitchen cleaned up.  So, after I pulled all of my hair out decided that bald was going to have be a good look for me, I went into my dropbox and took stock of how much digi-paper and graphics I already have...I think I am good since I am going to have to find a new cloud storage for just my graphics folder :)  

I've got enough Melonheadz to last me two lifetimes, a blue million files of digital paper, I can now make my own fonts on my font maker and borders in ppt...I'm good!  I am officially on Spring Break as of tomorrow at 7:20am.  I am going to spring clean like a mad woman and spend some QT with my family.  I hope you have a blessed evening and a wonderful tomorrow!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I made some fonts today...

 So I taught myself how to do borders...that was fun.  Now all I need is a way to convert my ipad into a drawing tablet.  Today I purchased ifontmaker and made three fonts.  My five year old made her own font as well.  Thats how easy it was!  I am including them on here for you.  Please feel free to download and credit required at this time!!!  I had so much fun doing it and can't wait to make more!!!

Here are links to the fonts...I still have so much work to do before I become awesome

 I hope you enjoy them.  Stay tuned for when I learn how to make digital paper...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reference Check...

 I am at a stand still emotionally about all our elementary and middle school principals.  I had stood up for this new facilities plan because it felt right to me as a parent and a fourth grade teacher.  Never did I think my principal would be demoted to a classroom teacher and have to reapply for her job.  I am a people first kind of person and I feel so bad this has happened.  Makes me want to never ever want to open my mouth about anything again at the district or school level.  
BBUUTTTTT, if you know me, my voice is the most powerful weapon I have in my arsenal.  I think words are powerful when they are spoken with honesty, truth and integrity.  I decided that I would try to organize my staff to write letters of recommendation for our principal, I am even going to have my outgoing fourth graders to write letters for her as well.  Can you imagine my surprise when my principal sends me a text message with much embarrassment in her tone.  She said she could not believe that she was asking me, but asked me for a reference.  Was she reading my mind?  I support anything my principal would want...she supports me in all my hair brained ideas and plans for my classroom.  I said "absolutely"!  I did not tell her about my plan or that this plan is the plan of some of my fellow teachers as well.  

I don't understand is so's scary.  We have just gotten off the ground with our principal, she's part of the team, she's made us a family. So I am going to write her reference with pride.
I will keep you posted!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I still love my work...

 This is a follow up to my post from yesterday...I need some advice, some counseling, some consoling and then I need to share about my awesome kiddos!!
I do love my work...I like my work directly with students, I do not like the bureaucracy that has become education!
CRAY CRAY things are going on in my school district...I cannot make this stuff up!!!
First of all, a new facilities plan had to be drawn up due to closing of some really old elementary schools.  So the first plan built us a new high school and proposed to close one of the two middle schools and combine them into one mega middle school.  This first plan closed two elementary schools and combined them into one.  This called for the closing of 4 more smaller elementary schools at the end of this year, remodeling both the old middle school buildings and turning them into new elementary schools.  This is the plan we started the year with.  Are you lost yet?  I was at this point last year...
NOW we have a new plan...This one makes a little more sense to me and I like it a lot, especially for my own children.  Our elementary schools are down to four buildings and they are all now configured for grades k-4...The next level in one of the old middle school buildings is a grade 5-6 intermediate school (middle school prep experience with and elementary feel).  The next step in our children's academic career is the middle school grades7-8 where its traditional middle schools experience.  And the last stop in this train of Clark County KY education is the high school grades 9-12.  I voted for this plan, I spoke in front our local board of education in support of this plan.  I like how this walks our preteens in baby steps through some really tough emotional milestones.  This configuration of grades gives our county two tested grades (at least) at each level.  

HERE IS WHERE THE TRAIN SEEMS TO DERAIL...I went to a redistricting committee meeting last night.  OMG, the numbers are totally changing at each elementary school and the district lines are now completely different.  I have been fortunate enough to teach in my children's district, NOT ANY MORE...My kids will now have to get permission to come to school with me and my oldest is starting K next year.  That was a hard pill to swallow.  Plus, the community where my road is located, I have spent 14 years developing relationships with parents, students and futures students and now those will be severed...because these kids will be bussed right by their old school to a school further away.  
Here is the worst part of this whole thing.  We are going from seven principal this school year, to six principals next all our principals were informed they were being demoted to classroom teachers next school year and would have to reapply for their jobs.  Teachers had to choose two schools they would want to work at and two grade levels they would like to teach. We all chose to stay put to be with our principal!   We had no idea that this would happen and now we are left hanging in the wind with no clue who will be our leader...Anger, despair and woe spread across the elementary and middle schools like wildfire this afternoon...I just don't know how to feel right now!!!  Our school decision making councils are dissolved which traditionally chose the principal so we have NO SAY...Our superintendent is making the decisions, no one is sure who will be on the committee that interviews...the positions are being opened to anyone...AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH  I just want to pull my hair out.  Change can be good, but this it too much!  There is going to be much prayer involved in this one!  

Now, for my good news.  I love my job for this reason.  Yesterday I had a student face time my ipad for some homework help.  He was S-T-R-E-S-S-I-N' about the homework before school and was almost in tears.  I told him to just call me and we would work it out.  He was at home working on his homework and sent me a facetime chat at around 5:30  We worked through the hard part of his homework in about 5 minutes.  He then texted me later to get permission to do an assignment in the morning.  He did not ask his parents, he asked me!!!  He is not the only one either, another one of my students asked permission to do an assignment in the morning  I almost always so no because they just want to get out of doing it that night and don't want to try.  I have children who stay in contact with me during the home hours about homework or other things that go on outside of school.  The asking my permission has cracked me up though!   So in reference to all my district level craziness...I love my work but am not loving the bureaucratic state that my district seems to have become.  This too shall pass and I just need to listen to God and let him be the guide.  

Thanks for letting me vent...If any of your out there have been through anything like this, I would like to hear from you!  Please leave me a comment and some support...I need some strong shoulders to lean on! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

I love my work...

 I really, really, really love what I do!  I know that sounds sounds maniacal this time of year when testing is beating down our doors.  However, regardless of that fact, learning is still taking place in our classrooms.  
I have been beating myself up for the last few weeks because the more I have been pushing my kids, the harder they were pushing back.  So, I decided to get my big girl pants on and take a look within.  Sometimes, the problem is us...In this case, I was about 75% of the problem.  I don't know about you, but I think it takes a HUGE person to admit they are a large part of the problem...AND, I have become pretty large since having my three kids....I digress...I decided to step back and assess the situation in my classroom.  
1.  I was not planning well
2.  I was not sticking to our routines as well as I was before Christmas
3.  I was trying to do small groups ALL MORNING...Kids were in their Daily 5 for what seemed like to could really be the daily 15.  They were totally getting into trouble because they had simply either run out of things to do with literacy or were totally bored.  
4.  I was not giving in to look at the beast I was feeling like inside.  

So, I said "God, what am I supposed to do now...I have been at this 14 years and this is late in the second half of the school year...I should have them right where I want them."  He of course, answers in his own way and his own time...Which came to me yesterday as I was planning...
I came across some notes I had made before a PD I presented last year...It was my guided reading schedule from last year.  Last year, I was giving kids a daily diet of common instruction and scaffolding in small groups extra support for that and the kids other literacy needs.  I do not know why I do this to myself, but it seems to be a trend with me...Just when I get the machine working smoothly, I throw the wrench back in and mess things up.  
I planned the rest of my week, and it was the best I have planned it a while.  Here is a screen shot of today's literacy block.  I don't put my targets in my plans because they are in a notebook and deconstructed by standard...I am not reinventing the wheel each time I write lesson plans...

So I did not meet with all groups today.  I just met with the three most in need of scaffolding today AND I did whole group for the first time since before Christmas break.  It was so good to make sure they were all getting the same whole group lesson.  I am meeting all my tier 1 status and and the small groups are meeting their tier 2 status and the tier 3's are getting pulled out.  I was really proud to have met my kids where they are in learning today.  The morning was much more smooth and operated like a teacher of 14 years was in there today...I felt like the teacher I know I am and should be all the time.  
I had a parent send me a text message last night and told me that I was a wonderful teacher and that she could tell my focus was on student learning.  Her son came to me Friday before our science quiz and told me he had not studied the right material the night before and would certainly fail the test.  I am a sucker for puppy dog eyes, but I am a bigger sucker for kids who try and come to me with full trust and tell me when things are not going well.  I told him not to worry about this test, I could not do that to him.  I told him to come back on Monday to take the quiz and things would be fine.  He told his mom about this and she sent me that text message.  I just cried.  My students are like 23 of my own children for 175 days.  I treat them like I do my own three kids and I try to be the teacher for them that I want for my Riley, Abby and Hunter.  That is why I love my work...because someone is always paying attention to what you do and just once in a while, you will be appreciated for the work you do with their child.  The impact will be huge because it doesn't come often, but it seems that it always comes at a time when you need it to the most.  
So, in a nutshell, it was an epiphany of a weekend and a Monday.  Sorry to ramble, I just had to get these thoughts out into the world!!  Have a super week gang!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014


 Hello Friends!
I am linking up today at my friend Farley's Currently Linky.  I haven't been here for a while but I have a new computer and life is far more productive now and I want to be on here tooling around! 
I am listening to the following on my husband's tv upstairs while I am in the den on the couch in front of a crackling fire!  Feet are up and I am loving life right now...even though that as I am typing this my 20 month old son is waking up screaming his head off...
I am loving another snow day...Day 14...That my friends is no lie. 14 days of school spent at home on the couch or playing in the snow!  This is the most we have missed due to weather in my 14 year teaching career.  Luckily my district already goes over the state mandated days of attendance so prayerfully we can get some of this time cancelled.  Students can get out early but teachers are still on contract for 176 days...
I am thinking about my blog and TPT store...I am 8 followers away from breaking 100 at TPT and 19 away from breaking 100 on my blog.  I am going to do a special giveaway and other celebrations when I reach that milestone, so now I am reaching out to you fine people to motivate and educate me on how to snag some more wonderful followers..I know I need to "get out there more" bloggily speaking of course.  More linkys, more social media...That I am sure would be a good start!
I broke my foot on February 1 and I have been in a walking boot since that time.  I WANT OUT OF THE WALKING BOOT!!!!  I had to do this pseudo run skip combo the other day at school.  The students in the hall were amazed at how fast I could go in this big ol' thing.  I was to I have to admit, but I am so over it....I fell in the mud on a warmish day after a big snow so everyone assumes I fell on the ice.  I just agree with them now. 
I really need a new blog design.  I am getting ready to go premium seller over at TPT and the old blog design needs a facelift.  I did do the design myself and am very very proud of it...So, if you are a blog designer and want to help me freshen up my blog...leave me a comment...
If you are the first to guess what those three mean, then you will get a free item of your choice from my store...I was fit as fiddle before I had kids (if that helps you out at all)  Leave me a comment!!!
This was a really fun linky!  Especially the last question!!! 
Have a wonderful evening and a spectacular tomorrow!!!