Monday, October 21, 2013

My Truth about Fitness

The lovely Denise from Sunny Days is hosting a fun new linky party every Monday. The series is called My Truth Monday and each Monday will focus on a new topic. This week's topic is fitness.

Fitness and I are slowly becoming better friends. Two years ago I joined the local YMCA and started going to classes and LOVED it. I finally felt like I found a place where I could work out where everyone was so kind and encouraging. Sadly a few months after I joined I was in a bad car accident. It was a setback but in the end I think it's given me a healthier outlook on life. After finishing physical therapy for my neck last fall, I began going back to the gym again. I haven't always been consistent but I'm trying to get motivated and keep going. I recently joined a small group weight loss/training group at the Y and I love it! We work out 2 days a week together with an awesome trainer who pushes us to do our best. I'm excited to continue on this journey to a healthier me!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It {Linky Party}

Happy Monday! I'm finally linking up with 4th Grade Folics for Monday Made It. I've made A LOT of things to start off the new school year but sadly I haven't been awesome about taking pictures and blogging about them.

So I have this chair. It's the one I use on the carpet when I'm teaching mini-lessons. I found it my first year at Home Goods on clearance for $25. It's actually a lawn chair and had a crack down one of the arms but I knew it wasn't anything a little wood glue couldn't fix.

After 4 years of being loved, I noticed that the chair was starting to shift. I had already had our wonderful custodian help me tighten the screws one time. Sadly at the end of last year it completely fell apart. Like, one side of the chair just fell off.

My coworkers told me to throw it away and get a new one but I wasn't ready to give up yet! This chair is SO comfortable and I love it! I took it home and put it on my porch.

Yesterday my mom and I decided that we would try to fix it. We looked at it, realized it definitely needed some screws and bolts, but being the blondes that we are had no clue what kind.

So we took the chair to Home Depot, put it in a cart and pushed it inside the store to the hardware aisle. I was laughing the whole way. I'm pretty sure we provided lots of entertainment for everyone at Home Depot.

A nice Home Depot worker came and helped us figure out what exactly we needed. I'm sure he thought we were quite odd, especially when I took a picture and said I was going to blog about it. :)

After we got the right screws and bolts we took the chair home to my parents and fixed it up. There's still one spot that we couldn't find the right screw for but it's much sturdier and stays together. I'm excited to be able to use it again! I will be establishing a no kids sit in it rule. I want it to last me for many more years!

In more teacher related made it, I made a quick pick me up for my team this week. It's been a busy and somewhat stressful start to the school year and I thought we all needed a reminder to keep calm.

I got the lotion from the travel toiletries section of Target. It's called "Melt Away Stress: Lavender & Chamomile Lotion". I love the smell of it! 

I made the little tag, printed it and laminated it before attaching it to the lotion with washi tape.

The best part is, I'm sharing the label with you! Just click here for the download!

Have a great one!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Easy Peasy Whole Brain Scoreboard & Rewards {Freebie}

This is year 2 of my attempt at Whole Brain Teaching. After watching a few Whole Brain videos last summer I was hooked and knew I wanted to try it. Last year I took the plunge and learned a lot as I went. This year I know more but am still learning.

One key part of Whole Brain Teaching is the Scoreboard. Students earn "happy" and "sad" points as a whole class. I call them "Oh Yeah" and "Oh No" points and the kids say oh yeah or oh no when I make a mark. The rule of thumb (that is AMAZING) is to keep the score within +/- 3 points. That way the kiddos aren't winning too easily or losing too much.

To match my new green/blue chevron theme this year I made my own scoreboard. I made a few colors that you can grab here as a freebie.

I laminated my scoreboard so that I can use a dry erase marker on it every day. It hangs with magnets on the chalkboard behind my chair at our meeting area. I find that it's extremely useful when I'm teaching on the carpet (which I do a lot of) and it's not hard to walk over and mark points on when my kiddos are at their desks.

At the end of the day if there are more "Oh Yeah" points the kiddos get a prize. Last year I started with some small prizes and then had the kiddos earn one extra minute of recess for every day they "won". Once they reached 15 minutes we would use them.

This year I decided I really wanted to emphasize the small rewards to start with to really get them motivated and hooked. Through some searching and brainstorming (and looking at what I have in my classroom) I came up with some fun rewards that are very simple. It's key that they are easy, don't cost anything to me, and don't take up a lot of time.

This is such a simple one. I grab one of my coveted Scento Markers and give each student a "smelly circle" on their hand. 

I put my easy button on a desk next to my door and each student gets to push it as they leave for the day. They loved this one!

Turn up the music and dance! I play some fun music (Kidz Bop on Pandora) and let them air guitar and dance their hearts out for a minute.

Simple yet my second graders still like it. 

We use Brain Pop Jr all the time in our classroom. It's so educational and fun! The kids start humming along when they hear the intro music. Since they love it so much I figured, hey why not make it a reward? I let one student pick a favorite video and we all watch on the ipad.

I haven't tried this one yet but I'm pretty sure my kiddos would enjoy it. :)

What simple rewards do you use in your classroom? I'd love to hear in the comments!

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Few Of My Favorite Things {Beauty Basics}

I may be a day late but I'm excited to link up with Across the Hall in 2nd Grade for the Favorite Things Linky for Beauty Basics.

I'm no beauty expert but I do have some favorites I couldn't live without!

Out of all the mascara's I've tried Maybelline is the best. Cheap and works great! I like the lash blast/lash exact kind best.

This primer rocks and really makes my eye shadow last longer. It's not super cheap, but one tube lasts a  VERY long time.

Call me old school but I love the smell of the Dove beauty bar. Doesn't hurt that it's ultra cheap too. :)

I have my mom to thank for my dirty blonde hair. I've never had my hair colored in any way. My mom is in her 50's and hasn't colored her hair either and she still has the most beautiful highlights and NO gray. I'm hoping that my hair color will continue to be just like hers! I also have some natural blonde highlights and in the summer my hair gets even lighter. I love this conditioner because it really brings out the blonde and it smells like pineapple - amazing! I was super excited when I scored a huge bottle at  Ross for a deal!

My hair is cuh-razy! It's naturally curly and thick but it's completely unpredictable. I usually straighten it. This hair dryer is my life saver. Regular hair dryers seriously take FOREVER to dry my hair and leave me sweating all over again. The solia dries my hair in about 5ish minutes and leaves it less frizzy. I also use the solia hair straightener and it's amazing. I've got the straightening part down to a science and can do it in less than 15 minutes. If you ever want to order hair stuff, go to They have great deals!

The last few faves are from my Birchbox. Have you heard of Birchbox? It's a monthly subscription to a box full of beauty samples and goods. I love getting mine every month - it's my treat to myself and it is SO worth it! If you're interested in getting your own Birchbox click through here and you can help me earn points. :)
This exfoliator is the best! The beads are super tiny but really leave my face feeling clean and brighter. After I went through my sample size I had to order a full size one from Birchbox because it's that good!

This stuff is great! It's an eye-shadow, highlighter, bronzer in one. I use it as my everyday eye-shadow. It's easy to apply with your finger or a brush and the color gives my eyes a much needed wake up. I'm still using my small sample size after about 6 months of use. 

Sometimes I feel like my hair has too much gunk in it. This clarifying shampoo is perfect and it smells really good!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Few Of My Favorite Things {Morning Must Haves}

I'm linking up with Across the Hall in 2nd for the These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things linky. The first edition is morning must haves.

I should start of by saying that I am NOT a morning person. I wake up to my iphone alarm on vibrate. I can't stand any sound that early. I hear the vibrating noise since my phone is on my nightstand. And I quickly shut it off for some snooze time. It's an awful habit, I know but I can't seem to beat it. :)

I'm not perfect makeup applier but I do love this primer from Ulta. I put one squirt on and let it sit for a few minutes while I work on my hair and then put on my makeup. It really helps my look last longer. 

I don't drink caffeine but every now and then I swing by the Dunkin Donuts drive through and grab an iced decaf mocha. So so yummy!

Once I'm in the car I need some jams to wake me up. My commute is short but I still need to get my brain going. I either listen to CD's or switch between my favorite country and variety radio stations. I should not that when I say switch I truly mean "avoid all commercials". I can't stand radio commercials! So lame!

What are your morning must haves?

Happy Summer!!!

Sorry I've been MIA for a bit. The end of the school year is always crazy for me as I'm trying to pack SO much in at school plus lots of travel for me. I've now been out for 2 weeks and it has been GLORIOUS. I only get a month since I'm year round but I have been busy having fun!

I thought I'd do a little catch up with some end of year school things with pictures.

I found these cute folders at Kmart and decided to use them to organize papers. My school is using MCREL next year for assessments and we had training the last month of school. I wanted to make sure I had a safe place to keep all of my notes.

We released our butterflies. This is an awful picture but it's always such a special moment. I often think of my kiddos as butterflies ready to fly away at the end of the year. 

I love the sweet things they give me. One of my kiddos gave me this for the end of year/my birthday. 

Isn't this school supply tower so neat? I love it! It's so practical and pretty too!

That's all for now! Check back tomorrow for more about what I've been doing during my track out!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Winner Winner {Chicken Dinner}

I'm sorry but I just had to use that title. :)

The winner of the Behavior Contracts for Student Success Pack is......Storie

Congratulations Storie, be looking for an e-mail from me.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there! I'm going to celebrate my mom in a bit. I'm pretty excited about part of her gift. My mom loves homemade gifts/cards, she's one of those people who never wants anything (I did not inherit that trait!).

I made her a jar of notes that have reasons why I love her, special memories and bible verses. I think it turned out pretty good and will probably make her cry. I love her SO much!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five For Friday

Happy Friday everyone! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

1. Do you like my new blog design? I'm in LOVE with it. I knew my blog needed a change and the fabulous Christi from Designs by Christi designed it for me. She did an awesome job and I feel like I'm coming "home" every time I open my page.

2. I loved being appreciated by my students this week. I got all sorts of sweet stuff. My favorites are their little notes and how they get me elephant things! I love elephants and it's no secret and they always give me cute elephants.

3.  Today was an Early Release day and we worked really hard to cut out all the pieces for our biography lapbooks. Whenever we do a lot of cutting I let them throw their scraps on the floor and then at the end we do a big clean up. The room was a serious disaster during the process!

4. We finished our Mother's Day flipbooks. These came from Shelley Gray. They turned out sooooo good! I love all the things they say - they are too funny!

5. Don't forget I'm having a giveaway for my new product - Behavior Contracts for Student Success. It closes tomorrow at midnight. And my dear friend Amber, at Adventures Of A Third Grade Teacher is having a giveaway as well that I'm participating in. Be sure to check it out!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beyond the Clip Chart...How I Use Behavior Contracts

I've posted before about how I use my clip chart. I love the clip chart! It is fabulous! It's amazing what happens when I start saying "Hmm I wonder whose clip I can move up". For me, the clip chart works for about 80% of my class. The average student is motivated by the rewards and praise and quickly bounces back from moving their clip down.

But for the other 20% the clip chart may not work all the way. Students who need more behavior support are not going to benefit from constantly moving their clip down. It becomes a pattern and a) they give up and don't care b) you find yourself not wanting to follow through with every move down and c) doesn't provide enough documentation of negative behaviors.

So, how do you motivate those students who need more support to improve their behavior? Well, please believe me when I say I am NO EXPERT on this subject. People have written books about this and I can tell you I haven't read them all. But what I have learned from my humble experience is two things:

1. Students who misbehave frequently need frequent positive reinforcement for desired behaviors.
2. Documentation is essential!

Thus comes the behavior contract. Believe me when I say I have tried many different kinds of behavior charts. I remember coming out of some meetings about students with yet another contract to try and just feeling overwhelmed. I couldn't figure out how to keep track of all of the different ones!

There are now two kinds of contracts that I use in my classroom and I mean it when I say I love them and THEY WORK! Here's why:
~ They provide constant positive reinforcement.
~ The student becomes more responsible by keeping track of their data.
~ The student is motivated by rewards.
~ The reward frequency is easy enough for me to implement without feeling overwhelmed.
~ The covers/themes increase student excitement and engagement.
~ I have constant data on the student's behaviors.
~ They keep parents informed about their child's behavior and allow for parents to also reward their child at home.

So after developing two kinds of contracts and using them all year in my classroom I decided to make pack of them. This pack includes two kinds of contracts - one for the student who needs to improve one or two behaviors and one for the student who needs to improve multiple behaviors. Check it out in my store!

It's on sale today for the teacher appreciation sale. Don't forget to enter the code TAD13 at checkout! 

In honor of teacher appreciation I'm going to do a giveaway of the Behavior Contracts Pack. Enter below! I'll pick and announce a winner on Sunday. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great rest of your week!