Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Books Bloggers Love {August}

I'm so excited to be teaming up with some of the best teacher bloggers out there to bring you this brand new monthly linky, Books Bloggers Love. Check out all these amazing bloggers who are contributing!

Instead of choosing one of my go-to picture books I use during the first week of school, I decided to share something I'm going to try next year.

 In years past, I've had the tradition of reading one chapter of an age appropriate chapter book to my Kinders at the end of the day. Ok, confession- it's always been Junie B. Jones, since I have so many of those. But this past year I read the first Magic Tree House book to my class (it was the first time I'd ever read one too). I know, I know, "Where have you been?!" you say. 

They absolutely LOVED it! When I thought back to the reactions from my classes when reading Junie B. and compared them to those when reading Magic Tree House, I realized I had the attention of a higher percentage of my class (boys AND girls) for a higher percentage of time. 

This year my goal is to read one Magic Tree House book per week, two chapters a day. I want to really maximize the learning my students get out of this so I created my first (of what I hope to be many) Magic Tree House unit. 

One of the most important things we as teachers do is reflect on and analyze student data, then make a plan on how to improve said data. One of my students' weakness last year was comprehension--they knew a ton of sight words and were great at decoding but couldn't retell a story to save my life. I'm hoping this new, yet quick, activity will help this coming year's class start strengthening their comprehension skills- right from the first week. 

In my unit, there are comprehension questions for each chapter, two chapters at a time, since they are pretty short and easy reads. I've also included a visualization activity for every two chapters as well, as that is another skill I want to focus on more next year. 

Click HERE for a free sample of my unit (the sample is in the preview download in my TpT store). It covers the first two chapters of the first Magic Tree House book, Dinosaurs Before Dark. I'll have my unit on sale until Friday!

Now the best part! You can WIN a copy of Dinosaurs Before Dark, as well as a copy of the books Stephanie from Mrs. D's Corner, Ashley from Teach Create Motivate and Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista have blogged about! All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below!

Now go read all about the other books my friends have blogged about! Good luck and make sure to come back next month!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Viva Las Vegas! TpT Conference 2015

Awesome experience all the way around!! That pretty much sums up my thoughts about my trip to the TpT conference in Vegas last week. I got to meet some of my favorite teacher-authors, learn great tips for expanding my business and made magical memories in a pretty magical city I've never been to before. My credit cards aren't happy with me now but it was SO worth it!

I have a ton of pictures but here a some of my favorites (all are described clockwise from left or top left).

Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants, Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles, Ashley from One Sharp Bunch

Marsha from Differentiated Kindergarten, Annie from The Moffatt Girls, Erica from Erica's Ed-Ventures, Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Hadar from Miss Kindergarten, Hope from Elementary Shenanigans, Reagan from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits

Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, Kristin from The Therapeutic Teacher, Erin From I'm Lovin' Lit

We ran into Cara Carroll in the hotel lobby after exploring Vegas and had such a great conversation with her! 

Over 1,000 teachers in one room!

I could not have asked for better roomies!

(Kayla from Kayla in the Classroom, Katie from Mrs. Decatur's Little Gators, me, Sandy from ELA Everyday)

We nailed the GoNoodle photo booth, in my humble opinion! :)

I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the entire trip! There was a guy at the sign who took several shots of us, all in about 5 minutes! So fun!
Kayla, me, Kristin, Katie

I can't wait for next year!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pinterest Pick 3 {July}

A new month means a new edition of one of my favorite linkies, Pinterest Pick 3, hosted by PAWSitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner.

This month is all about nesting for me so I thought I'd share some ideas I have to make my apartment reflect my personality and style (instead of just a bunch of randomness and inconsistent decor, which is what it is now).

My style is very much rustic/country/farmhouse. I think it is a very comforting, warm and homey style and helps me stay grounded and connected to my roots. I've always preferred round dining tables, whether it's for the home or when eating out. It's much easier to hold a conversation with everyone. I love to distress furniture so my hope is to find a pedestal table like this at a garage sale to refinish. I love the contrast of the dark stain on top and the white on the bottom.

The rustic theme continues with the adorable but simple wreath. I have a ton of these twig wreaths sitting in my patio closet that are begging to be decorated. This one wouldn't take much time or effort and would be great year round. 

I'm working on getting my home office area set up and need a space for essentials like pens, notebooks and planner supplies. This style is a little more modern but I love the cart. I would add some knick knacks to give it a more country vibe of course. 

I hope you got some ideas for yourself! If you're not a country as I am, I'm sure one of the many bloggers below have something for you! :)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Currently {July 2015}

This is going to be a short and sweet Currently as my life is kinda boring right now- which is A ok with me! I've enjoyed being lazy and relaxing so far this summer.

Listening: Drinking coffee and chillin' on the couch with Chip in the quiet morning hours is one of my favorite things to do. 

Loving: I'm going fishing with my grandpa tomorrow and I can't wait! He's the best fisherman I know and I haven't gone with him in so long. Not to mention frying said fish afterward! 

Thinking: Everyone's posting about packing for Vegas- what to wear, overpacking...and I'm over here like "My stuff doesn't even fill half of my suitcase!" I'm a light packer. Besides, I'm super clumsy- big, bulky suitcases and I don't mix well. 

Wanting: I got my first Erin Condren Life Planner this week. My ETSY favorites list grows longer and longer every day! So many cute stickers, such a tiny budget haha!

Needing: I just vacuumed my car a few days ago and the back seat is already filthy because Chip sheds like it's going out of style. I need to invest in one of those seat covers to keep the dog hair from getting all over my seats. 

All Star: I'm really not much of a talker; especially around people I don't know but even around friends sometimes. I've been that way for as long as I can remember. So I'm pretty good at listening (my mom would say otherwise, lol!).

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Favorite Things {Products for the Pup}

Today I'm linking up with The Teaching Trio for their Favorite Things linky. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love my dog to the moon and back. I decided to dedicate this post to him (since he doesn't get enough attention already) and pet products I use.

1.) Ruffwear Front Range Harness: My dog has the WORST social skills in the history of dog social skills. When it's just he and I in my apartment, he's the sweetest dog. Seriously, we cuddle like no one's business. But once he leaves those four walls, it's anyone's game. 

One of the many skills he needs work on is not pulling on the leash while walking. I took him for a walk in a local park about a week ago...let's just say it had rained the day before and my clothes were covered in mud by the time we made it back to the car. The little punk (I can call him that because I love him so much) had heard (yes, just HEARD) the sound of dog bark and jerked so hard on the leash I fell in the mud. It's funny now in hindsight but I do not want to repeat that. 

A guy in line at PetSmart (who ironically had a Golden Retriever with him) told me about this brand of harness. I've tried a harness with Chip before to no avail. The guy said these had a clip on the FRONT on the chest instead of on the back of the neck and when a dog starts to pull it makes them stumble a little and slows them down.

I did some research when I got home and luckily found them on Amazon (I had a gift card I wanted to use). I took Chip for a walk practically the minute I had it out of the box. 

OH-EM-GEE people. It was THE best walk we had ever gone on. He noticed immediately that he couldn't go faster than I allowed him and he stayed right next to me the entire time. Needless to say, I was very happy.

I know I'm not the only one who can relate to this. When I adopted Chip, the rescue organization had gone through great lengths to nurse him back to health. He'd been living on the streets and was all sorts of bent out of shape. One issue was a stomach thing- it has some technical name that I can't even spell- and he was on special medication.

I was feeding him Purina, which I thought was ok. But Chip would have these random bouts of vomiting, mostly in the middle of the night (I amaze myself at how fast I wake up when I hear him start that making that hacking sound, poor guy). My vet recommended this food and those random bouts are few and far between now. 

I switched his food around the time I was doing Whole30. I thought, "If I'm not eating bad things, why should I be feeding my dog bad things?" I HIGHLY encourage you to feed your dog a better brand of food. Yes, it's more expensive, but he's more than worth it as far as I'm concerned.

3.) Toys from PetSmart- Chip is a rowdy pup and is rough on his toys. I'll buy him a squeaky toy and he's ripped it open and pulled the squeaker out faster than I can say, "Get it!" (and once that squeaker is out, he's done). 

I love these little plush toys from PetSmart. They're usually right up front by the registers and on sale for about $2 most of the time. Chip loves them too. And at that price, it's not so bad when he tears them up.

Well, that was a long post about my dog! If you're like me, animals have a special place in your heart and you put your pets on a pedestal. I'm not ashamed to say Chip is my best friend. People ask me "What about dating?" and my response is always, "The person better love my dog and cherish him as much as I do or it's a no go." May seem extreme but I love my Chip that much!

I hope you found some helpful ideas for your pet! I'll leave you with some funny Pinterest finds (I laughed so hard I cried while searching through results). :)