Sunday, February 14, 2016

Is Teaching Still For Me? An open letter to those struggling with the same question...

Dear Teachers,

I haven't done a quality blog post since the start of the new school year. I feel guilty about this. I'm sorry to all my followers. My excuse is simple...

I've asked myself everyday....  IS TEACHING STILL FOR ME?

When I was 7 years old, I declared that I was going to be a teacher.There wasn't any other career I ever considered. Throughout all my schooling, I focused on this path. Being a teacher meant that I would be changing lives and showing kids just how awesome learning could be. Plus, I would get to write on the board all the time,, hahaha!

"We would love for you to be part of our school."  Those words were what I had worked so hard for throughout my school career. I was finally a teacher. FINALLY! That was six years ago. In those six years, I've seen drastic changes in the way we teach this county's most valuable asset, our children, our future. And I DO NOT agree with it. 

How do you tell an eight year old to sit in a desk all day? How do you tell those 20-30 little ones that we aren't allowed to go out to recess? It isn't natural to have kids sit all day long without active play. They need time to run and socialize. Play is NOT a waste of time. It is a necessity. Yet, many schools (including mine) don't see this. They see playtime as time wasted. Time that could be spent on getting ready for the "big" test. Baffled by this, I would sneak my kids around the back of our building to play. However, that was short lived due to the pressure building to test test test test. 

Speaking of the "big" test.... that is all we practice for all year. The whole year is wasted on building testing skills and making sure we cover all standards to mastery so that they pass the test. If they don't pass, then I get in trouble and my pay suffers. Yes, my pay is based on my test scores produced by the students. One test determines this. One test that only 50% of students the past two years have passed. This test is not developmentally appropriate. I've seen students so stressed over this test, that they get physically sick! In what planet do we live on where an 8 year old is so stressed out that they vomit?! The most stress an 8 year old should have is deciding what sport to play or that they are grounded for not eating vegetables. NOT ABOUT TAKING A TEST THAT DETERMINES THEY ARE SMART ENOUGH TO GO ONTO THE NEXT GRADE LEVEL. 

Sadly, I am not a teacher. I am a script reader. I am told what to teach, when to teach it, and to not DARE get off course. This is not why I went into teaching. My goal as a teacher is to create a love for learning. My students currently hate to learn. They hate everything we do in school. Why? There is little creativity, no fun, and tons of test prep. Their minds are being forcefully shaped to be all the same.  Yet, I am told to differentiate my teaching and to get to know the kids to spark their interests in learning. So when I do this, I get off course with the "script" and get in trouble. Ummmm... How does this make sense? You tell me to do one thing, I do it, and then get in trouble because it isn't what everyone else is doing. So I give up. I've been doing exactly what is "expected" and I have successfully created a classroom full of students that hate to learn. Bravo!

I can go on and on and on about all the reasons that have made me question if I am still meant to be a teacher, but I will leave it here. *sigh*

I hope to get the answer to my question soon. 


Confused and Frustrated Teacher

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Classroom Chalkboard

Hi everyone. I was lucky enough to find an amazing store on Etsy. The owner of this store is just as amazing! Chalkative Expressions is a teacher's dream. Look at this handmade chalkboard that I received!
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The kids in my class LOVE this. They truly believe this. And they should. If you are looking to add to your classroom decor, check out Chalkative Expressions.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Enhance your classroom style with amazing decals

Hi everyone. I need to take a moment and share the amazing work of Cano Designs. Not only is the work amazing, but the personal experience is great.

I was leery about the decals. I know from experience that they can be a PAIN to put on the wall. Not these! It went on SOOOO easily. Took less than 5 minutes to create an awesome new bulletin board.

Speech Bubble chalkboard labels 15 set, 3" x 2.5",  blackboard labels, personalized labels

I chose the speech bubbles. They are chalkboard, so they can be written on. I have two sizes, small and large. I couldn't decide which one I wanted. I LOVE them both! So do the kids! They love to write on them. I'll be using the speech bubbles for lots of projects throughout the year. 

Now, my favorite piece is the one below. It is stunning, gorgeous, and PERFECT. I can't say enough about Cano Designs. Head on over to Etsy and check out her store.

Monday, September 28, 2015

LitKids ... Bringing Literature To Life

Hi everyone. I'm so eager to share something special with you. I was browsing on Etsy (shhh...don't tell my hubby) and came across this shop that stopped me in my tracks. 

The shop is called LitKids. As a teacher, the name is what first caught my eye. Then as I explored Matt Hinnrichs' store, I got a giddy teacher grin. 

LitKids sells custom artwork pieces made from classic and new stories. The one below is the one I received. Any guesses on the story?
Wizard Of Oz Dorothy and Toto LitKids Print 
That's right.... The Wizard of Oz. I brought it into school and my kids can't stop talking about it. They are SOOO excited to read the story now. This piece of artwork is proudly displayed in our classroom and will be displayed for years to come. I know it will inspire ALL my students to believe in the magic of reading.  

Here are some more pieces that I'm tempted on purchasing.

Jim Hawkins of Treasure Island LitKids Print, Edition 2 
Winnie the Pooh and Piglet LitKids Print 
Huckleberry Finn LitKids Print, Edition 2

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Guilt

An open letter to teachers who are also moms.

Everywhere I go, I try my hardest to avoid germs. This is me...


Yet, every year around this time...this happens...

(I made the above videos. Please credit me if you use them)

So then the baby gets sick and so does hubby. And finally me. My thoughts...

I have no time for this
Achoo...bless me
No really, bless me PLEASE
Yes baby, I will get you a tissue
and help you blow your nose
and throw the tissue away
and then do it all over again
and again
But my baby wants to cuddle
But my hubby needs soup
But my students need to finish that lesson from last week

Ok, so I think you get the point. There is NO time for a mommy teacher to be sick. So then the guilt sinks in...

I can't be in the room with my students. I think they'll be lost without me to guide them. I love the subs at our school, but they don't know our routines. They don't know my kids. They don't know what drives them to learn and what can set them off into a bad mood. I know that. Only ME. The kids are going to have such  rough time without ME. Plus, we were in the middle of that great lesson and by the time I get back, we can't pick it up where we left off.  I'm a horrible teacher for not being there.

Yup...there it is...the guilt. I think that I should go in because they need ME.

Then there is the mom side... The baby is also sick. I must take care of her. Even if I'm running a high fever too. I can't let her watch TV all day. I must engage her. My time with her is so precious. I must utilize every minute. Even if we are sick. How can I engage her when I can't even get out of bed? I'm a horrible mom.

Yup... there it is... the guilt.

After day 4 of me being sick and getting worse, but everyone else is better, I decided to say bye bye to the guilt. I realized that I'm not going to get any better taking care of everyone else. I didn't let the guilt control me.

I took the baby to my parents and I told the sub to use my emergency plans so I didn't have to be at school at 6am getting things ready. I decided to take care of me. I went to the drs. The verdict...Strep, a sinus infection, and double ear infection.

IF I had taken care of myself from day one... I most likely would not be this sick. Now it was going to take extra time to get better.

So I've made a promise to myself. Take care of ME! Forget the guilt.

I hope you do this as well. Your students will be fine...your kids will be fine. But they need you to be fine as take care of YOU!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Classroom Tour

Back To School is here!

I'm not gonna lie, I have tons of mixed emotions. Some thoughts that run through my head are below:

*Oooo...I love decorating my classroom
*Ugh that is too high for me to reach
*Hubby, I need you
*Yes I can hot glue that there
*No not there
*Do I have too many owls?
*Haha, I can never have too many owls
*I love my new stapler
*Oh look, an empty space...the possiblities are endless
*To have a desk or not have a desk...that is the question
*Bye bye desk
*Should I get rid of the student desks too?
*No, that is too much change for one year
*That doesn't even make sense
*Oh the materials in the new curriculum won't be here until the 3d week of school. GREAT IDEA

Ok, so I can go on and on and on.


Want to see my whole classroom? Check out my video tour below. 

Need some ideas for the first few weeks of school? I've got you covered as well!

I hope you have a great 2015-2016 school year. Remember you are somebody's whole world!

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

What you need to make this year the best back to school ever!

 I created the above picture because I believe it to be 100% truth. We all know that our hearts triple in size when we first meet out brand new little ones for the first time.

I've taken this whole summer off from blogging and TPT. What?! Why?! Well the answer is simple. Whenever I tried to work...

Something like this happens. Gotta love the attention seeking 2 year old!
Anyone else dealing with this? 

Well it is August now. Time to face reality. Back to school is two weeks away. How long for you?

Have you heard the news? A sale is going on! The annual Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale. Now that puts a smile on this teacher's face. I love saving 28% on awesome products. 

I have tons of amazing Back To School resources that are sure to make this year the BEST Back To School ever! Click the picture about to check out all of my very BEST Back To School products.

Now for my favorite part of the month! Currently.

Smiles Makers is a club that me and one of my coworkers started. The mission was simple. MAKE PEOPLE SMILE! We did this by having teachers leave little notes on other teacher's doors. We also had a teacher of the week. Teachers would nominate each other during the week. The winner would receive the best parking spot at school for that week and flowers. This year, we are going bigger and stronger. Look for a post later this month!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

How To Host a School Color Run Fundraiser

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Color Runs are everywhere. They are very popular and extremely fun!
I was given the idea to bring a color run to my school by my fabulous and talented blogging buddy, Amy Labrasciano from Learning Lessons With Mrs. Labrasciano. She posted about the color run her school did. You can read her post here.

I decided to take her idea and give it my own twist.
I first looked into having a company host our color run. The problem was, they wanted $25 per participant.  In my area that I teach in, that was an outrageous price. It was highly unlikely that we would get enough participants for it to be profitable. Plus, that would mean leaving kids out of the race because they couldn't afford to enter. Yea, not cool with me.

I then decided that I would host the color run as a school on our own. This would mean creating flyers, making the colored powder, etc. 

I decided on a theme for our school's color run. Bee Healthy! It is spring time, so I found it fitting. Plus I love themes. It is so much fun to create everything that goes along with a theme.
I created permission forms and pledge forms for the race. You can download an editable version by clicking here. I even included an editable graphic that you can use on your school's website and/or social media. 
This was the graphic I used for my school. 
Now that I had forms completed, it was time to advertise. I created a commercial using iMovie and publishing that on YouTube.  It took me a half our to create. iMovie is so user friendly. Check out my video here. I emailed teachers a few times a week to remind them to show the video. This helped get the students excited about the event. 

To get teachers motivated, I created a few contests for them. One contest award went to the teacher that collected to most donations. Another was to the first teacher to turn in ALL forms. This excited the teachers and got them talking about the color run everyday.

Finally, I needed to get the kids REALLY excited to raise money. I had a very limited budget. My coworker came up with the idea of a silly string party. BRILLIANT! To entice the kiddos even more, I got the principal to attend the silly string party so they would use the silly string on her. 

Onto the color. This was the hardest part of all and I will NOT be doing this next year. As I said before, we had a very limited budget. Like a $50 budget. Fortunately, we were able to get 100lbs of corn starch donated to us. We were also able to get food coloring donated. To make the color, I followed the directions from {this} website. It was tiring and a VERY VERY VERY long process.

The day of the color run came quickly. Kids were excited all day long. I had planned for primary grades to run from 12 to 1pm and intermediate to run from 1-2pm. Next year, I will be spacing out the times. For example, kindergarten at 12pm, first grade at 12:15pm. This will help with crowding issues. The primary grades only ran 1/2 a mile and intermediate ran 1 mile. It was short and sweet. 

As far as the color went, I spaced out volunteers to each corner. I made backup wet color (water, vinegar, and food coloring). I'm so glad I did because it worked WAY better than the powder. 

The color run was a HUGE success at my school. All kids were able to participate even if they didn't donate. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Everyone had a blast. It was a wonderful event. 
I highly recommend you hosting a color run at your school.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Great Way to End the School Year

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It is May. That means it is time to wrap up another successful year of teaching.

If you are like me, this is what your year was like....

  For some reason, I get the itch right about now to start preparing for the new school year. Anyone with me?

If you're ready to start thinking about next school year, check out my top selling product. I just updated it. This would be the perfect thing to add print and laminate now. That way, all you have to do when you return is hang it up (or use it in small group).
Check out all the cuteness (click here)!
Needing an awesome end of year project that will showcase your students' talents? I hit the nail on the head with my newest product. I previewed the project to my kids and told them we were going to start working on it soon. Well, I haven't heard the end of it. All day long, "when are we going to start our project?" It fills this teacher's heart with happiness to know they are so eager to learn. 
This product even comes with 3 bold, editable, and kid friendly PowerPoint presentations. There are 3 different backgrounds for your kids to pick from. Your kids will love the options I've provided. If you don't want them to complete a PowerPoint OR want a hard copy of their report, I've got that covered as well. I've included a writing piece (with rubric) AND a lap book they can create. So many options for you. Pick whichever is best for your class. Click {here} to check it out.


Friday, May 1, 2015


I was up at 1 in the morning creating this. I hate that I have trouble sleeping now. At least I was productive! LOL.

Thank you Oh Boy 4th Grade for hosting. 

*And since I was up at 1am doing this, I misspelled the last one. It should be potty training.*

Monday, April 27, 2015

Technology in the Classroom. Tech Tip Tuesday

I'm proud to join one of the best linky parties out there. Thank you Once Upon A Classroom for hosting. 

My tip today is about using online book readings in the classroom. I use a TON of group work in my room. I also use a lot of Responding to Literature strategies. I love the RTL style, but seriously, how was I going to get copies of books for groups of students?! The task was impossible.

Thankfully, people record themselves reading books aloud. This enables me to put my students in small groups to complete tasks. All I have to do is create a QR code with the link to the book being read online OR attach the link through Edmodo.And BAM! The students have the book right on their iPad.

Please preview the reading before you show it to students. Some readings are to low in volume, too silly, or not engaging enough. If all else fails, you can record yourself reading the book.

Where do I find the books read online? I simply Google the title. Easy Peasy.

I hope you found this little tip useful :).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How I'm surviving until summer ...

I'm linking up with Queen of the First Grade Jungle.
 To be honest, I don't want summer to be here. Yes I want to sleep in and spend time with my princess. However, I don't want to give up my class. I love them. They are wonderful. I'm so lucky to be their teacher!

Testing is finally over with. I am now able to spend the whole day doing fun and creative projects. This is the BEST time of the year. The stress is gone and we can have lots of fun learning. And I don't have to worry about getting in trouble for not being "on schedule". 

Spring is here! The birds are singing their delightful songs and insects are springing back to life. Almost everyone I know teaches life cycles around this time. My favorite life cycle to teach is butterflies.

The beauty of butterflies inspired me to create a wonderful teaching resource that incorporated fiction and nonfiction stories AND science. 

One of the teachers bought a milkweed plant and enclosed it with netting. This allows us to witness the amazing transformation butterflies go through. Visiting this sanctuary is one way I'm able to survive until summer. 

If you follow me on IG, you've seen the videos and pictures that I was able to capture. Before my very eyes (and the students') I was able to witness a caterpillar make its Chrysalis. It was quick and beautiful. 

The kids were able to make their observation of this transformation in their Butterfly Journal (part of my pack). They also had their iPads to record the event. 

Another way I'm going to be surviving until summer is by getting ready to bring this precious pup home (the middle one). He will be ours in May. His name is Brutus. He is a pure mutt. Look at that face!

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

I'm thrilled to announce something oh so special!

Today is the day that I've been dying to tell you about. 

What day is it? What is so special about this day?

Well let me announce the launch of... is a collaborative blog of your favorite 3rd grade teachers. 
Check out this line up.

This blog is special because all ideas, posts, pictures, and strategies are geared for 3rd grade only. 

Are you ready for some goodies? Everyone will "go home" with something. Head on over to right now!

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