Friday, September 2, 2016

5 For Fridays

Well, it's been a few weeks since I've been able to write a 5 for Friday post (or blog at all, for that matter)! Life has been crazy... like, CRAZY crazy...  So, I will try to use this post to give a quick summary of the crazy...This is three Fridays is one... Here we go!
So, the back to school craziness started off with the "usual" crazy... Long days of setting up my classroom, a busy "Meet the Teacher" night, and hours and hours of preparing for the new little kindergarteners that were about to be "mine".

Oh, I also had to get my own 4 kids ready to start school.  Which is no small task!  From uniform and supply shopping to haircuts they kept me running in circles.
 I have to be at school very, very early.  So, the girls get dropped off at their grandparents' houses before dawn each day.  (We are very, very, very lucky to have an amazing grandparent volunteer taxi service.  I don't know what we would do without them!) 

Anyway, Kirsten's "First Day of School" photo was taken in the dark... but you get the idea.  She looked beautiful and is enjoying her sophomore year so far.
These goofy guys come to school with me.  Taking their photo in my classroom should have been easy... except they have yet to stand still in the 9 years they have been on the planet!  They had a hard year last year and were not super excited to come back to school.  Luckily, the year is off to a GREAT start!  They have fabulous teachers and are really enjoying 4th grade!

My baby seems to be less and less of a baby each day.  It's so hard to believe that this is Ella and not Kirsten!  I swear my oldest was 4 YESTERDAY!  Anyway, Ella is loving everything about VPK.

My first day of school was a little less wonderful than the kids'.  If you remember, Rachelle and I were set to co-teach this year and were SO excited.  We were both caught a little off guard with the first half hour this year though... We had a LOT more crying than we have had in previous years.  And it wasn't the "I miss my mommy" kind of tears... It was "GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW!!!!!!" hysteria. 

We also had a really, really hard time convincing some parents to leave.  They always want to stay and we always have a few stragglers... but we have both been teaching for 16 years... We are pretty good and moving them on... But this year it was hard!!!  Which did not help the screamers.

I finally got through to one dad that it was really time to go... (His son was getting more and more upset... His being there was NOT helping).  Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting his (very tall) son to try to leave with him... and I really wasn't expecting him to head-butt me in his attempt to escape.  Luckily, I was able to grab him, hug him, calm him down and diffuse the situation pretty quickly.  Unfortunately I completely threw out my back.  During the first 20 minutes of the first day of school.  We are now in week 3.  After 13 visits to the chiropractor, lots of ibuprofen and muscle relaxers and many, many sleepless nights I am finally feeling a bit better.
The first week of kindergarten is no joke!  It is EXHAUSTING.  I don't even know if there is a word that accurately describes just how hard the first week is... and this year I got to experience it with excruciating pain in my back... Good times.

So, on the 7th day of school things were finally coming together.  The kids were learning the routines slowly but surely.  They were settling down and we were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Then (on a Thursday afternoon) we were called into a meeting and told we didn't have enough kindergarten students to keep our 5 classes this year and that one of us was being moved to second grade.  Guess who... Yup.  I still can't believe it.  I was in complete shock and was not expecting it AT ALL.  My classroom went from looking like this:

...To looking like this almost immediately.  I cried and cried as I packed up my kindergarten unit and told my sweet students that they were going to have "even better" teachers and that I knew they would be so happy.  I was really heartbroken.

So, Monday I walked into an empty room... and I thought that was overwhelming... until the plant operators started bringing over all the second grade things... that were thrown into boxes and a complete disaster...

So, Monday and Tuesday were spent trying to sort through the mess.  (Thank goodness I have amazing friends that spent hours and hours helping me.)  It was not an easy transition at all. :(
So, last Wednesday I started teaching second grade.  Oh, and did I mention Open House was Thursday?  Seriously, not joking.  So, here is a quick look at my second grade class.  (I don't know how in the world I pulled this off in 2 days... but somehow it got done.  It always gets done.)

 Thank goodness for Teachers Pay Teachers!  As I have tried to teach myself everything about second grade in less than a week, I have been "saved" by some fabulous TPT finds.  (Thanks Amy Lemons!)

So, we are getting there.  My students are sweet and we are learning together.  Everyone keeps asking me if I "love second grade" yet... Not quite yet... but I will!  I am getting there... I am just still processing the craziness.

I will tell you what I DO love though... second graders are VERY independent!  They can read, write and tie their own shoes! It is a very different scene than kindergarten right now.

Our school uses supplemental, computer based math and reading programs.  Let me tell you... going to the lab with kindergarteners is HARD work!  I had to log-in 18 kids... and by the time you get to student #3 the first student has accidentally logged out.  It is HARD.

Taking second graders to the computer lab is a DREAM!  First of all, they love it (Kindergarteners whine the entire time)... and then there is that independence thing... Heaven.

So, I am a second grade teacher.  I don't really know what I'm doing yet (which I HATE)... but I am figuring it out... and trying to love it.
As if this wasn't all enough...

I got really sick (on top of my broken-ish back) last week.  Fever, sore throat, body aches... but no infection... which is technically good... but in the moment I was wishing for an infection that they could just give me medicine for so it would go away. :(
And we are currently experiencing the awful weather effects of Hurricane Hermine. 
My girls are pretty excited about school being cancelled...

But I am just exhausted from putting out a million (or 30) sandbags and stressed because this is what the river street in front of my house looks like.  I am really, really, really hoping the water stays out of my house... but the way things have been going recently, I am certainly preparing for the worst!
But I got to wear my cute, new rain boots... That's something, right?  (I know it's a stretch but I am REALLY trying to look on the bright side!) 
I am really sorry for the longest post ever... There is probably no one still reading this... but it was cathartic to write.  So... my "hurricane day" plan is to light a pretty candle, put on some comfy yoga pants and learn how to teach second grade!  What are you up to this week??

Friday, August 5, 2016

5 for Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week!  We went back to school on Monday so it has been a l-o-n-g, busy week.. a good week... but a very, very busy one!
Last weekend my parents had a huge family party at their house.  My sister and her family came into town, which is always fun!  They also had my aunts uncle, cousins and all of their kids over.  It was a really great "family fun" day.

The kids spend the entire day outside.

Most of the day was spent in the pool.  However, they also spent lots of time fishing and enjoyed a huge water balloon fight.

At the end of the day, someone got the idea to have the kids dive for pennies at the bottom of the pool.  Somehow, the "pennies" turned into a ton quarters, dimes and nickles. 
As we started laughing about how expensive this game was getting, my cousin started throwing in dollar bills.  This was a huge hit with the big kids!
At one point he hurled a credit card into the pool too. It was so funny.  All around, a perfect day.

Monday was the first day back to school.  I have made lots of progress in my room... but you will have to trust me until next week since this is the only photo I took of my classroom all week.

 I saw this on Facebook last night and couldn't stop laughing.  SO funny!
 (Thanks for the laugh Teaching in Progress!)
We have actually had more time in our classrooms this year than any other year.  It has been wonderful... but I think most teachers can relate to this feeling at one time or another ;).

Last night a huge group of teachers from school got together to go see the movie Bad Moms.
I think there were 23 teachers that went.  We figured out that we had teachers from every grade level and every team.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  The movie was hilarious.  There is some off color language but it is hilarious!  We have never had such a big group get together outside of school before and it was awesome!  We are hoping to make it a monthly thing this year.  

 If I wasn't tired enough this week, after I got home from school Monday I read about a grant opportunity through Target and Donors Choose. It sounded exciting and I was inspired. I tend to get things done quickly and do pretty good work... but I do it all at once... and it can be a little exhausting.  (Especially during the first week back to school!)

 Anyway, I wound up writing two Donors Choose grants for my classroom!
Kindergarten Kids- Wiggling Our Way to Healthy Learning and
Tiny Teachers: Playing and Learning Our Way to Healthy Habits, which only needs $97 more to be fully funded!!

All donations made to my projects before August 9 will be matched by Donors Choose when the code LIFTOFF is used... in case you know anyone who might be interested in donating.  :)

Finally, I am putting my #1 seller on sale this weekend!  

It includes 40 different character traits!  So, you can focus on a different trait each week... or you can just pick and choose the traits that your school focuses on.  

There are 2 different posters, a writing prompt, and "caught being good" slips included for each of the 40 character traits.

You can grab this on sale through Monday HERE.

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

5 for Friday!

Happy Friday!  I am linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching for another Five for Friday post today.  I am trying hard not to think about the fact that this is my LAST week of summer vacation!  Next week's post will be full of classroom photos and "back to school"... hard to believe!  
My identical twins are going to be a little less identical for awhile!

My sweet Matt had his "Phase 1" braces put on this week.  He was super nervous... but he did great!

Isn't he cute?
My husband and I laugh (so we don't cry) because we keep taking kids to the dentist and getting great reports but there is ALWAYS a very, very, very expensive catch.  
Here is how it tends to go:
"No, cavities, looks great!  But it is time to pull these 3 teeth to put in spacers for his adult teeth." OR
"These teeth are coming in great!  Let's get a retainer put in to make sure they stay in place." OR
"He is doing a great job taking care of his teeth... but it is time to see the orthodontist for that cross bite."

I swear, we must be the only people who can leave the dentist with no cavities and a treatment plan for over $3,000! Oh well, what are you going to do?  He's totally worth it.  We've gotta keep that heart melting smile in tip-top shape! 

Kirsten went away to cheerleading camp this week.  I was a nervous wreck... I know this is what kids do... and lots of kids do it much younger... but I like keeping my kids close.  She has never gone "away" where she wasn't with a family member before.

She was a little nervous when she was leaving but I got a text that evening that said "This is the most fun day of my LIFE!" so I think she got over it pretty quickly ;)  

She and her high school team went to camp at a nearby university.  They got to sleep in the dorms, eat in the campus cafes, and cheer from 8 am- 10 pm.  It was her version of heaven!

My friend sent this to me this week and I just about died laughing. 
I wish it wasn't one of those "It's funny because it's true" deals... but... it's funny because it's true.
It has been a bit of an indulgent summer... I am not looking forward to "real life" starting next week!  

As much as I am wishing summer didn't have to end... I am being reminded that I like routines... a lot. At the beginning of the summer I am always so happy to have no (or less) obligations.  The idea of "open" days is so freeing!  However, after about a month, I am craving a bit of "normalcy" and routine.  I am NOT saying I am ready for the back to school rush, everyone having tons of homework, carpooling around town non-stop... But, I AM saying that we can no longer all be in the house for more than an hour or two.

The people that I adore and love with all of my heart are driving me up the wall.  I have NO MORE PATIENCE for the arguing about nothing, the whining (about nothing), the mess everywhere I look, the 7,000 cups that are being left out all over the house... WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY CUPS?  I am seriously at the point of the summer where I am ready to throw away all the cups.  I guess that's extreme... maybe I will keep 6... then everyone can have 1 cup.  That sounds perfectly reasonable doesn't it?

Anyway, I am combating the end of summer cabin fever by getting everyone OUT OF THE HOUSE. It is about 900 degrees out, so that isn't exactly easy... but we are managing.  

When we haven't been at the orthodontist, or pediatrician, or ophthalmologist #alltheappointments we have enjoyed the free morning movies at the local theater. (The MOVIE is free, the popcorn is still the equivalent of a mortgage payment.)

We have also been spending TONS of time in the water... We don't have a pool... but we go out and find water all over town... the beach, grandparents' houses, town pools, club pools... we aren't picky!

Yesterday I was hit especially hard by the "we can't all be in this house" feeling.  So at about 5:05 I yelled for everyone to put on bathing suits and we would go "find water".  It wasn't great planning on my part since my tiny kids eat their body weight in food at every meal and decided they were "starving" as soon as we left the driveway.  

Luckily, the grilled cheese sandwiches at the club were delicious and only $3.95 each!  I was so excited!  Taking these guys to eat ANYWHERE usually costs a fortune.  This was the perfect answer. They ordered their food, swam until it arrived, we ate in the shade, and then they jumped right back in the pool.  It was the nicest "family dinner" we've had all week!   There wasn't one argument... no one complained about anything!  It was heaven!

I worked on a HUGE update to my Nursery Rhymes unit this week!  First, HERE is the Jack and Jill portion of the unit (which is a FREEBIE)

The complete unit includes 16 more nursery rhymes.  
Each section  includes :
-Poem with colored illustration to be used for a class display/ teaching poster
-Poem with black and white illustration to be used for student poetry journals, partner reading, fluency practice sheet, etc.
-Crown for students to color, cut, attach to a sentence strip and wear (adorable!)
-Student booklet for reading and/or sequencing practice
-Colored and black and white retelling/ puppet pieces- The colored pieces can be used for a class center and students can color their own to keep.  These pieces can be used to sequence/retell the rhyme OR they can be attached to a Popsicle stick for a fun, simple puppet.

I LOVE using this unit with my kiddos.  The little puppets and crowns make them so happy.  It is so cute to see how excited they get about the little touches.  

I added over 60 pages to this unit this week.  However, I am not going to raise the price unit the end of the weekend.. So, if you need some nursery rhyme materials for the beginning of the year, they are on sale HERE this weekend! :)