July 5, 2016

Slice of Life: Tell Your Story

WRITE your story.
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I have always loved a good story.
Whether it was hearing the story on my dad's lap, or
via a tape player that year he was stationed in Korea and we were in Tennessee.
Whether it was a children's book or a classic tale.
Whether it was a full length movie or a weekly sitcom.
A good story always draws me in and doesn't let go.

I have always said and told my students,
"Everyone has at least one story to tell."
It is up to us to tell those stories.
You can tell your story by writing it down in a journal.
You can tell your story by writing a poem.
You can tell your story by drawing a picture.
When I was a SAHM, I told our family's story through our family blog.
I am sad to say that since I have been back to work that blog has been neglected.
I did this because I wanted my children to remember our stories.

Earlier this year, my friends and I discovered Plunder Jewelry.
We fell in love HARD!
We fell in love SO hard that some of us started selling it.
I have always worn your basic jewelry, but was never a BLING girl.
So, why in the world did I start selling this jewelry?
Because it helps you tell your story!

Whether it is a simple bracelet worn to remind you to 

It might be the necklace that reminds you to
take the road less traveled.

It might be the personalized pendant that holds
a member of your family
along with their handwriting close to your heart.

However, there is more to it than that.
We need to listen to these stories.
When our students write from their heart - listen and ask questions.
When we hear a story being told - be in the moment.
When we see something personal - ask for the meaning behind it.
Listen and hear because one day that might be part of your story,
and that person could help you through it.

What's your story?

July 4, 2016

Summer Shelfie List

I was not able to write on Days 2-3 of
We were out of town with family.

I was so glad to be able to write this post though.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do - EVER.
However, when the summer comes along,
I am very guilty of doing nothing but reading.
I always have a great "to read" list which usually grows
as the summer goes along.
Here are the books I really wanted to read this summer.

My oldest child has to read Gathering Blue for her high school honors English
class this summer.  I have never read it (and, sadly, she is not a big reader), so I thought 
I would read it with her.  She started today - I have not.

A few summers ago, I read Kiera Cass's series, The Selection
and fell in love.
My husband got this one for me.  
It was so different from any of The Selection books, but it was

Speaking of The Selection....

I am so sad that this series has ended with this book - The Crown.
I have LOVED this series.
I describe it to people as Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.
OH SO good!!
I kind of saw the ending coming, but loved each moment of it anyways!
I will be rereading this series again!

This book was one a friend had recommended.
I bought it.
It sat on my shelf for - forever.
I picked it up, finally, and read it in a day!
Now, I am ready to read the next book in the series,

AND go to the Biltmore.

I do try to make myself a better teacher over the summer as well.
I have been looking/reading this book, The Reading Strategies Book.

I can't wait to be able to implement some of the strategies in it.
I bought this book in order to read this summer since it is the companion to
The Reading Strategies Book.
The day it came in was the day I found out I was moving to second grade, so....

I went home and bought this one.
I guess I need to get busy reading it since school begins soon!
I just can't bring myself to read it yet!

I don't know about you and your school, but 
our school system is making a big shift to writing.
I have been blessed to be part of a system wide book club this summer using 

It has had some great ideas and wonderful discussions have stemmed from it.
I think the best thing I like is having talks with teachers from 2nd grade-6th grade.
We really do learn from each other!

As you can see, I do LOVE to read!
What is on your to read list this summer?

July 1, 2016

Currently: July 2016 Edition

Boy, I did a great job for awhile.
Then, I took a break.
Let's be honest.
I stopped.

There are lots of reasons I stopped, but that is a whole other blog post.
(Let's be honest - probably not.)
I have wanted to come back.
I have missed it.
I have missed learning from others.
I have missed the connections.
So, when I saw Big Time Literacy promoting her Big Time Blogging Challenge,
I knew I had to do this!

I hope this means I am back!!!!
So without further adieu..

Currently: July 2016

Listening: We are about to head out for a family get together in Middle Tennessee for the weekend.  I am listening to my son singing as he packs.  The daughter is watching Reba

Loving: I am loving my summer vacation.  I have exactly one month until our first day of school.  ONE. MONTH.

Thinking: "WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO DO!!!????" I am moving to second grade this fall - in one month (have I mentioned that?), and I have no idea what I am going to do.  I have only taught third grade. I am moving rooms, moving teams, moving grades and my brain has been going 200 mph all summer long!!! I am sure many of my posts will be about this!

Wanting: I am wanting lots of things at the time.  I want a day where I don't think about school starting.  I want time to slow down just a little bit because my oldest starts high school in ONE. MONTH.  I want to savor and enjoy each moment that is left.

Needing: I am needing to get my shelf painted in my room.  Once that is done, my room will come along much faster!  I can't complain. We have NEVER been able to get in our room this early! We are usually the last school to be cleaned.  We are usually scrambling about 1-2 weeks before school starts because we were just able to get into the room.

Hoping: That second grade is a good move.  I am hoping I am what these kids need.  I am hoping I can make a difference. I am hoping I can enjoy every little moment.

So... that is what is CURRENTLY going on in my life.
  I am excited about this challenge and can't wait to see what this month holds!
Be sure to check out the other posts at Big Time Literacy each day!

February 23, 2016

JFK: Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean? You Decide.

John F. Kennedy
by Amanda Perkins

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, MA. He had 8 brothers and sisters. His nickname was Jack.  John was sick as a child. When John was 3 years old, the family moved to a new home. John’s father, Joseph, was a good father. Joseph was a businessman. He fought discrimination because he was Irish Catholic. John’s great-grandfather came to the United States from Ireland. John’s grandfathers had both been politicians..

The family lived a happy life. They had a vacation home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. John’s family had a nanny to help care for the nine children. John went to Choate, a school for boys. In 1936, John graduated from Choate. He went on to Harvard University. John graduated from Harvard in 1940. After college, he joined the Navy. He fought in World War II.

After returning from war, John’s dad pushed him to run for Congress. He won in 1946. John served a 6 year term in the House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate. As a senator, he married Jacqueline Bouvier. Soon, the couple had a little baby girl, Caroline.

John decided to run for president. At the age of 43, John became the youngest president ever elected on November 8, 1960. He was first Catholic president. John and Jacqueline’s second child was born right before the inauguration.

On January 20, 1961, John became the 35th president. In his speech he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” During his presidency he started the Peace Corps, helped to fund a mission to the moon, and worked to end racial segregation.

President Kennedy worked with Dr. Martin Luther King to help end segregation. On June 11, 1963, Kennedy proposed the Civil Rights bill to Congress. He stated that, “One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free.” Sadly, President Kennedy was shot and killed on November 21,1963 while riding in a parade in Dallas, TX. 

In life, people choose to be a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean.  A carrot seems strong but then falls apart after being boiled.  An egg starts with a moldable center but changes and hardens in the heat of the action.  A coffee bean actually changes in hot water.  When the water gets hot, the coffee bean releases the fragrance and flavor.  The coffee bean, when things are the toughest, makes things better and changes the situation.  

STUDENTS:  Write an opinion paragraph about and illustrate the following prompt.  In your opinion, was President Kennedy a coffee bean, a carrot or an egg? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

February 11, 2016

Science Circus Night

We have had the best Parent Involvement Nights this year!
At the beginning of the year we had Camp Read-A-Lot.
Then, we had Family Game Night.

Last week we had our Science Circus Night.
Yes, a night all about science and science experiments!
It was amazing!

The third graders began in the meeting room and learned about volcanoes.

Then, each child got to make their own lava lamp to take home.
They were SO cool!
The kids LOVED those!

Then, we headed to the gym where each student made a glider.

They practiced flying their gliders and then had 4 chances to fly their gliders.
They recorded their flight path on a sheet of paper, and turned it in to our p.e. teachers.
The next morning, our principal announced the winners of the longest flight paths!

Our last "science" station was going into the cafeteria for a science snack.
Each child got gummy worms, crushed Oreos, and a cup of pudding to make an underground snack.
Since the night was around Groundhog's Day, they watched a movie about groundhogs while they ate.

We really are blessed at East Chester to have our "special" teachers to help on nights like tonight.
Our librarians ran the volcano room.
Our p.e. teachers ran the gym.
Our special education teachers ran the snack.
It really takes everyone to make nights like this possible and successful!

STUDENTS:  What was your favorite thing about Science Circus Night?

February 4, 2016

Top 3 Thursday: Valentine's Edition

I am so excited about a new link up with
Cole from

Each week different educators will be featuring their Top 3 ideas,
products, books, etc. to go along with certain themes.

Since Valentine's Day is coming upon us, this week's Top 3 Thursday is centered around
Valentine's Day.

#1 - Giving Heart Attacks

This idea started from an idea from Pinterest.
(Isn't that where they all begin these days?)

My husband and I did it for our children for Valentine's Day, and they loved it so much I thought my kids at school would eat it up.
I die cut 20 million hearts in all kinds of Valentine's Day colors.
One day a week during the month of February, we choose one or two faculty/staff members in the school.  We each take a heart and write something positive about that person on the heart.
We don't sign our names.  
Then, we sneak to their room's door and tape the hearts ALL over it.
The kids LOVE doing this part, and they try to stick around to see the reaction!
Super easy and a wonderful moral booster!

#2 - 52 Reasons We Love

This idea can be used at any time of the year, but I thought I would go ahead and tell you about it here.  I have done this twice already.  Once was for my son's second grade teacher, and
I did it last year for my interventionist.  Both adored the gift and thanked me constantly for it.
I love this idea because there are so many ways you can adjust this to meet your needs.

Buy a deck of cards.
Give your kids a topic and let them go!
Punch holes in the cards and bind them together some way.
(I usually put one hole in the top corner and attach it with a ring.)

What could they write about?
52 Reasons We Love....
Our School
Our City
Our Classroom
Our Student Teacher
Social Studies
Your State
I could keep going.....

#3 Valentine Science Kit
Last year, this was our Valentine for our third graders.

Click on the picture to see the kit.

Almost everything we needed for the kits was already in our room.
The kids LOVED it.
The parents LOVED it.
This is, for now, our go-to Valentine's gift for the kids.
It is WORTH every penny you put into it, but not many pennies have to be involved!

What do you HAVE TO HAVE for Valentine's Day?

Head on over to Teach Glitter Grow to see more wonderful Valentine's Day ideas.

February 1, 2016

Currently: February

I remembered!
I remembered only because I put it on my calendar!
I am so excited to be back for this month's edition of 
It is hosted each month by Farley at 

I am LISTENING to college basketball right now.  More specifically, I am listening to North Carolina and Louisville.  I don't know why it is still on but it is.  I am the kind of girl that can watch ANYONE play college basketball, but I can't stand either of these teams!  The channel will probably be changing soon!

I am LOVING Pioneer Woman!  I have always loved her!  I have every cookbook, but always get lost in the photographs she has and her stories.  However, tonight I was determined (after a one hour meeting after school) to make her Baked Ziti!  I got her Dutch Oven for Christmas and cooked it in that. OH. MY. GOODNESS.  I will be making this again in bulk to freeze because, let's be honest, it was a little much to try to throw together after school.

I am THINKING that I am not ready for our testing to begin next week.  Yes, in Tennessee, we are taking Part 1 of our TNReady testing next week.  Now, I have done all I can do to get my precious children ready.  I know I have done everything possible, but I am not ready to see what this is going to be like for them!  This part is mostly responding to a prompt and writing an essay on the computer.  They will do that for social studies (see my social studies tab to see how we have been TRYING to prepare them for that) and reading.  Math is a whole different world, and I am so glad I don't teach it!

I am WANTING another day off of school.  I actually am getting one next week in the middle of testing - great planning, right!  I will be off the day they do their math testing, so that is my day to babysit while they aren't testing.  I really just want a "Becky" day, but don't see that in my future!

I am NEEDING some extra hours in the day.  My son was sick yesterday. My daughter isn't feeling the best today. I have had no sleep in the last 2 nights.  I just have a lot to do to get ready for next week.  When it rains, it pours, right!

I am SWOONING over the fact that my dear husband knows I am at my breaking point.  He knows our boy did not let me farther than 5 feet away from him yesterday and my house looks like someone dropped a bomb in it - especially the kitchen.  I came home today to laundry done and the kitchen clean. (Only for me to mess it up again cooking that delicious Baked Ziti!  However, I am glad to say I was able to clean it tonight so he won't be upset!)

I am glad February is a short month.  I am glad we get a 4 day weekend in February.  I am glad there is always a chance of snow in February.  I am glad this writing test will be over in February.  Looking for the blessings during this month.  How about you?