Spring Break Goodness

I know I can't be the only one about to burst through the roof with excitement for spring break. Don't get me wrong.. I LOVE my job and my kids but phew! This 9 weeks has me ready for a break. 

{Sidenote}.. If you didn't notice my beautiful blog remodel, then take a look around! My totally amazing friend Jessica from Tech and Teachability did this for me and I am sooooo in love. If you have ever wanted a blog remodel, contact Jessica ASAP!! 

I won't lie.. being a mama and going back to teaching full time has totally changed my perspective on the working-mom life. I have some mad respect for any mother out there who is teaching(or working any kind of job) and then coming home and being a mama. It might be the hardest thing I've ever had to do to leave my sweet boy with someone else everyday, but it's also been a good decision. Don't shoot me down here. For me, it's been good to remember I have a purpose other than being a mother. This profession was something I feel deeply called to do. There is nothing more satisfying than being right where God placed you. It's extremely rewarding. That being said, you better believe I race out the door at 3:15 to soak up as much time as possible with my little nugget. He's the cutest and best baby in the whole world. {I'm a little biased}

So, in honor of all those hard working peeps who are getting some time off to enjoy this beautiful weather (or possibly snow in our case), here are a few funnies to brighten your day!

Enjoy some well deserved R&R. 



Wow! I've taken quite the hiatus from blogging lately. It seems so easy to slip into a pattern of blogging very frequently orrrrrr not blogging at all. I'm guilty of the latter lately :). 

If you are expecting this post to be all education and full of ideas for classroom use, look again. This is for all the teacher moms out there. I've just recently become a mom myself and this blog post has been weighing on my heart for quite sometime. I keep getting a gentle nudge to write it, but I've become really good at making up excuses lately. (cue the mom status)

Sometime in January of 2016 my husband and I learned we were gonna be blessed with a sweet baby. Let me be the first to say that this was pretty unexpected. I had my fleeting (or not so fleeting) moments of panic there in the beginning. And oh the sickness... that is really no joke. But through this entire process God has taught me so much. I've laughed, cried, panicked and just been a ray of emotions over the past year. But I know for sure this is something I should write for any moms out there, not just my teacher tribe moms. 

One thing I've learned about pregnancy is to be eternally grateful. I never really thought much about struggling to get pregnant before it actually just happened. And in that moment when the doctor told me I did not in fact have the flu but was carrying a child inside, I'll be the first to admit that my immediate instinct was not one of a grateful heart. I panicked. How could we do this? Where was the money gonna come from? How could anyone trust me to be the mom of an actual human?! It became very apparent to us that this baby was a blessing from God. All of our needs over the past year have been miraculously taken care of. We have felt the favor and love of God so much that at times it was just completely overwhelming. Honestly, it still brings me to tears to even think about the ways we have been provided for over the past year. Our pastor has often said "His will His bill". And that has been so true in our lives. I feel like our little family is a walking testament of this. 

My pregnancy and labor was really nothing compared to other stories I'd heard. I had the sickness and {somewhat} got over it. The morning of my induction, I woke up in labor and had the baby just a little over 10 hours later. Contractions hurt, sure, but in the grand scheme of things I was really blessed. Recovery was hard in the beginning and I have my husband and mom to thank for holding together the pieces as I struggled with some Baby Blues. That might have been the hardest part for me and something not a lot of women talk about. If you feel that way, talk to your doctor. I will never regret that decision (again, lots of thanks to my mom and husband whom I never would have done that without). All in all, I felt really blessed with the outcome of our situation.

Then, I started to hear of more and more friends who were struggling with pregnancy or miscarriages. Ones who I'd so guiltily asked, "When's the baby coming?!" or "Now it's your turn!". I feel like my entire reason of writing this post is to just bring attention to all the struggling mama's or girls who so very much want to be a mama. If you are lucky enough to be a mama, cherish that child. The child you have someone else has been praying for for years and not conceived. The child you get frustrated with for not sleeping when you want them too, the one you wish wouldn't cry for no reason, the one who spit up all in your hair.. someone else would kill to be in your shoes. I'm learning in this season of life, to be so grateful for everything. Sure, I don't love waking up in the middle of the night to feed when I've got work the next day. But, I know for sure that other women would do anything to be up at that moment feeding their baby. When your tired after a long day working and you just want to take a nap, think of the women who would love to be smiling, goo-gooing or rocking a baby of their own. 
I beg you to think before you ask someone when they are going to have a child, because for all you know they may be the ones struggling to get pregnant. Or the woman who just had a miscarriage. 

Women, be kind to one another. Being a mom is not easy. It's full of doubtful moments and unwashed hair. Clean houses are a thing of the past and laundry piles have grown enormously. But just feel so blessed to be that mama. Because I know for sure God handpicked that sweet baby to be in your life. Cherish every moment. Love your husband fiercely because his job is not easy either. Support one another. 

And for all those mama's (or future ones) who are struggling, know that you have someone praying for you. For, just as my needs have been abundantly taken care of, I know God will take care of yours as well. 

There is always someone who wishes they could be in your mama shoes. 

-a new mama

Cheap Ideas for Engaging Your Students!

Y'all, I seriously do not know how we are already in the month of November! I feel like we were just starting school and now we are a few months in and time is FLYING by! 

I just wanted to stop in for a few **quick** tips for engaging your students. We all know how impossible it seems to create engaging lessons for our kids. It seems expensive and {quite honestly} too hard to accomplish. BUT, there are several different things you can do to engage your students on the cheap!

First, I have to say that Dollar Tree should be your best friend!! Everything is seriously a dollar (sometimes less) and is so doable on a teacher budget. I frequent Dollar Tree probably WAY more than I should! This October I went to buy some things to really engage my kids during our last week before Halloween. 

Some of the cheap things I bought were spider webs (they looked so real), streamers, candy corn, giant spiders, silly string, and supplies for a candy corn experiment. I came into school early one morning and with the help of my amazing student teacher we changed the room into a "spooky lab/classroom". This all cost me about $10. And it was so worth every penny! 

We put up the spider webs all over the room and hung streamers from the ceiling. I played some spooky (kid friendly) Halloween music in the background via Spotify and we had a blast! The kids were so engaged as we did our candy corn experiments. I loved hearing them speak in terms I typically would not have heard! It was a great time to bring some science into our day and to get them thinking. 

Now, this next idea is just ingenious. I have some seriously talented teacher friends who are kind enough to share their awesome ideas with me. This one came from one of my teaching BFF's Natalia. If you don't follow her on Instagram (@tictacteach123) or TpT you should go do that now! She came up with the idea to tell the kids to close their eyes and pretend they woke up stuck in a spider web. The kids had to write about what that would be like and think of questions to ask a spider. When the kids had their eyes closed and were envisioning themselves in a spider web she suddenly said wake up and sprayed them with silly string (which feels so much like being stuck in a spider web!). My kids went absolutely nuts over this. It created lots of interest for writing and was so easy for me to do! Here are some pictures from one of our days! :)

Y'all stay tuned.. I'm sure I will be back with some Dollar Tree goodness for November! Happy Teaching! <3

Fall Blog Hop!

Wow! Am I the only one or has life been nuts for everyone?! We started school back in July and it seems like these past few months have flown by! However, this is one thing I am so excited to be apart of! I loveeeee the friends I've made on my TpT journey. They have become so dear to me. So, this is an exciting time to start a new collaborative blog with my Punchbowl friends and do a little blog hop! (Yes, there will be prizes!!)

Fall is seriously one of my most favorite times of year! I love doing different arts and crafts with my kiddos. As well as having our awesome 2 week fall break! :) Here is one of my favorite activities to do with my kid during the fall months- Dissolving Pumpkin Candy Corn! 

So, here is what you'll need. 
Pumpkin Candy Corn
Plastic Cups

Basically this science experiment speaks for itself. You are seeing how the candy corn pumpkins break down in different substances. Typically, I pair my kiddos up and let them work this in groups. They have a recording sheet to record their observations. You could totally turn this in to a writing activity too :)

It's freebie time!!! So my freebie is one I've had in my store for a while. During the fall season I teach my kids about the genre of a Biography. I came up with the idea last year of letting my kids become authors and write a biography about another friend in class! It turned out to be a huge success and I was so happy I did it! Click HERE to get this freebie! Here are a few pictures of it in action with my own kiddos.

Well if this doesn't get you excited I don't know what will!! I am super excited to have 4 featured items that will be on sale during our blog hop! 

The first two are my Place Value Memory Match Game and my Root Word Memory Match Game. Both of these have proven to be fun and engaging for my students and great for review! I typically will use these in a small group setting during our center rotation time for math or language. They have worked great! 


My next item on sale will be my Study the States resource. For our standards in 2nd grade, we are supposed to cover different states in the U.S. This has helped me so much in teaching the different states! My kids enjoy making the different state books and sharing new "facts" with their friends. 

Finally, my Rockstar Telling Time Unit will be on sale. This has been such a fun way to aid in teaching time with my kiddos. They seem to really enjoy the rockstar theme and getting to channel their inner rockstar! :)

And now on to the best part... a giveaway!! I am giving away a $10 TpT gift card! After going and reading all these other great blog posts, you're going to want to win this!! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you go visit all the other blog posts! Freebies and giveaways on each blog! 

Interactive Moon Writing with FREEBIE!

Wow... I can't believe summer is already over and I've been back at school for about 3 weeks! I am loving my new group of 2nd graders and excited to see what this year brings! 

One goal I had for myself this year was to really try to "set the stage" for my kids. I've taken much more consideration into decorations (I promise to have a Classroom Reveal blogpost soon :))  and different ways I can truly engage my students. 

I know writing isn't a fun thing for most teachers to teach, myself included. It's really hard to get my students to think creatively and put their thoughts down on paper. So for my first writing project with my kiddos I knew I was going to have to get creative.. so we took a trip to the moon!

I know what you're thinking... setting the stage can be so expensive, but thats so not true! I spent $0 during this project. Could I have made it a little more extensive? Of course! But, I was thinking on my feet and just went with the flow. Here's what I did:

 First, I cut the lights in my classroom and told my students to close their eyes. 
Next, I pulled up a picture of the moon on my Promethean Board. 
Then, I turned on some "space music". (I found this by typing in space noise on YouTube)
Finally, I gave my students their prompt. I told them to imagine winning a trip to the moon with their family. I let them think of different questions they would need to ask, things they would need to pack and how they would travel. 

They REALLY got into this. I had kids writing front and back on a piece of paper I gave them. Now, I did stress that spelling wasn't that important this time as long as they could get thoughts down on paper. I was really amazed with how it went. Simple, easy and extremely effective! 

Now onto the FREEBIE! I've created a simple file for recording their writing. Feel free to download and use! I'm excited to see how this works in your classroom! 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope everyone is having a great start to school! (Or enjoying the last few weeks of summer!)

The Book Whisperer - Chapter 3

Where has the first half of my summer gone?! I have been so busy the first 3 weeks of summer.. any only 3 more left to go! :(

I have been doing a book study along with some other fabulous ladies this summer. If you haven't heard of the The Book Whisperer then you are in luck! You get to hear all about it this summer with us! I have been blown away thus far by Donalyn Miller's accounts of turning her students into readers. If you get the chance, I would grab a copy of this book immediately. I've already got some good ideas for next year!

Haven't we all felt that stress? The stress of somehow finding time to fit in our love of reading with our students? I know I have. So many times during my first 2 years of teaching I've WANTED to fit in free reading in my classroom and so WANTED my students to love it as much as I do. However, that is much easier said than done. During the first two chapters of the book, Donalyn went into great detail of how she made mistakes which led her to figuring out how to instill a love of reading in her students. If you haven't read the first two blog posts in this book study series, you can find those on Diana's Blog and on Jessica's Blog.

In Chapter 3, Donalyn talks about finding a time and a place for reading. While I was reading this I thought to myself... DUH! It really is THAT simple. Often times, I think we make "fitting in" that reading time much more difficult than it is actually meant to be. Donalyn gave some awesome ideas of when to fit in reading during your week. 

1. Classroom Interruptions

We teachers know these all to well. The drop in of a colleague. Call from the office. Parent on the phone. Student getting sick. There are so many things that interrupt our class time on a daily basis! I know I had always known that it would be best if my students knew exactly what to do during these times, but I never really put it into practice. Donalyn's classroom looks very different from mine. She has middle school students while I have elementary students. I know my students could master this but it would take some definite prompting and modeling from me. 

PLUS, wouldn't it be nice not to worry about watching the students and dealing with the interruption?! I know it would be for me!

2. Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups

Oh yes, we've all done it. Printed out mass copies of "morning work" (or busy work) to get our students going the minute they walk into our classroom. Now, don't get me wrong. There are definitely times when I need to do that to help my students practice a skill. But more often than not, I don't use the morning work for anything other than getting their brains going. Reading a book in the morning would be a great solution for me. Again, it would take some modeling with my new 2nd graders but could be so beneficial. 

3. When Students Are Done

We've all got those dreaded early finishers! I have never figured out what exactly is the most productive thing to do with those students. Many people have charts that explain what to do when you're done or folders for students to practice skills already learned. However, I feel almost like I'm punishing my students for finishing early. Donalyn explained she felt the same way and began to notice students who typically finished early would take more time so they didn't have to do extra work. I love the idea of my students grabbing their book and finishing up some reading rather than doing more busy work.

PLUS, who wants to put together an extra pack of work for students on top of the regular planning?! Not this girl!

4. Picture Day

If you teach a middle school grade, this might be more of an issue for you. However, my entire class goes at one time to get their pictures made. It typically doesn't take us that long to get through the process and get back to class. But, if your students are going to be sitting while waiting for others to get done, reading a book would be a fabulous option! 

5. Library Time

Again, this isn't really an issue for me. Our library time is put into our encore or specials schedule. If you are in a school where you have a scheduled time to take your students to the library then this would be a great opportunity to let your students read a book or help them choose a book!

Now to move on to the second part of this chapter, A Place to Read. As a 2nd grade teacher it is really important to me that I create an atmosphere for reading. I want my students to have that one place in the room where they feel comfortable and want to relax and read. I have tried my best to create that reading nook the past 2 years (not to much avail). I see all these amazing classrooms and think why isn't my classroom the same?! 
Donalyn explains that its not so much the area as it is the atmosphere. It was so helpful for me to read that. If I set the example for my students that reading can take place ANYWHERE at ANY TIME they will be more apt to read a book anywhere in my classroom. Although I am still going to try to perfect my nook, I know that that isn't what it's all about. 

This book study has been so much fun for me. Donalyn has taught me so much about creating readers, improving readers and letting them read! I am finally feeling like my love of reading can come across to my students and that is something to be excited about! 

Thanks for reading my summary to Chapter 3 of The Book Whisperer! Be sure to link up and go read everyone else's blog post! 

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Snapshot

I am so excited to link up with so many of my sweet blogger friends for the second Tell All Tuesday! Thanks so much to Diana and Jayme for coming up with this idea! I have loved reading everyone's Two Truths and Lie from last week! 

This weeks topic is Summer Snapshot!

It's Tuesday which means it is time for Tell all Tuesday.  This week our topic is Summer Snapshot.  Read below and join in on the fun!

We are definitely in a summer state of mind.  This week our topic is called "Summer Snapshot" Think about a favorite summer memory current or new and post a picture or two about it. It could be a favorite summer trip, activity, or spot that you enjoy.  We can't wait to see and read all about your summer adventures.  

Here's how to join in on the fun:
1. Grab the picture and banner above and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2. Write a post about the topic of the week.  
This week is: Summer Snapshot!
3. Add your link below.
4. Advertise your post using any social media of your choice.

Summer Snapshot

So, it is hard to choose just one picture that defines a favorite memory from summer! However, I am gonna go with one of my absolute favorite summer memories - my honeymoon! 2 years ago JB and I got the incredible chance to spend some time in Jamaica. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been. Crystal clear waters and the kindest people. If you ever get the chance, go! I can't wait to go back again someday! 

Join in on the fun and link up with us! Can't wait to see your favorite Summer Snapshot!

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