Monday, June 26, 2017

I Quit Blogging

Hey there! 
I feel like I should give a complete re-introduction to most of ya'll! Looking at my last post, the last time I posted on my blog was in August of 2015. 

2015...Ya'll...To say that I have neglected this blog would be a HUGE understatement. 
But, one thing that I haven't neglected the past couple of years is myself. And that is a HUGE win in my world. 

So, let's start with "WHO WAS I?". 

I was Marie. First Grade teacher at a Charter School. God Lovin' Divorced Mom of 2 children ages 4 and 7. Teacher-Blogger. Facebook Addict. Instagrammer (Is that even a word?) TpT Resource Creator. Rookie of testing the waters of ONLINE Dating. 

But, most importantly, I was TIRED. 

I was TIRED of trying to keep up with the world. 
I was TIRED of trying to keep up with the newest trend. 
I was TIRED of trying to "out-post" or "out-do" the post before. 
I was TIRED of trying to get into the best shape of my life to feel better about being divorced. 
I was TIRED of trying to parent alone in a house that I shared with just my children. 
I was TIRED of cleaning the same mess every 45 minutes.
I was TIRED of feeling the need to compete for likes on posts.
I was TIRED of always comparing my story to everyone else. 
I was TIRED of trying to stretch my budget and rearrange funds. 
I was TIRED of pretending everything was fine in my world. 
I was TIRED of going on one or two dates with dead-end men who couldn't carry a conversation. 
I was TIRED of couting calories. 
I was TIRED of the pressures to be a perfect Mom.
I was TIRED of staying up later than my children, just to get time to myself to blog and create.
I was TIRED of feeling like I was falling short all the time.
I was TIRED of smiling when I didn't want to. 
And, I was TIRED of being me. 

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Looking back, I know exactly when and why I stopped blogging. It wasn't because I necessarily hated blogging. It was because I had let myself get to a point where I needed to LET IT least for a while. I began to weed out things in my life that were taking up too much time or making me feel inadequate. I have never seen myself as a "pro-blogger". I never thought I had anything very profound to say. I started blogging because I wanted something to do while I was home after having my son. It gave me a hobby. It gave me something to do while he napped and helped get me excited to get back into the classroom. 

But, once the rest of my life began to wear me down, it was the first thing to go. 

Now, that part of the story may seem dark and sad and miserable...and some days, that is exactly what I was...but that isn't the end of my story. 
That was just a valley on my journey. 

Since that last post of mine, I have had some amazing highs. I took the leap to leave the charter school I had been at for 8 years. I got a job at a Title 1 school teaching 2nd grade students. I met an amazing group of educators and was led by a phenomenal new principal. My children and I moved into our first "very own home" that we rent, but it feels like ours. My son graduated Kindergarten and my daughter is heading into 4th grade. I reconnected with some old friends. I gained a pretty amazing boyfriend who appreciates me for exactly who I am. The mountaintops have outnumbered the valleys.

So, why come back now? Why even blog about NOT BLOGGING? 

Well- My blog has lost it's domain and I am not renewing it. I have gone back and forth with the idea of getting back in the blogging saddle. I have had so many of you reach out and ask me why I'm not posting and if I am even still teaching.

The answer is YES I am still teaching, but for me, blogging isn't the way that I reach people. Facebook and Instagram are my go-to outlets.  
Sharing on Facebook is great and easy and quick. I've actually loved only using Facebook.

I know that some things require more than a couple of pictures and a paragraph. I realize that. And, for those things, maybe I will do a guest post on other blogs...or maybe I will just make a video on my Facebook page!

I think I will leave the blogging to the people who do it best....Mrs. Russell's Room, I'm lookin' at you ;) and all the many other amazing blogs out there that post more than every two years! Lol

On that note, I'd like to RE-introduce myself. 

My name is Marie. I am a 2nd grade teacher at a Title 1 public school.  I am a God Lovin' divorced mother of 2 children, ages 6 and 9. I am an avid reader of all things PARENTING related. I am a Facebook Addict. Photographer Wannabe. Instagrammer (Still not sure if that's a real word lol) Girlfriend to an amazing man. TpT Resource creator. 

But, most importantly, I am HAPPY. 

And, I cannot wait to continue this journey with those of you who follow me on Facebook! If you aren't yet, click the F button at the very top left of this page. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What's Cookin'? August MUST HAVES

I know many of you are just now getting back into your rooms, or maybe you haven't even started THINKING about going back to school. I teach at a Charter school in Arizona, and we are on a modified year-round calendar. So, I have been back in the swing of things for a few weeks now. 
I'm very excited about sharing What's Cookin' in my class for the month of August. During the first  month of school, I always spend several weeks using different resources to help me get to know my students, establish routines, and teach the rules of my class. 

We also:
  • Begin our daily morning work
  • Learn about proper sentence structure and begin our daily journaling
  • Discuss friendship and character with Kevin Henkes stories
  • Introduce the Scientific Method and begin our weekly experiments
  • Begin our unit on Reptiles and Amphibians

My math class begins by working on fluency with addition and subtraction through 10 and 20 using different strategies. And, we begin using our math journals, which we make by gluing math prompts into composition notebooks. I have a set that lasts me all year in my store (see below) and the questions are all aligned to common core standards.

Below I have posted some of what I consider MUST HAVES for my month of August!! I hope you will check them out. There are paid and free items. 



Be sure to go check out Tamara's post to see What's Cookin' in her class for the month of August!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

End of Year COUNTDOWN Freebie

My school year has been done for a couple of weeks now. I had my traditional weekend of feeling gloomy that always comes with the last week of school. I mope around and feel this weird numbness all over because I've just said goodbye to my batch of babies. 

This year was no different than any other. I was excited about my upcoming and MUCH deserved break, but I was also dreading those last five minutes of the day....after our class cleanup time and our slideshow and our goodbye gifts...those minutes when my students would give me those last hugs and tell me they will miss me and they wished they could stay with me. One student asked if he could be held back just so he would see me every day next year. TEARS, TEARS, and more tears. 

Saying goodbye is tough. 

BUT, before those last sad minutes, there were DAYS of fun! When all of the standards have been addressed and all the assessments have been completed, you have time to just HAVE FUN! Some teachers are just naturally good at coming up with fun ways to spend the time, but others need a bit more help with the creativity of it all. I posted a picture of my class BALLOON POP countdown on my FB page and got LOTS of questions about what types of ideas I included.

So, here you go. The Classroom BALLOON POP countdown:

The idea of the balloon pop countdown is NOT new...tons of teachers do this. You blow up 10 (or however many you want) balloons. I did the last 10 days of school...some teachers do 5. It is really up to you.
Before blowing up the balloon, you put a piece of paper inside that has a surprise written on it. Then, you hang up your balloons and write the countdown numbers on the outside. I keep a piece of paper at my desk hidden with everything written out so I remember what I have planned for each day! LOL

This is VERY helpful because some things you may want to do require more prep on your part than others....

Below is a list of 20 ideas that you can choose from! Just click on either of these images for your free download. You can cut the strips below and put them into your balloons!

If you choose to play QUIET BALL (which was a class favorite this year), click here for the game directions....this is just one version of the game!

And, if the CHOCOLATE SCIENCE sounds fun to you, then check out my Chocolate Science resource! My class loves anything with science experiments....put candy with it and they will be MELTING in your hand :) 

Hope this helps you plan out your last days with your class! 

And remember, the great thing about teaching is that you will get a brand new group of little ones very soon! So rest up! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week of AMAZING GOODIES!!! Giveaway!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Eve!

Every year there are two specific times that I feel that "TEACHER TIRED" feeling...the beginning of the year and the end of the year. Many of us are approaching our "end of the year TEACHER TIRED" and I hope that this week of Teacher Appreciation will cheer you all up! I hope and pray that each of you will be shown a little extra kindness and be given some little notes of love and goodies.

This week, in honor of you, I've joined forces with some of your favorite bloggers and teacher companies to bring you the 2nd Annual We {HEART} Teachers Event!

You thought last year was good... wait 'til you see what we've got for you this year!

This event will run from Monday, May 4th through Friday, May 8th and I promise you won't want to miss it any second of it!

Over 40 of your favorite teacher bloggers and teacher companies have joined up to bring you some amazing prizes, freebies, and deals!

 All my FAVES!

Here's a peek at what's up for grabs this week!

 I want that Alex and Ani bracelet!

 Get your shop on!

 Yeah... that's an IPad Mini... WHAT?!

No for real.. .like $10,000 in prizes more...

So, be sure to check back each day to enter for your chance to win HUGE prize packs, grab up some FREEBIES, and see some amazing deals.

If you don't already, I suggest you like MY PAGE on FB!

 Then click "Get notifications" under liked so that you'll be the first to see each day's prize packs, products, and FREEBIES!

ANNNNDDDD... because I am just soooo excited about this event, I've got THREE  TpT GCs up for grabs today and tomorrow!

This will be the PERFECT thing to help you clear out that wish list during the TpT Sale this week!

YEAH... That's right, TpT is hosting a two day sale to say THANK YOU for all your hard work too! (I convinced them for ya! ;)) I'll have my ENTIRE STORE on sale for 20% May 5th and 6th, and you can save and additional 10% off by using the code THANKYOU at check out. That's a total savings of 28% off! #WIN

Want to win?! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll be back tomorrow with MORE prizes, goodies, and fun! XOXO!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Took Down My Clip Chart! What happened next was SHOCKING...

Have you seen this post from Simply Kinder? Chances are, if you are a teacher who loves social media and reading blogs, you HAVE! 

If you HAVE NOT read it yet, you MUST go read Just CLICK HERE to see the full post. 

Jennifer has already done an amazing job of explaining her reasoning behind taking her behavior chart down, so I thought I would share my experience with you.

First of all, I saw her post SEVERAL times on my Facebook feed. I saw it on her blog...I saw other teacher bloggers mentioning her post. This post was/is everywhere. And every single time I saw it, ONE thing went through my mind:

I would cringe, literally, every single time. I couldn't imagine how that would ever work...and I just knew that she had some type of magic recipe that was making this method work for her. 

Then, I did some serious reflecting. I asked myself lots of questions. My thought process went something like this:

1. Have I always used a clip chart? fact, I just started using my clip chart last school year.
2. Does my clip chart accomplish what I want it to? NOPE. In all honestly, it did exactly what I wanted it to do last year...but that was last year. And if you are a teacher you can relate when I say that EVERY year is absolutely different. We get a new batch of students each year and those students always bring in a different set of personalities. This year, my clip chart just isn't really doing what I'd like...
3. What exactly DO I WANT from my clip chart? I want students to know and understand and want to follow my rules. I'd like students to have consequences and also get rewarded for above average behavior.
4. Why am I so scared to try this NO CLIP CHART system if I have taught for so many years before without it? Simple....I started this last school year and now I am feeling this stubborn pull to KEEP WITH IT for one simple and dumb reason...I started it and want to finish it. (*YES, I realized how awful this is...and I'm not proud of it, but I'm being real with ya'll.) --- and yes, I just said ya'll....I'm southern. 

I found this quote from The Science Penguin and could NOT agree more!!!

OK, now the big reason I wanted to write this post....I want to share with you what my personal results have been since I TOOK DOWN MY BEHAVIOR CHART!

I took down my chart on Monday of this week. I did this while my students were in the room and it gave me a great opportunity to talk about how we try certain things and then we realize that what we are trying may  not be working the way we wanted. It was a great time to show students that teachers are in fact human and we have to use the same type of trial and error that we teach them to use. 

One surprising note: My students seemed EXCITED about the fact that this chart was coming down...and if you read Jennifer's post, you may be able to figure out which of my students were excited!

I talked about how our classroom would "look and feel" after the chart came down and if you are wondering what exactly that looks like, go up to the top of this post and click on Simply Kinder's link.

These are my WEEK ONE results:

1. I am taking more time to actually TALK with my students and understand not only why they broke the rule that was broken, but also talk with them about the importance of that rule that was broken.

2. My students are more aware of their own behavior and are taking more responsibility for their actions. 

3. My students are looking after there peers more...and what I mean by that is they are taking it upon themselves to remind friends of our rules. EX: I had noticed during a lesson one of my students was playing with his pencil and had started stabbing holes into his eraser. I watched, and was about to give my "teacher eye", but just before I had a chance, a sweet little guy sitting beside this eraser stabber said "Hey, don't you know that's not a smart choice?" (MAKE SMART CHOICES is one of my classroom rules.) Talk about a great PROUD teacher moment!!! After my lesson was over I gave that sweet little one a "You made your teacher proud" note and told him I noticed him looking out for his fellow student. I also spoke with the other student and told him that I was happy to see that he listened to his peer when he was given that reminder. He stopped what he was doing and refocused on my lesson. NOW, for an honest, real teacher moment....before I got rid of my behavior chart I would have just said, "Go clip down. You know you are not supposed to do that with your eraser." And, had I done that, I would have missed this amazing moment.

4. I am recognizing more POSITIVE behavior moments, instead of spending more of my time having students go clip down. 

5. My students are happier and are feeling more empowered.

and lastly....but maybe the most important:

I am feeling empowered again too! I feel like I am a better teacher than before. I'm more engaged and spending more time listening and talking with my class about the importance of our rules. 

Are you interested??? Go read her post! I swear, if you are on the fence about making this move, you will NOT be disappointed. 

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