Monday, April 29, 2013

May Goals

It's almost MAY! Can you believe that? Because then comes June, which equals summer B.R.E.A.K. Yes, Jesus! Still, there's so much to do until that time. We don't have end of year testing until the 29th and 30th, so we're still pushing on. I'm quickly linking up with Jess from I {heart} Recess for a May monthly. Be sure to check it out!

Personal: With so much to do all the time, I've tried to be more disciplined and intentional with everything I do. For example, when I take off a pair of earrings, I immediately put them on their holder. Or when I hear the buzzer go off for the dryer, I immediately fold them and put them away. If nothing else, that is success in itself! 

Healthy: Today makes the 5th day I've completed my workout for Insanity, month dos. Sweet Jesus that junk is haaaard. This is technically my second time through the program, and have seen awesome results. I decided I was at a level where I should jump straight into the second month, so I began last Thursday. It does take an hour or so a night, which means as soon as I get home, I change clothes and start dying sweating. It's a great, stinky feeling when you're done! 

Blogging: I do love to blog and link up, so I know eventually I'll reach my first blogging goal. Recently I've done much more blog-stalking than blog-posting--gots ta stop being lazy!

School: When the time comes around for my kids to leave me for those blessed 40 minutes and go to resource, I'm simply ready to sit and eat my snack and breathe, not plan! I'm GOT to get better at being intentional with my planning time, too, though! I despise coming home and writing lesson plans!

Fun: I've noticed other people posting about pedicures. Tis the season! Too bad my husband has been gone for a MONTH and I haven't been able to go get one! He will return this weekend (yessss!) so I've seeing one in my future. Also, I haven't yet been able to justify paying a ridiculous amount of money on a purse, but maybe I can make it a present to myself if I stick with Insanity the next 25 days. 

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Peace and lovin'!

Does anyone else feel slightly stressed and exhausted? Testing is here or soon arriving, kids are in rare form (or normal form if you're in my class!) and we still aren't allowed to take naps during the day. I'm pretty sure if I counted the number of Reese's, Kit-Kats and brownies I've eaten in the last month to make myself feel better, I'd be ashamed of myself. That's why I'm not counting. Then you add on all the not-so-pleasant events going on around the world, and it's easy for your light at the end of the school year to become less dim...  with that being said, it's time to share some PEACE and LOVIN'! Click on the link for some peace, hope, love and kindness with some of my blogging friends!

Peace... I find peace in knowing that no matter what happens, good or bad, at the end of the day I get to go home to my family, and that throughout the day, I'm surrounded by my second family. When I was pregnant with Lilly we still lived in an apartment. The weekend of my birthday we drove to my mom's house to celebrate and came back to a burned down apartment. This is bad anytime.. but when you're pregnant? And on your birthday? Sweet Jesus. My school family was the best though, collecting everything I could think of, from money to clothes for my family. When in stressful situations I'm reminded of how those who love you come together to help, and that immediately gives me a sense of peace. Chocolate does, too, but that's neither here nor there. 

Lovin'... aren't kids the best at giving love? Even when there's a student who drives you BONKERS, that you have to talk to ALL day, they always seem to be the ones who give the most love, because they need it. This afternoon I had a student who was being rude to others. I was to the point that if I let anything out of my mouth when speaking to him, it was going to be either A--extremely hateful, or B--inappropriate. So I just looked at him and said, "Don't. Just don't." So he went and sat by himself, with a sad face. But tomorrow morning it'll be back to, "Hi Mrs. Lopez! I missed you!" I try to instill love in my students by letting them know I love them, and they should show love to others, even when they don't speak--actions speak louder than words. We practice always saying thank you, encouraging others, and being helpful to those around the school. Lilly's middle name is LOVE for a reason. :)

I'm off to PEACEFULLY watch Gabba with my Lilly LOVE. Enjoy tomorrow at school... you don't have too many Fridays left this year! If that doesn't bring about HOPE in your heart, I don't know what else will! 

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Field trip fun... or fail?!

As a child, I can remember the excitement of a field trip. Everything from riding the bus (in the back, of course!) to bringing my favorite lunch with extra snacks.. ah, it was all so exciting! Now, as a teacher in charge of the well-being of lots of little people, I see why my teachers never seemed to have as much fun as the students. The junk is stressful! Having to make sure all the people you leave with actually come back with you? Man! Exhausting!

So yesterday we were scheduled to leave by 7:45 to head out to Raleigh, NC to go see the Titanic exhibit that's located inside the science museum. First we had permission slip issues, which turned into us leaving 30 minutes later than expected. No big deal.. who is ever on time to a field trip, anyway, right? Well.. as we're about halfway there, the bus is filled with not-so-quiet chatter and IT hits me... in the midst of the chaos and confusion of the morning, I definitely did not grab the check. The $600 check located in the safe that was supposed to pay for entrance fees. Sweet Jesus. It's times like these I'm glad I prayed to my sweet Jesus before I even left my house, or I'd be a basket case. How exactly is one supposed to tell 75 little faces that they're actually going back home? Ugh. After calling the school (a dreaded task), the book-keeper said I should ask about mailing the check. I bravely walked into the box office and explained my dilemma (while trying not to cry), and as nice as the lady was, she just couldn't say yes. So I did what any (crazy) teacher would do, and wrote out a check for $600 myself to cover the trip until the school check arrives my mail. My husband would and may still disown me, but there was no way I was walking back to those buses without Titanic tickets in hand. No way, Jose! As long as the check arrives prior to Tuesday I'll be good--no harm, no foul. So all you praying people out there--say one for me that an angel delivers that check bright and early Monday morning! :)

The rest of the day went beautifully... I tried to breathe and remember to have fun, but I was really just glad when 4:25 came around and my last kiddo had been picked up. Here are some pictures from the museum. I would post some from the Titanic exhibit, but no cameras were allowed. Here's a brief tidbit of what it was about:

Despite the rough start to my day, the field trip did turn out well and everyone I left with did indeed get returned safely. The kids had a blast and made many meaningful connections to what we've studied throughout the year.

If asked their favorite part, I'm sure at least half of them would reply, "The escalator!" :)

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Skittles Linky!

This week so far...

I've only worked for one hour this week. ONE hour! Monday Lilly was sick (continued from the weekend), then about 8:20 yesterday morning I got a call from Anthony's teacher saying he was sick, too. So, I left about 9 yesterday morning and haven't been back since. Tomorrow I have to give my students a county-wide ClassScape assessment, and then Friday we're going on a field trip to see a Titanic exhibit in Raleigh. What a week! 

This week I'm linking up with Latoya from Flying into First Grade for a quick Skittles Linky! Here are the specifics:

Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cookie Dougn't You Want Some! from Cold Stone. Dear Jesus that place is amazing and horrible all at the same time.

Favorite memory from college: Hmm... I loved college. Everything about it. I don't know that I can pinpoint any one favorite memory, so here are two:
Spring Break in Puerto Rico. Enough said. :)
Who doesn't love cowboy hats?! Yes, that's me making the very attractive face. Ha!
Favorite Sports Team--my college team, of course! East Carolina Pirates!
At football games (which were a blast!) there would be what was called "purple haze" as the team ran out on the field. Ah, the memories.. ;)

Favorite fast food joint--Chick-fil-a
Oh, yes. A #7 grilled deluxe with provolone cheese.. and lots of ranch. To add to the healthiness of it all. 

Aaaand wildcard. Umm.. I'm not much of a wild person anymore! I'll have to steal Jess' wildcard and say I , too, have 5 tattoos.. one of which is matching with my husbands. If my students saw this, I know for sure they would freak out! "Mrs. Lopez! You have a gun tattoo?!" Ha! (And yes, it's upside down, but at the moment I can't figure out how to fix that. But you get the idea.)

Go link up! :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tried It Tuesday!

I'm excited to link up for the first time with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper! This is where you can blog about any"thing" you have tried... whether it worked or not! 

Game Cards/Task Cards Organization

Laminating at my school is done for us. We gather all the items we need laminated, label them, and place them in the media center. While this is very nice and time-saving, it doesn't let me keep it organized, and I end up with long pages of task cards or game cards that are all mixed up--resulting in having to reorganize them. In order to solve this problem, I use stickers. Simple, everyday stickers most teachers already have in their rooms. I first divide the cut-out cards into groups. Then, I (or my students) place matching stickers to group them by set. So if I had 4 groups of game cards, I would  need 4 types of stickers. 
This is what they look like post lamination:

Here you can see 3 different sets of cards.

Then, I put them into separate zip-lock bags and place them, along with the game boards or recording sheets, into manila folders. Super easy!

Don't forget to go link up with Holly!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Linky!

Well. I had every intention of linking up on Friday for Five for Friday, but then my baby got sick and still is sick. I just spent the last 5 hours in the ER. I'm pretty sure babies should have their own special ER. Trying to keep a baby occupied for 5 hours is a challenge. Add on that a SICK baby? Yikes. Anyway... I'm linking up with Latoya for a Linky Party! Click on the picture above to join!

So, if I were stranded on an island, what 3 things I would like to have...

1. My phone. I check my phone for everything... email, blogging, Facebook.. I spend way too much time on there. I suppose without internet it wouldn't serve much purpose, but we'll pretend I'll have internet access. :)

2. Currently I've been reading Breaking Free by Beth Moore. Phenomenal. So I guess to pass the time, I'd like to take this book along with my Bible. Seriously, I highly recommend this study  to do alone or with a group. I am by no means perfect nor claim to be, but I'm in the pursuit of a Godly life--one that is blessed. Be ready to cry. :)

3. Lastly, when on an island or in any other stressful situation, one needs chocolate and a good beverage. So, with that being said, my choice of snack has been and will probably always be... a cinnamon brown sugar pop-tart and diet sun-drop. What a combination, right?! Or quite the contradiction!


Also, a blogging friend of mine is having a 300 follower giveaway!!! Who doesn't like free stuff? Better read---what TEACHER doesn't like to have free stuck? We're the best at "borrowing."

Click on the picture to enter!!

Enjoy the last bit of your freedom!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Workshop Wednesday

Hello blog friends! Happy Wednesday to you all! Let me start by saying that one of (if not THE) worst thing that could ever happen to a teacher happened to me on Saturday.. my flash drive died. I quickly googled every solution out there in the internet world, but none worked. I sent text messages to friends who I thought could help, asked my husband, and googled some more. Nothing---super sad face. Now I know most normal people use their flash drive as a back up, however, I used mine as my single source of saving files. No bueno.. no bueno at all. I have now learned my lesson, as my LIFE was on this flash drive.. as in every lesson plan, game, TpT product--everything I've EVER made, as well as personal items, too! I ever prayed for my flash drive. Like, seriously prayed. I would fast, too, if I thought that would do any good, and that God wouldn't look down on me and say, "Mandy.. it't not that serious."  I did call Besy Buy Geek Squad to see if I should bring it in to them, and the gentlemen told me we could "try." Very comforting. I let him know I'd be praying about the situation and that he should, too. I try to find humor in all situations, but I don't think he caught on. :)

Anyway! Workshop Wednesday with Jivey! 

I have 2 hours for ELA each day, meaning I incorporate writing, reading, vocabulary, and language all into these 2 hours. I won't say I necessarily like it this way, as I sometimes feel I'm packing too much into the time and therefore am not being as effective as I'd like to be, but this is how we are told to use our 2 hours. The lesson plan format we are given supports this set up, so I roll with it and make it as engaging and beneficial as possible. 

The 1st hour: whole group instruction. I begin with our language skill for the week--this week being antonyms and synonyms. I use about 7-10 minutes introducing on Monday, then reviewing/practicing Tuesday-Friday. Yesterday we played Synonym Bingo and today Antonym Dominoes. Tomorrow we're creating our own synonyms and antonyms using laminated cards and vis-a-vis-- all kids are more engaged when they get to write on laminated pieces of paper--magical! All of these resources are from FCRR, a Florida website that offers numerous resources for free.  Here's the link:

Moving on, I then have a vocabulary activity that lasts about 10 minutes, where the words are specific to the text we are reading. Sometimes my students make movements with the words, match pictures to words at their tables, or use whiteboard to fill in the words using context clues. We do one vocab whole group a day, building on comprehension levels. 

Then we get to the "meat" of the lesson, where we focus on the RI or RL objective, and read together and practice a skill using a graphic organizer or something of that nature. This week we're looking at a biography of Gloria Estefan and finding supporting details to prove how she's a hero (since that's our county theme), using a simple graphic organizer. 

Lastly, for writing (if I have time.. let's be honest!), we incorporate whichever objective we're working on. Currently we're writing information pieces, so we're suing the information we have about Gloria's life to first take notes on, organize, and put together in paragraphs.. which will then be edited and pasted onto black music notes. I'll post pictures when we're done. 

Theeeeeen, we move to stations and small group time for an hour. Students rotate through stations covering the same domains above, adding phonics to the mix. Students practice all the areas (vocabulary, phonics, language, comprehension, writing) in either independent/partner stations. They are differentiated sometimes by the level of the text or activity they're doing with the station. For example, students this week are reading leveled texts and finding details to support the main idea from their text. During this time I pull small groups based on reading level and have 15-20 minute groups practicing skills and reading strategies. 

That seems like a LOT! Now, if you actually made it through all that, go link up with Jivey! :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Powerful Products Linky Party

Happy Thursday, everyone! I haven't been in school all week (Spring Break!) but wanted to link up Jess from I Heart Recess and share a powerful product. Feel free to link up, too! 

I used this unit towards the beginning of the school year when we were studying poetry. My kids had a BLAST with it! It was created by Jen Maschari for grades 4-6. The unit is complete with a suggested lesson plan (Yes!), many different poems, how-to's for poem writing, a "peeling the onion" guide for understanding poems, pre-test, vocabulary and even a suggested bulletin board. It has 56 pages total and was a life saver that saved me TONS of time! Click on the picture to take a look around her store!

After a little exploration, my students came up with their own definition of what poetry is. They were limited to 3 words, which I then typed using different fonts and they all got a copy of. Some of their ideas were quite creative! The picture above is an example from Jen's unit.

This was the bulletin board idea from her packet. She included the owl picture for printing, and the leaves were easy to whip up with the vocabulary terms on them. Too cute! 

Don't forget to go link up with Jess' Powerful Products!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Currently

This week is Spring Break... two words that when put together, make my heart truly and deeply happy. I can't say I've done much of anything productive, but when on break, who needs to be productive anyway... right?! 

I'm linking up for the April Currently with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade:

Listening: I think my dog snores louder than my husband! Well, maybe that's not entirely true.. they're both pretty loud.

Loving: Spring Break. I spent the weekend at my mom's house, where I did zero cooking or cleaning, or nothing even remotely school related. Bliss. Luckily I made sure all my lesson plans and grades and everything I needed for next week was taken care of before I left school last Thursday. Genius me!

Thinking: I always think of what I should be doing while I sit and do nothing, but this week it's going to remain just that. What I should/could be doing... but I'm not!

Wanting: A massage. My lower back always seems to hurt so the last few days I've taken the time to be that person who watches YouTube videos for yoga advice. My back feels much better today.

Needing: To relax. The work will be there when I get back.. I'm sure of it. ;)

Advice: It's sometimes discouraging to not have many sales in a day or week. I then have to remind myself that I'm still relatively new to all of this, and whatever sales I do make on TpT, is more than what I had before.. so keep on truckin'!

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