Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year...

I cannot believe we are ending 2014 and beginning a new year. I'm anxious, excited, nervous, scared....Freaking OUT. <-not really. 2015 is going to bring so many new changes whether I am ready for them or not, so I guess I better get ready.  

This new year will bring my baby's graduation and life as a college student. Wha?!  His heart is set on USAFA and we should hear from them in January. He is seriously marking off the days on his calendar.  He has also been offered a paid visit to West Point Academy in New York and will fly out to visit them in March.  I think the key word right now is PATIENCE.  He's put in all the work and now he has to be patient. {I have to be patient}
I obviously love pictures more than him.

I feel like that will be my mantra for the 2015 year.  {PATIENCE} 

I plan to finish my masters this spring. {patience} I have one more class and my ARP to complete. 

Oh, and there is this big test that 4th graders take...I hear it's a big deal.  I should probably be more concerned about this than I am but I'm not.  My kids are hard and we have fun while we are doing it. We will be ready for this so called STAAR test when it's time. {patience}

I'm not getting younger so it's important that I'm exercising and eating right. {patience}  I want to run more 5k's this year.  I'll start with the Hot Chocolate run in Feb.  Yes, CHOC.O.LATTE!!  I will run for chocolate. Sounds like a good plan, right?!  Running with friends really helps too. 
Meet the running crew...
Mindy has a halo.

{our reason to run....Like someone stole our chocolate}

Let me introduce you to my new running partner...
The other cute one, on the right. ;-)

He has officially retired from law enforcement and moved on to keeping his momma safe and fit....or not. ;-) 
Retired life.....sleeping with his toy.
This new year also brings a new police doggy. Meet Kaution...
Undercover K9's Kaution!
I didn't think I could love another dog but he changed my mind. I've had the chance to help with some of his training. It has been so fascinating watching him learn and prepare for the streets this March. 

Finally, I have this little firecracker that keeps me on my toes...
Duckface is required in all pictures with her.
She is big creative ball of sunshine and challenges me every day to be a better momma and teacher.   

This new year brings a lot of changes for me and my family but the one thing that doesn't change is my faith.

 All My Love,


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Conversation LINKY

Well it's's here, Christmas break is here!!  It seems as though it's here too fast but I am so thrilled it is.  I've linked up with The Inspired Apple to share a little Christmas Conversation.

Stop by her blog to join the conversation.

I thought I'd share a little about our last day of school until next year.  We had a wonderful classroom Christmas party. I'm beyond thankful for an organized and caring room mom. She truly made the difference.  We did a book exchange and I will be honest.....I have NEVER had a good experience with these.
{the book that everyone wants}

{the book that no one wants}

Seriously, kids crying and upset because they want the book that their mom bought or another student's book because it pops up and their book doesn't.  After a few years of this I said "Nope, never again."  -(maybe because that was Kinder) This year my room mom suggested it.  I didn't want to be "bah-humbug" so I said okay.  She typed up the names, separated them by boys and girls, put them in baggies and typed the letter to go home to parents.

Wow!  The thought that went into the books my students picked out for their secret person was heart-warming.  My heart was thrilled to see just how well the books matched each child.  Some of the kids started reading their book right there at the party. True story.  It was beautiful and magical.  A Christmas Miracle.

Merry Christmas Ya'll from my family to yours!

All My Love, 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Do You Know.....Books and Snow!

Tomorrow is the last day before the break, it's a half-day, a busy day and a sugar filled day.  This year it actually snuck up on me and I almost didn't make anything for parents.  We have been completely engrossed in our novel, A Single Shard.

{check it out}

It has been the best book ever!!  I'm so happy my teamie convinced me to read it to the kids.  The kids and I have had so many wonderful conversations.  It's the kind of book that they beg you (yes, beg!) not to stop reading.  We just finished it on Wednesday and I was a crybaby mess!!  It is a tear jerker.  The sweet kids would get up and hug me and then get themselves a tissue to wipe their own eyes.  It is the kind of book that changes the way kids view reading.
When we finished the kids could not get enough.  They wanted to know more and they REALLY wanted this book to be a movie.  I think they will be emailing the author soon.  I made a thinglink for the students to watch some videos about the author and learn more about the pottery process. Stop by and visit my thinglink to learn more about pottery and how it's made.

See....what happened?  Yea, well the same thing happened in the classroom.  We became so wrapped up in this book I almost forgot to make a gift for the parents.  So today I frantically went through the cabinets for the perfect craft supplies to make the perfect parent gift.  Here's what I found:
...because every teacher has Q-tips in her cabinet.  Right?!

Oh....and my camera.  Now, what can I have them make in a short amount of time.  Well, a picture is a MUST HAVE. I've decided that teachers should always do a Christmas picture. So with these supplies we came up with..........
I Love You "Snow" Much!  

I think they turned out super cute!  A little lamination and they last year after year.  Put a magnet on the back and they make your fridge "snow" cute!  

Okay, bring on tomorrow because I am no longer Freaking Out.  I hope you have a beautiful and magical last day before your Christmas break.

All My Love,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

All Things Techy...and FREE

Well ya'll, I have so many wonderful things going on in the classroom and it's all things techy.  I cannot wait to share a few of them with you.  

If you haven't stopped by our class blog then you should.    

These authentic pieces of writing just make me so stinkin' happy.  I constantly check my email throughout the weekend to see if they have written anything.  Not because I told them to but because they want to. (insert happy teacher dance right here) 

I took my very first student bloggers to the school board and they told our school board what a blog is and why they think it's important.  I gave each one of the kids that presented a small journal, sticky notes and pens to write their ideas about things they'd like to blog about.  This is what their journals look like 2 days later....
These kids cannot get enough!!  Look at all their THOUGHTS...


Look at this fantastic free site for kids to create their own digital books...

Yes, it's FREE!  Kids can create their OWN digital storybooks and then leave them on a digital shelf for other kids OR parents to read.  {squealing!!!}  Ya'll I get really excited over stuff like this......

Oh and you can leave them feedback.  The days of a big smiley face are over my friends.  They need feedback!  They love feedback!  We all do....let me know what you think :-)

Okay, last little techy share and tell for today.  Have you ever tried a thing link?  It's also FREE. 

I actually made this for my students to use when we get back from the break.  This image has several links to biographies and tools for students to learn about historical figures. {click here to check it out}

This fun little tool provides students with sites that the teacher wants them to visit BUT the students are making a choice about which one to visit and what they are interested in learning.

Okay friends, I am off to eat meat pies at an Australian food truck, watch A Christmas Story at the Dallas Theater and then participate in our small town Christmas parade.  BEST. DAY. EVER.

All My Love,  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kid Bloggers

This year I wanted to get more TECHY. <-it's a word.  And as soon as I decided I wanted to do this, my school district offered a Digital Fluency course.  Funny story though, I couldn't even figure out how to sign up for it because it was TOO TECHY.  Yes, I'm that person.  But let me tell you.....I have learned so much!!  

The biggest thing that I have learned and implemented in my classroom is a kid blog.  The kids LOVE it!!  The best thing about it is they are writing.....because they want to write.  They have an authentic audience to write for and they want to share their opinions and thoughts with the world.  
 Oh, and it's FREE!  There is a paid version that allows the students to choose their own backgrounds and a few other other things.  But while were are just starting out the free one is perfect.  

{link to our blog

Just recently we have finished reading biographies in my guided reading groups and some of the kids have shared about the person they learned about.  

They have shared their opinions about our novels that we are reading.  Book reviews about the books they check out from the library and sometimes they just blog about what is on their mind.  (kinda like we do)

Here's the best part......anyone that has the link can leave a comment.  Isn't that great?!?!  I have parents that are responding to their child's posts.  Even the superintendent has responded to some kids.  Wouldn't this make you want to write?  My kids are even writing from home over the break!!  This makes my teacher heart happy!! 

If your kids are not blogging.........they should be.  Seriously, if I can do it, anybody can do it.  I put the link to Kidblog and the link to our class blog.  You should check us out and leave us some comments.  

All My LOVE,