Friday, June 26, 2015

Sweet Summertime: A Five for Friday post

Is it really Friday again ALREADY?! I don't know about you, but I feel like summer is breezing by just a little too fast!  I'm ready to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for another Five for Friday post!
I started off the week celebrating one year of being married to the love my life! We had a nice dinner out in Chattanooga to celebrate. I can't believe a year has already gone by! (And at the same time can't believe it has only been a year!) Can't wait to live decades of more years (God willing) with this man by my side. 

I am loving dreaming about being a mommy! In two weeks we will get to find out if we are welcoming a sweet baby boy or girl into our family and I had a blast designing some invites for our family. Even though we are just doing a small cookout, I love designing so much that I had to come up with something anyway! Thank goodness I have a bank of so much cute clip art! 

I loved getting to share all of my dreams this week through both my TpT Seller Challenge post AND my Tell All Tuesday post! I spent hours reading through everyone else's dreams too and it was so encouraging to see so many teachers with such a passion for growing, both through professional development for teaching and finding ways to grow TpT stores and success! Be sure to check those posts out if you missed them! 
My husband has to work this weekend so he had both yesterday and today off and it was nice to relax together for a few days! We are hooked on Graceland and spent a lot of the day yesterday alternating between Netflix and working on a fun new puzzle. It was a pretty lazy day, but we did accomplish putting 550 pieces of fish together! 

I have spent a lot of hours the past 2 weeks working on a HUGE sight word pack that I am really excited about! I keep thinking It'll be done and ready to post soon and then I think of just *ONE MORE THING* I need to add. My goal for the weekend is to finally finish it up- be sure to stop by next week to check it out- I plan on posting all about it and even giving away a pack or two!! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dreaming Big!

I am excited to link up for week two of the TpT Seller Challenge! Being so new to Teachers Pay Teachers, I have so many big goals and dreams that seem crazy to hope for right now, but I'm excited to share them anyway!

Reach 1,000 Followers on TpT: This dream seems so big to me right now while I'm still working on reaching 100 followers but I'm shooting for the stars on this one and hoping to get to 1,000! I know that this is going to take a lot of patience but my hope is that it will come alongside my continuance to grow my store and learning how to promote my products!

Be able to attend the TpT conference (and maybe some day present?!): I so badly wanted to go to the conference this year, but with a baby on the way and bills to pay, it just wasn't an option this year. My hope is that as my store continues to grow, I'll make enough to put aside a conference fund and be able to attend and then hopefully someday present! I absolutely love speaking and sharing and would love to be on the presenting side of things (obviously a while down the road!)

Make enough additional income to pay my way through grad school without any loans: I shared in my Tell All Tuesday post about how one of my professional goals is to be able to go back to school and get my master's degree in reading specialty. I would be over the moon excited if my success on TpT provided me with enough additional income to be able to pay my way through grad school without having to take out any loans.

Work full time on TpT for a few years so I can be a stay-at-home mom while my baby is little: With a little one on the way this is a goal that has quickly become super real to me! I love creating on TpT and would love to make it a full time job for a few years so I could stay at home until my kids are school age. I love teaching and I know that I wouldn't want to be out of the classroom for long, but the comfort of having enough additional income to stay home for a few years would be incredible!

Thanks for reading about my dreams! Be sure to check out all of the other posts and link up to share yours!
Thanks to these wonderful ladies for coordinating such an awesome challenge:


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tell All Tuesday- My Teacher Bucket List

It feels like this last week has FLOWN by-I can't believe it is already Tuesday again and time to link back up for another week of Tell All Tuesday! I am so excited for this week's topic- i love getting to share my goals with you and I can't wait to read through everyone else's bucket lists as well!
~Go back to school and get my Master's Degree: I would LOVE to go back to school and get a higher degree! I've look at reading specialty programs and I think that would definitely be the most engaging program for me. With a little one on the way I know it will probably be a while before I get to pursue this goal, but hopefully in a few years I will be in a place where I will have both the time and money to make it happen! 

~Continue to work on growing my school's STEM program: My school is just getting the ball rolling with STEM and I am really pumped about it. I have been to a couple of conferences this summer already to learn more about growing and implementing STEM in the classroom (both of which I've been meaning to blog about and haven't gotten around to-oops!). I am on my school's STEM committee and I am looking forward to helping other teachers in my school learn more about the benefits of integrating STEM activities into our curriculum. For those of you who don't know a whole lot about STEM, be on the lookout for a big post I'm working on about a new STEM pack that might help you get started as well! I'm planning on including some great project ideas and a freebie as well! 

~Grow my TpT Store: I am still new to both the blogging world and TpT world and I can't wait to watch my store grow (hopefully!). I would love to get to a place where my store will help me provide my students with more resources and activities (by giving me more income to put into my classroom), as well as providing me with additional income for me to pay my way through grad school without loans! I know that it is a big big dream for me just starting out, and even to me it seems like a lot to hope for, but it's on my bucket list nonetheless!

~Have a community of blogging buddies to collaborate with: One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to start this blog was from seeing all of the connections and relationships that blogging can bring. I work in an old school in a tiny town and it has been really hard for me to find anyone to really share my passion for teaching and creating and blogging with. I wanted to write so that I could have an outlet and feel connected to other teachers who have the same passions. This past year I have seen so many teachers just counting down the days until they can "get out" and heard so much negativity about this profession that I truly love and I NEEDED a place to come to where I could be excited about teaching and surround myself with others who still find joy in it as well. All that to say this-wanna be friends?! :) 

Thanks for hopping over- be sure to link up and share your bucket list too! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Book Whisperer: Chapter 2

I am excited to be linking up again this week to talk about Chapter Two of The Book Whisperer. If you have not checked out this book by Donalyn Miller, you need to! Read on to find out why! :) 

When I jumped into reading chapter two, I told myself that I was going to make sure that everything that I found meaningful in this chapter I would write down and then figure out how to apply each idea to a first grade classroom. There is so much relevance in Donalyn Miller's words and I didn't want to lose any of that in making the translation from her sixth grade classroom to my first grade one.

The first thing that Mrs. Miller wrote that really resonated with me was that ALL students are readers-they just have varying levels of readiness and interest. This is something that I see so much with my beginning readers! There are those that start off my year with an eagerness to read any book that they can get their hands on, and those that look like they might cry just from looking at the cover of a book. This last year I had the widest range of readers I have ever seen- some coming into my class as first graders reading on a third or fourth grade level (CRAZY!) and some that didn't even know their first 20 sight words.
Mrs. Miller's words spoke so much truth when she said that "Embracing their inner reader starts with students selecting their own books to read." She then goes on to say "Providing students with the opportunity to choose their own books to read empowers and encourages them." (Page 23)
This idea is SO important! In order to have the passion and drive to students, students need to be interested in what they are reading. This first step that we can make as primary teachers is allowing them the freedom to pick up the books that THEY want to read, not the books that WE want to put in their hands.

Throughout the next part of chapter 2, Mrs. Miller went on to introduce the three different trends that she sees in readers- developing readers, dormant readers, and underground readers.
As I was reading through this section, I couldn't help but think about how much POWER there would be in identifying readers in this way at such an early age-to truly see them for the readers that they are and learning how to encourage every type of reader to grow.

Developing readers- Reading this section truly struck me hard. Mrs. Miller calls attention to the fact that these readers are often the readers who are placed in remedial programs to help improve their reading-yet they are the readers who receive the least amount of time to actually just read! When I thought about those readers in my class last year, I couldn't help but think about how true that was. One thing that I want to make sure I apply from this book is her idea that these students need to have books in their hands MORE, not less than other students. Mrs. Miller says "What they need is support for where they are in their development and the chance to feel success as readers instead of experiencing reading failure. They also need to read and read." (Page 25) Want to make a non-reader a reader? Let them read!

Dormant readers- Growing up my younger sister didn't like to read. She was a strong reader and would read what she HAD to, but while I always loved curling up with a book for pleasure, she never did. One summer my mom asked me to "please help your sister love reading." And so I began my mission to find the books that would make my sister want to read. I vaguely remember a time when I would pick a book and sit and read a few chapters out loud before she would be interested enough to keep reading on her own. Eventually she started to see how much fun it was to get lost in the world of a good book. Once she found the right stories, there was no stopping her.Today my sister is one of the biggest book lovers I know. She works in a bookstore and has a library in her bedroom that might make even Belle jealous (A bookworm's obvious choice as best Disney princess)!
 This to me is what dormant readers are-they are the students that need us to help them learn to love reading. Mrs. Miller said it perfectly when she wrote, "dormant readers might become engaged readers if someone showed them that reading was engaging." (Page 28)

Underground readers- "While teachers scurry to support students who are still developing their reading skills and wonder what they can do to motivate the dormant readers who do not like to read, underground readers are a subset whose needs go unaddressed. These children are the ones who come into our classes as avid readers." (Page 30) I want to make it a goal this year to not let these students get away from me. I want to learn how to both encourage and challenge even the very best readers, to not leave them underground.

After going through the different types of readers, Mrs. Miller shares about what she has learned about conditions for learning. The factors that she notes on are: immersion, demonstrations, expectations, responsibility, employment, approximations, response, and engagement. While Mrs. Miller goes into more detail for each of these factors, I think her final words of this chapter sum it up well.

"We can spend hours determining what students should know and be able to do, crafting instruction to accomplish the desired results, but without considering students' right to an engaging, trustworthy, risk-free place in which to learn, what we teach will always fall short. Students must believe that they can read and that reading is worth learning how to do well. We have to build a community that embraces every student and provides acceptance and encouragement no matter where students are on the reading curve." (Page 37)

If you made it this far, then I'm glad you stuck with me. I get so excited about reading about reading that I could go on and on about it!
I am learning so much from this book and can't wait to keep reading and growing and working on finding ways to apply what I am learning to my kiddos next year.

If you are reading along, I can't wait to see what you have to say about chapter 2! Make sure you link up to share your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tell All Tuesday! My Summer Snapshot

I had so much fun last week linking up for Tell all Tuesday and I'm excited to link up again this week to share my favorite summer spot! 

I love summertime sunshine! My favorite thing to do in the summer is curl up on a chair/towel/float/ANYTHING with a good book and soak up the sun. If you put me by a pool or by a lake or on a beach, I'm a happy girl! 
My grandparents have a boat and I used to live on the lake in the summertime. Now that I live a little farther away, I don't get quite as much lake time, but the hubby and I did get a chance to meet up with my family for an evening cruise last night! Don't you just love a good sunset?! 

Luckily, Kris's grandparents have a pool, so I still have a place to soak up the sun and splash around. This last weekend Kris gave our pup her first swimming lesson. She hated it, but it gave us a good laugh!  

What do you love to do in the summer? Link up to share!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five for Friday! (And all my answers about Tell All Tuesday!)

Hey everyone! This has been a busy week of link-ups for me and I'm excited to finish it off with my Five for Friday post!
First things first, I know you are all DYING to know which one of my facts was a lie in my Tell All Tuesday post! 
If you guessed that fact #2 was my lie, you were right! While I do love my fur babies, my little sister is the one who always thought about being a veterinarian, not me! If you missed out on reading my post, check it out here!
The most exciting part of my week by far was finally sharing some really really exciting news with the world!! My husband and I are expecting our first little one this December and we finally shared our news through some incredible pictures that my sweet sister took for us!

I enjoyed reading and blogging about the first chapter of The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. It is an excellent book so far and I can't wait to dig into it even deeper! If you have the book and are joining along on the link up, be sure to check out my thoughts of chapter 1 here
I will wholeheartedly admit that I am a full on Netflix addict. I am loving having so much uninterrupted day time to binge on all of the series that have been patiently waiting for me on my list. Right now my current obsession is SCANDAL. And when I say obsession, what I mean is 2 full seasons watched since Tuesday and I'm digging into the 3rd. LOVEEEEE IT! 
I had a blast going to a painting party with my mom, grandma, and sister! The OCD part of me would have liked to have probably 7 hours to perfect every inch of my painting, but sadly I had to do what I could with the 2 hour class restraint. I still think my little painting turned out pretty nice though! (Plus is was fun!) 

Thanks for stopping by to read about my week! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Book Whisperer: Chapter One

I have had my nose stuck in a good book my whole life. I can't imagine ever not loving to read. Even now when I am busier than I have ever been, I still loving curling up with a good story and digging in! When I can't pick up a book, I'm often listening to one on Audible.

Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer has been on my radar for a little while, so when I saw the opportunity to join in on a book study/weekly blog linky, I was super excited!

I could tell just from the the first chapter that it is going to be hard for me to pace myself through this book! So much of what is written speaks straight to my soul.
In the introduction of the book, Donalyn Miller states that "Anyone who calls herself or himself a reader can tell you that it starts with encountering great books, heartfelt recommendations, and a community of readers who share this passion." (pg. 4) I wholeheartedly agree with her 100% on this. I loved getting started digging into her journey to create that passion for reading in her students.

While I know that my journey to create first grade bookworms is different than hers to create sixth grade book lovers, the foundation starts with that same concept.
A love for reading comes from reading good books- finding stories that speak to you or move you or make you laugh. Stories that you can relate or stories that teach you how to better relate to people that are completely different than you. One of our jobs as teachers, and it's a BIG job, is to find ways for our students to LOVE reading.

I loved reading about Miller's journey to figure out how to create that love for reading. So much of what she wrote rings true for each of us, no matter what grade we teach. There is always a learning curve when we try something new with our students, and I loved reading through the first steps of that in Miller's classroom.

She writes "Reading is both a cognitive and an emotional journey. I discovered that it was my job as a teacher to equip the travelers, teach them how to read a map, and show them what to do when they get lost, but ultimately, the journey is theirs alone." (pg. 16)
We guide our students in the little snippet of time that we get to call them "ours." As she says, we teach them how to read the map. We are the ones who help them get started. I want to make it my passion and my goal, more than ever, to encourage a love for reading that starts so early and goes so deep that my students only just begin that journey with me!

I could go on and on forever and I hope that you will continue following along as I link up each week for another chapter, but I want to end with one more quote that I loved from this first chapter:

"These days, I share with my students what no literacy expert could ever teach me. Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. Through characters-the saints and sinners, real or imagined-reading shows you how to be a better human being." (pg. 18)

I want to share that with my students every day. I want to share it with them enough that it becomes a part of their soul. My hope is that through this book study I can continue to learn how to instill a deep love for reading in the hearts of each of my little learners.

Link up with Literacy and Lattes!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jumping into the summer blog scene!

Hey everyone! These past few weeks have been so crazy and I am excited to jump back into blogging for the summer. I'm excited to link up with Diana from My Day in K and Jayme from Teach, Talk, Inspire for Tell All Tuesday!

I'm so excited for this week's theme Two Truths and a Lie! Have fun reading all about me and be sure to guess which one you think is my lie! I'll be back later this week to let you know! :)

If you didn't already know just from stopping by my blog, I am dinosaur OBSESSED! What I'm sure you DON'T know is that my dinosaur obsession was exemplified when I worked in Dinoland at Animal Kingdom during my Disney College Program internship! Living and breathing dinos for six months just made my love for dinos that much deeper, not to mention how much fun it was to intern at the happiest place on earth! 
Before I decided to be a teacher, I thought I was going to be a veterinarian. I always had cats and dogs growing up and I thought it would be so great to work with animals all the time! When one of our cats got really old and we had to put her down, I realized that I would never be able to handle the emotions of having to watch people say goodbye to their pets! I still get plenty of animal love from my two sweet fur babies, though!
I love love love traveling! I am blessed to have been all around the world on mission trips and actually taught in a preschool in Kenya for a few months before I got married and settled into my first grade home in the USA! I used to dream of adopting kids from every continent and having my own TLC show about my huge intercontinental family! Big dreams, but I just love kids everywhere! If only adoption laws would allow for that! 

So that's me! I can't wait to hear from you about which one you think is my lie! Tune back in later this week to find out! Link up and join in on the fun! Happy hopping :)