Saturday, August 23, 2014

Be the Difference

Last month I received an email from The Mailbox Magazine asking me to participate in their #BeTheDifference sweepstakes.  I was thrilled and honored at receiving this invitation because I "grew up" as a teacher reading this fabulous publication.  The Mailbox magazine was there before Pinterest, blogs and TpT.  It was THE one stop shop for finding ideas for your classroom.  I remember as a new teacher checking the library out each month for the newest edition.  I always wanted to get my hands on it first!  On the weekends I would take home all the back issues and spend hours reading and making plans to copy all the wonderful activities that were included.  Hence my excitement about  being asked to participate in this great #BeTheDifference movement.
I was excited about the invitation, but I was even more thrilled when The Mailbox magazine sent me a box of goodies in the mail!  My girls were even excited to find out what was inside.
Isn't that just the cutest box?!
Here's what I found.
You can't really see, but there was a pencil, flashdrive, and a beach ball inside the box.  Everything was wrapped up so special.   Loved everything about it!  There was also a card inside explaining the #BeTheDifference movement.  Here's a quote from the card that really got my attention: "AS A TEACHER, we know you wake up early, work all day, and stay up late planning for the next day.  It's finally time to "show-and-tell" about all the hard work you do!"  They get it.  They know and understand what teachers do everyday and they RECOGNIZE it too. 
So what is the #BeTheDifference movement all about?  Well, to start with, the contents of my box were especially chosen by The Mailbox with one thing in mind, memories.  Back to school memories.  The Mailbox knows just how important those first few days are for establishing routines and procedures, making special memories, and forming bonds with our new students.  They know how hard we work to plan for those days so that we can make wonderful memories for our students.  Memories that will stay for a long time.  Memories that will make a difference.  The Mailbox wants teachers to go out and "BeTheDifference" in our classrooms this year. 
How did I make a memories on the first day of school?  I used a beach ball!  During our morning meeting time, we used the beach ball to introduce ourselves and tell what our favorite things were.  My first graders loved it!  They loved everything about passing and tossing the ball to their new classmates.  We learned how to work together, listen, speak, and share all in one simple little activity.  I got to set the tone for our class and our classroom expectations in a fun and engaging way.  And, they got to get up and move!  I was thrilled that I got to "#BeTheDifference" on their first day of first grade.


We have the awesome ability to impact our students each and every day.  Our first job is to teach them everything that our curriculum demands.  But we also know that our job goes way beyond that.  We know that there are so many other things we teach them as well.  We teach them to be bucket fillers, to accept diversity, and to find the good in what we have around us.  We set out to inspire those who may not have the hope to see that they can achieve anything they want.  We have the power to #BeTheDifference.  Please join me in this wonderful movement as we all begin a fresh, new year together.  Challenge yourself this year to #BeTheDifference with your students, your colleagues, and your community.
Tell me how you are going make a difference this year.  I would love to know!  Leave a comment  below and I will reward 1 winner with $10 to spend in my TpT store.  I will choose a winner next Friday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher Week: Who

Oh Y'all!  It's the night before the first day of school.  I'm already exhausted and overwhelmed.   And, I'm starting to battle some sort of sinus headache from you know where.  I should be working on my daily schedule right now, but that really takes to much effort and I just can't spare any right now!  So instead, I'm going to tell you a little bit about me!
I'm married.  And have been for 17 years now.  Mr. M and I just celebrated our anniversary back in July.  July happens to be a big month for our family.  Not only is it our anniversary month, but a big birthday month too!  My birthday, Mr. M's birthday, and my oldest daughter's birthday are all in July (Mr. M and Kaley's birthday are a day a part!).  My husband's sister and her husband also have a  birthday in July.  And, their son has a birthday in July too.  His birthday is actually the same day as Kaley's (she is a year older).  And my brother's birthday is in July too.  He and I actually share a birthday because we are twins!  I told you July was a big month for us!!!!!
Me and Mr. M
Along with being a wife, I'm also a mom.  I have 2 girls who give me a run for my money every day!  They are both energetic, smart, creative, funny, and beautiful.  I'm so blessed to be able to call them mine.  My oldest starts high school tomorrow.  I'm so not ready for that!  My youngest will be in the 4th grade.  If she had it her way, she would be starting high school tomorrow too!
My girls
Along with being a mom to my girls, I'm also a mom to our fur child Bella.  Sweet Bella.  She thinks she's one of the girls and loves attention.  She is always at my side.  She's a rotten thang!  But we love her to pieces and you just can't beat the love she shows us when we get home every afternoon!
This will be my 20th year of teaching.  20 years!!!!!!!  The way I feel right now though, you wouldn't know it.  I feel like tomorrow is my very first day ever!  I've got myself a bad case of the jitters. 
Over the years I've really learned how to truly reflect on each day.  That's how I've become the teacher that I am.  But reflecting on one's self and having feelings of inadequacy before school has even started are not the same thing.  Do any of you do that?  Second guess yourself about everything?  I found these verses on one of my Pinterest boards.  I found them rather fitting so I thought I would share them with you.  I'm going to pull my strength from them this week.

So to finish up, here are a few of my favorite things:
Disney World!
Love me some NCIS!
The beach!
Sweet (secret) messages from my kiddos!
 And last, I leave you with these thoughts:

Head on over to Blog Hoppin', link up, and share a little bit about you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fast Finishers!

I'm done!!!!
Those words, to me, are the equivalent of someone scraping their nails down a chalkboard. 
 AAAgh! Can't stand it!!!!
To alleviate those words from ever being said in my classroom, I set up a "Fast Finishers" menu in my class.  What a lifesaver that was!  Would you like to know how I did it?  Head on over to The Collaboration Connection to find out.  I'm sharing this Back 2 School trick over there today.  And, you don't want to miss out on the giveaway that is a part of the post!  There's a freebie waiting for you too!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Freebie, Freebie, FREEBIE!

I go back to school tomorrow.  So not ready for this yet.  Just give me 1 more week to relax and do nothing school related.  I spent several days last week in my room trying to get it ready.  Not to mention the hours that I have spent on my laptop trying to get things updated and printed. That's not exactly how I wanted to spend that time.  But when you are a teacher, you do those things before you  technically have to.  Bummer!
To make up for the fact that we all have to go back eventually, I have some freebies to share.  First up is my CCSS parent brochure.  I made this for a grad class project last year and was extremely happy that I could use it in "real life."  We all know that sometimes those grad school projects are not always things we can use later on!  So basically this brochure contains the CCSS for ELA and Math for FIRST GRADE only.  I fixed the date on the front and uploaded the new file to Google docs.  This brochure is a great little thing to add to your parent information packets that you send home at the beginning of the year.  I include it in the folder of papers that I give my parents on Meet the Teacher night.  Click here to download.

Next up are my birthday signs.  I created these for a specific wall in my classroom.  They don't take up a lot of "necessary" room and can be used yearly.  All you have to do is laminate and use a vis-à-vis pen to write names and a number for the date on them.  At the end of the year, simply wipe off with a damp paper towel.  Click here to download.
Here's how they look in my room.

And last, I have for you my "5 Things to Think About" posters.  They are technically my "rules." But,  I teach at a PBIS school so we have school wide rules that we post and use throughout the building.  I added these rules to specifically set expectations for behavior within our room, hence the term "Things to Think About."  They are taken from the WBT (whole brain teaching) model and I have tweaked them to fit my needs as far as behavior management goes in my classroom.  We go over them every morning as a class and I have added movement to each rule to help my first graders remember them.  We also have a "special" way of saying each one.  I love the WBT model and use a lot of the techniques this model offers in my class everyday.   Saying the rules orally (in a special way) and adding gestures to them really has  helped my kids take ownership of the rules and their expected behaviors.  Click here to download.

Now off to work on my to-do list.  By tomorrow it will be a mile long!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School Sale!

If you are still in need of things for Back to School 2014, head on over to Teacher's Notebook.  They are hosting a Back to School  Sale from August 9-12.  Everything in my STORE is 20% off!
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I'm finally getting a chance to link up with this month's Currently.  As the saying goes, "Better late than never." 
My youngest daughter LOVES the My Little Pony collection.  She also happens to LOVE the tv show that comes on.  I don't know, and really DON'T want to know, how many times she has watched them.  I do know that between those shows and the ones that my oldest daughter loves to watch, there is absolutely no space left for me or my husband to DVR anything we may want to watch.  That will all change soon though.  Once school starts back, I will be deleting whatever I can so I can DVR all the shows I won't be able to stay up and watch anymore!
This has been a wonderful summer.  I've gotten to relax and read books, work on some things for TpT, visit the beach, and go on a fabulous cruise with my family.  I'm not ready to go back yet!  I just want ONE MORE WEEK!  One more week to do absolutely nothing related to school.  Please?!
I've been thinking about what my class will be like this year.  I know a few of the names already because I've taught their siblings.  I also know some other names BECAUSE those kids have been strategically placed in my class.  Don't you just love that?  You get a reputation for being able to "manage" certain types of kids and then you get all of those kids!  Not to mention that I have a background in special ed.  So guess what?  I get those too!   However, I know that whomever walks in my classroom on August 19th will be there for a reason.  I know that there is a reason why I will have the class that I have.  It may be for me to learn and grow.   It may be for me to love and grow certain children.

I've been working in my room this week.  I just want it finished.  I don't want to have to keep adding things to my list of things to buy.  And I really don't want to have to keep running around town looking for one particular basket just so it matches every other basket on the shelf.  Teacher problems thanks to Pinterest and Instagram.  Which is exactly why I need ONE MORE WEEK!
Hope August is treating you well. Hope your tackling that to-do list.  Hope your getting your home away from home all set up.  And if school has already started for you, I hope you have a class full of kiddos that have already stolen your heart.
If you haven't joined the party yet, it's not to late.  Head on over to Farley's and link up with me!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's the BIG One!

Tomorrow is the start of  TpT's big Back to School sale.  My store is on sale with all of my products 20% off. When you use the code BTS14, you can save even more!

If you are looking for a few things to add to your shopping cart, you might want to check out some of the items below.  Click on the picture to find each product in my store.
Hope you get lots of goodies to use this year!