Friday, January 31, 2014

Five For Friday Linky Party (Jan. 31st)

A Way to Keep My Weekly Blog Effort Going

I've found a way to hopefully keep my goal of blogging weekly.  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for the weekly Five for Five Linky.

Houston Ice Storm 2014!  
Another "Snow Day" for us on Tuesday.  We just had one on Friday.  I've never seen anything like this.  Not a snowflake in the sky but enough of a weather forecast to get districts around Harris County to shut down!  I'm really screaming inside because we are SO behind!!  Ugh!

I'M SO EXCITED (yet anxious)!  I just submitted my application for Graduate School. [yikes]  It has been 13 years since I was a college student.  I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE learning!!  Shhh...I am that one teacher that secretly enjoys signing up for professional development because I want to learn something new.  This has been a goal of mine since forever ago.  It just seemed that as I began to take the steps, life took over and made me refocus on something else.  NOW IT IS TIME!!  I hopefully begin in the summer.

This is our ChocoLab -- Kobe.  He is such a sweetheart!!  Ok - so in the mornings, I am usually the last one out of the door.  He usually looks oh-so depressed by the time I come out of the bedroom because everyone has left (he loves each of us SO much).  I typically find him at the bottom of the stairs sulking.  He does know the rules though.  My hubby doesn't allow the furbabies on the couch.  I know he knows this rule because usually you can hear his four paws hit the ground upstairs as soon as our bedroom door (downstairs) opens up.  So we sort-of know that he sleeps on the couch in the upstairs family room if no one lets him into their bedroom.  Well, Thursday morning I was really the last one out since I had a district meeting to be at.  I walked out of my room and began calling his name since he wasn't in his normal location.  Still no sound.  So I walked upstairs and this is what I found.  There was another blanket spread out on the floor in front of the kid's bedroom doors (probably left by Elijah, his closest pal).  I was talking to my hubby on the phone when I made the discovery of our new couch potato.  He had me put him on speaker so he could tell him to get down since he was obviously ignoring my requests, but our little defiant buddy simply tuned his head.  LOL!!  I couldn't help but snap a shot and send it out to the family to give them a little smile to start their day.

Reason #2 Why I Love Trainings/PD Meetings -- A REAL lunch time!!  It is always so nice to be able to eat something yummy at a leisurely pace instead of the 10minute quick inhale of something that teachers usually endure.  Plus you can get some great ideas to try and new resources to explore.


We did our 1st lesson with our NEW Chrome-Books!  Our school decided to buy some Chrome-Books for each grade level.  Each student in our district has their own Google Account and so I can only imagine all the unlimited things we could do.  This week we kicked off our Media Literacy unit.  I found a great web-quest activity.  Today, I paired up the students and gave them a Chrome-Book to work with.  They did Task #1 with a partner.  It allowed them to visit several different sites and determine if the purpose is to entertain or inform.  We discussed what features they might look for to determine the purpose.  They were so excited and did so well!  I can hardly wait till next week's lesson to complete Task #3.

I've already got big plans for these babies.   I'm thinking Google Doc publishing, Report presentations, a Virtual Flat Stanley emails, etc.
Have any great ideas to share?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

She's Here!!

My student teacher is here!  I'm so excited to have a partner to share my wonderful class with.  Not only did she start yesterday…but she will be with us all the way through May!!  My students were so excited as well.  We have a class so full of eager learners and I guess they can't wait to share their enthusiasm also.  I wanted her to feel so welcome and so I searched all my favorite spots and found some great ideas.

I found this amazing packet by Rachelle Smith at whattheteacherwants:
I created it to have several sections with tabs for her to keep track of different things like: class info, school info, curriculum documents, meeting notes, ideas, notes, lesson plans, etc.  She immediately began to put things into it.  Yay!

I also found lots of neat teacher things and put them all into a basket crate (that I might also add is VERY useful).  She took it home and was so excited to find all the goodies inside.  The "Dollar Spot" at Target was full of some great things.  I <3 it!  I'm pretty sure I bought duplicate things for my own teacher collections.
Then I tried to bottle up my kiddos excitement and had them do a quick "Welcome To Our Class" book.  First they drew a quick "selfie" and wrote some things about themselves.  Then they picked their Top 5 things they thought she needed to know about our classroom.  Some of them were HILARIOUS!  I loved finding out what things each student felt were important parts of our classroom. For example, I recently changed my wall-space in the classroom to put all of our anchor charts.  I divided a wall into headings of Reading, Writing, Math, and Science.  I guess it really makes a difference in one friend's eyes because that was his #1: "We have new posters in the CORRECT space!"  A few others needed to let her know that I was the first and foremost teacher because the made it clear that  "Our REAL teacher is Mrs. Strang."  Teehee!  I love them too!!   Here's a couple of pics of the book.  You can find it at my TPT store HERE for FREE!

Are any of you hosting a student teacher this semester?  Any advice to keep her feeling a part of our classroom and help her to become one of those fabulous teachers?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome 2014 - DAY 4 Professional Goals

So -- I'm excited to think about all these goals but now I'm beginning to wonder which ones will stick and which ones will fall by the wayside.  I almost feel like I'm adding to my never-ending checklist.  Do any of you have one of those?  My hubby is beginning his first year as a middle-school teacher this week and I keep telling his military mind to shut off because all those tasks/ideas he's got will eventually form into his own never-ending list of things to do.  He's about to understand my world up close and personally!  Any-who…Professional Goals are:
  1. To really get into this amazing new dimension to my life as a teacher -- blogger/TPT store owner.  I am so in love with this world.  I don't know why I'm so late to the party.  I like how several others have put a true goal of blogging once a day and uploading freebies & products once a month.  I might try a little lower and if I attain that level, I will be able to celebrate bigger!  
  2. Team, team, team!  I am so excited to collaborate and get ideas from this world.  I also know that there are many amazing teachers right in my own school.  This is only my 2nd year at this school and so I think it is time to make the rounds and get in some great collaboration groups at school.  Especially with my own 2nd grade team of teachers.  
  3. I will have a Student Teacher join me in a week.  She will be here for the rest of the year.  I'm excited to help, lead, and learn from a young, eager, educator.  So that goal is not just lead but learn too.
  4. It's time to get that Masters Degree.  My hubby and I keep talking about it.  Time to make it a reality!  I LOVE to learn so I'm going to put my student hat on too!
So what are your professional goals?  Any suggestions to help with mine?  Stop by Blog Hoppin' and link up with us.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oops! Day 2 & 3 of 2014 Linky

Linking in with Blog Hoppin'

Welcome 2014 Day 2 - Craft & Creating 

I absolutely love to be creative!  Problem is…when??  When I lived in FL, I had a group of gals that encouraged the creativity with regular, fun-filled scrapbooking nights.  It at least gave me a fix of being able to create.  Before that, I used to spend countless hours creating elaborate bulletin boards at a school (oh the life of a new teacher).  But now, for some reason (hmmm), I just don't seem to get to be crafty/creative as much as I NEED.  With the exciting world of Pinterest and TPT, I have so many ideas.  And even made some feeble attempts.  I just need to find make the time to commit to those things.   So, I have my TPT store with a few items already posted.  Goal = spend time in the summer creating all the ideas I have floating around in my head.  Then I have scrapbooking.  Goal = print out some of the pics we've taken since the BIG move from FL to CA to TX.  And in the meantime, find ways to create some of those great ideas from Pinterest.  Here are a few I've done this past year:
Teacher Gift for one of Destiny's Teachers

Recent Bulletin Board idea from Pinterest

TX Homecoming Mums for Dejah & Elijah's girlfriend

Welcome 2014 Day 3 - Fitness

Ok -- let me be honest…I haven't thought much about my fitness goals for this year.  Not that I didn't need to.  So let me say, "thank you" Blog Hoppin' for helping me put some important ideas/resolutions into my already cramped space inside my head.  Here they are:

Yes -- last year I began my Ideal Protein journey.  I started in late July and by the end of November, I was down just about 40lbs!!  40 lbs!!  Whew!  Where did those things creep in?  I reached my goal with a lot of work, determination, and just a few break downs (yeah -- I'm talking tears and all).  I probably could stand to lose a few more.  But since it was time for the holidays and with that comes lots of yumminess (is that a word?), I decided to stop and maintain at this weight and move further with exercise and eating habits.  

Which leads me to my next goal.  Before I lost the weight, I actually took up running.  I used to Hate to run (that is with a capital H).  But in 2011, when Dennis went out on a 6 month deployment, I decided to try a silly little app called C25K.  I LOVED running!  I dropped a few pounds at that point too.  But the bigger reward was the enjoyment.  In September I ran my 1st 5k and finished it in about 45 minutes.  It was such an accomplishment.  Well now I want to get back to running.  Everybody keeps telling me that now that I lost the weight, I will probably enjoy running even more.  So it's time to lace back up.  We have even talked about doing a 5k together as a family.  You know…one of those fun ones like Color Run or something. 

And I guess if I'm doing the running thing, I'd better do the eating thing too.  All over Pinterest and Facebook I keep seeing posts about eating clean.  I got a little taste of that type of diet with IP.  There were some great recipes that I tried and so I think if we slowly began to take that approach to eating and cooking, I could get the whole family involved in thinking about how much better it would be for all of us to do it.  Plus, Dennis keeps reading information about how clean eating seems to be the way to go to get away from all the possible causes of cancer.  Maybe there is something to it.  I plan on looking further and getting us all on board (yes honey, you too!).  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January CURRENTLY Linky

Ok -- where have I been?  I love this little idea of CURRENTLY.  I've seen them on various blogs that I peruse and never put the pieces together.  I thought I'd give it a try.  Check out Oh' Boy 4th Grade HERE & let the journey begin:

Listening - Of course, I was the one that introduced my poor hubby to his new game obsession.  I gave up long ago and only go back to that wonderful world of matching candy pieces only when I have a moment of complete nothingness (is that a word?).  I only find those moments on vary rare occasions like a waiting room at the orthodontist.  My husband on the other hand, finds many, many opportunities to match the colorful candies.  And usually, he has several words and phrases that come out of his mouth while doing so.

Loving - Of course I know this vacation time is dwindling down & fast!!  But that doesn't stop the trick my mind is playing on me.  I'm loving all the sleep in time and stay up late time I'm finding.

Thinking - I need to get back on schedule.  I hate how I do this to myself on long breaks and then struggle the first few days of school because I can't make my mind stop and GO TO SLEEP!!

Wanting - They are calling me!!  I secretly think my hubby makes these delicious cookies and knowingly makes so many that he puts them on the counter to entice me!! UGH

Needing - I have a Student Teacher joining us the 2nd week back from break and I want to have my classroom ready for her (her own desk area, supplies, etc.).  Plus I have some new things I want to get up and going.  I NEED to get into that classroom and get busy.

Memory from this Xmas - Our family trip to NM!  Fun, snow, family, food, memories!!  And I've decided that the new Strang family tradition is a ski trip each winter!!

2014 Kick-Off with a Linky Party

I LOVE Linky Parties!!  Time for another…

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again to kick off the New Year as a better blogger.

Day 1 - Fun & Family

My husband, Dennis and I have a beautiful, blended family of seven (six of us under one roof).
  Terrell - 16
Dejah - 16
Destiny - 11
Elijah - 14
Our family has had adventure since the day we got together.  In the last 2 years we have lived in 3 different states and traveled during most the major holidays.  This year we took a trip to NM to visit my family for Christmas.  We made some fun memories.

First time down-hill skiing for Dennis and the kids (well Elijah & Terrell snowboarded).  It was so much fun watching the smiles and laughter.  


With all the moving and traveling we have done as a family, we have lots of great memories.  The kids are growing up so quickly.  A Fun & Family resolution is to create some more of those great memories before they begin heading off to college.  
  • Ski Bunnies - After re-sparking my love for snow skiing, I told my hubby that we need to take a ski trip at least once a year.  He agreed for now.  
  • Passports Please! - We also want to try and get the whole fam on a trip over seas.  Dennis has been to so many countries during his career in the US Navy but now we want to go together.  Particularly to Africa so we can give them that humbling experience.
  • Family Fun - My goal is to get us together in our home more often.  It seems like we are constantly going (football, baseball, band, choir, etc…).  It would be fun to find some "stay at home" activities.  Pinterest…here I come.
  • Date Nights - Dennis and I have never really had a hard time sneaking out and doing our own fun.  I think we have slowed down a bit now that we got back to TX.  I think it is time to make a clear plan to have those date nights scheduled.
So hopefully we can make those memories happen.