Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Teacher Hero

On TPT we are celebrating teacher hero. So it got me thinking about my teacher hero. We all have at least 1 teacher who stands out in our memory as being the best. The teacher who meant the most. Maybe the teacher who "got us".

*Insert transitional harp music*

My 4th grade teacher was Tillie Williams. I adored her to no end. She was nice when needed, sarcastic always, and tough when necessary. She made everything interesting when she taught. It was simply a fabulous year.

She sticks out to me also because of going above and beyond in one particular instance. My parents went away on a trip one week and their best friends kept me and my brother. The night that they left we had gone out to eat and were coming home. As we pulled into the garage, a furry black animal ran across. The next few minutes were filled with us running from a  horrible smell that infiltrated our car and the garage.

As we ran from the skunk... we all got sprayed as did the garage, the car, and the trunk with my suitcase of clothes. Showers, baths, and new clothes....we all went to work and school the next morning. After a few hours, I had been teased and picked on all day because I was still a tad stinky.

What does this all have to do with my teacher? She  left school and took me to my grandmother's house so that I could shower and change into non-skunked clothes. Then she took me back to school and the teasing stopped.

Now, while this might NEVER happen today... it made a huge difference to me at the age of 8/9 years old to see a teacher who would go way above and beyond. It serves as a reminder to me of the kindness that people should have towards one another to go out of their way to help.

Today we are celebrating teachers as our heroes on TPT. I hope that you come by and join in on the fun!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

How Do I Change My Blog Layout?

After my post yesterday (see here how to add an Instagram slide show), I had a couple of questions about how to add widgets and change layouts of your blog. If you haven't explored your blog yet, here's a quick tutorial on how to get there starting from your blog's Dashboard:

On your Dashboard, there is a drop down tab that you can click on to give you a list of options to look at, edit, and create with in your blog.

On the drop down tab, there is an option called Layout. Click on this and it will take you to a new screen.

This new screen shows you the pieces of your blog. To create a new piece to your blog you can click Add a Gadget. There are TONS of different gadgets that you can play around with. If you want to add the Instagram code, you will need to add the HTML/JavaScript gadget:

To add something new to it, all you have to do is click the word Edit for it to open up and you can change it, add to it, and customize it to fit your needs.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Instagram Me!!

I love this new piece to my blog! I have been eyeing the scrolling Instagram feeds on some of my friends' blogs. I really wanted to add one...

And look! I did! It was so easy too!

All you need to do is go to

You type in your username for Instagram and it automatically gives you your code. Simply add a HTML widget to your sidebar and insert the code. Voila!

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Picture is Worth At Least 5 lbs.: February's Bright Idea

I hate carrying my  bag home each night to grade. It's not the grading... it's the fact that my bag weighs SO much! I remember when I was pregnant, my husband bought me a rolling cart so that I wouldn't carry so much! I finally figured out a GREAT, 1st PLACE idea way to eliminate pounds of weight. 

Simply use this:

Simply take a picture of the answer key that you need to be able to grade! 

Then you can leave that silly, old, heavy as sin teacher manual at school. Isn't it wonderful to know that you can grade, have the answer key, and not break your back all at the same time?!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 Things to Make A Teacher Go Crazy

How do you make a teacher go crazy? Here is how...

#1- Have plans go awry... for example my student teacher was out so I taught her plans today. Definitely no big deal... until the internet went on the fritz and I had several video clips that the entire lesson was dependent on... 5th grade science doesn't have a lot of interactive, grade-appropriate 'visuals' available.

#2- Pink eye.. yep the teacher has pink eye! I would never, ever wish this on someone else!

#3- Add an award ceremony... in the middle of a class period. No biggie by itself but when you start adding things one on top of the other...

#4- Pull out kids weren't pulled out?

#5- The 'S' word happened.. yep, with my big huge picture window in all it's glory...

Obviously it wasn't like that at all but I swear that's what they thought it was. Not a bad day all in all.. but wow! It was a doozy!!

How was your day?

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What I Want to Wear Wednesday

Oh the things I have found on line this week! Check it out and don't forget to follow my boards on Pinterest to stay up-to-date!

I just bought my first pair of Toms and I am so in love with them already! They are light and comfy!

The chunky sweater and the plaid shirt. I am still in love with the layered combo. This is wonderful!

A bit of Spring made it's way into my Pinterest feed this week. I am absolutely in love with the navy blue for pretty much all seasons!

What are your new favorite pins? Make sure to follow me so I can follow you back!

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Sugar Coma Leads to Bright Ideas

The life of a real teacher. It sounds like a great thing to share, doesn't it? I love Valentine's Day because my kiddos always get so excited to share their love and friendship with others in their classroom. It's one of the perfect times of the year to celebrate the classroom culture and community.

It always makes me think of how we can set up a positive classroom community and culture at the beginning of the school year.

Do you have something that you always do? I'd love to hear from you about it!

My go-to ideas come from this book:

It's a WONDERFUL collection of ideas, activities, greetings, and fun for students in your classroom. Plus it's organized and sorted with a helpful chart to show you what time of the year it's best for and what grade level it's appropriate for. Love it!

Check out my Pinterest board to see loads of great ideas on morning meeting and how to make it work for you!

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Diverse/Multi Leveled Guided Reading Groups: The Planning

How can you meet the needs of a diverse guided reading group? While I am teaching 5th this year, there is a need for someone who can pull a guided reading group of Kindergarteners who are a mix of As and Bs.

They are apparently struggling to make any progress at all. So, I thought it would be fun to show you how I am going to 'tackle' this challenge. I am going to have 5 students: 3 As and 2 Bs (that have declined from Cs). I'm going to organize this mini-challenge like a diary with reflections, ideas, and links. Hopefully this will help some one else to see how this 'might' work! (Exclaimer: I am not proclaiming I am the expert on guided reading but I sure hope I can teach these pumpkins to read!!)

Here is my plan for day 1:

Before reading: Sight Words, Sight Words, Sight Words!! I even made this great new set just for my new kiddos!

During reading:
I am going to make sure to engage their attention the WHOLE time we are reading... how can I possibly do that you ask? With these:

Glow Witch Fingers

The students LOVE them!! It's so much fun for the kiddos to wear them and point out their words.

After reading:
Responding. Our first book is going to be about things that a little boy likes to eat. So my first response will be on index cards. I already have them written up with the sentence prompt 'I like _____." Easy Peasy but it makes them transfer their learning and retain the comprehension.

This helps the lower level... now I just need to plan for the upper level... I'll be splitting the group in two and giving a word work game to each. I have these two already made up:

I am using beginning sounds for the lower group and the middle sounds for the upper group. So glad I have letter magnets all ready to go with it!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

QR Scavenger Hunt

How do you introduce a culture? Starting with Google.. as always.. and I found nothing! Well, not true. I found lots of webpages with great examples and information. But nothing that was really engaging my attention. That means that it probably would not engage my students' attention. So I decided to create something that would simply scream...

The 1950's WERE AWESOME!!

I wasn't asking too much right? Well, after the Google Summit this past weekend, I decided to tackle something supremely amazing for my students.

 My students totally and completely L-O-V-E-D it!!

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pear Deck... stepping up your classroom to AMAZING!

If you read the other day, you saw that I spent last weekend at the Google Apps for Education conference in ATL. I am so excited to have been able to use several items from this weekend.

My favorite is called Pear Deck. Think about when you present something to students... new content. You want visuals. You want engaging content. You want participation. What if I told you that you could do all of those things in one?

Here's how it works:

Still not sold? Check out this great app on your Google Drive for free! I am insanely excited about it!

Since I needed to review for a social studies test today. I spent yesterday trying out Pear Deck with my classroom while reviewing with my students.

Now, since they were on iPads, I couldn't take pictures without their faces in them. But I wanted to show you 2 of the views that you can see:

This shows you the presentation view (the desk top) and the teacher view (my laptop). On the students' view, they are able to answer questions, text answers, or draw/circle to show answers. The presentation mode shows the question, engaging images/videos, or results from answers. On my teacher view, I get a dashboard to see who has answered, what the students are doing in real time, and can quickly assess learning. 

Engaging. Easy to create. Educational to the extreme. Amazing!

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Google Southern Summit- Awesome Sauce!

Guess where I got to go this weekend?!?! To a land of amazing-ness!

Oh yeah... it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!

Just look at these sponsors who were there to share:

Did you notice the arrow?
Oh, and the circle?

Yeah.. it's kind of my favorite! I am using it tomorrow to seriously engage my students in a review. I am beyond psyched!! 

What is it you ask?

Check this out:

I will definitely show you tomorrow how my lesson goes!! In the meantime, totally check out Pear Deck! It's a Google App through your Google Drive. 

Awesome sauce!

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