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July 29, 2015

Assess Me Linky

Today, I'm linking up with The Tattooed Teacher for her Assess Me! Linky.


Assessments usually get me down, but this is so quick and easy...I had to join in the fun!


So, here goes!


1. I talk constantly, but not to myself.

2. I'm not at all superstitious. The logical part of me won't allow me to be superstitious.

3. I have cracked my knuckles since I was a teenager, and I have the manly hands to prove it.

See?

4. I'm always hungry. I wake up hungry, and I go to sleep hungry. I love food. I finished dinner less than an hour ago, and I'm already thinking about what I'm going to snack on later this evening.

5. My husband and daughter are playing NBA Basketball on the Wii. She is freakishly good at this game.

6. I had my wisdom teeth taken out when I was a teenager. All I remember about the experience is that I was totally knocked out, and when I woke up and tried to walk out of the office, I almost passed out. My mom bought me a chocolate McDonald's milkshake on the way home from the dentist's office. As soon as I walked in the door at home, I promptly threw the entire milkshake up, along with all of the blood that I had swallowed during surgery. It was disgusting.

7. Yes! I actually showered today! It's a mid-week miracle!

8. I've never been to Disney. And, though this may be shocking to some, I have no real urge to go. 

9. I've worn glasses since I was nine years old. My first pair was a tan plastic-rimmed pair, and they were the ugliest things I'd ever seen. Thankfully, glasses have gotten a lot more fashionable over the years.

 One of my fave pairs.

10. I am a life-long Marylander. I love my little state.

Go link up! It's fun and easy!

July 28, 2015

SALE! SALE! SALE!

I just looked closely at my calendar for the first time all summer, and it suddenly dawned on me that my summer is quickly coming to an end (for all of you who have already returned, you have my sympathy!).

So, to help you get ready for the craziness that is the Back to School season, I've decided to throw a SALE!


My ENTIRE store will 20% off from August 1st-August 4th, including all Classroom Decor Sets and Teacher Binders. I'm also planning to revamp a few of my best sellers. Is there anything else that you need that I can create for you in time for my sale? I'm feeling creative, and I'd love to make something that will help you out! Just leave me a comment below, and I'll see what I can do!

July 27, 2015

Monday Made It

I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics!


I've been working on what feels like five hundred projects, all at once, as you can probably tell by looking at the current state of my little desk.

Just looking at this picture gives me hives. On the left are numbers that I've laminated and that I'm planning to use for the magnet board that hangs by my classroom door. 

Mine looks a little like this one, but, of course, mine is polka dot. I used this kind of board last year, and it was fantastic...except that the magnet tape kept falling off the back of the numbers (no matter how many times I reapplied hot glue!). I'm getting serious this year, and I'm using super glue.

Anyway, on to this week's completed Monday Made It projects.


I had planned to work on my students' Birthday Bags today, but then, I read Alison's Monday Made It, and I became OBSESSED with creating a banner for my TPT store. I used Camping Teacher's awesome PowerPoint freebie to get me started, and I also used Stories by Storie's amazing blog post to give me some inspiration. Here are some pics of my new-and-improved TPT store!

Check out my new banner!

I also updated my store listings, using these cute bullets (I figure that they look enough like polka dots to make me happy). I used this tutorial from Glitter Meets Glue to help me.

I also added custom categories to my store so it's easier for customers to navigate.

I even updated the quote that's at the top of my TPT store. This is my favorite teaching quote of all time.
As much as I tried to hold off on buying school supplies for my own kiddos until August, I decided to give in today because swimming lessons were canceled, and the kids were getting cagey. So, off to Target we went! 

This is what my dining room table looked like, once I had unpacked everything. Would you believe me if I told you that all of this cost $95?!?!? Unreal.

Last year (yes, it's shocking that it took me so long), I started using Avery labels in my classroom for everything. I printed a page of 1"x 2 5/8" labels for each of my own kiddos.

I plastered these puppies on every single item we bought, even though I know that a lot of the supplies will be communal. It just made life so much simpler! Now, I have four Target bags sitting in the corner of my classroom, ready for August 25th.

Since I've been home for the summer, I've had more time than I usually do for cooking. This, for obvious reasons, can be a good and a bad thing. I've written before about how much I adore Iowa Girl Eats' recipes. I have literally never made a bad one. When I saw her recipe for Strawberry Angel Food Cake Jars, I had to give it a go. I mean, homemade angel food cake, homemade whipped cream, and fresh berries? What's not to love?

They. Were. Amazing. I decided to use raspberries instead of strawberries, and they were mind-blowing. For some reason, food in a mason jar always tastes better, too.

So, that's what I've been up to! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for my Class Dojo Pack!

July 22, 2015

Do You Dojo? and a GIVEAWAY

Class Dojo is just about the coolest thing to hit the education profession in recent years (at least in my humble opinion). Have you heard of it? Do you use it? If you haven't and you don't, then this post is for you! If you are already a Dojo fan, stick with me! There's a giveaway at the end (who doesn't love a giveaway?).

Class Dojo is a FREE online classroom management tool that utilizes a points system for behavior. It also allows you to stay in contact with parents so that they can be informed about their children's classroom behavior. Go here to get started. Once you've created your profile, you're ready to create a class.


I love the fact that you can create as many classes as you want. This came in especially useful several years ago when my team switched classes for both Language Arts and Science. I had three classes on Dojo: my homeroom class, my Language Arts class, and my Science classes. 


Once you've assigned your class a name and a grade, you're ready to begin adding students' names.

You can import your students' names from Word, or you can type in their names manually. Each child is assigned a Dojo avatar.

Now, you're ready to connect your students' parents to Class Dojo. See? I told you it was awesome sauce.


The site creates a Parent Letter that you can download and send home. I personalized this letter and added it to my Class Dojo pack that you can find here. (Again, stick with me. Giveaway on its way!)

Next, you have the opportunity to set up your behaviors, both positive and those that need some improvement. 

 You can change these and make them meet your needs.

You can do the same with these.

Now, you're ready to start assigning points!

To assign points, simply click on a student's name. You will be given the choice to either assign a point for a positive behavior, or you can take away a point for a behavior that needs improvement.

You can even assign points to a group of students. This is great for cooperative learning groups!

You can also use Dojo to keep track of attendance, award points to multiple students, choose a student at random, and it even has a timer feature.

The site also has several options for running reports on student behaviors.


You can send messages, via email, to your students' parents, as well. You can either send a whole group message, or you can send a message to an individual parent.


So...are you sold? If so, head on over to TPT to download my Class Dojo pack. The pack includes the following:

 Parent Letter, explaining the features of Class Dojo 

This letter also gives parents the opportunity to provide an email address, which you will use to stay in touch about students' behavior.

Behavior Note

This note gives you the chance to inform parents immediately about particularly challenging behaviors.

Monthly Certificates

These certificates are handed out at the end of each month to those students who had 90% or higher positive behavior. The certificate entitles the student to each lunch with the teacher.

The best part? This pack is completely EDITABLE! You can make any changes that you need to, based on the needs of your students. Enter my giveaway below for a chance to win the pack!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 21, 2015

Tell Us About You Tuesday

I'm linking up with the gals over at Freebielicious to tell you a little more about myself! This is such a great way to get to know other bloggy friends!

Family

I met KShaf, my husband, during my first year of teaching: I was teaching Pre-K, and he was the school manager at our little school. We first met at a School Improvement Team meeting, and I think I fell in love with him when he laughed at all of my stupid jokes. Three years later, we bought our first house together and were married in front of forty of our closest family and friends.
 This picture sums us up: I am loud, outgoing, opinionated, and I have an obnoxious guffaw of a laugh. KShaf, on the other hand, is quiet, mild-mannered, and one of the most professional people I've ever met. In short? He is the yin to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly, the salt to my pepper. Ten years and still going strong!

KShaf and I have two little ones: Princess A and Deedle.

 This is a picture of the kiddos on their last day of school this past year.

Princess A is going into second grade. She is an empathetic little sweetheart (with a sassy streak), and she loves horses and animals.

 Here's Princess A with her favorite horse, Sunny. We don't own a horse, but we were lucky enough to find a local barn that offers lessons. Princess A started riding when she was five, and she shows no sign of losing interest any time soon! When she grows up, she wants to be a horse trainer or a veterinarian (but, personally, I think she'd make an amazing teacher, too!).

Deedle is six years old, and he'll be starting first grade in the fall. He is funny, spunky, and unpredictable! He doesn't sugar coat anything: what you see is what you get with him! We didn't plan to have our little ones sixteen months apart, but having them close in age has been the most amazing blessing. They get on each others' nerves (like all siblings do), but they are also best friends. I love watching them play together.

Deedle is obsessed with insects right now. Here he is with one of the butterflies that he caught on our butterfly bush. He has a knack for capturing critters: in the past week, he has brought home a Luna moth caterpillar, several butterflies, and more toads than I can count. 

We also have a fantastic eleven year-old border collie, named McKinley. He is the best family dog we could ever ask for, and we're pretty sure that he thinks Princess A and Deedle are his little flock of sheep.

 I love the expression on his face in this picture. "Hand over the granola bar, and no one gets hurt. Seriously."

Recently, we added two guinea pigs and a mud turtle to our menagerie.

 The piggies were a Christmas gift for Princess A, and she adores them. Here, she is reading an Accelerated Reader book to them (classic teacher's child!).

 Deedle found Torkle in our window well the morning after we returned from traveling to Pennsylvania. She is low maintenance, and she keeps to herself, but Deedle loves her.

Teaching

This year will be my fourteenth (YIKES!!!) year in the teaching profession.  I have my Bachelors degree in Drama with a minor in Music from a wonderful liberal arts college here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I taught Preschool and Elementary Music at a small private school for one year, and then, I returned to school and received my Masters of Arts in Teaching, with a focus in Early Childhood Education. I've taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, first grade, and third grade, and I have worked in three different schools. As I enter my sixth year of teaching first grade, I have to say that first grade is where my heart is. I absolutely adore teaching firsties!

Here is my first grade class picture. Can you spot me?
(I'm in red, next to my favorite teacher of all time, Mrs. Potter. Yes, I was the teacher's pet.)

Hobbies

Working full time and being a mother to two small children doesn't leave a lot of time for hobbies. I love to read, though, and I am a reality T.V. junkie (anything on Bravo is fine with me). Two years ago, I started running, using the Couch to 5K app, and believe it or not, I am hooked! I have run three 5Ks, two 10Ks, and I'm training to run my first half-marathon this October (eek!). 

 SpurDog is my most favorite running buddy. I'm so glad she is always there to motivate me, professionally and personally!

So, that's a little about me. Head over to Freebielicious and link up!

July 13, 2015

Destination Vacation Linky

Y'all know how much I love a good linky, and when I stopped over to visit my friend, Alison at Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin', I discovered that she and Miss Nelson (another favorite blogger) are having a fantastic linky going on, all about vacation destination spots! So, of course, I had to join the fun.


If you've visited my little blog before, you know how much I love the beach. Dreaming of spending long days in the sun is what gets me through cold, snowy Maryland winters. Thankfully, I only live fifteen minutes from a wonderful little local beach, in Oxford, Maryland. 

1. Oxford, Maryland 

Beautiful, quaint, Oxford!

So, when I can't make the drive to the ocean, I head to "The Strand" (that's what the locals call it) for some fun in the sun with my little ones.

It's quiet and calm here, and it's perfect for families with small children. We've been taking Princess A and Deedle since they were tiny.



Must See: The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, Waterfront Park and Playground
Must Eat: Highland Creamery (best ice cream I've ever had, anywhere!), Schooner's, Robert Morris Inn (amazing brunch menu)

2. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland


We are really lucky to live only an hour and a half from the ocean. KShaf and I aren't big fans of the hustle and bustle of Ocean City, so instead, we take the family to Assateague Island National Seashore. Several years ago, we discovered that it is way more convenient to drive onto the beach than to walk on (particularly with two young children in tow...they have so much stuff!), so we purchased an OSV (Over Sand Vehicle) pass, and we can drive KShaf's truck right onto the beach.

We usually pack a cooler full of food and drinks (there's nothing like a cold Corona and lime at the beach), and we spend the entire day, hunting for shells and digging for mole crabs. 

Did I mention there are wild ponies roaming around? Oh, right! You will see them just about everywhere: in the marsh, on the beach, and usually in the parking lots, looking for handouts from unsuspecting tourists (just don't forget that they're wild and they do bite!). It's pretty amazing to see!

3. Outer Banks, North Carolina

 Ah, paradise. My favorite place ever.

My family started visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina every summer since I was six years old, and it holds a lot of great memories for me. KShaf and I took Princess A when she was only six months old (not the easiest thing we've ever done, but it was still fun!).

That face! That hat! That bathing suit!

We try to go back as often as we can. Sadly, this summer, we didn't make it (we had about a million home repairs that took priority), but since next summer, KShaf and I will be celebrating our ten year anniversary, we've committed to make a family trip (and staying oceanfront, if this lady has her way!).


Coquinas!

Must See: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, The Ocracoke Ferry, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Must Eat (my favorite!): The Captain's Table (to die for hushpuppies), Orange Blossom Cafe and Bakery (the Apply Ugly is a breakfast lover's fantasy), Gingerbread House Bakery, The Fish House (steamed Carolina shrimp the size of your head)

Crap. Now I really, really want an Apple Ugly and a big plate of steamed shrimp. Guess I'll have to wait until next summer!