Monday, December 17, 2012

In Remembrance

I know I am not alone when I say that this weekend was pretty tough. I cried the whole way home from school on Friday, and didn't feel like myself all weekend. I just felt numb, in a funk, confused, and upset. I was also in the process of actually becoming sick (both my boyfriend and about half the kids in my class are dealing with something icky, and it's finally found its way to me). I had a heavy heart and a heavy head full of sinus congestion. I couldn't stop thinking about the teachers, students, families, first responders, and community of Newtown, Connecticut.

In the wake of this tragedy, I have found solace in remembering that with the bad, there is also good. I believe goodness will always triumph over evil. I have faith in and believe in humanity. I have faith in children, teachers, families, friends, neighbors, and strangers. I believe in kindness, compassion, grief, acceptance, and selflessness. Above all, I have faith in love. I believe in love. With these things, we can bring peace and comfort to all those who are suffering and bearing the weight of so much unimaginable pain.

As of right now, I don't know what else to do or say other than share this with y'all, as well as the illustration below. Seeing it helped me, and maybe it will help you, too.

Source: Lisa Congdon
To the people of Newtown: we carry you with us. You are not alone.

Have a blessed rest of the week with your family, students, friends, and colleagues, and may your holidays be filled with peace and love.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Rocket, our class' shelf on the shelf! Rocket first came to my class last year, and I have been looking forward to his return this year. On Monday, his first day, we discovered him on top of our TV, and noticed he had brought snowflakes! He also wrote us a letter, and he said he thought everyone should have snow around Christmas, so that's why he brought some to us! He is not used to 80 degree days in December!

Then on Wednesday, he perched himself on top of the dry erase board. When we noticed him there, I told the kids I was a little nervous about his new spot because last year, he sat in that same spot and halfway through the day he fell, but his legs stayed put, so he ended up hanging upside down for the rest of the day! But, we think he learned from his accident, and that's why he was holding on to the flag pole. It worked, too, because this year he didn't fall - crisis averted!

That day, he also brought us a special mail box to use. Rocket likes to write letters to us, so he thought it would be useful to have this mailbox so that we could have a special and safe place to put our notes to each other. Now, the first thing the kids do when they get to school is look for Rocket and check the mailbox to see if he's left us anything special!

My students decided it would be a good idea to keep all his letters in one place so that way they wouldn't get lost (and so that they could go back and read them!), so I found a binder to use and now Rocket's letters are kept here, neat and tidy, just like the teacher likes! The portrait of Rocket was done by one of my students!

Then, on Thursday, the most exciting thing happened! Rocket brought a little Christmas tree to our class! There was no note on the tree, however, so at first, we didn't know if Rocket brought it or not. But, we've recently been learning about inferencing and how to draw conclusions, so my students determined that Rocket must have been the one who brought the tree because (a) I told the kids I didn't put it up, (b) Rocket was on the tree, and (c) he had told us in a previous letter that he would always leave something for us every day, be it a note or something else.

I am glad to have a shelf elf in my class because it makes the holiday season that much more fun and exciting. And, as it turns out, Rocket isn't just visiting our class to keep an eye on us - he told us in one of his letters that he wants to learn more about the 7 Habits from my students! Rocket takes his job as a shelf elf very seriously, and he told us that he would one day like to be a leader among shelf elves. He said he thinks learning about the 7 Habits could help him be a better leader, and this has motivated my students to use and model the habits more than they have been recently. So, my students are remembering to make good choices, and Rocket is learning from their example - it's a win-win!

I'll be back next week to share a few more holiday ideas and to give an update on what Rocket has done! Do you have a shelf elf in your classroom or at home? I'd love to hear stories of what your elves have done!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently

Tomorrow, very special holiday visitor will be coming to my class, but before I run up to my school to prepare for his arrival, I wanted to share this month's Currently:
I used my new Maggie font for this month's Currently. If you like it, you can grab it here!
Oh, pop music. I love it. All of it. I grew up with the likes of Britney and Nsync, can you blame me? Every time I hear a song I like on the radio, I Shazaam it on my phone and then add it to a pop music playlist on YouTube. I also recently bought Taylor Swift's new album because one of my students picked DJ for a Day for her reward, and she brought the CD to class and I immediately fell in love (my favorite tracks are I Knew You Were Trouble and 22).

Part of the reason I love doing these every month is because it's nice to have these to look back on and see what was going on in my life each month. This month in particular I am loving (no, LOVING!) the fact that my mom got a new job and will be moving to Houston in just a few weeks. When I graduated from college in 2007, my mom was offered a job that took her to Africa (Algeria, to be specific), and after about a year and a half there, she moved to Beijing, China. Then, when my grandmother's mental health began to decline, my mom moved back to the states to live closer to her mom in North Carolina. So, for nearly six years, I haven't lived in the same state as my mom, so I am over the moon excited for her return to Texas. She will be moving here during my last week of school, so the timing couldn't be better. I can't wait to have her be just a few hours away!

I have no idea what to get my boyfriend for Christmas! What do you get for a guy who says he doesn't need or want anything? I'm open to suggestions!

I'm sure I'm not alone in needing more sleep. This past week, specifically, however, I couldn't seem to fall asleep before midnight, and because of that, I developed a nasty twitch in my right eye. I could feel it flare up every now and then, but I didn't realize other people could SEE it until one of the kids in my guided reading groups said something about it! He tried to be so polite about it, too, but you could tell he was kinda freaked out that my eye was going crazy! My boyfriend has a Temper-Pedic pillow and I love it, so I'm thinking I should get one of those to help me sleep.

Last weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and buy myself a new MacBook. My old MacBook laptop is five years old and doesn't do what I need it to anymore, so even though I'll be pinching pennies for awhile to pay for the new one, it has been SO nice to have a computer that works well again! Now I just need some time to transfer everything from my old computer to my new one.

My RAK is from last week - one of my teammates had a terrible day (like the kind where you just want to quit your job right then and there), so to cheer him up, another teacher and I blasted some uplifting music in the third grade hallway to let him know he's our hero and that we love him. During Red Ribbon Week last month, my third grade team and I all wore shirts with each others' pictures on them to show we were each others' heroes, so that's why we played the hero music for him after his bad day!
Me (on the left) and my third grade team with our hero shirts.
Our third graders got a kick out of us dancing and lip syncing to the music in the hall. It was a fun way to start the day!

Another fun way to start the day is by doing this:
That's our assistant principal, me, our principal, and librarian doing the chicken dance in front of 500+ students, teachers, and parents at our awards assembly on Friday. Because at my school, we work hard, play hard, and dance hard, too.

Have a great week, friends! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Sale on TpT!

Hey y'all! Can you believe Thanksgiving is already over?! My sister and I both live in Austin, and we went to North Carolina to visit our mom. The three of us always have such a great time together. My mom and sister are two of the most understanding, generous, and thoughtful people I know, and my heart is full after getting to spend a week with them. We did a little shopping, spent some time with my grandmother (she moved into an assisted living facility in February), and did a little wine tasting.
My sister, mom, and me.
My mom also pulled out a bunch of old cards and school + artwork that my sister and I had sent our grandparents over the years. My sister discovered this spelling test I took in the second grade:
She and my mom just about died laughing at the irony of how I got a 100 on a spelling test, but spelled the word 'spelling' wrong. Glad I've since learned how to spell that word right now that I'm a teacher! :)

On Thursday, we went to Charlotte to have Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of my mom's family. My cousin John got married in March, and his wife Sarah's parents also came down for Thanksgiving. On my mom's side, there are only four grandchildren, and we're all close in age, so we always have a blast playing games and catching up whenever we're all together.
My lovely family!
I didn't get back to Austin until late Friday, so I've been working like crazy to get things done before the weekend is over. I've gotten a lot of work done at home, but I'll be heading up to my school this afternoon to get a few things ready for tomorrow. I've also been preparing for TpT's giant Cyber Monday + Tuesday sale! Starting tomorrow, you can take 10% off your purchases from TpT if you use the code cmt12 at checkout. I'm joining in with a bunch of other bloggers and TpT sellers to offer an additional 20% off everything in my TpT store. (PS - I decided to start my sale early, so everything in my store is already discounted!) I just uploaded another new font (this one's called Bita, named after my crazy kitten), so be sure to check it out as well as all my other fonts + products before this awesome sale ends on Tuesday!
I've got a bunch of awesome products on my wishlist, so now I've just got to fill up my cart so I can jump straight to the checkout line tomorrow on TpT!

Have a great afternoon, and don't forget to support your fellow teachers by cyber shopping on TpT tomorrow and Tuesday! (Many thanks to Ashley for the cute button!)