Friday, July 24, 2015

Five for Friday: July 24

FRIDAY!!!!!  Which means it's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching.  Here are 5 things about my week:

Twitter!  In this post last week, I mentioned how I was in Social Media Overload.  I guess I have been trying too many things at once.  I tried my first Twitter Chat  last Saturday morning, and it was pretty cool.  It was all for newbies like me at #nt2t (New Teachers to Twitter).  It was a lot of affirmation of why teachers should be using Twitter to connect with other educators.  I definitely made some connections and gained several new followers.  Now I am looking forward to participating in some other live chats and really seeing where Twitter can take me. 

Global Connections/Collaboration!  Next week, I get to present at my district's Summer Institute (our annual staff development).  I am working with 3 other phenomenal teachers to develop a session on the value of making connections and how that can be used in the classroom.  It has been a great experience to learn from some teachers who regularly use social media to connect their classrooms with others.  
       Side note: one member of my group is a high school science teacher who just came back from an exploration of the Galapagos Islands and has traveled to every continent except Africa for the sake of science.  Without going into too much detail, she is my new hero.

My new sneakers!  

I wasn't blogging much last summer/fall when I somehow tore a tendon in my ankle.  Before that, I was attempting to be a runner, and I had a really nice pair of Mizuno's.  I ended up wearing them out during while I recovered from my ankle injury.  I mostly only wore one shoe (while the other was in either a cast or a walking boot).  When I was able to wear both shoes, I had my hurt foot in a brace.  The brace must have destroyed that sneaker so that now I have been getting crazy blisters on that foot when I try to go walking.  So...I finally went to get a new pair of sneakers (I'd like to say running shoes, but I was barely a runner before my injury).  I ended up with a pair of Brooks, and so far I am pretty happy!  I like that they have a 30 day return policy, no matter the condition.  After the year I've had, I have a new appreciation for wearing good shoes and taking care of my feet.  I am going for some long walks, and hopefully will work up the courage to run again.

This week's read:  A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve.
A few year's ago, I read The Pilot's Wife by the same author.  I loved that book, so I was looking forward to reading this one.  It is an interesting account of a group of high school friends who have their own sort-of reunion over 25 years later when two members of their group reconnect and decide to get married.  It brings up a lot of "what-if's" for all of them as they reflect the paths that their lives have taken.  There were some slow parts, but I love that the book left me wondering about some of their final decisions.  

My daughter is obsessed with pugs.  We don't have any pets at all, but we may have to seriously consider a pug if we decide to get a dog.  They really are so ugly that they're cute.  I can't decide which is funnier, the screaming or the head tilts.  I just don't want one that snores.

Enjoy your day!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Sunday Scoop

Happy Sunday morning!!!  I am linking up with Teaching Trio for The Sunday Scoop.  Woo-hoo for link parties!  

HAVE to do:

  • Laundry.  Ugh.
  • Does your district use iCurio?  It is an awesome platform for designing assignments, with TONS of ready-to-go resources.  I am working towards my champion status, which is giving me the opportunity to learn even more about this program.  
  • I bought new sneakers yesterday, so I need to try them out by walking.  BUT...I love being able to go bike-riding with my husband.  No fancy sneakers needed!
HOPE to do:
  • There is an art museum in Charlotte that does a free monthly event for kids (half-price for adults: bonus!).  I took my daughter last month and she had a going through the activities and creating with the awesome supplies. Paint pens?  Yes, please!  We didn't even have time to go through the actual art gallery.
  • I have over a hundred years of photos to organize.  I am not exaggerating.  I have taken on the task of putting all of my family's photos into some other format, and there are literally photos from the late 1800's.  Crazy, right?  I have a huge task ahead of me, and I am just trying to get through them a little at a time.
HAPPY to do:
  • I'm really okay with doing anything on my list (besides the laundry), but I really am happy to just sit on the couch in my jammies for a bit while drinking my tea.  Summer will be over too soon, and I just don't take enough time to just do nothing.  
Enjoy your day, friends!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Social Media Overload!!!

Twitter Chats.
Google Hangout.

I seriously am going into Social Media overload.  I always considered myself a tech-savvy person, but I am finding out how behind the times I am.  

Fortunately, I participated in my first Twitter Chat this morning, just for newbies like me!  It was New Teachers to Twitter, otherwise known as #NT2T.  Although I could tell that some of the participants were seasoned Twitter-ites (is that a word?  If not, I just made it one), there were those like me who just struggled with reading the feed of posts.  I was very grateful for those who were helping out us amateurs.  I am also beginning to appreciate the power of the hashtag.

If you have read this and feel my pain of being so new at all of this, please feel free to share your favorite hashtags or live chats to follow.  Thank you!!!!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Five for Friday: July 17

Friday already?  I love summertime, where every day is basically a Friday!  It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly party.  Here are five highlights from my week.

My daughter just turned 8!!!!  I can't believe how big she is getting.  We had a slumber party with a few friends a couple of weeks ago, and this week we celebrated by going to see...
I was an Annie junkie as a kid.  I had the soundtrack (on vinyl) and had it memorized well before the first movie version even came out.  I was about my daughter's age when I first saw it live, so I was beyond excited to get to take her to see it.  And no, I didn't sing along (but I wanted to!).

This week's read...The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.  My sister loaned this to me, as I had never read any books by Elin Hilderbrand before.  I was expecting some sort of beach-themed love story, which is totally not my preferred genre, so I was pleasantly surprised by the aspect of mystery to this book.  The characters are far from perfect, although some situations are not the most plausible (although, I could not imagine living in an idyllic place like Nantucket).  I will definitely check out some other books by her.

Next up...

I was a guest blogger on The Techie Teacher!
One of my goals this summer is to increase my blog following, so I thought that this would be a great way to get some of my ideas out there and reach a larger audience.  I wrote about Wixie, a multi-purpose presentation/creation tool that is big in my school district.  It is great for younger students, so I wanted to share some of the things that we have done with it.  Unfortunately it is not a free program, but I find that many free sites are only good to a certain extent.  If there is something good that could benefit a large population of students, then I think that schools should pay and use it to its potential!

Next up is...

I downloaded this app a few days ago and have been using it to communicate with some teachers that I will be working with to do a global connection presentation.  More on that to come, but so far I am enjoying Voxer.  It is pretty much a walkie-talkie that records your conversations/messages.  It's like a collaborative voice mail on steroids.  One member of my group uses Voxer regularly to collaborate with a wide network of teachers.   I can't wait to learn all of the uses for this app!

Last, but not least...


How cool was the flyby of Pluto?  I mean, NewHorizons has been traveling for 9 years and JUST got there.  
 Seriously, though, I just can't fathom that kind of forethought and planning.  Science is awesome, and I'm glad that there are geniuses who can think like this while I can just sit here in awe.  

You are still loved, Pluto.  Science rocks.  

Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Guest Blogger Post: Wixie

Happy Tuesday!  I am excited to be a guest blogger over at The Techie Teacher. Her blog is an incredible resource of all things technology in the classroom (plus her name is Julie, so you know that she is awesome).
Today I shared some of the highlights of Wixie, a multi-purpose presentation tool that is perfect for elementary students.

You can read my post here:

Thank you, Julie, for the chance to be a part of your awesome blog!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!!!!  I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  I am all about lists this week!

Grilled pizza.  Yum.  I have been bugging my husband for years to try making pizza on our grill, ever since my favorite wood-fired pizza place closed.  He finally got up the courage after our brother-in-law shared some tips.  That, in addition to a few YouTube videos.

I wish that I had taken a picture.  It was a beautiful sight (after a couple of tries, anyway).  We also made our own crust and pizza sauces.  Oh, the things that I can do when I am off for the summer!

One of my new favorites this week is Wonderopolis!
I love learning trivia and little facts about the world, so this is right up my alley.  I have also started following them on Twitter and they followed me right back!  Many of their tweets are inspirational, not just about random facts.  I My friend's husband was able to add this widget to my school website so that my students can now check out the Wonder of the Day!

I have never been able to read books in the car without feeling sick, but for some reason I am not bothered when I read off of my iPad.  Yay!  So on our way to and from Buffalo this past week, I did lots of reading.  I read The Fault in Our Stars on our way back on Monday.  Loved it!  I read Paper Towns by the same author the week before.  Both were good, but I haven't stopped thinking about The Fault in Our Stars.  To me, that is the sign of a great book.  Now I have to see the movie-hope it doesn't disappoint!
My bike.  I am trying to s-l-o-w-l-y get back into exercising after having foot/ankle problems most of the school year.  Riding my bike doesn't seem to aggravate anything too much, so I am trying to do that a few times a week.  I just wish that it wasn't so HOT!!!
Tomorrow we are having a going-away party for my sister who is moving from NC to NJ for her husband's job.  Two of her three kids will still be in NC where they are in college, so hopefully we will still be able to see them once in awhile.  My daughter is very sad, so I am having to be positive for her.  It will be strange not having her here, especially at the holidays.  I guess we need to start planning a road trip!

Enjoy your week, everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Top Ten TV Shows Linky

Good morning!  I am linking up with Third Grade Nest for her first top ten list link party!  This month's topic is Favorite TV Shows.

The TV is on constantly at my house (when we are actually home!), but it is usually Disney Channel shows.  I actually had difficulty coming up with 10 shows that I watch on a (semi) regular basis!  And most of these are ones that I only are able to watch because of my DVR (Love.My.DVR.).  I am not a late night person by any means...I can't remember the last time that I watched Saturday Night Live on Saturday Night when it was Live.

A couple of these shows I just started watching recently:  The Blacklist, Aquarius, and Lie to Me.  All are pretty good show, but not ones for kids.  I wasn't sure about putting down Fox and Friends, but Fox News is the other channel that is always on.  Fox and Friends, the morning show, is actually one show on there that I can stand.

Head on over to Third Grade Nest to Join the Party, and don't forget to tell me if you watch any of these shows too!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Bucket List

I’m sure that there was a linky  on this topic earlier in the summer, but these days I am always late to the party.  Anyway, summer is officially here and my daughter and I have made lists on the things that we want to do while we are on break!  

Here is a picture of my daughter's list:

I wish that hers included reading…I’ve got to work on that!   Notice that she has already  put a check mark in the box for "Ask Daddy for a cat."  That is almost a daily occurrence for us.  

I created my list of 10 goals with a ten in each.  That is going to be a big challenge for some, but it’s good to have goals, right?

So here is my list of summer goals (in no particular order):
  1. Read a minimum of 10 books
  2. Organize 10 areas of my house/life
  3. Explore 10 different internet sites/programs/apps
  4. Complete 10 Rosetta Stone lessons per week (en Espanol)
  5. Ride my bike 10 miles per week
  6. Write a minimum of 10 blog posts
  7. Comment on 10 blog posts per week
  8. Gain 10 new blog followers
  9. Lose 10 pounds
  10. Try 10 new recipes 
I am already on my way to reaching my goal on some of these (mostly reading and cooking).  I’m hoping that the biking will help with the weight loss, provided that I don’t bake too many sweets!  As for the organization, that will be tough.  I’ll probably be pretty lenient on myself with this one.

Anyhow, I’m looking for suggestions on new programs and apps to try.  All comments are appreciated!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ahhh, Summer!!!

"Summer, summer, summertime,
Time to sit back and unwind..."

Hello, faithful readers!  I know that I have not posted in FOREVER, but I'm still around.   I recently finished up another crazy year of teaching third grade, and now I am finally getting back to some of my hobbies.  My daughter keeps me very busy, as she has already had several camps this summer.  This week we had an early birthday celebration for her.  I wanted to keep her party limited to just a few friends, so we decided on a sleepover to watch the premier of Disney's Teen Beach Movie 2.  I'll admit, I was pretty excited about this movie too!  The sleepover part?  That stressed me out a bit, but things went well.  We had fun coming up with ideas for a beach-themed party.  Here is what I was most proud of:

I love what you can learn from watching YouTube videos.  This was Bruce, our watermelon shark.  If you are looking for a way to get kids to eat fruit, put it in something fun like this.  No lie, the girls at our party ate more fruit salad than cake!

A favorite activity at the party was our photo booth setup.  The girls had a blast playing with the props and taking funny pictures.  I printed out a photo collage for each of them to take home as a party favor (along with other beach-themed goodies).

I've seen some teachers set up a photo booth station at their back-to school nights.  This would definitely be a hit for the kids, and it would be a great way to get a picture of the child with his or her family.  

So yes, I am thinking about school a little bit.  Just a little, I promise.  

Okay, like non-stop.  There are a lot of changes happening at our school, and I am anxious to see what happens.  I just have to trust and remember that everything happens as it is meant to be.  

I also have to find other things to take my mind off school.  Enter, summer hobbies!  I'll save all of that for another post.  Must.Write.More.Posts.  Maybe I'll even find a Linky to hook up with.  

Thanks for reading!