Friday, December 30, 2011

Middle & High School Blog Party

When Kristen from Secondary Solutions told me about the middle & high school blog party, I was all in. When I first started blogging, I was feeling a bit left out. There are SO many adorable blogs for K-3 teachers but what about the middle school teachers?? It's bad enough that we have to deal with the hormonal changes but now we can't get any love in blogland? I couldn't deal. I was having a Veruca Salt moment. I did neglect my blog for a long time and I blame that entirely on grad school, but I can also say that part of it was due to the fact that I was having a serious identity crisis. I wanted to teach first grade, too! {Ok, it wasn't that serious, but still!} I LOVE fifth grade and all the perks... less boogers, more independence, but show me the blogs!! While there are wayyy more upper elementary/middle school blogs around now than there were even 6 months ago, I love finding more. I'm linking up with Secondary Solutions and you should too. And if you stop by from the party, please leave a comment or become a follower so that I can check out your blog. We need to stick together.

I also can't get enough of the linky parties this week and since this is my third in four days, I decided to partipate in Jodi from Clutter-Free Classroom's "How I spent my winter vacation" party on my personal blog, since I didn't spend it doing school stuff. If the parties keep coming, I'm going to need some more time off.

2012 Resolutions

Another linky party?? Nuh-uh! Today I'm linking up with A Teacher's Treasure for the 2012 Resolutions linky party!

Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the image below to your post & link it to the party.
2. Make sure you include both personal and professional goals.
3. No more than 3-5 goals for each.
In the past, resolutions have never been my thing. I hardly ever make them and when I do,  I don't keep them. Isn't that how it's supposed to go, though? Anyhow, I'm just not a fan. First off, the time to make a serious goal and stick to it should not be after a week of being a total sloth relaxing during break. It should also not be when there are layers of clothes to cover up in, when it's pitch black when I leave for work and come home making me not want to do anything except be on the couch with my laptop/Nook, or when there are marathons of Teen Mom, Real Housewives, or Jersey Shore on.

However, this year, Mrs. Zrihen will be keeping me accountable and finding a way to check in on me monthly. That makes me a little nervous so I'm going to try to be serious.

Here are my resolutions:

  • Continue to work with my small group from church to read and better understand the bible so that I can be a better Christian.
  • Finalize the last of my wedding planning and take a deep breath. It will all get done and the end result is that I will be promoted to Mrs. P in April :)
  • GET HEALTHY! I don't just want to lose weight. I want to eat better and move more. I want to try Zumba and figure out some other ways to work out without wanting to poke my eye out. (While this is a totally popular resolution, I've never made it before)
  • Focus on making my blog(s) better. Both have been neglected and considering how much I learn from my blog friends, I need to keep up with this thing!
  • Start math groups. I used to do small groups during math but it is SO hard with only one teacher for four groups. My kids' abilities are so spread out this year that I have to level their work in some way. I need something that isn't going to make me crazy so please send any and all math group ideas this way!!
  • Complete 4-5 more graduate courses by the end of 2012. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed to finish my Master's ASAP!
  • Work smarter, not harder! I have to focus on my wedding, my soon-to-be husband, and my personal life by spending less time working on "school stuff". Sometimes, whatever isn't done at the end of the day will just have to wait until tomorrow.
  • Be more positive at work. Let's just say that, with the exception of the kids, the environment I work in is not the most desirable. I need to find a way to brush it off and focus on me and what I do with the kiddos.

Happy (almost) 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 in 11

I'm linking up with A Teeny Tiny Teacher for the 11 in 11 linky party, because I can't get enough of sitting on my couch and blog-stalking. In my defense, I have been getting a lot of wedding planning done this week... and some of it I actually got dressed for. It has been WAY too long since I've given this 'lil blog the attention it deserves and this is WAY too fun!

11. Favorite movie

It would have to be The Help. It seems to be the thing to turn books into movies and usually the directors really mess them up. I think The Help was done fabulously. It had me laughing and crying and wanting to read the book all over again!

10. Favorite TV Series

This would have to be The Biggest Loser. We had to DVR every episode this past season and probably the upcoming season because that's when our small group meets, but we can't get it started fast enough on Wednesdays to catch up. It's not the same without Jillian but I have the biggest crush on Dolvett, so it's okay. If only I was that motivated to get up off my butt!

Rest assured, I also still LOVE Real Housewives of NJ and Teen Mom 1 & 2. Oh! And Sister Wives and All-American Muslim - seriously.. LOVE those shows! Is this too much TV?? Do I have a problem?? Don't answer that.

 9. Favorite restaurant

It's a tie.. I LOVE Bisuteki, a Japanese hibachi place. SO. GOOD. I also LOVE Mexico Lindo. They have a mariachi band on Wednesday nights and the food is authentic and delicious.

{Our birthday dinner a couple of years back}

8. Favorite new thing you tried

I started going to a new church this year and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was basically given the choice as a child to make my own decisions regarding my religion and I have finally found what feels like home. Through this church, I have taken two courses about Christianity, as well as our pre-marriage course. We have also met some incredible friends here and have really enjoyed exploring our faith with friends who have similar morals. We have also decided to get married here in April and it is my favorite thing about our wedding.

7. Favorite gift you received

I feel so spoiled because all of my favorite things have been gifts but this is one of my newest favorites.  :)

My cousin/MOH (above in the sombrero) got it for me for my birthday to use on my wedding day (which is four months from today! ahhh!) and I just couldn't stop looking at it!

6. Favorite thing you pinned

Now if I went through this, I would be here for another two days. It's bad enough that I am not being productive what-so-ever today or yesterday so I'm just going to include my link and you can decide!   Follow me!

5. Favorite blog post

My blog is not super new but it has been super neglected. I had so many great things drafted but I'm not sure you want to read about Halloween activities in January. I'm going to go with my most popular post... Grab 'yo bags! I'm also sooo nosy & loved seeing what was in everyone's bags!

4. Favorite accomplishments

Earning 4.0's in my two grad classes this semester. Maintaining two classes while teaching at an extended day school and planning a wedding is enough to kill someone. It was almost me so if I saw anything lower than a 4.0 when I checked my grades, I was going to lose my mind!

3. Favorite picture

Another tie.. my BFF's from college at KW's wedding.. Fab4 is still going strong!

My crazy, sweet, hilarious niece!

I am borderline papparazzi with this girl and we were out to eat when she said, "Hey, Auntie! Take a picture of this!" and then proceeded to make the following face.

Oh, I could go on for days!

2. Favorite memory

Mr. P and I bought our first house last year and I have really loved making memories together in our new home. We have lived here for about a year and a half now and I love everything from the home improvement projects, decorating for holidays, and hosting parties, to having dinner together and talking about our day. I love coming home and I am looking forward to many more years together in our house!

1. Goal for 2012

Stay tuned for my next post when I link up with Mrs. Zrihen at A Teacher's Treasure for her 2012 Resolutions linky party!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Liebster Award

As my blog grows, I continue to get more and more excited as the amount of followers gets larger and more importantly, when I hear how my teaching has helped others. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Heather at Loose Shoelaces awarded me with the Liebster Award! It's my first blog award and I am not only excited to receive it but also to share some of my favorite blogs with all of you. You have also got to check out Heather's blog.

It is funny and adorable and best of all, she also teaches fifth grade! "Big kid" blogs are hard to come by and I am glad I found hers!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
  1. copy and paste the award on your blog
  2. thank the giver and link back to them
  3. reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
  4. hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers
You have got to go check out these blogs:

1. Cardigans and Curriculum - Casey is fabulous fifth grade teacher (love it!) with great, practical ideas for older kiddos that could easily be modified for younger kids. I love checking out her anchor charts! I'm also pretty sure that we could be friends in real life.

2. My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher - Lindsay is another fab fifth grade teacher! She does some pretty great stuff with her kiddos including trash picking and dressing up to improve her students' reading and writing. It would be so much fun to teach with Lindsay.

Alternative Name

3. Life is Better Messy Anyway! - I love reading Jordan's blog for many reasons, but I really love that it combines two of my favorite things.. cooking and teaching. Jordan teaches fifth grade (say it ain't so!) and I love seeing the great things she does with her kiddos like this outer space activity. Anything that involves toilet paper AND cookies is a total win/win for fifth graders; I can't wait to try it with my kids.

4. Finding JOY in 6th Grade - Can I just say how much I love Kim?! She is a frequent visitor to my blog and always has something lovely and encouraging to say. Kim teaches sixth grade and has loads of activities that are perfect for the upper elementary grades. I always love reading Kim's blog & I'm sure you will, too!

5. Fast Times of a Middle School Math Teacher - Liz is a middle school math teacher and I just discovered her blog. Not only do I love finding upper elementary blogs but I love finding math & science middle school blogs because they are the minority in blogland. Liz just posted a great mind mapping activity that I can't wait to try and I am totally stealing her group names idea.

It was hard to pick just five but many others already have over 200 followers. Check these girls out; you won't be sorry!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Currently December

I'm linking up with Farley for Currently December! This is my first Currently link-up and I swear, right when I think I have run out of ways to procrastinate... I find some more! Love it!

Anyhoo, it's off to bed for this gal! I've got 5 more days of school to get through before break. Yup, that's 1-2-3-4-5. If you don't hear from me in the next week, it means I've jingled myself all the way into a straight jacket! Ahhhhh!! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Secret Snowflake & American Heroes

We have been busy, busy, busy and I am ready to collapse! I wish we could say that we've been busy making holiday crafts as visions of sugarplums dance in our heads, but that hasn't been the case. My school is pretty laid back about the holidays and my students celebrate many different holidays around this time.  While most celebrate Christmas, I have a pretty good mix of students that are no longer enchanted by the magic of St. Nick squeezing his way through their chimneys. Some are just "too cool", some are secret believers or are unsure about the whole thing, but then others are all "riiiggghhhht. Santa's coming." Instead we have been busy learning about strategies to multiply large numbers and wrapping up our electricity unit. Since apparently corporal punishment for teachers is allowed we are in school for one more week, I have some crafty goodness lined up for next week - naturally, all lined up with the standards :) For you poor souls that will be spreading holiday cheer through a teaching manual (like me) and need some fun ideas for activities for older kids... here's what we'll be up to...

"The Secret Snowflake"- my students are SOOOOOOO excited about this! We randomly picked names, just like a Secret Santa or what have you, and we are working on homemade gifts for the selected "snowflake". I work in a low-income school where many of the students don't have too much to give, so I emphasized that the gift should not be store-bought and should be unique, just as each snowflake is unique. They were hooked! I can't wait to see the final products on Friday. That's right... Friday. (We're here until 3:30, incase you were wondering.) Here is the letter that I sent home if you're interested.

Prime & Composite Peppermints - We are following suit with Cara and Patti and making some peppermint candies to display our math facts. Although, I decided to put a twist :) on it and we will be factoring prime and composite numbers.

Gingerbread Houses - We somehow found ourselves in a door decorating contest with another fifth grade class and a sixth grade class. We are turning our door into a gingerbread house and we literally just started it today because the competition began to really heat up in our hallway. I am also debating decorating gingerbread houses two days before break. We have a 9:00 prep period that day, which means that from 10-3:30 (with the exception of 30 minute lunch) the kids are with me all day. I don't teach writing so I am trying to come up with something to tie the houses in with math. 

Coordinate Grid Stockings - As we begin our graphing unit, we plot coordinates on a grid and it will turn out to be a Christmas stocking. We color & decorate them and hang them up when we're done.

We don't have too many cute activities in fifth grade but the kids are excited because there will be glitter involved and that almost never happens. I hope to have lots of pictures to share next week :)

Oh & we have been collecting items for soldiers in Afghanistan and our first package is going out in the mail today! The letters that the kids have been writing are precious!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I teach...

I am still baffled at the amount of time that has passed since my last post. I feel like the world is moving around me at lightning speed while I sit at my kitchen table buried in piles of papers as the soft glow of Halloween lights falls on my shoulders.

No joke. I put my Halloween decorations away when I took out my Christmas decorations. Don't worry, we didn't host Thanksgiving. :)

Anyways, I just wanted to pop in and say hello! I miss you all!

I decided that this weekend instead of using Facebook for my mental break between papers, I am blogging. :) I'm sure I will need lots of breaks since my professor is somewhat loco and is STILL assigning work even though she already sent out the final exam and our 8-10 page research paper is due two days later. Pray that I finish it all this weekend!! I want my life & blog back!!!

A friend sent me this today (thank heavens for Pinterest!) and it couldn't be more motivating!

Happy {almost} Friday!!