Saturday, August 23, 2014

I survived…BARELY!

The first week of school is done and in the books! I'd say that calls for a celebration! Inspired by my friend, Miss DeCarbo, I want to get real with y'all and share about my first week back!

The week started off with a bang with an all day PD on Monday starting at 7:30, and ending with Open House until 8:30pm. Yes, that's right, a 13 hour day for our first day back. After, I posted this pic on Instagram to celebrate the fact that I made it through the day...
How was I really feeling at this point? Overwhelmed. Frustrated. Stressed. I still had some things I wanted to do in my room before the kiddos came, I had just met about 40 parents of kiddos, and had quite a few that already showed they may make my year a little challenging, and my body felt like it had been hit by mac truck!

But, as we all do, I trudged on. Tuesday we had a half day PD, then the afternoon to work in our rooms. I had practice until 6, and then went straight home. Being real, I barely made it to the shower after practice. My wonderful hubs picked up dinner, and I was in bed by 8.

Wednesday was our first day with students. I STARTED the day exhausted. I wanted this week's pregnancy update to be on the first day of school, and so I asked hubs to take a picture that morning. He was trying so hard not to laugh at how ridiculously tired I looked in all of the pictures we tried to take… here's the best shot we got!
How far along: 30 Weeks, 5 days in this picture!
Maternity clothes: Mostly I'm living in flowy dresses like this one! This one is not maternity, it's from a boutique we went to on vacation..$8! I have a lot of maternity maxis from Old Navy and they are definitely my go to!
Stretch Marks: Nope! Keeping that belly butter handy! :)
Sleep: I've been utterly exhausted, so I can't seem to sleep enough, but I get up about 3 times to pee in the middle of the night.
Best Moment This week: Literally watching my stomach move multiple inches with my hubs as baby danced, ran, and swam around! So fun :)
Worst Moment this Week: Just feeling so exhausted. Each day I go straight from school to practice until about 6. We had a game Thursday night that we didn't get home from until 10:40pm, and we had 3 games today. I feel pitiful because I am absolutely worthless by the time I make it home, but I'm trying to get used to this new normal.
Miss anything? Being able to breathe in a full breath of air at a time
Movement: Lots of movement! (see above)
Food Cravings: Gioninios tossed salad. It is literally just chopped up lettuce, lots of mozzarella cheese, and there delish Italian dressing, but I want it every day!
Pregnancy Symptoms: My feed feel like there are 1000 bruises on them by the end of the night. It literally hurts to put pressure anywhere on them. I didn't know they could hurt this bad!
Looking forward to: Getting everything washed and put away in the nursery<--having the energy to do this!

So, now that you know a little more about how I've been feeling, here's a little more about the week in the classroom. 

I planned my first week activities very much like last year, with a few minor adjustments. I have quickly learned that this group is a VERY different group, and my lessons are going to have to be adapted quite a bit. I got through about 1/3 of what I got through in the first 3 days last year. I spent a lot of time repeating the same directions over and over again. I have two classes of 29 students each, and there are a wide variety of learners. What did we do this week?

-We practiced how to walk into our classroom and unpack our book bags to get ready for the day 3 times every morning. By Friday we STILL couldn't understand that we need to take EVERYTHING out of our book bags, put things in our desk, and have a seat. It got better, but we have a long way to go.
-I taught students how to store their supplies and books, and we practiced getting them out and putting them away 10+ times. Yes, I had to practice that many times because we couldn't grasp how to put our pencil and scissors back in our pencil pouch, how to keep our notebooks on one side of the desk… it was exhausting.
-We practiced gluing. Yes, I spent 25 minutes TEACHING my fourth graders how to glue. I literally put a Smartboard file up with a digital piece of notebook paper and glue bottle clipart. I show them how NOT to "toaster streudel" and that we only squeeze with one hand. I then show them on the Smartboard how to put a "baby dot" in each corner, one on each side, and one in the middle. We practiced with 3 pieces of scrap paper on Wednesday. And yet, after reviewing this each day, by Friday I still had multiple kiddos squeezing giant globs with two hands, and toaster streudling all over the place… I wanted to pull my hair out :D

But despite all of these frustrations, we did make some progress! I just want you to understand that my first week wasn't all rainbows and butterflies. It was a real back to school week, filled with challenges and constant review. I know if I keep working with these kiddos they WILL get better and will get into routines. It takes time, and I need to keep reminding myself that.

Here are some glimpses into what we did get done:

We worked on and shared our "All About Me flip books." My kiddos loved making these, and I loved learning about them!

We played a few getting to know you games. In the bottom two pictures we were playing a few rounds of "mingle and group." I tell students to mingle, then give them something to group by such as, "Find friends with the same favorite color as you" or "find friends who have the same favorite vacation spot as you." They have to communicate with each other to get into groups, then I let each group share out what they have in common. It's great because they all get up and move around and learn more about each other!

I had my students fill out this fun "Would you Rather" survey to learn a little more about them! This is part of my "Back to School Essentials" pack!

We read silently for 15 whole minutes on the second day of school! This group definitely enjoys reading, and I LOVE that about them! I was so proud of their stamina early on! We will more to sitting anywhere in the room and reading next week. :)

We finished all 4 days of Jivey's Mentor Sentence lesson with First Day Jitters. It was a great introduction to how we will incorporate mentor texts into grammar and reading, and I'm excited to see them improve!

All in all, I'll call it a success because we made it, and we improved! I'm looking forward to seeing this group make progress each day! :)

How was your first week? Was in all sunshine and butterflies, or did you have struggle moments? I'd love to hear the good and the bad! :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weeks 28-29 Pregnancy Updates!

I didn't take a picture next to the chalkboard for 28 weeks, but here is hubs and I at a wedding when I was 28weeks 1 day! :)

How far along: 28 Weeks, 5 days in this picture!
Maternity clothes: Depends on the day and the apparel. Most days I am wearing tshirts and sweats for volleyball, so those are not maternity. In this picture here I am wearing Gap maternity jeans (which I LOVE) and a non-maternity top from Target.
Stretch Marks: Nope! Keeping that belly butter handy! :)
Sleep: Definitely miss sleeping through the night and being comfortable, but it's not so bad. I have this pregnancy pillow which I LOVE and helps a lot.
Best Moment This week: Being showered with love at my baby shower! It was more beautiful than I could EVER imagine. My sister in law organized everything, and my sister, mom and MIL, and closest friends did SO many crafty things to make it amazing. They did a "vintage children's book" theme. It was to die for! Once I get more pictures from everyone I will write a post to show everything!
Worst Moment this Week: My allergies. They are absolutely AWFUl right now. My eyes burn and itch all day, and I am so stuffed up. Not loving it, at all!
Miss anything? Not getting out of breath from the littlest movements!
Movement: Lots of movement! I had to send hubby a video the other day because I swear baby was doing "raise the roof" in my belly :)
Food Cravings: Nothing out of the ordinary or new! My appetite has actually been somewhat down this week.
Pregnancy Symptoms: Feet hurt and incredibly tired. Coaching all day is definitely harder when you're carrying another human. It'll be interesting to see how these next 2 months go!
Looking forward to: Finishing putting everything together for the nursery. Hubby has been amazing about helping me sort and organize and assemble things. I can't wait to see it all come together! Here's what it looked like after the shower:
(And this is without any of the big stuff!)

My stud got to work right away putting things together. Love him! :)

Have a great weekend! We report back Monday for meetings and Open House, then kids come Wednesday. How about you?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to School Essentials

We are T-Minus two weeks until Open House, and 2 weeks and 1 day until our first day of school! This is the time I start to get a little frantic, making sure I have everything ready.

Over the years I have compiled a bundle of things that I always use at Open House and those first few days of school. I decided to put everything together into one HUGE pack to help you out with the beginning of the year woes.
In this product I also describe how I use each feature and show pictures of them being used. Everything is completely editable (besides the graphics) so you can customize it to your classroom use!

Here's a sneak peek to show you what's inside, and see all of the things I use to make my life easier! :)

These flip books are a huge time saver, and a fun way to start off the year!

I LOVE using this to show parents what the year will be all about. In the past I have had students put them together on the first day of school and take them home to show mom or dad. I think this year I am going to have the parents put them together at Open House so they can see some of the cutting fun their kiddos get to do! ;) It's a great reference point for parents all year long.

Here's a little more of each of the pages…

My students LOVE assembling this all about me flip book on the first day of school! We have fun sharing them, and they look great posted in the hallway on display! :)

Another part of this pack is everything you'll need to get you ready for Open House. I have included a sign in sheet, table tents/table signs to direct parents, instructions to parents, an about the teacher poster, parent survey to learn about their student, conference sign up sheets, 11 different volunteer sign up sheets, contact cards (with your info on them to laminate and put magnets on for parents fridge), Transportation Tags for book bags, Permission Slips for the year, a Powerpoint Template for Open house, and postcards for you to mail home before the school year.

Here's a few pics of some of the things in this part of the pack:

Nothing like fun, bright Open House forms to start the year off right :)

And that's not all, folks! (I feel like an announcer haha)

I have also found that I am always searching for a pen or scrambling to type up a reminder note during planning period and wasting that precious time! I created a bunch of reminders that you will use throughout the year that are print and go ready! 

Here's a sneak peek at a few of them:

Last but not least, I've included this fun and cute craftivity for the beginning of the year! It has a great writing component, and makes a wonderful back to school bulletin or hallway display! :)

All of these products are bundled together in one big mega pack! Pick it up now during the TPT Back to School sale for HUGE savings! Click here to head on over and purchase :) 

I have also made each of these products available separately if you are just interested in one part. Here are the separate products (click on the image to direct you to the product.)


I'm linking this up (a little late) with the AMAZING Tara Eiken for Monday Made it!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Weeks 26&27 Pregnancy Updates!

Sorry I slacked on the updates during vaca! I am officially 28 weeks now, but I will share this weeks update later in the week! In the meantime, here's a glimpse into the past 2 weeks! :)

 A 10 1/2 hour drive to Myrtle Beach meant hubby and I needed to stop along the way! We left 2 days early and spent time in Winston-Salem, NC touring the town and just enjoying each other. We had an amazing time! :)
 Here is us walking around Broadway at the Beach one evening during Week 26!
 Grandparents (my parents) loving on their grandchild already! :)
How far along: 27 Weeks, 5 days in this picture!
Maternity clothes: I am starting to wear some maternity clothes.. they are so much more comfy! :) The hair tie trick still works great for my shorts and pants, though! Here I am wearing a Gap Maternity tank.
Stretch Marks: Nope! Keeping that belly butter handy! :)
Sleep: It's hit or miss, really. The biggest thing is waking up to pee and drink 10 gallons of water because I'm so thirsty! Haha.. makes it hard to fall back asleep.
Best Moment This week: Relaxing on the beach with my husband and my family. Such a wonderful week together!
Worst Moment this Week: Weird pregnancy dreams and back-to-school dreams. Combining the two makes for an interesting nights sleep, and waking up in a not so good mood!
Miss anything? Tying my shoes and not feeling out of breath :)
Movement: Lots of movement! I love just staring at my belly and watching baby dance around :)
Food Cravings: Zebra Cakes! Yes, those awesome white and brown Little Debbie snacks. Throwing it back, elementary school style. :)
Pregnancy Symptoms: Just the usual tiredness this week… no crazy scares!
Looking forward to: Our next appointment to hear and see a baby update!

Love our little bambino already <3

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five for Friday Fun!

I haven't linked up for Five for Friday in a while, but it's been a busy week so I figured I'd share what I've been up to! :)
I have resisted the urge all summer to spend countless hours redecorating my room and changing my colors/theme. To my husbands appreciation, I have resisted the urges and stuck with my theme! I am however making a few additions, revamping a few things of course! So I've been doing a little crafting. One of the little things I made that will help BIG time I shared earlier this week…
I have also spent the week tacking this crazy craft room! Can't wait to share an "After" photo for how much better it looks!

Today I will be finishing up samples for my Must Have Back to School Essentials Pack! Everything you need to make those first weeks of school go smoothly! It all be uploaded for the big sale so you can  get it for a great deal! :)

 Are you getting into Back to School mode yet? If you haven't started, you need to! First, there is an AMAZING sale happening at!
From July 30 - August 2 (Wednesday - Saturday), they are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 77% OFF! There is something for everyone and it is their BIGGEST sale of the year!
 Ready for another Back to School Sale? Ready or not, it's coming!!
Everything in my store will be marked 20% off! Then, use the code BTS14 to get an ADDITIONAL 10% off! That's a huge savings! You can really stock up on some awesome stuff to get ready for your year!
Need some ideas of what to buy? Here are the two most wishlisted items in my store:

My most wishlisted item in my store is one of my favorites and a HUGE teaching time saver. If you like teaching class novels (one of my favorite things to do) then this pack is DEFINITELY for you! My Where the Red Fern Grows novel study will only be $7.20 during the sale! There are 200 pages of activities in this pack that cover every skill and lots of hands-on fun!

My Blogging Literature Circles pack is something that everyone should try in their classroom, and it will be on sale! This 75 page pack is ready to teach, print, and use to start your own blogging literature circles with you students! What a great way to encourage student engagement and integrate technology. My students LOVED this last year! 

And of course, my wishlist keeps growing! One of the products I can't wait to buy are these awesome Reader Response Comprehension Cards! I think my kiddos will love them and I will get a lot of valuable feedback from using them! :)

Check out some other products you might like to buy!

Sooooo don't you need some extra money to spend during this sale??? We've got your back!

a Rafflecopter giveaway