Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Few of My Favorites

... this week that is. My mind changes frequently. My brain has been overloaded this week and I'm ready for Friday. Anyone with me?

Enjoy a few things that made me smile this week, maybe they will do the same thing for you! :)

I made these delicious little treats for a Tuesday yummy and my first eMINTs session.

Cake Info 

You need:
hugs (real and candy kind!)
candy corn

Melt the hugs on the pretzels for 3-minutes in the oven (275 degrees). Top with candy corn! Yum!

Now onto the smiles.. Enjoy!
We Hear It
Simply Indecisive
We Hear It

Tiny White Daisies

Somee Cards

Shirt Shovel
Talk about a hodge podge of smiles/laughter. I hope you giggled a bit reading my post. My seester and I are crafting this weekend, I can't wait to share our adventures!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Power of the Pod

Happy Friday! This week I wasn't able to figure out what each day "felt" like, so today I am just confused.

During my student teaching year, I observed classrooms K-5. In a first grade classroom that I observed, a teacher named her pods after things she wanted the students to memorize. At the time, her pods were named after the coins. Then, she was constantly referring to the "quarters", "nickels" and the kids were using the names frequently as well. BRILLIANT!

Last year, I had my kiddos in pods that were the 7 continents. In 2nd grade, students are required to name the 7 continents and 4 oceans, so I gave it a whirl! It was quite humorous at the beginning of the year when they were trying to figure out what group they were in. I only had five pods, so I made my desk North America and our safe seat was Antarctica.. a place to "chill out".

By the end of the year, we were practically professionals at the continents.

This year, I wanted to apply the same theory in my 5th grade room. One of our first units this year was science tools. I found a neato-skeeto bulletin board set with pictures of science tools. I glued them onto cricut made puzzle pieces and viola! I had new pods made into science tools.

Microscopes.. Line up!
Maybe it's "new-teacheritus", but I love decorating my classroom and changing out bulletin boards and whatnot frequently. It's a disease! So naturally, when a new unit (with intense vocab) was on the horizon... I knew it was time for a change.

Next up: weather! Woo hoo! I'm so excited to be teaching the who kit and kaboodle of weather. One of the many aspects of this unit are CLOUDS and types of clouds. YIKES! Do I know the types of clouds? Nadda.  Then a lightbulb went off! I knew what my new pods should be.

Inspired by The Inspired Apple's cutesy clouds, I decided to recreate my own!

The Inspired Apple
When my students return on Monday, they will find schnazzy-new cloud pods! It will be tongue twister lining them up.. but by golly! We will be learning the types of clouds in NO TIME.

Since clouds are taking over my brain, here are some fun cloudy things I've found on the web:

Good Reads

First Grade Alacarte

How strange, it was sunny on my drive home and now the clouds have rolled in. Eesh! I'll post about sunshine next time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Brain

So much on my mind! Water cycle, clouds, nonfiction features, personal narratives, scientific method, MU vs. OU, new episode of The Office, conjunctions, National Punctuation Day...  obviously my priorities right now are blogging and watching Parks & Recreation.

Soon, I'll be blogging about our Punctation Day fun, personal narrative "stuff", a Halloween treat, and my new wreath!

Until then, remember this!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Energy bites, say what?!

I vote we add one extra day in the weekend. We can call it "schmatterday". Then, I will have enough time to lay around and be productive.

Tonight, I tested out a fancy little recipe I pinned awhile ago on the oh-so-wonderful Pinterest. Smashed Peas and Carrots posted a recipe to make No-Bake Energy Bites. Yum!

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Smashed Peas & Carrots photo

These yummy bites are waiting for me in my fridge. I couldn't be more excited. Even without the coconut, they will be delightful!

In honor the Emmy's and quite possibly the greatest week of television, I shall leave you with my favorite television shows. Happy Sunday!

How I Met Your Mother

Photo Source

Pinterest Photo
Modern Family

The Office

The Sean Lewis

Blogging Awards!

Yippie Ki-ayyy! Amanda at The Teaching Thief has nominated me for my first blogging award! I'm so excited and very thankful! I am going to pretend that this is my Emmy Award and I'm accepting along with my favorite actors and actresses. Wahoo! What a super Sunday!

With this award comes a few responsibilities...

Here are the next steps:
1) Link back to those that nominated you and thank them. 
2) Share 7 things about yourself . 
3) Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you know and love. 

A few tidbits about me!

1. I love television (possibly too much). I have a different show I have to watch every single night!
2. I drink a lot of coca-cola. 
3. I would love to teach elementary school in London, England. 
4. I have so many pillows in my house... I don't even have places to put them all!
5. I convinced my students last year that I was majoring in joke-telling in college. 
6. My dream is to live in a house that looks exactly like the one in Up. 
7. I didn't eat peanut butter until I graduated college -gasp!

Next, here are 15 blogs that I nominate for The Versatile Blogger award! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time to Celebrate!

Today was one of those days that makes you want to fall asleep at 5:00! You know what I am doing? I'm laying in my bed catching up with HIMYM. A veteran teacher once told me that if you're not tired at the end of the day.. you're not doing something right. Let's just say, I felt like I had lost my marbles today but I'm 98% sure my students enjoyed every minute of it. I'll be posting about the Metric Olympics on another day. :)

This week, I've been thinking a lot about writing and how I can use my basal to the fullest AND give my students plenty of opportunities to write. Sounds easy enough, right? Ha- yeah okay!

While my brain is writing-centered, I wanted to blog about one of my favorite days in second grade. A professor of mine told our class about hosting a writing celebration in her son's classroom. I knew that I had to do the same thing with my students!

It all started with Gail Gibbons and Lucy Calkins. If you're in the education world, I'm sure those two names ring a bell. With the help of a colleague and a student teacher, we created a month long expository writing unit. In this writing unit, the students used Gail Gibbons books as mentor texts to create their own All-About Books. Throughout the unit, we studied nonfiction text features and elements of expository writing. By the end the month, each student had taken a piece of writing through the writing process and published their very own All-About Book to treasure.

At the end of the unit, I wanted to celebrate! I planned an elaborate Writing Celebration where my students would be transformed into MOVIE STARS! On the day of their celebration, my students would be given gold stars, walk down a red carpet, and read their book on stage.  We invited parents, grandparents, and other classes to join us for our big premier!

It was an incredible day (perfect attendance I must add).   I wish I could show the 100's of pictures taken, but I can't. Lucky for us, Q's sweet mom has agreed to letting her son be our model for this post.

First step: check in with security before walking the red carpet.

Next, walk down the red carpet with PRIDE and show off your All-About Book to the paparazzi! 

Who are you wearing! You're beautiful!

Say cheese! The papparazi is waiting!

Proud Author
After each student had walked down the red carpet we gathered around the stage in our room to listen to each author read. When students arrived that morning, I looked and all 20 students were crowded around the stage reading from their book box. Excited, much?

Karaoke and Props!

Thanks to a few borrowed items and a captivated audience, the Writing Celebration was a hit!

It was a special morning for my students and that's what matters. Their hard work had paid off and they were proud of it! The best part was their favorite representative from THE Writing Company in NYC made a special appearance that day. Who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Simple things make my heart go pitter-patter. Naturally, when I found a recipe from Real Simple magazine, I was pumped. 

I needed a quick and yummy appetizer to compliment a spaghetti night. I instantly Pinterested (is that a word yet?) bruschetta. Because, I absolutely adore all things bruschetta! It's absolutely amazing but not absolutely easy to make. Lucky for me, I found the Blue Cheese and Honey Bruschetta. 

Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy
Mentally prepare yourself for this super simple recipe. Are you ready? Okay, get set... GO!


  • 1/2 baguette
  • 3 ounces blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
1. Thinly slice the baguette. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and broil until golden brown (about 1 1/2 minutes per side).
2. Divide the blue cheese among the toasted bread slices. Drizzle 2 tablespoons honey evenly over them.
The combo of honey and blue cheese is divine. It was delightful and I intend on making this little diddy again. 
Ready to Roll Out

Besides my fun appetizer, I'm also equally fascinated with my pedometer. Best $15.00 ever spent! Right now, I'm at 11, 634 steps and I'm headed to my rockstar fitness class! Buy one, I promise you it's bound to entertain you ... for at least one day. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Curlin' Up

It must be a teacher thing, but I love to read a good book. Honestly, I didn't get hooked on reading until studying abroad. We spent several afternoons lounging in Hyde Park catching up with good reads. Since then, I have become an avid reader. In fact- I'm reading roughly 4 books right now. Goodness!

I'm a band wagon jumper. A friend of mine posted the link to this article last week on Facebook and I was hooked! Then, Miss Klohn posted the article in her recent blog post. I decided to continue the sharing frenzy and post it right here for you fine people. Lucky for you, I've got some other good reads up my sleeve.

First, the CNN article:
What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents written by Ron Clark. Have you heard of Ron? I bet you have.. he has written several books. One of my favs is "The Essential 55".

Good Reads photo
Whew, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to his CNN article... it's phenomenal. Everyone should read it because it applies to more than just teachers. Here's a sneak peak courtesy of CNN:

So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?
For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
Click here to finish. 
Are you hooked? Finish it...... I dare you. I triple dog dare you!

I'm also a big sucker for teachery-books. You know what I'm talking about, those heartfelt books you can read when the times get tough. One of the best ones I have read is "32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny". Not only is this book hilarious, but it's practical. Phillip Done clearly describes his trials and quirky moments in third grade. 

Buy it on Amazon here
Now, this book is in no way school related but I am also reading "The Hunger Games". WOWIE! 
Suzanne Collins 
Buy it on Amazon here

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Writing Marathon!

Writing is one of my favorite times during the day! In these first few weeks of school, my students have blown me away with their creativity in their writing. It excites me for what is to come this year!

The best thing about being part of the College of Education was you got to pretend you were a kid again. We participated in several lessons that were applicable to our classrooms. In a writing course, my junior year, my professor led us on a Writing Marathon. Our mission was to roam campus for an hour and find different locations to write. He sent us on our way and told us to return in 60 minutes! In my Writer's Notebook, I wrote down my sights around Brady Commons, the Columns, and the steps of the College of Ed. Thinking back on that day, I remember having a great time with friends and writing ..writing... and more writing.

I decided to test this strategy out with my kiddos this year. My school utilizies the 6+1 Writing Traits program and our first trait is "Ideas". We have been working on gathering ideas and zooooooooming in on one idea. After specials, I told my kids to grab their Writer's Notebooks because we were taking a little marathon.

Their goal: use their 5 senses and observe the area they are in. Minimum of 4 sentences per location!

We hit up the following spots in school:
Front lawn

I had the best time reading through their entries.  Several cracked jokes and expressed hunger throughout the process! Besides getting to move around the school, my students practiced generating ideas and focusing in on one idea at a time.

I don't know about you but I love anchor charts. It's a great time for the class to get together and collaborate ideas. I believe that charts created together are more powerful than pre-made ones. Yes, I have store bought posters on my wall... but I also have ones we made. It's a nice mixture! You can take the girl out of second grade... but you can't take the anchor chart out of the girl! That's the saying, right?

Anywho, here are a few fun anchor charts from around the web. Click the captain for the source!

The First Grade Parade
First Grade Parade
Mrs. Williams Kinders 
I need to stop this late night blogging. What has gotten into me!? It's bedtime. But first, I'm obsessed with this performance from the VMA's. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby!

Warning: Several cake pops were harmed in the making of this post. Including this poor little guy:

Yes, that is the floor. Carpet to be exact. He didn't make it from the fridge to my chocolate pot. Let's try and move past this...

CAKE POPS! I thought these little gems only existed at Starbucks. Apparently, I was waaay-off. They'e all the rage. If you're not eating or making cake pops.. something is wrong with you! Okay, I'm lying. But, they're cute!


Save the Date For Cupcakes

Veronica's Cornucopia
Skip to My Lou

In honor of a friend's bacherlorette party, I decided to embark on a cake pop journey. It seemed like an easy one. The recipe was simple.

Of course, I ran into a few mishaps.

Ready.. Set.. Go!

Funfetti strikes AGAIN! These little cake pops were my first treat using my brand new KitchenAid that I blogged about earlier. I got so excited using the mixer hands free.. I took a few pictures.

Mix, sweet mixer! MIX!

Then, I dropped my cracked egg inside the mixer. While going for the "off" switch, I turned the mixer to HIGH and had to make a mad dash to remove all egg shell from my poor cake. Lesson learned! Be careful with eggs around the mixer. Or maybe the lesson should be... crack the egg and then drop it inside the mixer? Whatever the lesson was (is) ... my mixer is awesome and I'm in love.

My guidance for this post comes straight from Love From the Oven. She gives a fantastic picture-friendly tutorial for creating this poppers. After the egg incident, it was smooth sailing for a few hours. That's only because I had to let me box cake cool for two of them. Then, I destroyed my cake.

Putting the FUN in Funfetti
Next, I added the icing and starting rolling the cake into little balls. I began melting the almond bark and started dipping. This was complicated. Wait, let me rephrase that.. this was frustrating. I lost several poppers to this almond barking. The poppers would crumble and fall apart inside my sprinkles bowl. Errg!

I found my groove with the cake pops and started crankin' more out. I think I made 9. I started getting sleepy and decided I would finish the rest in the morning. My bed, FRIENDS, and my blog were calling my name.

Don't judge, but these are the ugliest cake pops ever. This isn't me fishing for compliments either! They're actually quite funny to see. This little guy has a little bit of a swagger, don't ya think?


Love From the Oven's pops look like rockstars compared to mine!

Love From the Oven

Cake pops... we will meet again. Next time, I will be victorious. 


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