Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My "Why?" on Blogging

My blogging journey began while I was studying abroad. A blog was the perfect way to share my experiences in London with family members back in Missouri. Since then, my blog has experienced a bit of growth and evolved with my life as I've grown up. Believe or it not... my life has changed a bit since the summer of 2008. :)

I'm always encouraging others to blog and jump in on the blogging community because there are so many benefits to being part of this inter-web network.  In almost every conversation I have with a friend about blogging, I (almost) always get the response, "No one will want to read what I have to say!" or "I don't have anything to blog about!".  My response is..... you're looking at it all wrong! 

Simon Sinek says, "People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it." 
Perhaps my "whys" will give you the little push you need to jump on in and start a blog:

First.... I look at my blog as as a reflective journal of my teaching practices, journal of our home renovating experiences, and an opportunity to share life experiences.  Sure, it's great when people read my blog and interact with me via comments or conversation, but it's also great having an online journal that has collected many memories over several years. 

Secondly... The connections!! Through blogging, I have had the opportunity to connect with teachers around the country. Kudos to my friend Abby for making this neat graphic illustrating connections made with my blog. I've swapped many emails with teachers in Missouri and other states about teaching ideas and my life is richer because of it. 

Next... The tone, style, and flow of my blog is completely up to me. Perhaps I've written one too many college papers where I've been criticized for not writing "professionally".  (Fact! This has happened!) I like to use my blog as an opportunity to write like I speak to others. I want readers to feel like they're having a conversation with me instead of reading my term paper. 

Most importantly... My blog is an opportunity to lead by example. I choose to use my blog as a source of optimism, positivity, and a breath of fresh air. Of course my life is not always sunshine and roses... we all have our bad days. However, I choose to share what makes me happy in an effort to spread good vibes to others. The internet is filled with so much negativity, trolls, and hate... why not use my voice for a positive purpose?

I would love to hear you WHY! Why do you choose to blog and share your journey online? 

In the meantime.... you should check out my super talented and creative friends and their blogs:

Mary @ Full and Merry 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bringing our Writing to Life!

The end of the year in room 52 has looked different for the past five years. May rolls around and I think, "Yep! Trying something new again..." This May was no different. 

This year, my students are filled to the brim with creative juices and I wanted to give them an opportunity to showcase their creative skills to wrap up the year. As you can see from this post about science movies, we are really good at being in front of the camera. 

This year, I challenged students to write an original fictional story and then turn it into an iMovie. The catch? They wouldn't be starring in it... They were to make all props and characters using materials around the school.  I must include that my classroom has been a disaster for three weeks and I'm totally-okay-with-it-sometimes

To get our wheels  spinning, students swiped through iMovie Trailers to get an idea for the theme and mood of their story. After they decided on a tone for their story, they had to complete a graphic organizer mapping out the beginning, middle, and end. This part was vital to the project being successful. We tend to have REALLY long "middle" parts of the story and then we, "fall off a cliff" (as a good friend calls it) and don't wrap up our story.  I even encouraged them to include a theme at the end of the story. 

I've kind of been flying by the seat of pants from day one, but I think it's working out! Here's the rundown of how the project went AFTER they completed a graphic organizer:
  • Students had to write and edit an original story in their writer's notebooks with partners. 
  • Students had to create all props. Students had to make (no more) than two backdrops and characters on popsicle sticks. This is where the project took a mind of its own... We have horses, Lego characters, Pizza Steve, and balloon men floating around the room!
  • Partners worked to create an iMovie trailer to show on YouTube to get the public ready for their movie!
  • The final piece... create an iMovie sharing your original story. 
Behind the Scenes  -- Creating Props

Behind the Scenes  -- Filming 

Right now, students are tying up lose ends and getting ready to submit movies tomorrow. In the mean time, you can check out our trailers on YouTube! 

Reflecting back on the last few weeks.... I have to admit, I've been on a bit of a roller coaster of decision making. At times, I've panicked and thought, "HOLY COW! We won't ever finish!" Then I'm flying high and thinking, "These kids are amazing."  I realized it was important to set daily goals with my students so they had a focus for each class period. It was also important, for me, to give up a bit of control and let the kids be creative! It was loud, noisy, messy, and kids were all over the place.... but they were creating incredible products! 

You can check out all of the trailers for the movies (coming to a theater NEAR YOU!) right here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Curb Appeal

When we bought our house last March, we inherited a pretty ridiculous jungle of overgrown plants lava rocks, and weeds. We gave ourselves the summer to you know... get married... and then we started on the front yard in the fall. 

Up until this point, I had never paid any attention to landscaping. I knew the basics...
"Oh, those are pretty flowers!"
"Wow, they should cut their grass."

Those two statements could sum up my knowledge on the subject matter of landscaping. 

The first order of business was to rip out the existing plants. Once spring rolled around, we started to research more about plants and landscaping. Boy, oh boy. My head kind of exploded. My Pinterest board is a great example of how my brain was bouncing around in the subject of gardening. 

We decided to plant a row of Hostas along the house and use Boxwoods under our front windows. I must point out... This decision came after many conversations with other people. 

When we had the old plants ripped out, we were fortunate to find lava rocks hiding beneath (sigh).  In addition to the lava rocks, Mother Nature and Planet Earth left many rocks for us to find as well. However, we made lemonade out of lemons and used the rocks to help us line a path to our backyard. 
We also felt pretty tough after all that diggin'. 

Our trusty 'ol Menards bucket made several trips to the woods with rocks filled to the brim.  (P.S. I did not carry the rocks, my strong husband took care of the part for me!)

The final piece to our landscaping masterpiece (I can call it that, right?) was mulch.  My husband and I were definitely not agreeing on the right number of bags of mulch. This was our conversation:

"I want to buy ten bags of mulch." - Scott
"WHAT! No way." - Me
"Okay... six." -Scott
"Five." - Me
...... Later at the store, I got distracted looking at plants and we rolled out of Home Depot with eight bags. Very sneaky, Scott. Very sneaky.

However, I should have listened because we need more mulch. :)

Moral of the story
: Buy all the mulch. You'll need a ton. Also, admit to your husband when you're very wrong on calculating the amount of mulch needed. 

Before... During... After

Viola! What should I plant next....

Read more about our house projects here

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tying the Knot - The Ultimate Lip Sync Battle

It's a bit cliche to say, "time flies when you're having fun...". However - it's so true! Time has been flying, we've been having fun..... and we have almost been married a year! I'm picking up where I left off back in July (gulp) and sharing about Tying the Knot with my super awesome husband. 

Like every other human on the planet, I'm a BIG fan of Lip Sync Battle on Jimmy Fallon (and the show on Spike)! I was hooked the moment I watched Emma Stone belt out Blues Traveler and All I Do is Win. 

My husband (of almost a YEAR.... I must point out!) and I had the most brilliant idea one night during wedding planning. 

Let's challenge our bridal party to the most epic Lip Sync Battle... of all time. 
So we did! 

We sent out a Dub Smash (a favorite app in the Robertson household) and threw down the gauntlet. 

Our amazing videographers - an incredibly talented husband and wife duo at Cork Creative -  captured the entire battle on film. Truthfully, I've cried every time I have watched this clip. 

Lip Sync Battle from Cork Creative on Vimeo.

Tara and Caleb poured their heart and soul to our wedding film and we are forever grateful for having them be a part of our wedding day. (Are you getting married? You should contact them right now.)

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