Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm back! New Year's Organizing Revolution

Oh, I've been sooooooo very bad about blogging. Sigh. I am going to to better.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to blog more often. By this, I mean that I need to touch base at least once a week and update everyone on my life. There has been so much going on that I can't wait to share with everyone.

Also, I've felt that I really do just sleep better if I can get things off my chest, you know?

So, to start off the New Year on the right foot, I'm linking up with Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons and joining her New Year's Organizing Revolution!!! Each week, she will be assigning a new area in the home that needs to be organized. You have until Thursday night to post pictures and link up. On Friday, voting will begin. The voters decide who wins each week and she has some REALLY nice prizes up for grabs.
A Bowl Full of Lemons

This week, we're focusing in the office area of the home. If you don't have an office, she wants you to focus on the desk area. My home office is in the 3rd bedroom's closet. I have a desk inside the closet AND storage space in there. I need to organize it more. I have it organized, kind of. I just spent the whole weekend cleaning it out, so I have a small jump-start. Let's see what happens when I focus there for a week!

I want that NeatDesk scanner ;)

Here is a picture of my home office area before:

I'll make sure I update here so you can see how it turned out! :)


Sunday, September 16, 2012

New TpT Products!

If you read my blog yesterday, you'll know that I spent most of my Saturday creating stuff for my students! Imagine that, a teacher working on a!

Anyway, I thought I would let all everyone in the blogosphere know that I have two new products!!!!

The first is a 26 slide PowerPoint on writing! It teaches how to write an essay sentence by sentence. It includes examples of each sentence and of each paragraph. Pretty in depth!


The next product is an 8 slide PowerPoint that gives you some different activities with the affixes 'belli' and 'syn.' It includes 5 words to work with for each affix, a journal prompt, fill in the blanks, analogies, and sentences to edit for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. These are wonderful warm-ups to use at the beginning of class. They don't take very long (they usually take me 10 minutes, tops). :)


Both products can be found at my TpT store!!!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 3 - DONE! :)

Well, it took 3 weeks, but I feel so good about how this year is going. I may not be moving as fast as I'd like but my kids are really getting it. The most common grade on a quiz that I just gave was a 100! How often does that happen? It was a quiz on inferences and conclusions, too. 7th graders have a really hard time with inferences. I'm so proud of all of them.

We're working on our first big writing assignment now. It's only three paragraphs - an introduction with a 1-2 sentences hook, thesis, and concluding statement and two body paragraphs. They are comparing two characters from different stories. It's really a struggle. It blows my mind still that my students have not really had any experience with formal writing. I'm breaking down the essay sentence by sentence and teaching them how to write. My hope is that, by the end of the year, they will just know how to do it. :) For now, I have giant sticky note paper all over my room with rules for writing, what specifically goes into the introduction, and how the body paragraphs should be organized.

We started working with our Latin and Greek affixes this week too. We did not start with an easy pair of affixes either. We began studying belli (means war. example - belligerent) and syn (means together. example - synthetic). The words are harder for them than any word they've had before. There are some words, like bellicose and bellipotent, that I'm not 100% comfortable using at the age of 22. However, I just really think that they'll get it and it will help them later in life (like during the SAT!!!).

Here's my To-Do list for this weekend.

  1. Grade papers.
  2. Enter grades into NCWISE.
  3. Create vocabulary exercises for the week.
  4. Create vocabulary test for belli and syn.
  5. Create writing powerpoint.
  6. E-mail out the vocab and writing pieces.
  7. Finish my lesson plans for the week (including something on 9/17 for Constitution Day).
  8. Laundry
  9. Cook dinner (Bacon Wrapped Garlic Chicken! Yum!!!)
  10. Play outside with my big man! :)

How is the school year going for everyone else? I am loving it so much more this year than I did last year. Maybe it's the group of kids that I have. Maybe it's the fact that I've got a year under my belt and just feel more comfortable teaching in general. I don't know.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm Still Alive...I PROMISE!

I'm failing miserably at my posting every day thing. I don't think I've posted in over a week. I'm so sorry, to those of you who follow me! I will try to do better.

I've been back in school with my new group of 7th graders for two weeks now. Monday starts week 3. I love them. I can tell that the "honeymoon period" is beginning to wear off and they are beginning to test their boundaries. We'll see how that goes.

This year, they've added another class. Last year, I only taught three classes that lasted about 90 minutes each. This year, I have four that last around 60-65 minutes. I thought that this might mean that my class sizes would be smaller. NO! I have 98 kids! NINETY-EIGHT 7TH GRADERS! That's a lot of papers to grade, y'all. Especially with a focus on writing...and giving real feedback on the writing assignments. OMG! This is me, freaking out a little.

The actual teaching part is going well so far. The students are really picking everything up and we're having our first big writing piece next week. I hope to start it Tuesday and finish it Thursday (at the latest). They will be writing an explanatory compare/contrast piece. Oh, I hope it goes well. I really think that these students have the potential to rock it!

So, how is everyone else?! I'm about to lay here for a while and catch up on my favorite blogs! I only follow 83, lol! :)

I will do better, promise.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


My state has switched curricula this year. We have now adopted the Common Core (as have most other states). I am stressing out. I understand the standards. I get what I'm supposed to be teaching. I'm pretty well-versed in my content area. This week has been incredibly easy so far. I'm planning next week, and I am so frustrated!

I'm trying to develop this compare/contrast essay for my students. That's where we've decided that we're heading...but I don't feel comfortable with it. I'm not sure why. I just feel like...something's not quite right with the essay. I can't put my finger on it. I know that it will work...but I think it's going to be less of an essay and more of these characters in a two-three paragraph response, thing. Introduction, definitely. One paragraph on comparing and one on contrasting the characters. I'm not really sure it's going to be a full blown essay. I'm ok with that. It's the 2nd week of school. I hope my teammates are ok with that too. I get to talk to them about it in the morning. I'm just honestly not really sure how to teach it this way. Last year, I did plenty of writing....and I felt incredibly comfortable with it. I just feel so much pressure with this essay and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the new standards? Maybe it's the fact that it's so early in the year? I don't know. All I do know is that I'm stressing. Bad.

Ugh. It's almost my bedtime. I haven't had time to keep up with my blog. I'm feeling guilty about that...but I still love it and read other blogs when I can.

I'm going to try and plan a few more pieces of this writing assignment and then I'm going to bed. I need to go toss and turn for at least 6-7 hours so that I can pretend that I got some sleep and go to work tomorrow feeling "rested" (rest? what's that?)


Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Almost That Time

School starts TOMORROW! AHHHHHHH! I'm so nervous. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. Lol! I feel like I'm the student instead of the teacher.

Sorry that I haven't been around here lately. I promise that I'm still alive. I'm just incredibly stressed out. I will definitely be trying to post daily once I get back into the swing of things. It's just a big adjustment...getting back on school time. I'll get there. Give me another week and I promise you won't be getting these pathetic "cop out" posts.

Is anyone else getting their kiddies for the first time tomorrow? If so, are you nervous? Big day, big day!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tired Tuesday

Just checking in today. Not much of a post...

Today, I learned that I'm the only 7th grade ELA teacher in my district who has previously taught 7th grade ELA. There are other teachers who have taught 8th grade ELA...but most of the teachers are newbies!!! A lot of teachers also have been switched from Social Studies to ELA. It's going to be a fun year and we all have so much to learn. I was called "expert" several times today and, let me clarify really quick, I'm a SECOND YEAR TEACHER. I am NOT an expert by any means. Lol! All of the Common Core stuff is still so new to me and to everyone that I feel incredibly overwhelmed.

Do I love it? Yes.

Am I as confident going in as I wish I was? No.

Do I think that it'll be fine once the year gets going? Absolutely. :)

I'm super excited and still incredibly nervous about the kids coming back. I get to meet a lot of them tomorrow at Open House! :)

Hope everyone else is having a super week! I know that I'm exhausted and it's only Tuesday!


PS: Every time I look at my labels when I'm about to publish a post, I see this label that I have used in other posts - "working out" - and I feel so guilty because I did not work out yesterday and I WILL NOT work out tonight. It is 10 pm. I'm tired. My bed looks soooooo comfy :)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Made It #3, First Day Back, and TpT Sale!

Today is Monday...which can only mean one thing: MONDAY MADE IT!

Honestly, I haven't made anything new since I did my big classroom reveal...but here are the things that I DIYed for my classroom!

My Grade/Copy/File box! :)

Updating my calendar with some duct tape!

The finished product!

DIY bulletin border! I used tissue paper (got the idea here)

Backdrop for my emergency information (fire drill, tornado drill, phone extensions, etc.). I used scrapbook paper, taped it together, and then had it laminated. :)

Phew. That's it. Sorry for the crappy Monday Made It. Next week, I'll do more. I almost promise :)

Today was the first day back for all teachers in my district. WOW! There are so many new faces at my school. There has to be at least 15 newbies! None of them are brand new, 22 year old people, straight out of college. They've all had careers before teaching...but they've decided to start their teaching career at my school! Yay!

Five of the new teachers are on my hall! That's CRAZY! I have one newbie on my team....and one newbie who is also teaching ELA. I'll plan with her and another veteran teacher. I'm really, really excited about the year now that I've met all of the teachers on my hall. They're all incredibly nice. I think that our hall could be AMAZING this year.

However, after today, let me just say that I'M EXHAUSTED. My feet hurt. My head hurts. My brain feels like it almost can't function. I'm not overloaded with information like I was last year...but part of me feels like I'm still brand new. My nerves were still shaky when I walked into the meeting this morning. I don't know why. I sat through a million of those meetings as the year went on last year. I don't know. All I know right now is that I'm exhausted, broken down tired, feeling almost dead. Hopefully this week will help get me back used to the daily grind. My almost whole pot of coffee helped this morning...but, by noon, I still felt like crashing.

Two more days until I get to meet some of my students!!!! :) Yay!

Last item of business...FLASH SALE! I'm putting everything in my TpT store at 15% off! Starting now through Tuesday, 8/21, everything is on sale! :)

Here's the link: Andi's TpT Store. Check it out! :)


Sunday, August 19, 2012


Ok, I'm aware that I didn't post at all yesterday. I don't know what's up with me. I could not get motivated to do anything. I guess I'm just trying to enjoy my last two days of break. I officially go back to work tomorrow. I'm not sure how I'm going to get up at 6 AM, get myself and my child ready, and be at work by 8. I haven't gotten up before 8 in at least a month. I should have been trying all week to get used to the schedule...but I just wanted to enjoy my time. For the next 9-10 months, I'm going to be up at 6 AM every day...and yes, I mean every day....because once my child is on a schedule and is up at 6 AM during the week, he'll be up at 6 AM on Saturdays and Sundays as well. Sigh, this is the life of a teacher.

I'm still kinda nervous about going back. It doesn't feel real. I'm going to go tomorrow, sit in my meetings, and take it all in. Last year, I was so incredibly nervous about starting. It was my VERY FIRST DAY as a teacher! It's been a year...and I just can't believe it. It's been the fastest year of my life.

This week will go like this:

  • Monday:
    • Up at 6 am - drink an entire pot of coffee! :)
    • 8 am - Breakfast with the faculty/staff
    • 8:30 am- 12 pm - Opening Meeting
    • 1 pm - 4 pm - Vocabulary Support Training
    • Pick up Christian from day care
    • Cook dinner
    • Weekly Home Blessing Hour (5-6 pm) + Zone mission for the day
    • Christian's bed time - 8 pm
    • SLEEP!
  • Tuesday:
    • Up at 6 am - maybe 3/4 of a pot of coffee this morning! :)
    • 8 am - 12 pm - Vocabulary Support Training pt. 2
    • 1 pm - 4 pm - Meet at Richmond Senior High with the other ELA teachers to plan for the school year
    • Pick up Christian
    • Cook dinner
    • Clean out refrigerator and freezer.
    • Write grocery list and menu for the week.
    • Zone mission for the day
    • Christian's Bedtime - 8 pm
    • SLEEP!!!
  • Wednesday
    • Up at 6 am - 1/2 a pot today!
    • 8 am - I don't think I have any meetings today....however, I will be at my school in my classroom all day...making sure I have my copies run off and ready and getting ready for open house.
    • 4-6 pm - Open House
    • Pick up Christian from my mom's house.
    • Dinner???
    • Zone Mission
    • Grocery shopping and other errands??? - Idk if this will happen.
    • Christian's bedtime - 8 pm
    • SLEEP!
  • Thursday:
    • Up at 6 am - back to my regular routine of 1 LARGE cup a day.
    • 8 am - back to my school.....working in my room until 12!
    • 1:30-4 pm - Convocation. Welcoming in the school year with the entire county, school board, and all of the Superintendents :)
    • Picking up Christian.
    • Dinner?
    • Zone Mission
    • Bible Study/Girl time - 5:30 pm
    • Christian's bedtime - 8 pm
    • SLEEP!!!
  • Friday:
    • Up at 6 am - coffee, coffee, coffee
    • Back to my room for my last day of getting ready.
      • Focus on cleaning and organizing today.
      • Make sure everything is PERFECT for Monday (oh, I'm such a perfectionist)
    • At some point, I can go to the Annex for information about the instructional support docs for the year...but I already know how to use Google Docs/ I'll see if this is a requirement. I've been using those docs all summer!
    • Pick up Christian around 4
    • Dinner?
    • Clean out car and bags (purse and school bag)
    • See about going out with Kevin to celebrate the fact that I made it through my first week back.
    • Christian's bedtime - 8 pm
    • SLEEP!!! I MADE IT!!!

Ok, busy week. Trying to get back in the groove of things. Please notice my coffee schedule. I will be bouncing off the walls on Monday and Tuesday...but that's the only way I'll make it through this week. CAFFEINEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Sigh. I'll let you know how it all goes.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Ok....Classroom Reveal (just about finished...)

Ok, this is going to be picture heavy. Prepare yourself.

Let me start off with my classroom from last year. This is the same room that I'm in this year...but I had 0 experience putting a classroom together.

**This is what I walked into last year**


**Rows of desks...**

**3 posters above my bookshelf...and NOT centered. Ick** 

**Posters on my cabinets...**

**Bulletin board....the left side is for student work and the right side is my "What Did You Say?" display for all three classes**

**My vocabulary words (the flowers) and my rules poster above my SMARTboard**
**The view from the back of my room. I added more stuff above the white board as the year went on...more vocabulary words and a consequences poster**

Ok...that's my room last year.

Here's this year's photos:

**My door...**

**Posters next to my bookshelf**

**Bookshelf & posters**

**Grade/Copy/File organizer!!!**

**Information bulletin board**

**The flowers I made**

**Expectations and Consequences posters above SMARTboard**

**Space created for emergency information and telephone extensions**

**Posters below the SMARTboard**


**Writing posters below the board**

**Posters above the bookshelf. Much better than last year!**

**My pretty boxes my mom bought for me :)**

**My "What Did You Say?" display.**

**I changed the W. It's capitalized now! Lol!**

That's pretty much what I've gotten finished thus far. I'm really excited about how it looks this year. It's much better than last year. :)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Update!

Thought I'd share what I accomplished today. This will be mostly bear with me :)

**Using printed Duck Tape to update my calendar! I'd never used Duck Tape before and was surprised how easy it was to use!**

**Done! Looks much better!!!**

**Finished my "What Did You Say?" display at the back of my room. Just now seeing that the w that I cut is a lowercase w. Ugh. I'll fix it tomorrow.**

**From the front of my room**

**This might be my favorite part of my classroom!!! I love my bulletin board!**

**My Grade/Copy/File container!!! :)**

I still have a little bit to I'll go tomorrow morning and do what I can. I'll probably only stay until about lunch time though. I need to reset and enjoy the last few days of my precious summer break!