Thursday, January 31, 2013

Living a vision or circumstances?

Indianapolis Colts Coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia told his team,"You guys are living a vision, not circumstances." This was after his team continued to win in spite of incredible odds.

Our staff has been struggling with circumstances of its own lately. Some blame our dysfunction of our principal's illnesses. Her absences led to multiple leaders several times. Since her return, things haven't improved a great deal. In an effort to open communication channels, the principal has turned to thinking/talking points. We are given a quote and are asked to respond on a post-it note that we hang on her door. It makes for a colorful office door if nothing else! These are compiled for further discussion at staff meetings.

Some of my colleagues view this as "busy" work, but I get where she is going with this strategy. We are talking and thinking about our ever-changing role as teacher and nurturer. Everyone discusses the quote before responding in writing, just in case they might "get it wrong". Her latest quote?

“In the game of life, many of us who cross home plate do so because we were born on third base. Others aren’t even on a team.”                                                              Max Lucado

I am thinking...As a teacher, I tend to focus on the ones left out. I teach children to include others. External forces cause a child to not want to be part of the team. These are all circumstances I cannot change. With the right support and encouragement, all students could join a team and be successful.

I have decided I am starting my own team and will be recruiting others. We will field the strongest team ever. We will create an even better game! I am choosing to live the vision!

What about you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snow Day Creativity

It is late. I should be heading off to bed, but I got to sleep in this morning. Sunday night's rain, snow, sleet mix coated the roads in the country. It led to a surprise day off. I just finished with projects, so I wanted to share. I am hoping for a fog delay in the morning. It is pea soup outside already. It should reach 60 degrees tomorrow after being sub-zero wind chill last week.

After working late Friday to finish report cards before I left school, I decided to spend my unexpected vacation day doing what I wanted. I spent some time creating new fonts. I love my iPad for making fonts.

You can download the fonts below.
LiB Christian

LiB Lizzy

LiB Ashlynn

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Love PD!

Today was a scheduled professional development day. I love when we have a county PD day because we get to choose own sessions. The way I see it is if I have to be in class when others are at home, it better be worth it. Today was definitely worth it. We had many choices of activities to pick from including a keynote speaker. I considered one on Pinterest for Educators or iPads in the Classroom. Wow, what choices! To pin and play for three hours!

Instead I chose to go to a Make-It, Take-It. We were allowed us to use any of the usually paid supplies for FREE! This included high end colored printers, laminators, poster makers, button makers, and all the papers and gadgets to enhance your projects. I spent three hours downloading and printing task cards, posters, banners, and more. Some of my projects are ones I recently purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher's Notebook. Others are my own creation that you can get from my TpT store. I had been stockpiling projects since I signed up for this the beginning of December. My students will definitely benefit from this morning's work!
A small sample of projects! 

I will be back later to share information from my afternoon session. It's late and I still have a huge pile of lamination to cut. Any volunteers?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Of the many committees in our school, my favorite is our technology advisory committee. (That's what I call it since it has no official name). Our technology advisory committee is a group of elementary teachers and our tech director that meet to decide new apps to put on our iPads. Our goal was to meet once per marking period, but we haven't met in a couple of months. The only apps we have added to the sets of iPads (purchased with a grant) have been free apps. We are looking for some ideas for some free good apps. We have added some, but only a few are used regularly. Below are the ones the students use on my iPad (from Scholastic with 20,000 bonus points).

My favorites are:
Accelerated Reading
Pages (like word)
Five Dice - Order of Operations game
Spelling City - app for
Scan - QR Code reader
Rover - Educational Browser that lets you play Flash games (Fun Brain,
Educreations and Show Me
Rocket Math / Mathmateer
Oregon Settler (Oregon Trail)
Font Maker

What are your favorite apps? 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I did it!

I am not an impulsive person. It took me three months to choose my last new car. When I bought my house, the real estate agent had become so familiar my kids that they called her "Grandma Carol". I like to try new things, but they are usually old things to other people.

The one area that I try without hesitation is technology. Technology allows me to be a risk taker. It helps me maintain some degree with anonymity which helps me take chances. It was my need to remain anonymous that had me stalking blogs for several months before I started commenting on blogs. It was even longer before I started my own blog. I have learned so much from blogging. It gives me affirmation that I don't always get at school. It has allowed me to be creative, and as my husband puts it, hasn't caused a pile on the office desk like other hobbies. (Well, maybe there is a pile of ungraded papers because I am blogging instead of grading!)

When I get thoughtful comments on a post, it makes me smile. I try to follow blogging etiquette and wonder how often I have broke one of the unwritten rules. The recent posts by other bloggers about the "rules" made me hesitate to ask questions from veterans for fear I may be the topic of a future posting. I had to break down my resolve yesterday and contacted the very kind and knowledgeable Michelle at The 3 AM Teacher when I had a problem using one of the graphics sets I purchased. It wasn't a problem with the set, but with me and my computer. Sweet Michelle tried to solve my problem. I ended up switching computer in the end.

After purchasing products from Teachers Pay Teachers, and seeing all of the wonderful products on blogs, I decided to create some products of my own to sell. I started a Teachers Pay Teachers store. See the link there on the right? It is an infant store, with very few products, but with the graphics sets I purchased from Michelle and others, and some of the wonderful freebies I have acquired recently, I hope to remedy that soon. If you happen to stop by my shop, I wouldn't mind a  follower or leave me a comment, please.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's January and a Monday...

I am joining Tara's Monday Made It linky. I had high hopes of having lots of things to post, but got sidetracked by my vacation. I did get a couple of things made that I would like to share.

The first is a book recommendation tree. I was inspired by what I saw on someone's blog last year. It was a branch that was "planted" for recommendations to be hung. I saw these lighted branches at Target in the fall.
I couldn't justify the price, but when I saw them on clearance, I had to have them. I bought two packs of the branches that came in sets of three. I used brown duct tape to attach them to a wooden dowel. It  isn't perfect, but I love it! Rocks weigh down the container while tissue paper covers my duct tape "roots".

I made this banner for my classroom. Sorry I forgot my flash drive at school with the pictures of the completed project. 

Then, I also made some decimal task cards for my math center. The forgotten drive has all of my projects on it! Ugh!  So much for more making more projects (on Monday). I guess I'll have to just watch television tonight. 

Watch my favorite team or Bachelor? I think the game wins tonight, the Bachelor can be recorded. 

Don't forget to link up with Tara to show us your projects.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

But I don't want to go!

The title of this post is a phrase my mother seldom heard from me, and never in regards to school. I loved school and knew I wanted to teach from a very young age. As I get older, I find myself struggling ever so briefly with going back to school. I am a creature of habit, and when I get out of routine, I balk at the thought of restarting it. I am a night owl, but cannot find an elementary school that caters to my preferred hours. Somewhat reluctantly I am getting myself ready for returning to school tomorrow. I don't have a scheduled break until the very end of March. Maybe the snow gods will smile upon my part of southeast Michigan. Most of the snow seems to miss us lately.

The two weeks off school were very relaxing. I got to stay up late and sleep in until 9, and on a few occasions, stayed in bed reading 10 AM. Our travels home late last week threw my body clock off. I stayed up way to late, or went to bed way too early this morning depending on how you look at it. I have enjoyed catching up on all the blogs I follow. I also have been able to find some great things to use in some creative endeavors.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Currently and a vacation

It is January 1st. I have been on a self-imposed blogging vacation. Don't get me wrong, I have been blog stalking and commenting, but I refused to blog myself until the 1st. Part of the reason is because I have been at the M-I-Ls in Florida with my iPad. I refused to breakdown and haul out the laptop until now. I prefer the laptop or PC for blogging because I haven't taken the time to play with my blogging app on the iPad.

I am joining Farley's Currently linky for January.

My husband is listening to the fallout from Black Monday. He is also explaining lots of things about football to his mother. We have been staying with her on vacation. It has been a working vacation for us. We come down to visit and do things for her that she would otherwise have to pay to have done. We get to visit, and get out of the cold and snow. We are heading home Thursday. My daughter is happy we are letting her miss school on Thursday and perhaps Friday. I go back to school on Monday because I teach in a neighboring county. 

I am determined to be more appreciative of all I have in my life: a loving and supportive husband, three great kids, a job I love, and my wonderful class. I know next year will have its challenges.

One of the fun things we did while here is going to the Outback Bowl Parade last night in Ybor City in Tampa. We go whenever we are here for the new year. This year was really a treat with University of Michigan playing South Carolina, and two high school bands from our area were marching in the parade. I am not a huge Michigan fan. My favorite team's playing next Monday night.

Sorry for the poor quality of photo, but I was using my phone and trying to catch beads at the same time. My daughter caught enough beads for me to give one to each of my homeroom students. I know as a Junior, we don't have many more family vacations with her. It has been a joy spending so much time with just her and hubby this vacation. She has grown into an incredible young lady. I was proud watching her step to the side so others could get beads, and even taking some off her own neck to give to a girl that didn't get any. 

I am closing this to get some sun. It snowed back home, again!

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