Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Workin' It Wednesday: Taking Back Control of my Life!

Even though I am not quite on summer break yet (1 more day with the kids, 1 half day for teachers), I just found this Workin' It Wednesday linky party hosted by the lovely Corinna over at Surfing Through Second and I just couldn't resist! I am such a fitness junkie so this was right up my alley!

This year has been a rough one for me. I haven't shared this information publicly yet, but I feel that if I am going to take back control of my life I need to be open and honest with everyone, including myself. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about a year and a half now and found out back in February that I am infertile. We still aren't entirely sure where the problem lies so the last few months have been a whirlwind of treatments, exams and procedures. All of this on top of the stress of not knowing my school placement for next year and getting into a car accident just yesterday. Like I said, rough year. 

I haven't gained (or lost) any weight but I am losing all of my strength/definition which I worked really hard for! The hormones have really taken a toll on me, physically and emotionally. And the hardest part has been the mental struggle. My Drs. think that my exercise may be a factor in my infertility so now it is a constant mental struggle between wanting to work out and wanting to get pregnant. I feel like I have to choose. Needless to say, since all of this started I haven't worked out much. I haven't really known how to workout with all this new information. 

I used to workout all the time. My friends would describe me as "intense"when it comes to working out and I am okay with that. When I am feeling like "myself," I work out 6 days a week; running and cross training. I have completed p90x 3 times and Insanity twice. Exercise is such a big part of who I am, correction, was. I feel like my infertility has taken away a huge part of me. And that ends now!

One of the things that is helping to motivate me right now is this fitness challenge group on FB that I am a part of: Summer Sweat! It is a group of women who are all dedicated to health and fitness and are so inspirational. It is great to have that support and sense of community. We post recipes, exercises, struggles, successes, motivational quotes, and especially sweaty selfies! If you want in, let me know! It's never too late to join :)

I am also registered for the Color Run in September! I can't wait! I have ALWAYS wanted to do the Color Run but haven't strengthened my knee enough. I'll be honest, it's because I haven't made it a priority. But I am already signed up so there's no going back now!

For my weight training, I am going to start this program again! It is from Don't let the name fool you! It is much more intimidating than the program really is! It is a 12 week program that utilizes equipment at the gym. Each day you have 6 exercises to complete. Easy peasy! And you will see results FAST! At least I did last time! If you want in on that click {here}! You register and then your workouts are emailed to you daily! 

I may also try to mix it up with Insanity. I find that I get bored of my weight training quickly. Insanity is horrible, but I love it. Sean T is my workout boyfriend, but don't tell Tony Horton, we used to a be a thing. haha

Another big goal of mine for the summer (and always a constant battle) is my water consumption, or lack there of. I usually only make it to a measly 17oz. a day. Yes, you read that right, 17oz. a day, don't judge me. My goal for the summer is to drink at least 64oz a day. That should be easier now that I will be done with school and can go to the bathroom wherever I want. 

Is it sad that I look forward to that so much!?

 I have gotten a lot of hype about this amazing water bottle of mine called the Hydracoah. It lets you set a water goal and then tracks your intake each day and lets you know how close you are to reaching your goal! You can get this bad boy on Amazon, and trust me, it is $30 well spent! Just click the image above! 

I would love to hear from all of you! What are your health and fitness goals!? Let's help by supporting each other! If you want in on that FB challenge group thingy, let me know! It definitely helps with accountability!

And lastly, 

{Click here} for a fitness index I found on Pinterest. Just in case you are like me and get bored of your workouts quickly! This link has a TON of workouts to help you switch it up!

Even writing this got me excited to get my life back!

Let's make like Nike and JUST DO IT!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study {Chapters 1&2}

Happy Monday! 

We are still busy counting down the days in my classroom! Today as part of our countdown we had no shoes day. The kids had fun, and so did I! My feet sure appreciated it :)

I also met with the school that I am hoping to be at next year and I loved everything about it. The team was wonderful and I had so much fun! Is it weird that I had fun during an interview!? I think that is a good sign! *Fingers crossed*

I am so excited to be joining the amazing writers over at Freebielicious for a summer book study. We are reading Daily 5 (Second Edition) and I am already a little behind! But in my defense, I am not on summer break yet. It is my last week of school, so I'm sure you can all relate to the 50 shades of crazy that are happening right now. 

If you don't have this book already and want to join in on the fun, you can get it over at Amazon. Just click on the image below!

I have been using the Daily 5 structure in my classroom since I started teaching 3 years ago and I love, love, LOVE it. Although, typically I adapt it down to a Daily 3 (Read to Self, Work on Writing and Word Work) depending on the stamina level in my classroom. It has been such a life saver and I can't wait to make it even better next year!

Here's what some of the kids are doing during Daily 5 in our classroom!

The biggest impact that Daily 5 has had on my students, aside from increasing their reading scores (Woohoo!) is their motivation to learn. It is really exciting for me to hear my students engaged in making choices specific to their needs! 

The first chapter discusses how Gail Boushey & Joan Moser (aka "the sisters") realized that trying to get to all 5 choices squeezed into one reading block was unrealistic, especially in the primary grades. As with everything else, we need to teach students stamina. It isn't something that they either have or don't have, but instead needs to be learned and practiced. It is also important to teach our students how to be reflective of their learning and to self-monitor as they go. This is something I could definitely get better at. 

This chapter really got me thinking about my current literacy block and the changes I would like to make next year.

What I do that is the same:
* I-charts: We create these together at the beginning of the year and review as often as necessary (which is increasingly often near the end of the year). 
* Mini-lessons: I start each block with a short 15 minute reading lesson. The lesson varies based on what my students need at a given time. Sometimes it's strategies for tricky words, sometimes it's blends, sometimes it's making connections, it's always changing!
* Choice: Children get to choose what they work on each day.

What I do that is the different:
* Brain breaks: I don't use these at all. I really need to give this Go Noodle thing a try!
* Reflection: I am really horrible at checking in to see what students worked on/learned during their independent work time. I do it, just not with any sort of consistency.
* Options: I do not use Read to Someone (until the end of the year) or Listen to Reading (lack of resources). Also, students do not necessarily do Read to Self and Work on Writing every day. 

Chapter 2 was all about the foundations of a successful Daily 5 reading block! 

Trust and Respect: We have to explicitly teach the behaviors we want to see and then trust that students are capable achieving them. It is important to have high expectations for students otherwise they will never grow!
Community: I think that building community is the most important aspect of any successful classroom.  It is important for students to understand and respect that each student is at a different stage and that that is O.K. By creating this sense of community, we empower our students to hold not only themselves, but each other accountable. 
Choice: Choice is highly motivating for everyone, including children. Think how much more motivated you are to exercise if you get to choose your work out program, classes, routine. Think about how much more fun it is to read a book that you chose rather than one that was assigned to you. The same applies to students in the classroom. This choice provides students with a sense of ownership that helps them be successful!
Accountability: Accountability is a 2 way street! It is important to clearly define expectations of not only our students, but ourselves, during each of the Daily 5 choices to ensure students are making meaningful learning choices. 
Brain Research: Lessons should be short and sweet (not like this post…) and follow a 20:80 ratio. 20% of time for teaching and 80% of time for practice. I really liked the basketball reference, it really solidified the concept for me! Practice does make perfect, even in reading! 
Transitions as Brain and Body Breaks: Transitions can actually be positive and not just a necessity! It gives students an opportunity to move around the room and get those wiggles out! But just like stamina, transitions must be taught!

I'm really excited to be diving into this book! I can't wait to start creating resources to use next year and to better my reading instruction! I have to be honest, I am confused by Freebilicious, I don't understand how it works and couldn't find the book study directly on there! If you happen to know how that works, please let me know! :)

I did find a link up for this book study over at A Day in First Grade so make sure you check that out and go read what others thought of the first 2 chapters! Maybe I'll see you next week for chapter 3!

Happy Monday! Sorry for the lengthy post. I guess I had a lot to say ;)

Saturday, June 7, 2014


So apparently when I transferred my blog over to blogger, my Bloglovin got all kinds of wonks. I didn't even think about having to fix my Bloglovin account when I made the big switch. Urgh! So many of you are following the wrong one. Sorry! 

The correct one is {here}

Five for Friday… Er, Saturday

AHH! How is it Saturday!? I used one of my personal days yesterday and now I am all kinds of thrown off! I thought yesterday was Saturday (because it felt like Saturday) and I forgot to do all of my Friday to-dos, including linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching! So here it goes! 

This week has just been crazy, in the best way possible! We are full swing in our last 10 days of school countdown. Field trips, field day, class parties, it has been exhausting but so much fun!

This was probably the highlight of my week! During "Marker Day", part of our countdown, a couple of the girls in my class started a "station" on their own for kids to make me giraffes. They know me so well :) They plan to glue them on to a large paper and make a background for them. I can't wait to see it all finished!

Okay, so I'm going to vent for a moment. Remember last week when I showed the before and during photos of my backyard in progress? Well I spent $150 on soil, fertilizer and grass seeds. Spent countless hours in the backyard pulling weeds, laying soil and planting grass. Only to find that our hose doesn't actually attach to the spigot, because of this stupid attachment.

I have no idea what this attachment is. We have also spent money trying to find ways to either remove it or in the wise words of Tim Gunn, "make it work". Nothing. I am so frustrated. The grass didn't grow and is dead because we can't water it. And now we have to start all over. :( 

Does anyone happen to know what the heck this is!? Or how I could make it attach to a standard hose. I don't wan't my vegetable garden to die next!

As part of our countdown, we are making an ABC book of advice for next years 1st graders. This is by far my favorite!

"Good people say nice words. Great people let you play" Look out Confucius, we have a new philosopher in the house. 

I spent my personal day yesterday going downtown to the Rose Festival. I love Portland, it is such a beautiful city. I had so much fun walking around in the amazing sunshine, riding the rides, eating the delicious foods and enjoying this GIANT snow cone. It took me over an hour to finish it! #snowconesfordays 

Perfect way to spend a day off!

I finished these end of the year gifts for my kiddos! Remember those compliment stars we did? Well, I typed them up into these word clouds and framed them! They turned out even cuter than I had hoped. 

It was so sweet typing/reading the compliments the kids left for each other. SO sweet. It is nice to focus on the positives. Great way to end the year :)

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! I am checking many things off my list this weekend! Feels great to be so productive!

OH! And I ordered Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction and Daily 5 (Second Edition) this week as well. Can't wait to join the book studies that are going on this summer! Anyone else doing those book studies!?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh, Sometimes I Get Good Feelings

If you sang that title out loud like I did, then we should totally be friends! Anyways, I saw this cute idea from Wish Upon A Teacher on Instagram and thought I would adapt it to fit into our end of the year countdown.

For day 6 of our countdown, I wanted to do something that could be turned into a keepsake for students to take home on the last day and I also wanted to take some time to slow down and really acknowledge the wonderful qualities each student brings into the classroom! We too easily get wrapped up in the putting out those behavior "fires" that it is easy to lose sight of the positives. 

To start the activity, we reviewed adjectives and brainstormed a list of adjectives to describe our friends in the classroom. They came up with so many amazing words, I was impressed. Some of my favorites were compassionate, astonishing and  generous. I should have taken a picture of the brainstormed list *facepalm*. I swear some day I will get the hang of taking pictures! 

We then walked around the room and wrote compliments on each of our friends stars!

This was such a great activity! If you have time, I highly recommend it. It is so wonderful seeing them all so focused and excited to give compliments. :)