Monday, December 31, 2012

It's almost 2013!

So hard to believe that we will soon be ringing in a new year!  For the most part this has been a good year.  I started this little blog, increased it to 38 followers (and hoping for more), had my first student teacher and really learned so much professionally from both experiences.  I also started running and doing yoga on a regular basis, in addition to hiking, walking and dancing.   I've also been able to spend lots of time with my family and friends, as well as my boyfriend, enjoyed time in my happy place in Minnesota, and San Clemente hanging by the ocean.  Life is good and I've had lot's of blessings this year.

  My fitness resolutions for the coming year are to do more yoga and running, run a 5-K by the end of the year, keep hiking (lots of great hiking in AZ) and walking.

I plan to celebrate the new year with family watching a movie, and having dinner.  Later on I'll be meeting my boyfriend and going to a swing dance party where we will welcome the new year.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful new year, and that 2013 brings all sorts of good things to you and yours.

Enjoy and have fun! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Downtime goals

Today I'm linking up with Step into Second Grade to continue the resolution theme and talk about downtime goals.

Reading more-I used to be an avid reader.  I'd go through a stack of books a week.  Nowadays I almost never have time, unless I'm on vacation.  I'd really like to make more time for reading books for fun.

Spending time with friends- Between teaching and blogging as well as spending time with my parents and boyfriend it doesn't leave me much time to spend time with friends.  I'd like to spend more time hanging out with friends-swingdancing, going to festivals, running, doing yoga, eating out and anything new, fun and different.  I love organizing things so I'm going to spend some time over vacation setting up some stuff with friends.

Come on over and check out everyone're resolutions!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Professional Growth Resolutions

I hope everyone is enjoying their vacation.  I am enjoying my freedom and spending my time relaxing, spending time with family and friends, as well as organizing at home and planning for the coming year.  In keeping with the theme of resolutions and goals I am linking with One Extra Degree for some professional growth resolutions this coming year.

Technology-One of the main things I want to work on this coming year is incorporating more technology in my classroom.  I should be getting a document camera and a projector soon (hopefully when I return from Christmas break) and I really want to work on using the smart board we have for check out (and maybe getting a new one) and maybe looking into getting a smart board, and maybe even some I-pads through a technology grant.  One of my followers suggested Donor's Choose which I need to look into.  I'm also going to check out some good suggestions from the technology link-up on Wednesday.

Organization-Another thing I'm motivated about is to get more organized both at home and at school.  I see so many cute classrooms (pinterest inspired) that I'd like to incorporate in my classroom.  I also have some ideas on revamping how I organize my goals and my progress notes towards my ieps which I am working on.

Brain Based learning- I really want to learn more about brain based learning and use some of their strategies this coming year.  I also want to learn more about brain gym and brain breaks.

Vocabulary development-My students are very weak in their vocabulary skills and understanding and processing of language.  I really want to work on learning more about building their understanding of language.

Alright now it's time to get going.  Working on your resolutions this week?  Check out what everyone else is doing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolutions for 2013

  It's hard to believe that it's almost time for the start of a new year.  Soon it will be 2013 and along with it a new round of resolutions.  So I'm joining up with Teaching Maddeness and Teaching With Moxie for their linky parties about resolutions both school related and home in general.  Hopefully by publishing it for the world to see it'll keep more focused and accountable.  Amyway, here they are!!
 1) I really need to get more organized at home.  I need to give away clothes, download my cd's and get give them away, organize my pictures, and stick to a plan to keep on top of keeping my place clean.
2) Create a budget and stick with it monthly.  Create additional streams of income through writing and or creating products for teacher's pay teachers.
3) Exercise on a regular basis-yoga, running and hiking, and any other exercise at least three to four days a week.
4) Experiment with new recipes more often and cook for other people more often (entertaining).

1) Get more organized at school.  I made major progress this fall at decluttering my classroom and will continue to work on it when I return.  I have SO many materials to get organized!  Plus I would LOVE to make my room more cutesy and stylish.  I need to get all my materials, teacher's guides and student materials organized efficiently.
2) Work smarter at progress monitoring and keeping data on my students (both academically and behaviorally).  I want to make it easier on myself when it comes to progress monitoring.
3) Incorporate technology into my classroom more effectively.  I'm hoping when I return from vacation I will FINALLY have a document camera and a projector that I can use.  I'd also like to use our smart board that we can check out.  Eventually, I was thinking about writing a technology grant so I can get a smart board and maybe some I Pads for my classroom.

1) Increase my followers to 100 plus. 

2) Post on a regular basis, at least 3 times a week or more.
3) Network with other bloggers on a more consistent basis.
4) Learn how to create products and lesson plans to share and to sell.
Teaching Maddeness

Arming educators?

Here in Arizona some of our law enforcement officials are suggesting arming at least one person at each school, providing them with a gun and training so that someone at each school (that doesn't have a law enforcement officer or resource officer) is armed and ready to respond if needed.

Personally, I really don't like that idea since there are too many variables.  These shooters come in with high powered rifles.  Whoever is selected would have to drop what they're doing and respond.  What is they were teachers?  What would they do with their class, while they're responding with the gun.  What if the person was gone that day, out sick or at a conference.  Even though the gun would be locked, there's always a chance of someone getting to it before you do and what if it was a student.

I'd much rather have armed guards, that are trained and know how to use them guarding our schools.  Anyway, I know it's just a band aid solution for a much bigger problem.  In the meantime, tighter security, more training for teachers (what to do in emergencies etc.) are better solutions.  

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?  Good idea?  Bad?

Has your state and or school district started proposing anything?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays and Winter Break Goals

Happy Holidays everyone!  I hope however you celebrate this season you're with family and friends and people you love!  I'll be celebrating with my parents and missing my brother and his family in Ohio (thank goodness for skype), as well as my boyfriend (who's celebrating with his family).  We'll eat, play games, and watch movies!

Anyway, I found a fun link up at What I Have Learned about making winter vacation goals.  Other than relaxing and having fun, I do want to be productive and accomplish some goals I don't normally have time for.  So here they are:

1)  Clean up my place.  It's in the need of a good spring cleaning and decluttering.  I plan on tackling it room to room over break so hopefully once I'm done it'll look much better.

2) Blogging- I'd like to make a plan for my blog-what topics to write about, how to increase traffic, making products for teachers pay teachers and how I can increase the amount of followers I have.

3) Exercise regularly-More yoga, running, walking, or hiking.  Anything-preferably outdoors.

4) Plan for school.  I want to plan for the next week, or two and maybe come up with a new discipline plan.  Mine is pretty old and while it works for the most part-it doesn't for everyone and I'd like to look into new ideas.  I'm also looking into whole brain teaching, brain gym and brain breaks.

5) I have a photo album from a trip I took almost 5 years ago, that is halfway done and I'd LOVE to FINALLY complete it.

I only have two weeks, and I'm sure it'll fly by so I better get going!

What are your goals for break?    Link up with us and let us know!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Friday!

Today was my last day of school before Christmas vacation.  It was a pretty mellow day in the resource room, since most of the students were in their classrooms with celebrations and activities.  I'm looking forward to taking time to enjoy spending time relaxing with families, and enjoying some time at home so that I can return in January relaxed and recharged. 

Happy Friday!  Enjoy your weekend!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blogger Day of Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

5 for Five

Happy Monday!  My heart was heavy this weekend, but I was able to spend time enjoying going to holiday parties with colleagues, as well as enjoying some yoga and the beautiful weather here in Arizona.  We have one week left of school and I'm really looking forward to enjoying some time off with my family and friends and living life at a leisurely pace.  Today I'm linking up with Jessica and Jenn for their Monday 5 for Five. This is how I did last week on my goals.
1) Practice yoga at least twice- I made it once this week and I'm going tonight.

2) Go running at least three times- I was a bad girl.  I didn't run at all last week.

3) Meditate daily for 5 minutes- I did it twice this week.

4) Get my kitchen organized- I did it!

5) Create a budget and stick with it-I created the budget, now I need to stick with it.

Here are my new goals for next week:

1) Workout at least four times this week-running, yoga and hiking are my faves.  Anything would be good!!

2) Meditate daily for 5 minutes- I really want to do this!!

3) Finish my Christmas shopping- I have family in Ohio and I really need to finish this up.

4) Make a trip to Goodwill- I've been trying to clear out and organize my home and need to make a trip to donate some stuff. 

Happy Monday!! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

What a heartbreaking day!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the town of Newton and Sandy Hook Elementary. My mind is reeling from today's senseless shooting and saddened that this could take place at what should be a safe haven for children.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy 12/12/12! Here's my 12 in 12

Happy 12/12/12!  Today I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten and A Teeny Tiny Teacher for their 12 in 12 linky party. 

All you have to do is think back at your favorites in 2012 and add a few pictures. What a fun way to remember the year, huh!?

 12. Favorite movie I watched: So many really good movies this year.  I loved the Moonrise Kingdom!  There were so many good movies I saw this past year, but it topped my list this year.  It was quirky, funny, loaded up with good actors.  The next one that I really loved was ARGO.  What a great story, that no one never knew happened until recently

 11. Favorite TV series: The Good Wife- This show always has good compelling stories that keep me on the edge of my seat.  It's also loaded with good actors.  I love NCIS.  I used to watch JAG and love this show as well.  The characters are great, and the stories are compelling.  Runners up are: Person of Interest, NCIS and Dancing with the Stars.


10. Favorite restaurant: La Grande Orange-This is a breakfast/ 
pizza/grocery store and everything there is amazing!!   The pizza, the french pancakes, the omelettes.  Yummy!

9. Favorite new thing you tried: Blogging!  I just started this October and I love it!  I've learned so much about teaching, and creating a blog.  I've met a lot of interesting people and a new network of fellow teachers. 

8. Favorite gift you got: A packet of yoga classes from my parents for my birthday.  I LOVE being able to do yoga on a regular basis, at a local studio.  I feel so good and relaxed when I do it. 

7. Favorite road trip: Going to San Clemente, CA with my guy.  I LOVE the ocean, and luckily where I live it's a 6 hour drive away.  I know it's far, but the reward is so good.   We found a great little motel with a view of the ocean, within walking distance to the beach and the pier.  They usually have bonfires in the evening.
Here is a view of the pier from the hotel.

6. Favorite home away from home: Our cottage on a lake in MN.  It's been in our family for over 100 years and I've been going there ever since I was a child. 

5. Best accomplishment: Getting back into shape.  I've always been fairly fit, but more recently I've been practicing yoga on a more regular basis and also recently got back into running.  I love discovering that I can run farther and accomplish poses that once were difficult.

4. Favorite picture:  Here is a picture of our cabin in MN, and a view of the sunset on the lake from our cabin.

3. Favorite memory: Our 4th of July celebration this summer at our cottage.  When my brother and his family comes up it's a party.  He organizes all our family and friends to come over to our cottage and celebrate with us.  We hang out in front of our cottage and watch fireworks.
2. Goal for 2013: I really want to get more organized at home and at school.  I've already started on that goal, both at home and at school and now I'm going to get ready to continue that quest over my vacation.

1. One Little Word: (okay there's three) simplify, peaceful and happy

Monday, December 10, 2012

The 5 for Five Linky Party


I'm linking up with Jessica and Jenn for their 5 for Five linky party.  Here's the rules: every Monday, you set 5 goals for yourself for the next 5 days.  And then a week later, you link up again to see how you did on those goals and to set new goals.  And on and on it goes.  Sounds good, yes? 

I've been wanting to get more organized at home and at school so this is perfect for me and will help keep me more accountable.

This is my first time doing this linky party, so I don't have any progress to report on previous goals.

So anyway, here are my goals for this week:

1) Practice yoga at least twice- I love yoga and the way it makes feel stronger and more peaceful and relaxed.  I want to keep a regular yoga practice.

2) Go running at least three times- I love running and the way it makes me feel.  My goal is to run a 5-K by the summer, and so I need to get moving and start running on a regular basis.

3) Meditate daily for 5 minutes- I've tried it, but never really made meditation part of my daily practice.  I've always wanted to do and now's the time.  I've read and heard all about the wonderful benefits of meditation, so here it goes.

4) Get my kitchen organized- I really want to do some more cooking and hopefully I'll be able to indulge in it over Christmas vacation.  Anyway, once I'm organized there I should be able to have more time and motivation to some more cooking at home.

5) Create a budget and stick with it-I really want to get more organized with my finances and make sure that I'm able to accomplish my goals (money wise)  I want to be a more mindful spender.

So these are my goals for the coming week.  I'll report on my progress next week.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Resources for students with learning disabilities

A learning disability is a neurological disorder that impedes the ability to learn in a typical manner.  Children or adults with learning disabilities have average or above average ability, and it usually effects math skills or language including reading, writing, of expressing and understanding language.  Sometimes it's a mixture of all three.  It's not something that can be cured or fixed, however they can learn specific strategies that will help alleviate their weaknesses.

Some of the most common learning disabilities are:
* dyslexia-is a language based disability in which a person has difficulty understanding the written word.
* dyscalculia-a mathematical disability in which a person has difficulty solving math problems.
* dysgraphia-a writing disability in which a person has difficulty with written language.
* auditory and visual processing disorders-a difficulty processing information visually and or through auditory means
* non-verbal learning disabilities -have difficulty recognizing and understanding non-verbal cues.
  The first is The Learning Disability Association.  This association offers resources and support for people that have learning disabilities-both children and adults, as well as parents, teachers and other professionals.

LD Online is another resource.  It also offers a lot of information about learning disabilities for parents and professionals.

The International Dyslexia Association is dedicated to the study and treatment of learning disabilities, and dyslexia, as well as other language based learning differences.

National Center for Learning Disabilities  is another support for children with learning disabilities. 

ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is not a learning disability, but often appears concurrently with students that have learning disabilities.
Help for children and adults can find support at Children and  Adults with Attention Defiicit Hyperactivity Disorder otherwise known as  CHADD.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing super sentences!!

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Mine was nice and relaxing.  I went to the swing dance anniversary couple that were celebrating their 50th anniversary party and another celebrating their 1st anniversary party.  That's what I love about swing dancing, such a wide variety of ages and groups of people.

 The weather was beautiful so I was able to do yoga outdoors and went for a for a nice run.  Many of my students have good ideas, but really struggle with using conventions in their writing.  So I decided that it was time to start focusing on the basics, writing complete sentences using the correct conventions.  I used the book called  Write a Super Sentence.  They discuss two types of sentences Level 1 and Level 2 sentences.  Level 1 consists of an adjective, noun and a verb.  Level 2 have an adjective, a noun, a verb, as well as telling the reader where and when the story takes place. 

We started off by creating some Level 1 sentences, then moved on quickly to creating Level 2 ones with the students.  I pick the noun and they brainstorm adjectives, verbs and where and when words.  After that, they partner up and pick up a sentences using the different words in that sentences, then they tell the group.  After that they take out the white boards and practice writing complete sentences, making sure they use capital letters, punctuation and using connecting words.

The students seem to really like this activity and do a good job, participating and brainstorming ideas.  I wish I'd brought my camera in today so that I could show everyone.  They turned out really well.

What do you do for teaching the writing of sentences? 

Happy Monday!! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Currently!

So hard to believe it's already December!  I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly Currently!

Anyway I'm so happy that it's finally cooler here in Arizona.  It's such a great time to enjoy the great outdoors.  I love yoga and there are a few places where you can enjoy yoga outdoors.  So nice!  It's also perfect for hiking, and there are a lot of visitors and fun things to do around this time of year.

I'm working on putting together plans and getting ready for my observation this year.  This year the Arizona legislature changed the rules on teachers and now all teachers are observed twice a year.  (sad face)  So I have one next week and then in February.  Oh well!

I've also been reorganizing at home and at school.  I think I'm a bit of a pack rat, so I need to continually clear out the clutter.  At school, I inherited a room with a lot of materials and books, so it was in desperate need of organizing.  I'm also trying to find or put together a really good easy data sheet for tracking lessons, objectives and data.  I feel like I waste so much time getting organized for progress reports etc.  I want to work smarter, not harder.  

I'm not great at technology in the classroom (well aside from computers) and I would so love to get familiar with and use on a regular basis a document camera, and smart board.  I will be getting a document camera in my room finally.  Sometime this year and maybe even over Christmas break.  What a fun present that would be.

I've always loved the idea of Random Acts of Kindness.  I love the idea of doing nice things for people, but I haven't been very good about it.  I've always wanted to buy someone a lunch, dinner or coffee and pass it on.

So here's what I'm doing Currently.

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