Monday, April 22, 2013

Whole Group Reading: Teacher Read Aloud

When we started Literacy First, I was kind of surprised that having a teacher-led read aloud was part of our whole group time.  In the past we'd had our reading series dictate the story we read that week and we had a few novel studies on top of that.  I always did a chapter book read aloud with my class on top of that, but I really didn't think that reading story books to third graders (or older) was all that necessary.  

I've come to enjoy our read aloud time a lot, though, and it's given me a lot more opportunities to read a variety of stories to my students.  We're supposed to incorporate a lot of non-fiction into our read alouds (about 50 or 60%). 

Here are some of the books / themes that we've done this year:

  • Friendship
  • Pets / Animal Heroes
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Elections 
  • Presidents 
  • Thanksgiving / Native Americans
  • Christmas
  • Penguins 
  • Johnny Appleseed
  • Martin Luther King Jr. / Civil Rights
  • Inventors
  • Titanic
  • Butterflies
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle
  • Muggie Maggie
  • Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing
  • Charlotte's Web
There are even more I would like to try to do in the future, but I just haven't had time to fit in or plan for!  We also do some weeks where we just read stories and focus on a certain comprehension skill or text structure...  For example, we might spend a week reading books and focusing on a skill like retelling or compare and contrast.  Some themes extend more than just 1 week and the novel studies usually take about 2 weeks each. 

My kids really love the nonfiction books and learning new things through these books.  We're in the middle of our inventors unit right now and we studied old school inventors like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell and now we're reading about Steve Jobs.  They're loving it!

I wanted to share the reading planner than I created last spring again.  It's been good for planning things out and it's definitely going to help me in doing some better planning for next year!

One of my current goals for now and into the summer is better organizing all of my theme resources.  I'm considering some tubs like these:  

Group-Materials Stackable Trays
Image via Really Good Stuff
Target also has some similar boxes...  I think these would be perfect for putting my books and files for themes into one common spot and would be super convenient for sharing with my coworkers!

I'm hoping to get back into some school-related posts again in the coming weeks and months.  Sometimes mid-year I get sick of even thinking about school when I'm not there, so blogging about it isn't exactly at the top of my list!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Social

It's time for Sunday Social over at A Complete Waste of Makeup!

Sunday Social

I skipped last week's because it was all about Twitter and I'm just not really into Twitter.  I've tried and more than anything else I find it annoying.  Okay, I'm done.

What is your shopping weakness?
Gap is probably by biggest weakness when it comes to clothes.  They have super cute stuff again and they always seem to be running the best sales.  I never pay full price for anything there.  It probably also doesn't help that it's closer to my house than the actual mall, so I just happen to pop into there way too often.  Target is another big temptation for me.  I went there last night and had to talk myself out of buying 3 clearance purses!  

Image via Gap

What is your food weakness?
Okay this may sound weird, but I love LOVE Kroger's version of the creamy broccoli Tuna Helper.  Here's the weird thing, I don't actually like the real brand of the Tuna Helper, but just the Kroger store brand version.  It's sooooo much better.  I thought they were getting rid of it a while back (thankfully they just changed the packaging) and I went to multiple grocery stores to hoard it.  True story.  Totally not what would be considered a healthy meal, but it's quick, easy, cheap, and yummy.  Sometimes you just have to have some meals like that on hand, right?!?

What is your go-to movie when nothing is on?
"Back to the Future" has been my favorite movie since I was in kindergarten.  I went to school in the afternoon and went through a phase were I would watch it (in rotation with a few other movies) in the morning.  (I have such fond memories of functioning on that schedule...  It was the best!)  I still watch it when it's on TV and of course pop out the Blu-ray every now and then as well!  This movie is perfection!

What is your go-to breakfast food?
I know it's bad, but I'm not a big breakfast eater on work days.  I try to take something small like a cereal bar, yogurt drink, or Cuties drink to have before school or during my break around 10 a.m.  I love breakfast foods, but I've never really been a fan of actually getting up and eating breakfast on work / school days.  On weekends I enjoy some Archer Farms blueberry or strawberry granola (from Target).  It's the best!  I love eating that with either skim milk or some vanilla yogurt.

Do you drink coffee and if so, how do you take it?
I usually go through a coffee phase during the winter when I crave something warm.  I'm a sissy coffee drinker and go with something like flavored cappuccino or plain coffee heavy on the flavored creamer.

Don't forget to head over to A Complete Waste of Makeup to link up with us today!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April Birchbox

March somehow escaped me without posting a review of my Birchbox, so I wanted to be sure to post about my April box!  

This month's box was a collaboration with Women's Health.  This is probably the best box I've received in a while!  I was super pleased with my goodies this month!

 Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate - I've recently taken more interest in anti-aging products, so I was super happy to get this sample.  I like that it's in a bottle and although small, I think it will be enough to get a good idea on how much I like the product.

LAFCO Fleurs de Baies Bath Soap - I could smell this soap as soon as I opened the box!  This is another great sample size that will be great for setting out when I have guests.

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Lipstick - Full size alert!  This lipstick is valued at $26.55 on the Birchbox website.  I  wasn't sure about the color at first, but it's a good neutral that's a little more on the red side than some of my others.  


Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir - I haven't tried this yet, but I do think it's interesting that they're coming out with anti-aging products for hair now!

Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-On - What, what!?!  Another full-size product!  This was the "Birchbox Find" of the month.  

Birchbox, you need to have more boxes like this one!  This month really exceeded my expectations and was well worth my $10!  A coworker who also subscribes brought in her box to show and the only common item we had was the Nexxus stuff.  She also had a pretty good box, but I think I liked my products better.

What was in your April Birchbox?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fashion Friday: Spring Dresses

I love dresses.  It was unseasonably cold this week and I wore dresses twice just because I was having a major craving to wear dresses.  (That and I'm down to only 1 good pair of black skinnies for work.)  If spring ever decides to actually arrive, I'll be even more excited to rock dresses for work, church, and other events!

Springtime Dresses

Here are 5 picks for great springtime dresses:

  1. This is my favorite style of dress!  This dress from Banana Republic is a little dressier (and pricier) than the ones I own, but it would be super versatile for all sorts of events.  I love a basic dress that can be styled differently with jackets, cardigans, and accessories.  You can change your look every time you wear it!
  2. I bought this black striped maxi last year at Target and have gotten a lot of good use out of it.  It's great for those days when you want to be comfy and dressy.  I wore this one with a jacket to school the other day and got tons of compliments from teachers and little girls! 
  3. This bright pink shirt dress was my Easter dress this year.  It's super comfy and a fun change from some of my other basic dresses.  I'm planning on rocking again next weekend when I host a baby shower!
  4. This green dress is heading my way!  I'm hoping the fit and everything works out, but I thought this would be another fun addition to my wardrobe.  I love the green!
  5. I have last year's version of this basic black dress from Banana Republic.  (BTW, I love their dresses and have scored some a-MAZ-ing deals on them!)  This is my go-to for when I want to look polished, but comfortable.  I loved the 3/4 sleeved version so much that I bought the short sleeve version as well!
Do you love wearing dresses during springtime?

What are your favorite stores to get comfortable and cute dresses?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

(Late Night) Thursday Confessions

I feel like the past week or so has been super busy and super tiring for no good reason at all.  I've had a few extra meetings and our third grade music program, but other than that nothing all that crazy.  Maybe it's just this time of year?  I'm soooo in need of summer break!

So, since I've been having a little blog writer's block lately, I thought I'd share a few more Thursday confessions.  

  • I love eating slightly under-cooked and over-milked instant oatmeal.  It's like warm cereal without being too mushy.  Oh so delightful!  I'm going through a phase right now and it's been my evening dessert lately.
  • After this school year I could write a 1,000 page book of dumb stuff (for lack of a better word) kids say.  I feel like I have more kids than usual this year that have no common sense whatsoever.  It's kind of to a point that it's so sad it's funny. 
  • I really like the show "Dance Moms."  Yes, Abby screams at children and the mom are all crazy, but it's a total guilty pleasure.  
  • I "dress up" 3 out of 5 days at work each week and I totally wore my denim jacket on all 3 of those days this week.  I didn't realize that until today, but I wore it 2 days with dresses and 1 day with a button-down and cords.  It might be because this crazy Kansas weather has been really hard to dress for.  This week has been completely less than spring-like!
  • I am in love with Jason Bateman.  I really started crushing on him about 5 years ago and may have once spent a weekend watching TV shows and You Tube clips featuring him.  I am beyond excited for the new episodes of "Arrested Development" that are coming out next month!

Jason teaches Elmo about the word "comfort."  Jason would be allowed to comfort me anytime! ; )

I hope you have a great Friday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fashion Friday: Giving in to Emerald

I don't feel like I was all that excited about emerald being hailed Pantone's Color of the Year, but I think I'm starting to warm up to it.  It may have been since we just passed St. Patrick's Day and green seems to be all over the place.  Green isn't a color I'm opposed to, but it's not necessarily one that I find myself drawn to when I'm shopping.  I have a few green / emerald items in my closet, but it's not a color that I find myself wearing all the time.  I tend to be drawn to warmer colors both in my wardrobe...  Pinks, corals, and yellows rule the roost in my closet!

Once again, Pinterest is to blame for some fabulous emerald inspiration...  Here are a few of my favorite pins and some items I have my eye on!

Factory Clare cardigan
Image via J.Crew Factory
I've recently been wanting to get my hands on a springy green cardigan like this one from the J.Crew Factory.  I'm feeling regret that I didn't snatch it up when I first saw it!  The hunt shall continue!

I think this outfit is totally a "me" look.  I can very much see myself rocking a look like this one...  Sunglasses included.

Image via Veronika's Blushing / Pinterest
Veronika is one of my favorite bloggers and I love how she styled this green dress in a more formal way for work.

Image via Pinterest / Polyvore
I've been really wanting to find some cute skirts for the spring and summer and I love this little green skirt!  This is a great neutral outfit that allows the green skirt to be the standout piece.

Smashbox - Photo Op Eye Shadow Trio
Image via Sephora
I wasn't exactly wowed by Sephora's Pantone emerald collection this year, but this little Smashbox trio seems like a nice way to add a pop of emerald into your eye makeup.  

Have you given into the color emerald yet? 
How have you incorporated emerald and greens into your wardrobe?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday Confessions

I thought I'd do another random post today with some Thursday confessions!

  • I could probably be perfectly content only watching reruns of "Full House" and "Friends."  Some evenings I just watch blocks of those on Nick@Nite and take an hour break in the middle when they show "The Nanny."
Tom Hanks performs some slam poetry about "Full House"...  This is hilarious!
  • Speaking of TV...  I hate HATE hate the show "Happy Days."  I can't even pinpoint why I hate it so much, but it takes about 2 seconds of the theme song for me change the channel.  
  • Some many nights my definition of "cooking" is making mac and cheese or a box of Rice-a-Roni.  Just simply standing over the stove and not popping something into the microwave is enough to count.  
  • I really don't like Taylor Swift.  I think all of her songs sound the same and pretty much the only thing I feel like she sings about is another breakup.  Even my 11 year old brother made this observation about her much (and he made that statement without me saying anything first)!  She is the common denominator in all of those failed relationships.
  • I can't sleep unless my closet door and bedroom door are closed.  I can nap on my couch just fine, but if I'm in my bedroom, even during the day, those have to be shut.  It's another one of my weird OCD things.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Do Tuesday

Let's start with last week's goals...

  • Workout at least 3 times.  Success!  I only made it those 3 times (mid-week got a little crazy), but Sunday I fit in a long, glorious workout!
  • Contact at least 1 out of town friend.  I kind of failed on this one, but I spend some time with one of my friends that's in town that I haven't hung out with much lately.  I think that's gotta count for something.
  • Find my dining table (again). It's amazing how you're forced into things when you have company over!  I even switched up with some cute spring place mats!
And now this week's goals...

  • Workout at least 3 times.  Hopefully I can make it more than that, but 3 days is pretty much my minimum.
  • Track meals and workouts on The Daily Plate everyday.  The Daily Plate is pretty much my go-to when it comes to needing to get back into good habits.  I don't use this site / app all of the time, but I do go back to it when I need a little healthy habit jump start.  
  • Get some spring cleaning done at school.  I want to get some cleaning and organizing accomplished little by little before the end of the school year.  I figure if I tackle a few small things each week I will be on the right track!
What are you hoping to accomplish this week?

Monday, April 8, 2013

How much does a teacher's appearance matter?

Last week it came up in a discussion at work that a radio caller phoned in to a local morning show and talked about how teachers in our city are the worst dressed people around.  We joke that since we're in a suburban school they weren't talking about us because we're a pretty stylish staff of teachers.  In fact, several of our new teachers this year commented on how we're much dressier than many schools they have previously been to.

I really don't think of our staff has being exceptionally dress, but I do think that as a whole we dress in an appropriate and professional manner while at the same time being pretty trendy.

There's really only been one time I've been bothered by the appearance of teachers in a school...  My mom did long term subbing back in the day and I went in with her for a week or so after I was done with school.  It was right after I had completed student teaching and graduated, so I was used to dressing up to go to school.  I wore typical "teacher clothes" on the days I went in and my mom always dressed for the job in what I consider to be a pretty appropriate way-- black pants and a nice top.  The kids at this school were required to wear uniforms, but it was pretty quickly apparent that the teachers at this school didn't have much of a standard for dress.  Jeans, shorts, and t-shirts was the norm for the staff everyday.  It really bothered me that these elementary school kids dressed up more than their teachers!

This discussion got me thinking, though, about how teachers are perceived by their appearance.  It makes sense if you think about it...  Would you trust your child's care and education to someone that looks polished or someone that doesn't appear to care about their appearance?

Now, it's totally legit to argue that you can dress up all you want and still be crappy at your job.  That aside, though, it's sometime hard not to judge a book by it's cover.

I don't think I'm the best dressed teacher in the world and I don't feel like every outfit that I wear to school is amazing.  BUT, I do try to make an effort and let my own personal style shine when I get ready for work. I think personal appearance does make a difference, no matter what your job is, and that you should present yourself in a way that makes a positive impression on others.

Sometimes I like to "think out loud" on this blog, so thanks for letting me share.

As a reward, I'm going to share a few of my favorite teacher looks with you.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Social

It's time for Sunday Social over at A Complete Waste of Makeup!  This week's theme is Pinterest, so of course I had to participate!

I have over 5,000 pins on there, so choosing my favorites was a little bit of a challenge, so these are ones that have recently inspired me.

Favorite Outfit Pin
Image via Pinterest
I'm really wanting to add some green to my wardrobe. Maybe it's because emerald is the Pantone Color of the Year and it's been all over the place... Maybe it's because I really don't have much of it in my wardrobe. I can totally see myself in this outfit.

Favorite Food Pin
Image via Pinterest
For someone who has 602 recipe pins, I really don't cook very much.  I do love a good breakfast casserole, though, and that is one of the things that I've actually made a few times thanks to Pinterest.  This one made with biscuits and is my most recent breakfast casserole find!

Favorite Wedding Pin
Image via Pinterest
I resisted starting a wedding board on Pinterest for a really long time because I'm nowhere near getting married and I don't want to be that desperate single girl that's planning her dream wedding.  That said, I did finally give in because there really are some great ideas out there that I would like to have filed away for someday!

Favorite DIY / Craft Pin
Image via Pinterest
I think this is my favorite because I've actually made my own earring holder inspired by this pin!  

My version!
This was also my first Pinterest project / DIY a few years ago, so it's kind of what started it all!

Favorite Quote / Verse / Lyric Pin
Image via Pinterest
I'm not sure this one is my favorite, but it is a really good reminder!

...And share one more favorite pin you love!
Image via Pinterest
I love this mix and match aspect of this living room.  I have a major urge to make everything match, so images like this inspire me to break out of that mindset.


On a side note, has anyone else tried the new pin embedding feature on Pinterest?  I like the concept, but I don't like that you can't see the pin in your post!  My text and formatting was all off and after several tries today I just gave up.  That said, if you do want to pin anything you see here, click the image and pin it directly from Pinterest since none of these images (other than the black frame) are originally mine.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Confessions

I had a 4 day weekend this past weekend, but I feel like the last 2 days at school have been crazy.  I'm getting into that mode where I want to get everything done for this school year and start doing a little planning for next year.  This time of year seems to be filled with meetings, special events, and other things that keep me running!  

I have some other posts in the works, but I kind of ran into writer's block and decided a little randomness was in order for this lovely Thursday.  So, how about a few confessions (and random thoughts)?

  • I've recently become a fan of "Grumpy Cat."  I don't even really like cats, but I think this little kitty is adorable in a Stewie Griffin sort of way.  
  • I have total OCD when it comes to brand name athletic wear.  This is one of the many issues that I have them stemmed from my middle school years.  I recently hopped on the WSU Shocker bandwagon and bought a t-shirt to support the home team.  After 45 minutes of indecisive t-shirt shopping (my mom said the cute neon pink tee was sacrilegious) I settled on a black Adidas tee.  The only problem!?!  I can't wear my Nike shoes or sandals with it!  
  • I knew exactly who Shain Gandee was when news of his death broke out this week.  And yes, I did watch every episode of "Buckwild" on MTV.  RIP Redneck MacGyver!
  • I ate tuna, ranch dressing, and Wheat Thins for dinner last night.  I got home late and was too lazy to make real food, but have also been trying not to get fast food anymore.  It was delightful!
  • I read last week one blogger talking about how embarrassing it is that she owned 50 cardigans...  So, naturally, I went to my closet and counted mine.  Are you ready for this?  I have 75!  Seventy-freakin-five!!!  I could wear a different cardi everyday from now until June 18th.  I need some sort of rehab for cardigan addiction.

Do you have any confessions to share today?

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To Do Tuesday

I'm heading back to work today after a 4 day weekend!  We're in the home stretch as we get closer to the end of the school year!  Only about 7 1/2 weeks stand between me and my summer vacation!

Let's take a look at last week's list...

  • Keep up with regular workouts.  Mission accomplished!  I made it to the gym 4 times in the past week, so I feel pretty good about that.  It's so good to get back in there and be working out regularly again!
  • Cook at least 2 real meals.  I'm going to count this one as a success, but I didn't really push myself on the creative or healthy side of this goal.  I'll keep working on that...
  • Complete at least 4 blog posts.  With "5 Days, 5 Ways" going on last week I posted at least once a day last week.  What a way to end the month!  March was my highest month of views since last August (which was my highest month ever)!  
Now onto this weeks goals...

  • Workout at least 3 times.  It's great getting back into the routine of working out regularly.  Truly feel better and have more energy when I'm working out on a regular basis!
  • Contact at least one out of town friend.  I haven't been the best at keeping in touch with my friends that have moved away, so I need to make a better effort at staying in contact with them.  You never know how a phone call or a card in the mail can brighten a person's day!
  • Find my dining table (again).  I have to confess that since I moved last summer my dining table has become a catch-all for junk mail, magazines, and papers.  I never need it for actual dining, so I've become a bit lazy with letting that being a junk collector.  I'd like to see those cute place mats again!
What are you wanting to accomplish in the next week?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Third Quarter Fitness Update

The third quarter of the school year ended about 3 weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to doing an update on how I did fitness wise...

In all honesty, there's not much to update on.  My school did a pedometer competition with the teachers, so we kinda stopped with the mileage club during that time and haven't resumed it since.  I did pretty well with the whole pedometer thing in January and then it all just kinda fell apart in February.

I spent a good chunk of February into March fighting the never ending cold from hell.  I think the worst part about being sick was that I was never just full-blown sick, but just had a super annoying lingering cold. Between conferences, getting sick, going on vacation, and then getting even more sick I pretty much didn't workout for about 4 weeks!  Agh!  Add in eating junk for all of the reasons previously stated and it's pretty safe to say that I've not done well diet and exercise wise lately.

My goal over the past few weeks has been to get back into good habits.  I've been trying to get back to the gym 3 or 4 days a week and having some extra days off lately has really helped jump start that.  As we approach the warm weather months I want to get some strength training back into my workout routine (I'm totally a cardio girl who love that elliptical) and get back to going to Zumba as one of my workouts each week.

Here are my goals for now through the end of the school year:

  • Workout at least 3 or 4 days a week.  Now that after school tutoring has ended and it's lighter outside later, I don't feel like I'll have very many excuses not to get in at least 30 minutes or so.  
  • Start tracking again on The Daily Plate.  This site / app is what I use when I want to get back on track.  It does all of the calculating for me, which is super nice.  Usually using this for a few weeks is enough to jump start me back into making healthier choices again.
  • Continue to work on cutting back on my pop drinking.  I think I've gone over a month without having any 12 packs in my house!  I'm not saying I haven't had any to drink in that long, but not buying it definitely keeps me from drinking as much.  I've been totally addicted to the sparkling flavored waters from Target because they totally satisfy my craving for something carbonated and flavored.  I know the aspartame is still something I should work on cutting back on, but this is a start!  
How have you been doing with diet and exercise?
What are your fitness goals as we near summer?