Saturday, March 21, 2015

March Bright Ideas

Welcome to the March Bright Ideas Linkup!

I am the first to admit that I am not a morning person.

It takes me a good while to be alert enough to function well and interact with other people in a socially acceptable manner. That made it tough to be an organized teacher.

I tried my best to make sure I was prepared each day. I made lists. I organized materials I needed to take to school the night before. I set alarms on my phone. But sometimes, despite all that, I left things at home that were needed at school that day.

I finally developed a method that worked for me when I was reading aloud Ramona Quimby, Age 8 to my third grade class. This is a great book for third graders because most third graders are eight years old. The day before we read the chapter about Ramona's problem at school with the hard boiled egg, I prepared 2 dozen hard boiled eggs to give my kids as a snack. They had to stay in the fridge until I left for school in the morning. This was a set-up for failure for me. I really worried that I'd forget to grab them before leaving.

So before I went to bed, I simply wrote myself a reminder on a sticky note and put it at eye level on the front door so I would see it when I left. Simple, easy, and it worked!

This method also works to help you remember to take things home from school or to complete a task in the office - I just put the reminder on my classroom door. You know, because my brain is fried after a long day with the kids working my teacher magic.

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store and joining me on Facebook where I share more great ideas.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Currently

It's time to link up again with Farley for the March Currently. Boy, did February fly by!

  • I am listening to Fixer Upper on HGTV. I really like that show, but Joanna drives me crazy when she says "real-i-tor" instead of "real-tor." There is no i in that word! I really love the rustic look Joanna uses when decorating. It's totally my style.
  • I am loving that I blogged 5 times in February. Maybe I have my blogging mojo back! Or at all...LOL!
  • I'm thinking it's cold! I know San Antonio hasn't had the horrible winter so many of y'all have had, but I really feel the cold. My feet and hands never feel warm! The past few days we've had cold and rain. Now, remind me how I complained about being cold when it's over 100 degrees here this summer.
  • I am wanting to get done with physical therapy. The orthopedist told me I have a partial tear in my rotator cuff. I have 3 more weeks of PT to get through. I'm going 3 times a week and have exercises to do at home. I really try not to complain, but it's hard, y'all!
  • I am needing to clean out my closet. I went through it once after I retired, but I need to go ahead and be ruthless. If I haven't worn it since I retired, it's going!
  • Spring Break Plans: I am saving for the TpT conference in July, so I won't be making any other trips this year. I might make a short trip to donate the clothes I clean out of my closet!
Now go visit Farley's blog and check out the other posts this month! Don't forget the Rule of Three.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy died yesterday and with him went a little piece of my childhood.

I was in elementary school when Star Trek premiered. It captured my imagination immediately. I remember wondering whether we would encounter alien races when we went to the moon. I was fascinated by the idea of traveling across galaxies.

My friends and I would gather around the television set each week to watch the new episode. Then we spent the rest of the week reenacting it. We created our own phasers from our parents' cigarette packages and fashioned communicator badges out of cardboard. Our bicycles doubled as space cruisers, and we made whooshing sounds as we went through doorways.

Spock was the most fascinating character to me. I practiced raising my eyebrow in the same way he did. I remember taping my fingers together until I was able to make the Vulcan greeting. I can still do it to this day - on both hands, no tape required.

Watching Star Trek kindled a curiosity in me and awakened my love of science fiction. Always an avid reader, I now had a new genre to explore. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Lloyd Alexander, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkein, Kurt Vonnegut - I read them all.

I was a proud nerd before it was cool to be a nerd. And I owe it all to Star Trek and Mr. Spock.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Superhero Products Linky

Today I'm linking up with Ideas by Jivey for her Superhero Products!

I want to share my Conferring Cards with you. When I started with reading workshop, lo these many years ago, conferring with my students about their reading was something completely new to me. I developed this resource to keep on hand for those times I got stuck and didn't know the right question to ask a kiddo.

(Click on the product cover to see Conferring Cards in my TpT store.)

These cards are designed to be printed and laminated. I put them on a binder ring and keep them with my other conferring materials. There are cards with questions on characters, plot, setting, mood, style, theme, author, and illustrators. I have also included cards for non-fiction -- content, accuracy, style, illustrations, and text structure.

This is my best selling product and has some great reviews.


Click on the picture below to go to the linky and find some other Superhero Products!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale beginning Wednesday, February 25! Use the promo code heroes to get 28% off my store and many, many others! Click on the picture to shop my TpT store.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February Bright Ideas

It's time for another Bright Ideas link up!

Today, I am sharing a way to help keep you organized - mini class lists. I always made these and kept multiple copies on hand. I used them for all kinds of purposes:

Bright Idea from

  • Use one to keep track of paperwork that needed to be turned in. Label the top with what type of paperwork it is (permission forms, class pictures, etc.) and the due date, then check off the student's name when paperwork is received.
  • Use one to record grades for easy entering into an online gradebook. Label the top with the assignment name and date assigned.
  • Leave several copies for substitute teachers. They will have a quick reference to student names and can use them to record plus points for good student behavior.
  • Use one to keep track of students who have earned a privilege that all students will eventually get - leading class announcements, being first in line, sitting in a special spot, etc.
  • Use one to keep track of who you have conferred with during reading or writing workshop or when students are working on projects.
I included a place to record student numbers since I used those every year. Also, I printed them three to a page and used a paper cutter to separate them. I'd bundle a bunch together with a binder clip and stick a set in my teacher bag and keep another set handy on top of my desk.

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store and join me on Facebook where I share more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from other different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Binge Reading

I live near San Antonio, Texas, so I don't generally have to deal with snow days or snow weeks like some of you do. I've been reading some Facebook posts that talk about the movies or the television shows that some of you are binge watching during your enforced time off. I'm not much of a binge watcher.

But I am a binge reader.

I first started with books. When I find an author I like, I have to read every book he or she has ever written.

I've transferred that to blog reading.

I've been reading blogs forever. Well, since blogging has been a thing. How do I find great blogs to follow? I click on links from other blogs I read. I click on links that show up on posts in Facebook - and in those "you might also like" or "recommended for you" posts that show up on my timeline.

When I find a new blog, I'll read a few posts to see if the voice is something I am interested in. Snarky will get me every time. Then I am compelled to binge read. By that I mean I go to the archives, find the first post ever written on the blog, and then read chronologically to the last post.

Crazy, I know.

Here are some of the blogs I've binge read. Notice they are not all teaching blogs. I have many interests outside of teaching. Yes, I do! Really.

Love, Teach This is actually a teaching blog. Love, Teach teaches middle school English in a Title I school. She writes what I often think or wanted to say when I was teaching. Girl keeps it real.

The Art of Doing Stuff This is more of a DIY blog. I started reading it because I liked a picture of her kitchen that was linked up to another DIY blog I follow. Her style kept me reading. Plus I really want to make a pizza oven in my back yard.

Chickens in the Road This blog is written by another Suzanne, so that's a plus. I don't remember how I found her blog. I know it was before she went to live on the farm. Suzanne is a writer - she got her start writing Harlequin romances. Sometime I want to try baking her Grandmother bread.

Living Vintage I love this blog because I want my house to look like hers. I love the reclaimed wood, the antiques, and the vintage decor.

The Bloggess Go read about Beyonce. This post was my intro to Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, and the reason I binge read her blog. She is funny, inspiring, and generous, all wrapped up in one.

Pawcurious Dr. V is a veterinarian who loves golden retrievers. Since I started following her, she moved from woking in a clinic to being a hospice vet. I cried with her as she lost her own sweet dogs and can't wait to read her book that is coming out in July, All Dogs Go to Kevin.

Maybe you will find something you like. If you have any recommendations for me, leave me a comment.

Happy reading!