Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bright Ideas Year in Review

Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link Up. This month is a special one. Over the past year, teacher bloggers have shared hundreds of great ideas through the monthly Bright Ideas Link Up, and now we are sharing a recap of some of the great ideas that were published during the year. Below are some of the ideas I shared.

In February, I told you about using mini class lists to help keep you organized.

In March, I shared a way that helped me remember to take things with me when I left for the day.

In May, I brought you an idea to give positive feedback to students.

And in July, I shared a way to help you have a perfectly straight and aligned bulletin board display.

I had a lot of fun putting together this short recap. You can find more of my Bright Ideas by clicking on the Bright Ideas label in the column to the right.

If you enjoyed reading this recap, please consider visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store and joining me on Facebook or Instagramwhere I share more great ideas.

For more Bright Idea roundups from different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Currently

It's already November and I have been a bad, bad blogger! No posts since Farley's last Currently!

  • I am listening to Flea Market Flip. I am amazed that people at a flea market will pay that kind of money for the stuff these people make. I'm convinced the buyers just decide to pay that for the privilege of being on tv.
  • I am loving that we got some rain. We've had such a drought here. But I do feel so bad for the people who were flooded here in central south Texas again. I can't even imagine how hard that must be.
  • I'm thinking that I am glad college basketball is starting again. This year, I came up with the idea to write notes of encouragement for out UTSA Lady Roadrunners to read before away games. Five of us season ticket holders created three notes each so the team can read one before each road game.
  • I am wanting willpower. I definitely ride the struggle bus when it comes to holiday food, starting with Halloween candy. 'Nuff said.
  • I am needing to start Christmas shopping. I'm going to my sister's house in Alabama for Thanksgiving and plan to take the Christmas presents with me instead of trying to mail them. Yikes! That's only three weeks before I need to be ready.
  • Yummy: I am in love with homemade cranberry sauce instead of the canned stuff. And it's so easy to make. Here's where you can find the recipe.

Now go visit Farley's blog and check out the other posts this month! Don't forget the Rule of Three.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Currently

Can you believe it is already October? Time for Farley's Currently linky!

  • I am listening to Worst Cooks in America. I like to cook and am amazed at how these people have no common sense and are horrible at following directions.
  • I am loving that we finally have cooler weather on the way. My electric bill will be grateful.
  • I'm thinking that I need beach time. I didn't make it there last month.
  • I am wanting a pedicure. My feet are looking rough!
  • I am needing motivation. I have a lot of things I need to get done but no motivation to do them.
  • Bootiful: I love a good sunset. Maybe I'll see a pretty one at the beach!

Now go visit Farley's blog and check out the other posts this month! Don't forget the Rule of Three.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering September 11

Fourteen years ago, I was teaching third grade in San Antonio. San Antonio is known as military city. At the time, we had four military bases here. The school where I taught had many, many students who were children of service members.

We were in the middle of reading workshop when someone came to my door, beckoned me into the hall, and whispered what had happened. She passed on instructions not to tell my students. I went back into the classroom, shaken, but trying to follow directions and act as if nothing had happened.

But kids are smart. 

During the next few hours, they saw parents come to the door to peek in the room, reassure themselves their precious children were ok, and leave again. They heard whispers from other children who saw their teachers trying to hide their emotions. They knew something was horribly wrong, and they were afraid. 

After lunch my students returned to class, repeating the rumors that were spreading. They were worried about their families. Some were in tears. I finally did what I should have done at the start - I disobeyed the orders and told my class what had happened. I didn't care if I got in trouble. I couldn't let them go on wondering because I knew that what they were imagining was even worse than the terrible truth.

I promised I would do everything I could to keep them safe. I assured them their parents were giving their all to protect our country. I told them that the best thing we could do was to go on with our learning, that keeping with routine would hold the fear at bay, the fear that our city might be next.

So we continued with our day. We did our math facts practice. We worked on our math menu activities, and we did our science experiment. We wrote in our agendas and packed up to go home.

At the end of every day, our usual procedure was to walk out of the room, each student choosing to receive a hug, a handshake, or a high five. That day, every single kid wanted a hug.

I saw each of them safely out of the room.

Then I went home, watched the news, and cried.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Currently September

It is time to link up with Farley for her monthly Currently!

  • I am listening to Tiny House, Big Living. Am I the only one fascinated by the tiny house movement? I think if I were by myself, I could downsize quite easily. But no lofts (bad knees) and I'd need more than 200 square feet. Our house is almost 1600 square feet. That's a lot for two people and a dog.
  • I am loving that our local university is starting fall sports. We have season tickets for volleyball, women's basketball, and softball. We love to go support our young ladies' teams.
  • I'm thinking that I want to plan a trip. Maybe some beach time...
  • I am wanting to do some more decluttering. We had to have our washer repaired, so I cleaned out the combination pantry/laundry room. Now I have the fever. I think the linen closet is next on the list.
  • I am needing to get back on the exercise bike. I slacked off after Vegas. It's time to get with it again.
  • 3 Goals: I need to work on being more kind. Karma is going to get me if I don't. I need to focus more on my health. And I need to take care of some legal stuff. Since I got married in July, I need to update my will and all that goes with it.

Now go visit Farley's blog and check out the other posts this month! Don't forget the Rule of Three.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August Bright Ideas Link Up

Welcome back for another tip from the Bright Ideas Link Up!

This month, I'd like to share a little tip that saved me time and energy during the hectic first few days of school. 

I used to have Sharpie markers available for kids to use to label their materials. That took a sweet forever. Ain't nobody got time for 25 kids to write their whole name on all their crayons, folders, and composition books.

Instead, grab some return address printer labels, the ones that have 80 labels per sheet. Take your class list and create labels for each student. Give each kiddo 20 labels - one column. If you assign your kids student numbers, you can add that. You don't need to make these fancy. If you're like me, you never have your class list until the last minute before school starts any way, so no time for fancy!

Peel off the excess sticker paper around the labels and cut the columns apart. On the first day of school, pass out the labels. Let the kids go wild labeling their supplies. 

Boom! No lost supplies and no tearing out your hair wishing kids would hurry up!

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

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

Monday, August 10, 2015


This is my third year to not have Back-to-School-itis. You know, the feeling that you'll never get finished with your to-do list; the excitement of anticipating a year where everything goes well; and the dread of summer winding down. It's a special feeling only teachers get.

However, so many of my friends are still teaching, and I know most of you who read this blog are as well. So I wanted to post a reminder about a freebie that might help you as you think about those first days of school.

Establishing classroom rules was always one of the first things I did during the first day of school.
I wrote a blog post here explaining how I worked with the students to create a document outlining how we wanted to be treated in our class. All the details you need are in the file. Just click on the cover picture below and it will take you straight to the item to download it from my TpT store. The blog post has links to the books I mention in the file.

I wish you lots of luck as you set up your classrooms and get ready for the little minds that will be with you this year!