Sunday, September 14, 2014

Teacher Blog Review...

I remember a time when blogs were still relatively new and the number of teacher blogs were limited. Today that is not the case. It seems there are an abundance of teacher resources available in the means of blogs. What sets one apart from another? Today I am reviewing 4 of my new favorite teacher blogs.

To meet the criteria to be one of my 4 favorite teacher blogs a few things were considered.  I chose the blogs if they were relevant to early childhood education, which is the age I would prefer to teach. I also chose the blog based on the classroom management advice. I like to have a clutter free, highly organized classroom, so any advice on this area is considered a benefit. Next, I want to be able to read about someone else's creative lesson ideas. There is always room for improvement in teaching, so to be able to consider the thoughts of colleagues is high on my priority list. Less important, but still considered aspects of my favorite teaching blogs included blog organization, design appeal, and writing style. If I do not care for your design or writing style, I probably wouldn't appreciate your manner of teaching. The four blogs chosen were very high in design appeal. In fact, I must hide my wallet because I would love to purchase most of the designs in these teacher's stores.

In no particular order, here are my 4 favorite teacher blogs:

Clutter-Free Classroom

Clutter Free Classroom is jaw dropping! The author, Jodi, had me at hello with her gorgeously appealing chevron blog design. Of course, one twin mommy to another, I may be partial. She has twin girls, I have twin boys. Jodi has years of experience under her belt in the teaching world. She has taught pre-k, k, 1st, 2nd, and currently 3rd grade. Not only does she offer teachers wonderful tips on organizing their classrooms, but she also offers organizational products for download. Some of the products are for sale and others are available for free. Her blog is literally a one stop shop for teacher resources. Her blog is neatly organized with tabs right across the top including: home tab, classroom management tab, classroom organization tab, classroom decor tab, teaching ideas tab, and the freebies tab. I love how easy it is to navigate. Jodi's blog is an outstanding example of supportive learning environment because the information provided enables teachers to save both time and money. One of the best organizational classroom management ideas that Jodi shares is in regards to her daily materials. She utilizes IKEA cardboard magazine boxes that are decorated in order to hold the papers needed for daily work. The boxes are divided by day. This is a wonderful idea because not only does it kept the regular classroom teacher organized, but it also enables a substitute to step in and be able to easily find the materials needed for the lesson. I am certain to return to this blog for solutions to my organization problems, classroom management ideas, as well as lesson plan ideas. Thank you Jodi for being willing to share such a wealth of information,

Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

I first found Mrs. Wills on Teachers Pay Teachers website, at which time I realized she had an amazing blog. Little did I know that her blog would become my best friend! Seriously. She has an amazingly thorough website. If you are working with kindergarten students, you must sit down with a large cup of coffee and read every single post. Really. You will not be disappointed. Mrs. Wills Kindergarten is written by DeeDee. She is from my neck of the woods, which is probably why I enjoy the blog so much. It is very helpful to read information that pertains to my state. DeeDee provides her weekly lesson plans for her readers. She also has a place for readers to link up their lesson plans. These lesson plans are a great way to break the monotony of lesson planning, if you are stuck in a rut. Not only do you get a glimpse of her general plan, but she even links up what resources she uses. Simply wonderful. DeeDee answers everything from what do you do for bell work to how to create stations. While there are tabs on the blob to locate information, the tabs are mostly about DeeDee and her store and classroom. There is a search box, so if you have a particular topic you want to research, you can type it in there. I decided to research her blog for intervention information. I found a sight word intervention idea. DeeDee even provides the resources as a freebie. She lists the steps involved in creating a sight word flip ring for students to study throughout the day and at night. I especially like how she utilizes a star sticker on the words the students know and uses highlighter tape to show the students the words they need to practice more. It is a great management and intervention tool.

Lesson Plan Diva

If you are stumped for a lesson plan, then Lesson Plan Diva is THE place to go. It is the largest lesson plan blog I have seen outside of the Teachers Pay Teachers resource. Jenaya is thorough. She offers lesson plans for multiple ages and spans across the whole curriculum. Not only does she link up the resource for the lesson plan, but she provides visually stimulating photos as well. The Lesson Plan Diva also provides a sample of each lesson as a freebie, but also offers the entire lesson for sale. Each lesson comes with ideas for teaching, or how and why it was used in the classroom. Jenaya also has a tab for photos where you can see how her room is setup and managed. There are detailed photos that explain the classroom design, as well as demonstrate the classroom management style. I particularly liked the behavior chart she uses, it is similar to how I would like to set my classroom up. She uses clothespins with student names and then they clip up or down depending on the choices they make. I bookmarked the counting and ten frames and letter formation post that provides information and links for a wonderful beginning lesson plan on counting from 1-20 using ten frames. The lesson also has a wonderful letter formation, letter sound recognition, and writing packet for early kindergarten. All are excellent resources for common core aligned activities for kindergarten.

Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk is another wonderful blog written by Mrs. Larremore. She is a teacher out of Texas who has taught kindergarten for 16 years and is a k-1 strategist. Her blog is set up more like a traditional beginner blog, so rather than tabs for information you can choose a post label to search. Posts are filled with wonderful photos that provide a great visual for the advice given. I decided to search 'classroom environment'. I found an amazing post on the importance of utilizing small group instruction at the pre-k level and how the classroom environment should reflect that. Teachers should use the furniture in order to create clear spaces for centers. It is recommended that they avoid the traditional desks in the middle and instead focus on small group interaction and teaching through the use of activity centers.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dinner for six please...

The Pepperoni Pizza Rolls are all over the internet. I first saw it on Pinterest, where the pin I used took me to THIS site. I will not post the recipe, please refer to the link for that. 

This post simply is a review.

I am almost overcome with joy when I stumble upon a recipe that my entire family will eat. So when I prepared this delightful meal, I was excited over the fact that a fist fight almost broke out over the last piece. 

You know you have found a winning recipe when someone is willing to inflict bodily harm on another for the last piece. ha ha!

So click over for the recipe and head to the grocery store because this recipe is sure to delight!

*served with a side of veggies and fruit, this 9x13 pan fed my family of six.

Pizza Bread...

It is rare to find a meal that my whole family of six will actually eat.

As rare as a boy putting the toilet seat down.

I am talking rare.

So imagine my delight when my Dad reports to me that ALL four of my kiddos devoured a dish he created!

The recipe is crazy simple, so simple that the children can prepare it while I sit with my feet propped up reading a magazine.

Ok. Ok. A girl can dream right?

My 8 and 11 year olds are fully capable of preparing these without assistance.

Loaf of Sliced French Bread
Small Can Tomato Sauce
Shredded Cheese 8oz
Pepperoni Slices, diced (optional)

Spray a pan lightly with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350. Arrange sliced bread on pan. Add 1 small spoonful of tomato sauce to each slice of bread. Add diced pepperoni. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes or till cheese is melted. Do not bake too long, you want bread to be soft.

*i add a teaspoon of Italian seasonings to my sauce. The whole loaf feeds my family of 6 when we add a fruit and veggie to the meal. Save money by buying the reduced sale bread and freezing it. Pull loaf out when ready, you can cook from frozen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Shutterfly is my source for quality holiday cards shipped to my door.

Check them out online.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our 1st Date...

Our church challenged families to have a 'Family Date Night'. One where we were to recreate our 1st date to show our children.

We thought this would be a fun experience. We had a great night walking down memory lane, as we shared the events with our kiddos.

Aaron and I had our first date in Dallas, Texas. He was living in Garland and I was a freshman at Baylor. It was the end of winter break, so I drove up to Dallas to meet him for the late showing of Titanic at The Grand. So since we are a good eight hour drive away from Dallas we decided to swing past the remnants of Little Dallas in our home town. This is how we started the story to our kids.

Here we are in "Dallas"
Since we were meeting we picked a location familiar to both of us, restaurant row. We were to meet in the parking lot of  Trail Dust, a popular steak restaurant. Instead Aaron met me in the middle of the road because I had just been rear-ended. 

Thankfully this event was not recreated tonight!  ha!

In the middle of the road in front of trail dust.

After exchanging information we left Aaron's car in the parking lot of a PSYCHIC shop and got back on the road to head over to the movie.

We were sitting at the stop light, on the same road that Aaron met me on, when a suburban SLAMMED into the back of my car. MY CAR WAS REAR ENDED TWICE! On the SAME road within the same hour! For real.

The second rear end. 
FINALLY we were on our way to the movie, Titanic. This was January of 1998 so Titanic was still a very new release. When we arrived at the late showing at The Grand, a huge movie theater, we were among thousands. By the time we got into the theater, the only seats available were in the very front row. That was 3 hours and 14 minutes of staring straight up at the largest screen ever. My neck hurt.

Showing the kids how close we were in the theater and how far up we had to stare.

To add to the adventure tonight we swung by the Titanic museum nearby. The kids loved seeing the 'replica' up close.


The kiddos in front of Titanic

After the movie we drove back to the PSYCHIC shop's parking lot so Aaron could get his car and we could part ways. In the parking lot under the glow of a PSYCHIC sign we had our first kiss.

First Kiss

Watching Titanic together

There were a couple of scenes that required diverting attention and having snack breaks with ice cream sundae making, but otherwise it was a great night.

I would highly recommend showing your kids your 1st date. Our kids ages 3-11 loved it!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Drive-in Movie...

Today was the first rainy day of summer.

Well really just wet and muddy, not so much rainy. Last night we had what the old timers would call a 'gully washer'.

So at 9:24 this morning we piled into the car in our jammies, most without shoes.

We are real hillbillies, ya know.

We were in search if boxes for a good old fashion 'drive-in'.

After we found our boxes at our own warehouse, thus the need to not be fully clothed and shoed, we headed home to create cars.

The kids got busy coloring, while I did chores. This kept them busy for well over an hour.

An hour of silence people!

Then they were ready to get comfy with snacks and settle into a movie!

It is a perfect rainy day activity.