Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving...Christmas...New Year!

Obviously it's been a while since I've posted. Once Thanksgiving arrived, I was non-stop at school and home! We had a GREAT Christmas! It went entirely too fast, but it awesome to say the least!

Usually at the end of the year, everyone starts posting statuses on Facebook reflecting on the past year and what they hope for the next year. I feel that a status is not enough room for me to express my reflection on this year full of HIGHS and LOWS!

Here goes nothing...

2013 was a year I waited and waited for! We were engaged June 11, 2011 and set our date for June 28, 2013. Two year engagement was perfect for where we were in our life but oh my was it a LONG 2 years! January came, February came, then the worst news came. Ross' step-father (been in Ross' life since he was about 5) was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. I'll never forget where I was. Ross' godmother texted me during class and said "Call me as soon as you can." My first reaction was omg, Ross got hurt on the job site. I called her and I could hear the upset in her voice when she told me they brought him in for a routine scope and found tumors. My faculty was there for me, took care of my class from that second on and I rushed off to be with Ross and his family. As I pulled up to the facility and parked, I sat in my car for a second telling my self that I was not going to cry in front of Ross or his family. My job was to be there for them and support them along with my future husband. Those next 2 weeks were an emotional roller coaster as the family was trying to figure out their next step. The uncertainty behind, what treatments, where to get treatments, what doctor should he go with, were all being thrown around.

A few weeks after my father-in-law's diagnosis, I lost my beloved Aunt Dolores to a 9 year battle with breast cancer. An amazing, inspiring, selfless woman was gone and home in heaven with her young son she lost to cancer at a young age. This was a very emotional time for Ross and I. Here he was comforting me at my Aunt's bedside as I told her goodbye for the last time and made sure she knew I loved her, while in the back of his head he's worried if this is his future. I was so glad to have him there for me.

See the thing is, Ross does not hurt for himself. He does not worry about himself. He worries about every one around him (a trait that I am positive he learned from his step father). With his dad's diagnosis he worried about his mom, 2 sisters, his aunt, and above all his dad. He held a lot of things in over those months and I kept reassuring him, that I was there for him whenever and if ever he was going to let it out.

Life moved on. My father-in-law started chemo and our family moved into "No One Fights Alone" mode as I like to call it. We were supportive and we received even more support from the rest of our family and many many friends. Relay for Life was extremely eye opening. I watched my father-in-law walk with the survivors and prayed that this would be his walk every time this event came around.

As our long awaited wedding approached and I watched Ross' dad able to attend every event we had in preparation for our marriage I couldn't help but feel that this all happened for a reason. The thing is, my father-in-law is very successful in the oilfield. He traveled/worked many days of the year and came in here and there. Sometimes he was gone for a few months and then in for a few weeks. Most of my memories with him while I have been with Ross is of his Dad taking us on amazing one in a lifetime vacations. Thanks to him, we have unforgettable memories in these amazing places. Without him, I'm not sure if Roas and I would have had these great experiences together. Anyways, with his hectic schedule I don't think he would have been home for all of the important events which included Ross' younger sister graduating from high school. It all happens for a reason and maybe this was the reason.

Our family and friends hosted multiple benefits for Ross' family including a bowling tournament and a shooting tournament. It's so true what they say about not knowing who is there for you until you really need them. Not only were friends and family of Ross' parents showing up in support, but OUR friends showed up to support. We didn't ask them or expect them too, but they wanted to. You cannot get truer friendships than that.

To sum it all up... Ross' dad is now in remission! Thanks be to God! He left for work the day after Christmas. We were so thankful he was healthy and here for all of the holidays and amazing events that happened this year.

It was a tough road. God does not give you anything you cannot handle. When my wedding day approached, I knew I was marrying into a strong family with extremely strong faith. I knew my family loved Ross as if he were there from day 1. I knew I was marrying a selfless man with a big big heart. I knew that we could make it through many more trials. I was not nervous. I was anxious. Anxious to become a Mrs! Just like my daddy told me while we were dancing at my reception, "It's just you and him now, y'all gotta figure stuff out on your own, and do it together." So true dad, so true! We have to get through it together, him and I. I believe we have already made it through some hard things that are just a small preview of whats to come. Marriage is truly a gift from God. I cherish every day with Ross.

I don't know whether to be excited this year is over because of all of the rough times we've had. Or should I be sad that this long awaited year is over. It was a bitter bittersweet year. I guess I will count my blessings and be excited for this new year. We pray that this next year brings us more blessings. We are crossing our fingers that we will be in our new house by this time next year. If you don't mind, please pray for NO HURRICANES this year so that can happen!

Anyways, see you next year!!

Be safe!


For my own sanity... a list of truly spectacular things that happened this year.
1. I married my best friends.
2. Our friends and family shared an amazing night for our rehearsal dinner. It was amazing to have all of the support. I gave a "speech" and cried like a baby.
3. Our wedding. Period. It was amazing. Friends from many different parts of our life were there to celebrate with us.
4. Ross got a hole in one!
5. I am teaching my same kids from last year.
6. I had a SUPRISE bridal shower with so many loving people! My bridal party and family are amazing!
7. Ross had a honey do shower! :-)
8. My honeymoon. An 8 day cruise secluded with my hubby.
9. Many of my friends became mothers, some for the second time.. Gorgeous babies,
10. Dalton turned 2 and now says "Peaseee Nannny"
11. We took gorgeous engagement pictures in Baton Rouge.
12. My dad had 2 cars in the World of Wheels in the Superdome!
13. Went to Bayou Country Superfest for the 2nd time!
14. I had my "Bachelorette Retreat" in Orange Beach! It was a blast thanks to my awesome friends and family! :-)
15. Many of our friends became engaged! I can't wait to be there for their special days!
16. Ross' dad is in remission
17. Health is good for the rest of our family.
18. My mom was admitted to the hospital a few days before my wedding. She needed to get her appendix out and thankfully the doctor said it was safe for her to wait until after the wedding!

plus many many moreeeeee







Sunday, November 3, 2013

How I cope with stress...

Everyone deals with stress in different ways. This week I felt like I was drowning with paperwork. We are submitting our Student Learning Targets this week which is where we set a goal of how much our students will grow by the end of the year. Just a little nerve wrecking. You find yourself contemplating which students you think will go above and beyond whatever goal you set for them and then you have those students that could just completely shut down the day of the test and that goal goes out of the window. Our students take multiple tests. They take the state wide assessment called the iLEAP. They also take these parish wide assessments: STAR test and Measured Progress. That's THREE tests that I pray my kids try super hard on and show how hard they've been working. So all week we've been data crunching and trying to figure out where to go with these student learning targets. ON TOP OF THAT... our state has been emailing us "practice tests" to incorporate into our lessons/tests because it is supposedly a "mirror image" of what the test will look like. That's awesome! but.... where do I find the time to squeeze that in when I barely have time to teach Science and Social Studies along with Math. So I met with my principal, had my breakdown, and went home and hammered out a new strategy to use these practice tests!

Basically my students will complete one test released item a night. They must choose their answer and explain in complete sentences why they chose that answer. If you would like to check it out please download it FREE from my TPT store! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, if you download it, leave me a comment letting me know how you like it! :-)

Click here  to download it!

Here is a preview of what it looks like!
It's simple, but will get the job done!


After all of that was handled. I brought it to my principal and she loved it! Whoot! So I copied it for my students to start on Monday and headed home for my weekend of no school work! That lasted for about 3 hours! I then decided to work on a TPT product to post. My students are learning multiplying and dividing decimals next so I decided to make some task cards for them to use during centers. I like to have multiple center options for them to keep them interested. So I created a bundle of over 140 task cards for Multiplying and Dividing Decimals! It is common core aligned!

It is in my TPT store. Click here to get this bundle!



That's not all, that's not all!!!
My best seller in my TPT store is my Chevron Newsletter that I use in my own classroom! I loved it so much, I started making ones to go with different holidays as they approached. I created a Christmas newsletter and it is really cute! It's on $1 as well and just like my other ones, it is completely editable.
Click here to get it in my TPT store!!



As you can see, I cope with stress by making new TPT products. I guess being creative is what helps me calm down and have fun? lol

Happy Plan day Sunday!

Hope your week is easy going! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thankful

I'm not going to lie, it's very hard to not get stressed, overwhelmed, and start thinking negatively during the day. Sometimes you just need to take a little time for yourself to get back to the positive, student centered, loving teacher you know you can be. I truly believe that right now times can get extremely stressful. The work load just keeps getting higher and higher. The only thing I keep telling myself is that we are all in this together. Everyone around us is feeling the stress of implementing commons core and no longer transitioning.  We are also stressing about out unannounced observations. It's not that we are afraid to be caught doing something wrong, we are just worried that our administrators will happen to come in the day you have three kids having a melt down, four won't get along, and you woke up late and forgot to copy a paper that the kids needed. We all have days like this. I have faith that my administrators understand this and would understand if this happens. Although that doesn't make the stress go away.

So, today I got to thinking... Even with all of this stress, there are still things to be thankful for. Every November I usually update my Facebook status daily with something I am thankful for. I thought today that I should make an activity for my students to do to show their thankfulness. This brought me to my newest TPT product! It's called 16 days of thankfulness. (16 days because that's how many school days we have until our week off for Thanksgiving.) The product is completely editable so you can change it to meet your needs. Basically what I plan to do is put on the board every morning what I am thankful for and have the students think of something and draw a picture to go along with it. Before we leave for the Thanksgiving holidays, each student will have a booklet to share with their family during Thanksgiving dinner.

Please check it out in my store! It's only $1! I can't wait to read about what my students are thankful for! I will post pictures once we start the project!







Sunday, October 13, 2013

Donors choose!

So as many of you may know, I submitted a project on DonorsChoose.org at the beginning of September. At first only my mom, my mother in law, and a good friend Heidi donated. I was loosing confidence in it getting funded but we still had until December. We'll earlier this week my mom called me early in the morning to tell me it was fully funded!!! The Chevron Fuel You School program finished funding it!! Yayyyy!! 

Now, what did I get/need it for? I posted a project for my behavior management renovation I'm doing in my classroom. My sister, whom is a school psychologist in a neighboring parish,  told me about this awesome program! (For those of you not from Louisiana, a parish is like a county, lol) Anyways, I began using class dojo a few weeks ago. It is a behavior management tool that keeps track of all positive and negative classroom behaviors a student receives. Each child receives an avatar after you add them to your class. They then receive a code to go online and change their avatar, allow their parents to view their behavior, and create a parent report. What is so great about this program that makes me like it even more than our school wide behavior program is that I am rewarding the good students as well. Our school plan has every student starting on the same behavior level. They can only go down, not up for above and beyond great behavior. I find that you should look more to reward good behaviors and the bad behaviors start to fade because those students realize that the well behaved students are getting all of the attention. Most of the time, the students in my classroom having the bad behavior are looking for attention. SO I began using it. I would put it up on my smart board and award points from my cell phone. Well I did not like the fact of my cell phone not being locked up and left out whenever administrators would come in. I felt it looked unprofessional. I think began to think if I had an iPad mini I could use it throughout the day in my classroom but also when we are in other places throughout the campus (cafeteria, bathroom, playground, walking in line) This way I could reward even more positive behaviors. I am super excited to get started all the way. It is difficult since I have to keep track of dojo and use the school behavior plan but I'm hoping my school will eventually adopt it since it is so simple!!  Here are a few screen shots of class dojo from my iPad!!! 



Also! My godchild is turning two tomorrow and we celebrated yesterday with a party! He is so cute and so smart!! 




Now I am going rest for the remaining part of my fall break!!


-Kristi

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September SLANT box!!

I have been waiting all month for the end of the month so I could receive my SLANT box from my matched up partner! Basically a SLANT box stands for Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers (learn more about it here)

Basically we are too stalk each/get to know each other and find things for under 10 dollars that goes with the theme! This months theme was "oops I can't believe I forgot..." My partner did a much better job than I did but now I am so inspired for next month! It is awesome getting to know 2 different teachers from around the country.  The person who sends to you is not the same person you send to. Therefore, you become friends with 2 new teachers!

I cannot wait to hear what my friend whom I sent to thinks of her items!

I love my items and my match really did her research on my classroom!  I received...
- a journal with a note saying "oh, goodness I can't believe I forgot my notebook"
-a travel toothbrush with a note saying "oh my I can't believe I forgot to brush my teeth"
-an owl figurine with potpourri in it with a note saying "ohhh I can't believe I forgot how kids smell after recess"
- a leopard print lanyard with a note saying "I totally can't believe I forgot my badge holder"
-lip gloss and fingernail polish in a cute little makeup bag with a note saying "I really can't believe I forgot my lips and nails"
-a pink sharpie and ink pen with a note saying "oh no, I can't believe I forgot my pens"
-a box decorated with dream and stripes on it with a note saying "and how could I forget to dream big and live even bigger"
-last but not least was a hand written note that we are required to write!

Awesome experience!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Classroom Tour

Finally!!! Here are my pictures of my room!

Standing at my door looking in...



My podium that my awesome hubby built for me!

My students participate in the Accelerated Math program. As they master skill, they move there clothespin to the different circles!


My exit ticket poster!

A sign that was VERY much needed! There is a noise gate right outside my room that people do not realize is EXTREMELY noisy!


My schedule that was bought in a decor pack from Hope King!



My math center rotation bulletin board!




My messssssy library! My student librarian has been slacking!



My student self assessment sale. When my students complete their exit ticket, they assess themselves. This lets me know who thinks they do not get it at all and guides me to make my math groups for the next day.


This is where my students turn in their tests and other assignments. Wish I could have found a smaller crate


My math centers shelf!


Students must highlight their name before turning in their paper. This stops them from forgetting to put their name on their paper.



My math vocabulary charts.


This was my "4th grade is fabulous" banner from last year that I patched up and made 5th. lol


My computers with my laptop cart.



My "where are you" part of my board. Last year, I just had the absent and present part. This year one of my fellow teachers at school told me she likes having all the different areas of the school listed just in case there is a lockdown or fire drill and she forgot where that child went. That sounds terrible but sometimes I write a nurse note, send a kid, start teaching, and forget that I sent that kid.


My behavior chart.



My objectives! My science and social studies ones weren't posted yet! It was a crazy week!


Math centers with matching chevron common core strand labels!






Homework club!



Classroom jobs! I  have A LOT of jobs, but it takes a lot of stress off of me!



My MESSSSSY desk! Sorry!

More of my messy desk area..... uh. Can we focus on my fabulous Dollar Store lamp!? lol

Next to my desk area... I painted that chevron cork board!



Teacher to do's!


Small group area... messy! I need to start doing these tours BEFORE my kids come! lol




Where my students turn in their homework... my paper and supplies storage.




















My door!!