Sunday, April 20, 2014

Long Overdue...

Greetings friends!

This post I am about to type is bittersweet. I have many feelings about where my life is taking me, all of them positive, some of them sprinkled with anxiety and fear. Some are mixed with sadness. But, the overarching feeling about this topic is: relief.

Okay, so let's get to it…

I am leaving teaching.

Sort of.

After an incredibly stressful, draining, and unsuccessful year of teaching, I am leaving the classroom to pursue my passion of behavior analysis. This is a logical transition for me, as I completed my Masters in Behavior Analysis last May, and am taking the BACB exam in 2 weeks (!). After a year of stress and anxiety, I realize that the classroom isn't the right environment for me. And that's okay! My interests in teaching are NOT about meetings, classroom management, scheduling specials and field trips, teacher evaluations. What I miss most about teaching this year is having the time to teach and see that what I am teaching is making a difference in my students' lives. I want to find that again…

I know what you are thinking…how is moving to becoming a BCBA going to allow you to teach? Well, the beauty about behavior analysis, is that it is ALL about teaching. I will be developing programs to teach any variety of skills, from academic skills, to life skills, to behavior skills. And the best part is, each and every skill being trained is meaningful to the individual. Shocking concept, right?

I do not have a job yet…I am looking. But I do know that I am not staying in my position again next year, and have not been looking for jobs in the traditional teaching sense. My job search is saved as "BCBA" on my go-to websites. When I'm not applying for behavior analysis jobs, I am studying for the exam. Proof: 

Note the YouTube video on Standard Celeration Charts, the Ethics manual, BACB Task List, and endless study guides and flash cards!

Don't worry. I will keep you posted only progress. And don't worry. This doesn't mean this blog, or my TPT store will become obsolete. Quite the contrary! I think this new experience will add a new voice to the teaching blogging community (much like Chris' blog does!), as well as provide helpful products for a variety of populations with my skills in ABA (again, enter Chris). Just another reason to add to the list of good feelings about this big change :)

Until next time…and Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quickie Post: Great Giveaway!

Hi All,

Just stopping in to make sure you check out this great giveaway from Creative Teaching Supplies! Alex  has reached 200 followers so let's celebrate! I've donated a "winner's choice" prize from my store!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Currently!

It's a new month and you know what that means! The incomparable Farley is hosting another Currently Linky Party! Click the button below to join in on the fun!

Now, here is my Currently for the month of April:

Listening: My fur baby Lucy is sleeping this day away. I wonder what she is dreaming about…
Loving: I've had a very stressful year so far. I've devoted several posts to various reasons I am stressed, but overall, this year has been an overwhelming experience. However, recently I have been making changes in my classroom, and throughout my own life, in an attempt to take charge of this stressful situation. This week felt good better! 
Thinking: I have a lot to do before this evening! My best friend is getting married next week and the bachelorette party is tonight! I have cleaning, working out, planning, showering, and make-uping to do before tonight. I better get on that!
Wanting: As mentioned, this year has been a struggle for me. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do next school year. It's tough!
Needing: Read Thinking above!
Hours and Last Day: I really enjoy my school hours. On Wednesdays we have earlier dismissal (1:30) for teacher meetings and trainings. I do NOT love that we don't get out of school until June 20th. I do NOT love even more that this will most likely NOT be the last day of school - more like the 24th. Boo!

That's all for now. Gotta run!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quickie Post: New Blog Design and Extras!! Eeekkk!

Good evening friends!

I just wanted to pop in for a Quickie Post to show you my updated blog design and newest features! I have a brand new background, courtesy of Shabby Blogs! I created my own blog header and matching button, and made a fancy new signature! All of these fabulous blog extras could not have been made possible without these fabulous bloggers and teacherpreneurs:
I'm totally in love with my button, header, and signature. Actually, I love it ALL! Hope you love it too (you don't really have a choice…you are going to see it, might as well get used to it!)

Oh, I s'pose I should take this time to do some shameless promoting of the newest additions to my TPT Store:

My newest Kindergarten Daily Warm Ups! These are for the whole month of April! It's typically $4.00 but for the next 24 hours it's 20% off! Stay tuned for my First Grade version!

In a desperate plea for summertime warmth, I uploaded my latest version of my Letter-Picture Match Up center. This one is a fun summer version where students build an ice cream with the letters and its corresponding sounds. This product is priced at $2.50 - but for the next 24 hours will be 20% off as well! w00t!

Only one more day people!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Beginnings…in March?!

Greetings friends!

Phew - my life has been KrAAAzzZEEE!

In an attempt to find peace in my constantly chaotic world of teaching, I am looking at ways to improve my classroom presence and management skills. After 6+ months of barely keeping my head above water, an administrator finally brought me in to discuss what is working and not working in my class. I was very frank with her, and told her where my struggles lie, as well as my frustrations with the support. I had been asking for help with these issues since September (when I realized how much different the public school environment is from my previous job placement), and had received none. I had been given "quick answers" or, check out this website, but nothing I could really utilize in my classroom with any sort of guidance or support. I asked to observe other classrooms, to which I was given the response "Let me check with that teacher and get back to you." You can image I never heard back…

Now, just to remind you of my current job: I am a therapeutic special education teacher, working with students with social/emotional and behavioral challenges. My previous job had the exact same population of kids, however the entire school was devoted to their well-being and success. I am the only teacher for first and second grade students with this population, and none of the administrators in my building have experience with these types of kids. Makes for a challenging transition to say the least…

Well, I suppose I should look at this as a "new beginning" for myself as an educator. I am finally feeling the support of an administrator, and am being offered opportunities to observe classrooms, have observations of my own teaching with specific goals of classroom management in mind, and have a sounding board for ideas I have to enhance the classroom environment. I hate that it has taken to nearly the last 3 months of school for others to be on board with my frustration and overwhelmed-ness, but alas. Better late than never I s'pose.

This administrator has offered some insight in using centers, or stations in the classroom. My previous job did not include centers as part of their learning methodology, thus I never got the chance use them, or even see them in action. I've always been interested in utilizing this much-talked about academic and classroom management technique, however never felt confident enough to implement it myself, especially as my first year in public school. Well, this administrator has since encouraged me to attempt this in my classroom, in, yes, March. I purchased many books on implementing stations in the classroom for K-2, as well as The First Six Weeks of School (yes I know…how did I NOT own this already?!?!). I've already spent the last week or so vigorously highlighting and writing notes in the margins!

I still require lots of hand-holding while I figure all of this out (especially with the required "break" from curricula as we dive into learning how to use these stations), but I am slowly getting more and more confident. Hopefully some day I can talk a little about how it works in my classroom (provided I get to the point that it feels like it is working).

This past week, I introduced the Literacy Stations model to my kiddos, as well as reviewed classroom rules and expectations. We made the following Anchor Charts together for classroom rules and the consequences for following, and breaking the rules:

Also, just for fun, here is our Decoding Strategies Anchor Chart:

I've seen lots of beautiful, colorful, and fun anchor charts full of pictures and funky fonts. As much as I love them, I need to keep mine fairly simple, with minimal "extras". My kiddos can get overwhelmed by visual stimuli and instead of using an anchor chart effectively, they tend to get distracted by too many images and colors. Hence, my pretty basic charts, by Pinterest standards :)

If you have any additional classroom resources that you have found helpful in your quest to perfect your classroom management skills, please feel free to share! I'm always look at ways to enhance my own teaching skill :)

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Funday {plus} Currently (with a contest), and New(ish) Blog!

Greetings Friends,

Been a while - sorry about that! I won't give you any excuses, just know that I missed you!

Let's get this party started…Linky Party that is!

I've linked up with Lucky to Be in First for a new, awesomely fun linky :) Today, I'm sharing all the fun happenings from the previous week in pictures!

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Deliciously simple and quick dinner: Tuna Noodle Cassarole
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My best friend's bridal shower!

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I met Bill for the first time!
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Lip scrub
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My WONDERFUL Slant Box from the WONDERFUL Kristen at Chalk & Apples!

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Cornwalls in Boston with some friends
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Me and The Husband
Part of the week's happenings was my newest blog quest. I've restarted a previous blog (of the same name) I created a few years back on Tumblr. I like the visual attributes of Tumbr - the perfect outlet for quick posts, pics, and links. It also easy for me to blog on the go, which is usually the way I would prefer to do it for my Tumblr blog. This blog is all about life's ups and downs. It's a way for me to reach out to others about lifestyle, health, beauty, and more. Basically, everything that is NOT teacher related. That being said, the topics I blog about or share with my followers (which are not many by the way…) are of interest to all sorts of people, teachers included. For example, one of my latest posts was how to make a 3-second lip scrub, with pictures and recipe. If you would like to check it out, you can find follow it on Bloglovin' here.

Now, time for the March Currently, courtesy of Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

Notice the last question…? Or lack of a question? My answer to the mystery question is April 18, 2006. Your job is to figure out what the question is… tricky huh? Who knows…maybe the person who guesses correctly with get something…? A prize perhaps? Hafta play to find out...

Make sure to link up with Farley and follow the rule of 3!
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

TBT: Inanimate Nouns Need Loving Relationships Too!

Afternoon Friends,

So excited to link up with Primary Possibilities today for Throwback Thursday! This really saves me time!

This Throwback post is all the way from October of 2012! Talk about a throwback...

Original Post, October 1, 2012:
Our class is learning about noun-verb relationships in writing. Animate nouns and verbs are "easy" - we see them every day, we experience them every day, we hear them every day. When talking about verbs, it's fairly easy for students to generate verbs such as run, kick, sing, etc. They are taught early on that verbs are something that we do. But once we move on to more complex topics, such as inanimate noun-verb relationships, the connection is not so clear...

Thus, I have incorporated a visual activity when teaching bout inanimate noun-verb relationships. The concept of an inanimate noun doing something is very abstract. Rulers don't move and tables don't do anything. So how could I possibly give a coat an action?

In order to clear up this confusion, I have supplemented my teaching of this concept with an activity where the students create sentences using provided verbs with an inanimate noun of their choice. We then took pictures to show how the inanimate noun could possibly do anything. 

Here are my dynamic kiddos' original sentences with pictures:

The book stood.

The coat laid.

The headphones hung.

The shoe hovered.
The papers spread.
This activity really helped my kiddos grasp this abstract concept and use these relationships in their own original writing assignments! I use this activity every year, and it is always a big hit :)

Check out a FREEBIE product for animate and inanimate noun-verb relationships by clicking the picture below.


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