Mindful Tuesday


It has been a rough weekend. I live in the Northeast, where Hurricane Sandy angrily visited. We survived, but many of our neighbor's cars did not :(. I am counting my blessings that none of our property, or ourselves were damaged!

During the storm, I was feeling slightly terrified. I knew that overall, we were going to be safe, but my fiance, who works outside for a living, was working, and I was so nervous something was going to happen to him. Thankfully, he was also safe, but my mind was spinning all day. What helped to ground me was my cat, Chester. Chester is terrified of storms. He runs around the house, meowing, cowering, and shaking. Yesterday, however, I saw a different side of Chester. Whereas during thunderstorms, he runs for cover, searching for the most desolate area of the house, during this hurricane, he was looking for companionship. He still was shaking and meowing, but this time instead of sprinting underneath the bed, he bolted to wherever I was. He was still cowering, but this time, he was cowering into me. It made me feel less vulnerable and helpless, that I was comforting and protecting another. Chester trusted me with his life, and I should embrace this role of Nurturer. Once I embraced this role, a sense of calm and mindfulness washed over me. I no longer worried about what could be, or what had been. I was only thinking in the presence - as my duty of caring for another. Together, we rode out the storm, caring for one another with our peace and cuddles.

Be in the present.



Quickie Post: TpT Update

Just a quick update on my most recent TpT product:

I have added a revised version of my Noun-Verb Relationship Freebie (as seen in my last post). I have added a tips section, directions section, inanimate noun-verb cards, animate noun-verb cards, and a revised link to my TpT page in the credits. Please feel free to look at this Freebie and please, please, please leave feedback. I am always trying to revise my work and make it the best, most helpful it can possibly be, but I cannot do that without your feedback and comments.

I am currently working on some additional products to add, but this time I am being more *mindful* about making sure I have included all necessary worksheets/information and ensured accurate links. As always, suggestions are always welcome. (Brie - I have read your suggestion, and am planning on not only writing a related post, but also creating some sort of task cards for my classroom's "fidget!" )



Mindful Monday: Mindful Diet

So as promised in last week's Mindful Monday post, this post is about the type of "mindful diet" that I follow. While trying to ensure I only put wholesome, natural foods in my body, I also utilize other mindful techniques to ensure my body is functioning at its best. I have created a list of my daily habits that I include in my "mindful diet."

  • Green Tea and Honey: 

I love to have a cup of green tea with a honey stick each morning.
  • Morning Meditation:
Practicing meditation each morning when I wake up really helps me focus on the my breath and the present.

  •  Sun Salutations:

Doing daily Sun Salutations helps to get my body moving, while still remaining in the moment.
  • Oatmeal with Flax and Blueberries:

Nothing like a hot bowl of steel-cut oats with flax seeds and wild blueberries.
  • Indie Music:

My favorite radio station broadcast live from Emerson
  • Deep Breathing:
Deep breathing exercises help to refocus my mind
  • Fidget Breaks:

Fidget breaks are movement breaks where my kiddos and I do guided stretches and physical activities to "get the wiggles out"
  • Water, Water, Water:

I try to drink at 6-8 cups of ice water, preferably with lemon
  • Afternoon Meditation:
One of my favorite times of the day 
  • Evening Run:

My evening run helps me to clear out my head while keeping my body and heart healthy
  •  7-8 Hours of Sleep:

What are some of your daily habits for a healthier, more mindful lifestyle?



I've been BOO'D...Again! and TPT Update!!!

I've been boo'ed!....again! A big thanks from Brie at Breezy Special Ed for booing me! Please make sure you check out her terrific blog! She's a fairly new blogger and has some wonderful posts about working with individuals with special needs across the curriculum!

BOO'd Linky Party hosted by Cynthia at 2nd Grade Pad

Here are the rules for this linky:
1. Choose a fellow blogger that has MORE followers.
2. A blogger that has about the SAME number of followers .
3. Someone that has LESS followers.
4. Highlight their blogs with links to encourage others to check them out.
5. Don't forget to let your fellow bloggers know that you shared about them.
6. Lastly, leave them some love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat."

Blogger with MORE followers: Tori's Teacher Tips. Tori's blog is loaded with awesome ideas (and freebies!) for reaching second grade learners. I highly suggest checking out her blog!

Blogger with SAME number of followers:  Go 4th: Teach All the Things! Tiffany has a great new blog with fun posts that get people involved! Make sure you check it out :)

Blogger with LESS followers: Hippie Down the Hall. Lauren's blog is one in which I can relate! My blog tends to have posts about special education and my classroom, but also ways in which I maintain my sanity, stay healthy, and of course, running :). I love that her blog has a little bit of everything. Please check it out :)

Now, for my BOO Buddies: Here is a link to my FIRST TPT product!!! The Freebie is a graphic organizer I made for noun-verb relationships using animate and inanimate nouns. I am so excited that I stayed up way past my bedtime to post it :) Please leave me comments letting me know what you think and any suggestions you might have. I had some technical difficulties uploading the document onto TPT, so hopefully it is all formatted correctly - but if not, please let me know! Hope you enjoy!




Mindful Monday: Lessons in Patience

This last week has been B-A-N-A-N-A-S!!!! I was non-stop all week and weekend, so much so that I had to reeeaally concentrate on slowing down every chance I got, just so my mind wouldn't explode! It wasn't easy, but by golly, was it necessary...

The goal I gave myself to work on this week was practicing patience. I knew that this last week was going to be a doozy (yes, despite it being a short week), with new behavior plans starting, our interventions group beginning and staff being out, however I was not adequately prepared for the level of stress I was going to endure. My team and I rode the crazy wave until Thursday, when my supervisor asked if I wanted to check in with her, because I was looking stressed out. I was crushed... I thought I was working really hard to keep my composure. Plus, I actually didn't think I was all that stressed out anyways!

I took this comment to heart, and started to really attempt to keep myself in check. I became much more mindful of how I was perceiving situations, noticing my body language and the volume and tone of my voice, and was regularly checking in with myself to see how I felt. During Thursday afternoon meditation, I made a conscious effort to visualize all my stress, anxiety, and pride floating out to sea, and starting anew. At the end of my meditation, I felt refreshed and renewed. I took on Friday like a mindful, patient champ.

After a weekend of living like a hermit (writing an IEP and a psych journal proposal), I embraced the start of the new week. I entered work this morning feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on whatever the day had to offer. The day was tough, for sure. But I worked hard to continuously check in with myself, and others to help the day, and my mind, run smoother. At the end of the day, I did not feel the build up of pressure an anxiety I had felt last week. And while I type this, I am reflecting on the day, feeling successful in my endeavor for a patient and mindful week.

In addition to the continuous and consistent self-reflections I allow myself, I also maintain a "mindful diet" if you will. By diet, I do not necessarily mean strictly food and drink, but other healthy habits that make me feel good and in the moment. Next Mindful Monday post will include some of my "mindful diet"techniques :)




I've Been BOOED!!

I am so giddy :)! I have just been BOO-ed! I've seen this neat idea on Pinterest where people "BOO" each other at work, in their neighborhoods etc. But I am so excited to be a part of the blog-version of this fun, original game!

Special thanks to Laura from TIPS: Teach, Inspire, and Prepare Students for the BOO! Please make sure you check out her fun, inspirational blog :)

Time for the fun part!

Once you are Boo-ed, follow these steps:

1. If you've been boo-ed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.

2. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!

3. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (maybe yours or someone else's) or freebies(s) that you love!

4. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers-make sure you check this link so that you don't repeat the "Boo"

5. Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas! While you are there check out the other great blogs!

Here are my October faves:
1. Roll a Jack-O-Lantern from Allison at Oopsey Daisy!

2. Going Batty! Craftivity Freebie from A Cupcake for the Teacher

3. Candy Corn ABC from Carol's Cutting Edge!

Next up: BOO-ing these fabulous blogs! Please, please, please check them out. Their blogs are awesome :)

Thanks for joining in on the fun! Don't forget to link up with Tori at Tori's Teacher Tips too so that you won't get boo-ed again :)




Synonyms...Mmmmm, Delicious!

You say cinnamon, I say synonym. More like I say synonym, my kids can only say cinnamon. Oh well. No matter how you say it, this activity was a blast.

I got the idea last year after one of my kiddos told me "I bet these synonyms taste good too!"

Weird as th quote may be (it was completely unprovoked and unclear what he was specifically talking about) it reminded me of delicious cinnamon rolls. A year later, I decided to try my hand at an activity that could weave these ideas for my synonym mini-unit. After searching on Pinterest, I ended up finding this blog post, that helped me really hone in on what I wanted the activity to be. I was less focused on how it looked, and more focused on teaching the skill of identifying and creating synonyms, but it turned out to be the best of both worlds :)

We started out our synonym/antonym mini-unit learning about synonyms and antonyms, learning how to use the thesaurus, and the importance of using synonyms and antonyms in our writing. I found that it was easier to provide my students with a  list of words, instead of asking them to generate a "boring" word on their own. I also didn't want to classify a word as "boring" to the kids, because I can just see where that would go. (Me: Wow great job! Kid: Ms. S. You can't say that word. It's boring!!! *endless discussion on how I need to choose a more "exciting" word*)

After the students were provided with a list to choose from (or in some cases, a specific word), they were then asked to generate a list of at least 3 synonyms. They could use thesauri or their handy-dandy brains to come up with their lists.

After the lists were created, students were either provided a "cinnamon roll" template, or asked to draw a spiral on brown construction paper. In the middle of the roll they wrote their original word in bold letters, and around the spiral they wrote all the synonyms. After they finished writing, they decorated their rolls with glitter for "icing". Once they dried, we hung our rolls on our clothing line (because we have no more wall space!) and I taped cut-out letters to a roll of aluminum foil for our title.

And just in time for Back-to-School Night!




Mindful Mondays: Use Your Nondominant Hand

Hi all,

Starting my day off right. I woke up (albeit late, but whatevs) and practiced yoga for 20 minutes. I then made a cup of coffee and enjoyed my Chobani yogurt with berries and honey. After completing some work for grad school and my lessons for the week, I meditated for 15 minutes before writing this post. I love days off!

How to Train a Wild Elephant still inspires me! As mentioned in my last Mindful post, I want to begin posting about my journey with the book, and this post is about precisely that.

The first exercise of the book encourages readers to be mindful and slow down by using their dominant hand. I am already fairly fluent in using both hands (even writing with my left hand is still legible, and even better than some other peoples everyday handwriting), so I thought that I wouldn't get much out of this exercise. While it wasn't the most challenging thing I did all week, it certainly did require me to slow down significantly. It took me a while to remember to do the exercise throughout the day, but the more often I did it, the more often I remembered (if that makes sense). I got used to slowing down, even if it wasn't a time to use the exercise. It felt right to slow down and take my time with all of my tasks, regardless of if I did the exercise or not. I would guess that this was probably what Dr. Bays had in mind when creating these exercises and writing this book. Smart, crafty lady.

Oh by the way, the brand Food Should Taste Good uses gluten-free, natural ingredients to develop delicious, healthier alternative tortilla chips. My favorite of the day: Sweet Potato :)

Til next time,


My Own Book Club

After reading Daily Candy's 101 Books We Can't Live Without, I decided to create my own list of books to read when I have downtime (which is approximately 3 minutes per day). Below is a list I created, based on book recommendations from Daily Candy as well as friends, other blogs, and my fiancĂ©. Enjoy!

Books to Sufficiently Creep Me Out/Make Me Feel Unsettled:




Books That Help Me Make Sense of the World (Or Utterly Confuse Me):


Books for My Spiritual Side:

Books to Satisfy My Thirst for Books on Education:


Books I Should Have Read Years Ago:


 Books I Just Want to Read:



Please let me know of any other books you recommend I add to my Reading List. I'm always looking for more good reads!



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