Race for a Resolution Virtual 5k!

Happy Hump Day!

I completed my Virtual 5k, and reached my first goal of the New Year! I was planning on doing my run at the gym today, but it turned out to be such a warm (albeit, rainy) day in Boston, so I had to take advantage. When I went this evening, the rain held out, so all I got was a humid, breezy evening run.

Here are my results from the run. Not my fastest 5k by any means, but it felt good to just be outside, reaching my goal :)

If you want to link up, you still have time (1 day)! Check out my previous post for more info.

Congrats to Karlie at We are ALL Special for completing the Virtual 5k in just over 29 minutes! Thanks for linking up and joining the fun :)


5 for Five & THAT Pencil Sharpener

Hi there!

It's Monday, so you know what that means... Fantastically Average's 5 for Five Link Up! w00t!

If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Jessica's post here to find out more.


Below are my goals from last week. The one's that I reached are in green, the one's I did not are in red.

1. Book our fave photo booth for our wedding! I planned SO many things this week for our wedding, how did this one slip my mind?!
2. Complete my presentation for one of my classes! Nope again. It is due February 4th, but it would have been nice to have this completed. Oh well...
3. Create a Virtual 5K on Blogger! YAY! I got one! One of my New Years Resolution is to sign up (and run) a race each month of the year....and I have not been able to find one for the last couple weeks of January! So I've decided to create my own! See my Race for a Resolution Virtual 5k Link Up post here, and check out my previous post on NYR for my other goals. So far it is just me in the race...which is alright with me! At least I am achieving my NYR!
4. Finish my Valentine's Math and Literacy Pack for TpT! Huzzah! I am not only happy I achieved this goal, but am SUPER excited for this pack to be available. Make sure you check it out here and let me know what you think :)
5. Exercise 4 times this week! I exercised exactly 4 times this week, which is fine with me :)

3/5 -- 60%....passing. I can improve. I've been at this average for a couple of weeks now, so I'd like to break through this wall and get at least 80%! Let's see what next week has in store...

1. Run my Virtual 5k! How embarrassing if I can't even do the 5k that I created...
2. Write my IEP by Wednesday evening. This one will be a hit or miss early in the week...no time to mess around.
3. Book that Photo Booth! I can do it...I have to!
4. Block out hotel rooms for the wedding! I have to do this too, or I risk not having the spaces available!
5. Figure out a homework incentive for the classroom! I have not found a system that works for everyone to motivate my students to complete their homework. I'm not into punishment, so I would like to devise a way to encourage kids to complete their homework and earn things. So far, nothing I've done is motivating enough. I'm open to suggestions!

I have faith that this will be the week I can call myself proficient in goal achievement. We'll see..

If you are interested in linking up with 5 for Five this week, do so here.

And now...on to THAT pencil sharpener....

I emailed Troy of Classroom Friendly Supplies, because I wanted to do a review for his product. I have seen it all over the internet: Blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, you name it! I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

After ensuring I was a good candidate for such a review, he sent me my choice of pencil sharpener (blue,  naturally). It all happened so fast! I came home on Saturday morning after a facial with one of my bridesmaids, and there it was... a small, square box outside my door. I knew immediately what it was and couldn't WAIT to rip the sucker open.

This is what I found inside the little brown box:

To my surprise, I did not find any instructions. I figured, well duh...It's a pencil sharpener...how hard could it be. After poking and prodding for about 3 minutes, I decided to swallow my pride, and find out how to use the contraption by going to Classroom Friendly Supplies' website. I watched the nifty 50 second video and it gave me all the answers I needed.

After I cracked the code for the initial step for how to use the sharpener, it was cake. All I needed was that initial instruction, and I was sharpening away!
All the materials I need...plus pencils!

To crack the secret of the pencil sharpener: Squeeze the little black knobs at the top, and pull, to reveal a long silver rod. Once it sticks, your pencil sharpener is open for business. Pinch the little black knobs again and slide the pencil through the hole until you feel resistance (it's back as far as it can go). Then, crank away for just a few seconds and BAM, nice sharp pencil. It's a teacher's dream!

The sharpener also came with an anchor to put on a shelf. I tested it out on my dining room table first.
Nice and secure...

However, the real test was when I brought it into the classroom today...

First, I put "pencil sharpener" on the agenda for our morning meeting. The kids were very intrigued. I told them that I have a very special pencil sharpener that is only able to be used once you learn how to use it. This intrigued the kids even more, and they certainly wanted to privilege to use the mysterious blue pencil sharpener!

I walked through the process step by step with the kids. Then, they came up one at a time to practice. Some took to it immediately, others needed gentle reminders not to cram the pencil in like a normal sharpener. Those kids practiced a few more times until they mastered it! The pencil sharpener was free to use!

Just some pics of my kids practicing to use our new pencil sharpener. All were very excited for the new gadget!

I do not have open shelves that I can attach the pencil sharpener to, so I had to leave it free-standing for today. I'm going to brainstorm how to fasten it to a surface. For today, it was just fine the way it was.

Here are my pencil bins...as you can see, we are in desperate need of a quality pencil sharpener! I need to fill up that sharpened pencil bin! I promised one of my kiddos that she could be my pencil helper tomorrow (she won the bid, out of nearly ALL of my students for the job).

After a detailed analysis of the product, I have some pros and cons. I also have a final review of the product below.

  • Easy to use
  • Quiet!
  • Extra sharp pencils
  • Decorative
  • Comes in 4 fun colors
  • Very quick
  • Inexpensive (for such great quality!)
  • Fun

  • Takes some practice (not a huge con though...)
  • Does not accommodate thick pencils (think OT pencils, or pencils for small, developing hands)

My final review of the product: I would definitely recommend this pencil sharpener to any teacher! This is by far the best one I have found, manual or electric. If suggestions are encouraged, I would suggest to the designers of the sharpener to create an add-on or additional piece to the sharpener to accommodate wider pencils. 
I am planning on purchasing one of these for my home (yes...I use pencils ALL the time at home too) and a second for my classroom (especially since it is such a hit).

I encourage all of you to purchase this product. Click the button above to take you to the website for more information. You won't regret it :)



Quickie Update: Fantabulous Giveaways!

Hi Y'all!

Just want to give you all a quick update on a bunch of tremendous giveaways happening now.

First up, A Sweet Little Giveaway, hosted by Live, Laugh, I Love Kindergarten

Lots of "lovely" prizes to win (see what I did there...). Make sure you check it out!

Next up, Kickin' it in Kindergarten's fun Super Bowl Unit giveaway!

This unit is perfect for Kinders and young students who would enjoy a fun Super Bowl themed unit that is age-appropriate. Make sure you check it out!

Next is Growing Firstie's fun 400 Follower Giveaway! She has LOADS of awesome products and pressies to offer.

Make sure you check it out! Who doesn't love pressies?

And finally, Brianna over at The Price of Teaching is hosting a fab Halfway to 100 Giveaway for reaching 50 followers! Congrats to her!

The Price of Teaching
Make sure to enter because you get TEN, yes TEN of her products from her TpT store -- winners choice. Did I say TEN?

That's all for now!



Race for a Resolution Link Up!!!

In an attempt to stick to my New Years Resolutions, I am hosting a Virtual 5k! I searched high and low for a January 5k that I could partake in, so I could meet my monthly 5k quota, but there were none to be found. So, I decided to just make my own! This is nothing fancy...no prizes (sorry), no medals, just good ol' fashion exercise and a virtual pat on the back. It will also give you awesome bragging rights (you know, for all of those people who are amazed that you ran Mindful Rambles' Virtual 5k). This race isn't technically a "race" I guess...there is no winner. This is all a friendly competition with yourself.

This race has been aptly named Race for a Resolution (see what I did there?). If one of your New Years Resolutions is to run a 5k, get healthier, or run a race every month (like me!), then this is the race for you!

This is open to individuals with all abilities. Run or walk, we don't care! Crab crawl if you want! This is about health and wellness, not speed or times. Have fun with it!

Interested in linking up? Here are the rules:
  • Run/walk your 5k (3.1 miles) anytime between January 27th and January 31st, 2013.
  • Blog about this race! I would love to get the word out there!
  • After you've completed your race, post a picture(s) on a new blog post, showing proof of your race. This can either be on the treadmill, on your watch showing your start and end time, Nike+ screen shot, whatever! If you can do none of these options, post a picture of yourself, post race.
  • Post an image of my Virtual Race button to your blog in your blog posts.
  • Have fun!

If you are ready to particiapte in this fun 5k Race for a Resolution, link up below! Also, I am new to these link ups, so I'm not sure if I did the linky right. Please let me know if there are weird things going on with it.

Disclaimer: You are entering this challenge because you are capable to run the 3.1 miles required, and have clearance from your doctor. By participating, you are accepting responsibility for anything that might happen.

See you on the race course!!


Just Uploaded: Valentine's Literacy and Math Centers!!!

Hi Y'all,

I have finally finished my Valentine's Day Literacy and Math Centers! This pack is Common Core Aligned (which I am proud of) and all of the standards are outlined in the description in my store, and in the product itself.

This product is perfect for Kindergarten, first, and second grade students, as well as those with special needs. Most of the activities in the pack can be used for both centers as well as small group games, independent work, or homework/morning work!

The contents of this pack include:

  • Love Train Number Sequencing 
  • {K→K.CC.A.1, K.CC.A.2, K.CC.C.6, & K.CC.C.7; 1st→1.NBT.B.2; 2nd→ 2.NBT.A.1 & 2.NBT.A.4}
  • Valentine’s Roll and Cover 
  • {K → K.CC.B.4}
  • Love Robot Addition {
  • K→K.OA.A3, K.OA.A5 & K.NBT.A.1; 1st→1.OA.C.6 & 1.OA.C7; 2nd→2.OA.B.2}
  • Valentine’s Synonym and Antonyms 
  • {1st→ L.1.5d; 2nd→ L.2.5b} 
  • Ralph’s Parts of Speech Valentine’s Sort 
  • {K → L.K.1b; 1st→ L.1.1f}
  • I *Heart* Word Scrambles 
  • {K→L.K.2d; 1st→RF.1.3}
  • Worksheets
  • Blank sets

  • Leveled sets

A free preview is available to give you an idea of the included items. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this product (or any of my products for that matter!). I spent a great deal of time on this product, and want to make sure you enjoy it :)



And the winner of the 100 Follower Giveaway is....

Kelly B!!!!

Congratulations Kelly! I will round up the troops and send you your winnings straight away! Thank you for entering!

And for all of those who entered -- thank you so much! I'm glad I got to host this fun giveaway (first one ever!) with and for all of you. I appreciate all you have done to make this spectacular!

And to my troops (AKA helpful bloggers), thank you so much for all of your help! I most certainly could not have done this without you. You made every part of this enjoyable and memorable! Your kindness and helpfulness was not ignored -- Thank you so much!

My Troops:

 The Craft of Teaching
Surfing to Success
I don't really know what's wrong with the formatting, but you get the picture...

Off to work! Congratulations to Kelly B!


5 for Five and Giveaways!

Hi Y'all!

Time for 5 for Five, hosted by the lovely Jessica from Fantastically Average! If you aren't sure what this is about, see this post.
I haven't done a 5 for Five in a while, so I'm starting fresh this week.

This week's goals:
1. Book our fave photo booth for our wedding! This is a necessity, because I don't want to lose our date (June 21, 2013!). We love this photo booth company, and it would be a shame to not get to book them because I flaked out!
2. Complete my presentation for one of my classes! This presentation is not due until February 4th, but I would like to get it done this week, so I don't have to worry about it the week after when I am writing 2 IEPs.
3. Create a Virtual 5K on Blogger! One of my New Years Resolution is to sign up (and run) a race each month of the year....and I cannot find one for the last couple weeks of January! So I've decided to create my own! See my previous post on NYR for my other goals.
4. Finish my Valentine's Math and Literacy Pack for TpT! I'm sooooo close, but my computer is soooooo slow on Publisher. It is so excruciatingly slow, that I am {THIS} close to scrapping the whole thing (and I'm already like 30 pages in).
5. Exercise 4 times this week! I have reached my goal in my DietBet competition, but need to maintain it. Exercise is the way to do that (that, and eating healthy). Exercise is more measurable.

If you want to participate, link up with Jessica!

Also, check out these great giveaways:
Congrats to Mrs. Leeby!!!!

How totally generous and AWESOME! Thanks :)



Martin's Big Words Activity

Happy Saturday!

Any fun plans for the three day weekend? I'm doing MCAS-Alt work (our state's standardized comprehensive assessment alternative - in portfolio format) for one of my students, going to wedding expos (yes, more than one!), and watching me some football with the fiancé. Oh yes, and studying. I am back in school now, for my FINAL semester of Graduate School!!! w00t.

As we all know, MLK Day is on Monday, and while we enjoy having a three-day weekend, it is important to commemorate such an inspirational historical figure. I make sure every year to celebrate Dr. King's life with my students, usually starting out reading Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport.  I use this opportunity to discuss issues of inequality, prejudice, and racism. It is a heated debate, but I think children deserve to know the truths of our history. It does them no service to shelter them for the realities of life. This is one of my favorite read alouds of the year, as it allows for really meaty and philosophical discussions.

 During our discussion of the book and the activity, we discuss the illustrator, Bryan Collier's technique and what the images make us think of. We discuss how the pictures make us feel and compare them to other techniques illustrators use. We discuss why the artist may choose mixed media collages instead of paintings or sketching. After our read aloud and discussion, we create our own images of MLK using the illustrator's technique of mixed media collaging.
I provide the students with different scraps of paper, ranging from tracing paper, construction paper, scrapping book paper, to paper with heavier textures. I use an image I created as an example for the students.

After creating the collage, students are provided with a quotation from the book. You could allow the students to choose their own quotations, but I find it easier for my students to have a quotation chosen for them, as I see fit based on their abilities. One variation I have done in years past has been to have students write what the quotation means to them. This year, I nixed that extension to focus more on what the quotation means explicitly, based on my students needs this year.

This is always a fun activity and incredibly meaningful discussion topic. I have found that as Black History Month rolls around, my students are eager to have more of these discussions on inequality and segregation, and are itching for opportunities to debate these topics and fight for equality!

What MLK Day activities do you do in your classroom?

PS- Check out this great giveaway from Classroom Friendly Supplies!! They are giving away the much coveted Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener!

Well, that escalated quickly....to a 100 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY!!!!

So my prayers (and pleas) were answered! I reached 100 followers!!! Hallelujah!! (little dramatic...I know...)

A HUGE thank you to Mercedes over at Surfing to Success for not only donating to my giveaway but helping to create this amazing Giveaway Image (really, she did all the work, I just personalized it):

I {lurve} it <3
I am so grateful to all of my followers! You are what keeps me coming back each and every day. I started this little blog as a way to share some of my thoughts and practices with others, and to my surprise, I fell in love :). I love not only sharing my ideas, but reading others' blogs and comments, finding new people to follow, and encourage others to continue the pursuit, as so many did for me. All in all, this has been a wonderful ride so far, and I am beyond excited for my first major blogging achievement!!

Not only am I thankful for all of my followers, but I am especially thankful for the wonderful bloggers and teachers who have donated their time and products to help out with my giveaway! I am overwhelmed with the generosity of others! The blogging community is such a supportive and charitable place - I'm so glad to be a part of it.

A huge thank you to all of those who have donated their time, effort, products, etc. to my giveaway. Make sure to check out all of their blogs below (well, you should probably follow them too, because they are great, and you will get more entries to the giveaway on the Rafflecopter.

Surfing to Successbusyasahoneybee.blogspot.com The Craft of Teaching  

A final, sincere thank you for all the donations and support from my fellow bloggers. I am blown away by the level of support I was provided for reaching 100 follower! What a kind, helpful community I have found, and I am so grateful.

This giveaway ends in 1 week! Make sure to enter, and come back for the few you can enter daily! Good luck :)

Thank you,
Back to Top