Friday, August 21, 2015

Five for Friday: August 21 !

Happy, happy FRI-DAY !

Happy, happy Fri - day !

At this time in two weeks, I will be starting only my *second* day of school.  I'm having a lot slight anxiety to ... yah know, setupandgetmyroomreadyandyetIhavenoideawhenthatwillorevencanhappen. yah know?

So, as a little pick-me-up, here's my Five for Friday with Kacey!

To get things started:
I have registered for graduate classes at Teachers College, Columbia University.
I repeat:

Yes, I was already working towards a Masters in Reading Specialization; however, I am a very big Lucy fan.  So I decided to leave my current university and pursue Teachers College. 
With my background, and my story, and my current situation, my advisor recommended taking Lucy's advanced writing class. While I know this will be no joke, and I will have work to do for the rest of my life a lot of work to do, this is what I'm paying for and working towards - a teacher who is pushed out of her comfort zone much like she does with her students.

It all started last Saturday afternoon.
After spending two hours at the gym then going soul winning and doing bus visitation with 2 of my sisters, I sat at the kitchen table and waited as we all got ready to go school shopping.


The doorbell rang twice -

One sister got herself off the couch to answer the door and receive a package from the post man.

"OH! IT'S MINE! IT'S MINE!" I cried while I leaped through the hallway to retrieve it from my sister's hands. :)

And this is how the rest goes down ...

I realize "Middle" is ... missing the "I"
This was a gift, and unfortunately I didn't realize the spelling error until last night! 
I have already thrown away my little invoice paper, so I can't double check the paper if the spelling error was done during the order or not. :(
. . .
My mom, my sisters, and I ended up going shopping. And I bought supplies for my classroom like all other good teachers do when they are working their way onto Santa's "Nice" list. ;)

Would you like to hear what I have to say about this?
I knew you would. :)

So, I'm standing in line with one of my sisters while the rest of the tribe was .. MIA.
Well, one of the Wal-Mart attendants came up to us and said "You can come to lane 6."
So off my sister and I trotted the 40 feet to the 20 items or less lane.
Well, the tribe comes back and gives me grief for being in the 20 items or less lane and buying 150 items when the lady TOLD me she would ring me up !!!
Bless her heart, she was such a trooper. Patient and Pleasant.
I digress ..
Well, then a family stood in line behind us. 
I saw the mom start to eye me as the attendant (cashier) started counting all the 60-something spiral notebooks I was purchasing after she had counted the 90 black, 3-prong folders.  Her family quickly moved to the next line that was not 20 items or less, yet the mom continued to stare me down. :(
First of all - the Wal-Mart attendant offered her register to me to ring me up.
SECONDLY - to the mom who eyed me: I hope your children have teachers who go out of their way and spend money OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET to make sure EVERY child has school supplies.  And I hope you have a teacher, that if he/she chooses to use community supplies, that the teacher doesn't neglect your children from using supplies since you, mom, gave me a stank eye for purchasing supplies so that all students in my classroom could be prepared and have a successful 8th grade year before graduating middle school! 


I created these place value puzzles for working with my incoming first grade tutor student. I am still figuring out how to work this into a product, but this was a start of practice for him to understand place value, bundles of 10, and that 10 is a friendly :) number. 
 Red and yellow make orange, so hence the chosen colors. 

Momma Dukes, sisters, and I all went Monster Mini Golfing.  I had never gone while the rest of the tribe had been before a few summers ago.  It was quite chaotic the first 4 holes since a 4-year-old day camp was at EVERY hole. However, I guess they gave up quickly since it was no sooner quiet along the "course" and we got to move quicker from hole to hole to hole.  It was quite fun! I'm not sure who won though ... that's a good question. 

And last but not least!

After tutoring, mini golfing, tutoring, and picking up Adirondack chairs for class library, I headed to the Scholastic Warehouse Sale! I knew I wasn't going to be able to make Friday and Saturday, so I drove as fast as I could safely did the speed limit to get to the book fair for the last 50 minutes and grow my measly little middle school library.  I ended up grabbing just about 1 of everything, then I saw I had time, so I started using my Scholastic Book Wizard app to make sure the majority of what I haphazardly grabbed was level and age appropriate.
It was.
$150 later, here is the newest addition to my library!

When I got home, guess what was waiting for me ?!?!?!


Seriously ?! I don't care what grade you teach, you NEED The Day the Crayons Came Home. And if you don't already have The Day the Crayons Quit, you need to purchase that one as well.
The Book with No Pictures is good. :)
Fish in a Tree ??
I started reading it IMMEDIATELY when I got home. I'm a little over a third of the way there.  I plan on finishing it ASAP! 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Brag Tags in Middle School ???

After much debate and consideration between me, myself, and I, I thought, "yah know, Jenn, you've been thinking about this for quite some time now. you're in a spiffy mood. why not write a blog post and have teachers give feedback via comments on your blog?"

And so, here it is - I'm putting this post out there in hopes of receiving feedback and comments about using Brag Tags in the MIDDLE SCHOOL classroom.

My one-in-a-minion dollar question : 
Could brag tags be used in the middle school classroom?

[click any picture above to be taken to the respected blogger/creator's post]

These are all so stinkin' cute !!! 

I feel like I have seen so many posts this summer about Brag Tags. I began to think and consider using them in my classroom, had I still been teaching 3rd grade.  But with moving to 8th grade, teaching 3 sections, and approximately 90 kids - ughhhh....... *insert blank face emoji*

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

I could see it working ... in it's own unique way.  But I feel like it would also be too much of a hassle, managing giving out brag tags while still wisely spending a 80-minute block period teaching literacy - reading AND writing. It would also require A LOT of brag tags. Did I mention I'm teaching 3 sections? Did I mention that it'll be like .... 90 students ??

Would middle school students even care to receive a tag?

How much paper will this cost since it's 90 kids?

Will kids steal each others' when I'm absent?

Would kids be considered "cocky" for receiving a Brag Tag? I do NOT want to be the cause of that ...

So bloggers, what are your thoughts? I'm going from 3rd grade to 8th grade ... and I've got NOTHIN'! :( *insert crying emoji*

H E L P ! ! ! 

please. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Five for Fraturday!

HAHA ! I never thought I'd actually post a "Five for Fraturday" much like others have. :) But this week has flown by too quickly, much quicker than other weeks! So while I'm a little late for linking up on Friday, I still hope you enjoy the adventure of my week and feel free to leave a little love at the end. :)

My week started with one of my best friend's wedding on Friday night.  I was blessed to be asked to be a bridesmaid, and the dresses were absolutely gorgeous! They were from the Eva Mendes collection from New York and Company.  The color was "Harmonious Pink" and it was just the perfect dress to wear as a bridesmaid and still have fun for the night. :)

The *following* morning, my boyfriend and I had ANOTHER wedding .. this time for my aunt. :) She got married in a church then had her reception outside at a park pavillion.  It was such a nice time with family! <3

Oh yea ... and one of my sisters made my aunt's wedding cake

I finished reading Wonder this past week.  I ordered the book last year, and after reading it, 

This summer, I've tried to be more conscientious about going to the gym .. yah know, since I'm paying for a membership and all. I seriously love spin/ride classes! There is no option to just "take a break"! No matter what, your feet have to keep pedaling even though you can cut back on the gears.

I actually used to be an instructor at the gym, but once I started teaching full time [in March 2013], I struggled to find balance.  I get asked when I'm going to come back and teach fitness classes, but I don't know that it's in God's plans for me right now.

I spent yesterday at Six Flags Great Adventure with my mom, sisters, and my sister's boyfriend.  Even at 25, I wanted a picture with Tweety.  I loved Tweety bird!
I have scoliosis, so when I was in middle school, I had to wear a back brace for 16 hours of the day [insert crying face x 10!].  But, to make my pain a little more bearable, I had a picture of Tweety bird on my back brace :)  It was like a wanna-be-tattoo. LOL!

I came home from Six Flags - at 10:30 PM, mind you - to 3 hefty packages of books! 
Since my library can no longer consist of Magic Tree House, A to Z Mysteries, and Junie B. Jones books, I have had to mature my library.  I've been on a hunt to do this, and so I've purchased the majority of books from Amazon Marketplace.  
Slowly but surely, my middle school library is growing. <3

Don't ask me what else I've done for my classroom because it's hardly anything! :( Going from teaching 3rd grade - elementary - to middle school and ONE subject ?? !! 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tell All Tuesday ... On Friday ;)

I'm </3 .. heartbroken! It's the last Tell All Tuesday of the summer. :(


Jaime and Diana have mentioned doing a monthly linky, so I'm looking forward to what they have planned. :)

For this Friday, I'm a little late to the last Tell All Tuesday party. [better late than never?] 

Head over to Jaime and Diana 's blogs to check out what others are saying!

a goal.
a wish.
a  d r e a m  .
here are mine :)

If you haven't heard by now, I'm switching grade levels ... and school districts ... and graduate schools. #InOverMyHead
The nice thing about switching grade levels is that I'm only responsible for teaching one subject - English Language Arts. ahhh, my forte! :) Which is what I'm going back to school for - Literacy Specialist at Teachers College Columbia University.
This year, with my planning load being lighter [I hope since it's one subject!], I hope to find balance in what I do:
- plan for one subject
- grade papers for 90 students
- complete my graduate homework
- tutor a few hours a week [$$$]
- spend time with family
* spend time with Jesus and continue to grow in my walk with Him! *


I'm going from teaching 3rd grade for the past two years ... to now 8th grade.  Without a doubt, I am *super* excited! But I am also extremely nervous.  I student taught 5th grade; otherwise I just have experience "people watching" middle schoolers.  You see, my student teaching building and my first teaching job building serviced kids in grades K - 8.  I also was blessed to coach 6th - 8th grade cheerleading last year, so I have some minimal experience with middle school classrooms and what they should look like.  I know, I know. I'm buggin' - I'm overanalyzing and overthinking.  I'm making it harder than it will be.  I need to relax and just do what I do best - LITERACY!


My dream is that I'm going to  l o v e  teaching middle school.  I was told by my previous coworkers that I would make an excellent middle school teacher.  I would agree.  Not being cocky at all! I just think that while I love teaching 3rd grade and my heart will always be there,  I will thoroughly take advantage of teaching older students ..
- debates
- writing
- posing questions
- laughs
- jokes
- responsibility
It was a pleasure to student teaching 5th graders, so I am really looking forward to teaching 8th graders. I hope that I find success as a middle school teacher.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Made It: August 3

Happy Monday! 

I can't believe it's already August 3rd!!

What did I do this summer ??? :(  I report to my new district for "New Hire Orientation" in 3 weeks. ahhhhh! :) I'm so excited!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming - Monday Made It with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics.

  My first Monday Made It is my only Monday Made It today.  I haven't gotten around to too much since I've been tutoring like crazy this past month! I can't promise myself I'll up my game this week because I have tutoring, a rehearsal dinner, and two weddings this week! Busy week! But I'm so looking forward to it! God is good, so I am just enjoying what He has blessed me with.

So for my Monday Made It, I have finished my   F I R S T  E V E R  product that I posted on TPT! :D  Though I will be teaching middle school language arts this fall, this product was inspired by a first grade student I am tutoring.  I put this together to help him practice his addition and math skills - encouraging his fluency in his addition facts.  This set concentrates on adding up to 10.  

Of course, in honor of posting my one-and-only-but-not-lonely-for-long-product, I get to join in on the fun and post a SALE !! Be sure to head over to TPT and enter the code "BTS15" at checkout!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#2getherwearebetter: Bulletin Boards

It's that time again! Time to link up with Ashley and Angie for #2getherwearebetter !

This month is all about bulletin boards

This past year I tried something different.  I don't remember how I actually came to the idea.  Actually, I think it was because I was expressing to a friend how I wanted to do a nautical-ish theme in my classroom.  She suggested going to a fabric store to use fabric as a bulletin board background.  Well, sure enough, I LOVED it! 

Using fabric made putting up a bulletin board background sooooo much easier! It's also more decorative.  You can find patterned fabric, but you can't find patterned bulletin board paper. :)
PLUS, fabric doesn't fade like bulletin board paper or construction paper.

With this "bulletin board", I was actually just covering a whole wall space.  The coat hooks were halfway between the ceiling and the floor, so I needed something to cover the wall above the coat hooks.  I bought - I believe it was 6 feet! - of fabric to just run down the wall.  
Then, because it was dark blue background with red and white stars, I didn't want one color to dominate, so I doubled up the border.  I used white border along the outside then followed that with red border.  Where the white dips (in the design) is where I would place the rise of the red border.

I used fabric for covering walls and bulletin boards in my classroom, but in the hallway display cases, I used wrapping paper.  Wrapping paper is like bulletin board paper - it's all rolled up.  But I like that it's a shorter length than bulletin board paper.  I also suggest wrapping paper because one can find different colors and patterns in wrapping paper.

The blue background in this picture is wrapping paper, but it is a super clear blue similar to the texture of saran wrap just not as clingy.  

Well, that about sums up my input for bulletin boards! 

What would you like to share about bulletin boards? :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Currently: August

Is anyone else scratching his/her head wondering "What in the world?! How is it already August?!"

I am.  I am realizing summer is flying by so I *must* savor each precious day of summer that is left. ahhhh! 

Before I knock out and go to bed, I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently!  Be sure to link up and check out what others are up to! :)

Yup, it's kind of a habit.  I share a room with my youngest sister, and before we go to bed we pretty much always watch The Golden Girls.  I've been hooked on the show since I was about 9-years-old and it would play on the channel Lifetime. hahah!  I turned the television on a few minutes early before "The Things We Do For Love" came on.  I caught a few minutes of The Golden Girls and experienced how funny it was, so I was hooked! The next day I turned on the t.v. an hour before "The Things We Do for Love" to catch The Golden Girls.  My youngest sister is now hooked too!

I am extremely proud of myself.  I went to the gym this morning to take two classes.  One class in particular - Ride - was at 9:30.  I've been hooked on ride and cycle classes since I stopped teaching classes at the gym.  Never thought I would be much of a rider.  Anyways, it's been .... 2 years? .... since I've taught classes 2 hours in a row, so while I am no longer teaching classes at the gym, I decided to push myself and take 2 classes at the gym.  I took Group Blast (formerly Group Step when I taught the program) and Group Ride (classes are by Mossa).  I thought I would leave after taking Blast, but I stuck it out for Ride because I just love it and I felt really good today! :) I ate everything in sight - for dinner I had two, three, four pork chops (my uncle is a phenomenal cook!) then I still had bottomless sweet potato fries and a chicken wrap at Red Robin! 

 With that said, I ate sooo many fries that it was soo many too many. 

Being that it's August 1st, going on August 2nd at this point, can we please have another month of summer vacation ?! I'm not ready to go back in 4 weeks! :(

I need to have more confidence in myself.  Farley's post is another inspiration to the many teachers and people I have already read and listened to.  I am almost done with one of my *first* ever products to put on TPT, but I'm hesitant.  Too many scary things like copyright and other sellers calling you a copycat though you didn't really do anything wrong.  But I need to stay positive and stop shooting down myself as if I'm not good at what I do.

I'm starting in a new district this year.  It's a 7th and 8th grade building, and I will be teaching 8th grade Language Arts.  The scariest part of starting is that I'll be working with a new set of colleagues. I'm leaving colleagues who were so pleasant to be around and were absolutely friendly in the hallways.  I hope that this new school is nothing short of that.  In order to help make that happen, while I may be the "little fish" or the "newbie-in-town", I'm still going to smile at my colleagues in the hallway to encourage them. I want to step outside of my box even when I'm the "new kid on the block".  And of course, I plan to do more to say "thank you" to the secretaries and janitorial staff at the school.  After all, they keep the place running. :)

What's your Back 2 School Random Act of Kindness ??? :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five for Friday: July 24

Hey, all ! It's FRIDAY !! :) And I'm linking up with Kacey for another ..

Here's the scoop from my week:

My boyfriend left on Thursday of last week for Haiti.  Last year he went to Haiti and he was gone for 10 days ! :( Fortunately this year he went to Haiti for only 4 days. :) So I kept myself busy while he was away so I wouldn't miss him too much. ;)

In the mean time, before he left, I made him a card for each day.  It had a short message, Bible verse, and a prayer for the day - something that I was praying for for him during his trip.  I did this last year too - one card for each day he was away.  I guess I have to make it a tradition now any time he leaves me.

I am a HUGE Minion lover, so in honor of the Minion movie, my sister decided it would be cool to check out the Rutgers Cinema that was recently added to the Rutgers University campus.  It was quite interesting.  A little different than other movie theaters since there were pull up desks/tables to each chair (which were super comfy, ps) and a podium on the floor.  My sister's boyfriend has actually had classes in the theater! LOL!  It was a quaint theater, very clean and family friendly so I'd definitely go back again. :)

Oh! Why is no one else there to see the Minion movie with us? You ask -
My sister led us to the wrong theater! LOL!
Fortunately, we figured it out in time to make it to the right room. :)

I had to have this - in honor of the minions. :)

Forty eight hours later, my sisters and I went to 6 Flags Great Adventure in Jersey to see/hear "for King & Country".  On Friday, I lifeguarded ALL DAY - from 9:00 AM to 10:30PM.  Granted, the swim meet we were guarding was over early, but it was *still* a  L O N G day for me because  ... I locked myself out of the car. -____-

I was guarding at 2 different pools that were in the same vicinity.  I started outside where I locked my keys in the car. Went to lunch with my supervisor and the pool she was guarding, so when she went off on her trek to her pool, I treked the 2 miles down the road to the pool I had to guard at next.  I called my dad, he brought my spare key. #dadforthewin  I eventually rescued my car - that was literally half a mile away - drove it to the pool I was guarding, and left the night happily ever after.

So after having that kind of Friday last week, I got home Friday night, went to bed, and had to be up so I could be BACK at the swim meet pool at 6:30 am.  Fortunately, we had a lightning delay from 8:30am - 10:00am, so that helped really break up the morning.  

But I left at 2:30pm, came home, ordered a new size in my bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding in two weeks and headed off to 6 Flags with 2 of my sisters.

 This is the part where they got off the stage and were arms reach of where we were.  I won #sisteroftheyear and got my sisters and I tickets for the "VIP" seating standing. haha.
It was worth it though. :)

So then ...

After getting home around 11:00pm from 6 Flags on Saturday night, I was hosting one of my best friend's bridal shower at my house the next day. These are just some of the pictures taken by the maid of honor who is an art teacher and made all the decorations. :)  And the food was done by one of the bridesmaid. I can't even begin to tell you how AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS it all was! <3  And huge shout out to my sister who made the red velvet cupcakes and icing from scratch. <3 <3 love you, little one!

In honor of Prime Day on the 15th, which was a #fail for us teachers (but I digress...)

I finally ordered:

I made out pretty well though utilizing the Prime deals by ordering this charger.  I think it was orignially $70, but I snagged it for $20. :)  woot! woot!

Well, that's all for me. Be sure to leave a quick comment below - even if it's just to tell me "I read your post!"  I don't mind that. :)  You can even tell me how your week was! Whatever you choose to tell me, I'm happy to hear from you. 

Enjoy your weekend!