Wednesday, November 18, 2015 No comments
I feel like I've always had benchmarks to refer to in terms of time passing. Many times, the benchmarks have been based on schools I've attended, graduating, et cetera, but sometimes they're just based on life events.

Basically, I've broken my life down into these divisions:

  • Before we moved to Lockport (I was only 2-1/2 years old, but I still refer to this time on occasion)
  • Before I started school (again, still before I was 4-1/2, but still significant - my brother, Alex, was born; kids my age were in the house when my mom babysat)
  • Elementary School Years
  • Middle School Years
  • High School Years
  • College Years
  • My "loser-on-a-beach" phase after I graduated college and took some time off from doing, well, pretty much anything. Ironically, I never went to the beach!
  • When I was working for my family's business (I didn't think I was going to find a job teaching, so I decided instead of subbing, I would work for my parents for a while)
  • When I moved out
  • After I moved back home (I started subbing, tutoring, and got back on the teaching-track full force)
  • When I was heavily focused on grad school
  • When I graduated grad school and finally had time to enjoy life a little!
  • When I started dating Nick
  • When I moved in with Nick
  • When Nick and I got engaged
  • When Nick and I got married
  • Now
It's definitely easier to compartmentalize parts of your life after you've lived them. Right now, I'm guessing I'm in the "honeymoon" phase of my life with Nick and the next big benchmark will be having a baby. It's weird, though, because I've always sort of been able to predict when that next phase will begin. But now it's sort of up to fate and biology more than a date circled on a calendar.

How do you look back on your life? What "benchmarks" have you set in your personal history?

Review of Go Set a Watchman

Monday, November 16, 2015 No comments
I don't often write book reviews, but I just finished reading Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, and I was so inspired to reflect upon it that I decided to devote a blog post to it.

If you have yet to read the novel, I would recommend it especially if you have read To Kill a Mockingbird. But since I don't want to spoil it for anyone, you can click the button below to read my thoughts on the story.

My Animal Counting Book (0-20)

Thursday, November 12, 2015 No comments
I posted a new resource at my online shop yesterday. You can find it here.

I post new products all the time, but don't typically mention them on my blog. I've decided to change that, though. I think that sometimes it's worth explaining how I would use a resource in the classroom or with a student I'm working with. It could give other teachers ideas that they wouldn't have necessarily thought of. I hope it also invites other teachers to comment to share their ideas with me and any other educators who check out my blog. So here goes!

Intended Grade Level: Early Childhood (Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade)
Subject: Math
Skills: Numeracy, Counting, Printing
File Details: 24 page PDF document

This resource contains 21 student work pages as well as a cover page. Depending on how much paper and toner you're allowed to use at your school, I would either print a book for each student in my class, or I would create a few copies and put them in binders in plastic sheet protectors for a math learning center.

Individual Pages

Want to focus on a different number each week? Print out the page you need and allow the students to work on their printing and counting. Each page also allows students to color, which is a great way to develop fine motor skills, a crucial activity in early childhood classrooms. Printing out individual pages also allows you to focus on a specific number and ensures that students aren't "going ahead" in their booklets or misplacing their booklets, if you're planning on using them over the course of a period of time.

1-to-1 Student Workbooks

If each student had his own copy of the booklet, I would have him work on it in various ways. It could be done in a whole group setting, especially if the students are just learning to write numerals and/or assign numbers to objects while counting. This is the type of activity I enjoy doing with the document camera over the classroom projector so the students can follow along. After doing a few pages as a class, I would allow the students to work on pages in small groups or individually.

This is also a great independent activity for students. If they have this booklet in their desks and they finish another activity quickly (I know I always like when I'm working in a room where teachers have provided coloring sheets for early finishers!), they can color some of the animals or work on their numeral printing.

Set for Small Group Learning Center

If you have a small printing budget in your school, a challenge I know many teachers are faced with, print out a few copies so that the students in a small group can utilize them. If you put the pages in sheet projectors, allow students to write with dry erase markers. At the end of their station, they can erase and the page is brand new for the next student to get to work. The only disadvantage is the lack of the tactile practice students gain when working with paper and pencil.

I'm hoping to have some more resources posted soon! I have a few new ones I just need to get posted. I hope you'll find them beneficial in your classroom.

Happy Teaching!

Birthday Reflections

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 No comments
Is it just me, or does everybody get irrationally stressed out about their lives around their birthday?

I turned 29 on October 31st (yes, yes, I know... Halloween! Yay! Omigod, do you get candy and presents?! That must be the best. day. ever.) and I have to admit... It was tough knowing this is my last birthday in my twenties.

Don't get me wrong, I feel like I have so many amazing things in my life to be happy about and thankful for. I have an incredible husband, an awesome family, and great friends. I live in a great house in a wonderful neighborhood that I really like. I have two super energetic puppers who I know I couldn't live without. I have the privilege of cooking a yummy and (basically) healthy dinner every night. I can enjoy downtime in many ways, whether it's watching television, going to the movies, reading on my Kindle, writing, talking a walk, or going out. I have my health and energy to do things.

I can list the people in my life who I feel fortunate to have, the things I am lucky to own, and I can admit that when someone asks me what I "need", I have trouble coming up with a response. But now, at 29 years of age, I feel as if I fall short in other aspects... I don't have a full-time job, which makes me feel financially unstable and dependent, and I'm not a mom, which makes me feel behind and, frankly, a little bummed out.

I know, it's a big taboo thing... Women are supposed to feel "enough" just on their own. They don't need men or babies to be complete. They don't need to prove themselves in any way. They are enough on their own. And I agree. I am enough. I try to be a good human being. I try to be a person I would enjoy knowing. I try to forgive myself when I make mistakes. I try. I really do.

But there's nothing wrong with wanting to be a good wife and a good mother. It doesn't make me weak to admit that the moment I look forward to most in a day is when I get to see my husband and talk about our days. It doesn't make me an anti-feminist to express the desire to have babies and raise a family with the man I love. And honestly, I get annoyed when I'm criticized for being this way.

So I guess we'll see where I'm at when I reflect upon my life when I turn 30. Here's hoping I have a baby bouncing in my lap instead of a pupper!

Writing Challenge #11

Sunday, November 1, 2015 No comments

November's writing challenges are ready for your review!

Traffic Patterns

Describe a road on which you frequently travel.  What is the traffic like?  Describe the landscape.  What kind of structures are present on the street - homes, retail stores, businesses, parks, farmland?

Fashion Statement

What have you found to be the strangest fashion statement that you've experienced firsthand in your life?  Why do you find it strange?  Is it popular today?  If not, when was it popular?

Thankful Thoughts

Write about the things in your life that you are most thankful for having, earning, or enjoying.  The challenge?  Write a letter to yourself regarding the people or things you are most appreciate of in your life today.