January 24, 2016

A PD Weekend

Hey there, readers! It has been a while, I know. I've been battling bronchitis for what seems like forever! I'm feeling a lot better this weekend though, even amidst all the coughing.

Yesterday I went to something called Share Fair Nation in Orlando, FL. It was a STEAM workshop day and it was a really great experience! Click the image below to check out their website.

My principal, myself, and five other teachers from my school in Marion county were the only ones from our district to take the Saturday to go. It was very much worth it. There were TONS of sessions to choose from and it was difficult to choose only 4! I snapped a few pictures but regret that I didn't take more. Hopefully the couple of ideas I'm posting below will inspire you to go to a Share Fair close to you. (Best of all, it was FREE!)

These are two images from the KEVA Planks workshop which was presented by the creator himself. He had some amazing ideas and I was avidly taking notes. My second graders would totally eat this up. Click the pictures above to see more on KEVA Planks. My pictures do not do them justice. I think my favorite activity he introduced was clearing the floor and together making a huge map on the floor with the blocks. My students are currently working on map skills and I love the idea of collaborating together to make a floor map!

This is a snapshot of my FAVORITE workshop I attended. The presenter was incredible and I left feeling incredibly inspired and excited to teach Science (which is already my favorite subject anyway!). This is a picture of my animal cell created out of candy and Fruit Roll Ups. I decided to make it like sushi! This is the workshop I wish I had taken more pictures of, but I was so into it, I completely forgot. Some other activities the presenter had us try are using marshmallows and chocolate chips to create a molecule, using food items to build houses, and of course, the classic toothpick bridge activity. He brought in samples of student Science notebooks that were so amazing, it certainly put mine to shame and I cannot wait to get back to school tomorrow and make our Science notebooks the student-made textbooks they should be.

I also took a workshop on fostering creativity and the art ideas in this workshop were so elaborate and engaging. I was imagining my students working on these STEAM activities and falling in love. I did not take pictures as it was a Power Point presentation, but the link to the website with ALL the images I saw is coming soon. I wrote it down but left it in my notebook which is at school now. I will add it tomorrow!. The website is still under construction, but if you click "Creativity is Key," you'll see all the images I saw. I really want to try the home-made shrinky dinks!

The last workshop I attended was presented by a humorous man with a thick German accent. He was awesome! He had some really great statistics that put into perspective how important STEM is to young students. My second graders are going to benefit very much from the information given in this presentation. The gentleman was from Hand 2 Mind resources and the link it below. They are a bit pricey, but the ideas they have on their site can be used in the classroom with similar supplies if you have them. If nothing else, they are fun to look at and still will give you lots of ideas. The activity we tried was a 4th grade activity of building a tall building that is earthquake resistant. My group totally rocked it. So proud! I also won a T-shirt and a bean bag chair! :)

It is so refreshing to go to some professional development that is exciting! Too often, we go to workshops that are not realistic or leave us bored to tears that don't inspire us to improve our teaching. This was not the case. If you can ever find a Share Fair near you, please take the opportunity to go. We drove almost 2 hours to get to it and it was certainly worth it. Click the image below to check out their website and find one near you.

January 12, 2016

You get a snow day... I get a sick day...

I woke up this morning to find lots of Instagram shots of "YAY A SNOW DAY!" I cannot handle cold weather, so believe me when I say, that I am not in the slightest bit jealous of the snow. I live in Florida and can barely handle the cold here (sad, I know). Although some of you are getting a day off from school today, I have been out sick for the first time all school year... :(

I am planning on returning tomorrow but the cough I still woke up with today may not allow me to. We shall see. In the mean time, I'm trying to catch up on some Netflix and I'd like to finish my book today. Although I'd love to work on a TpT project today, I'm pretty sure that won't be resting. Sigh. This is dangerous though! I always buy a lot on TpT and Amazon when I'm home sick!

At least I have my fur-babies to keep me company and to keep me warm in my non-snow-day temperature of 51 today (oh my, that sounds pitiful even to me). I found these to make me laugh because I'm telling you every single one of them is true!

If you are home like me and adding things to your TpT cart (like me), check out these fun Winter activities to do with your class when you return from being buried in the snow! Most of my class has never seen snow (myself included)... but we still enjoy a good snowman activity. ;)

Happy Snow Day, Winter friends!

January 6, 2016

My New Year's Resolution

So, readers, we are a week into 2016. How do you feel? My body is trying to adjust to waking up to an alarm again, washing my hair on a regular basis, and not eating whenever and whatever I want. This was easier 10 years ago, let me tell ya.

I have a love-hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions. I always make a professional/classroom one that I'm pretty good to stick to at least till April (I mean May is like another December, am I right?), but the personal ones I make fall short. I know the reason for this is because I consume myself with my job. This isn't a bad thing because I adore my job. But I always try to do a resolution for me and I rarely follow through.

This year, however, I felt I needed to make a change in myself. You see, I am a book LOVER. My problem with books is though is similar to my problem with Netflix and video games. When I read my books, it consumes me and I binge-read. Well, as a teacher, let's face it... I don't have all the time in the world to binge-read. I'll read a few pages at 11pm and fall right asleep. Now in the summer, it's different. I devour books like there's no tomorrow. But I feel like a part of me is missing during the other 9 months of the year.

So here's my resolution. I will put my phone down earlier at night. I will turn off Netflix and the video games and TpT (so hard!) and I will pick that book up earlier in the evening.

I found this reading challenge floating around Facebook over the Winter Break and it's totally manageable for me. I finally tracked down the image as belonging to Modern Mrs. Darcy. The promise I'm making myself though is that I will not read all 12 books over the summer. I will start now and try to aim for a book a month. I owe this me-time to myself.

Teachers, our job is an amazing one. Our job is also a stressful one. Make time for yourself this year. You deserve it.