Sunday, May 7, 2017

Wrapping Up This Semester and School Year!

Hey friends! Long time-no blog but that's just how it goes!
I was so fortunate and blessed to be able to attend the Get Your Teach On Conference! in January at Nashville.! I had signed up for the conference the day the tickets went on sale last year. lol I had been waiting to see my good friend Deanna Jump in action! She is one of a kind and truly a blessing to me in so many ways. That Monday morning of the first day of the conference I helped with registration and it was so much fun to see all the teachers full of excitement for the next 2 days! If you ever get the chance to attend one of the conferences-GO!I'm hoping to attend another one in the coming year or next. I want to see Wade and Hope King at Get Your Teach On! too!!!

How did I get so lucky for her to be my friend?!!! A jewel!

Deanna in action!
Awesome getting to share in the fun with my fellow HPS teachers Kelley Wallace, Joy Raines and Heather Price (who was my student teacher one year) I'm going to have Joy and Kelley on the Kindergarten train for the coming school year-full steam ahead!
Two of my favs-Katie Mense of Little Warriors and Holly Ehle of Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections! I met these 2 sweet gals years ago at I Teach K! and I love keeping up with them and their sweet families and their class!

In March, I road tripped to the French Lick Blogger/Teacher Meetup/Retreat in March! It was nothing short of amazing and a much needed get away to get refreshed and motivated to finish out the school year. Here is my sweet friend Holly Ehle again who is the master mind behind the event and one of her many assistants Katie Mense.Fun getting to see them again after Get Your Teach On!
Here are some of the other ladies who help put the meetup on every year.

I was also able to visit with some teacher friends I had not seen in years or in a while and some I have followed their blogs for years but just met for the first time at the meetup!
Maria Gavin-KinderCraze

Christina Marie-Miss DeCarbo

the one and only Deedee Wills-Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten

me and Holly
I arrived on Friday afternoon and helped stuff the swag bags-over 550!!! The swag bags were amazing-goodies for days!!! of course, my favorite - SCENTOS!!!

On Saturday, we kicked off the day with Principal Gerry Brooks! HILARIOUS! but seriously he would be a wonderful principal to work for!!!

The awesome duo-Wade and Hope King also presented at the retreat and there were other presenters and I learned a lot of new teaching ideas and strategies!

I stayed at the French Lick Hotel. It is connected to convention center. The hotel is gorgeous!

West Baden Inn-the other hotel on site

I plan on making this retreat an annual event! It was wonderful and a great getaway!

I have had a wonderful year with my class! Of course, as always they were the best class ever! Each unique and special and they have each touched my heart.
Next year will bring changes as the last of the three Kindergarten teachers I hired on with 11 years ago are moving to different grade levels/positions. I will miss them dearly. They each brought something to the table and I knew I could count on them with questions for their areas of expertise. They will do great in their new assignments. We have been through a lot together in the last 11 years....They are my dear friends and they will always be-no one can break that bond! They have always been loyal, faithful and respectful to our friendship!

My family is doing well! Kirk, Kara and Kali are finishing off their semesters with awesome grades! Kirk will graduate from UofMemphis in December. He is going to spend the summer working, helping at church camp and vacationing. :) Kara will have a busy summer of weddings of some college friends, training for missions and 5 weeks of mission in South Korea, Southeast Asia and will fit in a few days at beach with me and Kali.
Kali has a church mission trip, camp and beach retreat planned for the summer.
After me and the girls, enjoy a beach trip and Kara heads off to South Korea, Marty and I are road tripping to the northeast in June. We decided last summer to not put off doing the trips we wanted to take. I will hopefully wind up my summer in Vegas at I Teach K! Looking forward to spending time and laughing it up with my dear teacher friends from all across the country! I looked at calendar and in between the trips, I'll have about 3 weeks at home before school starts back-yikes! Better make the most of it!

Love my family!They are growing so fast!

Wishing you all a blessed summer!!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

My sweet friend Sandy Welch and her Show and Tell aprons!

Hi Friends! Some of us wanted to share how much we love Sandy Welch and her Show and Tell Aprons! I have been a fan of her aprons for many years! I'll never forget meeting Fran Kramer at I Teach K! in Vegas while waiting to hear the keynote speaker Ron Clark several years ago-I think it was summer 2013. Fran was telling me how she had met a lady who wanted to start making these aprons. I can't remember how much longer it was but I came across them on TPT or facebook or somehow and thought "oh wow these must be the ones Fran was talking about and the lady she told me about." I emailed back and forth to Sandy and started my addiction to her aprons. She has been very kind in that I have many that are one of a kind aprons. I have decided not to post my one of a kind originals here with the exception of one that was originally made for Katie Knight last summer but I ended up getting instead. :) Thanks Katie! lol I use her aprons for virtually EVERYTHING! Here are just a few ideas that I have tried and I look forward to hearing other ideas that are shared.

At the beginning, of the year I made pictures of our staff and put their pictures in the apron slots. This is a great way to help the students learn the staff's name  and put a face with them. For example, principal, assistant principal, secretaries, guidance counselor, nurse, librarian, custodian, P.E. teachers, etc. After a week or so of that, I switched over and put all the students pics in the pockets. I would rotate them out until we had said good morning to all and they had a chance to tell us something either about themself or tell us something good. You could also use it as a way to show who is leader, door holder, etc. It's a wonderful way to help the students learn their classmates names. I also put picture clues of our schedule so the students would know what we were doing when and our special activity that day such as library, music, guidance, etc.

For reading/phonics, I use them for everything-I just put the cards that coincide with the skills we are working on that day/week. For example, our popcorn words, letter and letter blends/ digraphs cards, cvc/cvce words, spelling words, punctuation marks, sentence order (upper case letter at the beginning, the slots in the apron provide finger spacing :) and then punctuation at the end of a sentence), main character and setting and key events in story,etc. There are great cards that go along with fairy tales and kinder songs (oldies but goodies). These are a great way to practice retelling and sequencing. You can use picture cards to match with the letter that has the beginning, medial and/or ending sound.

In math, I use the cards for number order, subitizing, math equations and how regardless of the position of the number (first or second) in an addition equation, the answer is still the same. For subtraction, I show how you simply change the number in all from addition and subtract to get your answer. This leads in to a discussion of math fact families. You could put picture cards and have the students tell you which one doesn't belong/categorize.

You could always just hang on a hook at child's level and let them use the apron as a sorting chart while you are not wearing it. :) You can put more than one card in each slot so you can also use as flash cards. And the best thing about her aprons is that they all have pockets in them to store extra cards or other things you need to keep on hand (ink pens, small stamps, scented chap sticks to swipe on kiddos hands for happy chappys :), paper clips, magic wands and any other things you like to have at your fingertips without having to search for!

The cards for the aprons are also sold on TPT and each set has extra blank cards in them for when you want to add your own pics, popcorn words, illustrations, etc.

By the way, it is my understanding that there are some other imitation show and tell aprons out there on the market. Let me assure you that you get what you pay for and with Sandy's show and tell aprons you will not be disappointed! They are high quality fabric and very durable not to mention just down right cute and adorable! Who wants an imitation when you can get the real thing anyway.Don't wait-head on over to TPT and check out her show and tell aprons and order you one. Better yet do like I do and order at least two. That way you don't have to constantly change out the cards between reading, math, writing, etc. It's much easier having multiple aprons for the different subject areas! :)

She also has kid size aprons so what better way than to have the leader or student of the day or special helper where their apron and quiz their classmates on their skills. :)

Here is the link to her website
or find her at TPT Teachers Pay Teachers  and just search show and tell aprons.

Here are some pictures of my aprons with examples of the cards and how I use them and a picture of me and Sandy, Fran and Deedee at I Teach K! last summer! I love her so much and I am looking forward to seeing her again this summer! Oh yeah and I can't wait to get one of her new aprons that she is in the process of making!!! She teased me with a picture of the fabric-Eric Carle!!!

Ya'll these aprons are the best but even better is the woman behind them! Sandy Welch you rock and I'm so blessed to call you friend and I'm so thankful that Fran played a part in introducing me to you and telling me years ago about your vision! If I ever move, I'm coming to California to be closer to you and Fran and Katie Knight!
Here are links to my other Sandy loving and apron loving blog friends!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

So if Deedee Wills wears a shirt that says "World's Okayest Blogger",  mine should say "World's Not So Okayest Blogger". I have failed miserably at blogging. Not that anyone cares since I use it mainly to journal for my family but it just seems it just never gets done.
Kirk has enjoyed a summer off from college courses-first summer taking a break from school work. He has stayed busy working and traveling. He will complete his undergraduate degree in 2017. We are proud of his
perseverance and that he can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Kara completed her first year at APSU and absolutely LOVED IT! She is very involved with the campus BCM-Baptist Collegiate Ministry-which she took several mission trips with during her school breaks and landed her with a summer mission project at GIVE KIDS THE WORLD in Orlando. She left May 25 and will be home May 6. To say we are ready to see her is an understatement! She will be home a week and then we will move her back to APSU to start her sophomore year!
Kali will start the 8th grade this year. She enjoyed a week at the beach with First Baptist Church where she made a public profession of her faith in Jesus Christ! Thank you Lord! She was baptized as an infant and went through confirmation at our home church and we are thankful that she accepted and acknowledged her salvation through Jesus on her on. This week she is at Lakeshore for Jr. High camp.I will pick her up Saturday morning. I have not seen her since July 17 when I left for Las Vegas for the I Teach K! National Conference. :)
I flew out that Sunday to attend the conference Monday-Thursday. It was great to see all my teacher friends from all over the country and Canada that I have met through SDE conferences throughout the years. We laughed until we cried and had a great time visiting with each other. The presentations I attended were all GREAT as always! To see pictures from the conference, check them out on my facebook page. :)
Kirk flew out to Vegas that Tuesday night and Marty began driving out on Sat., July 16-the day before I flew out. :) Marty arrived on Wednesday. He and Kirk enjoyed sightseeing and going to see Hoover Dam and Death Valley while I attended classes that Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday evening, we attended The Beatles themed Cirque Du Soleil-phenomenal! On Friday morning, we left Vegas and went to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon and  I was not disappointed! It was breath taking and pictures don't capture its beauty! We stayed at  Kanab, Utah at an airbnb which we used throughout our travels home and Marty had used on drive out to Vegas. Saturday we drove through Monument Valley (this was as breath taking as the Grand Canyon in my opinion) and visited the 4 corners monument in Utah. We spent that night in Jemiz Springs, New Mexico. On Sunday we traveled Route 66 and stopped at Cadillac Ranch, Bug Ranch (that Marty found on google) and the Big Texan restaurant. We spent that night in Shamrock, Texas. Monday morning we traveled to the Oklahoma City Memorial which was the most emotional and touching part of our travels. We spent Monday night in Poteau, Oklahoma and on Tuesday finished the drive back home.  
Wednesday morning inservice started for back to school so it's back to another school year. :) I have 16 students on my class list and I'm ready to get the year started. My room is almost ready.... Open House is Monday night and students start Thursday. :)
Prayers that you and yours are well if you are reading this. On a teaching note, I am blessed to be friends with the best of the best teachers. SDE conferences never disappoint so if you have the chance-GO! love all you girls!
Hope that the beginning of the school year treats you all well!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Moving Kara to APSU-I cried a little and my class this year :)

We moved Kara into Austin Peay State University this past Thursday. She is rooming with a friend from home and there are several of her friends that are also attending there. It is always nice to have a familiar face around.:) She has stayed busy all weekend with orientation activities and having a blast already. Classes start tomorrow so she will continue to have a busy schedule. Part of her scholarship requires her to work at the child care center there on campus a few hours a week so she is hoping to make some connections there and at church for some babysitting opportunities. She has already made new friends and connected with the Baptist Campus Ministry. She will go through Greek recruitment the week of Labor Day. I miss her and I cried when she turned to leave for us to go back home Thursday night. And I cried some last night but I'm happy that she is happy. I just miss seeing her sweet smiling face and her contagious laughter!

Kirk begins his fall semester at University of Memphis Lambuth Campus tomorrow. He has a busy schedule too with classes and work and I pray it goes well for him and Kara too.

Kali is off to a great start and loving all the extracurricular fun things that come with being in junior high like student council, ab club, ball games and friends over quite often. She is thrilled that she is old enough now to be a part of our church youth group and also attend Wednesday night at The Zone for youth sponsored by FBC. We just got back from our first youth outing this afternoon to redneck island (what all the locals call it) which is at our county lake and has all the inflatable slides and tons of things to climb on in the lake. She will definitely sleep well tonight.

I am enjoying my sweet kinders this year. This week our routine seemed to click with them and we all seem to be getting in the groove of things. I always look forward to spending my days with them because let's face it they do say the darndest  things and they can be quite entertaining.

Praying blessings to all!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back to School

Kara had a wonderful and memorable mission trip to Puerto Rico and is already looking into other mission opportunities in the coming year and years. She was very happy with her decision to go through Adventures in Mission. She is also very excited and a little nervous that we are on the countdown now until college move in day. I am really going to miss her but I am so happy for her and thankful for all of her accomplishments thus far. I know she will love college and her new friends that have yet to be made.
Marty and I enjoyed a couple of days away when we picked her up in Atlanta when she arrived home from Puerto Rico. After making sure the kids got where they needed to be for all their summer trips, it was nice to finally take a mini vacation ourselves.:)

Kirk has stayed very busy with work and did very well with his online Spanish course he took this summer. He is flying down to Orlando next week for a few days to visit with some of his friends he made their through the disney college program. Glad he is not driving as I would be concerned if he would come back or not since he loved the area so much.

Today was the first day of school and Kali started 7th grade. It didn't dawn on me until I went to take her first day picture that it was just her starting back. No one else in the picture.:( wow!

I met most of my kinder families last night at open house and all my sweeties this morning for the first day of school. I am so excited about this year! They are so sweet and as of now I only have 14 students. I have never had that low of a number in my class. I am looking forward to being able to meet their needs better with the low student teacher ratio.

Wishing everyone the best school year ever!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer and my thoughts on getting ready for Kindergarten. Warning: This is a long post!

Summer! Such a sweet word! I love it when people make a comment that they wish they were a teacher because of our summer break. I use that as an opportunity to assure them that it is not 3 months off because we  usually start putting in inservice days soon after school is out (I've already put in 2 1/2  of the 5 that we have to do) and that even though we do not have to report to work our mind is already tossing around ideas for the coming school year. I also tell them that soon there will be a teacher shortage and we welcome all to wish to pursue the career. :) I must admit that for me I have a very difficult time decompressing after the school year. By the time, I'm able to come off a school year it is time to gear back up again. It is hard for me to not be on a schedule so I make myself get up about the usual time and go to bed (a little later) although my kids might argue with that. :) I wish I could handle being out in the sun for extended periods of time just lounging by the pool but I simply cannot. It makes me light headed and some of the medicine I am having to take makes me burn easily. I do enjoy getting out and mowing and doing around outside the house. Now if I were at the beach it might be a different story!!! Yeah, I think I could manage staying out all day at the beach. :)

My mom, Kara, Kali and myself headed out to Disney World on Memorial Day. We spent Tuesday-Friday at the parks of that week and then flew home on Saturday. My aunt, my mom's sister, flew down so we got to spend time with her and her daughter while there. We had a great time-the weather was great, we got to do all we wanted to plus more, spend quality time with family, eat some great food, relax at the pool- and lots of other good stuff.

Kali left for camp at Lakeshore the day after we got back. She had a fabulous week and is signed up to go back for another week in July. We are so fortunate to Lakeshore UMA so close to us and it is such a wonderful facility that has such special meaning to our family. I attended camp there as a teenager and also served as a volunteer counselor there some during one of college summers and made lifelong friends who many I attended Lambuth College with. Kirk and Kara also attended for several summers when they were younger and were both baptized there in the river. I am thankful Kali holds it dear to her heart too.

Kara has been busy babysitting this summer for the sweet family she has kept for the last 7 years. I am taking her to Gainesville, Georgia this Friday to meet up with the group from Adventures in Mission that she will be working with in Puerto Rico for two weeks. She is obviously very excited and a little apprehensive since she has always done mission work with groups from home and she is stepping out of her comfort zone. She is such an example for me to follow!

Kirk is busy with work and taking an online summer class. He is signed up for another full load this fall and is excited because most of all his classes deal with his major now and he enjoys those classes much more than simply the classes that are required to take. He is more focused on his schoolwork than ever before it seems and anxious to finish his degree and hopefully move back to Florida.

Marty just completed his first week of his annual training with the TN National Guard. Thankfully, it was in Nashville and Kara and I had a place to stay last week overnight for her to visit with her FBLA BFF. Just a quick trip but lots of fun! He was able to come home for Father's Day weekend and get caught up on a few odds and ends. He headed back last night and Kara and I will stop off overnight again on our way to Gainesville, GA Thursday night to break up the drive.

My friend Crystle from posted a great article on June 17 about preparing your child for Kindergarten. I met Crystle two summers ago at ITeachK!  Please read it as I am simply adding to her list and not going to retype/post everything she has already said in her post. Please share with those who have children getting ready to attend Kindergarten this fall or a child of any age in fact. I decided to add some things to it that I have noticed with children at our school and wanted to share with you. Here goes:

1. Teach them to tie their shoes!!!!!!!! OR IF THEY CAN'T BUY VELCRO SHOES PLEEEEEAAAASSSSEEE!!! Don't get me wrong-I will tie shoes BUT it becomes a problem when I tie shoes and they magically and unknowingly become untied within moments after I just tied them! I vividly recall with my own children that I put them in Velcro until they learned how to tie their shoes. I can not tell you how many children have LONG shoestrings tagging along and it is the source of many falls for them and OTHERS. TEACH THEM PLEASE OR BUY THE VELCRO! :)
2. Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way-Bathroom Issues....
Ok so you would assume that most of this goes without saying BUT you would be and not so pleasantly surprised at some of the following things I need to say and address. Amazingly, I always see students who have to go immediately to bathroom as soon as they walk in the classroom-why, you ask?-because they don't go at home before school! Can you believe it?! Me either but apparently some are literally gotten out of bed, hopefully dressed appropriately (not always) and put on the bus. Forget using the bathroom, brushing your hair or teeth and certainly not eating breakfast. Now, breakfast is served at school so they can eat there JUST GET THEM THERE EARLY ENOUGH TO EAT IT WITHOUT RUNNING LATE TO CLASS. Back to the bathroom, excuse me but I think it goes without saying that most human beings especially we old folks PLUS anyone who has been asleep for an extended period of time need to go to the bathroom when they wake up. HELLO! So, tell your child to go use bathroom first thing after they get out of bed.
Now as far as using the bathroom. Teach them that ONLY pee or poop goes in the commode/toilet not in the floor, on the wall, not on anyone else and only pee goes in the urinal (for boys). DO NOT PUT ANYTHING ELSE IN THE URINAL OR COMMODE. NO ROCKS, STICKS, TOYS OR ANYTHING THEY SNUCK IN THEIR POCKET! If they see anyone putting those things in the commode, go tell a teacher. After they use the bathroom, PLEASE REMIND THEM TO FLUSH IT! I agree this is all gross. Makes me nauseous just typing and thinking about it but folks as you know a public bathroom can be one of the nastiest things on the planet. And the SMELL-OH MY WORD!!!! After flushing it, WASH YOUR HANDS. Last but not least have your child say I need to go to bathroom or restroom when asking to go. Potty is a word used for babies and toddlers. One of my pet peeves is to hear I have to go potty.  
Now, if you need to go take a break from reading this and throw up I understand. Go take a break!
3. Give your child paper, pencils, crayons, markers, play dough, dry erase boards, blocks,etc. and let them draw, color, build, create, mold and have fun! Coloring books are actually still sold in stores and my own 3 kids grew up on them! How will they know if they like to color or draw or write if you never provide them opportunities to do so.
4. Check your child's work every night and help them complete homework if they have any, check for reminders, notes from teachers, etc. and see what they did at school that day. If you have a question about something, contact their teacher about it either by email, write a note or call them at school the next day. Don't freak out and start making posts all over social media about a question you have. The teacher and/or school will be happy to answer your questions-just give us time.
5. If you are constantly changing the bus that your child will ride home in the afternoon or if they will be picked up or ride the bus or if so and so will pick them up today and so and so the next day, etc. well guess what? the odds are they will get sent home the wrong way at least once that year. whew!!! Try to be consistent with how they go home.
6. READ BOOKS TO THEM. After reading them, ask them questions to see if they were listening and check their understanding of what you read. This is a BIG standard that we work on in Kindergarten in Reading! What is the story about, who are the characters, what happened at the beginning, middle and end, if you could change the story what would you change about it, where does the story take place, etc. I mean you can have a child read anything you put in front of them and know every single sight word there is but if they can't answer simple questions about a story what good is the rest of it?.....
7. In the words of my favorite, most loved, a teacher rockstar, bff,  I wanna be her, the one and only Dr. Jean, every child needs a laptop. Did you hear that a laptop? But guess what you don't have to go out and buy one. You have it already! Put that child in your lap and READ, READ, READ  BOOKS!!! Also, teach them songs and nursery rhymes and tell them fairy tales and TALK TO THEM. Put up your cell phones, your ipods, ipads, TV's,  computers and video games and have a real conversation with your child. Electronics are literally raising some of these children. SO SAD!!!

So, maybe in addition to Crystle's blog and mine you have some ideas to get you started on the right foot for Kindergarten and school this fall. :) If I think of anything else, I'll add to the list later. Please keep Kara in your prayers while she is on her mission trip. Thanks and Bless you all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What do you say?

Kara graduated this past Sunday May 17 from high school. She found out on the Friday morning before that she was Valedictorian of her class.😃 She was ecstatic to say the least and so were we. Kara had worked extremely hard these past years to reach this goal. In addition to her regular course load, she took dual credit classes and has already completed 15 hours of college credit. On Friday night, we went to Clarksville, TN so that we could spend the day Saturday getting registered for fall classes at Austin Peay University. We checked out the mall side of town, the river walk area and downtown. We spent the night on base at Ft. Campbell. It is nice the base is there so we have a good place to stay when we visit at very reasonable rates. We had a great time at registration on Saturday and Kara is still pleased with her decision to attend Austin Peay. She wants to pursue an Elementary Education degree with a K-6 certification. I guess it runs in her blood! Graduation was a success although it rained the entire time and that put a damper on making outside pics. We had a little get together at the house afterwards with family and friends.

Kali completed 6th grade and has a busy summer ahead of her with a Disney trip we have planned for next week, church camp and then a trip to visit her BFF Faith later in the summer.

The title of Kara's speech that she gave at graduation was titled "What do you say?" What do you say to the people you have spent the last 13 years with? Today I sent my Kindergarteners off for the summer and into first grade in the fall. What do I say to them and their parents after the last year? I don't have the words. They have been such a blessing to me and I have enjoyed watching them grow and learn. It is pure joy to hear them read to me!!!!! When they realize they can read, it is such a priceless moment! They will always hold such a special place in my heart and their families too.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of children! Prayers that you and yours have a blessed summer!