Sunday, 29 April 2012


Happy Sunday everyone!!

I had a great week and one of my highlights was receiving my 31 package from Natasha (Thanks to Misty's giveaway). 

I won this beautiful organizational tote!

I choose a bright print and a huge letter A for mine.  I am not married, so I didn't want to put my last name on the bag and then feel the need to change it later.  Right now my bag is full of school supplies that I am using for an online English class that I am taking.  I have been a little MIA, and that class is partly to blame.... I will be very happy when it is all finished. 

I also purchased a matching lunch bag.  I have been admiring everyone's lunch bags and I really  wanted a cute bag to take to school.  So this is what I picked... 
 It is the cupcake theme!! The other side is all cupcakes....yummy.  I thought the bright colors went nicely with my tote, without being too matchy matchy....

Did you notice my weird pictures????  I recently had to pull the plug on my blackberry (may it rest in peace).  It decided to have a mind of its own and send texts in different languages and liked to use the scroll feature all by itself... I tried giving it a time out, took away its battery, but it was a lost cause.  So I upgraded to an iphone 4s.  One of my favorite new applications is Hipstamatic.  In this app, you can choose different camera lenses, flash, and film to create a variety of pictures.  I am still playing around with the features that I like the best... but I am in love.  Has anyone else ever used this app?? Which setting is your favorite?

Here are some of the photos I have taken so far...

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Has anyone heard of or used Rack-O in the classroom?? I was introduced to this math game when I was working on my professional development project.  I absolutely fell in love with this game for my Grade 2 class.  The object of the game is place your cards in relative order from lowest to highest through a series of turns.  You earn more points if you get a run of 3 or more (for grade two I made mini runs of 2 cards so the game was more age appropriate). 

It is a great game for teaching strategy, number order, and less than and greater than. 

How I taught the game was in a series of slow steps...

My first lesson was very basic... I made HUGE cards with numbers from 1 - 50 on them.  I randomly gave cards to groups of 4-5 students.  As a group they would try and place themselves in relative order from lowest to highest.  As a class we reviewed each groups numbers... and made some corrections.  It was really interesting to see how much of a struggle it was for students to place numbers in order when they are not in a numerical sequence (some found this concept very easy, while others found it hard deciding which number was greater than or less than). 

After this concept became a little stronger we would start "playing" the game as a class.  I placed 5 cards on the white board... and as a class we would discuss if we had any mini runs, numbers that had to go, and numbers we had to keep. Because I am a visual learner I made a picture of what this looks like.
In this example we have:
- 21 and 22 are a mini run
- 39 is a possible keeper
- 43 and 2 have to go

Our first step is to pick up a mystery card and decide if we want to use it or discard it.  If we picked up a 3 we would want to place it in 43's position (I let the class come to a decision on every move.... this sometimes takes a little time.  I ask for some students opinions... then we vote... democracy in action!). 

Then we keep on picking up cards until we have our numbers in relative order from lowest to highest.

Once the students understand the game I have them play against me... they love this part.  We even keep a running score board on the white board so that they can harass and pick on me when they are winning (yes I did let them win a couple times... but 26 grade 2's are fierce competitors).

Lastly, I can use the actual game as a math center activity for small group work.  I absolutely love having centers once a week so this is a great addition.

Have you come across any other sweet math board games that can be altered to work in the classroom??? I always love finding new games to use. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

What I am Pinning Tuesday

 I am breaking some rules, watch out!!! I am sharing my pins TODAY!! I know this may be a little crazy but I couldn't resist.  I also made this beautiful label using Michelle's creations at The 3AM Teacher.

Now I recently had a post about Eric Carle, and I just found this pin on pinterest.  I love these lesson ideas as well.  There is a lot of emphasis on texture, color, and creativity!!!

I also love Vincent Van Gogh and I fell in love with this bulletin board art.  Isn't it pretty! Each student created a couple circles using specific colors and the teacher put the board together.  Depending upon the grade level I would have the students be a part of the collaboration process. 

This crafty idea made me think of Ethan, my adorable nephew.  He has been doing a great job with his hand print art, so I think that this would be a great idea for him. 

Now this made me giggle, because this is definitely me, 100%, no lies!  I always have huge aspirations for my work outs at the gym.... but I have no self control when it comes to treats. 

I saw the hormone guide recently when I visited a high school.  It made my day!  Now whenever I am a little cranky the males in my life respond with.... here have some wine!!

Lastly... this made me laugh out loud.  Does anyone else have a dog that reminds you of this?? Well my brothers dog has definitely done this!! He is part husky and can not stand being left alone.... he has major panic attacks and loses his cool.  Then when you come home he tries to act all "cool" as if he wasn't worried the whole time you were gone.  

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Chalk Board Mug

WOW!! I have had a crazy busy week.... I feel a little guilty because I have neglected my blog and all of my favorite blogs!  I will need to take some time to catch up. 

Anywho... while I was organizing my closet I came across one of my craft ideas and I knew I had to share it with you. 

In my 3rd practicum I was placed in a Grade 5 class.  I always love putting together a gift as a thank you to my mentor for all of their love and support.  So for this teacher I made this...

It is an easy peasy chalk board mug.   All you have to do is visit your local dollar store and find a mug with a shape that you like.  Then spray with chalk board paint.  Then, ta da you have your very own chalk board mug.

 I made myself a few different versions and I used them for various things such as:

- holding my popsicle sticks with students names (so I can randomly draw a name for a question)
- holding chalk... makes sense
- for my own artistic outlet... I love to doodle so it is fun for me to have a new canvas to doodle on

I also found another example on pinterest that I thought was really cute.


I am also in love with this chalk board idea! It would be so fun in a beach themed home. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! It is snowing here right now and not looking at all like spring..... waaaaaa!  Hopefully the sun will come out eventually for me, I am in need of some major vitamin D. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Are you hungry for Eric Carle Art??

I have a wonderful Eric Carle art lesson that I posted on Misty's Think, Wonder, and Teach blog.  A special thank you to Misty for welcoming me into her blog, I had a lot of fun there! So head on over and check out my quest blog!! Do it!!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

My Professional Portfolio

I found Misty's post about Professional Portfolios very interesting and so I wanted to show you MY professional portfolio.

As a requirement to graduate, we had to maintain a Professional Portfolio throughout our student teaching practicums.  It was also required as a "Talking Piece" in our final assessment.  I have used my portfolio in interviews if I feel as though it will add to the conversation, however I do not rely upon it.  In my last interview it didn't leave my bag sadly, but I didn't feel like it was needed.

 The outside is very plain... Misty has some beautiful Portfolio covers for your binder at her TPT store.. I may need to update mine.
 Then when you open it up I have extra copies of my resume on the left side and on the right side I have my table of contents. 
 If you cant see in the picture, my table of contents has:
1. Resume
2. My Credo (this explains what I think a successful teacher is, and my knowledge, skills, and attributes for teaching)
3. Practicum Reports (This has my evaluations from all 4 of my student teaching practicums)
4. Lesson Plans (I organized this by practicum, my most recent practicum at the front and my latest at the back.  I only picked one significant lesson plan from each practicum)
5. Unit Plans (This is similar to my lesson plan format)
6.  Assessment (I outlined the different types of assessment i have used and I gave an example of a Unit test that I created)
7. Classroom Management (I discuss different techniques that I have used, and why classroom management is important)
8. Attributes and Experiences that Contribute to Teaching (These are skills that I have that contribute to my carrer as a teacher.  For example:  I was a tutor for a Grade 12 Biology and Math student while I attended university.  I also donated my personal art creations to a school fundraiser.)
9. Letters of Recomendation
10. Professional Development Project: Math Games (my final practicum required me to develop my own PD project.  I focused on math games and I included this in my portfolio)

This is my Credo page.  You can see at the bottom of the page there are stickers with numbers.  Each sticker represents a different KSA (knowledge, skill, or attribute) that I demonstrated.

 This is an example of my lesson plan.  It also has a KSA sticker at the bottom that says "the teacher understands that students can learn, albeit at different rates and in different ways".  In this lesson I provided different strategies in order to solve the problem (hands on manipulative, pictures, diagrams) so that every learner style could succeed. 

This was one of my first ever lessons! I read the Velveteen Rabbit to a Grade 1 class.  After we finished the book the students had to describe and create the rabbit at the beginning and at the end of the story.  Each rabbit was made out of cloth that I pre-cut for the class.  
This is an example of my Vincent Van Gogh art.  On the right hand side of the picture I have the notes the mentor wrote while I taught the lesson. 

This is a social studies lesson I created for a Grade 1-2-3 class.  I made Canadian Passports and we traveled to different locations and learned about the culture there.  We would board the plane (I would let off certain individuals at each stop.... this was great for classroom management because I controlled the group choice), have our passport stamped, and take notes in our travel journal. 

This was an example of a Unit Plan I created with another teacher.  I also took some pictures of our final projects to add some color to my portfolio.  

 I included this page in my Assessment section.  This was the first unit test I ever created.... as you can see the my little cartoon drawings.. (the kiddos really liked the test).

Lastly, this is my professional development project.  I made a total of 4 books.  I had to submit one to my professor, one to my mentor, I left one with the school, and kept one for myself. 

So what do you think??? I am curious how other teachers have their professional portfolio organized.  I followed my universities guidelines and changed some things for myself.  I also suggest checking out Misty's portfolio ideas on her blog.  I found it very interesting. 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Its a TAG party

I think that I really need to work on my cardio because I have been tagged again!! My Grade 2's would definitely laugh at me right now for being too slow.

I am very thankful that Stephanie from 3rd Grade Thoughts tagged me.  I had a lot of fun learning more about Stephanie in her post, you should definitely check it out.

1. What is your favorite subject/unit to teach?

Hmmmmm.... this is a tricky one but I absolutely love teaching art.  I am sure you kinda got that idea by the number of posts that are related to art lessons.  However, art is not my specialty.  I did take high level art courses in university, but it was just for fun.  I majored in Biology and Math, and I LOVE teaching these subjects as well.  But my passion is art.

2. What is your favorite school supply?

I like this question because I have many.... but one of my favorites is my collection of multi-colored sharpies.  I fell in love with my mentors collection when I taught Grade 2.  At my farewell party she purchased me my own set.  I couldn't help but laugh, because by the end of my student teaching experience we had gotten really close and she bought me everything that I love.  I even received a note pad covered in polka dots.  

3. What is your favorite non-teaching blog?

I answered this with Erikas, but I will give a different answer to this one (I have soo many favorites that this is easy).  I really enjoy reading Confessions of a 20 Something.  She talks about makeup, events, and her love for Carrie Underwood.  I find it very amusing.

4.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you visit?

I still really want to go to Hawaii!! And if Courtney from Teaching in Paradise still wants a substitute teacher.... :)

5. Have you ever made anything from Pinterest? How did it turn out?

I am a Pinterest Addict... and I have made a few things.

I made the Easter hand print craft with my nephew and it turned out awesome!! I also saw a butterfly footprint idea that I want to try next.

I am also using the shower curtain rings for scarf organization and it is working wonderfully.

Thank you Pinterest.

6. What's your cure for a bad day?

I am easy.. wine and chocolate usually do the trick.  If it is really bad I have to do the trio: wine-chocolate-hot tub.

7. What is one piece of advice that you would give to a newbie teacher blogger?

Well I am also a newbie so.... have fun! Be yourself and share your stories, lessons, ideas, or creations.

8. What's one item that is always in your fridge?

Have I said wine too much??? Ok, my second item that is always in my fridge is Milk.  You need milk to grow tall and strong!

9. What are your plans for this summer?

Work lots and save up some money! I also want to travel to Kelowna and go on a cheese/wine tour.. I really am not an alcoholic even though I have said wine a few times in this post....

10. What is one thing you never leave the house without?

Hand sanitizer.  This is one of my must have teaching items in my bag.  I find I am always around one sicky so I am always prepared.

 I am still catching my breath, but I will tag some of you slow ones tomorrow! Look out, I am coming for you!!

My 50 Follower Giveaway!!!!!!!

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!”
- Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

 I am very excited to have my FIRST ever giveaway!! So without further suspense the winner is..........

Amber at Sparkles, Smiles, and Student Teaching!  Amber won:
1. My Science Experiment Book
2. I caught you doing something great! (positive behavior punch cards)
3. An item of her choice (Amber, just email me what you would like)

I have also enjoyed reading everyone's comments.  I have decided that my next giveaway (The amazing rubber stamp) will be designed by the winner! Sooo many of you wanted specific things on your stamp for your classroom so I will let the winner of that giveaway decide.  I will have this giveaway SOON!!! Can't wait!!!!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Closet Organization - Update 2

I am very happy to say that I am FINISHED my closet organization challenge.  I still have a few things I need to tweak, but for the most part I love my closet. 

My next challenge after organizing my shoes was going through all of my boxes above my closet (I was really scared about what I would find).  Overall I threw away and donated a ton! I am sure the local donation bin is thankful.

Here is another dreaded before picture (looking at it now I cant believe I let it get this bad).
 The one thing that really helped was buying 9 of the same storage containers.  I placed these above my closet to store things that I don't use everyday.  I also made labels using The 3AM Teacher's free labels.   I just love these labels.  I made sure they were really big so that I don't have to squint when I am looking for things.  I also used sweetie pie font from Kevin and Amanda. 

 Lastly, I found this quote wall talk at a boutique in Fernie.  I thought it was perfect for my closet.  It is a great reminder that I need to keep my life simple (and organized). 

If you havent checked out my giveaway, go now!!! It ends on Saturday, so you have a few days left!