Saturday, September 6, 2014


Sheesh! I thought I'd never get back to you guys! Between creating TPT products and going back to work, I've literally only had time to sleep! Oh how I've missed you all!

It's the beginning of September so you know what that means...September CURRENTLY! I'm linking up with the FANTASTIC Mrs. Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade...let's get this party started!

Listening: I'm one of those people who is ALWAYS thinking, and not just about one thing; random thoughts run back to back through my head - funny things, memories, worries, ideas, lists, goals, etc. I don't think my mind rests unless I'm sleeping.

Loving: OMG! I am soooooooo in L.O.V.E with my new blog design! Do y'all like it? Christi Fultz over at Design by Christi designed it for me and it's exactly what I envisioned! Christi is an AWESOME blog designer guys and VERY affordable, VERY sweet, and VERY punctual. If you're shopping for a new design I recommend you work with her...thanks Christi!

Thinking: Seriously...I have SO much stuff to do this weekend! Lesson/classroom planning, TPT product completion and creation, blogging, study, house cleaning, QT with my family...sigh...I love all these things (except house cleaning) but Lord I'm tired! LOL

Wanting: I graduated with my M.Ed. in literacy last December and now I'm preparing to take my Reading Specialist certification. I want to pass it the first time I take it because it's expensive and I have a certain time frame in which to take it...there's a lot going on in my life right now though (all good things...I'm blessed and highly favored) so please pray for me!

Needing: Uhhh...did you read all of the things in my "Thinking" section? Yeah...REALLY need those 8 hours...LOL.

3 Trips: "I don't want to go to Paris..." said nobody EVER! LOL Oui! Oui! Sign me up...I heard it's BEAUTIFUL! Hawaii...I've wanted to visit this place since I was a kid. I can tell, just from pictures I've seen and shows I've watched, that it's absolutely breathtaking. I'm almost positive I'll be visiting it one day via a cruise ship! New, I've really never been there. I think I may be the only one of my friends who hasn't...hmph! I don't want to stay long...up North is waaaaaaaay too cold for me, but I do want to see Ground Zero and this "city that never sleeps" for myself.

Well, time for me to continue tackling my to-do list, but I'll be back tomorrow with my very first GIVEAWAY and a First Two Weeks Funny! Until then, later educators! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back 2 School Goals 2014-2015

Today I'm linking up with Jess over at I Heart Recess. She has the cutest B2S 2014-2015 Goals Linky, and seeing as how my PD starts Monday and my summer is pretty much going to be over, it's time I started thinking about some things I want to accomplish and do better with this coming school year. Click on her blog title above to visit her page and link on up!

Personal: When I was younger, we used to attend church so much that I swore when I became an adult I would never go. Now that I actually am an adult though, the condition of my heart, mind, and soul are very important to me, and I find an indescribable peace when I am in the house of the Lord and receiving God's word; it sustains me in life. Tuesday nights is when my church holds regular Bible study. I really enjoy it, but I often miss it because I'm staying late to work, or so tired I just want to go home. I want this year to be different though, because I truly understand that it is because of God that I even have a job to work late at...I must do better at making time for Him.

I also need to do better at making time for myself. I think teachers frequently forget that we have to have our needs met too, or we become overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed, etc. I love blogging and creating products for TPT. It's not only a hobby and second income, it's also a stress reliever; writing always has been for me. I am determined to set aside one day a week to blog and create so that I can keep my blog up to date, continue building my TPT brand, and most important of all...stay sane! LOL

Organization: I always tell myself "I will file this paper and put this pen (whiteout, pencil, marker, etc.) I used away, as soon as I finish this." It never happens. Instead, it ends up under a pile of other things on my desk or small group table, that also did not find their way back home. On the plane from Vegas, however, my AP explained to me that when she was in the classroom, she had big binders with tabs that she filed her papers away in, instead of the file cabinet. It was much more organized and the papers were easier to get to when she needed them. I will be implementing this for the coming school year. As far as putting things back where I got them from as soon as I'm done with them, I figure this is just something I have to make a habit of, but if you have any ideas that help you in this area, PLEASE let me know!

I have bins in a closet where I keep extra amounts of all kinds of supplies (scissors, glue, crayons, etc.) for students to get up and get when they need them. I thought it was a great idea at first, but I have discovered that some of the little angels take this opportunity to roam around the room and disturb others on their way to and from the closet. I was looking for a way to keep all of these things close to their group tables so that this won't be an issue next year, when I came across the video on the Teaching Channel and pin on Pinterest that you see below. I haven't decided which one to use yet, but it will be one of them.

Planning: I hate being behind. It stresses me out and puts me in a terrible funk. Although I have a feeling the district is going to have it's own way of how it wants planning to be done, I've already started planning with a teammate for the first two weeks of school; hopefully that will keep me ahead of the game. Also, teaching a STAAR grade often means that during testing season, the subjects that aren't being tested get little, if any, attention. My 3rd graders are only tested on math and reading, so I really want to make sure I integrate the other subjects that I teach into the main areas more, so that they still get covered. Finally...I have the "Daily 5" and "Cafe" books, now it's time to use them. I know I'll have to tweak a few things, but I'm really excited about implementing the programs. If you have advice or suggestions for me, feel free to comment! 

Professional: The standards for math have changed in my state this year and I could still use some practice understanding the reading standards, so I'm going to definitely dig deeper into the curriculum this year. Also, in order to continue growing professionally, I will be reading (and hopefully discussing with someone) the books you see below. I've heard a lot of great reviews about them and I'm looking forward to learning. 


Students: We will be using Jan Richardson's "Next Step in Guided Reading" program in my school district and there are so many parts to it that it's a bit overwhelming. I've been told that with the new math program, we will be doing guided math differently as well. I really want to get a good grasp of how to teach effectively in these areas, so I've got to gain a good understanding of the programs. 

During the conference I attended in Vegas, one of the presenters said something that made me realize I have not been differentiating instruction outside of small groups. She said "Differentiating instruction is not giving those students less problems than you do the others." Now that I know this, it's time to fix it. GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER NICKI! LOL

Last but not least, I want to make sure I build good relationships with my students. I've already started reading "Crash Course" and the first chapter already has me reflecting. I don't know how the way I treat them or don't treat them may affect their lives or how they view themselves and I don't want to ever look back with regret. In a sense, their lives are in my hands and I must protect them at all costs...even when they frustrate me.

Motto: We only get this lifetime it happy, healthy, and fearlessly!

Until next time....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vegas...Yeah Baby!

Whew! This past week has been a blur! My trip to Vegas was so ridiculously AWESOME, I don't even know where to begin...sooooo I'll start with this cute linky party created by Deirdre over at A Burst of First! Click on the picture to visit her blog and link up!

I was just telling a friend how I am slowly, but surely learning how to say "Your will Lord, not mine," and how to be patient. I am realizing now, as I get older, that what is meant for me is for me and will be made available to me at the appropriate time, when God believes it is in my best interest to have it. If it is really something I'm supposed to have at the time, it will just fall into place and I will not have to jump through hoops, do unethical, immoral things, or place myself in an uncomfortable situation to get it. What does this have to do with Vegas? Let me explain.

I wasn't originally supposed to go to Vegas. An ex-coworker of mine was supposed to go for the SDE Conference that was being held there, but she decided to leave the district so she had to find someone to take her place. The first person she asked couldn't go and so she then thought of me. Of course I said yes at first, but by this time the flights had become too expensive for me, and so I had to call our secretary and tell her I couldn't attend. I was a little saddened because I really needed to get away for a while, but I didn't put myself in debt for the trip; I accepted that this just wasn't a good time and let it go. A week later, our secretary called and said "We're paying for everything. All you need is fun money and to be at the airport on time." SAY WHAAAAAT?! Just tell me what airport to be at!

Now, I was originally only going to Vegas to attend the SDE Differentiated Instruction Conference, however, the first annual TPT Conference was the same week, the city was being taken over by bloggers who were holding meet ups that week, aaaaand...wait for it...all of the events were happening in the beautiful Venetian hotel where I was staying! Since I am a new blogger and fairly new TPT seller trying to build my brand and get my name out there, this was PERFECT timing! I couldn't attend the actual TPT conference because of the other conference I had to attend, but I would have a chance to meet and network with other bloggers...which I never dreamed I'd actually get to do! Lucky? I think not. Favor from God? Yes! It was meant for me to be in Vegas and God made sure I got there. He's such an awesome God!

I met so many great people and made a new life-long friend, Julie Herrmann, who actually attended the TPT conference and has been helping me get my blog and TPT life together since we returned from Vegas. She's SUPER! Click on the button below to stop by and visit her!

I can't wait until TPT 2015! I may have missed the first conference, but I will definitely be in attendance for the second (God willing), and you should too! Hope to see you there!

Here are some pics from the trip!

My view from the hotel wasn't that great, 
but my view of the Nevada mountains from the plane was beautiful!
Wednesday night Teacher/Blogger Meet Up hosted by What the Teacher Wants
This was what it looked like at the start of the event. The room was completely full by the end of the event. It was a great networking experience!
L to R: Emma, Julie, Me, & glad I met these ladies!

Leslie from First Grade Frenzy...this lady is one of the sweetest and most humble people I've ever met! She actually recognized me and made me feel sweetie pie!

Deedee from Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten and I. This lady is hilarious! She was almost blinded by camera flashes, but she smiled and posed on all night! LOL

Blogger Meet Up Goodie Bag...woohoo!

Pat Pavelka from Pat Pavelka's Place and I. 
Pat is a well known author and literacy genius! 

It wasn't all business though....

Fun at Madame Toussad's Wax Museum
CSI Experience with my co-worker and AP (my AP is the one being arrested) LOL
On the Strip

Until next time....

Happy Blogging!
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Monday, June 30, 2014

New Resource for Texas Teachers

I'm a Texas teacher who loves to spend some of her free time, stalking other teacher blogs and websites for great resources to use with her students (come on, you know you do it too)! While doing this, I've come to realize that there are some FANTASTIC educational products out there created by teachers, for teachers. There's just one problem with them...almost all of them are aligned to Common Core. Great for CCSS teachers...not so great for TEKS teachers. One resource that I've completely fallen in love with after finding, but that never seems to be TEK aligned is the interactive notebook. In my opinion, this is currently the best resource for anchoring student learning and providing a personal study tool and homework reference. I've searched, and searched, and searched, and although I'm sure there has to be one out there somewhere, I have yet to find a TEK aligned, I created one myself! If you're a Texas teacher who is also in search of this resource, click on the notebook image below to visit my TPT store and purchase yours today!

Happy Blogging,
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Monday, June 9, 2014

Currently...& Other Randomness

It's that time again (I'm a wee bit late)! LOL I'm linking up with Farley from "Oh Boy, Fourth Grade" for June's Currently. 

Listening: It's raining outside and I'm sitting in front of my bay window ready to crack open a good book as soon as I finish this post. 

Loving: Today I'm relaxing, relaxing, relaxing...nothing else!

Thinking: I have the dedication and introduction to my book written; now I need to complete the first chapter so I have a sample to send to agents/publishers.

Wanting: I LOVE to be exact. I can't have it though, or at least not very much of it, because I'm trying to lose weight this summer and Kool-Aid is full of my favorite food ingredient...sugar!

Needing: I really don't want to get a part-time job, but I'm realizing that I like to do more and buy more than my teaching salary can pay for.

Summer Bucket List: I love to read and write for pleasure, but I really don't get to during the school year due to how busy I am. The summer is when I catch up! Also, my best friends and I are renting a beach house for a weekend for some much needed girl time. I'm sooooo excited!

Multicultural Units Rock!

So in my last post I talked about how our school was completing a multicultural unit and my grade level was assigned the country of Asia. We had a ton of ideas and wanted to do way more fancy stuff because the kids were really into it, but we just didn't have time (you know how the last two weeks of school are). Here are a few pics of some of the walls we were able to create!



The Philippines

We even had a "Market Day" where the kids sold crafts they had made from the countries they studied. My class had China, so they made Chinese drums and Chinese lanterns...and guess what? They sold out at the market! We had a great time and all of the money we made will be used to buy more books for our students!

Well, I hope you're enjoying the start of your summer as much as I am! Until next time....

Happy Blogging,
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Clones Needed!!!!

The last two weeks of school are ridiculously hectic! There's so much to do and only one of me...sigh...I need to be, 10 times! On top of the million and one administrative duties we have to take care of (cum folders, placements, report cards, etc), we are also doing a Multicultural unit on Asia! It's super fun, and we're all enjoying it, however, it takes up a lot of time we could be using to shorten our end of the year to-do lists. Oh well...I'll post pics as soon as we're done with the hallway.

I have been begging my principal to let us block in 3rd grade, and either today or tomorrow I will finally find out if I wore him down! It's so much easier to teach a STAAR grade when you're blocked...say a prayer for us!

Since I graduated in December and won't be teaching summer school, this will be my first summer off. I hope I don't get restless; I hate feeling unproductive.

On a much more sad note...Dr. Maya Angelou died today (sad face). I loved her poetry; especially "Phenomenal Woman," and I live by her quote "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." She was a gifted writer, teacher, and activist; a true inspiration. Sleep well sister Angelou....

Oh yeah, I just checked and Amazon still has the Kindle edition of the children's book "Splat the Cat: The Name of the Game" for free! I downloaded mine last night so I can read it with my boyfriend's son tonight. I don't know how long this freebie will last, so click on the image of the book to head on over to Amazon and get your copy!

Well, until next time guys....

Happy Blogging,
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Design Diva

Hi guys! So yesterday I told you that I was going to try and teach myself how to design blogs, right? Well, thanks to some great blog tutorials and editor websites, guess who has designed her own custom header, background, grab button, and signature? That's right...this girl! Everything you see on my blog I did myself! Go me, go me! LOL It took a while and required a lot of patience, but boy am I proud of it! It's soooooo much cuter than the free one I snagged off a website, and now I can change it to whatever I want, whenever I want for the low, low price of FREE! There are some other things I want to add to it, but unfortunately I can't today because I have to stop and do grades...again I say "ugh!!!!" Good thing I have the summer!

Happy Blogging,
photo http___signaturesmylivesignaturecom_54492_170_E373383E3E3DE5F4CA63C5637E4F7623_zps7e8788ff.png

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Grades, Beaches, & Blog Designing

I just love the weekends...don't you? The only thing SUMMER! I am participating in the 3 R's today...reading, writing, and relaxing! Tonight and tomorrow I will be doing grades...ugh! I am so terrible at grading papers and then putting the grades in the computer. Does anyone have a system of doing grades that works well for them? If so, PLEASE share with me; I HAVE to do better with this next year!

I won't be able to go on a real vacation this summer, but my closest friends and I are thinking about renting a beach house for a few days. I get really excited when I think about all of the fun I'll have with my girls and all the writing I can get done on the beach. I love the sounds of the seagulls and the waves crashing; it's peaceful...a great writing environment. I think the beach might actually be my favorite place....

I want a gorgeous, original blog design like so many that I am seeing, but I can't afford the price to have one custom made so...I'm going to try and teach myself. After all, the Chinese proverb does say "If you give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish he'll eat for a lifetime."

The first blog design assignment I gave myself was to create a signature, and look..I did it! Cute, huh? We'll see how the rest plays out...LOL.

Have a great weekend guys,
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Monday, May 12, 2014


So I know we're almost in the middle of May, but I just started blogging, which means I just learned how to join a "Linky Party." Farley at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade, started a super cute, monthly linky party called "Currently," that I absolutely LOVE; I'll be linking up with her party starting today. Here we go...May's Currently!

LISTENING: I've been thinking a lot lately about a lot of things...God, my life, my career, my purpose, my dreams, etc. I like to think because it brings about reflection, which in turn brings about change. I guess I'm just at a point in my life right now where I'm trying to learn how to "block out all the noise" and "be still" so I can hear God's voice.

LOVING: I LOVE to write. It's how I best express myself...and how I escape from reality sometimes.

THINKING: This is only my sixth year teaching. I don't believe I'm a bad teacher, but I want to be a better teacher each year than I was the year before. I don't plan on staying in the classroom forever, but for now that is where God has stationed me, and although I get frustrated and tired sometimes, I have always been told "Whatever you're doing, be the best at it that you can be." I'm going to take plenty of professional developments, become better organized, and do some professional reading this summer to accomplish my goal.

WANTING: One day you'll see my name in big, bold letters on a children's book...Trivies N. Robinson...and next to it, a beautiful, shiny Coretta Scott King Award....

NEEDING: Last summer I went on my first cruise and I loved it! I've been ready to leave the country again ever since! I don't even care where as long as it's sunny, safe, and has blue water...ahhhh, yes!

SURPRISE: Blogging is SUPER fun, but it is also a challenge to get started if you're a first timer. Megan at I Teach, What's Your Super Power has done an AWESOME job of making things easier for new bloggers! She has taken the time to create starter videos and she does blog designs. Thanks so much Megan! 

Now do two things: 

1. Visit Farley to see what else is "currently" happening!
2. Hop on over and visit Megan to see how great she is!
I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Yay...I'm Blogging!

I am super excited about blogging and connecting with other educators! Isn't the internet just the best thing ever?! Well, it and the DVR! 

Although our profession is becoming way more demanding and stressful than I could have ever anticipated, I still enjoy professional developments, I still can't sleep the night before the first day of school, and I'm creating a blog about teaching right before summer break...I'm pretty sure all of that means I'm still in love with my craft. 

I discovered blogging last summer right before school started. Yes, I know...a terrible time to become an obsessed blogger. I had heard a lot about it though, and I love to write, so I decided to check it out. I went from blog to blog, reading stories, looking at pictures, watching videos, bookmarking ideas, etc. I was inspired to start a blog of my own, I am!

For leisure this summer I plan to continue developing my blog, work on writing a children's book, and relax with my close friends and family. Professionally, I will be attending professional developments and reading the following:

 Reading Essentials by Regie Routman             Why Didn't I Learn This in College?

Both books have really good reviews, so I can't wait to dive in! 

Have a great weekend,