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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