Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 in '11 Linky Party

I am apparently all about the Linky Parties this week.  Never fear, I go back to work on Tuesday, and then I'm sure it'll be back to how it was before Christmas break: not posting at all!  Haha, just kidding (I hope)!

Anyway, moving right along into the more exciting things--things about YOURS TRULY.  I know.  You're waiting with bated breath, aren't you?

Thanks to Hadar at Miss Kindergarten and Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher for hosting--great idea!

Here are my 11 things from 2011:

11. Favorite movie you watched:

That's a tough one since we NEVER go to the movies!  The most recent movie I saw was Breaking Dawn, and I'm sure not going to say that one (lol) even though I enjoyed it for what it is and enjoyed the books.  OK, I guess I'll go with the final Harry Potter movie because I've spent so much time with Harry and his friends over the last, what?  10 years or so?  Such an amazing series, and I was so sad to see the movies come to an end, because that meant that it was all over.  Tho thad.  :)


10. Favorite TV series:

Oh gosh, I am the worst of the worst tv-aholic.  Seriously, you can ask the hubcap (husband).  I watch a ton of shows, though not NEARLY as many as I did before dear little one was born.  :)  I have to choose:

Parenthood (Absolutely brilliant and touching)


9. Favorite restaurant:

I love food even more than I love T.V.  If that's possible.  God, I'm a glutton!  LOL.  I think being pregnant made me worse since I had an excuse to eat like a teenage boy!  (And since I'm still nursing, I'm still using that as an excuse to continue doing so!)  LOL.  I think I'll go with Anamia's, a local favorite.


8. Favorite new thing you tried:


And Class Dojo!  (If you don't know about Class Dojo or want to know more, please check out my post about it:  The Class Management Tool You Never Knew You Always Needed


7. Favorite gift you got:

My son!  My precious little angel!  :D  For Christmas, I got myself a new Canon Rebel T2i, which I still need to learn to use.  ;)

(6 months old)

6. Favorite thing you pinned:


5. Favorite blog post:  I have to choose one from my personal blog--it's my baby's birth story.  :)

The New Man in My Life @

4. Best accomplishment:  Giving birth to my son (are you sensing a trend here?  sorry, but it's SUCH the best thing I've ever done!  LOL)

3. Favorite picture:

2. Favorite memory:

Giving birth to my son, haha, JUST KIDDING!  I think I'll go with those first 2 weeks after baby was born, my hubby (who is the BEST) got up with me EVERY TIME i had to nurse baby, making me coffee at 2 am and bringing me snacks to keep me awake and my energy up, writing down every time i took my pain pills, and all kinds of other things i couldn't do because i was recovering from the c-section and couldn't lift baby.  I will always remember how amazing he was during that difficult (joyous, yes, but also difficult) time.

1. Goal for 2012:

To find some BALANCE in my life--I hope to be a great teacher AND a great Mom, not have to choose one or the other; so hard!!  : /    See also: New Year's Resolutions Post

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE, and keep on teachin' on!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Resolutions: Linky Party

Well, I am trying to finish off 2011 with a bang here since I have yet to get much posted on this new blog o' mine.  Good times!

Thanks to Mor @ A Teacher's Treasure for inviting me over to her Linky Party:


Great idea, and it's something I need to get thinking about anyway, so thank you for getting me motivated! :D


1. Copy and paste the above image to your post & link it to the party on the post.
2. Make sure you include both personal & professional goals.
3. No more then 3-5 goals for each.

Here are my 2012 New Year Resolutions:


1) Sign up for a new gym membership before I go back to work on January 3rd  (I cancelled my old one when I was preggers and never went.) and go to said gym for exercise (being specific lessens the chances for me to back out through loopholes-HA) at least once a week, preferably twice.
2) Read to baby every day.  (I know; I am a horrible, awful excuse for a mother/teacher.)
3) Cook at least every other week, even if it's something easy.
4) Make time for hubby; it's hard when there's a baby to take care of and dote on.  :)


1) Try to look on the bright side and stop referring to my classroom as my "prison cell."  (It would be funnier if it weren't so true.)
2) Continue to develop new activities (including more Smartboard Word Work) for our Daily 5 rotations and just get Daily 5 streamlined in general.
3) Improve my time management so that I'm not doing lesson plans the Sunday before I teach them and so that I can leave school each day at a decent time (preferably by 4:00) to pick up aforementioned sweet baby.  :)
4) Keep my blog posting to at least once a week (classroom blog and this blog).

Thank you again to A Teacher's Treasure for hosting this great party--now maybe I'll actually stick to some/most/all of my goals!!??  One can dream...

Holy Cannoli Google Reader and My 1st Blog Award

HOLY HORSEY SAUCE, BATMAN!  I am usually big on checking my Google Reader DAILY to keep up with my teaching blogs (my home/DIY/personal blogs have taken the back burner since baby H was born), but I have completely slacked during the holidays.  Yes.  I am not exaggerating here.  Until this evening, I had not checked my Google Reader in probably 2 weeks.  And would you like to know how many new posts I had sitting there, just waiting for me to read them?!  You would?!  GOOD, because I am here to tell ya that I had 679 new posts!!!

(Click to see image larger)

Holy Horsey Sauce is RIGHT!  So yeah...probably going to have to mark lots of them as read without reading them, but what can ya do?  I have to like, take care of my son, and stuff.  :)

Moving on...

Yay for getting my very first ever BLOG AWARD!

I am so excited.  I LOVE blogging and have been doing it on a personal level since 2002, when I moved across the country to New York City.  Yep, that's almost a 3rd of my life.  WOW.


My new friend, Chrissy, over at First Grade Found Me, passed on the Liebster Blog Award to me.

I met Chrissy through Holly Bloggy Christmas when I got her name!  I got her gifts mailed off LATE (I know, I felt terrible, but I wanted to make something personal for her and not just buy something random, so I figured as long as it got there on time, it would work out ok).  I really hope she likes her gifts!

Please go check out Chrissy if you are not already a follower!


This award was created to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. If awarded you must:
1. Copy & paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver & link back to them.
3. Reveal YOUR picks & leave a comment letting them know.
4. Hope your followers will share the love.

Oh boy, so picking 5 blogs to award--so hard; I follow SO MANY, so I had to search for ones that are newer with fewer followers, which is surprisingly hard!  Man, you teacher bloggers aren't kidding about your 8 billion followers, geez! LOL.  Here are my TWO picks to pass on the Liebster Award to--I had to give up on finding 5, sorry:

1) Sarah @ Waiting on the Butterflies  (she is hilarious, which you know is one of my fave qualities in a teacher/blogger/human)

2) Ms. Nicole @ Today in 2nd Grade (love her Invisible Elf shenanigans--cute idea!)

I seriously can't say how inspired I've been by so many awesome teaching blogs, and these are no different--be sure to check them out if you aren't a follower!

Happy almost New Year!  Can you buh-LEEVE it's almost 2012???

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Class Management Tool You Never Knew You Always Needed

Have you heard about Class Dojo yet?

If not, this is your lucky day!  If so, lucky you! 

I had read about Class Dojo on two different blogs and signed up for it back in September, but then I promptly forgot all about it.  (Shocking, I know, what with all my free time floating around and everything.)  Then I read about the site on yet ANOTHER blog and remembered I signed up but never used it!

Let me tell you:  this website is AWESOME.  It allows teachers to provide students with instant feedback on their behavior, positive and negative, so that not only do you redirect those who need it, but you also affirm those who often get overlooked because they are ALWAYS doing the right thing.

I often feel like the students who behave poorly are getting all my attention, which must surely be frustrating for the students who work so hard to do their best constantly.  This site allows you to give points for positive behaviors and take away points for misbehavior.  It also is completely customizable, so I was able to go in and add my own behaviors that apply to my own classroom.  Here are some peeks into Class Dojo's awesomeness:

This is the home screen where you can click a student's name to award/deduct a point.  This is what is displayed in my class pretty much ALL day long, unless we're doing something else on the Smartboard or projector.

When you click on a student's name, you see this screen, where you can award a positive point to that student.  To see the negative behaviors, just click on that red tab, and you'll see those options:

Here are the negative behaviors.  Many of them are unique to me, but you can change them to fit what goes on in your room.  :D

This is a view of my entire class report beginning December 1st.  (You can make the date range whatever you like and either print or email the report--I will be emailing individual student reports to their parents on a weekly or bi-weekly basis beginning in January.)  Strangely, the kids LOVE seeing this report at the end of each day.  So funny.

Here is a report of an individual student and her points.  As you can see, it shows she has had ALL positive points, but the best part is that it shows exactly HOW she earned her points.  AWESOME.

See?  Awesome.

One of my favorite things about Class Dojo, is that since we began using it, I have noticed students really supporting each other.  When one of them gets a point, I'll always hear someone congratulating that student with a "Good job, Susie," or "Wow, Kent, you got a point!"  They are especially supportive when a student who struggles with behavior (and gets many points taken away) earns a positive point.  It is really neat to see them stick together and caring about one another.  Score one for the TEAM!

OK, two more important things: 

1) every time I award or take away a point, it flashes on the screen and either dings (+) or buzzes (-), shows the student's name and the behavior they were displaying.

2) there is an APP FOR THAT!  That's right, peeps, if you have an iPhone, you can download the app and use your phone as a remote for Class Dojo.  I use this all the time, even in the hallway and cafeteria.  

SERIOUSLY?  The best.  Thing.  Ever.  If you're not on board yet, you must be crazy.   :)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Everything!

More Picnik Premium magic!

Can't believe it's almost 2012!  Time flies.

Currently in December

So all my pictures are uploaded on my school computer, and even though I can access them (sort of) remotely from home, I can't get them on my blogs.  So apparently my blog updates won't be done over break, as I had planned.  Hmm...or maybe I'll have to go up there and load the darn pics onto my flash drive.  Why didn't I just do that to begin with?  Oh, perhaps because I have the never-ending MOMMY BRAIN, and my brain simply does not WORK most of the time.  FUN!

Anyway, Farley is back with her awesome CURRENTLY linky party.  My fave.  Also my fave: Picnik's Premium membership.  Only $25 a year, and it's just awesomeness.  I winterized Farley's awesome template on Picnik with some Premium features.  Check it.  (Click to view it bigger.)

You should definitely check out Jill over at Barnes' Yard.  She isn't a teacher, but she is super crafty, super funny, and she makes awesome gifts for her kids' teachers!  :)

I'm hoping I didn't break the rules, because I haven't read ALL of the other link-ups, but I am going to assume no one else is stalking Jill because she's not a teacher blog!  Fingers crossed, 'cuz Lord knows I don't want to be snickered at!!!  :D

Hot diggity dog, it sounds like my wee little guy might be giving up and taking a nap (one can hope).

I wish you ALL a very Merry Chrismakwanzikah!  :D  And more importantly, a very merry student-free WINTER BREAK!

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