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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teach Like a Rock Star

I love it when teachers do it like a rock star! If you seem to enjoy what you do, then they'll enjoy it a lot more. I act like a goofball and get very animated when I teach. I do unexpected things, and the kids love it! Kudos to Mr. Hoffman of Ellendale, ND who tackles a difficult topic, Chemistry, in high school.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Daily Problem Solving Practice

What does your school or class do for problem solving? We are currently doing daily practice using a program called Target the Question by Lone Star Learning, which uses one set of information, story, etc. and has a different question to work out each day of the week using that story. You can see it here: There is a demonstration video on that page. I love it, and so do my kids!

We are also using the TEKSas Target Practice, which you can see here:
My students always get very high standardized test scores in spite of entering my class sometimes very behind in math. They make huge gains in their skills and concept understanding. Each link has a demonstration video. If you are in Texas, do you use this program (either one, and they are both by Lone Star Learning). Unfortunately, this product (the target practice) is not available outside of Texas, but I am betting each state has its own version. So...I am curious, are their any certain programs out there that you use and recommend?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valentine Mad Libs

Remember Mad Libs? Every time the Book Fair rolled around when I was in elementary school, this is the one thing I consistently purchased every time. I remember my mom saying, "But wouldn't you rather buy a book???" My response was, "But this has words!" Now when my students purchase items from the Book Fair, I just remind myself that no matter what it is they buy, it's for a good cause. My students love Mad Libs! I was very happy to stumble across some for Valentine's Day. There is some cute stuff at this site! Click here to download: Valentine Mad Libs | Classroom Jr.

Corkboard Connections: Your Students Can Be Published Authors!

Corkboard Connections: Your Students Can Be Published Authors!: Did you know your students can create a book together that can be published for FREE? Take a look at this book over at Laura Candler's blog. She has a great site here!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Classroom Freebies: Fraction Strips!

I found this little gem at Classroom Freebies. Have you been to Classroom Freebies? If not, then you are missing out! Charity Preston founded this network of educational blogs where teachers from all over contribute free resources to help teachers from K-12 and homeschool parents.

The fraction strips were made by Nyla of Nyla's Crafty Teaching blog. Head over to her site for directions and the file download. Click on the link above or click on the first photo to get there. I look forward to making these soon since we have a fractions unit coming up. I just love teaching fractions! One thing students have trouble with is comparing the sizes of different fractions and finding equivalencies. These strips are the perfect tool to use for this purpose.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Science Fair Time - UGH!!

OK, let me start by saying, I am a huge science buff. My major subject area for my teaching degree was Biology. I started college with the dream of becoming a doctor, but I had always wanted to be a teacher, even as a child, and knew that if I wanted to spend time with a family, that was the path I should pursue. I also enjoy teaching science. The kids always seem to love that subject no matter their strengths or weaknesses. Who doesn't love a mystery? Science is full of mysteries. my professional opinion, 3rd graders are simply too young for science fair projects. First of all, there is not time in our day to help 20 some-odd students work on their projects. We don't have the time, the resources, or the sanity. They are home projects. Both of my older two children had to do projects. They were 100% done at home....each and every time. Guess who ends up having to do most of the work? Yep, parents and/or older siblings. Now, don't get me wrong. Kids should be held responsible for certain tasks. There are things they can do. And there are things I have taught them at school. But they will need so much guidance, and ultimately, the pressure is on the families of these children. In my district, it is mandatory that all 3rd and 4th graders do a science project as part of their grade. So, if they have to do one, then I have to grade it according to the rubric. That in itself is no small task.

Our projects are due this coming Tuesday. My son is a 4th Grader at my school. Guess what our weekend is filled with?! YAY, me!!

By the way, in the future I will be sending home this packet to all my parents when science fair time rolls around. Click on the words "this packet" in the previous sentence. It's a pdf. I wish I had found it sooner. It's fabulous!  You will love it if you find yourself needing some help for yourself or parents!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Fridge Food = very cool site!

I would like to thank Larissa Floyd for the following information. Have you ever looked through your kitchen and thought to yourself, "Only MacGyver could construct a meal out of the items in my pantry and refrigerator right now!" That's exactly what I just posted on Facebook, and Larissa told me about My Fridge Food. This is taken directly from their "About" page:
This site is for those of us who look into a freshly stocked fridge and end up eating string cheese because we don't know what to do with the rest. :) 
A lot of people seem to have this issue and have been helping others through this site. All of the recipes on MyFridge have been submitted by users just like you!
Basically, you check off items you have in your kitchen, and then you will get recipes using the items you have in stock. Now, maybe it's just me, but I think that is PURE GENIUS. How am I just hearing about this???

Friday, January 6, 2012

After only 1 week of steady exercise, dieting, and taking supplements.... blood pressure has already come down to normal...and stayed there! About a year and a half ago, I noticed that I was feeling really "off". It seemed like my heart was pounding hard at random times. I kept getting headaches and feeling dizzy. As I look back, I am thankful to God for the signs. There is a reason it's called the "silent killer" because it is rare to exhibit symptoms. That voice told me to check my blood pressure. 180/110!!! I was freaked out. I just knew I was about to have a stroke at any minute. I tried calming techniques like mental imagery, deep breathing, etc. My bottom number refused to dip below 100. Sometimes the top number got down to like 145. The members of my family tree that have high BP all have high numbers on top, but mine was the most dangerous kind. You don't want that diastolic pressure to stay above 90. The consequences can be devastating. So my doctor ordered all sorts of expensive tests, especially the echo cardiogram. Those a**holes who call themselves my medical insurance company tried to deny coverage for that fun test because they stated it was, and I quote, "not medically necessary". Hmm...really??? Then why did my doctor order it? Have they had a rash of  clients trying to swindle them out of free echo cardiograms just for grins? Greed is one of the seven Deadly Sins, but yet that is the principle around which this company operates. But I digress...

I was prescribed medication, which worked like a charm. As far as I can tell, there were no side effects. However, when my meds run out, I have an unfortunate tendency to forget to refill it for several days. This has always resulted in high BP readings in the past. My doctor was not very happy with me when I went to see her during one of those "off times". How stupid can I be going to the doctor while off my BP meds?! So, I was busted. It was high, and had to admit why so she wouldn't freak out and try to order more tests or up my dosage. That was embarrassing.

Several days ago, I ran out of my medication again. After 3 days without it, I checked my BP. It was perfect! Usually it would take only missing one dose for it to go back up. That's how dependent my body was. I checked it the next day...great reading. Next day, same story. I wondered how on earth it could suddenly be normal again on its own. The only thing that had changed was that I had lost about 8 pounds, but the biggest change was my eating habits and all the supplements I was taking. I can't even name them all right now, but one of them is an omega fatty acid complex (about 4 capsules a day). I don't know if it is any single factor or just all of it combined. I went ahead and started taking my BP pill again just in case and guess what? Last night after two days back on the medication, my blood pressure was LOW. 107/60! I was afraid I would pass out. Now I sit here wondering, do I stop taking it? Cut it in half? Just now it was 104/71. That isn't low but then again, it is nearly time for another dose.

All I know is TGIF!!!!! Have a great weekend, readers! :D

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 - A New Year, A Better Me!

Hello reader! Thank you for checking out my blog! It is here that I will share with you my adventures as a teacher and hopefully provide you with some of the tidbits of wisdom I have picked up along the way as a teacher, a wife, and a mother. I have held these three titles for a very long time. I don't fancy myself a know-it-all, but you don't do those things for as long as I have and not learn a thing or two along the way!! Hopefully some of you can learn from my mistakes, and hopefully I can also learn from those of you who bless me with your visit. I have also recently begun (yet another) weight loss journey. Another year, another diet. But this time I am DETERMINED to get down to the size I am meant to be and STAY THERE! My health depends on it. My family and students need me. Not to boast, but I am pretty darn important to some people!

So....whether you are just starting out as a teacher or a mother or have just begun your weight loss journey...or all of the above....we can support each other. I am pretty new to the blogosphere, so I still have much to learn.