August 2, 2015

Sunday Letters

I know yesterday was the first and that I didn't link up for Currently. I also didn't open my laptop once, for the first time in WEEKS. Instead, we took Aniya for her first trip to the splash pad and had a blast in the beautiful weather. I took my first IG video, but I'm so sad it doesn't have any sound. Her shrieks of excitement were lost in the fact that I keep my phone on silent at all times. Lesson learned. Bur you can clearly still see her excitement!


For weeks now, I've been planning to go to school this whole week to setup my classroom. Little did I know, I'd receive an email Thursday afternoon inviting me to three days of induction meetings instead. Even though this makes me SUPER anxious, it's not really an option to skip these meetings and work on my classroom as planned.

So I came here to bitch about it and realized that Michelle was probably hosting Sunday Letters. Except that she's on a beach right now.

Apparently, none of my plans are working out this week! LOL I'm posting my letters anyway!

July 27, 2015

Summer is for Salsa & Guacamole

Even though I've been crazy busy making things for my classroom, I'm not sharing those things today because I'm still waiting on some final information before I can consider them complete.

School doors open in one week for classroom setup, so I'm planning to go on Monday to meet my principal (I hope) and hopefully some of my team members who can answer the list of questions I'm keeping. And hey... maybe I can even get my hands on the curriculum!

In the meantime, I'm going to share some YUMMY recipes for Monday Made It. I don't know about you, but on really hot days in the summer, I have ZERO desire to cook. Also, when I've been SO busy preparing for this next year, I find it hard to pull myself away from my work to make food.

It's just so much easier to graze.

So... I made some grazing foods this weekend. And they were all AMAZING, so of course, I have to share with my favorite Internet friends! Check out this goodness:
Nothing really compares to homemade salsa and guac, and these were divine! I couldn't possibly tell you which is my favorite because their flavors are so distinctly different. This was what we had for lunch yesterday. No... I'm not kidding.
 First up is Jeremy's Corn Salsa, which is a recipe that was shared by my dear friend Alison at Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin' last week. I don't really like tomatoes, so any salsa recipe that uses something else as it's base is good in my book (though I did use one tomato in this. As expected, it was DELISH! Thanks, Jeremy and Alison!

When Joel's mom comes over or one of us goes to see her, we never walk away empty-handed. This week, she gave us a bunch of delicious peaches, and I just knew they were going to go bad if I didn't do something with them. Since I'm not a big fan of peach desserts, I looked online for a peach salsa recipe. I found one from the Pioneer Woman and gave it my own twist. The result was AMAZING!

The guacamole the recipe from Chipotle, except I use three avocados instead of 2.

I hope you guys enjoy these recipes as much as we have!

July 20, 2015

Classroom Management Freebies

Happy Monday! I love that I can say that to teachers in the summer and MEAN IT! haha

We finally had a break in the rain this weekend, so Joel, his sister, and I headed downtown for some relaxation on the beach of Lake Michigan. We didn't hit much traffic until we arrived, when it took us 1.5 hours to find parking! I guess when the hottest day of the year (two years, actually) falls on a Saturday, EVERYONE heads to the beach!
Joel in his happy place
By the time we got situated in the sand, some ominous clouds started forming above. I swear we weren't even there an hour before it starting storming again!

Luckily, I have a great friend who lives nearby and invited us to dry off at her apartment. We ate some linner (that's what I call a late lunch/early dinner) and played a round of my current favorite board game, Ticket to Ride (Note: it's not actually called Ride the Train as I said previously. I miss that up EVERY time. I don't think it's hard to see why!).
Even when I lose, I still have fun
By the time we were cleaned up, the sun was shining again, so we headed back to the beach. It was much cooler, so we didn't get in the water, but we were DETERMINED to make the most of our beach day!

See all that water behind me? That's ON the beach!
OK... now for the stuff you're really here to see! I'm linking up with my girl, Tara at 4th Grade Frolicks, for Monday Made It, which is definitely my FAVORITE linky of the week because I'm stealing so many great ideas for my classroom!

I was pretty busy again this week, making things for my classroom. And the good news is that I have some freebies to share with YOU!

The first item I finished this week is a classroom management visual for my classroom. A couple years ago, I learned about CHAMPS, which is about setting clear expectations for every activity in the classroom. Students need to know, for each Activity, the expected Conversation level, how they should seek Help, what Movement is allowed (if any), and what is expected for Participation. As always, it's a good idea to display this in your classroom so students can refer to it as needed.

As you know, we can do MANY activities in an ELA block, so this can change multiple times per period. I've seen some teachers create HUGE posters that show all of the information for each type of activity, but I feel like it's too overwhelming to see all of that information at once. Instead, I created HEADINGS & TAGS for each section. Mine are printed and laminated, and I'm putting them on those loose leaf rings (which I will hang on a thumb tack) so I can flip to the correct tag for the current activity. I plan to make a student responsible for this (as we discuss the expectations for each activity) so I don't spend my whole day changing the tags!

I obviously made these to match my new classroom, but if you'd like a copy of my set, you can grab it, my first freebie, here!

Up next are two posters I created for my classroom. I adapted the SWAG posters I've seen all over Pinterest to meet my needs in the middle school classroom, and of course, I needed a THINK poster that would match my new decor. I still have to print and laminate these, but I have to go Kinko's for that so... it may be a while before that happens!

These will eventually be a part of my Classroom Poster Set, but you can click on the pictures below to download these flash freebies! Grab them before the set goes live on TPT and the freebie ends!

I also threw together this Classroom Behavior Log, which I plan to use for tracking purposes. I have four boxes for each day because, as an ELA teacher, I want to track their behavior in 4 instances:

  • First period of the block - Teacher Instruction
  • First period of the block - Workshop Time
  • Second period of the block - Teacher Instruction
  • Second period of the block - Workshop Time
As you can see, I plan on doing a reading and writing workshop in my classroom this year, and I want to be able to track WHEN students are off-task as much as HOW OFTEN. I have some simple codes for things like no pencil or no book that I want to record for conferences.

Click on the image below do download your copy!

Finally, I made a little somethin' for me. While we were at the beach, we saw vendors selling big chunks of DELICIOUS-looking melons, and it gave me a serious craving for some fruit. I made Joel go with me to the store yesterday and purposely selected some fruits we don't normally buy.

When I got home, everything sounded so good that I couldn't decide. So... I made GIANT fruit salad with kiwi, pineapple, nectarines, honeydew, and watermelon. OH MY YUM!

OK, folks! That's all for this week, but don't worry because I'm already hard at work on next week's items to share!