Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School Goals! (A month early)

Hey there!  

I'm linking up with I {Heart} Recess to share my goals for Back to School.  I still have a month before I really need to think about this but, that's okay!  So here it is!  I'm hoping if I put them out there, I'll be more apt to follow through with them.  Fingers crossed...

Personal:  Running is cheap therapy.  It helps me de-stress and I come home a happier, more peaceful wife and mommy.  Plus, fall is perfect running weather.  But, it has been very difficult to fit it in lately.  I need to start putting myself first sometimes.  I need to sign up for my next race so I'll be more accountable.  Do I go for the 10K that I've done before and I'm comfortable or take the plunge and go for the half marathon?  Thirteen miles just seems SO long!

Organization: Since I discovered Teachers Pay Teachers over a year ago, I've accumulated so many great resources.  Now, I just need to find a way to organize them better.  

Planning:  I WILL get back to having my lesson plans done before Friday morning for the next week.  Planning is not my forte... I admit it.  But this year, I will be co-teaching part-time with an inclusion teacher so I need to be prepared in advance so modifications and accommodations can be made for our diverse learners.  I want to be able to leave on Friday knowing that I am ready to rock on Monday morning.  

Professional:  I'm probably not alone in this one... If there is a committee to work on at school, I'm usually volunteering to get on it.  I am our school's rep to our local union.  I also served on our contract negotiations team.  I've written curriculum, served on text book selection teams, joined book clubs, and helped out various special events committees.  I need to find balance between home and work and say "no"  (at least some of the time).  

Students: I want to find more ways for my students to use technology on a daily basis.  We don't have iPads at my school, but we are going to have 4 Chromebooks in each classroom.  I'm still working on coming up with ways to utilize these besides just going to websites.  The apps are not as great for elementary school kids as the ones on iPads.  I'm hoping that I will get some great ideas, though.  

My Motto:  Start each day with a smile and make every day a great learning experience.  This is kind of a "duh"  but I do think a great attitude is half the battle.  We all know when we're in a bad mood, we are less patient and our lessons are more inclined to not be as effective.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Day Picture Book (FREEBIE)

Hey there!  I posted a few weeks ago about how excited I was to use the Pete the Cat books for this year's back to school theme.  If you want to read my previous post, click here.  (It had a bunch of cool freebies!)

So I'm linking up with The Teacher's Chair to share my idea for Back to School read alouds.

Anyway, I'm excited to share this little baby.  I have used a much less cute version for years as a first day of school writing activity.  

So, what I have done in the past is make an anchor chart of how students (and teachers) feel on the first day of school.  Then, I model filling in the blanks with the student's name, he or she, and his/her feelings about the first day. Next, the students complete it (mostly) independently.  

When I used it after reading The Kissing Hand, I left the frame part empty and put each child's hand print in it.  Then, I took each child's picture and cut it into a heart shape.  Then I glued the picture onto the hand print.  I wish I had a picture,  but it's not an original idea.  (I got it back in the day, pre-pinterest, pre-blogger explosion, from some one's website.)  I laminated the pages and bound them as our first class book.  It's always a hit on Back to School Night!

For this year though, I'm going to take each child's picture holding my little stuffed Pete the Cat (bought it at Barnes and Noble).  I made the frame a little larger than 4x6 so our first day picture should fit nicely.  If you could use this for the first day, click here to download it for free.  There is a version for kindergarten and second grade, too.  It really could go with so many beginning of the year favorites.  

Don't forget that Tiffany (from One Fab Teacher) and I are planning an awesome celebration (some well-known and AWESOME bloggers are participating) for reaching our first big milestone.  Help us reach 100 followers by following both of us with Bloglovin'.  If you already have, thanks!  This has been an incredible ride!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Reader Motivation (FREEBIE) and Something Really Exciting!!!

Hey there!  I just want to start off this post by saying when I started this adventure a few months ago I never imagined that I'd be able to reach so many teachers out there.  So, if you stick with this post until the end... I'll let you know about something special coming up.

First grade is the most rewarding grade, in my opinion (no offense to anyone who disagrees) because there is such a range of readers and the kids make such dramatic progress every year.  One of the most motivating things I have done in my class is put chapter books "off limits" unless... students earn a Chapter Book License.

There's something about the allure of a book with lots of pages, few pictures, and the exciting break down of a story into chapters that makes students very motivated to become stronger and stronger readers.  Most of the beginner chapter books in my classroom library are Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, Cam Jansen, etc. type books.  They tend to be at about L-N in guided reading levels (which is what my school uses to assess reading levels).  So, when students are independent on level J they earn their coveted Chapter Book License... meaning they can choose a chapter book to put in their independent book bag for Read to Self.

In the past years (before I discovered fancy fonts and cute clip arts), I simply cut a piece of construction paper and wrote Chapter Book License on the front and their name on the back.  The kids didn't have a problem with it but... it was BORING!!  So this summer I created a new and improved Chapter Book License.  Just print, write the child's name, and laminate.  You have an adorable reading incentive!   Check it out.  Just click on the image below to get it.  I've made several different prints so there's one for everyone.

So onto the exciting stuff!  This little blog has begun to really take off and I am SO appreciative of all of my followers.  Only one or two of you, I actually know in the real world, so it's quite an honor that I feel like so many of you are friends.  

So it's a tradition in Bloggyland that when your blog hits milestones, you throw a celebration (which tend to include giveaways and prizes).  Who doesn't love getting gifts as a part of someone else's celebration??   I'm nearing the milestone of 100 followers and so is my good friend Tiffany at One Fab Teacher.  Look for something exciting coming soon as that number approaches!!!  The sooner we get there, the sooner the celebration happens so don't forget to follow this little blog on Bloglovin' and check out One Fab Teacher and follow Tiffany if you haven't already.  If any other blogger is interested in donating to our celebration, please let us know!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Need a Pintervention!!

Hey there!  I'm going to make this short and sweet!  I think I am in need of a Pintervention (that is... a Pinterest intervention)!  I've been on Pinterest for over a year but, it's only recently become a problem.  But the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?  

Anyway, if you haven't checked out my Pinterest boards, please do.  And, if you have Pinterest boards that you'd like to share with me, put a link in the comments and I'll check yours out, too!

Also... I'm throwing my first sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  From now until Sunday, everything in my store is 10% off.  Now's the time to get those items on your wish list!  And don't forget to follow me on TPT so you'll never miss a sale.  Thanks for stopping by and stay cool!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Throwback Thursday (Journeys) and a sale!

Hey everyone!  I'm getting used to the new header, not sure if it's going to stay or not.  I do LOVE the graphics from Melonheadz, The 3AM Teacher, and Ms. Fultz, though!  At least I was able to fix my mess up fairly quickly, whew!  Anyway, we've had a busy week trying to stay cool in our latest heat wave.  So, I'm linking up with Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday.  I'm going to repost my most viewed post about Houghton Mifflin Journeys.  It seems like this is one of the most popular basal programs being adopted across the country and it took a lot of getting used to for this teacher/ reading specialist who didn't want to give up the Reading and Writing Workshop format.  But two years later, here we are and I've found some ways to make it work.

********** Originally posted May 7, 2013 ***************

  I've been asked a lot lately about the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys program.  It seems to be one of the most popular basal reading programs on the market right now.  I'm not going to go back into how I felt two years ago when we began to transition to it from Reading and Writing Workshop.  (click here to read my previous post)  But after fumbling through it for a year, I discovered the wonderful work of Ms. Amy Schwab on Teachers Pay Teachers.   Amy has taken each week's lesson and made a huge SmartBoard file of interactive activities, including videos, sorts, and other learning activities.  If you teach in a district that uses Journeys or is going to, you need to check out her work.  She has completed activities for grades K, 1, & 2.  

Click here to download the Lesson 1 activities for FREE.  You can also get the first lesson of grades K and 2 for FREE.  

I hope this can help anyone else who is feeling like I was...overwhelmed and drowning in Journeys.  I'm throwing you a life preserver!


Another resource I LOVE and have purchased  (They are worth every penny)  are Dawn Hilburn's resource packets for each lesson in Journeys.  Click here to visit Dawn of First Grade Shenanigan's TPT store.  Her materials are a great resource for centers, classwork, writing projects, and homework.  My kids LOVE them!!

(Did you know that TPT now accepts purchase orders from your school?  I convinced my principal to approve orders for Amy's Smart Board files.  Using the purchase order was really quick and easy, too)

When we adopted the Journeys Program, I really wished I had cute word wall cards.  So I finally made them myself.  There are so many cute word wall sets out there using dolch lists, but Journeys has words that are specific to their program.  So if you are going to be using Journeys, check out these packs.  Just print and laminate and you are ready to go!  Coordinating headers are also available as a separate purchase.  Just click on the caption to check them out in my TPT store.

These word walls will be on sale through Sunday.  Don't forget to provide feedback if you pick anything up from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Not only does it help you to get credits toward future purchases, but sellers love to here what you think.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ugh!! Construction Mess

UGH!!! What did I do?  Please don't judge this blog by it's header.  I tried adding a little flair to my blog by changing my header but, I failed horribly!!  I think this my project for tomorrow!  In the meantime, if this is your first visit to this blog of mine, please don't let it's appearance turn you off.  

I guess this is what I get for trying to teach myself the ins and outs of blog design.  I could just pay someone to design it for me (and sometime I might) but let's face it most of you are probably in the same boat as me... no work in the summer = penny pinching teacher.  Hopefully, by the next time you stop back, my blog will be new and improved!

Still Finding Dirt Everywhere and Monday Made It!

Hey there!  Well, I got down and I got dirty and boy, am I glad it's over.  If you missed my previous post, I ran the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run in Philadelphia on Saturday.  I did this run last summer with my hubby and oldest son and decided to go for it again.  Last year, it was my first race ever and boy, did I find it challenging!! But, I had been "running" for the past year so I knew I was in better shape for this year.  And this year, I got to run with one of my good friends and former colleagues.  
My hubby and son before the 10K
Stacey and I before the 5K
Climbing the cargo nets over a tractor trailer... scary as you know what!!
That slippery wall will not get me down!

All done... we are dirty teachers!
Now it's little man's turn!  The little kiddies do a 100 yard dash with obstacles and a mud pit!
Nearing the finish with daddy!

Mission accomplished!  He beat dad to the finish line!

Every time I find myself lining up in the corrals to do another race... I think, "What am I doing?  I'm not a runner!"  But since this is my third race, I think I need to rethink that.  I don't look like a runner but I guess I am one after all!  
Now off to shower for the upteenth time.  (I'm still finding dirt... ewww... just kidding!)

Now onto my Monday Made it!  I'm linking up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics again for her famous linky party!  Today I took my kids to my mom's house to swim (we're having another heat wave)!  And she offered to keep them for the afternoon... ummm peace and quiet for a whole afternoon.... yes, please!  So I used this peace and quiet to do some crafting.  I made a "How do we go home Clip Chart."  I've seen these floating around for a while and have been wanting to make one.  At my school, ALL students are assigned a bus, even if they live a block away... I know... weird, but that's how it is.  So we have 6 different buses, plus the after school program, and parent pick up.  I couldn't find labels that fit my needs to I made them myself.  I'm really hoping this helps up all keep track of who's going where... when.  Lots of my kids do different things on different days of the week.  (Monday- bus, Tuesday- Parent Pick UP, Wednesday- MVP after school program, etc) so when the kids come in, they will move their clip to how they are going home.  I love the visual reminder and I think it will help out with subs and other adults that come into the room.  

I had to post a picture of my lazy assistant- Otto laying on my work

Ta-da!  A part of the finished product. It goes with the jungle theme of my new classroom.   The actual chart has three more labels for more busses but you get the idea.  Each student will have a clothes pin with their name on it to clip to the chart.  Now to check out the tons of other link ups on Monday Made It for more inspiration for next Monday!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 12, 2013

First Days Activities- Pete the Cat and a FREEBIE on Facebook!

Hey there, everyone!  I have a confession.  I have been doing the same first day of school activities for the past ten years... I know... with all of the great ideas out there, it's time to switch it up a bit!  I've done The Kissing Hand read aloud and themed activites for years.  I know it's more of a kindergarten thing... but I LOVE the story and when I started teaching first grade in my school, no one else in the school used it.  Then new kindergarten teachers joined the staff and suddenly my materials and ideas were not so original.  Since only one of my K colleagues used The Kissing Hand, I continued to use my stuff and tried to add some different things to make it different from what they may have done in K.  In reality, it's scary for me to try something new on the first day.  I had my Kissing Hand stuff down to a science.  I knew how long each activity would take and that the kids would have a great first day.  It was one less thing to worry about on a stress-filled day anyway.

But that all changes this year!!  Am I gonna worry?  Goodness, no.  Because the main character of our first day book and activities would just keep reading and working and singing a song.  Do you know what we'll be reading yet?

You guessed it... Pete the Cat.

Here are the purchases I made today to get the year off to a great start.

Don't you love the stuffed Pete- adorable!  I had to splurge and get him!

(Click on any of the pictures about to link to Amazon to order them.)

I've found so many great FREE activities to go along with the Pete books.  Please check out my Pinterest board for tons of great ideas.

Here is just one of the ideas I'm definitely going to be using compliments of Heather's Heart.  Click on the image to visit her blog and download this fantastic freebie.

And I can't wait to use this little treasure!  Hop on by Inspired By Kindergarten to download school tour cards.  I love using a character hunt to give the students a tour of the school... makes it so much more fun!  Click the cat to get your copy!

Here's another great freebie for I Love My White Shoes compliments of The Groovy Teacher.  Click the image below to visit Leslie's page to pick up this sequencing activity.  

I just know my new firsties are going to love starting the year with such a cool cat!  

And now for a FREEBIE from me!  I recently started up my facebook page and would love it if you would swing by.  You can also pick up an awesome soccer themed freebie perfect for the beginning of the year.  Just click on the Fans Only tab to get your freebie!  I will also throw in a copy of my Superhero Pal Math Centers for my first three new facebook fans.  Just like the FB page and come back here and leave your email address in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday!

Hey there!  I've gotten so many new followers in the past week or so and I just wanted to say "Welcome!"  I'm so excited to see this little hobby I started begin to take off!  It's been ridiculously humid here in the northeast and I have been getting ready to do the "Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run" this Saturday in Philly.  But I just can't seem to find the motivation to log one more run before the big day.  You just can't catch your breath outside here until after 7pm.  And my hubby's business venture has kept me home with the kids in the evenings, sigh!  Oh well, thank goodness I'm running with a great friend and teaching buddy.  She promised not to get mad if I needed to take a walk break!  Stacey, "It's in writing, so I'm holding you to your word!"  I'll post some muddy fun pictures later on! 

So, I'm linking up with the fabulous Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade for her summer linky series, Throwback Thursday.  I'm going to be reposting about how I work my version of literacy centers.  This post has gotten a ton of views and I thought it might provide another alternative for teachers who have a tough time making traditional literacy centers work for them.

******************* Originally posted on April 15, 2013  ***************

My Version of Literacy Centers

After teaching first grade for 10 years, I've FINALLY found a compromise to make centers/ Daily Five work for me (and our reading series).  

A little background for you... I began my career using a basal anthology.  I hated it!  Then I went back to grad school to get my masters in Reading and Language Arts.  I always loved teaching ELA but, when I spent 4 years studying how to be a great reading teacher, I truly discovered my passion.  It was also at this time when my district began to shift to the Reading and Writing Workshop Models.  I went to training at Columbia and became a loose follower of Lucy Caukins.  I worked on our district's ELA curriculum team for SO many years as we created a curriculum from scratch.  Fast forward a few more years, and the pendulum shifted again back to a basal anthology.  I resisted this change with everything inside me, but then eventually gave up knowing it was a battle I wouldn't win.  If we were going back to a basal, I was at least going to have a say in which one we picked.  Our district settled on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Journeys.  At first I hated it... but then I found ways to still add my style and make it work for me.  

I've always used a kind of hybrid approach to centers.  I've never been able to work with a strict rotation.  Some students always finish first and some just never do!  Sometimes I needed more than 15 minutes with a group, sometimes a group needed less.  I just hated being stuck with a schedule.  I used The Daily Five approach for a few years, but then when we got our basal, I felt like I needed more structure to have students practice the skills they were responsible for during that week.  So my checklist was born.  

Basically, I have two independent checklists (one for my top two reading groups, one for my lower reading groups).  Students choose from the activities on this checklist for their week's independent review.  Any highlighted activities are top priorities.  Each list is differentiated and students' highlighted priorities are differentiated based on their needs.  I've had an excellent response to this format.  The students feel like they have choice and they are working with hands on review activities.  They think they are playing and the time just flies by.  While students work on their independent activities, I pull reading groups for small group instruction.  Many of the activities on this checklist an be found through Dawn at First Grade Shenanigans.  Her work has been a major inspiration in me finding my groove again and beginning to create my own activities and blog while finding myself with Journeys.  

Here are some pictures so you can see some of what goes on during "Checklist Time."  
Students work on a variety of activities including Read to Self,  "ar" sorts, and sight word review.

My student teacher works with a guided reading group while students work on their checklists.

A close up of the differentiated sorts.  

Students work on their checklists on Monday- Thursday.  On Thursday, I collect students folders and mark their completed work.  Any corrections are made Friday morning before our weekly test and I am able to pull RTI groups based on observations and how students did on their checklist activities.  I don't think this is necessarily the best way to do centers but, it's been the best fit for me and my class.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Way to make a girl feel loved!!!

Hey there!  I woke up this morning in an okay mood, but brightened up when I saw a wonderful comment from Amanda at Teacher at the Wheel.  She had nominated me for the Liebster Award!!!  Amanda and I were both featured on Common to the Core's New Teacher Blog Tuesday post together.   If you don't know what that is, it's an award for budding bloggers.  I've only been blogging for a few months but, it has been such an awesome experience and I've gotten to "meet" so many wonderful, helpful, and funny teachers from across the country.  But that's not where the coolness ends... I was also nominated by Tiffany at One Fab Teacher.  Tiffany was one of my very first blogging buddies.  I love her enthusiasm and great ideas!

So according to Amanda and Tiffany, here are my "rules" for accepting this nomination:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

4. Share 11 random facts about yourself

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees

6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

Here are my questions from Amanda
1. What's your favorite subject to teach and why?
I love to teach all of the areas of English/ Language Arts, but I have a special passion for teaching writing.  I know we've all heard it before... a kids comes to you and says, "I hate to write!" It just breaks my heart, because as a first grader, they are just too young to be so jaded.  And so it becomes my personal mission to change that child's perception and make them LOVE writing... and I'm proud to say I have a really good track record in this area.

2. Tell me about your pets (or if you don't have any, what kind of pet would you get if you could have anything?).
I have an almost ten year old english bulldog named, Otto.  He's the best dog!   You know how they say dogs look like their owners... well now you can picture my hubby, LOL!  I'm glad he doesn't read this... but seriously, it's true!  Otto is getting up there in age (the vet says that bulldogs who make it to double digits are "noteworthy") but we're not telling Otto that. 

3. What's something college did NOT teach you about teaching that you wish it had?
Gosh, it's been 12 years since I graduated, but I really feel like I had a great foundation for being a good teacher even before college.  I come from a family of teachers.  My mother was probably the person who taught me the most about what a good teacher is.  She retired from teaching elementary school 3 years ago after 28 years.  I ALWAYS knew I was going to be a teacher and read every teacher type book she read after she did from when I was in high school on.  So, honestly I'm not sure if I could pick something that college didn't teach, because if they didn't, my mom covered it for me.  But if I HAD to pick something, I think management is what you have to figure out on your own, because every teacher has slightly different expectations and tolerances.  

4. If you could make any unhealthy food super super healthy so it's no longer bad for you to eat, what food would it be?
OMG!  I could write a novel.  I love junk food!  If I could eat it all the time and stay healthy, I would!  But I guess, I'd pick ice cream.  I know you can get in low-fat but who are we kidding... it totally doesn't taste as good!

5. If you were bitten by a radioactive spider, what super hero power do you hope it would give you?
Octopus arms and super multi-tasking abilities...  I have two young boys who keep me on my toes.  They are ALWAYS getting into some kind of mischief.  Plus, as a working mom, I know many of you know how hard it can be juggle home life and school life so if I was able to do it all and be Super Mom and Super Teacher at the same time, that would be awesome!

6. Tell me about a memorable student that you've taught.
Over the past 12 years, there are so many memorable students (for so many different reasons).  I'm just going to go with the first one that pops into my mind for a positive reason.  I student taught in the district I still teach in.  One of my fourth grade students that I student taught is now back working as a substitute teacher, as she works her way through college to become a teacher herself.  It is so rewarding to have her stop by my room every time she's in the building to ask me questions or observe.  It's a great feeling to give back to a student who you just know is going to be an awesome teacher.

7. What are your favorite movies? (notice this is plural...feel free to pick more than one!)
My all-time favorite movie is The American President.  It comes on TBS fairly often and I always have to watch it whenever I see it.  I also love Fools Rush In, and Pitch Perfect is becoming a great go-to fun movie.  I love chick flicks but I usually have to wait until HBO to see them, as the hubs is not a fan of the genre.

8. To where would you like an all-expense paid vacation?
Hawaii, never been and would love to go.

9. What's the last thing you said out loud?
"Landon, go to sleep!"  This is my blogging time and my three year old must take a nap so mommy can retain my sanity.

10. What's something you would like to change about education in our country?
The collection of data that never seems to change anything.  Now don't go thinking I am bashing data collection because there is definitely a place for it.  To show growth, to document interventions that may or may not be working, etc.  But sometimes it just feels like I spend more time collecting data than even teaching.  I realize though that it's not going to change... this is just me venting!

11. What are some of your favorite blogs to read?
That is SO tough!  I think my favorite blog to read is A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  Kristin is Hil-ar-i-ous!!  I also love to read Erica Boher's First Grade and The First Grade Parade.

Here are Tiffany's questions for me.

1. What's your favorite color?
 2. Why do you teach?
It's what I love to do!  And if you read above about my mom and the rest of my family, it's what is in my blood!
 3. What's one of the best lessons you've taught?
I used to have a lot more freedom in what I taught but, my district has adopted some programs and texts that I have to stick pretty close with but, I still magage to throw some of my style in.  I think the Bucket Filler lessons many of us do at the beginning of the year have a great impact on our students.  I also enjoy teaching about history (Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, Civil Rights).
 4. Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook?  
I don't do instagram... yet... we'll see.  One thing at a time.  I LOVE pinterest for new ideas but Facebook is great for quick communication.  
 5. Iphone or Android?
iPhone.  I've had one for many years and it's like an extra appendage... one that I'm not sure I could live without.. J/k... no, not really, hehe!
 6. If you could take your students on an all expenses paid field trip where would you take them?
Hawaii... oh wait... I have to take the students!?  Can one of the all expenses paid be for tour guides for the kids so I can hang on the beach?  
Oh okay... how about Disney World, but I'm giving myself the best group of kids.  I'll spread the trouble makers out to the other chaperones.  Stop... I know what you are thinking...I'm a teacher, I can totally make Disney World educational. 
 6. Flats or Heels?
Flats.  I'm pretty tall already (taller that the hubby)  plus, I think I'm becoming an old fuddy duddy.  My feet hurt!
 7. Who is your favorite blogger?
Sorry, Tiff!  I'm copying from above...
That is SO tough!  I think my favorite blog to read is A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  Kristin is Hil-ar-i-ous!!  I also love to read Erica Boher's First Grade and The First Grade Parade.
 8. If you could live anywhere but where you live currently where would that be?
We vacation in the Outer Banks of NC every summer and I love the slow pace of the south.  But I also do like where I live (between Philly and NYC)  because  everything you could ever want is close by.  
 9. Favorite hobby?
I love to do Zumba... actually I should probably save this post to get ready for my class tonight.
 10. Soda, Water, or Tea?
I am a Diet Pepsi addict.  Yes, I said it.  The first step is acceptance, right?  But I do love my hot tea in the winter time!  I'll drink that instead in the morning.  
 11. What's the most frustrating thing about blogging?
Putting a lot of time into a post you think is awesome and getting no comments.  I'm trying to comment more on others because I know how good it feels.  I'm also having trouble getting by FB page off the ground but, I'm trying to be patient.  

Here are my 11 random facts!

1. I like to sing and used to be pretty good.  Now I only sing in front of my kiddies or in the car by myself. 
2. I have two sisters (I'm the middle one) who are teachers, too.
3. I love to watch all of the Bachelor shows.
4. I've read all of Nicholas Sparks' books but, am still waiting for one that doesn't make me cry like a baby.
5. I'm deathly afraid of balloons.  Why?  I have no idea!
6. I'm one of three daughters but, we have all had sons (6 boys in all).
7.  I like to drink craft beer (the hubs is even opening up a brewery in a few months with some friends).
8.  I enjoy hate running.  It depends on the day you ask me.
9.  I don't like seafood.
10. I love a good thunderstorm!
11. I love to go places, but I hate to drive.

And here are my nominees for the Liebster Award!  It felt great to be nominated so hopefully, those that I chose feel the same way!  I can't wait to read the answers to my questions for you!

Bridget @ First Grade Circus
Andrea @ Cheers to School
Natalie @ Recess and Beyond

Here are my questions.
1. Why did you become a teacher?
2. What is your favorite children's book?
3. Who designed your blog?
4. Where is the coolest place you've ever visited?
5. What is your favorite TV show(s)?
6. Did you have a favorite toy or stuffed animal as a kid?
7.  Do you have a favorite exercise you do regularly (or not so regularly)?
8.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
9. What is your favorite way to incorporate technology into your teaching?
10. Are you a Mac or PC person?
11. What is your favorite sport to play or watch?

Thanks again to Amanda and Tiffany!  You sure know how to make a girl feel loved!  I can't wait to see if I've been able to pay it forward to some other new bloggers!