Saturday, June 3, 2017

Time to rest, relax, and REFLECT!

Hi friends!

It's been a long time (a whole school year) since I have blogged.   The end of last year brought many changes for me... after 6 years in 4th grade I moved back to third.   I also became an empty nester!

First, the hardest thing for me... becoming an old lady empty nester.  My daughter, Bella, is 22 years old and attends Texas A&M San Antonio and lives on her own.   My son, Jake, who is 19, just finished his Freshman year at Texas A&M College Station and lived in the dorms.  He now has moved to an apartment while he attends some summer classes and  finishes his next 3 years as an Aggie!   I am so proud of both my kids.  They amaze me with their independence, their drive, their intelligence, and their great morals!   Even though they are both so independent and doing great, its so hard "untying those apron strings".   My husband and I raised them to be the awesome kids they are but it took me almost a year not to shed a few tears daily because I miss them so much.  I hear from them weekly and the come home to visit when they can.

So I can rest and relax after this year of changes, my husband and I are going to take our very first vacation (without the kids) in 23 years.  Tomorrow we leave for Vegas!  I can't wait!  Neither of us have ever been to Vegas so it will be a fun adventure for us.  We are staying at Planet Hollywood in the middle of the strip and have tickets to a comedy show,  Jennifer Lopez, and a tour of Pawn Stars (my hubby's favorite show besides sports).

My move to 3rd grade was a welcome one, 3rd grade is my favorite grade to teach!  I taught 3rd grade for 6 years when I first came to my current school.   However, so much has changed since I first taught third.   I had to learn a whole new curriculum and had a whole new team to work with (except for one teacher, my mentee and BFF, Melissa).   Planning, teaching, and everything in between was very different between my new team and last team.  AND  I totally forgot how young beginning of the year 3rd graders were.   I can go on and on about how 3rd had changed but now that this year is over it is time to reflect about two important things....   1) What went well and 2) What I may need to change for next year.   Let me preface this by saying that every year you have a new group of kids and you need to adjust everything to their needs but the things that went well can be continued with adjustments and the things that didn't go like you would have liked need to be changed completely.
My Fabulous 3rd Grade Froggies 2016 - 2017
Things I did well and will continue next year:
  • build relationships with my students
  • provide a safe, engaging, and a risk taking environment/classroom 
  • classroom management
  • advocate for my students
  • was a BYOD classroom (Bring your own device)
  • parent communication
Things I need to change for next year:
  • include specific student use of technology in plans
  • do more enrichment
  • use the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) to plan with my team and not just "do what they did last year"
  • keep classroom less cluttered and more organized
  • blog and share about my class happenings here not just on my twitter
I will go in more detail in my next post since I still need to pack for my Vegas trip but I want to share two teacher resource books I have on my reading list for this summer.  Let me know in the comments if you have read these or have heard anything about them.  To learn more about them click on the book itself to see them on Amazon.

What are your reflections for this year?  What educational books are you reading?  Let me know in the comments.    My next post will be on explaining how I am going to make the changes I need to make for next year.  I will hopefully have ordered my teacher planner by then and talk about that too!

Hoppy Summer!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The end of 4th brings new beginnings

We are heading towards the final stretch of the 2015 - 2016 academic year.  On Monday and Tuesday we will be taking the STAAR test.  Yes, I said Monday after Mother's Day weekend... I won't get on my soap box but who in the heck schedules a  huge test on a Monday?  I know kids should be able to "show what they know" any time or day but Tuesday and Wednesday would be better... just saying'

You may have noticed that Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies has become Fabulous 3rd Grade Froggies.... its true!  I am hopping back to third grade after 6 years teaching 4th.

I will be the first to admit that I love alliteration and Fabulous 3rd Grade Froggies just doesn't have the same ring as Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies but I decided that Fabulous Froggies is just me and I will keep the name and just change the grade level.

I am super excited to go back to 3rd grade.  Since I left 3rd grade  to teach 4th there have been a lot of changes... the curriculum has changed, the teachers have changed, and of course the students have changed.  I have been at the same school for 12 years and I never taught on the same team with anyone on this new third grade team so I am excited.   While I am not one that can say I necessarily like change, I know change is good.  It keeps us on our toes and refreshes us.   I'm already starting to get ready!  I purchased the teacher binder/planner from one of my favorite TPTers and friend, April at A Modern Teacher.  I have one of her gorgeous printable teacher binders (the chevron one) but I am trying this new one since it has a zillion (Ok, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration) covers to choose from... yes, I chose a frog one ;).

They (who ever they are) always say "leave while you are on top" and that is just what I am doing.  I am leaving 4th grade with one of the most amazing classes.  My students and their families are incredible people.  As all of my former students, they will stay in my heart forever.  Luckily for me, our 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade  classes are all upstairs so I will still get to see them daily.

I am hoping this change will also change my blogging habits.  I am hoping to blog weekly and share out my adventures as a "new" third grade teacher.  

The week after next, the fourth grade teachers and students will be visiting the Alamo and watching the Battle of the Alamo at the IMAX.   I will be sure to take lots of pics to share with you!

Thanks in advance for sticking with me as I begin a new adventure!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016 my Fabulous Froggy Friends!

Hi Friends!

Happy New Year!  I wish everyone has a new year full of love, laughs, and good health!  I didn't do much to bring in the new year.  My husband (a sheriff deputy) worked, my son worked (at Six Flags Fiesta Texas) but came home around 11:00, and my daughter (who lives on her own) was sick.  So it was just me and the dogs.  The noise of the fireworks around us were overwhelming loud and it made the dogs pretty nervous so they just cuddle with me pretty much the whole night.

I am not making resolutions this year.... I never keep them anyway!  However, I am going to try to improve my awesome life by finding balance.  I give so much of myself to work that sometimes I don't have time to work on other things important in my life.  I want to do what makes me happy (which includes work) but find balance in doing so.

I'm participating in my Fabulous friend Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade's links party.

I am just chillaxin on this chilly day and watching Ellen.  I love this show and I am able to watch it while on break.  I normally DVR it but never find the time to watch it on DVR so I'm enjoying it now.

I am not a typical teacher who is a "reader".  I want to be but it takes a lot for me to get hooked in to a good book.  Well my friends, I started a book that I just cannot put down.  I do love most of Mitch Albom's work but this one literally made me cry yesterday! It's called  The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.  Click on the pic of the book or the link and check it out!

My Winter break is about over.  I go back to work on Monday.  I miss my students a lot but I wish I had another week or two to hang out with my family (including my dogs).

I want 2016 to be MY year!  I want want to stick to my goals and I don't want to sweat the small stuff.

Oh boy do I NEED to get better at time management.  I stink at it.... at work, at home, in every aspect of my life.  I waste so much time and want need to learn to be more efficient.  Perhaps not being on social media 24/7 would help!

My ONE LITTLE WORD is: Balance
I need to find a good balance between work, family, my blog, my home, and just doing what makes me happy.  I think that goes back to my time management issues but we'll see how it goes this year.  I am really going to work on being more balanced.

Stay fabulous my friends,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Currently in October..

I try never to miss my Fabulous friend Farley's Currently Linky but I did last month and I swore to myself I wouldn't miss October... so it's a bit late but that's better than missing it altogether.

Listening - I'm watching Tanked (on the Animal Planet).  I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for them to build me a tank... a girl can dream.

Loving - that I am using Google Classrooms for my homework this year.  Thanks to my new and terrific teammate, Courtney Martinez, I am creating little videos for homework that guide students through some math problems.  It's working out FANTASTIC and the kids love doing homework!

Thinking - I need to buy a new purse... looks like me and the hubs may do a little shopping tomorrow.  Vera Bradley here I come!

Wanting - the weather to cool down.  It's October for goodness sake!  Here is South Texas its still HOT, HOT, HOT!

Needing - ice cream! Well, really its the last thing I actually need but I am sure if I ate some ice cream right now I would be more willing to do some grading.

Boo-tiful - that would be my little sister Sharon!   She is kicking breast cancer's butt right now.  She is so amazing.... she is staying positive and fighting hard!  I am so proud of her and humbled by her fight.

Keep Sharon and everyone else fighting cancer in your prayers!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Carson Dellosa Goodies

Howdy my Fabulous Friends!

I've recently become a Carson Dellosa Brand fun is that?  Carson Dellosa sends me products to use in my classroom and then I get to review them.  I love learning about new resources to use with my Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies!

The two new product I used this month were the Learning Targets and Essential Questions and one of many Spectrum Focused Practice workbooks.

I bet you can guess what book I chose....  that's right, I chose Writing! Wouldn't any 4th grade teacher?

This books takes the students through the entire writing process with a lot of lessons in between and even reinforces language art/grammar skills.

I love that this books covers many types of writing and well as writing for a purpose.  However, my favorite part of this book is that it is so user friendly!

I look forward to checking out the Spectrum series in other subjects.  Watch this short video so you can see how great this series is for yourself!

The Learning Targets are great too!  We are required to post an essential question for each subject we teach.  It can be written on the board or written/typed on a sentence strip and put in a pocket chart but it has to be posted somewhere so everyone can see it, especially the students.  I like to say that every single student is able to answer the essential questions posted after I have taught the content.  Not completely true but I can say that they all know what the essential questions are and that our goal is to be able to answer them.

One of side of the card there is an "I can" statement and on the other is an essential question.  I have only used the essential question side but I wish I had set for every subject and every standard we teach here in Texas.   The cards are a perfect size to post and not take too much room.  I don't use a pocket chart but I post on my board with one small magnet.  I love not having to write the questions on the board.  It is so much easier to look in the box and pull out the card to post.   The essential questions are very easy to read and plain enough not to clash with any decor.   Can't have something that clashes with my frogs, right?

The cards are housed in a sturdy box that even includes dividers. I love that these cards lead my class to such great discussion and encourage my students to think critically.  But I am going to be honest, the best thing about these cards is they are such a time saver!!!! The only thing is dislike about these Learning Targets.... they don't come in Science and Social Studies!

Watch this video to see how you can use these Learning Targets in your classroom.

What great products, huh?  And did you catch the adorable elephant border in Learning Target video?  If my room wasn't all about frogs, I would have to get that border!

Review Disclaimer: I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Visit Carson Dellosa on Facebook and tell them your Froggy Friend Lorraine sent ya ;)

Happy Fall Y'all!