Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently in July!


I think I missed June's Currently.... Oh my!   Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade!'s Currently  is my very favorite linky, I try to never miss. Boo!

Oh well, it's July and I in!  

Listening:  I am listening to the book Wonder by RJ Palacio on Audible.  I am testing the 30 day Audible free try out period.  I love it! I think I am going to subscribe!  The first book I listened to was A Girl on The Train.  It was really good!


Loving:  My new Happy Planner by Me & My Big Ideas!  I have a Erin Condren notebook for work/school with a calendar insert and this Beautiful Happy Planner for everything else.  I will save the details for another blog post. 

Thinking: I can't believe it's July 1st!!!! What? What?  Summer is flying by!  I am not ready for July yet but I guess I don't have much of a choice, huh?  I better enjoy and be somewhat productive every single day of July because once August hits I say goodbye couch and hello work!

Wanting:  I want to take my two rescue dogs to the beach.  I think mid July would be the time to go.  The coast of Texas is only about 2 1/2 hours a day and we can even make a day trip out of it.  I love my pups!  We rescued Daisy (the blond) 2 years ago at 8 weeks old.  She was going to be euthanized  if she wasn't adopted and we were at the pound that day so she was meant to be ours.  Bruce (the brunette LOL!) is a new dog to us.  They found him roaming downtown and my husband happened to be at the pound when he came and and started playing with him.... He fell in love with him within minutes and needless to say, he came home with us.  He is about a year old and we have only had him for a little more than a month.   They are so different but both so sweet.  Daisy is a Basenji mix  and is extremely smart!!!! Bruce is a staffordshire terrier mix and well, not so smart.  LOL!  I love them both!!!!!!!!!!  And the best part is they love each other! By the way, don't let the dog bed fool you.  Daisy sleeps with my son in his bed and Bruce sleeps with my daughter in her bed.  Spoiled doggies!

Needing: I have been spending so much money on what my hubby likes to call random crap!  Well, crap to hubby but fun stuff to me!  I've bought a ton of stickers and washi tape to make my calendar and planner pages extra cute!  I've also purchased so many new books! Professional reads and books for the classroom.  I haven't had time to read except one so far!!!!!!  I am going to try to do a NO SPEND JULY only on non necessities, well except for eating out.  I let you know how I do (I wouldn't hold your breath!)

UPDATE (7/1/15): No Spend July is an epic fail!  Oh well, on to shopping!

All Star:  I am an All-Star at laughing and being a smart ass  witty.  I love to laugh and make others laugh.  Being witty usually causes laughter and I love to hear others laugh as much as I love to laugh!

It's your turn to join the Currently linky!

Happy INDEPENDENCE DAY to all!  

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summertime is here... time to relax, rest, and READ!

Happy Summer my Fabulous Friends!

Once again, I am hoping going to blog regularly again. It should be easier since it summer time!  I thought I would start out by sharing what is on my Professional reading list.   I've started reading Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz.  This is the perfect read for practical strategies that you can use to create a student-led classroom, which I definitely am trying to have and want to improve on.

Creating Cultures of Thinking  by Ron Ritchhart is the second book on my list. I've noticed more and more how my students expect me to think for them.  I know their (and their parent's) lives are packed with sports, scouts, competitions, etc. and they may not have time to be "thinkers"  but in order for my kiddos to be successful adults they need to be!  I am hoping this book helps me help them with that.  I am hoping this book has all the answers ;)

The third book is Move Your Bus  by Ron Clark.  It isn't even available until June 30, 2015 but I pre-ordered it from Amazon.  As the team leader of my 4th grade team and the "leader" of my classroom I thought this book would be the perfect read.  Plus its by Ron Clark... need I say more?

Then we have The Unstoppable Writing Teacher.  You knew I would have to have a "writing" book on my list since I am a fourth grade teacher, right?  Just reading the table of contents got me hooked.  For example; Chapter 2: I don't know what to teach this student, he is a better writer than I am.   Or Chapter 9: I teach grammar but my kids don't learn it.     I hope this books is as good as it seems.

Last on my professional reading list is Genre Study: Teaching with Fiction and Non-Fiction books  by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell.

If I have time, I plan to I will make time to re-read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  This is one of the best professional reads I have read!



What professional books are you reading this summer?  Please share in the comments any and all great books that I MUST read!

Happy Reading my froggy friends,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently in March...(and in Jamberry)!

It's March 1st!  Can you believe it?   The first of March means a new Currently and the Spring/Summer Jamberry Nails Spring Catalog is out!   I am crazy excited about the new designs, especially the Sister Style exclusive this month.  I already ordered two of them!  March also starts the stress of the testing season... BOOO!

Let's start with Currently from my fabulous friend Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade!

I love the Food Network and I love to cook.  I am not a gourmet cook and I am a very picky eater but cooking and baking is relaxing to me... not as relaxing as naps but relaxing none the less.
Now saying this about cooking, I am fat!  Yup! Big, fat, obese, pleasantly plump, whatever you want to call it, I am very unhealthy and I need to change that.   I don't even know where to start.  I can't tell you how many times I've been on a diet, or joined Weight Watchers.   WW always worked and I lost weight each time but I never stuck to it.   I really need to figure this out!  I turned 47 in February and its only getting harder and harder to get myself fit.   I don't want to look like a bikini model (OK, that's such a lie - I would love it!) but I just want to be able to wear shorts or a cap sleeve shirt and not feel humiliated.  I live in South Texas, its a million degrees most of the time and I am always in jeans/pants and 3/4 sleeve shirts.  No bueno!   I have several health issues that would be eliminated if I lost weight but I can't find the motivation. If you can help me at least head in the right direction please please please let me know.


So I may not be happy with my body and my way of eating but I am thrilled with my nails!  As you may already know, I became a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant just for the discount because I love the nails so much.  I change out my nails weekly not because I need to but because there are so many awesome designs!!!!   I ordered a starter kit and got everything I needed to have FAB nails. I've never been an acrylic nail girl but I like to have my regular nails painted with cute designs. Even just getting a manicure every two weeks adds up.  For just $15, a full sheet gives you 2 manicures, 2 pedicures, and a few extra for accent nails.  These nail wraps are made from a vinyl material and don't chip or scratch!

You can check out my Jamberry Nails site here.  The Spring/Summer catalog came out today and the new wrap designs are beyond terrific!   Jamberry doesn't only have wraps though.  They have hand and nail care  and nail laquer as well.   Right now I am holding a special for March.  If you schedule a party with me and you and your guest purchase a minimum of $200 at the party (an average party is usually $300-$400) I will buy you a Jamberry heater.  If you join my "Team Fabulous" I will send you two wraps free since you will get a heater with your starter kit.   Click here to schedule a party and Click here to join my team.
Like I said, I joined not to "make money" but just to buy myself wraps and without having to put in much effort I've already made a good chunk of change that allowed me to buy everything I bought at our recent vacation to Disney World in cash (and I bought a lot!).  I've only had online parties and it takes the same time I am already on facebook.
They even have a wrap that Farley is going to love...  it's called, Oh Deer but it screams Buck!  My favorite happens to be this month's sister exclusive called Spring Break (only available in March)

And there's testing season, yuck!  I feel for all upper grade students who have to take these state tests.  It's just so stressful for them and their teachers.  I think most students can pass the state test if it was seen as just another assignment or assessment in class, not something that decides their future.  Such hoopla is made over the test and the nerves and stress itself make kills fail.  As educators we need to remember that the test is just one snapshot of the students progress.

It doesn't matter if I like the test or not, my 4th grade froggies will be taking their 2 days of Writing STAAR on March 30th and 31st.  Next week will be SPRING BREAK and the week after Spring Break will be doing Camp Write Along (see a previous post about it here) and then test.  Our Math and Reading STAAR isn't until mid April.   At least the state doesn't make fourth graders test 4 days in a row!

Now to go do laundry and grade.   Have a fabulous week my friends!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday for the WIN ! (part one)


I know what you are thinking...
...Lorraine isn't the athletic type so she couldn't have won a tournament or any kind of sport.
...There isn't a napping competition or a coffee drinking competition so she couldn't have won those.
...The name of this post isn't I quit suckers so she didn't leave Greg to marry Adam Levine.
...The lottery numbers haven't been called yet so its not that.

Nope, you are all wrong! It's none of those!!!!

Well, what did I win on this lovely Saturday? 

*SQUIRREL*
(Don't be jealous my North and East coast friends, it was a beautiful sunny 75 degrees today)

 I didn't win a thang (my attempt to sound Texan) but my students sure did!  Yep, it's true my 4th grade little froggies are the winners of my participation in a FAB-U-LOUS literacy training that has changed (and continues to change) the way I teach.   I was going to wait until the end of the year to write about this but for some reason after my day of training today I felt the need to share. 

So what am I talking about you ask?   Abydos learning ( also known in my district as WIN (Writing in Northside).  You can find them on facebook here or click their name above to see their website.   

It's my 11th year in Northside Independent School District (15th in teaching), all 11 years at the same school by the way... yes, I love my school that much to stay over a decade!  
Anywho, I never even heard of NJWP (New Jersey Writing Project) or Adydos or WIN until about 6 years ago when I was teaching third grade.  

DON'T KILL ME 4TH GRADE TEACHERS, I REPEAT, DO NOT KILL ME ... but as a 3rd grade teacher I thought, "why would I need to take a writing class? I already know how to teach Writer's Workshop and do so every day when its not close to Reading and Math testing season.  I'm an awesome teacher because I have had 100% pass rate on Reading and Math TAKS (the state test at the time) and that's what its all about here in Texas, right?" 

Then I looped up to 4th grade with my class.  Yes, it crossed my mind that now that I was teaching 4th grade I should attend this WIN training which I didn't know anything about except that was offered for three weeks from 8:00 - 5:00 during the summer.  Low and behold, my first year teaching 4th grade I didn't have 100% passing TAKS but I had two students earn a score of '4' (out of 4) on the writing state assessment - the only 2 in the entire grade level at our school.  That must of meant I knew what I was doing.

Long story short... (Ha, I know, too late for that!)

I went to writing workshops in the summer throughout the years to perfect my craft (I say in my sarcastic voice).     The state test became way more rigorous, in addition to being  renamed STAAR AAAANNNNNDDDD - hold on to your britches folks -  students in Texas were actually expected to start thinking.  That's right, not just thinking about what book to read or thinking about what friends they'll hang out with over the weekend, but critically thinking about their learning!!!!  Wha - What?

Did this new expectation of including rigor in my teaching change how I taught writing?  Nope, why change a good thing? Don't you remember, I went to workshops... I am a life long learner, taking writing workshops in the summer and perhaps some after school throughout the year.  

*SQUIRREL*
I've decided to make this "Saturday for the WIN" post several parts.  This post is already getting too long and I haven't even told you what I've done in WIN yet.

I signed up for the three week WIN/Abydos summer training and then dropped it before it even started, not just once, but several years in a row.  Something always came up, my kids needed to be driven to Orchestra camp/Volleyball camp, or a zillion other activities, and to be honest I wasn't sure I wanted to give up 3 weeks of my summer for a "workshop".  What would I learn in three weeks that I couldn't learn in the 1 hour workshops I was going to?  WIN just wasn't a priority to me.   

Fast forward to last year when I asked  myself, "Self, why do my students hate writing?"  After some deep, deep soul searching  reflecting I figured out that my students didn't like writing because I didn't like teaching writing!  Woah!  I hate teaching writing and I'm a fourth grade teacher?  Yep, it was true!   At the same time of this gigantic revelation in my life, I get an email from my district asking if I would be interested in taking the infamous WIN training if they offered it throughout the school year.   Still not knowing much about WIN, I put myself on the "interested" list.   Well, the stars aligned and everything must have been right with the world because I was invited to take the training this year.  I don't mind giving up an occasional Saturday and I heard this WIN thing was pretty darn good.  

Surprise, another *SQUIRREL*moment
Ha! Don't you just love "Saturday for the WIN"?  Get it, we take the training on Saturdays and its called WIN training.... we are winners because we are taking this Abydos training... on a Saturday?   

I'm ending this 'Part 1' right here, but before I do let me tell you that taking this WIN training has changed me as a teacher (for the better).  I am only 1/2 way through this journey and I cannot tell you how much I LOVE teaching writing!  I am so much more confident about teaching writing and the most FABULOUS part about the whole thing is that my students are excited to write!!!!  Who knew that going through the PROCESS would make such a tremendous difference?  

In part 2 of  Saturday for the WIN,  I will share what an incredible impact going through this process has made in me as a writer and how I implement what I experience in WIN with my students almost immediately (which I couldn't have done in the summer training).  I also want to share the friendships and bonds I have made with my peers taking this training (who I didn't know previous to this) and tell you about my incredible trainers but that might have to wait for part 3. 

Here is the book we use.... it has become my best friend.  I was blessed to receive it through this training but I can tell you it is worth every single penny! 
Have a wonderful weekend my frogilicous friends!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Sunday Scoop



I was blog surfing and found this fun linky and thought I should take a break from grading (any excuse to procrastinate) and participate.  Check out The Sunday Scoop by The Teaching Trio! Just click on the pic to the left to see who else joined the linky.

Many of you are off tomorrow because it's President's Day or because you have a snow day.  I have to go to work.  The students are off but the teachers go in for an inservice.  It's 10:00PM here and I am watching Saturday Night Live's 40th Anniversary Special.  Perhaps I should get this post finished so I can do all the stuff I HAVE to do before bed tonight.





Time to go check out everyone else's Sunday Scoop!