Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to School Memes that You will {HEART}

I have been #obsessed with making memes. I blame Brooke Brown of Teaching Outside the Box.

With back to school upon us, all I can think about are the universal truths that we all face. How better to capture the human experience than with a meme! LOL!

Here are some funnies to help you keep your sanity during the most magical time of year, BACK TO SCHOOL!

Aca-believe it. Your summer is fading. Hey, at least you don't have nodes.

Every. Single. Summer. I don't regret the late nights of chatting with the hubs until the first full week of school.

I once had a school dream in which my class literally had to put our desks on top of another classes desks. It was like educational chicken. What is your worst school dream? 

I know you get this one, Teacher Friends! The struggle is real! All those little plastic scraps in your floor. Finding them later. In your couch. Stuck to your pants. At the grocery store. #truestory

Speaking of desks, it sure is nice to have some muscle in your back pocket to do the heavy lifting, especially if you are moving classrooms! 

 New teachers (and returning teachers) get it. My district is trying to maximize the time we get to actually set rooms up (and I am thankful). Is there ever really enough time?

 Just hand over the list and nobody gets hurt...Especially if you just wanna label stuff!

Back-to-school deals. Just keep me away from the dollar spot.

 That "first day over and nobody got lost" feeling.

Pop those collars. You did it!

Wishing you a happy and productive back-to-school season!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Makeover Mania: Battleship Games and 5 Reasons Why You Should Use Them **FREEBIE included!

I have been doing a big shop makeover. As I looked back at my first efforts on Teachers Pay Teachers, I saw so much room for improvement. First up on my list? Battleship Games.

I chose to start with Battleship Games for two reasons:

1. I have some new Battleship Games drafted and I want all of the formatting to be the same.
2. I created the original versions of these games in Word...with none of my favorite graphics. Yikes! Nothing against Word, but I am waaaay better at working in PowerPoint. I learned that after these games were up and running.

As I give my games a face lift, I starting thinking about why I love these games in the first place!

Before and after of Revolutionary War Battleship

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Playing Battleship Games in the Classroom

1. They Engage Every Single Student

Before Battleship, I was all about games that allowed my students to review content. My go-to was Jeopardy-style games. I would assign different point values to the content and create questions that student teams would "buzz in" to answer. My problem with these games was that certain students NEVER participated. No matter how I organized my teams, they slid into the background and let other members of their team do all of the heavy lifting and in turn, never practiced the content. As a result, they didn't have fun and made it hard for the rest of us to enjoy the game. These students were often the ones that needed the review the most.

Enter Battleship! Since all of the content work of the game is handled as a team, with everyone pairing the questions and answers or matching cards together, the students can help each other and have great conversations about the material while doing it. It is great to hear kids prompting a classmate. "Remember...synonyms are words that are the same." It also allowed me to circulate the room and really assist where needed. Students are not put on the spot to know all content. They are required to find the answer in notes or reference materials and we all get to help each other firm up our knowledge!

The way the game is set up allows for easy differentiation!

2. They Require Teamwork

In my experience, the best classroom games require students to work together. I always begin the game by explaining to students that the point of the game is to have fun and practice the material. Once students realize that the competition in the game is inconsequential and its only purpose is to have fun while practicing content, it is easier to allow teams to help each other. During the matching portion of the game, teams work together to get all cards matched and arranged for the next part of the game. Sometimes a team will need help. I often send members of teams that are finished to help other teams. It is a great way to hammer home that our class works together!

An addition to helping each other during matching, teams work together to effectively answer questions during the guessing portion of play.

All parts of the game promote working together!

3. Battleship games are Great to use with Reference Materials like Interactive Notebooks

Since the rules of Battleship can be adapted to many different subjects and topics, use of reference materials such as Interactive Notebooks are the perfect companion. If applicable, I usually require students to have reference materials available. If I need to provide assistance with a student or group, having the reference materials they need handy.

I have included a freebie to allow you to try the game with your class. Synonyms and Antonyms Battleship!

If you do download, don't forget to leave feedback:) 

4. They Promote Critical Thinking and Strategy

During the guessing portion of the game, teams will often hit roadblocks. You can expect to hear kids commenting to each other about how to distribute cards to all members of the team to ensure the fastest draw. I have also had teams of students who are systematic about their guessing to make the most of each correct answer.

After each game, I always make it a point for teams to share what worked and what didn't for their team. They share dos and don't with each other, making each game after better and better!

5. They are FUN!

Battleship games are a great way to make sure that you review, preview, or practice content. They are a fun change from other academic games. They make the most of your valuable classroom time. All of those things are important, but... in my opinion, learning should be fun. I have students come back to visit me all the time. The thing that I hear the most is that they wish they could come back because we made learning fun. They will say, "I wish my new school played games like we did." or "Middle school is okay, but sometimes I wish that class was more fun."

Here is the link to my original Battleship post, in case you want to learn more about them.

I am also linking to the Battleship section of my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. You can find all of the games I currently have available. Check back often and follow me. I will be adding several more games in the coming weeks.

Comment if you have a suggestion for a Battleship Game!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Weeks 1 and 2

Hello Teacher Friends!

Big things have been happening around here lately. I had a baby, y'all! She is amazing and has fit right into our little family. Dahlia is the best big sister. Needless to say, I have been spending a lot of time awake in the wee hours. After binge watching season 3 of Orange is the New Black, I began to yearn for productivity. 

Here is my little beauty: 

After some midnight contemplation, I decided to makeover my oldest products this summer. It has quickly snowballed into Makeover Mania! It has worked out nicely that week one of the TPT Seller Challenge was to makeover an old product! 
Here is the Seller Challenge for the next four weeks: 

I am linking up for weeks one and two with Sparkling in Second

Week One: 
Here is a picture that shows the transformation of my Revolutionary War Battleship game. I haven't uploaded the refreshed version yet, but I am so excited to get every Battleship game in my store made over. They were the first products that I ever did. Man, were they in need of a new look! 

Week Two:

Debt: We have some medical debt, not to mention student loans and a mortgage. I would love to get all of it paid and be free to use more of my money to work for me! Teachers Pay Teachers has given me the ability to pay of some of the medical debt already. I am so thankful that my store makes things possible for us that would otherwise be a distant dream!

Travel: Dahlia keeps telling people that we are going to Disney World. I have to clarify that we have a DREAM to go to Disney World. How awesome would it be to be able to decide that we want to go somewhere like that and just go?! Another motivator for me to travel more is that my mom is in the process of having some procedures done that could make her asthma more manageable. With the possibility of her being well enough to travel out there, I can't help but think of all the adventures that we could have together! Speaking of travel... Vegas 2016 is a huge goal of mine!!

Dream Property: We live in town (a city, really). I am a country girl at heart. My husband and family are big outdoor people. Hunting, fishing, the while nine yards. I would love to be able to purchase a larger piece of property in the country to allow us to do all of the things we like to do as a family. The long term goal would be to build my dream home on the property! They said to dream big, right?!

Giving: Being generous. Treating my teachers to a lunch, fancy coffee, or Sonic drinks. Teaching is so stressful. I can't wait to help brighten the day of the people who make my day better. This goal ties into growing my relationships with the new people in our building. Good conversation is always easier with snackies, right!?This one seems small, but I can imagine that once I realize the goal of doing small things for people that my generosity will grow bigger and BIGGER.

Teachers Pay Teachers is more than a business for me. This challenge is evidence of that. I feel inspired to make this school year THE YEAR!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

FREEBIE: Treats for Teachers Tags: January

Hi Teacher Friends!

I did a little teacher appreciation surprise for my staff this week. Let's face it, coming back in January is hard to do. I knew by Wednesday we would all be dragging and struggling to re-acclimate to standing all day and not getting to pee when we need to.

Let's add that is has been brutally cold here in Oklahoma to the mix.

So, on Wednesday, I brought in some tea bags and lemons and homemade cookies and set them all up in the lounge with an urn of hot water. Here is what it looked like:

You can't see the cookies because those suckers were gone in just a few minutes! However, can you see the funny note my principal left? She attached it to the sleepytime tea that came in one of the variety packs. It says, "Do not drink this until you get home!" Isn't that hilarious?

My computer is also in the background. Just to be silly I added some festive polka music. January is National Polka Music Month, National Hot Tea Month, and National Soup Month to name a few. 

I went ahead and made a freebie of the tags and signs I created. I also already finished February! Click the link to take you to the FREEBIE. 

I think that later this month I will bring in some instant soup packets for teachers to have for lunch and attach these SOUPer tags to them. 

I appreciate all you do!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Baaaaahck to School: The Goat

Funny story.

On my way to school yesterday, as I approached the parking lot, I noticed a sign on the side of the road that read, "Found GOAT."I seriously considered turning around and taking a picture. Let's be honest. The only reason I didn't was...I was very close to being late. Okay, full disclosure? I was one minute late already.

As I cruised into the school zone, parked my car, and briskly waddled across the parking lot with my big bag o' school junk, I noticed many of our students hanging out of bus windows. Then I saw it.....

This little guy was actually butting a parent in the derriere. I asked said parent if the goat (hereafter known as simply "Goat") was his... no, no he wasn't. 

As a teacher attempted to enter the building, so did the goat. I actually had to steer Goat away from the door while kids hollered, "Don't let him in again!" 


Apparently Goat had already greeted the office ladies and been sent outside to greet everyone else. 

He seemed quite tame and was noisily chatting with animal control as they came to pick him up. I imagine Goat being treated well at a large and lady goat filled farm. 

How was your first day back?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Currently January 2015 and an Announcement!

What the what!? It's almost 2015. And in all of my laziness and internet binging, I see that Farley has January up early!! Huzzah! I am never early or even close to first the Currently Party!

Here is what I have for the new year:

Listening: Sesame Street may not seem like exciting TV, but since I work on a normal Wednesday, I never get to see it with Dahlia. Loving my snuggle time right now!

Loving: How spacious it feels in my living room sans the tree and other Christmas decorations!

Thinking: I would usually put the boxes in the attic myself, but I am pregnant! That means that I don't have to do anything, right?? 

We will be welcoming another baby girl in May!

Wanting: I know, this one is lame. As soon as January rolls around, I get antsy. I would rather have it all over and done with. Bring on the W-4s! 

Needing: One of the groups that I follow on Facebook had a great post about teacher loan forgiveness. It got me to thinking and now I need to make some follow-up phone calls. 

Yes, Maybe, I Wish: If you want to know more about FOCUS as my yes for the new year, click here
Maybe a vacation is in order, but when the little one gets here, will I want to travel? We will see. I Wish I had a housekeeper. This may be the cleanest my house is until 2019 when the new baby turns 4!

Wishing you and yours the best!

Monday, December 29, 2014

One Word Resolution

Hello There Teacher Friends!

I don't know about you, but in the past, resolutions have been, let's just say, iffy for me. I have had years when I made a super specific resolution and it worked out, and years when it... didn't. I am linking up with Primary Powers to share my one word resolution.

Last year, I did the one little word thing and it was like MAGIC to me. In 2014 my word was BALANCE. I had a few other marginally successful resolutions, but the one thing that I did all year long was bring it all back to my one-little-word.

I wanted to balance my personal and professional lives. Any time I felt compelled to say that nasty three-letter-word, YES,  even when I was unsure if it was good for me to do so, I thought of my one-little-word instead. Trading in "yes" for "balance" was challenging and good for me. In 2014, I stretched myself and was able to shift some monkeys off of my back.

In 2015, I am choosing the word FOCUS. I am talking laser-like Jedi focus. Now, that may be the only Star Wars analogy I have in my pocket, but I think I know what it means.

In everything I do, I want to focus entirely on that endeavor. I want to be in the moment and avoid the pitfalls of squirreling, rabbit-trailing, or any other distraction metaphor there is.

Example: I was just really tempted to Google distraction metaphors. That could have been at least 10 wasted minutes! Family time will mean focusing on family. Email, will a hard one. I can tend to be swallowed up by my inbox at work.

Now, I will focus on reading for pleasure:) After all, it is still break and I need to focus on me. I hope you are doing the same, teacher friends!

All of my best,