Sunday, June 30, 2013

Don't Miss Out!!

Just a reminder that my Bloglovin giveaway ends tonight at midnight!  TWO lucky winners will each win my Word Parts We Know bundled unit.

If you are looking for a great program to help your students improve their vocabulary, comprehension and fluency by learning five new Greek or Latin word parts a week, this is the program for you!  Common Core aligned and classroom tested!  Enter now!
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The lucky two winners will be announced on Monday.  Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Goals & a Freebie!

Well, this crazy month of June is quickly coming to an end.  I have only been on summer break for three weeks, yet it seems like forever since there has been so much going on!

Looking forward to July, I'm linking up with Jess at I {Heart} Recess for her July Goals linky:

Personal:  I have been checking in with Kristin at Teach n' Tex every Wednesday for PMA Wednesdays and it really has helped me think more positively throughout my week.  I read "The Energy Bus" by Jon Gordon and it has made such a difference in my life!  I need to keep it up!

Family:  Ryan will be heading to the Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia soon.  Last time the boys went to Jamboree, Kara & I took a trip to the Mall of America in Minneapolis.  We can't do that this time, but we hope to find some fun things to do around home to help build some good summer memories for her.

Health:  I need to drink more water.  Period.

School:  At the end of last year, I took EVERYTHING down in my room.  (Usually, we can leave everything up...which I have done for the past five years.)  I did this on purpose so I would HAVE to find some new decorating goodies.  I'm loving chevron and owls...maybe I'll head toward that.

Blog/TpT:  I hope to share more tips about how to teach writing.  This seems to be one area that is sorely missing out there, based on the feedback I've received already.  Stay tuned!  Lots of good shares coming!!

Outside the Box:  It may be rather boring, but I am pledging on eating a fruit or veggie before I eat anything else -- meals or snacks.  (In the past, sometimes I would go a whole day without either of these...sad, I know.)  This is a Weight Watchers trick and I need to be more diligent about doing this.  It will fill me up and help improve my health.

So there are my June goals.  I hope you will head over to I {Heart} Recess and add your own!

With the close of June, also comes a close to our teaching contracts for many of us out there.  July 1st begins a new contract year and is a time when many teachers are reflecting on their salaries.  So I offer this freebie for you to ponder when you are looking at those numbers on your next paycheck. (You can download it by clicking on the picture or here.)

You probably didn't enter this profession for the I wanted to remind you of what you "make" in addition to your paycheck.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday {June 28, 2013}

Happy Friday!  I'm checking in with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  Isn't this a great way to keep track of your weeks...since time is flying by so quickly???  It sounds like this linky party will be taking a break for the month of July.  I'll have to find another way to record my summer highlights.
My National Writing Project program starts a week from Monday.  One of the BIG gigantic projects is that we all have to present something called a Teacher Inquiry Workshop (TIW).  This is where we present (in 75 minutes, by the way) on a topic that we "inquired" about. 
I'm doing my project on helping students revise their writing.  (No more 'one and done' for my kiddos, no siree!)  Because I like to get things over with, I signed up to present on July 11th -- on the FOURTH day of class.  That means I need to get most of my research done now.
So I've been reading...a lot....this week.  Here are two great books I'm working my way through:

Product Details
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If you want to learn more about helping your students revise, check out these great resources ... or stay tuned to my blog!

My sister and her family moved to Texas this week.  (Sad face....)  This was very hard for me.  She is my only sister and I already miss her.   Both her and her husband got new jobs in the Dallas area.  I will miss seeing them, especially my niece and nephew.

My sister and I at Kara's graduation

Fun in the sun!

It rained her this week.  A lot.  Like almost 6 inches since Sunday.  My flowers took a beating from all of the rain and wind and some of them toppled over.  But when life gives you lemons, make lemonade -- or a flower bouquet -- right?

We went out for ice cream last night and it started to rain.  (Shocking!)  But on the way home, the sun came out and I saw this in the sky.  (No, I was not driving...)

Yep, a double rainbow!  Must have been my doubly lucky day!

I participated in my first ever giveaway with about 150 other bloggers on Wednesday.  Follow me on Bloglovin and enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of my bundled sets of Word Parts We Know vocabulary program for grades 4-6.  Two lucky winners will be chosen.  Enter through Sunday.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This one is kind of goofy, but it's the little things in life, right?

The price of gas is FINALLY going down.  Two weeks ago, I paid $4.29 a gallon.  Last night, it was...


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  July is coming!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm Going to Writing Camp!

Hello blog friends!

Holy cow!  I wonder if Bloglovin' knew what it had coming yesterday! 

Thanks to everyone who signed up to follow me through Bloglovin'.  If you haven't done so yet, please click the Bloglovin' button on my sidebar and sign up.  After you do (or if you have done so already), don't forget to enter my giveaway with the Rafflecopter below. I'm giving away a complete set of my new Word Parts We Know program to TWO lucky winners.   Enter through Sunday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Teaching writing is one of my most favorite things to do!  I have spent a lot of time learning about how to be a better writing teacher.  I have learned from the best -- Ralph Fletcher, Regie Routman, Kate Messner, Lucy Caulkins, & Aimee Buckner, to name just a few.

Every one of the books I've read about teaching writing talks about how important it is to share my own writing with my students.  This was a problem....


MY writing???

(Panic sets in....)

I don't write....I TEACH writing. 

(What ever will I share?)

As it turns out, these two concepts -- being a writing teacher and being a writer -- are mutually beneficial.  Doing one helps make you better at the other.  It's a win-win!

So I'm making a conscious effort to do more writing this summer.  As I was blog stalking today and checking in with Shannon at I Run, Read, Teach,  I read about a very fun summer writing opportunity from author/writing expert Kate Messner called Teachers Write 2013.  I had never heard of Teachers Write so of course, I had to check it out!

What is Teachers Write 2013?  It's like an online writing camp for teachers!

As Kate says on her blog:
Our goal is to provide opportunities and encouragement for writing, learning, and sharing, with support from published authors who donate their time to visit and join our conversations.

Sounds like an amazing opportunity!

So this is my opportunity to start building MY writing portfolio so I can share some writing with my students.  If you are interested in writing, I encourage you to check it out!  Teachers Write 2013 is being held June 24th - August 12th.  (Yes, June 24th was this past Monday but it's not too late to get started.)  This online program is FREE and sounds like it will be lots of fun!

If  When you sign up, let me know!  I'd love to collaborate with you!!  This should be lots of fun -- and you don't even need to bring bug spray to this kind of camp!

Happy writing!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Bloglovin' Giveaway!

You have probably heard by now that Google Reader is going away on July 1st.  (If you haven't, where have you been???)  Well, Google Reader may be going away, but I don't want YOU to go away, so I hope that you will continue to follow my blog through Bloglovin!  I know that change is I thought I might sweeten it up for you a little bit!

I am doing a giveaway contest for all of my fabulous followers that take the leap and switch over to Bloglovin.  You may have already switched over.  In that case, this will be an easy entry!
Simply go to my sidebar (that's the column on the right over there that shows my followers) and click the button that says Follow this Blog with Bloglovin.  Or, you can go into the Rafflecopter below and click the link in the first entry, and that will take you to my blog on Bloglovin.

Please be sure to leave your Bloglovin username in the Rafflecopter entry.  Then, go to this post on bloglovin and "like" it.

Make sure that the blue button at the top of my Bloglovin page has been clicked (it should be gray with the word "Following"- if it's blue, please click it to follow!)

So, if you follow me by Bloglovin, please enter my giveaway.  I will be picking 2 WINNERS and each winner will receive my Word Parts We Know bundled unit from my TpT Store!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

get the InLinkz code

Before I go, I want to share my PMA Wednesday thought of the week.  I REALLY like this one.
Makes you think, right??
Have a wonderful Wednesday!  And THANK YOU for following me through Bloglovin'!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tried it Tuesday -- PlanbookEdu

I'm excited to be linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesday linky party!

There has been a lot of talk out there in blog land about teacher planners.  I know a lot of you have ordered an Erin Condren planner and I think they are absolutely beautiful!  I have been to her website at least five times to order one for myself, but I can't quite seem to let go of the $59 that they cost.

I use my iPad a lot when I am teaching and planning so I am also thinking about using an online planner such as  I tried this site about two years ago and am giving some serious consideration to going back. allows teachers to input their lesson plans and store them online.  This means they can be accessed from any place that has an internet connection.  So if you have to stay home from school because the kids (or your) are sick, you can go online to find your lesson plans.  No more carrying home a lesson plan binder "just in case." 

The basic plan is FREE and that is the one I used two years ago.  It met all of my needs.  However, for $25, you can get more of the bells and whistles:  Common Core standards, sharing plans with others, printing from your browser, attaching files, etc. 

What do you think about an online planner?  Do you have any experience with this site that you could share some thoughts?

Head on over to Holly's linky party and check out the other great "tried its!"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Made It {June 24, 2013) & Summer Salsa

Happy RAINY Monday from southeastern Wisconsin!  It's the perfect day to check in with my favorite blogs and link up with 4th Grade Frolics and Monday Made It!
One of the things that I LOVE the most about summer is all of the colorful flowers and gardens around my home.  I spend entirely TOO MUCH MONEY on flowers (I have no self-control!) but they are well worth it because they make me happy!  This week, I added a few more flower pots to my patio and made a pot of herbs for my deck.

I wish I was more crafty this past week, but I have spent all of my "made it" energy on finishing up my first products and opening my new TpT store!  This was definitely a labor of love for me and I am quite proud of the finished products!

The Word Parts We Know program is a comprehensive vocabulary program based on learning five new Greek or Latin prefix or suffix word parts each week.  Each level contains 12 weeks worth of units and includes student flashcards, weekly sheets, word wall cards and assessments.  It is Common Core aligned and classroom tested (and improved!).  If you are looking to include prefix and suffix vocabulary work in your 4th-6th grade classrooms, I hope you will check it out!  It is on SALE through today (Monday) at my TpT Store

It was birthday and graduation party central around here this week!  My daughter graduated from 8th grade two weeks ago and has her birthday on July 16th so we decided to do a combo celebration.  She decided she wanted to have an ice cream cake and cupcakes so check out this picture of her cupcake with her 14 candles -- major heat!  I could hardly light all of those candles!
I love to cook and rarely have time during the school year so I really enjoyed preparing some new recipes for her party.  There is a great summer linky party from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road that I am also linking up with this week.  (And this would also count as a "Made It", right?)

A few years ago, a friend gave me a recipe for summer salsa that I wanted to share with you because it is SO easy and SO yummy.  It's something everyone can make!

1 can black beans (rinsed)
5 plum tomatoes (seeded and diced)
1/2 red onion (diced)
1 small can corn
1 avocado (diced)
1 small can sliced olives (optional)
Fresh cilantro (to taste)
salt & pepper

Mix all of this together in a bowl.

Add the secret ingredient....
Kraft Zesty Italian dressing!  YUM!  (I love this is good for everything -- salsa, marinating chicken, even salad!  :)

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup dressing over your veggies and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve with tortilla chips.  (Also makes a great topping to a baked potato!)  From the other great recipes at Christy's linky party, I know my family will be eating well this week!
This week I hope to bring my crafty side back.  I'm planning a trip to Hobby Lobby AND Michaels...and I know I will find more ideas after catching up on the Monday Made It linky party.  From what I've seen already, I've got some serious crafting inspiration ahead.  Hope you will head over and check it out!

Have a great week!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday and a SALE! {June 21, 2013}

Happy Friday!  I read on another blog that today is the first day of summer...I guess I should look at the calendar more often!  (Oh, the joys of being away from school and not needing a calendar!)

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!  I love this linky!  After the summer has flown by, I will have a great way to go back and look at what I did.  Love it!

I have spent a lot of time reading this week.  I am currently reading The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.  I decided to pick up this book after reading about PMA Wednesdays from Kristin at Teach n Tex.  If you are looking for the perfect pick-me-up-and-energize-me book, this is it! I can't put it down and I've already recommended it to three other people.  

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On Tuesday, I had my last pre-institute meeting for the National Writing Project at UW-Milwaukee this summer.  My three week institute begins July 8th and I can't wait!  I am working on narrowing down my inquiry topic.  I'm thinking something along the lines of how to help students REVISE their writing.  (I don't know about you, but for many of my students the word 'revision' is not in their vocabulary.)  What do you think?  Is there some area of writing you would like to know more about? I'm listening!

Last Sunday, I found this little guy on the floor as I was walking into my bedroom.

Yes, that is a SNAPPING TURTLE
 In my bedroom!
Granted, it's just a baby....but it's not cute and cuddly like baby puppies are. 
 This one will grown up to bite my arm off! 
Glad I found him before I got out of bed at night to visit the bathroom and stepped on him.

I'm sure he was brought into the house as a guest of one of these two little trouble makers....

Trust me, they are not as innocent as they look!

Last week, I wrote about my newly redecorated office.  Thanks to everyone who left comments from my "Made It Monday" post!  Your thoughts were really sweet and warmed my heart!

In case you missed the pics, here's a few:

Which leads me to my last highlight of the week...

This bright and cheery office came in handy this week because I have been spending A LOT of time in here finishing up my first products for my


Last summer, I created a vocabulary program to use at my school district called
I have had tremendous success with building my students vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency with this product.
I have two levels and each level has 12 weeks of prefix and suffix work.

I will write more about it later, but if you want to check out my product (and new store!),
 please visit my TpT site here.
You can download a preview that has one whole week's worth of materials to check it out for yourself.
In honor of my new store and new product, I'm putting it on SALE until Monday!
(Who doesn't LOVE a sale???)
I would be most honored if you would check it out and let me know what you think! 
Thanks so much for your time!

Tonight I have to go to the Boy Scout camp to pick my Ryan up.  He's been there since last Saturday for National Youth Leadership Training with NO CELL PHONE
I don't know who had it worse...him or me!  I sure have missed my guy!  Can't wait to see him!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!