Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Review



“White is something just like black is something. Everybody born on this earth is something and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else.”
“Baby, we have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here.”


I have read a lot of book reviews in my book reading life thanks to both Paperbackswap and Goodreads. Many have been helpful and many not so much.  It got me to thinking about what kind of a review I would write. I don’t really have confidence in my book review talent. So I have decided to stretch myself and make myself do it.


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is about a black family living in the south during the 1930’s. The kids have to walk to their school and while doing so have to run and jump off the road to ensure they don’t get run over by the bus carrying the white children to their school.


Cassie, the main character, is quickly learning the injustices of her skin color and how they are treated.  She seems to accept the bus issue and the hand me down school supplies, but when she is in a visiting town she is mistreated by a white store clerk and stands up to him. This doesn’t go as she had planned and then spirals downhill from there. She can’t understand why her brother and grandmother seem to take the side of the white men that are treating her in a rude fashion.


Later Cassie has to decide on what things are worth fighting for and what things she just has to accept. After the advice from her father, she decides to fight and it goes her way.


I have read a few books that deal with the issue between blacks and whites, but very few from the view of the black child. I can only think of one other book that shares this same point of view and that would be Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. And although both of these books are written from a black child’s perspective that is where I feel the similarities end. I feel as if this book really shows how the black community felt during this time. All other books just briefly touch on it, but it is once again mostly from the white perspective of how blacks are treated.


One thing I liked about this book was the fact that it didn’t sugar coat anything. It was age appropriate but it was real. The word “nigger” was used a lot and I can see how this could turn people off or upset them, but it was used a lot in real life. If the word was left out or changed, it would have been sugar coated. This was not a “nice” time in our history, and children need to know this. There were other parts of the book that I appreciated the fact that it was real.


It has taken me awhile to read this book purely for the fact that it is not a 4th grade level book. I would not recommend it to my 4th graders but only because the reading level is too high, not because of content. It is also one of those books that the middle school teachers think is a sin if you haven't read it.


Overall, I enjoyed the book and would read it again.


So, how did I do on my first book review that consisted of more than just “I liked it."?



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bucket List Check Off~ Clothes Pins

I am on a roll! Probably a good thing since time is running out!

Bucket list check off!" Put together clothes pins to display 4th graders proud work" was the lucky item this time round!

The past few years we have done a super hero themed poster type thing (how is that for description!) to display the student's work in the hall, and it worked well, but it is time for change.

The first grade teachers in our school are some of the post creative people and I want to be like them when I grow up. This year they had clothes pins our in the hall for the students or teacher to put their work up. Not tape, no staple, no problems!

So naturally, I stole the idea!

First, I painted the clothes pins with orange paint and let them dry for a few hours. Then OMM came over and we hot glued the thumb tack on to the back of the clothes pin and we were finished! Easy enough!

I may go ahead and add some design to the pins to spruce them up a bit, but that may depend on time. Once I get them up on the wall and some proud work in them, I will post some pictures.

Bucketlist Check Off~ Lunch in Loveland

Ok well it ended up being more like brunch, but food is food right?

I have been so blessed lately with friends who have looked at my bucket list and picked an item to help me check off! My dear friend Erin and her beautiful daughter Maesynn invited me to go to Loveland for the day.

After Erin and Maesynn's chiropractor appointment, we walked over to The Breakfast Club. Many times the thought of going there had crossed several people's minds but never made it. So why not do it now?

I really enjoyed this small town mom and pop place. There were old pictures and advertisements all over the wall and many regulars filling the table. One man seems to have been there enough that the waitress just simply asked if he wanted his regular.

I also liked that there were unique items on the menu along with traditional items. Since my new goal in life is to try out the "orange sherbet" items in life instead of the plain vanilla, I got the Country Benedict. I was not disappointed!

What is Country Benedict you ask? Canadian bacon, poached egg and country gravy over cornbread. I would drive to Loveland right now to eat my weight in it!

Would I go here again? In a heartbeat.
Would I recommend it to a friend? I just wrote a good blog about it, so I guess so!

Thanks Erin for bucket list check off, brunch and helping me find some new clothes for school.

Bucket List Check Off ~ Get Lost at Cheesecake Therapy

Last week I checked several items off of my bucket list but it is taking me awhile to get everything written down. After this one, I have one more to go! I guess this is a good thing right?

This check off is "get lost at Cheesecake Therapy." I didn't exactly get lost but I wanted to. This little gem has to be one of the cutest places I have ever been! Sadly, it is up for sale and may not be in existence much longer. Which is why I made a quick stop before I headed home to make sure that I was able to visit the shop. I wanted to stay there for hours and soak it all in.

The building itself was cute, just a little cottage type house with a lot of outside seating. Inside wasn't any different! Like I said, I could spend hours here!

Worst part of Cheesecake Therapy, deciding what cheesecake to get! I ended up getting the pack of ten and taking five of them to my sister at work with some coffee lovin'.

Oreo, white raspberry, smores, key lime, blueberry and pecan were lucky enough to make it in to our tummies.

I hope that I am able to make it back to Denver and able to spend some time here before it is sold. Even the quick trip was worth it!

Ok, now I need to go eat some cheesecake!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Movie on the Rocks

On September 25, 1987, one of the greatest movies ever was released. What happens when you are almost five and your primary focus is your little sister and Bedknobs and Broomsticks and you miss out on it? You watch it at Red Rocks Amphitheater 26 years later! 

Ready for what movie it was?

That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.
If you said, Princess Bride, you are correct!

I every much enjoy going to movies at Red Rocks, ok I have only been twice, but I have enjoyed both times. What is different from going to a movie here and one in the theater is mainly the fact that it is you and your closest 10,000 closets friends! Both times I went (to Jurassic Park and Princess Bride) the show was sold out.

Since most movies shown here are at least a good twenty+ years old or pretty much 9,000 people have already seen the movie, the rules are a little relaxed.

For instance, you can cheer like you are at a rock concert when something good happens! It is also encouraged to quote along with the movie! When Indigo said his famous quote (you know the one I am talkin about!) those 9,000 people in unison joined him. Woo hoo!! Can't go wrong!

 View from parking lot. Yes we are going to go behind that "rock."
And here we go. If you think you are in shape, go to Red Rocks to really see if you are or not!
View from our seats

View in our seats. Sorry Ali and Molly.

Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.
The End.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bucket List Check Off ~ Lunch with Dad

Love the "Watering Hole" and the mountains in the background

Want a good burger? Want to eat the most delicious soup you have ever had in your life? Well Woody's is your place! Best potato beer cheese soup ever. I could just sit in it like a hot tub with a spoon.

My dad's company works at Coors in Golden and Woody's is a few blocks away, so I added to my bucket list to have lunch with him on his lunch break.

We meet each other at the restaurant and sat outside under the umbrellas eagerly awaiting the opening of the doors. It wasn't hot so it was nice to sit outside and chat.

I always have a hard time choosing what to eat when we go here because there is just so much that makes me happy. This time around I picked a Philly Cheese Steak and sweet potato fries. I couldn't pass up the chance for soup so I splurged and ordered a bowl. Oh happy tummy!

I love spending time with Dad so no matter where we ate, I would have been happy!

When Dad went back to work, I walked around Golden looking at all the little shops that make up downtown. I stumbled across a coffee shop and just had to go in for a spell. Comfy chair, book and coffee? Yes please!

Again this bucket list item wasn't so much of a new thing for me, but an assurance that it happened this summer.

What is a restaurant that you have to visit when you go to another town to visit?

RAOK Success

Today kicked off my RAOK Campaign and I was pleased with how it all went down.

I decided to start simple and pay for the person behind me in line while getting coffee. I wrote out a card just saying that they had been blessed with a RAOK and that I hoped they had a good day.

Things didn't go as originally planned. I wanted to do a drive thru for the convenience, but since I was tired of driving around the big city (I am such a country girl driver) I settled for the first Starbucks I found, which did not happen to have a drive thru. Oh well.

So I went in with my card, extra money and my plan. I strategically placed myself at the end of the line and waited my turn. After ordering my drinks, I asked the barista if he would be willing to help me out. I gave him the card and the cash asking to give it to the next person to heed the call of the bean. I gave him cash since I didn't know how much the person's order was going to come to. I also told him that with whatever money was left, he could put it in the tip jar. I think he might have been impressed. He told me that it was a nice thing to do and then gave me extra after 2 P.M receipts for $2 coffees. I'll take it!

Sadly, I turned around and there was someone RIGHT there. Did he hear my plan? Was my cover blown. Not at all.

I can't decided if it was a down fall of watching the whole thing go down or if I liked it. A part of me felt both. So I watched the guy behind me, receive the card, open it, read it and then give it back to the barista. What? That's not what was supposed to happen. The barista makes eye contact with me after the guy says something to him that I was not able to hear. My heart was ready to be really sad, UNTIL...he then gave it to the old man behind him! I am not sure who actually got the free coffee, but I do know that the two men shook hands and introduced each other. The second man's name was Al and he was a cute old man. I know this was his name, because every person who worked there called out, "Hey Al!" with a large smile and a wave. He must be a regular! He made me smile.

So to sum it all up. It didn't go like I thought it would, but I did get at least three people thinking and I feel like that was a success. Seeds of kindness were planted or at least the thought of it. It doesn't really matter about the free coffee but more of the feeling and thought that came along with the event.

Here's to Al and my first RAOK.

What is something you have done for someone lately either stranger, friend or loved one?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Motivating Children to Read

Funny how one day I struggle to find something to blog about and then the next I have five topics! I would gladly post all five in one day, but think I will pace myself!

The first one I will start with is the one from my Blogging Bunch group. I love this group and the support I get form them. Today's task is to "Solve a problem with your blog post." At first I did something that might have resembled a grumble. I don't know how to solve a problem. I have too many I am trying to solve let alone help someone else.

Then it hit me! I am going to give some tips to parents about getting their children to read! Then I got really excited and thought about it the whole time until I was able to get home and get started! So here we go!

How to Motivate Your Child to Read

  • Read yourself
    • Being a role model is so important. If they see you read, they will read. How many times have you caught your child saying or doing something that you yourself do? Why would reading be any different?

  • Find a topic that interests them
    • If they aren't interested they aren't going to read it. Do you read something you aren't interested in? All during the school year they have to read things that may not interest them about 80% of the time.

  • Take an outing to the library
    • Here they can pick what they would like to read. If they are having a hard time finding something, ask a librarian for some recommendations based on what they like. While there, check a book out for yourself

  • Plan an activity to go with a book
    • There are tons of book activities on the web (I know, I have looked!) Just search lesson plans for said book. There may be activities to do as you go along or when they are finished. This will work of any level of book, picture or chapter book.

  • Read with/to them
    • This one is my most favorite and what I feel is the most important. Dads, you need to read to your children also. They, especially boys, need a reading role model.

  • Get excited about reading and don't use it as a punishment
    • No one likes to do anything that isn't exciting and that they at one time have been punished for. Reading is supposed to be fun.

So there is my advice that hopefully helps solve a problem you might have.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Wanna Be Loved Like That

It is time for a lay it all out there, a heart sharing honest post.


I am 30. I am single. I have never had a boyfriend. I am ok with that.


I am constantly told that I need to lower my standards and that I will never find a husband if I don’t.


I call B.S.


If I don’t find a husband that meets the standards that I have set, then so be it.


I deserve to be loved the way that I want to be loved and no less.


I deserve to be loved like

                Forest loves Jenny

I deserve to be loved like

                Gilbert loves Anne

I deserve to be loved like

                Ken loves Barbie

I deserve to be loved like

                Corey loves Topanga

I deserve to be loved like

                Jamie loves Claire

I deserve to be loved like

                Shiloh loves Cheney

I deserve to be loved like

                Donald loves Martha


So until then, I will continue living my life with my hope of the love that I rightly deserve and desire.

Dear Husband,
     I just haven't met you yet. My heart is yours and yours alone. I promise to guard it and keep it until the day that you love me. I made this promise to you when I was eleven years old and I am not going to break it now. I love.

Rush, Rush, Shush

In the book "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech, Sal is eager to get to Idaho where her mother is, and on their way there, she constantly hears the world telling her rush, rush, rush. This is a little how I feel at the moment.

It has become very clear to me that school is just around the corner and there is still a lot to do. Some of the things that need to get done both at home and at school can't be started until a later date. A few things probably won't even get done, both for school and home. But that is ok.

So in the mean time, I am focusing on what I can to shush the rush and trying to enjoy what time I do have left even if it is "working."

A lot of my projects aren't really cleaning, but more organizing and going through things and in the process cleaning. I have gone through boxes and tossed stuff or stored it in a better area. I have to fight my inner hoarder 96.4% of the time, but am doing a good job of overcoming that demon.

Me after about twenty minutes unless I get a
surge of super woman power
As much as I would like to be the person who gets up and accomplishes all the cleaning at once and then enjoys the rest of the day, I am not. I have found that I can only do that when it is last minute. I peter out pretty quickly and I am ready to go do something fun. Thankfully I have found a pretty good system for me this summer.

I use the timer like the mom with the kid who doesn't get her chores done in a timely manner. Or like the teacher that sets the timer, yes I am one of those. It works! I get so much done in 20 or 30 minutes! Maybe it is because I know that when I am finished I can go and do something fun, usually back to my book. Then I will "rest" for 20 or 30 minutes and then do it all over again. Who knows if it is effective but I feel good about it and I am seeing the effects around the place. Plus it can become kind of a game with a race against the clock. How much can I get done before the timer goes off?

Also I have tried REALLY hard to adopt the "One Minute Rule." If it can be done in under a minute, "do it now". Such as putting my breakfast bowl in the dishwasher right when I am done with it. This can sometimes be a hard rule to follow with the idea of just doing it later. Well later piles up and then it takes 20 minutes to do the dishes.

So now that my 20 minute break is over with the clanging of the timer, I will get back to my project at hand, for 20 minutes that is!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

2013 Books Part I

Another list! On the Nerdy Book Club blog they asked for a list of your favorite books that you have read so far this year. I actually had a hard time making this list. Looking back over my list of books read, there have been very few that I was really ecstatic about. I did find ten but am interested to see how this list changes at the end of the year.

Here they are in no particular order:
The One and Only Ivan
  • The One and Only Ivan (ok this one is in an order, it has by far been the best book this year!)
  • A Long Way from Chicago
  • A Year Down Yonder
  • A Season of Gifts
  • Anne of Windy Poplar
  • Anne's House of Dreams
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (every year 4th graders!)
  • Walk Two Moons
  • Dragonfly in Amber
  • Rule Number Two: Lessons Learned in a Combat Hospital

What about you? What would be your top ten book read thus far in 2013?

What I like about this list and getting read back is that it will give me ideas of books to add to my to read pile (as if it wasn't big enough!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bucket List Check Off ~ Picnic with Raspberry Cordial

Check two off the bucket list! Thanks to some dear sweet friends of mine, I was able to check off a picnic at Jackson Lake and have Raspberry Cordial with a kindred spirit. I got to share it with three!

What made this bucket check off list so special to me is how it all came about. My second year of teaching I met the Kopetzky Family when I had their younger daughter, Abby, in my first grade class. I connected with them right away.

An impromptu camping trip to Jackson Lake, September 2008

Now five years later, I have had the joy of having Abby again in my fourth grade class and am looking forward to Laura in my class next year. I have also gotten to know both Steve and Sara during this time.

Earlier this week my phone rang and it was Sara. She informed me that her and the girls wanted to go for a picnic to Jackson and would I like to come along? Well yeah, it's on my bucket list! See, they knew it was on my bucket list.

Plans were made, a picnic was packed and we were headed north. Once I was in the car the girls excitedly told me they had a surprise! They made raspberry cordial for me! Also on my bucket list!

Now, I was not as "rude" as Diana, although I could have drank my weight in this fabulous red tongue tickler.

We had a fabulous time eating our lunch and talking. Even the rain didn't dampen our time or spirit. Since there was water near by we just had to take our shoes off and squish our toes in the sand.

I don't know if I can accurately put into words how much my *heart fluttered* today with the actions of my kindred spirits and their kind hearts. Thank you....

Get Your Nerd On

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a Colorado author at our local library. I got to meet Dom Testa, who is also part of a very popular radio show out of Denver along with being an author.

Years ago my cousin, Jake, told me about this book that I needed to read. I "oh cool"ed him and nodded my head saying I'd look into it. Well, he wasn't going to let it go, so finally I said yes and found a copy of the first book in the Galahad Series, The Comet's Curse. I am not much of a science fiction fan, but I really enjoyed these books! I read two of them in a week and would have probably finished with the series if I had a copy of book six.

The gist of the series is that Earth has pretty much been destroyed by a comet that makes everyone over the age of 18 sick and a group of 251 very smart and talented teens go on a space ship to go start another "world" basically and start over. (This really is not a very good summary of it. I recommend reading the back of the book or checking out his website!)

My local library did a book club with Comet's Curse and then had Dom come and speak. I was so impressed with both Dom and the kids that were there. The kids were engaged and excited the whole time and seemed to truly enjoy the book. I was impressed with the questions that they asked and their comprehension of the book.

Dom was amazing also! He spoke to the kids at their level, but didn't dumb it down for them. Which is what his non-profit club The Big Brain Club is all about. One thing he really wanted the kids to understand that "Smart is Cool." He has often seen kids dumb themselves down to be cool. Sometimes schools will even dumb down things for kids, not really realizing how much that can hurt them (my opinion not his.) I spent a while on the site, but still have a lot of exploring to do, but am impressed at what I saw!

He encouraged and made the kids promise that no matter what they liked to do, that they needed to share it with the world. Not to put it in a drawer and forget about it. He shared with the kids his rough drafts and plans for the books he has written and talked to them about the writing process. And of course my favorite was the encouragement to read, read, read!

I was just so excited how much he urged the kids to go for their dreams and share who they are, that being "Smart is Cool" and that they needed to "Get Their Nerd On."

This experience today made me an even bigger fan of the books and the author.

Dom Testa sharing his writing process with the audience.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Salida *Heart Flutters*

Every year I look forward to the second weekend of July. That weekend is ALWAYS reserved for a trip to Salida, Colorado no matter what. I become like a mosquito at a nude beach when it comes to this weekend!

This year the whole family was able to make the trip and enjoy some time together. We shopped, sat at the local coffee shop, played in the water, and remembered our mom/step-mom/wife/grandma and celebrated who she was.

Our trip in *heart flutter* pictures.

Sisters to explore, sip lattes and just be with.

Coffee house doodles on snail mail

 What I call "Kermit the Frog Bikes" EVERYWHERE. If I were to move here, I would have to get myself one of these, making sure that it had a basket!


 Aunts that will explore in the creek with sweet nephews.

Aunts that nephews trust completely.
Grandpas that are the only one to get the little one to stop squirming with a song.
New games to play at the local coffee shop with a nice cup o hot chocolate
Sweet nephew loves
Naps that knock your socks off and cause you to drool
Signs that make you laugh out loud
And signs with gentle reminders
(this picture and I got in a fight and I can't seem to get it changed. If you can't read what it says under stop, it says "Gossiping")

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I have officially discovered that reading blogs can be addictive! You can just bounce around from one blog to another and then forget where you even started! Which is what happened to me tonight. I got on to check the blogs I am following and then from one went to another and then stumbled across a blog that allowed a small thought way back in the back of my mind to come crashing to the front!

I want to partake in RAOKs, random acts of kindness. I have been thinking about this for some time, but just haven't acted upon it yet. Well today is the day!

Mique over at {30 Days} pushed me to rise to the occasion. I found her site through a linkup blog (sorry I couldn't go back and find where, hence the previous statement) and have spent hours looking at her ideas and other blogs that she linked up to.

So now to begin.

Mique does a RAOK on the 14th of every month, which started out as a birthday gift to her son. His birthday is on the 14th and this helps her to make sure that she does it every month. She has also asked others to join her on these days. Perfect! My step-mom's birthday is on the 14th also, and what better way to honor her. She would be so proud and excited about this project. I have also decided to add another day in the month. The plan is the 14th is set aside for a bigger RAOK and the other one a smaller project.

I have not decided yet if I am going to blog about this project other than this one. It may take out the randomness. Since many people that I will be doing this for, probably read this, it might defeat the purpose. I am not sure yet, might have to get back to you on that one! Some of the RAOK may not be anonymous and those may be blogged about.

The point is, I am ecstatic about this idea and can't wait to get started.

What are some ideas you have for an RAOK?
What is a RAOK you have received yourself?

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Stealing" Ideas

With my ceiling in my classroom almost back to normal, I am eagerly waiting for the green light to get back in there. I am anxious to try out some of the new ideas I have collected over the summer.

One of the ideas I found involved one of my greatest *heart flutters* I collect quotes. I have them written down everywhere: in a notebook in my purse, in my phone, my random notebook, my quote notebook, random scraps of paper, on my computer, a Pintrest quote board etc. So when I was roaming around Pintrest (probably when I should have been sleeping,) I came across a Reading Graffiti Wall, and fell in love! Then not only did I fall in love with the idea, but the entire blog! She had me sold at the giant Superman! AND she had some pretty cool links to visit also!

I often share quotes with my students and have even had some give me quotes. I tend to treasure these quotes the most. One of my students last year gave me this quote:

Anyway, I am totally going to do this in my classroom this year. Shouldn't be too hard to implement or up keep. The hardest part will be trying to find a place to put it where the students can reach it easily.

This may also be a good way to show examples of figurative language and voice in writing.

So many good ideas out there!

P.S. While in college we watched a video of Harry Wong, who is a classroom management god, and the biggest thing I remember is he said to "steal, steal, steal" ideas from other teachers. Good thing I was given that permission, because there are some way more creative people out there with ideas better than mine! Thank you Jordon for allowing me to "steal" your idea!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mockingbird Memories

“Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  
-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

On July 11, 1960, 53 years ago today, one of the best pieces of literature was published, To Kill a Mockingbird. I am not alone in saying that this book is one of the best books ever read. I read it in high school and then read it again later in life. Most likely I will be reading this book again in my life time. Then unlike most book/movie combos, the movie was pretty great too!

I have a special story about this book. My step-mom, Sandy, had never read it, and I felt that it was an abomination. I told her she should read it and I even found her a used copy to read. When I asked her about it, she said she just couldn't get into it. I asked her how far into it she got, knowing that she probably hadn't given it much of a chance. I was right. Her response was somewhere along the lines of page 5. 

So in the summer of 2011 I again asked her to read it and told her that in a way it helped pave the way for her grandson and the life he has now. (Way to pull on the grandma strings huh?) I left my childhood home with her sitting on the porch with her copy and started my five hour trek across the state.

Two hours into my trip I got cell service and called to check in. She was half way through the book! By the time I made it home, I had a text saying it was the best book she had ever read. I guess so if she read it in about five hours! I now have her copy.

That October my step-sister Ali, Sandy's oldest daughter, bought us tickets to see the play together for my birthday. Sadly, Ali was not able to go with me because Sandy was in the hospital. At the time we didn't realize it was the beginning of the end and I hadn't yet gone home to be there. I went with another good friend and despite the circumstances I enjoyed the play very much! It is by far the best play I have seen.

So not only is it a great piece of writing leaving us wishing that Harper Lee had written other books, it holds a special place in my memory and heart.

AND.... I have named a sweet kitty that loves me Atticus! If I could have a cat, I would totally take him home, but he has to live out at the ranch with his kitty family.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Lovin'

Wordy Wednesday is here again and I am gladly participating! Plus today is a lackadaisical kind of day with Titan Ted in surgery and the heat keeping everyone indoors so as not to fry like an egg, so I don't have too much going on to blog about.

How do you know it’s summer, and what does summer mean to you?

Teachers everywhere know it is summer in about April. Once state testing and spring break is over, the students are already headed to summer vacation.

Truth be told, teachers aren't much different than the students, they just know how to handle it better.

What does summer mean to me? This summer I have been asked what I have been doing all summer and I respond with, "Whatever I want!" I have been busy all summer but it has usually been busy on my own terms.

Summer means: sleeping in (although the ol' internal clock often says differently,) taking naps, and catching up on things that were neglected during the school year, which is pretty much EVERYTHING. Oh and reading like nobodies business.

I have very much enjoyed my reading time this summer. I have read at a coffee shop, next to the pool, in the mountains,  in front of the A.C, on my new couch, on the porch swing and even in bed on lazy mornings.

One thing that people don't understand about teachers during the summer is that we are constantly planning. We can't even go shopping without thinking about school and if the item found in the dollar bin could be used for something in the classroom. Yard sales...gold mine!

I love my job, but I do love the break that I get to rest, relax and plan for the next year.

P.S The song that would accompany this post would be "Summer Lovin'" belted out by the outstanding cast of Grease!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What's On Your List?

Recently I joined a blogging group and it has a 31 day challenge to improve your blog. I am loving it! Todays challenge is to write a list post. I love lists! Then I got to thinking about what I would write a list about and all I could think about were other lists I had going. So I decided to do my list post about lists!  (Hee hee, a list about lists!)

Here are a few lists that could be found at any given time on any given write-on-friendly surface:

  • Books to read
    • Does this list ever get smaller?

  • Books I have read
    • people tease me, but you won't be finding me reading the same book twice by accident! (cough Marilyn cough)

  • Groceries
    • on going on the side of the fridge

  • To do list
    • both at home and at school

  • Ideas of things to try
    • usually for school especially this time of year

  • Movies
    • Thanks to Netflix! Not only is this list of ones to watch, but a good way to check if I have watched it or not and how I felt about it

  • Blogs I am following

  • Chores around house
    • sometimes this is the only way I can get stuff done. I mean come one, who doesn't get satisfaction from seeing this: clean bathroom

  • Food diary

  • Things to pack
    • I am going on a trip this weekend and one has to make sure they pack their underpants

  • Book Wish List
    • because there aren't enough unread books on my bookshelves

  • Songs to buy from ITunes
    • I like to use buying songs as rewards, usually for a workout goal, so I have a nice list of wish list songs to work towards

  • People to send snail mail to

  • My favorite list of all time can be found here.
Lists are a big part of life. Even as I am writing this, I am coming up with even more lists that I use and have in my life, especially at school. Even sometimes when I am bored I will make lists that are silly such as: things you find in a bathroom, songs that have one word titles, etc.

Even this challenge probably has a list written on a fast food bag, receipt or junk mail somewhere written by someone!

What are some lists you make?

P.S. If you need help thinking of a list to write, you could write one about how awesome I am! ;0)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ms. Wilson, Don't You Have a Game We Can Play?

Good news! I heard today that my ceiling in my classroom is fixed! Which means I can get in there soon. Just knowing that it is fixed eases my anxiety.

Tonight I decided to work on my bucket list and also do work for my classroom. While watching Law & Order: SVU I am making my own flash cards.

Late in the year I came up with a brilliant idea with the help of the students I tutored after school. I have always struggled with how to get students to be more fluent with their math facts. It comes down to the fact that they just need to memorize them.

During tutoring I had each student pick a multiplication fact that they wanted to work on and we made flash cards. We practiced those for awhile and then I had a light bulb moment! I made fact families with each of the facts. It amazed me that students would know what 4 x 6 was but you ask them 6 x 4 and the acted like you just asked them the meaning of string theory.

Eureka! So for the rest of the year, every day we practiced the same 5 fact families.  I am convinced that it may just work!

Beginning this year I am going to hit the road running. I am going to work on five math facts at a time, equaling 20 math facts a day until they get them down and then we will move on to the next set.

Now I am trying to think of fun ways to practice these. My last class LOVED around the world, but there were a few students who weren't always successful. It did at times motivate a few of the students because they were tired of loosing. I want to turn it into a sort of game with a fun name. So far  I have come up with:

Math Warriors or Math Gladiators with a possible "fact" thrown in there. I was thinking of some fun "pump-you-up" kind of music to play at the beginning and get them all pumped up. It's still in the works though.

Any ideas? Either for a song to play, name for the game or game?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blue Mug

Oh what a Sunday! I found a new *heart flutter* while visiting an old one!

I started out the day at a swim meet supporting some former students. I realized how much I missed this time in my life, both summer swim team and high school swim team.

I miss this more than a fat kid misses chocolate cake.
I had plans to take Titan Ted in to get checked out, but Honda likes to enjoy the Sabbath. So plan B was to explore an "orange sherbet" coffee shop. I found The Blue Mug and found my new little piece of heaven! I. LOVED. THIS. COFFEE SHOP! I loved everything about it.

While reading the website, the first line says,

"Think Frank Sinatra + the smell of fresh roasted coffee + relaxing music + local artists = happiness"
It is like my heart speaking! I did not actually hear Frank Sinatra, but did enjoy the music that was playing. I danced in my seat to songs from the 50's such as "Teenager in Love" and "Jailhouse Rock." Best part, listening to the barista sing along. He and I could be good friends!
I really enjoyed both baristas and how they treated the customers. At one point this little boy came in with his mom and the male barista was so friendly and treated him like he was a super star. I also got to chat with this little guy as he waited for his mom to get her drink.
I got my treats and found a seat and sunk down into an amazingly comfy chair with my book. There were books for people to read, cards and games to play. I took joy in the decorations and atmosphere. Plus you could drink free water out of a mason jar! I dig mason jars!  
Plus a place that has this to share with its coffee consumers, can't be all that bad!
I wish that this coffee shop was in my town and not forty minutes away. I guess that will just make it even more of a treat when I do get to go!
As I was leaving, I found this outside:
Well said!
Do you have a favorite coffee shop?