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Sunday, July 5, 2015

New Blog Design!

I literally just finished e-mailing my blog designer. I am sure you have heard of Gabby from Gabby's Classrooms, right?  She is amazing and so easy to work with.  She made my new blog look happy and refreshed, and I am so grateful for her work ethic and amazing designs.

Adios old design. Hello new you!
Love the new fonts and the colors!

Graduate school and life have kept me busy. I hope I can be a better blogger soon one day :)

Everybody seems to be getting for Vegas. I hope you have a terrific time there!  My school year begins tomorrow with a week of workdays (impossible for me to be there).

Here's to meeting you soon!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

#2getherwearebetter {Parent Communication}

I would like to thank Angie and Ashley for having a great topic to blog about.

This month's theme is...

Communicating with parents is something that you learn to do with time.  Parents do want to know what goes on in your classroom.  College did not teach me how to ask for things or deliver information that needs to be shared.  The way you communicate with your parents is something that needs tweaking just like anything else that happens in your classroom.

I have tried many things: weekly/monthly newsletter, daily e-mail, Weebly (classroom website), written notes, agendas...  Some proved to work better than others.  Some were a ton of work and not very successful.  This is a topic I continue to struggle with.

On the other hand, these have been the most successful ways of communication with my parents:

  • A monthly newsletter (not printed, but e-mailed).  My current school sends everything electronically, but I did print them years prior. 

  • A quick e-mail at the end of the day. Nothing special. Simple and to the point. #notcutethough

  • The latest bestest thing has been sharing about our upcoming field trip using Maribel's Letter Templates. Trust me when I say... you need them! 

  • I would like to get to be a bit more techy and use Instagram, remind, Facebook. Maybe next year :)
Goal for my 2015-2016 year: Better Parent Communication.  Here's to that!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mother's Day Project {One Dollar Gift} Giveaway too!

My third grade kiddos finished their Mother's Day project yesterday.  Because my kids travel through both of our third grade classrooms it is hard to get them done quickly. But they are done :) Wrapped, ready to go. a. week. early. #ithasneverhappennedbefore

I have updated this product a bit.  It is on sale right now! You know you need one, right?  ;) 
If you have it already go get the new version (do not forget to leave me some love). 

Start with a one dollar photo album. Choose the prompts you like your students to complete (36 to choose from), wrap using tissue paper, a gift tag, and some tulle. #mothersdaykeepsake 

These are some portraits created this year:

I asked my daughter to help me creating an album for me.  The truth is... I wanted to see what she would say about mommy. Here are a few of her answers. 

Would you help me pin this product?  Leave your pin and your e-mail. I will send it to two of you on Sunday afternoon (after I finish all the chores). 

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, April 6, 2015

#2getherwearebetter {My Schedule}

I am joining forces with the #2getherwearebetter linky hosted by Angie and Ashley.

We (teachers) work way too hard!  If we can help each other by collaborating, networking, and leaning on one another, our life can be a bit easier.

If you are a veteran teacher, helping others is the best feeling there is.  We have been there and probably done that :)  If you are a new teacher, you are full of new ideas, so we can learn a ton from you.  They way I see it, we can do this teaching thing by being together. Thanks A&A  for this great idea!

This month's theme:

Most of tweak our schedules on the yearly basis.  I have heard of teachers who are giving pretty specific schedules without the liberty to choose when you want to teach what you must teach.  Thankfully I have never worked for a school that dictated that for me.  I had to follow time parameters, but the rest was up to me.

My schedule this year looks like this:

School starts pretty early for us (hello, coffee!).  7:20 marks the beginning of carpool.  All of our students are carpooled (private school/ no buses). We have 30 minutes for students to unpack, get their materials from their lockers, get ready for their first class, and chat. No morning work. 

A couple of things to note:
- I have a homeroom class of 25 third graders.
- Our reading and math classes are grouped homogeneously.
- There are two classes per grade (very small school).
- We switched classes all day according to student's placement.
- Our students are placed in on grade level classes or above grade level classes. 
- I work in a year round school (9 weeks on, 3 weeks off - year round & a 5 week "summer" track-out). Teachers get a bit less due to workdays. 

  • Math begins at 7:50.  I am teaching the 'high' level math this year, so instead of teaching third grade math, I teach 4th grade.  LOVE it!  We have a quick transition break and have snack in our homerooms.
  • Cursive handwriting is a biggie this year.  No one told me about this when I interviewed. I have the worst cursive handwriting :(  #embarrassing We practice almost every day.
  • I am teaching history this year (no social studies) to both homeroom classes.  We divide our quarter into 4.5 weeks.  I teach history for 4.5 weeks and then switch to teach the other class while my teammate teachers my class science.
  • We follow very specific programs for our language arts program.  I have one hour for reading, half hour for spelling, and half hour for grammar. 
  • Lunch is in our classrooms (no cafeteria). We have parent volunteers that sometimes come in so I can go to the bathroom :) 
  • We have 6 specials: Art, Music, Character Education, P.E., Spanish and Technology.  I have a nice 45 minute planning time daily and on Friday my kids get two specials #ohyeah
  • Our students have time to work on their homework ( during the school day. 
  • We go out to recess for 30 minutes and return for another history or science lesson.  We double up daily to be able to cover our curriculum in 4.5 weeks. 
  • Dismissal begins at 2:45 and the day is over!
Our days are incredibly busy. By the time I realize you really need to use the bathroom, our kids are packing! Weeks fly by :)

Well, that pretty much covers it.  Do not forget to come and joint the newest linky in town ;)

Happy Scheduling!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Currently April {Back to Blogging?}

I just checked to see the date of my last post and I am embarrassed to admit it has been months.  I am just not feeling it ( I will try to share more about this soon. #embarrased).

IG has been my favorite way of staying in touch with you (so easy, isn't it?!).  I love reading about your adventures, your successes, and of course your not so good days.  All of us can relate and really understand each other! Hubby does not get it.

Thank you Farley for creating this fabulous linky.  It has been months since I have shared with you what is currently going on with me, and today I decided it was time to do it again.

So here it goes...

Listening: I am pretending to watch Sofia the First. I love her, but right now I am concentrating in my typing.
Do you have a girlie at home that makes you watch her and lover too?

Loving: Graduate School.  Say, What?!  I had a pretty stressful fall semester taking two classes.  My professors were amazing, but the workload kept me busy every weekend.  So, I decided that there was no rush to get this done and only took one class this semester.  #sosmart
My current professor is very laid back and reading about literacy just makes me happy! 
I have yet to decide what I am doing for the two summer semesters coming up, but I think I need to speak to my advisor first. She thinks I can do it all... if she only knew.

This is what we are reading in class.  I read this book a while ago, but the new edition has a few new things and this time I have time to process everything in it. 

Thinking: Like I mentioned before blogging has not been a priority.  I am questioning and wondering:
Do I need to call it quits?  Do I open my crazy notebook full of ideas and try something out? Where did my inspiration go? Do I need a fresh start? Do I need to change my blog's name since I am no longer teaching second (oh! so sad!)...  As you can see. I am clueless.  I do not know what to do.

THANK YOU to all of you who have not abandoned me. I really appreciate your support and your friendship.

Wanting:  I really want to go to Vegas this summer. I am so jealous!  This girl cannot make it again this year.  We start school the Monday after the TPT conference, and there is no way I can do all of that without going crazy.  We also have some awesome vacation plans and I need the money. 
I would love to meet all of you! Supergirls too!

If you are not following us there... please do :)  

Needing: I certainly need a much bigger hard drive to save all of our pictures.  Any recommendations?  You see, we really do not do much while the kids and I are in school, but we do love going on vacation during track out. Our latest vacation took us to California.  Lots of driving. Lots of amazing views and gorgeous weather.

Breathtaking I tell ya'.  My husband is a rock climber, and I am pretty sure I saw him drool and/or cry on the way out of Yosemite. 

I may need to go back soon and check the other side. #walkonthebridgetoo

Eggs-plain Our Name: My blog's name was created by my one of my fabulous room moms.  I asked her for ideas and she has a few really good ones.  I have taught second for ten year.  My heart belongs in second, but right now I am teaching third.  Thinking about updating my blog's title as I do not know how long I'll stay in third. 

Thanks for stopping by. #loveya

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Organization Ideas Blog Hop

I am so glad you are here!  Have you been hopping along and getting tons of ideas?

Some people consider me a bit OCD, but I promise I am not :) I like to find things fast. Patience is not one of my virtues. Looking for something must be quick and efficient.  This is why I never shop anywhere where I have to find clothing my size through racks and racks. Not for me.

When it comes to my classroom. I like to know where things are so I can use all my time as efficiently as possible. There. I call myself efficient and OCDish.

Well... let me me share with you how I keep some things organized in my classroom (if you could see my house, you would never believe it, embarrassing!).

I think every teacher gets some kind of file cabinet, right?  If not, hear me out, go get one.  They house millions of files and wherever you need something, there it is! You have to put it back where it belongs though. That is the hard part. I know!  I have a pile of folders (not pictured) that require my attention one of these days. 

My new curriculum uses a daily worksheet for every subject. Here's where the kids place their assignments after WE check them together.  I then proceed to check (quick glance at it for the second time) and then straight to my grade book.
My advice: Do not let those piles pile up or you will regret it. I have to enter my grades daily (due by the following Monday), so there is no chance for me to misplace them.  I used file 13 (AKA the garbage can) before, I cannot do that anymore. I miss file 13.

What to do with all those supplies you have? Store them in boxes...clearly labeled of course.  I have a nice closet where I story all my goodies. 
I though of buying some clear containers (all matchy, matchy) so I could see what is inside, but nah, boxes are free!

Craft supplies galore?  No problem. Do the same thing. Boxes and labels. Crafts coming right up!

You know those forms you use all.the.time?  Well, mine are stored in this file folder thingy. The front folder holds all of my originals and the rest hold all of my forms ready to go whenever I need them. 

I am able to plan my week pretty easily. Lesson 80 on Monday, Lesson 81 on Tuesday, and so on. I guess these are the benefits of teaching homogeneous groups and basals :)  My daily trays help me whip my planning in about 15 minutes. Tops. #dontbejealous

I also like to hide things behind closed doors (my closet). So, a shoe organizer, hanging hooks and voila super duper use of the space. 

My kiddos do not use browsing boxes this year.  I actually order chair pockets (future post). But I thought I could share some labels I made. Freebie anyone?

Please download HERE

Oh!  and continue on with First Grade Frenzy. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fill it Up with 100... {100th Day of School Freebie}

I am blogging at Primary Powers today.  Come and visit to pick up a quick idea for the 100th Day of School.

Hope you like it!

Monday, January 19, 2015

TPT Feedback

This past week I read this fabulous blog post from Jen. She is the creator of some super cute clip art. I hope you have met her before. She blogs HERE.  I have not met her personally but she sounds like the kind of person I like to be real friends with :)  You gotta love her honesty and humor.

I will confess that I am one of those who leaves feedback all the time, maybe a day later (or two) from my purchases but I always do.  Freebies are no different.  I have never been really good at leaving something substantial (I am working on that), but I do like to say a bit more than Thank you.  Do not get me wrong, I rather get a thank you than nothing at all, but a bit more is always better, right?

It is heart breaking to see your rating go down after a not so perfect 4.0. and all you see is Thank you. It feels like a punch in the stomach, but again, it is better than no feedback at all.  Please know that your comments mean the world to us. Let us know how we can earn that 4.0 if you are not satisfied with your purchase.

I have recently looked at all my sales, and the amount of feedback I have received.  There is a huge discrepancy between both numbers.  I am here to beg bribe  you to check your purchases and freebie downloads from my store.  In exchange, you can...

Beginning tonight 01/19/15 to Sunday 01/25/15 all of you who visit my store, and leave feedback (purchased and/or freebies) will have the opportunity to win my entire TPT store. I will write your user name on a piece of paper and on Sunday, I will ask my daughter to pick a winning name. I will then send you all my paid products via e-mail. 

Can't wait to write your name down :)  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Home Sweet Home

I did promise to share some pictures with you.  Mexico City is and always be my home.
The kids and I had the chance to visit after four years.  I had been there alone during our spring break but I wanted to spend Christmas at home for a change. Tickets were not cheap at all and I can honestly tell you I had the most fabulous Christmas. Simple. Family. Food. Traditions...who needs anything else?

Let me share some things with you in case you are new to my blog:
- I was born and raised in Mexico City (yes, the polluted, extra populated city south of the border).
- I took my first plane ride 8 days after I turned 18.
- I was ignored by the American flight attendants (I do not blame them) because on the first flight I could not stop crying, and on the second flight... not sure why.  Let me put it this way... I could not put a sentence together in English, so they probably noticed that.
- I have lived in the United States for 20 years. Summer or 1994 marked a huge year for me.
- I am still an 'alien'.  I have not applied for citizenship so every time I fly I must show my green card (which by the way is not green) and my Mexican passport.
- My entire family lives in Mexico.  My mother's youngest sister and her family live in KY, where I lived when I came to 'visit'.
- No, I did not cross the river. A big airplane took me here :)
- I still struggle with being an ESL learner.  I am sure you have noticed :)
- My ESL brain does not seem to grow much and that is frustrating.
- I learned English slowly!  Prepositions and idioms still get me! Hubby laughs a lot (and corrects me too!).
- My family is not bilingual. Which makes it exhausting when my mother visits or when any of them go with me to Mexico.  I must confess I like talking about them behind their backs. I do it. I am not ashamed.  Some times they drive me crazy.
- Mexican (real Mexican) food is amazing and I miss it very much.
- I get super depressed when I return (guilt, sadness, name it). Feeling blue is part of the price I pay. I can't wait to feel better. Right now I just want to shake it off!

We were there for 11 days.  We did not ventured out much but we did make it downtown to see some things my son wanted to see (thanks to his history teacher).

Let's get the pictures show you more.
My son read about 'the eagle' that marks what the Incas saw as a sign to build their city (his words).
The second picture is La Cathedral. Beautiful. Old. Full of faithful followers.

This one is EL Palacio Nacional.  The president's office is here. His residence is else where, in a fancy location.

We walked for a bit and reached this 'tallish' building. La Torre Latino.  The second picture was taken after we went all the way up.

44 stories high. Best view of the city.

Here's El Palacio Nacional again from high up. I had to admire the traffic, which is really not that bad compared to other big avenues.

Bellas Artes is a beautiful building - think opera and classical music.  The picture on the right is a busy shopping area. We were there minutes before and it was packed.  Two days before Christmas. Do not recommend it.

Lastly, food!  I ate so much. I lost weight. Unbelievable!  Churros and shrimp cocktail...heaven. Pure heaven.

I will take my good camera next time.  It was hard to get good pictures with my hubby's camera that does not like me.  Half of the pictures we took have been erased. I guess I must go back...soon!

I also got the chance to see three of my high school friends (two ex-boyfriends and my BFF) after 20 years!  We talked so much and we have so much more to share! I must go back, alone :)

An amazing trip for sure!

Have you been to my home town?