Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday's Letters

Today I'm joining Kristin and writing a few "letters" to the randomness that is my life :) 


Dear Classroom Tour, You're what I gave on my blog last week. Setting up this classroom has been so fun! I can't wait for the school year to start! 


Dear It's a Puzzle, You're the best way I can describe trying to create my daily schedule. When you have students in different grades coming in and out at different times, requiring different levels of assistance, it can sometimes be a bit tricky. But as with any puzzle, if you stick with it long enough, you'll get it all put together. And I finally finished mine up yesterday.

Dear  New Storage Piece, While chatting with our new 2nd grade teacher, she mentioned getting rid of you and asked if I wanted you. I instantly  knew you were perfect for my supplies area. How fun you were to repurpose for my kiddos' use :)

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Dear Sweet Tea, I hadn't made you in forever. I'd honestly began to not even like you. But being back in the land of sugary sweet tea this summer renewed my lost love. Oh you and your sweet, caffeinated self is dangerous though. So I won't be able to enjoy you too terribly often.

Dear SPED, You're what was printed on the label attached to my school computer, which I was given the other day. It's amazing how 4 little letters could bring such a smile to my face. I've loved every single class/subject I've taught. I honestly have. But because of all that's gone into planning for (and seemingly fighting for) this class... Well, seeing SPED right there was an amazing thing :)


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Dear Progressive Dinner with Co-Workers, What a fun time you were this weekend, getting to meet new co-workers and to hang out with "old" ones.

Dear Brazilian Food, Thanks for being the deliciousness I had for lunch yesterday. 

Dear Lighthouse Wallpaper Border, You're what's decorating the walls in my bathroom. But I'm thinking of making a change. Hmm... Decisions, decisions.



Dear Rain, Wow! You sure did let your presence be known the night before last! I must say, I don't mind you staying outside. You actually cool things off a bit. But when you come indoors, I'm not really a fan.


Dear Busy, You're what I was today and will continue to be tomorrow, between Professional Development, IEP Meetings, other various meetings, lesson planning, etc. But that's okay. It's all worth it. Why? I'm planning for some pretty amazing kids. So I'm excited :)

Dear Friday, You're when this post was originally supposed to be published. However, life happened. So thanks for being flexible and letting Monday hold the title of Date Published :)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to School Ready

Happy Thursday Y'all!

I've been working a lot this summer, gearing up for school starting back. But I officially start back tomorrow with our first day of All Staff Orientation.

Want to see the room I'll call my second home this school year? I will probably spend as much time, if not more, here as I will at home :)

If you remember from way back in November, I shared about a dream God laid on my heart for this class. In that post (which you can read HERE), I shared that I'd be starting almost completely from scratch. This was my empty room around that time...


As time went on, I answered questions about this new class in a few Q&A posts.


And now... 

Now it's like a completely different room.

See? :)


So let's get on with the tour.

I bought this nameplate off amazon from HERE. It was super inexpensive, super cute, and has that signature puzzle piece addition. 



My furniture is perfect. I love how my desks fit together so well. And look at that kidney table! It's HUGE! And it's perfect for working with the crew I'll have this year. I LOVE it!! 


Next up is my THINKING STATION. At a workshop this summer, a presenter reminded us how some kids like mine need more time to think than others. So she recommended giving students space (and time) to do so. So I had this idea and ran with it. In this cabinet, there are various types of paper, whiteboards, writing/art utensils, manipulatives, etc. 

My goal is for students to use this area to help in the brainstorming stage of writing, working through more difficult math assignments, take a learning break if overworked, etc. 


The next step over is my desk and work area. I'm setting a goal for myself to actually keep it neat and organized all year. We'll see :)


There's our pineapple reminders on that back wall.



I bought that large IKEA shelving piece from the family of one of my former students. It's huge and it's perfect for all of my books, standards and students' data binders, and all the students' learning materials too. And I can display gifts from students on top too :)

You can also see a bit more storage in the background, along with my teal-ish rolling cart too. I got both of these from a friend who was leaving the country. They will definitely be put to good use this school year. I'm sure of it.


Over in the alcove is more storage, which contains the chromebooks and iPads people so generously helped me purchase for this class. In the mesh bag is a bunch of balls and other "active" equipment in case I end up having kids who won't go to the typical PE class. In the filing cabinet, is the music equipment/items for the same reason - in case they don't go to the typical music class. On the wall are my Speech/phonics posters. We'll be able to offer students who need it, a tele-Therapy Speech option with someone in the States. And then I'll be able to do the follow up on the days they don't have therapy. So I thought I'd have a separate section of the room set aside for that.


At first, I couldn't figure out how to store our headphones and earbuds well. But then a friend was selling this scarf hanger and I had an idea. Since students will be primarily using the chromebooks/iPads at this table, I'll hang the headphones from this scarf holder. 


On the next wall are my kids' bookshelves. These shelves hold their books. Between these books, and the ones we'll get on the ipad(s), we've got all sorts of fun reading planned for this year. And look at the fun seats/cushions we have too :)

  

Here are my favorite books... our Bibles :) 


And here's our Worry Eater. You write your worries on a piece of paper, put them in his mouth and zip it up. He eats your worries and they "magically" disappear at the end of the day. And yes, I know it's silly. But seriously... How fun is this? :)


I love this hanging storage piece. It's bright and colorful and perfect for storing random supplies.


I have my word wall, ready to add all the new vocabulary words we'll learn this year.




There's our class clock.



Class Rules/Rewards/Consequences


And then other random decor that livens/brightens up the room.

Things like our Biblical Character Traits, which will be our first unit in Bible. 



There's this awesomeness :)


There's a basket of animal puppets on storage trunks, covered with fabric that will be transformed into a puppet show stage. 


And there are little inspirational quotes here and there too. I'm a big fan of bringing in quotes to inspire both my students and myself.

 



And as I sit at my desk, overlooking my room, I can't help but smile (and maybe even get a little teary eyed) thinking about how God has orchestrated everything to fall into place for this class to happen this year. To say I'm humbled and grateful is a huge understatement.

Monday, August 7, 2017

COFFEE DATE

Today I'm joining Erin for her monthly Coffee Date link-up. Want to join the fun? Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever you'd prefer and pull up a chair and let's have a chat.


If we were on a coffee date, I'd probably be close enough to you that I wouldn't mind asking you to come hang out in my classroom. I've finally unpacked everything and now I'm just waiting on my furniture to be assembled and delivered to my classroom. Until then, here on the floor, I sit and work (well, I'm blogging at the moment, but once I'm finished with this, I'll be working) :)


If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that today is day 1 of the 365 days I'm giving myself to kick my tail in gear. That's why I'm chugging my water from such a big cup. Wish me luck :)

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that this is probably my new favorite saying...


If we were on a coffee date, I'd probably ask you if you've read any good books lately. After all, I'm always on the hunt for a new one. I'm reading two books at the moment. I'm reading You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith for work and I'm reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells for fun.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that this is the first time in 8 years of flying back and forth multiple times a year that my luggage didn't arrive with me. When I arrived Tuesday, none of my bags were there. Not my 3 main pieces of luggage... Not my carry-on (which was checked through in Birmingham like always... None of them came. Wednesday night, they delivered my 3 big bags, but there was no sign of my carry-on. So I called back each day and was told the same thing... We haven't seen it. Finally, yesterday, I went to the airport, and voila! There was my carry-on. I choose to believe it was my birthday miracle since yesterday was my birthday :)


If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I had a great birthday yesterday. I finally got my carry-on. I went out for lunch with two friends. I took a nap (always a good thing). I had dinner with 3 other friends. I received a few birthday presents. And I opened the present my mom sent with me, too. Oh and I made my favorite flavor of cupcakes (strawberry cake with strawberry frosting). All in all, I'd say it was a great day!

So, if we were on a coffee date, what would YOU share with me?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

32



It's hard to believe. 

I'm 32.

At times, I still feel like I'm a teenager. I feel like I can take on the world and that I have very few cares and worries and responsibilities. Then I spend any time at all with actual teenagers, and I laugh, because boy ih boy do I definitely feel old then. Ha! :)

Anywho, I thought it'd be fun to make a list of new year resolutions since a new year of my life is starting today. 

So without further ado, here is my list of 32 things I'd like to do while I'm 32 (in no particular order)...

1. Be a more organized teacher.
2. Read at least 1 new book each month.
3. Find a spiritual mentor.
4. Stick with journaling.
5. Read and journal through the entire Bible again.
6. Have at least one person over for a meal each month.
7. Try at least one new recipe each month.
8. Go to bed at a decent time each night.
9. Spend less time on my phone.
10. Exercise more.
11. Lose weight.
12. Get in better shape.
13. Eat healthier.
14. Meal plan each week.
15. Dress up sometimes just because.
16. Rest (and not feel guilty about doing so).
17. Focus more on the positives in life.
18. Send more handwritten notes.
19. Be a rockstar teacher.
20. Live out Proverbs 31:8 by speaking up for those who need it.
21. Explore further schooling options.
22. Keep a prayer journal.
23. Improve in ASL.
24. Listen more and talk less.
25. Improve my French by getting to know the employees/vendors I interact with at my local stores and markets.
26. Write.
27. Go on a fun mini trip with my mom next summer.
28. Continue pursuing my Ordination with the Assemblies of God.
29. Go on a fun trip with a friend next summer.
30. Research ways to become better as a Special Education Teacher.
31. Live in the moment.
32. Be content with what God is currently doing in my life.

And now... I'm off to celebrate the fact that God placed me on this planet 32 years ago :)

Monday, July 31, 2017

My American July

After 5 glorious weeks in sweet home Alabama, I am now sitting in the Birmingham airport, waiting on my flight back to Senegal.

It seems like just yesterday I landed. But I have been able to cram the past 5 weeks with all sorts of wonderful-ness.

I  spent time with my favorite road trip buddy, BFF, and adventure finder... my mom :)



I spent time with other family too.




And of course I can't leave out time spent with my two favorite girls - my nieces. 





I went to my family reunion.



I saw friends, and apparently I only remembered pictures with two of them...

 


I spent a week in Mobile for Alabama's annual MEGA Conference. 



I visited some churches.



I ate good food.





And I saw pretty scenery.


I read.




I helped my brother and sister-in-law move.


I practiced the art of patience.


I (and my new class) was blessed in amazingly generous ways.



I visited farmer's markets and fruit stands.




I enjoyed being in sweet home Alabama and the good ol' USA while I could.


I bought a sticker to remind me of how blessed I am to do what I do. I'm livin' the dream y'all. I really am :)


I took one last family photo.


And I ended up at the airport today, on the last day of July, having my last taste of Chikfila and a Dr Pepper full of ice before heading back to continue livin' the dream.




All in all, I'd say my American July was a nice one :)