Saturday, June 27, 2015

The End of Year Crazies!

We made it to the end of the school year! Really, this year flew by faster than any other I've ever had. And now that we've been out of school for almost two weeks, it seems more like two days! 

Before school let out, we had a fabulous Field Day! The games were so much fun, and even the teachers got in and played.
The cutest game! Pitchin' Pigs...
The kiddos had to try to hike the
rubber piggies through the hula hoops
behind them. Then, regardless of
whether they made it through the
hoop, they retrieved the pig and handed
it off to the next in line - awesome relay!
Do you see that face? He's having a blast hopping down
the field and around a cone and back, racing
kids in the other classes. Then, all the teachers raced
each other - TOO FUNNY!
Good ole' sack races - fun for everyone!

Our last field trip of the year was to LegoLand! The kids had so much fun, and LegoLand fit nicely with our school's STEM initiative. Our STEM teacher uses Legos several times throughout the year to have the kids build structures, make battery-powered robots, explore circuits, and more.
 
 


For the last three days of school, the kids and I moved every. single, thing. to my new classroom. Can you say cah-ray-zy? This is right after school on the first moving day:





Thankfully, on the very last day of school, my fabulous room mom helped me get everything put away, organized, and packed up for next fall! This is how I left it:
Thanks to ALL great room moms!

SO, at the same time I was moving at school, we were moving into our new house!
Kitchen - before
The movers seemed to think that the best thing to do with all of our stuff was stack it on top of itself. I can NOT complain!

We are finally in our own house, I've had almost every room painted, and my hubby's being super-patient with me, letting me enjoy my summer and unpack slowly. It's a heaven-sent luxury to be able to paint, finally use all my pins for design and decor (outside the classroom), and give my girls their dream rooms!

New Tiffany Blue paint in the kitchen...LOVE!
Before we bought the house, I found these candle holders at TJ Maxx, and loved them. I knew they'd be perfect to replace the icky track lights in the kitchen. I drilled holes in the bottom of each one, bought new light kits for the track, and hung the repurposed light fixtures. I just have to cut the wiring to the right length...and I will. I promise!

Living Room - before
How to not get all grandma in here??? I'm working on unformalizing the living room. Yes, I made that word up, just now!




Living Room - in progress...I'm trying to decide what to do about that weird place above the lower left photo of one of our daughters. I designed these two vinyl ideas to cut using my silhouette, but I can't decide which one I like better. Let me know what you think!
The den, getting there, gotta hang pictures and open the blinds!

The den, as the movers left it...





While we're unpacking, I have to start packing. We're off to the beach for a week of vacation! What a perfect ending to a perfect school year, and a perfect beginning to our new life in our new home, and my new life in fourth grade!
My happy place...Sunset Beach, NC!
I have lots of ideas for integrating my subject areas - ELA and US history - that I'll be working on this summer. Although South Carolina has officially withdrawn from common core, our new state standards look so much like CCSS, I think you'll be able to find plenty to use in your classroom. Right now I'm thinking "big kid" stations, which seem kind of hard for me to find, but I know fourth graders certainly aren't too old to use them or learn from them. I also think they might be the perfect answer to the RTI requirements in my school. We have 30 minutes, per day, to work with the lowest achieving ten percent of students. Rather than use stations during guided reading groups, I think I'll be using them while I work with my RTI group. I'll keep you posted on how it's going, and let you know as soon as I have some stations ready.

XOXO,
Brooke

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Movin' on Up!

After five years of begging, pleading, and throwing fits in the halls (okay, maybe not), I am finally going back to fourth grade!


Woop! Woop! I'm super excited and even motivated enough to give this little blog the attention it's been lacking for way too long.

More good news? I'm moving on up from a teensy apartment to our own house! 


For the past seven years, my family and I have rented. Partly due to losing a house, right before there was mortgage assistance available, to a foreclosure, and partly due to some really poor money management and marital stress, we've been unable to buy a home. I'm happy to say, we close in three days, and we can't wait! I'll tell you, I have learned so much through these crazy years, that I honestly wouldn't trade them for all the stability and the most beautiful house in the world. 
  • I've learned that humility is godly. I confess that I was way too proud. Of stupid things. Like antiques, and crystal, and five sets of china, and really, just stuff! 
  • I've learned to pray. Not just the regular, everyday routine prayer, but to really talk to God. To ask for His guidance. To confess my sins. To beg for Him to show me His will. And to promise, no matter what, that I will do what His plan holds for me.
  • I've learned to understand my husband. To listen. To love unconditionally. To forgive. To try to be the kind of wife he wants and deserves. To be a godly wife and mother.
  • I've learned to be patient. More than anything else, I think that's the lesson I needed the most. And I think that both school and home have taught me to wait gratefully and gracefully. I've learned that what I've been waiting for, begging for, hoping for, and wishing for is so very unimportant in the greater scheme of things!
  • I've learned to be truly thankful. We all have so much, and yet we see others' successes, accomplishments, jobs, homes, lives - whatever it may be, and that tiny little bit of jealousy creeps in. Don't let it happen to you.
With eight days left in second grade, I think I might even miss it a little. I know I'll miss the friends I've made, especially this year, and the special little classes I've taught. But, guess what...my second graders from last year will be movin' on up to fourth grade next year, and hopefully, I'll get the chance to teach them what I really love and to show them how to love, love, love to learn!

XOXO,
Brooke

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Wow!, a Sale!, and a Birthday!

First the Wow! I'm home with a sick daughter today, so I was looking through Pinterest, one of my favorite pastimes, when I spotted this:
Wow! Lory Evans? THE Lory Evans? Well, yeah - that one! I was amazed. I was happy. I am (still) Wowed! Lory Evans is following one of my Pinterest boards! Okay, and Sonia N., thank you for following, too. Y'all, I may not be the best blogger, certainly not the most frequent, but I am dang good at pinning, so if you want to join Lory and Sonia, click the picture above to go straight to my "It's Elementary My Dear" board. I have lots of other good stuff, too, "2+2" is where I keep all things math, "Scientifically Speaking" is for science, and "Around the World in 180 Days" is my social studies board. If you're interested in home decor, seasonal decor, house design, healthy eating, fashion, and much more, just click {here} for the whole shebang.

A Sale and a Birthday!
My birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, and to celebrate, I'm having a sale at my TPT store! Most everything is 20% off now through the 17th. Click below to check it out. 

I just added a There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover accordion book craftivity that focuses on visualizing and summarizing to celebrate St. Paddy's:

We'll be doing this on Thursday - my substitute, who just happens to be my student teacher from last semester, is getting it ready right now! 

She rocks - thanks, Larz!

XOXO,
Brooke

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 100th Day & SMOOCH!

What a cah-ra-zy time of year! We've just completed our 100th Day of School - which was a blast, thanks to the sweet Cara Carroll, and it's already Valentine's, President's Day, Chinese New Year, and Black History Month!

We had the BEST 100th Day EV-AH! when I found The First Grade Parade's fantabulous activities on Cara Carroll's website! If your 100th Day hasn't arrived yet, go there NOW to make it the greatest! We started the day with some estimation, then had our tee-shirt fashion show, and followed it with Cara's 100th Day Stations. I heard my kiddos say, several times, "This is the best 100th Day ever!" Just look at them enjoying their time:


 


I know the kids had fun making their shirts, but I feel sure I had more fun than anyone else! Yep, my owl and branch, together, are made of exactly 100 buttons! And, no, I didn't sew them on. Meet E6000 glue! It works on everything!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              SMOOCH! Valentine's Day is Saturday, and we have a teacher workday on Friday, so Thursday's the deadline at our school! It seems like, around this time of year, my kids have forgotten how to add and subtract with regrouping, so I whipped up a little practice for them. I have this little cutie for just $1 at Teachers Pay Teachers. Click on the picture to go directly to the page.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, I also shared my "famous" matter and measurement introduction with my class: I bake a cake every year, mixing the ingredients from scratch right in the classroom, and then taking the pans to our cafeteria to bake. The kids LOVE it, and I think they remember more about matter from that one activity than from weeks of studying it. We talk about each ingredient and identify each as a solid, liquid, or gas. We measure everything very accurately, and talk about how important that is in baking. We talk about mixtures and solutions, as we combine the ingredients, and we talk about physical and chemical changes in matter throughout the entire process. Best of all, after lunch, we dig in! This year, I made Thundercake, from Patricia Polacco's book of the same title. We were using it as a mentor text for describing senses in our personal narratives. No matter what book I've used, the cake lesson is always a hit. Kids from years and years ago come to see me and ask if I remember baking that cake that one time...
We sort the ingredients into solids and liquids. The gas forms
during the mixing (addition of air) and beating the eggs.
 


 
This year, kids said this was the best cake they'd ever eaten - WOW! Even with tomatoes in the recipe, the best they'd ever had? Maybe it's the first home-made cake they've ever eaten.
 


Happy Everything February!
XOXO,
Brooke