Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Keeping Your Budget Balanced

Teaching is a tough business. The hours are long - whether acknowledged or not. The pay isn't great, although the payoff is priceless! The curriculum changes, the classroom dynamics change, the administrations change, and the expectations for and from each and every child are different. One of the best things to have come along is Teachers Pay Teachers, allowing teachers to build their resources, while streamlining their bag of tricks. I know, we teachers already spend a lot of money on our classrooms, our students, and on resources. My receipts for this year, so far, are over $1,000, not including the little gems I find at the grocery store, the dollar stores, or even garage sales, etc., that I don't keep separate! So, when there's a great bargain out there, I want to know about it, and I'll bet you do, too. 

Beginning tomorrow, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a 3-Million Member SALE with up to 28% off in selected stores. I've listed every single product in my store for sale at 28% off - you can click here to check out the savings, and click here to see lots of other participating stores.

Keep your budget, and your sanity, balanced by snatching up the savings while they last! Have a great time shopping, and link back up at Blog Hoppin' to show off your best finds!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Whooo's In Second is NOW...

If you've been following for a bit, you've noticed a big change! My blog-over is just about complete, and with it comes a whole new perspective, not just a new look. Smarter Balanced Teaching is not just a blog, but a way of life...I talked here about just one word to describe the new year. It was "Less". I have had so many changes in my personal life this year, as well as in my teaching career, that have taught me that less really is more. 

Last week, my family and I downsized to a smaller house, and although we're still unpacking, we're finding that less space suits our needs better than more. Our smaller den brings our family physically closer, thereby building closer relationships, for example. 
3600 square feet, 6 bedrooms, LR, DR, kitchen, den, office,
playhouse, 1/2 acre, huge house for a huge family!
2300 square feet, 3 bedrooms, LR, DR, kitchen, den, patio home
perfect for the four of us!
This year I have less students than I ever have before, which allows me more time with each one. I feel closer to every single child I teach this year than I've ever been able to, and really know each individual child's strengths, personalities, and interests. It's wonderful!
Last year's class, 23 kiddos (not all in this photo)
This year's class, 12 kiddos (not all pictured), so much MORE!
Teaching, learning, being a wife and mother, blogging, creating new activities to share with my students, and you, while leaving time for being me is a real balancing act! I hope you'll stick around for the new and improved Smarter Balanced Teacher, where I'll share my trials and tips for your own balancing act, regardless of what that might be.

While we're talking about less, be ready to shop MORE for LESS at Teachers Pay Teachers HUGE 2-Day sale this Thursday and Friday! I'll be there, working on keeping a balanced budget...see you there.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow, Moving, a SALE and Five for Fraturday

Never too late for the party, I'm linking up to Five for Friday!

Okay, maybe y'all have heard. I think it's made the national news...snow came to the South. My daughters and I have bee out of school for a WEEK (that never, ever happens here) and they're bored to tears. I can't imagine what my little school munchkins are doing other than reading, practicing addition and subtraction, and writing in their journals every single day going stir crazy just like my own girls! Honestly, even though the roads are not only clear, but also dry, I have thanked God every day for this snow, because we moved yesterday, and on Tuesday, I hadn't packed a single thing! Oh my! The good Lord certainly looks out for us, and in beautiful ways - it really has been beautiful. It started with this:
I saw this rainbow as I was leaving work on Monday.
This was Tuesday morning (at the old house).

I left my (sleeping) husband this message, and we went
outside to play.

My beautiful girls stopped for a picture in front of the creek
that runs through our (old) neighborhood.

Back to reality...we packed and packed and packed, while the girls played outside, sledded in the yard, made the world's tiniest snowman, and loved every minute. We did finally all get outside together for a snowball fight (I used a sled to load up and throw snow at everyone else) and some sledding!

For our romantic Valentine's Day, we moved. From 7 a.m. until midnight. UGH! And this is what today looks like. YIKES!

The good news is, Megan Favre is working hard on my new blog design! I'm super excited and can. not. wait! to show it off! I think I'll celebrate with a sale...oh, what the heck, let's start it now - all snowy things in my TPT shop (and maybe a few surprises) are 20% off now through Sunday! Hurry - you have to snatch them up before I'm through unpacking!

While taking a break, I helped my mom with her bookshelves in her den. I made this cute little picture using scrabble tiles, turned over except for their last name. They fit perfectly in a frame and looked so cute in front of a vintage gameboard vignette we set up.

 photo websignature_zps82211fd2.png

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fairy Tales, Peek at Our Week, and Valentines {LOVE}

I love a fairy tale as much as Taylor Swift does...

My little class is beginning to fall in love with fairy tales, too! We're studying the many versions of many fairy tales, beyond the "Cinderella Stories" referenced by CCSS. There are SO many of every fairy tale, and we're having a blast comparing and contrasting them, looking for those special words, "Once Upon a Time" and "Happily Ever After", as well as looking for magic, the numbers three and seven, and the good guys and bad guys. It's all thanks to Heidi Harrell's Fabulous Fairy Tales Unit that I ever even knew about this three and seven stuff - I'd never heard or thought about it before, but she's right - they're everywhere! I think they're perfect for the Valentine's Season, too. Let's face it...who didn't grow up wanting to be a princess, marry a knight in shining armor, and live in a beautiful castle on a mountainside? It's pure romance!

With that, here's a peek at our week:

We'll be in full Valentine mode this week, too. With our Daily Five finally under control, partly due to these awesome foldables we put in our reading journals, we can actually work on fun things, tying them to our curriculum without going cah-ray-zy! I'll be posting these foldables on Teachers Pay Teachers, along with directions for cutting, gluing, and folding this week. They are really cool, and keep my kids on task by providing them visual reminders of expectations, as well as strategies for when they are "stuck" on reading.

We'll make Valentine boxes, to hold our Valentine cards, using cereal boxes. I plan on having my students measure their boxes, then measure and cut paper to cover/wrap the boxes, and finally, decorate each one. We'll tie all that to the story Queen of Hearts, too!

And, we'll read How Big is a Foot and make beds fit for a queen by measuring our own feet to show why standardized measurement is so important!

It's a royally romantic week!
 photo websignature_zps82211fd2.png

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Minions Need i Minis!

 Reaching for the NEW HEIGHTS!

I have such exciting news...we've been approved on You might remember, we have no computers, tablets, or any other technology for student-use in my room. I've asked for mini i Pads through, and for one week, they're doubling all donations to my project! No matter the size (seriously, every little bit counts), this week only, any donation you make to my project will be doubled!

If you can't donate anything at this time, no worries... just share this information with anyone who you know is passionate about education. Your donation will have a direct impact this year and you'll hear back from our class about your impact!

Here’s my classroom request:

To have your donation matched dollar for dollar, enter the promo code INSPIRE on the payment screen.

IMPORTANT: The INSPIRE promo code will only double your donation for the next 7 days.
Please feel free to send me any questions you may have, and know that my students and I greatly appreciate your support.

 photo websignature_zps82211fd2.png