Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Okay, people! I have never, ever participated in a Throwback Thursday, and now you'll all know why! That's me at the bottom left, front row. Check out the sullen look, the "winged" hair, the oversized glasses, and that lovely outfit! My best friend was Jennifer, three to my right in the blue and orange plaid shirt. Strangely, I can name every single person in this photo, although I was in school with some of them from third grade through college (yep, Doug was in every class I had all the way through Clemson - he's the one in the USC shirt right in the middle). As if being in the eighth grade over 30 YEARS ago isn't bad enough, I have to confess that this is the absolute oldest photo I have digital access to, so no, I don't teach eighth grade, but it is when I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

My teaching career went something like this:
Senior year of high school - "Mom, I think it's stupid that they ask you on this college application what you want to major in. That means I have to pick a job for the rest of my life right now!" 
"Yes, Brooke, it does. What do you want to do?" 
"I have no's a 17-year-old supposed to know that? I would like to teach English."
"You can be anything. You don't have to be a teacher or a nurse. That's all I was supposed to be when I was in school. That's all women could be. Think bigger."
"Oh. How about an astronaut? The first woman astronaut?"
"That's crazy. They don't let women be astronauts."

Really? This is the conversation my mom and I had at the kitchen table. Here she is telling me I can be anything and in the next breath, I can't be an astronaut because I'm a girl! What up with that? 

THREE majors and two careers later, at 29, I decided to go to grad school to be a...teacher. The hold-up? That very conversation right then, right there at the kitchen table. Oh, well, a late start, but I never looked back. Teaching is perfect for me! :) "Miss ADHD" has never been bored. Every single day is different. The curricular changes, themselves, are enough to keep me on my toes! Let's see, whole language, basal, four-block, basal, trade books, basal, CCSS and who knows what's next for us in S.C., now that our brilliant governor announced that we will no longer educate children...

Honestly, I love every day of teaching. The children are precious, my co-workers are amazing, the parents at my school are great, and I pretty much have the same schedule as my beautiful daughters. I knew I would love it. 

My third (and fourth) grade teacher, Miss Bruce, was my hero - not to mention my babysitter. She invited me to her wedding, and she came to mine, too. 
My elementary school, Taylors Elementary, was in a cotton mill!

My sixth grade English teacher, Mrs. McDaniel, was awesome! Eighth grade social studies? Coach Edmunds was hilarious and perfect for a bunch of hormonal pre-teens. By high school, I was totally hooked into education. I should have listened to my heart way back then, but, as they say, better late than never!

Happy Throwback!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Worksheet Wednesday Linky

I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune again today to bring you a math activity my kids just love! Okay, I admit, it's not exactly a worksheet, but then again it is. I have these cute frog sets from Oriental Trading Company, where my husband used to work. Don't hate me because I have some connections on the best teacher prize box ever!
One year, on Leap Day, I had a student with a birthday in my class, so I pulled these out during my planning period to whip up something fun to help him celebrate, since he only gets a real birthday every four years. We were studying measurement in math, and I thought it would be fun to see how far these guys can jump. The "worksheet" I'm sharing with you is the refined result of that off the cuff lesson, which has turned into a class favorite every year. You can order the flipping frogs for $11.00, and you'll get a dozen sets like the one above. Click on the image to go to OTC's website. Then it's off to the races! Have kids predict how far, in inches, they think the frogs can jump. Jump away, and measure to compare to predictions and fill in the chart on the worksheet you'll find here. Don't save this one for Leap Day - it's fun year round and really gets kids thinking about reasonable estimates, measuring accurately, and recording their results.

Happy Jumping!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two For Tuesday FREEBIE

Hey! I'm back today with a quick link up with The Teaching Tribune for their Two for Tuesday party! I have no idea how anyone can get Teachers Pay Teachers to give 50% off, so I'm improvising a little with the rules today...If you buy one of my best sellers within the next 24 hours, that's 8:00 p.m. EST June 10-11th, email me to get your choice of equal or lesser value FREE! 

My number one seller is my 

A close second is my 
Amelia Bedelia Reading & Language Arts Unit, also $4. Both of these units are perfect for second grade, and are common core aligned to meet second grade standards, but could also be used to meet CCSS standards in first, third and fourth grades. Click on your choice, email me at to let me know you purchased a unit today and to tell me what you'd like for free, and I'll email you back with your freebie. Even easier, just leave me a comment below, but be sure you're not a "no reply" comment (your comment should have a link back to you - see this post by Megan Favre for a quick fix).

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Meet Me

Hey, y'all! I'm here linking up with The Teaching Tribune for their Summer Bloggin' Monday Meet Me party, hoping to meet some new bloggy buddies while I'm on my first official day of summer vacay!

I teach...second grade in South Carolina. My class is so special! It's kind of like a transition between first and third grades, with just 12 babies! We concentrate all our efforts on reading and math intervention. This was my first year teaching RTI, and I was thrilled with the results - I had one baby move from a level 8 to 30 in reading!

I have...a wonderful family and feel so blessed! Brady and I have two beautiful daughters - one going into 7th grade and one going into 4th. Where does the time go? Thankfully, LuLu the yorkie stays puppy-sized!

I watch...a lot of HGTV and have never even seen one episode of reality TV! I know.

I Pandora Radio all day. I love music - all kinds - and I love being able to choose my own genre, songs, artists, and have NO commercials! My favorite channel right now is Katy Perry. I might be her oldest fan.

I read...professional development books, even in the summer! I just went to Barnes and Noble and bought Strategies That Work, and a pack of new highlighters. What a geek!

I do...make handcrafted jewelry, love using my silhouette cameo, and miss scrap-booking. I'm so far behind on my girls' scrapbooks that I don't know if I even could catch up! This could be because I try to do about fifty things at once and never quite get around to actually printing off the photos from my laptop.

Link up at The Teaching Tribune to meet lots of other bloggers and teachers today, and check back through the week for more fun linkies!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Moving On and a FREEBIE!

Okay! Enough already! I'm ready for summer, and that usually for me, anyway, means planning for the next school year. Y'all, I absolutely am the world's biggest nerd when it comes to curriculum and instruction. I love, love, love to plan - from my room, to the theme, to the scope and sequence of my teaching, I love it all. It's like that library smell, or a fresh box of crayons, new pencils, or a whole roll of lamination in the teacher workroom. I just can't get enough! So, I'm moving on. I'm already thinking about next year, my new little class friends, my new coworkers - three of the sweetest ladies you could ever want to know are joining my teaching team, and all the things I can do better next year.

That has me thinking of all kinds of cutesy themes, designs, and patterns for everything from my teacher toolbox to my word wall (which is already cute, thanks to Erica Bohrer, but is getting faded) to my fabrics galore all over my room - curtains, table skirts, stool padded seats, banners, basket liners, and more! I've got polka dots, paisleys, chevrons, stripes, and plaids running through my head with prints and patterns in a co-mingled combination of cray-cray!

Fortunately, the more organized part of me has already been designing separate themes (not the mixed up madness I just described) for consideration for next year. I've come up with pinwheels, camping, polka-dot-paisley, VW beetles, ladybugs, flowers, ocean, western, patriotic, panther pride (our school mascot), race cars, animals, and, of course, owls - I still love them!

So far, I've put together a few word wall designs, and I'm posting them today on my TPT store. I also posted a freebie classroom rules poster set.

Go check them out for some inspiration of your own to get out of the end-of-year crazies and into the BTS excitement!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let's Talk About Books Linky

I'm linking up with the phenomenal Deanna Jump for a book sharing linky party. I've been looking for a great way to share this book with y'all for a while now, so when I saw Deanna's linky party, I knew it was perfect!

I love, love love this book! It is super cute and very informative. You'll love its format - not quite a pop-up, and less fragile, but just as fun with its fold out flaps. Each flap reveals more non-fiction information about tadpoles and frogs as the flaps build a pond surrounding the text...too cute!

The last page also flips down for even more information on raising tadpoles. This book is great for teaching life cycles, text features, graphic features, and informational text! It's written in an easy-to-read format, a just-right level for second graders, and is high interest for both girls and boys. The hard-back book by Frances Barry retails for...HOLY MOLY! I just looked it up on amazon and Barnes & Noble. It's apparently out of print, but is selling for between $295 and $2,395! Um, so, I guess I'll be bringing that baby home and wrapping it up in some archival tissue paper! Anyway, I hope your local library or school media center has a copy for you to take a look at - it is even more amazing than even I knew!