Starting Overs

Starting over. Nobody likes do it. But unfortunately (or fortunately) we all do at one point in our life or another.  Starting over seems to be a theme in our lives lately. Maybe its our age, or the season of our lives, but whatever the reason starting over is what the theme has become in my family this year.
Its not something I mind too much or become worried about. Maybe its the teacher in me that acknowledges and welcomes the chance to start over. Its a time to try again or sometimes try something wholly different. Ive become accustomed to starting lesson plans over. I often start over with new teaching skills and strategies. I sometimes even completely start over from the very (or new beginning) the next day when things dont go as well as Id hoped.
We have to. As teachers if we see our kiddos struggling or trying to grasp a concept we dont have the luxury of saying oh well. We start again. We find that method or thing that will help the kiddos understand and get what they need to, sometimes its in one or two tries, sometimes its in twenty.
I think starting over gives us a chance to rewrite us. It gives us a chance to put on the slate of our composition the things we hope to be, and then decide what we need to show to others. It gives us that fresh new blank start to a whole new beginning.
Summer is that welcomed time before starting over. Its my time to reflect and relive the things that worked and the things that didnt. It gives me the chance to sort out in my mind and on paper how I want my new beginning, my fresh start of a new school season to play out. Sometimes Donnie will look at me and ask whats wrong? He says I look as though Im mad or looking through him. What he doesnt realize is Im replaying the moments in my school year that I want to give a fresh start to next year. Its not that Im not listening to him-Im just starting over in my mind the school year I just left behind. J How do I explain that??
This year everyone in my family has had a taste at starting over. My son and daughter in law both moved to exciting new jobs. My daughter moved to a new state and a new teaching job, her boyfriend graduated college and started a new job. And Donnie lost his job of twenty plus years and started a new one. Thats a lot of change. Thats a lot of new pages to fill up and begin again. Thats a lot of starting overs.
Soon itll be my turn to start over with a new group of kiddos and a bucket full of ideas Ive been turning over in my mind.  

I can hardly wait. 

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Time To Make The Donuts!

Do you do donut math?
Do you know about donut math?
Am I the last to know about donut math?
I read about this somewhere the other day for multiplication fluency. But I cannot remember whereso I promise I am not trying to steal anyone’s thunderor donuts. 
So if this is your idea please say so! I’d like to thank you.
The teacher I read about drew two donuts on the board. In the “holes” she/he put a number. On the donut itself she/he wrote some random (or maybe not so random) numbers. The students then came up two at a time and raced to find the product of the two numbers. 
Brilliant I tell you.
So I thought why not addition! And subtraction. And money. Really anything could work. I tried it last week by just drawing the donuts on the board and the kids L-O-V-E-D it. They asked each day after that when we could do “donut math” again.
I decided instead of on the whiteboard it work better for me as a center. 
So tonight I am making donuts.
I bought some small cheapo paper plates at the store. I got two different colors of sharpie and wa-la. Donuts.
I decided I would use one color for subtraction and one for addition for better housekeeping and so the kiddos could easily know which is which. 
I’m going to have them write the answers on our little dry erase boards and work in pairs so they can check each other and self-check. I may even throw in a bag of mini donuts as a treat when then finish the center!
So off I go to make the donuts! 

Have a super week Y'all!


Among All The Coughiness and Snores

Today was our first day back to school with kids. Tired? Yep. Beyond tired. The kids were great. But they too were beyond tired. And bless their hearts, sick. Almost every one of them told about being sick over the break. 
As they coughed. On me. 
I tried. Really I did. I was sympathetic and said “I’m sorry” as I quickly directed them back to their seats. Away from me.
One poor little guy even feel asleep during my read aloud. 
And come on I’m a pretty fun reader. 
But we had to stop. 
Because he was sleeping. 
And snoring. 
Poor kid. 
I was so jealous.
So today was the first day back with kids and it was c-o-l-d. 21 degrees cold. Last week it was in the 60’s. Monday it was 69! But noooo not the day we come back it was 21 and we all know what that means. Inside recess. Yay more time to spread their coughy germs. Poor kids. Poor teacher.
But through all the coughiness and all the I’m tireds. I have to say I was glad to be back. I missed my kiddos. They make me smile every day. I was even blessed with a new kiddo today who looks to have just as much cuteness as my other kiddos.
 January to me is the month of recognition. It’s when I begin to recognize who’s starting to move away from me and into the league of “a big kid,” and who might still be a little hesitant and need just a few more weeks of extra support and guidance.
I’m always proud of those kiddos who are soaring to new heights. But between you and me I kinda like that extra time I get with my not yet ready ones. I tell you I am beyond blessed this year. And I am not ready to turn loose of a single one of my chicks whether they are ready to soar, or still need my protective arms.
If today was your first day back I hope it was quick and uneventful. If it’s tomorrow, I wish you warm weather, outside recess, and no coughiness or snoring!
See ya soon! 

Gathering My Thoughts

Where has the blogging world gone? Where have I gone? I can’t believe the last blog post for me was in July of 2015! What happened to me? What happened to my desire to write and connect with all the great blogging friends I had found through the years.
I only have one explanation. I DUNNO! 
Really I have no idea what happened to my drive and desire to write/blog. I may have run out those creative juices I hoped I was WOWING the blogging world with.  I may have felt I paled in comparison to all those amazing teachers and bloggers that seem to have it all together. It could have been that life just got busy. Or maybe it was the onset of menopause and all the “I hate the world” that entails.nah couldn’t have been that.
Maybe it was that Tuesday nights were now spent glued to the couch watching HGTV and Chip and Joanna! (That’s probably it). Maybe it was because I felt all the great bloggy topics were already out there. Maybe it was because my laptop was a whisper away from going haywire all year.  
Or maybe I just felt no one cared. No one read or responded or commiserated with my woes and tribulations of the teaching/living world.
Well wha wha wha. That is not why I started blogging. I started it for me. For my outlet. Not for your comments or responses. I wrote for me. And so I choose once again to write for me. My one indulgence (ok besides cookies, pie, and chips and dipoh and watching Fixer Upper). Writing.
This past year brought many changes and 2017 is looking to hold a few more. I can hardly wait. They won’t be all bad, nor will they all be good. But they will be changes. Life changing- changes. And I will have the avenue to feed them, mourn them, and celebrate them, here. I will cultivate them and then GATHER what I need to move on, even if it means planting a new way of living, and new horizon to start from.
2017 should be an adventure to say the least! Want to come along for the ride?
My one little word for 2017 is “gather.” I hope you have found yours and it makes your year filled with love, hope and harmony, and that your friends and family always gather around you to make your days complete.  

See you soon Bloggy friends! Except on Tuesdays those are saved for Chip and JoJo! J

Clean Friends are the Best Friends!

I’d like to introduce you to a new blogging friend I have. What’s so great about this blogging friend is she not only blogs, she lives right here in my hometown AND her son attends our school (and I may be lucky enough to get him next yearfingers crossed). I am so excited about her blog because I have a hard enough time finding blogger friends in Oklahoma let alone my own hometown. You can find her at Liz4fitness.
Now you may be saying Wait? What? She’s not a teacher blogger. Nope she is a nurse, fitness trainer, wife, mother, and she blogs beautifully about all of these things, so in a sense, yes she is a teacher. She has taught me so much already.
I came to know Liz better through Hadley. Hadley went to her for help with nutrition and her weight. Hadley came home so excited and encouraged I just had to know more. We spoke a little and then a light bulb went off. Professional Development! Liz was just what we were looking for! So I asked. She agreed. And wham! I am now looking forward to the dreaded PD days before school.
Today I was perusing Pinterest (that’s fun to say) and I came across a yummy looking recipe, but as yummy as it looked, even to my novice eye I could tell it was LOADED with calories. 
Doesn't it look scrumptious?! You can find the original recipe here

So I asked Liz”how can you make this healthier?” and BAM in no time flat she had swept it "clean"- rehealthified the recipe and made it sound even yummier because she got rid of the pastawhich I don’t really like (I should have told her that about the peas too, but I think I can just leave them out and be ok) and she replaced it with cauliflower! Who’d have thought! She shaved like 1400 calories off of the recipe! I am amazed! you can find Liz's new and improved version here
So now she’s posting a challenge called "Clean Sweep of the Week" send her a recipe and she will do what she can to sweep it clean and rehealthify yours! I think Hadley is already getting ready to chime in about gravy!

While you're visiting Liz's blog  read how she lived "clean" for a month feeding a family of three on food stamp funds. It is possible to eat healthy on a budget. 

What's Your Semicolon?

Have you heard of the Semicolon Project? It is a project that has been started to raise awareness for mental health, depression, addiction, and suicide. I love, love, love the premise of this movement. Of course as a teacher and lover of writing I see it on a whole different level than what it is intended, but the feeling ofmore is the same!

The semicolon represents just that; more. There is still so much more to write, more to say, more to live, more to be, more to you. That is what this project is trying to instill in the hearts of people. That just because there may be an addiction, there may be depression, there may be mental health, physical health, and things you can’t determine or see there is always more! More to these people- more to these feelings and thoughts, more to their lives than just the “label.”
I have had people with addiction and mental illness in my life. I often see others write them off because of it. As if they are not worthy of their time. I feel sorry for these people. They miss out on some wonderful conversations and friendships. I think they are afraid these “symptoms” will somehow reflect on their character or social standing. It does not.
What I see is; more.
The other great thing about the semicolon and this project is the possibilities I see for greatness in my classroom!! A vessel for lessons and MORE!
I have been searching for my inspiration for this school year and I believe this is it.
A semicolon on my door leads to discussion the very first day for students and parents alike. They are all “more” than what they enter with. I will expect “more,” they will leave being and knowing “more.”
A semicolon drawn on their hand helps them to remember the rules for writing and that their stories need “more” (this is where I have to confess I am seriously considering a tattoo! Yes me at the age of 50!!).
Semicolons placed strategically throughout the room serves as a reminder that there is always “more” to be done!
And of course a semicolon above the teacher’s reading table lets them know I believe in their greatness and that they all mean “more” to mean than what they know.  
This sentence from the Semicolon Project is what has given me such great inspiration “A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. The sentence is your life and the author is you.”- Project Semicolon.  Love! Love! Love! This quote will be my bulletin board!
What will your semicolon lead to? 

It's All About The Planning

 Are you a planner? I am a planner. I plan everything from parties to lessons. I think I was born to be a teacher because of my planning. Now do all my plans always work out? Wellllll no. Not always. But that’s ok. I just keep on planning. So since this is the first of a new month (the last full one of summer! Yikes!) I thought I’d share a few of my July plans with you.
June is always my month of rest. I try not to do anything too schoolish (I said try). Then in July I dive in, and the first few weeks of August I back off again for a breather before school starts. Of course this is always “my plan.” I did say they don’t always work out

For July I want to read some new professional books and reread a few of my favorites. I always like to reread Debbie Miller and Katy Woods Ray. They make me remember why I teach and I somehow always seem to find something I’ve forgotten or have missed. I am also looking to find a good math book. I am always wanting to improve on my math teaching, and haven’t found just the right recipe yet that works really well for me.
I am also planning to blog more faithfully. I PLAN to make it a priority. Maybe I’ll blog about me reading!

In June I got a cute new yellow bike from my mom and kids and I have been riding it at least three mornings a week, and so I really plan on continuing that throughout July. The PLAN is to be able to ride it to school on nice morningsand the days I don’t wear dresses!

I also plan on revamping a couple of my TpT items. I made
family involvement journals a few years ago, and I just really think it is time for them to have a facelift and maybe add to them. I also want to add a couple of new items to my store. I have a few that I have been planning so we’ll see!
In the middle of July I am cooking for a large rodeo around here called Calvacade.
It is a ranch rodeo, concert, and dance. My good friend talked me into cooking lunch for the people that work the Rodeo. It’s 100 people a day for 4 daysThe PLAN is to make it through the week without collapsing! I have been planning food for a while I hope it goes over well.

Finally I’ve been planning a weekend getaway for all of us, but that’s not until the end of the month and I’m not sure it’s going to work out because as all good plans go there have been a few unexpected things pop up that just may impede our fun

Those are my PLANS so far for the month of July. Are you a planner? What are your July plans?