Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Use for Old Christmas Cards

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Christmas is over.  Now comes dreaded winter.  I don't mind the cold weather in December.  I do mind it January through March.  It's just no fun.  I still look forward to snow days, but after 12+ last year, even snow days got tiresome.

How many of you still receive Christmas cards?  We got a few this year.  Mostly, our friends send photo cards.  It's fun to see the pictures each year, and I usually keep them in a magnetic photo album.  So what do I do with the "old fashioned" cards?  Some of them are so pretty, I hate to just throw them of my hoarding tendencies (I'm working on it, ok?).  So I don't throw them away, I repurpose them!  How many times do you have students come to you asking for a bookmark?  That's right, I cut up those old greeting cards into bookmarks for my students.  A pretty and practical use for the old Christmas cards!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What We're Reading Wednesday-Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Join me on my other blog Family, Love, & Fairy Tales to find out more about this awesome book on What We're Reading Wednesday!

Halloween book-Room on the Broom || What We're Reading Wednesday || Family, Love, & Fairy Tales 

 Also, I've finally set up my Google Plus account.  Please feel free to add me!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Leave of Absence

One of my last blog posts was about how I was expecting a baby in May.  Well, due to some complications, I delivered a healthy baby girl in April, but my health is still not fully back to normal.  I chose to take an unpaid leave of absence this school year from my job and it is the best decision I've ever made.  I'm loving staying home with my baby girl, and only missing teaching just a little bit. I have started a new blog chronicling my experiences this year and my pregnancy complications due to HELLP syndrome.  I would love it if you follow me over there at!  I really would like to raise awareness about HELLP syndrome in pregnancy, so my first few blog posts are going to be about that.  I would love it if you could pass along my blog post to anyone who might be experiencing the symptoms I am describing.  It really could help save a life!

I hope everyone is enjoying their school year so far!  I am still following my favorite blogs and I love hearing about how everyone is doing.  I will be back to teaching next year, so I can't let myself get rusty! :)

I will periodically post here during my time off; mostly about books that I am reading.  Until then, I hope to see you over at Family, Love, & Fairy Tales.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review-The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen

Title:  The Shadow Throne
Author:  Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date:  February 25, 2014
Source of Book:  Netgalley

The Shadow Throne is the third book in The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen.  War has come to Carthya. When Imogen is kidnapped, King Jaron makes a plan to rescue her.  Of course, nothing is ever easy for the Ascendant King, but don't discount Jaron just yet--he always has a plan.

I thought this book was the perfect conclusion to the trilogy.  At this point, Jaron knows who he can trust and who his real enemies are.  Though young, he never loses sight of saving his kingdom and the people of Carthya.  Nielsen gives a conclusion to all characters in this book, leaving the reader satisfied.  This is probably my favorite children's series since Harry Potter.  You can't help but to love and root for Jaron.

I am still at a loss in which genre to classify this book.  It is definitely Middle Grade/YA.  I prefer to classify it as Middle Grade, but when shopping for the books at Barnes & Noble, I had to look in the YA section.  As far as genre, though, I have mostly seen it listed as fantasy.  My only issue with this is that I believe fantasy involves magic and this book does not.  I prefer to think of the genre as a cross between fantasy and historical fiction.  The kingdom is a made-up place (fantasy), but takes place in the past (historical), though there are no historical facts in this book, which is a key component of historical fiction.  I never know how to describe the books in this trilogy, except that they are all excellent!

Rating:  4/5 stars.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Author Studies

Does anyone do author studies to teach reading strategies and author's craft in writing?  This wasn't something I was exposed to in college, so it is new ground for me.  I have done an Eve Bunting author study in the past and I am currently doing an Angela Johnson author study.  Angela Johnson is an Ohio author.  Her books relate to many of my students.  She has won three Coretta Scott King awards and one book was awarded an ALA notable award.  With two split-up weeks, I thought this was the best time to conduct our Angela Johnson author study.  We started with The Leaving Morning and Tell Me a Story, Mama.  Both books are very relatable to my students.  We discussed making connections and point of view.  This week, we will be reading When I Am Old With You and studying sentence fluency.  Angela Johnson is a great author to study in fourth grade because she has authored picture books for young children, middle grade and young adult novels, and poetry.  This offers a wide variety of books for the wide variety of reading levels in my classroom.  We will also be doing a mini-study of the historical fiction genre with her books Wind Flyers about the Tuskegee Airmen and A Sweet Smell of Roses about the March on Washington.  Both books offer opportunities for nonfiction companions.

If you would like to learn more about Angela Johnson and her books, you can visit her website at  There is also an excellent video on Ohio Channel where Angela Johnson discusses her books and writing process.

If you would like to purchase my Angela Johnson author study, you can visit my Teachers Notebook shop.  I will have it discounted this week only!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I'm a Bad, Bad Blogger!

I have no idea how you other moms and teachers do it!  I am nearly drowning this year and blogging has been one of the last things on my mind.  My sister asked me to write a blog post for her travel blog, Glam Girls Travel and it got me in the mood to write again!  I'll let you guys know when it gets posted--it's all about traveling with young children.

I think I posted a while back that I was going to try out self-contained this year.'s going!  I do miss teaching reading all day long!  I also miss only having to prep for reading & language arts.  I do like having the same kids throughout the day, though. It can be challenging at times, but I do feel like I have a better grasp on behaviors and their progress in school in all subjects.  My teammate and I have discussed it and I think we have decided to go back to switching next of the main reasons being....

I'm having a baby!  

We're expecting a little girl in May!  So, does that get me off the hook for not blogging since August?  All you moms out there know what that first trimester exhaustion is like.  Well, mine still hasn't gone away and I'm 26 weeks.  Today is actually the first day that I feel like my energy is coming back.  Thank goodness!  I'm even considering going into school tomorrow to get some stuff done that has been neglected for far too long. 

I'm also getting ready to start Math Workstations this week.  I was busy creating some games during family movie night (luckily my hubs and kid gets it!)  I went to Dollar Tree earlier and got some dice, playing cards, flash cards, and some containers to house everything.  Once I work out the kinks and see how things run, I will definitely be posting more.  I know it's going to take some trial and error, given this is my first go-round!  

Well, I hope everyone is having a great weekend and I hope my fellow midwesterners are staying warm!  It was 45 degrees here today, which is a heat wave compared to the -35 wind chills we were having three days ago!  I am going to make a goal to post at least once a week from now on, so stick with me!