Monday, August 31, 2015

You NEED these shirts!

So let me tell you about A+ Images...

They are FABULOUS.  If you are needing shirts for your class, grade, school, or just for you - you should definitely check them out! 

I got this fabulous shirt from them last month:
The quality is perfect, the design is on spot, and I can't tell you how much I love my shirt!  I waited this long to tell you about it, cause I've had my eye on these adorable things:
Is that not the cutest thing you've ever seen?  I would LOVE to get my class a set of these this school year!  Now that school has started and things have slowed down a little bit, I have a chance to do the "fun stuff," like look around for cute shirts!  This would definitely be a shirt to treasure for years to come! You can check them out at Classroom Faces.

Just a note about their customer service...  I asked A+ Images for a free blogger shirt design the first week of July.  They informed me that my graphic would be blurry.  They said they would be more than happy to print it if that's how I wanted it, but added that if I could get a better quality image my shirt would look much better.  Well, I tried to get a better quality image and it didn't work out, so I just gave up.  Then, during the last few days of July, I received an email from them saying they had sharpened my image so that it was print quality!  They shipped it just a few days later!  This said so much to me about their company.  Because my shirt was a free blogger shirt, they were losing nothing by letting my image fall into the back of their inbox.  I know they had plenty of orders to do in July, but the fact that they reached back to a free order sent 25 days previously, found my image, and made it print quality says so much to me!  They truly are an amazing company!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

My New School Year's Resolutions

Every year I have goals for myself to accomplish...just like New Year's Resolutions, only for the school year!  So here are the things I'm going to work on this school year - for my students and myself.

1. Show my students love
This sounds like a no-brainer.  Of course we show our students love, right?  We're teachers!  I always love my students, but sometimes I get a little caught up.  Caught up in standards that aren't mastered yet, caught up in the fact that I need to be teaching every minute of every day, caught up in lessons that need to be taught before testing...just caught up.  Sometimes I get so caught up I forget to give that extra hug, pat on the back, or reassuring smile.  It's not that I don't love my students, I just get way too caught up!  So this year, I don't want to make any excuses.  There's never a good enough reason not to show my students the love they need and deserve from me!

2. Fully implement Daily 5
I have been reading the Daily 5 book and it sounds wonderful!

Centers have always been:
A) A hassle to create every weekend
B) A time for my high kids to work and my low kids to goof off
C) A stressful time of day
D) All of the above

D! D! I pick D!  So for my educational goals this year, I want to delve into Daily 5 so that all of my students are loving center time and actually getting something out of it.  At the end of this school year, I honestly hope to have the best readers I've ever had leaving my classroom.

3. Make more "Me Time"
Summer is awesome and wonderful!  Why?  Because every single day is jam-packed full of Me Time!  Time for me to exercise, time for me to keep my house clean, time for me to cook, time for me to time!  I hate how during the school year I never get enough time for this.  I'm always too exhausted when I get home from school to do any of it.  I always feel like a failure at home if I feel successful at school.  So this year, that's going to change.  I'm going to make the most of every day.  Grading papers during lunch, making copies during plan time - packing my day with all the work it can hold so that when 3:00 comes around, I'll be done!  Does that mean I'll never stay late after school?  Of course not!  But if I can cram my day with work and not let interruptions (aka facebook, instagram, etc. during lunch and plan time) get in my way, I will have so much less to do after the bell rings and I'll have more time to take care of myself. 

Sooooo...what about you?  What are a few things you'd like to improve on this school year for yourself or your classroom?  Take the image below and add your blog post to the linkup!  Don't forget to also post your image on instagram and add the hashtag #schoolyearresolutions.  Have a magical school year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Follow Frenzy: Week 4

Hooray for Week 4 of the TPT Seller Challenge! 

So I'm probably not the Mrs. Social Butterfly that bloggers are supposed to be, but I do follow a lot of blogs and I do read and learn from them like they are professional development books.  I love, love, love that the TPT Seller Challenge has given me a chance to find new bloggers.  Here's three of my faves I've found through this wonderful journey.  Thanks for being an inspiration, ladies!
You can check out their blogs below:
And check out their amazing TPT stores while you're at it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently: July

So maybe I'm behind the times, or maybe I just never find time to blog during the school year, but I'm finally linking up for Currently with Oh Boy 4th Grade.
Listening:  My new cat makes bird noises.  I don't know if this is common, if my cat is having an identity crisis, or if she's going to be the best cat hunter in the world.  You can listen to her here.  If you happen to know about this phenomenon, please let me know in the comments because I'm considering taking her to counseling...or letting her duel it out with a bird.

Loving: That I still have a whole month of rejuvenation, relaxation, and loving on my pets and family!  I love teaching, but it seems like I never get a minute to breathe during the school year.  These two months I get are pure bliss.

Thinking: Since I do only have a month of summer left, I need to start prepping for school.  I have banished teaching pinterest posts for a month now, so I think I have to start pinning again.  And I should probably start laying out my curriculum...nah.

Wanting: It has stormed so much over the past few days at my house!  This is crazy business!  I feel like I'm in central Florida...but I'm not because I can't go to Disney World!  Lightning struck so close to our house yesterday that the smoke alarms went of several times.  Our pets had a little freak out attack in the meantime.  Plus, the little bit of tan I have from this summer is slowly leaving, and we can't let that happen, now can we?  Sun, please come back out!  Yours truly.

Needing: Summer is the only time I get to read.  It probably shouldn't be, but I just can't find time during the school year to do it!  And sadly, I've only finished one book this whole summer.  It was a huge book, but nevertheless, just one.  I have to get on it!  The new Daily 5 book is calling my name!

All Star: To Do List maker.  I just got a new Erin Condren planner (YAY!) and if I wasn't a To Do List Queen before, I am now.  I know I'll forget whatever I need to do if I rely on my own memory, so my lists are the way to go!

Thanks for joining me on my first Currently post!  Hopefully I can keep this up during the school year!

Work it Wednesday! Week 2

I love these Work it Wednesday posts!  They are so motivating!  I'm not motivating because I'm too lazy to "work it"...but everyone else's posts are motivating!  Anywhoo, here we are again for Week 2!
So last week I told you about my "exercise routine" with a disclaimer that if you really want to get fit, my rules aren't the best.  But if you're a lazy gal and you want to slowly work your way into fitness, that's right where I am on my journey.  Since my stubbornness has the best of me, here's my second rule to fitness that probably isn't a good rule, but I'll never break it.

Isn't that terrible?  I mean I'm kind of blasting my weight loss goals with that one, but dieting is no fun!  I've tried it, and let me tell you it makes me hate life!  My students probably think I'm Viola Swamp when I have attempted dieting.  The only thing it does is make me crave more food.  which makes me miserable and pouty.

Instead, my life plan goes more like this:  Drink a lot of water.  Eat all of the fruits and veggies you want (My husband says this is not a good idea...because binge eating on baby carrots isn't really great for you either.  Like I said, my advice might not be the best.).  Try not to eat fast food.  But never ever diet.
Here's my super amazing Camelbak.  It's my appetite lifesaver.  Did you know if you drink through a straw, you'll drink more?  It's true!  I was lucky to drink my 24 oz. Tervis in a day's time, but with this water bottle with a straw I'm drinking almost a gallon some days. When your belly is full of a gallon of water, you don't have much more room for cupcakes.
 *NOTE* As tempting as it may be, don't fill your Camelbak with Coke.  I have considered it many times, but just don't do it.  As wonderful and miraculous as Coke may be, 33 oz. of Coke isn't good for anybody.

 I also try not to snack.  It's hard, because I'm a grazer.  No joke, I'm like a sheep.  I'll get a plate at say...O'Charley's and I won't be able to finish it.  In 2 hours I'm starving.  I just have to keep eating!  Some people say it's better to eat smaller meals more often, but when you're a teacher that's close to impossible.  A few years ago, I cut out unhealthy afternoon snacks.  That's it.  No going on a diet, just cutting out one mini meal that I didn't really need.  After a few months, I lost 20 pounds and went down two pant sizes.  It was awesome!  I am completely serious when I say that's the ONLY change I made in my life.  No exercise, just cutting out unhealthy snacking.  Now, I do allow myself to snack on fruits and veggies (remember my "you can eat as many as you want" idea), but just not Little Debbie Cakes.

Speaking of Little Debbie Cakes, I splurge.  Sometimes you go to a blackberry farm and pick blackberries to eat them.  Other times you just make a cobbler (...or 3...yes, 3 cobblers) out of the blackberries.  This is not a good choice by any means, but I don't believe in cutting it out.  When I cut things like this out, I go crazy (see Viola Swamp).  In moderation, I splurge a couple times a week...because remember, I'm not on a diet.  Anyways, if you've got a gallon of water and a whole big bunch of baby carrots in your belly, you might just be too full for blackberry cobbler, and that's okay too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Make your Masterpiece: Week 3

This week for the TPT Seller Challenge, the theme is Make your Masterpiece!  While I wouldn't call this my masterpiece, it's something I've been needing to finish because I think it will be a great routine for my firsties this year!
This resource has 20 prompts for every month of the year!  It also has 40 extra prompts for anytime, for a grand total of 280 prompts.  I love giving students a chance to choose what they write about, so I created this to give them a structured choice.  I plan on using this in centers, but you could use it for early finishers, homework, morning work, and honestly anywhere else you like!  In celebration of finishing a product, this is just a dollar for today only so snatch it if you'd like it right here!  The prompts do contain holiday and culture references specific to the US, so if you don't teach in the US you might not get such a great benefit from this product.

What's your masterpiece?  Or an awesome product I should check out?  Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Work it Wednesday!

Hey, friends!  Today I'm linking up with Katie King for Work it Wednesday!

First, you have to know something about me.  I don't like getting fit.  I don't exercise, I don't sweat, and I ESPECIALLY don't diet.  But for some CRAZY reason, my husband decided to do all of that at the beginning of this year.  And he lost A LOT of weight.  Meaning right now, I weigh more than him.  Sometime in my life I'll probably be okay with that fact, but right now I feel like a giant when we're out together.  Soooooo...I decided to get fit in attempts of not feeling like the Jolly Green Giant.  Sigh...

So if you're looking for great advice for how to get fit, you will probably want to just hop onto another blog.  If you HATE everything you possibly have to do to get fit and want to know how you might not hate it so much, then go ahead and keep reading.

I have some inner rules for myself.  They're probably not good rules, but I'm pretty stubborn about them so here's the first one.

That's it!  Never.  I can't stand paying that much money for something I may or may not use.  A gym is great if you really want to get in shape, but it costs you every single month.  I know myself well enough to guarantee that if I have to leave my house to go work out, I will never work out.

Instead, this is what I did...

I got this for my husband for Christmas a few years ago.  I think it was $200, but I know there are many even cheaper than that (less than $100).  In my eyes, $200 for my husband and I to work out for as long as the machine works is a lot better than paying $30+ a month, every single month, for both of us to have a membership at a gym.

I don't like this machine just like I don't like working out.  The seat is probably the most uncomfortable thing I've ever sat on, and it makes me love my fat-padded booty even more.

But, as much as I hate it, it's getting me fit because of this little tray right here.
See that thing?  Right above the silver part is a glorious tray.  You know what can sit right there?  MY PHONE!  YES!

I'm working on reading the Bible through in a year on my Bible app.  Let's just say that I'm way in May's readings may or may not be done yet.  Every time I work out, I multitask.  I'll start reading my Bible and sometimes I get so interested in what I'm reading, I'll forget I'm pedaling while sitting on a rock!  It's fabulous!

Other times if I'm having a rough day, I'll watch Ellen while I cycle.  That woman is so funny, I have cycled for 40 minutes before without even noticing (and that's a BIG step for this girl right here).

I'll even get on a Teacher Blog binge sometimes and start reading those until I forget I'm cycling.  It's amazing.  PD and fitness at the same time.

So if you hate working out just as much as I do, find a hobby to do while you work out so that you don't realize you're working out.  If you like bird watching, go take a hike to watch the birds.  If you like listening to your Pandora station, put some headphones in and walk to the beat.  If you have kids, spend time with them by playing tag or other outdoor games.  If you like reading and watching TV, invest in a cycle for a lifetime of fitness.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream: Week 2

This week for the Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Challenge, the theme is Dare to Dream.  I'm sharing with you the reason I make products for Teachers Pay Teachers and what I plan to do with my life...besides teach.

I love everything Disney.  I especially love Disney World.  I don't think I can really express how much I love it, so just believe me when I tell you I do.  It is really my happiest place on earth.  I have so much fun acting like a kid again with my husband!  I love seeing his goofy side, and when they say "Show us your Disney Side" on those commercials, they aren't kidding!  My husband has a Disney Side!  And it's so attractive!  Okay, back to dreams...

I learn so much as a teacher in Walt Disney World.  Just watch a child carry on a conversation with a character.  They're completely engaged, completely engrossed, and soaking in everything that character is saying.  Perhaps it's because they've watched Frozen 2,934,123 times and they are obsessed with Elsa - so every word out of Elsa's mouth is sacred.  Or perhaps it's also the magic that Walt Disney World creates in itself.  I think it's some of the first, but a lot of the second.  That's the whole reason I called my blog "Simply Magical Learning."  I want learning in my classroom to be like Walt Disney World every single day.  All smiles and excitement, soaking up words and making learning fun.

So right there is my main reason for selling products on TPT - trips to Walt Disney World.  They're rejuvenating for myself as well as next year's classroom environment.

If I really go far on TPT (or grow up and have kids someday), I would love to go to Grad School.  I LOVE LIBRARIES.  In my list of favorite places to be, it goes like this: 1. Disney World, 2. Anywhere that sells ice cream, 3. Libraries.  I would love to be able to return to school to get my Master's in Library Science to become a librarian.  I'd still be teaching lessons on books, but I'd be able to range from picture books to young adult novels.  I don't know if this is a practical goal, or a reachable one, but I'm daring to dream it anyways.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Makeover Madness: Week 1

For this week's Makeover Madness, I had to pick a product from my TPT Store and redo something about it.  This has been on my to-do list FOR-EVER, but I have absolutely zero motivation to do it.  I'm so happy this got me pumped up for it!

So here's one of my first products from last year, My Word Wall Book.  There wasn't too much content-wise I wanted to change, but the cover, clip art, and borders definitely needed some updating. 

So now it's a whole lot prettier!  My kids loved this last year and I know my kids this year will love it even more.  And because I want you to experience the prettiness and wonderfulness of it, it's on sale for $2 (regularly $3) through Friday. Just click here to go visit my shop.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Where, oh where is my hair?

Hooray for finally posting something on here!  You know it's summertime when I have time to blog!

So this week I FINALLY got to do something I've been working on for months, but first you have to read my story.

One day, a precious student of mine came in with the most adorable haircut.  She came to the back and handed me a Ziplock bag filled with all the hair she had cut off.  As a teacher, kids bring you all sorts of homemade trinkets and treats as presents, but I have never been given a bag of hair.  I know my facial expression wasn't exactly what she was hoping for, but really - who gives you a bag of hair?!?!  Then she explained to me that her mom wanted me to get a wig made of it for a child who didn't have any hair...and that made a lot more sense.  So I sent it off and got it done!

Right around this time it was about time for my usual haircut and I decided to do what my sweet little girl did.  I grew out my hair for another 2-3 months and finally ended with enough to donate!

Here's what I looked like a few days ago:
I must admit, somedays I got attached to my long hair. I almost chickened out and got a trim instead.  Luckily on the day of my haircut, it was super annoying so AWAY IT WENT!

And this is me, right now writing this blog post.

I LOVE how this little girl in my class inspired me to do something way out of my comfort zone.  Her cute haircut and sweet heart just did me in!  That's one of the best parts of teaching - learning from your students.

FYI: If you're thinking of donating your hair, I'm donating mine to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  My childhood neighbor and second mother was diagnosed with cancer around Thanksgiving last year.  When she started chemo and lost her hair, Pantene gave her a wig for free.  She's an amazing high school English teacher who kept teaching through her treatment, and I was so impressed with a company that would provide her with a wig free of charge!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May Pinterest Linky

Can you believe it's May already?  The countdown has begun!  And here's some pins to help you make it though the next few days!  The end of the year is my favorite time of year because all of the stress of testing is gone and we get to have fun while learning!  The worst part is coming up with engaging activities so your students don't go absolutely bonkers.  Here are three ideas to keep your end of the year somewhat sane. :)
I love this first idea!  It's the CUTEST craft, a great bulletin board, and a good self-reflection activity.  I'm loving the idea of a graduation cap, too!  I'll be making this next week with my littles to keep their antsy hands busy. :)
Peanut Butter Bird Feeders are a mess, but the kids will absolutely love them!  Last year I did these at the end of the year.  I made a few to hang outside our windows at school and the kids made some to take home. We really spent way too long watching out our windows.  I'm not joking...I turned out the lights and we got quiet and we counted how many different birds came to our bird feeder...for a lonnnng time.  We honestly might have counted more squirrels than birds, but the kids were still totally engaged!
You just HAVE to click the Pinterest link for this one.  This blogger did her child's birthday party with snacks from various books.  At our school, we are only allowed to watch one movie between now and the end of school...which leaves a lot of activities to be planned between now and then.  This made me think, why not have a book themed snack party?  I am super psyched!  If your students are allowed to bring homemade snacks, you could have them bring in their favorite book with a matching snack.  If they're not allowed to bring homemade snacks, make your own snacks!  Now I am no Betty Crocker, but I can do break and bake cookies and goldfish.  I'd LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have my kids read the books to their class while they eat their snacks!  Oh, what a nerdy teacher's dream party!

Hoping you have a magical end of the year filled with fun!

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Teacher Anchor

I am all about organization and planning.  I may not always be organized or planned, but believe me - I'm all about it.  This year I decided to invest in a Teacher Anchor.  It was definitely one of the best choices I've made all year!  Here is the (beautiful) new and improved Teacher Anchor!
What do I love about this year's Teacher Anchor?  EVERYTHING.  But here's the three things I love the most.

1. The Forms:  I've used these nonstop all year long.  I bought the Complete Teacher Anchor last year (and you should get one this year...).  My favorite part has been the sheets that came with it.  They are so useful and practical.  I use a sheet for each week's small group reading time.  I can easily plan, track, and modify three different reading groups with these amazing sheets!  Now I am able to look back at records through August to see what I have taught each child in my room, what they have mastered, and what I still need to teach them before second grade.

2. The Flexibility:  About halfway through the year, I was asked by my school to use an online planbook through which I was required to submit my plans weekly.  I firmly believe a planbook is like a teacher's diary - you just don't mess with it. :)  But I also try to be flexible.  Even while using the online system to submit my plans, I can easily change the headings of my Teacher Anchor.  Instead of using Math, Reading, Writing, etc., I've been using headings of "To Do at School" and "Activities to Create."  I LOVE that although my situation changed during the year, I can still use my Teacher Anchor for planning what I need to plan - even if it isn't subject areas!

3.  The Little Things: I love the little extras in the Teacher Anchor that you won't always find in other planbooks.  I am crazy about the little stickers that say "Grades Due" and "Early Dismissal."  I love the useful Substitute Sheets that are added in the planner.  The Birthday Calendar has kept me on top of my kids' birthdays throughout the year (because I am really bad about remembering birthdays).  This year...are you ready?...this year you can also get your Teacher Anchor Binder PERSONALIZED!  Is that not the best thing ever?  You can choose between 12 different colors and get your fabulous name printed on the front.  It's these little things that has me DYING for a Teacher Anchor this year!

So please, go quickly to C. Jayne Teach's Shop to view more about this fabulous product for the upcoming school year!

EDIT: So I wrote this blog post, and then I watched this video.  Everything I loved about last year is here AND EVEN MORE!  My absolute favorite thing from last year, the forms, are now in the Teacher Anchor!  I can't hold in my excitement!  Please, please, please watch this video!  It's the best thing you'll do all day!

2015-16 Teacher Anchor™ from Chandra Verbic on Vimeo.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April Pinterest Linky

I can't tell you how much I love this linky.  Really.

So here's my 3 Pinterest Picks for April!

Isn't this just adorable?  I mean, I'm all about teaching - really.  But if there's anything I love more in life, I promise it's food.  With our Scholastic Bonus Points, I bought this see-through veggie grower.

  When we get to studying plants this month, it would be awesome to incorporate the vegetables we're growing in class with this activity!

I might be obsessed with rainbows.  Roy G. Biv is my BFF - for realz.  So do you think I will be decorating my room with these?  YES, MA'AM.

You could use this for everything!  Cloud as main idea, rainbow as details.  Cloud as sum, rainbow as different ways to make that sum.  Personally, I think I'll use the cloud as a topic sentence and the rainbow as details in a paragraph.  I love this pin because it's just so flexible!

Back to the planting, aren't these cute?  They look like regular ole classroom plants...but they aren't entirely!  See those cute white cups?  I use one just about every morning.  They're K-Cups! What a genius idea!  The worst thing about plants in the classroom is that they're a mess.  But with this, you can put a K-Cup in a pan and viola!  No mess - and hopefully not as many tip-overs.  Plus, you're recycling which equal bonus points for Earth Day.  Go you, Teach, go you!

Have a Happy April, everyone!  
P.S. I know you love your job so much you would never count down to summer...but in case you wanted to know, we have 34 days left.  Hoping you are almost ready for vacation, warm days, and having time for yourself!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March's Pinterest Picks

 I am so excited to be linking up with Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for my top 3 Pinterest Picks!
I'm all about Pinterest.  It's by far my favorite teaching and decorating resource, so let's get started!
I know Read Across America Day was yesterday, but for me March is Read Across America Month.  We just don't stop.  This is a super cute and EASY way to get your kids motivated about reading!

You must also know that I'm a strong advocate of door decorations.  It's tough work and my doors are always full of mistakes, but the kids get SO excited when there is anything on their door.  So this pin, although simple, is everything I'm about.  And you should try it too!

Here's my finished product!  Definitely not as cute as the Pinterest one, but hey, it's there.

To go along with Read Across America Day (or Week...or Month), I did this bulletin board last year and I'm doing it again this year.  I take a lined sheet of paper and a blank sheet and staple them together.  The kids draw their favorite book on one side and write what they love about the book on the lined side.  I take pictures of kids looking at a book and print them off of my home computer. The kid's pictures will take a TON of ink when you print them off, but it's so worth it.

Just some tips if you'd like to make this bulletin board, put each picture as a slide in a powerpoint presentation.  Then cover all of the background you can with white shapes to save on ink.  If you've taken pictures at a close enough depth, they should turn out perfect!

Last, OH MY GOODNESS.  This is so cute!  I found this leprechaun trap on Pinterest and the link was dead, but it was enough to spark my interest.  I can honestly say I've never done a send home project with my kids.  The school I am at has little family participation, so I always assumed it wouldn't work.  After seeing this, though, all I can ask is why not?  If parents help, they help.  If not, at least I tried!  If you search "Leprechaun Trap" on Pinterest, there's so much more.  Like this letter, for example:
There are so many writing templates to go along with it as well.  I plan on asking my kids to make the Leprechaun Trap and then have them write about it the next week after they turn in their traps.  Crossing my fingers that it will work out, but it sure looks like fun!