Friday, April 26, 2013

Tell Me Something Good

I found this awesome linky today all about focusing on the good! So I'm linking up with Rowdy in First Grade to share one good thing from home and from school. Head over and link up!

From Home
I got to talk to my little sister today! Living five hours (soon to be ten hours!) away from home is really hard sometimes. I have loved college and am so excited to move to Tennessee, but I know I will miss my family. I come from a close-knit large family that spends a lot of time together, so I like to stay connected. My Mom calls every couple of days, but I don't often talk to my Dad or siblings. But my sister is a senior in high school and we don't have enough girl talk! It was great getting to catch up with her, we don't do it nearly often enough. 

From School
Another great thing about today (I promise good things happened the rest of the week) is that I got to see my student teaching kids. I am on the sub list for the district, although I can only sub on the days I don't have classes. I went to my student teaching school this morning thinking I was going to be in third grade, but ended up with my kids for the afternoon. My supervising teacher was in meetings, so the kids and I made posters about earth day and started to re-decorate the room after testing. They were thrilled to see me and it was so nice to spend time with them. I can't believe how much some have changed in just two months! That 5th grade attitude is coming out for some of the kiddos. My favorite part was that while we were working, a kid would occasionally just get up to come hug me. Too sweet! I promised I would go see them again one more time before I leave. 

It is so nice to focus on positives of a week instead of dwelling on the negative or just trying to forget the week all together! Check out Rowdy in First for more good weeks! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teachers for Boston

Last week was a week of loss, sorrow, and a testament to the American spirit. I love being an American and am proud to see my beloved country pulling closer together in tragedy. Around the world people are praying, showing support, and helping in any way they can.

Living in Texas right now, I have have seen first hand the every-day people giving their time and money to help the people of West. College students driving down to West to help with relief work. Elementary schools gathering extra supplies for students. The Blood drive lines were extra long today. Although I move to Tennessee in less than a month, my heart is with Texans and their strong commitment to taking care of each other. 

Helping the people of West has been an amazing experience, but I also wanted to help Boston. There has been so much hurt and so much hope in that city the past week. It makes me want to go up to the East Coast and volunteer! Unfortunately that is not the most reasonable plan. But as I was reading some blogs today I stumbled upon Michaela over at The Center Based Classroom, who has organized a fundraiser to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Bloggers from all over the country have donated products for this fundraiser. If you donate $20, you can get one of two product (K-2nd or 3rd-6th) bundles, both valued at over $150! All of your donation goes to the One Fund to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

I bought the K-2nd bundle, and I already love it! There are some really great resources in there. I pulled out fact and opinion uno with my tutoring kids today and they loved it! Buying either bundle is a great way to help Boston and have some new resources for the end of the school year.  Thanks to The Center Based Classroom for organizing this amazing fundraiser! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Taste the Rainbow!

I loved my first Linky party, so when I found this one, I knew that I wanted to participate! Enjoy learning about me, and make sure to check out Flying into First Grade.

TOPIC - Skittles Game
Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)

Being from Texas, I love pretty much any flavor of Blue Bell ice cream. I am totally a chocolate girl with pretty much any other dessert, but for ice cream my hands down favorite is Banana Pudding! It is light, refreshing, and tastes like a cold version of my favorite childhood dessert. What's not to love?! 

Spending a semester in Rome was the highlight of my undergrad. Most of the students at my university go, so I went with my closest friends. We lived in Rome for four months and traveled all over Europe. One of my favorite days within Rome itself was climbing the Cupola (dome of St. Peters) with a friend. Here I am at the top! 

So, ummmmm.....I don't really follow sports. I will watch a game if everyone else is. I enjoy volleyball, basketball, and soccer the most, but also know the rules to football and baseball. I will jump on the cheering bandwagon, but based on silly things, like jersey color. 

I love Sonic drinks! There was a Sonic by school and if we hurried in getting ready for the next day, we could hit happy hour. Pure ice bliss. 

I have a children's book buying obsession! It is rather ridiculous. I come from a family of book hoarders lovers and was always surrounded by reading, so it is only natural that I would continue the tradition. I already have a (rather packed) bookshelf full of children's books. Classics, my childhood favorites, and now 2nd grade level books. If I ever end up on hoarders, it will be for books! 

Don't forget to check out the Flying into First Grade for more Linky fun! 

A Book for Every Reading Teacher

As my senior year draws to a close, I find myself bombarded with projects that I have been putting off all semester. Papers, presentations, readings, the list goes on and on. And the planning and researching of 2nd grade is so much more fun to focus on! But alas, I must finish my work because graduation is an important step on the way to my own classroom.

That being said, there is one book that I just could not put down. This may be a part of my "The Bedside Table" posts, but it never made it to the bedside! Straight from the bookstore to being finished. What book is it you ask? It is The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.

I discovered the book from a friend at school who insisted I read it. She let me borrow her copy but suggested I get my own because I would want to take notes. I took her copy and thought I would just read it and buy my own at some point. I only got through the introduction and first chapter before I knew that I needed my own copy! Once I really got reading I was highlighting, sticky-noting, and agreeing as I went. 
Miller does a wonderful job of practically showing how she interweaves reading into her schedule and giving classroom snapshots. Although she is a middle school teacher, I think that a lot of these same methods could be applied to just about any grade. Don't just take my word for it, every teacher should read this book! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Queso Soothes a Teacher's Soul

While student teaching I learned so much about running a classroom and the paperwork of teaching. Equally as important (if not more) I learned about teacher parties. The team I worked with did pot-luck lunches at school a few times a month and happy hours almost as often. We also did birthday lunches for the team members. It was great being part of such a tight group. Several of the veteran teachers were known for a "signature" dish. Being know for a dish was a big deal, and didn't come easily with all of these discerning palette.  I won them over with the last dish I brought. Tasked with bringing an appetizer I immediately knew what to do. I made them my Queso. It was gone in about 5 minutes!

Queso is a staple in Tex-Mex food. If is often made with Velveeta cheese and Ro-tel. But the Velveeta, although delicious, tastes processed. But just making it with cheddar cheese didn't result in a smooth cheese sauce. So what did I do? Combine them! The recipe is not the most exact thing in the world, but a lot depends on the humidity and how thick you like your Queso.

First, gather all of your ingredients. Which of course I didn't take a picture of. :( So just imagine a pic of a large block of White Velvetta, an onion, small block of sharp cheddar cheese, chicken broth, and spices.

Cut up a whole onion. The size of the slice depends on your onion love. I like pieces bigger than a dice and smaller than a slice.

 Throw the onion in a skillet with some oil (or butter) and cook until brown.

While the onion cooks, cut your cheddar cheese into small pieces. I usually cut it into strips the again the other direction. Smaller pieces make it easier to mix in and less stringy. 

Dump the cheddar, half a log of white Velveeta, 1/4 cup of chicken broth, and a can of Ro-tel (with liquid) in a microwave safe dish. Ro-tel is canned tomatoes and jalopenos. If you can't find it in your area, you can mix a can of tomatoes and half a can of jalopenos. 
Microwave at 60% for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. 

 By now, you should have a lumpy queso. Time to add spices to the party! I like to add pepper, garlic salt, and red pepper. If you don't like spice, skip the red pepper. Start with just a little, then taste it to see if the spice is to your liking (yes, this is a recipe that is telling you to snack on the food!)

Microwave for another 4 minutes, then check again. If it still needs more time, microwave in two minute increments. Then you are done! You can adjust the spices again or if you want a thinner dip, add more chicken broth. 

Grab some chips and dig in! You will be the hit of any teacher party (or any gathering for that matter).  

Again, this is just a base recipe. Feel free to make it your own! Add regular Velveeta instead of blanco. Use pepper jack instead of cheddar. Possibilities are endless! You can also make it in the Crock-pot on low. 

I hope you enjoy this queso! And I am not responsible for you making this three times in the first week. Once you make it you just can't stop! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Editing Woes and Advice

Sometimes the internet is a wealth of information, helping even the most ignorant person accomplish amazing things. But sometimes, the evil side of the internet rears its ugly head and you feel like the dumbest person in the world. Making a blog button in five easy steps sounds great in theory, but the reality of these complex steps leaves me disappointing and frustrated. Which is maybe why the accomplishments feel that much better.

I have been trying for about a week now to crack into they mystical world of clip art and coding, and am still utterly lost. I was able to change my blogger background and make links in posts, but nothing beyond that. I was trying to add some flair, but I am too stubborn and broke to pay for a blog design. Adobe is out of the question right now, so I was messing around with Powerpoint, but you can't make PNG images on there, so my pictures all had white backgrounds. While searching Pinterest, I clicked a link for an art project on Everyday Mom Ideas and found gold.  She had used a program called, which is a free editing program similar to a basic old version of Adobe.

I immediately downloaded the program and used it to edit my sweet Blog Header (thanks LeeLou!) It is a very basic program compared to something like Adobe, but I love that you can do layers and make PNG images. I am so excited to continue to work with this program and develop my blog! 

Do you have any more advice? I could use some suggestions, especially about clip art. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently

Happy Easter! It was a whirlwind of a weekend and now it is time to get back to work and head to the finish line. I graduate mid-May and can't believe how fast it is coming! I am so excited to teach but so sad to leave my undergrad.

As I build up this little blog, I am quickly realizing how poor my knowledge of design is. Any advice? I really am clueless on how to design a blog or anything for TPT. I am trying to work on learning, but it is much harder than I though it would be. Perseverance!

I have been following Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for some time now and have always enjoyed reading the Currently posts. Now that I have a blog, I can finally participate. So here is my April currently.

Like I said, heat has come to Texas! It was in the 30's last weekend, but that is long gone. My air conditioning isn't great in my room, so I need to get used to the sound of a fan again. 

If you are in Texas then you know what time of year it is...STAAR testing! My student teaching class is taking their writing tests this week. I wish I could do more to calm their poor nerves! To all teachers doing STAAR testing and other standardized tests this week, best of luck to you and your kids!