Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy May!

In April we had Spring Break.  It was SO NICE and relaxing!  We played with Hayden and Stephanie.  We spent the day with my Gramps.  We strolled through the grocery store.  It was nice to have time and freedom to do whatever we wanted.  We were also able to fit in a few doctor's appts.  I had so much energy this week, even to cook dinner! =)  I love, love, love teaching, but it's so hard to keep going full-speed at 4pm.

We had our annual AGAPE picnic at the zoo.  I've taken A before, but she was not interested.  This time around, she was slightly more interested.  But not much! =/
Speaking of A, she is absolutely delightful!  She's a good sleeper, aims to please, and loves to love.  She's a JOY to be around.  God definitely blessed me with her.

One day at school, we had a mobile petting zoo.  I was able to hold this baby goat for at least 10 mins.- just snuggling.  I was in heaven.

My girls and I met in Nashville.  I carried my camera around everywhere yet neglected to get a good picture.  Here's a phone shot.  I haven't been to our alma mater since we graduated.  It sure has been updated!  Lipscomb has a beautiful campus, and I was flooded with warm feelings.  Being there with my girls made me tear up a couple of times.  Here we are in front of our dorm.

AND I finished my gifted endorsement.  Whoo-hoo!  And next year I'm moving back down to Kindergarten- where my gifted certification will be useless to my school. =/  But I'm so happy to have this under my belt.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I sure can't keep up!

Anyone out there?
It's nearly been a year since I posted.  I've been updating my teacher blog... not so much this one.

I went to Dallas for my birthday.  I bought myself a camera, so I took lots of shots of the babies.  Notice Jake's eyes. =(  He is now completely blind.  He also had one eye removed.  It has relieved him of massive migraines.  He feels much better now!!

I love this shot; Esau is in mid-bark.

I wanted to go to the zoo for my birthday.  They had 2 baby elephants celebrating their first birthdays.  I was so excited to see them.  I could have watched them for an hour.  Dad tolerated my swooning for about 15 mins.

In the fall, my girls and I met up outside of Cincinnati for a cabin weekend.  One one of our days we went for a beautiful hike.
But we got caught in a rainstorm with about a mile left!  I've never run a hike quite like that. =)

At school, we got to dress up as book characters.  This is my 2nd grade team.  I chose Disney's Pocohontas.  You can also see Fern (Charlotte's Web), Ms. Frizzle (Magic School Bus), scarecrow, Freckle Juice, Amelia Bedelia, Fern, and the Grouchy Ladybug.

For Christmas, we went to Dallas again.  Most of my pictures recently, have my little sweetie in them.  (I'm not really interested in plastering her face on the Internet though.)

Ben and I in Gaylord's ICE.  The scenery is all ice sculptures in 9 degree temperatures.  Yikes!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life as I Know It...

has changed.  Things change in a few years. =)  I'm still super-happy in my life.

My parents moved to Florida and then Dallas a few years ago.  I just wish they'd move back to the South!!

 Still meeting up with Lipscomb friends... cabin weekend

 Steph had another boy, Hayden Christopher.

 Ben graduated from North Georgia, with a degree in Political Science, minor in International Studies.  He's currently in law school at GA State in Atlanta.
*I also finished my Specialist degree in December.

 Cabin Weekend
 Ben got a dog (a Husky mix), named Chuck.

My beautiful Gran-Gran went to meet our Lord.  I miss her painfully.
Ben and I with Gramps

 At the Dallas Symphony

 Visiting our favorite place in the world!!

 Lipscomb girls visiting Pennsylvania

 My sweet friend, and teaching buddy, Kelly got married!

 I finally got to go to the shooting range.  So fun!!

 Lipscomb girls in Atlanta
Filling out my Dave Ramsey chart:  I have all my debt (so many student loans!!) paid off!!!  (except my house)

I have also started doing foster care.  I had a 15 mo. old boy for several months.  Now I have a 2yr. old girl.  I love them both dearly!
I will begin my Gifted endorsement this year.  It's another year of graduate-level classes to add to my certification.  But more classroom work... oh joy. =)
I've been in my house now for 10 yrs.  I wanted to move years ago, but the market did not allow such fun.  Now I'm looking more seriously.  I'm not in a hurry, so I won't settle.  I just keep saving money while I'm looking.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Teacher Blog

Instead of changing this blog, I just added a new blog: Practical Primary Ideas!!
Click here for the new blog!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gwinnett County's Connect 4

I just finished a 3-day conference, and my head is spinning with ideas.  Keep in mind that each session was 1.5 hrs.  I have a lot written here, but hopefully something will be helpful.  Here are some of my notes:

Keynote:  Greg Tang:  Base 10 blocks are good models, but students need to get away from proportional models.  Once they have a grasp on place value, use cubes, pens, and post-its to represent ones, tens, and hundreds.  These are just models.  Begin to use chips (we have red/yellow plastic chips)-- write 1, 10, 100 on these.  They are all the same size.  Tang then discussed bar modeling when solving word problems.  I find Math Playground's Thinking Blocks to be an extremely helpful tool for students.
STEM:  Understanding Engineering:  Free curriculum found at We also discussed their Engineering Design Process:
  There should be fluidity to move between steps.  Groups will create "blueprints."  Each member of the group has the same plan.  The teacher will listen to the plan before students begin creating.  Once the time allotment for "create" has expired, groups will test.  All groups should discuss what was successful, even those that were unable to test.  The teacher could ask them, "What were your challenges in building?"
Math Differentiation:  Differentiation can occur in the content, process, or product.  A helpful book to use is How to Differentiate Your Math Instruction.  I noticed some excellent surveys to give students.  (If you're a Gwinnett teacher, every school should have this book.)
Text Complexity/Close Reading:  Determine with students that we don't "close read" everything; my examples are confusing parts of a novel, nonfiction, a manual.  In this class, we read The Day the Crayons Quit and were given some great questions and lessons.  We also read Freedom Summer (what an amazing book!!) and came up with questions of our own, along with follow-up lessons.

Keynote: Warren Phillips:  He is a Science guru.  He gave us lots of strategies to get the kids up and moving.  I saw him in an extended session, and he had lots of fun, exciting experiments.  My mouth was dropping, so I know kids' mouths would too!  He also has written many science songs that help kids memorize tough concepts (more upper grades).

Keynote:  Kristin Ziemke:  She used Today's Meet to ask us various questions.  We logged on, using our devices, and kept conversation with her.  She uses many websites to aid in her instruction.  She loves Edmodo for students to have a discussion.  Ziemke also had students watch a PBS television show and comment using Padlet.  Her students blog, using Kid Blog.  She also visits  Each day there is a different "I Wonder" question.  What a great way to develop curiosity!  Ziemke also has students record themselves to share their learning for the day.  To review a lesson, she may show a slideshow of students' work throughout the week.
Singapore Math:  Two books to note:  Step-by-Step Model Drawing and Why Before How.  When students are working on word problems (or exemplars), students should not explain the order of what they did for problem solving.  They need to explain why they chose the method.  Remind students not to erase- just draw a line through errors.  Students should write the equation before they solve the problem.  This may seem difficult for students at first.  For example, if I have 3 red balloons and 2 fly away, I may be tempted to draw the balloons and X 2 of them out.  However, students should get in the habit of writing the equation first.  When our students move to the writing piece of the exemplar, they should answer, "Why did you solve it this way?"
Flipping the Classroom Using eClass (just applicable to Gwinnett teachers):  Go to your eClass --> Self-Directed Training --> Content --> (on sidebar) GCPS Training Materials --> Elementary School... There you will find the training manual.  Any questions you have should be found there.  However it's an extremely long manual!!
When assigning homework in eClass, "flipping" would be to assign a preview video.  Students will come in the next day, ready to learn.  You can check to see if a student did his homework.  (Content --> Edit Course --> View User Progress)
Helpful Links found along the way: no ads pop up while watching youtube!
Brainbreaks:  GoNoodle and Learning Station Music

Teacher Blog

I do believe I will start updating to help my teacher friends have visuals.  This will be a great place to share websites and ideas for 2nd graders in Georgia.  Warning!  Any posts older than this are from my personal blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011


My mom and I have not done a girls' trip in a few years. She's always wanted to go to Boston, so I thought that'd be a great place to go. A BIG thanks to my dad who gave us Delta tickets and 2 free nights at the Marriott!! We were able to stay there for 5 days, and I PACKED in the activities. Besides the millions of pictures here, I probably have another 20%. We also saw lots of gravestones- Winthrop, Revere, Hancock, Mary (Mother) Goose, Sam Adams. We saw lots of churches. The first day we flew in, checked in, and were out by noon.

This is Old South Church, near our hotel.
Faneuil Hall, originally a town meeting place
Quincy Market- still a place to buy fast foods and souvenirs
Old State House: Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony. Also the site of the Boston Massacre.
I love the Beacon Hill area, near the park (Boston Common).
Public Garden
We also saw the Make Way for Ducklings statues here.
Wednesdays after 4:00 are FREE at the Museum of Fine Arts. Whoo-hoo! We were quite tired at this point (woke up at 4am for our flight), so we split up. Mom went to American art; I headed for European art. I was able to find my favorite French artists. =)
Here is one of Monet's Water Lillies.
Walking back to the hotel. This is such a beautiful city. They definitely appreciate greenery.
The Christian Science Museum. We didn't go in, but we thought it was a beautiful area.
Day 2: The Boston Public Library is across the street from our hotel. SUCH a beautiful, free touring spot.
Freedom Trail
We did not walk the entire trail; we picked it up in spots.
Old North Church, where 2 lanterns were hung
Individualized pews provided for warmth in those harsh winter months. They kept a hot rock/brick in the bottom of the pew box. Families needed to purchase pew boxes. The larger the donation, the closer to the front.
Paul Revere's home. (No pictures inside.) One room was decorated in 17th century style, while the rest was decorated for when Revere's family would have lived there, in the late 1700's.
I definitely wanted to eat at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America. We really enjoyed the food and ambiance.
We visited Harvard in the afternoon but were not very impressed. I'm not sure what I expected- it was school buildings and dormitories. =)
Day 4: (Day 3 is at the end.) We rode the trolley all over town. It was such a fun way to see Boston! Here I am at the home of the Red Sox.
We also took a cruise of the harbor.
USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides"
This is the park on the roof across the street from our hotel. How neat is that?
Day 5: More downtown
This is the site of the first public school; it was a Latin school (1635).
on the trolley
Irish Famine Memorial
My mom's family (Quinn) is Irish but came over during the late 1600's.
My family thinks I take too many pictures of food. But I love to show off new or beautiful foods. =) Here I am eating Boston Creme Pie for the first time. It was a little unimpressive. We are eating at Mike's Pastry. Some locals told us they all eat at Modern Pastry, across the street. I got gelatto there later. Yummmm!
Cookies at Mike's
Trying clam chowder for the first time (at Union Oyster House). I enjoyed it so much!
Now, you gotta admit that's beautiful food! I bought these in the oldest candy company in America.
Day 3: Daytrips to Plymouth & Salem
This is Plymouth. It is beautiful yet would be a little disheartening if I were a Pilgrim.
The Mayflower no longer exists, so this is the re-creation: Mayflower II.
Inside the cabin where 102 passengers lived for 9 months. Unfathomable. Cramped, smelly, wet.
And here's the rock.
We went to Plimoth Plantation. I was Super excited about this. Note: Plimoth was spelled many ways. They had no official spelling rules and just went with phonics.
Anyway, one area is the Wampanoag Village. Descendants of the original tribespeople work there, explaining their culture to us.
And then the 1627 English village. YEA! They even spoke in traditional tongue. It was so much fun to see their homes and speak with them. These role players study their "person" and dialect for 2 yrs. before they come into the village.
But the temperature WAS 103. Who knows what the heat index was. That made things a little difficult.
Inside one of the nicer homes.
There were 2 rooms in this one!
Listening to the preacher in the Meeting House
On to Salem, to visit the Witch Dungeon Museum
This was such a sad part of history to learn about.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables
And finally, thrilled to be inside the Olde Pepper Candy Companie.
If you ever get a chance to go to Boston, go. Learn about our history. Enjoy the scenery. Eat. =)