Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I had the privilege of being nominated by my building to attend ECET2! This is a conference that celebrates the effectiveness of teachers. It was held at a nearby lake and conference center.

I had a gorgeous ride through the country to get there, but because of how curvy and narrow the roads are, I have 0 pictures! #epicfail

What I can share with you is two ideas that I gained from this conference.

Do you know Pokemon Go!? 
Aurasma is a augmented reality app that students can use to essentially create anything. 
You have what we call a target, which is basically anything that you can take a picture of. 
So, you snap that picture on the app, and then you can add overlays like pictures or videos that will pop up when a student scans that target. 
Teachers shared out that they had students doing career presentations on it, some teachers use it as an overview to the library or a way to give a short book blurb.
I started experimenting with this app last year in the classroom. Initially we had students completing reading logs for accountability purposes for their writing. That was simply not working. It was too childish for my 8th graders, especially my gifted students.
So, we started using Aurasma but at that time didn't know as much about it.
There are so many possibilities with it.
Check out Aurasma!

#2-Students in Poverty
I teach in an area that unfortunately is being hit with many hard times. Within the past year we've had 4 factories close, which was basically the only big business in that area. In addition, the hospital there filed for bankruptcy and many businesses are closing. This is lead to the increase in poverty. 
We have around 60% free and reduced lunch. Many of my students come to school and haven't even seen one of their parents yet that day. Many won't even see a parent at ALL that day. Many students don't have someone to wake them up in the morning or breakfast. Some don't even have lunch or dinner. This absolutely breaks my heart!

When I first started teaching I had certain things that I was going to teach the students; things that I thought I wanted to do. Many of things have gone by the wayside because they teach me every day. One thing that I learned at this conference is to level the playing field. Many students don't have the opportunities to do different things at home because they don't have the resources or the help. A high school LA teacher at a neighboring school shared her success table where she has all kinds of supplies that students can just have whether it's for her class or another one. I already do this success table in a way. I have a whole bookshelf of materials: pencils, pens, erasers, pencils, markers, highlighters, crayons, glue, scissors, rulers, etc. where I tell students they can use any of it as long as they put it back. I need to get over the PUTTING IT BACK and just be okay with it leaving my room. Most of the students really need it or they wouldn't be taking it. So, I'm going to make my best effort in being okay with providing 1000 pencils throughout the year as long as they are being used...

In addition, I got the idea of having a little Christmas fun in my classroom. The LA teacher mentioned above does a Gift of Words exchange where students choose a quote, wrap it up and give it to someone else in the classroom. I know I have many students who do NOT get a Christmas. This is heart breaking. Can you imagine waking up on Christmas Day and not having anyone to spend it with or getting any presents?! This has really weighed on my heart the past couple of years. I have been blessed beyond imagine with heat, food, comfort, presents at each holiday and many of my students haven't experienced that.
I want to have a little Christmas Party/Exchange this year. I'm trying to figure out how I can tie this into my 8th grade ELA standards, since we know everything's supposed to lead back to the standards. I'm thinking of having an honorary dinner where students have to write a persuasive letter or invitation to a nominated teacher to attend this party/exchange. Each class will make a class decision on the teacher who they are nominating, and then they will create the invitation and some sort of recognition piece of that teacher. In addition, each student will wrap up a quote for that teacher and a quote for another student. We will exchange quotes/presents, so that each student has a little gift/quote to open. 
This is all just thoughts, but I'm thinking of having a breakfast casserole for my first two morning classes and cream chicken sandwiches and something else for my two afternoon classes. 
I want some food that isn't difficult to put together and not costly as I will have to feed 80+ people. 
Any suggestions on ways to tie this back to the standards? or menu ideas?
These students are why I get out of bed in the morning! They rock, and I want them to experience a little love this holiday season too!

Monday, October 24, 2016


Today I'm at a conference about education and celebrating teachers!
So, I'm busy learning more tools for my tool belt of teaching.
Come back tomorrow for my recap of the conference and some new tricks if you're a teacher too!

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Friday...

Hooray for Friday!

This week seemed like a long one, so I'm glad to see that the weekend is finally here!

Today I'm linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea to share some Friday Favorites!

Last weekend I had the best time showering two of my friends with a little surprise dinner as they are soon to be a bride and momma!

I've been loving this fall weather! 
To catch a glimpse of our home all decked out for fall, click here!
It's actually been more like an Indian Summer, as we've been hitting 70-80 recently, but that all changed. Now, it's raining and raining. 
The leaves are quickly changing and fluttering to the ground. 
My drive to and from work each day is just gorgeous!

My flowers are still blooming! 
I love zinnias and my butterfly bush so much!
I wish I could have fresh flowers on my counter every day!

This is a picture of us in Central Park last year right before we got engaged!
I had no idea Alex would pop the question there.
We are planning a return trip soon.
Any favorite shops or restaurants?

Speaking of trips...
We're in the process of booking another cruise for next summer.
I'm excited to see more of our beautiful earth.
Do you guys prefer one cruise line over another?
Any cruising tips are greatly appreciated!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Inside

The leaves have abruptly started changing here in the north. We have been experiencing warmer than normal temperatures for the past few days, so I've been outside enjoying the 80's because I know soon it will be 30. 

This is our first year both living in this house, so I'm excited to document our first fall together!

A little fall decorating on the table in the living room, along with one of my favorite Bath and Body works candles-Lakeside Sunrise. I'm not sure if it's available anymore.  

See that not so great pumpkin painting at the bottom right? I painted it last fall. It didn't look too bad until I put the lines on the largest pumpkin. Now it looks like an orange pineapple!

One of my co-workers made the cute shadowbox for my school bridal lunch, and another person made the lantern for us as a wedding gift!

 A little kitchen pizzazz!

 Another favorite fall candle.

 Dining room! 


 This wreath is super cute and from Pier 1, but I could no longer find it on their site.

 We get our pumpkins from the local Amish. 
I always loved waking up on Saturday mornings as a kid and hearing the clip clop of the horses hooves as they headed in town for the Saturday farmer's market. 

It's so awesome and mind boggling to see how they live day to day.
 There are always little kids like ages 2-5 running around in their bare feet, leading the horses or doing farm chores when we go out to get the pumpkins. 
My dad used to run across them while he was working. The kids always loved getting a piece of chewing gum or crackers from him! It's the little things! #simplelife

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake

Everything you need for the 
Shay's Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake

 Spice Cake Mix

2 packages of Instant Vanilla Pudding

1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 1/4 Cup Water

 4 eggs

1 Cup Canned Pumpkin

 All mixed up!

Grease a bundt cake pan and pour in!

 Cool 10 minutes and then invert it on a cake pan!

I haven't mastered the icing yet...it's to be fluffy, but mine is always runny
Anyone have ideas on how to get mine fluffy without it being all gritty and sugary?

4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 C Butter, Softened
2-4 Splashed of Milk
2 TBSP. Cinnamon

I made this cake for Parent Teacher Conferences. I thought about not setting it in out teacher's lounge until that evening, but I decided I would just put it there when I got to school. It was in the lounge around 6 a.m. and gone by the time we had lunch at 11. 
People loved this cake!
Everyone was asking me for the recipe!
If you are looking for some fall yumminess, try this out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Show and Tell: All about YOU!

Today I'm linking up with Andrea for some Show and Tell Tuesday!

Today we are sharing our quirks, nicknames, phobias and other things that makes me, ME!

One of my nicknames in school was small. Naturally, I'm not one of the biggest people, so I was always considered short and tiny. This was a name that stuck throughout middle school and high school but since has subsided. 

I'm really not a nickname person. I'm usually Beth, but at school I'm Mrs. K or Miss. B.

A little quirk about me is I'm most definitely a neat freak. I like to use something and then put it back in it's exact place, so that the next time I want to use it, I go right to its spot and find it. 

This goes to the extent of before we were married I would make my bed first thing in the morning. It was ALWAYS made. If I didn't have time to make it, it was going to be a BAD day. Now, I'm the first person up, so I can't make it. 
Instead as soon as I'm don't blow drying my hair, the blow dryer is put away. 
I hate junk and clutter, so I want stuff gone and out of sight. 

I HATE spiders.. This is something that I've always despised. Anytime there was a spider in my room as I kid, I would yell for someone to come get it. Thankfully, I have learned to take care of them myself now if I have to. 
The other day I was driving down the road and saw a thick, black spider on the outside of my window. My window was down a little bit, so I tried to put it up before the spider crawled in, and I accidentally hit the wrong button and BAM! there it was like seriously running along my door. I was trying to drive, and thought I may rear-end the car in front of me because I just couldn't take my eye off of the spider. Luckily, I had a piece of junk mail to squash it before I hit someone.

Tight Spaces: I never was afraid of tight spaces until I've gotten older. When I was younger I loved to find any nook and cranny and plop down and read. I remember reading in a tree, the back of my dad's truck, in a closet, everywhere! Now, I'm super afraid of tight spaces... We went to Niagra Falls to celebrate the new year, and we decided to go down behind the Falls. We got on the elevator, and about 7 of us were crammed in a tiny elevator. I was at the back and suddenly I went into panic mode. I told everyone that I no longer wanted to do it and was going back to the top as soon as we got down there. I walked out of the elevator and was suddenly fine. There was something about so many layers of clothing and being crammed in that tight space that made me jittery!