Wednesday, March 7, 2018

February Book Review

Happy Middle of the Week and Book Review Day!

Last month I only read two books. 
I got stuck in a rut, and then life as a teacher got super busy, so I didn't have much time to read. 
I will say that the two books I did read were phenomenal. 

Flight #116 is Down

I was looking for a book that would be part of my spring literature circles and wasn't sure what to grab.
One of my co-workers suggested Flight #116 is Down.
I quickly ordered it from the library and sat down to read it.
This book is a really easy read.
Heidi lives in the Dove House.
She's surrounded by fancy decorations, a caretaker and parents who are always on the go.
Another round of trips leaves Heidi alone with her care taker when she hears an overpowering sound. She then realizes that a plane has crashed on their property.
Heidi puts the ball in motion when she goes to the aid of the badly hurt.
This book encapsulates a story of not only trying to help all of the passengers survive but in befriending the help and maybe making lifelong friends.
This was a great book, but it wasn't as high of a level that I was wishing for my literature circles, so I decided to go with option #2.
I'm currently finishing option #2, so I hope to report back on it during my March Book Review.


I ordered Refugee a few months ago and hadn't had the chance to read it.
A lot of the boys in my classes had been passing it around, so I was interested in seeing what all it was about.
Three different stories are told in this book from three different time periods.
Josef is trying to escape the Nazi's in Germany during the 1930's.
Isabel is trying to escape Cuba in the 90's and Mahmoud is trying to escape the Syrian war in 2015. All three of these children are with their families trying to escape to a new country and create a new and better life.
Each time that they think they've found the answer, another obstacle pops up.
There's only so much time before they will be captured or returned to their homeland.
Will their escape efforts work or will they return and have to start all over again?
I loved that each chapter gave just enough information to make you wonder what was going to happen next.
As soon as you were onto the plot line, the chapter ended and another story began.
This really kept me intrigued and wanting to read more.

That's all for today. 
Hopefully, next month I will have more books to report back with!

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Goals

Hey, hey!
February seemed to fly by.
Each day brought something new and time consuming.
I didn't have much time for blogging, so that went to the wayside.

I've had a bit of time to catch up, so I'm back with my March goals!
I'm so glad that it's March.
The grass is starting to green up and it's staying lighter outside longer.
I'm so excited for warmer weather and sunnier days!

Before jumping into my March goals, I want to share an update on my January goals.

1. Clean Closets/Bathoom Cabinets

2. Register for Master's Classes

3. Book Summer Vacations

I'm glad to share that all of my January goals have been completed.
We had a wintry January, so I had a lot of time at home!
The house has been cleaned from top to bottom including inside and outside of cabinets.
It's time consuming, but now that the sun is shining I'm glad I'm not confined to spring cleaning the house.
I registered for my final four master's classes and have finished one already.
We booked our summer vacations, and I have one more vacation to make a decision on this month.

So here we go March...

1. Complete Read Aloud Class

Last month I finished my first Master's class of four.
Teaching Literacy Across the Curriculum was my first class.
If you aren't a language arts teacher but are interested in learning how to integrate reading and writing in your classroom, this would be a great class.
Since I am an ELA teacher, I knew most of the information, but it was a good refresher course to get me back in the student mode.

This month I'm looking to finish a class on Read Alouds.
I'm hoping to report back at the beginning of April on it.

2. Complete Teacher Health Class

I have high hopes to complete two classes this month. 
My second class is on keeping sane while being a teacher. 
It's so easy to get consumed with teaching. 
As I'm typing this I have spent hours and hours on grading and planning this weekend. 
It's currently Sunday, and I'm trying to hurry up and get our meals made for the week, so that I can go plan some more. 
While I love my job, it's time consuming and can get you down. 
I'm excited to see what this class has to offer.

3. Make Alaskan Cruise Decision

My mom and I may be making our first trek to Alaska this summer. 
We've been trying to decide on which cruise we want to take. 
I had it narrowed down and thought I had a winner, but then I realized I was looking at a cruise that departed in 2019 not 2018. 
I'm hoping we will make a decision very soon!

All of my goals for this month are very research oriented.
I'm hoping for lots of time at home reading and writing and to get these goals under my belt come April.
Happy March!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Surprise Valentine's Gifts-MVMT Watches!

I'm a bit late sharing Alex and I's surprise Valentine's Day gifts to one another. 

The funny thing about this is that Alex asked me a week or two before Valentine's Day when it even was. 
For some strange reason he thought it was the day after he was asking me, but no no it was actually two weeks away on February 14-the same day it always has been!
Guys are so goofy sometimes. 

So, I got him set straight on what day Valentine's Day was, and then completely forgot about it. 
We don't typically do anything for it, and I had conferences that week, so I knew it would be a busy hectic week. 
I planned to bake a cake for us and just hang low with dinner at home. 

Surprisingly enough, Alex mentioned something about these watches a couple of days before V-Day. 
I thought he was joking when he said he saw them on TV, and that he actually liked and wanted them. 
He proceeded to tell me that they had matching couples watches and wanted to know if I wanted to get them for Valentine's Day. 
Wearing the same exact watch as my husband didn't seem to be quite my thing, but what I found out and saw was that the watches weren't identical; they just kind have went together. 

We rarely both like the same thing, but we both decided on the black watches. 
I was over the moon that Alex actually thought of getting each other something. 
We put in our order and waited for their arrival. 

How cute are their boxes?!

Alex's watch

Both of our watches... 
See, they just go together. 
They aren't matchy matchy but complement one another!

We haven't had a chance to wear them yet, but they're super cute, and I hope they hold up just as well!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Talk: Swimwear 2018

Happy Tuesday! 
If you had yesterday off, I hope you enjoyed your extended weekend!
We were supposed to have yesterday off, but then we went and had 11 snow days, so yesterday was a makeup day, and I didn't mind it one bit!

We are finally in a learning groove at school, and I'm loving it! 

Today is the third Tuesday of the month and that means Tuesday Talk!
The third Tuesday of every month Ashley and Erika do a little Tuesday Talk. 

You can blog about whatever you're interested in talking about. 

Today SWIMWEAR is on my mind!

I'm over the snow and ice, and today it's supposed to be 75 in February in Ohio!!

Over the weekend I was scrolling through Instagram when a swimwear ad caught my eye.
I noticed it was a company that I bought swimsuits from in the past, so I thought I would jump over and see what they had new.

That was a mistake.
There are so many swimsuits that I love!

I've posted some of them below.
Let me know what you love or don't love!

This top was on the ad that initially caught my eye!

I love it paired with these side tie bottoms.

Then, I saw this pink and purple color of the nearly same print.
I like the strapless top with the side tie bottoms.
Or I like it with just a plain pair of black bottoms that I already have.

This top seems to be a bit out of my comfort zone, but it's super cute.

Paired with the fold top bottoms below would look super cute!

So, I'm narrowing it down and trying to determine which tops might go with bottoms I already have and what bottoms I think would fit well for me.
Let me know what caught your eye or your favorite swimwear brand!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Teacher Life: Grammar Skills Using No Red Ink

Hey all!
It's been a busy week here. 
Meetings and parent teacher conferences have me making it just through one day and into the next. 
I thought I'd post today about a current activity that we are working on in class.

Grammar Skills!

Grammar is tough for my 8th graders.
I think grammar went by the wayside for a few years, so now my kids are clueless.
Bless their hearts, but they don't even know how to identify a subject and a verb.
We have been working hard at it, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

I really feel I would be doing them a disservice if I just glossed over it and let it go, so I'm trying to change it a little at a time.

Each time I grade an essay of a students, I grade based on the current rubric that I gave them, but I also look for one main grammar error.
I find it best if I give them one thing to work on at a time.
Then, we use No Red Ink to learn the rules for their current goal.

Here is their No Red Ink Tracker paper where they list the skill they were assigned, the date they completed the practice and mark off once they completed the quiz.

An example of what the interactive practice looks like...

The thing I love about No Red Ink is it has personalized interactive practice.
It allows students to choose their interests, and then they actually get to drag and pull commas, semicolons, colons, etc to various places in a sentence.

Right now I have 14 different skills being learned throughout all four of my classes.
I might only have one or two students working on a skill in all of my classes, but if I see a skill that a student needs, I assign it.

For my higher kids we are working through using semicolons and colons and using commas and coordinating conjunctions.
This is tough.

At the end of this week I will specifically be assessing how the students learned their individual writing goal in their own writing.
Sometimes it's difficult to get the skill that they learned online to transfer and use it correctly in their own writing.
My fingers are crossed, and I'm hoping it WILL transfer on Friday.

For any other teachers out there, what grammar work do you use?
There's just no way I could make lessons for all of the skills that my students need.
The best thing I've found it No Red Ink.
It's not perfect, but it's the best I've yet to find.
Happy Thursday!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Favorites: Super Bowl Cake, Bahamas, Bulletin Board Inspiration

Happy Friday!
It's been a long short week.
The excessive amount of snow days we keep having has me wondering what day, month, and date it is too regularly!!
Let's hope it's Friday, February 9 and the last time we have a snow day!

Today, like every Friday, is a Friday Favorites kind of day!

As always, I'm linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea
We're sharing our favorites from the week.
Grab their graphic and linkup with your favorites from the week, too.

Super Bowl Cake

I vowed not to watch a lick of the Super Bowl. 
I was going strong until Alex brought dinner home and forced me to watch it. 
I really didn't get into any of the commercials, and I wasn't rooting for any particular team, so my favorite part was this cake...

Live with Kelly and Ryan from the Bahamas!!

We got an unexpected snow day on Monday, and I was even more excited when I turned on my TV for Live with Kelly and Ryan to find they were at Atlantis!

I was even more shocked that Kelly was in that dress over the weekend on Instagram, and then again for the show!
Now it has me wondering if perhaps Monday's episode was recorded from the weekend.

At this point in time I was daydreaming about being in warm, sunny weather unlike what I was seeing outside of my window!


These snow days have left me ample time to read. 
On this particular day I ran in the middle of the road before the sun rose. 
It was snowy, slippery and a beautiful sight!

I came back, showered, made myself some cocoa and sat down to read.
One book for class and another for pleasure.

Bulletin Board Inspiration

I've been finding a ton of new teachers to follow on Instagram.
I love these bulletin board ideas. 

 How cute is the paper border?!


It's that time of year...

Time to plant flowers!

On Sunday I planted my geraniums...

Four days later and they were sprouting!

The weeks have been long, oh so long recently. 
We've had one consistent week of school since before Christmas break. 
I love snow, but I'm ready for sunshine, flowers and warmer days. 
Our school year has officially gotten longer as we just added a makeup day at the end of the year. 

Here's to a sunny weekend and dreaming of Spring! :)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Instant Pot: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

A couple weeks ago I made another super easy Instant Pot meal. 

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes were made right inside the Instant Pot.
It was super easy to throw together and tasted delicious!

Meatloaf-You Need:
1 Pounds Ground Beef
1 Egg
 1 Cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1/3 Cup Ketchup
1 TBSP. Minced Garlic
1 TBSP. Minced Onion
1 1/2 tsp. Parsley

Mix ingredients together.
Put in a disposable aluminum loaf pan.
Set off to the side.

Potatoes-You Need:
2 Pounds of Potatoes (Chopped) I used Yukon Gold and took the skins off
1/2 Cup Half and Half
1 Cup Water
2 TBSP. Butter

Put chopped potatoes at the bottom of the Instant Pot.
Cover with 1 Cup of water.
Put the rack of the Instant Pot over the potatoes.
Place the loaf pan of meatloaf on that.
You will probably need to mash the sides of the loaf pan a bit to make it fit.
Set Instant Pot to high pressure for 25 minutes.

When done, vent steam.
Take out meatloaf.
Add ketchup on top and place in over.

I poured out the potatoes and used a mixer to mash them.
Then, half and half, butter and salt/pepper.

Here's the process in pictures...