Every Child is Gifted, They Just Unwrap their gifts at different times. -Unknown

Sunday, March 23, 2014

40 bags in 40 days


I did not realize when I saw this on Pinterest that it was for lent.  Thanks to Robyn, I saw on Instagram that she was going to take the challenge, so I decided to jump on board.  (FYI I also recruited my friend Britney) So, I am really doing it to Decrapify because we typically don't give up things for lent.

For more information on 40 bags in 40 days you can view her blog White House Black Shutters.  Very simple concept.  She suggest to make a list of 40 manageable things in your life that you want to unclutter. So me and my fonts made a cute matrix so I could keep track. She has one on her blog, but it is not as cute.
This is page one of my matrix.  See everything is so much more fun with a cute font and graphics!

The first thing on the list was mismatched/no match socks.  I have moved 4 times since we have been married and every time, I have moved a basket of single socks.  Yesterday, I filled my first  bag! Okay so it was really a Wal-Mart bag  but it was over flowing.

On Day 2, I cleaned out my daughters PJ/play clothes drawer and panties and socks drawer.  We are so blessed to have an abundance of PJs passed on to us.  So blessed that she has over 13 sets.  What 6 year old girl needs 13 sets of PJs. I have gone in her room twice already just to open up the drawers.

Since I could not sleep, I got a day ahead and did the next thing on the list- the medicine cabinet and pantry.  The worst thing I found was having teething tablets from when Cami was teething. 

On my matrix, I decided to document the number of bags completed and a note for each.  I feel better being able to see it and reread my findings in the notes section.

The thing that worked best for me was making sure I picked 40 things that was actually doable. Instead of saying my closet, I broke it down in to what I thought could be completed in 30 min or less.  So my closet list includes- hang up clothes, shoes, shelf, upper storage shelf.  (note that this is only my part of the closet- I told my husband that I will not be getting rid of any of his things.) Since it is only 30 min task, I can get ahead so when things are busy, I don't feel bad about not doing something on one of the days.

I feel much better and have also started to decrapify at school too! I am so glad that our custodian and I are great friends or she would be hating me for the over flowing trashcans. 

So if you are reading this, I challenge you to Decrapify and join 40 bags in 40 days!


Saturday, March 22, 2014


It is spring break!! I have time to look around on Pinterest and find different blogs to follow. I found Confessions of a Teacher Warrior. She had a picture from my classroom on her blog, I was so excited. She had posted about AR and I wanted to comment.  The comment was so long that I decided to blog about it. Seeing that I have time to blog because it is SPRING BREAK! Did I mention this week is SPRING BREAK?

Spring break last year.  We visited the cave in the town where I grew up.

I have been in a school that has used AR for years.  I teach second grade.  At first I did not care for it. However this year, I have really enjoyed using it. I realize that higher grade levels are much different than second.  One reason is my kids were only introduced to it at the end of first grade. Another is they are just beginning to read.  A big one is the reward they earn.

This year, I have used it a little different than in the past.

How I changed there reading range:
I set their range based on their STAR reading test and how they read in reading group. I am allowing them to read books that start a little below their reading level to a little outside of it.  I talked to them about how they could read books above as long as they read it with someone or listened to it.  I believe that even my students with a high reading range still need to read 2nd grade books or they will miss out on some really great books.

The books:
I allow them to visit the library every day if they need to but must be back to my room within less than 10 min.  I also have tons of books in my room that are also AR books.  If I introduce a book to them that is not an AR book, I have created a teacher made test for them to test over.  I realize we do not have time to do this on every book that is not AR.  I also have made library cards, that have their reading level range, for them to take with them to the library so they can find books on their level.  I ask them to check out two AR books and one fun book.

At the end of the month, they receive a reading dog tag that our school purchased. They each have sayings on them that have to do with reading.  The fire hydrant has "I am a red hot reader." You can find some at Postive Promtions , but this is not where we purchased ours from. I also give them Pizza Hut Book It coupons.   When my daughter was in 4th grade last year, they were awarded with parties if they met their AR goal.  They had a field trip to the movies, one to the bowling ally, and an electronic day. If they did not met their goal they stayed at school and worked with one of the teachers.  This was across the grade level so they could do this.
 I loved going to Pizza Hut with my big purple button to get my free pizza.  Does anyone else remember that? I really think I need this t-shirt!! 

I set their reading goal based on how much they read in the classroom.  Some students do not finish their work as quickly as others.  Some are not great readers so their goal is really low. I have other students that read long chapter books that take longer to finish so they read less books.  The first month I did not talk to them about reading goals, I just let them read and take test to see how many points they earned, what books they liked to read, and what level the books were that they were comfortable reading.  They have improved AR and the reports they have are great and easy to use.  It also allows you to change their goal as they go along.  If they are not meeting their goal, I can chat with them and change it very easy. I also showed one to parents at PT conferences last week.

We have been very blessed with I Pads in our classroom.  This year we have four, I also have two Net books, a PC, and my laptop in my classroom.  Their I Pad app is so easy for the kids to use.  The app allows them to see their bookshelf (all the books they have read and what they scored on them), and their progress (what their goal is and how close they are to meeting it and their goal for testing average). We are also blessed to have intervention time with our students and they are allowed to go to the computer lab each day for 30min.  I have it set up to wear a different group of student's attend each day and they can AR test then play Reflex Math (an awesome fact fluency program) or other programs that our school has for intervention or enrichment.  Our Lab teacher is amazing!!

Pictures from the i-pad app.  This one is an example of their progress.
This is what their bookshelf looks like.
The kids and I love it.  I have had one student that was a reluctant reader and he is loving reading and showing off his progress and bookshelf to other kids in the class. Another parent told me last week at PT conferences that her son for the first time has gotten into books that he would typically abandon. 

Wow I had much more to say about this than I thought.  

Happy SPRING Break,

Thursday, March 6, 2014


First of all, I love my friend Alisha, she always says new socks are the best thing ever.  I do love a new pair of socks.

Last week my wonderful friend Amelia gave me two pair of cute BLACK socks.  This is a big deal.  For the past several months I have been working out- (not typical of me, I am now addicted).  Since I work out 5 days a week, I need athletic socks each day.  I have worn for the past several 10+ years, white no show socks.  Evidently the style now for my age is black or match your shoes. so thank you Amelia. When we work out 2 of the 5 days, I will be in style. Unless I stop folding them again, which is very likely.

All of that leads me to this- I hate folding socks and I have not been able to find a matching pair for me or any of my other family members for the past week.  So since we have had a billion snow days off from school and tomorrow we go back, I decided that I needed to find matching socks for everyone.
This is not my basket, but this looks very similar and It is from a funny blog post at Crystle and Co. I should take her advice!

So tonight I decided to fold socks and keep a tally of number of socks I folded.  I am married to a guy who at one time wore suits (dress socks) often, now mainly athletic socks.  I have an 11 year old girl, 8 year old boy, and a 6 year old girl.  I decided after I had my son that all the socks I bought would be white so they could go from one child to the next.  My oldest and I can now share socks (she is not a baby anymore) and the two little ones can also share socks.  So here is the tally:

Husband has 25 matching pairs of socks, and 17 socks without a match
I have 12 matching pairs of socks, and 4 without a match
Oldest daughter- 11 year old has 11 pairs of socks and 5 without a match
My Son has 19 pairs of sock and 16 without a match
Youngest daughter has 20 pairs of socks and 3 without a match

(fyi I have taken a break and have not folded my husband and sons black socks.  This total is not correct)

Why, Why, Why would someone have 20-25 pairs of socks and 16+ without a match???  I have no idea.  My son however takes his socks and shoes off everywhere and anywhere he can get away with it so I kinda understand his 16 without a match.  But why would someone need 30+ pairs of socks- you only wear one maybe two pair a day????

So I will leave you with one a thought for the day...  
Every normal person who does laundry knows there is always a basket of mismatched socks on the dryer. Why do they put the power button on the dryer all the way to the right. The way most w/d hook ups are set up is the dryer is on the right.  Which means to me that a man or a rich person decided upon that.   I have to reach around the basket every time I turn on the dryer or clean the lint filter.

Back to folding socks....

Happy Snow Day,

Note: I wrote this blog post several weeks ago and just now had time to finish it. Also, I have now started to DECRAPIFY, see that post here.