Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reflective Teaching - Day 4

I'm survived day 3 of school.  That part was easy.  I love my kids.  It's the packing that is pushing me over the edge.  Packing up all of your teaching possessions in Rubbermaid containers at night during the first week of school, while you try not to make the room look empty, after you just spent the entire summer changing classrooms, preparing for a new grade level and setting up your new room is absolutely not fun.  When the packing is over, the class will have a new teacher and I will be off to my new job. I'm excited about having a new adventure and excited to be done with the packing/moving!

Here is what I learned this week...
I probably qualify for the Hoarders show simply because of the number of plastic bins I own.  It's kind of embarrassing and handy at the same time.

Dt. Dew is necessary during major life transitions.  I don't care what it has in it.  It's my coffee.

Focusing on kids is always a good idea.  I'm enjoying every single minute with my class.  It is an amazing feeling to have the same group of kids (even if it will only be for a couple weeks).  They are just ready to jump right in and get rollin'.

 I'm participating in the 30 Day Challenge for Teachers hosted by Teach Thought.  Reflecting on my own work is important to me.

Day 4 - What do you love most about teaching?

Kids, of course!
 My next favorite thing about teaching is planning.  Not the hours of busy work that you have to do on Sundays... Ha!  I love long term planning, data collection and reflection, curriculum mapping, planning to scaffold learning and planning using the RTI model to improve instruction and support student learning. 

I have two goldendoodles who are pushing my hands away from the keyboard for some attention.  

Hope you had a great week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Goal for New Technology (Reflective Teaching Day 2)

If you read my post from yesterday, you know that I am starting a new adventure.  You can read about it here.

Even though the first week of school is crazy... I'm going to try really hard to complete the 30 Day Challenge for Teachers hosted by Teach Thought.  Reflecting on my own work is important to me.

Day 2 - Write about one piece of technology that you'd like to use this year.

Since I'll be working in the role of an instructional coach, one of my tech goals is to use a variety of presentation sites/apps.  The first ones that I'm going to focus on using more are Pear Deck (which was recently modeled by our Instructional Technology Coach and Prezi.  I like the features that each has to offer and using them more will hopefully enhance any presentations I need to share with staff.

Today is the first day of school for public school students in Michigan. I love the first day of school!  I have big plans to enjoy the day with my students (even though they'll get a new teacher in a couple weeks). I want them to have a happy first week of 2nd grade!

Happy first day!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Classroom Photos and Big Fat Change of Plans

My school has open house (kind of like meet the teacher night) before school starts.  The Michigan public schools don't officially start until September 2.  Our open house was last week on Wednesday.

Twas the day before open house and my room was unpacked (I moved to a new room this summer), set up for 2nd grade (to loop with my class from last year) and finally finished.   
All the book bins were labeled and put on the shelves.

I was ready for open house.  I'll leave you in suspense until the end 
about the big fat change of plans.

Welcome to my new 2nd grade classroom!

This is my family photo board.  
Since I had these students last year, I kept their family photos and hung them up for open house.

I use this board for anchor charts related to writer's workshop.

(My alphabet cards are from Marsha McGuire - A Differeniated Kindergarten.)

The bins on the top are for chapter book series. The bins on the shelves below are for single copies at each level.  This shelf has a "twin" with different level bins on it.
You can find my book bin labels here. I also use them on my word wall.

You can find my schedule cards here.

This is just a piece of fabric that I found that has a map on it. 
I hang it on the wall, so kids can refer to it and touch it throughout the year.

This is what my room looked like the day before open house. 
Then I received a phone call from one of the administrators in my district 
offering me a position as an Instructional Coach.







Luckily, I am flexible and good at packing.


As you can imagine, this kind of change of plans
 is a sensitive issue when you were planning to loop with a class. 
I'm not going to go into the details of how that went down.
Tears were shed by me, by many of the parents and again by me.
Parents talked to their children at home, 
but I will talk to them again on the first day of school next week.
I'll be teaching the class for two weeks until they hire another teacher.
I will be brave and keep things positive.
I am confident that the children will take the news just how I present a positive way.
Children cope better than an adults in so many ways.
And, I'll cry on the way home because I absolutely love these kids and all of their parents. 

As for the new job...
I truly am excited for this new adventure!
It is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow as an educator.
I couldn't pass it up...even though the timing is not great.

In my new job, I'll be partnering up with teachers to help them reflect on their teaching.
I'll be doing lots of reflecting on my own work as a coach as well.
In the spirit of reflecting, 
I'm going to start by trying really hard to participate in the 
30 Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers hosted by Teach Thought.

Day 1 - My Goals for the School Year
(and a few of the most important things for me to focus on in my new role)

I'll still be blogging here...since something has to stay the same in my life. Ha!
Funky First Grade Fun almost turned into Funky 2nd grade Fun at the beginning of the summer.
Thank goodness I didn't change the name then.
Funky Instructional Coaching just doesn't sound quite right. Funny though...

All this moving, setting up, packing up and moving again (to an office in our high school) business caused me to order another Stitch Fix. Ha! I seriously love Stitch Fix.  You can read about it here.

 Oh...and it caused me to return to my Dt. Dew habit
 after completing 3 weeks with no Dt. Dew cheats.  
Don't's my coffee.

Holy longest post ever... Happy Labor Day!

Michigan Teachers - Happy Back to School Eve!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Are You Wondering about Stitch Fix?

Earlier in the summer, I was curious about Stitch Fix.  I kept seeing pictures on Instagram of people posting of their most recent "fix".  I did a little research, but I was still hoping to find someone I knew who had tried it.  Not too long after, my friend Erin (from Kleinspiration), posted about using Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix is an online styling service that puts together a "fix", which is a box of clothing and accessories for you and delivers it to your door in a package.  Based on your personal style preferences, a stylist chooses the clothing and accessories for you.  There is a $20 styling fee. That $20 fee is applied to your order if you purchase any of the items in your fix. You try the clothes on at home.  If you like them, you can keep them.  If you don't like something in the box, you have a few days to return it in a bag that they include in the box.  Each fix comes with 5 items.  If you keep and purchase all 5 items, you receive 25% off your entire purchase.

I scheduled my first fix this summer.  You choose the date that you want your fix delivered.  You can also choose to have them delivered automatically on a schedule (once a month, every other month,etc.) I chose to just go in an schedule my own dates if and when I want a fix.

I'm so glad I tried Stitch Fix! It was so much fun!  
This girl who likes to shop at TJ Maxx and thrift stores has a stylist!
Her name is Grace and she left me a cute little note in my box.
The whole experience is just plain impressive!

I started by creating a style profile by answering questions on the Stitch Fix site.  There are lots of questions, so they can really get to know your preferences.  It took about 20 minutes for me to finish my profile. They even let me leave a link to a style board on my Pinterest account, so they could see what I've been pinning there.

My first Stitch Fix arrived last week.

Everything was wrapped so nicely in my box and my stylist left me instructions for how to give her feedback for next time. The box also included instructions for how to return anything that I didn't want to keep and suggestions for how to mix and match the things in my fix.  

Honestly, I was shocked how well the things in my box fit.  My box included a pair of black pants, a black/white striped dress, a blue long sleeve shirt, a green silky blouse and a pair of silver earrings.

I don't normally post selfies on my blog, especially not modeling any clothing for goodness sake. But, when you're 4'11" and a complete stranger picks out a box full of clothes that you would not normally wear and they mysteriously fit way better than anything you normally pick for yourself...I decided it was worth you seeing my toes.

After I decided that I loved everything in my fix, I was able to go online and leave feedback for my stylist about what I liked and did not like about each item.  For example, I LOVED the pants.  They are super comfortable and very well made.  So, I left feedback saying that I loved them so much that I would buy another pair.  I have only purchased about 3 pairs of pants that did not need to be altered to fit my not so tall body in my whole life.  And that is because those 3 pairs were capri pants and they just happened to look like normal length pants for me.  Every other pair of pants that I purchase has to be altered.  Yes, even the petites.  But not these pants...THEY FIT! And I love them!

I'm definitely scheduling another Stitch Fix soon.  If you'd like to try it yourself, I'm sharing my referral code below.  If you use my referral code, I get a credit towards my next fix.  The real reason that I'm writing this post is because so many of my friends and family members were curious about how I liked Stitch Fix.  So if I end up getting a credit, it will be an extra bonus for me and I'll be able to schedule a few more fixes.  Ha!

Just click on the image below and you can get started by filling out your style profile.

Here is the referral code in case you want to share it with someone else:

Dear Grace, 
I loved my first fix!
Thanks for being my stylist. 
This customer is definitely impressed.
XOXO, (that's how she signed the card in my box) 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Favorite Back to School Purchases Linky Party

Even when I was a student, back to school purchases were extremely exciting!  I remember packing and unpacking my school backpack over and over and over during the weeks before school started. I still love buying things for school!  Just wish I had a larger budget. Ha!

I'd like to invite you to linky up with your favorite back to school  purchases!  
Please grab the linky images from my post and add them to your post.

Here are some of my favorite back to school purchases this year.

My Erin Condren Life Planner...
Oh, how I love my Erin Condren Life Planner!
It's my 2nd year with one of her planners.  
This year, I chose to add family pictures.

The front...

The back...

And because I am a tiny bit of a freak about wanting the pages of my planner to look nice, even when my schedule is BONKERS.  I searched the whole first half of the summer for a way to write in my planner with something colorful, but erasable.  I hate whiteout.  It's bumpy.
Thanks to Jennifer, from First Grade Blue Skies, I discovered a solution.

The colors are beautiful.
They write just the way I wanted them to.
They really do erase - perfectly.
They also have erasable highlighters.
I seriously love these markers!  
I assigned a color to each family member 
+ red for the whole family activities 
+ blue for school/work events

I use the  purple highlighter for planning/recording my exercise.
I originally planned to use another one of the highlighters for meal planning, 
but since I barely know how to cook anything I decided to junk that plan.

I also purchased new book bins for my classroom.
This summer, I've been on a mission to reorganize my classroom library for 2nd grade. 
I bought these amazing chapter book bins from Really Good Stuff.
Each bin has dividers to make 3 sections.
I'm going to keep a different series in each section.  
The 3 different series in each bin will be the same level.

My Ticonderoga pencil jar was the best deal of the summer.
I bought this adorable straw pencil jar for 50¢ at a thrift store.
I made the label with my Silhouette.
It might earn a bow before school starts.

I hope you'll link up with your favorite back to school purchases!
I can't wait to see what you bought for your classroom this summer!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher!

Linking up with Stephanie from Falling Into First for a Meet the Teacher linky today!

My name is Kimberly.  I'm a mom to two kids who we think are amazing!  Marissa is 11 and is a dancer, a singer and a lover of books. She will go to the middle school where her dad teaches this year. Donavon is 8 and plays travel baseball and soccer.  He also swims on a swim team.  My handy husband, who is a technology education teacher, keeps me laughing and reminds me how important it is to be flexible.  He also cooks.  I know - lucky girl.  We pinky swore before we got engaged that I would clean the dishes and he would cook.  Deal of the century!  Oh, how I love him!

Our family goes on a camping trip in northern Michigan each year.  During the trip, we visit Mackinac Island for at least one day.  We have a family tradition of riding our bikes around the island each year and taking a photo in the exact same spot.  You can read about it and see the collection here on this guest post that I did on Maria Dismondy's blog last summer.  This is the photo from this year in "our" spot.  We rode our bikes around the island twice that morning (which is a total of 16 miles), so excuse my hair.

My teaching experience includes working as a Speech-Language Patholgist, teaching Young 5's, kindergarten, 1st grade and a K-2 Literacy Intervention Specialist.  This year, I'll be looping with my class to 2nd grade for the first time.  I'm super excited to keep this group and begin our 2nd grade adventure together.

Windex (for real - I LOVE Windex. Yep, just like the guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)
Mr. Sketch Markers
spoon rings and bracelets
fresh flowers
Dt. Dew...but I am currently on day 7 of my 3 Weeks No Cheats (no Dt. Dew) TORTURE session


something in educational leadership
the owner of a vintage/antique boutique (I already have a name chosen for my shop...but it's a secret.)
a fruit stand worker (who wears overalls and pigtails)
a stay at home mom!


dedicated, organized, goal-oriented


"Finished my to do list!"


Sister Mary Victor - my aunt who was a nun.  She died years ago, but I have so many questions I want to ask her when we meet again.

And Oprah, and Mother Theresa and my grandma.

So, I'm Not Cosmetology Material After All
(My high school guidance counselor told me that I could not go to college, because I was "more like cosmetology material".  I honestly have no hair or makeup talents...but I sure do love to teach.  I wrote to her (and to the school board when I graduated with my master's degree, which was a double major in elementary education and speech-language  pathology.)


keep my kids little


Carpe Diem!


Puff the Magic Dragon (my dad used to sing that song when he was in a band)...
but I would never make it to the stage without having a cardiac arrest.


I'm a morning person 
who stays up almost all night at least a couple nights a week. 
(sleep issues are a big fat bummer)

I really love using my Writing My Opinion unit with my students! 
 My students love using the graphic organizers and their parents love the rubrics. 


I am 4 feet 11 inches short.
I once danced in a local production of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
I hate hot drinks.
I'm a terrible cook.
I love to hunt for treasures at thrift stores and antique shops.
I really want to visit Italy (my mom was born there).

You can "meet" other teachers by visiting Stephanie's blog.

And if you have time starting on Thursday (August 14),
I'd love for you to link up with my Favorite Back to School Purchases linky party!
I'll have the post up on Thursday morning so we can get the party started.
Write your own post, invite a friend or just stop by to peek at everyone's favorite purchases!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chop! Chop! Chop!

Do you hate when your favorite teaching book keeps flopping closed every time you walk away, stop to answer a question, get distracted by social media, let the dog out, feel thirsty or blink?  

Well...chop, chop, chop folks!  

The nice folks at Office Max (prices and locations may vary), will chop the binding off my favorite teaching books and add a spiral binding for just $3 or $4. It goes like this...I take my favorite teaching book to the counter (with another one that already has my favorite kind of spiral binding with me as a sample).  I hand over my book and give them a lecture about how precious it is and how I don’t want them to remove, lose or misplace any of my sticky notes.  Then the nice folks there stick my book into a giant fancy chopperooni machine (I’m sure it has a more official name) and CHOP (goodbye old binding)!  Then PUNCH (holes added)!  Then TWIST (new fancy spiral binding added)! 

Just like that...I can check Instagram, get a drink and let the dogs out and MY BOOK STAYS OPEN!  

Oh happy day...