Valentine’s Lessons and Activities

This post is going to be short and sweet. I pulled out some of my goodies and favorites, but I also incorporated a few new things. I LOVE this week. I think less about data, relax a bit and let the pink and red reign.

Where I start….

Books shape and lay the foundation for what I want my students to learn, explore and understand about a theme or topic.

The Day It Rained Hearts could and has been used for so many different lessons. I choose this simple worksheet this week. My student are always working on expressive language.

I love this book. The illustrations warm my heart.
One student heard this story three times.

Splat has been a massive hit. The giggles and comments make this book and worksheet packet fly by. I think that reading a book more than once can be incredibly helpful for some students. With each read we found new questions and observations with our new friend Splat.

This is used as multi step listening to build the board. Then played like normal bingo.
Following auditory directions.
These are a huge hit. I often find as a freebie!! Middle schoolers love. Great listening and conversation.
I love all the free ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I tried to infuse a bit of crafty into my week of adjusted schedule, annual reviews and holiday parties/ 100th day of school.

A little fine motor never hurt to add in!

I actually had more things planned, but time was against me. Some of them were so cute I think I am going to complete them anyways. Love and good vibes don’t need a calendar date!

I hope your week was full of all the happy, lovely things.

Art In the Heart: Winter

Being itinerant keeps me on the go. During the month of January, which seemed like 83 days long, I tried to open my eyes and slow my steps down as I walked through my schools.

This one is my favorite….Reading and Art coming together.

Winter art was happening and even though I am not a fan of the cold and snow, these works of art warmed my heart. I love seeing teachers take a break from the rigor and let littles create.

Winter Wonderland of Primary Colors

All of these works of art are clearly working on skills:

  • Listening
  • Visual
  • Fine Motor
  • Processing
I see math here!
I see a writing assignment here!
I love how each of these is different, but totally beautiful.
3D Polar Bears
I see shapes and colors here….learning was definitely happening.

As February has started I am starting to see all the Valentine’s Day themed creations. I am looking forward to all the love that is going to spread down the hallways.

I know it is probably an eye roll for some people, but I wish I saw more of this in middle schools. I know there is so much to teach, get done and do….but taking a break once in awhile isn’t a bad thing. I know I would if I had a classroom. I try my best, as an itinerant, but I have limitations: space, dry time and access.

I think I am going to challenge myself to take a break from activities and data. I am going to plan to incorporate some lighthearted creativity into my sessions for February. I am going to pull some ideas out of my archives and look for inspiration among my peers. I know I can also look to Pinterest if I am struggling-what did we ever do without it!?

I will post my results in a few weeks. Maybe think of challenging yourself. Put a splash of color in your plans.

15 Day Yoga Challenge

I love the pastel camo mat. It was not expensive, but it also doesn’t have alot of grip.

New Years goal was to start 2020 happy and try to make healthy choices. My yoga teacher posted a 15 day challenge, starting January 1, I loved this idea. I was pumped to post a daily pose, but the universe had other plans for me.

I started the year with the flu….yes the flu.

Child’s Pose…this was very tight and felt so strange after laying in bed for days.

The first four days I was beyond sick. By day five I was showered and was hoping to post, so the first five pictures/poses are in the same outfit because it was time to make-up and wake up my body.

Downward Dog
Upward Dog

This pose was so hard for me when I started going to yoga last March. It was also very difficult this day. The flu was kicking my butt, but I was determined to push up mentally and physically.

Gate Pose
Coughing and taking a break.
Puppy Pose….this was a challenge. The breath needed. I struggle with this pose on a good day.
Warrior 1

I think it funny, how when I am in a pose I FEEL like I am deeper or maybe using good form, because when I saw pictures I have very different opinions. I really thought I was deeper in my legs. Taking pictures might become a good way to gauge my progress.

Warrior 2
Black and white photo disguises the odd color combination.

Are you noticing a trend???? Yep Pajamas. Comfy and ugly, but all I could do. Setting this daily pose goal really helped me when I was sick.

Oh and if you are thinking flu and fitness don’t go together, you are right. I literally could only do the daily pose for the day, but it felt so good to do something.

Half Moon

Look close at my face. Ha! I dread this pose. I hate hearing my yoga teacher suggest half moon. Balance poses and I are not friends. They remind me of how weak I am and how much work I need to do. So, I should probably do more, but who loves to do more of something that stresses them?

I was very lucky this is a picture and not a video! The picture below is two seconds later. Half moon quickly became hot mess moon.

And nope! Can’t hold for long.
Side Angle
Reverse Warrior

I love where I am going with my practice. I love that I can move now and I don’t take it for granted. I am far from good, but I keep at it. This challenge was sort of the push I needed. I do not often post pictures of myself. I am just not that confident, but I wanted to try and support my yoga instructor. She is fabulous and I try to support all the lady bosses I know.

Sugar Cane Pose….never did this before.
Dancer Pose
Tree Pose

Like I stated, I struggle with balance poses. I never have my leg this high in class. Thankfully it was working this day. I magically could hold this with ease.

Total win!

Camel Pose….feeling like I needed alot of happy color. This picture was taken after my first class post flu.
Bridge….I tried for full wheel….not cute, so this was as good as it got day 15.

Doing the 15 day challenge was out of my comfort zone for sure. The yoga no, but the idea of people possibly judging was a bit intimidating, but after I posted the first 5 I relaxed. I think my fashion choices clearly show I just was thinking about the pose. My take away from this process is just go for it.

Dirty hair….who cares?!

Terrible outfit….who cares?!

Bad lighting….who cares?!

Not perfect…who cares?!

Just go for it. Don’t let your self doubt stop you. Tell that voice to hush up and slay.

Little Chef in the Making: Gluten Free Strawberry Pie

So if you read my blog, you know I have to eat gluten free. I have slowly been making peace with this new lifestyle. With that being said I try not to let my limitations effect my people.

My mini and I were picking up some fresh fruit in the grocery recently and she stopped to ask me about the strawberry glaze that come in the produce section. She was intrigued. She said she wanted to make a pie.

How great is that!

I did remind her that we would or I would need to pick up a GF crust. So after yoga I made a stop at Whole Foods. I have also tried GF crust from Trader Joe’s. Both are ok. However today’s purchase was not the best.

They came in a two pack…this one was a disaster.

We didn’t let this unfortunate crust derail or mission to create a little bit of summer!

The intact crust was baked and cooled.

So, for the rest of this tale I wish I would have taken pics, but I was living and not thinking about writing about this.

My mini has been taking a life skills class at school (aka culinary). This class is offered to all grades and children learn about nutrition, food prep, cooking and sewing. She really has learned alot and gained to most amazing level of confidence. She has knife skills!!

Small board and knife set from Christmas Tree Store
  • She washed and cut all the strawberries.
  • Added the store bought glaze.
  • Folded everything together.
  • I poured in the crust…the bowl is heavy.
  • Topped with Cool Whip.
  • Garnished with strawberries.

I truly love how this class has changed how she views food and herself. As a teacher I know schools offer “home economics”, they call FACS in one of my schools, but that isn’t offered until middle school. I really think there is immeasurable value in teaching elementary aged students how to take care of themselves.

We clearly enjoyed!!!! A bit messy.

Since I am not food blogger or chef I apologize if you need a recipe. Pinterest has amazing options out there. Just search strawberry pie. I know for our next strawberry pie making adventure we want to make the gel from scratch. I love a goal.

My hope for this post is you yourself will try to create something new and delicious or you will encourage a small person in your life to make something yummy, that inspires them to try new things.

#trysomethingnew

January: After Holidays Slump

2020 has just begun. January is barely half way and how is it everywhere I go teachers are burned out or in a slump?! We just had a break. This post is sort of one big question….thoughts in my head this week.

Is it the break?

Is being off for almost two weeks…or in some schools actually two weeks, just to much? Is it like when you oversleep too much and wake up feeling like crap? I am not sure. I think most teacher friends were trying to rest, relax and recharge.

Of course the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year’s was part of the time off, so maybe it isn’t such a relaxing two weeks off. I know all of that family time was not relaxing for me. Family dynamics are always stressful.

Is it the weather?

I know where I live the days are gray. The days seem long. The days are cold. I definitely think the weather effects us. Winter blues are a real thing.

Sunshine is a good thing.

Is it the curriculum?

By this time of the year I know I personally feel unmotivated with my lesson plans. I start to think of ways to spice up or challenge myself. My students are progressing, but sometimes I am not. Call me crazy…but teaching about winter, snow, snowmen, snowflakes….when I am putting my coat on six plus times a day is not very fun.

I love to use a theme when I am planning and teaching things that tackle a student’s goal. All of my littles love the cute extras-but I am very much looking forward to some greener and warmer themes for my games and activities!!!

No matter if you are in the classroom or traveling like me, I hope the winter months go by quickly and peacefully. I know I am trying to stick to a healthy home and school routine. It is taking a concerted effort, but I am sticking to some goals I set for myself.

Goals are a good thing.

I’m going to reflect a bit more and hopefully in my next post I will have some ideas to help us all out of the winter slump!!!!

Best Shoes for Itinerant Teachers

This gingerbread girl loves shoes. I always have, even when I was living with gluten inflammation…I just tried to look for the cutest, supportive and affordable options.

Over the years my style, needs and comfort levels have changed. In my 20’s I never cared about comfort. All I cared about was the look. I wore toe pinching, arch aching stylish shoes, but now I know how much I rely on my feet.

In my 30’s I was struggling to make it through the day with minimal levels of pain. I searched for comfort and style. This was difficult in the beginning, but I found and still find a lot of shoe manufacturers do a good job at both.

You only get one pair of piggies!

I need my feet to be happy. It makes the day run better. I look and shop for soul serenity. I have found that comfort can come in a variety of footwear options. I try to have a variety of on trend but realistic and functional choices.

Boots

Sneakers

Slip Ons

Loafers

Flats

Sandals

I am adding wedges, but to be totally transparent these were a shoe I loved, then could not wear all day. My inflammation was really high and a full day was not in the cards for a while, but now that I am pain free I will rock a wedge on a rain free and less crazy day.

Wedges

These are some examples of my actual shoes. I typically like to online shop for shoes. I know my size, have my go to brands and love to shop from the couch. This is the easiest and most time effective way to keep my dogs stylish and bark free.

Favorite Online Brands and Sites

  • Earth Brand
  • QVC.com
  • Amazon.com
  • Kohls.com
  • Crocs
  • Vionic
  • Clarks
  • Nordstrom Rack.com
  • Ryka
  • Coach

If you are on the go like me and have some favorites I haven’t mentioned…please share!!!

Saying Good Bye to 2019

The new year will be here in days. Well the new calendar year. I personally count the years of my life is school year calendars, so this year still has a ways to go. With this being said, I still reflect and try to look forward to the new year.

Looking forward is an easy process for me. Everything is unknown. I sort of like not knowing what will be.

This year has brought many happy changes. My hope is 2020 will be peaceful, positive, productive and phenomenal!

Blogging

Goals for 2020

  • Continue writing
  • Improve my skills
  • Hone my voice

TpT

Goals for 2020

  • Create more resources
  • Improve a few
  • Expand

Yoga

Goals for 2020

  • Keep going to class
  • Practice more often

New Friends

Goals for 2020

  • Continue to connect with these ladies
  • Support
  • Fly their flags

Book Club

Goals for 2020

  • Keep reading
  • Listening
  • Making meetings a priority

Family

Last but not least. 2019 has brought us even closer together. May we continue to be a happy little family.

I’ll always pick these two!!!

Wherever we go, as long as we are together, life will always be an adventure!

Happy New Year to you!!!! May all your goals be fulfilled. Whoot…whoot….2020!!!