Posted in Positive Life

Leaping Foward

I can’t remember if I even thought about leap year four years ago, but as I am writing this I can say I don’t think I did. I am very sure I gave it a few seconds thought and was looking forward to March 1st.

Where were you four years ago?

My home and family are pretty much the same as they were four years ago. I take great comfort in knowing we are overall happy and healthy. We were and still are doing all of the things that young families do: work, school, church, activities, family functions, and planning for the future.

Even with all of our blessings and happiness, four years ago I was in a much different placeā€¦.mentally. I was sick all the time and very stressed. I spent alot of time being angry and frustrated with myself.

It is hard to be happy or support others when you can barely feel good about yourself.

Since the last leap year alot has changed. I am feeling great. My body and mind has gone through alot of positive changes and growth. Now that I know I have Celiac and how to live with it, I have alot more mental free space to focus on things other than how crappy I feel/felt. I still have days where I throw a pity party for myself….like when I smell and see something I can not eat, but typically I am becoming used to my new life style. This is a good thing….actually an amazing thing.

I am now moving-yoga.

I am now working harder-TpT store and blogging.

I have made new friends and connexions, while still staying connected to old friends.

I really couldn’t rank these three things in any specific order. They are sort of all equally important and significant at this stage of my life and they all sort of came about in the same window of time. There is a commonality they all share…something I have been thinking about alot lately.

Growth and Support

I have been trying to support the new friends I have made through new endeavors. I have been trying to support friends I have had for years. I now have the headspace to really think about how I can lift other people up. I want to be a mini cheerleader for all of the women I know who are making things happen in there professional life, as well as their personal life.

These lady hustlers are awesome. Some are starting new businesses, going back to school, and making mini shifts in their career. Others are growing their side hustles. I think it is very interesting how many women I know have a main job and a side job….which I suspect might bring them more personal fulfillment.

I find their risk taking inspiring.

I am loving this phase of life right now. I feel more open and ready for possible and positive changes. I am definitely looking before I leap this year. Not with fear or hesitation, but with a purposeful, conscious, and grateful heart.

I am excited to think about what life will bring until the next leap year.

Until then I am going to keep on this path of positivity. I am going to continue to promote and fly the flags of all the hard working women I know. I am going to try to keep myself open to new adventures.

Happy Leap Day!

I you like this post you can always officially like it, follow or share.

I also wanted to add that I adore these illustrations. I find them on Pinterest and she has an Instagram page as well.

@callyjanestudio

Posted in Teaching Life

Love Crafted

I love how we as a society are now promoting kindness.

February is the shortest month and quite possibly the sweetest. I adore how many hearts and messages of kindness kiss the halls of my schools. Love, kindness and friendship are very much in the air.

I am often inspired by the teachers I work with and what I see when I am hustling in and out. Seeing teachers promote kindness and allowing students to be self reflective is wonderful-but it started to make me feel like I needed at incorporate a little of that into my plans.

Lovebug

I had my students stick ripped pieces to the heart as they listened for prompts related to their goals. I love watching how they placed the pieces and which colors they selected. Sometimes asking them to be creative or free with choice is difficult for them. I too love routine, order and strive to provide clear expectations for my students-which I must do, because they were shocked we were ripping the paper…gasp.

We all were stepping out of our comfort zone.

These are completed by my students.

I am trying to slow sessions down and incorporate more creativity.

I include myself when I say this, but we (teachers) put alot of rigor into our lesson plans and can get caught up in the data. There is alot expected in a day. I know my students are working harder than their hearing peers, so I need to design well paced and designed activities that are not a “drill and kill” style. I also see that the way my students internalize language is often literal, so they just want to be told what to do.

Creating lessons and activities at the primary level, that allow for free choice are vital. My goal is… free thinking will connect and support them when we ask the “why” questions and ask them to infer or predict. Skills that are essential as they grow as learners.

I want them to take risks with their answers, be brave and confident in their knowledge.

Who fills your heart?

I loved these. Of course the teacher was focused on the writing piece….which is obviously important, but who and what these children drew is what captured my attention. Everyone should have a full heart.

I had high hopes for doing more crafty or artsy activities with my littles in February, but it did not work out. The week before our winter break was filled with schedule changes and I think my love of children’s literature overshadowed crafty activities. You can read about some of those activities in a previous post (Valentine’s Lessons and Activities). I know I was hitting goals and planning engaging activities, but I need to try harder to get the creative, risk taking juices flowing!

March is a new month…days away and I am gearing up this week to infuse some thematic craftiness into my plans. I will be connecting any and all activities to children’s books-of course, pulling out some of my favorites and looking for new ways to use them. Maybe if I have time I will create new ideas and post them to Teachers Pay Teachers.

Trying to grow and keep things fresh.

If you like this post or any of the others on my blog you can always follow me and you will be notified when I put up a new post.

Thanks for reading!!!

Posted in Positive Life

Winter Blues and Semi-Green Thumbs

Living in the northeast is great because we get four seasons and I wouldn’t change that. However, winter is not my favorite season and somehow it feels like the longest. I do my best to push through every year, but it seems like every winter….the older I get…I reach this point where I need something to push my soul through to spring.

This winter I decided I needed a little green in my life. My mini and I bundled ourselves up and headed out to get some new plants. Nothing fancy, I am not Mrs. Green Thumb.

We looked around and decided to try succulents. I have never tried to grow or care for, but they seem to be the Instagram rage, so why not. We only grabbed two. At this point we figured it would be kinder to just experiment with one each.

We selected an aloe plant too. I have never grown one, but my gut was telling me to get this spiky, green beauty. Fingers crossed it does well and I eventually need to give it a bigger home.

We next selected pots for our mini collection. I love color and always gravitate towards it, but the universe and garden center had a better plan for me….white. I already had a white pot at home that was once the keeper of a mini rose bush and was not long for our home….sadly. So, keeping with this fresh and neutral palette was very easy. We selected containers for our succulent friends and headed home to pot them up.

Planting them up was very easy and quick.

  • Fresh bag of soil
  • New pots
  • Small pebbles
  • Water

We filled the bottoms with a small amount of pebbles for drainage. Popped in the plants and added some water. Super simple and super fun.

Ta da!!!! Here is our little green collection. It felt good to get a little dirt under our fingers after feeling suffocated by mittens and gloves. Now we needed to put them somewhere. This probably took the longest.

We decided to place them on the hearth. I sit in this room every morning and have my coffee. What better way to start the day then to gaze upon some greenery.

My hope is this little bit of Mother Nature will trick my brain into believing spring is really around the corner, giving Old Man Winter an eviction notice.

This was a lovely way to spend a cold February day off from school.

What gets you through the winter blues???

You can always drop me a line, like this post or follow my page.

I find choosing these options are easier if you are on a computer, but if you are reading from your phone scroll down to the bottom.

Posted in Teaching Life

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.

Posted in Teaching Life

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.