Posted in Family Life, Uncategorized

Family Fun:Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium

This zoo and aquarium was a workout. Pittsburgh is a bit hilly and the zoo was too. We got a little cardio in and saw all the furry friends.

I am always a bit conflicted with zoos. When I see animals behind fences and glass I often feel a bit sad, but I try to think of the conservative aspect. There are zoo programs that are trying to save certain species. My deepest hope is everything living and breathing is well taken care of.

I would love to know what he was thinking…
This little red panda was very cute

I do love seeing an animal that I haven’t seen before. This little red panda was very cute and I don’t remember seeing one in person before.

Red Panda’s buddy
Black Rhino

The rhino was sort of hard to view, but that was ok. It does make me happy to know that people are trying to save these beautiful animals. They often make me think of baby dinosaurs.

Elephants are majestic

These beauties are my mini’s favorite animal. She loves them and could stand there all day watching them eat, bathe and interact with eachother.

Reflections

The leopard was very lovely to see. I have seen a snow leopard before and this guy was just as impressive.

Twinning

As you can see I took some inspiration from this gorgeous creature. These are fun little canvas sneakers I picked up. Cruelty free of course! I had to wear these.

Leopard Love

We definitely got our steps in. There were a couple of areas we didn’t explore….always leaving something for a future return.

The aquarium was our last stop before we ended our afternoon. It was nice to have it attached to the zoo. It wasn’t very large, so it was perfectly incorporated.

Getting some yoga on!

The seals were very playful and a bit vocal. I wish I could add in the video I took of theses “singers”. It made for a very amusing and interesting visit.

I think if you are ever in the Pittsburgh area and you have a few hours to kill and want to get in your steps, this is a fun and relaxing way to do both. We had a wonderful family time and made new memories.

My Partner in Everything
My Little Poser

There is one more post I am going to share about this long weekend…keep your eyes peeled if you are interested. I really love the Fall and just love it when we can get out and make memories.

Posted in Uncategorized

Harry Potter: A Family Affair

Curiosity was peaked a few years ago. Who was this Harry Potter? Were we going to like this chosen one?

We did and we do!

Popcorn and Potter

We started with a the first film. This movie was just supposed to be a Friday night amusement, but it turned into the next Friday night and the next. Going to the video store after school on a Friday was something we looked forward to. Each film/story pulled us in deeper. As you can see we now own the collection.

  • Potter at the push of a button
  • Portable Potter
  • Lend-able Potter
  • Rainy Day Potter

Whatever we call it it is Perfectly Potter!

Pages and Potter

The books came next. I typically have it a hard rule…read it before you watch it. I find the books are always better than a movie. Movies often try, but there is magic found on the page. Luckily my mini me loved the books just as much as the films. She loved reporting extra details or facts that we didn’t see or possibly pick up in the movies. The best part is she read them….even thought she watched the movies. The power of the pen!

This love for Potter was only growing, so the next step was to head to Hogsmeade.

Potions and Potter

We went to Universal Orlando in search of everything Potter. I have to say…it is very well done. We loved everything about it. There is so much detail and thought put into Diagone Alley, Kings Cross Station, and Hogsmeade.

Boarding the train and traveling to either fantastical land was pure family fun. We loved that this was more than just a train ride. Escaping Dementors was not what we expected.

We did it all, rode it all, were in awe of it all.

We solemnly swear we were up to no good!

Painting and Potter

With all of this love of Harry we naturally had a Harry Potter themed birthday party. It was a painting party where all the children painted owls. It was a very sweet afternoon and even the muggles enjoyed the experience. My mini was in her glory. The soundtrack played as they used their wands to create feathered friends.

Play and Potter

The love still continues in this converted muggle house. We recently attended a Lego event at our local Barnes and Noble. It was free and fun. Children were building golden snitches everywhere! They were looking at books and merchandise with great excitement. I really loved seeing so many of them walking around with more books than toys. Makes my teacher heart full.

Power of Potter

This story came out 20 years ago and it is still delighting fans, bringing in new fans and turning muggles into wannabe wizards and witches. I love that books have this power. The power to take a reader places. The power to connect.

As a family it has been a few years of Potter filled togetherness and I don’t see it going away. I am sure as our daughter gets older it will become less things and more memories. No matter what it has been a powerful connection for us.

Happy Birthday Harry!

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Ways to Grow Your Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf Tribe

Making friends can be hard at any age. I know as a teacher I am always trying to encourage my students to get out there and build friendships. I think it is just as important for teachers to make meaningful and supportive connections for growth and happiness. I realize you might be thinking- saying this is easy…my students say that too, but in reality it may seem difficult or frustrating. I know how isolating and difficult it can be being an itinerant teacher. I am very fortunate to have a small group of TODs I can rely on. There are only seven of us in total, but I rely on my tribe. I realize not everyone has this professional luxury-I never take my tribe for granted.

Even with the support of my local TOD tribe I found myself needing to make more connections. I realized that I needed more support to do work I could be proud of. My number one focus is always my students. That’s why we do it…right? We drive in uncomfortable weather, we eat in our cars, we add on the miles, we are a constant guest in buildings and we are forever explaining what we do- and “No I am not a speech therapist!”

We do it for our students.

Well, this year I decided I needed to step outside my comfort zone and look for more support, so I can keep on going….for my students. Teacher burn out happens easily. I do not think the cranky, frustrated teacher you might eat lunch with or pass in the hall ever wanted to be that way. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I try to grow professionally and personally. I never want to be “that teacher”. The one that should have stopped teaching because they lost the spark or passion to do more than an adequate job. So, I thought I would share some of the things I have recently done to expand my tribe and grow.

Facebook Groups

I was very slow to get on the Facebook train. VERY. I couldn’t see the need for it, the time for it or the purpose of it as an educator. I understand why people love Facebook for their personal lives. I first started there….I got an account to connect to my child’s school activities. I found value in being able to be connected or in the loop. I never really post, but I can stay informed and I like that.

I think as a teacher so many of us are not on Facebook because of the negative things you hear or a level of fear, related to it effecting your career. You might not care what someone had for breakfast or their current mood. I get it. Maybe you have had it forever and love it, maybe you are a newbie like me or maybe you still don’t have an account- wherever you fall on that list that is ok.

A teacher friend of mine suggested I use Facebook to find other teachers of the deaf for support. I know I squished up my face and sort of thought she was nuts….maybe I am really behind the times, but I had no idea there were groups!!!! There are all sorts of teacher groups out there-search and see what works for you. I have joined a few and I think it is awesome how many teachers of the deaf are out there talking about real things that are part of my everyday world. These are the things I want to know about. How someone is teaching advocacy skills or using community resources to help their families.

I am still shy to put myself out there, but I find that reading the questions people have, the strategies they are using and the problems they encounter are similar to my experiences and that helps me stay fresh. Also, if I am feeling brave I can respond or even pose a question and get feedback. Makes me feel like my tribe has exploded and is sort of limitless.

Invaluable!

Instagram

I personally love Instagram as a platform to see and learn about all sorts of things in the world. When scrolling past something I like-I love tapping the little heart! I find this outlet to be quick, visual and typically positive. I like that I can follow other teachers and SEE what they are doing. If I feel like engaging more I can always follow links or watch people’s stories. I have been inspired by many posts, from all sorts of teachers. Lots if sparks!!!

There is an itinerant teacher I follow who saw a post of mine and she had questions-sent me a message. I love it! I could help her out and it came from a simple picture I posted, about something I do, that is a common thing for me. Simple, helpful and not a huge level of commitment.

My tribe is happily growing!!!

Face to Face

This seems super obvious right…make friends in school, but I sort of think this one can be hard for an itinerant teacher. Facebook or Instagram are at my fingertips 24/7, but time to connect with people in my buildings can be a challenge at times. As I am getting older and further in my career I feel as if I know myself better and I know I need to connect with the teachers in my buildings. I can’t always rush in and rush out. I know so many of us have demanding schedules, but try to make time for one teacher you think you can build a friendship with. I have been very blessed that there are some really great people I can connect, share (maybe over share!), chat…and be myself with.

Things to consider:

  • Slow down and say hello
  • Participate in teacher activities like- holiday parties, monthly breakfasts, special luncheons and dress down days/fundraisers
  • Eat in a staff lunchroom
  • Use the library- people are always in and out
  • Volunteer for a school event
  • Attend a school event
  • Say yes to a happy hour
Storybook Character Day

I have done all of these over the years. Some years I can maybe manage one, but at least I tried. I have found that making the effort pays off personally and professionally. I have been in multiple districts over my career and some of the friendships I have made were temporary, because being itinerant is difficult and some friendships are still going!

These are the people that get me through a freezing, gross, stressful day. Whether I physically see them or get a text reminding me to drive safe these small moments can get me through. Making these connections and growing these friendships has made me a better teacher. I can’t function all day without adult interaction. I think I could in my twenties when I was just starting out, but I could also wear high heels all day too! I now need comfort in friends and footwear.

Being itinerant can be mentally and physically draining. You do not have to be an island or a one person teaching machine. It is so okay to say you need more:

  • Support
  • Help
  • Guidance
  • Community
  • Validation
  • Encouragement

My hope with this post is no matter where you are or what your schedule/job looks like, you can think about these suggestions and expand your tribe, improve your everyday and be a happier you.

I would love to hear from you. You can email me, comment, or like this post. I would love to know how you keep yourself connected and positive.

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Ideas to Connect Hard of Hearing and Deaf Students

If you are itinerant like me, you may be spread all over multiple districts or just work for one, but no matter where you are there is high probability that some or most of your students are little islands. These amazing tiny humans, who work harder than their hearing peers, lack a connection to kids like them. I know, as the only Teacher of the Deaf at my schools, I feel alone at times. I am lucky to have my focus group to connect with, but when I am my buildings I am alone. I don’t have a “grade level team” to rely on for support. I span K- high school all in one day, so I can relate to my students being the only one.

This year I decided to implement a communication journal with two kindergartners. I had tried this activity in years past and found it to be sort of okay…not at all amazing (because of how I structured it-never the kids). This year it was beyond my expectations. There were so many educational boxes checked.

  • Language Development
  • Social skills
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Fine motor
  • Creativity
  • Spelling
  • Phonics
  • Confidence
  • Support
  • Advice
  • Friendship
  • Question skills
  • Reading
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Advocacy
  • Calendar skills….and more

Journal/Notebook

This is what I used this year. A composition notebook. It was easy to carry back an forth and the layout of a notebook is familiar to the students. The cover is very sturdy, which is great for going in and out of my bag for 10 months. I made sure I had a wide rule style. Bigger spaces are easier for young writers.

There were a couple of things I would change about using a composition notebook.

The lack of white space for an illustration. Lines sort of effect the illustrations. The page count. Having a preset page count put an expectation for how long…how much to write. I think a journal that I can add pages to would take the pressure off of getting to the end of the notebook.

Email

This is a format I used years ago with two students. It was a positive experience, but be sure the technology is available for the experience. Being itinerant can offer challenges with access and opportunities for integrating technology into our sessions. I think 10 years ago I struggled more, but now so many of us have tools at our disposal. This can also be done via two hearing teachers who are in different districts/schools. You can support your student and a colleague’s student. Everybody wins!

Letters

Have students communicate with a forgotten art-LETTERS.

  • Teach them the structure of a friendly letter
  • Use fun stationary
  • Fun pens and pencils
  • Create something to keep the letters in: a box, folder, or large envelope
  • Use stickers to act as stamps
  • Have a mail box-if you see multiple students in one location
  • Send actual MAIL via the post office or inter school mail-this is dependent on your situation, guidelines and parent permission

Texts

Most of us text at least once a day. Texts are typically short and concise. This can be a way to have older students mentor younger students. The messages can be short and topic related. How you do this is obviously not via a cell phone.

  • Notebook
  • Google Slides-each student can communicate per slide.
  • Index cards

Sketchbook

You may have students with varying skills. Maybe writing is not something they can physically or academically handle. These students might need a friend the most. Being able to draw, add clip art, pictures, photos or dictate to you can still make for a positive experience.

Considerations

  • Parent permission
  • Students who are interested-pair excited & willing kiddos
  • Time
  • Materials/Method of Communication
  • School approval
  • Goals
  • Remember to view content-this is supposed to be productive & positive
  • Follow it through- As the teacher don’t forget make it happen and be careful who you pair….nothing worse than a student who wants to stop (this is supposed to be fun), but the buddy wants to continue….feelings can get hurt.
  • Enjoy the Process!!!!

The Power of Connection

The experience I had years ago was not the same as the one I just had this year. I think I was better prepared, better organized, and made it part of our sessions-on a schedule. My students were vested in themselves and each other. This activity stretched beyond our sessions, it was no longer just a writing journal. At the end of the year I made two copies of the journal. I bound them and sent them home. Their parents read and saw the growth, the excitement, the pride and the connections that were made between the children. This whole experience granted me the honor and privilege of being inside their world.

Yes…I know Journal is missing the “N”…I corrected it before I sent it home. Did I tell you I am a terrible speller?

I highly recommend trying this out. These ideas can be used for really any student who needs a connection. Getting our hearing impaired or deaf students connected to someone like them is priceless.

I’m always here to discuss or answer questions. Reach out!

I am adding a free resource link. I developed this journal this year….after I started the composition notebook. My plan is print and use this year for multiple communication buddies/partners.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/FreeDownload/Peer-Communication-Journal-4225763

Posted in Uncategorized

One Easy Way to Refresh Your Teaching Resources

Back Story

I have been making resources for myself for a while. This year a very supportive friend suggested I started a teachers pay teachers store to sell the things I was making for school. She had a very good point….if I like it and need it, maybe others will too. I started posting resources in December. It has been an interesting experience. I put pressure on myself and I really shouldn’t….I think most teachers do this- TpT store or not. I need to keep remembering that this is a fun extension of my actual job- being a Teacher of the Deaf.

With that being said, summer has been great so far-great family time, hanging with my mini me, and trying to create new resources for my store/my world. My hope was I would be able to make some things I need and want for the upcoming year. My thinking cap was on tight for a while, but last week I hit a wall. I felt like I was staring at a very blank wall.

Looking for Inspiration

If your like me you might scroll Instagram…I have been seeing teachers working on projects and items for their 2019-2020 classrooms. Some of the things I have seen are so inspiring, the trouble is I don’t have a classroom to pick a theme or freshen up. I may have a few great work spaces come September, but as of this moment I know I can rely on my vehicle and backpack, so all of the colorful and beautiful ideas sort of made me blue. I love being itinerant, but like I have mentioned before, sometimes a classroom can be very nice, especially in the hard winter months.

So, I was bummed about it and then started to think of ways to make my world more colorful and fresh….Astrobright paper!!! I have seen people use this for years, but I never have. This is kinda crazy because I love color. If I can color print something I will, but color printing isn’t always an option, so I am getting on the Astro train to happy town.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

I recently made this advocacy resource and thought about making it more fun for my students and myself, so I ordered the Astrobright paper and I am so happy I did. The black and white version looks so different on this cheerful paper. You can totally do this too!

1. I ordered from Amazon…you can get fun paper anywhere, I just love deliveries.

2. I loaded the colors I wanted.

3. I pressed print.

It looks fun!

It was very easy!

It was affordable!

Refreshed and Ready to Rock

This is just what I needed to change and enhance what I am already doing. I love that it is easy and practical. I am sort of kicking myself…I should have tried this years ago. I don’t need to pressure myself to reinvent the wheel, I already have a wheel…it just needed some color.

Suggestions for Itinerants

STORAGE AND PORTABILITY

I am going to use an accordion folder to keep paper in my car. I can easily bring this into school when I want to print out materials for my students.

Choose a folder that has sections for paper and your newly printed resources.

I love that older resources are going to look new! Upcycling here I come.

PARENT RESOURCES

I am even thinking I might print things for my parents on colored paper. My hope is my pop of color will stand out on the sea of papers that come home in take home folders, agendas and backpacks.

My suggestion is if you do this choose one color for the year.

I am going to pick one color…maybe green…and my hope is every time my parents see the bright green in the folder or mail, they will know it is me sending something home. Your pleasantly, persistent TOD!!!

Ready for September

I am very excited that no matter where I am or what work space I will have, I can open a student’s folder and pull out a bit of happy! My world (compact and portable) will be colorful and new too. Being itinerant can be hard and isolating, so anyway I can make my world brighter- I am going to do it. If you read my blog, regularly, you know I am passionately perusing change for growth and this very simple change is just what I needed for another successful year.

Resources

 â€œAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” 

Paper

TpT Resource

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hearing-Advocacy-Worksheets-4685240

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Listening-Ladybug

If this colored you world, drop me a line!

Follow my blog, on Instagram or Facebook.

I would love to hear from you!

Happy Refreshing!!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Hydrating Beauty Products I am Obsessed with for Summer

I just ordered more Beekman 1802 products this week. I know I posted about the cream and soap a while ago, but I have added two new items to my beauty bag. It is kind of silly to be so pumped about beauty products, but I am not very complicated (hahaha) and with this hot summer weather these are doing an awesome job at keeping me hydrated, without the sticky greasy feel of some products. I am beginning to think that goat milk might be magical.

Whipped Body Cream

I wrote about this before in a previous post….nothing has changed about this product except for the fact that I have less of it! I consider this self-care, not vanity. I find that the older I am getting my skin demands different things than it did in my 20’s and 30’s. I need more moisture, but I hate lotions and potions that make my feel dirty, heavy or greasy. I want to feel like I’m not wearing a cream or lotion. This body cream absorbs right in and keeps me feeling great.

Unscented Soap

I am not crazy about a lot of smells out there. Many things give me that puke headache, so it is nice that this brand sells unscented options. The unscented is awesome to keep me feel good and if I do choose to wear fragrance (headache free options), there is zero conflict. This soap lathers up and rinses clean. It is soap, so I don’t think a lot of explaining needs to be done, but I can say it has brought me back to bar soap. I don’t feel tight or itchy after bathing and it works for shaving my legs too!

Hand Cream

This is a category of beauty products I struggle with. I have very dry hands. I often think they look 10 years older than my face, when they aren’t moisturized(insert sad, wrinkle free face). However, even with my granny hands I still detest the feel of lotion on my hands. I especially do not enjoy how lotions and creams can effect the function of my hands. I don’t want them to be slippery or tacky. I have used this cream every day since it arrived. It sinks in and does none of the above. It immediately went into my tote bag. Second new favorite thing.

Cuticle Cream

I bought this in a duo

Drum roll please…..this might be my absolute new favorite thing. It is a luxurious and practical product. It feels heavenly, but is not complicated. It is a hard balm in a tiny pot that packs a huge punch. I rubbed it in and was IN LOVE. It made my cuticles look and feel better, with out weighing my digits down. I could text and type easily; it didn’t leave residue on my screen. I think for the typical user you will like this, but for someone like me who picks their cuticles daily (horrible and gross habit)…they looked almost presentable after a few treatments. Total win for me. My nails even looked healthier.

Stock Up

So, if you are looking to change up your beauty self-care routine, these products might be total winners for you too. I know you can get them directly from Beekman 1802 or you can order from QVC. That’s how I ordered. I love how things come bundled together on QVC’s website. I am all about being thrifty. I am adding the sites. I get zero compensation, but 100% happiness from sharing.

http://www.beekman1802.com

https://www.qvc.com/beauty/beekman-1802/_/N-rhtyZ17021rk/c.html?redirectTerm=Beekman

If you likes these tips-drop me a line or like this post. 🐞

If you think a friend might be in need- please share.🐞

If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you!🐞

Stay hydrated 😄

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Steps to Purging, Organizing and Streamlining Your Itinerant Teaching Materials

This stuff was removed from schools and now awaits being organized

I don’t know about you, but I think with every year that I am itinerant, I am looking for ways to be lighter and more efficient. I love it when I can leave materials at a school. That is literally heaven, but there are still materials that I transport between sites and students. I know some teachers will purchase multiple items/materials, but I really don’t need 3 of the same game. I can take these things back and forth-even in terrible weather. With this being said I still need to purge and de-clutter my materials. Right now my basement is looking very pretty. Typhoon TOD happened and it needs to get organized for September.

Trash to Treasure

Still great…but haven’t used in a while

I am sure there are items in my basement that can be passed on (or borrowed) to my co-workers or a teacher I team with. I can see the games and workbooks that have not been touched in a couple of years. This could be for various reasons: I am over it, I don’t want to carry it around or I haven’t had a student who could play or use the materials. These are my top priorities to purge. I know these items are still great-but why aren’t I taking them???? I honestly do not want to psycho analyze why I stopped using an auditory discrimination workbook….too much to organize!

So, my plan and recommendation is if it looks dusty- turn that clutter into someone else’s treasure.

  • Send out an email to co-workers… looking for a new owner
  • Have a yard sale and hope for happy customers
  • Give to students as a reward-kids love free stuff…call it swag!

Re-purpose

The copy right on the bingo game is 1978…need I say more

I did this a few years back. I took old and out dated materials( things that were made when I was in elementary school…gems my mentors passed down) and found new ways to use them. I cut up cards and games and made them into something new I could use. I also let the students write on and in the resources (gasp). I know that is shocking, but they loved it and then when it was used-bye bye. It was out of my hands and either in the trash or a kiddos back pack to use at home.

  • Think of how you can use parts of it one more time-cut it up, use pieces of a game for a game you create
  • Let students write in the workbook (double gasp) and then send that achievement home when it is done!
  • Use two resources together.

Purge and Trash

This might be my favorite one of all. I get out a trash bag or paper bag and just sort and stuff!!! I look at old things that are not confidential and get rid of them. It feels so good to unearth something and send it to the great beyond….my garbage and recycle bins.

  • Toss old and out of date items
  • Toss items that are torn, stained, wrinkled from water (thank you rain and snow)
  • Toss well loved items, that have served you well but should really go
  • Don’t linger on each item
  • Don’t look inside the cover or box too long
  • Don’t feel guilty
  • Don’t tell yourself you are going to use it- YOU KNOW YOU WON’T
  • Follow your gut….practice your inner listening skills

Re-group Your Materials

I feel like every few years I like to think about how I need to store and save my materials that will be used or I hope to use (I too ignore my inner voice…as you can see in the above pictured bingo game). Sometimes I clear the shelves and start fresh. Grouping things by a need or topic. The last time I did this I was very determined, so this summer I am just going to insert what I took throughout the year and maybe start grouping some materials to be taken in September by age/grade.

  • Sort by topics- ASL and sign language, Listening, Advocacy, Speech reading, Auditory Discrimination, Social Skills….you know what you have and need
  • Sort by building-maybe you know your caseload and can start by putting bins or bags together
  • Sort resources by theme- holidays, topics (civil war, weather, transportation)
  • Sort and group all of your games and manipulatives in one area
  • Sort out all of the still usable folders, binders, and tools that can be reused into bins, containers or pencil pouches-I like to be able to just grab and go if I need new or get a new student

Go Digital

Can it get any lighter? More streamlined?

I saved this for last because I think this is the one I am most passionate about now. I am trying to carry less and store less, so this is the easiest option for me….maybe you too? I love that I can save things to my “stick” and just pull up what I need that I have saved and print just the needed copies. I love that there are so many online resources now, especially when I am teaching K-high school, out of the trunk of my vehicle. The web options seem limitless. I am sure so many of us are using the web for things we need instantly or well planned out lessons. I think that I love the internet most when a student brings me something and I know I can support it once retrieved it from my “stick” or do a new search and PRINT. I may have something great at home-but that doesn’t help me when my student brings me revolutionary war text and work that is a bit too difficult and the student needs support right then and there. Thank you Google and Teachers Pay Teachers. I know there are so many more sites, but these are my go to’s in a pinch.

Organized and Ready To Roll

When you are finished organizing and purging…

I hope you feel GOOD.

I hope you feel READY to roll out in September.

I hope you feel EMPOWERED to have a fantastic new school year.

I would love to hear from you if you have other ideas about organizing or making this job we do easier and more streamlined, you can always comment, follow or email me. There is always room in the tribe!!!!

Happy Summer- Rose

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Summer…Rest, Relax and Read

Schools out for summer…

How do you like to Summer? I am just beginning my summer and sort of can’t process what I want to do first. I have had things on a mental to do list for for a while and right now I can’t focus. I have that awesome school’s out for summer feeling. If you are a teacher or have summers off maybe you get this feeling too? It is a sense of weightlessness…today. I feel like I can not fully process the idea of not having to set an alarm tomorrow. I was just talking to a friend and she was saying it takes her a couple of weeks to settle into the idea of being off and she has all the plans she is going to work on for next year. This got me thinking….Are teachers ever really off???

I know that I personally have things that need to be done. My car is empty, but it needs a scrub down. Ugh it is awful-the remnants of spring are very visible. Everything I removed from my schools needs to be organized and stored. Right now it is all in a “pile” in my basement. I will attack it very soon. I have learned that if I leave a chaotic school mess for to long it becomes a mountain-so to save myself that crazy lady stress, I will do it sooner than later. This way when I walk downstairs to my teaching zone in August I will feel happy to shop my basement and start putting materials or ideas together for my kiddos. I like it organized. It makes me feel less itinerant and all over the place. So the school calendar is done, but I am still working.

I know many teachers work on new ideas over the summer. If they are making things to put on teachers pay teachers or just revamping something, they are busy. I know I have summer projects that I will work on. I think it is just the reality of what teachers do. I love seeing the Instagram pics of teachers sitting on sunny patios with their teaching tools-ready to put in a few hours of work. It needs to be done and I love that we all can soak up some vitamin D while we work.

I will get a schedule going this summer. My momsibilities keep me to a schedule, but I need something organized for my summer work plans and I am also going to “schedule” in some rest and relaxation. I am not going to be so type A where I plan specific things daily, but I think gentle suggestions for myself can’t hurt. I have had unscheduled or less planned out summers where I feel like I am doing nothing, getting nothing done and feel like it was a waste in September, so a list of ideas is needed for a productive and restorative summer.

Chill List

This seems doable

Reading-I have books I want to read…sort collecting dust at the moment. All the titles I keep saying I’ll have time for once school is out.

Yoga-I need to find another place to practice. I like what I am doing now, but I need and want a challenge. I am no yoga expert, but I just know I could be doing more. So I am going to try something new. My head and heart are telling me I need more.

Get Crafty- I need to make or do something creative this summer. Waiting for inspiration to hit. Maybe find a diamond in the rough and make it useful or look amazing. Sometimes people throw out little gems.

Shopping- not food shopping, not shopping with a purpose or shopping for practicality. I need that wandering, look what awesome deal I stumbled upon shopping experience…with my mini partner in crime.

Girl Time- with friends or my mini…just doing things we like.

Netflix Binge- I need a new show. I know I can now watch season 3 of Riverdale. Yep! Don’t judge, but I love this ridiculously good teen drama. Besides it is talking points with my older students (not the inappropriate parts, of course, but plot, predicting and fashion)! So I think that actually might be summer work.?! Maybe catch up on some movies I keep saying I am going to watch. I’m open to suggestions!

A room with a view

Summer work is already mentally planned. I just need to get down to business and open my Chromebook….make some magic. I set a goal for myself to add at least 20 more products to my TpT store. It is kinda a big goal. I really have a total goal I want by my 1 year anniversary (fingers crossed). I can honestly say…if I don’t put a big dent in it this summer I will struggle finding time and focus once school starts up again, so I need to stay happily focused. This TpT thing is supposed to be enhancing my life-not bringing pressure or stress. Can you feel the zen attitude?!

I also want to grow as a blogger. I like doing this every week. My goal is, if you follow me or just discovered me, that you like what I have to say and want to read more of what I am thinking & doing. I read other peoples blogs and I see there is a definite niche they fit in, but I’m still deciding what that is. And honestly I am not an expert in just one thing or have a crazy passion for just one thing. I really am just trying to live my best life, support my tribe and enjoy what life has to offer. I really do love a “buffet”. I think options are necessary for growth and change.

Here’s to a summer of growth, fun, relaxation and sunshine….June has been rainy. Let’s get out the SPF (which I can not forget-currently suffering from a touch of sunburn) and put the umbrellas and school bags away!

Oh….If you are looking for a new computer click the link below. I love my new, pretty, white Chromebook. It has saved the day. My hubs bough it for me a couple of months ago. I wanted tiny, white and easy to use….check, check and check! I also really wanted to be able to print and apply my ladybug logo. I used printable vinyl and then used my Cricut to cut her out. I had to make it cute!!

 â€œAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” 

This is the Chrome book Link

This is the Vinyl….it printed easy, applied easy and it has stayed on!!

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Adventures in Living Gluten Free

Gluten free banana bread….a mix….not motivated yet to really bake from scratch.

This year has been a year of many new changes and decisions. I feel like I am heading into unchartered territory. Making a change or trying something new is scary and exciting. One thing that is fairly new is having to live gluten free.

Being gluten free is not an option I would freely choose, so this is not really a happy change. It is a necessary, life altering change. I know I have to live this way because my body and my doctor tell me so, but honestly I miss many delicious things and I hate living in a constant fear of “poisoning” myself or glutening myself. I also miss baking. I try still, but it is not the same. Christmas was particularly hard….I missed grandma’s cookies. We bought some from a bakery that is strictly gluten free (they were okay-maybe great, but I was in a funk). I was appreciative that my hubs had zero issue spending what we spent, but I missed the familiar taste of Christmas.

Eat like a cave woman to stay safe!!

I am very aware that there are far worse things in life to deal with. I am not having a pity party for myself-just being brutally honest and trying to find the ups. I know how amazing I feel now that I don’t have gluten in my system and I know there are so many food options that are naturally GF or made to be GF, so those are total ups. People have told me this is a better time to live GF than in years past. A couple of the grocery stores I shop in now have very publicized GF sections. This makes it a more relaxing shopping experience-less reading and searching.

However, I occasionally mourn the loss of pizza, perogies, cake from our favorite bakery, subs and donuts….there are many things. I know that there are safe options, but some days I just don’t want to think….will this make me sick? I hate questioning and reading everything I put in my mouth. I know it is totally babyish, but I just want to eat in peace.

It is true I am no longer being that girl who ruins a good time with her need to be near a potty, but now I am that girl that is a pain to eat with…..still! I am questioning friends and family, praying they don’t gluten me. I feel horrible doing that. They are just trying to be hospitable, offer me something they took the time to prepare. Some people really get it. I have awesome people in my life that want to make sure I am safe with the menu and want me to feel thought about and considered. …mental hugs to my tribe!!!! Then there are the people who question and wonder “how much is true”….insert sad face. I honestly do not understand people who choose this as a diet. How do they not want to eat real bread?! I wasn’t even a bread basket kind of girl before this, but it it looks so good sometimes. Also, being GF does not make you skinny. I can find plenty of high sugar or high fat foods that are GF. Any weight loss I have had is from better choices and exercise. Exercise has been huge. I am now longer in total body pain. All the inflammation in my joints has gone away. Life changing-total up here!!!!

The crazy thing is as I think that…I just want to eat in peace…I haven’t been in peace for 20 years with the former gluten filled diet. My stomach and digestive issues started in my early twenties. Food has not been kind to me, but it did taste good! Once it was chewed swallowed-game on. I suffered with misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatments for years. I don’t want to go on and on about that because it doesn’t serve me. I would like to think previous doctors thought they were right. With all of the ups and downs over 20 years of living in the potty, inconveniencing people, making my husband race me home, taking medications that did nothing and feeling terrible about being annoying-one would think being GF would be so much better. I have my days were I accept it and don’t care-then there are the days that I am mad I am not able to consume what the heart wants. I do not cheat. I tried this. It is so not worth it. Feeling like I have the flu is never going to be worth a piece of cake or pizza.

So because I am trying live my best life, most positive life-I am now only going to focus on the ups!

  • Yoga-I can now do this pain free. My joints are not inflamed.
  • Weight Loss- I have dropped 12 lbs. and it is staying off.
  • Cholesterol- it is down 50 points.
  • Energy- I do not say I am tired all the time.
  • Eating Out- If I eat safe…of course….I can do more than just dinner (no racing home).
  • School-I can now sit through sessions not in pain or stressing about when the 40 minutes would be up to race to a restroom. I have my full attention on my work.
  • Feeling Good- I can function much better for work and my home life….that is kind of priceless. Vacations are so much better!!!
  • Speaking up- I have been preaching to students for years that they need to advocate for themselves….well now the teacher is the student.
  • Saying Yes- I would never have started a blog before…I was to sick and exhausted.
  • Feeling Zen- I am not as anxious as I used to be. Even with the learning curve of a new diet….less anxious. It gets easier. Breathe in the future & exhale the past.

My people have been awesome through this learning process. They have learned about hidden gluten and are often reminding me to double check. Love them. They eat GF with me at home, not 100%, but they try with dinners- to eat what I am eating. I think that is huge. They could live high on the gluten hog, but they know it is still a learning curve for me and they respect the struggle. I have made some very gross GF dinners. I am getting there, but substituting or altering something I once cooked with success can be an epic fail some nights. Thank goodness for cereal. I started this post because tonight they got pizza…pictured above. I ate leftovers. I say this happily. They should sill enjoy their best life and if they need a GF free night….pick up the phone and order.

Like I stated….you see all the naughty food….GF does not = Skinny. You can still live large!

Parties might be one of the hardest things. We recently went to a 40th birthday and I called the restaurant where they catered in from. Ugh. Really? Yes. I wanted to eat. There were still very limited options, but the food looked and smelled beyond delicious, so I had to call. Totally embarrassing and totally worth it. I know I can not expect to have people go full GF because I am coming, but not eating sucks and looks weird.

However, like I mentioned I have some sweet people in my tribe that go out of their way. When I attend book club I can eat most of the snacks. They are thoughtful ladies (tribe members). I am very lucky to have them in my life. We have family friends who always make sure I am not going to starve! I also do not want to be the person I have read about who brings a lunchbox or eats before hand. That would make me sad. Very sad. I do always carry a snack, but I don’t want to be the weirdo not eating at all. A party is supposed to be fun…..and I am not even going to go into my endless google searches about what cocktails are safe. I am not a regular drinker-but one is fun sometimes. It used to make me so sick and I just thought it was IBS. I have never liked beer, so no loss there, but I like something fun and fruity, maybe with an umbrella or straw. Now that I know alcohol may contain wheat I decline if I feel like I can’t trust it and feel ridiculous having to explain that I am not having a cocktail for fear of wheat, but I know it is necessary. I recently let loose at a charity event and enjoyed a heavenly lemon drop martini….or two. Thank you Titos. Another up-breathing out that misconception/misdiagnosis and breathing in knowledge. Knowledge is supposed to be power, well I am soaking it up or sipping it up.

This year for my birthday we discovered this ice cream place that makes gluten free waffle sundaes. This was so good on so many levels. Happy Birthday to me. So with another year older and another year (hopefully) wiser. I am trying to find the upside to this new culinary adventure. I can do hard things. I can adapt. I can find the sweet life.

You can always drop me a line, comment, like, follow or share back. I would live to hear from you. If you follow me I am sure I will be sharing more….I’m always learning new things.

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So Long, Farewell…See You in September

I started taking things down in my teaching spaces. I love and sort of hate this time of the year. It is always filled with mixed emotions. A month ago myself and many in my tribe were itching for the end of June, but now that it is fast approaching I feel sort of sad. It is like this every year.

I love summer vacation…who doesn’t!?! I love being on my schedule. No alarm. Mommy time. Being off and being in stay at home mom mode is awesome. I suck up every minute of it. Some days we have a plan and some days we go with the flow. I am hoping this summer is a balanced combo of the two.

With longing for the end of June and then 2 months of being off comes the reality that my students and I will part ways for a bit. As an itinerant I will see most of my kids in September. I am never guaranteed that, but I have been happily working in the same area for a few years. Being able to watch my students progress is an unbelievable joy. Classroom teachers get a new crew every year, but some of us get to teach the same kiddos for years….I love that.

So, not seeing them for the summer is a healthy and perfect separation, but I do miss them. I love hearing about their lives. Feeling like I am a tiny part of their world. When we get back in September I love hearing about all of the awesome things they got into. My huge hope is they keep up their skills. Being off for two months can be alot for some kids.

Keeping up skills is so important….had to make work look cute.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Slide-Language-Packet-4605829

This year I put a summer language packet together. I am hoping they work on it. Fingers crossed. I am still thinking of a good incentive for bringing it back in September. I don’t think my smiling face will be enough. Hahaha. I am sure I will find something great….I am a very good shopper.

I need to get a game plan for how and when I am going to clear out my spaces. My car will be a mini explosion for a few days….and then off to the basement my 10 month world will go. I will haul it down and dump it. Then a day in the summer I will organize, purge and revamp things. I like to be ready for September in July. I am not one who leaves a mess or things to the last minute.

Before I pack it up and in for the summer I will take time to tell each one of my students how awesome they are. How they need to fly their flag. How they need to be proud of their achievements. How they need to wear their hearing aids all summer. That they are going to do great in the upcoming grade. Some are transitioning to middle school and they need to know they are ready!!! I will give each of them something they can read or do over their summer months. This year I made these new bookmark awards. I wanted them to see my words. I put these together yesterday. I hope they like them and use them. Maybe they will shove in a drawer, the bottom of a book bag or maybe actually use in a book-they all have summer reading lists. My hope is not toss!

PRINT-LAMINATE-PUNCH

These bookmarks are not fancy or expensive, but I did take time and care in designing them. I did take time to put them together, so I hope they see I do care about them and see what amazing beings they are.

I have only a couple of weeks left in this 2018-2019 school year…..it has been a good one. I am excited to see what next year will be like. If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I mark years by school years, so in my mind this year is almost over. My teacher planner shows me that. Aghhh. That is a great things to type out loud! I sort of just realized that. My planbook will be resting, on pause for 2 glorious months!!!!

I’ll post an update to this post before the July holiday. Then I will be done and had a few days to reflect. Check back in with me. If you have any comments feel free to email me, leave a comment, like my post or follow me.

I’m adding my bookmark resource here at the bottom. Check it out. They are cute….atleast I think so. They could be printed and used by anyone really.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bookmark-Awards-4620056

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Summer On My Mind

I, like many, am ready for summer. Summer weather, summer clothes, summer foods, and summer vacation!!! I realize that not everyone has a teacher schedule for the summer months, but even if you are working or doing what you do 12 months a year I am sure you too look forward the all the sweetness a summer can bring.

With summer quickly approaching I wanted to get a few summer activities out and ready for my teacher peeps. I completed one activity for my students and another for fun. I loved creating this s’mores resource. I have found this digital artist who is creating this adorable clip art and I had to create something with it.

So, I typically blog to blog about life and if my tpt fits awesome, but I really wanted to write and post about how pumped I am for summer themed lesson plans….and s’mores! I love this new resource. I think it is fun and fresh.

Spinner Game
Math and Language Options

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Smores-Sequencing-Activities-and-Games-4610185

I also created a summer language packet for some of my students. My hope is they will complete it by September. Fingers crossed!! I find that they will read over summer, but my focus is on written and oral communication skills. These are harder to maintain without structured activities. It does not have a schedule to it. Many summer packets are connected to a calendar…I want then to want to write at their own pace or mood.

Oral communication Activities
Written Language Activities
Writing Worksheets

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Slide-Language-Packet-4605829

Take a look if either of these could help you wrap up and get ready for summer.
Visit my tpt store.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Listening-Ladybug

Think about following me!!! You can also like this article. I love feedback!!!!

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Heart Openers

So this year seems to be a year of taking a risk, opening your heart or going forward on the path that is the road less traveled.  I somehow know a handful of women who have taken a leap of faith.  I feel like this is all around me for a reason.  Maybe the universe has been trying to show me I can do hard things.  I can be brave.  I can be vulnerable.

This word vulnerable keeps popping up.  In my yoga class, in my Instagram feed and even in my Audible book recommendations.  I know that there are authors, therapists and motivational speakers who are much more knowledgeable and well versed in the idea of being vulnerable, so who am I to even try to throw my thoughts or opinions out there….but isn’t that sort of the point.  I am here just as much as anyone doing my best to be the best version of myself.

I can totally say that even typing the word vulnerable seems like an icky word…there are many words I think roll off the tongue that should never, but this one makes me uncomfortable and I think there in lies the work I need to be doing. Opening myself up more.

I am super good at being funny…deflecting and being busy! I take personal satisfaction in knowing I can juggle all the balls, but I think that it isn’t enough. I can be a good mom, good teacher, wife, sister and friend but I think I need to be good to my self.  I need to take some time to work on things I avoid.  Are there things you internally avoid?  I think it is super easy to push forward and muffle that little voice telling me I need more.  More from myself.

This past week has shown me that I can’t.  I can’t keep going through the motions.  I need to stop and recognize I need more things that make me happy.  I can do more….and not more chores (hahhaaha).  The dust can wait.

These women I know have been an awesome wake up call.  They have started new businesses, planned and raised money for charity, decided to leave jobs, gone back to school and started new projects.  They have all said yes to that little voice that was saying this is a good idea….you can do scary things….you can put yourself out there….take the risk.  Have you taken any new risks?

I took a baby step this year and decided to open my tpt store and go to the regional conference.  It was an extraordinary experience.  I came away inspired by women who have a wealth of knowledge and more importantly-support. They were all so encouraging and were open to share their knowledge and experiences. It was sort of a weird experience for me….foreign.  I feel like in education there are the people who share and lift you up or there are the people who are passive aggressive and competitive.  I thankfully was surrounded by givers.  I came away from that weekend feeling like I could do something new, try my hand at something I never thought I could do and take a risk……wallah….my blog.

There was a teacher, at the conference, who blogs and she was encouraging me to put my voice out there.  She felt I had something to share with other teachers. I thought it was kinda crazy….me telling others what to do or share my ideas. Who am I??  What do I know??  Can I do this?  Will I be good at it?  Who wants to read what I have to say?  I was telling myself the same story I have probably told myself before, about other things I thought were too much, scary or uncomfortable.  Something happened.  I decided to listen to the voices of support and the little one inside me saying “do it”.  I went home and developed my page.  I took a risk.  I think for a first timer it looks good.  I am sure it will evolve…it has to, because I sort of look at it as an extension of me and I have no plans of staying in the same place.

I originally intended it to only have content for teaching, teachers & itinerants, but I feel like this is evolving into something more.  Maybe because things are aligning???  I am being open to the idea that I can share whatever I want.  I know many bloggers have a specific direction.

I am still deciding what that is.  I am trying to look and listen in the still moments for signs that I am doing the right thing.  I am being open to new possibilities.  I am being positive and hopefully sharing my light with others.

So, I guess it is good my school year is coming to a close.  I am looking forward to what summer will bring. It will be nice to focus on the good vibes I am feeling around me and hopefully I can lift others around me….embrace this new level of vulnerability.

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End of the Year Teacher Thank You Treats

Question: Do you gift to the teachers you work with?

This has been a hot topic within my tribe. Some people do and some people don’t. I think what ever side you are on you have to do what you feel is right.I personally gift. This looks different every June. Some years I have more time and get creative. Some years I have a little more to spend. Some years I feel more giving; which seems kinda gross to say, but I am super honest and some years I am just over a school year-not over the people, but that feeling has a ripple effect. Summer can’t come fast enough.

Giving something small to a teacher who has been a rock star all year is a no brainer for me. I love saying thank you. Thank you for wearing the FM all year. Thank you for going above and beyond for our student. Thank you for putting up with me showing up in a flurry of distraction. I know that classroom teachers have to follow the IEP-so this is where I see people in my tribe divide. They feel it is not above and beyond. They are doing their job. They are, but I feel like my student might be the only student they ever teach with hearing needs. And this doesn’t grant them an automatic reward, but in my decade plus of teaching I find that most classroom teachers do go above and beyond, it is a new experience and they are my foundation for a great year.

I know people say gift cards are great. They are….I guess. I have to do something more than just the card. I feel like just the card is cold and a easy way out. So, if I give a gift card it has to be prettied up! I have a Cricut and I am not scared to use it. I do not claim to be the queen of crafting, but I give it my best. One year I made these cute paper coffee cups and attached the card to the back. Cricut to the rescue. I also love that I can design, print and cut stickers to add to simple items. I made these stickers to attach to microwave popcorn and a box of candy.

I have also done a basket of fruit or treats with a beautiful note thanking a whole team. I was inspired to do a group gift by one of my former parents. She put all these yummy treats in a basket and wanted the team to take one of everything or maybe just one item. I loved that. Calorie counters took what they wanted and some of us said yes please to all the delicious goodness.

I try not to go crazy. I don’t want people to feel awkward or look like a nutter, that is going overboard. So my goal is to say thank you, I appreciate you, with everyday simplicity. Something sweet, chocolate, a new cup, or something I find in a dollar bin at Target to inspire me.

All gifts need a tag. The berry tags above I found on Teacher Pay Teachers. I needed new tags this year, so I made new ones and put the resource in my store to help others snazz-up whatever has inspired them to say thank you.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Thank-You-Tags-4535329

The hunt is on! I am looking for this years “thing” that says thank you. You are awesome. You made my job so much easier. I see a red cart in my near future. The final weeks are here and I need to giddy up. I wish you luck putting together something special and fabulous. If you want to share or comment I would love to hear from you.