Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Not in Vegas, but...

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Man, the summer is just flying by!  I can't believe it is already July!

This summer is keeping me pretty busy and that's why I'm glad my bloggy friends have fun and easy linkies that I can join!

Yes, you *might* have noticed all the Vegas posts on social media this week.  It's the annual SDE conference there, along with the second annual TPT conference.  I went last year and had SO MUCH FUN!  This year I am missing out, but I have the best reason ever!  Which is why I'm joining School and the City's linky...

I'm loving spending this time with my husband and my little man!  My husband is a teacher as well, so we get to spend the summers together.  Murphy is almost 4 and a half months old (TIME, SLOW DOWN PLEASE!) and there's so much going on in his little world and I'm loving every minute of it!  He's rolling over and scooting across his playmat and he smiles at us non-stop!!  He's also learning to grab on to things, including my fingers, face and hair!  He coos and "talks" to us and even squeals loudly- a lot!  He loves to suck on his fingers, my fingers, his bib, his blanket- basically anything he can get near his mouth!  It cracks me up the way he attacks whatever he wants to get in his mouth, pulling it in tight and going to town on it!  I could go on and on about all the things I love about him, but I'll stop for now since I really should be in bed.  :)

I hope you are having a blast this summer, whatever you've got going on!  Enjoy every minute!!

Click on over to Kristin's blog to read about more summer fun!

School and the City

Monday, June 29, 2015

Being a parent is hard.

Being a parent is hard.

Very hard.

But, it’s not hard because of the sleep deprivation.

It’s not hard because of the lack of free time.

It’s not hard because of the decisions about picking the right day care, how long to breast feed or feeling guilt over going back to work.

It’s hard because of the LOVE.

The love you feel for your child is unbelievably and absolutely immeasurable. Your every thought is about them. You know you would do anything for them. You can’t imagine anything happening to them and you do everything in your power to prevent any sickness or hurt from ever coming to them.

This is a post I wrote on my personal Facebook page in early March-

"Well, I've been a mom for two weeks now and here are some things I've learned-

I still can't get used to the word 'mom'; that can't be me, no way.

Fold over mitten cuffs are a wonderful invention and should be required on all baby clothing.

I narrate and sing everything to Murphy, even trips to the kitchen to get paper towels.

There's no limit to the things I can now do one handed.

Seeing my new baby gagging on milk is the scariest thing ever.

Seeing my husband become an awesome daddy is the best thing ever.

Sleep deprivation is hard. Breast feeding is harder.

I laugh at Murphy's milk-drunk faces every.single.time. I also take pictures of them.

New mommy hormones seem to be way stronger than pregnancy hormones, but maybe it's just the lack of sleep thing.

There's not much out there that's better than this precious little baby snuggled up and asleep on my chest.

Unconditional love is the real deal, y'all."

Everything people tell you before you become a parent is absolutely true. “It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but the best thing you’ll ever do.” “Time goes by so fast.” “They grow up too soon.” I heard all of those things, but never really understood them until now. My sweet boy is only 4 months old and yet time truly has flown by. I look back at pictures from when we first brought him home and I can’t believe how tiny he was. I watch videos I took of him yawning, stretching and moving around in my lap and it seems so long ago already. I regularly flip through the hundreds of photos I’ve taken of him on my phone and smile and cry and laugh. We recently moved him to his crib, and every night I stand there and just watch him sleep. So tiny, so peaceful, so perfect. I’ve never cried as much as I have in the past 4 months, just thinking about everything that I love about him.

A teacher friend and I were talking about a month ago and she remarked, in awe, that now I was a mom and how that was “Forever. Like really forever.” And yes, she was completely right that being a parent is a forever commitment, but when you feel this much love for one little perfect being, you cannot imagine it NOT being forever. You can’t imagine not being there for every milestone that they reach. Every bittersweet milestone, where the excitement for their growth and progress is paired with wishing they could stay this little forever.

Recently, I’ve heard and read about a few families that have lost their precious babies and it tears me up inside. A family at my church just lost their son when he was only 2 days old. Another family I read about on Facebook recently lost their little girl to leukemia when she was just 2 months old. I cannot fathom how they go on with their daily lives after such a tragic loss. I really cannot imagine the pain they go through every morning and every night, and my heart breaks for them. It was after reading about that loss that I started writing this post. I was crying too much to fall asleep. It is just a painful reminder to not take anything for granted. Hug those that you love a little bit longer. Don’t forget to say I love you. Tighten those car seat straps just a little bit tighter.

I just gave my sweet boy another kiss goodnight and I can’t wait for him to wake me up early tomorrow for another day together. Another day of tummy time and rolling over. Another day of taking walks outside and looking at the birds. Another day of coos and cuddles. Another day of seeing him look up and smile at his daddy.

I know that I don’t know what’s in store for my family on this “forever” journey, but I know I can’t wait for more milestones as they get here. His first laugh. His first step. His first day of school. I really do understand how great my own parents are now and know why they stayed up when I missed curfew and why they told me not to drive over the speed limit and I know they feel this same love for me and for my sister. I hope you all experience love like this several times in your life because it is the best feeling in the world.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sweet Sweet Summer!!

Well, I haven't blogged since February 14th and there's a good reason for that!  Our son was born on February 25th!!  I'm a mommy now!  It's exactly like everyone says; it's the hardest thing you'll ever do, but the best thing you'll ever do!!  It is unbelievable how much we love our little man and how much he's grown in the past 3 months.

I was blessed to be on maternity leave for 13 weeks and only went back for the last 6 days of school.  My long term sub was great and my team was amazing- they all took great care of my kids while I was out.  My class was super sweet when I went back to work- they had made me cards and told me all kinds of stories about what I had missed in the classroom!

They even had a countdown to the day I was scheduled to return!  So sweet.

We made it through the last 6 days of school and packed up the classroom for the summer!  It's always so much work, but its a good way to purge a little as I'm loading up the boxes.

I loved my 2nd grade team this year and I'm sad because not everyone is coming back to 2nd grade next year.  Some are moving by choice and others have been moved by admin- since we were a strong team, they want to spread it out to other grade levels.  Not really an ideal situation and we're a little sad about it still.

I am super excited that it's summer and our first one as a family of three!!  We have lots of fun things planned- weddings, concerts, family visits, road trips and hopefully lots of pool time!

Anyway, hope to get back to blogging a bit more often, but we'll see how that goes!!

How was your last week of school?  What do you have planned for the summer?  Would love to hear from you!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Deep In The Heart of Texas Blog Hop!!

Welcome to the "Deep in the Heart of Texas" blog hop!  Over 40 Texas teacher bloggers have joined together to share what we love about our state as well as ideas and freebies that we love.  You will also have the opportunity to enter to win TPT products and/or TPT gift certificates by entering using the rafflecopters included in each post.  Down at the bottom, you will see all of the blogs participating in the hop.  Just click and you will be taken to their posts.  We hope you love what you find.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Let's get this party started!!  I'm Katie and I am a born and bred Texas girl!  I am originally from Houston and that's where most of my family still lives.  I moved to Austin for college (Hook 'em Horns!) and have been here ever since!!  Been here over 10 years now, so I think that makes me an official Austinite!!

Austin is such a great place to live!!  It has everything we need but doesn't feel like a big huge town yet!  I say 'yet' because we are going through some major growing pains right now!  Traffic is getting worse as more and more people move to Austin each day!  It's still a great place to be though- great weather, live music, lots of outdoor places to explore and some awesome restaurants!!!

I used to say I didn't like teaching math, but now it's my favorite part of the day!! I'm a big fan of Guided Math and use that model in my 2nd grade classroom.  You can read more about how I use Guided Math in my classroom in this blog post.

I have a fun math product in my store called All About Me Math.  It's a fun activity to do either at the beginning of the year or at the end of the year, as a great way for your students to see how many numbers they have in their lives!  You can check it out in my store and then enter to win a copy in one of the giveaways below!!

Here's a fun freebie from my store for you- my Number Sense Activity Pages.  These are super fun cut and paste activities that my kiddos LOVE!  Perfect for a math center!!

Click on these pictures to go straight to my store-



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Click on the buttons below to visit some other awesome Texas bloggers!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guided Math in detail!

Well, first of all, let me say Happy New Year!!!!  I hope y'all had a safe New Year's Eve- I was cozy under a blanket watching the second Hobbit movie: exciting, I know!!

I also hope y'all have had an enjoyable Christmas break!  I know I have!!!  Lots of fun family time and lots of Netflix and naps as well!  I'm almost 7 months pregnant now, so it's been nice to relax and spend quality time with my husband and my family.  We have been working on the baby's room (and when I say we, I mean mostly my husband) and everything's still all over the place, which is making us both a little crazy!!  We're making good progress though and are taking advantage of the last few days of break to get it as close to finished as possible!

I wanted to share a little about how I use Guided Math in my classroom.  I've been meaning to do a blog post about this for a long time, but just haven't gotten around to it until now!

I love Guided Math and have been using some form of it for about 7 years now.  When I first arrived at my current school, we taught math in Whole Group only and used our giant student workbooks as our pacing guide.  It was miserable trying to run from desk to desk to make sure that everyone was on the correct page and this was before I had a document camera and projector installed in my classroom!  I remember saying, "Ok, find blue number two," and then going all around to make sure my little sweet first graders were actually on blue number two.  Whew!

Then came Guided Math (and eventually a projector!) and everything changed.  I finally felt like I was actually teaching math to each and every one of my students.  I introduced Math Centers (Workstations) and they LOVED them!!  There is so much learning going on and they just think they are playing math games!  Math is now my favorite part of the day, hands down.

Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions you have in the comments section of this post.  I hope this gives you insight about how wonderful Math time can be in any classroom and I really hope you find something helpful!

*edited to add more detail about my Math Journal time-

I love using the 4 box system.  It's really easy for the kids to get used to as a daily routine.  At the beginning of the year, I introduce just the first two boxes.  We do them together each day and then I give them time to practice some math workstation games.  As the days go on, I add the third box and start to leave blanks in the first two boxes.  Then we add the fourth box and eventually build up to them doing the entire thing independently.  Once they get going, it is SILENT during that time and I love it!  :)

I have always done handwritten journals, but I recently started making them on my computer and trying to get 5 at a time done for the upcoming week.  I just print and post that copy on the document camera and they do the work in their Math Journal spiral notebook.  They come show me when they are done and I quickly check for any major errors.  Then they go to their workstation and we check their journal together after I'm done pulling groups.  Here are some more pictures-

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fun math game for test review!!

Hi Friends!

I can't believe it's already November!!  Time is flying by!

We are getting ready for our second District Assessment in Math and are using a fun review game this week.  We are still working on subtraction with borrowing in whole group (which really means I'm pulling my hair out as we try to understand it), but we did this review game for about 30 minutes today and the kids LOVED it!!  We're doing it again tomorrow and Wednesday and then our DA is on Thursday!!

I used review questions that our math coach gave us and gave a sheet to each pair of students.  Each pair worked through the first question and then brought it to me to check. 

 Once they had the correct answer, they got to write their name underneath one of the pumpkin sheets I had taped to the board.  Then they did the same for the two other story problems.  On the back of each pumpkin was a post-it note with a point value, but no one knew what each pumpkin was worth.  They got to pick any pumpkin each time, not knowing what points they might earn.  Once we checked all of the problems, I flipped the pumpkins over and they were so excited to see the points revealed!!  Next, we counted up the points that each team earned in each round.  Since we had three problems, each team earned three different point values, so we got to tie in a little multi-digit addition as well!

It was a lot of fun and they were TOTALLY engaged the entire time!!  Definitely going to adapt this game to review for all of our future DAs!!

What do you do to make test review fun?

How's November going for you??  Would love to hear from you!