So after a super fun weekend, in which Petie and I laughed till we cried, had some margaritas, and ate the best cheeseburger wrap ever, I got on and saw we had two comments! Yay! And one of them was from Laura over at Adventures in Multigrade. She was so sweet to nominate us for the Liebster Award. How cool is that!
Here's what it is:
The Liebster Award is for blogs with less than 200 followers in order to help promote that blog, show appreciation, and hopefully draw more followers.
To accept the nomination, you have to do a few things first:
1. Link to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer questions from you nominator.
3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate five or more blogs with less than 200 followers.
5. Pose questions to your nominees.
So here were our questions from Laura and the answers from the two of us:
1. How long have you been teaching? 12 years :) I feel like I have the experience of a 12 year teacher but feels like it has been maybe 5. Where does time go?
2. What are your "must have" school supplies?
Tigconderoga pencils, sharpies, a good stapler, .5mm pen and a kick a$# glue gun.
3. If you could give any advice to a new teacher, what would it be?
Stay positive and don't lose sight of why you really teach.
4. What grades have you taught and which is your favorite?
3rd and 4th. Love some 4th grade! They are becoming independent and finding themselves. They understand humor and appreciate a good lesson.
5. If you had an unlimited budget, what is the ONE item that you are dying to have for your classroom?
6. What is your classroom theme this year?
Our school theme is rev up for learning. My classroom is eclectic. I have art and colors and polka dots. I love simplicity.
7. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be doing?
I would be a photographer
8. Favorite beverage?
Cherry coke zero
9. Most relaxing summer activity?
Painting in peace and quiet with a glass of wine :)
10. Why do you blog?
There is no staff development that compares to teachers learning from other teachers.
I don't thinkyou can master this profession. It's a continuous learning process. Blogging allows teachers from all different areas to learn from each other to enhance our craft.
Here are my questions from Laura and my answers:
1. How long have you been teaching? 12 crazy years
2. What are your "must have" school supplies? New pencils and pens, Mr. Sketch markers, a good new cup, labels, good snacks!
3. If you could give any advice to a new teacher, what would it be? Go with the flow. It gets better. It gets easier. Pick your battles. Love kids, and do what's right for them....everything else will come out in the wash. And go home!!! Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a quality classroom or teacher.
4. What grades have you taught and which is your favorite? 2nd, 3rd, 5th....and I don't know. I love 2nd graders' ridiculousness and thinking. I love that 3rd graders are coming into their senses of humor and you can up the content. I love 5th graders in that you can have a serious conversation and really do some cool activities. And in our state, that's US History time, which is my favorite!
5. If you had an unlimited budget, what is the ONE item that you are dying to have for your classroom? Ipads for every kid. And lots and lots and lots of books.
6. What is your classroom theme this year? I like simple. Really for the last couple of years, I've done black, white and pink with zebra. It looks clean, is easy to keep up, is okay for boys and girls, and I just plain like it.
7. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be doing? Baking up goodness at a bakery. I just want to knead some dough, make and frost some cupcakes and organize sprinkles. I don't want to run the bakery, just work there. So I can go home and bake some more. And I'd have a full sleeve tattoo. And a nose ring. Just a little diamond.
8. Favorite beverage? Some half sweet half unsweetened tea. Everyday. All day.
9. Most relaxing summer activity? Reading. Napping. Napping after reading. Sitting on a deck and watching the kids play.
10. Why do you blog? Teachers learn best from other teachers. I've always been amazed at teachers who blog and share such good ideas...it's time to give some ideas back and branch out.
11 Random Facts About Us 1. Petie originally went to school for broadcasting. She had her own radio show at UT. I think she was a big deal.
2. We wish every day was a Golden Girls marathon.
3. Petie has a thing for Amish people.
4. Katie has a thing for Michael from the Michael and Kelly show. I want to be his co-host for a day and take him to school with me.
5. Katie is an only child.
6. Petie can draw and paint like a crazy fool (so can Kate)
7. We have a combined total of 5 tattoos.
8. We make some cakes on the side. You might see some pics on here randomly.
9. Katie knows words to gangster rap songs.
10. Petie met Oprah.
11. Katie can play the clarinet.
Here's our awesome nominees!!!
1. Sprinkled in Second - Not only does she have a cute cupcake, she used a some e card in her last post.
2. A Rocky Top Teacher - Pete is a Rocky Top Girl and she's made me into one, too. Great, quality, learning goal aligned teaching ideas over here!
4. Comprehension Connections - well, I'm going to need a day or two to read all this goodness. And it's organized by reading skills like fluency, comprehension, etc.
5. Teaching 3rd with Mr. G - Listen, he's already gotten this award, but I think he needs some more props. He has a really cool classroom and he says he loves the smell of new books. We would totally be friends in real life. I wonder how he feels about the scent of a fresh box of crayons.
And our questions to them:
1. What animal would you most like to be and why?
2. What's your favorite thing to do?
3. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
4. What's your favorite holiday to celebrate at school?
5. Who do you think is the single most influential person in education?
6. What would you do with a million dollars?
7. What's your biggest pet peeve?
Nominees, don't get your tongue stuck on a frozen pole!!! You just received a major award!!!
This year I had the pleasure of having my favorite middle child in my room. He is sarcastic, creative and pretty fly like his mother, Rachel over at the tattooed teacher. Not only is she my teammate, but she was a parent, who got me a really, really good gift. As may end of year gift, she got me a gift card to erincondren.com. "Who the heck is that?" I asked myself.
The company that made all my teacher dreams come true. That's who. So after I cruised the website, I found the ultimate teacher planner. It comes in at least a million and one different personalized themes and me being Listy Listington chose the one called "My favorite things" where you type in a list of all your favorite nonsense your little heart desires. So I did. And practically waited by the door, checked the tracking number once an hour and plotted the points a map. I couldn't wait. I thought Petie was going to slap me. It's all I talked about. She ordered hers after me and got hers first. Finally, I checked my tracking number. The notebook that was going to make my life complete was on my porch.
I went home. I went straight to the porch. I got the beautiful, black and white and scrolly pink box. I opened it with the glee of a child on Christmas morning. This is what I saw when I ripped the tissue paper off with ruthless abandon.....
My name ain't Sophia. Not even if you're nasty, Miss Jackson. I cried I laughed so hard. Petie and I couldn't speak we were laughing so hard on the phone. That's what I get. Ha!
Not really! The company was more than phenomenal about it and told me to keep the planner and a new one would be shipped ASAP. They even gave me a coupon for ten bucks off. The planners are not the cheapest, but well worth the money for the amount of pages and lists and coolness factors. :)
Notice the list of things including cupcakes....and the national geographic about sugar. Irony.
The planner contains all kinds of lists and charts for just about everything a teacher needs:
*a list for passwords
* a spreadsheet of important dates and holidays
*a chart to record a list of absences
* graph pages for graphs or that I used to sketch out the plan of my room
* a section for yearly plans month by month
* a calendar and two lined pages of each month
*a lesson plan section
* a checklist/gradebook section
* some stickers to use for the calendar. Some printed, some blank. Oh, color coding!
*and my personal favorite, a pencil pouch filled with personalized labels to match and a pocket folder.
See why I was nuts? Pop on over to erincondren.com and pick yourself out a back to school gift.....products ordered today will be shipped by August 20th! Just in time to start your year off right!
Kate created our double S logo which made an infinity sign, which we both have tattoos of. So cool! Oh summer school. Or Summer Reading Academy as it is called. Getting up early. And oh the kids. I still have a few weeks left of summer! As bad as I dreaded going, I always learn new things. The best teachers learn from other teachers. Summer school allows me to work with other teachers from other schools and I have learned more in the past few weeks than any staff development workshop could possibly offer. I emailed my principal to see if we could use one of our mandated workdays to have a sharing session with the same grade levels from other schools. She said that was a great idea! Best. Way. To. Learn. Ever.
Teaching 4th grade, phonics and word study get pushed aside for comprehension strategies. I use Words Their Way for spelling, but definitely not to fidelity. Enter: Summer Reading Academy with upcoming third graders. I have seen these kids grow in two weeks just based on 20 minutes of isolated word study, using a variation of Making Words. It's quick. It's meaningful. It's fun. It's effective. It's no longer scary for my 4th grade comprehension and fluency freak self. And it will be a part of my literacy instruction this year. Maybe summer school isn't so bad after all.
We have a crazy intense schedule - we do three different groups, poem of the day, read aloud, library visit, breakfast and lunch in less than four hours. We stay busy! And it goes by fast....
An example of a making words lesson...easy for those who are phonics disabled (Katie!) Kids get a copy of the letter tiles needed for the mystery word and a paper with the columns to sort already labelled.
We sort on the big board. (And wrote all over it for our reader's theater groups!)
One last thing. Such negativity in our state about the legislature passing a bill that basically says teachers are worth nothing. Here is a positive story. The air in our building for summer school has been out since last week. 11 teachers and 49 kids teaching and learning in July in NC with no air equals sweat and attitude. Our new superintendent visited today and walked through all of our rooms smiling and greeting us with his presence, and probably sweating. Within an hour and a half, every room had a brand new mobile air conditioning unit installed. Boo-yah! Feels nice to be appreciated for the first time in a long time.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin We have followers. I can't get past it. Thanks yall! Wow....Bloglovin, where have you been all my life? Happy Tuesday! Wait, is it Tuesday? I don't even know. Both of us are teaching summer school this year so look for a post later today about our summer reading set-up! -p and k
I just wanted to try a post on our new blog. Kate pretty much summed up everything as I would have said it. Sharing a brain is so efficient! I have periods of time that I go through obsessions much to the dismay of my family and friends and I can't rest until my obsession has been satisfied. Shout out to my fellow Scorpios who know how it feels. My obsession right now is setting up my classroom! I try to make it better than the year before, but with no salary increase in a zillion years, classroom setup on a budget has proven to be a challenge, but as Kate knows, challenges fuel me! Pictures soon to come!
So we've fought this for about two years. The teacher blog. "We don't have time, " we said. "We don't need one," we sighed. "We don't know how to do it," we complained. But here we are. We've got ideas and stories to share that we seem to think the world shouldn't be without. Ha! We also have good teacher stuff to sell make you aware of.
Here's a little about us, as written by Katie. Petie may dispute, correct or add on at any time later. :)
We're just two girls who've been teaching school for 12 years in a little town in North Carolina. We met up in high school at a journalism camp and the rest is history. We ran into each other while we were at Appalachian State University, where we learned everything we know about teaching, and have stuck together ever since. Our first two years teaching we taught at neighboring schools, but I quickly transferred when a 3rd grade spot opened up, where we got to team teach and now refer to those as the "good ol' days." To this day, we don't do a bulletin board without the other's approval. Ha!
We get in trouble a lot. In faculty meetings. In the hallway. On the phone. Going on trips. In restaurants. With our moms, even though we are supposed grown-ups. We have 5 tattoos and of course, plans for more. :) (Sorry, grandmother.) Our previous instructional coach referred to us, along with our other cell mate, The Tattooed Teacher, as "The Dirty Girls." We might get out of hand sometimes. Just. a. Little.
Gingerale is fabulous!
Despite our antics, to which most people, including our husbands and children, have become immune to, we love our jobs and have a real passion for teaching and helping kids learn and navigate life. When we were roommates, we would bounce wacky ideas off of each other while brushing teeth and cooking supper. We've taught 24 years and four different grades combined, tackled some serious student challenges, fought the system, gotten our Master's in Reading and passed our National Boards at the same time, and seen a lot of changes in education since we started. Things are getting a bit crazy in education in our good state of NC. In fact, some things that are down right embarrassing and sad. But more about that later...
Outside of school, we have three children between the two of us and we usually travel in a pack. :) Petie lives for Tennessee football and even wears orange flip-flops, some friendly competition whether it be a bulletin board competition with Rachel or who can catch the most fish, and her two hysterical sweets, Caroline and Tate. Katie would steal cupcakes out of a kid's hands, bake until her feet hurt, and squeeze her boy Tucker until he ran away screaming.
We are teachers down to our soul, but here are some things you might need to know:
You aren't going to find any teacher jumpers in our closets or on us. What is the deal? Are those still around?
We will try to refrain from sickeningly sweet weird things on our blog like "I love to smile." Duh. I mean who likes to frown? Shouldn't that be a given? Sarcasm is our middle name.
Expect to find teaching ideas and activities that are firmly rooted in the common core or state standards. We all know there's just not time for fluff. (Oh, but I miss some fluff and Friday movies!)
Rachel over at The Tattooed Teacher is going to have to give us some pointers in making our blog easy on your eyes. We apologize.
We would buy every Ticonderoga pencil on the planet. Accept no substitutions.
Look forward to our next couple of posts which I imagine will be about setting up our classrooms! We may or may not be armed with lots of crates (the scene in Wal-Mart was embarrassing), two gallons of paint, and some wicked good ideas. In the meantime, visit our store over at Teachers Pay Teachers!