Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week 5

"I can't believe that we're already 4 weeks into the school year!

And tomorrow's Thursday! How the heck did that happen?!"

Ha! That's all that I managed to write when I started this post LAST THURSDAY. I mean, come on-it's not like any of us are busy around here!

4 weeks and 2 days into the new school year, and I've made some very important revelations:

1. This is exhausting. But you already knew that.

2. I am LOVING my new 'recommend a book' bulletin board! L-O-V-E it! I already have some very devoted contributors!

I love how this looks at the back of my room-totally makes me smile when I see it! (You can get the kit that I use from my TpT store)

3. I am IN LOVE with The Daily 5-and so are my kids! Seriously, I have kids come up to me EVERY morning and ask when we're going to do Read to Self. EVERY morning! And the kids that are asking aren't strong readers, but they're learning to love their reading time. It's amazing.

One Friday afternoon, we decided that we were going to shoot for our goal of 45 minutes of Read to Self. Previously, our record had been about 30 or so. The kids were so excited to try for 45.

So. Excited.

Check it out.

 And the only reason it wasn't longer, was because we had to go to lunch.

Today, I remembered that I have a bunch of whole class and small group sets of books sitting on my bookshelves, not being used. I pulled a copy of each book off of the shelves and showed them to the kids. We've done Read to Someone a couple of times, but the results haven't been the greatest. (When we read with our 2nd grade buddies once a week however, they are FABULOUS!) I've been really hesitant to do Read to Someone because I was really worried about off-task behaviors and general goofing off.


When I told them that they could pick out a book to read with a partner, you would have thought that I had told them that they had just won a $1000 shopping spree! They were SO excited to pick their books and get started!

I was convinced that it would all fall apart the minute they started to "read."

No joke, guys-it was one of the best, nope, probably THE best moment of my teaching career.

EVERY group was engaged and focused on their books-and these weren't easy books. I've got kids reading I Am Number FourThe Lightning ThiefInkheartWanted! (by Caroline Cooney), and several others.

One pair of girls had chosen Let the Circle Be Unbroken; they flagged me down as I observed the groups. "Ms. Ellison! This book is SO hard to read because the author uses words like 'ain't'-NOW I understand what you meant yesterday when you told us not to write the way we talk! It's SO hard to read!" "Yeah!" the other girl chimed in,"The author spelled 'nothing' n-u-t-h-i-n!"

Cue the hallelujah chorus.

Another pair was reading Zach's Lie and called me over. "At first Jack was talking about being on a plane, and now he's talking about something completely different! What's going on?!" I then explained to them that the italicized text was what Jack had written in his journal. "Oh! I get it!"

Another pair was reading a Dear America book about a girl on the Titanic. "What does 'consideration' mean?" I gave it to them in a sentence and asked what they thought it meant. "To think about something?" Got it!

I was so excited that I emailed my principal and had her come down and see-even she was impressed!

It was like Christmas!

Seriously AMAZING stuff here! I was so proud I could pop!

Check these out (Even Walter got in on the action!):

How awesome is that?!

I had only planned on having them read with a partner for 10-15 minutes (if you noticed, our record was less than 10), but they were doing such a PHENOMENAL job, that they read to someone for 27 minutes! It was glorious!

4. Class Dojo is awesome. But you already knew that.

5. Charlie is quite cute when bathed. Also, he seriously LOVES peas. Yeah, the little, green, round guys.

I know he's weird.

6. Only 19 more days until the wedding! Eek! I went to pick up my dress from the seamstress last Friday...and tried it on...and the zipper only went up halfway. Uh...not good. Thankfully, I didn't gain 20 pounds, she had just taken in the sides too far. Whew. The sides are being let out and I'm picking it up (again) on Friday.

Also, my awesome co-workers threw a shower for me and our secretary (who got married last weekend) last Monday! Check out the adorable new sign that Teri made for me-she knew I was going to have to replace the one that I made 2 summers ago and saved me the trouble of doing it myself!

Tomorrow, we're meeting with our photographer to go over the schedule for the day of the wedding as well as picking up our disc with the engagement pictures and copyright release. (Of course I'll be sharing more of them!)

Last Friday we also met with our DJ (which we only decided to book a week and a half ago-talk about waiting until the last minute!)! I have banned The Chicken Dance from the reception. Call me crazy, but I just don't feel like flapping and shaking my butt in my wedding dress. Also, country music has been limited to requests only. If you know me, you know I HATE country music with a burning passion. Yuck.

7. I. Love. Fall. So much.

Anyway, I'm going to TRY to start posting more regularly (I know I've said that about 5 times already this year), but it may not happen until after the wedding. All of this school, wedding, and moving stuff are a bit of a handful to balance!

Thanks for sticking in there with me!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


First off, only 28 days left until the wedding! Eek!

Last Thursday was my school's Open House. Me being me, I used Farley's Tags for Appreciation Gifts to make these cute bottles of Coke to sit out on my kiddos' desks. (Thanks to Matthew running to the school with the bottles and ribbon 20 minutes before the Open House started!)

LOVE them!

The classroom was all spruced up (thanks to a 30 minute divide-and-conquer cleaning spree by my students!), and Walter was ready to go!

I spent a few hours Wednesday night (while Matt and his dad played game after game of chess, and then watched the Democratic convention-did I mention that I'm not a big fan of politics?) creating these awesome sign up sheets that I had sitting out on my back table (and which are also available in my TpT store).

This post is going to be pretty photo-centric (since we just rented "The Five Year Engagement" and I should probably be watching it instead!).

I attempted a pumpkin muffin recipe today, but found them to be a little bland (if you know a good recipe, let me know!)

I'm also working on uploading a file to TpT with some button inserts that I made to go with those awesome buttons from the Dollar Spot at Target (since I FINALLY found some!), but TpT seems to be having some issues right now. :(

So without further ado, here are some more pictures of my room, muffins, and new buttons!

Have a happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bachelorette Party/Bridal Shower #1

The weekend before school started, my fantastic Maid of Honor organized a Bachelorette/Bridal Shower weekend.

The Matt and the guys took off to Chicago for the weekend to ride roller coasters at Six Flags, while the girls and I hung out here.

Ok, so this may come as a complete and total shock to you, but (brace yourself), I am in no way a partier.

Whew. Glad to get that one off my chest.

But seriously, I'm a bit of a homebody.

I'd rather be hanging around the house than doing much else.

So the typical bachelorette party that involves drinking and other wild festivities-not up my alley at all.

Well, my MOH took this into consideration and planned a PERFECT bachelorette party.

No, seriously.

For starters, the evening kicked off in sweat pants.

Oh yeah. Be jealous.

Then, we all got 30 minute private massages from a masseuse that came to the house.

Uh huh. It was awesome.

Then, she had someone drop off a meal that she had catered.

White chicken lasagna, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, a delicious salad, and some fluffy rolls.

"Dessert?" you ask.

No big deal. It was just a delightfully gooey s'more concoction with some Nutella spiked chocolate milk.


It was wonderful.

(And I may have been in bed by 10:30)


Then for breakfast, we had a french toast bake ready to pop in the oven.


Following breakfast, were last minute preparations/ set-up for the shower.

My mom make an awesome pumpkin dip
 (which just so happened to be the perfect partner to Grandma's ginger snaps
Courtney did a fantastic job. She sent out recipe cards with the invitations, and asked people to bring the dish and the recipe card. We had a delicious assortment of goodies.

And the decorations matched the look of our wedding beautifully.
How cute is this?! She bought us Jenga and then had everyone write us messages on the blocks!

And my sister, being the baker that she is, created this delicious cupcake dress. Half of the cupcakes were pumpkin and the other were half butter pecan. Did I mention that she's making our wedding cake and the cupcakes for the wedding?

And of course, we opened presents. They spoiled us.

Oh, and the favors? They were bags of caramel marshmallow popcorn. And check out our wedding invitation? Adorable, right?

Not a bad way to spend the last weekend before the start of school, if you ask me!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long time no see!

It's been forever.

You'll be happy to know that I'm still alive and functioning, but despite how I tried to fool myself, I was NOT prepared to go back to school.

I'm starting to get back into the swing of things now, but it has been quite the adjustment.

So, to warn you, this is going to be a long one. I'll forgive you if you don't make it all the way through.

First things first.

My classroom is finished! (Duh.)

Please excuse the crummy pictures-I was frantically trying to snap a bunch before the kids came on the first day. Half of the shots I took are blurry because I was moving so fast. I plan to add more pictures of the areas that are lacking later on.

The view from my desk (facing the door)

Small group reading/work area (and my volume level posters)

Classroom library/group area (Walter is now living on top of the shelves)

My beautiful crate seats, the fabulous table that my awesome grandpa built me (and my amazing grandma painted)

Mailboxes (that have yet to be labeled...)

Another group reading area (Are you seeing a trend yet?)

My assignment board (formerly an annoying chalkboard)
My desk (which was actually visible at one point)

Coffee maker ready to go. Remember those mugs that I painted with the student that I was mentoring over the summer? Don't they look awesome?

Pencil buckets

Extra supplies for the class to borrow-Sharpies, highlighters, dice, problem solving pencils, etc.

View from my desk (facing the back of the room)

View from my desk

View from my desk
There are LOTS of details that I don't have pictures of right now, but like I said, I'll try to add some more later on. :)

I know I said that this one was going to be long, but I think I'll split up some of the other stuff up into a couple of posts.

And I'll try to post again soon.

As in, there won't be another 3 week lapse in posting.


Did I mention that I'm getting married in 33 days?!