Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reflection Section!

Summer is here in Florida! The pool, the afternoon storms and the smell of BBQ is all evidence that school is out and it is summer! I consider myself lucky because I did not have to do any post planning this week. Our principal let us do all post planning after all the early release days last week.  While some of you are hoping for a Bachelorette post, it was not on this week. The Miss USA pageant and the Tony Awards ruled the airwaves. Apparently no one seems to care about Andi anyway. Kidding. Anyway, I figured I could use this time to reflect on my first year of teaching. Hopefully, you can help with some feedback for my second year!

First things first -- I was taught to reflect on the positive first!

What worked:
Lesson Plan template: My lesson plan template that I designed at the beginning of last year worked so well for me. It was nice to have a consistent and organized lesson plan format. My administrator made sure to mention that he appreciated my consistent and neat weekly lesson plan. It was easy to edit and change things. It was a simple and colorful excel spreadsheet, but you would be surprised how simple format can be better!

Erin Condren Lesson Planner: It was not until January that I bought this gem. I am so happy that I did! As much as I wish she designed an edition for secondary teachers, I was still able to adapt it to my needs. On our attendance software I was able to print rosters of each class and staple them into my lesson planner. Each week & day I was able to keep track of where each class is at in class and write notes for students if needed. It came in handy when my administrator asked for my notes about a student at the end of the year. Cover your butt, people!! Document. Document. Document.

Procedures: I established procedures at the beginning of the year. This could go to the things that I will need to do better as well, but I will explain later. As a first year teacher, I was not sure what my "peeves" were, or which procedures were important to me. It was hard to figure it out. I did seek the help of my coworkers and I was able to establish a good sense of classroom management.

What didn't work:
Procedures: Now that I know how my classroom was last year, I am more comfortable implementing procedures based on my teaching style. A teacher once told me, "Your first year teaching is mostly figuring out your classroom management style, and the second year, you focus more on the curriculum." I could not agree more.

Interactive Notebooks: These worked for me, but not the way I anticipated. The composition notebooks fell apart before the end of the first quarter. I also kept the Table of Contents on an erasable white board. Aside from keeping the students more accountable for their materials, I would consider assigning students an "absent buddy" (so they have someone to get missing work from) and keeping a large poster paper record of the table of contents in their binder Interactive Notebooks.

Notebook Checks vs. Grading individual papers: How do you do it? This year I checked notebooks, almost like a "surprise" check. I thought about making a notebook quiz that would determine how put together their notebook was. I am looking for your insight!

I am welcome to any advice that I can get! I appreciate each of my readers more than you think!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Currently and 2 Nights of Bachelorette

It is June and I cant believe I am almost done with my first year of teaching! It has been a whirlwind, but I enjoyed every minute of it! It has been a while since I have linked up with Farley for her Currently. I am excited to get back to it!

Listening: I love Luke Bryan! I am really excited, because I won concert tickets from our local
radio station to see him in two weeks! 
I mean, let's get real:

Loving: School is almost over, and I am loving it! My End of Course Exam was at the beginning of May. It has been a task keeping students engaged. Especially these last two weeks. Because of that, it has been the hardest two weeks of teaching EVER!

Thinking: This week is early release for the kids, so I have had plenty of time to get my stuff together. I do not know what I am going to do after school for the next three days. Trust me, this is abnormal for me. 
Need help in your class?

Wanting: I got a silhouette Cameo. I got to play with it a little bit last night, but I really want to do my first project with it. Do you have one? What was your first project?

Needing: I am at such a positive place in my life right now. I don't really NEED anything. I mean, if I HAVE to have something, I need to pay off my cruise that I am taking in December and get my passport. 

Summer Bucket List: A death in the family has lead me to stop going to the gym. I haven't gained any of the twenty pounds I lost, so that is a good thing!
I also want to lay out by my pool and just relax!

I was in heaven on Sunday night when I realized that the Bachelorette was on for TWO NIGHTS!

Nick V. was the one-on-one date. I really like him because he seems patient and a realist.
He sees the reality in everything! I can see him being in the final four. 

For the Boys II Men group date. WEIRDEST GROUP DATE EVER! 
Usually the bachelorette mingles between the groups. She just hung out with Nathan Morris like he was one of the bachelors. Just give him a rose. That was weird. Let's not forget to mention  Brad. The opera singer. Since when are they cool and compare to the legendary Boys II Men? Um. No. Just stop. STOP!

ABC did a good job at judging their performance by showing a little girl with her hands over her ears. She and the rest of America DID NOT want to hear this horrible singing!

Dylan's one-on-one: I was really jealous of their date. Going on a steam engine is a history buff's dream. I would love to do such a thing! I love that he totally broke down to her and told her about his life, but DUDE! cut yo' hair! 

Am I the only one who thinks that the so-called tribute to Eric was at such an inopportune time? After they got into a big argument. I really just think Eric was feeling like there was no connection. It was blown out of proportion, but it is what it is. I understood how Andi was feeling, but I disagree with her feelings when she said, "he won't be at the men tell all for us to get our last conversation in." Live everyday like it is your last, people. Never part with someone with harsh words or negativity. It does your soul good. Promise. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What the....? Bachelorette Week 2

I am sorry on the delay of my Bachelorette post, I went to dinner with family on Monday and missed half of the episode. I am one of those girls that can't take a break in the middle of the episode, so I saved it for Tuesday night television, since there is no good television on Tuesdays anymore....Or is there? What do you watch on Tuesdays? Recommend any seasons that I need to watch?
Without further ado, lets get to the second horrifying week of the Bachelorette:

This week started off with the one-on-one date with Eric. So incredibly awkward and hard for me to watch, especially because I LOVE the chemistry those two have. Knowing that he passed away made me pretty sad, to be honest.
Let's move to the famous group date. The reason I say famous is because it is plastered all over news outlets! I mean, USATODAY?! The men had to do a "show" for charity on the first group date of the season. I am really wondering if ABC chooses these dates and Andi just has to decide who to bring along, because I cannot see Andi thinking, "hmmm a strip club date would be PERFECT!" Of course, some guys were extremely comfortable and judging by the looks on their faces some wanted to crawl under a rock.

CRAIG?! Who are you? Where did you come from? He is way too conceited for his own good. That smile smirk on his face is certain that Andi is going to love him because, "I love her!" Dude! You just met a few days ago. Chill. He is WAY too confident for someone that has to stuff his outfit with a towel for this male review catastrophe of a charity event. Does he drink much?! Cannon balls into the pool with all of his clothes on? He needs to go! Definitely not former Assistant District Attorney material! Oh! Did anyone catch his comment towards the end of the group date? "Who is your favorite"?! WHO ASKS THAT?! Like she is going to tell you, dude.

Marcus- A little nervous about the charity event. He is really shy in the group setting. Reminds me of Ryan Gosling. Anyone see it?

Josh M.- I am a University of Georgia Fan... He looks like Aaron Murray. Saw some UGA sweat pants on him when they were getting ready for the charity event. I got all excited!Thennnnnnn he said, "I haven't been on a date in five years." Wait? What?! I don't buy it. He lives in Atlanta for crying out loud. ...He and Andi kissed. I got giddy again. First Kiss of the season! I like this guy.

What do you think?!

Is it me or do the guys make you feel that this is a competition as opposed to a show to find love for honest reasons? I am getting the "I'm in it to win it" vibe. Does not sit well.

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bachelorette & Budget Project Freebie!

It is the end of the May! Holy Moly! I can't believe that I am almost done with my first year of teaching! There are 12 days of school left (I am not counting)! My seventh graders are CRAY! They are turning into full blown eighth graders! I was reminiscing about what I was like in seventh grade, and I was JUST like them.
Do you remember your first year? Did you ever think, "the students probably thing I am a MEGA 'you know what'"? I had that thought most of the year and I felt really bad. However, now I am really seeing that me being hard on them has paid off! It is almost like they like me for it. Every time I am walking in the hallway they always greet me with a, "HI MS. KANE!" I love it, but hate when I have to become a you know what when they start slipping on that slippery slope of the end of the year madness.

I am one of the subjects in the seventh grade that has an EOC (End of Course Exam). It was bittersweet when I found out that my EOC was going to be one of the first administered. Of course, I wanted my kiddos to have more time to study, but at the same time, I wanted to rip it off like a band-aid and get it over with.
It took three days for all my students to complete the test. This is considered their final, so I had to come up with something for them to do for the rest of the year. I came up with a BRILLIANT IDEA!

Personal Finance is part of my curriculum, but not a part of the Civics EOC. Students created a budget based off of the scenarios I gave them (i.e. You dropped out of high school and worked at a department store. You are reliable and contribute a lot of ideas, so you got promoted. You are now the manager and you make 2,571 dollars a month and your company pays for your health insurance benefits.) Students had to take their scenarios and find a house, car, and other optional bills to create a monthly budget. I have attached my copy of the project as a Freebie!
Here are some pictures of the projects students did:

As for something not education related! Are any of you avid Bachelorette watchers?! My friends and I created a bracket for Andi's season of Bachelorette! I love her! I love how she is so strong, confident, and takes the guys into consideration when telling Chris Harrison that Chris Bukowski could not come on to the show. As far as Chris B goes, how can you possibly have any expectations when you try to get on Andi's season that way? She is clearly not welcoming B.S. Go away! Way to make a fool of yourself.

Let's talk about the first impression rose. Really, Andi? Giving the rose to someone you would not normally go for? I mean, I get it. In my opinion, the interaction was awkward.

This first episode was really dry for me. The only drama was when Chris B. was trying to sneak his way onto the show. I am hoping the drama and excitement picks up on the second episode.

Here is the Bachelorette Bracket that I created! Keep me in the know of how you're doing if you choose to participate with a group of girlfriends!

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Slow and Steady Wins the Race"

Being a teacher and being on a journey to change my lifestyle has been quite the bumpy ride. At some moments, I think that I am quite the lucky gal to be able to eat a healthy snack, as the students understand, but sometimes I feel bad. I think to myself, "those kids could probably down some of these rice cakes right about now!" Sometimes they ask for some, and of course, due to limiting portion sizes, I don't have enough to share. So, I have to down the almonds or watermelon during the four minute switch of classes. But, hey! Whatever works!
My students have been SO supportive, and for that, I am so lucky! When I lost the first fifteen pounds, they started to noticed and said, "Ms. Kane, you're looking skinny!" It was weird at first, but some of my colleagues would mention uplifting messages of the same.

Two weeks ago it all started slowing down. I was still eating similar things that helped me lose fifteen pounds, but I wasn't noticing anything different about the way my clothes fit or the scale number moving. This is when I stared researching some solutions. Let's just say that patience is not one of my virtues. My family can tell you this.

There are so many shortcuts. Shortcuts in teaching, shortcuts in weight loss, short cuts in sports, and in life.

There is NO way I can give up now.
Throughout this healthy journey I hope I can inspire someone, whether it be one of my students, colleagues, family, friends, or a stranger.

I have always been a problem solver. And if there is a will, I will find a way. As impatient as I am, I need to realize that the only way that I can truly be my whole self is to keep telling myself, "Slow and Steady, wins the race."

P.S. There is many facets in my life that rings true to the title of this blog post, not just the journey to a healthier lifestyle.

What are some words of inspiration that you live by?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hibernation is Over! Spring Break is Near!

Well, Hello Friends!
I have been off of the map for a while, and I feel like I have a good reason. I decided to take a little hiatus from the blogging world for a while to concentrate a little more on myself and truly trying to find the balance of everything in my life. When I changed the name of my blog, I did not want to stray too far from documenting my experiences in the Education world, but I also wanted to include my personal experiences.

Since you have last heard from me, I have embarked on a road trying to reach my goal of becoming a healthier person. I started putting 100% in the beginning of February. Since then, I have lost 15 pounds and have become a fitness geek. Going to the gym and being outside has now become my hobby, and I cannot eat near as much junk food as I used to. I am nowhere near my goal weight, but I am getting there at a steady pace, and for THAT,  I am proud of myself.

In the classroom, I have grown so much over the past few months. I have found a mentor that I can relate to on many levels that has helped me through a crisis or two [I am sure to most experienced teachers, it wouldn't be considered a crisis]. I am the only subject in the seventh grade whose students have to take an End Of Course exam for Civics. It is a bit stressful, as I am giving my students so many resources and teaching my heart out while ensuring they can answer multi level questions throughout the lesson, but when I review the next day they look at me like I just taught them calculus. I keep telling myself that I can lead all the horses to water, but cannot make them drink it. So frustrating.

I could not return from my hiatus without joining in on Farley's Currently:

Listening: I am taking a break from grading the quizzes that my students are taking today. It is the last thing that I need to catch up on before Spring Break. They got to use their notes today, lucky ducks.

Loving: I am so glad that I have finally found the balance between my career and my personal life. Blogging was such a huge part of my life, and I am so glad I am back into it.

Thinking: My students are taking the EOC. I am trying to use ALL the resources I can possibly find to help them prepare. 

Wanting: Spring Break is here next week! Apparently we are supposed to have another cold snap here in Florida. I hope it doesn't last too long, I would like to get some pool time!

Needing: Grading these quizzes is the last thing I have to do before going on spring break. Gotta get it done!

?????: An Angel Coin that my Grandfather gave me. Do you know what my question is?
Take a wild guess?

It feels so good to be back!

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's Beginning to look {and feel} a lot like Christmas!

I am sure you have heard that phrase "Meanwhile in Florida..." Although you may be jealous of our weather, I have been a Grinch when the weather is warm. It does not feel like Christmas and all I want to do is do my shopping in chilly weather. These past few days have been cooler, and it helps.

Who is ready for Christmas Break? I don't know about you, but my seventh graders have checked out two weeks ago. This year has been a crazy one for me, between searching for my first teaching job, having surgery, and landing my first teaching job. It makes me blessed to be teaching these kids (call me crazy). I am finally getting to the point where I can have fun with my students, but they know what I expect of them. It is so weird that they trust me to tell me their secrets or their problems outside of the classroom. I never thought that I would be considered as a one of those teachers after I heard, "Ms. Kane is SO mean!" I guess they are realizing I am "mean" because I care.

It is a Friday, and I am wanting to further myself into the Christmas Spirit, so I am linking up with Fabulous in First for the Christmas Questionnaire!

I have loved looking at and reading a few other blogger's responses these Questions. I feel like I can get to know more about other people and get ideas from them. Gives me warm and fuzzies!!

Hot Chocolate or Egg Nog?
Definitely Hot Chocolate! Something about the texture and thickness of Egg Nog does not strike me. It makes me sick. I have been bringing packets of Hot Chocolate to school with me and use their hot water at school. Something about REALLY hot water with Hot Chocolate makes it really good!
Does Santa Wrap Presents or just put them under the tree?
Wrapped, for sure! I have gotten into the tradition of getting a wrapping paper for the season, and wrapping everything in that paper. This year I got "Ugly Sweater" wrapping paper by Paperchase collection {available at Target}. I Love it SO much, I have to show you!

Isn't it awesome?! 
Don't mind me, getting all excited about wrapping paper. 

Colored Lights or White Lights?
I am in a white lights phase right now. My mom always used color lights, so I am playing around with themes until I can add to my Hallmark collection (More on that later)
When do you decorate?
I try to decorate at least three weeks before Christmas. I hate the feeling of making all the effort to decorate, then taking everything down a week later. So, in order to fully get into the spirit of things, I like to decorate early!
Real or Fake?
Right now, me and the mister live in an apartment, so we have a fake tree. I grew up with the smell of a fresh tree every year. I really liked that smell. When we settle down in a house, I'd like to return to that tradition. 
What tops your tree?
A bow. I like the burlap type ribbon. I found some red and white burlap ribbon and attempted to create an amazing bow. How do you think it turned out?

I tried to make curls in the ribbon, but I couldn't figure out how to do all that..

Favorite Christmas Memories and Traditions?
My favorite Christmas traditions are getting an ornament every year. When I was younger I did not think much into it, but today I cherish that tradition and it continues to get passed on to my nieces and boyfriends family. It was funny, when I was going through my ornaments that my mom has given me, I noticed one was missing. I sent her a text right away!
Do You Remember your favorite gift as a child?
I am sure this answer is going to represent how young I am, but when I got my first cell phone. It was not because I got the cell phone, but the thought that went into surprising me. My parents hid the phone in the tree and called it. I had to find it. Because it was a surprise and I gad to go looking for it made it special. 

My dad had a mouse pad made of me and him in San Francisco. I still use it to this day. I am sentimental like that. LOVE IT! 

It is a little dirty, but it has character, what can I say?!

Do you prefer giving or receiving?
Can I say both? I like giving because I like the shopping hunt to find something special and out of the ordinary. Everyone has "stuff". I don't want my gift to just be "stuff". I want it to have meaning. Receiving is similar as in the meaning of the gift. Is this making any sense? Ha
What is your favorite Christmas Song?
The Christmas Shoes! I remember one day my dad was driving me back to my mom's house and hearing him ask me what this song was called. He really liked it and enjoys hearing this song every year. 
Candy Canes Yuk or Yum?
Yum! For sure! I prefer the little mini ones. They are less messy. Have you tried Chic fil A's Pepperment Chocolate Chip milkshake. OH MY HEAVENS?! Yum!
Favorite Christmas Movie?
The newer version of Miracle on 34th Street

Do you shop online or stores?
A little of both. I like to look at Etsy and get things that I know the people I love will like it!
Photo Cards, Letter or store bought cards?
Photo Cards! I love seeing pictures of my family!

I hope you are winding down soon in the classroom. Do you have a long winter break? We are out from the 19th-6th. A much needed break! 

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