12.30.2011

Christmas Time is NOT Over at Our House

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Usually, by December 30th Christmas decorations in my house are already being taken down, but this year I need Christmas to linger a little longer. It always goes by too quickly and when the decorations do come down my house goes from cozy and warm to bare and cold. When do you start "deChristmasing" your home?
My dad gave us a new decoration to add to our little home. I love it so much I might keep it up all year- minus the ribbons and ornaments. I think it would look great with these little lights from Restoration Hardware. What do you think?


Starry String Lights


9.11.2011

Let the Grading Begin!

A few years ago I decided to try an online grade book organizer (I won't say the name of it.), but it was NOT teacher friendly at all. So after hearing about TeacherEase (Hello, the name says it all!), I decided to try again. I am so sick of recording grades in tiny little columned sections and then creating bi-weekly progress reports for parents! TeacherEase does it all for you (well not the actual grading)! Once you have submitted grades, you can create and print reports by class, subject, or individual student. AWESOME!

The first three teachers at your site get a one year FREE subscription! If you refer others, TeacherEase will reward you with a few more months free.

I highly suggest trying out this software. If you know of any other online grading systems that you have used and love, PLEASE let me know!

9.05.2011

Meet Mrs. Holcomb

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Check out these sweet ideas

Look at these adorable ideas! My friend posted them on her Pinterest board and I just had to re-pin. What do you think? The crib converted into a desk is soooo cute! I just don't have the space, but maybe a cool addition to my classroom? Not ruling it out just yet.
                                                     (photos via Pinterest)

8.29.2011

The "Before" Photo Shoot of Room 103

My new room!
I have started working on my classroom! Yippee and yikes! I am excited, overwhelmed, and full of ideas (Thanks to my new best friend Pinterest. Seriously, I can't get enough!) all at the same time.
Here are some "before" pictures. I will post "after" shots next week even though I never feel finished!

Shiny Clean Floors (I have an awesome BSS!)



A whole wall of windows!
I had the kidney table (that beast of a table in the picture) removed. I am more comfortable moving around the room and sitting on the floor when I conduct small groups.







More to come!
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8.26.2011

Dear Lovely Readers

Image via here


Hello! Something has mysteriously gone missing on my blog. My "Google Friend Connect" gadget has vanished! If anyone knows how to fix the problem, please let me know.
I really like to know who's reading my blog--it's so encouraging and helps me connect with all of you creatives out there, so please choose the "Follow by Email" gadget (until I fix the problem!). Thank you! 

Olioboard

Here is my first crack at creating an Olioboard.
A week of outfits for work. I need help finding a brown cross the body bag. A large one would be great because it could double as a diaper bag! If you have any ideas please send them to me.

8.23.2011

Teaching Tuesday

I know, I know, I really should be getting to work: writing my welcome letter to parents, figuring out my classroom set-up, PLANNING, you know the important stuff, but I got a little inspired. For me that means and off task! Couldn't help it.
Every year I take photos of my students and display them in my classroom. Last year they were used on a Book Recommendation Chart. This year I thought it would be nice to frame the pictures. It would definitely give a warm feeling to the room.
Since money is tight, and I like to start projects that take up way too much of my time, I decided to MAKE frames. Here is where my inspiration started Upcycle-This.











Then I saw this frame made completely from things around the house. Here are the super simple instructions.



I started making my magazine sticks (photo to the right) yesterday and only have about 40 made. Instead of gluing the sticks to shoe boxes I am going to use smaller boxes like from mac & cheese or pasta (Lord knows I have enough of those.). That way I won't have to make 60 sticks for one frame. I will post when I finish so you can see the results.
Are any of you starting any relatively simple projects? Do share!

8.22.2011

Teenage Boy's Room Ideas

After posting about wanting to update the look of my stepson's room but having trouble finding ideas, my lovely and very talented friend Grace told me about Pinterest. This amazing site that allows you to create interest boards. You can also view tons of boards others created. There are so many to look at from fashion to science & nature. I am so excited! Last night I started 3 boards. Here is the beginning of my Teenage Boy's Room board ( I got a little excited so it doesn't have a focus yet!).

8.18.2011

"Pre" Teenager Bedroom

 Image via Apartment Therapy
My stepson just promoted from 6th grade and is going into Middle School. I can't believe it! Since he is going into middle school (I so don't envy him. Would you like to go to middle school again? Ugh!) I would like to give his room a little make-over (on a very small budget).
Right now his room is very basic. ( I will add some photos before I make any changes.)
I would like to create some design inspiration boards so he can visualize what it could look like. I am having a hard time finding ideas. When I search I find really generic looking "themed" rooms, which I HATE! Like a "surfer" room or a "rock n roll" room. I was able to find one piece of inspiration from my idol, Nicole Balch, from Making It Lovely. She shared this idea for a teenage boy's room. Love it! The coolest thing about it is that she follows the "teenage boy" into adulthood and shows how he would be able to re-purpose a lot of the furniture. Genius!

Please let me know if you have any ideas about where to find some inspiration for this project!

8.17.2011

I Know This is Silly!


So I entered Oliver in a photo contest. I know how silly that is but the prizes aren't too shabby! Only a few days left to vote for this picture of him (just click the link). We totally appreciate everyone  humoring us with this contest! Don't worry this will not become a regular thing!

Teaching Tuesday

Only a few more Tuesdays until I am back in the classroom teaching! A new school year is always exciting, but this one is even more because I will be at a new school. 
I have decided I am going to ease back into "school" mode by watching some of my favorite school themed movies. Look at my lineup and let me know some of your favorites.

Dead Poets Society


 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
(I love them all, but this one is my favorite because it's Christmasy!)

Hoosiers


 Rushmore
 (FAVORITE!)


The Breakfast Club



School of Rock



Heathers



Good Will Hunting



Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Comment and let me know your  favorite "school" movie?

8.15.2011

Making Time to Spend with Dear Friends

My friend of 30 years emailed me today and asked if I wanted to take a 1-night getaway. My answer was a resounding YES! A little sun, time with my best friends and nothing else (except the drinks in our hands as we sit poolside). Now the hard task of nailing down a date for the getaway. It is not easy to coordinate schedules of three working moms.
How do you and your friends manage to keep in touch and make time for each other? I would LOVE any and all suggestions!

8.05.2011

Homework!

I have a question to all the parents and teachers out there. What would you consider to be too much homework for a 7th grader?
The teacher inside of me is restraining herself before talking to Ricky's (my stepson) teachers about the 3 1/2 hours of homework he has a night.
Since I am an educator I have pretty strong opinions about homework. I believe it is a good practice to give students a small amount of homework for a few reasons. The first reason would be to review and solidify learning to ensure the student understood and can retain the information that was presented in class. For this reason I only assign a few review problems along with a critical thinking problem or two to stretch the learning. I DON'T believe in "drill and kill" assignments, which are tedious and often counterproductive. A teacher should  be able to assess a student's understanding by looking over a few problems the student completed. There is no need to assign pages of the same type of problem. Not only will it frustrate the student and probably turn them off to whatever it is they are doing, but if they don't know how to do the work they will be practicing incorrectly.
The second reason I believe in a small amount of homework is that I think kids should be well rounded and have well rounded schedules. Of course there is time in the day for studies but there should also be time in a 12 year-old's day for play and activity.
Last night when I went in Ricky's room to check in on how his homework was going, my tired-eyed 7th grader was up trying to finish a word search! It was VERY hard for me not to take it out of his hands and throw it out. I of course don't want him to think I am against his teachers or undermine them but WORD SEARCHES, come on!!!
So, please help me. What do you think I should do???

6.21.2011

Teaching Tuesday- My Great Debaters

About a week ago I did a shared reading using an article called "Are Zoos Bad News?". The purpose of using this text was for the students to identify facts and opinions. However, it lent itself to taking a position on the topic of zoos. My students took off with it! They decided they wanted to have a debate about whether or not zoos are "bad news". It has been such a blast. We have never had a debate in class before and I couldn't be happier that the students are so into it.

A few years ago I watched the movie Resolved. I loved it and was so inspired by the passion the kids had for debating. What I didn't like, or understand for that matter, is why all the students in debate today have to speak so FAST? Does anyone know the reason for that? Besides being able to get more arguments & evidence within a certain about of time, I just don't get it. I myself know little to nothing about debate, so I have been trying to do some research to better prepare my students for their arguments.

It has been so wonderful seeing students that I wouldn't expect to get excited about this get really involved.

6.08.2011

Oliver's First Birthday

We celebrated Oliver's first birthday on Saturday. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and we got to spend it outside with friends and family.

About the party:
I love thinking about and planning party details from the invitations to the music playing during the festivities, BUT being a new, working mom I wasn't able to spend too much time planning. The invitations were Evites! I know, but it worked people showed up! The whole party was very simple not too much planning involved. We served a vegetable platter, chips, pretzels, soda and the rainbow cake. I didn't get a start on the cake until 10pm the night before, so I was up for awhile, but it was so much fun making I didn't mind. The cake batter with food coloring looked like I was doing an art project.

I am REALLY not good at baking, so I cheated a bit and used store bought white cake mix instead of making it from scratch. I did making the frosting. It turned out great. Not as pretty as the recipe's photo, but I was happy with the results. Oliver ate it (too much)!


A few more pictures.



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