Thirsty Thursday - A Clean Eating Linky

Happy Thursday! For those of you still in school, I'm sending you well wishes. And for those of you like me, soak it all in now. I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and we were saying how fast it all goes.

Now, to the meat (ha, no pun intended) of this post. I know many of you have been doing the '3 Weeks, No Cheats' with Rachelle over at For Blogness Sake. I, personally, did not get to start the 3 weeks when all of you did. I knew I was going to Philadelphia for a wedding over Memorial Day and that school was ending and I didn't want to feel guilty for anything.

I knew I would 'cheat' so to speak. Now, on the other hand I know that eating clean is a way of life.

However, let me also say this. Having a cupcake here or there may also be a way of life. I don't live in Philly. I don't eat Cheesesteaks every day, every week, or even every month. So once a year, I feel I'm allowed to have a cheesesteak with my dad and absolutely enjoy it. Yes, the bread has gluten. Yes, I felt gross afterwards. But, I will remember that moment with dad forever. I will remember my dad laughing at that Black & White cookie and asking if it was a frisbee.

For the greater part of the past school year I felt sick to my stomach with stress. During the week I didn't eat. From the day we went back at preplanning on July 31, 2013 to the last day of school on May 22, 2014 I lost 30 pounds. It was not the most healthy.

Today, on my 3rd full day of summer break (don't be too jealous - summer school preplanning starts on Monday and Tuesday and the kids come on June 9th -- that's right friends, I'm CrAzY!), I thought I would share some of my favorite smoothie and clean eating sites, plus a favorite recipe or so. Then I would love for you to link up with yours. Hopefully by the end we can have a wealth of clean eating resources to go to when we need something quick. Have fun.

One of my newest found sites since April is Simple Green Smoothies. They have an Instagram where they post a lot of recipes, and they do challenges. Check them out fo sho!

Diane's blog Balanced Bites is another good one.

And this is one more I have been enjoying on facebook, 100 Days of Real Food

This is the recipe I found on Pinterest I really want to try. But, p.s. - I can't stand regular tomatoes, so I want to try it with Bruschetta tomatoes (Costco sells an awesome container).

Spaghetti Squash Bake
Delicious spaghetti squash is combined with basil, tomatoes, and cheese for a perfect and easy meat-free meal. Serve with extra shredded Parmesan cheese and crusty bread for a tasty everyday family dinner
  • About 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  • 2 large garden tomatoes sliced
  • Kosher Salt
  • Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dried Basil, Dried Parsley for sprinkling
  • 5oz of fancy shredded Mexican cheese blend (separated)
  • Fresh Basil for Garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 11 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Spread about 1 cup of spaghetti squash on the bottom.
  4. Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with kosher salt and spices.
  5. Top with 1.5 oz of cheese.
  6. Add another layer of squash, then tomatoes, spices and cheese. Top with a final layer of squash.
  7. Top with the last 2 oz of cheese and sprinkle with the spices one last time.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.
  9. Top with some fresh cut basil and cut into 6 serving sizes about 3×3 inches each.
  10. Enjoy!
Don't forget to link up. 


Wordless Wednesday - Maya Angelou

I'm linking up with Christina over at Sugar and Spice (finally).

The events of today led to my post. This has been a longtime favorite. Almost every line rings true for me. The one I hold most true is 'you need to be able to throw something back.' Which line is your favorite?


Secret Admirer Blog Hop

Not too long ago I came across the blog of Jamie Sears. 

Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher

Jamie is a first year teacher. She teaches third grade. Since I teach 2nd, I had been looking for some items that may challenge my busy bodies. Plus, I knew I would be teaching 3rd for summer school. Jamie was amazingly gracious and sent me her entire ELA bundle of task cards. 

To say I was beyond excited is an understatement. (Now, just to let you know, she does sell each of these individually as well). Here's the thing, you do not need to be a 3rd grade teacher to use these task cards. There are so many skills we teach in 2nd that are included. 

I personally was so excited to use Prefixes, Suffixes, Homophones, Author's Purpose, and so much more. I mean seriously, you name it, she's got it. 

One of my favorite parts is that with each set, Jamie includes a "suggestions for using task cards" page. I could think of some of these, but she takes the guess work right out of it <-- and believe me, at the end of the year, I needed that. 

Now, my computer died two weeks ago, so I unfortunately don't have pictures of my kids (our last day was two days ago, but Jamie won us over with question #1 on the reference materials set (since we live in GA): 

And I would be doing you an injustice if I did not tell you about the awesome post Jamie just did this past week about organizing these task cards - girl after my own heart!!! 

Jamie, I cannot thank you enough for sharing with me, especially as all of technology failed me at the end of the year. I am actually teaching 3rd grade math to the kids who did not pass the state test (as our scores came in this past week). I can't wait to go snag all of her math task cards. You should go check them out as well

Be sure to go check out some other blogs we admire!


Five for Friday - School's Out For Summer!

It's another Friday and I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. If you'll allow me, I have a little bit to catch up on, so this is two week's worth.

I finally completed my final unit for my ELL Endorsement. Normal people would've found their resources and activities, cited them in their lessons and called it a day, but no not me. You bloggers have rubbed off on me. I created and differentiated all of them. Each lesson has three levels of differentiation. The minute I completed the last one, I went to add one last thing...

except it didn't really debate. It died. Hard drive and all. 

Long story short - it took a while with Apple. They had to order a part, we had to get my data, I had to deal with a lead tech. When I finally got to the right people everyone was as nice and as helpful as they could be. I even took in a Chipotle gift card as a 'thank you.' He said he couldn't accept it. I had my credit card out to pay for the parts and repairs and he and the manager were both standing there and said, "it's been taken care of." I started crying, so then my mom started crying. Never in my life has anyone just taken care of something that expensive. In retrospect, it was not thousands of dollars. However, as a teacher I was overwhelmed by the kindness. You never knowwhen it may be your day. Always be kind. Pay it forward. 

Now, as many of you know - I LOVE teacher appreciation, because I LOVE to give and appreciate the teachers I work with. There is nothing about teaching that is a one person show. We cannot do this alone. I personally would not be where I am without the help and support of some amazing people. Some of them don't think they deserve it, but the fact of the matter is none of would make it out unscathed without some camaraderie along the way. 

I had so much fun with these bags. I did 4 - 3 for our coaches and 1 for a support teacher. I found the cute little tote bags at Michael's. The labels for the bags can be found here. Inside each bag I put a bottle of Snapple that I put these labels on from Farley

In two of the bags I taped together two Skor bars with this label

In one coach's bag I added a mug that said "Anyone can be cool, but awesome takes practice." It's very her. In our math coach's bag (her tote was leopard print, which is also VERY her). I added leopard print pencils and some flair pens. Both of their bags had a book we put together: The Important Book (About Ms. _______). Each student wrote their own page. They even read the book to our math coach. She spent the most time with them this year so I wanted her to feel extra special. The other bag I added lots of sticky notes to because she had used them with my kids for Book Club. 

They each also got notepads with their initials (along with all the teachers on my team). I made these after looking at the directions from Fluttering Through First Grade

Okay, this one is random - but does anyone watch General Hospital? One of my kids had this book, and when I saw Chupacabra I laughed so hard and then was sad that no one would know what it was!

Have you tried Plated?

 It was so fun, very easy, and very good. I found it through facebook. There was a special. They were offering 4 meals free. All you had to pay was the shipping. So for $20 dollars I got all of this (the spring vegetable tart - which was delicious) and the tilapia tacos (I think I would have liked it better had they been flour tortillas but then that negates the gluten free factor). I will say I wasn't feeling so well when I made the tart. But, I was at my parents and it served more than enough for all of us. Plus, I was able to eat it and they actually both really enjoyed it. It had leeks, mushrooms, onions, shallots, and yellow beets. They send you all of the ingredients and the recipe. All you have to do is make it. I know some people don't like the idea of having to do the cooking since that's the "dirty work" but when everything is already portioned out for you, it's kind of fun. Their menu changes weekly. You should give it a try for something new and different. (I was not paid to say any of this).

I have to add one final thing as we end the school year. This sweet little piece from my sweet student yesterday: 

Happy weekend and summer!


We Are the Champions

Before I left for school today I posted this picture on my personal facebook page:

It's exactly how I felt as I reached this last and final day of school with my kids. I haven't hidden the fact that this year has been hard. Yet it is difficult for me to pinpoint what exactly was so very hard. People have asked if it was admin or my class? The kids? The coworkers? The truth is, I don't know. Maybe it was a combination. Maybe it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I will tell you it was not the coworkers. My 2nd grade team is awesome. There are 12 of us, plus our support - 2 coaches (who are superb); reading intervention support; and ESOL support <-- I've been blessed for almost every year I've been there to get to work with the same support people in my room. Thank goodness for amazing coworkers. 

However, as I've said, I had 26 students. 21 of those 26 students were second language learners; 16 of those 26 students were boys. I had 1 resource student; 1 student we believe to be on the Autism Spectrum; 2 students who had previously been retained in other grades; 1 student who I retained in 2nd grade; 1 student who came to me in November from Mexico, speaking no English (and my gosh did he amaze me with how far he has come);  <-- wow, even just typing that, every one of those students is a boy. My poor girls, they got the short end of the stick. Some of them needed help too. Some of them deserved so much more attention. Some of them deserved so much better from me. 

They all deserved better from me. Maybe I am being too hard on myself. I am told I often am. 
But then, as you're moving the 2nd load of boxes from your current room down to your trailer for next year and students are waiting on you outside your classroom, one final morning, one of your highest students hands you this: 

She remembered! She remembered that I had read them something one of my 1st grader's had written me after my 1st year teaching there that sounded like The Important Book. She remembered how we had mimicked The Important Book to make an appreciation gift for two of our coaches. Then she turned around and wrote one about me all on her own!

She didn't care if I was perfect every day. She cared that I was her teacher and I helped her. I got teary-eyed as I read this. Maybe I should've been better for her. 

At the end of the day - I hugged them all before they got on the bus and told them to be safe. Some of them I told them to behave! I had them all sit in a circle right before bus call - as I do every year, I remind my students that in the end it does not matter to me what their reading level is. What matters is whether or not they know how to treat people. Do you know how to show respect? Do you know how to look someone in the eye and tell the truth (I added that last one for the benefit of this year's class)? If you can do those things then you will go far in life. If not, then when you leave this room and this school for summer you might want to think about things and the type of person you want to be. 

I don't know if they all understood, but if I can reach just a few then I will have succeeded in my mission. After all, I am who I am. Who I am is an educator who cares about the people my students will become. That is the best champion I can be for them. 

"We Are The Champions"
I've paid my dues
Time after time.
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime.
And bad mistakes ‒
I've made a few.
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through.

(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)

We are the champions, my friends,
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world.

I've taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it's been no bed of roses,
No pleasure cruise.
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain't gonna lose.

(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)

We are the champions, my friends,
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world.

We are the champions, my friends,
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions.


There'd Be Days Like These - the Last Day

When you're feeling creative...

When you're feeling tired and exhausted...

When you just need something to get you through...

When it's enough to know that maybe they were listening...

When you put in the effort, and things you never expected start to happen...

When you open a book and are reminded you just might have a few co-workers on your side after all...

When you just need motivation...

When all of your kids from last year come into your room to tell you they passed 3rd grade (our state test scores came in yesterday)...

When all else fails...

 What I've come to realize is that there'll be all these types of days - and sometimes they may even be rolled into one. Sometimes they won't. Maybe you'll have days when it seems no one's on your side or everyone's forgotten about you. Sometimes we have classes that follow our rules and they seem like angels. Some years there are classes who force us to try every trick in the book and still with 1 day left of school people lose recess because they don't know how to line up in number order (something you've been doing since day 1). Teaching is hard. Whoever tells you otherwise has no clue what they are talking about. I'm not interested in the people who think teaching is glorified babysitting. 

I've never been more ready for the last day of school. This year and this class has tried me beyond belief. I have lost patience. I have lost energy. I have lost 30 pounds - with zero effort. 

Professionally, I have grown. I have completed my ELL Endorsement. I have begun my Coaching Endorsement. I have been recognized for certain teaching practices. I have a few other things in the works. 

They say there's days, classes, and even school years like these. I bid them farewell.


Confessions of a 2nd Grade Teacher

Let's face it - while everyone is acknowledging Teacher Appreciation week, some of us also may need to just come clean - we're not perfect. Hey, there's nothing wrong with it. I'm the first to tell my students that teachers make mistakes, too. So let's keep it real and lay it all out there. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. Reading Jennifer's at Rowdy in First Grade's made me feel a whole lot better. Go link up. You'll feel better, too.

1. I have 12 teaching days left. I'm pretty sure I am counting down harder than my students and I am not ashamed. 

2. As much as I don't want to move out to a trailer, as I spent 5 hours packing this past Saturday there was something extremely cathartic about it. That can't be good, can it?!

3. While packing I found papers from March. They may or may not have gone into the trash. Actually, if we're being honest, sometimes I even put a stack of papers into a shopping bag and then throw them away so that my students don't know what I am throwing away. 

4. Today my students were filling out a sheet for a book with the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then format - I had a student (who reads above grade level, mind you) tell me he didn't have a book that had any of those things - no characters, no setting, nothing. For real?

5. Our grades are due next week - mine are nowhere near being completed. In fact, I still need to teach a few things. Yikes!

6. I gave a Geometry test today. Apparently 5 halves make one whole. This was a fill in the blank question and we did it yesterday when I taught fractions using graham crackers, a Hershey bar, and a marshmallow to make s'mores. Lord help me. 

7. How hard is it to have a pencil before your teacher actually starts teaching??? 

8. If I have a class with 16 boys in it again I may resign. In fact, today one of my boys came up to me and said "I wish we could have equal boys and equal girls, like maybe giveaway two boys and get two girls." <-- FYI that still doesn't make it equal but it's a nice start, and it was a BOY who said it!

9. A student today asked if we were going to make something for mother's day - I said, "oh yeah, that is this weekend, isn't it?" I mean, I stink, I really do. My plans this week have consisted of sticky notes. 

10. Tonight was the final class for my ELL Endorsement. I have been behind the entire semester. Tonight was no exception. I will be endorsed, but goodness I have issues. I cannot keep up this year. 


Happy Teacher Appreciation - giveaway

(p.s. Isn't this image from The 3a.m. Teacher and Simply Sprout Educate super cute?!)

As most of you know, Teacher Appreciation week/month is one of my absolute favorite times of year - and it is never because I receive the accolades - but more so because I truly believe in thanking those who help us do what we do every day (or if we are blessed to have our own children, those who help teach them). I am fortunate to work with some amazing people who love my students as if they were their own class. I also work with amazing support who would do anything for me if I needed them to. My school is large and sometimes it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, but without these handful of people I definitely could not only do what I do, but would also not be able to make it through the year. Though I am someone who believes in showing thanks whenever possible (at least I try to), I love teacher appreciation because it does actually make us stop and take a moment to do so. 

As a way of saying thank you to all of you who are The Best of the Best, I have been able to get together with some amazing other bloggers to bring you not only a blog hop, but also a giveaway. 
My product that is part of the giveaway is part of an astronomy science unit I have been working on. Last year I grew to love teaching science thanks to one of my Best of the Best teaching partners (read To Those Who Inspire Us). 

I have created for you an I Have, Who Has game all about the moon. It is geared towards 2nd, but I think it would be awesome for 3rd or 4th as well. 
See below to enter the giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

To continue on The Best for the Best Teacher Appreciation Blog Hop click the picture below.

Kindergarten Boom Boom
Happy Teacher Appreciation. 

Currently and Five for Friday - May Day!

Happy Friday everyone! I'm linking up with Farley for her monthly Currently par-tay!

And, I'm also linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

On Monday I had my final observation to complete my ELL Endorsement. I taught a lesson to Kindergarteners about retelling and sequencing with The Little Red Hen. Can you tell I got carried away with the prep?

Then later Monday afternoon, my car battery died. Fortunately, our art teacher helped me jump it - twice. My car is exactly a year old. I was bummed to say the least. Thankful for warranties. The previous week there was a water leak in my apartment. 

Thursday afternoon I looked at my cell phone to send a text - there were no names, only numbers. I looked in my contacts. There were NONE. All gone. (if you're keeping track - that's the apartment leak, the car battery, and now the cell phone, plus in the middle of it all my dad had surgery and was in the hospital for 4 days). Everyone is well and good now, but I'm pretty sure someone is trying to send me a message (no pun intended). 

On a bright note: 
Who doesn't love a burrito? Head over to Chipotle with your I.D. on May 6th from 4p.m. to close. 
You're welcome. 

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