Thursday, September 4, 2014

Baby steps with my goals

I'm proud of myself. One of my top goals for the year was to have more communication with parents. 

I literally sent 90 text messages to parents today. 

And even though it took an hour if my time, I'm glad I did it. I've yet to be able to call all of my parents, but I'm glad I was able to communicate. Did I get my desired number if responses? Nope. Will ingle texting them next Monday about Open House in a week? Absolutely. I am going to be all in my parents' inboxes, emails, and caller ID. I feel like I have a vengeance for success this year, and I'm determined to get these relationships going. 

However, I've had the realization...

I need REMIND 101!!!! 

Lol. I do not -ever- want to individually send mass texts again. Hopefully, I'll get them to sign up at Open House. I have started an account but I need to finish the set up. 

I'm also determined to not go into work at 6:30. I've been clocking 12 hour days and deserve a relaxing Friday morning. 

Peace and blessings,


Monday, August 25, 2014

Day One, Done

I had a great day. 
I split my pants. 
I can't wait until tomorrow. 

And yes, I'm serious about my pants. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The "during" of decorating

I've officially managed my first week back at work without needing a midday siesta!  It's been a long week of professional development, but I am learning new ideas, so it's worth it.  I've also been giving myself time before and after school to room decor / planning. My room looks crazy, but I have one more week to finish it up! 

Here comes the photo dump. 

What I arrived to see on Monday. 

I had four boxes like the one below of mixed colored pencils, crayons, and markers.  Two of my former coworkers donated them to me, along with filler paper, construction paper, scissors, and more. 

Then, my Pinterest brain took over. 

I have so much more work to do...but it's going to be amazing when I finish!

Peace and blessings,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Getting my PLAN on!

Alas, the last Sunday evening of summer vacation.  I'm home, watching RHONJ, and relaxing.  I had an epic day out with my girlfriends yesterday, and can definitely say I closed my summer out with a bang.  I'm definitely ready and recharged.

This afternoon I spent 5 hours (yikes) at Corner Bakery Cafe working on planning materials. I had food, coffee, Justin Timberlake Pandora, and I was in the groove. My main focus of today was my unit plan for Matter & Energy.  I'm so glad I have it finished!  Will everything go exactly as I have it written?  Of course not!  But like my last post says, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. 

I wish I could have an organized space when I plan, but it always looks like chaos.  It's especially horrible for my actual lesson plans.  Books, worksheets, lab manuals, eek! Here's what I needed today for my unit planning.  

I created this about a week ago.  It is not the same as my district's pacing calendar because I like to incorporate STAAR Olympics for review.  I've had 3.5 weeks for this in years' past, but this year I am determined to get four solid weeks.  I always have to rush a reporting category, and do not want to do that again. I'm also aware of which days I plan on being absent, so I can adjust the weeks. Yay for backwards planning!

Next to my coffee cup I have a TEKS chart that was given to me by my Region 4 Science Collaborative facilitators.  I love it because it has sixth, seventh, and eighth grade objectives so it's easy for me to pull and recognize supporting standards. 

Since my classroom notebooks, I want to be intentional with the foldables this year instead of creating them at the last minute. I also need to make sure I have a set of Cornell notes for each TEK because we are now an AVID school.  The bottom right corner is a short list of the homework assignments.  I like to number the homework assignments so when a student is missing one, it's easy to refer to. 

How many writing utensils does it take for Ms. CJ to plan? Lol

My unit plan! I have the weeks numbered, TEKS listed, objectives (readiness and supporting), and assessments. I feel relieved knowing exactly where my students and I are headed, and how we will break each TEK apart. 

My goal is to get the Force & Motion unit plan done before September 21.  Let's see if that holds true. 

Peace and blessings, 


Friday, August 8, 2014

A failure to plan...

So, this is my last Friday of summer vacation (I don't mind).  My first day back at work is August 11, but we do not begin teaching until August 25. We have nine days of professional development, yet only one day solely dedicated to classroom setup. Needless to say, the ratio is extremely unbalanced. 

My plans are to dedicate thirty minutes before swipe-in and thirty minutes after swipe-out to setting up my room each day next week.  I know that one day is simply not enough to accomplish my design and organizational goals. I'm blessed enough to have a large science lab, but that means more space for mess, and more space for it to look bland. 

While I was doing laundry this afternoon, I drafted up a room design.  I never did this in my previous three years and would often waste time pondering what I wanted to produce.  Not this year!  A failure to plan is a plan to fail.  I've got websites to update, two weeks of copies to do, and need to get this room set up DONE. 

Here is my tentative plan...

This is not drawn to scale. The black ink is furniture while the green symbolizes Posters / Bulletin Boards. I've also given table numbers and letters, so I can easily streamline and direct students to their seat (why didn't I think of this earlier?!).  Lastly, since I went to the University of Miami, I always have a giant U in the corner. It has become a place of reference, especially when we do stations. 

I've been reading up on "The Psychology of Colors" and decided that my room will mainly have blue tones with hints of lime and gold.  Hopefully, the colors add serenity to my room like they are claiming. ;-)

I can't wait to unload my trunk and get going!

Peace and blessings,


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Getting Creative!

I need to stay away from Back 2 School sales!!!

Seriously.  This morning while skimming through Instagram, I saw a picture advertising Office Depot's sale for individual Sharpies at a quarter each (limit of five). Now, although I finally purchased some last week at Walmart since my old ones are drying out, I just knew I needed five more. So, after a meeting I had at the Teach For America office, I went to the local Office Depot. 

Bad. Move. I saw that they had composition notebooks for ten cents, and the patterned duct tape buy two get one free. Prior to my meeting this afternoon, I decided that in order to reflect daily, I need a journal to reflect in. 

Insert composition notebook here. Ten cents. College ruled lines. No complaints! But thanks to Pinterest, my creative juices are spinning and I got to work. 

For the front I used two layers of tape, and one for the back. I can honestly say that since my new reflection journal is pretty, I might actually put it to use! 

I wonder how much a patterned notebook like this would cost? Hmm. 

Peace and blessings, 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Remember why you do this thing called teaching. 
Remember the vision as you prepare to head back to school. 

Note: I did not create this image, as I found it on Twitter. 

App Lovin!

I just had to say how much I adore this app, Notability. It's amazing. I have it on my phone but it's even better on my new iPad! There are additional features that enhance my experience. I feel as though there are so many ways that I can implement the use of this app, which makes it worth a purchase (it wasn't free). 

This is an example of how I use the app.  While I was waiting for my renewed drivers license, I figured I would kill some time and draft the school supply list for my students. (Sidebar: each class period is named after a different college each year.) As I was mindlessly typing, I figured I should tally the amounts I was requesting. Thus, I switched over to the marker feature. Once I was finished, I clicked over to the eraser feature and was able to swipe it away. 

It's back to being nice and clean!

When we have professional development next week, I plan on taking pictures of the agenda and adding my notes right into the app! Less paper to carry! Woohoo! 

Do you have Notability? How do you use it? I'm going to keep this post running and post helpful links about the app when I find them. Yay EdTech fun!

Peace and blessings,


It's the last week of "summer"!

My trunk looks like a combination of Target and Walmart's Back 2 School section, my boyfriend left yesterday evening for a month away at work (-_-), and I'm getting antsy because contrary to public opinion, I'm ready to go back to work!! 

I realize that it's great to spend summer catching up in novels, crossing items off of your bucket list, spending money on clothes (or, maybe that was only me...), volunteering, etc., but I am sincerely bothered by seeing apathetic posts about returning to school. Education should be your passion.  If a teacher is not excited about the return of their students, perhaps it is time to step out of the classroom? 

I will say that although two weeks of professional development at my campus does not sound as appetizing as two weeks of teaching, I am going to do my best effort to keep a positive mind and leave each session with something that I can bring back into my classroom. We have a lot of changings taking place at my school this week, but I would like my spirit to be more accepting.  Our sermon at church this week was over excellence and our pastor mentioned how your spirit has to be excellent. I am blessed to have a job in a great school with some amazing kids, and I am ready to do some phenomenal things in my classroom.  

I hope that as you all prepare for your students, you enjoy your remaining days of "education summer" doing whatever it is you please. I've been compulsively pinning (oops), deciding which of my clothes can be donated, and working out! It's nice to go with the flow but I am ready to be back on a schedule. 

Peace and blessings,


Monday, July 28, 2014

Interactive Notebook Progression

Hey there!

I'm looking at old INB's from my classes in years' past, and I'm definitely feeling the fire to step it up next year with note booking. I have recently finished the summer portion of my Region 4 science camp and have picked up on some excellent strategies. I got some nice laughs in from my old notebooks that stem back to 2012. 

Can't wait to get better!

Peace and blessings, 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Interactive Notebook Dump!

I will reorganize the pictures soon! Putting them on Pinterest to start.

Notes on TEK 8.5A- Atomic Structure
Hands on activity covering TEK 8.9AB- Continental Drift & Plate Tectonic Theory
Foldable on TEK 8.9B- Plate Tectonics (one of my favorite units)
Galaxy card sort. I then had students describe the three vocabulary term. TEK 8.8A- Components of the Universe
Student example of Four-Box review method on TEK 8.7C- Tides.
Notes in our INB's over Eclipses 8.7C.
Graphic Organizer on Newton's Laws, 8.6C.
I am determined to bring up the scores on our Force & Motion unit this year. 
Three-tab foldable on speed, velocity, and acceleration. TEK 8.6B.
Window foldable covering forces, 8.6A.
Balancing equations. My students' favorite...NOT! lol TEK 8.5F
Next year when we discuss the Periodic Table Families, I will do it in a more colorful and interactive way. TEK 8.5C
Coloring the Periodic Table, 8.5C.
Becoming a Bohr Model Champion! TEK 8.5B. I created this worksheet, surprise surprise. 

Peace and blessings, 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

AVID is fun!

Hey there!

So I've been "knee deep" in my AVID book.  I will be completely honest.  After first attending the conference, I was not as excited anymore for my district to be bringing a new program to our campus.  In hindsight, I was probably exhausted due to four consecutive days of 8:30-5:00 with jampacked workshops.  Since returning home on the Fourth of July, I have been making my best attempt to do a bit of AVID reading daily.  

I. Have. Learned. So. Much!!! The more I'm learning, the more excited I get to teach.  My school is going through a lot of changes (i.e. staff, leadership, schedule, tiering students, etc), but I am ready to take on those challenges.  I've been highlighting away and scribbling notes from my little blue science book.  I think this year is about to be major.

One of the best things about these strategies, is the fact that I can combine it with the content I am receiving right now through the Region 4 Science Collaborative (July is meant for PD right?). My brain is more than likely on overdrive, but I actually don't feel overwhelmed. I'm looking forward to seeing what my students can produce!

Back to my "little blue book"!! 

Peace and blessings,


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Education Conferences + Professional Dress?

Happy Tuesday!

So, I've been stalking Pinterest lately using search options as "teacher fashion" and "teacher style" so that I could gain ideas for a wardrobe for next year. I've lost thirty pounds within the last year so most of my professional attire no longer fits me properly.  Alas, aside from searching for a tailor within the Houston area, I've been on a mission for clothes!  When hanging up my newest purchases from Express, my mind reverted back to an education conference I attended last week and how I was shocked at the attire of my colleagues.

Do I realize that it is summer?  Yes.  Do I believe that everyone should be comfortable with what they're wearing?  Yes.  However,  I guess it's been engraved into my head (sorority, family, friends, etc.) that 1. Dress for the role you want 2. Never apologize for your appearance.  I'm a newbie in the teaching game, and only recently turned 25 three months ago, so I admit that I'm a bit self-conscious about what I am wearing.  I neverrrr want to appear unprofessional, reckless, skanky, etc.  I try to uphold my image from Monday-Friday in the highest regard (Saturday, I might let loose ;-D).  This is why I was so shocked to see my colleagues attending professional development in shorts (i.e. short pink ones), spaghetti straps, etc.  Are we not at professional development?

Again, I'm all about being comfortable and doing what suits you.  I'm about 5'10, and I'm still comfortable rocking heels, everyone is not.  I like dresses, my coworker hates them.  I just feel as though when your attire resembles pajamas and we are still at a place of business, there is a problem.  I'm sure others have seen this (Casual Fridays anyone?).  At what point do we stop and reevaluate our images?  I'm sure someone is going to say I am in the wrong field, being vain, etc, but if one was in a pajama-esque outfit and ran into the principal of a school they're interested in, how would they feel? 

I'll bring forth my different looks as an example...

This was PRE-check in before we headed to the Riverwalk. Completely sleeveless, for the town.
 I just wanted a picture with the sign! :-)

It's not the most formal of dresses, but do you see my point?

I paired this with a yellow sweater during the sessions because it was FREEZING!!
And uhh.. GO COWBOYS!!!

What do you all think? Am I overreacting? Have you noticed this? Let me know!

Peace and blessings,