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,