Sunday, April 27, 2014

Big Things Come in Small Packages: Kid President

Are you familiar with "Kid President"? If not, you don't know what you're missing. Kid President, 10 year old Robby Novak, is a Tennessee homegrown bonafide celebrity. So much so that he'll be hosting and reporting at the Google-Netflix pre-party for the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on May 2.
Robby is an accidental superstar from Henderson, Tennessee who has recorded a series of pep talks ranging from "An Open Letter to Moms" to "Twenty Things We Should Say More Often" which have garnered interest from Barack Obama himself.
Here's the video that was played during one of our teacher in-services which introduced me to the "Kid President" phenomenon.

What is even more amazing is that Robby has a genetic disorder, osteogenesis imperfect, which is characterized by brittle bones that break. He has suffered more than 70 broken bones and 13 surgeries. Robby has steel rods in both of his legs.
However, Robby rather not focus on his personal dilemma but instead be a motivator and cheerleader to anyone he thinks he might be able to reach. In his words, "I don't want to be IN a party. I want to be THE party."
For more information on Robby click here, and for more "Kid President" videos visit SoulPancake on YouTube.
I adore Robby and his "Kid President" videos! What about you?
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter GIFs After a Long Week

My name is Wendy, and it has been too many days since my last post. It's that time of the year when public school teachers start feeling just a weeeee bit worn thin. Reviewing and preparing for high-stakes state testing, awaiting year-end unannounced performance evaluations, completing lengthy professionalism rubrics...and so on and so forth. All that along with allergies and an upper respiratory infection has not given me any motivation to delve into a new post.

However after the below freezing temperatures earlier in the week, could it be that Old Man Winter is throwing in the towel and resigning to the inevitability of Spring. I believe so because the last few days here in southwest Tennessee have been fabulous!

Here on Easter's Eve, I've decided to comprise my own little springtime tribute through GIFs. As you're sitting there thinking..."Uhmm really?", let me explain. I'd just logged in to Photobucket to upload some pics for future posts and I saw several cute and relevant GIFs, so I decided to roll with it.

I really have no idea why, but for whatever reasons, I really like these little graphic image files. I hope you do too, or this post isn't going to go over very well.
Happy Easter everyone!




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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

American Blogger: Telling Our Story

I don't know if I should feel out of the loop...or not, but I hadn't even heard or seen anything mentioned about this upcoming feature-length documentary chronicling bloggers across the U.S. until I read about it in a post at the Pink growl. I watched the trailer and got goosies. That probably sounds a liiittle crazzzy, but I can't help it.

Here's the trailer for American Blogger.

Have you heard about it? Whatcha think?

In the scheme of things, I really just started this gig as a blogger. But it's in my blood. I can't explain it. It's like giving birth. I have all these ideas and aspirations for nurturing and growing my blog. It's personal, but it's not...if you know what I mean. I've experienced what I'd call a fair share of upheaval and uncertainty over the past year or two with a 15 year relationship finally running its course and imploding and the fact that my two sons who I've raised, for all practical purposes, on my own from the time they were 3 years and 4 weeks old have matured into young men, now ages 22 and 18. They're not my babies anymore. Well...that's what THEY say.

My's helped to fill the void.

It's exciting and stimulating! I've learned so many things I had no clue about html coding, the difference between good design and something that looks like a scrapbook vomited all over my screen (doesn't mean I always do it), what makes a good giveaway, the power of a comment, what it means to find my "voice", but most of all....I love this thing called blogging!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Gettin' Bloggy with It!

'Twas the night before Ultimate Blog Party '14
and all through the blogosphere,
the creatures were stirring and hurrying to link up...
I hear.

WooHooooo...It's that time of the year again!
5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party

This is my second UBP, and I had such a blast during UBP '13 that I couldn't wait for this year's partaaay!


Since last year's event, I changed my blog's name from The Sweet Life of Second Grade and did a complete makeover of my blog's design.
Here's my bio from last year. Not a lot has changed other than time and my design.

Hope you find something here you enjoy and decide to stick around a while. If you've not joined the party, I'd highly recommend that you do. It'll definitely be worth your time, and you'll be glad you did.

Just click on the banner below for all the details on how you can join the festivities.

Ultimate Blog Party 2014  

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Fool's & the Big Brownieeeeee

As many of you already know, I teach second grade and have for 15 years. Each year on April Fool's Day, I get the typical "Ms. Orman...There's something on your shirt." or "There's a bug in your hair!" You get the picture. However this year, one of my students, Abby, deliberated and very consciously planned her April Fool's prank a T.

She set it up the day before, totally unbeknownst to me. I took the bait...hook, line, and sinker. Sometime during the day on Monday, Abby announced she was bringing me brownies to school the following day. I've got to mouth was watering even then.

When Tuesday morning rolled around, the kids lined up just outside our classroom door as usual after being dismissed from the early duty room. When I walked out to greet them, Abby very eagerly and excitedly proclaimed that she'd brought me brownies just as she'd said she would and held up a little white container with its red lid. My mouth was really watering. I hadn't eaten breakfast, and warm brownies and milk were sounding divine at that point.

She handed me the container while simultaneously stating, "I brought brownies, and Ms. have a BIG brownieeeeee! Once we were inside the classroom, I popped the lid off. Abby was laughing as though she'd just, hands down, played the best joke ever.....and....she had!

I let Abby carry her brown e's to all her other classes that day. Well...I didn't want to be the only dupable one. Hope you all had a good laugh on April Fool's as well.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Teachers Be Like .......

After teaching just a couple of years, I realized that by mid-way of each year teachers look like the walking dead. It's true! Keeping kids engaged and making magic happen is hard work. For more on this, take a look here. We start out the year looking fresh and rested. However by the time May rolls around, we look like:


I'm not gonna lie...I wrote this post around a graphic I happened to see on Facebook. I couldn't resist because it completely confirms what I've been saying all these years, and those little yellow minions are so stinking cute! Mrs. Snaggle in the middle...not so much.

All joking aside, a huge professional advantage teachers have is the opportunity to start anew each year with a clean slate and new, improved ideas about creating even better magic than the year before.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5 Keys to Keeping Elementary School Kids Engaged: What 15 Years in the Classroom Has Taught Me



Yesterday morning, I was unexpectedly approached by Rebecca at The Bloggers' Lounge about the possibility of me participating in their competition in conjunction with World Class Teachers to write a blog post on my top 5 tips for keeping kids engaged in the classroom. I was so excited about being asked to participate and eagerly accepted her invitation. I pondered the theme of this competition off and on all yesterday as well as picked my 18 year old son's brain about what his favorite teachers did to motivate and engage him. The following is the outcome of that pondering and prodding investigating.



1. occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention).
    "He plowed on, trying to outline his plans and engage Sutton's
synonyms:  capture, catch, arrest, grab, snag, draw, gain, win, hold, grip, captivate, engross, absorb ask, exactly how does a teacher
the interest or attention of a child?
Sounds like a TALL order.
And at times, might seem like performing magic...but when you really think about it,
that's exactly what it is. 
So, here are five key (and actually fairly easy) strategies for filling that order and making magic happen. 
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you do.
Your excitement and eagerness will be contagious. It will have a spiraling positive effect on your students. Even if they don't understand why you're so happy about a lesson, task or assignment, they'll wonder why and think they should be too.
Be real.
Establishing a sense of trust is essential. If students sense you are disingenuous, they will mistrust you and not put stock in what you're trying to accomplish or get them to.
You want them to "go all in". To do that, they must believe in and trust you.
Have high expectations for your students and believe they all can attain them.
Be the first to tell them what they're good at and what they get right.
Warner Bros / Via
Allow your students choice.
Empower your students with decisions. This will further emphasize your trust and faith in them. In turn, they will want to please you with smart choices and good work.
Make learning fun and intriguing
(or "not boring" as my son, Weston, said).
 Allow your class(es) to explore, be hands on, converse within groups or with partners, do projects, use technology........all the things you would like doing if you were in their position. Never be afraid to get downright goofy.
Disney / Via
Well...for what it's worth, this is my 2 cents worth on how to keep the kiddos in an elementary school classroom motivated, engaged, and therefore
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up & the Best of This Week's DIYs

This week ended with a bang..."dark day" Thursday afternoon, our field trip to the Memphis Zoo on Friday, and the start of Spring Break yesterday....Holla! 

This past week I decided to look for the week's best DIYs. Don't ask me why because I'm definitely no "She's So Crafty"! Maybe, it's because the only time I can even bat an eye at doing any kind of craft project is when I've got a break from school. Here are the projects I like a lot, can actually do, and will definitely consider doing.

via Take Them a Meal


That's it. The week's best (and easy) DIYs.
That's the wrap!

Now all there is to do...
is get crafty with it.
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Five Ways to Rock a Day at the Memphis Zoo

First of all, get the Memphis Zoo app if you don't already have it. It's like having your own automated mini-tour guide...fanTAStic!
Here's what the initial screen looks like.
Of course, the Zoo Map is helpful especially when a paper one would keep flying away or getting crammed into the bottom of your bag.
However, the two coolest parts of the app are the Daily Schedule and the Photo Booth. The Daily Schedule lists all the special shows and times such as Giraffe Feedings, Panda Keeper Chat, Sea Lion Show, Grizzly Feeding, etc. The Photo Booth is by far the most fun and unique section of the app. This section of the app provides a bunch of overlays for your zoo photos, and they really do turn out so stinkin' cute! All the kids (16 to be exact) loved it and wanted me to take their pictures over and over again. These are the Photo Booth options:
...and some examples:

The second way to rock the zoo is to take sixteen 7 & 8 year olds. There is definitely never a dull moment.
As you can see, attending a class also raises everyone's interest and is the third recommendation for having a fabulous experience.
Seeing a show is my fourth suggestion.
Choosing a day that's just right (...not too chilly and not too warm) is key and the fifth way  to ensure having a blast.
I recommend this for reasons other than human comfort. The right kind of weather makes the animals frisky and active as you can see.
I'd never seen a pheasant before. I thought these were gorgeous!
 HA...these guys weren't feelin' us at all though...perfect day or not.
My second grade class had a rockin' good time at the zoo.
Hope you do too on your next visit!
*Thanks for dropping by!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up & Giveaway Poll

My very first giveaway ended Tuesday, and I'm excited to announce the winner was Brooke S. Brooke...I hope you enjoy your 2014 Memphis City Saver Discount Book and rack up all sorts of savings! I will deliver the book to you one day this upcoming week.

I must say I was a little surprised and even a slight bit disappointed that the giveaway didn't receive more interest. I'm the type to never give anyone a gift that I don't think I'd truly enjoy myself, and the same goes with any giveaways I might do. Before deciding to do the City Saver giveaway, I ask several friends their opinions, and they all said they thought the book would be a great prize.

As a result of the low interest, I've decided to do a poll: Which Type of Blog Giveaways Do You Like Most?

I want to offer giveaways that generate some excitement and enjoyment for my readers, so please use the poll below to express your opinion. I will definitely use this information in planning any future giveaways. You are also able to leave comments about other ideas that I may not have included in the poll. To leave comments, click the option, 'View Results' at the bottom and then enter 'Comments' at the bottom. I would love to hear any ideas you might have.

Next up on the Weekly Wrap-Up was another bubble-buster for me this week. I don't mean to be and am usually not a Debbie Downer, but I can't help it peeps. That's just the way the chips fell this week. My boys, the Memphis Tigers, took a whoopin' by the UConn Huskies. We've still got March Madness and the dance to go. It seems, though, that every time the Tigers get railed, they come back motivated and strong. Both times they've beat Louisville, they'd just previously suffered an excruciatingly painful and humiliating loss. Hopefully, the awful loss to the Huskies will be a wake-up call.


It was wonderful to have a nice Spring-like week last week after having been out of school the whole week before due to ice and snow.

The Winter that Will Not Die

However, I absolutely can't believe the forecast for tonight includes chances of snow. sleet, and thunder just like two weeks ago. Really...Mother Nature? We're in the South for cryin' out loud, and the first official day of Spring is Thursday.

Well...that's the wrap. See you next week. Hope you have a fabulous one!

*Thanks for dropping by! 
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