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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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Paisley Rooster, Manis & Golf...Oh My!!!

Last Chance to Enter...Giveaway Ends Tonight.

I had no idea myself just how many fabulous deals there are in this City Saver book and on the app. There's just about every restaurant imaginable, boutique shopping, manicures, and golf at several courses in the Memphis/Mid-South area including Justin Timberlake's Mirimichi.

For the kiddos, there are Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, Pump It Up, Pink Palace Museum & Sharpe Planetarium just to name a few.

Many of the offers in the book are BOGOs.
You will save major $$$$$.

I have the City Saver Book myself, and one offer that I will definitely redeem is The Paisley Rooster located on the square in Arlington.

I purchased this cute dress there which I wore to the 4th of July Peabody Rooftop Party this past summer.

 So...don't miss your chance to enter.
Follow this link to the giveaway and your chance to win this bundle of eating, shopping, and entertainment.

Good Luck!
#win, #giveaway, #lastchance

*Thanks for dropping by! 
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Time to Dance

Spring has sprung, and the time has dance! I love NCAA tournament time and March Madness. Although the tigers are just a wee bit inconsistent and hard to watch at times, they definitely do keep it exciting.
Next stop - the ACC Tourney and Connecticut Thursday night. Hope the boys take UConn down a notch. I'm having not of sugar plums, but of basketballs and meeting and beating Louisville again in the Tournament Championship Game.

Three wins against Louisville in one season = UNPRECEDENTED!

Wait!...There could potentially be a fourth.
That should be the city's slogan throughout Memphis' tournament play.
In honor of the Tigers and their success in a new, more challenging conference I made a collage. 
Boys fly high & Pastner jump high.

Which team will you being pulling for ?

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time. For that is the stuff life is made of.

Lately, it seems to me that there are those who are trying to deter me from loving least, to its fullest.

You know the feeling when you realize you've put more stock and absolute blind faith in someone than you ever should have and you can't for the life of you figure out, no matter how much you've tried, why you did it and why they want to be the way they know the feeling?

That's how I'm feeling this very second.

I'm feeling a little stupid...well actually, 15 years worth of  stupid.

Because of the all the ice and snow, school has been out and the mini-staycation turned into a WHOLE week off.

Guess I've had too much idle time on my hands as a result, and the wheels are turning way too fast.

This is how I feel because I wouldn't allow someone to manipulate, control, patronize, and guilt me...really?

Everything, including the kitchen sink (well proverbially speaking), has been thrown at me.

 I'm still standing!


I'm feeling better already.

I prefer this song.
...Big wheels keep on turnin'. Proud Mary keeps on burnin'!
I'd like to know how you cope with similar situations. What do you do to occupy your mind and keep it off less than positive thoughts until they subside?
*Thanks for dropping by!

I decided to link-up with a new blog hop I ran across while I was looking for new interesting blogs. I really liked Jo's blog, Jo, My Gosh!, when I ran across it. She's an adorable military wife whose care packages are so creative and absolutely awesome! Give her a look as well as some of the other blogs linking-up this week. All ya gotta do is click on Jo's link above.
Bloody Marys Count as a Salad

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


It is March....right?

All I have to say is that ol' Punxsutawney Phil was right on the money this year.

He's so fluffaaay!
 However, all the winter weather created a beautiful and tranquil landscape and a nice and restful mini-staycation for all of us teachers around here.

Here are some pictures I took when my dog, Bosco, and I first went out Monday morning for a walk.

It's a shame, though, that the three ice storms we've had over the past few weeks have wreaked havoc on so many of the trees we planted around the house and yard about 27 years ago.
Hopefully, this was Ol' Man Winter's last hurrah.

*Thanks for dropping by!
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