Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week–Where Tuesday

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This time last week, I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to share for this. I was called Monday for an interview on Wednesday. I was offered the job on Thursday and started on Friday! It’s been a whirlwind.

My classroom looked like this on Friday. It was super duper overwhelming.
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Today, I’m happy to say that it looks like this!

When I headed to the store last Thursday to pick up things for my new room (I kept NOTHING when I quit two years ago) I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for. I started being drawn to turquoise and black, so I just went with it. 7th and 8th grade honors students are a bit old for a theme, so I’m happy with it!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher Week–Who Monday

I’m linking up with Blog Hoppin this week for their annual Teacher Week!
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The focus today is “Who Monday” where I share a little bit more about myself! My blog is an open book into my life, so many of you probably already know a lot about me already!

I’ll start from the beginning… On June 1st, 1983…. just kidding! I won’t do that to you! I’ll take you through a few important dates in my life that define who I am right now.

January 10, 2004 – This was the first “defining moment” in my life and it wasn’t a good one. On this day, I lost my mom to breast cancer. She died in our home after a very short 5 month fight. By the time she discovered the lump in her breast, the cancer had already spread into her spine and brain. With each year that passes, I miss her more and more.

May 25, 2005 – I lost my 18 year old cousin in a car accident. She was on her way to her senior picnic and I was finishing up my first school year. My dad called me right before my students walked in – and I immediately walked out. I stopped by the office and told them that I didn’t know when I’d be back. Pretty gutsy for a first year teacher, but I didn’t really care. I was 3 hours from my family and I had to leave right then. My cousins were more like sisters to me, and losing her was incredibly painful. When her sister got married last month, I couldn’t hold back tears during the ceremony as I kept wishing she was there with us, standing beside her sister.

October 14, 2006 – Got Hitched! I joke that I only married him because he’s tall. At 5’10” I always cursed my parents because I was taller than all the boys. When I met my 6’4” husband, I was so excited that I could actually wear heels around him!

March 16, 2008 – I became a momma. When Emma Grace entered the world, the doctor’s first words were “Wow, she’s loud!” Girlfriend came out with the most high pitched squeal and it hasn’t stopped yet! She’s feisty, strong and pretty much amazing. She’s so very smart and honestly the most loving and kind hearted person (not child, person) in my world.

April 13, 2012 – My last day of work. I took a leave of absence from teaching in preparation for our second (and last) child. My plan was for it to just be a year or two, but I’ve found so much joy in creating teaching resources, that I eventually quit. I work harder and longer now than I EVER did in the classroom, and there hasn’t been a day go by that I’ve regretted my decision. I know I’ll go back one day when the time is right.

May 9, 2012 – Enter  to the world, Gavin Joseph. This child is 100% a momma’s boy and 400% boy. His nickname is Gavin the Destroyer, and for good reason. He breaks just about everything he touches. I wouldn’t have him any other way though. He came into the world tiny at just  6 pounds 10 ounces, almost a full pound and two inches smaller than his sister… but he’s quickly grown far bigger than she was at 2. He’s our little linebacker.

August 18, 2014 – Right now today, I’m a 31 year old mommy of two. I LOVE spending time with my family and would live on vacation if I could. I’m completely obsessed with Disney World and would pack up our family to live on Disney property if that wasn’t totally insane. I enjoy photography and had a little business for a few years. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with cupcakes. I LOVE them, but hate that they don’t help me lose weight. How rude cupcakes. How rude.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Labor of Love… Kind of

I have spent the last THREE months updating every single resource in my store. That’s over 300 products. And it seriously just about killed me. One thing I’m most proud of is the update of the resource that gave this blog it’s name. My Beyond the Worksheet bundle includes 47 of my most engaging (and oldest but now updated) resources. If you’re teaching Middle School Math this year, I promise you’ll find this bundle useful!


I still have a few more things to touch up in my store (mostly bundles) but otherwise I’m excited to be able to shift my focus onto creating new products and teaching again!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Here's the BEFORE...

I was SHOCKED to find out that I was going to have my own classroom as a part time teacher. I mean, certainly I would just share another teacher's classroom or even float right?


Introducing my classroom!

I've spent about 3 minutes in here and my students start on TUESDAY. I'm approaching panic mode. Thankfully my sweet hubs and daughter are going to come to work with me tomorrow to help me get the room under control so I can spend all day Monday focusing on what really matters... lesson planning! I haven't written a lesson plan for myself in over 2 years, so I'm actually quite nervous about it!

Can't wait to show you the "After" pictures!

So you want to be a teacher? Interview Tips!

So, I have a little secret. I'm going back in the classroom. Tomorrow. And I just found out... TODAY! I will be a part time Middle School Math Teacher, which is perfect for my life right now!

ThisI've been interviewing for teaching jobs. Not because I don't LOVE what I'm doing now, but because I feel like it's the right time for me to go back into the classroom. I was offered a job in mid-July in a fantastic school, but I turned it down. Crazy right? Well, hear me out. The job was an hour from home and school started at 7:00am! My children would have needed to be in daycare by 5:45am each morning to allow me enough time to drive to work. I just couldn't see that working for any of us.

I interviewed the job I was offered yesterday. Actually, I interviewed for two jobs within the same school! While I didn't have the opportunity to use my portfolio at this interview (I did at the first interview), I wanted to share it with you and give you some interview tips. You're more than welcome to model your portfolio after mine, but please don't copy exactly what I've written. You want your portfolio to reflect YOU!

I went a little non-traditional with the cover of my portfolio and included the avatar from my blog instead of my own photo. My daughter told me "Mom, that looks NOTHING like you." But despite her feelings about it, I used it anyway!

My first page is an "About Me" page where I give a little bit of information about myself. 

I included sample lesson plans as well as substitute plans and examples of assessments.

Classroom management discussion is guaranteed to be part of your interview. Come prepared with a statement about classroom management, pictures from past classes, etc. 

I also included examples of student and parent communication forms. 

Of course, include all of the professional stuff. Past evaluations, certifications, transcripts, awards, etc. 

Interview Tips:

  • Do NOT tell them what you think they want to hear. Do not use "buzz words" unless you have the knowledge and classroom experience to back them up. Be yourself. If you are hired, you will be expected to be the same teacher you were in that interview. If you are not your true self in the interview, don't plan on being able to be yourself in that position. 
  • Don't be nervous! The people interviewing you were in your position many times before. They're educators, just like you. They're humans, just like you. Do not be intimidated. You have wonderful things to offer their school and they'd be lucky to have you. Be confident. If you're nervous or lack confidence, it will show. 
  • Be real. I talk with my hands and tend to stutter when I'm nervous. I just roll with it. It's who I am. It's ok to laugh at yourself if you make a mistake. It shows them that you're a real person. Talk about your family, your interests. 
  • Be honest. If you're asked about something in your career that hasn't gone well. PLEASE don't act like you have nothing to say for that. Nobody is perfect. You've had a bad lesson, bad school day or heck, a bad school year. If you say that you've never had a bad teaching day, they're going to know you're not being honest. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hey, Math Nerds!

So I have about 4,o00,000 things on my plate right now. Designing a planning resource for teachers was NOT one of them. However, I came across this clipart from the fabulous Melonheadz Illustrating and I thought it would make the PERFECT planner.


Usually, math nerds are pretty cool with admitting their nerd status. This teacher planner incorporates a wee bit of nerd status into your daily planning! The pages are ALL done in black and white to make it more appropriate for those of you who aren’t big fans of everything bright and colorful. Plus, your printer will not hate you!


Everything is editable (in PowerPoint) so you can either print and write on the pages, or type and then print.


Oh, and it’s not JUST for the math nerds out there! There isn’t anything that’s “math specific”, so teacher-nerds of all kinds can enjoy!

Check it out HERE!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It–Pantry Edition!

So I’m kind of super a little bit obsessed with Pinterest. We’ve started the process of building a new home (as in we’ve talked with a builder… that’s about it) and already my mind is going CRAZY over all the things I want to do in our new home. If you don’t already follow me on Pinterest, you should! You’ll be certain to get a wealth of home decorating ideas (oh yeah, and teaching ideas too) over the next 9 months!

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Our pantry always stays organized for about 2 days. Then my kids and husband get a hold of it and well… you know the rest. I saw an idea on Pinterest for using clear containers with labels for storing items, as well as using a lazy susan for spices. The chance to (1) go shopping and (2) make labels? Sign me up! Here’s the finished product!

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