Sunday, June 28, 2015

ROCK Your First Year Teaching

I'm truly excited to be linking up with my real teacher blogger friend and co-worker from my school, Lyssa from My Mommy Reads and her friend Chandra, from Teaching with Crayons and Curls to present this How to Rock Your 1st Year post.

It's so hard to think my first year teaching was 10 years ago...I mean I am still a thin, eager, 22 year old newbie, right?!?  Well about the only part of that statement that is still accurate is that I'm eager.  My first few years I would like to think I did many things right...but I also made many mistakes.  Here is my advice to new teachers:

REALLY Get to Know Your Kids:
This is the piece of advice that I would give any or veteran.  It sounds easy, but it truly takes time, energy, effort, and patience.  I think the relationship you form with your students is the most important foundation you can lay for your year.  Sure, read their former report cards, assess their reading level, collect academic data...but, that's not enough.  Find out what they love...and love those things too.  Find out what they hope for, what makes them scared, who their friends are, etc.  When you invest in a personal relationship with your students, and get to know them individually, they will learn to trust you and work hard for you in return.  One of the greatest compliments I get each year from most of my parents is that "you just get my kid" my book, that's a job well done!

COLLABORATE with Your Team:
Your co-workers can be your best weapon of defense when you face the pitfalls of your job.  Go to meetings, ask how they do things in their classroom, if possible, watch them teach a lesson.  Listen to what has worked for them and what has not.  Plan, plan, plan, with the people on your team.  Share your ideas with them, too!  Take time to foster those relationships...some days you'll spend more time with your school family than your real one!

Set High Expectations
I am seriously all about building relationships with your kids...but not at the point of being their "best friend" or a "door mat".  From the moment your students walk in, set clear, high expectations, for the kind of students and young people you want them to be.  Make sure they know you are there to help guide them and grow them...but that you are in charge.  Be clear about how you expect your students to work and treat others...and don't stray from maintaining that level of expectations throughout the year.

Check Your E-Mail at Night
Ok, so honestly, I only learned this lesson a few years ago...but it is at the top of my list for teacher don'ts.   DO NOT CHECK WORK E-MAIL AT NIGHT.  I'm serious!  Inevitably, you are going to open an e-mail at 6:30 PM, just when you should be sitting down for a glass of wine and gourmet meal your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/husband just cooked for you (you can wish),  and you will find an e-mail from an unhappy parent, coworker, etc. (I know you are aghast at the moment, because you couldn't possibly have made someone unhappy!).  Then, your evening will be turned into anger, disappointment, etc.  There is truly nothing that can't wait until the morning.  My evenings with my family are precious, and yours are, too!  When you leave school, leave your e-mail there, too!  I am clear about this with my parents, and they actually respect me more for it!

Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
You are going to make's ok.  I take great pride in my work, and I'm sure you do too, but you're going to make mistakes.  More your first year probably than your 10th, but I'm still making them.  Here's the thing...admit when you mess up and ask for help!  We don't expect our students to be we can't be either.   Be honest with your kids..."Hey guys, so yesterday, I thought that our math lesson was going to be #thecoolest, but it didn't go so well...I'm sorry, today, we're going to try again."  You're human, admit you made a mistake, learn from it, and move on.

Have Other Priorities
You no doubt chose this profession of teaching, because it is a passion.  You need to spend time at it, plan, work hard, etc.  That being said, have other priorities, and allow yourself to focus time, energy and love on those too.  If it is time for yourself--take it.  Time with your family--spend it.  Have distractions outside of school and don't feel guilty about having a life outside of school. 

Now, go rock your first year! 

Hootfully yours,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday Linky Party

I'm so excited to be linking up for my very first Five for Friday with the wonderful Doodle Bugs Teaching.  I've been wanting to join in for some time!

Here's what's been going on in The Owl Teach world this week!

I've been linking up with some of the teach bloggers I so admire this summer for Tell All Tuesdays and the TPT Seller Challenge.  Both assignments this week really had me thinking about my hopes, dreams, and plans for the future as a teacher, TPTer, and blogger.  It was great to really focus in on why I do what I do and my motivation for continuing to do it.  You can read both of my blog posts about my Teacher Bucket List and Dare to Dream challenge!

My little guy and I spent the last week both getting over some sinus and ear infections, so yesterday we finally got to hit the neighborhood pool again.  My little water bug just loves to SWIM, and we both loved being out in the beautiful sunshine.

I read on another teacher blog (so sorry I can't remember who to give them credit) that the summer is the perfect time for teachers to really work on their TPT stores---she said Create and Wait!  I've been working super hard on getting products that I'll use in the upcoming year created and posted.  I finished a Matter SCOOT, Force SCOOT, Energy SCOOT, and I created a BUNDLE!  I'm super proud of these Second Grade Science Scoots!  My kids simply LOVE SCOOT activities, because it gets them up and moving and talking about their learning!

My friend Amber from First Grade Diva Creations spotted me on the front page as the featured teacher author earlier this week!  I was so thankful she spotted me and posted to my Facebook, or I would never have even known!  It was an exciting little Tuesday night discovery!

So I am by nature pretty OCD about a lot of thing.  I like to be organized...but that doesn't always translate to my classroom.  So, I have made a New School Year's Resolution to really get organized and ready for a productive school year.  I started creating these adorable math game labels for my rainbow storage carts.  They turned out just how I wanted them to...but they were a bit of a pill to cut out!  Cute labels were worth it though!

Thanks for reading!  

Hootfully Yours,


TPT Seller Challenge: Dare to Dream

I'm linking up for the 2nd week of the TPT Seller Challenge from the ladies of Sparkling in SecondThird in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Teach Create Motivate.

This week's theme was DARE to DREAM.  Here are my dreams for growing my TPT and blogging business!

1.  TPT VEGAS 2016
I am so bummed not to be able to attend this year's Vegas event!  So many amazing teachers that I follow and admire will be there.  I would love to meet new friends and learn from other amazing educators.  I definitely have a major case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) this year, but next year is going to be on the top of my priorities for saving and planning next summer!

2.  Pay off Debt
My husband and I would love to pay off car loans, medical debt, etc.  We are fortunate enough not to have student loans, but we have other debt that we are working hard to make disappear!  I would love for my TPT business to help us pay off what we owe quickly, so that we can live with more financial freedom!

3.  Save for a NEW House
We would love to start saving for our forever home.  We like our current house, but it is about 45 minutes from my school--which makes for a LONG commute.  We'd love something a little bigger, with a little more land for our family.  

4.  Become a Stay at Home Mom
I have the CUTEST, SWEETEST, SMARTEST, FUNNIEST, little boy in the whole entire world---that's not even my bias talking---it's the truth!  I'm so lucky that he can stay with my parents 2 days a week and has an amazing babysitter the rest of the week while I am teaching.  However, I want to be home with him.  I want to be his room mom when he starts school, and be Mystery Reader in his class, and go on field trips.  I would love for TPT to help supplement my husband's income to make this life long dream a real possibility.

5.  Live Generously
One of my 2 main love languages is gifts...I love giving and doing for others.  I don't expect big, fancy, expensive gifts in return, but I love giving of myself and my talents to my friends, families, and those less fortunate.  I want to do more of this in life to spread joy and happiness.

I loved thinking about my dreams this week, as it helps me to goal-set, plan, and start working towards making these BIG DREAMS come true!  Can't wait to read about everyone else's dreams!

Hootfully yours,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Teacher Bucket List Edition

It's my favorite blogging day of the week--Tell All Tuesday!  I'm LOVING this linky series from My Day in K and Teach.Talk.Inspire.

This week's theme is all about creating your own Teacher Bucket List.  Here is mine:

Go Back to School:
I wish I had been in a position to get my Graduate Degree right out of college, but I couldn't at the time.  Over the past 9 years, I've applied and been accepted to two different programs, but life keeps putting extra school on hold.  Good things about life no doubt... my beautiful family!  However, I love being in school.  Research/reading/writing...I'm a school nerd at heart.  I would love to eventually earn my Specialist's Degree in Curriculum/Instruction.  

Attend a Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Summer Workshop
My wonderful school became one of TCRWP's project schools several years ago.  We have had the most amazing trainers come to work with us and our students for intense training in both reading and writing.  I loved every minute of it.  Nevertheless, I would love to spend a week in NY doing one of their Summer Workshop Training experiences--maybe even meet Lucy Calkins herself!

Present at a Conference/Workshop
One day I would really love to teach and present to other teachers.  I've had a few groups of teachers come in to watch me teach Reading/Writing Workshop in my classroom, and I even taught a Reading/Writing Workshop conference at my school last summer for about 20 other second grade teachers...but I'd like to explore this facet of my career further.  I actually LOVE public speaking...helping other teachers and collaborating with colleagues.  

Grow my Blog/TPT Store
I'm a new blogger.  I've been at TPT a while longer, but not until recently have I really been trying to build my business.  I LOVE creating resources for my classroom, and I love the idea that other teachers can find these resources helpful in their classrooms.  I would love for this blog and my TPT store to gain followers.  I would love to meet some of the teachers that I have blog stalked followed, and I would REALLY love to be at TPTVEGAS16...hate that I am missing out this year, but next year is in my plans!

Can't wait to hear about everyone else's Teacher Bucket Lists!  Hope everyone is staying cool in the Summer Heat!

Hootfully Yours,

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness!

I'm so excited about joining in on the TPT Seller Challenge.  I'm finding awesome, new blogs to follow and learning so much from fellow teachers!  What a fun and motivating way to spend some time working this summer!

I actually started selling on TPT almost 8 years ago...BEFORE cute product covers, digital clip art, etc.  I put up mostly tests, quizzes, and projects that I was creating for my then co-taught 4th grade class.  I then went through some difficult years in my personal life, due to a divorce at a young age.  It was such a challenging time, that my TPT energy truly went to the wayside.  I left products up, but didn't update or create new projects for almost five years.

After I met and started dating my new husband (my truly perfect match), I was also moved to second grade, and I started creating products for my classroom and started putting new energy and time into working on my TPT store and products.  I really have only been back at working on it for under two years.  In that time.. I've realized most all of my old products were in desperate need for this challenge has been perfect!

This week I completely reworked 2 old products for the Makeover Madness, and I'm truly motivated to keep up the makeovers until my old products are up to my current standards!  Here's what I have done so far!

Makeover #1:  Simple Machines Test
This product did not even have a product cover!  It was a simple 4 page test with NO answer key!  Now, it has updated fonts and clip art, includes a study guide, and answers keys for the test and study guide!
Makeover #2:  Money Top It Game
This product also was lacking a cover.  It also only included amounts of money up to $2.00.  Now, the game includes 60 playing cards (instead of 48) with combinations of bills and coins up to $5.00.  I also added updated directions and a money reference chart for students to use while playing!

I'm so glad to have joined this challenge.  I'm so appreciative of Sparkling in SecondTeach. Create. Motivate.Third in Hollywood, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista for putting together this little summer challenge for everyone!

Would love to hear your thoughts about my makeovers!

Hootfully Yours,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tell All Tuesday- Summer Snapshot

It's STEAMING hot in the Peach State this week, which is the perfect reason to stay indoors and link up with My Day in K and Teach. Talk. Inspire. again this week for Tell All Tuesday:  Summer Snapshot Edition!  

For almost 30 years my family and I have vacationed at the beautiful Jekyll Island on the coast of Georgia.  It is a tiny island (only 14 miles), with few of the "attractions" of other islands, but it is quiet, peaceful, and special to our family.  Legend on the island says that once your feet touch the sand on Jekyll, you'll always return there...and we have.  Luckily for me, my husband fell in love with the island too, and last year we took our son for the first time.  The island has had a good bit of new building and renovations done in the past year, so we're expecting some big changes when we head south in July, but I simply can't wait to unplug and enjoy our family time on our favorite little getaway!

This picture includes sunset on the fishing pier, a funky driftwood tree, and my little guy looking at the ocean last summer!  

I can't wait to hear about everyone else's favorite summer memories and landing spots!

Hootfully yours,


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer TPT Seller Challenge

I'm looking forward to joining in on a super fun Summer TPT Seller Challenge with the amazing ladies at Sparkling in Second, Teach. Create. Motivate, Peppy Zesty Teacherista and Third in Hollywood!  I started my blog last fall, but have not figured out just the perfect formula of time spent on each different form of social media, on creating new resources, etc. to really build followers and stats across the board!  I'm looking forward to learning a lot and pushing myself during this next few weeks to improve my business AND meet some new teacher blogger friends!

Hope you'll check back tomorrow to hear how I'm starting off my challenge!

Hootfully yours,


Friday, June 12, 2015

Truths Be Told & Summer Sale

I had so much fun getting to read so many of the other teacher bloggers' posts for the first week of the Tell All Tuesday Linky Party.  Even though the first week's game is officially over for many bloggers, I'm still planning on reading the rest of the posts I didn't get a chance to get through earlier this week!

So, what was my lie?  It was actually #1, the one about being an adrenaline junkie!  While I'll ride a roller coaster once in a while, I have never been bungee jumping or sky diving.  Actually, the thought of being pulled back up from a giant rubber band, only to fall down and bounce up again, makes my whole body hurt!  Truth be told...I really do hate fruit and I really did play the part of the Virgin Mary one night in high major acting or speaking was required--THANK GOODNESS!

This was so fun and such a great way to get to know some of my fellow teacher bloggers better!  I can't wait for next week's topic from Teach.Talk. Inspire. and My Day in K.  Two of you guessed correctly,  Camping Teacher and Second in Line, so I'd love for each of you to choose a product from my store, which I can send for you for FREE--just send me an e-mail!  Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read and comment!

To celebrate SUMMER, I'm also linking up with my friends from The Primary Pack for their Splash into a Summer Sale!  For the rest of the weekend, my entire store is 20% off!  What a great way to get your feet wet with some summer savings!  Happy shopping!

Hootfully yours,

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Linky Party

So I'm so excited to get back to blogging and to learn more about so many of the amazing teacher bloggers I follow!  Hopefully, some new visitors will come by to visit me too!  So I'm delighted to be linking up with my friends from My Day in K and Teach. Talk. Inspire. for their new fun Weekly Summer Linky Series!

So since this week's theme is Two Truths and a Lie...leave a comment with the fact about me that you think is a lie!  I can't wait to read and interact with more of you this summer!

Two Truths and a Lie about The Owl Teach:

1.  I am an adrenaline junkie.  I'm talking roller coaster fanatic, race car riding, sky scraper climbing, addict.  I have been bungee jumping three times and sky diving once.  I can't wait to plan my next jump out of a plane with my husband.

2.  During my senior year of high school, I played the role of the Virgin Mary during the production of the Live Nativity.  I may have been far away from having my own son then, but I could even tell at that time that being nine months pregnant and on the back of a donkey would not have been enjoyable.  

3.  I hate fruit.  Like can't stand it at all.  I know it has many healthy benefits, but I just don't enjoy the taste of any fruits.  I will force myself to eat apples, bananas, berries, and grapes, but I see it as a chore.  Unless it's fresh lime juice...mixed with a little the form of a margarita on a hot, summer day!  

So which detail is the LIE?  Leave a comment with your guess and be sure to follow my blog and check back later this week to see if you were correct!  There just might be a little surprise for someone who correctly guesses!

Hootfully yours,


Monday, June 8, 2015

End of the Year in Review

I'm a week and a half into Summer Vacation, and I'm LOVING being a stay-at-home-mom for a few weeks with my awesome two year old little boy!  Of course the end of the year was a crazy-busy, whirlwind of parties, awards, celebrations, field day, etc.  Here are some of the highlights from the month of May at my school and with my sweet 2nd graders!

First of all, I was shocked and honored to be named my school's Teacher of the Year for the upcoming school year!  I was so blown away to be nominated by my friends and co-workers, and to have be selected by my school staff!

I hosted a class graduation party for my awesome student teacher, complete with graduation cap snacks and a school supply cake to go along with the tons of books and supplies my students brought to help her get started in her own class next year!

I had an AWESOME End of Year Party with my students and their amazing parents...our theme was "We'll OWL-WAYS Remember Second Grade".  Check out the pics of our great party!  We had OWL treats, owl trophies, and enjoyed sharing our individual and class ABC's of 2nd Grade informational books.  It was such a special event for my students and families.

I don't have pictures of my room completely packed up and cleared out for summer cleaning...the last few weeks of school brought packing, furniture moving, cleaning, and crazy amounts of report card writing!

Would love to hear how you celebrated the end of your school year!  Now, I am getting started on my Summer Bucket List...time with the little man, trips to the zoo, the pool, the beach, maybe a book or two...I'm sure pre-planning will be here before I can blink!

Hootfully yours,