Sunday, January 24, 2016

Current Cali Crushes of a So Cal Teacher: Winter Blog Hop, Giveaway, & Freebies!!!

I am a born and bred Southern California girl. My parents met here. I was born here. I grew up and went to school here. I LOVE Southern California!!! For this reason I am extremely happy to be teaming up with the fabulous Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools and my other amazing Southern California teachers to bring your our favorite things about So Cal, a winter freebie blog hop, and a chance to win an Amazon gift card!!



While there are just so many things I love about Southern California, here are my super six current Cali crushes!

Current Cali Crush #1: My Family


So, I realize how insanely cliche this is, but honestly, for me my family really is the best thing about living in So Cal. The vast majority of my family on both my mom's and dad's sides live in Southern California (and on my dad's side in particular, we are a family of teachers). I was just thinking a few weeks ago about how incredibly thankful I am to live close to my family. They are always so supportive of me personally and my career. Being able to go home to my parents' on the weekend, meetup with my siblings for brunch, take a weekend away with aunts, etc. makes living in So California so wonderful. Below is a photo from my brother's wedding last year! #iheartmyfamily


Current Cali Crush #2: The Weather


It's nothing new that the weather in Southern California is wonderful, but let me tell you, it really is just perfect. I love chillin' by the pool as I lesson plan, cuddling up by a fire listening to the rain (not lots of rain or very often, but you know, every so often) as I cut lamination, or sipping hot chocolate outside a coffee shop while I blog as a crisp breeze gently lifts a scattering of leaves. Our Cali weather is mild and pleasant; we get glimpses of all kinds of fun weather in its most gentle form. We don't usually have crazy storms, we don't have to worry about snow days, and I've never had to change my outfit plans due to weather. Adding or subtracting a few layers or switching out boots for heels are a quick fix! How can you not love that?!?


Current Cali Crush #3: The Eats


The eats, oh, the eats. Whatever you want, and I do mean whatever, to eat is here in Southern California in it's finest form. From the newest food fad to home cooked traditional, from the latest health food craze to comfort food at its best, from the chef's table at a five-star restaurant to deliciousness off the side of a food truck, Southern California cuisine has got you covered. I love a Saturday brunch followed by a night farmer's market to high tea the following day with tapas for dinner.


Current Cali Crush #4: Disneyland


Have you seen that t-shirt floating around IG and FB that says, "Teacher by Day, Disney Princess by Night." Yeah, so, I own that...One of my dreams may possibly be to wake up in a Princess Diaries-type scenario. While my Mia Thermopolis fantasies have yet to become reality (I am still wishing upon a star), I can live out my inner princess at the happiest place on earth. I grew up on Disney movies and books, and I can sing just about any Disney song on command. This year my incredible roommate got me an annual pass for my birthday, and so some days I just walk through Disneyland after school. The characters, music, and smiles all make me so happy!! My inner princess floats through the park absolutely tickled pink. I love living so close to such a magical, wonderful place!


Current Cali Crush #5: The Beach


So this one kind of goes without saying. The beach is wonderful. I grew up super close to the beach and loved playing in the sand and water. #reallife now means I don't get to go as often, but the handful of times I do go each year make me so happy that I live so close to the water. I'm never more than 30 minutes away from crashing waves and the setting sun. This candid photo was taken by my sister-in-law on an epic, last-minute adventure we  took the weekend after school started this past August (see more about adventures below). Given that the school year was just starting, she said it looked like I was ready to take on the world. Truth be told, I was totally crying after a crazy first week of school (don't be alarmed, it was a great first week, but life is sometimes just rough). Amid my first week of school exhaustion compounded by life, the beauty of my surroundings all helped to put everything in perspective. Sometimes it's a bonfire with friends, other times a day of basking in the sun for that perfect "skin-kissed glow," and still others a moment of reflection, make the beach definitely a fav of mine!


Current Cali Crush #6: The Adventures


While California Adventures is actually it's own Disney theme park (which I absolutely love...see Current Cali Crush #4 above), I love that California is a great place for adventures. Whether you're seeking a mountain adventure, a beachside weekend, a day trip downtown, an afternoon of museums and art, a night on the town, a dinner cruise on the water, or anything else you'd like, adventures abound in So Cal. The photo below was taken on a weekend adventure to Oak Glen for a day of all things apples, delicious food, craft fair shopping, and a beautiful "hike" (if you know me well, actually if you know me at all, you know I don't hike).


Like life and teaching, Southern California is one big adventure after another! I hope you've enjoyed a little peak into the So Cal life!

Snag a Freebie: Snowman Solids Pack


Also, be sure to grab my winter freebie, "Snowman Solids FREEBIE Preview." This is part of our "States of Matter Unit" in science. This pack includes a solids anchor chart song and a number of fun solids activities!! Click on the product or "Snag a Winter" link below for the freebie! If you like this preview, you can check out the full product on my TPT store! Hope you enjoy!



Blog Hop Continued...


Be sure to check out Nicole at Mrs. Rios Teaches to see all about her Southern California favorites and her freebie!!

Enter to Win!


In addition, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!!! Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
xoxo,


Sunday, January 17, 2016

GETTIN' PIED: Author's Purpose PIEs

To quote Carls Jr., 
"If it doesn't get all over the place, 
it doesn't belong in your face."

PIE FACE. Voted a top game of 2015. It's exciting. It's hysterical. It can end with pie in your face. Is there a game that is better than that?? Yeah, our class thinks there is nothing better! So taking a cue from Hope King, we learned author's purpose with the game PIE FACE!

Here is what our setup looked like!


Once everything was setup, we were ready to serve up author's purpose!


We learned about author's purpose using the acronym PIE (persuade, inform, entertain). We had some anchor charts to learn the definitions of the three different types as well as pies with different genre samples.


Our first activity was to sort different genre pie slices into the different pie tins!


My class was split into small groups to race to see who could sort the genre pie slices!


Here were the completed pies sorted by type!!!


Time is up!! One team finished "baking" (aka completing) their pies which means it was time for our first round of PIE FACE!!!!


For those who have not heard of this fabulous game, its a hybrid between Russian Roulette and pie throwing. You place whipped topping on the hand of the game, place your face on the "chopping block," spin the number spinner, and then turn the handle the number of spins you chose. Sometimes, the number of clicks does not set the hand off...and other times, the hand is released and you are pied. Below is what getting pied looks like! The kids LOVED it!!!


Now that students were able to sort author's purpose genres, it was time to sort different pie themed writing samples.


Each group read the slices and sorted them into the different pie tins!


The last team to finish got PIED!! Look at that smile!


The third activity was PIE Bingo!


There were 5 different Bingo boards and 3 different kinds of pie-themed Bingo chips! We used our PIE Spinner and Bingo boards to play our fun game! Below was the winner from our first round!


I lost...so I got PIED!!!!!


The firsties loved learning about author's purpose with PIE activities!


The smiles and craziness made this lesson so fun and fabulous!!!


Here were some of the things from our lesson -- PIE crowns, anchor charts, PIE spinner, genre pie slice, author's purpose writing slices, exit tickets, and Pie Face game!!!!


If you would like the learning resources that we used, feel free to pick it up in my TPT store HERE! It's on sale for a limited time!!!


Have fabulous fun with this author's purpose PIE lesson!!!

xoxo,


Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Plans & Goals for 2016: PUSH

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." 

T.S. Elliot


It's a bit of a tradition of mine to spend part of New Year's Day taking stock of the previous year and looking forward to the year that is to come. In consideration of my goals and plans for this year, I picked a word to keep me focused, grounded, and yet inspired. My word for 2016 is PUSH.


PUSH. Move forward. PUSH. Don't give up. PUSH. Never settle. PUSH. Keep going.


To me, the word "PUSH" embodies so many things. It's a reminder to myself to Persist Until you're Soaring Higher. You persist. You keep going. Whatever the challenge, you fight. Persist Until. Not persist until you give up. Not persist until you're done, because you're never done. Not until you've achieved...you can always achieve more. Persist Until you're Soaring. Not barely lifting off the ground, but soaring. Soaring above, soaring beyond. Soaring higher. Not just in a consistent way. But soaring higher, onward, and upward. Always persist. Persist until. Always be soaring. Soaring higher.

With that in mind, here are some ways I will push this year.


"We don't know who we are until we see what we can do." Martha Grimes


This year is about pushing myself. Life is too short to wait. Nothing great was ever achieved without a push. Never settle for where you are. Always want more. You are not competing against anyone else; you're just competing with who you were yesterday. Push forward. As a teacher I never want to stop learning. I never want to stop growing. There should always be progress. Always be improvement. I will push for this every day of 2016.


"Push yourself into the scary position where success is the only possibility." 

Dan Waldschmidt


Push the envelope. Push the norm. Push mediocrity. No advancement, no progress, was ever made without questioning the status quo, and actively seeking to change the norm. As teachers we know that "just because we've always done it that way" is no reason to continue to do something we don't believe in. This year I will strive to challenge convention. This is a year of not settling. This is the year of doing my absolute best!


"Surround yourself with people who push you. 

Challenge you. Make you better."


Pushing connections has so many implications. Pushing connections with my students, with my colleagues, and my family and those who support me. In such a busy world, taking time to make and sustain genuine connections takes conscious effort. I'm learning that it doesn't just happen. It means making time. My schedule is always packed (generally stressfully packed), so I never just "have time" to grab coffee to catch up. My days before school, during school, after-school, and in the evening are scheduled to the half-hour. I push to utilize and plan every minute of everyday to accomplish as much as I can. Since I never just "have time," I need to push to "make time." I need to learn to make time for these connections with people.

This year I am also pushing myself to connect with educators who inspire and encourage me. Whether on Instagram, Facebook, Periscope, Teach Happy Membership, at conferences, etc. I am going to push connections with those who make me better.



You never fail until you stop trying, so keep pushing. 


While this year is all about pushing onward and upward, it's important to consider that soaring higher will not always be smooth. With push sometimes come push-back. Progress is often met with challenge. However, when brick walls, obstacles, and life come in the way, this year is about pushing through. Not giving up. 2016 is about staying positive, choosing joy, and pushing through. 


"Push your limits...Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." 

Michele Valentine


Push limits. Push boundaries. Push outside of your comfort zone. This desire to push outside my comfort zone is where my word for 2016 originated. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Great things have never come in the comfort zones. Discover limitations and push past them. This year is very much wrapped around this goal to push and fly out of the familiar. Fly out of the safe. As Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it, "Do something everyday that scares you." 366 days (since it's a leap year) of things that scare me. This is what I'm pushing for. 


"You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them."


Let's see what limits we can push this year!! I'm looking forward to pushing, making progress, and rocking 2016!!! Be sure to check out #2getherwearebetter with Ashley Schroeder (HERE) and Ashley Olsen (HERE) and all their linky friends for their plans and goals for 2016! Join in the fun!!


Let's make 2016 amazing!!! Let's PUSH it!

xoxo,





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