Monday, June 29, 2015

My Favourite Quote

There's one quote that I like to pull out of my hat every once and again.  I'm assuming I heard it from my Mom but I'm not sure.  I love using it with my students because optimism is a learned behaviour.

It is basically the typical extrovert's calling card and has never lead me astray.  And when I say never, I mean never.

Why is that?  Well quite simply...nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Since I didn't have what I wanted to begin with, I've got nothing to lose if I don't end up with it after trying to get it. Sure my pride might get hurt in the process or I might make a fool out of myself, but who cares?


Life is full of adventures and opportunities that far too many of us are afraid of trying.  I urge you to think about something you want and just GO FOR IT!

Here are a few easy suggestions to get you started :-)

The next time you need to pay a phone/magazine/newspaper bill, ask to see if there are any promotions or discounts available.  There almost ALWAYS are!

If you see something at a store that you really want but there's a scratch on it or the package has already been opened, ask if you can get a discount.  You almost ALWAYS can!

If you see a stranger wearing a dress/earrings/shoes that you love, compliment her and then ask her where she got it from.  She will almost ALWAYS be happy to share her sources!  Don't expect her to give them to you though, LOL.

Thank you Miss Monica for another fun link-up!  I look forward to learning some new quotes.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rock Star Tips for Beginning Teachers

Few things are as exciting and nerve wracking as being a new teacher.  You have invested so much time and effort into learning all you can about the teaching profession and the time has finally come for you to get the keys to your very own classroom!  #pinchme

I am so excited to be linking up with Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls to give you my I wish I was a Rock Star tips for beginning teachers.  I love the idea of helping out new teacher peeps!

So let's get to it :-)

1) Get to know the school custodian

2) Invest in a large filing cabinet (or more!)

3) Stock up on throat lozenges and buy a high quality thermal mug for hot drinks to sip on all day

1) Post things on Social Media without thinking
My friend Kristy over at 2 Peas and a Dog wrote an amazing blog post about Social Media tips for teachers.  You know it's good when Teachers Pay Teachers shares it on their Facebook page!

2) Let school be all encompassing
My first year of teaching I taught English Immersion to an amazing group of 50 (two classes of 25) SK students in Tours, France.  I was so overwhelmed and had such an enormous sense of responsibility for those cuties, that I often stayed very late at work and went in on weekends. School/Life balance is a must!

1) Don't sweat the small stuff

Mistakes happen to us all so don't sweat the small stuff.  You'll feel embarrassed when you drop or break something in front of your class the first time (and chances are they will giggle!) so make a joke about it and move on.  No one is perfect and you are trying your best. Try not to be too hard on yourself.

If you are just starting out, or about to begin your 16th year of teaching like I am, I hope that you found at least one little nugget of wisdom in this post.  Here's wishing you an excellent rest of your summer and a wonderful start to your new school year!

Be sure to check out Chandra's link up for more tips from other teacher bloggers and make sure to follow them on social media too.

And, just in case you were wondering, if I was a rockstar I would be Shania Twain! #canadaproud

Sunday, June 21, 2015

3 items that mean the world to me

Every year my students visit a place called The Safety Village where they learn about fire safety.  It always gets me thinking about the possibility of my home burning down, however unlikely.  If I was inside, what would I grab before running out the door?
Obviously my children are my most precious gifts and my top priority so let's assume that they aren't home at the time because it goes without saying that I would save them before saving myself.
Would I stop and find something meaningful to me that I could save? Would you? (insert long pause and reflexion time, just like at school)

The truth is, I have 3 things that are extremely meaningful to me: my Nanny's engagement ring, my own engagement ring and a pillowcase my mother made for me before going to university.  I used it almost exclusively during those 5 years and then for an additional 3 years after that when I moved to France.  It's practically threadbare nowadays but I'll never part with it.

I had them all close to me on the most important day of my life which happened a little over 6 years ago. My son's birth.
When I suddenly went into labour 5 weeks early, and I didn't even have my overnight bag packed for the hospital yet, I took the time to grab the pillowcase with me before leaving the house.  My parents were out of the country at the time-darn those cheeky preemies for beating to their own drum!-but I was determined that my Mom would be at his birth. Since my fingers were so swollen during my pregnancy, I put my Nanny's ring on a necklace and wore it around my neck.  Not sure why I don't see it in this picture, but I had it with me for sure.  That's my cute stepson and proud new Daddy of son #2 with me.

Even though Miss Monica's link up this week wasn't meant to be a downer at all (like I'm turning this blog post into!) I really had to dig deep to think about what I value and what is meaningful to me.

On a lighter note, I want to give a special shout out to some other things that mean the world to me. In no particular favourite luxury purse, my Andrea Bocelli autograph in my France journal from 1996 that I got in the British Airways lounge before flying from Paris to London the day after he sang in the Miss France competition, the picture of me pulling a pint at the old Coronation Street set from last October, and my beloved cookbook collection.
Any other Andrea Bocelli fans out there? #lovethatalbum

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Teaching Quirk-Fa la la la la

Much to my students chagrin, I have a definite teaching quirk.  It happens without warning and can last for a few seconds to well over a minute.
I sing while I teach.  Or maybe it's I teach while I sing?  Either way, music is a big part of my life and has an integral place in my classroom.

This wouldn't be such a problem, perhaps, except for the fact that I can't sing.  I can carry a tune but my singing voice isn't very good. Sad but true.

My students don't know what to do about my teaching quirk either. When I break out in song some look at me and roll their eyes, some join in, but after they get over the shock, most of my kids just smile and let me be. Because guess what? They accept me for who I am and I'm so thankful for that.

I start out each day with my class by singing a kinesthetic days of the week song that I made up. Each day has actions as well as a song or jingle to match.  I'm pretty sure you can figure out what Monday's song is.

There was a period of time in my early teens that I listened to The Mama's and Papa's Greatest Hits over and over and over again on my cassette player. #70schild

On Thursday we create the letter T with one half of our bodies and the letter H with the other.  Paired together, it looks like we are doing this (cue Thursday's amazing song).
This week in class, we are finishing up our Mustache themed Father's Day presents.  Each Dad gets a card, a personalized coffee cup sleeve and a book all about why he is is "FANTACHETIC" (read: fan-tache-tic)
If you'd like to see some pictures, click on the link and check out my student samples.  Soooo cute! During our craft, I've brought out this song once or twice because it's so sweet and about a Father/Son relationship.
Like I said, I seem to know a song for every subject.  And if one doesn't exist I just make it up.

When I grew up, school was serious stuff.  I don't remember my teachers smiling much or doing any silly things. I'm sure there must have been lots of laughs, but I can only remember lots of seat work.

In my humble opinion, school should be fun.  There is no reason that teachers can't laugh, sing and/or dance and do an amazing job of educating at the same time.  Curriculum isn't boring, but the way we teach it sure can be. Any topic or strand can be turned into a game, song or fun activity.  There's a reason why The Ron Clark Academy is so popular and successful. #justsaying

Thank you to Miss Monica from I Heart Grade 3 for another great link-up!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Camping We Will Go

Every year my family and I go camping at Long Point Provincial Park on Lake Erie in Ontario.  My Dad's side of the family used to camp there and my parents have been taking me ever since I was a baby.

Obviously, I had to keep up the tradition and bring my little one for his inaugural trip when he was 4 months old.  I might look happy in this picture but it's probably because we are just about to head home. That trip overwhelmed me to the point of tears. #sleepdeprivation #heatwave #mosquitoes

Long Point is famous for its long sandy beach and amazing campsites. One of our favourite things to do there is walk along the beach and look for sea glass and interesting shells.

My latest product, Camping Supplies: Adding Canadian Money to $1, was inspired by my summertime experiences.

It was a huge hit with my Grade 2s.  They loved pretending to go on a real adventure together.  And as my one student said, "Wow! These prices are AMAZING!"  If only a new fancy tent cost so little ;-)

My favourite part of the unit was when my students got to create and sell a "Custom Tent".

Considering most tents were under $1, it's safe to say all tents were sold.

This one is a bit scary for my liking (memories of Jurassic Park...yikes!)

Although I can't share my world famous roasted marshmallows with you, I can treat you to a few camping themed pages: Camping goodies just for you!

Are you an American teacher?  I have a USA coin & spelling version available in my store too!

Enjoy and if you wouldn't mind, please share your favourite campgrounds in the comment section. My parents travel all across North America with their RV and are always looking for hidden gems!