Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Week 2015 with Blog Hoppin Fun Facts about ME!

It's finally here! I absolutely love Teacher Week at Blog Hoppin' and can't wait to share a few things about me this week! It has been a crazy start to the school year so I am so glad to be able to take some time and do what I completely love...BLOG FOR YOU!

 

So here it goes....5 things that you are just dying to know about me! 

1.  I am a proud momma of a gorgeous girl that is the love of my life! She is my greatest source of joy and I am so amazed by her everyday. Beautiful, smart, kind, talented and funny...and my greatest blessing! She is growing up way to quickly and I think it really hit me this year, when I watched her at her Junior High Orientation. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to be present because time with my beautiful girl, the way that it is now, is flying by.

2. I have a fur baby that is 14 years old. He is my best friend and has been with me through all the good and not so good moments of my adult life. Harrison is the sweetest, loving little guy you could ever meet and one of my favorite ways to end the day is snuggled up to my sweet Harry.

3. I have been blogging for 4 1/2 years. Ya'll,  I had to look it up because I wasn't completely sure. I have been following blogs for so long that I really have a hard time remembering how I taught with out all the incredible inspiration that I have found from blogs... not to mention all the amazing friends that I have made because of them. I never thought that blogging would be such a huge part of who I am, the people that I call friends and the teacher that I have become. 

4. I am a proud member of the Blog Hoppin' crew! Yes, I am one lucky lady...not only do I get to blog along side the very ladies that inspired me to create this little piece of the word that I call Curls and a Smile, but they are always there for me and are constantly pushing me to be a better blogger, teacher and friend. I owe them so much and I hope that I make them proud!

5. I have been a teacher for 16 years.  I spent 11 years in first grade, 2 years in second and 3 years in fourth grade. In that time, I have been lucky to have been chosen as Teacher of the Year for my school and also Elementary Teacher of the Year for the District. It still feels like a dream and I spend everyday making sure to live up to that honor. 

But wait... there is more!! Here are some fun fast facts....ready....?
I love coffee, like seriously love it...alot.
I am totally addicted to office supplies and am super picky about my pens,..and other supplies.
Technology is amazing and I use it in class all the time!
I love using technology to connect with other teachers!
Books are my escape and I read several books at one time!

Make sure to join the fun over at Blog Hoppin' by linking up or reading along this week!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bright Ideas Link Up- Time Saving Tips

I am so glad to be back for another awesome Bright Ideas Link up! As the school year begins, it is always a great time to find ways to save a little time. Here are a few of my favorite ways to be effective and get a little more done!


When I am grading, I always use Groovy Grader. It is an app that resembles our old green Easy Grader (oh you know what I am talking about...LOL)! I have it installed on both my iPhone and iPad and it is so convenient when I am grading just about anywhere! It's a must have for sure!

Another fabulous way that I save time is using Dropbox. This has to be my favorite way to store and access my files and allows me to be able to work on lesson plans, class resources and products for Teachers Pay Teachers just about anytime, anywhere. Now more carrying a 5 or 6 flash drives! All I need is right there on any computer that I have installed it on or through the iPad and iPhone apps.I can also access the website from any wired device. 


Another way that I save time (and build relationships with parents) is using what might very well be one of my favorite apps ever...Remind! I can send text messages to my parents to remind them of all the great things going on at school! The app as been updated to include the ability to send pictures, files and even chat with your parents through the app! You can set office hours so that you will not be disturbed at home and allows you to respond when you are ready. It is the absolute best!!


Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. 

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Favorite Planner...Ever! {From the Girl Who Loves Office Supplies}

Hi. My name is Lynda.... and I am addicted to office supplies! If there is a pen, pencil ...notepad ...paperclip ...marker ....watch out! I am all about it!

I am super picky about my selection of planners, calendars and notepads. So when I say that this is my favorite planner of all time....you know I am serious! Finding the perfect planner can really be a difficult task and let's face it, your planner is your life! So it's important to find the perfect one....


And this is it....


April's planner is perfect for all my needs- both teacher and personal! 

The planner begins with the monthly tabs. This is where I keep all my important dates and meetings for school and for my crazy busy life as a momma too. I love color coding everything, so the pages are great for including all of the days' events, whether personal or professional. 


{A pretty place to put your name}

{Monthly tabs to make everything easy to find}


{A convenient place for notes- 
I love to use post-its so that I can continue to add and change 
notes through out the month,} 

{Weekly page for all your planning needs}


The At-a-Glance is my favorite way to keep organized! I use this part of the Life Map to plan ahead for the year. I am able to add information such as admin contacts, schedules, student names and contact information and student birthdays.


 {Admin, substitute and teammate information}

 {Student contact information}

{Don't forget your sweet kiddos b-days with this great page!}

{This is perfect for place for your weekly sticky notes}


The very best part...there are pages, organized by week, for long term planning!!! This is one of my FAVORITE features and makes planning so much easier!

{These are my favorite pages!} 


There are some wonderful pages for notes and ideas. 
It's great to have free space for all life's little notes!



April is amazingly talented and has done a beautiful job of creating a planner that meets all my needs and is OH SO PRETTY to look at! The bright colors and great organization are just what I need and allows for a perfect blend of my school life and my Mama life...I couldn't ask for more!

Now...for  a little surprise...

Are you in love and want the chance to win this awesome planner? April has kindly offered one lucky reader a planner!!!  All you have to do is check out the rafflecopter below to enter! We will have a winner on Sunday.....I am so excited!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bright Ideas: Twitter for Teachers- Getting Started

This summer, my eyes have definitely been opened to the power of Twitter. For many years, it has been just another place to post about my blog and resources and maybe read a little something about current events.

I had no idea how powerful a tool Twitter could be for me as a teacher!  So I am going to share a few bright ideas on how you can get started on Twitter and begin to change the way you think about professional development. 


1. First, set up your account. A great app that answers a ton of  Twitter questions and gets you started is TweechMe. It's a perfect little manual for the big wide world of Twitter!

2. If you don't already follow your favorite blogs and educational publishers, that is a great place to start! There is a world of ways to find resources and learn more about educational subjects just at the tip of your fingers!

3. Follow your favorite educational authors! Twitter is the most amazing way to interact with and learn from the best! You can find book studies and twitter chats that are based on the author's writing and allows you to connect with wonderful teachers from around the world! There is nothing like tweeting with author's and asking them your burning questions! Best professional development around!

3. Lurk...then plunge! Hashtags (or as some of us remember, the pound sign...LOL) is a great way to see what people are saying about just about anything that you might be looking for and is a perefect place to start when looking for Twitter chats. There are some great hashtags such as #edtech and #edchat that are full of fabulous tweets and people to follow. 

Once you have found a Twitter chat that you want to explore, don't feel bad for just watching the chat happen! I was pretty intimated the first few times that I joined in on Twitter chats and I think the only thing I am have said was HI! When your ready...JUMP IN! Have fun, share your thoughts and don't forget to add your hashtag to your response (so everyone can see your tweet)!

4. If you want to watch and participate in more than one chat...and yes, you will become addicted and become a pro and want to join every chat you see...LOL....

Tweet Deck is a great website that will allow you to view and participate in several chats in a super easy, organized way! More to come on that next time...

I have set up a Pinterest board- Twitter for Teachers for my new fave way to connect with tons of tips on how to become a Twitter master! 

I truly hope that you enjoyed this bright idea and I would love for you to  joining me on  Facebook, Instagram  or Pinterest for more fun ideas! 

Check out the other amazing authors in our link up this month:


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bright Ideas Blog Link Up- Quick and Easy Station Rotation Chart {All Grades}

Yes! It's that time again!


This monthly blog link up is one of my favorites! There are so many amazing ideas shared by so any talented and creative teachers and I can't wait to check out their ideas!

So this month, I have something that you are going to love! As we all know, station or center rotation charts can be a  little expensive and hard to manage. I am the first to admit that it was a class job for my kiddos because I would get so into my small group lesson that would never get to the chart to rotate the stations.  This was something that worked out perfectly for me and I hope that you can use it too! 

Using Power Point, I created a slide for my rotations. Each kiddo was assigned their small group number and this was on a dot on their desk. The great thing about the sticker dots, is that if I wanted to change their group, all I had to do was drop another sticker on top! Yay for super easy!


Once I created the first slide, I changed the group numbers on the rest of the slides and then put it on a timer. 




Every 20  minutes, the PowerPoint would switch and a new rotation would begin. My students had fun putting in sounds and music to transition the slides and loved getting to change the sounds as a reward!

This worked out so well for my kiddos and for me too! The benefits of having this was that it was easy to make and easy to manage. The slide show took me about 10 minutes to make and can be edited very easily. I can change the theme of the station chart (this one was a beach theme for our last few days of school) quickly, edit it from home and can make changes to the stations in a click of the mouse!

After trying several different ways of organizing my stations, this is by far the best system that I have used and I can't wait to make more templates to add to our themes throughout the year!

(Want to save this for later? Here is a Pin for you!)

I truly hope that you enjoyed this bright idea and I would love for you to  joining me on  Facebook,  Instagram  or Pinterest for more fun ideas! 

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. See you next month!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bright Ideas- Summer Reading List

I can't believe that the school year is wrapping it! This year went by so quickly and I have been so lucky to have one of the best classes in my 15 years of teaching (and I was able to be their teacher twice...woohoo!)



As the summer approaches, I love to spend time thinking about what I can improve on for next year. Planning begins quickly and the search of new strategies, techniques and approaches are necessary for making next year great! So for this Bright Idea, I thought I would share a few of the great books that I have planned to read this summer....#booknerd...

I am a huge reader and have a large list of books to read that will help build my teacher toolbox for next year. This summer I have the following books that I think are going to be AMAZING!




I will just let you know that this list is ever growing! Two other great books that have made my list are....



I love to be collaborative so you know that I will be planning several conversations about these to get tons of  POVs!  Another great thing about these books is that there are awesome Twitter chats that will get you involved, thinking and sharing in 140 characters or less! How fabulous is that? Make sure to check out each of the authors on Twitter so you can also get in on the conversation! 

You can chat with my on Twitter too! My twitter handle is @curlsandasmile and I can't wait to connect and share ideas with you! This is going to be an awesome summer! 


If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bright Ideas Blog Hop- Quick and Easy Dry Erase

Whew! It has been CRAZY these last couple of weeks with our second ground of state testing coming up next week! I am so happy to take a break from all the madness to share with you another one of my little tricks of the trade and join the lovely bloggers in the Bright Ideas Link Up this month!


I absolutely love to see my students demonstrate their thinking while we are working in class. It is such a powerful tool and it allows me to check in and see what their understanding of the concept is at different moments of learning. With that being said, my kiddos write on their desks all the time! But there are times when I want them to move freely, group with students that are not at their table or maybe just work independently...but away from their desks.  

So my kiddos and I love to use this super easy and quick way to have an instant dry erase surface. 

Here is what you need: Clear View Binder (I bought mine at the Dollar General...happy dance!), dry erase markers and white paper.


The beauty of this little trick is that it is so versatile. All you have to do is out the paper into the clear sleeve on the cover and then write away! 

It has been such a easy way to give students another writing surface. The best part is that you can out anything from passages that students can use to provide text evidence to math word problems! It works great in stations and best of all, the kiddos have a writing space when they are doing their homework. That alone won me some major cool points with my fourth graders!


Don't you just love it?

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!