Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently September!

Fall is almost here! My favorite time of the year! I just wish it actually felt like fall out here in California. I can't believe I let a month pass by without posting. This past month was so very hectic with changing schools and districts. We also just finished up our 3rd week of the school year. Wowsa!

The beginning of the month means it's time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for the always fun Currently! Make sure you head on over to her blog and link up!

I just got back from a pretty hard core mountain bike ride with the husband. I think my legs are going to fall off. So now I'm relaxing near the AC unit and listening to some awesome country jams. Yes, I am one of the few Californians that loves country. In fact, Sundays are my favorite because the local country station plays old school jams. I listen to everything music collection is pretty eclectic. That is how is should be though! There is so much amazing music out in this world in all genres! Why limit ourselves?!?!

The past two years have brought many amazing changes and opportunities my way. I'm just soaking it all in and enjoying living life to its fullest. I have been wanting to work closer to home and after 7 years of a very long commute (1.5 hours one way...unless of course the traffic was awful...then it would take longer). I am loving my 15-20 minute city street drive to work. I love my new school! Everyone has been so warm and welcoming. Looking forward to what the year will bring.

Who doesn't love the crisp fresh air that fall brings?

Now that I am saving a ton of time not having to commute to and from work, I want to start shooting more! Photography has always been a passion of mine. In fact, teaching wasn't something I had always wanted to do. I used to want to become a photographer. As it turns out life had different plans for me and I love teaching! But, I want to make time to allow for my creativity to flow.

I need to find some motivation to plan and so forth. I always tell myself I will do it over the weekend. Ya, that never happens. Even with this three day weekend, I haven't found the time to plan for the week or month. Sigh....

3 Trips:
I can only pick three?!?! I have a serious case of wanderlust and want to visit every corner of this amazing world. There is so much to see and experience. I've been fortunate to have been able to do quite a bit of traveling. The only problem with that is, I always come back adding locations I want to visit to my long list of travel destinations. Right now my top three destinations are Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco. Last year, I traveled to Abu Dhabi and fell in love with the Middle East. I want so much to head to Jordan and visit Petra! How amazing would that be. I'm fascinated with history and ever since I was a kid I have wanted to see the pyramids in Egypt. My husband says it is too dangerous right now for me to head that way. Hopefully one of these days. Morocco would be amazing! The colors, the bazaars, can I just hop on a plane right now?
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Currently August

I can't believe it is already August! August marks the end of my summer and the start of a new school year! Linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for Currently.

Listening: We've been catching up with one of our favorite tv shows, Hell on Wheels. We got a bit behind with season 3. Lucky for us they had a marathon today and we were able to catch up before the season 4 premiere. Yes, we were glued to the couch all day. I'm not embarrassed to admit that. My sister gave me a hard time when she called and I told her I couldn't talk today because we were catching up on our show. I've earned it, I can be lazy for a day. :)

Loving: Goodbye commute! For the past 7 years I have been commuting to work and it was getting really old. There were times I was stuck in traffic for 2 hours and that was one way. It usually took anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half one way. Can you believe I spent at least 10 hours a week sitting in my car. Can we say waste of time?!?! I will now be embarking on a new adventure- I have a new teaching position and will be close to home! I have been dreaming of this for 7 years! Did someone say "side streets"? The icing on the cake it that I will continue to teach 5th grade. This girl is smiling big!

Thinking: This My husband is pretty amazing. On Friday he helped me pack up and move out of my old classroom.  My room was on the 2nd floor and I should mention the school doesn't have an elevator (which I find odd...what if someone had a broken leg?). He had to carry all my boxes down the stairs in hot and humid weather. It doesn't stop there...Monday he will be helping me move into my new classroom. Luckily my new classroom is floor level and close to the parking lot. A bit stressed...I have so much to do in such a short amount of time.

Wanting: The weather has been so strange lately. Not a fan. I'm ready for some nice crisp fall air.

Needing: I have no excuses. I've had plenty of time this summer to plan, but always found something else to do. I did read quite a few books and some of those were for professional development. I really need to get on the ball. Maybe once I am moved into my room I will be able to focus on some planning.

1st Day: First day with the kids is in 11 days!! Oh my goodness!
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I've Read this Summer...

It's time for another installment of what I've read this summer. I can't believe how much I've read this summer. It's great! I've made reading part of my morning routine. Every morning, I make my coffee and read for an hour or so. Here are my first and second What I've Read This Summer posts, just in case you were interested.

The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild, by Donalyn Miller
These two books were FANTASTIC! The books are definitely must reads for teachers. Miller's first book The Book Whisperer focuses on how a teacher can truly cultivate a love of reading in the classroom. Reading in the Wild provides more inspiration for cultivating the love of reading. In both books, Miller includes  many strategies that can be implemented in the classroom. Additionally, she cites many resources  that support her ideas. She also includes forms in the back of her book for teachers to use in their classroom. She has such great advice, strategies and techniques that can be used in the classroom. I can't wait to start the 40 book challenge with my own students this school year.
I've also been participating in a book study this summer for the book Reading in the Wild hosted by The Brown Bag Teacher. It has been great reading other teacher's takes on the book and being able to see what they do in their own classrooms. I'm a little behind on my posting with the book study. The last two weeks have been hectic. If your interested here are my posts with the book study:  Week One, Week TwoWeek Three, and Week Four

Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick
This was such a wonderful book! The story is about an unlikely friendship between two boys who share nothing in common. Max is big for is age and doesn't think he is very smart. While Kevin has a birth defect that causes him to remain small. Kevin is also very intelligent for his age. The two boys deal with a little bit of bullying and they team up to become Freak the Mighty. As Freak the Mighty they share many adventures and live life to its fullest. I think my 5th graders would enjoy the story and will be introducing it to them this year.

Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson
Old Yeller was a charming story that followed the adventures and loving relationship of a boy and his dog. I must say it was a sad book, I was in tears. Maybe because I love dogs and was able to relate to the feelings that you can have with your pets. There are plenty of laughs too! Travis was left alone to care for his mother and younger brother while his dad had to leave for work. Initially Travis did not want to take in the stray dog, but his brother convinced him otherwise. Another great read for 4th grade and up.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: Kentucky
Linking up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for Saturday Snapshots! Head on over and link up your photos!
One of my best friends from elementary school (26 years of friendship!!!) lives in Kentucky and I finally got to see her!  I had so much fun while visiting her on her farm. Kentucky was so beautiful! I seem to fall in love with every place I visit. But, I wouldn't mind living out in the country with some land. I'm more of a country girl that is stuck in the city. 

Her son is adorable!! 

Love this shot!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: The Beauty in the Everyday

Better late than never...right?!? I'm linking up with Run Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for her Saturday Snapshots. The following photos are just shots of daily life, the ordinary, often forgotten moments.

Buster! A dog's life! So grand!

Dinner Preparation
I wish my husband would quit!

Who knew dust could be so beautiful!
Heading out for the day.

She couldn't be any cuter! Love her!

Fun times at the park!
One of my favorite breakfast cafes.


Typical Southern California

I have a necklace addiction.


One of my all time favorite shots I took during a walk around the neighborhood.
My car got a bath...finally!
Beauty and Concrete

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: 4th of July

Linking up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for another Saturday Snapshots! My 4th was SO much fun. We had a family bbq and decided that we will be doing a bbq from this point on for the 4th. I live in a nice cul-de-sac, we really lucked out when buying our home, we couldn't have asked for better neighbors. Last year we started a new tradition and we all get together at dusk and share fireworks and celebrate our Independence Day! I love seeing all the neighbors bring out the lawn chairs and get together for some fun!

Since I was in my kitchen all morning, I decided to keep the camera at bay and enjoy the food and company. Once the firework fun started the camera made an appearance. I got my tripod out so I could play with different apertures and shutter speeds.

Loving the little starbursts!


Some firework bokeh!


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Friday, July 11, 2014

Fizz Inflator Science Experiment

This was such a GREAT experiment! We did this one a few days after we launched our canister rockets. Once my kids got started with the experiment and the balloon started to inflate-I had kids thinking the balloon was going to explode.

Again, there are many variations of this all over the Internet. I chose to stick with Science Bob's directions.

What You Will Need:
  • One small empty plastic soda or water bottle
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Small balloon
  • Baking soda
  • Funnel or piece of paper 

  • What You Will Do:
    1. Carefully pour the vinegar into the bottle.

    2. This is the tricky part: Loosen up the balloon by stretching it a few times and then use the funnel to fill it a bit more than half way with baking soda. If you don't have a funnel you can make one using the paper and some tape.

    3. Now carefully put the neck of the balloon all the way over the neck of the bottle without letting any baking soda into the bottle.

    4. Ready? Lift the balloon up so that the baking soda falls from the balloon into the bottle

    The Science:
    The baking soda and the vinegar create an acid base reaction and the two chemicals work together to create a gas, (carbon dioxide). Gasses need a lot of room to spread out and the carbon dioxide starts to fill the bottle, and then moves into the balloon to inflate it.

    Questions To Make it an Experiment:
     1. Does water temperature affect how fast the balloon fills up?
    2. Does the size of the bottle affect how much the balloon fills?
    3. Can the amount the balloon fills-up be controlled by the amount of vinegar or baking soda?

    A video (they used 1/4 cup vinegar and if you don't have a funnel they show you how to make one with paper).



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