Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Linky

It is crazy to me to think that it is almost 2013! It really has been a stellar year for me in so many ways! I have learned so much both personally and professionally! I am linking up with Jen from The Teacher's Cauldron to share some New Year's Resolutions!

Ready for the Next Day-I would really love to leave the classroom at the end of the day and know that everything is ready for the next day. I sometimes run out of school at 3:30 pm, because I am so tired and either go back to school in the evening or go at 5:30 in the morning! Crazy Girl! My goal would be to make sure the schedule is up, Wake-Up Work is posted,  and lesson plans on my table. What a great feeling that would be! 

I started my blog last year, but just didn't have time to really do anything with it! My idea is to blog at least twice a month. I also want to open up my TPT store! I am working on my first product! (OH SO NERVOUS!) I would like to get that rolling by February! 

I would really like to do actually do a not school related Pinterest project each month! I LOVE Pinterest and sometimes I just pin away, but I never do anything with it! Over break I completed three projects! A friend of mine talked about doing a Pinterest group once a month! I need to check in with her on that! 

I also started WW a few weeks ago, so I really want to keep committed to it! Feeling stronger, feeling better is always a good thing! 

I received my Foster Care license in October! SO I will be starting to get kiddos in my HOME! Yahooo! So very excited about this, but I realize it is going to change my life so much! 

Lots on the horizon for 2013! I am really excited about everything....and  excited about the unknown!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One Word for 2013

Have you heard about the ONE WORD campaign? The idea is that you pick one word to guide you during this new year. The idea is that you should focus on being rather than doing. Think of a word that inspires you to live, not focus on what you should be doing (such as new years resolutions). 

There are several sites out there with ideas on words and how to find YOUR word, but the best post I found was this one from


I have thought a lot about what my word will be for 2013. 

 My word for 2013 is  "Gezellig" 

But wait...that is not English? I love travel, I love langagues, so it really is no suprise to me that I would pick a non English word! 

Now what does it mean? 

I have been following an adoption blog of a dear gal named, Jillian Burden for the past several months. She talked about this special word in one of her posts after they recently brought home their little boy from Russia. 

Here is what she wrote...

Settling in

There's a word my Dutch descended family uses frequently: gezelligheid. It's a word that doesn't really have an English translation.  It's a word that encompasses everything cozy and peaceful.  It's a word that envokes hospitality and making your company feel at ease.

As a child my mom would set out our afternoon tea on the weekends with cake or cookies and call to my dad and the kids, "Come be gezellig with me!"  In the footsteps of his mother before him, my dad would turn on classical music and we would sit around the coffee table, cozy on our couches, dipping our cookies into our tea cups and sharing stories together.

Gezellig is the warmth of a fire in winter, sharing a blanket with a friend on the couch, and wrapping your fingers around a hot coffee.  Being gezellig was the ever sought after goal of my parents and all their friends during my childhood.  

You can read more at Jillian's web site

I first read this blog post on December 1 and this word has just been in my head and in my heart. I was blessed to able to host family Christmas this year and what was my goal for the time? I wanted my family to "gezellig" throughout the weekend! I wanted to make sure that everyone had what they needed, and didn't even know they needed, I wanted that comfort, peace, love to shine through the Christmas lights! 

So as I look to 2013 I want to live out this word in all I do! In my relationships with my family, with my co-workers, with my lovely third graders, with any foster kids that come into my home, and most importanly with my realtionship with Jesus. 
Ideas already floating through my head and I know some things that I for surely want to do! 
1) My BFF, Suzanne, and I are going to invite one woman each month to share her story with us. We will host it at my house with tea, coffee, and simple treats. It will really be up to the guest on what she wants to share with us, but one question I will ask each person that comes is what gezeling mean to them or maybe looks like to them. 
2) I am single and Valentine's day is a hard time some years and other years not so hard. I lived in Mexico for ten years and I LOVED celebrating Valentine's Day there, as it was about amistad (friendship!). I am thinking about doing a valentine's day dinner for some people, that I don't usually interact with, but I know this day is a bit hard on them. 
3) I recently received my license to be a Foster Care mom in the state of Kansas. Hopefully next year for Christmas I will have a foster kiddo or two with me. I have several advent activities I want to do, including having a speical family activity to do each day during the advent season. I want to take the time this year to get that all ready, so that December 2013 does come and go without "gezeling" not be part of it. 
Those are my ideas right now.  I just started a Pinterest Board to help me with ideas that I find!
Are you picking a WORD for 2013? I would love to hear about it! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Snapshots on Sunday! A Linky Party!

I am linking up with up Clutter Free Classrooms Snapshot Sunday!

It has been a great week in 3Z! We have been in school for a month as of today! I feel that my wonderful students and I are just about on the same page in regards to expectations and procedures! I don’t think I had to tell anyone to do his or her class jobs on Friday!

I love this transition from having to keep reminding students about procedures to them just coming in from recess and them sitting down at the Gathering Place. This is the FUN part of teaching!

And BOY did we have fun this week!

We worked on Lindsay Flood’s amazing Story Element product The kids LOVED the activities and it was so easy to use it as well in Guided Reading Groups. The activity sheets that Lindsay created are simply AMAZING. I even asked her if she could create a few more and she said YES! I can't wait for them to be ready! I love it when you can do a Balanced Literacy lesson in whole group and then connect it to each guided reading  group for more practice or for your advanced group to go in DEPTH! LOVE, LOVE! 

We also worked on Character Traits! I used One Extra Degree's "Many Luscious Lollipops!" packet  to talk about adjectives! The kids were hooked when a REAL lollipop appeared! I have a student who's folks own a mexican restaurant in town. I sat down next to Michael to work with him on his guided questions paper about his lollipop. Questions such as "What does it smell like? what does it taste like? what does it feel like?" Michael said "Miss Z it smells like La Fiesta  (the name of his parents' restaurant)."  I said, "Michael, your lollipop CAN'T smell like La Fiesta!" and he was so sure of himself "IT DOES! SMELL IT." Well, his lollipop was PINA COLADA flavored...yep it smelled like La Fiesta! 

On Thursday we had our WINTRY DAY! It has been in the 90’s and I really wanted to do Abby Mullin’s activity “Inference Investigation” about Tim’s Snow Day, BUT we kind of needed to get in the mood for it! The kids came in scarves, hats, and gloves! I had Christmas music playing ALL day long and hot chocolate cooking in the crock-pot. We made “carpet” angles instead of snow angels, we built imaginary snowmen and then we jumped into the investigation. The students were amazing inference investigators. I am pretty sure this is going to be one of those activities that we will be able to go back to throughout the year, “Remember our Wintry Day? How could what you did to figure out Tim’s snowy day help you with your Guided Reading book?” The inferences that came out where AMAZING! I will do this activity EVERY YEAR, no matter what grade I teach!

Friday was a special day as well! Students came dressed in red, green, and yellow as we celebrated Mexico and Brazil’s Independence Days! I lived in both countries so it is a great opportunity to share my love of the countries while covering some of our writing and social studies benchmarks! We wrote stories about the countries, we made salsa, we decorated Carnival Masks, we made the flags, and the list goes on and on!

I guess I had not realized ALL that we accomplished this week! No wonder I am tired! 

What did you do this week?       Be sure to link up with Clutter-Free        

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Classroom Theme! Hollywood Style!

I am THRILLED that I choose to use the Hollywood Theme from Clutter-Free Classroom for this next year! I think there is so many things to do with this theme and I LOVE, LOVE all of the extras in Jodi's bundle!
Today I was browsing the clearance racks at Wal-Mart and they had a ton of 4th of July stuff on sale. I started picking a lot of stuff up as I figured we could use it to decorate for the BIG ELECTION unit in November. BUT then...I saw it...SO PERFECT...I could use this for my table numbers....and get this the cost was .34 CENTS!
The rosettes reminded me of Melanie from Schoolgirl Style's Garden Party daisies! I am so excited!

Also know that Jodi from Clutter-Free is doing freebies EVERYDAY this summer! They are AMAZING freebies! Make sure you check out her amazing products! I used her writing packets at least twice a month this past year!

Clutter-Free Classroom
Happy Day! Carmen

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dive Into Science

I am very excited about a new IDEA that is in the works at my school! Last April several of us were talking around the lunch table (some of the BEST conversations happens there!) and we thought it would be a good idea to have a school-wide theme to use for the 2012-2013 school year. We brainstormed about field trips we could take, guest speakers we could bring in, and as well what we could do at school. We decided on the theme: 


I have been doing some research on school-wide themes. I came across this great descriptor paragraph from a school in California.  "Each year a school-wide learning theme is chosen.  This theme is like a thread that connects learning throughout the school all year long.  Each grade level takes a part of the theme to develop.  Throughout the academic year, each grade level presents their learning to the entire school.  They may create and present a play, a musical production, learning stations manned by students, or they may invite an artist in residence to help them present their theme."   What I love about this description is that it is not just about what the teachers/principal sees the theme as, but that the students have a role in it as they are developing their learning to the school. 

I am looking forward to the planning and the grant writing (haha!) for this project to happen! 

Do anyone of you have a school-wide theme? Is it a committee that pulls resources together? How does it work at your school? 

Happy Exploring! 




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's July Already?

I can't believe my last post was in January! I am hoping that I can get better about blogging, but I might just be one of "those" blog stalkers! Where did the summer go? I signed out of school on May 30th! How can it be July 4th already? I have had some pretty amazing opportunities this summer! I moved into a wonderful new home! I have started classes for Foster to Adopt! I went to Haiti! I don't have to work this summer, I can take time to settle into my home! I look forward to this last month of vacation! I am linking up with Farley with her monthly CURRENTLY party!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How I Spent My Winter Vacation Linky Party

Dear Friends, I know, I know, I have not been so great about this bloggy thing! BUT I hope to start figuring it all out! I had a simply WONDERFUL first semester in third grade and right now I am suppose to be writing up my progress reports which are due on TUESDAY at 3:30 pm! (Oh well, they will get done...right?) 

 The Clutter Free Classroom is having a linky party on "How you spent your winter break." I debated whether I should join in or not, but I decided..that YES...I wanted to join in! 

 My Winter Break was a little different than most. I had BIG BIG plans for one of my former students was getting married! I was so excited to fly to MEXICO for the wedding! I lived in Mexico for 10 years and pretty much taught Kim that entire time! When she was in High School, studying in France for a year, her parents asked if I would back pack with her during Winter Break..all expenses paid... UMMMM YES! So Kim and I traveled to London, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and just had a wonderful time! I was so looking forward to her wedding! ONE WEEK in my beloved Mexico. 

 Well I started to fill a little restless about my trip. The reason being is that my brother and his wife had a baby at the end of October and Tiny Tucker was having a rough go of it. He came 5 weeks early, and had his good days and bad days. He had come off a great week!
I decided to cancel my trip to Mexico and go spend some time in Arkansas with my brother and sister in law and Tiny Tucker. My mom and dad decided to go as well. We arrived on Christmas evening. SO.MUCH.FUN to be able to be there with my family!

 We went to Children's Hospital on Monday and I got to be Aunt Carmen, although I was not able to hold little Tucker. I got to touch him, he wrapped his tiny, tiny hand around my finger. Poor little Tucker was just not doing so well. The nurse, who has been working with Tucker, told my brother that things were not looking so well. 

 Tuesday morning everyone was at the hospital, let me just take a minute to say how amazing the NICU section of this hospital is...the doctors let them know that Tucker is letting mom and dad know that he has had enough. 

Wednesday afternoon, Tucker was transfered to a private room, where the took him off all of his meds, but left him on the vent, and my brother and sister-in-law were able to spend almost 4 hours holding him, where grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends were able to come and say good-bye. The time had come and he was taken off the vent, he passed away with in a couple of minutes. Tim and Kim where able to bathe Tucker, memorize every part of him WITHOUT the machines, tubes, cords, etc...and then we all got to say our last good-bye. Tiny Tucker we know you are in heaven! I love you- Auntie Carmen

So now I am back at home, trying to get ready for school, trying to write out my progress reports (HA!), and trying to understand why? oh why? this happened. I know that there is a reason for everything, and I am going to rest in the fact that Tiny Tucker is in NO MORE PAIN and that I am sure he is up in heaven dancing and singing and hopefully enjoying a Sonic Drink!