Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Confession Time and iPhone apps for running!

Last week I had a parent email me about a 5K that our high school was holding as a fundraiser for our cross country teams.  The parent's 2nd grader who is in my class was going to do the fun run, and they knew that I had done a marathon. So what was 3 miles, right?  I committed to the family the night before at our winter carnival, had talked my sister into doing it with me, and was ready to go...until I woke up.

The 7am alarm on a Saturday morning was not taken kindly, and then I checked the weather.  My phone showed that it felt like 15 degrees outside...I was done.  I texted my sister, and we baled in a matter of a 30 second texting exchange.  All day I felt guilty!  Long story short if I would have just registered online rather than waiting to do it on site, I would have been to cheap not to go!  Note to self (and all of my readers!) - don't just verbally commit, but put it on your calendar and REGISTER for the race!!!

And now for the exciting news!  Since Saturday I have felt really bad about my running so I've been pretty gung ho since then.

I've also come across some pretty amazing running apps for running.  Below are some choices that you can pick based on your own desires.

-My favorite running device is my Garmin watch which I talked about in a previous post about my running must-haves, but iPhone apps are much more cost effective and just as easy to use!

1. iMapyMyRun - probably the most popular of iPhone running apps and basic version is FREE!

This app tracks your run and uses your GPS to gauge your speed and distance.  It logs your workouts, and will even find other friends of yours that might be running.  You can post your workouts to Facebook if you so choose, or keep them private for your own use.

2. GetRunning - Couch to 5K app $2.99

Get Running focuses on beginner runners and gaining endurance to run for 30 minutes consistently.  It is comprised of 3 workouts/week for 9 weeks.  It is an extremely manageable program, and gives amazing guidance for beginners.  This is perfect for someone wanting to get started with a 5K in mind. Sign up for a 5K race (and REGISTER-hehe), that is at least 9 weeks out, and use Get Running to get you running!

3. Endomondo - Great for setting goals to beat your own times and Free!

The basic edition of this is free or you can pay $2.99 for the Pro version.  This is a great app for setting goals and trying to beat previous times.  I also like this app for times when you are running and out of town.  It allows you to set a route ahead of time so you know where you're going!

4. Run Keeper - another great alternative to an expensive GPS watch!  Free!

This app is very similar to the others, but it does allow you to manually enter other workouts you have done.  It's great for when you have a treadmill run that you want to include in your workout history.  This one also tracks calories which some others don't do.

What other apps have you all used or feel are user friendly?  Have you ever bailed out on a run like I did this weekend?  I still feel bad!

Happy running!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Painful week and a TpT Leapy Linky Party!

Well, if you've wondered why I have taken such a long hiatus from blogging this week, it's because I realized I accidentally deleted my entire TpT folder from my computer!  Yes, you heard me right...every file.  I have attempted to recover them, but have come up empty handed.  The Mr. couldn't even help me, and usually he is on top of the computer game!  Needless to say I've been a bit down after realizing this.  Although I can Download the Pdfs I can't make any changes or additions to those documents unless I recreate the entire thing!  Ahhhhhhh....that's all I keep saying to myself!

However, when I received my email from TpT this week about their sale it brightened my smile a bit, and now thanks to Farley there is a Linky party for TpT's Leap Day sale on March 29th!  Head over to her blog to see everyone else who is participating and click on their TpT Store Links!

I'll be back early this week with a new update of a tour of my classroom (and to get over my lost TpT file sadness)!  I love seeing pictures of other classrooms, so hopefully people can share comments, suggestions, etc. for my own!  

Also, I'm trying a new website out!  We'll give it a shot!
K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Monday, February 20, 2012


 For some reason I love teaching economics.  I think it's the way it lends itself so easily to engaging activities and teachable moments.  We always start with basic needs and wants and goods and services and then begin with productive resources.  Although the terminology is hard, they always seem to catch on. We start by watching Charlie Needs a Cloak on YouTube.  This is a great visual and is very elementary so we can break it down into human, natural, and capital resources.  It's a great class discussion, although the tune does get a bit old by the end! :)

Afterward, I open up Riley's Pizza Shop!  They each get to make their own pizza (out of construction paper).  I don't tell them why in advance because I want them to figure out later that they need a good product in order to trade and barter.  
My mom had bought these Steak n' Shake looking hats a long time ago thinking I could use them for something.  They've been stashed away waiting for a good use (and because I felt bad throwing them away since my mom got them for me!)...but now they are chef's hats!  The kids LOVED it...until they saw the 3rd graders when using the restroom and they quickly took them off.  Haha!

The student on the right decided to go with a chocolate chip pizza, but then realized after trading that nobody really wanted it.  He said next time he'd make a product that he knew others would want.  A-ha moments! Yes!

After they had finished making their pizzas, they got to trade with other students for a different kind or type if they wanted.  In the background, there are a couple of students who didn't want to trade which I said was fine.  (I knew it would help make my point later that adding money to the equation makes it all easier!)  I love when they play into my schemes...I mean lessons!

And here is where it all broke loose.  After a round of trading without money, I gave each of them $3 to help them.  By the end some kids had four pizzas and no money or had no pizzas and more than $10!  It was a great discussion about product quality, how money makes trade easier, and then we had a side conversation about specialization.  It was a really fun morning!

What do you guys do to teach economics?  

Well I'm off to the dentist, then back for a run!  I can't believe it's going to be in the 40s today in Indiana!  This weather is crazy, but I'm not complaining!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Work Out Songs, Races, and You Know You're a Teacher When...

Happy Valentine's Day!  I thought I'd share about one of the big things I LOVE!!!  Running and working out!

I have had a couple of comments about what songs I use to run with.  While I have to admit that Justin Bieber can really get me motivated (I embarrassing, but I had to be honest!), I wanted to share this great pin I found on Pinterest.  Many of these songs are already on my playlists, but I was glad to find the others! It has a great list of songs for you to use.  We all know that the winter months are a bit challenging to muster up the energy.

Secondly, I wanted to share that just signing up for a run will be a commitment worth making.  Our school has an annual run to help support our PTO.  They have a 5K and a 10K option, and it's so fun to see your students in this capacity.  Our 3rd and 4th graders have a Running Club at school where they train for the 5K, and then there is a Kid's Fun Run for the smaller kids.  It is a great experience!  I recently signed up for the 10K, and even though it is significantly shorter than the marathon I did, I know I need to be prepared.  

On the other hand, my sister just had her second child and is working out to get back into "pre-mommy" shape!  She is amazing, and inspires me to keep working out once I have kids, but she is training for the 5K.  Whatever your level of fitness is, find a race and REGISTER!  That's the first step!!

What runs, walks, and races have you registered for?  Any reservations? Share with us what you're hoping to strive for this spring and summer!

And in case you are worried about how you look, how others will perceive you, or just getting motivated, I loved this sign on Pinterest!!  That's right...get after those couch potatoes!

Also, I loved this linky party with Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle because they make me laugh at how funny the teaching profession is.  Check out all of them on Pinterest comical!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

St. Patty's Day Palooza...yes, already!

I am so being the grocery store and putting out my St. Patty's Day unit when Valentine's Day isn't even over yet!  I hate myself right now!  Anyway, here it is!

I love Tomie DePaola and some of his books are highlighted in our writing program, so I thought it would be perfect to use Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato in this unit for St. Patrick's Day.  I love DePaola's depictions of characters and the ability for my students to relate to his texts.

Along with a study and activities based on the book, there are also math games, language games, and writing activities, and graphic organizers.  

Check it out here at TpT!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happenings in the Classroom

To celebrate Groundhog's Day we read Groundhog Gets a Say to learn a bit more about the groundhog.  Aside from a wonderful accent by yours truly, the kids absolutely loved this book.  They enjoyed all of the facts, and the minor characters along the way.  We created the chart afterward of all the facts we learned about our friendly groundhog.
To go along with the groundhog we continued our science study of the earth, moon, and sun by seeing how our own shadows move during the day.  Who knew it would be 50 some degrees in February (in Indiana!) and we could go outside for this?!  We have used Cara Carroll's Moon Mania unit off of TpT to get us started with the moon. It is wonderful!  To see how our Earth rotates during the day, we compared our shadows throughout the day by tracing our bodies, and looking the same direction each time.  

It was so fun when their light bulbs went off as to why their shadows moved! 

We have also been looking at story elements during the last week or two.  To begin we read Dog Breath: The Tale of Hally Tosis by Dav Pilkey.  This was a good story to start with, and the kids enjoyed all of the adventures of Hally Tosis.  After completing this anchor chart, they did some partner and independent practice with the graphic organizer.  Here is a copy of the graphic organizer I used to go with the anchor chart for independent practice.  

Thanks to my great teaching partner who found this idea, we also go to do fortune tellers (which, by the way, my kids had never heard them called cootie catchers before!) with story elements.  We first practiced with a read aloud, and then they had to read a book on their own.  Look how happy these kiddos are sharing about their story elements!  Okay, so maybe a bit embellished, but they begged to do them again the next day.  This may have been because I banned fortune tellers after a sub let them make  them with unkind things in them.  
You can find the version of the fortune teller we used here. The website also has other templates, and blank ones for you to type into! I can't wait to figure out other possibilities.  Find those at this website.

And finally...we were working on homonyms last week.  I gave each of them a word, and they had to find their partner.  To confirm the definitions of the words, they had to look them up in the dictionary and then draw a picture and write a sentence using the word.  When I was writing the cards, I don't think I even realized how many sets of homonyms there were! 

Well, that's all for me tonight! For a short week (we had Monday off for a Flex day!), I am still wiped out!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Currently, Exciting News, and a Favor!

Yes!  I love Farley's Currently each month, and her RAK part at the bottom is great! I'm excited to read everyone's to get even more ideas!  Go to Farley's page to link up!

Farley, I love the ribbon border and mustache too!

Now onto my exciting news!  I'm in the preliminary stages of a new blog design by an extremely talented young lady!  I haven't seen any previews yet, but I know it will be AMAZING!  Any tips while I'm still in the design process, or something you wish to see here?

Here's the favor...sometime after I get to 50 followers I will unveil!  Help me get there by following my blog!  

Oh and one of my favorite bloggers to follow just hit 1,000 followers (I think I have some learning to do!).  She is having an awesome $100.00 giveaway for her TpT store!  Click here to see how to enter!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

Heather over at Swinging Through Second Grade tagged me!  I love learning about other people, so this is a great game of tag!!

Here are the rules:

1. You must post the rules. 
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

12 Fun Facts...

1.  I have an awesome running buddy in my dog, Scout.  He is a chocolate lab, and we got him for free through a teacher friend.  **So lucky!**
2. I am a huge 4-H nerd.  When I say huge, I mean it.  I was a 10-year member, and have now volunteered for 8 years since.  If I could get my entire class to do mini 4-H I would!
3. I showed sheep when I was in 4-H.
4. I ran my first marathon last October in Washington D.C.  I'm looking forward to another fall marathon this year. 
5. I have 8 nephews and 4 nieces with my husband's family included.  Christmas time is always great!
6. My smallest class size was 16 during my 2nd year of teaching.  AMAZING!!  This year I have 23...a little more normal.
7. I just finished my masters in Administration.
8. My dream job is to be a school secretary.  You know everything that is going on, but don't have to take any work home!
9. I'm starting my first season as a volunteer for Girls on the Run this month...can't wait to meet the girls!
10. My mom is retired but comes into my room every Friday to help out.  She is the best!
11. My dad was a Mystery Reader for my class on Veteran's Day.  He read Duck for President and wore a great USA sweater.  <3 him!
12. I used to work at the Loft at nights and on weekends.  I desperately miss the discount, and getting ahold of my favorites before they sold out!

So...onto the 12 questions left for me...

1.  How long have you been teaching? this is my 5th year

2.  Where do you get your clipart and backgrounds? Scrappin' Doodles, Digital Back Shop

3.  What is your best find on Pinterest? I love all of the decorating ideas that I see!  They encourage me to switch up my own room.

4.  What is your favorite lesson to teach at school? I really love teaching inferring, not because I just did it, but because the kids think it is so fun!

5.  Do you purchase things from TpT or TN? Of Course!  I even had a parent buy me a gift card to TpT for a Christmas gift.  

6.  What is your goal this year when it comes to your class? Coming from 3rd grade, I want my  2nd grade kids to be as prepared as possible for their upcoming testing year.

7.  What is your best organizational tip for your classroom? It is definitely worth it to invest in organizational items.  I'm pretty frugal, so I usually don't take my own advice here, but when I do, I wish I had always done it. 

8.  Do you have a classroom "theme"? We are the "Riley Ranch"!  I wanted to make things different in my classroom this year, and because of classroom changes, some of my students were in the same room last year for 1st grade.  I didn't want them to think they were still in 1st grade.  

9.  What is your favorite food to cook? My husband loves baked spaghetti, so I always know I'll have a happy family if this is in the oven. 

10.  What is your favorite Valentine's Day activity? I really like all of the read alouds that come with V-day! We can't give out candy or food at our school, so we have to get extra creative, but it's usually worth it. 

11.  What is your worst experience as a teacher? Although I'm sure you'd all love to hear about it, I'd rather not relive it!  

12.  What is your best experience as a teacher? One year I had a family that emailed my principal, who then sent it to the superintendent, about how great her daughter's year was with me.  It all went back to the saying that you never really know how deeply you are touching your students' lives.  

My 12 Questions for You:
1. What is your favorite thing about the blogging world?
2. What is one thing you would tell a 1st year teacher?
3. If you could do whatever you wanted without going back to school, what would you choose?
4. What is the best concert you've been to?
5. When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?
6. Who was your most inspiring teacher, and why?
7. What is your favorite unit that you've created for TN or TpT or that you've bought?
8. Where do you like to shop for your teaching clothes?
9. How do you use parents in your classroom?
10. What is your favorite holiday to celebrate in your classroom?
11. What is the best date you've been on?  
12. What is one thing you'd change about your house, apartment, town home, etc.?

Now...I'm tagging the following bloggers...

1. Kelly at All That Glitters (she just did her first post yesterday!)
2. Mrs. Williamson at Welcome to Room 36
3. Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures

Thanks for enjoying the Blogging World's version of Tag!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Giveaways, Linkys, and Sales!

Today's post is going to be about all of the wonderful bloggers out there that I love for their giveaways.  Although I have never actually won one, it gives me hope that I might someday, and it makes me happy that people offer these!

1. To start, I'm Linking UP with Funky First Grade Fun for a Linky Party on things we love!  What a great way to start out February.  I think this would be fun to do in my classroom too! Link up here to join in on the fun!

2. Wow!  A great February giveaway is happening at Swimming into Second. She has teamed up with 20 people to giveaway all things related to February.  Fingers crossed, although I know I am adding to my competition by letting you all know about it too!  But good luck!

3. Alisha at The Bubbly Blonde is having a sale on her Valentine's Day Pack!  178 pages for $4.00!  That is great.  Thanks Alisha!

Enjoy your weekend and good luck to any Giants and Patriots fans!  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Bowl Super Week!

This week in Indy has been CRAZY with the Super Bowl in town, and a WONDERFUL childhood friend just had her first baby last night!   I thought I'd share some of our excitement with you all, even if you aren't a Giants (YAY!) or Patriots (Boo!) fan.  Sorry, we live in Indy and the Pats are our rivals, playing in our stadium.  That is just no good!  

This past weekend my husband and some friends headed downtown for the festivities.  

This is the longest temporary zipline in the world.  We didn't want to wait the 3 hour wait, but the people on it looked like they were having a blast.  How cool to see this outside of our convention center.  Wish these things could stay forever!

Still cheering for our Colts despite the terrible season.  We have some serious changes coming our way though.  The whole contract, evaluation system, has some crazy similarities to the education world...well, I guess except the pay scale.  But our job is MUCH more rewarding!

At the John McLaughlin concert (I'm in the middle) with some other teacher friends.  We finally had some sun, but it was windy!  

I just thought this was a really cool picture of our downtown circle and the roman numerals.  Had to showcase our city for a bit!

And here is how we are celebrating at school!  We had a "Souper Bowl" luncheon today!  This is why I haven't blogged in a few days...I was slaving over the stove last night making a soup, but it was worth it today!

 We have a great permanent sub who does some awesome decorating and making our school look festive!  She created a wonderful teacher's lunch room for us to enjoy all the yummy soups, breads, and desserts.  And yes, she even created table decorations using the Super Bowl colors and a football "centerpiece"!  I always try to steal her decorating ideas for my own room, but it just doesn't ever look the same!

In the classroom this week we have been doing a lot of the activities from my Super Bowl Super Pack on TpT. Check it out for some last minute resources specific to the Giants and Patriots.  I left my personal favorite off of the unit, and tried to make it seem unbiased.