Monday, August 29, 2011

Erin Condren--Teacher Planner!

Today I'm linking with Meredith to show one of the things that I am MOST excited about for this upcoming school year (besides meeting my new class and catching up with co-workers) which is my brand-new, totally awesome teacher planner that I got from Erin Condren!

It is SO amazing--I'm so excited to use it! It has every little detail you can imagine to help teachers stay organized.

I love the bright colors and fun details that the teacher planner has in it! 

It has several pages with the holidays and important dates already listed on it--awesome!

A few pages for notes for the substitute, although being honest here, I probably won't use these pages. I have an entire folder on my desk with information for substitutes. Plus, I doubt I would leave my plan book, since I take it home every day and probably wouldn't leave it for a sub..(it's full of all of my secrets! Hah, not really...) 

It also has pages to record birthdays! This will be great since I'm not always so great at remembering birthdays...:-/

I love the larger calendars for each month--this will help with long-term planning! :)

And the plan book pages! I think Fridays will be my favorite because 1. It's Friday! and 2. That day is pink and that's my favorite color! :)

Lots of super FUN stickers that say things like "computer lab", "library", "art", etc.! I think my plan book will be the most colorful one ever! :)

The  back cover--I LOVE the purple! The front looks exactly the same except it has my name on it.

I love this planner SO much! I cannot wait to start using it! :) It also came with lots of coupons, discounts, etc. So cool!

And the VERY best thing about this plan book is.....

it was completely free!!! I got a coupon on Plum District and four friends also bought the coupon which doubled my coupon, so I got the teacher plan book totally free! (except for shipping..) 

If you haven't yet joined Plum District, feel free to sign up using my referral link!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another crazy weather day in Virginia!

Well, just in case you haven't been watching the endless media craziness for the past week, there was a HUGE hurricane barreling up and down the East Coast yesterday. Just in case the earthquake from earlier this week hadn't made people hysterical enough, Mother Nature had to throw in a hurricane the size of Texas--crazy!

In Northern VA, we got rain all day yesterday, and some strong winds late in the evening and into Sunday morning. It kept me awake pretty late last night, but did not do any damage around our neighborhood--yay!
The sky got an eerie green hue a few times during the day, but thankfully no tornadoes for us!

Not much of an action shot, since I took it through my window, but I certainly was NOT going outside yesterday, haha!

And just in case you were wondering how WE prepare for hurricanes, here is some evidence:

Lots of hurricane supplies here, haha!

Everyone else in the entire DMV area is out raiding the bread, milk and toilet paper aisles...where do my mom and I go? The mall of course! She wanted to look at floor lamps and carpets (random, yes, haha, but there is a lot of home-remodeling being done at my house!), and I wanted to return a few things to Macy's...and just happened to pick up a few necessities as well.. ;) :)

Macy's had some cute clothes, and luckily--NO earthquake this time! :)

But at the same time though, my dad was joining the masses of people at BJ's, so he took care of the food and emergency supplies.  And we had our Scrabble game all ready to go, so we were able to weather the storm nicely! :)

Bright and sunny today!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday!

Today's topic on I'm Blog Hoppin'  is Three for Thursday, so I'll be sharing a favorite font, a favorite blog, and a favorite online resource. 

Favorite Font

I just recently found this great website Kevin and Amanda that has lots of really cool fonts! It is SO hard to pick just one favorite, but I really do like this one

I'm super impressed with the awesome things they have on their website! :)

Favorite Blog

Umm, this is SO hard! I have so many blogs that I read and it is really difficult to pick just one favorite...ahh! There's so many to choose from!

As far as teaching blogs go, I love reading Clutter Free Classroom and have gotten some great ideas for my classroom!

For crafty inspiration, I love reading Little Pink Monster --she has totally creative and fun ideas! (Every time I read this blog, I think "One day, (hopefully), I will be this talented too!" Haha! :) )

And for lots of laughter, great beauty tips, and a refreshing perspective on what its like to be a 20-something, I love reading Confessions of a 20 Something -- I can't tell you how many times I read this thinking, "That is exactly what I was thinking/hoping/feeling, etc." :)

Favorite Online Resource
As far as online resources go, I just recently discovered Pinterest and am REALLY liking it! It's so fun and so addicting! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where it All Goes Down Wednesday

I really wish I had pictures of my classroom to share! Unfortunately, we have a later start date than other areas and I have not been back in my classroom yet to set up. I did get a few things over the summer that I am excited to add to my classroom this year, so I will share those!

I love this poster:

I think it is a great motto and I hope my students will embrace it! I hope it will remind them that every day is a day to be learning something new and the importance of taking advantage of that! :)

I am also excited about this poster: 

It is cute, simple and straight to the point! :)

I can't wait to use this in my classroom as a new management tool: 

I know this probably looks a little silly (it is a baby toy after all!), but one of the teachers on my team used this last year to signal the students when she needed to get their attention and I thought it was a great suggestion. (Thanks Emily!) I am excited to have a little musical arrangement in the classroom! :)

I am also loving these name plates I found: 

I like ones with bright colors, but ones that aren't too distracting! I like to find ones that are fun and cheerful, but not too girly! And yes, I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, but since we all have to look at them for the entire year, I want it to be a good choice! :)

I can't wait to put these up in our windows to brighten them up during the different seasons:
Leaves, Back to School, Snowflakes and Shamrocks--so cute!

But I think the thing I was MOST excited about finding this summer for a fun addition to my classroom is this: 

Yes, it is a PINK, bedazzled stapler! I was SO happy when I found this because I have been wanting one just like this for so long! One of my co-workers and close friend has a stapler just like this that a student of hers from last year gave me. Just about every morning I go into her room to chat and I secretly covet her pink sparkly stapler every time I see it sitting on her desk! (Actually, it's not a secret at all because I tell her all the time how much I like it...hah!) I'm sure it sounds silly to be excited about a STAPLER of all things, but oh well! I love it! Yay for Staples having this adorable little office accessory! (And no surprise, I most certainly did buy the matching pen as well!) :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A non-favorite: E is for.....earthquakes!

Well, I and lots of other people in Virginia and the D.C. area are very thankful to have made it safely through a 5.8 earthquake today! 

Believe it or not, this was not my first encounter with an earthquake..for someone who has lived on the East Coast most of her life, this is not what you might expect! 

My first experience with an earthquake was in college at JMU and I just felt a little shaking in my dorm room for about 30 seconds. I actually thought I was having a migraine until a friend who went to Virginia Tech told me over AIM (how old do I sound? Haha!) that it had been an earthquake in Charlottesville, about 45 minutes from my college. 

I miss JMU so much! I had the BEST time there! Oh and these photos have nothing to do with previously mentioned earthquake, I just thought I'd throw in some random ones from my JMU days!

Some of my adorable friends, at a "Rockstar" Party! Did anyone else go to a college that was big on theme parties? I feel like I went to one about every other week. Anyway, I digress!

Today was a little different! My mom and I were at the mall, in the bottom level of Macy's, looking for dresses to our friend's upcoming wedding in September. We had been there for awhile and I had just put back on the dress that I was 95%  sure I was going to buy when we heard this rumbling and felt the entire room start to shake. The rumbling got louder and louder, as we were both like "What is going on??" 

We stood in the doorway to the fitting room area for a few seconds until the shaking stopped (it felt SO long, but was probably only about a minute) and I told my mom, "I think that might have been an earthquake!" About 30 seconds later, a panicked voice came on the PA and told us all to evacuate immediately and not to use the elevators but to take the stairs..(even though there aren't stairs in Macy's!) So we had to evacuate using the escalators (still in my black dress!), since the bottom level is actually below ground with no exits on that level....with some people evacuating VERY slowly...

I was getting pretty nervous, since we really had no idea what was going on! Once we got outside, I was ready to go home, because I thought it might have been a bomb or some kind of explosion, but my mom said "Let's wait around for a bit and see what happens."

No one could get cell phone service at all, even to text, and no one from the mall really had any information either. After about 15 minutes, a woman with a Blackberry said she saw a report that it was an earthquake. So they did eventually let us back in the store, I paid for my super-cute dress (while still wearing it, hah!), and we made it home where thankfully the only "damage" I found was two picture frames that fell off my desk and onto a pile of purses, one of them has a crack on it, but otherwise they were okay! I'm glad I hadn't put those purses away, haha! All in all, it was quite an adventure, but I'm glad everyone is okay and the damage in most areas seems to be not too extensive.

Super cute dress from Macy's that I now know is earthquake-proof!

Thank you purses for saving my picture frames! :)

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Today's topic for Teacher Week is advice for new teachers!

It's pretty ironic that I'd be writing about this because last week I took a class on mentoring novice teachers! I learned so much from the class and I am very excited to one day mentor a new teacher! There is so much to learn about being a teacher, but I'll try to narrow it down to a reasonable number! With that said, here are my

Top Pieces of Advice for New Teachers:

1.) Get organized!

It definitely takes time to develop an organizational system that will work for you as a teacher, but it is so important to keep your files, papers, lessons, and activities organized.

I found this bin at Lakeshore Learning Center and it has been so helpful! I use one of the bins for each of the subjects I teach: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, and Miscellaneous, which is where I'll store extra supplies or morning work activities. (Don't worry, another teacher teaches my students Social Studies-- we didn't leave that out of our curriculum, I promise!)

I have also seen teachers who use this bin and label it with the days of the week, putting whatever they need for that day in the bin. It may take some time trying something out and seeing what works for you--everyone has a different way of staying organized!

2.) Ask questions and collaborate!

Seek out the veteran teachers--they are a great resource for lesson ideas, advice and suggestions. I was so fortunate to be given a super mentor teacher who helped me SO much during my first year teaching. (and my second...and my third...haha..) The other teachers on my team are also incredibly helpful and were such a support for me during the beginning of my teaching career--I asked questions all the time and it really helped.  Even if your school or district doesn't have official "mentors", other teachers will be willing to help you, so don't hesitate to ask! You can learn so much by working with other teachers--you will grow as a teacher, which will benefit your students greatly!

3.) Be flexible!

It's important to realize that some things may occur unexpectedly or don't go as you've planned them--and that is okay! Sometimes, a lesson might take longer than you have expected or the students might need more instruction on a certain aspect of the lesson. Other times, the lesson may go quicker than you thought it might. It's important to be as prepared as you can for those little unexpected moments! (Like, for example, when a HUGE stink bug starts flying all around your classroom right in the middle of a science experiment-- true story..:) )

3.) Spend time going over rules and procedures!

At the very beginning of the year, I spend time going over procedures for the classroom: how to line up, how to push in their chairs, where backpacks are hung up, how to walk in the hallway, cafeteria procedures, and behavior expectations! I take the students on a "tour" of the classroom and walk around the room, showing them where everything is.  It really makes a big difference for the students to know what is expected of them and how things will be done during the year. I do also occasionally need to do a little refresher on some of the procedures at different times during the school year, but otherwise, it seems to help!

4.) Be involved in your school and get to know your colleagues! 

Eat lunch in the teacher's lounge, go to social events, get involved in school activities. I have really loved getting to know the other teachers at my school. They are so friendly and sweet. It is such a happy environment to work in--I am so lucky! Participate in school spirit days, go to school events, and try to find ways to get involved! It really makes a difference in how connected you will feel to the students, your co-workers, and the school community!

We had so much fun dressing up as characters from Harry Potter on our "Dress like Your Favorite Book Character" day! 

And in our pajamas for Read Across America/Pajama Day!

(Oh, and a quick side note: it's not at all embarrassing when you dress in  your PJs for a school spirit day and that just happens to be the same day that a guest speaker comes to your class, a guest speaker who happens to be male, around your age, quite good-looking and kind of confused as to why you are in pajamas at work..nope, not at ALL embarrassing! Hah!)

5.) Be patient, calm and show your students how much you care about them! 

I give my students positive encouragements every now and then. Sometimes I will give them stickers, erasers or pencils around various holidays and seasons or bake them a treat. At the end of each quarter, I write my students a note congratulating them on a successful quarter (Okay, I'm a total sap, I know! Haha).  

Last year, I went to New York City with two of my awesome friends/co-workers and bought the students in my class each a "I Heart NYC" pencil. One of my students said, "I can't believe you thought about us enough on your trip to buy us pencils!" SO sweet! Aww! You don't necessarily have to buy them things, but I just like to give them little reminders that I care about them! :)

Love my co-workers! And NYC! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday!

This week I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week! Today's topic is meet the teacher! This is the first link up I've ever done, since I'm pretty new to blogging and I'm really excited!

Me! :)

Tell us a little something about you...
This is my newly started blog! I just started it about a week ago-- perfect timing for Teacher Week!  

How long have you been teaching?
This will be my fourth year of teaching and I'm so excited for another year to begin! I teach 6th grade, which is part of elementary school where I live and I love that age! The kids are funny and interested in a lot of different topics. They love doing projects and fun science experiments. I teach at a fantastic school with the BEST co-workers! 

You might not know...
I did not always plan on being a teacher! In fact, it did not really become a goal of mine until late into my college career (i.e. after it was too late to change my major!)

I went to college at James Madison University and was very involved in the theatre department, majoring in Theatre and Dance. I loved being involved in the department in different ways: acting, managing, directing, scenery, stage makeup, costumes, and play-writing , but I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do as far as a career.

My fabulous friend from college, Kim!! She's a great friend, dancer, choreographer and teacher! :) I love her!

Becoming a teacher had been in the back of my mind for awhile, but it wasn't until I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip during my senior year of college that it really became clear to me. My group went to Chicago and spent the week working in inner-city schools and after-school programs. I absolutely loved working with the kids, who were so sweet and eager to learn. I loved meeting the teachers and hearing about their experiences--it was such a great opportunity for me to be able to help the students and gain insight into what I wanted to do with my life post-college...

After I graduated from JMU, I started a graduate program in elementary education. After a year and a half, I was a licensed teacher and got a teaching job for the upcoming school year.  In addition to teaching, during my first year as a teacher,  I took two classes to earn my master's degree in elementary education. That was an incredibly busy year with absolutely no social life (sad but true!), but it was so worth it!

GREAT day! :) Love it!

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm looking forward to starting another school year! Every year that I have been a teacher has been  fun, different, and rewarding.  I am always so excited to start the school year again! Last year, I was so excited to go back for our first teacher workday before school began that I could not sleep at ALL the night before! (Haha, that sounds ridiculous, but I just couldn't wait to be back!) I always love getting to catch up with my co-workers, meet my new students, and beginning another great year!

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

- My Smartboard- I love it! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Picture of the program that I even came with a FREE (no additional cost) poster!

A few weeks ago, I was able to fulfill a life-long dream of seeing the musical Wicked (well a life-long dream since 2003 when the show was created, haha)! When the show first came out, it became popular fairly quickly. I was a Theatre major at James Madison University at the time and one of my friends lent me her copy of the soundtrack and I loved it so much! My mom gave me the soundtrack for Easter and ever since then, I have been dying to see it live!

The touring company of Wicked came to Richmond, VA about two years ago but unfortunately by the time I heard about it, it was all sold out. Earlier this year, I found out it was coming to the DC area and would be performed at The Kennedy Center. I was SO excited! My family and I got tickets and although we weren't all sitting together, we each had a fantastic experience. I loved the scenery, the music, the actors--everything! It's run in DC is just about over, but if comes back another time, I am so seeing it again!

The only thing that could have made an already perfect experience even more perfect would have been if the fabulous actress Kristin Chenoweth had been playing the part of Glinda. I did like the performances of all of the actors, but still, Kristin Chenoweth is sooo awesome! Besides being the original Glinda on Broadway, she is:

1.) On Glee--one of the best shows on TV!

2.) Incredibly talented!

3.) 4'11''--just like me! :)

If you haven't listened to the soundtrack to Wicked, you must check it out! If you haven't seen the musical, see it if possible--it is a FABULOUS show! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Help

One of my favorite books that I read this summer is an awesome book called The Help. (I'm guessing you might have heard about it ! ;) ) It is written by Kathryn Stockett and I cannot recommend it highly enough! It looks long and daunting at first (over 500 pages), but it is a book you will not be able to put down once you start reading! Someone at my work told me about the book earlier in the year and I had been meaning to read it, but hadn't had the time until the summer. I think I read it in about 3 days--seriously, you won't be able to stop reading it!

The book shows the perspectives of several black maids living in Jackson, Missisisspipi in 1962. A young white woman named Skeeter, who is friends with the women who employ the maids, starts working at a newspaper in Jackson. Soon after, she decides to secretly interview the maids on their experiences and turns it into a book. 

It also is a movie and I loved the movie as well! On Saturday, I saw it with my friends Tabitha and LaDonna. I was anxious and excited to see how the producers would adapt the book into a movie, because it is a book that goes very in-depth into the lives of the characters and I wasn't sure how that would translate to the big screen.

I have a love/hate relationship with books being turned into movies. Sometimes they
 are just as fabulous as the original book (The Notebook), and sometimes the movies are a disappointment that do not do the book justice (The Devil Wears Prada).

One of the greatest movies ever made!

I put in a picture of the book because it's way better than the movie..I've read it so many times, I can't even pretend to count!

But I was beyond impressed with the movie version of The Help. The acting was so good, especially Viola Davis, who plays the maid Aibileen, one of the main characters of the book. Parts of it were hilarious and parts of it were very touching..(Bring tissues if you are prone to crying in movies!)

As the final credits were rolling, I thought to myself, "That is the best movie that I have seen all summer, besides Harry Potter of course". Then I remembered it is the ONLY movie that I have seen this summer besides Harry Potter--haha! Apparently, I need to get out more...;) :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011


The other day I found this absolutely amazing blog called Nail Nerd and oh-my-goodness, you won't believe what this talented blogger can do with her nails! Her designs and execution are unbelievable! I cannot wait to try out some of her ideas---so cool.... I decided to try one of them out today and I painted stripes on my nails. It took FOREVER, but I am so happy with the end result! I used these nail polishes:

- Milani Neon -- Fresh Teal

- Revlon --- Fuchsia Fever

- Mary Kay --- Platinum

And here is how they turned out!!

My lines weren't perfect, but I'm really happy, considering it was my first time ever doing something like this. And practice makes perfect anyway! :) I can't wait to try some other cute designs--summer fun, yay!

Welcome to my blog!!!

Hello!! My name is Erin and this is my blog! I'm really excited to start this--I've been thinking about doing one for a few years, but for some funny reason, I just didn't seem to have time during my first few years of teaching, hah! Now things have settled down a little and it is SUMMERTIME, my favorite time of the year, and I decided it's a good time to begin this new project! 

I have LOTS of favorites--favorite purses, favorite books/authors, favorite teams, favorite stores, favorite vacation spots, favorite kinds of makeup, and even a favorite seat to sit in at my work's lunchroom...(that's normal, right? Haha!) And anyone who has ever been with me to a concert knows that I have about 200 favorite songs! No one is paying me (sadly) to talk about any of these products, people, or places, BUT it will still be fun to share just a few of my favorite things!