Saturday, August 31, 2013

Preventing Teacher Burnout #BurnoutCure Blog Tour

I am so excited to be participating in the #BurnoutCure Blog Tour today! I have known Julie de Azevedo-Hanks for many years now, and I'm pretty sure it's because of her inspirational music that I was able to endure the ups and downs of junior high and high school. Julie is something of a local "celebrity" here in Utah and I'm honored to call her a friend. In addition to being a talented singer and songwriter, Julie works as an LCSW and is the owner of Wasatch Family Therapy.... And in all her "spare" time, she's recently written a book entitled "The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide For Overwhelmed Women". I don't know about the rest of you, but after surviving the first 8 days of school, I am definitely feeling overwhelmed! I had the great fortune of hearing Julie speak on this exact topic a few years ago, when I first began teaching, and was thrilled when I heard she was going to put the presentation into a book.  The theme of her presentation resonated with me, and is what ultimately inspired my blog title of "Good Enough Teacher"... Because I will NEVER be the Pinterest-perfect teacher, which is really okay with me.  If anyone is feeling burnout these days, it's definitely teachers.

I've talked before about why I'm okay with just being "good enough", and this book confirmed to me that I'm making the right choice for ME and my emotional needs.

Last year, I was definitely burned out. In addition to teaching 2nd grade, I was teaching an evening professional development class for 60 teachers, mentoring 4 level-one teachers in my building, supervising a student-teacher, I was the gifted facilitator for my  school, the grade level chair, and, JUST FOR FUN, I decided to start my math endorsement (and for the record, I'm NOT working on it this semester).... and I'm sure the list goes on. Most nights I was at school until 8 or 9 pm. (Not even kidding, folks!!) In the midst of all this, my parents moved rather suddenly (which also meant packing up our family home of more than 30 years!!), my mom was unexpectedly hospitalized, and I was EXHAUSTED every minute of every day. It was all I could do to roll out of bed and throw my hair in a ponytail, and try to put on a happy face and face the kiddos with a smile every day. I thought back to the tips Julie shared when I heard her speak, and tip #2 stood out to me.  (Here are all 6 tips that are included in the book:)
1. Feel and express a full range of emotions.
2. Give yourself permission to say an inspired “no.”
3. Do your emotional family history.
4. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
5. Practice being kind to yourself.
6. Learn to ask for and accept help.

Now, these are all great tips, but I'm going to focus on #2 - saying an inspired no.  In the book, Julie shares an experience where she was on a flight with her young son, and she hears the directions from the flight attendant regarding what to do with the oxygen mask in case of an emergency:

"The flight attendant started talking about what to do if there were a change in cabin pressure. She said, “The oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling and oxygen will begin to flow. Place your mask on first and then assist others, such as small children or the elderly.”
"Did she really just say that—put your own mask on first? Was this new information I had somehow missed dozens of times before? As I sat in the plane holding my precious little baby, I realized that my instinct as a woman, as a parent, would be to make sure that my little son and everyone else in my row got an oxygen mask first. But this time I clearly heard the flight attendant’s message: Put on your own mask first and then assist others! I realized what she was really saying: If I don’t put my oxygen mask on first, I’ll pass out—and what good am I going to be to my six-month-old if I’m passed out on the floor?"

This was a profound moment for me.  We, as teachers, MUST take care of ourselves if we want to be able to take care of our students. As much as I *want* to help every teacher at school or please every supervisor/principal/and department, I need to compete MY to-do list first. Once that's complete, then I can choose to help others when and if I have the time. I must put my classroom and my lessons first, and not worry about preparing materials for other teachers.

After 3 years of teaching professional development, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders when I said an "inspired no" to the job offer earlier this year. Nobody at my school thought I could say no, but I did it, and it felt SO good! Does it mean that I might miss out on other opportunities in the future? Possibly.... But I've decided that my job is not my entire life. I want to have a life outside of my classroom (although I've had so much fun redecorating lately, that I'm really enjoying it! Lol!) Now that I've mastered tip #2, I'm hoping to look forward to a great future with the help of tip #4 -- take responsibility for your own happiness. After the first 3 days of school (we started on a Wednesday this year), my to-do list was probably 3 pages long. I was not about to spend my Friday night at school stressing over everything. I made sure everything was ready for Monday, called a friend, and ordered a pizza! My friend and I have a great system -- I order the pizza online, and she picks it up on the way to my house. I stopped and grabbed some yummy shakes (which I'm sure I earned after surviving the first 3 days of school, right??) and we hung out eating pizza and ice cream while watching "Gilmore Girls" on DVD. Exciting Friday night? You be the judge ;) for me, it was just what I needed! I've learned to plan ahead and make time to do things with my friends. I set limits and try to leave school at a reasonable hour each day. I'm looking forward to working through all 6 tips this year.... A new school year is a great time to set new goals! I don't do well with new year's resolutions, and instead do "school-year resolutions". And my resolution this year is to take care of myself and prevent myself from getting burned out.

Well, if you are feeling burned out like I was, I would highly recommend checking out Julie's book, which is available now. And if you're still reading this, I've placed my TPT store on sale for Labor Day weekend. Happy shopping, teachers :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Winner! Sale! Freebie! Oh my!

first thing's first... here's the winners for the calendar sets... I'll be contacting you to choose your favorite set from my store :) thanks everyone who entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, if you didn't win, I have TWO exciting things to share with you... first off, my entire store is 20% off for the HUGE back-to-school sale at TPT all day today and tomorrow!! So you can head over and pick up your favorite calendar set (or anything else in my store)!  Use the code BTS13 to save an extra 10% off the discounted price for a total of 28% off!

ANNND... as a little thank you, I put together a freebie for you with black and white apples and stars... feel free to copy these on colored cardstock and come up with your own patterns!  This freebie is only available on my blog and you can snag it here! Click on the picture to download :)

ONE MORE THING... holy smokes... I've been working on my latest project off and on since MARCH (it sorta got put on the back burner so I could finish the vocabulary cards).... but I'm so excited to finally have volume 1 of my bar model problem solving detectives pack finished!!  When I first learned about the bar model, I was confused... once I understood it, I was blown away with how EASY math was for me!  It was like a light bulb went off and suddenly upper-grade math wasn't scary anymore!! (Math is not my favorite subject... which is why I think I'm so passionate about making great math resources). Anyway, I am so excited to finally have volume 1 ready to go!  It has 10 weeks of problem solving pages, and volumes 2 and 3 will each have an additional 10 weeks, for a total of 30 weeks of problem solving when it's all done.  Click on the picture to check it out on TPT... 

And since giveaways are so much fun.... why not give two lucky winners this pack?! Hurry, the rafflecopter closes at midnight. You know the drill... enter below :) Happy Sunday... have fun shopping!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back-to-School Calendars & Sale

sooo... I think I might be in denial about the fact that school is about to start!!  Meaning that my classroom STILL isn't ready... and my lesson plans... well... let's not go there right now ;)  Thankfully, the kiddos don't come until Wednesday, so I still have a few days to pull everything together.  Anyway... Have you seen my calendar sets? These started as a simple project after seeing some darling clip art from the talented Ashley Hughes. Well, this quickly turned into an obsession (I might have stayed up until 4 am making calendar sets one night!! True story!) Why do I love calendar so much? There are SO MANY math concepts you can teach during the calendar. I often use different colored pieces to teach things like even and odd, skip counting, patterns like AB, ABC, growing, etc. We also review time, money, days of the week, and months of the year while we are at the calendar. For years, I used a set from a packet called "every day counts", and it is a great program.... Except for one thing... The calendar pieces weren't "cute".... I mean, I'm not all into being a perfectly-pinterest-ed classroom, but I also don't like calendar pieces with cereal boxes and shoe boxes.... Yes, it teaches geometric shapes, but it's just not CUTE.... And, the calendar kit I have is pre-CC, so some of the monthly pieces teach things that aren't relevant to the common core (such as the month that has symmetrical shapes.... We don't teach lines of symmetry in 2nd grade with CC).  And with that, my "apples and stars" calendar sets were born.... And as you can see, I have a hard time making decisions, so I just kept making more and more sets with every color under the sun:) ohhhh, and did I mention that the pieces are available in two different sizes in each packet?! Yup! There are 3 x 3 pieces and 2.5 x 2.5 pieces so it will fit perfectly in larger pocket charts or smaller poster-style calendar sets (if you're like me and using an old "every day counts" calendar, you will want to use the 2.5 inch pieces)...

Here's a sneak peek into the packets.... Each packet has two colors that hopefully match your styles... And each color combo has both apples and stars for the number pieces, so even with just ONE calendar set, you have FOUR different sets of number pieces to make calendar patterns with. But, just imagine how much fun you could have with two, three, or ALL FIVE?! :)

Each packet also includes month headers with and without holiday decorations, and in each color. And my favorite part of the calendar is the holiday and special event pieces. Look at how cute these are?! I lam so scatterbrained and always forget what day it is or what's going on in the month, so the holiday pieces will be so fun to put on my calendar. I've even included a set of holiday cards for any of you that are up in Canada.

So, here's the deal, these are going to be on sale Monday and Tuesday as part of the big TPT sale, but you can win one here right now!! Spread the word, the rafflecopter closes at midnight. 
Also, please let me know what kind of number pieces you would like to see next.... If I use your idea, you will get the set for free :) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

And the winner is....

thanks so much for all the great comments yesterday... It sounds like many of you could use these vocabulary cards too!  Here's the winners!  Congrats :) I'll be sending these your way today!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For those of you who didn't win, you can still grab them on sale all day today!  Tomorrow I'll be back in my classroom trying to get things ready... I apologize if I'm MIA the next little while... but I have another great review to get posted (and it might include a giveaway)... make sure you're following me on facebook for all the latest updates!

Friday, August 9, 2013

2nd grade vocabulary cards!!

IT’S DONE… the project I started working on clear back in MAY is finally done :) I am so happy to finally present my 2nd grade math vocabulary word wall cards!  I don’t know about you, but switching to the common core was a HUGE jump from what 2nd grade used to be just a few years ago!  I have been teaching with the Common Core edition of “Go Math” for the past 2 years and am FINALLY starting to get the hang of it… but the vocabulary… oh my goodness… I have searched high and low for a really great vocabulary resource, because I was seriously at the point where I would have MUCH rather paid for a set that was already done than have to make it myself (maybe that’s why I’m just now getting around to finishing it??) Well, I was never able to find something that was exactly what I was looking for, so I started making my own.  Anyway, it’s finally DONE and I would love to give away 2 copies to some awesome 2nd grade teachers! 
Take a look at these cards…. Each card includes a bright picture and a kid-friendly definition that makes it easy for the kids to understand.  You know the drill by now… enter using the rafflecopter below!  And if you can’t wait to have these, they are on sale for 20% off this weekend in my TPT store :)  The giveaway will close Saturday at midnight and I'll post the winners Sunday morning... my store will be on sale for 20% off through Sunday night! Have a great weekend!!

Winners - week 5

TGIF! We made it to Friday!!  I hope you have enjoyed the past few weeks of giveaways... it's been a great way to kick off my blog and I've enjoyed reading all of your wonderful comments... I had hoped to have another surprise giveaway this week, but life got a little crazy (including 2 trips to the ER {not for me}, but that's another story), so clearly that did NOT happen... stay tuned next week and I'll try to get it put together this weekend... and trust me, if you are a first grade teacher, you will NOT want to miss it!  Make sure you are following me on facebook so you can get all the latest blog updates... I try to keep my posting to a minimum so as not to completely annoy you with randomness in your newsfeed :) and I'm going to apologize in advance if I'm MIA for the next little while... our first contract day is August 15th and I have SO MUCH to do before then... so tomorrow I will be back in my classroom trying to get things ready!

I'm going to keep this quick since it's been a crazy week for me and I'm tired!! Here's the winners for this week!!
Centers & classroom management packet:
1. P.J. Parker Friend
2. Megan C.
Beginning Sound Practice
1. Lisa M
2. Kelly B.
1st  grade CCSS jungle packet:
1. Tami M. 

1. Rae
2. Jenni T.
1. Amanda E.
2. Andrea K.
3. Pamela S.
1. Dani P.
2. Andrea L.
3. Suzy

3rd grade math centers bundle:
1. Marie M.
1st & 2nd grade language arts bundle:
1. Carol L.

And finally, don't forget to sign up at educents - right now you can get $5.00 when you join.  This amazing bundle is only available for 2 more days. Grab it before it's too late! Click on the picture to save $5!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Giveaway week 5: Common Core Goodies Galore

Welcome to week 5 of giveaways... this is the last week of the big giveaways... but don't worry, there will be more fun in the future! Today I am blogging from beautiful St. George, Utah, so I'm going to keep this brief so I can get back to relaxing before I head back into the classroom to get ready for a new bunch of kiddos!

Today's giveaways are all about common core! Tons of great resources to make the first month of school easier for you! Check out the descriptions and enter the giveaways you like :)

Up first, the Applicious teacher is giving away 2 sets of her classroom management and center time packets. These will help you get off to a great start this year in any grade level! (I don't know about you, but centers / small group is always such a challenge at the beginning of the year in 2nd grade!)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Next up is a self-start, fast finisher, or center activity designed just for kindergartners!  The littlest scholars are giving away 2 sets of their beginning sound practice "color, cut, & glue" activities! These are perfect for those darling little kinders :)

Next up is one of my personal favorites (sadly, it is a FIRST grade prize, *sniff*). How cute are these common core posters to display in your classroom?!  One lucky first grade teacher will win these from Daina at Sticky Notes & Glitter.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next is another awesome 1st grade packet... Lisa at Growing Firsties has made the most amazing year-long resource called "Common Core Crunch" - this packet is AMAZING! Take a peek for yourself and see why I'm drooling. Even though I teach 2nd, I am excited to use this as a review with some of my lower kiddos... you never can have too many things on hand at the beginning of the year!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

This next product is probably the one that I am most excited about!! Halle at Across the hall in 2nd grade has been hard at work ALL YEAR making her reading comprehension packets... have you seen these before?  They are AMAZING!! Not only are they great for comprehension, but I also have my 2nd graders practice fluency and retell with these! We do a timed reading then turn the paper over and see how much we can remember about the story... after that, we read the entire passage carefully and answer all of the comprehension questions... as we go through our answers, you can see the light bulbs going off in their heads... they suddenly understand that these questions are asking them the important details that the should be re-telling when they do their DIBELS tests. 3 lucky 2nd grade teachers will win this stellar pack!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember Gina, from third grade tidbits, who was having a birthday bash last week?  Now it's my turn to give away one of her products. Why oh why must this be for 3rd grade teachers?  I told Gina I might have to copy her idea and make a set for 2nd grade!!  This is a peek into her CCSS organization kit for 3rd grade reading & language arts. She has a very detailed post on her blog that you can check out here... she can explain it far better than I can!  Needless to say, I am green with envy over this awesome packet!!  3 lucky teachers will win this!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally... for the grand finale... 8 sellers have come together to create some amazing bundles!! The math stuff is mostly beginning of the year 3rd grade, so one lucky 3rd grade teacher will win an awesome math bundle!  The language arts bundle is all common core aligned for both 1st and 2nd grade, and again it will be given to just ONE lucky winner!  Check out each seller's store links in the rafflecopter below.

But wait... I might have one more surprise up my sleeve... make sure you're following me on facebook to find out about another special giveaway that will start after I get back from vacation :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Winners & Currently: August

I'm going to keep this short and sweet... I'm up late packing, and tomorrow I will be going to the Utah Blogger meet-up, then I'm off for a much needed vacation... any guesses where I'm going??  (hint, come back on Monday to find out!!)  So yeah, I'm posting early! Ready... here we go!! Drumroll please.... the lucky winners are:
Dolch Word Wall: Shannon W, Doreen B.
If you didn't win, you can pick this up on SALE this weekend by clicking here!
Kim also has a great freebie for everyone if you stop by her TPT store!

Book bin labels & Bug classroom décor: Madonna U., Ashley D.
If you didn't win, you can grab these items on sale this weekend!
Book labels - click here!
Buggy room theme - click here!
Cyndie also has a fabulous freebie for everyone in her TPT store!

Chevron Classroom Décor: Katie N., Eilidh H.

Word Wall Headers & Chevron Pack: Tracy R.

Bee Themed Classroom Set: Kris, Megan M., Caitlin C.
If you didn't win and still want this, Chrissy has put it on sale for the weekend. Check it out here!

and finally, the winners of Mandy's décor pack are: Pina D. & Mariann B.
ANNNNNND... if you made it all the way to the bottom and are still with me, Mandy has an AWESOME freebie you can snag by visiting her blog and reading THIS post... it's worth it, trust me. I am excited to go back to school JUST to use this freebie!! YAY!
One last thing before you go... I'm so excited to get to link up with Farley @ Oh Boy 4th grade for her "Currently" linky... these are always my favorite blog posts to read... and now I get to participate!!  Humor me and read it and comment, okay?! :)

So here's the breakdown of my August "currently":
Listening: I love country music!! Hunter Hayes opened for Carrie Underwood when I went to her concert in October and he is just adorable... {I *might* have a little crush on him. Yes, he's younger than me... don't judge!!} I smile every time I hear his new song... Love him!!

Loving: If you follow me on facebook, you saw this picture already {and if you don't follow me, shame on you!!}... I will blog more about my Ikea trip soon, but this will have to do for now.  Two teacher-friends and I had lots of fun shopping at Ikea this week and are excited for our little mini-makeovers that we will be doing in our classrooms!  Stay tuned for some awesome pics once I get my room put together!

Thinking: It's August. REALLY?!?!?!  I am in so much trouble!  I need one more month to get everything ready... and instead of getting my butt in gear and going to school, I am going on vacation.  I'm excited for a break... but not ready to come back to reality :(
Wanting: A Silhouette Cameo.  I swear every teacher has one of these.  I went to a wood craft shop earlier today with one of my friends, and we found so many fun things to make... but the pre-cut vinyl is so expensive, and they don't use CUTE fonts (yes, I'm a font snob, I'll admit it).  If I had a cameo, I could make my own vinyl exactly how I wanted it!!  Someday... maybe... hopefully!!
Needing: To finish packing... this is self explanatory.  I should be packing... but instead I'm blogging.  Good job, self!  Way to go.  {ugh... better wrap it up!}
Back to school must haves:
  1. Cherry Dr. Pepper.  I have no shame in admitting to my caffeine addiction.... Cherry Dr. Pepper makes my mornings SOOO much better!  I was a Diet Cherry Coke lover until Dr. Pepper came out with CHERRY.... oh my stars... if you haven't tried it, you MUST!  I don't like the diet... if I'm gonna be bad, I'm gonna go all out! LOVE IT! (I already have my B2S case in my garage, but I'm too lazy to walk downstairs and take a picture).
  2. A new haircut & color.... my hair tends to bleach out because I hang at the pool so much in the summer... luckily one of my best friends is a hairstylist, and she is nice enough to come to my house and make me pretty :) I love having red highlights in my hair, and am excited to get some red again when I get home from my trip.  As for the cut... last year I CHOPPED it off... but I'm kind of liking being able to pull it back in a ponytail (which means I never DO my hair!!)  So I can't decide if I keep it shoulder length, or go with an A line.... decisions, decisions.
  3. And last... I am SO excited to start using Lory Evans' daily math packet.  (I'm also super excited to meet Lory in person at the blogger luncheon... eek!! I hope I don't embarrass myself!) I didn't love my math self-starts last year, so I can't wait to try these. I already have them all copied... just need to spiral bind them and I'll be ready to go.
So there you have it.... now, back to packing!!  Remember to come back on Monday for the FINAL week of giveaways :)