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A little back to school giveaway

Remember back in May when I got a new pencil sharpener? I got this beaut from Classroom Friendly Supplies:

I know you all have heard of it before, but I can't help but sing it's praises. It's easy to use, quiet, and look how sharp the pencils come out:

The kids love it, too. It's a total score! You can read more about it in my previous blog post, if you are interested in learning how to use it.

So now the fun part. Classroom Friendly Supplies is donating a pencil sharpener to a follower! You even get to pick your own color. Pretty sweet, right?  Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday Smorgasboard

Linking up with Fabulous in First for the Sunday Smorgasboard! Seriously, get ready for some random things about my week.

So, I've been totally craving a Silhouette Cameo for months now. Seriously, hardcore craving. If you haven't' heard of it, it is a cutting machine. You can create shapes, words, or designs on your computer then have them cut from paper with this fantastic machine. Isn't it strange what teachers crave? But seriously, I could practically see the fabulous bulletin boards in my room. Well, finally... I decided it was time. I know, I can't believe I spent this much money either... but I bought the Cameo Starter Kit! When it came, I practically drooled at just the box...

So, I went up to AC Moore and bought WAY too much cardstock, and I've started crafting! Stay tuned for results... I'm still a newbie at it, so I am trying to perfect my skills first!

This week, we had a seriously crazy heatwave. We've talking humid and about 90 degrees every day. In the midst of all this, we had a field trip to the zoo. The animals didn't seem to mind the heat!

This seriously huge silverback banged on the plexiglass several times. Talk about intimidating! Though, I do have to say... the smell of a zoo when it is 97 degrees and humid is not very pleasant.

 In other news, I discovered the world's best salad containers. Seriously, maybe I am behind the times, but these really impressed me! They have a little cup that snaps into the lid that fills with salad dressing. It's the perfect amount for my salad, too!

They're called Glad to Go and I am officially obsessed. So much more room in my lunchbox, now! Which probably means I'll add a little treat, and negate the salad... :)

I got some killer new heels this week! These lime green babies are from Ralph Lauren. I had the perfect opportunity to rock them today when we went to see The Wizard of Oz. I fit right in with the Emerald City!

For my last bit of randomness, I'll share the reason I've been so quiet on the bloggy world lately... hubby and I are house hunting! We will be first time home buyers, so if you have any tips or hints we would LOVE to hear them. It's sort of overwhelming! We are looking in a really small area (the section of the city we live in now) and at a really specific price point, so our options are limited. Fingers crossed!

Liebster Award

Pretty psyched to have been nominated for a Liebster award from TWO THREE great bloggers, Pinkadots ElementaryLive, Love, Learn in Fourth, and Kdot's Learning Spot.
Pinkadots Elementary  

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 250 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees by commenting on their blog or sending them an email to communicate the nomination. 

*technically, I have more than 250 followers on BlogLovin' now... but when I was nominated I didn't! 

here are the questions for me to answer from Pinkadots:

1. What made you start blogging?
I really love teaching. To be honest, my husband, family, and friends got sick of hearing about it! I wanted an outlet to talk about my passion without boring my loved ones. :)

2. Name one talent you have.
I am a remarkably good shopper. That sounds ridiculous, but I seriously can usually find the best deals! We took a trip to Europe over April vacation for less than 2k. :)

3. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
I love teaching math. I love breaking down the complex subject matter into easier to understand chunks. I really love turning a "math hater" into a successful math student, too.

4. If you could go on vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Bora Bora! In a little hut over the water, especially the ones that have the clear floors. Or maybe back to Europe, it is gorgeous there.

5. Name one book that has inspired you and explain why.
"The Last Lecture" is a phenomenal and inspiring story. It's seriously one of those books that makes you want to live every minute of life to the fullest.

6. What is your favorite TV show?
Pretty much anything on HBO, like Newsroom, True Blue, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire. I'm an HBO junkie.

7. Do you use a Mac or a PC?

8. What is your most favorite place to shop for clothes?

9. What is one thing you need to learn to become a better blogger?
I'm still practicing my graphics skills to make cute things. :)

10. If you weren't a teacher, what career path might you have chosen?
I honestly have no idea. I did consider law school for a while, but I am really anti conflict so that would not have worked out well.

11. What chore do you hate doing the most?
Dishes. UGHHHHH.

AAAAND my questions from Live, Love Learn in 4th:

1.If you had to describe yourself using only three words, what would they be and why?
energetic, motivated, and happy. They're pretty self explanatory. :)

2.What is your favorite stress reliever during the school year?
Running. Something about a long run takes all the stress away!

3. Do you use reading workshops in your classroom. If so, what do you think about it?
This will be my first year teaching ELA- so not yet! However, I've used math workshops in the classroom and I've loved the experience of teaching small groups and talking to each student about their learning.

4. If you could go back and relive one teaching experience you've had what would it be? Positive or Negative.
Hmm, maybe my entire semester of student teaching. I really loved the kids, the cooperating teaching, and the feeling of no pressure for standardized testing. :)

5.What are your hobbies?
running, reading, crafting, shopping. Spending time with my hubby, too- but I suppose that isn't really a hobby.

6.What is your all time favorite lesson?
Oh my goodness- it is hard to choose just one! I think I'd have to say science block where we had 8 mini experiments about matter going on. The kids were SO engaged and loved the day so much they asked to do it again the next day. :)

7.What is your all time favorite recipe?
Again with the hard questions! I think I'd have to say no bake chocolate cookies. I mean, seriously- those things are addictive.

8. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Back to Europe... or to Bora Bora to stay in a little hut over the water.

9. If you had unlimited money, what would you buy for your classroom?
laptops, iPads, and a smartboard. I'd refresh the library, too- newer books attract readers more. The phrase "never judge a book by it's cover" means nothing to fifth graders.

10. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a blog?
Just be you! Write what you want, when you want, and how you want. I think authenticity attracts people.

11. Are you an animal lover?
Yes! Like, crazy amounts. I would love to take in every homeless and sick animal in the state if my husband let me.

Finally, my questions from Kdot's learning spot:

1. What is your favorite aspect about teaching?
I just love teaching kids. I really enjoy the feeling of satisfaction when I see them improve and learn more.

2. What is your funniest classroom memory?
Probably the time that one of my students told me that I always talk about my cat, so maybe my husband should dress up in a cat suit so I'd like him more. LOL!

3. What inspired you to be a teacher?
I don't really know. I just know that since I was in Kindergarten I told everyone I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. I even had a gradebook that I recorded things in about neighborhood kids. Yes- I graded them, whether they liked it or not! I was easily bribed with jello, though.

4. If you could teach-abroad for a year, where would you?
London, without a doubt.

5. What is your favorite piece of technology to use in the classroom?
The ELMO. I don't think I could do it without a document camera! It makes demonstrating things so much easier. I do just about everything on it.

6. What is your favorite quote?
"For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been."- John Greenleaf Whittier

7. What is your favorite non-teaching hobby or activity to do?
If I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be reading.

8. What is one new goal you have for this school year?
Keep more "me" time and do less at home. I tend to work all the time, and I really want to do my best to keep it at school. I also am excited to learn the new literacy program our school is adapting! I will be teaching ELA this coming year, while I previously only taught math and science. It will be exciting!

9. What is your favorite book/author?
I love Kurt Vonnegut and David Sedaris. Just about everything they have written is golden.

10. What is your greatest accomplishment?
I'm really, really proud of my perfect GPA from my master's degree. I don't know if I can nail down one accomplishment, because I think life is about building on previous accomplishments repeatedly, but that one is pretty high up there.

11. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
I honestly have no idea. I did consider law school for a while, but I am really anti conflict so that would not have worked out well.

My 11 random facts:

1. I looooove the color pink. Like, a lot. In fact, my very first car was hot pink.
2. My kitty is named Joey after Joey Tribbiani from friends. He's really cute, but he's not that smart- just like Joey. :)
3. I am proud of my sorority- I still attend alumnae events regularly! Participating in college really helped shape me into the person I am today.
4. I'm not competitive with sports at all. If I lose at a game, I am really ambivalent about it.
5. I obsessively buy and download ebooks. It's a sickness.
6. I have about 200 pairs of shoes.
7. To house all those shoes and the clothes and purses that go with them, my hubby made our spare bedroom into my closet. It's the best!
8. My TV is named Stevie.
9. I love to vacuum.
10. I'm crazy stubborn. If someone tells me I can't do something, I just have to do it to prove them wrong.
11.  I celebrate my birthday as a month. That's right- a whole month. Apparently I'm still 10 at heart. :)

So, now you officially know more than you ever wanted to about me. :) HUGE props to you if you made it through all the questions and facts!!

Here are my nominees:

Hokie Teach

Meatballs in the Middle

Right Down the Middle

The Teacher Chick

Fifth Grade Way of Life

And here are my questions:

1. Heels or flats? Why?
2. What is your favorite color?
3. How do you spend your Saturdays?
4. What is your favorite vacation spot?
5. Do you prefer summer or winter?
6. What is your favorite subject to teach?
7. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy?
8. What is your favorite TV show?
9. Are you married or dating someone? What is your spouse's name?
10. What is your "can't live without it" teaching tool?
11. What is your favorite restaurant?


Monday Made It

Linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my very first Monday Made It!

It started with this....

and this...

and you get...

which eventually turns into this:

Another little craft-ivity was glitter clothespins. Who doesn't need those?  First I crafted up about 30 of them.

Then I had some extra glitter and mod podge, so I decided I should glitter up a martini glass. Hey, why not? It's summer time!

I plan on using them to display my "no name" papers in the classroom. The clothespin, that is. I plan to use the martini glass for lots of martinis. :)

Giveaways Galore

Everyone loves a good giveaway, right? Well, I have bunch to share with you! There were just too many good ones to tack on to the end of another post, so I gave them their own. :)

 Have you heard that Teacher Created Resources is giving away an iPad? WAHOO! Seriously, who WOULDN'T want an iPad for their classroom? You can enter daily, too. Check it out!

Vera Bradley makes what I consider to be the ultimate teacher bag, and some pretty great accessories. I was pretty psyched to see that they are giving away a shopping spree! If you don't win the grand prize, there are tons of runner up prizes too. Check it out!

To top it all off, there are some great teacher blogger giveaways this week, too. Click the icon to check out the giveaway!

Classroom Organizer

This summer, I have been determined to find a new way to organize how I manage my library. I want to have an inventory of what I have so I'm not always buying duplicates of books, and so I can replace books that get lost along the course of the year. I want to also keep better track of students check out books. At the end of the year this year, I found about 10 books stashed in one student's desk. OMG! So, after tons of researching (and by researching, I mean googling different phrases) I found Classroom Organizer. Seriously, so far I am in love. It's a one stop shop that allows me to inventory my books and check them out to students. 

Entering your books is super easy. You can enter it on the website by ISBN or title. If you do enter it by ISBN, 99% of the time the title, author, reading level, and book cover automatically populate. Sometimes, you do have to enter this info, but in my experience it has been for very old or infrequently seen books.  

If you have mobile device you can also download the free app! If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod you can download Classroom Organizer from the app store. If you have an android device, download it from google play.  And, seriously- if you are going to try this service out, you totally need the app. Check it out: you can scan the barcode on the back of the book from the app and it will automatically populate the info for you!

(sorry for the blurry screenshot- it was hard to catch it at just the right time!)

From the app, you can also check titles out for students. Just enter a class roster on the webpage, and then click on "check out" on the app. All you have to do is scan the barcode and select the student. Seriously!

I'm seriously in love with this website so far. There are tons of options available on the website to customize your library, including maximum check out times, number of books each student can check out, and  what to display about each book in your inventory. You can even export an excel document of your library data as a back up. 

The only caveat with this service is that both the username and password are case sensitive. My computer automatically corrected my name to be capitalized, so now I have to always log in with a capital M. Other than that, this is seriously the best library organization I have ever come across! 

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