Sunday, June 30, 2013

Prayers Please!!

I grew up in a little town north of Phoenix called Wickenburg, and northeast of this little town is an even smaller town Yarnell, Arizona which has been decimated by an out of control fire started by lightning.  The latest news is that 19 firefighters have lost their lives, over 230 homes have been destroyed and the fire has absorbed 2000+ acres.  I am reaching out to all my blogging friends to keep this little town, its residents, the families of the firefighters, especially those who died, in their prayers tonight.  The fire is 0% contained and is raging eastward towards the beautiful town of Prescott.  Along its path of destruction the fire is set to destroy many other little settlements/towns until it is finally contained and put out.  The eastern seaboard met the wrath of hurricane we are fighting our own out of control fire which is swallowing lives up whole.

This is a photo of the corps of firefighters, called the Prescott Valley Hotshots who lost their lives trying to put out this monster.  They were surrounded by flames and were unable to get out safely before the fumes and heat took their lives.

The sign welcoming visitors to this little town which may no longer exist after this destructive event.

Currently...for July

I am joining in this month's currently...thanks to Farley I love reading about what others are currently doing, so I thought I would participate and share as well.  You can follow her blog at, though I am teaching 6th grade, I have found other resources on her blog which I could use and even adapt for my grade level.

So this is what I am currently doing for July...

Onward and upward to the new school year...only 9 days left until I report to school.  I am anxious with anticipation.  I am just wondering if my students will be as intimidated with my as I am with them.  I am just 
curious is it smart to let the students know that this will be my first year teaching, or should I go in there with the air and attitude like I am a seasoned pro...any comment or suggestions or words of wisdom are greatly appreciated.

Trying New Things

Well since Google Reader is retiring...just when we were getting to know one another, I am going to try Bloglovin.  Let's see if this works...cross your fingers.  You can find the link for my blog on the left sidebar.  Happy Sunday everyone...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

On a holding pattern...

Grrr...a week ago my computer went on the fritz & the hard drive crashed.  Luckily one of my past employers dealt in computer repair & I was able to get it repaired relatively quickly.  The tasking part was to re-install all my programs & goodies I already had set up from when it was running wonderfully.  I still don't think it is back to where it was, which is aggravating, but I soldier on because I have a school year curriculum to plan.
Now here is my dilemma, I had to take a temporary full-time job until my contract began & I have to report to school.  I enjoy my co-workers, but it doesn't give me any spare time to plan.  I was able to get a blueprint created for the first quarter, but where to go from there I am unsure.  I really need to collaborate with the other 6th grade teacher who is teaching Math & Science, because my intention is to integrate some cross-curriculum into my lessons.  I want my students to have the opportunity to be fully engaged and get the opportunity to learn almost every subject multiple ways every chance they get. In order to do this I would like to know the schedule my cooperating teacher will be using and what topic she is teaching and when.  So, needless to say I am in a holding pattern for now.

Right now I am trying to get some personal reading in, trying to focus on some YA books so I have a better understanding of the books I want to include in my classroom library.  Currently I am finishing City of Bones, it seems quite interesting, but I am wondering if it is appropriate for 6th graders...does anyone who is teaching 6th grade have any suggestions on some great books?  I am especially looking for input from those who have actually read the books as well.  I love knowing the story line and content so I can ask thinking questions to the students to help them gain a better understanding and appreciation of reading.  Is there anyone else out there that has the same feelings about reading the classroom library books as I do?  I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, & suggestions.  So, there it is the progression of my summer vacation.  Then to end the summer, my husband springs on me he wants to intern in a local museum for a couple of years to get experience so he can pursue his interest/desire as well as utilize his Bachelor's Degree.  Now I am scrambling to reformulate my budget so we can make this wish a reality.  I feel it is necessary since he whole heartily supported me while I sought my Master's degree so I can fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher.  Now, it is my turn to do the same for him.  Wish me luck!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Getting things ready....

I will say it many times...I am a Pinterest junkie!!!  Today I found a PowerPoint courtesy of Linda du Plessis on Teachers pay Teachers ( ) that helps you plan what to go over on the first day of school.  I have been looking for things to help me on this initial day...and this is the best one I have found yet.  What is even more wonderful is that it is editable.  I used her format but changed the color scheme as well as the clip art including my classroom theme of owls...
I really want to include this little guy in my classroom, especially since I will be teaching Language Arts, its apropos don't you think?  Many of my colleagues I graduated with seem to be getting some headway into getting their classroom ready, but because I am having to work a temporary job I don't have the time I really wish I had to get in my classroom & get it set up.  My last day of working is July 11th, I have to participate in a school retreat on July 12th.  The following week is new teacher orientation, then the week before school is when I can finally focus on my classroom.  I hope this is enough time to get everything I want together, and be organized for the first day of school.  I believe the PowerPoint I edited will help me get on my way.  Here is a couple of examples of the slides I edited to suit my needs; there are a total of 22 slides in all.

I am sooo excited to get in there and get dirty!!!  Onward and upward...nothing but success from here on out (I hope).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

TGIF!!!! Well this past Friday for sure!!

All the required paperwork is in.  I finally got my official transcript & IR.  So, Friday, May 21st I drove to the Department of Education in Phoenix and left with my teaching certificate.  This was the last piece of the puzzle.  Everything has been turned in or signed to my district office...I can officially say that I am a teacher in the Roosevelt School District starting July 15, 2013.  The studying, paper writing, collaboration, and learning I have finished in the past six years has finally come to fruition.  Its been a long road since I was a third grade students, learning from my teacher and deciding that is what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I am so happy and elated...I even teared up on Friday walking out of the DOE building with my little green certificate in hand.

On another little brother (he's 36, so not so little) finally got engaged to the wonderful girl he has been dating 3+ years.  I look on Facebook at 11pm last night & they had both changed their status to engaged.  I am soooo happy for them.  My brother, since my parent's divorce, has swore he was never going to get married - I am elated that he has changed his mind and is ready to go on this lifelong journey and  adventure with such a sweet, smart, and beautiful girl.  She texted me a picture of the ring last night...isn't it gorgeous!!

Needless to say Friday, May 21st was an AWESOME day!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I thought I would take a moment & share the following article posted by the NEA on their website.  It shows the graduation rate is the highest its been in the past 40 years.  I know its because of you, my colleagues, the students are aiming high and successfully reaching and achieving their goals.  Take a moment and bask in the glory...then give yourself a well deserved pat on the back.  Lets keep it going!!!

U.S. Graduation Rate Highest in 40 Years

June 10, 2013 by twalker  
Filed under Featured NewsTop Stories
By Helen Yoshida
The nation’s graduation rate rose to almost 75 percent in 2010, the highest point since 1973, according to Education Week’s new Diplomas Count report.
“A decade ago, as concerns about the nation’s graduation rate were just starting to gain public attention, only two-thirds of U.S. students were finishing up high school with a diploma,” said Christopher B. Swanson, Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, who analyzed the data. “Now, the graduation rate from America’s public schools stands just shy of 75 percent. At the current pace of improvement the graduation rate could reach an all-time high within the next few years.”
The report, Second Chances: Turning Dropouts into Graduates, also contained sobering news about dropouts. Approximately 1 million students will leave school and not cross the commencement stage with the class of 2013.The report takes a look at the current 1.8 million so-called “recoverable youths” - young adults who are not enrolled in school and have not completed high school, and investigates strategies for helping them. In addition, the report tracks graduation policies for the states as well as the District of Columbia and features an analysis of the 2010 graduation patterns for the nation, states, and the country’s 50 largest school systems. Below are a few of the highlights:
  • The nation’s graduation rate has reached 74.7 percent, its highest point since 1973.
  • Latino and African-American students have driven this national improvement. Graduation rates for Latino students have increased by 5.4 percent while rates for African-American students have increased by 3.3 percent from 2009 to 2010.
  • The nation’s graduation rate has increased by 7.9 percent from 2000 to 2010.
  • In Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin, 80 percent of their high school students graduate. In Georgia, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina less than two-thirds of students graduate from high school.
  • The graduation gaps between Latinos and Whites and African-Americans and whites have narrowed within a decade while the gap between Native Americans and Whites have widened.
  • New York City and Los Angeles produce the most high school dropouts. New York City has 36,000 dropouts while Los Angeles ranks second, churning out 32,000 graduates per year.

Source: Diplomas Count 2013
Related posts:
  1. Must Reads – Graduation Rate Success Story
  2. High School Graduation Rates Improve, but Most Dropouts Are Minorities
  3. Must Reads – Graduation Rates
  4. Graduation Rates Rising But Still Not High Enough
  5. Alternative Schools Raise Graduation Rates


Sunday, June 9, 2013


Overload, that is all it is called.  In the attempt to get ready for my new classroom for my first teaching job, I like many others, have been pounding the internet on Pinterest.  I joke that is teaching doesn't work out I am going to open a rehab center for Pinterest addicts like myself.  There are soooo many great and amazing ideas that I don't even know where to start.  I am trying to limit my focus on Lang. Arts & Social Studies, because that is what my teaching focus will be on.  But, also to have some sort of idea how and what to start off with at the beginning weeks of the school year.  There are so many great examples of procedures and methods that would be beneficial for a classroom of 6th graders, but also lesson ideas which I want to implement.  Almost too many, I don't have a clue where to start.  What topic should I start off with in Language Arts - narrative stories to get a sense of my students' imagination or autobiographies to help get to know my students better?  When should I start setting up the expectations of the spelling list/test?  I really want to have my students practice penmanship - because I am really irritated in the lazy and illegible handwriting and having to decode what they are passing off as homework.  There are a few things I do know:

  1. I want a lesson plan book from the Erin Condrin website.  These planning books are amazing & I so want one especially for my first year teaching.  To check these out go to the following website -
  2. I want to upgrade the reading material for literature in the classroom.  I am trying to get a class set of "Bud, Not Buddy" - if interested in contributing to my project go to
  3. I want to learn and grow with my students.  There is nothing like seeing the aha moment come upon your student's face - better yet is when you student helps create an aha moment for yourself.

I cannot wait for my new career to take off - July 12th cannot come soon enough.  This is the first activity I have on my calendar as a elementary school teacher - the first of many.  I CANNOT WAIT!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just a Little Humor!

My mom sent this picture to me & I though it was apropos for how my first school year might end up...

Enjoy... I thought it was quite funny!!


I want to congratulate my fellow blogger at for her 2nd year anniversary of her blog.  She has A TON of amazing giveaways that are available to win...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I got really excited about something on TV this evening.  My husband has this knack of forcing me to watch CNN, and finally it paid off for me.  I was so stoked when they reported on the discovery of the lost Egyptian port city called Heracleion.  My wheels got spinning because my part of the 6th grade curriculum next year is ELA & Social Studies - and the focus is on ancient civilization.  This will be a great addition to my unit on Ancient Egypt.  I am already thinking of activities, writing prompts, and reflections that correlate to this great discovery by the underwater archaeologist, Frank Goddio.  If you want to see all the pictures posted on his website about the discovery thus far follow the link below....

Lost Egyptian port city of Heracleion

Here are a few of the engaging pictures I want to include in my unit plans...

I cannot wait to get the lessons on this unit created, this is such an great opportunity to share with my students how the world is full of treasures & lessons.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

First Attempts

I have been reading many a "linky party" adages on various blogs, so I thought in true first timers form I would give the one started by my friend at Finding Joy in 6th Grade.  I hope I am doing this right...and away we go...

1. Make sure to have a comprehensible plan to start off my new adventure in teaching 6th grade on a good note.  There are so many suggestions and informative websites which will help guide and direct me in fulfilling this goal.

2. Start planning my classroom set up.  I already know the dimensions of my classroom are 30' x 27.5' and so far 24 students are registered for my class - and with the aid of Google I know there are a variety of websites and programs which can help me figure out a good floor plan that will be beneficial to my students and my classroom.

3. Make sure I have the necessary supplies to ensure my students are able to start off the school year successfully.  Because the neighborhood many of my students live in is low SES, many time they do not have the necessary supplies for success, and I would like to have a stock pile so the lack of resources is not an excuse they can use to not participating or completing the expectations set out to make sure they do their best.

I know I have a lot to learn and get ready for to begin my new career and adventure as a 6th grade teacher.  Having goals and a plan will help ensure I am on the right path to being the best teacher I can be for my students.