Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My New Blog


Exciting news!!!

I have decided to start a personal blog. I felt like maybe, just maybe I was being misleading here at  First Grade Frenzy. Because I wasn't posting strictly about school related things.
Now you can go follow my new blog.

There are some crazy exciting things happening there, such as a GIANT giveaway.
(perhaps bribes to get you to follow it :))

I am so nervous that I won't have anybody that reads my new blog, so if you read this one and feel like we are already bloggy friends, please visit my new blog and follow.
It will make my heart smile.
Don't mind that it isn't exactly chock full of posts yet, all of this came about in the past 2 days & I'm still entertaining family from out of town so busy busy.

Thanks friends for being such a support system.


Monday, August 29, 2011

What's on my heart...

So today I planned on posting about this amazing new challenge in my life. A good challenge. A happy one.

But instead I'm not.

Life, seriously.
It just keeps knocking me down.
I'm feeling angry and upset and hurt and frustrated.

My faith is being tested. My mouth is being tested. My friendship is being tested.
Although, I'm not entirely sure there is much of a friendship left.

I'm supposed to be in my best friends wedding in October. By best friend I mean the girl I lived with for 2 years and the girl who used to finish my sentences. Now I'm questioning what I did or didn't do. Because this friendship is teetering on the verge of ending and I'm completely heartbroken.

My first mistake came when I even agreed to be in her wedding. I should have said no.
She is not marrying a Christian man.

"Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness?"- 2 Corinthians 6:14

It's black & white in the Bible. DO not marry non-believers. My "friend" feels as though she is going to be the one that leads her "mate" to Christ. I thought that was possible until she got engaged. That changed it. Now she is about to enter into a partnership that does not honor God. I have told her how I felt, long before she got engaged. I expressed my concern immediately following her engagement, but yet I said yes.

I said yes because I'm selfish. I'm weak.
I felt like I was such good friends with her that I absolutely had to be part of her wedding.
And now I am being treated so poorly. I am being accused of stealing her day and being difficult and complaining.

Let me rephrase that, I am being accused of stealing her day because I have been asking questions and wanting to learn details of her special day, while offering help.
I have been accused of being difficult because I refuse to dance in a seductive way with a stranger during her choreographed wedding party dance.
I am being accused of complaining because I only have one working car and can't rearrange my only income to attend dance practice. And because I won't be able to make it to the beginning of her bachelorette party.

All the while being told that I am the only one causing this type of problem. Which makes me the only one getting her wrath. Yet in talking to other bridesmaids I find that they all feel similar.

What do I do?

I tried calling her in the mist of text messaging and she ignored my phone call.
I called her a month ago and she never called me back.

When I tell her that I don't want to fight or argue through texts, she says she has nothing more to say.
So does that mean I just stop?

Of course I called my mom. She told me that my heart has never been fully in this and that maybe this is God's way of giving me the chance to express one more time how I feel about the union and then bow out of being in the wedding
I just can't give anymore.
I'm exhausted from trying.
I'm tired of the tears. Tears over losing such a special friendship.
Pain over ending something that has meant so much to me for so much of my adult life.

I can't help but think of Francesca Battistelli's new song, Motion of Mercy.

"Living for the lost
Loving 'til it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like You loved me first
That's the motion of mercy

God give me strength to give something for nothing,
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that's coming soon."

Should I be loving til its hurts? Loving my friend til it hurts?
Because it hurts. Right now. It hurts.
The cost is our friendship, something that I'm seeing means more to me than her.
I have been praying for a change. A change in both of our hearts.
My husband sees my pain. He is my partner, my priority. I value his opinion. I respect his advice.
He knows my friend, he knows she has changed. He tells me I should walk away.

How do I do that?

I'm asking you, my friends, to pray for me. I'm struggling so much.
 I plan on calling her until she answers, but then what?
Do I tell her how I feel & end this?
Or do I bite back everything I believe & feel & try saving our friendship?

Sorry for this. Sorry for rambling. Sorry for asking this of you.
I just feel so sick. Of all of this.
I can't continue to feel so horrible when I think about this situation.
I need something.
Something to change.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's Funny Face Time

Busy. Busy. Busy.
My sister in law & her family are in town, so we are on the go. All. The. Time.

For example. I was here yesterday. With not a care in the world.

I have lots of fun things to share with you, but for today I'm trying to get a week load of laundry done in a 2 hour time span so I can get back to my in-laws to deliver a su-pwise to my nephew.

So, please sit back and enjoy the many faces of my little sis Gianna as she steals my iPhone and takes self portraits.

And because he is just so darn silly, here's the Mr. playing with the fat face camera.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Free for All Friday


Today is Friday!! I'm off to the beach with my family, hope Irene stays away!

Today is all about sharing freebies with all of you fabulous bloggers!

I won't claim to be this awesome teacher resource creator & I'm still navigating through all of the clip-art usage terms. So instead I am just going to share 2 sheets that I used as quick assessments while teaching capitalization and punctuation.

Head over to Blog Hoppin for the last day of Teacher Week 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday


Today's Teacher Week topic is your favorite 3!

Your favorite font.
Favorite blog.
Favorite online resource.

Ok, first let me start with I might possibly be a font hoarder. Eeeek! I have so many downloaded on my computer, that Mr. thinks it's enough to legitimately diagnose it as an addiction. Which is fine in my book, except when I am supposed to narrow it down to my absolute favorite.
Well.....I can't do that so you are gonna get my top 3. (yes, I am aware I am not following directions, maybe I should have listed that as one of my improvements in my Meet the Teacher Monday post)

Now onto my favorite blog. This also poses a problem since I have over 200 blogs I follow, meaning I have over 200 blogs to read through each day. Perhaps some would call that a problem too?
Since I can't pick just one, I will simply go with the blog that started it all for me.
When Miss Cara hosted Meet the Teacher...Link Party I decided it was high time for me to stop stalking, and start writing. (This was my post from that linky party, my how far we've come)
The First Grade Parade

So I have to give favorite blog to The First Grade Parade.

Now for some non-teacher favortes! When I want all things food I visit Lovin' From the Oven. It's mainly full of deserts, but who said those aren't normal dinner options!
For all things crafty I usually head to She's Kinda Crafty or eighteen25.
I usually visit Johnny in a Dress when I need some fun inspiration.
Or 2 Kids, a Mini Van, and a Mortgage when I'm in serious need of a reality check, since my walk in life is not nearly as difficult as this precious little familes is.
Our girl, Babbling Abby is always good for some giggles.
Fly with Me & Name Your {Joy} are where I head when I need a little faith booster. (Be on the lookout for a post about a fun & much needed adventure that I'm doing with Kelly & Chelsea)

Ok there are a million more that I would love to share with you, but I don't want to break the rules too horribly, wait who am I kidding. I already have!!! Guess I just got my clip moved down on the behavior chart! Oy, me!

Last up it's my favorite online reasource {s}.

Can you say..... pinterest!
I can't stop pinning! And now I can't stop crafting!


My other fav. was always Carl's Corner. Fantastic place to get pre-made activities! This site saved my life many times during the first few months of my first year teaching!

So there you have it. My {shortened} list of favorites. Hope you can find some inspiration from them. And if you visit any of my favorite blog friends, be sure and comment on their posts! We all love comments, they make everyone smile. Tell them I sent you in their direction too!

Hop on over to Blog Hoppin & add your favorites :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday

Today at blog hoppin, it's all about your classroom. Well since I don't currently have a classroom for the upcoming school year, I figured I'd show you what my room looked like last year. Sound like a plan?

Looking into my room:

SMARTboard & Carpet Area:

My {messy} desk-that totally got cleaned up after I was forced to look at this pics.


Guided Reading Table: 

Word Wall:

Morning Check-in Station:

Sink Area:

Reading Center Table:

And now just because I can (and because I love looking at peoples classrooms and getting ideas, so of course all of you are exactly like that too) are some pictures of the classrooms I student taught in. (which by the way, were few of the most amazing teachers I have met)

First Grade Calendar Area:

First Grade Word Wall: (talk about making use of every possible space)

Fourth Grade Word Wall:

Fourth Grade Morning Check-In Station:

Fourth Grade Carpet/Meeting Area: (I love that my supervising teacher still taught her whole group lessons on the carpet, the students loved it)

So there ya have it. Hopefully you found some inspiration in one of these pictures. If not then I guess hop back over to Blog Hoppin & look at a different classroom :) Aren't linky parties great!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday


Today's topic is all about sharing advise with new teachers. Well since I'm pretty much still a newbie, I'm not sure how much stock you want to take in my advice. But I think I learned a WHOLE LOT at the crazy town I called work last year. So here it goes...

6. Coffee & Diet Coke & Chocolate &Sweets in your top drawer are your lifesavers. Coffee in the morning, Diet Coke for your afternoon. Candy for a quick pick me up whenever you need it. Tylenol &Advil work too :)

5. Be prepared! (I could definitely take this advice too) No matter how perfect you think your lesson is, plan more. Something always happens that throws a curve into your day and you don't want to be left standing in front of a bunch of little ones scratching your head wondering what magic trick you can do to keep your kids focused and working for those 20 minutes that you didn't plan on having.

4. Have a mentor. Now, I can't say that this was an entirely positive experience for me since my mentor was out on disability for about 4 months during the school year, but when she was there it was nice to be able to bug her and ask advice. If your school assigns you a mentor, usually they take pride in the fact that the mentor they chose is a well-(classroom)-educated teacher. Use them for that! If you don't know something, ASK. I promise you will look more silly if you do something wrong instead of swallowing your ego and just asking for help!

3. Make friends with the secretarys, janitors, lunch monitors, nurse, gym teachers, music teachers, art teachers, reading specialists. Seriously be friendly to all the people that you don't see as often. They are the ones that run the school, especially the secretarys and janitors. Once you have them on your side, it makes for a smooth year. I'm not saying you should bake them cookies, that might seem like you are trying to hard...but definitely go out of your way to say hi to them and actually ask about their lives. Don't just worry about the teachers on your team either, yes it's important to have them as allies but it's the other faculty that you want on your side in case you ever need a favor.

2. This is still a job. I am a teacher because I have a passion for kiddos & a passion for filling them with knowledge. But I also have a passion to be the best Godly wife I can be & be active in my church & spend time with my little sisters & eventually start a family & etc. etc. Somedays you have to just leave work at work. The only way to stay healthy, (physically, mentally, & emotionally) you need to spend time with your support system and do things you enjoy. (Now don't you all tell me that you ONLY enjoy doing teacher things, because I know it's not true. Reading is considered a non-teacher activity when you read something other than Daily 5 or classroom management related :)) It was super hard for me to follow this bit of advice last year. I wanted to make such an impression that I ended up staying until 8 or 9 at night sometimes and ya know what, the only people that knew that were the janitors and my hubby (who neglected to eat dinner those nights) Try managing your prep times better so that within an hour of school ending, you can be on your way home to enjoy time with your family. It's extremely important!

1. Always remember your students don't have a clue what is going on in your life outside their 4 walls of the classroom. Last year I went through some pretty terrible stuff & the day it all started I had to teach my firsties for 2 hours after I learned I wouldn't have a job. There were fresh tears in my eyes and I was a literal mess. It made my little ones worried, it stressed them out that I was upset. I did not like that. You have to pick yourself up and realize that for most of your students you are that safe place, the one place they feel loved and protected so if you let your problems spill into the classroom, they won't feel safe and loved anymore...they will feel stressed. After my horrible day, I added a new duty to my personal assistant. They became the smile monitor...whenever I needed a pick me up, I would say "time for a smile break" and everyone would stop what they were doing, turn to a friend, & smile their biggest smiles. Seriously, it works. It completely changes your mood to see your "babies" smiling away with no cares in the world. They had no clue that they were really helping emotional Mrs. Edwards change her attitude, they simply thought it was time to make happy faces!

Now it's your turn to hop on over & link up your fabulous teacher advice!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Have any of you heard about teacher week? Of course you have, you are all fellow blog stalkers!
But just in case you have been living under a rock for the past few days, let me introduce you to Blog Hoppin'. The fabulous blog being used to host...

Today is obviously Monday which means it's meet the teacher time!

The Mr. & me at my besties wedding a few weeks ago.

Tell us a little something about you...

My name is Liz & this is my blog :) I have been through a ton of changes over the past few months. I went from being a busy, busy teacher to know being a busy, busy job-hunter. Yes, I was let go from a 1st grade teaching job at crazy-town. It was sad & frustrating, but eventually became good & needed. I won't air the details again (I'm sure my normal readers are tired of hearing about it) so I'll just refer you to the previous post to learn more. I am in the process of thinking up a new name and design for this blog here, since I no longer teach 1st grade. So far the brainstorming has been unsuccessful, I asked my readers for help &it was so overwhelming I just can't pick one!
I'd love to blame my foodless & dirty house on the busy-ness of being back to school, but since I'm not I'll pass the blame onto my hubs. We are remodeling his parents house, which has kept us crazy busy..not to mention we have been watching my 2 little sisters for the past week (and you parents know it's like a tornado walks through the house everyday)

How long have you been teaching?

This would be my 2nd official year teaching, if I had a job. (still holding out hope) I graduated from college in 2009 with an elementary education degree, but only for grades 1-6. I was the lucky year that New York State changed their year requirements so that I could no longer be kinder certified. They changed it back the following year, so now I'm forced to pay extra money to get birth-k certified. I am planning on going back for my masters degree (and by planning I mean it was supposed to happen last fall, then this summer, &here we are at another fall and I haven't registered!!! What's my problem, people?!?!)

You might not know...

I am addicted to Diet Coke & coffee!! Oh what? You already know that? Hum well then, I have 4 siblings...none of which are full. Confused? I have an older sis & bro...who share the same dad as me. I have 2 younger sisters...who have the same mom as me. Total mess up in my family details, right? It's all good though because I get the best of all 3 worlds. I get to be the youngest in my dad's family, the oldest in my mom's, & the middle of it all.

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

Well...if I somehow manage to get a teaching job, I am looking forward to working with a new team and group of kiddos. Hopefully a team that is happy & willing to help. I am so over the competitiveness of the last school I was at. Now...if I am just subbing, I won't lie when I say I am looking forward to no lesson planning! Don't get me wrong, I love planning my days/weeks and being in charge of what happens in the classroom, but it will be kind of fun to just be able to teach & spend time with students and then leave at 4 without endless hours of work each night.

What do you need to improve?

How much time do ya'll have? :) 
I would like to do a 100% better in my guided reading groups. I tended to get distracted by problems going on at centers & didn't focus as much attention as was needed on some of my higher reading groups because of it. I would also like to get a better handle on teaching math. I minored in English in college so you can imagine that I put a lot of emphasis on writing, but not a whole lot on math. Oh and of course I wish I could manage my prep times better----think less chatting with co-workers, more work.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

*Mr. Sketch Smelly Markers-need I say more?
*Are Diet Coke & Coffee considered teaching supplies?
*My SMARTboard. (well the one I had last year....a-mazing)
*Anything laminated!
*My (student) personal assistant. Makes my life less hectic.

Can't get enough of me? Let me share some more random facts!

Also graduated college & moved to a different state that same summer.
We walked out to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" By-Stevie Wonder.
It down-poured during our ceremony, totally unexpected.
(My hubs & I have been together since I was a junior in highschool-that's 8 yrs.)

I used to nanny for an amazing family when I lived in the south. They were an absolute blessing in my life & I am still in touch with them.

 This is my house! Just kidding, it's the house that I want & it's not at all creepy that the hubs and I peeked in windows & drove by it once a week & checked online every day to see if the price lowered.
Oh, you think that's kind of creepy? My bad.

I have been on 3 missions trips with the church I belonged to in high-school. I went to Mexico twice &Oklahoma once. Best summers of my life, by far. Amazing to see the Lord work in others lifes through me.

I became a consultant for Thirty-One Gifts & I love it. I'm hoping that I can make a career out of it & eventually become a stay at home mommy...someday!


Ok, I've rambled enough. Now it's your turn to hop on over & join Meet the Teacher Monday @ Blog Hoppin'

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who's your hero?

What a loaded question, right? When I taught 4th grade, we did a unit on heroes. Now..I am all about a study on heroes and what makes them so special. But in this particular school, the books we used had Gloria Estefan as one of the heroes. Are you confused yet? Yea, so was I. Don't get me wrong I love me some "come on, shake ya body the conga" but  I was totally unsure about her being a hero of some sort. Along side Gloria, was Martin Luther King, Jr. & Lou Gherig. I could understand King, Gherig had me stumped again.

Of course once I actually read through their stories, I was humbled by what they had to conquer to get where they wanted to be. As a culminating project for this unit, I wanted to really test my students knowledge on character traits that should be connected to heroes. I came up with the idea of giving a hero award. Students had to pick one of the three above people, and come up with 3 character traits that contribute to their hero status. I taught a mini lesson on human characteristics and how to determine good ones verse bad ones.

For my example I used Abraham Lincoln. I read the "Abe's Honest Words" (seriously amazing book) and then showed my hero certificate that I created for Abe.

I called my kiddos the "Hero Hunters" and sent them out on their own to come up with their awards.

(please excuse the "pre-blog" picture taking. I don't have any up close pics. I am going to hunt through my papers and see if I can find the class book I made and then I will update this post)

I was seriously blown away by how amazing they turned out. That's when you know you did a good job teaching a skill, when the student work is just absolutely awesome & all you want to do is BRAG about it to everyone that will listen!

This is the bulletin board I put up to showcase their certificates. I used the characteristics from the previous activity (I hung those up around the room & had my students go stand next to the characteristic they thought they represented most. I used that as my "hook" and boy did they find it challenging to narrow it down to only one)

I am having such a horrible time getting the certificate to upload to google docs, I think because it was made in publisher. So if you would like a copy, please email me & I can send it out...I hope :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Fair

How many of you have a county fair?

I love love love the fair.

We have one in the town next to mine.
We have one in our main county town.
And finally we have one giant one for the county next to us.

This year the hubs & I hitched a ride with my 'rents to attend the big giant one in the county next to us.

And when I say giant...I truly mean giant.

We left at 8:30 am and rolled into the driveway at 12:45 am that night.
Yea talk about a long day.
My knee was a tad bit swollen, but it was so worth it.

Yummy lemonade made from real lemons---if I could have an IV drip of that all day long, I'd last all day at the fair with ZERO complaining. I can't get enough of it.
Then there is the italian sausage.
And fried dough.
And Chiavetta's chicken.

Oh man the fair is going on until this Sunday so maybe I need to convince M to make a trip back up there, if not just for the food!

Of course we looked inside all of the RV's & sheds.
Caught the pig races & dockdog jumps.
Walked through the little craft exhibits.
And all of the animal barns.
Watched a mama cow love on her 5 minute old calf. (that sadly we missed seeing by that 5 minutes...we were watching my sisters milk a pretend cow on the other end of the barn while wondering what all of the commotion was but clearly not caring enough to leave the pretend cow for the real live cow birth happening 20 feet away)
This year I opted out of the rides. Partly because of cost & partly because the hubs isn't big on rides.
My sisters, however, had a blast on the rides & definitely got my parents moneys worth on those ride wristbands. ( I will admit I was a tad jealous of some rides...hey, who knew it..I'm still a kid at heart)

I'll leave you with some pictures from the fun filled day.

Just enjoying the amazing wood crafted rockers. G-always attached to the Mr.'s hip.

Mama cow lovin on her new baby.

G won best cheerleader at the Swifty-Swine Piggy Races-her prize: a pig nose & Oreo's

Just her size water bumper cars.

Mini-horse--funky color, but cute none the less.

Giant work horse that could probably break every bone in my body by simply looking at it.

Lexi & her friend playing with my stretchy-face iphone app.

The step-pops getting nuzzled up by a horse.

Here is the tail-end of a ride the little was on. You could hear her scream a mile away. M & I were actually not at the ride when she got on but it was hilarious when he looked at me & said "I think I hear your Lexi screaming, is that her?" You know it's family when you can determine your little sistas scream without actually seeing her.

To sum the day up-total fun.
I highly recommend checking out your local fair. Be prepred to spend some money though----on the food!