Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Interesting Article

at 10:57 PM 0 comments
I've been crazy busy with work lately, and haven't really had time to update my blog. I have a lot of craft things happening, but since most are Christmas presents, you'll have to wait for January to see those. But this article is spot on for the idea and purpose of my blog. So if you're reading this, read this.

Since I doubt I'll be able to blog again prior to January - Happy Holidays and have a fantastic New Years. I'd be interested to hear resolutions.

[Addendum: I posted this in the hopes to inspire, and one of my friends read it, shared it, and wrote about it. HolyCrapLiz had a different reaction than the majority of people I shared this with, and I thought I'd share her perspective. Also, I wanted to point out that I was made aware of this article by Timmy. ]

Saturday, October 26, 2013

When Inspiration Strikes...

at 10:35 AM 0 comments
When inspiration strikes....
...you go with it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Small Wins

at 7:30 PM 0 comments
Thank God for Small Wins.

That seems to be the theme of this year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lost, but Here

at 1:55 AM 0 comments
It's one in the morning on a Sunday night and I'm still awake binging on episodes of Glee and the adult version of KoolAid, Crystal Light. Luckily for me, our district decided to give us a 3-day weekend (which means we have tomorrow off). My district is good like that. This year we have at least one 3-day weekend every month. It's pretty nice.

They're pretty awesome, overall, my district. I mean, they support their teachers in every way imaginable. We have a paper budget, a scope and sequence, and trainings in everything they expect us to utilize in the classroom. We have minimum days built into our schedule so that we have time for professional development without having to miss class. We have late-start days built in for PLC time. We have a superintendent who bought a program called MyAccess and is working on getting the district over 5,000 Chromebooks.

So why I am awake at 1 am? It's not just because I have a day off tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What am I doing right?

at 7:05 PM 0 comments
I took on a new prep this year. I teach a class called CR3 as well as my ELA 8 Mainstream. CR stands for Core Replacement, and it's a Language Learner (ELL) class at the highest level for middle school. It's also two periods long.

Taking on this prep actually added on about 3 more meetings per biweekly basis. There are also more trainings involved. Joining the AVID team, a new computer AI grading program, and BTSA on top of all that, and I feel like I'm barely staying afloat.

Trainings mean taking time out and having a sub. Subs mean having sub plans, prepping your students in all procedures, as well as prepping them mentally, and dealing with the aftermath when the sub ultimately fails (with at least one student) no matter how hard you prepped. Oh, and the guilt of leaving your brand new babies the second week of school.

So that's why I haven't been posting.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sometimes You Fail

at 8:54 PM 0 comments
Sometimes you fail. And it hurts. Oh, how it hurts. Ultimately, you get over it and move on. Ideally, you learn from the mistake. Hopefully, it doesn't affect the rest of the world too badly. But, yes... we fail.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CLS: Kate Kinsella

at 11:52 AM 0 comments
I recently went to a conference in Palm Springs to see Kate Kinsella speak. That was all we were told about the conference. But that was enough -- Anyone who teaches in California, or who works with EL Students, knows her name. Kate Kinsella conference? Yes, please!

Staples Teacher Appreciation Day

at 10:27 AM 0 comments
I love Staples. I love them a lot. But most importantly, I love deals. And right now, Staples has a great deal for teachers. Two, actually. And since companies aren't that great at spreading the information about teacher-specific deals, I'm going to share.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PhotoBlast: Making Cozy

at 6:12 PM 0 comments
I know, I know, I blog like I do anything else... I go through bursts where you get three posts in a day, and then have to wait for my next burst. Sorry, but that's how I am with everything.

Anyway... This is a blog about the experience of being 20-something and making a career out of a job, a home out of an apartment, and a life out of all this. So I wanted to share some things I've added to my home.

Prepping for Class

at 5:53 PM 0 comments
Yup! It's that time of the year again. With school starting in just over two weeks, I've been busy planning and prepping. I hit the sales for school supplies and got some ok deals - nothing crazy awesome enough to brag about.

PhotoBlast: Summer Tidbits

at 5:01 PM 1 comments
Wow, it's been a busy summer.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quilted Sunflower

at 4:02 PM 0 comments
One of my summer goals was to learn how to quilt. Well, I've made quilts before, but they've been basic square-patch quilts. I wanted to get more detailed. Michelley also wanted to learn to quilt this summer, so we made a Pinterest board of ideas. I have three quilt projects I want to complete (preferably by December ~ Earlier if I can make it).

Two baby blankets, and a surprise.

So I started on baby blanket #1. My cousin is pregnant and due in a couple months. Originally she was not telling the gender of the baby, but told me that the colors of the nursery were green and yellow. [Since then, she's had her shower and announced its a darling boy!]

I bought a jelly roll of browns, greens, and blues. And then bought another scrap pack of yellows and oranges. Buying jelly rolls and scrap packs at JoAnn's and Walmart is cheaper than picking out and buying cloth, and it has the added bonus of being already cut up.

There are a lot of cool ideas on how to use jelly rolls in quilts, that I found online. And my original idea was this.

However, when I actually looked at the cloth I'd bought, knowing that baby is a boy, I decided to try something different.

Jelly rolls are good because they have cloth with similar colors scheme and weight. The scrap pack I bought had a different weight, which I noticed changed how it reacted to ironing, pinning, and sewing. It isn't a problem in my design, but keep weights in mind when you're buying cloth to quilt.

Please Note: This is not a craft tutorial. This is a walk-through of what I did, with some tips added in. Due to my haphazard* approach to sewing, I do not give tutorials.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Can Common Core!

at 10:35 PM 2 comments
A few weeks ago I was looking for some help with Common Core standards and "unpacking" them for students. Our district has completed dropped the CASS for English and Math, and is working hard on getting us full engrossed in the new CCSS.

As I'm researching the Common Core standards, there are a few things to I need to remember to consider when borrowing ideas from other blogs, etc. The first is that, while the entire idea behind Common Core is that the entire (really, most of) the country will be using the same standards. In reality, this isn't true. I don't know about all the differences between states, but I do know that California added some parts, and didn't keep others - at least in English. Another big issue is that it's so new, especially in California, that it's hard to find someone who has a solid foundation in the Common Core standards and can give concise instruction, lessons, or help. Another thing I've been encountering is that the majority of teachers who blog and post instructional materials to share are in elementary education.

So. Back to my search. I found a wonderful idea on another blog. They had created lovely instructional materials for Common Core. Basically, they took the Common Core standards and "unpacked them" - they re-wrote them language their grade level can understand. They put them in "I can" statements, so that students could check off the standard/skill once they had mastered in.

I was super excited when I found this site. Until I realized that the site only had documents for Kindergarten through 5th grade.

So I decided to make my own!

Monday, June 24, 2013

CM Seminar Day 1

at 5:01 PM 0 comments
This week I am attending the Constructing Meaning 5-day Trainer of Trainers Seminar. That means, already having attended the 3-day Institute, I am now delving deeper in CM strategies, and will exit this week being a certified facilitator and (possibly) presenter for CM.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pre- The Habits and Setting Up Frame

at 2:48 PM 0 comments
This morning I read the first chapter in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Coveny. The main ideas I took away from that first chapter are things that need to be taught before you start teaching the Habits to your students.

Firstly, they need to know what a Habit is. Luckily for me, we already had a team at school develop a lesson for that. Check!

Secondly, they need to know what a Paradigm is. I added this to my to-do list.

Third, they need to know what Principles are. I have few self-reflective quizzes from various places about learning styles, values, and principles, so I will incorporate these into the first month of school. Then I will use an idea from Mr. Richards' class and have students create their own personal Mind Maps. It will be their first assignment. Last year, I had the I Am Poem be their first assignment. The way I've laid out my first month of school, I think that will be the second assignment. Mind Maps are easier for students who aren't as good with words, such as visual and kinesthetic students.

Then I got excited about what else I could integrate with this, like stories from the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul series, and needed to remind myself to slow down. So I picked up the best book ever given to me, and started at the beginning.

7 Habits

at 9:48 AM 0 comments
This year our new principal came in stressing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Despite push back from the majority of the teacher, he continued to push this initiative. I admit, I wasn't completely on board. I felt that some of the Habits were too "high" for our students to get. Between seeing cute ideas on Pinterest, and actually seeing our students embrace some of the Habits, I'm more than willing to give it a full attempt next year, rather than the half-hearted attempted I did this year. Through our morning announcements (we have a TV show for announcements) they promoted all 7 Habits throughout the year. Now, I know that the majority of the students didn't learn all 7 just from that. I didn't even learn all 7 this school year. I focused mostly on the first three in class, specifically the first: Be Proactive. Surprisingly, it actually caught on.

By the end of the year, student's knew the first Habit, and how to show it. Students who came in whining about not having their work and not knowing could be silenced with a, "Well, I'm sorry you weren't being proactive." A mumbled, "Oh, yea..." resulted in a return to their seats to get back to work. When students came in announcing, "She gave me a U!" I would ask them to reword their sentence correctly. Students usually had to say the sentence again aloud as they looked for grammar mistakes, because I often corrected them on that, as well, but almost always figured out what I was looking for. If they didn't, their friends did. "Dude, YOU gave yourself a U."

So this summer I am going to delve more deeply into the Habits, for my own knowledge and understanding, and then scour the internet for ideas, lessons, printables, and posters to help utilize in the classroom.

B prepared for more 7 Habits posts soon!

Monday, June 3, 2013


at 10:38 AM 0 comments
Summertime is here, and it's still hard to believe. It just seems like a long weekend, still, and that I'll have to go back to work and see my kiddos again soon. It hasn't completely hit me yet that I'm done. I finished my first full year of teaching full-time. And I'm going back next year!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Candy Bouquets and Thank You Notes!

at 9:45 PM 0 comments
It's that time of the year again! Yup... End of the school year! Two more days left, and both are minimum days. This was my first year at this school, and I think it went wonderfully. There were a lot of people, especially in the front office, who really helped me make this year what it was. Being new, there were a lot of things I didn't know... What forms to fill out, who to ask for what, the procedures for detention, ZAP, grade changes, referrals, days off, interventions, ELLs, trainings... the list goes on and on and on.

People in my district, and especially at my school, are helpful, sweet, and wonderful people. The majority of them go above and beyond their job descriptions, without even giving it a second thought. So I wanted to thank them.

Tabby's Bridal Shower [Update]

at 9:24 PM 0 comments
Since I already updated that post once, due to unforeseen circumstances, I decided a secondary post would be ok.

Chocolate and Wine [May 4, 2013]

at 9:10 PM 0 comments

Today I learned...

...ceramic bowls crack in the microwave. (I already knew that burnt chocolate smells up the whole kitchen...)

...turning the electric mixer on to 4 right away means that your kitchen will be covered in brown sugar.

...how to make whipped cream out of cheese.

...red wine and chocolate make a very deep purple when it spurts everywhere.

Yup. It's my mom's annual Wine and Chocolate party.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Not Always Related

at 7:52 PM 0 comments
I needed a place to list these links. I love reading this website called Not Always Right and it has a sister site Not Always Related.

I've some success submitting funny family stories to Not Always Related. Apparently, that means my familia is amusing to others, which makes me even happier. So here are the stories that are of us.

Silencing the Voice of a Generation

You'll Be In Stitches

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Reputation!

at 7:53 PM 0 comments
Yesterday I subbed a drama class for last period. Three of my students were in the class, but apparently other students knew me, too. As we entered, I told the students to sit in their assigned seats or I'd mark them absent.

One student obviously sat in his improper seat, as two of his classmates were trying desperately to get him to move. "Dude, go to your seat..." "She's gonna mark you absent!"

Another student asked me a question about something to do with promotion, but he used my name.
"Ms. B-, what do we do with..."

The student in the wrong seat? "Ms. B-?! Shoot!" I've never seen a kid move into his correct seat faster.

It was very hard not to do a fist pump. Yes! A reputation!

New Girl Amidst Chaos

at 7:48 PM 0 comments
We have 10 days left of school.

I got a new student (new to the district!) last week. Noone responded to my e-mail about a transfer grade, or what to do with her since we were on our final project and she'd missed the lesson. Thankfully she turned out to be amazing.

When in doubt ...Call Dad.

at 7:22 PM 1 comments
On Monday, last week, I drove my car to work. It was fine. Well, I thought it sounded a little "louder" than normal, but I don't know much about cars, and I had the radio off, so I chalked it up to that. I drove it from work to the dollar store, fine. I was in the dollar store for about 10 minutes ...car won't start.
Now, I drive a diesel, and I don't actually know much about cars. I did remember that in my old Mercedes diesel, I had to turn the key partway and wait until the glowplug light turned off, sometimes, before starting it all the way. So I turned it off, turned the key in partway, and waited for a bit, checking that the radio and lights were off, and that it was still in park. I tried again. Nope. Then I did what any smart girl does.

I called Dad.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Faith in the Future

at 9:00 PM 0 comments
Now is the time of our lives to choose who we want to be. I know, I told my students that last week, right? I think it's true for them, but also for us. Middle school is the time you start deciding who you want to be. Picture it like a big maze you drop all the kiddos into and then shake and shake and shake. After two years of this, we hold it still, and watch closely to see who walks towards which exit. They're making decisions about their future, and they're starting to head in that direction. But the journey isn't over. How can it be? That maze is huge. Prior to middle school you have teachers holding your hands and guiding you through the maze, in straight rows. Yea, a few lost souls disappear down the wrong hallways, but most people make it to the goal. And then the shake happens. But even as they're walking towards to place they think they want to go, things can and will still happen to change them. You meet other people. You see things happen that change your opinion. The maze is long, and there are many right answers. At least throughout high school nobody is shaking that box, and mostly you're around the same people. College, too. Maybe you found a portal that transported you to the complete other side of the maze, but you still ended up in a crowd.

It's now, though, that matters. Not instead of then, but also. The maze seems to be thinning out. People are farther away. Some people have entered the final stages, and found the paths they belong to. It's hard not to stick together with people just because you always have. It's hard not to want exactly the same things they have. But we can't. It's time to be independent. It's time to live our lives. It's time to learn who we truly are, on our own. And maybe that's not the person you used to be. Maybe it's not what you grew up picturing. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to let go of those castles in the sky.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Diary of a Relapsed Runner Part Deux

at 5:50 PM 0 comments
On Monday I left Tucson around noon. I landed in Oakland around 5 pm. My mom picked me up and drove me back to Fremont, where my car was. I went out to dinner with my parents before driving home, and didn't end up back in Salinas until around 9:30 pm.

Tuesday I had an afterschool program. Wednesday was Open House. Thursday was a staff meeting. and Friday I held my normal Thursday After School Tutorial. While a couple of days I did get home before dark, it was fairly chilly and very windy this week as well. However, The Weather Channel said it would be perfect beach weather by this weekend, so all week I told myself "I'll run this weekend. I will run this week. I will run this weekend."

Totally Awesome To-Do List Summer 2013

at 1:59 PM 0 comments
Summer is coming! It's in the air. The kids are squirrely, the air is getting warmer, and we have only about a month left of class.

This is the first summer in a very long time where I haven't had whole-summer plans; between working, volunteering, and attending day camps; summer jobs; summer classes; and study abroad, it's been a very long time since I'd been able to anticipate a summer off. I am so excited!

Going along with my New Years resolution to start enjoying life, I've been working on creating awesome summer plans. Ok, so my resolution was supposed to focus on less planning, stressing, and preparing for the future... but I figured a little bit of planned fun couldn't hurt. Also, I do have some commitments already, such as trainings and conferences for work. There are also some things I enjoy, that happen around the area during the summer, that I wasn't able to do the past year. And it is beyond sad that the past two summers I went to the beach a total of once (and that was for the Boardwalk with my students last year).

So I scoured Pinterest and blogs to find a printable Summer To-Do Checklist. And I found a ton ...mostly aimed towards people with small children. Using my own ideas, and ideas from various other blogs, I decided to create my own.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Faith in Humanity

at 6:47 PM 0 comments
When bad things happen, especially terrible things, my mind's response is to pull away, ignore it, pretend it didn't happen, and move on with my life. I try not react. But I do. My heart aches and reels. Which is why my body's defense mechanism is to block it out.

Our history teachers scared our students by talking about North Korea in class. I had to calm them down by finding maps of how far their bombs could reach. I spent classroom time, reassuring students that our town was highly unlikely to be a target, no matter what.

With the news and social media spamming the internet with news about the Boston Bombings, I didn't want to bring about that paranoia again. However...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Diary of a Relapsed Runner

at 10:45 AM 0 comments
Running isn't a hobby. It's a lifestyle. It's the way you eat, the way you move, the way you think.

I became a runner my freshman year. Lizzie dragged me over to the Cross Country sign-up sheet and told me I was joining. "I am?" I asked. "You are," said my dad. And that was that.

I stopped running after a series of excuses in college. After getting bronchitis two years in a row, I cracked and sprained a ribs from coughing. My allergies were getting worse each year. And I got out of shape.

But my soul is a runner. My heart longs to run. I kept sporadically attempting to, but while my legs adored the movement, my lungs rebelled.

This time, I'm not giving in to them.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nonverbal Cues

at 8:31 AM 0 comments
One of the things I really love about my district is that they send us to trainings and believe in professional development. I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy learning. Crazy, right? I love learning new things, and I enjoy finding out the why's and how's of things that work.

Saturday morning I went to a PD seminar in the district office called How to Spend More Time Teaching and Less Time Managing. This was really good because I spend way too much of my time managing, and I thought it was just a middle school issue. It also relates to my BTSA inquiry question.

The session was taught by Kendall Zoller, co-author of The Choreography of Presenting: The 7 Essential Abilities of Effective Presenters. Zoller has taught middle-college ages, done scientific and brain research at multiple universities, and now goes around presenting seminars to people in all fields about how to present.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Haircuts, Fights, and a Passion for Teaching

at 6:32 PM 0 comments
What do all of the above have in common? Last week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tabby's Bridal Shower

at 9:41 PM 0 comments
I've been crafting like crazy, but was unable to post because the items I was making were for Tabitha's Bridal Shower, and the theme was a surprise.

Diana picked the most adorable theme: "You're My Cup of Tea!"
And the colors were a pastel orange and pink, with touches of brown and sage.

Her wedding colors are orangey-pink and aqua.

Definititely an Experience: Travel Mayhem

at 9:11 PM 0 comments
So once you hit a certain age, and have certain things going for you (like paying your own car insurance and registration, your own job, apartment, bills, loans, etc...) you tend to think you're a *real* grown up and try to do things that real grown ups do, all on their own.

...like make travel plans.

A Modern Cinderella

at 7:57 PM 0 comments
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who planned the most amazing Cinderella-style wedding, and invited all her best friends to be her bridesmaids, only to find out that her husband-to-be did not have enough available groomsmen.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Inquiry Question

at 8:18 PM 0 comments
In order to become a teacher in California you have to jump through some hoops. While I understand the need to screen potential teacher candidates, I think that the requirements needed to become a teacher should be more efficiently created to weed out the improper teachers and involve less paperwork.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PhotoBlast: Apartment Mine!

at 11:00 PM 0 comments
I've been slowly but surely finding intriguing pieces of decor, furniture, and whatnots that are making my apartment a home.

And, yes! I even have a whatnot! haha. (Laura Ingalls Wilder reference to a triangle shaped shelf in the corner for knicknacks)

But, of course, even making an apartment a home is an adventure! Especially if it's the first time. =) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Article/Blog Round Up!

at 6:49 PM 0 comments
Goodness! This has been a busy year so far, and we're only halfway through the second month. Loving it!
I've been pretty busy crafting, but I can't post any pictures yet because they are surprises! But they will be posted later, after my trip to Tucson in March!

I've been seeing a lot of awesome articles that I've been saving to read at a later date, and today I was finally able to get caught up.

There are a few I really wanted to share with you...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Perks of Mid-Twenties

at 9:42 PM 0 comments
While going about my day today I noticed that there are some pretty awesome perks of being 26. So I thought I'd blog, since my last one was about feeling nostalgic and lost. I don't want people to think that I'm a "Debbie-Downer," after all!

But to start it off, I want to backtrack a bit...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Musing About a Merry-Go-Round

at 6:26 PM 0 comments
There's a new country song out by Kacey Musgraves that's caught my attention. It's hit a chord in my soul, possibly because of my upbringing. If you didn't know me, you'd probably never guess. But I was born in Upstate New York on a Navy Base and spent the first large part of my life in South Carolina on or around a base. I didn't move to the Bay Area until Junior High. But I've always loved the idea of a small-town feel. The best part of my job last year was knowing that if I wanted to, I could spend my entire life in that community. My heart yearned for it. That's one of the reasons I had to leave. I knew I wasn't supposed to be there, and I couldn't stand the idea of falling in love with the community (the families, the traditions, all of it...) knowing that the school could collapse at any minute. I don't enjoy change, and the school was anything but stable. I can't stand big cities, so I enjoy suburbia, knowing that I'm close enough to visit a city, with all the comforts of a city, without the jarring, changing nature of it. But I'd much enjoy living in a smaller community.

The song is called "Merry 'Go Round"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


at 8:10 PM 0 comments

Class Dojo

at 7:39 PM 0 comments
Now, I know I haven't updated in a while, and I have a TON of things I need to upload (like Christmas Crafts!) but I just have to post my initial thoughts and reactions to the new behavior program I started today.

It's called Class Dojo. It was introduced to me by a co-worker during a staff meeting in November. I liked the idea, but wanted to wait until the new semester to start implementing it.


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