Wednesday, April 5, 2017



I cannot stand paper, well, I guess I do. I like some things-  but sometimes I get over zealous and make a gazillion copies, and then I am stuck with stacks and stacks of PAPER!

This is totally the best selfie I could take with the paper. 
I imagined it much better.

...this also was only one of like 50,000 stacks in my room. It was like Dunder Mifflin up in there.

I LOVE to plan. I love to sort things into groups and organize - BUT if things do not go as I planned, or if I don't have storage, I get frustrated. My room has severely frustrated me since, oh, day one. 

I moved to a new school this year, at least it was the same grade! My room is probably about half the size of my last classroom. It is also an older school, so it came with a lot of stuff. The teacher in the classroom last year has moved to fourth grade, so she left me some great first grade stuff! I also had a friend retire from first grade last year, so I have more stuff from her. HOWEVER, with the move and waiting to get into my room, plus little time to set up, I have not had time to go through it! (Summer plans, woo!)

So I feel like I've just been getting by when it comes to organization, and I think that's okay. I always say - not matter HOW MANY years you've been teaching (helloooo year 13...) I feel that it always takes at least a year for you to get comfortable in your space and know how you want to arrange things or how you want them to flow. 

As for my paper? I spent some time on Monday and today (Wednesday) organizing  cleaning my space. How did I have time for this? Easy. We have had some nasty weather this week. Many counties around us were closed due to the incoming storms. I had 5 kids on Monday, so we didn't move on with anything, or start anything new, and today, I had 9 kids (half of my class) so we did some review and then some independent centers or computer time. 

How am I planning on organizing my life this summer? I am going to try to spend some QT in my classroom, arranging, purging (personally? I have a ton of junk) and getting things the way I want them. I have a small classroom so I am HOPING to invest in some flexible seating and free up some space. 

I am arranging my paper into monthly binders. Those of you who know me know that I plan when I am stressed and I learn my standards quickly. I have next year planned out down to the week and I will be placing my plans in binders and organizing papers that way.

As for copies? I just LOVE Bridget from The Lettered Classroom. I don't know how I found her, but she was down here in the south and moved to my home (well, the other side of my home state,) Pennsylvania! She has talked about a folder system for organizing papers. You have one for each day and one for each month. You place the papers on the day you need them, or you can move them to another day, and also put them in a month that you will need them. Say it is October, but a blogger you follow posts a super cute unit on life cycles, but you don't teach it until April - well, stick it in the April folder!

I also have been inspired by Bridget and other teacher blogger/vloggers to follow through on creating a vlog on YouTube. It may need to wait until summer, but I am determined! I currently only have my iPhone & iPad for a camera, so I don't know how that will turn out! 

Well, its time to go hang out with my little man before his bed time!

Be kind!
Alison :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Just did it...

I did it.

I can't believe I did it.

I just now posted my FIRST item on TPT.


I have wanted to do this for YEARS. You know, as a teacher you always come up with great things that you do in your class and (if you're like me) that you want to share - BUT then there's the roadblock...

"I grabbed these images from google."
"Can I use this font for free?"
"This goes with my text book, kind of? What if someone else doesn't have it?"

...and many more I'm sure.

Last summer (two summers ago? Gosh.) I was attempting to make my own clip art (I did and some of it is cute, some of it should not see the light of day) and considering making my own font, yes, I am cheap. I made some things for first grade ELA and it was the same as everything out there. There is a lot for primary ELA on TPT. Why make it if I can buy it?

I thought about when I felt most creative and my happiest with things I created - and that was when I was teaching fifth grade science in Virginia. I came up with a lot of my own units and activities, I had a blast. So I decided to tackle first grade science and then move on to other grades! I love science, but I feel our science book is lacking! We supplement a lot, and sometimes its hard to find great experiments and activities that are ready to go, easy and fun for our students - and for us!

I began with our first science skills. In Florida, we call these the Nature of Science standards, in Virginia its listed as "Scientific Investigation, Reasoning and Logic", or as I called it, SIRL (sir-l.)

My original freebie plan was to include the entire five senses section of my SIRL unit - but TPT said "No longer than 10 pages..." What? So I had to pick something! I chose the sort part, feeling that it is something easy and quick that a teacher might me scrounging on TPT to find to fill that five minutes before the bell!

Well, go check it out! I hope you love it, let me know what you think!

(I see a gazillion exclamation points, apparently I am excited!)

Be kind!,
Alison :)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Hey everyone-

So I DID say I'd post more, and I have failed again.

However, some great things are being planned. I have some super things to share, but my family is visiting and I haven't seen them in a year, so I am going to spend some time with them first!

Have a great day & be kind,

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I am sorry.

Wow. I fail as a blogger. Blogging is the first thing to go when the going gets tough! So many things have happened since I last posted (yeah, like a school year...) so I am going to post a list of things I would like to blog about this summer, and hopefully I will be able to hit all of the areas I want to talk about!

Blogging to dos:
-Talk about Kagan and how I use it in my classroom
-Class successes this year
-Class challenges this year
-Teaching ELA this past year
-What I am changing next year
-Homeschooling pre-school for my little guy

Well, I will have a lot more to talk about as the summer goes on, I am going to make a point to blog at least weekly - I will set an alarm in my phone - which, btw is not working at the moment!

Have a super day, be kind!
Alison :)

Friday, August 14, 2015

So, summer happened...

Wow. I can't believe that I did not post much all summer.It flew by. It was so-so. I had wanted to post a bunch, but then something would happen!

Lets see... it was crazy hot and humid, and before you can say "You live in Florida..." it got hotter quicker this summer! We didn't get to the beach as much as we wanted. I still can't believe I live at the beach.

In June, my oldest daughter graduated from high school! I am so proud! Our next high school graduation is in 2017, and then... 2032. She was accepted to two universities, however, she is going to community college for the first two years to save money and to decide what she really wants to do. Now that I am a parent of a college student, I can say that when I had friends or former students say, "I am going to CC because I want to save money and university is too much..." I can guarantee that the parent was most likely the driving force behind that decision (unless the student is paying for their own education...)

At the end of June we went up north to visit family. I was so excited. We had such great lofty plans. Well, that didn't happen. We had weather issues, distance issues, teething issues, sleeping issues, people issues. I think I got to do one thing on my list. One. I will say that going to the Orioles double header in Baltimore was awesome! We visited my hometown of Pittsburgh and my husband's home area of Northern VA, where we used to live. We were so ready to be home that we did the VA to FL drive in one day, yes, one day - with a baby, two teens and a dog.

July - for the fourth we laid low. Our across the street neighbors just randomly moved out of nowhere, didn't say bye or anything. My youngest daughter had summer school. We had doctors appointments out the wazoo. My sister's family came down for the end of July. We did some fun stuff like go tour the USS Alabama, visit Foley & go downtown. I got to hold and snuggle my baby nephew, until the green eyed monster came out in my brown eyed boy.

Oh August, you come so fast... the first week we were in a Kagan training. It was a lot of fun! I highly recommend looking into Kagan as another strategy to use in your classroom!

This past week was our work week, and it was crazy. I felt like my classroom was never going to be finished. I am doing a Dr. Seuss theme this year - but I felt like the Cat in the Hat had just come to visit and mess up the place! I moved from 4th to 1st, so there was a change in building.

As always, my husband &  girls came to help...

Having bulletin boards done is one way to make me feel better.
The board lies... I have 21 kids now!

The beginnings of my "happy wall" - I always choose a space behind my reading table (desk) where I hang things that make me happy. At this point I only had my first Kinder class at my old VA school. (I felt weird blurring their little faces, like some kind of horror movie!) They're going into 4th this year! I also have my wolfpack. I love those girls more than anything! We are now in three different states, but they're my sounding board, my place to vent... I <3 them.

Today we did home visits for families that did not make it to our Meet & Greet. It was nice to see where our kids live, and also nice to meet parents and kids!

I am so excited to have precious new little ones, I am excited for a new team (I've found some kindred spirits! But miss my 4th grade sunshines!) and new curriculum! However, as always, I don't feel ready! But, ready or not - they come Monday at 6:50am!

Well, keep it happy y'all and be kind,
Alison :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Things I love: My Teacher Planner

I wanted to start blogging about some of my favorite teacher things - and OF COURSE, my first post had to be about my right arm - my Erin Condren Teacher Planner. As I post this, however, I just found out they are sold out and re-launching... I don't know if I should cry or not...

Well, I will still go forward with my original plan - I will talk about why this planner is so important to me, and why I need them to come back!!!!! (yes, five exclamation points.)

First- the personalized covers are so incredibly cute.

 This is my planner from the 2013-2014 year. You can get your school on the planner, as well as your name, but at that point, I didn't know where I'd be - we were up in the air on if we'd be moving to Florida or not. This past year, my cover was just rainbow-y colors with my name in script. However, it is currently in lock-up at school. These planners make it easy to turn in your plan book and grades each year. I just wrap some tape around it (because I ALWAYS have other things shoved inside, like grade level planning calendars etc.) and turn it in! No worries!

The second reason is:

Long. Range. Planning.

As you can see, I didn't use this as much that first year, but I do now! I can look at the dates, look at the year and jot down ideas! This is a planner MADE FOR TEACHERS! It is arranged for the school year (who functions January - December anyway? I don't get it.) and is PERFECT.

Reason three:
Calendars.... I love 'em, I use 'em. I count down to important things... I love how this planner has open calendars. I almost had to save it for the next year, that is possible! You never know what will happen in life - so this is fantastic! 

Each month has a section to write notes - I LOVE this too. I can turn to the new page for team meetings, faculty meetings, thoughts... its great! What was said in October? Let me flip back to my notes... 

Stickers. For. Days. As you can see, I didn't use these much... but now I just have more! I love how they're colorful, cute and actually have things like "IEP Meeting!"

Reason four....


IT IS ALL TOGETHER! I hated having two books before. I have also used binders and printed lesson plans on the computer. I LOVE being back to this... I can circle things, erase things, and again, it is ALL TOGETHER.

By all together, I mean - my year plan, my calendar, my notes, my plans, my grades... you can also add in plastic sleeves and keep parents numbers, school info - anything. It is a one-stop-shop. I can just grab one thing and be ready. For someone with three kids, and who is just naturally disorganized, I can't explain how helpful this all is - and with it NOT being a binder, you're not worried about rings bending (my nemesis,) papers ripping out and carrying something big and bulky! Now, if only they can magically add in my data binder...

Well - let's hope the teacher planner comes back, let's hope its amazing. I'm crossing my fingers!

'till then- keep it kind, 
-Alison :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mixed feelings

So, I am posting for my phone, so excuse any awful mis-spellings.

Why am I using my phone? Because I am too lazy to go get my computer! Little baby boy L is teething something fierce. He also has a cold. This makes for some awful nights! Last night he was up every hour. I also have some down with some kind of stomach thing... So the rest of the family is watching the Os cream the Phillies, I'm reading blogs.

So, mixed feelings. Yep, I've got 'em. I've had some set backs lately, and it's hard to not get discouraged, but my husband just reminds me that everything happens for a reason. I keep telling myself that- I must have a purpose for where I am.

More feelings come to the surface as I think about my trip north. I am going to visit my old schools. I helped open PineyBranch  in 2011. Now there are no founding K team members in K. There have been so many changes since we opened, it's crazy. 

I'm also going to visit the replacement for my first VA school, a nice big K-8 building down the street from the small, old, center of the community 1929 building. I LOVED this school. I loved my principal, I loved my co-workers and experiences there. That school gave me the confidence to be the teacher I am today. It shaped me more than 5 years of college. Plus, I met one of my best friends there :) I CANNOT wait to see her! (Oh, of course we both moved to the new school too, and I constantly try to move her here... Did I mention we are both from Pittsburgh?! But we didn't know each other until VA!)

So, my mixed feelings there are really about all of the changes... I keep these Camelot memories in my head, sugar coat the bad and emphasize the good. 

I also am about to post my first TPT items, I'm nervous about that- I have a friend proof reading them, she's my grammar queen and I am thankful for her! I know she will be honest!

I guess I'm having all sorts of feelings right now! We are about to embark on a 16 hour (who am I kidding, maybe 20? We have three kids and a dog...) trip north to the DC area and Pittsburgh. I haven't been to PGH since September 2013, and we left VA in November 2013. Baby L hasn't been out of our little Florida/Alabama bubble! 

Well, he's crying again! Poor guy! I'll be back tomorrow hopefully! I want to share one of my FAVORITE, MUST HAVE teacher items!!!

-Alison :) 
Be kind to someone today!

Blog Template by