Monday, August 5, 2019

Curious About Our Top Five Selling Products???

I have confession to make. 

I pretty much only shop on Teachers Pay Teachers during a sale (which the BIG one happens to start tomorrow). 

I know. I know.

You're thinking, "You're a TPT seller!"

Yes, I am. We are. Kristi and both are pretty similar in this area. In all honesty, both of our districts provide great curriculum and we only buy (or make) things that supplement it. Hence the reason we have so many "I have...who has...?" games in our store. We aren't looking to rewrite curriculum or make millions on TPT. We have just made some things over the years that we like and thought other teachers might like too. :-)

Neither of us spend a lot of money on our classrooms either. Some might call us cheap...or wise...or both? I've purchased only 1 thing all summer, and that was mostly because one of my teacher friends needed someone to split the pack with her and I knew I needed another one for all my "I Have...Who Has...?" games. Ha!

I love these things... I now have 3 of them! :-)
Anyway, since the back-to-school sale is upon us, I thought I'd share the five top selling products from our store.  

Drum roll, please. 

In my role as a reading specialist, I use the vowel diphthong and digraph games A LOT. Those more difficult vowel patterns take lots of repetitions for my kiddos. Even if we've moved on to another skill, these games are a quick and easy review for my readers. 

In the classroom, Kristi and I both love to immerse our kiddos in the "sound of the week" from our curriculum. I mean if we are working on the /oi/, /oy/ sound, we will play songs during transition times with that sound. Students will read decodable stories with that sound. Word work activities will be centered around that sound. The Connect 4 games from our packs with that sound make a great partner activity either during word work or as an option when work is complete. We use the "I Have...Who Has...?" in small groups or as a whole class when there was a few minutes to fill. The last year I was in the second grade classroom, I would put the "I Have... Who Has...?" game out as a morning tub activity as they trickled in after breakfast. I loved seeing my kiddos practice that sound by choice! :-)

If you're shopping the sale, have fun! Watch out for those sellers that raise their prices during the sale--ugh! That happened to me last year, and of course, I decided I did not need that product after all...because I'm cheap, you know. ;-)

P.S. I report back 2 weeks from today!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Summer Break and Looking Ahead!

Hello there! I hope you are having a wonderful summer break and not working too hard yet to get your room ready. ;-)

I thought I'd pop in and catch you up on my summer break and upcoming life changes. I know we've been pretty quiet here, but I'm hopeful that will change a little this year.

1. I finished my Master's Degree as a PreK-12 Reading Specialist and passed the Praxis exam! Whoop! Whoop! I am so thankful to be DONE. This will be my first year in my position as the Title I teacher that I don't also have homework on the brain.

2. I took up kayaking with a teacher friend. We ventured out almost weekly this summer, and I'm so thankful she invited me to try something new. I tend to want to be home all day, every day in the summer to recover from the busy year.

3. I started volunteering once a week at The Pregnancy and Family Resource Center. It was a little outside my comfort zone in the beginning, but I felt called to get involved beyond saying, "I'm pro-life." It has been a blessing to get to know new people who have a love for the Lord and a desire to help people.

4. Vacation to Chicago! I never would have picked the destination (I'm a small town girl), but my son is interning there this summer. We had a good time doing all the "touristy" things...Navy Pier, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Lake Michigan, Buckingham Fountain, Cloud Gate ("The Bean"), Lincoln Park Zoo, and of course, pizza. I personally felt that Auerilo's was the best, with Giordano's taking a close second. ;-) 

My favorite part of the trip, though, was getting to meet all the people at Sauk Trail Baptist Temple in Richton Park! Such a sweet spirit! It was a little overwhelming to meet this wonderful congregation who had taken in my son, took excellent care of him, and invested in him and his future in ministry. If you want to read more about that, you can click over to my author blog.

5. Writing. I've been working on my 2nd Bible study this summer. The progress has been slower than I would like because of finishing up my Master's, but I'm hoping to move a little more quickly now. Click here for my first study, There's a Fly in my Tea!

6. Trim Healthy Mama. I've been eating the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way since October 2017. I lost 18 pounds by March 2018 and have maintained that. It has become a big part of me, so I had to share. I love the food freedom that I've found (remember I ate pizza twice on vacation--Ha!). 

The plan just makes sense to me. It doesn't cut out whole food groups (i.e. carbs). It is not a quick fix. It does take some effort and smart food choices. Going back to that pizza...if I had wanted to stay on plan, I would have just scraped the toppings off and ate that with my salad. When I do choose to eat off plan (which is rarely because I feel so much better eating this way), I just get back on plan with my next meal or snack. 

7. Now...looking ahead. I report back to work on August 19th. I will have three days of inservice before taking Thursday (the first day of school) and Friday off to take my youngest to college. Both my kids will be away at college this year. 

This year will be quite different for us. No kids at home. No more homework (YAY!). I am still coaching volleyball--chose to give up basketball to free us up to visit Chaz and Harley. I'm excited for a slower pace! 

I hope to share some ideas and information from the Reading Specialist point of view this coming year. 

This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What's Your ONE Thing???

Well, hello there, strangers!
I know it has been a long time. I know. But something happens to me when I have free time. I write. I write about my two passions—the Lord (working on my 2nd Bible study) and teaching. 

Why do I have free time?  

Two reasons. 
  1. I do not coach a spring sport.  
  1. I have a few weeks off from my master’s classes (which I will finish this summer—If you could see me, you’d know I’m doing the happy dance about that!!!!) passion for teaching has prompted me to hop back on here and write a little something for the blog.
Every year that I have been teaching, I choose one thing that I want to work on over the summer. One thing that I want to improve in my teaching.  


I’m the type of person that always wants to improve, to continue to learn and grow, to be the best that I can be. By choosing just one thing, it makes it a manageable goal that doesn’t eat away at my summer vacation and it also makes it easy to focus on implementing in the new school year. I know in the past, I’ve blogged about “too many great ideas syndrome.” You know...when you see so many wonderful things and you try to implement them all and you don’t end up executing any of them well. 

My “one thing” has been writing...enter Writing Workshop which completely transformed my writing instruction and gave my littles the confidence to be authors! 

My “one thing” has been small group instruction...enter Daily 5 which allowed me to structure my literacy block in a way to meet the needs of all learners, engage my students who were not in my group in authentic reading and writing tasks, and prompted me to make time for one-on-one conferencing. 

My “one thing” has been small group math...enter math rotations which involved a whole group mini-lesson followed by small groups with targeted instruction and meaningful activities to review, practice, and extend math. 

My “one thing” has been Whole Brain Teaching...that actually took two summers! First, I added attention getters and teaching strategies. Then, I added the Super Improver wall. 

I could go on...but those are some big things that I researched and studied to implement in my classroom. Self-directed professional development really is the best kind! 

This year in my role as the reading specialist, my “one thing” is to create a stream-lined process for gathering information and diagnostic testing of students who are referred to me, progress monitoring, and communicating that information to teachers and parents. I’ve got a few ideas...I just need to do some research, see how things are done in other schools, and form a plan that works for me. 

What’s your “one thing”? 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Check Out My New Room!

Hello there! I know it has been awhile. You might remember I am in the middle of getting my reading specialist degree, and between that, teaching, and coaching volleyball, I have very little free time right now. I'm lucky if I can keep my tradition of a Sunday afternoon nap! ;-)

Anyway, I had to make a video of the literacy spaces for a class I am in, and I knew you all would like to see it. I just moved into this space this year. I'm super excited about the windows!

The good news for me...volleyball season is winding down a bit. This Saturday will be the 6th tournament in a row, and then I actually have a Saturday at home next week! 

What will I ever do with myself? 

Probably laundry, clean the house, or homework... :-)

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Okay to Take a Break!

Hey there, teacher friends! This post is probably long overdue. Kristi and I have both taken a planned break from blogging and we meant to post even this some time ago. We didn't...partly because we feel a little bad for taking a break. Even as I type that, I know it sounds crazy, but it is true. Let me see if I can explain...

We started this blog because we had been so inspired by other teacher-bloggers. It combined two of my passions--writing and teaching. Kristi was willing to join me on this crazy journey, and we have both enjoyed the connections we've made and sharing our classrooms with you the last several years.

A couple of years ago, some of my favorite bloggers were blogging less and less. They would explain life changes had made blogging less of a priority. Some were putting out surveys about how much their posts were being read or did their readers prefer Instagram or Twitter over reading a blog post, etc. I didn't understand it at the time. I was still reading blog posts and loving it! Two years later and now I's about seasons of life. 

We are all in different seasons of life. This last year I took on a new position at work, coached two sports, started working toward my Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist, added an online presence as an author, stayed committed to my church involvement, and let's not forget the most important role of wife and mother. 

In all honesty, this last year was TOUGH and I'm gearing up for another one just like it so that I can finish my degree program. I thought about taking a break from the program...just for a year while my daughter finishes her senior year...but I know it would make going back that much more difficult. 

For awhile, I felt a sense of guilt for not blogging here at Teaching Little Miracles more frequently. Kristi and I have had a "schedule" of how we divided up our posts, and I was not keeping up my end of the deal. I felt like I was letting YOU (our readers) and Kristi down. Kristi understood, and now that I'm sharing my heart, I'm sure you all will understand too.

All that to say...I now realize it's okay to take a break! Kristi and I both decided we needed a real break this summer. No pressure of blogging. No guilt for not doing it.

We'll see you back here in August (without all the pressure and guilt of a self-imposed "schedule" of blogging)! I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wisdom for Wednesday-Kneeling

Welcome to this week's:

I love this quote and I actually have it hanging up in my office as a reminder to me.  I know that there are many times for all of us that our days get so busy and things can really get overwhelming.  Then on top of these busy days comes the trials that we may have to face and all of it can just become too overwhelming.  I find myself in that situation at times and see this quote hanging up and realize that I need to take more time to pray.  I know how important prayer is and try to make it a routine in my life, but I will admit that there are times when I feel busy and overwhelmed that my prayer life starts to lack.  Those times of busyness and trials are times that I need to make sure that I take even more time for my prayer life because God is the one that will help me through it all!

Have a great day!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Catching Up with Pictures

Good morning! Yep, you guessed it. I am officially on summer break. :-)

I know I have been MIA on the blog lately so I wanted to catch up and pictures are the best, so...

My kiddos have kept me extra busy for the last month or so. I'm very proud of them and their accomplishments, but I can honestly say I'm most proud of their humble attitude in the midst of it all.

Harley's drawing was featured in the Kansas Congressional Art Competition and on display at Mark Arts in Wichita, Kansas. This was titled "Cosmo" which was her horse's name. We still miss him! 

Chaz (in the middle) graduated along with two of his cousins. He was valedictorian of his class and kept us busy with a Governor's Award ceremony, filming for Top of the Class award, graduation parties, and finally, the graduation. If you're curious about where he is headed and how this mom is feeling about that, check out this blog post on my author site

I had the privilege of speaking at a "Mothers and Others Luncheon" on May 5th for a church in Dexter, Kansas. Many of the ladies had gone through my Bible study, There's a Fly in My Tea! It was fun to meet the ladies and the picture above was my table of supporters who went with me. Pictured L to R: my niece, Harley, my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister, and me.
The Dexter ladies had such a sweet spirit. These flies were a fun gift they gave me! :-)

 Harley turned 17! She will be a senior next year!

These signs were made by a kiddo in what I would say was my most challenging reading group this year. They kept me on my toes, but we had a good time. And as you can see, we became best friends forever. ;-) I had these kiddos as 2nd graders so it was fun to have them again.

I've been doing a Proverbs challenge on my author Facebook page. Feel free to join us!

After 22 years of marriage and remodeling two different homes, my husband is finally getting the garage of his dreams. Yes, I took the picture through the window. I didn't want the workers to think I was a weirdo snapping pictures of them!

Exciting school news! We are getting a preschool next year! Hip Hip Hooray! I cannot even begin to explain how needed this is in our rural community. However, to make room for the Pre-K, we are doing a lot of rearranging. This will be my new space. I'm excited for the window, but not the necessarily the work to set it up. I literally moved my stuff in, shut the door, and left it. Ugh! Once it is painted and I get some storage shelves, I'll start trying to settle in.

When people ask me what I'm doing this summer...homework? At least for the next four weeks. My summer Masters classes already started and they are fast paced. Maybe ask me again at the first of July??? ;-)

Here's wishing you a wonderful summer filled with rest and relaxation!

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