100 Follower Giveaway Starts……NOW!


I am so humbled and honored to have reached this milestone!  When I first began this blog, I was just looking toward sharing a little piece of my wonderful life with these awesome kids I have the pleasure of working with.

I’ve got a little celebration planned, and some of my wonderful blog buddies have generously helped me plan a great giveaway to be awarded on July 19, 2013. 

In celebration – meet the Seven Wonders of My Blogging World!


These women are absolutely awesome!  If you want to find out about each prize, click on the blogger’s prize badge.  I also hope that you will visit each participating blogger (the link is in their name below the badge) 

teacher6gwbuttonThe Teacher’s Desk 6

brownbaggwbuttonThe Brown Bag Teacher

HodgesgwbuttonHodges Herald

huntersgwbuttonHunter Tales From Teaching

startinggwbuttonStarting In Sixth Grade

headgwbuttonHead Over Heels For Teaching


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you will participate in the giveaway, but most of all I hope that you will visit my blogging buddies who have donated such wonderful items!  

The best of luck to everyone!

Until the next time,


Teachers Love Technology

My blogging buddy, Allison, over at Eberopolis shared this awesome resource which was originally posted over at OnlineUniversities.  I thought that it was absolutely amazing, and I just had to share it!  16 years ago when I started teaching, I had one desktop computer in my classroom (which was for my use only).  Four years later I purchased our school’s first laptops for teachers in our 21st Century grant, one projector, one document camera, and our very first SMARTboard.  By that time we also had one computer lab that teachers could sign up for once a week.  Now each teacher has a laptop, each content area teacher has a Promethean board, we have 3 mobile netbook carts and each of our sixth graders will receive their own personal iPad for during school use.  What a difference a day makes!

What do we Know Infographic


Until the next time,


Five For Friday {June 21st}

Five For Friday

I’m linking up with Doodlebugs for my very first Five For Friday!  Usually on Fridays I am so wiped I can’t even think of things to post.  These past two weeks have been awesome and I have to share them!  We started our Personalized Learning graduate course last week and have been on the go since day 1.  The teachers have done an awesome job with this new learning curve – I just can’t say enough.  So for this week’s Five for Friday I am going to highlight a few of our most awesomest moments as well as the fun I had this weekend.


1.  iOS Training – On last Monday and Tuesday, we had a representative from Apple to come and give us some key tips, tricks, and apps to use.  Jamie was really good – I wish I could have her job.  Traveling around the country working with teachers about technology?  A dream job….



2.  Comprehension & Collaboration – This is the name of the book that we are using for our class.  It focuses on inquiry circles in the classroom and making students responsible for their own learning.  This book is very dense, but the information is excellent.  We’ve been able to review the book and then make real world connections.  Our goal throughout the entire class is that teachers have lessons that they can take back to their classroom and use.



3.  Atlanta – On Saturday our church parish took our children and youth to Atlanta.  We visited the Martin L. King, Jr. Historic Site and hit up a Braves game.  The kids have a great time and were so well behaved.  I had been a child the last time we visited the MLK site and it was amazing to me.  The spirit in the church was overwhelming – it brought me to tears.  It’s unbelievable how they preserved all of those items….absolutely unbelievable.

Baby Girl and Me Having A Great Time!

Baby Girl and Me Having A Great Time!


4. Father’s Day – After leaving at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday and getting home at 3:00 in the morning on Sunday we were exhausted.  But we still got up for church and had a marvelous Father’s Day.  I have a great hubby and a great daddy, so I had to give them this tribute:

The Best Men I Know!

The Best Men I Know!


5.  Graduate Course Completed!  Bring on the iPads…. – The course is done and now the hard work begins.  Finding the ways to implement these amazing devices is going to be an exciting challenge.  One I can’t wait to begin!

Hard At Work!

Hard At Work!



DSCS iTEL Pilot Members

DSCS iTEL Pilot Members


Until the next time!


It’s Currently Time!

This has been one of my best school years ever! I’ve worked with an A – MA – ZING group of kids and been offered some FABULOUS opportunities! I work with the hardest group of women anywhere and an AWESOME staff! Blessed…..just blessed I tell you! Normally, we’re out of school by now, but we are 2 half days away from saying “Have a great summer!” to these babies with one more day to closing out the school year for us adults. But with it being June, it’s also time for a new Currently linky party! 🙂


Like I said earlier, time has flown by so quickly, I can’t believe it’s June already! But like one of my blogging sheroes, Kim over in Finding Joy in 6thh, said, my mind is already racing ahead to the start of the next school year.


DD’s last day of school was last Tuesday (she goes to school in a different school district), and she’s been with Nana and Papa ever since……being spoiled rotten! Going to pick up that sweetie later today to get ready for summer camp. Since she’s gone it’s been remarkably silent. You’d be amazed at how many “Mama can I…..?” I hear on the weekend….well, maybe not…..

I am so excited about the new opportunities that have come my way! 🙂 First I was stoked about being a part of an e-learning committee, which then morphed into being a part of a 1:1 mobile device project, which then morphed into being an instructor in the graduate course…..unbelievable! It’s amazing where we’re headed technology wise…..five years ago nothing like this was even on the edge of my mind….

After the last conference I attended, I decided that I was going to start stretching professionally outside my school district. My proposal was accepted and I’ll be presenting at the Upstate Technology Conference in July. I also found out that our district tech coordinator wants us to present at the State Technology Conference in October! Whoop!

About a month ago, my mom asked me if I wanted to attend our sorority conference in Canada this year. Of course! I hadn’t even mentioned it, because I didn’t think it was an option. That has morphed into me presenting at the conference….wow!

Although the school year is ending, things will keep rolling right along for me! Graduate course, 2 Common Core workshops, Leadership, and the Tech Conference….plus…..planning for our 6th grade transition camp (for rising 6th graders) and next year…..Whowza!

My fridge is empty and I know the hubs is hungry….cause I’m hungry….but I don’t wanna get outta this bed….ugggghhhh!

My vacation must faves? Tech gear (iPhone, iPad, computer) is a must (my brain never shuts off!), family and friends (we have the best time together!), and fitness gear (bought a fit bit to keep me on track). I’ve got a lot planned this summer….and I’m going to enjoy every single bit of it!

Click on Farley’s pic above to find the post and link up. Make sure you follow her rule of three, comment on the two before and one after yours!

Until the next time!


It’s Official….iTEL Pilot…..Initiated!

I am like a kid in a candy store……happier than a pig in mud…..happy as a clam at high tide….you get the idioms, right?  I am unbelievably excited!  Our iTel pilot has been approved by the board, 1,400 iPads arrived to our district Tech office on Monday, and we had our iTEL kick off!  Whoop Whoop!

Members of the iTEL pilot

Members of the iTEL pilot


As an instructor I received an iPad 4 with 64 gigs and 4G capabilities……oh man!  You should have seen me dancing around when I realized it!  Every teacher in the pilot received an iPad 4 with survivor case, MacBook Pro, wireless keyboard, and the dongle.

2013-05-20 08.29.40

My gift packet! 🙂


The only downer on the event was that my partners were unable to come to the kick-off. 🙁  We’re a very small school and we just don’t have the staff to cover the entire sixth grade team.  So I took a picture of their gift packets to make them feel better.  It didn’t work, though!

2013-05-20 09.59.29


Now comes the hard part.  Two grueling weeks of a graduate course, which I’m only partially prepared for….and then the real challenge – integrating this awesome technology with our students as we embark on our Common Core challenge as well.  Do you smell my fear?  I am terrified.  I’ve been researching everywhere to get ideas as well as try to figure out how to get e-books on those devices for cheap!  If you have any ideas, I will be more than willing to accept them.

Our graduate course will focus around personalized learning in addition to learning how to use various apps with the iPad, so we think that’s imperative that we combine those two and provide as many examples as possible.  I created an Xtranormal video that teachers will have to respond to around day 3 of the course and I would love your feedback.

iTEL pilot
by: mrsjeff

Well, wish us luck!

Until the next time,


End of Year Reflections Linky Party

I’m linking with Erin, Miss Lifesaver, for her End of Year Reflections linky party.




I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe that the last day of school is 5 school days away!  I’ve had an awesome year with an awesome group of kids and I’m going to miss them terribly.

Now for my……

End-of-Year Reflection Questions:

  1. What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this year?
  2. What was the biggest personal challenge you faced this year?
  3. How do you think you’ve grown from your experiences?


1. I have had an amazing school year it’s really hard to think of something.  I would say that my greatest challenges have been: (1) finding confidence in myself again and (2) teaching, I mean really teaching, writing again.  I have always been very proud of my instructionally sound lessons and great standardized test scores.  Mine have always been at the top and I have been able to produce well rounded children.  With my change three years ago to a new school, I went from 90 minutes to 60 and that made a huge difference. The first year our scores came back I cried like a baby.  Year two scores were better, but not what I am used to.  Although I am still struggling with the shortened time, I found ways to manage my time better and fine tune my lessons so that I was able to get the bang for my buck.  Unbelievably in fifteen years, I have never been directly responsible for students who would take our standardized writing test.  In North Carolina students take the standardized writing test is 4th and 7th and when I moved to South Carolina students only took the writing test in 5th and 8th.  I was absolutely terrified!  But, with the help of my coordinating teacher and an 8th grade ELA teacher, I think the kids did a good job.  We worked our butts of those last few weeks, but they all seemed very confident on test day.

2.  I think my greatest personal challenge has been balance between work and home.  My DD is autistic and started first grade this year. I have been so worried because these years will be so important for her and with her language delayment (she didn’t start talking until she was almost four), I know that reading will always be difficult for her.  With DH working a second job at night, home cooked meals have been far and few between.  My partner and I spend long hours at school which makes our evening short.  Thank goodness for after school care because homework is done before we get home.  All we have to do is review and get ready for tomorrow – which until last month was all me.  But, last month I decided that Miss Cam was going to start helping out.  She is now expected to pick out her clothes for the next day and pack her lunch box.  Those few changes have made such a huge difference in our night routine.  She is also now responsible for unloading the dishwasher and folding her underclothes.  I’m a very proud mama!

3.  I’ve learned to trust myself more and that it’s ok to rely on others.  In the past, I used my co-workers to validate my ideas, but never to give me new ideas.  I even switched classes with a partner to have her teacher a writing lesson to my students because she does an excellent job at it!  I’ve also learned to  allow DD to become more responsible.  We will not use her autism as a crutch!  She will be successful because she is smart and knowledgeable, and sweet as pie! 🙂

With our iTEL pilot being funded (iPads in the hands of every sixth grader)….I know that there are plenty of challenges ahead.  There will also be some new changes on the horizon (we’re getting a new superintendent…which means we’re probably getting new district office staff as well) but I’m definitely excited about what’s to come!

Want to link up?  Head on over to Miss Lifesaver by clicking on the photo above.

Until next time,


My Kids Rock! and Budding Blog Linky

I know it’s been a minute since I posted, I’ve been recuperating from testing….lol!  It’s been a little over a week since we’ve finished, and my kids and an AWESOME job! 🙂  I am so proud of them.  The Monday before students tested, we had a PASS Celebration/Pep Rally.  Grade levels competed in the following categories:  Academic Challenge, Banner, Chant, and Rap/Song.  When I say we rocked every aspect of the celebration, I mean we ROCKED it!  See a youtube video clip of the rap the kids performed.  I showed them a few examples and various students came up with all the lyrics. The Academic Challenge group answered 11 out of 11 questions. BOOM! You can also see a pic of the banner in the video.

On test days, my babies worked so hard!  They annotated out the wazoo!  My requirement is that as they answer questions, they have to underline key words and phrases in the selections and then write their answer reasoning beside the choices.  No matter what the outcome, I am so proud of these students!  We won’t find out anything until June about how they actually did…..but I already know they killed it!

I’m linking up with I {heart} Recess for her Budding Blog linky party! The only requirement is that you have less than 200 followers….so that’s definitely me! 😉

Budding Blog

To participate in the linky party you have the answer the following questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I initially started using a blogging platform for my classroom website. I loved the versatility of it. I especially loved the fact that I could embed documents directly into the site and it allowed for some interactiveness with students and parents. After blog stalking for almost a year, I decided to create a personal blog to share my experiences as a middle school teacher and for a way to share my thoughts and ideas with the world.

2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
I am an English Language Arts teacher, because I love to teach reading! I am a voracious reader and I love to share my excitement with my students. I become giddy when I realize they love a book as much as I do!

3. Describe your teaching style.
Hmmmm. My teaching style would be considered tech geek infused. Since I love technology so much, I love to embed it into every aspect of teaching. I use my Promethean board every single day! Students use ActivExpression devices every single day! We are frequently using our netbooks for various reasons and next year I will be a part of iPad pilot! Can you say “stoked”? I’m like a kid in a candy store….hopping, jumping, and dancing around. I’m definitely a “hands on” teacher. I love my kiddos and we have so much fun together. But I’m also a very strict disciplinarian. My students know if they work hard, we’ll play hard. But if they don’t meet my expectations……whoa…..

4. Give three interesting facts about you.
1. When I was two, I fell down the stairs of a college dormitory at my cousins’ college graduation. I knocked out my four front teeth, dislocated my jaw bone, and cracked my bottom front bone. I was without front teeth until I was in the fourth grade. I graduated from that college 20 years later.

2. In college, I sang in a girls group. We performed at the Apollo theater one summer. Although we didn’t win, it was a wonderful experience.

3. I’m addicted to trashy reality shows. R&B Divas, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, even Keeping Up With The Kardashians….the trashier the better. So sad, I know. I’m utterly horrified, yet unable to look away….no judgement

5. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link 🙂
I do have TpT store, but it’s very, very, very, small. One of my goals is to work on that this summer. 🙂
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth - TeachersPayTeachers.com



Until the next time,


Reading Olympians – An Awesome Resource!


Get Ready for Bloggy Olympics!!!


Join The 3AM Teacher, the Reading Olympians, and over 80 SUPREME education bloggers as we take you through a tour of the Reading Olympians Root Study Program!!

I was so fortunate to hook up with teachers all over the nation to participate in the Reading Olympians project hosted by The 3AM Teacher and Krista Miller and Julie Kiss, The Reading Olympians! I must say that this is an awesome resource and I can’t wait to use it from Day 1 next year.

I have worked on Greek/Latin roots with my students, but very sporadically. I used them mostly during my bellwork lessons, with little connections during the regular classroom day. The Reading Olympians provide a constant connection with these roots and in a no hassle way! In our current standards we have a set number of roots/stems that we are required to teach in each grade. But what if they’ve missed them from the previous year….*shrugging*

Since we were on Spring Break last week, I was able to complete one unit with my students. We have our state standardized test in 4 weeks, and since I only have 60 minutes with my core classes, I decided to use this resource with my elective class. They jumped right into it!

This week was very teacher directed – on Monday, I showed them examples from the packet and they worked in groups to create their own. I actually uploaded the unit into a flipchart for us to use together. Tuesday – Wednesday, I had them work together to complete their graphic organizers, I shared my examples, and they shared theirs. They used the dictionary and thesaurus correctly and their hard work paid off! Our of 14 students, 5 didn’t score 80% or better the first time! Out of those 5, only 1 needs to do another re-test.

I gave them the following criteria on the scoring rubric for their graphic organizers:

1. Complete all four squares in the organizer

2. Make sure you have three words in your word box.

3. Be able to explain your words.

4. Add color to your graphic organizers.

Three of the five stayed after school with me that day, created their flashcards and quizzed each other until they were comfortable retaking the test. One students (who is really low) went from 20% to 80% just after spending thirty more minutes with a partner quizzing each other using the flashcards.

I also created a quizlet flashcard set for the Nike Unit…find it here….Nike Unit Quizlet set. I will continue to create those for students to practice with. I’m using my bulletin board to highlight our Reading Olympians program this year. Teaching so many students (110), I don’t think I will be able to do the necklaces, but I’m looking into figuring out a technology interactive way to do it. It will be one of my summer tasks. Since each child will have an iPad next year, I may buy one necklace and then create it as an Edmodo badge to assign to students. Eureka!

I want to work on creating an additional test for those students who have to retake the test. My sixth graders are verrrry slick (well, they think they are!) and I don’t want to hassle of trying to figure out if they are trying to cheat.

My top concern is time. Last week, it took pretty much 30 minutes to work on the program. I am interested in seeing how the time decreases as we continue to work. I can’t afford 30 minutes a day in my 60 minute class period. If you have an ideas for a departmentalized classroom, please leave me a comment or drop me an email. Also, make sure you follow my blog and the other blogs in this series to be in the running for some amazing prizes!

Discover the program IN ACTION in more K-6th grade classrooms as you Pass the Torch!! Get ideas, discover the progression of the program, and enter the Raffle for a chance to win ONE of the three prizes listed below!!

First Place Winner : Gold Medal

Prizes: Complete Reading Olympians Program

$50.00 Amazon Gift Card

50% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher’s Etsy store!

Second Place Winner: Silver Medal

Prizes: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

40% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher’s Etsy store!

Third Place Winner: Bronze Medal

Prizes: 30% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher’s Etsy store!


Thanks for stopping by! Next stop, Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason, a 5th grade teacher who has put her own awesome spin on the Reading Olympians project! Click on the torch at the bottom of this post to visit her page!

Pass the Torch!!!

Click the image below to visit the next blog


Grade 1 & 2

Grade 3 & 4

Grade 5 & 6

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until the next time!


April Currently

Yes, it’s 12:51 and I have no business being up!  Yes, I’m on Spring Break, but I still need to be asleep.  But I had wunnerful, wunnerful day with my family today yesterday, and after a great meal, I took a loooong nap.

So now I’m awake and I’m hungry but DH fell asleep on the couch watching basketball and I don’t want to wake him – because he does have to go to work tomorrow!

I was thinking that maybe I could sneak down and grab something out of the fridge to snack on – but then I thought to myself, “Well, Let’s see what Farley‘s up to?”  And low and behold her currently for April was already up and running.  So here goes…..

You should link up too….Don’t forget the rule of 3…comment on the 2 links in front of you and the one after you…it’s so rude if you don’t…:-)

Until the next time!

Five for Friday

Today is the last Friday before Spring Break….yippeee! And it has been a whirlwind of a week!  For this first time eva…..I’m linking up with Doodlebugs for her Five for Friday!


The rules are simple…..post five random things about your week.  Post on your blog and then go over to Doodlebugs and link up!


1.  We had our standardized writing test this week.  We made it through!!  I created prize cards for each student and set requirements for them to earn their teacher’s initials.  On Day 1, students had to make sure they used a graphic organizer to plan, colored pencils to highlight voice strategies  (compound and complex sentences, SAT words, and vivid vocabulary), and have a clean final draft.  On Day 2, students had to annotate beside their multiple choice answer choices.


Out of our 110 students…..90 made it to the party.  And boy did we party!  We shut down our hall and had activities in each room.  We also provided them with mini ice cream sundaes.  I’m not sure who had more fun – the kids or us!  I had so much fun I totally forgot to take pictures! 🙁


2.  I created a Facebook page this week for the blog.  If you get the chance, stop over and like my page……*shameless plug*


I am really excited about sharing my professional experiences with friends and colleagues.  This will also give me a chance to utilize a different media outlet to reach other teachers.  Here is my favorite post pic so far…..


3.  I’ve been invited to present at the UTC (Upstate Technology Conference) this summer!  I am so excited!  After the last conference I attended, I decided that it was time to start putting myself out there.  I’ve really gotten into the technology integration and I think that’s the route I want to take.  So here goes….


4.  Since this week was so serious with the testing, I thought we’d spend the last two days doing some unserious work. *smile* Insert “The Ransom of Red Chief”.  If you haven’t read this short story do it now!  It is about to swindlers who decide to kidnap a little boy.  But in the classic O. Henry style, nothing happens the way it’s supposed to.  It’s a great story to teach irony and I found this awesome internet resource to use:  Internet Academy – The Ransom of Red Chief


5.  I’m determined to get back on the healthy fitness track.  My exercising has definitely been sporadic lately.  It’s time for me quit whining and do something about it, hence my new toy.  I’ve purchased another heart rate monitor to hopefully get me motivated to work out harder.


So here are my Five for Friday, what are yours?  Click on the Five for Friday pic to head over the Doodlebugs and link up!