Thursday, April 30, 2015

End of the Year Themed Week

Hello friends!

I can't believe this school year is almost over.  I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately.  We have 33 more days left and we all have to pack our rooms.  I will be packing regardless since I am moving buildings, but everyone in my building will be packing because our school is getting painted.  We found ourselves talking about packing up early and doing a fun themed week.  Several teachers said they did different themed days throughout the week but we are looking for a fun theme for the entire week.  Any ideas?  Please comment below to share!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

End of the Year Awards

Hey y'all!

It's getting to that point in the year where I start thinking about the end of the school year.  This year I will be packing my room up again and I am anticipating that to be extremely undesirable.  So...what can I prepare now to make those last few weeks less stressful?  The first thing that came to mind was getting a head start on end-of-the-year awards.  I love handing these out because the kids love it BUT I find it to also be extremely difficult to decide who should receive what award.  Last year when I taught Kindergarten my assistant and I made the decisions and it was borderline exhausting.  Honestly, nobody should stress about classroom awards.  I decided that I have enough on my plate with the school year ending, planning a wedding, and moving into a new home so I am going to have my kiddos vote for their classmates this year.  How am I going to get easy data without reviewing tons of paperwork?  EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY! Google Forms, silly!

Here is how I set it up.  First I went to Google Forms.  The first question on all of my forms for my kids is their name.  Make sure to check the box to make that a REQUIRED question.  Nobody likes a paper with no name.  Google Forms without a name are just as annoying.

For this particular Google Form I made the question title the award title.  My "help text" consisted of an explanation of the award.  The easiest way for students to select a winner for this type of form is by making the question type a list.  I typed each student's name into a box.  This will appear as a dropdown menu for your students to choose a classmate.  Since I have a lot of different options for awards I cut down on my time assembling this form by using the copy question function.  Just click the button that looks like two pages to repeat the question.  All you have to do is edit the question title and help text.  

When you're all done you will want to click "send form."  When you do so a code will be generated to copy and paste wherever you should choose.  I put mine into a Microsoft Word document and into our class shortcut file so all they have to do is open the document and click the link.  You can monitor the responses by clicking "View Responses."  It will take you to a wonderful spreadsheet filled with all the information you need.  How wonderfully easy is this?!  I swear the entire process took me about 10 minutes.  THAT'S IT!  

How do you do your classroom awards?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Good evening, friends!

Last month I shared news that I had been notified I would be an involuntary transfer due to budget cuts.  This has been an extremely emotional month for me as I find myself in daily conversations with colleagues about my upcoming move.  Everyone in my school made me feel so welcome this year.  My administration has been nothing but supportive, my team has been so helpful with my first year in 2nd grade, and I have a pretty great group of kids who are so kind and loving.

About two weeks ago, the Wednesday before Spring Break, I went on an interview at another school in the district.  I had visited the building a few times this year for some after school professional development sessions.  I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the school's administration and have a few friends who attended the school as kids.  During my interview I felt pretty comfortable with the administration and was able to picture myself teaching there.  On April 2nd we went on Spring Break and I tried to stop worrying.  Packing your apartment while touring wedding venues over the course of one week is ENOUGH for one person to handle.  Sheesh!  I returned to school yesterday and it occurred to me that I hadn't thought about my placement at all due to my brain being on overload.  Today I was speaking to one of the other teachers at my school who will be moving buildings about how we hadn't heard anything yet.  Two weeks is a LONG time to go without knowing or hearing anything at all.

This short, detailed story has a happy ending.  I received my e-mail when I got home today that I got the job I interviewed for!  I feel so relieved to no longer have that piece of my life up in the air.  Now for the next part of the big news....

Whale-come to 2nd Grade will be swimming into THIRD GRADE next year. 

Yup.  It's true.  I'm processing this brand new information of another grade level change and praying for a smooth transition.  

At the end of the day I'm "whaley" grateful for a job and I know there is a purpose for my journey.  If you currently teach 3rd and have any advice I am MORE THAN WELCOME to it. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

500 Instagram Followers Giveaway!

I had been logged into my personal Instagram account for a few days as I started spring break but logged back onto @Whalecometo2ndgrade to find I had 500 followers!  I think a small giveaway is in order.  I am hoping this will be greatly successful so I can plan a bigger giveaway for a larger milestone.

Go ahead an enter my 500 follower giveaway for your chance to win a product from my TpT store of your choice!

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Online Portfolio

Happy Tuesday!

This week I FINALLY have my spring break vacation.  I know we had a few "snowcation" days but this wait for break feels like it was taking FOREVER!  The rush to get grades in within the same amount of time since the quarter wasn't extended definitely put a large amount of stress and pressure on all of us.  While sitting for a few minutes to enjoy my morning before resuming packing my apartment I realized there are less than 50 days left of our school year and I had a rush of feelings come over me.  Every teacher gets excited about summertime.  A few months off to relax, enjoy the weather & our families, and mentally prepare for the next school year is what each and every one of us needs.  I love my job but I lose "me time" during the school year because I dedicate all of my time to preparing for the next day or the next week.  In addition to an excited feeling I started to feel upset.  As I mentioned in my previous post I will be moving buildings (again) next year due to budget cuts.  At this point in time I am still awaiting a new placement and feeling very unsure, overwhelmed, and anxious.  Will I be moved to another supportive and positive building?  Will I be teaching 2nd grade or be making another grade level change?  What will my students be like?  It is all so much to think about.  A few weeks ago I posted a picture on Instagram referencing my online portfolio and said I would blog about it.  It isn't much but here we go!

My online portfolio is set up through Google Sites.  I had set it up a few years ago when I first started applying for jobs and have updated it as needed.  Click any of the pictures below to check it out for yourself!  It is pretty simple and user friendly for your employers to check out.  The first two images show the main page.  It describes my reason for becoming a teacher and the journey I took to earning my license.

One tab gives some overall information about myself.  Every interview I have ever been on starts off with the employer asking me to tell about myself.  Why not put some information in writing for them to refer back to if they would like after the interview?  Think about all of the people they interview sometimes.  This is a great way for them to remember you!

I have a separate tab with attached test scores and professional evaluations.  After a while I don't think the test scores really matter but I like to have them there just in case.  By attaching my recent professional evaluations I feel like I'm not hiding anything and am showing how open I am to them reviewing the files.  

 Lastly, I have added snippets to show some of my creations.  During my most recent interview I was asked about my comfortably with technology and how I would describe myself?  This provides proof of my creativity and my comfortably with technology.  You can talk someone's ear off all day but providing proof is so meaningful. 

I hope this helps for anyone who was interested!  Please e-mail me ( or comment below with any questions and say a little prayer for me that I find a new, wonderful home next year.