Starting 2018 Off With a BANG!

Happy New Year & Welcome 2018! As per usual here is my annual post about my New Years resolutions! Check out my 2016 & 2017 posts if you need any additional idea for yourself.

The past two years my motto was just to pick a few things, not to jump in with a dozen things all at once. I’m keeping that same theme this year. I believe in the new year being a fresh start and a time to make some healthy changes in your life. Some of these resolutions are similar to the past two years, but that’s okay in my book. They’re things that I have been doing that I want to continue doing into 2018.

  1. #52Books2018: Last year my goal was #52Books2017. I tracked my progress on Goodreads and completed this goal! I’m hoping to redo it again for 2018. I am a member of a bookclub on Facebook. My other literary goal is to participate in this group. I would like to read their monthly book & join in with their journaling, reflection, and discussion.
  2. Journaling: As always, I am going to continue my journaling. This year I will continue my personal journaling with a new notebook from Christmas. I also have my yearly Q&A, daily line book to complete this year. I’m interested to see how my 2018 answers compare to my 2017 answers. I also am attempting to low-key bullet journal in a notebook for my book club and to track my reading challenge. There is another special journal project up my sleeve, but I can share more on that at another time.
  3. Blogging: I want to continue blogging. I enjoy having this record of the different aspects of my life. I’m not trying to be the most popular blogger out there. I’m doing this for me, and if other people get enjoyment out of it, thats AWESOME! Please let me know types of posts you’d like to see down in the comment section!
  4. Clarinet: I’ve played the clarinet for 10+ years now. I was in my college’s marching band and earned a performance degree as well. I haven’t been playing as much now that I’m working full-time. I would love to start playing again this year!
  5. Save $: Now that I’m #adulting, I’ve realized how expensive it is! I have student loans along with other bills to pay off. I am also actively saving for my June 2019 wedding! I have specific savings goals laid out in my planner which I hope to meet.

What are some of your resolutions? How do you hold yourself accountable? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you have a happy and healthy 2018!

-O

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My First Year: August-December

Well! What a few months it has been. I’ve been a third grade teacher now for a little over four months.

Towards the end of August I was still hunting for a more permanent position for this school year. I was contacted by an elementary school looking for a third grade, full year, long term substitute position. I had a phone interview on a Thursday, a second round interview on a Monday, was board approved that evening, and here I am!

It was a busy start to the year. I had about two weeks to set up my classroom and complete the beginning of new teacher induction. However, I was lucky to have my mom (a veteran second grade teacher) and my fiancé (a music teacher) help me out with setting everything up! Thankfully, our ELA curriculum is supported really well and provides all the components for me & I am familiar with the math curriculum from my student teaching. The administration, staff, and my team teachers have made me feel so welcome. My transition period seemed so smooth. I’m very lucky to be where I am for my first year!

September rolled around and my class started to mesh and we began to get to the root of our learning. I settled in quickly to my new role and right away knew this was where I belonged for the year. My students are kind, sweet souls. I am very lucky to have few behavior problems this year. All of my “3rdies”, as I’ve dubbed them, really care about each other.

October was busy with the end of the marking period growing near, Halloween fun in the air, and a few professional development days scattered in the month. October saw some changes in how I ran my classroom. I tweeted my management system a tad bit and refined my homework and center work expectations. I had my first official observation from my principal during this month! It went really well–I taught a math lesson.

November was our month to be Thankful. We talked about traditions we have with our families. Students began writing in dialogue journals. I can do a separate post all about that if anyone is interested. Parent-teacher conferences happened right at the beginning of the month, and I survived my first round. Report cards were sent home and I was really feeling like I knew what I was doing.

December came and so did Jingle Bell, our classroom elf! My 3rdies were so thrilled to have him visiting us. To see some of the shenanigans that he got into check out Instagram and search @livelovebeateacher to find my teacher Instagram!


Now that I’ve been home on break for a week, I’ve celebrated the holidays, and I’ve gotten some R&R, I am ready to get back and hit the ground running! I miss my 3rdies. We are nearly to the end of our second marking period. That means another round of report cards and conferences. I hope to get a post out about how I prepare for parent-teacher conferences!

Enjoy your last days of break teacher pals! Have a wonderful new year as well. Please let me know if there are any specific posts you would like to see or if you know of a good teacher tag I could do!

Cheers,

-O

A to Z Bookish Survey

I decided to give this survey a shot.

A: Author you’ve read the most books from:

  • Jodi Picoult

B: Best Sequel Ever:

  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

C: Currently Reading:

  • What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan

D: Drink of Choice While Reading:

  • A mug of hot tea.

E: E-reader or Physical Book?

  • I do enjoy reading on my iPad especially since I discovered the OverDrive app, but Physical Book for sure!

F: Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

  • Probably Quentin from Paper Towns by John Green

G: Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

H: Hidden Gem Book:

  • Heartprints by Anne Schober

I: Important Moment in your Reading Life:

  • Reading Gone with the Wind in sixth grade and being finally being old enough in ninth grade for the Outlander series.

J: Just Finished:

  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

K: Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

  • Science Fiction.

L: Longest Book You’ve Read:

  • Either the books in the Outlander series or Gone with the Wind 

M: Major book hangover because of:

  • Probably the last Harry Potter book back in middle school.

N: Number of Bookcases You Own:

  • 3 shelves, 1 bookcase.

O: One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

P: Preferred Place To Read:

  • Outside on the patio or in my bed!

Q: Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Love is not a because, it is a no matter what” -Jodi Picoult Second Glance 

R: Reading Regret:

  • Not really a regret but I started trying to read the Game of Thrones book series by George R. R. Martin as new seasons of the show came out. I decided to abandon the books and just watch the show.

S: Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

  • There is not really one I can think of at the moment.

T: Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

  • Outlander by Diana Gabladon, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling.

U: Unapologetic Fangirl For:

  • Character: Jamie Fraser. Author(s): Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Dessen, JK Rowling, and Diana Gabaldon.

V: Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon. This will be the 9th novel in the Outlander series. While there is no official release date, I AM STILL SO EXCITED IT IS COMING!

W: Worst Bookish Habit:

  • I fold the top corners down when I don’t have a bookmark handy….I also take the dust jackets off of hardback books when I read them so they don’t get ruined.

X: X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

  • My main bookshelf is just one long row of three shelves going around the top of my walls, so I started on the lefthand side and counted! The 27th book on myself is Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah! I have read this book two times so far and have really enjoyed it.

Y: Your latest book purchase:

  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

ZZZ: Z-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

 

The Adventures of J & O: Engagement Extravaganza

Well…it has been six months since this happened, and I should probably get around to blogging about it!

On April 21, 2017 J and I got engaged! He proposed at one of our favorite spots on my college campus and his best friend got the whole thing on camera.

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J came up to visit for the weekend–it was the weekend for the Blue & White football game at Penn State. He took Friday off for his birthday and ended up getting himself the best gift of all…a fiancé haha! But he picked me up at my dorm and then we went to got meet up with his best friend and his girlfriend. I will forever be so grateful to the both of them for capturing this special moment and sharing it with us.

We went and took a walk and when we got the our favorite spot J asked me if I wanted some m&ms and took out blue and white ones. Now, if I was smart I would’ve noticed something was up, but as I was looking at the m&ms and reading what was written on them, J got on one knee and my heart started racing.

He spoke to me, wonderful things, but that’s for me to know 😉 and ultimately he asked me to marry him and of course I said YES!

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Did I mention the Nittany Lion was there to take a picture!?

We walked around as I called various family members who weren’t at all shocked! Apparently both of our families knew that this was going to happen and many of my friends did as well. Shoutout to you all for keeping such a good surprise!

The next day was the football game and our parents had set up an engagement party tailgate. It was just a sweet continuation of the best days of my life.

We were able to go back to Penn State this weekend and watch our Nittany Lions crush the Michigan Wolverines. It was so special to be up there on the anniversary of our engagement.

-O

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Substitute Teaching Tips

Hello! Happy Summer!

This post is going be all about substitute teaching and tips that would be beneficial to new subs! After graduation in May, I applied for my certification and I registered with the substitute teacher service for my county. My goal was to daily sub for the last few weeks of school to get my feet wet, gain some experience, keep me busy until my summer job started, and earn a bit of money.

I highly suggested substitute teaching ASAP once you graduate. If you are anything like me, you still are wondering, even after passing your certification tests and graduating you are still wondering, “Can I do this?”Of course you can, but subbing helped me to gain confidence in my teaching and classroom management right off the bat.

Now, there is daily subbing and long or short term subbing-I only daily subbed since I graduated in May and there weren’t a lot of month long positions available. Through the duration of my substitute teaching I was in five different buildings in four different school districts over the course of about three weeks. The following are just a few tips I have or some reactions I have that may help any other substitute teachers in the same boat!

1. Be Professional: Being professional covers many different topics. As a newly graduate teacher I was all about making first impressions as I applied for a permanent position in three districts I subbed in.

  • Make sure to dress professionally, even if it’s a dress down day, don’t. But remember some schools might not have air conditioning–since I was subbing towards the end of spring this was an issue–so, Ladies, make sure if you have a cardigan or sweater on, the straps underneath are still appropriate to be worn alone if needed.
  • Be on time, or if you’re like me, be early! Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the school and prepare for your day.
  • Use appropriate language and don’t gossip with the building teachers. You may know some of the teachers in the building if you’re familiar with the area and school or the teachers may talk about other things in front of you. Keep your head down; don’t engage.

2. What to Do When You Arrive: When you arrive to the school for your day, you’ll most likely need to check in at the office. Here you will be directed to the classroom you’ll be in for the day and possibly pick up lesson plans and a school badge. The service I sub for issued me an ID badge, but schools might give you one as well!

3. Stepping into the Classroom: When you first step into the classroom, begin to orient yourself. Figure out where the student bathrooms are in relation to your classroom & the staff bathrooms as well. Find the route to the cafeteria, playground, and any other “specials” the students may have that day.

  • Next, I look for the lesson plans for the day. Typically these will be laid out on the classroom teacher’s desk or a table in the room. Sometimes you might have very detailed plans and other times it may be the bare minimum. No matter what read them. Make sure you do what the teacher wants you to do and execute it in the way they present it, even if you think it could be done better.
  • Familiarize yourself with items in the classroom. Locate the pencil sharpener, tissues, trash cans, and student cubbies or hooks. Other items to look for are classroom rules and a behavior management system like a clip chart, fill-up jar, point system, etc. The teacher should have mention of these systems in his or her lesson plans.
  • Another thing I like to to is walk around the room with a class list and work on saying each student’s name and finding out where he or she sits. Then, when they walk in and sit down I can work on attaching the name to the face.

4. If there are no plans on the desk DON’T FREAK OUT: Story Time…so I went to sub for a full day at a building in the district I grew up in. I got to the school about 45 minutes early (I’m also crazy about being late) so I had enough time to read through the plans but they weren’t there *cue the panic*. All I had were instructions for a directed drawing and the paper that went with it. It turns out one of the team teachers was supposed to print out the plans and bring them to me. She did bring them over and crisis averted.

5. Eat Lunch in the Classroom: This is a handy tip even if you have a permanent teaching position. As a substitute it is good to use the time during lunch to read over the plans for the afternoon and prep if needed. But as I mentioned before, it would be good not to get caught up in the potential drama of the faculty room. Also, I am a shy person so being alone in the classroom is more comfortable to me. But don’t alienate yourself from other teachers in the building. Say hi and smile in the hallway. Introduce yourself to the team teachers. I meshed really well with a few team teachers I subbed with and they offered me really good advice for job hunting, teaching with a family, and working towards my Masters degree!

6. Take Notes: Take notes throughout the day. Write down how the activities and lessons went. Keep an account of student behavior as well. The classroom teacher will appreciate this when he or she gets back.

7. Walk Around the Room: As you instruct walk around the room. Make your presence known. Students will realize that you are in charge and proximity control is a great classroom management tool. Check in with students as they are working. Try and learn a bit about the students throughout the day.

8. Clean the Room Before You Leave: Make sure the classroom is cleaned up from the day. Make it look how it did when you walked in. Don’t go through the teacher’s things, but straighten up and make sure the lesson plans and left over copies are neat on the desk or tables.

9. Fill Out Report and Bring it to the Office: The school may have a form to fill out at the end of your subbing day. These are pretty generic and allow the classroom teacher to evaluate your performance and what you did well. It also allows them to say if they would like you back in their classroom to substitute! Make sure to fill this out in detail and turn it in!

10. Check For Jobs the Night Before: For the substitute service I’m with, I can search for jobs for the following day the night before. This is really helpful because if I secure a position the night before I don’t get any early morning phone calls and I can plan my morning accordingly.

11. Roll With It: One of the biggest things to stress when being a substitute teacher is being flexible. You never know what your day will bring or what the plans will have you doing so being able to roll with the punches is quality that teachers need to have.

I know these “tips” were all over the place but I hope that someone out there finds them helpful. Comment down below with anything that you have to add! Thanks for reading!!

-O

 

Update-One Month Post-Grad

So today marks one month since I graduated college. May 7, 2017 I walked across the stage ( did not receive my diploma-they are mailed to us) and I did it. So much has happened in this past month that needs some updating.

Graduation:

Since graduation was on a Sunday, my family came to my house starting Friday and we had a little celebration on Saturday. When my mom and her siblings each graduated from Penn State, my Poppy had their names put on a banner. Well, my Grammy had a section made with my name and graduation year to add to the bottom of the banner. I was so incredible to see this and know that I did it. I accomplished one of my biggest goals this far in life! The actual ceremony was Sunday up at school and I got to sit next to my best friend which made it all the more special. Down below are some quick snapshots from the weekend!

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Applying for Certification:

I ended up applying for certification two days after graduation. I wanted to get it done as soon as possible because I plan on taking the PRAXIS to become certified for 5th and 6th grade as well as middle level English. I also wanted to get some days in as a substitute, just to gain some more experience–more on that coming. The application process was really easy and Penn State was very quick in their response of support. My application was officially approved on June 1, 2017!

Substitute Teaching:

I started substitute teaching a week and a half after graduation. I applied on a Wednesday and had my on boarding meeting the next Tuesday. My first day subbing was that Thursday. I only got a few days in for this school year, but those days provided some different experiences and boosted my confidence, like “Hey, I CAN do this!”. I am applying for a full-time teaching position for next year, but if I do decide to long term sub, or daily sub, I have that option too!

Work Zone:

This summer I am working as a Day Camp Counselor for our local recreation department. This is a new job for me as the last few summers I babysat. I’m looking forward to meeting all my co-counslers and having a fun summer! We have kids in first through eighth grades. Each day we get to take them to the pool and once a week we’ll go on a field trip. Let me know if posts on summer activities for kids is something you’d be interested in! In addition to Day Camp, I am continuing my volunteer work with PAWS and playing with some cute reduce kitties on a weekly basis.

What’s Next?:

As I mentioned before, I am applying for full-time teaching positions and I’m excited to continue through the job search process. I am going to the beach in July so hopefully I’ll be able to do a few blogs about that as the summer progresses! For the blog I plan on continuing my bookshelf updates each month and once I get a job and start planning out my classroom expect some posts about all that fun too!

Hope you all are having a great day. What is one post you want to see this summer!? Let me know down below. 🙂

-O

May Wrap-Up//June TBR

This month I got back on track with my #52Books2017 reading challenge! I knew being home from school for the summer would help with my pace of reading!

May 3, 2017-Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris.

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This book gets 3/5 stars. It was a very well written and interesting read, but I most likely wouldn’t pick it up again. The novel starts out with the sentence, “I killed a man the summer I turned thirteen”. This was more than enough for me to jump right in. A story of the American Civil War, this novel sheds light on how the women and children left at home in the south defended themselves, their land, and their honors. With a Gone with the Wind feel, Harris does a phenomenal job of latching on to the reader’s emotions though protagonist, young Amire St. Pierre’s voice.

May 11, 2017-I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi.

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This novel earned 4/5 stars for its twists and turns. When Maddy seemingly commits suicide by jumping off of a building the lives of her husband and daughter go awry. From  her birds-eye view, Maddy try to align fates and picks school teacher, Rory to take her place in her family’s lives.

May 17, 2017-The Trophy Child by Paula Daly.

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The term helicopter parents rings true for Karen Bloom in this novel. Dictating every second of her daughter Bronte’s life, Karen runs her from activity to lesson to tutoring session like mad. When Bronte goes missing and refuses to tell where she was and another sudden disappearance occurs, secrets start spilling out left and right in this novel. This book earned 4/5 stars. The way the author wove the different character’s stories and voices seemed effortless.

May 21, 2017-Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

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Mother Kate Baron is called to her daughter’s expensive, private school under the impression that her daughter plagiarized and received a failing mark. What she finds when she gets there is a whole different scenario. Amelia has jumped from the top of the school, committing suicide. When Kate starts receiving bizarre text messages claiming that Amelia didn’t jump, Kate realizes there is more to this story and has the case reopened. For fans of Gossip Girl and crime shows, this novel combines the two earning it a 5/5 stars.

May 27, 2017-Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight.

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After experiencing the loss of a stillborn child, Molly Anderson, her husband, and five-year-old daughter Ella relocated to a small town where she takes a job as a reporter. When an abandoned, deceased infant is discovered, Molly is put on the case to report the findings. Along the way, she works through her grief and feelings of loss, while also uncovering  decades old secrets some members of the town are working hard to keep covered. Told from alternating character perspectives, this novel gets a 4/5 stars.

May 28, 2017-What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross.

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How can you miss something you never knew? Lucy Wakefield longs for a baby. After a miscarriage when in college, many failed fertility treatments, and her husband nixing the idea of adoption it seems she will never be a mother. When four month old Natalie is taken from a shopping cart at IKEA and raised as Mia for 21 years, worlds collide. Told from perspectives of all parties involved this novel is fast paced and a quick read. I gave this a 4/5 stars.

This month I didn’t finishing reading The Program by Suzanne Young, opting instead to wait until next month and read the series as it stands right now, back to back. I did have a  bonus book not mentioned on my TBR. The first is titled: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.

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With a tag-line on the cover reading, “Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.” this young adult novel takes place over an hour. The entire student body is locked in the school auditorium when the shooter shows himself. While this book kept me engaged and I didn’t want to put it down, I only gave it two stars. Told in 4 different voices over less than 300 pages, I felt that it was a little much for the length of the book. The teen angst of the shooter also felt a little stereotypical and I predicted his motive around page 80 earning this novel a 2/5 star rating. However this novel brings up great conversations about bullying, mental health, and awareness of how your actions affect others. If you need a quick action packed read however, this novel fits that bill. Check out more on this book and others I read this month on Instagram @ms.m_teaches

 

WOW! OKAY! If you read through all that, thanks, you’re a trooper! Now on to a rather short TBR list for June. Right now I only have four books checked out from the library, and I am halfway through the first.

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~Books to read in June~

  1. The TeacherKaterina Diamond (Currently Reading)
  2. The Finishing School-Joanna Goodman
  3. The Program-Suzanne Young
  4. The Treatment-Suzanne Young

I hope to read the rest of The Program series by Suzanne Young this month as well!

What are you currently reading? Share in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

-O