March 14, 2018

My Travel Quest: 7 Wonders of the World

Every now and then you read a book that changes you or inspires you. Recently, my very dear friend, Keep Calm and Teach Fifth Grade sent me one of those books. Myranda and I have a friendship that I hold dear to my heart and one I would not be complete without. We have seen the world together. Spent the night in an airport together. Sweated our butts off together. And all of this has created a bond like I have with no one else. See, we are travel partners. We are like minded people. (If you don't have a like minded person in your life - find one!)

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Myranda understands my strong desire to travel. She never judges me for it, or asks why. She challenges me and makes me better. She recently read a book that she mailed to me across the USA because I had to read it. And boy was she right! The Happiness of Pursuit is a book I needed in my life. Not to fuel my desire to travel, but to show me there are people out there who leave their comfort zone and are beyond glad they did. 

Chris, the author, took on a quest to visit every country in the world. Amazing! Why did he do it? He felt a strong calling that would never go away. That is how a quest begins. You get this idea and it never leaves you. It keeps eating at you until you decide to do something about it. 

I have always had a strong desire to travel. Never truly to a particular place, I want to see many things. I want to teach abroad with my TESOL certification, not entirely sure where. However, one idea that has been eating at my is seeing the Seven Wonders of the World

Image result for new 7 wonders of the world

While reading, I realized that, this was my quest. I felt such a calling to it that I needed to act on it. Guys, I can NOT get the idea out of my head. The best part, I have already experienced one of the wonders, so I only have 6 more to go!

So it is decided. I will take on this quest. I do not have a timeline to do it in. However, I would love tom have it accomplished before I am 40. That gives me 10 years. I will be documenting my travels, beginning with writing down my experience in Rome.

I highly recommend you read the Happiness of Pursuit. I challenge you to leave your comfort zone and do something that will change your life. We are given this one life. What will you do with it?

My Travel Quest:

1. Great Wall of Chine (China) - Potentially Summer 2018
2. Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro)
3. Machu Picchu (Peru)
4. Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)
5. Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy) - Completed July, 2012

6. Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
7. Petra (Jordan)

March 11, 2018

My Travel Quest: The Colosseum

My quest of visiting the New Seven Wonders of the World began in 2012. The best part, I did not even know it at the time. Click here to read about how my travel quest began. 

Part 1: Venice

In the summer of 2012 I planned to meet Myranda in Italy. We began our journey in Venice. This was probably my favorite part of the trip because there were so many moments of "Oh, Snap". One of those being our last night when we missed our shuttle to where we were staying. Now, the reason this mishap is my favorite is because we met some amazing people. We ran into some Australians who were trying to catch the same shuttle as we were. We got on the last people mover of the night and made our way back to the hotel via public transit. An amazing experience when your language is limited. But we did it!

Part 2: Rome

The Stats

Location: Roma, Itlia

Time: August 1-4 2012

Travel Partner: Myranda

Mishaps: Nothing major. Just some missed transportation.

We traveled to Rome via Easy Jet - which does not have assigned seats, so people can be a bit pushy. We landed at 11:30pm. Our plan was to stay in an actual hotel for the night. The hotel said it would only take 2 minutes by shuttle. Oh hello mishap number who knows?! We called the hotel and no one answered. (Keep in mind friends, I hadn't done much traveling before Rome. I was stressed. But a rule of traveling is patience and honestly, everything works out eventually. These crazy mishaps become some of the best memories).

Since we obviously were not spending the night at our hotel we called the hostel we would be staying at. Luckily they had something for us. 1 hour and 60 euros in a cab with a gas tank on E, we finally made it.Exhausted and just wanting to sleep we had to make a steep climb to our tent for the night. This is where we met Chris. He is from Australia and we still remain Facebook friends to this day. 

That first full day in Rome we visited the Fontana di Trevi. 
Tradition says, if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain you are guaranteed to return to Rome. I will keep you posted on that. 
The next day was an insanely hot day. Clearly, not the best season to visit Italy. However, when you are a teacher summer is all you really have.  Water bottles are everything as there are public fountains you can drink from. Sure, they make look a little questionable, but clearly I didn't get sick. 

This was our historic tour of Rome. And it was stunning and so humbling. Let me say again how much I love to travel. We ran into two Brazilians multiple times during the day. The best part? They turned out to be our neighbors back at the hostel!

The Colosseo

I can not put into words what it is like to walk out of the metro and be greeted by the Colosseo in all of its glory. All I can say is that you need to experience it for yourself. (Also, it is super easy to get to! Take the Metro Line B to the Colosseo.)

First view of the Colosseum.

 There is a reason it is a Wonder of the World.*TIP - buy your tickets in advance so you can skip the line. 

Built in A.D. 72.

The History 

The Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in the Roman World. It was able to seat 50,000 - 70,000 people. Seating was based on social ranking and these people were probably squished together!
Seriously. How did men build this?!

The amphitheater was used for combats, fights and hunts. They even flooded the amphitheater for naval combats. Most gladiators that fought we men. Typically the gladiators were either slaves, prisoners of war, or condemned criminals. (

And naturally, I need some super touristy shots. When in Rome! 
While I didn't fall in love in Italy, I did eat some amazing food and meet some amazing people. Remember - Travel is the only thing that you can buy that will make you richer.

*Remember - last time I was there was 2012.

January 1, 2018

Christmas Gifts for Parents

The last two years I have just been throwing together our gifts for parents so last minute! This year is no different, bring on the stress!

I decided 2 weeks before our break to have my students make directed drawing calendars. I saw the idea all over Instagram and knew that I had to recreate it.  The final project was amazing and worth all the craziness.

I created a calendar quickly in PowerPoint. On the sheet the students would be drawing an image for each month. The best part of this project is that they were all so unique. I did the the drawings as a whole group and they completed them with their own touch.

How Did I Make Them?

I am in now way artistic. It actually stressed me out having to come up with crafts for my students. So thankfully there are those who are talented and share their craft with others. 
I purchased a directed drawing resource from Amy Lemons off of Teachers Pay Teachers. Like all other directed drawings it contains step by step instructions that even my drawings turned out good!
Let's Draw Together!  24 Directed Drawings with Writing Pages

You can grab her drawings here.

After my students were done I printed a cover and used ribbon to tie them together. TADA! Best parent gift I have ever made! And they can use it all year.

The Finished Product

Worth all the rushing and last minute stress? 100%. I will certainly be doing this again next year!

November 19, 2017

2nd Grade Verbs Review Activities

I have been noticing that applying our grammar skills has been an area that my students are struggling most with during our ELA assessments. While grammar takes up a good portion of our literacy block, clearly my students need more support.

Keep reading to find out how we reviewed.

Starting this week I have begun to spiral our grammar skills more in class. I feel that too often students memorize something in order to do well on a test and then it is forgotten. Application is also a large part of students to show they have mastered a skill.

In my classroom we use Journeys for our reading series. Lesson 10, Super Storms, focuses on action verbs. To review for our upcoming test we complete centers focused on action verbs.

Not only were these centers fun for my students, they showed me a lot of where there weakness and strengths are. 

Headband Game

This was so much fun! I saw other teachers take a spin on the popular game and play it in their classroom to review concepts. So, I figured I would give it a go!

As a thank you for being a follower, you can grab this game for free! Click here to download.

Boom Cards/Task Cards

At the second station, students worked on the laptops to complete the boom cards I created. For these cards, students had to read the sentences and type the verb in the box. Cards are self-correcting for students. In addition, the teacher can view the data on the individual students. Great way to assess your students as well.

If you have not tried Boom Cards yet, I have included traditional task cards as well. Students will read the sentences and write the verb on the recording sheet. My students love to complete task cards as a whole group scoot game!

Click here to check out the task cards.

Verb Tense

During our rotations, one group was always working with me. My students are still struggling with present tense and irregular past tense verbs. So - that is what we reviewed!

Students had to identify the verbs and then the correct spelling for each verb tense. If time remained, we practiced using the verbs in sentences.

Noun and Verb Sort

Our final station is one students will need to identify nouns and verbs. A few of my students are still struggling with the concept of nouns vs verbs, so this will certainly be in the rotation again. 

Interested in this resource?

Click the image below to purchase.

November 16, 2017

Using Boom Cards in the Classroom

I have to tell you all, I am LOVING Boom Cards in my classroom. Even better, my students are loving them. If you are not familiar with Boom Cards click here to read about getting started.

How Am I Using Boom Cards?

Boom Cards are used in my classroom daily during Math Centers. During centers there is an option for "At Your Seat". Instead of having my students work with paper and pencil we utilize our laptops for Boom Cards.
Students use Boom Cards on laptops during centers.

Feedback From Students

Boom cards are still relatively new, and therefore my students have not been exposed to them. I know this because I am teaching coworkers about Boom Cards! Since they are new for my students there is a huge buy in from my students. One reason students are enjoying the cards is that they can work on them from home and redo sets that they enjoy.

Student Data

I created log ins for my students and assign all decks to my students. This allows me to collect data on my students, as well as analyze their errors.
Data from Boom Cards
With data and I am able to analyze that the student did not know or listen to the word. 

Great for Early Finishers

Including centers I have also left out laptops for students to complete ELA cards when they are finished with an assignment. My students quickly understand how to sign in and select their decks to complete. Decks do not require teacher support as there is audio included in some slides.


Send home your log in codes for your students to practice at home! During conferences I had some great feedback from parents that their child was excited to practice!

Free Decks

If you are interested in checking out boom cards, you may like these free decks!

Halloween Array Boom Cards

August 19, 2017

Must Haves and Dos for Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

It is so hard to believe that I am back to reality already! Last week I spent five days in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and it was amazing! Even better was Myranda and I were reunited for another adventure. It is hard to believe that it has been 2 years since we saw each other! But in true fashion, we added another stamp to our passport together.
We took a glass bottom boat tour to see the Arch

What to Pack

This is always the hardest part when you are traveling some where new. (My first time in Mexico) However, I do have some MUST HAVES to pack when traveling. Sunblock, a camera and makeup. That is it. If I just took those three things with a bathing suit and shorts - I would have still had an amazing trip. 

Carry Ons

I definitely could have packed my trip in a carry on only. A huge perk of that is you do not need to pay to check it. Also, most flights will ask for people who want to check their carry on. If given the option I ALWAYS do that. It is such a time saver, removes hassle of pulling it down and it is usually waiting for you when you get off the plane. 

However, this trip I went with checking a bag and only used a backpack as a carry on. I will only ever use a backpack as carry on. Light weight, fits under the seat in front of me and can easily be grabbed when I am getting off my flight. It is not the most fashionable, but it is practically. And lets be honest, if you have to run between terminals - it is totally ideal.

Sun Block

Okay, this is kind of a given.You need to pack sunscreen but this stuff right here is amazing. Myranda first shared it with me when we traveled to Greece. We used it on our face, neck and shoulders. And somehow, I did not burn all day! I swear by this stuff and it is now a staple in my makeup bag. You can buy it at Sephora.
A fellow teacher shared how this would be perfect for recess!


In case you weren't aware. Myranda is the QUEEN of makeup. She is so talented and loves her MAC. She brought along this waterproof foundation and I could not thank her enough! I normally don't wear a lot of makeup and prefer a natural look. Throw this on, a little waterproof mascara and my powder sunblock - the I am vacay and camera ready!


NECESSITY! Sorry, I know smartphones are coming out with these amazing cameras but I LOVE my DSLR. Even though I love my camera, this is not the type of trip for it to come on. And I am so glad I didn't bring it. We were out on some serious adventures that I would of never used it on. 

Before I left I ran to Best Buy to make a splurge on an underwater camera. I have been wanting one for so long and it was an awesome purchase! I bought it the day I was leaving, nothing like last minute. It came with a floaty strap so I did not have to worry about losing it in the Sea of Cortez! 
Fujifilm - FinePix XP120 16.4-Megapixel Waterproof Digital Camera - Yellow - Front Zoom
Made my trip!
I am very happy with the quality of the images as well. This camera is a tank which gave me a lot of peace of mind. It survived the ocean, pools, and a bumpy ride on a UTV. All the while my cell phone was safely packed away.


This one is no joke. It is so easy to get dehydrated! Drink up and you will feel so much better for it. I also took an airborne every morning. Traveling takes it out on you, the last thing I want to do is get sick! 
Real talk - we went in August. Prepare to sweat like none other. The humidity is crazy! But the relief from the A/C in the room is everything!

Must Dos in Cabo

The Arch of Cabo San Lucas
The boat tour was awesome!

Wild Canyon Adventures

If you find yourself in Cabo, you need to make a visit here. 
Fantastic people, stunning views and awesome adventures. We first signed up for the Camel ride. Our guide was awesome! While we were enjoying lunch we saw the suspension bridge and decided we needed to sign up for the UTV rides!
This place made our vacation!

Camel Rides

When I first arrived in Mexico, Myranda was filling me in on what they had already signed up for. The minute she said we were going to ride a camel I knew this was going to be a great trip! It was about a 20 minute ride but our guide made the whole experience. At the end of the trip we went to check out the animal sanctuary and feed the birds. 
One of my favorite things about traveling is you meet amazing people. 
From there we had a free margarita with our new friend. 

First time ever on a camel!

Meet Alf

It was actually awesome. Don't judge the facial expressions LOL

UTV Ride

One word - epic. Two words - Must do.
This was the coolest part of the trip!
Say yes to new adventures

I let her drive me around on a Quad in Greece, so why not a UTV in Mexico?

It looks scarier than it actually is. Promise.

Downtown Los Cabos

You are probably going to do a glass bottom boat tour to the Arch. Which means you will be at the Marina. So you need to grab a quick picture outside the mall with the #cabo sign! 

1 - get hair done.  2- get picture taken with Cabo Sign

 Cabo Wabo

The vibe here is awesome! I can only imagine what it is like at night! 
Touristy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. 


Don't forget. You are on vacation. Put your feet in the Sea of Cortez. Read a book. Float at a pool bar. Take a nap. Take in a sunset. There is so much adventure in the little things as well.

If you ever have the chance to explore somewhere new - do it. Take chances. In return you will be opened to a world filled with amazing adventures. 

July 3, 2017

Monday Made It

I am so excited! I am spending this week in Florida with one of my very best friends from college. Before I Jet Set out of here, I wanted to share what I have been busy working on.

Coding Mouse 

I LOVE the idea of coding and integrating technology into the classroom. Next year I would love to use this coding mouse for a hands on practice and review. Keep an eye out for a blog post all about coding in Kindergarten!

Paperless ABC Matching

I love all things paperless for the classroom! My students will work on their skills and letter identification with this paperless resource. I have included both Boom Cards and a link for Google Slides!

Memory Book

I am so amazed by the memory book idea from Easy Teaching Tools. I can't wait to get in my classroom and set them up. The amazing work sign will be the first sheet on the memory book. At the end of the year I will use Kristen's idea the cover page with their picture. I am so excited for this idea, read about how she does it here.

Book Bins

Organizing classroom books is always a chore. But I am determined this year to have the classroom library I have always wanted. I made themed labels for the bins with matching labels for the books. I can not wait to see it all together. I ordered these book bins to make my library complete!

CVC Boom Cards

Have you heard about Boom Cards? I am obsessed with them! Read all about them here.  I have been busy making cards to use during centers next year. They can also be assigned as homework!

Have you not used boom cards yet? Try them out here