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!

Makeup 

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!

Camera

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.

Water

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. 



Relax

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


June 24, 2017

Getting Started with Boom Cards


As teachers we are constantly evolving in our ideas and strategies we utilize in the classroom. Technology is one of those aspects we must stay on top of and evolve with. If not solely for the fact that we want our students to have exposure.

As most of you know I have been exploring and creating digital resources to be used in the classroom. My students were able to learn skills this past school year that fellow educators did not even know about! They felt so amazing and empowered!

This summer I have discovered Boom Cards from Boom Learning.

What are Boom Cards?

Great Question! I feel that you will not accept the answer of just "awesome".
Boom Cards are a paperless task card that, brace yourself, are SELF CORRECTING!!

Two Words: GAME. CHANGER.

No more laminating. Cutting. Printing. None of that. Your cards are entirely digital.

How to use boom cards?

Similarly to Google Classroom, you can create a classroom for your students. You can use the classroom to keep records on your students' performance. However, you can also assign decks through a fast play. This would be perfect as homework or group work.
If your students log in, this is the screen they will see.

Once signed in, students will select one of the assignments to complete. 
Students will complete the assignments. 
Since the cards are self-correcting students will need little guidance. If they are student, they can chose to "surrender" a card and the correct answers will be shown.
When students have completed the assignment there is the ability to view their percentage they had correct. This is a great option to have parents also check. 
Checking data on the student end can be seen below.
On the teacher's end you will be able to see how each student scored on an assignment. You can find this information your teacher dashboard by clicking "reports".
In addition to show your the percentage scored, it also shows you the amount of time that your students took to complete the cards. How great is this! I will certainly be creating a personal set for my students to have them identify sight words.

Paperless.
Self Grading.
Time Saving.
Enough Said. 

But it gets better!

BoomLearning.com is a paid subscription site. However, with your first set purchased on TeachersPayTeachers you will receive your first year FREE. 

Since I am teaching Kindergarten again next year, all of my boom cards will be primary based. You can check them out here.

If you have any questions about Boom Cards I would love to help or get your the answer. Be sure to click here to join the Facebook Group!

Looking for more Boom Card Teacher Authors? Click here!


How I will use Boom Cards

I am so excited and busy creating because I want to get started with boom cards in the Fall. I plan on using them during centers for both Math and ELA. I also love the idea of assigning them for homework.

June 15, 2017

Monday Made It


I am excited to be joining Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for #mondaymadeit!

First up are these adorable birthday straws from The Husky Loving Teacher. What a smart idea to make these over the summer and have them on hand for birthdays! Click here to grab her FREE Birthday Tags!
As soon as I saw her post this image on Instagram I went hunting for a good deal on straws. Success at Dollar Tree Online! Ordered them and they will ship for free to my local store!
Krazy Straws, 6 ct.


Next year I am implementing a Golden Pineapple in place of a student of the month award. I want to focus each month on a different character trait. Then at the end of that month I will select the student who has showed the most growth in that area.

My goal is to build a classroom community in which we uplift one another. Click here to pick them up!
I know I know, it is summer break and I am thinking about next year. But honestly, I am still in school mode and creating for next year does not stress me out. Soooo, for September I want to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day! I made this fun math center for my students to work on compare numbers. 


Another day in September I love to teach is International Day of Peace. I made these pennant banners to go along with The Peace Book by Todd Parr (aff link).
Peace Banners

And because I thought I would be adventurous and crafty I made these touch and feel number cards for my kinders. What a great idea from Teach Me Mommy.
 Touch & Feel Counting Cards

Looking for some more ideas? Click here to check out some more #mondaymadeit.

May 30, 2017

Surviving the Final Days

I can not believe that I am now 3 days away from the end of the year! This school year has really flown by. Did it go the way I hoped? Not entirely, but honestly, does it ever?

As we begin to wind down for the year my students have taken this to believe we are done. Yeah no. We will be learning friends. With a less than a week left I am certainly not teaching new content, but it is also not a free for all.

So What Am I Teaching?

These final days are all review of content, but in an engaging way. In Math class we have been working our way through a PBL designed by April from Performing in Education. My students have been working on planning a field trip to space. It has truly been a great experience. My only regret is that I have not done more of these throughout the year. (Look out next year! Edit: JK I am going back to Kindergarten next year LOL)

Beginning of our PBL - working in small groups

Dependently organizing data and justifying trip
In Social Studies I am finishing up a quick unit on the 13 Colonies. Social Studies is unfortunately always one of those subjects that students do not seem interested in. I don't think it helps that text books are always outdated as well. So I decided to bring a little more engagement with this unit. We will be ending the year with a BANG while participating in an Escape Classroom.

I am doing the escape activity after grades are due, so I needed to get another assessment in. We completed these adorable pennants from The Little Ladybug Shop. Not only were these a great review, but she included a rubric, makes my life so much easier!
13 Colonies Pennant

Increasing Student Engagement


Last year I ended Kindergarten with a fun camping theme. You can read about it here. Since it was such a hit, I wanted to repeat it with my 5th graders. Now, I did not set it up to the extent of putting a tent and lake in my room, but it was just enough that it was exciting for them. With help from this resource from Math Mojo, I had instantly increased engagement and motivated my students.

In Language Arts my class had a blast completing Mad Libs type activities, writing a letter to next years 5th graders and designing a book commercial.  All year we had been watching book commercials and I really wanted to have my students create one for us to post to YouTube, but it didn't happen. This was the next best thing! 
I love having my students share the favorite book throughout the year.

A huge hit was in Math class! 
They loved this multiplication game!
I love games that are engaging but also reinforce a skill. Isn't it always a win when they are learning while having fun?

To end our camping week we had Flashlight Friday. Another slam dunk! I blacked out our classroom and my students used flashlights all day to complete their work. These kids were hiding in the craziest places in my room! What it really reminded me was that we need to treat kids like kids. We can deliver content in a way that lets them play and they may even learn more from it!
Flashlight Friday in 5th Grade
I hope that your end of the year is exciting and engaging as well! And enjoy your well deserved summer!