Sunday, January 27, 2013

Barbara's January Visit ~ Peace!

I am always so grateful to Barbara for her outstanding post each month!  Knowing what she's been through the past few weeks makes this post even more special!!!

You rock, Barbara!

Peace - It's A Sign
by Barbara Gruener

It's been 17 days, but I can still hear the mangling metal, see the shattering glass, smell the leaking fluids, and feel the overwhelming fear as that oncoming car crossed into my lane on that two-lane bridge and left me no options but to brace myself for the head-on impact. As I slammed on the brakes and clung to the steering wheel for dear life, I couldn't help but wonder if this was it, if I was going to die. But that thought was quickly usurped by the fact that I was alive and could feel my legs and had better get myself out of that salvage that used to be my van before it blew up {I'll admit I've seen that happen on t.v. a time or two}. My door wouldn't open, so I crawled over the tray onto the passenger side and inched myself out onto the sidewalk on that bridge. Trying to collect my thoughts and make sense of what happened, I glanced over at the car that had slammed into me and thought I'd better help that driver get out if she could 
(before her car blew up, of course!). 

I stepped over the guard rail onto the road to ease my way to her Xterra. I tapped lightly on her window (as if I needed to politely knock) before attempting to open her door. "Excuse me," I heard myself say, "but you might want to try to get out of the car if you can." That's when everything started to turn fuzzy and white and close in on me. I told her that I needed to go sit down and headed back to the guard rail. I thanked the lady in the yellow shirt who arrived first on the scene for offering to call 9-1-1, and that's all I remember until I came to and was lying on the ground with EMS First Responders were attempting to secure me for the ambulance ride to the ER.

Trust me on this one; the ambulance ride to the hospital is another story for another time, so let's fast forward to the ER. I spent five hours in the hospital and was released after a series of x-rays and some sutures to close up the severe laceration on my knee. Getting the twelve shots to numb the knee cap so the doctor could stretch the skin and put it back over the bone was probably the worst pain I've ever known. I was squeezing my husband's hand so tightly and repeating my one little word - gratitude - over and over and louder and louder. I had to work hard to find something, anything to be grateful for as the doctor stitched me back together. He explained that the wound was quite deep and that it was somewhat star-shaped so it wasn't an easy fix. I left there with twelve stitches, a fractured radial bone in my wrist and a chip in the medial bone in my ankle. Three acute injuries plus the fact that every muscle in my body ached from the impact.

At this point, you may be wondering what's the point of today's post, so here it is. Despite everything that I've gone through in the last two weeks and will continue to go through as my fractures heal and I go to physical therapy and attempt to get my knee to bend again, I've intentionally looked for - and found! - so many blessings in this burden. And focusing on gratitude rather than the gravity of the situation has helped me feel peace despite the pain.

I was able to spend an hour at school this past Friday, my first visit back since the collision on the tenth, and look what I saw outside of Mrs. Martin's kindergarten classroom:

Don't you just love this? And can you see why I can't wait to get back there, to my peacemakers, where I belong! 

During my recovery, I've received so many kind notes of affirmation and gestures of love. Friends and family have been bringing meals so I don't have to cook and driving me to all of my doctor appointments. One of my kindies wrote me a note asking when she could come to peace class with me again (I'd never heard anyone refer to guidance as peace class before but hey, I like it!). Another told me that he was going to ask his mom to get me a new car ... and he was tickled pink to give a pink car-shaped mouse for my computer yesterday ... too cute! So many of them have said that our school just isn't the same without me. Isn't that just better than any medicine the doctors could possibly prescribe?

The biggest irony of all? Remember that star-shaped laceration that caused me so much pain and that the doctor worked so diligently to stitch up? Well, I got those stitches removed on Wednesday and the scar that's left on my right knee doesn't look like a star at all, but rather it resembles - and I promise you I am not making this up - a peace sign! 

My wish is that you always look for {and find!} 
blessings in your burdens and peace in your pain.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Product Swap 2.0

I'm taking part in my second product swap!


This time I'm exchanging products with the talented Jennifer from Live.Teach.Create.

Jennifer sent me over her Order of Operations Task Cards.  <=== Click to go to her TPT Store.

This product is aligned with Common Core and TEKS.

 She's included excellent instructions.

There are 2 different options for Answer Sheets well as an Answer Key!

Here's an example of a few of the task cards.  They are a good size and very cute!

I was really pleased with the level of rigor on the cards.  This will make excellent practice for your students!!!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tech-Tip Tuesday ~ Adding Images to Blogger

I did a survey a few weeks ago asking what you'd like to see more of on Tech Tip Tuesday.  The clear winner was 'something about Blogger."'s another Blogger tutorial for you.

This one shows you 2 different ways to add images to the sidebar of your Blogger blog.

Very quick and easy to do!

I hope you find this useful.

Enjoy :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Scrabble Math & A Freebie!

Hello Monday!

I'm back at school today for a Professional Day.  We're having another Thinking Map Training.  {I think this might be about my 6th one?!?}

I've got 2 new products for all the middle school math teachers who follow along.

The first product is Happy New Year Math ~ Scrabble Style.  {This one was really fun to make!  I might see more Scrabble Style Math in the future.}

Here's an example of one page.

Happy New Year Math ~ Scrabble Style

Measures of Center & Measures of Variation

6th & 7th Grade Common Core Aligned

I designed this CCSS-aligned product as a quick, fun way to ease back into the second half of the school year. The concepts are not difficult and the numbers are not large.

However, the concepts are important and sometimes difficult for students to master and maintain mastery of. If they can complete the problems using the small values on these Scrabble™ Tiles, they can complete more difficult problems as well!

I’ve included some critical thinking aspects as well as some open-ended questions.

I hope you will find Happy New Year Math ~ Scrabble™ Style very beneficial for your students and I hope your students enjoy completing this activity!

The second product is a FREEBIE called Math Choice Board Templates ~ Create-Your-Own.

With these Math Choice Board Templates, you can create your own boards to fit the needs of your students and the concepts being taught in your classroom.

I’ve saved them in a .png format so that you can insert the image into PowerPoint and add text boxes for a more polished look. You can also just write in your choices.

I'm linking up with Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies.  Click on over to check out all the awesome freebies available this week!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Enjoy :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

This Post is Packed!

Boy, oh boy, do I have a lot to share with you or remind you of today!  I'm going to jump right into it.

I feel very honored that my blog was included in this list of the Top 25 Middle School Blogs!  I'm among amazing company.  If you'd like to find a new middle school blog or two, be sure to click on the image above to see the entire list.

Right now there are over 40 bloggers linked up with my What's Ahead for You? 2013 ~ A-Year-in-{P}review Linky Party!  It's not too late to join in the fun. 

It's been so much fun reading everyone's goals for the year.  Thank you for taking part!

Who wouldn't LOVE to win a new tablet???

You can enter daily to win the Tablet for the Teacher Sweepstakes from Teachers Notebook.  Click the image above to go enter today!

{If you win after clicking through from my blog, I win one too!!!}

I've got a really short, 3 question survey for all of you Science teachers out there.  Please take a moment to fill it out if you haven't already.

Canada is in the lead by a long shot in my Outside-the-U.S. Blogger linky party!  I really want to have lots more bloggers join in.  I know there are lots of you blogging from other countries.  Take this opportunity to give a shout-out to your homeland.

Thirty-One's new catalog is filled with beautiful new products and prints!  The January customer and hostess specials are amazing!

Contact me today to place an order or host your own party on-line.  Click any of the images above to contact me or just to see what's new.

On a personal note, I'd appreciate some prayers and happy thoughts as our middle son, Dylan, moved from Georgia to Charlotte, NC this weekend.  I'm so excited for him to be spreading his wings, but I sure do miss him and his crazy antics already!  At 20, he's brave enough to pack up his little car and set off on this journey.  I'm trying to find some satisfaction in the notion that we've raised him to be independent and confident...and not afraid to take chances!

Alrighty...I think that's about it.

I go back to school tomorrow for a Professional Day and my students return on Wednesday.  I guess I need to get myself in gear and get ready!

I hope you have a fantastic week.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Do You Teach Science? Poll & Tablet for the Teacher Sweepstakes!

In case you couldn't tell, I'm trying to get back on track with blogging as well as make some plans about the types of products and posts I'll be working on in the upcoming weeks.

With that in mind, if you teach Science, I'd love for you to take the brief Science Teachers Speak Up! survey that follows.  This will be a huge help to me as I create some new Science products and look for ideas to share with you.

Thanks in advance for your help!!!

Now I'd like to share some information with you about the Tablet for the Teacher Sweepstakes from Teachers Notebook!

You can enter daily for a chance to win either an iPad mini, a Kindle Fire HD, or a Nook HD.  If you win after clicking through from my blog, I win one, too!!!

Click on the image below to enter today.  Come back to my blog each day and enter through the image in the sidebar at the right.

How cool would it be for you and me to BOTH win a new tablet???

Again, thanks for taking part in my survey and for entering in the Tablet for the Teacher Sweepstakes!

Enjoy :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Having Fun in Your Classroom

I wanted to approach today's post a little differently.  Instead of sharing something specific that's fun or funny, I wanted to remind you {and me} to let your hair down a bit and just have a good time with your students.

I know we all get caught up in lesson plans, standards, differentiation, meetings....and on and on.  As we return to the classroom for the second half of the school year, I hope you'll join me in making it a point to take a deep breath each morning and laugh every day!  

Our smiles and our laughter may be the only bright spot in some of our students' days.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thrifty Thursday ~ Save Those Bottle Caps!

Look at me blogging every day this week!  I'm not sure I'll be able to keep it up when I return to school  next week, but I'm certainly going to do my best.

It's been For.Ever since I did a Thrifty Thursday post.  With so many of us on tight budgets, I need to focus much more on some frugal classroom ideas for us.

I also try to recycle and re-use as much as possible.  While I'm far from being as 'green' as I'd like to be, I do my best.


I have some plans in mind for these.

To be prepared, I'm going to start saving up screw-on lids from soft drinks, water, Powerades, milk, and orange juice.  I'm also going to be on the lookout for the flip-top lids.

I might ask for parents to save these and send them to me as well.  {Washed and dried, preferably!}

If you'd like to be ready for some math, science, and social studies ideas, start saving or gathering up some for yourself!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Around the World Wednesday ~ Outside-the-U.S. Blogger Link Up

When I learn where other bloggers call home, I find it very fascinating!  It really shows how small our world is.  

I also think this makes for an excellent opportunity to connect with other teachers, classrooms, and students from all around the globe!  Our students can truly benefit from building these relationships in the classroom.

With that in mind, I've decided to host 2 different linky parties.

This week is for all of the non-U.S. bloggers out there.  No matter the grade level or content area, if you are outside of the United States, I'd LOVE for you to add your blog below!

{Doodle Frames from The 3AM Teacher}

Your post must include the image above and a link back to this post!  Please make sure to follow linky etiquette.  

Link up as your blog name followed by your location.
{Making It As A Middle School Teacher ~ USA}

I'll have something for all of us U.S. bloggers next week!