Saturday, January 23, 2016

SoCal Winter Blog Hop--2016

Hey there party people!
Looooooonnng time no see.
Mmhmm, that's my fault. 
I have been lazier than a sloth these past several months.
This is me every weekend.
Life can just be so overwhelming, right?
As if this crazy job teaching isn't overwhelming enough....
You know what I'm sayin'?
All apologies for not being a better blogger.

I do have so much to share with you about what's been going on in my classroom over the past few months, but this blog post is all about 

Hooray for a SoCal Winter Blog Hop and
GIVEAWAY!!!

SoCal is such a great place to live.
I was born and bred here, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Sure, I have no idea what it's like to live in snow.
The idea of opening the door to a blanket of white is totally foreign to me.
I do sometimes wish it snowed here, but then I think of how cold it would be.
And how slippery the world would be.
I'm very clumsy (see where I'm going with this?).
And driving on ice and snow?
I don't think so. That sounds pretty scary.

So what makes living in SoCal so great?
I LOVE CONCERTS!
I go as often as I can, and SoCal gets everybody.
I'm always surprised when I look at tour dates for bands and see that people in other areas of the US have to drive several hours to see their favorite bands. Unless you're near a major city, that's your life. Ugh! I can't imagine.

What else makes SoCal the place to be?

Well, duh. Of course, Disneyland!
People come from all over the world to visit our Disneyland.
Funny enough, I haven't been there in 3 years, even though I only live 15 minutes from there. I'm toying with the idea of getting one of those SoCal residents passes (another perk of living in SoCal).
AND, we're super excited to FINALLY get Harry Potter World at Universal Studios on April 7.  I can hardly wait! I've been waiting for them to build Harry Potter World here since I first heard about the one in Florida. And it opens just a day before my spring break begins! Wooo hoo! 
Hooray for Hollywood!
That's where I was born!
It's a pretty magical place (if you stay away from the bad areas).
No visit to Cali is complete without visiting the Walk of Fame, and getting your picture taken with Darth Vader on Hollywood Blvd.
Last but not least (and this is for all the other space nerds out there) we have one of the 5 remaining space shuttles on display at the California Science Center. I visited it a couple years ago, and you had to peel me off ceiling. SO COOL! To actually see a space shuttle in person should be on everyone's bucket list. Truly, truly amazing to see it. You can see the burn marks on the tiles of the underbelly from atmosphere re-entry.
AHHH! The space nerd in me totally geeks out over that!

California is such a tourist destination, and I take a lot of it for granted because it's all been in my backyard for my entire life.  I forget that people pay money to fly on airplanes just so they can visit here. HA!



So, I've got a little winter-themed freebie for you....
My kiddos are AR test taking fools this year, and they love, love, love to earn brag tags for passing their tests.
I created these wintery brag tags just for them, and I'd love to share them with you in hopes that your students will also love them.
Just print them, cut them, and pass them out to the kids who've earned them.


Grab this FREEBIE from my TPT store, and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a 
$70 Amazon gift card.

Next stop on the hop is 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Post That Got Away From Me.....

Hey there, Party People!
You wouldn't BELIEVE the amount of time I have wasted over the past four days.
{since I last blogged}
If you scroll down a little to this post, you can see the mess I have going on in just the dining area of my home....forget the rest of my house!
I was brave enough to share with you the school-related squalor I seem to be swimming in right now.
And do you think I've made even the slightest dent in it?
Ummm, NO! 
Well, I think I may have moved a pile from one area to another.
{seriously, I'm not even joking}

What have I been doing?


This pretty much sums it up.
Except I've been furiously going back and forth between Facebook & Instagram.  Throw a little Pinterest in there, some Blogger, and that gosh darn app that keeps whistling at me every 10 minutes!! (you know....Periscope)
ARGHHHHH!!!
Social media has taken over my cotton-picken life!
See, this is what happens when I'm not swallowed up in my job.
I have too much time on my hands.
(Styx song reference for all you kids out there that grew up in the 80s!)

And even though I have PLENTY of things I need to do to fill up that time, I find myself way too distracted by that little red notification at the top of my FB page....
....or the ding of a text
....or the notification that someone liked my Instagram
....or that I have unread email in Gmail
....or a message sent to me on Messenger
....or that stinkin' whistle of another person "going live" on Periscope.
And none of it can go by without me noticing it and having to attend to it.
OY!  I gotta turn it all off or I'm gonna go crazy and get NUTHIN' done this summer.

I turned off all notifications on FB of the many teacher-related groups I've joined this summer (I had no idea I could do this).  
This has helped.
Next, I need to silence my iPhone and stash it away in a drawer for a prescribed number of hours a day.

Hey!
If ya wanna follow me on any social media sites
click here:
Periscope
Ok, you can't click on Periscope, but my username is:
@teachingpoweredbycaffeine

Heh, heh, heh....see what I did there? ; )

What else have I been doing?
Oh, ya know, chomping on ICE!

Hi, I'm Ali. And I'm addicted to crunching on ice.
I mean, I have a SERIOUS ice addiction.
It's been going on for several years now, but since I'm home all day now, and have access to the freezer....well, let's just say I'm gonna be getting a serious lecture from my dentist when I go in next week for a cleaning.  He'll probably find another tooth that needs a root canal, and it'll probably be the result of all that ice crunching.
I don't know why I love it so much.  It used to be that I only ate the softer ice that had been floating around in my cup for a while.  But now I can't even wait for that to happen.  I can't take a sip outta my cup without slurping up an ice cube.
Get this!
I think I've actually burned the inside of my cheeks and my tongue from the constant coldness in my mouth.  If the phone rings, I can't answer it because my mouth is numb with cold!
As they say, #thestruggleisreal
{I'm chomping on ice as I type this}

Sooooo, what else....
OH!
Watching....
AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR!!!

Oh my heavens, I'm so into this show!
I discovered it last summer and was instantly hooked.
I know it's been on for several seasons, but I think I ignored it because I thought it was basically that old show American Gladiator, which I have nooooooo interest in.
But I was sittin' there last summer chillin', as I tend to do when I'm not working, and I was amazed that a human could actually DO what they were doing.
I became obsessed with the show.
I began wanting to be a badass like the people I was seeing kickin' ASS on those obstacles.
Now listen to me...
There is no way on God's green Earth that this would ever happen. 
I can't even get up outta my chair without groaning and taking several slow steps before I can finally straighten my back out.
But a girl can dream.....

Then last school year started.
I wasn't exactly thrilled to be back.  I'd had a particularly rough year with parents and certain staff the previous year, and 10 weeks of summer vacation just wasn't enough time to heal my bruised and battered heart.

{OH!!  I just heard my ice maker dropping another load of ice in the freezer!}
#SoundsThatMakeYourHeartSing

Anyways, I needed to go into this past school year with a tougher attitude.
I needed to just not give a rat's patoot about what anybody thought about me or said about me.
I needed to protect myself from feeling hurt again.
So I adopted a sort of alter-ego.
And this is her....


Yep.
I'm a BADASS!
Whenever a parent or another staff member makes a comment that pisses me off or is super insulting, I just picture this person in my head and I get the courage to say something back (which I normally don't do) or not let it bother me.
And I say this to myself:
{in a super tough guy voice}
"I'm an AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR!!!
I'm a BADASS!!!
I don't let NUTHIN' or NO ONE bother me!!"

And ya know what?
It WORKS darn it!
I've been pissed off plenty this past year, and believe me, I've had every right to be.  But instead of obsessing on it and letting it overtake me for the rest of the day, I say these words, and somehow I end up moving on and shrugging it off.
Amazing.

You have no idea the kind of people I have to deal with on a daily basis,
(I'm sure you do, too...)
and this is the only way I've found that I can get over it and move on.
Keeping to myself and staying away from the teacher's lounge was another coping mechanism, but at a certain point, you do need the fellowship of your colleagues, and eating lunch in your room everyday can get real old, real quick.
And BOOORRRING!!

Whoa, this post has taken on a whole new direction.
This is not what I meant to blog about today, but I have to admit, it was fun to write and kinda therapeutic.

Oh, I also wanted to mention the flyby of Pluto (you'll always be Pluto to me) by the New Horizons probe.
I'm a space junkie, even though I don't know a lot about it, and I'm hopelessly math and science challenged.  I find space to be endlessly fascinating.
That pic of Pluto released today was so cool!
More to be released on Thursday!!
Can't wait!
Did you see these?  I thought these were pretty funny....

See Snoopy?



Well, if I don't stop typing now, this post will be a thousand miles long...
(and trust me, I can keep "talking" to ya until the cows come home)
Speaking of cows...
Didja know it's National Cow Day today?
Uh huh...
And I'm a vegetarian, so I don't eat them.

'Cause look how cute that lil' face is.
Anyways, Happy National Cow Day.
Now don't eat any beef today, ok? ; )

Time to go eat some tofu and chomp on some ice.
I'm totally not even kidding.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Let's Celebrate with a Giveaway!



What's up Party People?!?!
Been a few hours since I last blogged.....
(heh, heh, heh)
BUT,
the reason I'm posting so quickly again is because I'm helping 
Nikki from Faith Family and Fifth
 and 
Elizabeth from Fancy in Fifth

celebrate their foray into the wonderful world of blogging!

These two ladies started blogging recently, and have cute lil' blogs that you NEED to go visit.
To make the experience even sweeter, they've decided to do a giveaway contest for a couple of gift cards any teacher would LOVE to win:

A $50 Erin Condren gift card that you can use to spend on one of her brand-new planners.
These planners are all the rage amongst teachers.
You can also enter to win a $40 gift card from Tallahassee Sunday, an Etsy shop that sells the CUTEST painted signs, personalized just for you.
I mean, seriously, how CUTE is this sign?
And there's many more to choose from....

Enter the Rafflecopter down below, and don't forget to check out 
Nikki and Elizabeth's new blogs, as well as five other fun bloggers who are also helping Nikki and Elizabeth celebrate.

You may have heard of these awesome bloggers: 






The giveaway will run until July 18th at 12:00 a.m. The winner will be announced on Sunday the 19th. Good luck to everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Friday, July 10, 2015

Howdy Ho!

Where does one even begin when one hasn't really blogged much at all this past school year?
I guess you just start where you're at right now.
And that would be here, amongst all this unorganized goodness.





Ah, yes....I brought all of this home with me on the last day of school.
{This is called INSANITY, and it's all been captured here on film}
Eight stinkin' boxes were loaded into my car right before I burned rubber escaping pulled away from the school campus 
{shouting at the top of my lungs}
"See ya suckas'" 
(well, I may have used a different word than "suckas", but I won't print that here)
Does it sound like I was excited to be away from school and starting my summer vacation?
YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA.
And that's all I'm gonna say about that. For now.
Or, hey!  I can let these memes say it all for me:











(This last one would be in response to the parents who voiced their opinion about our new CCSS aligned report card)

Me, actually losing my sh*t
It was one of *THOSE* kind of years, and one of the things that greatly contributed to it being one of *THOSE* kind of years was the fact that I felt, and was, so disorganized and not always sure what I was doing.
Now, if you know me personally, you know I'm most certainly NOT disorganized.
Organization comes to ME and asks for ideas.
But not this year.
I started out disorganized.  I never had the chance to fully unpack my classroom from our big "All-School-Move-To-Another-School-For-7 Months-while-our-school-was-getting- modernized/updated."
I spent so much time decorating {I'll show you all that in another post} my room, that I never got to finish unpacking and prep for the new year.
And to add to that, CCSS was implemented in my district without any CCSS-aligned materials.
Ohhhhhh, the fun that was!
Well, full disclosure:
I was piloting a CCSS math program this year 
(which shall remain nameless)
that was the absolute BANE of my existence.
I'm actually not sure if it was the math program or just the new approach to teaching math (my weakest subject)
that was causing me to die a daily death.

Regardless, I was so out of my comfort-zone teaching math this year, I just totally LOATHED it.
Thank the good Lord above, we did NOT end up adopting the program I piloted.
But....
That also means I have to re-learn another math program next school year.
Yay for me!!


{I do realize I'm getting off topic here, so let's swing this car around, shall we?}

Sooooo, I had no time to go through and organize all the stuff I had to buy in order to teach all of these new standards.  Plus, there's so much I need to file away, purge, sort through, yada yada yada....
The only time I knew I'd have for this is the summer; when I can go through it all at my leisure, in the company of my cutie pie doggies, and be able to devote the time and energy required to whip this all into shape.
I'm a control-freak on top of being an organization queen, so....
{you understand, don't you?}

I don't plan on ever doing this again, so I'm gonna make it count!
Wanna know how serious I am?
These binders you see here...


             took me all day yesterday (with several breaks) to put together and organize.
All of the materials I use for Close Reading were in there, but no organization to them whatsoever.

And of course they needed cute, adorable covers for them.
And I had to pour through millions and millions of digital papers and clipart just to find the right ones....so, ya know, it all takes time. ;)
Ok, so I may be working at a snail's pace here, but it'll all get done....
(she types hesitatingly, knowing it probably won't happen, but still has optimism in her heart due to the fact that she's not working, and is in fact on summer vacation)

Yeah, so, that's what I've been up to this week.  Today marks my 3rd week of summer vacation, and though I know it'll fly by faster than an elementary school instrumental music concert, I still have plenty o' time to relax, have fun, and enjoy myself.
Besides, if I do, in fact, get all of this organized, I will be so much more ahead of the game in September, and therefore be much happier and less stressed.
See?  It all works out to my advantage in the end....


Well, I'm running outta steam here.  The effects of my highly caffeinated energy drink are coming to an end.
I shall be back tomorrow with an exciting post about a fun giveaway I'm a part of, to celebrate the launch of a fellow teacher's new blog.
09 10