Saturday, 28 December 2013

Catching Up!

Wow! I've been MIA for a LOOOOONG time. I'll be honest, once the wedding and honeymoon were done, school started and I felt so overwhelmed. Writing blog posts went straight off the agenda, as did reading blogs (which I actually love doing). Now that school has been out for a week and the first term is over, I finally feel like I can get myself back into the swing of things.

I suppose that since this is technically an 'educational blog' I should probably try and write something about school. The last few weeks were some of the most tiring weeks ever, especially as I had an obscene amount of free time. Our lower school (years 3 & 4) put on a Christmas production every year. We spent two weeks rehearsing with the children. In the time that we weren't rehearsing I was trying to keep myself and the kidlets sane by having them do 'meaningful activities'. To my relief, Teaching with a Mountain View was generous enough to give away some multi-digit multiplication task cards for free! It definitely pays to be FB fans of your favourite bloggers.
I've only recently introduced task cards into my maths set and have experimented with how to use them. My students had just learned how to play Scoot (or my made up version of what I think Scoot is based on Google searches). Task cards aren't really a thing here so it's been great to share my ideas with my colleagues. Anyways... I thought these multiplication cards were perfect because
a) I've already worked on multiplying with my kiddos as this is my 2nd year having them
b) There wasn't a need to much input, other than refreshing the rules and telling the kids where to move.
c) It was a great way for them to review the LATTICE METHOD, our school's adopted multiplication method. If you haven't given it a go, I urge you to do it. It has worked wonders even for the most struggling mathematicians AND it works with multiplying decimals.
 These two picture show students working away using the lattice and checking their work using their handy answer sheet.

We used the task cards over 2 lessons, which meant that I wasn't able to play Scoot on Day 2. For the 2nd day I taped all 32 task cards randomly around the room. The children had 20 seconds to find a card they hadn't done yet and only 1 student was allowed at a card. They then had 2 minutes (a long time I know, most of them finished on time, but I wanted to make sure my students that weren't as secure with their times tables got enough time) to complete their answer. One of my most able students commented that she really enjoyed these lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them move around and being able to work independently!
Day 2, students up and about around the room, all on task!

The other item that got me through those two weeks was courtesy of Amber Polk, over at Adventures of a Polka-Dotted Teacher. She has a glorious holiday themed lap book, which I can honestly say was worth the $5. I have never attempted lapbooks or interactive notebooks and to be honest, still am not 100% sure what they are or how to use them, but I had a go (after Googling again and watching a Youtube tutorial). I wish wish wish I had some pictures of the results, but you'll have to trust me when I say that the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. It worked on so many skills for them, reading, comprehension, writing, fine motor skills (the amount of 8-9 year olds that still struggle with scissors...) that I didn't feel like I was just giving them 'busy work' although that is kinda what it was. I didn't mark their efforts but they were pleased to be able to take them home and show off to their parents.

So...that is me kinda caught up? I already have one other blog post planned (uh oh, look out) and am going to make it a resolution to try and keep up. I love reading other blogs and the amount of ideas I get from everyone is great. 
To a more organised 2014!


Monday, 12 August 2013

Monday Made It - Wedding Edition

I've been MIA this week...
While everyone else is thinking about or starting school, I've officially been off for 2 weeks now, with 3 more to go.
I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics this week, although I don't have an actual 'Made It this Week' (shhh, don't tell ...) I thought I'd link up, because my last made it was just before the 'Big Day'

I GOT MARRIED last MONDAY! My 'made it' could be my wedding right?
It's been so surreal. A long year and a bit of planning and it's done.
We got married in a medieval country barn. Literally the best day ever, so cliche, but it really was.
View of the barn from the loft space

I might be biased, but I'm pretty sure I had the BEST flowers ever
Here we go, some 'Made Its' - my sister woodburned the table numbers.
I also used old books for the centerpieces. The menu is from a previous Monday Made-It

We (okay mainly my sister and bridesmaids, but I was the 'ideas girl') made the decor and based it on kind of a vintage, rustic feel. We took a wooden pallet and strung twine across for the photos. The cards box was made from a very old piece of luggage used as a prop at school.

Okay, so once again, soooo sorry about being naughty and not putting a school Made It this week. When I'm finally allowed back into my room (September), I'll start posting some actual school things.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Currently ... Stressed out

So it's nearly time...
I'm getting married on Monday.
I haven't been looking at blogs for the past week, which is so unheard of. I just couldn't.
Then I saw that Farley's currently was up...and I decided to use it as a nice way to relax.
So without further ado...

As you might imagine, everything on here is basically wedding related. I only finished school last week, so the b2s thing isn't on my mind at the moment.
Listening: I woke up at 6:30 today. You'd think with how tired I am I could actually sleep in, but once I'm up my mind starts I thought I'd do a blog post to take my mind off things for a while.
Loving: So I know this one is super cheesy, but ... I've tried really hard not to be a bridezilla, but with my divorced parents both arriving to England and me suddenly becoming a taxi service, my stress levels have increased and my patience has all but disappeared. Add to this that last weekend I tried my dress on and it didn't fit! Cue the absolute sobbing hysterics. HE HAS BEEN A SAINT! Dress is sorted BTW - turns out that even if you don't diet, but decide to start physical activities like climbing and weightlifting, you will increase in size. I haven't really gained weight, but apparently muscle mass. oops.
Thinking: Wedding, 'nuff said
Wanting: No rain and for the wedding to be the best day ever. The rain thing is out of my hands. As the weatherman has just said, 'Looks like Monday will be a washout, but dry on Tuesday'. Sucks for the outdoor activities and beautiful grounds my guests will not be seeing.
Needing: To feel like I'm actually on summer holidays
B2S must haves: As I mentioned before, I only just finished school. I'll be honest, until last week I've been obsessing about this next year. My must haves are a clean room, which isn't happening at the moment. I've been locked out until Sep. and I had to move rooms. See here
Cute room. I saw the cutest room decor pack on Pinterest like 3 months ago by Primary Graffiti. Her Funky Sock Monkey is such a random and cute idea. It will kinda match the wallpaper I've used on one of my bulletin boards. I'm just waiting for that bad boy to go on sale and then I'll be snapping it up.
Patience - I know this isn't something you can't physically buy (which is such a shame), but the beginning of the year is soooooo exhausting that a little extra patience can go a long way.

Thanks so much to anyone who has managed to read this whole thing. Sorry it was not very school related. I really needed to do this to focus my mind and chill out for a bit :)

Monday, 29 July 2013

Monday Made It ... Bulletin board, tool box, time filler, Oh my!

Phew! I am finally finally finally able to contribute to Monday Made It.

Monday Made It
To say it has been a busy few weeks is an understatement! We just finished school on the 24th and I had two days to try and sort my room.
This is what I kinda left it like ...
Emmm two days was not quite enough to get myself organised and sorted! Unfortunately this disaster area is not getting sorted until the beginning of September. I may have had my priorities set on another task (whoops)!

Made It #1
I may have found some fab wallpaper a month or so ago. I really wanted it but could hear the voice of Dan and my friends in my head saying 'Stop spending money on your room!' so I left the wallpaper. For two weeks I thought about it and finally caved in and bought it.
How stinkin' cute is this paper! I love the varied fonts. I love the moustache. I love love love the inspirational quotes. I decided to use this as my backdrop for my intro board.
**Disclaimer - I got this intro board idea from Pinterest, but realised I hadn't actually pinned it! If you know who this is by, please let me know and I'll give credit where it is due.
I decided to add some lovely curlicue (??) frames which I bought off TPT

I also added a lovely black border to hide the uneven edges make the paper stand out a bit more.
(Almost) final result of my introduction board:
I can't wait to take the students' pics and stick them in. I am also toying with the idea of adding welcome lettering above the board. 

Made It #2
I made a teacher toolbox a few months ago but never posted about it. This was mainly due to my lack of bits and bobs that were actually in the toolbox. Like other teachers, my only gripe with the toolbox is the length of the drawers. I can't quite fit my pens and Sharpies in and lord knows I've got a billion of them!
I'm sorry about the super wonky pic! Literally took it as I was running out the door to catch a bus.

Made It #3
So I'm not sure if this last one technically counts as a Made It, but I'll be cheeky and add it in anyways.
As I mentioned before, school has only just finished. The last few days I have needed to have some random activities up my sleeve because of different schedules, sports day, etc. I found this idea on Pinterest (I know, I'm an addict). It was a really cool and seemingly simple art project. Turns out it might be simple for older students, but my 8 year olds had a go. Some of them were able to really get it and some just had not spatial awareness. It was okay though, ticks the art box and the filling time box.
This was my finished masterpiece, if I do say so myself!

So that's it for me. One week exactly until my wedding and I have only been majorly minorly stressed out.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Liebster Award ... An interesting nomination

Thank you so much to Lauren over at Love, laughter and learning in Prep for nominating me for the Liesbster. I've noticed this week that some of my fave bloggers had been nominated, so it's a real surprise and honour to have Lauren recognise me.

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator. 
4. Share 11 random facts about myself.
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees.
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them.

My nominees are:
Matt from Digital: Divide and Conquer
Kaytie from Orange Polka Dots
Kelli from Tales from a Traveling Teacher
Amy from Littlest Superheroes
Arlene from LMN tree

You should definitely check these blogs out. All the writers are so different and bring something unique to the blogging world!

Here are my answers to Lauren's questions:
1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
During my master's research I volunteered in a kinder and 3rd grade at two very different schools. I really enjoyed my experience as a volunteer and thought I could possibly make a go of it as a career.
2. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I enjoy sharing my ideas, but my most favourite part about blogging is actually reading everyone else's ideas. I actually feel like my brain wants to explode with all the ideas I've picked up.
3. What is your favourite food?
All of it? 
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Canada, Australia - somewhere warm and friendly
5. Who is your celebrity crush? 
em ... not sure
6. Pepsi or Coke? 
Coke all the way
7. How do you relax after a tough day at school? 
Eat, watch TV, read blogs
8. Can you do a handstand? 
I used to be able to. When I was 7 I was doing a handstand against my couch and feel backwards and cracked my head on the coffee table. Amazingly, this incident didn't faze me or put me off handstands.
9. What would your perfect day at school involve?
I am really boring and love love love the routine of my school day. My perfect school day (as lame as this will sound) would be all my lessons being amazing and the students all being excited about what they've learned. Possibly do some type of sporting activities in the afternoon.
10. Which website do you have to check daily?
Blogger to keep up to date with all my blogs I follow.
Facebook, to catch up with friends and family

11. What is your middle name?

I'm not sure I have 11 random facts so here are ones I can think of:
I'm half Puerto Rican
I was bilingual when I was younger, but refused to speak Spanish after moving to Cali (biggest regret ever)
Switzerland has really clean air and you can actually feel it when you take in a breath
I've been snowboarding in 5 countries
I'm older than my fiancee
I skipped 4th grade
I got my masters just so I could live in England for a year
I used to skateboard to classes at university
My university, UCSB, is one of the most beautiful places to live

Questions for my nominees:
1. Why did you get into teaching?
2. What is your favourite age to teach? Why?
3. What was your favourite subject in school?
4. What type of music do you like?
5. What is your most annoying habit?
6. What do you find annoying?
7. What would you most like to do before you die?
8. If you won the lotto, what would be the first thing you do?
9. What is your favourite condiment?
10. What are your favourite blogs that you follow?
11. What is your favourite word?

Thanks again to Lauren! 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday Made It - Wedding Decorations

So the official countdown is on, less than a month until my wedding! Cray-cray, the time has flown by, just like everyone said it would.
I am hopeful that I have most of the big things organised, but have now started sweating the small stuff .. the small stuff being those decorations that really make the day special.
I'm finally linking up with Tara. Now I feel a bit naughty because this isn't a school one, but I do have a few projects in the pipeline, it's just this impending wedding has taken over!

Monday Made - It

We are getting married in a medieval barn which has exposed beams and a thatched roof. We've decided to go for a rustic, vintage-type theme.
I have been stalking pinterest for over a year and saw lots and lots of chalkboard ideas.

Love this menu idea
We are having a BBQ for our wedding, so I thought it would be nice to display what is on offer. My sister had suggested painting the glass on a picture frame or mirror ... but I was unsure how well the paint would stick and if it would be streaky.

Got my supplies. When I took apart the frame it hit me ... duh! Why don't I paint the hard back board.

I bought a rather large frame for £8. I also bought blackboard paint and some brushes. Total cost = £12 ($15). I painted the woodeny-type backboard with two thin coats of blackboard paint. I let them dry between coats. I managed to do this whilst watching Wimbledon. Paint. Watch the set. Paint. Watch another set. Andy Murray for the win!! Put frame back together.

So I know this looks super black, but it is only because I had to adjust the pic brightness. Would you believe we had a gloriously hot day and it was hard to get a picture. Can't wait to use this and am sooooo stoked at how cheap this was. 
Another win is the fact that I can potentially use this as a frame after.

Thanks for linking up.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Pinning and a Faux Five for Friday

I was gutted that there was no Five for Friday this week, mainly because I FINALLY had something to write about. No worries though, First Grade Parade has come up with an awesome linky idea - Favorite Pins Friday!

 Last year I caved in and signed up to Pinterest. There has been no turning back. You can follow my Pinterest boards here. I've got some awesome pins if I do say so myself, they are not as organised as I'd want. I promise to sort them out soon.
My first pin is like an OCD teacher organisation dream ... and it comes from one of my real-life BF's, Miss Kaytie over at Orange Polka Dots.

The most amazing resource binder!
 This blogpost has all the details on how to organise and create a fabulous binder with all your resources. I love love love the post-it circular tabs she created.

This next pin is one of my faves because I've actually just tried it in class and it was great.

There are lots of different plant Science Activities on this website. I did this very bean plant activity with my kiddos but used plastic CD cases instead. It was great to see the seeds germinate and grow. The kids were so excited to see the roots, especially when we replanted them into pots.

I found this pin a few weeks ago and was IN LOVE! I'm still not sure what colours and things I want in my room, but love love love this original idea from Primary Graffiti.


So in other news ...
I'm getting married in a month! Holy Moly this last year has flown by.
I can't find the original link for this next pin, so if you know where it came from, just let me know.

Our wedding is in a barn and going to have a rustic/vintage feel to it. I love this pin and have been on a hunt for an affordable suitcase. It seems like this theme is popular now, as they are like £40 ($60) in thrift stores.

Yesterday I was shopping browsing our version or Target (although nowhere as good!) when I found exactly what I had been looking for ... a three-drawer organiser. I had been inspired by many a blogger who had created those 'File, Copy, Mark' drawers. Fun in 4B has even recently blogged about it for her Monday Made-It.

She was kind enough to offer her drawer labels for free ... check it out.
I digress ... so I was on a bit of a hunt for similar drawers. Seriously looked in loads of shops, which offered 4-5 drawers, drawers that were long enough, but not wide enough, drawers that were £20 ($35). I was really bumming that these drawers seemed so elusive. But then ...

I found this beauty sitting alone on a random shelf. It had no price and it was on a stationary shelf, so I left it. I went upstairs to see if I could find more, but lo-and-behold only 4-drawers. Decided to grab this guy and asked someone for a price-check before I paid £20 for plastic.
They were £1 ($1.50). No freakin' way! Best buy of the year!

Last week was my Hen Do (Bachelorette Party) and I had too much fun. I wish I had some pics to post, but at the moment all the pics are living on my friend's camera. I do however have 1 pic ...

I might have snagged this bag in Cath Kidtson in the sale. My man doesn't know about it yet ...
He bought me a different Cath Kidtson bag for my bday in Jan and I have been using it faithfully. But I love me some spots and I love the canvas style and space of this bag.

In sports news...
Loving Wimbledon. As you can imagine, everyone over here is pumped about Andy Murray. Could the UK finally have a Wimbledone champ after all these years?

Okay last of my rambling ... I promise.
It has been crappy weather all spring/summer. Now I know, I live in England, it's known for it's crap weather, but seriously, it has been super bad.
Yesterday it was finally 'hot' (I do use that term loosely, especially for those of you that have been suffering in the heat waves). It was probably in the high 70's. The kids were outside and I heard one of them say it was like the desert... Bless, they really are deprived of hot weather.

Okay for reals, the last thing.
My blog got a makeover! Thank you so much Christi. You can find her button at the bottom.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Currently ... going crazy?

Just checked Farley's blog.
I can't believe how many people have linked up. Crazy. 

Listening: Wimbledon. I love this time of year. I don't even play tennis. I have been a fan of watching Wimbledon since HS, probably because I had a crush on a tennis player and I was an Anglo-phile. Lots of people say tennis can be boring, but it's great to have on in the background.

Loving: My friend's threw me the most fabulous hen (bachelorette) weekend. We went tubing, had facials, got vintage hairstyles and then cocktails, finished off by tree course (?), which involves walking across obstacles and ziplining in the trees. 
Also currently obsessed with teacher blogs. Been getting real bad lately :/

Thinking: Wedding. Crap. Wedding. Crap. One month! Totally don't feel anywhere near prepared. Also still thinking about school, as in, what should I do for such-and-such lesson tomorrow. (Not great at really planning ahead). 

Wanting: I really want to start making some simple products and have watched a YouTube tutorial, but not quite confident enough to do it yet. 

Needing: Sunshine. England has had the WORST weather. I know that is such a cliche, but it's totally true. Being a California girl, this whole, no sun thing is getting wearing. It's gotten to the point that a hot day is like 60!
Also really needing to lose weight. At least my wedding dress fits, just doesn't mean that I look particularly good in it. I'm the only bride I know that hasn't actually dieted properly. I have probably done more of the opposite and stress ate.

Tips: Are welcomed. I've had this blog for almost a year and haven't done much with it. Thanks to the 19 of you that have followed me :)

I wanted to add more to this post and will try to put some pics in from the weekend when I get them through.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013


<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Just trying to get myself updated and keep my 19 followers :)
Hopefully my lack of technology skills will not let me down here.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Five for Friday (okay, maybe only 2 or 3)

I've been debating posting today. It's been one of those weeks where I thought it was Friday, on Wednesday, and really struggled to finish the week. Eek. Poor kiddos. So I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday. I can't believe that in a week I have lost the ability to figure out how to 'grab a button' from a blog. So ... I will insert the pic with the hyperlink beneath. I'm using Blogger and someone can remind me how to do this, it would be great.

On Wednesday our Year 3's had their annual trip to the Time and Tide Museum. This coincides with their World War 2 unit in History. I've been looking forward to this trip all year. I love that the students dress up as evacuees to get into the theme for the day. The day was divided into 4 parts. The children learned about 'Make do and Mend' and how people used things for other purposes. They were given the opportunity to make a rag rug and really enjoyed doing this easy activity.

Haven't seen them concentrate this hard in a long time...

One of the other activities they were able to involve themselves with was bombing drills. They learned about the ARP wardens and their jobs. Students were able to find out and reenact what it would be like if a siren went off and how to make themselves safe. It culminated in some marching in a line with pretend rifles (broomsticks).

Two students learning how to put out an incendiary bomb. You can kind of see the bomb under the hose.

Other activities included learning about rationing and making and tasting Spam sandwiches. The kids were surprised that they actually liked it.

In other news. I play Korfball this week for our summer league and jammed my finger with the ball. This is the 2nd time is has happened. I may have let a loud obscenity fly out of my mouth (oops). I did enjoy that one of my students the next day said that his mum had seen me at Korfball. Back to the finger ... Last year when I jammed my finger it took FOOOORRRREVERRR to go down. I hadn't thought about it until Dan popped down on one knee to propose ... and the ring wouldn't go past my knuckle. Like three weeks later I shoved that ring on my finger and it has been there since. On Thursday I took my ring off to clean the dishes (by hand, because as my mother puts it .. I live a hard life) and go to Korfball. Surprise, surprise, the ring won't go on again. So now ...

Right-handed engagment. Sad face. Wedding is in 6 weeks. It better have gone down by then! Please disregard the ghetto nails. I let a 9 year old paint them at our school fair and managed to not take the polish off this week.

One last thing (don't mind the bad phone photo), I bought these paper files for 20p. I don't know what to use them for. Any ideas? Mind you that I don't have to keep files on my children because the office has all the info. Any classroom ideas would be appreciated. I'd be willing to buy a class set when I know what to use them for.

Thanks for linking up!


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Workin' It Wednesday - Korfball (huh?) and a recipe

I've really enjoyed reading Corrina's blog over at Surfin' Through Second and love that she hosts the Workin' It Wednesday Linky. I love the different take on a teacher blog, not just posts about teaching (which I love reading), but giving ideas and inspiring teachers in a different way.

Okay, enough of the sappy yada yada yada. I put my hands up ... I haven't been amazing at the eating. I do really well during the week, but once Friday night comes, it's all over. I've been really trying to keep the workouts going though. I thought I'd do a post on a sport that I took up last year, Korfball.
When I started teaching at my school, which is super sporty, I was a little worried because the sports here aren't necessarily the ones I played. I was required to teach Korfball to my kiddos last school year. Umm Korfball? What is it? Thankfully a former teacher was coming in to help me, a teacher who has played korfball for like 15 years, and who runs a local team. She invited me along to play and I've been playing on one of our local teams since.

If you need ideas for a sport to introduce at your school, I would HIGHLY recommend korfball. It is a Dutch game invented by a teacher who wanted to create a fair sport for boys and girls. Basically it consists of a team of 8 - 4 girls and 4 boys. Girls can only defend girls and boys can only defend boys. It looks almost like a basketball court setup (almost), but you cannot cross the halfway line. One side is attack and the other is defense. Once two korfs (goals) are scored you swap. It promotes fairness. There are loads of rules but the basics are really great at getting children to work together. I'm inserting a Youtube promotional video for Korfball, so you can see it in action. I really love that girls are given as much credit as boys.

So my working it for this week, I've been playing in our summer korfball league for adults. It has been crazy, fun and at times intense. We play outdoors in summer. The other week it was absolutely pouring with rain and they didn't want to stop. Some of the adults I have played against, play for the England team. It is such a great way to get cardio in, as well as those ball skills and techniques. I love playing a team sports, I played softball for 10 years, so really wanted to find a sport to get into.

Just a little pic to kinda show what it looks like.

I have also been coaching our school's korfball team. Our summer tournament is on Friday. Eek!

Okay the recipe...
I wanted to make a Veggie Cottage Pie but, not so much, still good, but not a cottage pie. Dan and I enjoyed it and it is lowfat and filling. Win, win!
about 1lb of Vegetarian mince (you could use extra lean or turkey mince)
2 cloves of garlic (minced/chopped)
7 oz of onion (chopped)
1 chili (chopped)
1 pepper (chopped)
1/2 zucchini (grated)
stock cube
1 tin chopped tomatos
3 sweet potatos
1 potato
1/4 - 1/2 cup nonfat milk
(you can really chuck in what you like. I just used the veggies in our drawer)

*Pre-heat oven to 325.
1. Spray a fry pan with some non-stick spray. Pan should be on medium heat. Put in onions and fry for 5 minutes. Put in the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
2. Throw in the meat/veg meat and cook for 5 minutes. Bung in the rest of the veg, tomatos and dissolve stock cube. Bring to a boil then simmer.
3. Meanwhile, cut potatos in chunks and boil while the meat and veg is cooking (about 15 mins).
4. Drain potatos and put in milk. Mash together.

Should look a little something like this ... not gourmet but still yummy
5. Get a small casserole dish and put the meat mixture on the bottom.

6. Put the mash potato mixture on top and spread evenly. I also take a fork and make swooshes. It makes it look crazy, but again...still yummy.
7. Put in the oven for 20 minutes and your done!

If you've managed to read this whole post, well done. If you have any workout or healthy recipe tips, I'd love to hear from you. If you also just want to say hi, that's cool