What I'm Loving!

Today (Wednesday) has been a very exciting day - I WON MY FIRST PRIZE FROM A RAFFLECOPTER!  I got to pick an item from the Science Penguin's TPT store, and I chose The Ultimate Science Notebook Kit - how exciting is that!  First, I want to thank Ari, a.k.a. the Science Penguin for offering items from her store as prizes.  You can check out her TPT store:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Science-Penguin

as well as her amazing blog:  http://www.thesciencepenguin.com/

Try to go to the Science Penguin's blog ASAP because the giveaway is still going on!  Also, check out:  http://www.teachingwithamountainview.com/
because this blogger is doing a giveaway in conjunction with the Science Penguin.
Maybe you'll be one of the winners next time!

Tomorrow (Thursday) I'm heading up to York Beach, Maine.  My good friend, Patty, has a cottage that is within walking distance of Short Sands Beach.  I just love going on day trips to Maine - it is such a beautiful state.

If you ever go to York Beach, I highly recommend stopping in at the Goldenrod - it's very old-fashioned inside.  Plus there's delicious ice cream and candy.  Of course, I'll have to try to have some self-control due to the Weight Watchers, but we'll see......

Finally, here's a book recommendation:  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This story tells about a young woman who knows the meanings of flowers and uses flowers to communicate how she feels.  I guess years ago flowers were used to communicate feelings - not just love and friendship which is pretty much all I know about what flowers mean.  I'm actually learning a lot about flowers from this book and enjoying the story at the same time.


A Win, Loss, and a Thing of Cost

Yikes!  How does Wednesday come along so quickly.

Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.

1.  Win.  I have completed one full week of Weight Watchers.  At my first weigh-in, I lost 0.6 pounds while my husband lost 3 pounds.  Even though I'm happy for him, I'm still jealous because he eats so much more than me and then manages to lose more weight. 

At the first meeting, we talked about how we're all going to have slip-ups, but we need to put them behind us and get back on track with the eating habits (seems to apply to every aspect of life to me).  Who knew Weight Watchers could be so philosophical?
2.  Loss.  Right now I'm at a loss of words because I can't think of anything to write here.  I'll have to sleep on it (I'm getting a jump start by starting on Tuesday night).
While walking the dog this morning (Weds.), I remembered something.  I get A LOT of my read-alouds from my local library.  After reading them out loud, the kids always want to look at them, and usually the books find their way back to me.  This year, there is one missing book called "Cuddly Kittens."  Due to this misplaced book, I couldn't get any books through the inter-library loan system - which I consider a way to "shop" for free for books.  Now I'm hoping to find this book when I return to set up my classroom, but if I can't find it, I have to buy this "lost" book - hopefully, it's not an expensive book this year.  Usually, I end up buying one book per year - either way, I'm sure I'll still let the kids look at my library books because I love when my students get excited about books, and it's still cheaper than buying the books.
 3.  A Thing of Cost.   Here's something that I was upset about.  I did this secret teacher gift exchange in which you purchased a $15 gift for another teacher.  Well, I went to Lakeshore and bought apple nametags for desks, apple stick-on name tags, an apple note pad, 2 sets of stickers and a clip-on pencil sharpener.  It did help that everything was 20% off so my purchase was just the right amount.  Well, when I went to the post office, the postage was either $9.75 (3rd class) or $11.25 (1st class).  So now I'm in shock over how much postage costs - this could be why the post office is having difficulties - who wants to pay so much to mail something?  The postage really took the fun out of the gift for me because the actual cost was so  much money.

Of course, I could LOVE the post office again if they have stamps like this!

My Favorite Read Aloud - Squaredy Squirrel

I am loving this week's link up over at The Teacher's Chair
All the Squared Squirrel books by Melanie Watt are amazing read-alouds!  I highly recommend these books - I think there are 5 Squaredy Squirrel books now, and each one is engaging and humorous.  At the end of the last school year, my students were even making their own version of Squaredy Squirrel books with titles such as Squaredy Squirrel Plays Hockey, Squaredy Squirrel Goes to the Circus...  The books were really creative, and I still regret that I didn't get pictures of some of the students' books. 
This is Melanie Watt's latest Squaredy Squirrel book so check out any of her books, and you'll become a fan, too! 
Additionally, there is now an exciting Squaredy Squirrel web site:  http://scaredysquirrel.com/

Goals For Next Year!

It's time to link up with:  http://flyingintofirst.blogspot.com/2013/07/lets-get-acquainted-linky-and-classroom.html

Today's Get Acquainted question is about goals for next year.  This question is near and dear to my heart because I attended special training sessions for the new teacher evaluation system, and having a goal is where you need to start.

Some goals I would like to achieve are:

1.  Learn and incorporate guided reading more frequently.  Last year I started to use guided reading in my classroom, and the students loved it.  Guided reading means that students work in groups in which the other students are reading at the same reading level.  Students in the same group read the same just-right chapter book.  I met with each group every day when I did guided reading.  While I was meeting with my small group, the other students rotated through other centers such as the writing center; computer center (they wrote poems on the site - http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/games-tools/theme-poems-a-30871.html);  and the non-fiction center (the kids  read short non-fiction books with their group and answered questions).  Each center lasted approximately 20 minutes.  My goal is to keep forging ahead with guided reading and improving with teaching reading strategies.

2.  Keep my desk clean and organized throughout the day.  Last year I would feel embarrassed when my students wanted to help me clean my desk.  I always leave my desk organized when I go home, but I need to keep it that way during the day, too. 

I want to be this happy teacher with the neat desk!

3.  Keep writing my blogs!  I love writing my blogs, and last year the parents were very happy to be informed about what we were doing in class.  Additionally, the students loved seeing their work samples in the blog, and I share and discuss my blogs with my students.  I try to incorporate life lessons into my dog blog, and the kids were very engaged and enthusiastic about this blog.  Please check it out and let me know what you think:

Also, if any of you would like to be a guest blogger on either of my blogs, I would love it!

At this point, I have to wrap up my goals because I have overwhelmed myself!

Sunday Smorgasbord!

It's that time again - Sunday morning - time to link up with:

This past Friday night I saw a beautiful and amazing double rainbow right outside of my house.  Every time I see a rainbow, I am in awe of how colorful and rare it is.

My sister trekked up from CT for a visit on Friday.  Her daughters are away for 2 weeks at overnight camp so she is enjoying her solitude.  I even designed a blog button for her blog: 

Even though I posted this button that you see here, I'm working to add a border and the blog title.  I can see why people become blog designers - it is really fun, and when you're focusing so much, you forget about everything else - NO WORRIES EXCEPT THE DESIGN!

Last week I went to Wells, ME to visit a friend who has a beautiful beach house which is within walking distance of the beach.  It was high tide at the beach, and the waves were high, too.

I bought a gift at Lakeshore Learning for my special person who lives on the other side of the country from me.  Covered in Glitter and Glue arranged this "mystery gift" exchange in which you buy another teacher a $15 surprise.  I'm not sure if it's a secret so I don't want to say much about my "secret" recipient. I did notice that teachers are already going to Lakeshore. I made sure to be in and out, but it was SO tempting to browse around; I'm just not ready to get back into the swing of Back to School just yet.

Today (Sunday) I am having my first weigh-in at Weight Watchers.  I have my fingers crossed that my weight has decreased.

That's it for now!  Have a wonderful week everyone!


Check out a giveaway at Anchored in Third!

One of my favorite blogs is having a giveaway to celebrate one year in the blogging world.

So head on over to:  http://www.anchoredin3rdgrade.blogspot.com/

and check out Autumn's blog and enter to win this giveaway.  One thing I love about this blogger is that she leaves comments on my blog - it's so exciting to get comments!  Plus she has quite an engaging personality and creative blog.  Enjoy!

Check out my new blog template!

Hello!  I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about my new blog template that was designed by Diana Hansen:  http://customblogdesigns.blogspot.com/ 

Also, I have completed 3 long days of Weight Watchers.  Even though I'm trying to make better food choices, I miss my treats!  Now I sound like my dog blog - any way, I hope you like my new template.


What I'm Loving Wednesday - And Still Loving On Thursday!

This week I'm writing about anything that I'm loving these days.

1.  I'm definitely loving getting my house in order.  I've cleaned 16 windows now, and I'm managing to keep the house neat and organized almost every day - I LOVE WHEN MY HOUSE IS IN ORDER!  Now I need someone like Alice from The Brady Bunch to come live here during the school year so she can do all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.  Wouldn't it be amazing to have someone do all that while you were off at school?

2.  I'm also loving my TJMaxx/Marshall's reward card. I've already earned a $20 gift card, and I've figured out how to pay the bill online.  If you love these stores as much as I do, please consider the rewards card - it's a good deal.

3.  Dannon Oikos Caffe Latte Greek Yogurt!  It's delicious, and I've been making believe it's ice cream.  After supper, I usually eat an ice cream cone, but now I have to record all the food I eat.  Instead of my nightly ice cream,  I mix in a small handful of chocolate chips into my Greek yogurt and put it in an ice cream cone - I haven't figured out how many Weight Watchers points this is, but it must be somewhat healthier than frozen yogurt or low fat ice cream.

4.  I love being able to read and do the crossword puzzle because I have time during the summer.  I really appreciate having time to do some fun things - that's what is so AMAZING about the summer - just having time.  Let's face it - you can never have enough time - so I'm enjoying every day of my vacation.
4.  Spinning.  This is such a great workout.  I usually go 4 times a week.

Wonderful Wednesday News

Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.

Win!  Last night (Tuesday) I tricked my husband into joining Weight Watchers.  I told him that I had a $20 gift card to Marshall's (which is true), but we could stop in at Weight Watchers on the way to get the information.  Well, we signed up, and amazingly, we are still in the computer because we are lifetime members from a lifetime ago - it seems like it any way.  He needs to lose 30 pounds, and I would like to lose 10 pounds, but he won't go unless I go so we're on the right track.  Now we just need to lose some weight.

Also, I found a perfect blog template from:  Custom Blog Designs at this web address:

This blog designer makes one of a kind premade blogs for $25, and I happened to find a watermelon one that seemed like it was made for me - I'm so excited to get a "real" blog template.  If you're looking for a blog template, check out Diana's other products - she has some great templates, and she's very efficient.

Loss:  I can't include any weight - maybe next week, now that I'm in Weight Watchers.

 My beautiful new Weber grill is still in limbo at Home Depot. It was supposed to be done a week ago, but after being transferred twice and on hold for 10 minutes (at least), I found out that the grill is not ready to be picked up - definitely a loss of time...luckily I'm patient.

Cost:  I just paid over $800 to take a 3 credit class during the first full week of August.  The class is on making math manipulatives.  I'll be sure to write all about the class in my blog. 

That's all for this week,


Check out a giveaway for a $25 Mastercard gift Card

I love this blog:  http://hootyshomeroom.blogspot.com/2013/07/summer-giveaway.html

I've been following for a while.  One of my favorite activities last year - Area and Perimeter Zoo - came from this creative blog.  The giveaway ends today so head on over to check it out.  Please let me know if you win!

Good luck, Susan

Advice For New Teachers - A Great Link For All Teachers!


Today I'm linking up with Latoya from:  http://flyingintofirst.blogspot.com/

The question today is about advice for new teachers.  The advice I'm writing about is advice that I try to follow myself.  I've been a teacher for 15 years now, but I feel like I'm always learning every day because every day truly is a new adventure in the classroom.  I've been reading most of the other responses so I've tried to address some of the emotional issues vs. the practical ones.

Buy fadeless paper to back your bulletin boards.  I buy a neutral color - usually yellow - and a colorful and neutral border, and the bulletin board is all set to display rotating student work samples or whatever you have designated for that board.  On my big bulletin board, each student has his/her own piece of fadeless construction paper with his/her name on it stapled onto the bulletin board.  My bulletin board is then all set for the year while the work samples get rotated monthly (that's my goal any way). 

Here's a sample of my main bulletin board:

To make life easier - I keep my bulletin boards simple.

Always greet each student every morning.  I learned this in the Harry Wong book - The First Days of School.  I stand out in the hallway and say good morning to each student and do a quick check-in.  I want the kids to feel welcome at school, and it's also an opportunity to get an idea of how each student is doing that day.

Never be afraid to say you're sorry.  Some times, I've gotten upset with a student or said something hurtful - it's difficult to admit this even now.  I do think it's important to follow-up with an apology and a private chat.  We are all human after all, but we do make mistakes and need to model the behavior we want the kids to follow.

Find another teacher in your building with whom you can discuss any issues you're having.  It's so important to have someone in your corner - someone who can listen to you; empathize with you and/or advise you.  I still depend on my teacher friends.

Make every day a new chance to try again.  This is one of the best parts of being a teacher - if you need to change something - there's always tomorrow when you can try something different until you find what works best.

Be accepting and understanding of each student.  This is easy to do when the students are all well-behaved, but sometimes kids have bad days, and we need to try to help them through it.  It helps to have empathy - everyone wants to feel understood.

I'm really thankful to Latoya for doing these questions because it's so fascinating to read all the different ideas/advice.


Sunday Smorgasbord!

Today I'm linking up with:  http://www.fabulousinfirst.blogspot.com/

First of all, I can't believe it's already Sunday again.  Why is the time flying by so fast?  I love the summer so much, and I'm having such a wonderful vacation that I want it to last, but I can't stop time. 

This week has been extraordinarily hot so I've been in my pool every single day.  This year we replaced our old 18 foot round pool with a new one of the same size.  Due to the hot weather, the water is warm so it's easy to hop right in and get to my water aerobic exercises which I totally LOVE to do.  It's so relaxing to work out by myself, and when I'm done, I sit in the shade and read and do the crossword puzzle.  My pool and reading time is my very FAVORITE part of the day.

Here's a picture of my background pool - over in the shade, under the umbrellas - that's where I sit.

In my classroom, I have a beautiful Promethean Interactive Whiteboard.  Last summer, my big project was teaching myself how to make my own flipcharts.  I made about 8 flipcharts last summer, and it was really fun.  This week I decided that I needed to diversify my computer time and make some flipcharts.  Of course, I totally forgot what to do - I couldn't even remember how to create a flipchart.  Needless to say, it all came back after I looked it up on the Promethean web site.  I have completed and submitted one flipchart on landforms, and now I'm working on a flipchart about rocks and minerals - which is the first unit we do in science.  I'm feeling pretty proud of this accomplishment.

I'm planning on taking a 3 credit class this summer, and I'm deciding between a Math and a Science class.  They're during 2 different weeks in August, but I'm not sure which class would be more of a help - I'm still on the fence on this one.

This morning I went to the dog park again and brought my ipad to take pictures.  I guess I used the wrong charger last night so the ipad worked for one picture.  Here is Toby (in front) and Gabi (my dog), in the distance, resting in the dirt.  Even though it's supposed to be getting cooler, it's still hot but only in the 80's today. 

Speaking of the dog park, one person is a mailman, and he said last week was "brutal - the worst week ever."  He says he'll never complain about the cold again.  I don't think the dogs will either.


$100 Raffle to School Outfitter!

Head on over to:  http://ohboy3rdgrade.blogspot.com/2013/07/100-help-and.html?showComment=1374274448722#c9175054041215399439

You can win a $100 gift certificate to School Outfitters - an amazing prize for any teacher!

Check it out!

it is $100 credit towards their store


Loving Those Favorite Things!

Favorite Graphic
Today I'm linking up with:   http://acrossthehallin2nd.blogspot.com/  to share some of my favorite at-home things.
1.  This is a watercolor I made in the summer before school started two years ago.  I find using my watercolors to be very relaxing, especially during the weeks before school starts.  I also love to paint and draw fruit; and look - there's even a watermelon slice!  I love how colorful and happy this painting is.
2.  This is the window above my kitchen sink; the window looks out into the TV room.  I love all the things in the window, especially the tray which my daughter bought for me at The Goldenrod in York Beach, Maine.  The tray says:  "Those who give love gather love."
3.  These cats are absolutely adorable.  One pair of these cats  was in my Aunt's house, and when she moved to Florida, I asked if I could have them because I had loved them since I was a little girl.  My sister found the other pair in an antique store in West Hartford, CT.  The cats were made by a company called -Holt Howard; and they were made in the 1950's.  They're just so cute that I'm still in love with them even after all these years.
So there you have it, three things that I love at home.

Going Back to the Past

This is the first time I'm linking up for Throwback Thursday - it's from:  http://www.thefirstgradeparade.blogspot.com/ 

Since I only started my blog during April school vacation, I don't have a lot to go back to, but I'll share something that I posted on May 5th.  This is the lesson I used when I applied for the Mass. Master Teacher Training Program.  Plus, this could be a great back to school activity.

Give Me 5 Adjectives!
This is one of my favorite activities of the year!

The kids think of 5 adjectives that describe them.  Then they think of 2 reasons that exemplify how that adjective describes them.  I usually have them complete an organizer with 2 columns:  one with the adjective and the other with the 2 reasons.  When they are done with the drafting and writing of their "hand", they trace their hands and put one adjective in each of their fingers.  They decorate their hands colorfully and creatively.  When they're done, they share their writing and decorated hands with their classmates on the rug. 


I tried to enlarge these photos so you'll be able to see samples of the writing as well as the detail the kids put into decorating their hands. 

Here is a link to the activity at Teachers Pay Teachers if you would like to download the file for free!


Please let me know if you have any questions, Susan

It's Wednesday - Already!?!

I added some new information to this post  - if you've already read it.
Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.

Win:  Two wins to report this week: 
I got nominated for a Liebster Award!  It actually involves a fair amount of work:
1.  Answering 11 questions posed by the person who nominates you
2.  Listing 11 random facts about yourself
3.  Finding 5 - 12 blogs with less than 200 followers to nominate.  (this was the most challenging activity of all because either the blog had already received the Liebster or it had more than 200 followers).  I did look at A LOT of blogs, and that was fun and gave me a reason to stay on my laptop for longer.
I completed my application to become a Master Teacher in Massachusetts.  A Master Teacher gets extra training in the common core, and there will be 94 elementary teachers chosen for the state.  The accomplishment here is completing the process - writing a resume,  lesson plan,  and  final thoughts; answering questions like what award you've received.  I haven't received any awards which got me to thinking if I'm in the majority or do a lot of teachers get awards for working so hard every day.  Thoughts?
Loss:  I finally lost the 2 pounds I gained from my chips and salsa feast of last week.  Also, I have to keep remembering to press "Save" when I'm typing because I keep managing to delete what I've written and need to start all over again.
A Thing of Cost: 
 My husband and I bought a new Weber grill at Home Depot - it cost about $400 which is a lot for a grill, but we had our old Weber for about 10 years, and it served us well.  Plus, I'm the grill master of the family - back in the day, my husband was consistently charring all the food on the grill so I took over - this way my food is edible and looks like food you would want to eat.  Luckily, he doesn't usually like to read my blog - he thinks my blog is just about work - .......
Oh, and last but not least, my car needed a new radiator last Friday - hopefully, the car repairs are all set for a while.

Answer to Furnell's Questions for the Liebster Award


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 your by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

Here are Furnell's questions for me.  Thanks again for nominating me.  Also, please check out her blog at: 
Questions for Nominees:

1.  What is your most favorite school/office supply?
My favorite school supply is a stapler that works every time and is reliable.

2.  What has been your most favorite activity/craft?
Last year we made boats from one square foot of aluminum foil.  Then we put pennies on each boat while it was floating to see what boat could hold the most pennies.  (idea from Ginger Snaps:  http://gingersnapstreatsforteachers.blogspot.com/search/label/Science

3.  Where do you find your teaching resources?
I LOVE Teachers Pay Teachers so I get a lot from there.  I also live very close - a 10 minute drive - from a Lakeshore Learning Store.

4.  What are your top 5 favorite blogs?
My favorites are:  http://www.gingersnapstreatsforteachers.blogspot.com/





                             (FYI:  The last blog has bloggers listed by state - I love that!)

5.  Do you have a Pinterest account or TPT store? (Leave the link!)
I have a TPT store, and everything is free:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Susan-Krevat

6.  If you could be given any one thing to help improve your teaching, what would it be?
I would like to be extensively trained in Guided Reading.

7.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would go to the Grand Canyon where I've wanted to go since seeing it on the Brady Bunch. They went down into the canyon on mules.

8.  What is the last book that you have read?
I just read Heaven Is For Real by Eben Alexander.

9.  What are your favorite T.V. shows?
I love series that are on HBO and Showtime such as Homeland, Nurse Jackie, Episodes...

10.  What do you do in your free time?
I work on my blogs, do the crossword puzzle, read, walk my dog, go to TPT...

11.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I'll be about to turn 63 so I see myself preparing for retirement.


11 Random Facts

1.  On school days I wake up at 5:25 am, and I take my dog for a walk.

2.  On Friday mornings, my husband and I go out for breakfast.

3.  I am fascinated by trains, especially freight trains.

4.  When I go to bed at night, I read magazines such as Oprah, Women's Day, Health, etc.

5.  My father gives me a subscription to Readers Digest every Christmas.

6.  One of my best friends is my neighbor, Kristen, who is 27 years old and autistic.  We walk every day after school.

7.  I give blood every 3 - 4 months.

8.  I love Florida (the Delray Beach area) and flamingoes!

9.  I always get my clothes out the night before so I am ready in the morning.

10.  I love to wear skirts and tights to school.

11.  My favorite flavor of ice cream is maple walnut - actually, I love anything with maple in it.

  Who I'm Nominating

Third Grade Cupcakes - http://www.thirdgradecupcakes.blogspot.com/

Tailor-Made Teaching - http://www.tailormadeteaching.blogspot.com/

Mrs. Colegrove's Fourth Grade - http://mrscolegrovesfourthgrade.blogspot.com/

Tally Tales - http://thetallytales.blogspot.com/

Down East Teach:  http://downeastteach.blogspot.com/


Here are my questions for my nominees:

1.  What is the best "teacher" book you have ever read?

2.  What's your favorite place to shop?

3.  What do you do in your free time?

4.  If you could be given one thing to improve your teaching, what would it be?

5.  What's your favorite meal to prepare or eat?

6.  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

7.  What are your favorite TV shows?

8.  What is your favorite blog(s)?

9.  Do you have a TPT store?  If so, please give the address, too.

10.  What is the last book you read?

11.  Are you a morning or night person?

After you answer these questions, please list 11 random facts about yourself and nominate 5 - 12 blogs with less than 200 followers.  Please let me know if you have any questions.



Another Exciting Giveaway to Check Out

Head on over to:  http://www.theteachertalk22.blogspot.com/

Jessica is celebrating with many exciting prizes to win.  Good luck!

Graphics from Melonheadz and font from Cara Carroll.
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