Friday, August 31, 2012

Cardinal Directions

Here are some short and sweet cardinal direction signs to brighten up your space. Enjoy!
- Amanda

Getting ready...

Feeling busy. Here's what's been up instead of blogging:
To become my "Wow Work!" picture frame

To be cut, laminated, cut again for my new washroom system

Numbers for around my clock

Door display - circus theme

Miscellaneous. And files I have not sifted.

More details to follow. Maybe when my perma-cramp from using scissors subsides. :)


Friday, August 24, 2012

Morning Meeting Friday Freebie

 I'm excited for the new school year! New ideas, new group, and a better grasp on a new teaching philosophy {Whole Brain Teaching}. I love all this change! We leave for Kuwait on Friday night for a week of set-up and meetings before classes begin on Sunday the 2nd. Only one week to set up my room - eek! BUT, in fairness, this is only about a THOUSAND times better than last year! Because of visa issues and a torn rotator cuff {Jeff is an energetic golfer haha} we could only arrive in Kuwait the day before school started. The day before! Now that - that! - was crazy. So I'm really looking forward to having some time to be calm and set up my room for this year.

One thing I am really looking forward to is implementing my Morning Meeting. I was looking for a way to help better build community among my students, and after seeing this video, I almost immediately started creating a simple Morning Meeting package to meet my needs.
I always thought Morning Meeting was a glorified calendar routine used in Kindergarten or Grade One classrooms as a way to help kids start each day fresh with a solid understanding of the steps to come next. This video deals with an older grade level, and it totally inspired me. Our Morning Meeting will look something like this:

1. Star Student leads class in Classroom Rules chant and gestures using a voice of choice.

2. Students greet one another in another language from those we've learned. I like this step because I teach in a bilingual school and gives students choice.

3. Star Student tells class how he/she is feeling with some "different" words using posters as reference. He/she then asks three friends "How are you feeling?"

4. Star chooses a question from the Question Jar, reads it aloud, answers for the class, and then asks three different friends to answer it. Questions include everything from "What's your favourite _____" to "If you met a monster/alien, what would you say?"

5. Students interact in a News sharing time led by our Star. I want the students to have some time to talk about life - either in class or at home - to help share feelings, and to gain a sense of empathy.

6. Last, since I'm using a clip chart in my room again, the Star will confer with me on three students that have been showing respect and following classroom rules to be the first to move their clip up for the day.

And so, since it's Friday and I just want to share this package with everyone, I'm linking up for my first ever
If you're interested, you can pick up my package HERE on Google Docs.

Enjoy and I'd love if you'll let me know what you think if you download - feedback and suggestions always welcome here!
- Amanda

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oh happy day!

This summer, I had the best day of my life. On July 21 Jeff and I were married in a simple, outdoor, evening ceremony with our closest friends and family - and then we partied hard with all of them! We played our own music and had a friend step in as DJ {many many thanks, Alex!}, decorated the venue, personalized our seating arrangement, and I even made my own bouquet - nothing fancy but that's the way I like it. The bonus part? I wasn't stressed at all on the day! I feel it must be because it is completely natural - a next step - to marry the one that makes me laugh, rubs my shoulders through stressful times, lets me cry, and allows me to be only me. 

After the perfect vows, a first married kiss, newlywed photos, some hors d'oeuvres and a little wine, we basically hit the dance floor for several hours of fantastic music. Do I call it fantastic because I had a part in creating the list? A little bit, yeah! I do thank my dear new husband for spending hours fretting over song placement and creating a perfect genre mix to please everyone from 18 to 83! In fact, if you'd like a peak at the wedding playlist {for which we received TONS of great compliments!} I'll be happy to set you up with the playlist if you have of your own events coming ip! It was a beautiful night and one great party.

I just love this handsome man!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Peruvian Honeymoon

I'm sure you'll all excuse me for my lack of posts this summer - with our wedding and honeymoon I haven't had a lot of time to keep up! I am only now cracking down on my real planning for the new school year. That's a lot of catching up I want to do...
Jeff and I returned last week from our two and a half weeks in Peru, which we both agree was a great honeymoon choice. This country is so beautiful! Low sweeping valleys topped with snow-capped peaks and a fantastic sunset really can't be beat, I've learned. We did a more traditional tour, sticking mostly to the south and then {of course} heading up to Machu Picchu. 
We saw so many great things! Penguins, sea lions and pelicans in Paracas, the beautifully ornate and centuries-old Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Cusco, the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca, and the perfectly-formed active volcano El Misti in Arequipa. {And plenty more!}

As it's called, the culinary scene in Peru is quite spectacular - especially, in my opinion, in Cusco. This is the trip during which my husband and I realized {admitted?} that we are "food travelers," so to speak. We had everything from red wine sorbet {Amazing! Will be looking out for a recipe.} to guinea pig {not so much}, and squid-ink pasta with coconut milk, lemongrass and prawns {double amazing!} to the beloved Peruvian pisco sour. Pisco is a locally-made grape brandy {that I don't much care for}, and the drink is made with a bar mix, some sugar, and frothy egg white on the top. Had to try it, though! Mostly, we had fantastic food - I was more than impressed. We had ceviche {I'll try to share our recipe a little later - it's super easy to make and great as a salsa}, a whiskey-drenched brownie topped with chocolate mousse and house-made mint jellies, and awesome bacon avocado sandwiches. I love how creative people get with food...especially since I am not. At all.

Basically, I can't wait to go back to South America! We skipped the Amazon this time because everything was a bit tight time-wise for medication. But we can always get there through Brazil or a longer time in Colombia on another trip! I have to say, being a teacher offers lots of room to explore this great world of ours, and being married to a teacher means I can share it with all with my best friend and the greatest travel companion.

One more week until we go back to Kuwait... I'm still working on a few things I want to share on TpT and TN, including my circus-themed Morning Meeting package. I'm really excited to implement this in my classroom, as I think a morning sharing time will really help to foster that classroom community I so wish for. We still have a lot of celebrating, visiting, organizing, shopping and packing to do before we go. For now I'm off to strike some things from the list... Thanks for reading!
- Amanda

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Back from Peru {best.honeymoon.ever!} and was finally able to join up for the TpT back to school sale! Enjoy 20% off in my shop today and tomorrow. I know I'll be doing some shopping today...

I'll be back with what will probably be some rather lengthy posts about our wedding and honeymoon. Happy shopping for now!
- Amanda