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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Walking Classroom - The First Few Weeks

There was nothing more exciting this school year than announcing to my class and their parents that we would be participating in The Walking Classroom program this year.  If you have never heard of this amazing program, I highly encourage you go to their website and check it out.  The whole idea behind it is to get students out there doing aerobic activity multiple times a week to help build brain cells WHILE listening to a podcast on subjects ranging from language arts, science and social studies.  The best part? Each podcast is tied into the standards, making it easy to justify spending this time.


I had been on the waiting list for a few years hoping (praying!) that I would be able to get a class set donated to my 5th grade.  I was beyond elated when I got an email during the summer that my wait was over!  The Walking Classroom Organization themselves, were providing a grant to my school and would send me the walk kits. I'm telling you the day I received that box in the mail it was like Christmas!!

You get a binder full of lesson plans that go with each of the podcasts on the walk kits.  Each of the lesson plans come with a comprehension quiz to go a long with it.  The walk kits come preloaded with the content on them, so there is no extra work (with the exception of putting the batteries in and strapping on the lanyards!) Easy peasy!   The Walking Classroom was developed by former 5th grade teacher, Laura Fenn, M.S., Ed when she saw there was a need for student activity during the day.



And student activity is what you get with this program!  My students and I venture out into our neighborhood taking a the same 1.1 mile walk three times every week.  Yes, you read that right!  Three times a week my students and I are out there Walking, Listening, and Learning!!   That is over 3 miles that I am working into class time EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Labeled and stored in cubbies in the classroom
If you were to ask my students how they felt about the walking classroom you would get an array of answers.  But the most commonly said phrase is, "I love it!"   And they aren't kidding.  My students have really come to enjoy this time of the day where we get to take a break from the classroom walls and get outside.



A couple of weeks ago, we were even featured on ABC 7 Los Angeles for our participation in this awesome program.  It was exciting to see my students get their moment of fame for something so positive!  Even better, is the support we get from our school community about it.  Students who aren't in 5th grade are looking forward to participating when they are, and those who are past 5th grade in our middle school are sad they didn't get the opportunity.  Even better is they have recently developed the curriculum for 4th grade, which our school is looking into purchasing.

So far, my class has walked over 25 miles this school year and it's only the end of October!  Already, I am seeing a difference in my kids and their fitness level, as well as their attentiveness when we get back.  This is a program I would recommend for every school!


Head on over and check it out!  This program is definitely worth looking into.


Have you ever heard of The Walking Classroom?  If you are interested in applying for your own grant or purchasing the program, check out this link.

Katie

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I'm Paid to Have Jammin' Nails

Kenzie's first Jamicure! 
When I first heard about Jamberry, I will admit I didn't jump on it. I wasn't huge on doing my own nails and with two little ones, I simply didn't have the time.  It wasn't until my daughter, Kenzie, asked for my husband and I to paint her nails that I finally reconsidered checking out Jamberry.  Kenzie seriously wouldn't have nail polish on her fingers for 5 seconds before she ended up smudging it....on everything. Me. The couch. My husband's legs. Everywhere! It was ridiculous. And I couldn't do it anymore.



Enter Jamberry. I had a friend who had been selling and would occasionally send me a reminder about it. I asked her some more questions regarding it.  When she told me the cost of the kit to become a consultant myself, I jumped on it.  I knew simply by hearing about this product that this was something that I wanted in on. And if nothing else, I would enjoy the discount and use the product with ease of mind on myself and my daughters.  
Vintage Deco wrap with Cardinal Lacqure

Black Strips with White French Tip (My 2nd application)

The company was started back in October 2010 by three sisters who wanted perfectly manicured nails but without paying expensive prices.  They created Jamberry, which is a resilient vinyl-based formula nail wrap that can be applied at home with a simple heat and pressure technique using a standard hairdryer.  They now have over 300+ designs and consultants and customers have the ability to create their own designs too!  


I created these for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Contact me directly if interested in ordering a sheet. 

Each sheet of nails wraps is enough to do 3-4 manicures/pedicures with extras left over for accent nails.  The wraps last up to two weeks on hands and 3-4 weeks on toes.  


​Here are some awesome facts about Jamberry. These alone make it a product that I am proud to stand by. ​



I love putting Jamberry nail wraps on. And I'm asked all the time about how difficult it is....and I love that question!  It's not difficult AT ALL!  All you need is the following to be able to accurately apply these wraps.

Here is what you need:

  • Jamberry Nail wraps
  • blow dryer or mini heater
  • nail polish remover
  • cotton balls
  • rubbing alcohol
  • cuticle pusher
  • nail clippers
  • nail scissors
  • tweezers







Watch the official Jamberry Nails application video to see just how simple the process is.  





Without a doubt, signing up was the best decision I made. I have been a consultant since late August 2014 and have already earned back my investment and then some!  I'm able to advertise the product all the time simply by wearing it.  And best of all - it's providing my family and I some financial freedom with the commission I am making.  If you are interested in learning more about becoming a consultant or would like to earn free rewards from hosting an online or catalog party, be sure to contact me at klyon78 at gmail dot com. I'm happy to share my love of this product with you and show you how you can earn 30-40% in commissions PLUS bonuses!

Currently I am running some great specials until the end of the month and I'd love to share them with you.
Happy Mail Day at my house!

$84 Deal - Purchase this and I will give you a 5th sheet of wraps (your choice) for FREE
It includes the following:
- 4 sheets of wraps
- mini heater 
- Jamberry cosmetics bag 
- cuticle oil
- alcohol wipes
- nail scissors
- nail clippers
- buffer block
- rubber cuticle pusher
- nail file 

Simply add 4 sheets of wraps into your cart, one application kit with cuticle oil, and a mini heater.  After you order, send me a message and let me know which 5th sheet of wraps you want for FREE. 

Halloween Accent Nail Sheet
For anyone who places a buy 3, get 1 FREE, I will also send you a sheet of five halloween accent nails (designs may vary). Perfect for the upcoming month! Pair them with your other Jamberry wraps or with your favorite Jamberry Lacquer nail polish for a bit of fun! 
Never tried Jamberry but want to give it a shot?  Request a sample today! Fill out your information on this form and I will mail out your sample ASAP.  Free Jamberry Sample Request Form



Are you monthly box person? You know? Ipsy, Birchbox, etc?  If so, it's time you checked out Stylebox!!  Every month it comes with one wrap from the current catalog and then an exclusive wrap that you cannot buy unless you order the Stylebox. In addition it comes with a nail file and a cuticle pusher. If you were to order all of this separately it would cost over $30 plus additional shipping and tax. However, you get it for only $25. The only con is that it comes only once a month. Order your October Box today!! http://klyon.jamberrynails.net/stylebox/Start.aspx 
Katie

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

FarFaria - An App Review

I've been sitting on the app FarFaria for a few months now. In between family and school beginning, I never had a chance to look at it but it's never been too FAR (haha - see what I did there) from my mind.  ;-)  I'm so glad that I finally did sit down and check it out.  My 3 year old daughter can't seem to get enough of it!

In case you haven't heard of it, FarFaria is an ebook app for children with hundreds of books for them to choose from to read.  You have the option to pay for the year (only $39.99) or by the month ($4.99).  They also have an amazing limited time offer going on right now - only $49.99 for LIFE!!!  Well worth the money if you ask me.  But let me explain why.


What makes this app so fabulous is the ability for children to follow along as the book is read aloud to them.....from the app!  That's right! My 3 year old was able to easily use the app, choose a book and click on "Auto play" and the book would be read to her.  How awesome is that?  We can even put a certain book in our favorites for her to access again later on.  In addition, the books show a reading level to make it simple to pick books that are right for her.



This would be perfect for teachers to use in a center in the younger grades or for a parent who is looking for an app related to books for their child.

I'm excited to be partnering up with FarFaria and to be able to give away a 3-month subscription to this app.  This will allow you to check it out and see what a great addition it could be in your classroom or home.

How would you use this app?

Katie


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Friday, September 12, 2014

A Letter to My Former Self

Dear Former Self,

I know it's your first year of teaching. I know you are super nervous. What you are about to experience this year WAS NOT covered in your higher education courses.   But I'm here to tell you, it's okay.  You are going to survive this year.....and many more to come. And remember how you said at your first Back To School night that you couldn't wait until you had been teaching for at least ten years?  You know, because you thought it would be easier?  Well I'm going to share some things with you.

You were right. Being a teacher who can speak of past experience to parents at Back to School night is easier.  But the butterflies in your stomach that appear at least 4-6 hours before you know you have to present to the parents? No. Those don't go away. You still have them ten years later.  And the parents and all their questions?  No. They don't question you nearly as much as they did your first year.  But let's be honest. You are a better teacher.  You continue to become a better educator every single year.  And those parents who seem to question every move and decision you make in your classroom....you still have them ten years later. You are just much better now at handling them. You don't take their questions as personally as you did your first year. And you take it all with a grain of salt. You do know what you are doing and your confidence shines through later in your teaching career.

And remember that parent that you swore was going to be the end of your teaching career during your this first year of teaching?  Well honestly....you now look back on them with a sort of bittersweet fondness. They made you tougher. They made you better.  They helped lay the foundation for you to become a super organized teacher. And you wouldn't be where you are now ten years later without them.

So while you are stressing about how you are ever going to get all the planning done, the grading completed, the meetings, and the never ending paperwork finished, I'm here to tell you that ten years later you are still doing it. And you are doing it with a smile.  You love your job.

So stand up tall, first year former self. Because ten years later, you are going to be super proud of the teacher you were and have become.

Love,
You - Ten years later

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fight for Your Write

It's no secret that the heart of a teacher is probably made up of sticky notes, colorful crayons & markers, whiteout tape, super sharp pencils, and a blast of glitter. We LOVE school supplies.  So when I was contacted by Bic to see if I would like to receive some of their supplies and write about their newest campaign, I of course said YES!  In addition to their awesome supplies they also have an awesome and inspiring campaign going on right now called "Fight for Your Write".  The goal - to keep encouraging students to WRITE....with their hands!  The art of handwriting is slowly being lost in this day and age of digital technology.  But isn't it still important?

"Writing is an important vehicle for communication 
because it distinguishes us and promotes individuality."

"Writing is also an important learning tool for children. Writing helps kids 
become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity."

These two statements are from the Bic's - Fight for Your Write site. And I agree wholeheartedly.  After all, when I first think of even just the 'act' of handwriting, I immediately think of my students. I can tell whose paper is whose simply by looking at their unique handwriting.  Even in the digital world, we are SURROUNDED by handwriting aka fonts. No longer does Times New Roman fit all the needs of a person. Instead, people like Kimberly Geswein (an amazing font creator) can take someone's unique handwriting and create it into a font used by millions.

If we move past just the act of handwriting, we then enter into the world of what we can do with the power of writing. It brings me back to an activity that I did with my class.  There was a school district in another part of the country that decided that their high school students were "too busy" to recite the Pledge of Allegiance anymore.  They just don't have time in their jam packed day.  I showed my students the video of veterans who went to the school board meeting to plead with them to put it back into the school day.  My students were very touched by the video and asked what could they do to help?  I put the question back on them...  After some brainstorming, it was decided that they would write the school board letters imploring them to put the Pledge of Allegiance back into the high school schedule.  I was so proud of them!  They offered suggestions on how they could make this work and asked the school board to think of the veterans.  One student was concerned that their letters wouldn't be read, but another one said it didn't matter.  His comment was "Just knowing we took the time to write on how we feel about this is good enough for me."  :-)  Yep....proud teacher moment.

This year I'm going to encourage my kids to use the power of their writing again. We will find causes that are near and dear to them.  Take time to write letters of appreciate to people and companies.  Rediscover the lost art of sending a thank you letter.  The options are limitless.

And of course, I will do this using my Bic supplies!! hahaha  Their colorful selection of tools is exactly what will help begin the motivation to accomplish our writing goals.  I know from my experience with students that if I give them the opportunity to write in color, their desire increases dramatically.  Worried about mistakes with using tools other than pencil?  Fear not, Bic has white out tape that is easy and mess free to use.  They sent me a variety of tools to use but here are my top three favorites.


1.  The Magic Markers:  These are great for using on your whiteboard. My favorite part? When I erased it didn't leave a residue of color.
2.  Wite-Out: I LOVE white-out tape. So much easier to use then traditional liquid white-out.  And I'm not afraid to hand it over to my students to use.  Plus it doesn't bunch up like other brands I've used.
3.  The multi-color ink pens. I LOVED THESE PENS AS A KID! And they are still awesome. They are going to be perfect for our editing sessions. With all four colors at hand, the students will be able to quickly click from one color to the next to mark up punctuation, capitalization, spelling and grammar.

Guess what?! Because Bic also knows how much a teacher loves school supplies, they have agreed to send you a package of their supplies too.  Head on down below and enter to win a Back to School supply package from Bic yourself. :-)




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Monday, August 18, 2014

Classroom Set-up 2014-2015



I have finally finished my classroom set-up for my 2014-2015 5th grade class and decided to link up with Blog Hoppin Back to School Tour.

Here are some pics - I'll update as the year goes on, as I'm still missing my new rug and I have a ton of desktops in the back of my room that won't be there later.  This year, I continued with my rainbow theme with a touch of technology (desk tags and binders).


The calendar area by my desk.  Around the calendar are all of the students' birthdays using my Free Birthday Labels. 

Here is my desk area with my closet that holds all my teacher resource books, etc. I love my Monday - Friday cart that I got a few years ago at Lowes. Above my desk are my Spanish posters for numbers and colors. Our students have spanish three times a week. 

Another view of my desk area. On my door, I add all my class pictures.  This year is year TEN for me! Crazy. :-) 
Since I teach at a Catholic School, we are required to have a prayer table area.  Here is ours. Above it are my Ten Commandment posters.  Right below the posters I have some hooks - my students create a class rosary each year. Below is a picture from last years class. It turns out beautiful and will follow them through 8th grade where it will eventually be raffled off to one of the students.


Rosary created by my class last year. Each student had to decorate a few beads with markers and watercolors. Came out gorgeous!
Student community supplies.  I reuse antibacterial wipe containers to hold pencil cap erasers, clothespins, BINGO chips, etc.  You can download the FREE labels here. At the end of each year, I have students who don't want their old crayons and markers put them in my community pile.  We check to make sure they work and now I have a full stash for anyone who might need them this year.  

This is where I keep the students' morning work folders and other supplies such as regular pencils, clipboards, absent folders, etc. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the open space above it all. Still deciding. On the other side of the bookcases is the library so this helps me separate it and create a "library space."

Here is the entry into the classroom library.  I have almost 3000 books for my students to read and choose from.  I also have ten stability balls in my classroom for students to use. You can read about that here.  Hanging in my library are my genre posters and my common book theme posters


I have a variety of seating options in our library, including this comfy little couch.  :-)


Here is a student work display bulletin board and the computer is for my librarians to handle book checkouts.  

My art supply closet and author's purpose writing posters

This is our back table (complete with stability balls all around it). It also doubles as my classroom bank when needed.  Right now it is full of student supplies that are ready to be assembled and handed out on the first day of school for our iPod Binders.  On the left is our art drying rack. Above that is where I display our schedule for the day in the pocket chart holder. And above that is the "May Do" and "Must Do" list for students.  I do not display a homework board anymore since we are a 1:1 iPad school.  All homework is now displayed on their myHomework app


This year I replaced my standard "We Do" poster with this new bulletin board set that I created. It has over 40 printables for you to pick and choose from.  Next to that on the left are our classroom rules.  Below are my new cubbies that I got from Kohl's and the cubby holders from Amazon.  This is where I am holding our new The Walking Classroom kits and some other odds and ends. On the right of the cubbies is my privacy folders that I got from Really Good Stuff.  

This is where students can get paper, math homework graph paper, correcting pens, staplers, and where they turn in their work.  I have a system on how they turn in their work. You can read about that here

Here is my main white board. 

A view of the classroom from the doorway. 

Another view from the doorway. 


Since we have iPads, I created the students name tags on iPad clipart. :-)
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