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Friday, June 19, 2015

Five for Friday (6/19/15)

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! This is the end of the second week of my summer vacation. Since I'm not teaching summer school for the first time in nine years, I thought I was going to have tons of time to relax, but this summer is shaping up to be one of my busiest summers both personally and professionally.

I love creating resources for the classroom, but sometimes I really lack the motivation to spruce the resources up with eye-catching covers to post onto TpT. While it's a lot of fun and the production involved serves as my creative outlet, sometimes I would just rather relax and stare at the TV. Luckily a group of lovely ladies organized the ultimate 4-week TpT Seller Challenge hosted on Teach, Create, Motivate. The first week of the challenge involves revamping a product or cover. I was totally on-board! If you are a seller and haven't joined yet, make sure you read all about the TpT Seller Challenge and join. Here's my first makeover I did on my tally marks product:

My second makeover is the BIG makeover. I spent a lot of time creating first grade morning work for my kiddos that were aligned to the Minnesota State Standards for Math and ELA, but now I've decided to revise it to align with the Common Core State Standards for Math and ELA. Minnesota is unique in that we were the only state to adopt the CCSS for ELA but not for math. Our math standards are currently being reviewed and there are many rumors that suggest we may be adopting the CCSS for math, but who knows. Rumors are rumors. Regardless of our state's decision, I decided to make the change because I got a lot of inquiries asking me to make Common Core aligned morning work. Hopefully I'll be done by the end of July. If you wish to purchase the Minnesota aligned first grade morning work, then you should do so now. You would then have the added benefit of being able to later download the updated CCSS version for no additional charge. It's a pretty amazing 2-for-1 deal!

I just absolutely love miniLUK puzzles. Children are highly engaged with the playful design while reviewing key skills. If you don't know what they are you should watch this short video to learn all about it. Even though it sounds like it, I am not affiliated with this company--I just want everyone to benefit from this great product. It took just two activities with me for my niece to complete the rest of the activities independently. She was able to check her own work too so I was able to keep the other little guy occupied!

Since there are so many approaches to education, teachers constantly need to be learning and being a part of professional learning communities in order to be skilled and effective teachers. My friends and family are always saying, "You're in school again??" Yup! I'm not seeking any sort of degree beyond my master's, but I'm always looking for additional opportunities, whether at the university or at a workshop, to further advance my educational practice. An area that I've never been entirely confident in is my teaching skills in writing, so I enrolled in a 3-credit course at the University of Minnesota called "Writing for Joy and Justice." Our course is based on Linda Christensen's text Teaching for Joy and Justice.  

The final project involves writing a lesson plan that addresses a social justice theme. I chose to address the social justice theme of bullying. I've been busy gathering and reading resources, so I'll share the lesson plan that will be written, in a later post. Anyway, while researching, I stumbled upon this amazing publishing company called Free Spirit Publishing--and it's based right here in Minnesota! Here's their incredible mission: "Free Spirit has had the same mission for more than 30 years: to provide children and teens—and the adults who care for and about them—with the tools they need to think for themselves, overcome challenges, and make a difference in the world." Needless to say, I found many books and resources that fit nicely within the climate I have and would like to continue fostering in my classroom. Here's the first two books (in which I imagine will be the start of my Free Spirit Publication collection):

I wonder how long my two nieces will continue doing the work that I've created. As of now, they don't even realize it's work. They actually think completing these worksheets is some kind of fun! Here's my niece working on her summer packet:

I'm so excited to have fun this weekend and work a little less. I'm going to Rock the Garden (one of the largest music festivals in the Twin Cities) tomorrow to see one of my favorite bands, Belle and Sebastian. And the cool thing? It's happening in my backyard...literally! They are almost done setting up for the festivities that will begin tomorrow afternoon.
Here's a picture taken from my balcony:

Then I'm going to spend Sunday with my daddy (I'm 33 and I'll never stop calling my dad my daddy) and the rest of my family. Happy father's day to the best daddy in the world!

That concludes another entry from Diary of a Grumpy Teacher. Until next time, please enjoy your weekend!



  1. I love how clean, fresh, and simple your cover is! Looks great! :)

    The Sharpened Pencil

  2. I love your new makeover cover! I too at the beginning of my TpT journey did not always make covers! For this week's challenge, I added a cover to one of my products!


    Learning is a Hooot

  3. The new tally cover looks great! This was my first year teaching grade 1 and I was surprised how many of my kiddos had a hard time with tally marks. Have a great time at the concert - at least you won't have to worry about traffic : )

  4. I thought you would be in the first 100 of the link-up, but I see I'm not the only one that was slow to post! :) Love your updated covers. Let's TpT date soon!

    Miss Woodward's Class

    1. If it was last week, I definitely would have been in the first 100! The class I'm taking at the U of M has been consuming all my time, but once that is over I'll be back to spending all of my free time on TpT!