About Me

I'm a mom, a teacher, a student, a wife, and a scout leader. I am actually an education major currently working on my practicum in a 2nd grade classroom. I also home school my two children. I'm also a cub scout leader, a girl scout leader, and at church I'm the children's music leader. ;) I tend to stay a little busy. My state requires homeschoolers to keep a portfolio. I am going to use this blog as my portfolio.

What am I?

Monday, December 29, 2014

FHE - New Year's Goals

Opening Song: I Will Follow God's Plan, Children's Songbook pg 164

Opening Prayer

Discussion: What is the next holiday? (New Years!) Do you know what most people do to prepare for the new year? They set goals. What is a goal?

I chose quotes and stories from this lesson: Setting Personal and Family Goals

These led to some great discussions.

After our discussion and the kids decided what they wanted their goals to be, they made collages using magazines. :)

It was fun. The lesson talks about "roads" to get to our goals so we then discussed what "roads" the kids can take to get to their goals.

Closing Prayer


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Singing Time: Songs of the Heart

Last Sunday of 2014!!! Singing Time today was Songs of the Heart. It was super simple.

Before Primary: Prepare a jar and cut out hearts

Read Doctrine and Covenants 25: 12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

Pass out a heart to each child. Have them write their name and their favorite song on them. For the rest of singing time, pull out a heart and sing a child's favorite song! So simple.

I think it went really well. The kids seemed to have fun and it was fun getting to know the children's songs and why those songs were their favorite. I also had that child come to the front and help lead the song or do the hand motions with me.

Sr Primary Favorite was A Child's Prayer
Jr Primary Favorite was A Child of God and I Love to See the Temple

Friday, December 19, 2014

And that's why...

Today I was reminded of why we chose to switch to homeschool. When I was in elementary school, my class had about 10-12 students in it. My teachers knew me. In fact, I am Facebook friends with four of my elementary school teachers -- kindergarten, first, fifth, and gym. Crazy, right? It's because the classes were small enough that the teachers could get to know the students. They acted like they really did care.

So, I sent in the withdrawal forms to SCVCS November 24. One teacher emailed me back and three teachers called me. Today, I received a notice that my first grader was receiving her history books for the next semester so I emailed her teacher. This is one of the teacher's who called me, so I know she knew we are leaving. However, her response was stating she didn't realize we were leaving and that we need to fill out the withdrawal form. WHAT?!!! I already did that!!!

This is just a reminder of why we're leaving. The teachers have too many students (my son's 3rd grade class has 150 students) to keep track of. They have no idea who is who. They don't know their interests or what they're working on unless they are looking at their notes. In the past, the teachers had the same group of kids for 3 years. The teacher taught a group of grades. It worked out beautifully because the teacher got to know the students and the students got to know the teacher. Now, the teachers can't keep track of all their students. I was so annoyed today!!! My sister had issues with withdrawing before which is why I thought giving them almost a full month's notice would be enough for them to get things straight, but apparently not. Apparently they still forget. *sigh* I'm just so glad we made this choice because now I know they have a teacher who cares about them and loves them and wants them to succeed.

It's official!

We are legally home schoolers in our state!  Yay! Today is our last day with virtual school and we'll start home schooling in January.  I'm so excited!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Big Changes

We have big changes coming. I just filled out all the registration info to homeschool. Yeap, you read that right. We are withdrawing from the Virtual School and going to homeschool. The kids' last day of virtual school is December 19th.

What curriculum have we chosen? I'm super excited about it!

  • Math - Singapore  : this is the same math Collin used in preschool. He did the K math and was way ahead when he started Kindergarten. We are going to put both kids back on it. It's more advanced so while the kids are on grade level in public school, they are behind in virtual so we're going to work to get them to where they should be.
  • Science - Press for Learning: Building Foundations of Scientific Learning Vol I and II. This one my husband absolutely LOVES!!! We are Christians and our children learn all about the Gospel and God and Jesus from us. So, we wanted a secular science. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a secular science? Well, we found one that we actually love. Why did we choose this one? Because of this, "Lessons are designed to have students make observations, pose questions, conduct tests, and exercise rational thought so that students gain knowledge through their own examination, manipulation, and thinking, not by memorizing answers." One of the biggest issues we had with the public school was that our son wasn't being challenged. He was completely bored. He spent about 6 weeks on the 3 states of matter. Then, they got to do an experiment on them! Yay! We were so excited because my son wanted his to be on the 4th state of matter -- plasma. However, when he asked about it, we learned he had two experiments to choose from. He could make a volcano (this is for the child who made and painted a volcano out of plaster years before so he can do the vinegar and baking soda volcano anytime he wanted to) or he could watch water evaporate. Seriously? They wouldn't let him create his own experiment on the fourth state of matter. LAME!!! Instead, he watched water evaporate. :/
  • Literature - Build Your Own Library. I really like this one because it's common books and they will provide challenges for the kids. It's just a plan but it's fairly inexpensive. I just have to buy the books. 
  • History - The Story of the World. I really like this one. It is told like a story to keep students interested in the history. There are also some awesome activities that go with it. I'm really excited about these. 
  • Reading - http://allinonehomeschool.com/ We'll be supplementing with All In One Homeschooling. It's free so it'll be a perfect resource for supplementing for anything. YAY! 
That's our plan. We used to love the virtual school. This is our 4th year with the school and we've watched them change throughout the years. It used to be catered to each child as the learning coaches personalized the lessons for them. However, through the years they've gradually gone from teaching to the student to teaching to the test. I am no longer happy with it. I am super excited to start our new journey! Only 17 days of school left before we are free! YAY!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fun Activities in Virtual School

 First off, to show off something incredibly helpful... I got a new laser printer!!!!! This has helped tremendously with all the printing. YAY!!!!
 My kindergartner has been working on numbers through 30. So, I made her a Math Dot Art wksht. If a number was in a certain range (1-9, 10-19, 20-29, 30+) then she had to color that dot a certain color. She was able to find a hidden picture. She thought it was pretty cool.
My mother in law virtual schools my niece and this is an activity she came up with for the girls to practice their sight words ---- Sight Word Twister. Cool! :)

 This is an activity I made for my 2nd grader to practice fractions. :)
My daughter practiced her addition and number recognition with dominoes.

For reading fluency, I recorded myself reading some of our books. I filmed my finger pointing to the words and was sure to get close ups of the illustrations as well. Then I created this book... front cover, reading level in both AR and Lexile and a brief description of the book. I also included qr codes to take the students directly to the video. I am loving this. It's great for centers or for the reluctant reader to read a book. The student is supposed to read aloud with me in the video and point to the words with finger, or marker if on a touch screen device. It's a big hit! ;) I'm still working on getting more options for them. So far there are only 6 books in it. haha! I'm getting there though. Hopefully during the summer I'll get a lot more. ;)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I hate options

I love being in the classroom and all the amazing ideas I am finding online on blogs and instagram. I think teaching is probably the best job in the world!!! I just wish I was going to do it. Yes, I said it. I virtual school my two children. I have a rising 3rd grader and a rising 1st grader. We public school from home. It's not homeschool so I don't get to plan our own lessons or come up with a curriculum or anything. It's just making sure my students do the lessons provided by the public school curriculum. Most of the teaching is online without me. So, I don't get my teaching bug out. I know, that sounds crazy. But, teaching is so fun!

Lately, I have been thinking about just getting certified as a teacher because the classroom looks so fun. However, I think by the end of the school year I may regret that decision. I also am not sure how that would affect my children, specifically my son. He needs the one on one attention. I worry that in a classroom his IEP would not be followed as closely as I follow it with 20 other children in the classroom. Nothing against the teacher but it's hard to give one on one attention to a student when there are 21 to 1 students in a classroom. However, teaching children is so fun! I do a lot of this stuff with my own children but it would be so fun to have the opportunity to touch the lives of so many children.

This is just me working through this. No real great info here... just thinking about what I can do. A friend told me I should have other virtual schooled children in my home and be their learning coach for a fee to the families. I thought that sounds plausible but not in this house. It's too small. Maybe eventually though. ;) Anyways... random thoughts of me. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday Reads: Where Butterflies Grow

Where Butterflies Grow by Joanne Ryder

I actually got this book from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. If you have a child under 5 then I absolutely recommend joining that... a free book every month. Woot! I love free books.

The last science unit of second grade is on life cycles. We read this while learning about insect life cycles. While it doesn't give the correct terms the students learn in the unit it brings the whole process to life with very descriptive words and beautiful illustrations. The reader is told to imagine they are an egg under a leaf. Throughout the book the reader is told to imagine what it's like as they go through the life of a caterpillar and then into a butterfly. It's very beautiful and detailed. My children love it. I absolutely recommend this book for all classrooms. Like I said, it doesn't use the vocabulary terms the students use so review those as you read but it's just too beautiful not to use when studying a butterfly life cycle.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Teacher Talk: Making Words

My assignment was to create a Making Words Activity using Gunner's method. YAY! It was actually really fun!

The second grade class I'm working in have been working on vowel teams -- ee, ea, ow, and ao. So, I did the activity around words with these letters. ;)

First, I had to create it, of course. I made my lesson plans, letters that I cut out into little squares so the kids could move them around and create their own words, then I also made a worksheet for independent work.

Top paper is my lesson plan (the plan and the rubric was 3 pages long... ack!)  The left are the letters I cut out for all the students.... 11 pages of those. The right is the worksheet I made for ow words.

This is one set of letters. This is what they had to do... just create the words I told them to out of the paper letter tiles.

After each word, a volunteer wrote it onto the large writing pad at the front of the room.

This is one of the students' completed worksheet. Yay! The stars are not part of the worksheet... just covering the name. ;)

So, if you want to see or want your own copy of this activity then click HERE.

If you would like to see how this lesson goes in a virtual setting then click HERE. (This was really just me playing with a new app but, whatever. :) I'll post about that one later.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I love this. I wanted to be a teacher because of the example of so many other teachers in my life. They were amazing. I am so grateful I get to stay home and teach my own children. I would love to one day teach in a classroom but I'm not in a situation where that's a possibility. However, I hope my influence on my own children will be a positive impact, boost their self esteem, be a mentor, encourage them and that I'll be able to help them through difficult times. If not, I'm glad there are others out there who will be able to help them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brian P. Cleary

Must-Read Monday Linky

My sister introduced me to this author. You can see a list of his books on Amazon here. I'll focus on only one book but I think all of his books are probably amazing! :) I haven't read them all... only 2 of them but such a fun concept.

This is a very colorful book. The graphics are bright and fun to pull a student in and entertain them. Even the font is exciting. It begins by defining an adjective but then it goes on giving examples. It goes on with funny pictures and the text describes the pictures with lots of adjectives and rhyming words. Such a fun read and great way to show students what an adjective is.

I recommend these books and can think of so many uses for them. The author not only writes these for grammar but for math, science, and other language arts words like antonyms and such. Really cool. Below is a cute video some students created about the book. hehe! It's their own little adaptation.

I guess, overall, I'm saying I totally recommend these books. I think classrooms should use them, parents should get the ones needed, and home education families should have them. Luckily, our library has a lot of them and so does my sister so I have places to borrow it from. hehe! YAY!!! :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Manic Monday: qr Codes in the classroom

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I am working on my practicum. I am lucky enough to be in an awesome class of 2nd graders with an incredible teacher. I have been learning so much from her. I needed to create a lesson that includes the instruction, guided practice, and independent practice. It had to be on phonemic or phonetic awareness. My teacher said it should be a lesson that can be taught in the dark. So, I tried to think of a way I could teach an independent lesson that can be done in the dark. Then, it hit me. Audio! QR codes! So.... here is what resulted in it. :)

It uses the book Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg. It also aligns with Common Core RF.2.3.A. There are two sets of task cards... one uses qr codes and a second set that doesn't. ;) They are the same questions though. If you want this freebie then click HERE to download it.

Also, May 6-7 is a SALE on TPT. 20% off everything in my store and many others if you use the Promo Code TPTXO. My store is here.

300 × 300

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We are the Shapeshifters!

Today (April 15th) I had the opportunity to complete my bulletin board assignment. So, I got to teach a mini lesson with the students and do an activity. I read The Greedy Triangle to them.

They were completely glued to the story. It was awesome. I guess that means my voices and expressions passed the second graders test. ;) Then, I gave them their instructions, showed them an example and we worked on our anchor chart.

The bottom one is the sample with the sample also written on an index card in the corner for my shape sample. I also asked them for words they thought they would need help spelling and wrote them on the top chart. :) The parallelogram stumped both the teacher and myself. LOL! We had to look that one up. I told them that was a very good word. ;) haha!
Here are some examples of what the students' did. There are two boys who have autism in this class as well. Both of theirs are pictured. I just loved the creativity. I know, you are thinking, "Why didn't I give them something to trace?" Well, I did this for a couple of reasons. I wanted them to know the shapes and to do them on their own. The other reason, and much more important reason, was that I wanted to students to be creative and make their own shapes. I wanted all the shapes to be different, just like they are. I wanted the shapes to show character. There were two girls who did pink stars. If they had things to trace then the stars would have looked exactly the same. However, they didn't have templates or anything to trace so they looked completely different and totally fabulous! I loved the way the students used their own imagination to create their shapes.

Here is how the whole thing looked. Two students were absent so theirs will be added later. ;)

I had so much fun!!!

By the way, I earned an A!!! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Reads: How Do Apples Grow?

How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

This is non-fiction and science-y. ;) We've been doing a unit on plants and while he was focusing on flowers -- the pistils and ovaries and reproduction of flowers, we decided to read this book. It starts with winter of an apple tree's life and goes through the process all the way until the next winter. It includes the bees, parts of a flower and everything. It's the perfect book for a plant lesson. I wouldn't recommend it for preschool but it is great for elementary school!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


There are two things I have recently learned about that I have incorporated at home but could easily be incorporated in a classroom as well. All students need brain breaks, right? Especially since so many students are only given one 15-20 minute recess each day. That's crazy!!! Most teachers do "Movement" in their class. It's an opportunity for students to get up and move. I recently learned about a website called Go Noodle! It's a fun opportunity for brain breaks. You can set it up for FREE!!! :) Just go to https://www.gonoodle.com/.
You set it up for your class and choose a class champ. The champ is sort of like a mascot. As the students complete different brain break activities, they get more points and the champ grows.

See, here is our champ. This is actually our second champ because we completed the first champ. The program is cool because all you do is click that big green "PLAY" button on the bottom. Then, it takes you to a screen where all the activities are. You can favorite the ones you really like. My kids favorite the ones they like, I don't. I can also decide if they choose something from the Energizing section or the Calming section. If they're falling asleep on me or just plain lethargic and bored then they choose a Energizing activity to wake them up. If they're too energetic or stressed from school then I put on the Calming section and let them choose one from there.

Here's a screen shot so you can see some of the options. There's dancing too, it somehow hasn't made it to our "favorites" section yet. And, yes, that's Frozen in the corner. ;) Some of these are olympic sports where Olympians actually exercise "with" the students. My kids think that's really cool. They have them stretch a bit and then they show them how to do their sport and then they do it. Collin really likes those. Ryanne prefers the dancing ones. Neither of them mind Frozen and the calming videos came in very handy when I had a very frustrated child on the verge of tears. YAY!!!

OKAY, now for the second resource I discovered.... Wonderopolis!! This is a fun site that has a bunch of things kids have wondered like... How long is the longest bridge? Why is the ocean salty? What do you mine in mincraft? Why do fireflies glow? Why does skin get wrinkled in water? and many, many others!

So, now you're probably asking what do I use these for? Well, writing prompts! :) We watch the video and then I ask the kids the question. They think about it for a moment and then write about it. Once they've written their thoughts, I show the answer with another video or reading the article.

Today's question was "How are gummy bears made?"
Then we watched this video:

Haribo gummy bears from kolbovskiy on Vimeo.

Afterwards I asked them the question and then they got to writing. Ryanne wrote that jellyfish are cooked with strawberries and then cut into bear shapes. She said she knew it was wrong but didn't know the right answer so she decided to get crazy. Collin wrote about making gelatin and putting it in bear molds. Then... we watched another video to answer the question...

Modernist Cuisine - Recipe - Olive Oil Gummy Worms from Modernist Cuisine on Vimeo.

The kids said this was the best writing prompt I've ever given them. They've already picked out the writing prompt for tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Reads: Bink & Gollie by Katie DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Bink and Gollie
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780763659547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763659547

This is about two friends who are a bit quirky and seem to be complete opposites yet they are always the most marvelous of companions. They get into fights, they go on adventures and they test their friendship. It's mixed with plenty of humor and fun to keep students engaged.

The young reader who read this book really enjoyed it. He opened it up just to see what it was about. Soon, he was enthralled in the story and thirty minutes later he was finished. He laughed at himself because he hadn't meant to even read it. He just wanted to flip through the pages. This is a really cute book. 

AR: grade level 2.5
Lexile: AD310L

This would be a great addition to any classroom. It's a fun read and something many of the students would enjoy and laugh about. It teaches important skills of friendship along with improving learning. There are a few words in it that are tricky and would be a wonderful opportunity for students' vocabulary to grow as they learn words like implore, compromise, outrageous, baffle, and several other larger words. The character Gollie likes to use larger words and quite often baffles Bink with her vernacular. A fun little book and great story for a classroom.