Thursday, March 10, 2016

My bode of confidence

My bode of confidence today is brought to you by one of my creative little 6th graders who used me as an example for her figurative language notes. I have a rule in my classroom that students are not allowed to use anyone in the class, or in the school, as an example for anything but today I make an exception.

Miss Ward's eyes are diamonds.
And please, my hair is long, full, and beautiful! Not to mention my bomb-diggity outfit!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Everyday when students walk into our classroom there is a journal prompt on the board for them to address. I ask for them to write at least a half a page each day. I try to mix up the prompts and different styles of writing. Students seem to get really excited for photo prompts- and usually some really interesting stories follow suit. Students also really seem to love free write Friday's. Usually on Friday's my free write usually consists of a to-do list. I always write along with my students. Today I am typing this! :)

Today's journal prompt is:
In English, writers generally use ah-choo to describe the sound made by a sneeze. In Russian, the sound in ap-chi. In Chinese, it is han-chee. In Czechoslovakian, its kychnuti.

Create five more ways to describe a sneeze. Then use them all in a paragraph with someone with allergies. 

I saw this prompt in an "Un-journaling" book and loved it! When the prompt went up on the board I immediately had students in my class who spoke another language want to share how to describe a sneeze in their language! One of my students who speaks Chinese at home even corrected the spelling of the prompt's description from "han-chee" to "hut-tee".  It was so much fun! One of my students who speaks fluent Arabic took a while to translate how his dad would describe his sneeze. He does not know who to write or read Arabic. He finally determined that it is ah tshw!  We even all described a sneeze sound at the same time like a Sneeze Symphony!

How would you describe your sneeze?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Do not point!

I really enjoying teaching middle school. Other educators find it hard to believe that middle school teachers can be with middle schoolers all day! I cannot imagine being in an elementary school all day. And even high school! I admire all educators of every grade level. We all have a grade-level that we are comfortable in. For me, that is middle school. I love the quirky, little squirrels in middle schools. They are just young enough to want to still follow directions but they are all coming into their own and discovering what makes them unique. I truly think that there is something magical about middle school. Encouraging students to embrace their individuality and how to effectively communicate with others is so important at this age.

This year I am blessed to have a roster full of hilarious, energetic, spunky, comedians. A few students, in particular in my 6th grade language arts class are true characters. One of my little ones is a fellow shoe lover who's free spirt reminds me of Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia. Another one of my little ones is an interesting little bird who's energy is unmatched. She is strong-voicing all of her opinions, kind and brave, and can always helps me brainstorm "lists of randoms". Another one of my little pumpkins is a boy who is unlike any student I have had before. He is often seen as a student who just blurts out everything that comes to his mind, but he is so far beyond his years. His humor is not matched by his middle school classmates. I was so impressed with him when he acted as the sole translator for his mother during a parent-teacher conference. His professionalism and character was astounding. This student, in particular, was present when one of my dear friends visited our classroom for a read-aloud. After he was done reading to the students, this student decided to make a mystery out of a post-it he found. It was obviously a student trying to calculate his grade, but he was making up an elaborate tail! When he was speaking to our guest, he did address him as Mr.Conner, but then he pointed. I instantly used that as a teaching moment to ask him not to point at other people, stating that it was unkind. He immediately tucked his finger into his body and proceeded to point at our guest with his elbow! Declaring that HE had left the mysterious note. It was just too funny. Both of us busted out laughing at his witty ability to still address him with his elbow instead of not pointing at all! It truly amazes me at the amount of different characters that are in my classroom every day and I love encouraging them to embrace their uniqueness!

Monday, March 7, 2016


After having a conversation with a friend yesterday about the pressures to put on beautifully constructed birthday parties for her children, ,thanks to Pinterest, I was inspired to dedicated today's post to my Pinterest-verse. I spend so much time on Pinterest. It is a great wealth of knowledge. But it is also incredibly daunting. I am in the process of planning our wedding in July and there are so many beautiful, crafty, elegant designs on pinterest that I want to incorporate. But where is the time? Where are the resources?
It is always so interesting to see other people's "interest" boards. I have a few classic go-to's: Decor Some More For my ever present need to design beautiful rooms for our home. Gimme Gimme Which is obviously things I want to just end up in my lap- but more often than not, my closet. Dear Connie, Here is my Christmas List. An ode to my mother who wants to have a list of things to shower us with on birthdays and holidays. :) Shall I DIY? This one is my favorite. My sister and I spent about 30 minutes one day, a few years ago, laughing so hard we were CRYING at the amount of things I have pinned to this board. Let's just say, I am not crafty nor patient enough to even partake in the easiest craft and I have over 500 pins of things I'm "debating" on DIY-ing?! It is so ridiculous. But maybe, one day?

I love looking at all of the different hair color options and styles before I venture to the hair salon. And love the wonderful amounts of clever classroom ideas I gather from pinterest.  Let's not forget to mention the yummy recipes. Pinterest like many things requires a balance. Use it as a resource, an escape but do not let it value the quality of your life experiences.

Even that picture is overwhelming.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Artfully relaxing

Today I spent the day in the city with one of my best friends. We both decided to sign up for a professional development class at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. What a good choice! I was a little hesitant at first to sign up- that meant getting up early on a Saturday :/ But I knew that it would be something that was interesting to me.
We made the trek down to D.C, of course, accompanied by Starbucks coffees. We found what we thought to be a wonderful parallel parking spot right outside of the White House and the Washington Monument on Constitution Ave. However, it was prettttyy far (10+ blocks) from the National Gallery of Art. Did I mention we didn't want to take our coats? When we arrived at the Gallery, we were greeted by a warm hug from the Art Gallery air! Once we found our group, we walked into the Gallery for French Impressionism. We worked on using Art as a platform for Storytelling. It was wonderful to spend the morning observing art, creating stories, and imagining what our students could do will getting to experience beautiful art work.  Afterwards, Christina and I had a spectacular brunch at Founder Farmers.

It was a wonderfully educational and enjoyable Saturday morning!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Welp, I've done it!

Superstition got me good! I have done it! I talked about the snow so you all should know where I am today... sitting in my classroom looking out the window to my own person snow globe. Here in Loudoun, we almost always get off for any type of snow! But, to our decision makers credit, the roads were perfectly clear. So off to work I went.

But isn't it beautiful?

Thursday, March 3, 2016


My father is extremely superstitious. It has been something that, as a family, we discovered slowly and of course, as any supportive family would do, like to poke the bear when we can! :) He HATES the number 13. He won't sit at any sporting event in a 13th seat, 213th section, or even 31 (13 backwards). My favorite story about my dad's superstition happened on January 1st, 2014 at 12:01 am when my mother went to kiss her love for a New Year's kiss. He made a huge sigh before leaning in and expressed, "We made it! It's over!" Eluding to the 2013th year!

My goodness. Phew! But I've decided that I have caught that little bug. I don't like to look up things before they happen. I do not like to talk about somethings before they have happened, before they are final! For example, when my students were pulling ahead in our Battle of the Books win yesterday (read my other blog post about the battle :) ) I wanted to look up when the finals took place so that I could clear my schedule but I did not want to jinx them before they officially won.

What got me thinking about my superstitious tendencies, is the potential snow-day tomorrow! I hope I do not jinx it by blogging about it, looking up the weather, or, heaven-forbid, talking about it! 

I always believe that there is a special energy to each person, each action, and each thought. I'm nearly certain that kind of energy is exuded into the world and can tamper with what is going to be. 
It is the same kind of energy as positive thought! Positive thinking evokes more energy, more initiative, and more happiness.  It is extremely powerful and something I've learned to work towards. I believe in the power of thought. And it can be a compelling tool. 

With all of that being said, I'm still hoping for a snow day tomorrow to catch up on laundry, reading, and cuddling with my dogs!