Monday, January 20, 2014

Plans are Thwarted

Some of you already know this, but for those of you who don't, I am an education major. In September, I started my methods classes which allowed me to put the concepts I have been studying for years into practice. I had big plans for my first day. What could go wrong? I mean I already knew my mentor teacher. I knew exactly where the school was and how long it would take me to get there. I planned what time I was going to leave. I laid out my clothes the night before... Everything was going to go smoothly or so I thought.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:40. My alarm wasn't set to go off until 7:10 so I tried to go back to sleep. At 7:10, I rolled over to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-mail and of course my text messages. I don't know what I was thinking when I set my alarm Sunday night but at 7:12 I realized I needed to be at school by 8am. I darted out of bed and got ready to go in less than 20 minutes.

Thankfully, I didn't hit any traffic on the way and I was so grateful I knew where the school was. I got to the school that I was sure was where I needed to be and guess what? That was the wrong school!! Keep in mind now it is 7:52 at this point. I quick pull into the parking lot to turn around and of course, I can't get out of the parking lot because there were tons of cars headed my way. At 7:55 I pull out of the parking lot and which leaves me with 5 minutes to get to school. My GPS tells me I am only four minutes away so I stay hopeful but know I will hit every light along the way. To my surprise, I hit all green lights and I pulled into the right school at 7:59. I grabbed my bags and ran into the building.

That afternoon, I got home and opened my Jesus Calling Devotion. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it just so happens the devotion was written for today, January 20th so I thought I would share it with all of you.

Approach this day with awareness of who is boss. As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrates the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My sovereign Presence. On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me! I may be doing something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours. Don't try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. "Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Reading Education Websites

Reading Rockets has information on teaching reading, helping struggling readers and children’s books and authors. There is also a reading topics list. You can search topics from A- Z. Information can be found on Dyslexia, STEM literacy, oral language and more.

Raz Kids is an award winning website where K-5 students can go to read anywhere and anytime. The books on Raz Kids are leveled and teachers can track and monitor student progress. Students will take comprehension quizzes after reading each story.

Starfall teaches children to read with phonics. It is perfect for Kindergarten through 2nd grade as well as special education and English language learners.

Kids, teachers, librarians and parents use Funbrain. Funbrain has games, online books, and comics. Funbrain was created for kids ages Pre-K through 8th grade and it offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading, and literacy. Kids can read popular books and comics on the site including, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Amelia Writes Again, and Brewster Rocket.

JumpStart is a groundbreaking evolution in children’s learning games and the first learning game delivered in a browser with high-quality 3D graphics and advanced play. It is a completely secure and safe online environment where kids can interact, explore and learn.

Book Adventure is a free reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. Children create their own book lists, take multiple-choice quizzes on the books they’ve read, and earn points and prizes for their literary success. Book Adventured was created and is maintained by Sylvan Learning Centers.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is interactive on this fun website. This website has phonics fun, games, and stories for early readers.

Storynory has published a new audio story every week since 2005.

Teacher’s Corner has lesson plans for multiple subjects, bulletin boards, thematic units and many other teacher resources.

Read, Write, Think has lesson plans that you can narrow down by theme, grade level, lesson plan type and learning objective.

Scholastic has lesson plans for grades Pre-K through 12th grade. This website allows you to search for a lesson plan or to view all featured lesson plans. Scholastic also has sections on resources and tools, strategies and ideas, student activities, books and authors and more.

JumpStart offers free reading lesson plans as well as reading activities and worksheets for kids that teachers can use to add fun to any reading lesson plan. JumpStart has games for children to play to enhance the reading skills they are learning in the classroom.

Lakeshore has great lesson plans and the best part is, they update their lessons every month! They have lesson plans for Preschool to 5th grade. The lessons are also aligned to Common Core, it doesn’t get better than that.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cover Letter

I am posting this here because I can never seem to find this document on my computer when I need it. Feel free to use it or take ideas from it to use in your own cover letter. P.S. I know the spacing is off but I don't know how to fix it on here. :)

Company Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip

Phone Number

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in response to a 1st grade teaching position as advertised as being open in your school at this time.  I am a highly capable and educated professional in the field of Early Childhood Education.  In addition to my teaching skills and teacher’s aide skills, I offer significant abilities and experience in implementing curriculum, attending to children’s needs, and putting the child’s needs first.  My ability to get along well with others, to make necessary adjustments to meet deadlines, and successfully work in fast-paced environments have all contributed to my growth in Early Childhood Education and have allowed my employers’ to place a significant degree of trust in me. 

My childcare skills, eye for detail, and general knowledge have all served to help make me a qualified employee.  My approach to my work goes beyond my job description, as I am always looking for ways to improve efficiency and methods of teaching.  I am skilled at working with children to resolve issues, implementing curriculum and any day-to-day tasks that will need to be done.  In addition, I am recognized for my ability to communicate with children, their parents, and management.

The accompanying resume serves to give you an idea not only of my past achievements but also of my potential for making a significant contribution to your school and the children and families I will work with.

I would like to thank you for your consideration for the teaching position. If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at 123-123-1234. I look forward to hearing from you.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Elf on the Shelf 2013

Last year, our elf pretty much stuck to the shelf. Skylar did have some adventures though and you can see what mischief she got into here.  This year, our elf only moved a few times but when she moved she was left there for days at a time. Yes, I know, we are bad elf owners. Anyway, below are some photos of Elfie's adventures this year.

Elfie was caught sitting on a candle. Leah was yelling, "The elf is on fire!" I actually believed her but no worries, he's okay! Just warming up his butt. ;-)

Elfie decided to spend the day outside making snow angels.

Elfie was nice and cozy in this doll chair from Pottery Barn Kids.

Elfie is apparently a bookworm like the rest of our family. 

Something incredibly exciting happened to me this December, the author of Elf on the Shelf, Carol Aebersold signed my book! She wrote, 
"Ms. S's Class, Be sure your elf has only good reports for Santa. Always believe!"

**I know the elf's name is different from last year and I know the elf is technically a boy but dressed as a girl. #technicalities

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Maci the Morkie

We had to put our precious, Sophie down in November but it didn't take long before we realized how lonely the house was without a dog. So, less than a month later we brought home this rough and tumble puppy, Maci. 

Maci loves to chew on sticks!

Big yawn!

Someone new is at our house this Christmas!

Maci's first bath! She jumped out of the tub...

Maci has her very own chair. #spoiled

Friendliest Friends.

Maci's first snow storm!

This is our house 24/7. They fight like cats and dogs...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year End Review

Pretty much took FB statuses and put them on here:

- Sat on the big cherry on a spoon. A guy kept saying to get off the spoon over the loud speaker but others were waiting and sitting/standing on it for a photo op so I decided to join in too!

- Woke up to a tweet from Yogurt Lab asking if they could share my photo on FB. #ofcourse


 - I walked across the middle of the Lake of the Isles. That was scary but once I was in the middle of the lake it was fun!

- My dreams of being an Early Childhood Pastor are coming together! I am going to be a Kid-O-Deo Coach on the 2nd and 4th weekends of each month!!!

- Jason aka Strand Diesel rapped during church in January and it was hilarious, "I'm like a bus driver, I'm taking everyone to school."

- Tonight was my first night in my new role at church. It was incredibly busy and we were so not prepared, but I am grateful for awesome parent volunteers who were willing to skip "big church" to help us out in Kid- O- Deo!

- I made a snow angel for the first time in years. 

- Oreo created a limited edition of Mega Stuff Oreo's. They don't make them anymore but man those were good dipped in Peanut Butter. 

- Early Childhood Pastor greeted me at the door and handed me a post- it with numbers on it. I looked at her and she said, "Call this number when you get puked on." Thankfully, tonight was nothing like Thursday and although my volunteers were dropping like flies, I didn't have any sick kiddos and I didn't get puked on!

- Went to my first leadership meeting at church tonight and it was fun! First, the other coach on my weekend told me she loves Shemar Moore so we had a 15 minute conversation about his abs among other things, but mostly his abs. Then, we played an ice breaker game and someone wrote, "It took me 7 years to get my B.A." Everyone thought it was me, but it wasn't. However, it will take me 7- 8 years to get my B.A.

- I participated in Wear a Dress Wednesday. I now own more dresses than I know what to do with. 

- Gloria and I went to see the play, Cinder Edna at the Children's Theater. 

- Once again, it snowed on my birthday. Another blizzard so I did not go anywhere. 

- Saw The Croods, Despicable Me 2 and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days of Summer with Gloria and her brothers. 

- I made my family play an ice breaker game on Easter. We were supposed to write three things about ourselves. My dad wrote tall, old, and unhappy.

- My friend, Donna and I met Catelynn and Tyler from Teen Mom. We even got a picture with these two lifechangers.

- My sister and I started a trend on Instagram called cat mugging. It's cats in a cup. Google #catmugging and see for yourself! 

- It snowed on May 1st. It was the longest winter ever!!

 - "Lost" my check card for the 2nd time this year... My new one came today and guess where I found my "lost" card? In my wallet!!

 - Baby Grace took multiple unassisted steps today!! It was the first time I have ever seen her walk and it was amazing!!

- Gay Marriage passed in MN. The 35W Minnesota River Bridge was lit in rainbow colors and I drove down to check it out at 11:30pm. 

- Completed a 60 hour summer internship at Primrose. It was a leadership internship and discovered I would rather teach and work directly with the kids than manage a childcare center. 

- Happy 1st Birthday, Grace! I have loved watching you, grow, learn and achieve milestone after milestone. I love you so much baby girl! You have been such a blessing in my life and I can't wait for all the adventures next year will bring!

- My neighbors moved to SD. It was so sad watching them go because I have known them and babysat for them for 12 years. Lots of tears were shed as memories were reminisced. They will be missed but hopefully it is only temporary.

- Went on the WORST date of my life. "Oh, so you must be the kind of girl every guy on Christian Mingle is looking for." What kind of line is that?!

- I did it! I ran 3 miles!! Best part was the second I hit 3 miles the song, "All My Fountains" was ending and there was clapping, whistling and cheering. It put a huge smile on my face!

- LONG start to the day, but then it got better when Dekontee walked in. We bonded over Yogurt Lab, Netflix and Amazon Prime. We quoted scenes from Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond. We sang and danced to NSYNC and Backstreet Boys after debating which boy band was better… I’d say that was a pretty successful first day at my internship!

- I was at the vet this afternoon with my dog. I overheard the vet telling a girl my age that her dog may have heart failure. They took out a liter of fluid around the dogs lungs and will call her with the other test results. I felt prompted to go over and comfort her so I stood up and immediately started bawling. I couldn't get my words out at first, but gave her a hug. As we sat there petting her dog, we talked a bit and I told her I was praying for her. Putting an animal down is never easy, but I hope I was able to comfort and brighten her day just a little bit!

So today, I was getting ready to go on a bikeride for the first time with Grace. I got on the bike and fell over into a box with the lawnmower. Grace started laughing. I got up and went to get Grace to put her on the bike and she started crying. I don't blame her, I wouldn't have trusted me either after witnessing that!

- Went Kayaking with my friend, Christy. That was quite the adventure! You can read about it here.

- Made Zucchini Boats for dinner and they were amazing! They were so delicious that I had two and I don't even like vegetables!! You can check out that blog post here.

- Attended the Global Leadership Summit in August and heard from Andy Stanly, Henry Cloud, Bob Goff and Patrick Lencioni among numerous others.

- Saturday nights during the summer went like this: Church, My Burger, walk around the lake and Yogurt Lab... Every single week.

- Built the most awesome fort using every blanket in the house. The whole fort was too big to fit in one photo.

  - When Grace's vocabulary started to soar a month ago two of her favorite words were crumbs and "cean" aka clean. I'm definitely a product of my mother and I'm passing on my need for tidiness unto Miss Grace! #makingmymotherproud
- Saw a snake at French Park today. I started screaming and ran the opposite direction we were walking. Without Donna I don't think I would have ever made it out if the park or at least not for a few more hours. I'm so lucky to have her as my friend! 

- On September 14, I bought a brand new car! I've had five cars in the past eight years, but today, I bought a Checy Cruze and it's all under warranty for the next five years!!

- Hilarious hashtag video by Justin Timberlake. Seriously, watch it.

- Some people think I am crazy for driving 45+ minutes to church but I think I would be crazy if I did not. #ilovemychurch

- Made a card for the sales manager at LB Chevrolet because, "If you think something good about someone tell them."

- You guys my nanny family is having a girl!! Come this winter I'll be a proud nanny for two adorable little girls under the age of two!

- Thanks to Criminal Minds, I have a new favorite quote: "They mess you up your mom and dad. They may not mean to but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra just for you." #philiplarkin

Grace and I went to a fire station open house tonight and she loved it! She made herself right at home inside the police car, loved all the gadgets in the construction trucks, and enjoyed trying on all the equipment fire fighters wear. The stickers were a huge hit too, everything we got she tried to stick to her shirt! The coolest part though was the helicopter, we got to see it take off and the pilot waved at us! Oh, and don't forget the fireworks, we saw those too! Grace seemed to enjoy them and kept saying "Boom!" and "Sparkly!"

- Had my 10 year 8th grade reunion. I went unwillingly because parents and teachers were invited but it ended up being fun. The "little" girl I babysit for came to my reunion and seeing her was most definitely the highlight of my night!

One of my teachers sent out an e-mail reading, "Don't panic if your lesson plans are covered in red when returned. You are almost to pre-student teaching and student teaching, so I want to give as much feedback as possible." I just looked at my lesson plan feedback and all she said was, "WOW! I am blown away... Outstanding work!" Writing lesson plans is apparently my strong suit because my teachers at Rasmussen said the same thing!

- I went into my field experience thinking I would hate it but I can honestly say that I LOVE it! It is a lot of work but I am enjoying every single second of it! Maybe I am meant to be a classroom teacher after all.

I taught in a 1st grade classroom this year. On November 4th, I taught my first lesson on digraphs and it went great! I also taught a math lesson on counting on and a social studies lesson about school long ago.

- Yesterday I wore a dress to school and one of my students stopped the second she saw me and exclaimed, "Wow! You are beautiful!" A few minutes later another student came up to me and said, "I want to be you when I grow up. Too bad Halloween passed... I could've dressed up like you."

- Sophie was running down the steps to play Frisbee and she miss stepped or something which resulted in another fractured leg. Because of her age, eye issues, the fact that there was no guarantee she would heal completely and not to mention the several thousand dollar cost for surgery we had to put Sophie down today. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I do not ever want to have to do that again. Sophie was the best dog and I miss her so much. 

- I taught a social studies lesson today about school long ago. The kids were so excited about it and the lesson went great! My mentor teacher asked if she could keep my activities and PowerPoint to use next year. This is a lesson she always skips but she loved it and cannot wait to teach it! P.S. I just looked at our class blog and my mentor teacher posted a picture of me teaching and a great review of my lesson! 

- Today I wore my hair in a bun. I knew I'd get questions and comments but I didn't know how many. As I was explaining why my hair was in a bun a boy yelled across the room, "Hey! Do you need a hotdog to go with that bun?" It was pretty funny. Another boy drew me this cute picture and a little girl gave me a hug and said, "I love you Miss. S."

- Picked up Sophie's ashes tonight. The vet had a certificate, pieces of hair and her footprint for us. The footprint is really shallow but it is something I'll cherish forever.

- Grace greeted me at the door yesterday and said, "Missed you!" In the afternoon, I gave Grace this "G" with drops of glue on it and told her to take a pom pom. She did, put it right on the glue and said, "push." She's so smart! :-) At night, we practiced saying, "Happy Thanksgiving!" and when I was getting ready to leave, Grace hugged me and said, "Happy Thanks!" I'm very grateful I get to spend my days with her!

- Happy Thanksgiving, friends!! This year I am grateful for the 13 years I had with our dog, Sophie and I am thankful for our new puppy, Maci!

- Apparently this morning, the first thing Grace said when she woke up was my name over and over and over. Her mom said, "Yes, Liz will come play with you this afternoon." Grace stood up and said, "Liz, Thursday." Tonight as we were playing, Grace said, "Drop it... hot" aka drop it like it's hot and then she hit the floor and did a push up. I love this kid and I enjoy everyday I get to spend with her!

- She's here, she's here, she's finally here! Eloise or Baby Lulu as Grace calls her is here and she's cute as a button! After working for years with all boys I am so excited to nanny for two beautiful little girls!!

- Grace usually refers to her baby sister as Eloise or Baby Lulu. Yesterday, I asked her, "What's your babies name?" I was expecting one of the answers above but instead she turns to me and says, "Baby Jesus!" It's pretty obvious what we've been talking about this month. #Christmas

- I was at church. I got home and no one was there. I call and no one answers. My sister returns my call and said my dad was in the hospital. She did not know why. My mom's phone was dead and I started freaking out. My dad was skiing and hit a steel bridge. He broke his nose and had two black and blue eyes. God was watching out for him, it could have been so much worse. #grateful

- Nothing at the store caught my eye this year so I made a slideshow for my dad instead this Christmas. You know you have given a good gift when it has everyone in the house in tears. 

- Thank you North Point Church for creating the best Christmas carol ever: Christmas in Bevelton. You can watch the video here. If you have kids or love kids then this video is for you!
- I've spent the past two days tearing the whole house apart looking for my spare car key. The house is trashed but I just saved $500!