Posted in Get Motivated!

Creating a Living Dream Board

I started my first dream board this year and it has been amazingly motivational and my goals and dreams have been coming true all year long! I definitely underestimated the power of something as simple as a dream board. This year has been huge for me as I am currently in the middle of changing my career. I have been a Senior Pharmacy Technician for 18 years and 2 years ago I discovered my true passion in an elementary school classroom. My daughters Kindergarten teacher embraces my natural talent for teaching and working with kids and I found myself in the classroom for up to 5 hours a week while still working full time in the pharmacy. Being in the classroom brought out a side of me I never knew existed and I felt like I finally found my true purpose and my true happy place. I started researching what I needed to do to start the process and my daughters teacher told me all about the Education program through National University which is an online program suited perfectly for someone like me who is a single parent working full time. And so my journey began….

Where did the dream board come in???

I breezed through my online courses but when it came to passing my Teacher Performance Assessments, or TPAs, I was struggling to get the motivation to make it happen. One of the last steps in getting your teaching credential is Student Teaching. This is a 19 week teaching experience where you are in the classroom with a Master Teacher learning first hand how to teach and by the end of it you are teaching the class on your own with the guidance of your Master Teacher. To get there I had to pass my first two TPAs which are 50 page written exams. I missed the opportunity to start student teaching twice because I wasn’t putting in the time and effort to just get it done! Part of me feels like I was just afraid to finally make the jump into something totally different. I am one of the best technicians in pharmacy and I am so confident and know so much about the Healthcare world and it was terrifying to jump into something new that I know nothing about. Towards the end of 2018 I had a new deadline to get these papers done and to motivate myself I decided to come up with a visual dream board because I had read so many blogs and watched so many YouTube videos about self motivation and the power of manifestation. Below is a picture of this dream board and I plan to come back to this blog at the end of the year to check off what I have accomplished and update you guys on my accomplishments for 2019!

IMG_3538

 

The power of manifestation is real!

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Posted in Student Gifts

Student Gifts

Back to School Slime Gift Tags

I love giving my students a little something to celebrate Holidays, milestones, back to school or even Birthdays. On this page I will share with you my current creations and ideas for making your own personalized gifts for your students that are sure to make their day!

After I finished my student teaching here in Encinitas California I wanted to give my Third grade class and my Kinder/First Grade combo class something to remember me by as well as a cute way to help them keep in touch with me if they wanted to. I knew right away that I wanted to give them something having to do with slime! Kids of every age are into this oooy gooey fun to play with SLIME. So I started my quest to find the perfect way to give each and every one of my kiddos their very own slime to take home as a gift to remember me by. I found these awesome little slime barrels that come as a 24 pack on Amazon.

Barrel O Slime Mud Sludge Putty – Wet, Non Sticky, | 6 Colors | Stress Relief, Super Soft & Squishy Toy for Kids |Jumbo Pack | 24 Pcs https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PSQ4G9D/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_mvalDbSD24R73

I also purchased Wilton’s clear treat bags to put the slime barrels in. I wanted to have a way to give the gift to the kids that they could safely take home. These bags also come with little silver bag ties that I utilized to help keep the bags closed while I attached the ribbon.

Wilton Clear Treat Bags, 100-Count https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004BPQSJC?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

I searched the internet forever looking for a fun and vibrant gift tag to attach to the bags but I didn’t like anything I found so…..I created my own! You can download these gift tags from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Simply print, whole punch, and attach to your slime in a bag! The kids went crazy for this sLiMy surprise! I hope you and your students love it too!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Slime-Gift-Tags-4637373

I also created sLiMe gift tags for Back to School as well! Check them out here on my TPT store!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Slime-Back-to-School-Gift-Tag-4696393

Posted in Creative Lesson Plan Ideas

Genius Hour

Image result for genius hour
This is my idea for implementing a Genius Hour lesson for the end of the year for my  class…

I discovered the Genius Hour idea while taking a course at National University to get my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Masters in Educational Technology. The idea of creating a Genius Hour in any classroom is well worth the time and effort for the rewards your students will come away with after this experience. The incorporation of this idea into the classroom can be an amazingly powerful tool to expand a child’s learning beyond the classroom. Having something they can research and create independently can excite and encourage students to learn on their own. The big concern with activities like the Genius Hour in the classroom is the ability to lose control of the students because they are all working on completely different activities all at the same time. In the “What is Genius Hour?” article Mrs. Kirr implements a one-on-one weekly discussion on the Genius Hour project to ensure students are utilizing this time to develop and learn more about what they are passionate about. I think this is a great way to help guide the students as they self discover. It’s important that as teachers we assume the role as a guide during this time to ensure the purity of the thoughts and ideas the students have. We want to encourage and praise the amazing work and effort they are putting into their Genius Hour assignments. Their work is so important to them that they hate to miss out on Genius Hour time. Check out this CNN article about a young girl who was devastated about missing school due to snow days. The response to this lesson idea from the students is touching and it’s amazing to see them so engaged and excited about something in school. The Genius Hour idea is a true eye opener to the extremely positive effect that student led instruction can have.

Some classrooms are adopting "genius hour" time -- inspired by Google's 20% time idea -- to allow students to pursue passion projects. But how do students spend their time?<br />Here, fourth grader Mushkale Uppal collaborated with friends to build a robot for genius hour in Robyn Thiessen's class at Green Timbers Elementary in Surrey, British Columbia. "It opened up my creative side," he said. After finishing fourth grade and leaving Thiessen's class in 2013, Mushkale and another student successfully started an after-school genius hour program.


I am excited to see if I can implement this Genius Hour practice into my future classroom! The following is a lesson plan idea I have created in order to implement the Genius Hour into a 4th grade blended learning classroom.

 

Common Core California State Standard

The Genius Hour platform has an amazing amount of potential to meet so many common core standards for the students and the lessons are a brilliant way to meet Common Core standards’ 4 C’s – Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Here are the key standards to be met by students during this lesson plan.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.4

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.4

Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

The Task

 

Over a six-week period students will work on individualized projects based on a personal passion or curiosity. One of the most challenging attributes of this project is the student’s ability to choose a topic they are passionate about. This is also the most important aspect of the project because without passion the student will not have the drive needed to learn and actively explore during Genius Hour sessions. To get things moving a Genius Hour pitching time activity will be done at the beginning of the project.

 

Pitching Time is a collaborative activity where students will actively brainstorm ideas with the teacher and the class. These ideas will be pitched and placed up onto the white board as Genius Hour project ideas. A timer will be set for 15 minutes and ideas will be flung onto the idea board. At the end of the pitching time activity students will be asked to sit and think about the shared ideas as well as any other thoughts they might have for their own project. Students will work independently for the remaining hour on forming the start of their idea. They will write down what that idea is and why they chose it. The teacher will walk the room and work with students’ one-on-one to make sure students ideas are concrete and substantial enough to work through over several weeks. The teacher will also help any students struggling with finding their passion by encouraging self-reflection on things that interest them or things they want to learn more about. 

 

Benchmarks will be set throughout the 6-week project and items will be due for assessment at these times. These benchmarks will occur every 2 weeks with the final benchmark being a classroom presentation at week 6. During week 2 students will turn in a video pitch of their idea and during week 4 students will be asked to provide a book or journal for which they guide their research on. These journals will be something the students keep and work on throughout their projects. I want them to use it to write and record their thoughts and findings. They will also be encouraged to draw pictures or cut and paste in images they find during their research.

 

Genius Hour Power Presentation will be the final activity and assessment for the Genius Hour project. Students will be given the freedom to choose their own platform to present on. This can be anything that inspires them to show off their findings. Ideas include a TED talk, Glogster, PowerPoint, poster, PowToon, or blog.

Resources


– Chrome Books

– PowerPoint

– Glogster Account

– Video Camera or other recording device

– Journals

– Pencils

– Markers

– Crayons

– Manipulative Building set like Erector sets

– Edublog access for student blogging

The Process

Over six weeks each student will conduct a self passionate project based assignment on a topic of their choice. Every two weeks students will turn in deadline based assignments for which they will be graded and assessed on throughout the project. Students will be given 60 minutes each week to work on their Genius Hour projects. After the six weeks of project based learning students will present their findings to the class.

The Rubric

Genius Hour Power Presentation Rubric


Teacher Name:

Student Name:     ________________________________________


CATEGORY

4

3

2

1

Pitch

Pitch was often used and it conveyed emotions appropriately.

Pitch was often used but the emotion it conveyed sometimes did not fit the content.

Pitch was rarely used OR the emotion it conveyed often did not fit the content.

Pitch was not used to convey emotion.

Vocabulary

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Extends audience vocabulary by defining words that might be new to most of the audience.

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Includes 1-2 words that might be new to most of the audience, but does not define them.

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Does not include any vocabulary that might be new to the audience.

Uses several (5 or more) words or phrases that are not understood by the audience.

Enthusiasm

Facial expressions and body language generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.

Facial expressions and body language sometimes generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.

Facial expressions and body language are used to try to generate enthusiasm, but seem somewhat faked.

Very little use of facial expressions or body language. Did not generate much interest in topic being presented.

Comprehension

Student is able to accurately answer almost all questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is able to accurately answer most questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is able to accurately answer a few questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is unable to accurately answer questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Content

Shows a full understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.

Does not seem to understand the topic very well.

Preparedness

Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.

Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.

The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.

Student does not seem at all prepared to present


Conclusion

The power and possibilities the Genius Hour can bring into any classroom is remarkable. Using this type of lesson at the end of the school year is beneficial because the students have reached their grade level potential and it keeps them motivated even though summer is fast approaching. This project also allows them to utilize technological skills they have been using and learning throughout the year such as online researching tools and online presentation tools like Glogster and Edublog. The possibilities of what each child can research and learn about is endless and the individuality of the project allows them to grow and learn about something they are passionate about. This is a great base lesson plan to start a Genius Hour with and my hope is to learn and expand this idea as I use it in the classroom with my future students. 





Posted in Self Help, Uncategorized

How to Get Motivated

The past few months have been challenging for me for several reasons. From family drama to being recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis I found myself falling into unhealthy bad habits and blaming it on everything else but myself. The medication my doctor started me on is extremely hard on the body and I have to get my blood tested once a month to ensure my liver and kidneys are still functioning properly while on the medication. I have been on the treatment for almost 4 months and I am slowly starting to feel like myself again. The side effects I have been dealing with on a daily basis have been headaches, migraines, weakness, and sleepiness. I spend almost all of my free time watching movies or binging on Netflix. I have been avoiding social activities and anything outside for months and I am ready to make a change! But where do I start? How do I start? What if I’m tired? What if it’s raining outside?

EXUSES EXCUSES EXCUSES EXCUSES EXCUSES!!!

change-in-life

Here are a few of the things I like to do to increase my energy level and start becoming more productive again when you’re stuck in a FUNK!

Step 1: Call Yourself Out

Grab a notebook and make a list of all the bad

habits that are keeping you from achieving the things you want to accomplish. Get real with yourself and really write out what it is that’s bothering you. Once you know what you need to change you can make a PLAN to change these habits in a real way. Having a place to write down anything from ideas to recipes is a great way to get out all the information scrambling up your mind. I found this one on Amazon which has bound dividers you can use to keep your thoughts even further organized.

Step 2: Make a Plan

One you assess what is standing in your way set some realistic goals on how you can change. One of my bad habits I am currently working on is the ability to wake up earlier than I need to. I know I hit the snooze button every morning for at least 30 minutes so my initial goal was to set my timer for an extra 30 minutes earlier so I can start waking up a little earlier. I also set my phone up on a new charging station across my bedroom so that I actually have to get up to turn it off.

Create a routine to be more productive and successfull on a daily basis.
This is my notebook page I used to brainstorm ideas for my own routine and changes I wanted to make for myself on a daily basis to be more productive.

 

Step 3: Routine

Once you make a plan and set some short term goals you know you can achieve it’s time to make yourself a routine. Routines are great for getting yourself into healthier habits. following a daily routine will ensure that completing these tasks daily will lead to them becoming habitual. Since I am struggling with my morning and night routines I sat down and created a simple list of the daily morning and night tasks I want to achieve on a daily basis. One huge thing I recommend adding to your routine is getting outside! Being outdoors and taking in this beautiful planet and allowing yourself to just “be” is so important for your mental health. I am not big on meditation but this is just as good for those of you like me who can’t sit still for too long.

Step 4: Begin!

Having a plan means nothing if you don’t implement it. Even if you start by changing one thing daily it’s a start. The key is to just begin! One thing I have turned into a habit is making my bed every morning. Completing a simple task like this gets me motivated to tackle my day. Even though it may be something small it’s a way to trick your brain into feeling like you’re getting things done. Ever have that feeling when you start to clean and you keep finding more areas that also need to be cleaned? ? It’s your brain gaining momentum! The more you accomplish the better you feel and you just get into a groove and clean until it’s done! I found a self help book titled You are a Badass. This book is a great way to get yourself feeling more powerful and definitely motivated to get more from your life.

 

Step 4: Keep it Up

Try not to be too hard on yourself but set some hard and fast rules for yourself to prevent slipping back into old habits.

Here are my top 5 hard and fast rules:

  1. I wake up every morning by 7AM.
  2. I have my coffee and check emails every morning.
  3. I make my bed every day before I leave the house.
  4. I wash my face and moisturize every night.
  5. I am in bed resting with screens off by 10pm.

Telling yourself your own rules or positive affirmations sets the tone for yourself and the behaviors you want to exude, If you want to be like the girl bosses you see who have it all together you can! The change starts with you and once you start you will be able to say… “I get up early every morning, I conquer my day with positive energy, I can achieve my goals.”

You can get out of this lazy funk and rejoin the world that is still spinning without you but you are the only one who can make it happen. Be real with yourself and set some realistic goals and aspirations. Find something that makes you excited to start your day and make a difference in your overall mood.

 

Posted in Self Help

Going back to School in my 30’s

My life has been a whirl win of ups and downs trying to decide who I am and what I want out of my life. While in college as an undergrad my focus was on science with a desire to become a pharmacist or maybe even a nurse. I was married to my high school sweet heart and enjoying the ride of college and fun. When I was 23 I was diagnosed and hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism. This near death experience completely opened my eyes and made me re-think my current life choices. I have always loved children and my life long dream was to be a mother. In this moment my ex-husband and I decided we no longer wanted to wait and we started s=trying for a baby. I also went into high gear with my education and set myself up to finally graduate from college with a BS degree in General Biology.

On the baby front we weren’t having much luck so I started researching my genetic blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden. I found several research articles about the prophylactic use of Lovenox injections for women with my condition to get pregnant. Studies show that by thinning the blood women are more likely to keep their pregnancy because the risk of clotting and miscarriage is decreased. After talking to my hematologist she prescribed me once daily injections to keep my blood thin and within three months we were pregnant! I received my actual diploma in the mail while on bedrest with my daughter at the end of my pregnancy. I was in preterm labor, with contractions, for eight miserable weeks. I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl in November of 2009 and have been loving my job as a mom ever since.

Fast-forward 7 years later and my daughter is all grown up and almost in 2nd grade! While she was in kindergarten I found myself volunteering in her classroom more and more and I loved it. Her teacher at the time was so inspirational and I started talking to her more and more about becoming a teacher. I started researching options for school and started the process right away. I currently work full-time as a Senior Pharmacy technician and I have been with the same company for 17 years. I got the job right after school and only interviewed for it because my mom worked for the company and got me an interview. I ended up being really good at the job and accelerated to the top very quickly. I like my job but it’s never been anything that excites me and pushes me to learn, grow, and challenge myself. I decided to go with the online schooling route to get my Multiple Subjects teaching credentialing as well as my Masters in Education with an emphasis in Technology. It has definitely been challenging being back in school so many years later. I am completely terrified to start a new career in my 30’s. I have been in the pharmacy world for so long and I am one of the best at what I do so I am confident at what I do and where I belong in my workplace. The thought of starting over is this wall in front of me and as I build the ladder I need to make it over that wall I am just scared about what will be on the other side. I am already learning so much and figuring out how big the world of teaching is.

I am ready to start this next chapter in my life and I am so excited that I have found something that I am so passionate about and I get to do everyday. There is still so much more to learn but I think the amazing thing about being a teacher is that you never stop learning.

No matter what age you are you should never settle for anything that doesn’t totally excite you and make you want to jump out of bed every morning. So many people have questioned my choice to return to school and become a teacher. “You won’t make any money.” “You have to put up with kids all day.” “You have to start a career all over.” My answer to these statements is always “ok?” Life is too short to work daily at a job you hate. I am tired of working in a corporate retail industry where I don’t matter. The only part of my job I am passionate about is helping the patients. I truly love the connections and bonds I have made with so many customers over the year and they treat me like I am part of their family.

I read a really good book recently titled “You are a Badass” by Jenn Sincero. This self help book is amazing and eye opening. I have a hard copy of the book and I also purchased the audible version which is narrated by Jenn Sincero herself. Whenever I am feeling down or doubting my journey I play the book in my car while I’m alone and it just boosts me up every time.

“Once you step away from the herd and let your true self shine you will probably find yourself in front of the opinion firing squad. Especially if you want to do the extraordinary and outside of everyone’s comfort zones. Which is why so many people run screaming from the lives they so love to live. ”
-Jen Sincero

The lesson here is no matter what anyone else thinks or believes you should always do what makes you happy. Most people will never achieve or do the things they really want to do in life because they are either to scared to do so or they listen to everyone around them telling them it’s a bad idea.

I have chosen to listen to my gut and dare to live the life I have always dreamed. I am a single mom working a full-time job, going to school online full time, and dare I say it, living at home again with my parents. I know that in the end I will be living the life I have always imagined and I have the love and support I need right here inside myself. I will continue to share my journey with all of you here online and I look forward to growing this blog and seeing where it takes me.

Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to read about me.

Jenn

Posted in Uncategorized

All about the Kids

I created this blog to share my ideas on creative ways to entertain the children in your life. I started creating and designing items for kids when my daughter turned one. Her birthday is only five days after Halloween and I have found myself going on a creative binge every year in the fall. I have made handmade costumes and one of a kind party games for the last 7 years and I love it! I usually try to match her Halloween costume with her Birthday party theme each year. My plan is to use this blog to inspire and teach other parents and teachers to create DIY projects, games and even costumes for the kids in their lives. This year my daughter wants to be Moana so I plan on buying all the materials and sharing her costume and how you can make it yourself too. My daughter loves that I take the time to make her a one of a kind costume each year. I also enjoy baking and decorating her birthday cake as well as holiday treats. I look forward to sharing my recipes and baked good ideas for kids on my blog as well. Look around and feel free to contact me with questions or feedback. I look forward to building this new online community and sharing my ideas with everyone.