The Juggling Act of September!

Ahhhh, September, how we love thee....
My month of September has been all about experimenting with food
and getting used to 371 students (most of them are nameless to me as I cannot remember that many names)
and learning a new schedule
and preparing lessons for a full class hour with 15 classes with 100% engagement on my part
and trying to keep up with my blog
and Tpt
and just life in general.

I know you can totally relate to this. 
Anyway,  I have read a couple of blogs and posts at TpT lately that are all about the same thing. In particular a recent thread in the Seller's forum at Tpt gave some interesting tidbits on this subject.

How do you balance it all? 
How are you able to be Super Teacher and Super Mom and Super Store Owner and Super Blogger all rolled up in one?


There is no easy answer, but after some reading about this and thinking about it  I have compiled some things for us to think about! 
Are you ready?

Maximize Your Time 
Over and over  I found this to be advice for us.
Silly Sam Productions  says  listen to your own intuition. When parts of your life need more focus, then slow down and work on those. When your body is telling you to rest, then read, relax, and rest. Listen to your creative side, too! When new ideas don't seem to be working, put it away. Approach it the next day with fresh eyes. I can't tell you how many times I just cannot seem to get a design right and I finally put it away. The next day everything just falls into place.
Third Time's a Charm suggests the same thing about using our time well. When you have those planning breaks at school, use every minute. I find myself spending way too much time talking to other teachers. Renee Dawn also says to prioritize. What is most important? If you can't keep up with blogging weekly, then don't. Set your own pace and know your limits. If a new product doesn't get finished, work on it tomorrow or the next day.

If this all seems a little scrambled, then try this:

Create a Schedule
This sound so simple and it really is! Erin Waters  says she makes her schedule every week on the same day. She has to-do lists for school, home, TpT, and I would add my blog to that list. The key seems to be setting realistic, reachable goals. I can't set a goal to blog weekly, because some weeks just don't work. I am sure you are like that, too. Luckeyfrog says to not even try to fit it all in.  Several people have mentioned using scheduled blog posts and Facebook posts. I have actually been doing that. I have about three blog posts started and saved. I add to them when I have time and one day they will be finished!

Well, I know we all do that. For me school comes first, then Tpt, then blogging. Yes, I know family and faith should come first, but that goes without saying!
Shelly Rees has a list to follow in order of priority. She works on the top of her priority list the most. Yara, Sea of Knowledge also prioritizes but takes care of urgent things first. Shelley Gray says she makes to-do lists for the week, but not by day. That way she can choose what to work on each day. I love that! Literacy without Worksheets says something similar- her Tpt list is separate from her other to-do lists! Another great idea!

Now, you guys know I love Pinterest! I find myself scrolling through sections when I am waiting somewhere. It's something you can do so easily and put away quickly. What about pinning products for your store? The Purple Teacher has everything scheduled, but pins during quick moments when she has time. Many of us keep a spreadsheet for pinning products. Here's a great idea from Science and Math with Mrs. Lau. She pins during the weekdays only and gives herself a break on the weekends! That is now on my list of things to do! Techie Turtle Teacher is another teacher that suggests scheduling things and using a calendar for this. I know we all do a lot of this- otherwise Erin Condren would not be in business!

Inspiration and Encouragement
Wow, isn't this really what is it all about? We, teachers, especially love to get together and talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We find our best ideas and best cheerleaders when working it out with other teachers. The Teaching Files reminded us of something I am sure we all know. If you are a TpT seller, the Seller's forum is your life-saver. You will find help, answers to questions, ideas, inspiration, and encouragement there! The Trapped Librarian added best wishes to all of us with a reminder that we are all striving for balance.

Thank you, Wonderful Kinder, for starting this thread in the Seller's forum. I learned a lot and hope these little giblets of wisdom from other teachers will be helpful to you, too!
If you are not a TpT seller, why not join us! It's super easy to do!

(Yes, I linked back to the stores of all those teachers, so you can see many different stores, products, and maybe put a face to the names. Enjoy!)


Five for Friday! September 26!

So, Happy end of September!
I decided this week to find something each day to mention for Five for Friday! So here we go:

I handed out lab sheets for third graders that are experimenting with candy. I actually had a child say, "Hey Mrs. Davis. I like this font you used on this paper!"
The font, by the way is Kimberly Geswein's font called Primary Penmanship.
Click on the sample to get this great font! It is free for personal use, but only $5 for a license!
Kids seem to love it...


So, last week we had Open House on Thursday and stayed at school until 7:30. The next day was Grandparent's Day which means we had ten trillion grandpas and grandmas walking around most of the day. It is super fun for them and the kids, but hard on teachers.
Today, was early release day for parent conferences. Kids left at 11:00, but teachers had to stay until 7:00 PM!
Wow. Really, I mean I decided to be a teacher cause you work from 8:00-3:00.....just sayin'

So, today I had a FIFTH GRADER come up to me as class began and this is what she said,
"Hey I just wanted to tell you that I might be very distracted today  because later this afternoon we are leaving for a trip to the beach."
My response was probably a little over the top and maybe even a tad, dare I say, not nice, but here's my reply,
"Great news, I am so excited for you. But I often come to school a little distracted with personal matters, however, when I come in the door I forget all about that and just do my job. That  is my expectation for you as well."

What I really also wanted to do was show her this:

Made me laugh!
Anyway, what's with taking kids out of school to go to the beach.....


Huge gigantic milestone happened today!

Look at this:

That's from my little TpT store. How cool is that? 1000! What?

I will leave you with this!
It's happening in ONE week, people. You will want to see this blog hop!

Look for it- October 3!

Have a great weekend!


Five for Friday! September 20th

Yes, I know it is Saturday.
It is really hard to keep up with everything right now
I am planning a blog post about the juggling act of August and September and teachers....
Watch for it!

In the meantime, here's Five for Friday!

So, you probably know, or might know that I am a STEM lab teacher. So, I have three to four classes each day in grades three through five. The classes last for an hour. The prep is enormous and I also have a lab zoo to care for.
Point is...I take a lot of steps. Easily 9-10 thousand everyday (accoring to my Fitbit Zip).
Here's my new obsession:
Yes, that is my neat little row of sneakers. In many colors- as I always match.
I need some blue ones
and purple.
Pink is covered.

So, speaking of the STEM Lab.
My third graders are experimenting with candy. I saw a pin about gobstoppers and started thinking about why the colors separate the way they do. I tried it and it's pretty fascinating.
Here's a shot of my experiment:

Next week, the third graders are going to try other candy experiments. They have all tried the Gobstopper one and they are wondering: what happens if you use a different liquid, what happens with different candy, what happens if the Gobstoppers touch each other, what happens if you eat some candy while Mrs. D is not watching (no one has actually tried this because we do not taste in science class)....
Anyway it should be a fun week with the littles!

Back in the lab I had this genius idea to try pancake recipes. It really, truly is a great idea and we are loving it. But it is a management nightmare. I will devote an entire blog post to it one day.

So which of these pancakes have too much baking powder??

Just to give you a glimpse into the pancake world of the lab here are some words that came out of my mouth this week:

The answer was, "Yes!" I can't tell you what I said in response- it was full of  the word really.....

Finally, I had a friend on Instagram send me a message yesterday. She had checked the Pinterest board where TpT posts the Newsletter Free Downloads each week.
ready for this?
My Engineering Design Process Posters
Newsletter for tomorrow!!!
I have only submitted the set about 8 jillion times.

I will update you on my newsletter adventure!

Have a great weekend!


Five for Friday! September 12

I think it was probably about Sunday, maybe Monday, when I realized I forgot Five For Friday last week.
I mean, y'all, I had to be about to set a record for consecutive weeks with that linky. Forgetting it is as bad as forgetting your child's birthday- which I have done....twice...

Anyway, I am starting my consecutive weeks in a row over today!

I love my Friday randomness- even though random is NOT the way my brain works.


Okay, I gotta tell you I had this amazing brain pop about two weeks ago and started planning some experiments with pancakes. The premise is that you have kids make a batch using a recipe that is missing baking powder. The pancakes look like rubber and taste funny. 

Then you experiment with adding different amounts of baking powder until you find the amount that works best.
Sounds great, right??

Kids don't know how to use measuring spoons.
They drip oil everywhere.
They stir and make flour fly.
They ALL want to stand by the griddle and watch, except for the one kid that decided to run back and forth across the lab until he was breathless. 

This was my test class. And I was wiped out by the time it was over.
By the time the next class came in I had thought through everything a little more and had a much better plan. The second class went much better.

In the meantime it was an awesome demonstration of chemical changes. We will continue this activity next week!

So, here's my STEM Lab Zoo:

This has turned in to an enormous daily job of feeding and cleaning. By the way, Spike, the Bearded Dragon, loves meal worms. Did you know they crunch when bitten in half?
Pretty funny, right?

So, since I have these critters to care for, I decided to ask for kids to be Critter Club Helpers. I made up an application and all they had to do was write a paragraph telling why they want to be a Helper. This was just a formality as everyone that applied is going to help. But I did get this:

Needless to say, this sweet child is a Lab Helper!

Back to Pancake Dilemmas!
One of the biggest problems I had was the wait time for pancakes to cook. The test class had nothing to do! By the second class I created a word search puzzle with pancake words and some math task cards. I played with using QR codes on the task cards
I will be adding these to the lab often.
I was trying to make Clip Cards and then couldn't figure out how to have kids check their answers--and I knew I had seen tons of QR code task cards. It was super easy to do. If you have never used QR codes, you need to try it.
First add an app to your smart phone for reading QR codes. The one I have was free.
Then scan it over this QR code.
That takes you the site I use for creating codes. I use this all the time on newsletters. Let's face it! People are lazy. If a parent is reading my newsletter and I mention they can find things on my website and give them the QR code that takes them there- they are likely to do it!

Funny of the Week and Random Cat Facts Combined:

This is my most requested weekly blogging feature (okay, I made that up, no one requests these tidbits, but they make me laugh...)

My baby cat and middle cat do this while chasing each other. It is not unusual to get up in the morning to find things turned over- like photos and magazine baskets. 
My older cat is too cool for such acts of silliness.

Have a great weekend!
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