Monday, February 17, 2014

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award!

So how awesome is this?  I have been nominated for the Liebster Award!  Thank you so much to Ellen from Mrs. Briggs' Class for the nomination! Maybe you are asking..what on earth is the Liebster Award??  I didnt know either! Read on..

The Liebster Award is an award for new blogs. Liebster is a German word that means beloved, cute, lovely, dearest and welcome.  

To accept the nomination I must:
1. link back to the blog that nominated me.
2.  nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3.  answer the questions posted for me by my nominator
4.  share 11 random facts about myself
5.  create 11 questions for my nominees
6.  contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them.

I hereby ACCEPT the nomination that was graciously made by Ellen from Mrs. Briggs' Class.
Here's the link to Mrs. Briggs' Class blog.

The following are my nominations for the Liebster Award:

Beyond The Worksheet

My Fabulous Class

And here are the answers to the questions posted for me by Ellen from Mrs. Briggs' Class:

1.  How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching in the fall of 1991.  I have five years experience in Catholic schools and I'm finishing up my 18th year in public school.  Wow.. 23 years.

2.  Coffee or Pop? in NY we call it soda.  I haven't ever had coffee.  The smell alone is distasteful to me.  I've been a Diet Coke drinker as long as I can remember.  Last year one of my classes challenged me to quit.  They told me they wouldn't do any homework on any day I drank Diet Coke.  I quit for six months!  But little by little my bad habit came back...  sigh.

3.  What inspired you to join TpT?
I have always been kinda crafty.  I was a scrapbooker for a long time.  One day I stumbled over TpT and looked around at some of the products and once I heard about the success teachers were having selling their work, I was hooked!  I use my love of science, teaching AND crafts all in one place AND I can make a little money too!!  Much better use of my time than FarmVille!  I had a bazillion dollar farm and nothing real to show for it.  :)

4.  What is your favorite thing to teach in the classroom?
Wow.. hard one.  I teach life science to teenagers!  There's always something fun going on in my classroom. My favorite things to teach are the topics that the kids love to learn about the most - usually thats about the human body - circulation of the blood through the body, how the immune system fights disease, the deep dark secrets of the reproductive system...

5.  What made you want to become a teacher?
Much like the answer to #3.. teaching is the perfect way to use my love of science, my affection for teenagers, and my desire to have everyone understand the basics of how life works all in one place.  I tell my students all the time, even though they have to get through my class and pass the state test in the end, that's by far the LEAST of the important reasons why they need to understand how life works.  Its about their own bodies, their own lives, and the lives of the billions of living things that share this world. They need to learn about life in order to become responsible adults, parents, and citizens.

6.  What grade do you teach currently? What grades have you taught in the past?
I have always taught 9th and 10th graders.  I love them.  I can't imagine spending my day with anyone else!

7.  What is your go-to, favorite outfit to wear to school?
Oh boy.  I am SO not a fashionista.  My favorite thing to wear to school is my NY Islanders jersey, especially on a day after the Islanders beat the Rangers.  The kids in my class (mostly the boys) go crazy with hockey rivalry during the season, and it makes going to school so much fun.

8.  What is your favorite thing to do after school?
Well, for the past 7 years I have been the detention lady.  So I stay after every day.  Then after that, I'm the owner, president, and sole employee of Mom's Taxi.  I have a competitive gymnast and an artist/musician who need to get to their lessons, practices, meets and performances.  They keep me very busy!

9.  How often do you update your blog?
At first I was very ambitious, and tried to write something interesting every day.  But as I have become more active on TpT, I'm spending a lot more time working on product development, and less time on my blogging.  Now its my goal to update about twice a week.

>10.  What do you do with your summers?
Mom's Taxi.  Through July and the first week or two in August.  Then we try to get away a little.  Last summer my husband and I went to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.  That was awesome, beautiful, and inspiring!  Then we took a family trip to Key West where the girls swam with dolphins.  It was HOT and HUMID!!

11.  What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom?
EASY ONE.  Student reluctance to read directions.  The kids know it, too.  I ask them all the time.  WHAT do I have to do to get you to READ the directions?  I rarely go over the steps to anything they can READ in my handouts.  I feel that it is my responsibility to insist that they use this skill no matter how reluctant they are.

ELEVEN random facts about myself:
1.  I seem to have a strange unexplained attraction to Jewish lawyers.
2.  I hate to wear makeup and very rarely do.
3.  It's one of my goals in life to never need to put on the air conditioning OR the heat.
4.  I'm almost always dressed in jeans and a black v-neck t-shirt.
5.  I'm overly sensitive to my environment. I hear and smell things most people don't even notice.
6.  Last summer I ran every single day. I was up to 4 miles by the time school started.  And I haven't run a single step since then.
7.  I don't watch much tv, but when I do, my guilty pleasures include Millionaire Matchmaker and anything with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake together.
8.  I listen to talk radio by podcast in the car and in the middle of the night when I can't sleep.
9.  I hate food that comes from the sea.  Yes, even lobster.  Especially lobster.
10.  I walked down the aisle to a Bruce Springsteen song.
11.  My husband and I visit brew pubs wherever we travel and we have a pint glass collection that now includes Moose Drool from Big Sky in Montana and Hog's Breath from Key West.

ELEVEN questions for my nominees:
1.  What do you collect?
2.  Which celebrity influences your personal philosophy?  Explain.
3.  What's the last concert you attended?  Who were you with?
4.  What is your favorite time of day and why?
5.  Where did you take your favorite vacation trip?
6.  Why do you like (or hate) the internet?
7.  What most recently made you laugh harder than you have in a while?
8.  When you have an hour to yourself, what do you like to do?
9.  Finish this sentence.  Even if I live to be 1000 years old, I will never understand _______.
10.  What has been the happiest (or proudest, or most fun) moment of your life?
11.  What song (or album or CD)  have you listened to most often?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Presidents' Week Giveaway!

Hi!  We've all been pretty busy here in NY dealing with lots of snow.  We've used up our share of snow days, and had delayed opening, too... I am beyond ready for spring to be sprung.

On snow days I like to poke around Teachers Pay Teachers, and work on my blog, facebook and pinterest. About a month ago, I noticed there were a lot of comments that teachers were frustrated trying to find photographs to use in their products.  Some teachers said they like to use real images rather than use clip art that can lean toward too-cute at times.  So I started to cull through the millions of photos that my husband and I have taken in our travels, and some copyright free photos I've collected over the years for use in my own classroom and teaching materials, and I put together some sets of photos that are perfect for personal or commercial use.  One of the sets is this one that includes US Landmarks and Monuments.  You can click the picture to see the full set in preview.

I'm looking forward to seeing how my buyers are using these photos and the photos in my other sets, too.  I have sets of animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians) and a set of community helpers.  My most recent package is Sea Life, that includes starfish, whales, sharks, corals, and a variety of other sea creatures.  If you pick up one of my photo packs on Teachers Pay Teachers, please let me know how you used it and I'll do a blog post about your product!

Last night I got a message from Karen at Luvs2TeachinCA who used my US Landmarks photo package to put together this great unit for kindergarten and first grade.  Click the picture to see the product in preview on TpT.

Karen and I have teamed up to give away these two great products to celebrate the presidents!  Sign in to the Rafflecopter below and enter as many times as you can!  Winner announced by email on Saturday! Thanks for entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Primary Grades Giveaway at Where the Magic Happens!

Hello again!  I have been invited to participate in a really great giveaway for primary school teachers. Primary isn't my specialty, but I feel like I have an inner calling.  I can't tell you the number of Girl Scout science lessons and activities I've done with my daughters' troops.  And I love, LOVE, L O V E making products for primary teachers to teach science.

One of my best sellers is a cut and paste activity to sort living things from non-living things.  The adorable and lovable Thistlegirl Designs graphics are to die for!

Check out what's inside....  So sign up for the giveaway (link at bottom of post) and

Please follow the link to Where the Magic Happens to enter the giveaway!
(Entries accepted Feb 13-16!)
Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Snow Day!

Wow.  We've had a rough winter.  Today is our third snow day, and we've got another storm on the way!  The girls have a delayed opening today, but I can't get the car out, so poor poor Kaylie will have to stay home with me.  

I'm going to try to get some work done today. And clear off the paperwork on my desk.  The rule around here is that on a snow day you do a project you have been putting off. Something you would have had a hard time making the time to do.  A snow day is FREE time.  Perfect to get that pain in the neck project crossed off the list.

What do YOU do on a snow day?