Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reflect, Reflect, Reflect...Hmmm...My Last Day of the Blogging Challenge! Day 31

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Well, today is the VERY...LAST...DAY of BigTime Literacy's Blogging Challenge!  The quote above says it all. ;)

Day 31: Reflect on your first month of blogging and share your goals for August and this school year.

I managed to conquer the challenge by posting every single day and even stuck to the topics on the calendar.  Let me say, it was challenging for me to come up with thoughts on some of the prompts.   When I first looked at the calendar a few days before the challenge began, I thought to myself, "Yeesh.  I don't know what I'll say about that?  Or that?  Hmmm, what about that?" Nevertheless, I knew I wanted to be part of the challenge and part of the blogging community.  

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Prior to summer starting, I spearheaded the recruitment of gals to join me on a blogging adventure.  I was excited when they decided to register for the Blogging PD, too!   Attending Michelle's PD was a leap in the right direction to accomplish some of my personal and professional goals, especially my goal of connecting with more Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches through blogging and professional development opportunities.  More of my goals are here, if you'd like to read them. 

I am SO glad I acted on my instinct to take part in the PD because meeting Michelle has opened doors to encountering wonderful people, including her.  Michelle put me in contact with knowledgeable lady named Carla from Comprehension Connection.  As a result of that connection, I've been invited to take part in a blogging group on Facebook, in addition to a literacy-related Blog Hop on August 22-24 to share ideas on literacy!  

I'm thrilled to participate and very grateful for the opportunity. The Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches in the group have amazing blogs.  I've added many of their blogs to my Blog Roll.  If you need further inspiration or fresh ideas, my Blog Roll is a great place to start.  Michelle's BigTime Literacy blog is the glue that holds the Blog Roll together! ;)

Anyway, because I wanted to spread the word of our blog being born on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014, I've created Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.  Mind you, I've never been on Social Media in the past.  Anyway, I opened all of the accounts this past month during the blogging challenge.  I can't believe the intrinsic motivation that's just cascading out of me.  I'm "Following" many great people on Twitter and have learned loads from them.  A few of those folks are even following us back.  Thanks. ;)

During the month of August, I'll be linking up with Michelle for her "Sunday Morning Letters" on August 3rd and August 17th.  From that point on, the link-up will continue every other Sunday throughout the school year, so please check back. 

I'll also be preparing my new room at school, reading recently purchased literacy texts from Amazon (I love getting books in the mail!  I told you I prefer real books over eBooks for reading!), and, of course,  browsing teacher blogs for ideas.  However, one of the most exciting things that will be happening in August is...DRUM ROLL, PLEASE,...Literacy Loving Gals' NEW BLOG DESIGN!  I've been working with Kassie over at Designs by Kassie to redesign our blog.  Yay!  

If you are looking for a recommendation, she's amazing to work with.  I learned of her from Michelle.  See?!  Meeting Michelle has made a  impact in my pond of life.  Look at those ripples flow.  THANK YOU, MICHELLE! ;)

In regards to the school year, I'm optimistic I will be accomplishing a portion of my "Someday" list.  

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Please visit often to share comments and to see what were about.  Join us on Bloglovin' if you would like to be notified of our posts.  We have learned so much from others through blogging.  The opportunity to view firsthand all of the amazing things happening in your classrooms has been magnificent.  We hope to pay it forward.  Thank you in advance for your support!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hmmm, What Do I Want to Accomplish Someday? Blogging Challenge Day 30

Only one day left of BigTime Literacy's Blogging Challenge hosted by Michelle!  30 days have flown by so fast!!  Check out Michelle's post today on "letters from the Teacher's Desk".  She discusses an opportunity to link up with BigTime Literacy for more fun in the future!

Day 30: Create a "Someday" list: what do you want to get to someday? (Personal or Professional)

I know this is just the starting point of my "Someday" list.  The list contains not necessarily what I want to get as the prompt states, but what I consider professional and personal goals.   I feel some of my goals can be checked off sooner, rather than later, which is a great feeling.  The best part about a "Someday" list is once a goal from the list is accomplished, it allows room for new challenges, hopes and dreams to be added!  However,  I must be honest and say some of the goals are outside of my comfort zone and may take a little encouragement from my inner voice to just take a leap of faith.  As the quote states above: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."   So, here I go... 

I added this quote because the first few
things on my "Someday" list need support
and possible funding from my administration 
to accomplish.

I would like to:
  • Become trained in Reading Recovery (I'd LOVE to learn all I can about the techniques used in the Reading Recovery format!)
  • Attend the Illinois Reading Conference annually (I love getting professionally developed so I can pay it forward to others!)
  • Co-organize and plan for professional development sessions with my new reading team to present within, as well as outside of my school district
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I feel the urge to:
  • Open a Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) store (I think the creativity posted in TpT is amazing!)
  • Create tons of valuable products for my TpT store that can be used by teachers worldwide (I've already started!) 
  • Read additional books targeted at improving my knowledge as a Reading Specialist- Any recommendations?
  • Connect with more Reading Specialist and Literacy Coaches through blogging, Social Media and Professional Development opportunities 

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I have a desire to: 
  • Read additional books that have nothing to do with my job (For example: Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic to the Stars hits shelves in the Fall of 2014.  It's frivolous reading, but I adore it.)
  • Partake in more date nights with my husband 
  • Be blessed with carefree days spent with my friends and family more often (I am fortunate and grateful for the many I've already had, though!)

So, there you have it...a few things on my "Someday" list that I'd like to start accomplishing today.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fodey- The Newspaper Clipping Generator for Classroom Use

Closely read the newspaper clipping above! :)

Has anyone ever heard of Fodey?  I learned of it from a blog called "TechKnowledgeyTip".  Take a peek HERE for more information.  

It can be useful for various purposes in the classroom.  For example, students can create a newspaper clipping as their "Exit Slip" (a reflective reading strategy) for an activity or to summarize a portion of a text/chapter, write about their favorite book/scene in a book, create arguments for/against an issue, state fact/opinions about a topic, compare/contrast characters, and so on!  In addition, there are options for animated text (talking animals, a clapper board and even a text-writing ninja) to express the ideas and words written by the students.  

Students also have the opportunity to create the name of the newspaper, the title of the article clipping, as well as place the current date.  However, if students are writing about a historical event, for example, they may date the newspaper clipping when the historical event took place.  Below is an example of a newspaper clipping written by one of my 2nd grade students about the book Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall.  He titled his newspaper Nelson News and the article Miss Nelson is Missing! :)

Think you could find use for Fodey in your classroom?  If you have any thoughts or comments, I'd love to hear them! :)

The Perfect Day: Blogging Challenge Day 29

I'm joining Michelle from BigTime Literacy for her Blogging Challenge, yet again!  Only 2 more posts to go until the end of her challenge.  I'm impressed that I haven't missed a day yet.  I don't plan on missing a day either.  When I start something, I enjoy finishing it until the very end! ;) 

Day 29: Share a memory of a perfect day you once had. 

The day I married my very best friend was my ultimate perfect day.  I remember waking up excited to come face to face with my man at the altar.  I was married outdoors at the amazing Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.

My father walked me down the isle to connect forever with the man of my dreams...

I was trying to hold back the tears after
my father took my arm with a smile.

Drew and I smiled, cried and then said our vows to one another...
We couldn't stop smiling at each other
through the happy tears.
We were then announced for the first time as Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Scott Noffsinger... (Woohoo!)

We danced our first dance, listened to funny, yet touching speeches, cut the cake and did all of the things a new couple does at their wedding, including taking pictures with friends...

Hanging with a bunch of my teacher pals!

Finally, we ended the night saying, "Good-bye!" and "Thanks for the support!", to our family and friends.  We've been happily married for 6 years this past July and best buddies for just over 9 years.  I've had many perfect days since our wedding day, thanks to my husband, children, family and friends. ;)

Have a fabulous day!

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Fitness Routine (& a Fun App): Blogging Challenge Day 28

I'm joining Michelle over at Bigtime Literacy for the tail end of her Blogging Challenge.  Michelle shared an App in her post.  Click HERE to see what it's about!  In this post, I also "interjected" an App to show you how I applied watercolor effects on a photograph, as well as shared additional possible uses for the App.  If you get creative, it's an entertaining App that can be used for various purposes with your students in the classroom, too! :) 

Day 28: Health, fitness and general wellness: What are your routines in summer and during the school year?

Growing up, I played various sports, rode my bike, skateboarded, played "Kick the Can" with the neighborhood kids and, so on, to stay active.  All of these activities were considered fun, not exercise.  I still keep that mentality in my adulthood.  I don't hold the notion of movement being something to dread or something I have to make time for.  Being active and eating healthy foods is a lifestyle choice.  I choose these things because I know they make me feel healthy, energized and happy. 

Besides playing with my children, taking long walks in the neighborhood or hiking on trails when camping, my true passion has become boxing.  Yes, boxing!  However, it's not the type of boxing where individuals are hitting one another, which is originally what I thought when a friend invited me to join Knockout Women's Boxing Club (WKOB).  It's a partnership- one person holds the bag, while the other throws specific punch combinations, then vice versa.  Trust me, no one is getting physically abused.  Otherwise, I'd say, "No thank you."

Many of the WKOB Club members participate in various active events outside of the gym, one being the 5K Turkey Trot.  The picture below was from the 5K this past Thanksgiving.  It got the whole family up and out of the house together.  Despite the fact I looked like a member of CONEHEADS with my layered hats, we had a blast. :)

Needless to say, the group of lovely ladies I join for special events and see 3 to 4 times per week in the club is a one-of-a-kind group.  Everyone is so welcoming, friendly and supportive, which is why I love going so much.  Below are some of them I band together with to get my sweat on.  I'm in the center, back row.  (Okay, here comes my App "interjection"!)

Photo created with the Waterlogue App 
$2.99 in the iTunes Store 

Waterlogue can be used for school, too!
Some examples of possible uses: 
*My classroom- before and after the App- I updated my Twitter account with the "after" picture for an artistic header! 
 *Innovative way to showcase students in various centers

  Waterlogue App Icon

Okay, back to my post- Overall, my outlook on fitness and health is "Just Do It" matter the season.  You won't regret it!  

How about you?  What's your routine? 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

School Is Just Around the Corner! Blogging Challenge Day 27

I'm joining Michelle over at Bigtime Literacy for the last week of her Blogging Challenge.  I can't believe it's almost been a full month since I started blogging.   Boy, time flies when you're having fun!  In any case, click HERE to read Michelle's powerful post this morning and to see what's happening with others. 

Day 27: What are you most excited about for the upcoming school year?

I have quite a few things to be excited about. 
  • I'm changing rooms this year and will get to be "roommates" with Courtney, our Literacy Coach.  She's another co-worker and partner I can't wait to learn more from when it comes to literacy.  I'm hoping she joins the blog sometime in the future, but, if she doesn't, I'll share all of her ideas for her!;) 
Colleen & Courtney

  • For the past few years, I mainly supported 2nd and 3rd grade struggling readers.  However, we've had some changes in staff, hence, 4th graders will be coming my way, too!  I'm excited because some of the students may be my former 3rd graders.  They're all so sweet.  Seeing the faces of former and new students each year is always a blessing. 

  • I'm thrilled to be sharing literacy ideas with my colleagues again this school year and but then presenting them to the blogging community via Literacy Loving Gals I also anticipate my learning to continue because of everyone out in Bloggersville!  Thank you in advance!

  • The opportunity to be on the iLead Team to help create a one-of-a-kind event in our district is an honor.  I'm anticipating a wonderful outcome!

Anyway, now you've read a few of the reasons I'm enthusiastic for the upcoming year.   If you didn't know, enthusiasm is an ingredient to a successful year! 

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Enjoy your day and be enthusiastic! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My *Let Loose* Categories of Music: Blogging Challenge Day 26

My favorites!
Visit BigTime Literacy
for the Blogging Challenge!

Day 26: What kinds of music do you enjoy most?

I enjoy various genres of music, but the majority of the CDs I prefer are ones that bring me back to my college days.  A few of my favorites are below. :)

However, nowadays, the CDs I  listen to most often are "3-year-old" related.  I know the words to most of the songs on the CDs beneath, since I listen to them daily while riding in the minivan. ;)

Do you recall any of these CDs? 

Happy listening! 

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