Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year, New Goals 2015

Goodbye 2014 and hello 2015!  I must say, 2014 has been a wonderful year for me for many reasons.  In any case, I'm looking forward to the new year and it's possibilities for personal and professional growth.  Lately, I've been having a bit of trouble finding time for blogging.  As a result, the opportunity to link up with Mrs. D's Corner for my New Year, New Goals has passed me by at the speed of light.  Ah, it is what it is, right?  That's okay because I'm still going to participate in this fun linky, without actually linking up. 

Personal: My life is filled with various roles.  I'm finding them a little tricky to balance, so I'll definitely be striving for better balance in 2015.  Sometimes it's as if I'm a professional juggler.  All of my roles get tossed up in the air, and then I anxiously struggle to keep each one swirling in a smooth circular motion.  I don't succeed as often as I'd like and find myself flailing in every direction to keep up with life.  
I get up at 5 A.M. to get myself ready for work before my toddler twins get up at 5:45-6:00 A.M., which begins the role of mama.  I then get them ready and off to preschool, drive to work and begin my day as a teacher and mentor.  When work ends, I find myself juggling the mama (again), wife, and boxer-in-training roles.  I need boxing to keep level-headed and my stress to a minimum.  Fortunately, my husband is also a teacher and is home with the kids, too, so I get to train 3 to 4 days per week.  (Thank you, Drew!) Anyway, the little "free time" I have usually gets dedicated to laundry, organization of our household and SLEEP, not necessarily blogging and product-creating for my TPT store.  Hmmmm, if only I had more arms I bet I'd have a huge grin on my face like in the picture, too.  ;)

Professional: Michelle over at BigTime Literacy and I will be presenting at our district's iEngage Conference in May and the Illinois Reading Conference in October of 2015.  We'll be presenting on the benefits of blogging and social media as the new era of professional development for teachers.  More information to come at a later date! ;)
Planning: I may need to put "blogging" on my calendar to actually schedule time for writing blog posts.  Having large chunks of time to dedicate to blogging are few and far between, which is why I love Instagram so much!  It's micro-blogging at it's best.  Is anyone else finding it hard to upkeep their blogs? 

When it comes to creating TPT products, I was able to make time for my newly opened TPT store over the summer because the kids were busily playing outside at the lake house with an abundance of extended family members around to help.  I was actually able to begin my blogging journey and keep up with BigTime Literacy's 31-day Blogging Challenge!  Of course, now, in the winter, it's a different story.  I'm "on" to provide meaningful, fun and engaging activities for the kids to do indoors.  I have less "me time" in the winter, to say the least.  I haven't created much for my store since the summer.  However, I have HOPE to make that scenario change in 2015.  By the way, I recently took a fun quiz to find out which (friendly) 4-letter word described me.  It was HOPE.  I'm hopeful and optimistic 2015 will be a great year!  (What's your 4-letter word?)

Organization: I know I'm being redundant, so I'll keep this one short.  To be honest, most often I don't know exactly what I want to blog about, since I'm using the F&P Intervention Kits with my RtI students.  
My students have been successfully progressing with the kit, so why stray from it? Although, I did blog about the little extras I include with the kit in THIS POST, if you're interested.  

Students: The students coming to me for small guided groups are struggling readers usually a minimum of one year below grade-level.  Because reading is difficult for them, they often dislike it and have very little motivation, which is understandable.  However, I have hope for them and encourage them on a daily basis.  As I praise each of their efforts for practicing their reading, using strategies and becoming more fluent readers, I see their confidence build.  Inspiring them to have a love for reading and to enjoy a variety of genres is my goal.  Oftentimes, my students shut down when they make an error, so I tell them, "Mistakes help us learn" and not to worry if they make them.  I make sure they feel safe in my room and promote students supporting one another.  They like coming to see me, which is always a bonus.  I've seen much progress and more interest in reading since the start of the year and have high hopes for them in 2015!  
Motto: "PMA, everyday!  That's the way!"  PMA stands for Positive Mental Attitude.  My parents used to say it to my sister and me almost when we were kids.  When I got into high school, the eye-rolling began, but that was just because I was a teenager, I'm assuming.  In college and my adult years, I'm thankful for my family motto.  Saying and truly believing this motto has been life-changing for me.  I always look at the positive in all situations.  Every situation is a learning opportunity.  Even though this is my favorite motto, I have not tattooed it on myself (nor will I), but other people have, so it must be a good one. ;)
Images from Google!
Happy 2015 everyone!  It will be a year filled with great things for all of us as long as we stay positive! 


  1. so excited to present with you! glad that's still months away so we still have time for preparations! Also, those PMA tattoos are redic! at first I thought those were your family members, but I think you must have just found them on google, right?
    thanks for the shoutout! :-)
    BigTime Literacy

    1. LOL- I don't know the people with those tattoos and yes, the images are from Google! I guess I should mention that. ;) Yes, we have plenty of time to prepare, but I fear procrastination! Haha! =D

  2. I applaud you for the many roles you take on during the day! Good luck with the iEngage Summit!
    Teaching, Love, Cupcakes

    1. Thanks, Princess! I appreciate the good luck wishes! ;)

  3. Replies
    1. Ha, well, thanks, Leah! You're awesome, too. :) Happy New Year to you and your family! ;)

  4. Good luck! Looks like a great list. Especially the presentations--maybe I'll take a road trip...

    1. Road trips are always fun, Alyce! Thanks for stopping by to wish me luck on my goals. Happy New Year! ;)

  5. Hello Collen!
    I love your site and appreciate all the support you give me on Instagram! I noticed we are both in IL! I know some people planning to get a Chicago bigger meet up happening soon! I would love to chat with you. I want to start presenting and will be doing my first presentation in a few weeks. I'd love some advice an pointers on getting more presenting opportunities.

    1. Hello Tasia! You're so welcome for the IG support! Don't you just love IG? Such an easy way to becomes "friends" with new people. :)

      In regards to presenting, I'd love to help you, but not sure what kind of pointers you're looking for. I don't claim to be a "gifted presenter" (LOL), since my presentations are mostly to staff or people in my school district. However, I'll be applying for the first time to present at the Illinois Reading Conference in October 2015 with a colleague to step outside of the box a bit. It's held in Peoria this year. Applications can be found online. We'll have to chat more! :)

      The idea of going to a Blogger Meet Up in Chicago sounds like a blast! I have other blogging friends in my district that would love to go, too. You'll have to keep me posted! :)

  6. * blogger LOL find me at

  7. I so agree that it is difficult to find time for everything! Sometimes that just can't be done. Congrats on being a presenter later this year!
    Conversations in Literacy


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