Monthly Archives: November 2014

December Currently

 This is the one post that needs NO introduction!!! Thanks for the always awesome linky party Farley!!!!

December Currently

Download the December Growth Area here!!!!

Inspired: December Growth Area (1026 downloads)

Inspired: December Growth Area

december 180

I can’t believe it’s DECEMBER!!!! I have so many things going on and I am so happy to be so close to the BIG Holiday, Christmas. I love Holiday’s and the joy, excitement, and emotions the months of November and December bring.

This month’s growth area is done with a twist…are you ready?

When we began this journey, I talked about what 180 Days to Happy is. I explained how important it is to set goals, how important self-reflection is, and I even told you how to get organized and gave you $10 to get started so you can continue to progress! Now let’s review how it  ties together and rediscover how  this site will support you as we move through the next month of  180 Days to Happy!

First, Decide what your Personal Truths are. Be honest with yourself and tell your truths. For me, I think of this as my personal 10 Commandments. I won’t list them all, but some of mine are

  1. Give more than you take.
  2. Don’t second guess yourself.
  3. Take a step toward the goal, big or small.

See how that works, these are things that no matter what, I will aim to do through my actions and words. Nothing too lengthy, but I know that these are the things I will continue to live by. This is an exercise in just writing things down and believing in yourself. Don’t second-guess yourself when developing your personal truths, just do it!

Next, pick a growth area. This won’t be hard because we’ll do that for you! Each month we will focus on one area of our life that we will work on in order to build our happiness on solid ground. Our first month’s area is Organize. This may mean anything to you, but it’s about setting things in order!

Thirdly, set goals. Perhaps it’s your classroom as you enter this upcoming year, beginning this school year with a new system of doing things, or maybe it’s something at home that you’ve been meaning to get to but just keep putting it off. Set a goal and write it down. In fact, I admonish you to pick three goals and make them something that will truly begin your day in a more organized way!

Lastly, reflect. As we move through each month, you’ll need to stop and really think about the progress you’re making. Had a bad week? It’s ok!!! Stop, reflect and make a plan! We, as a group, will be here to support each other and make it a supportive act as we reflect and redirect our energy.

I am so happy to have Alicia Cobb and author of The Teachers Work Station as our collaborator this month! As we focus on being Inspired, I want you to imagine and draw from things that currently inspire you. Every day we have the opportunity to share, and draw, inspiration from theh world around us. Use this printable as a way to jot down thoughts and plan your inspiration coming to life.Although we give you the tools, this is your individual journey, so use your teacher skills and differentiate, accelerate, and use various depth of knowledge procedures to increase your growth.  Get  started by downloading our monthly growth area printable  below,  print, and get started!!!! I’ll be back to share my My Action Plan, but review NovemberOctober,  September  , and August,  for ideas!!!

Congrats and welcome to Inspired: December Growth Area !

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Thankful: This is why I teach…

You ever had one of those days where you’re exhausted, something you planned SO well doesn’t go right, and just seems nobody is listening? We all have! It’s so easy to get sucked into the doldrum of negativity and questions why you teach, so it’s always nice to get a day that reminds you! Today was one of those days!!!! I don’t have them often and I will say I wasn’t expecting it, but today was a day that I was reminded this is why I teach!

Five for Friday


I also decided to share the five parts of this lesson through the fun and fabulous Five for Friday Linky Party 🙂

My eighth graders are working on a unit that deals with budgeting and I will say this is not my strong point. I mean, I’m a teacher! You would thing that after seven years of getting paid monthly, I would have the whole budget thing down pact. Well, I don’t. I have worked to be better and I will say I have gotten better. I got a lot of help from a  friend who suggested Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover, but I will say I am not 100% on the Dave Ramsey train (shame on me). Anyway, while I stressed to them the importance of budgeting I knew I needed to find a way to make it “real”. I searched high and low, scoured the internet, and asking teachers for the game of Life! It just seemed like some pieces I found online were right, but it just didn’t work for me. Yesterday I decided I had to make my own…I was scared!

Thanks to the wonderful teachers I follow on IG, I have been more inclined to “make” my own resources and I’ve actually found it quite fulfilling! Last night, I decided I’d start and I worked out all of the kinks in my head as I typed away and imagined how it would all work out. I got up this morning and finished. Copied, re-copied, cut, and “prettied” all of the pieces to my budget fun puzzle and was ready to go with my kiddos. Here are the things I put together.

Five for Friday1


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This was the worksheet handed out after a brief description of what we’d be doing. Student’s were asked to decide their wants and total them up .

Five for Friday2

Student’s were then given a career and had to reevaluate their wants based no what they could truly afford (this was funny). This opened a discussion about wants and needs and how many students had to remove things they wanted based on the fact they couldn’t afford them! I encouraged them to save some money and really budget out their money for “a rainy day”.

Five for Friday3


Next, student’s had to pay their bills! After we paid rent, students were asked to complete their monthly ledger…but wait!!!!

Five for Friday4

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Student’s were met with “unexpected” circumstances! For my waitress, making $900 a month, winning the lottery for $500 was a life saver! My sound engineer, not so happy when he had to pay for that car!!!!! We continued paying bills, but I hit them one more time with an “unexpected” circumstance and then asked them to finish their monthly ledger!

Five for Friday5

After finishing their ledger we discussed how this REALLY happens in life and then compared the student’s budgets. This was the time for them to see who was able to keep their original wants and those who had to adjust them according to their current income. I heard SO many comments about how hard it was to not have any money (or maybe I was talking?) and how this sounds like their parents during the month! I was so overwhelmed with how engaged and powerful this 70-minute lesson was and I just love that the students enjoyed it! On top of the reasoning, math, analysis, and logical thinking exercises throughout I decided to throw in some writing. I simply asked the student’s to share their thoughts from the exercise and boy did it surprise me.






Although this activity was truly meant to teach my 8th grader’s a skill/lesson, I too was able to learn a few things about myself.

  1. Being open to failure isn’t always so bad. I had no idea if this would actually work!!! I had it mapped out, but I honestly didn’t believe it would work as smoothly as it did.
  2. Believe in yourself. I didn’t think that I could “create” a lesson. I didn’t think I could make each of the components to the lesson. I did it.
  3. Life is our best teacher. My student’s were able to take real-life scenarios and make them a reality. I was able to learn that trying a new idea doesn’t meal failure.


Did you have a “Wow that worked” moment this week? How do you intertwine real-life in your classroom?

Techie Tuesday: ThingLink



This my friend’s is my new best friend for a quick and interactive guide to learning!!! ThingLink’s ease of use and versatility makes it a techie “newbies” best friend and an experienced techie’s trick in a bind!  ThingLink is a great minimal effort level tool and requires VERY little technology expertise. Need a way to engage lower-level students? Want to encourage higher order thinking skills with more advanced students? If you have a picture, you can use ThingLink to do just about any form of learning and differentiation! Ready to see how it works? Here ya go!


Trust me when I tell you your students will LOVE ThingLink and you will too!!!! In my classroom, I encourage student centered projects and I’ve had even the most reluctant learners willing to experiment and share with ThingLink. Even on a free level, the application is an amazing tool to use. It is available on the iPad or web-based. Head over to and sign up today. Use the code XKGQ2Y and you get a premium upgrade for FREE!!!!!

Want to join my weekly Techie Tuesday email list? Sign up here

tech talk

(Update 11/24: I am linking up with Great Minds Teach Alike for her Tech Tools Linky Party!)

Thankful:My Bucket is FULL

Hellllloooooooo my blogger buddies and readers!!! I feel like it’s been SUCH  a long time since I’ve written anything and I’ve been missing it! Awhile bag, around the time school started, I remember seeing all of the posts about being “bucket fillers” and thought what a cool idea! What I didn’t realize is that student’s are often our bucket filler’s, unannounced to them. Well friends, I have to tell you that my students have done an amazing fete and my bucket is FULL!!!!

I came back from an EdTech conference to a dissheveled classroom and progress reports due (ugh) and immediately felt guilty about the time I’d spent away and how much I should have been there. However, the goodness that came from the conference was manifested today. I knew that I wanted to introduce #20time and I had to start a new unit with students in my entrepreneurship class.This combination has left me scrambling and really gave me the blues until today…it all came together!


From the moment I sat in Nick Provenzano’s session last week I was determined to make #20time come to life in my classroom. I came into the classroom Monday and discussed the idea and told the student’s we’d begin the project this week. Tuesday, I had student’s share their “I will…” statements via Today’s Meet and started to flesh-out the idea. I had a student tell me flatout, “I’m not doing this”.  It was HARD y’all. Like, I don’t know if I want to do this after the first day HARD. However, just like us teacher’s do I was determined to come back today and trudge forward. I had the student’s start blogs via after I had just signed up myself this morning….asking for disaster right? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I tell you, this 20 min session of starting a blog turned into THE best part of my day. The student who told me he wasn’t doing it called me to his computer and asked me to read his first “post”. I read it and struggled with coming up with words to say. Instead of telling him he couldn’t write some crazy story or asking him what it was, I asked him “Well, why don’t you write a book!” His eyes lit up!!!! His response, “I can do that”. He then took to his blog declaring he will write a fictional chapter book with 4 chapters AND pictures (he’s an amazing artist). I seriously had to hold back the tears! Before class was over, he had posted his second blog post… A sample of his first chapter. He then walked around the class and asked the student’s to read it!!! I was soooo very proud of him and I am even more proud to be the place where I hope his creativity will find a place to flourish this process. I thought the goodness was over from this activity, but this was the tip of the iceberg. When I logged in to view comments from student’s I found this….


The student’s have begun to comment on each other’s post and it is just amazing to see. I am simply the facilitator in this activity!!!!

Yes,  my bucket is full.

Teachers and friends, I know this is a candid post. I know that days get hard. Days are LONG. VERY LONG. However, I encourage you to forge through your ideas. DON’T STOP!!!!!! Even the craziest idea from a student can be turned into a gold mine, even if for a moment. I took the time to write down my goal for #20time and I encourage you to STOP and write your own goals down. Don’t sit on the crazy goodness that lies on the inside…you never know who’s bucket you might fill!

Need help, download the organizer to help with your November goals!!!

Thankful: November Growth Area (1137 downloads)