Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shake Break!

We are right in the middle of our state testing this week! Poor babies have to sit so long! I thought I'd share some of our favorite brain breaks that we're doing to get the wiggles out! 
This is our hands down favorite! My monolingual Spanish speakers love this one because they learn the verbs "shake" and "jump" so quickly!
This Cha Cha Slide has visuals for each move! Perfect for ELL kids, and ones that still have trouble with right and left!
Sooooo cute!! 
This is called "Cosmic Yoga." It's the best kids yoga I've seen! Each episode is about 15 minutes. Each tells an imaginative story, and the yoga moves fit the story perfectly! Check out all the different episodes Here.

This is one of many from Harry Kindergarten. All the videos are fabulous! My kids sing this one all day long! It is a definite favorite! 
And I threw in this cute chicken video to celebrate our classroom chick hatching that we just started!
If you hatch chicks too, this is a must see!!

What are some of your favorite brain breaks? I'd love to discover some new ones!!

Enjoy getting all the wiggles out!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Back in Action

Today was my first day back from maternity leave. Thankfully we had a restful night, and our morning with Paxton went pretty smoothly too. I had my coffee, took an extra cup for the road, and left my house feeling excited to see my babies at school.

I got to school with the intention of getting reacquainted with my room, and getting reorganized. I had just settled in at my desk, with my favorite purple flair pen to make an extensive to-do list. Then I got a call from the office. "Good morning Mrs. Conger, welcome back. You're late for traffic duty." Blahhhhhhh. I HATE traffic duty. Instead of getting our morning prep before the kids arrive, we have to stand in the parking lot and breathe in the car exhaust while we monitor the cars, and the kids in the crosswalk. This was not a good start to my first day back. I put on my beautiful, and very flattering, neon orange crossing guard vest, and headed outside. I hadn't even been outside five seconds before the hugs started! I got hugs, and smiles, and "Mrs. Conger! You're back!!" from so many sweet smiling kids this morning. Some kids I didn't even know! One little girl came up to me with a great big hug and said "Mrs. Conger! Welcome back! We started new math groups while you were gone, and I get to be in your class!" I said "Math groups! I hope I know what to do." She told me that she could teach the group for me if I wanted! Very cute. Traffic duty was actually JUST the thing I needed to get my morning started!

From there I went to pick up my class from morning recess on the playground. When they saw me coming, they started running across the field and all rushed me with a great big hug. I really missed them! I'm glad they missed me too. While I was gone, they had a FANTASTIC sub, and I was worried they wouldn't want me back!

We spent most of the day (thank goodness it was a half day) looking at pictures  and videos of Paxton, telling stories about him, and getting caught up on things they had done over the last three months. Our conversation went a little something like this:

"Mrs. Conger, can Paxton eat pizza yet?"

"Mrs. Conger, guess what? My cousin learned how to jump off our roof."

"Ms. Alcaraz, I mean...Mom....I mean....MRS. CONGER!!

"Mrs. Conger, guess what?! My reading level is an 11 now!!"

"Mrs. Conger you used to have peach color on your skin, but now you just look white."

"Mrs. Conger, did you have your baby yet....?" (Really!?)

"Mrs. Conger, am I from China?"

Seriously. I think I might change my name for tomorrow. And most of those beauties were in the first 10 minutes of our day! They were all wound up and ready to SHARE! They wanted to share every little thing with me that I had missed. It was so very cute, but boy did I need a Tylenol and some silence by lunch time!

I think the cutest part of our day was when I dropped them off at Music. I guess they thought I might leave them again because they all started giving me hugs, and saying 'BYEEEE!! BYE Mrs. Conger!" I had to reassure them that I WOULD be back to pick them up in just 20 short minutes. I promise!

It was a very unproductive, but super sweet day. I missed my kids dearly! They can really make a day better with their stories and smiles.

Tomorrow is a full day, YIKES, and we have to buckle down and finish test prep for our SAT 10 test next week. Two more days until the weekend! I think I can, I think I can...

Happy Wednesday!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Moving On to New Adventures!

I have some sad/exciting news to share! We're MOVING! Our little family is relocating alllllllllll the way to Charlotte, North Carolina. My husband is transferring to a new office in Charlotte for work, and Paxton and I will be tagging along with him!

Arizona has been a wonderful home to us for six years. I started my teaching career here, at a school I will never be able to replace. It's where my teaching heart is, and where I learned everything I know about education. I am so very sad to be leaving all of my colleagues, and friends here behind.

But when I think about how wonderful it will be to be so much closer to our families on the East Coast, and for Paxton to be able to grow up around them, I get very excited! My family heart is still at "home" in Michigan. We will be much much closer. It seems like we are being led on this path for a reason, and I am excited to see where it will take us.

Now the long to-do list beings. Sell our house, pack up, find a new job, find a new house, DRIVE across the country with a baby...! Yikes. We started today by listing our house. Hopefully the market is stable enough for a few weeks and we'll be able to sell it quickly. I also need to find a job! Anyone know anything about the Charlotte area? I have been researching, but its hard to gauge the feeling of an area and its schools from the internet. I've been using the Great Schools website to help me, but I'm starting my search without any background knowledge. I'm working on my resume, and looking at openings daily. It will be very different to move away from Arizona, a state with such a large ELL population, to a state with a much smaller one. I'm hopeful I'll find the perfect job where I'll still be able to use all my ELL skills. I guess I just have to have faith that the perfect spot will find me. It's scary to be ending this year without a job lined up, but I know that new opportunities for me are out there somewhere!

I'm glad to share this news with all of you! It's been very hard to tell people, and say that "we're moving" out loud. It makes it seem more real I guess. Everyone has been very supportive and happy for us as we start our new adventure. Thanks for letting me share that with you! If anyone has any advice, tips, or knowledge about moving to the Charlotte area, please let me know!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Friday! A BEAUTIFUL, sunny 90 degree day here in Arizona! 90 degrees is about my max, so it can stop heating up any time now. Today, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a Five for first! It's totally random, but fun nonetheless!

1.  This is our baby monitor. It has bright blue lights that flicker up and down the sides when baby boy is fussing or crying. Notice the LACK OF blue lights tonight, which means he is SLEEEEEEPING! Hallelujah!

2. I need more Cadbury Eggs, pronto. This candy dish was full before my husband came home....

3. It's 8:00 here in AZ, and I'm starving. But we have nothing good to eat at home. I am dreaming of this from In-N-Out Burger.

4. Grandma is coming to watch Paxton when I go back to work in a few weeks. Today, my husband and I booked a trip here in Tucson for a weekend away! Can't wait! Thank you Grandma!

5. I guess I'll just skip dinner, and go right for the dessert! :-)

Have a great weekend everyone, and Happy Easter!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finding More Bloggy Friends!

Happy Tuesday everyone! With lots of time at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 in the morning to browse the internet while I'm up with Paxton, I've discovered some new teacher technology! Instagram! Now I know Instagram is not new, but I had no idea that teachers and their blogs had Instagram for the classroom! I may be very late to this party, but its been fun following teachers and seeing little snippets throughout their day, so I thought I would share! I just started, but already I've found so many bloggy friends to follow! It definitely helps keep me awake while Paxton is up eating during the night. You should check it out and follow me while you are there!

I also started a Facebook page to try and connect with many more inspiring teachers! Check it out! 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Shake It Like Seuss

Last week on our campus was the Read Across America Celebration. On Friday, I took Paxton to the character parade we have each year. He was all dressed up in his Dr. Seuss outfit! Can you tell how much he is LOVING the hat?? One of my teammates got it for him from Little Blue Bird. It came with a bow-tie too, but since Paxton is rockin' 4 chins instead of a neck these days, we didn't wear it. His Thing One and Thing Two onesie is from Zulily. So cute! My students were so excited to see him all dressed up!

Our campus Technology Mentor added to the fun after the parade with The  Read Across America Shake! It is the Harlem Shake, but Cat in the Hat style. It was so much fun! The kids had to try SO hard not to giggle or laugh while they were reading. It turned out great!


I'm Back!

It's March already?! Where has the time gone? I haven't posted since August! So much has happened in my life, and blogging just wasn't happening. It's been a great year, with so much exciting news to share!

In November, I had the most exciting day of my teaching career! I was named the 2012 Arizona ELL Teacher of the Year! The Arizona Department of Education, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, our district Superintendent, my district's entire Language Acquisition Department, and our entire school threw a surprise assembly to announce the news to me! I walked in thinking it was Character Counts assembly, and was totally blown away. Everyone was in on the secret, except for me! I was eight months pregnant at this point, and very emotional. I bawled like a baby the entire time. I was so honored, but in disbelief! I couldn't believe this was happening!

The surprise assembly was on a Friday. I was eight months pregnant here, and feeling huge, and yucky. So I woke up that morning, put my hair up, no makeup, and wore my school polo shirt and jeans. My husband is all the way to the left in the red shirt. He was in on the secret!! He took the morning off from work to be there for the presentation. I was SO MAD when I found out that he was in on it. He let me go to school looking like THAT! 

Me and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal

My poor kids had to sit on the stage the whole time and just listen! They were so patient as everyone spoke. But they don't look very happy here!

They are thinking "MORE PICTURES??! Is this over yet?"

In December, at the Arizona State OELAS (Office of English Language Acquisition) Conference in Tucson, I got to attend the ELL Teacher of the Year Banquet. It was at such a beautiful resort. It was so nice to be there representing my district, and have so many supportive people attend with me. My kids were really bummed to find out I would be gone for two days without them. They thought this award was for them, and that they were famous! I had to give a speech in front the entire conference. I was SO nervous! I was sure I was going to go into labor right there on stage. Of course, I was teary through the entire thing. I had so many special people to thank. The award had my name on it, but it was really such a collaborative effort of my district administrators, school admin, my colleagues, my students, and my community.

My district put together this video to show at the banquet. Thankfully, this time I knew about it, and I actually got ready that morning! :-)

I had even more exciting news in January. On January 10th, my husband and I welcomed our first child, a boy, into our world. His name is Paxton, and right now he is my whole life. I've been on maternity leave since our winter break in December. I have about 3 weeks left until it's time to head back into my classroom. I have enjoyed every single minute being home with Paxton, and am so lucky I could take the time for such a nice long maternity leave. Being pregnant, and being on maternity leave didn't leave me with much time or energy for blogging. But now that I'm thinking ahead and getting excited to go back to my kiddos, my blogging and TPT excitement is coming back.

Going back to work will be quite the adjustment, but I'm excited to get back to my students. I can't wait to show Paxton how much his mommy loves teaching!