Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oh My Liebster!

I'm notorious for saying "Oh my lanta!" about ten billion times a day in my classroom... but "Oh my Liebster!" Not only did Kristen over at Kinderdoodlez absolutely make my week, but shocked me just as much! My poor little blog has not been getting the proper love and care lately and it floored me that she would think of me! 



So this nifty little award is a way to recognize new bloggers. It is a really cool way to give some props to newbies on this big teacher blog scene. 

So here we go!

WHY AND HOW LONG AGO DID YOU START BLOGGING?

Hmm.. All I remember about starting my blog is that it was around Thanksgiving break last year. Boyfriend would watch football on Sundays, and in a successful effort to avoid planning for the week (hehe) I would paint my nails and BLOG! 

I started blogging because I was yearning for positivity. Every educator knows those days, weeks, months, or even school years when you just can not find the silver lining. My blog was something I could control and be proud of - so I created my own silver lining. 



WHAT ONE WORD SUMS UP THE HEART OF YOUR BLOG AND WHY?


Reflection. Is that cheesy? Another reason I started a blog was to reflect on my teaching. I found myself teaching a lesson, it absolutely taking off in totally the right direction, and found myself saying, "I can't WAIT to blog about this!" Now I knew, probably my mom would be the only one reading my blog, but I was consistently reflecting on my teaching and wanting to plan "bloggable" lessons. 

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LEARNED LATE IN YOUR BLOG JOURNEY THAT 
YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN EARLIER?

It's okay to post about little things. I would feel like every post I read by other bloggers was a huge, long, wonderfully crafted piece of text. It is for YOU. You blog for yourself first then for others (not common in our profession, the whole think of yourself mode). So it's okay to do a short little post about whatever your heart desires.  

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST TIME BESIDES BLOGGING?
Crafting and shopping. Done and done. 

HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK DO YOU DEDICATE TO YOUR BLOG?
Not enough! I have becoming shamelessly addicted to my teacher Instagram - lacquer_teach_repeat. I find the visual aspect and ease of Insta to be very appealing. I get just as much out of Instagram as I do out of blogging - plus I love taking pictures of what my kiddos and I do. It is my goal to be more consistent... I mean - it is football season again, and I don't even know how to set my own fantasy lineup, so manicure and blog it is!

WHAT CATEGORY OF BLOG POSTS DO YOU ENJOY MOST?
I love DIY and literacy posts. I am in the minority when it comes to teacher blogs being a 6th grade teacher. I love to make anchor charts, do read alouds, and craft like crazy. So I love reading posts about different topics and making them work for my little pre-adolescent munchkins. 

WHERE DOES YOUR BLOGGING INSPIRATION COME FROM?
Like I previously stated - my lessons where my kids just amaze me. THEY are the ones who make a lesson amazing, not me. I can plan, but they take it to another level and those are the lessons and things I love to blog about. 

WHICH OF YOUR POSTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
That's tough. I don't think one sticks out more than the others. I really only blog about things I am uber proud of - that's what makes them blog-worthy in my mind. :)

IS THERE ANY POST THAT YOU ARE PLANNING TO DO, BUT HAVE BEEN PUTTING OFF FOR A WHILE NOW?
Nope - I sorta fly by the seat of my pants!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF BLOGGING?
It has put me out of my comfort zone. When I started the blog it was about my two favorite things - nail polish and teaching. I wanted the happy factor from blogging, but was scared about what others would think of me (go away 7th grade Jessica!) I have been AMAZED at the love and support of other bloggers and Instagrammers! They fill my heart with happiness whenever there is a positive reaction to something I am doing. Being a new-ish teacher you still need that support and don't always get it. I am also learning SO much from other bloggers. It is instant Professional Development without sub plans and a dreaded 6 hour workshop. 

I recently went out on a limb and attended a Midwest Teacher Blogger meet up. I was nervous because none of my co-workers or teacher friends blog, so I was ridin' solo - but it was SO FUN!


Okay, I just figured out Bloglovin' recently and how to follow bloggers (noob over here) - so I am really only following those famous famous bloggers with thousands of fans! But one little lady who I have connected with on Instagram and follow her blog, loves all the same things as me (ya know, coffee, doodling, shopping, teaching!) So I'm nominating Megan over at Cardigans and Caffeine

A. I'm so jealous she left my home of Illinois for SCOTTSDALE! I'm obsessed with that place!
B. Her blog is BEYOND adorable!
C. She rocks. 

So check her out!


THE DEETS. 

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out." (Follow their blog if you haven't already!)  

2. Answer the 10 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).

3. Nominate 5-10 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 10 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.

4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.

5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Have Fun!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently...

It's FALLLLL! Well almost, you might notice my undying love for this colorful, brisk season throughout my posts (and this month's currently)! Linking up with  Farley this long weekend for the September currently.


1. Listening to Youtube and my beauty gurus! I don't buy any beauty products until listening to their reviews first. Saves me time, money, and my whole family calls them my internet friends. Derp.

2. Loving the way my apartment is filled with fall smells! Leaves, Autumn, Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, and Marshmallow Fireside are just the ones I have plopped around my place at the moment. Bath and Bodyworks has the BEST candles, especially for FALL!

3. Thinking about boots and scarves. Two of my favorite wardrobe staples... do we see a trend here?

4. Wanting my wall, yes you read correctly, WALL of laundry to do itself. I still have my suitcase packed from Florida on top of piles and piles of laundry to do. Maybe I own too many clothes? Psh, no such thing.

5. Needing to get back into my workout routine. I used to be a before-school gym type of person. Then I moved a bit further from my gym and it has gotten that much tougher to peel myself out of bed in the morning. I'm struggling finding a new routine. Hence the double ugh.

6. 3 trips - OOH. I picked Fiji because the sand is white and the water entirely picturesque. Paris, because it's been two years since I've been there and there is nothing like a chocolate croissant under the Eiffel Tower. Lastly, Nashville. Because everyone is SO friendly, downtown is adorable, and country music is my thang.

Be sure to link up! I hope everyone's SUPER necessary 3 day weekend is treating them well!

OH P.S. if you have not checked out Essie's Fall 2014 collection, just do it. They hit the jackpot on this one. GO! TARGET! NOW! :)




Saturday, August 23, 2014

QR Classroom Tour


One thing that continuously runs through my mind at the beginning of the school year is... HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO TEACH ALL OF THOSE CLASSROOM ROUTINES AND PROCEDURES?! While the word endurance comes to mind, I also think of my poor kiddos sitting in their seats listening to me drone on about how everything in our room works.


At the end of last year (with my dream class mind you) I thought I would try a little something different. It was weird for me to be so prepared in thinking about the Fall and the beginning of June, but with this particular group of kids and I  - risk taking was a staple in our room. Collaboration is so huge in my classroom, and I am SO not a direct instruction type of gal. I figured who are the experts on everything Room 225... MY STUDENTS. Duh.

END OF SCHOOL YEAR:
1. Pick out the things I was NOT going to change up too much for next year (which was really hard, I change a lot every year.) I really had to look at my procedures and routines that work really well day in and day out. List them.
2. Pair students up. I chose high/low so the quality of videos made would be pretty streamline.
3. Assign each pair one thing in the classroom to cover.
4. Have students make a video explaining the procedure. We used the Explain Everything App on the iPads. You could also have them use an app like Videolicious or Animoto. They could also just video themselves!
5. I had them upload the videos to a Classroom Tour file on our class Dropbox. Some of the videos are one minute, some are four. Whatever they thought needed to be included in the video, I let them include.

Here is one of the shorter ones :)


We had an absolute BLAST making these videos, they thought of more tips and tricks than I could have every thought of!

BACK TO SCHOOL:

1. Re-watch videos and tear up on how you miss your class from last year already. 
2. Create a QR code for each video and place it at that spot in the room.
3. Create a worksheet with questions that coincide with the videos for newbies to answer. 
4. Send them off with their device and headphones!



My scavenger hunt includes 7 videos and 20 questions. QR codes were made at www.qrstuff.com 

Happy teacher, happy students!






Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reading for Badges

There has been a lot of buzz around learning through gaming lately in the education community. It makes 100% sense. What do kids all talk about? Video games. What do they all play on their phones? Video games. What do they ask for for birthday gifts? Video games. What do their teachers play when they can't stand thinking anymore? Candy crush. Wait... !


So what is it that is so addicting about games? When you fail, you re-spawn, automatically start back over. It isn't scary. You are also working towards a goal - and you are earning something (anything!) I recently attended a PD workshop and came to the conclusion that I would love to teach through games, but there was no way to develop them myself (coding = scary). So how could I utilize this appeal in my classroom to motivate students?

We use Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge on my team. I have mixed emotions about it because Accelerated Reader scarred me as a child because I was a VERY slow reader. One aspect I love about the challenge though, is the push to explore different genres. I was that kiddo who only read Roald Dahl (whoops). LOVE MATILDA!
 



Behold, genre badges were born. 




In the 40 Book Challenge students are required to read a certain amount of books in each genre. This CHALLENGE part with a numeric goal, gets the students all sorts of revved up. My serial genre readers last year were forced to explore other worlds, it was awesome. Once a student completes the required number of books for that genre, they earn the badge. They level up. They win. Just like they would in any video game.



I figure the badges will be two-fold in my classroom. On Edmodo you can award students badges, I am hoping this same concept will apply with my students blogs this year. Instead of a brag tag to wear around school, for a 6th grader they would have the "brag tag" mentality as their personal blog sports their genre badges. (After a couple years of trial and error with blogs - I find KidBlog is my go-to).

Visual reminders of success and pride are also very important. I have not quite decided where their  badges will be sported yet, but it will either be on their desktop or perhaps the front of their locker for all to see. After all, multiple books in a new genre is a HUGE success.

The beautiful thing about the 40 Book Challenge and the genre badges is the differentiation can happen in a snap. Create a list for each student that is attainable for them. They will be master readers in no time :) Or at least a little more motivated... take what you can get right?




Let the games begin!

Stay chip free and standards based!




ALSO! Interested in the badges - leave a comment with your email and I will send them on over :)



Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher (Linky Party!)

So as I fall more and more into this blogging thing, I am LOVING creeping on anyone and everyone. Now as much as I know people by their blogs - it is important to remember they are real people too (right Pinocchio?) So LINKY PARTY, bring it on - thanks Falling into First for providing this fab get together :)


THAT'S ME! Jessica Spethmann, 6th grade teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. Oh, and this is me in 6th grade. 


My students crack up at this picture, they think I have not changed one bit! It's one of my favorites to break out for sheer entertainment. 

I am the only girl in my family, 3 bro-has. 

They rock. Our family is a bit Disney obsessed. My mother will make it there every single year with some combination of kids - this spring break it was Eric and I. We are going again next week!


I live with my FANTABULOUS boyfriend Jordan and our pupster Dakota. 
He had some big shoes to fill when I was lookin' for a man. I promised myself that they must make me laugh just as much as my dad and brothers. I cry laughing on the weekly with this hunk. It's fantastic. 




 THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...
Target. I mean who doesn't love Target? I tend to roam the halls of Target when I'm feeling down, does that qualify me for Shopaholics Anonymous? Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. The love affair started during student teaching and we've been going strong since. I also love art and beauty. I love doing makeup - I feel like its face art (that might be weird.)

 IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher since... forever. I did go through a stint in Jr. High where it was teacher/news anchor. I was Barbara Walters for a bio project... quite a hoot. 

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.
Outgoing, passionate, crafty.

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"
 "I love standardized testing." HA!

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?
Kenny Chesney (country lover over here) These questions make me nervous because I wouldn't know what to do with my hands if I ever met a celebrity!


Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
Probably my blog name - Lacquer, Teach, Repeat. Ask anyone, I can talk about education and nail polish FOR DAYS.

 Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?
Mind reading. Although, I feel like it may get me into trouble. I am already an over-thinker!

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?
He was always my favorite author, and this will forever be my favorite quote. 


Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 
Oh my, I can't sing. Zero musical inclination over here. I would plead the 5th.

 Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
Eh, both. My dad used to get me up and we'd work out together every morning when I lived at home. I was SO morning person. This summer I've been a late night crafting machine, therefore, night owl.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
EEK! I think my CCSS vocabulary definition cards. I could not WAIT to get these up in my classroom. 


Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU!
I was a figure skater for 12 years of my life. I used to skate before school, after school, and during lunch/recess. I met some of the most amazing people through skating. One of my best friends, who was also in my sorority in college, and I am now on a teaching team with her mom! I quit in high school because I told my parents I wanted more of a social life (my mom was secretly heartbroken). I sometimes get upset with myself for quitting. All of my friends who continued to skate got to travel the world in high school and college. But it played a huge part in my perseverance and discipline that make up who I am today. And I saved up and went to Europe after college, so I can sort of forgive myself :)

Loved this linky party!  Click on over to Falling in First to check out some other amazing friends!



Stay chip free and standards based!





#MondayMadeIt

I feel like all days of the week are "made-its" during the summer for me. Mostly Sunday nights as my honey watches baseball, I post up at the dining room table and make a muck! Trying this whole linky business for the first time too :)

Here is what happened after I slept off my red-eye flight home from Seattle yesterday...

#1 - I love painting, and inspirational quotes are my fave. I couldn't pass this quote up. You can see some of my previous work under, that Miss Perfectionist over here couldn't bear to look at - so RE-DO! 





 #2 - We are not allowed to have curtains in our room (curse you fire code) - but does a ribbon curtain count? We will find out soon enough when this cutie gets hung in my small window by the door. It was SO easy too! A $.59 dowel rod and some ribbon - thank YOU Michaels.

-Paint dowel black
-Cut 5 strips of each color (7 colors)
-Fold and snip
-Wrap around dowel and pull ribbon through!

  
#3 - I have seen all of these super cute welcome gifts for students - and could simply not resist. So if I can find a deal on rock candy, rock candy it is - and if I can't then HELLO pop rocks!


Stay chip free and standards based y'all!