Monday, January 27, 2014

Meet the Teacher Monday: The Business of Blogging

It's that time again!! First let me start by stating, my NUMBER #1 rule for MTTM...YOU CAN POST AT ANYTIME: MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY...ANYTIME!
With that being said, let's get started. Real quick, here are the rules again:

  • Answer this week's questions on your blog
  • Link up on my blog
  • Read and comment on at least two blogs that have linked up!

Meet the Teacher Monday: The Business of Blogging 

1. How long have you been a blogger? I have been blogging since 2009.

2. Do you have any blogs other than your teacher/education blog?Yes, I have another blog titled, "Ah Me So Hongry!" I started that blog as a means of free therapy to share my weight loss trials and tribulations. I still blog on that blog from time to time, but for the most part I pretty much abandoned Me So Hongry. Here are some of my favorite posts: 

3. What niche is your blog in? Education, but my other blog is a weight loss blog.

4. Do you have plans to start any other blogs? Yes, I plan to start what I call my "mean girl" blog titled, "You Were Thinking It, But I Said It." I need this blog so I can vent about things that make me want to choke people irritate me.  I already have my first post planned, "8 Things You Should Never Say to Single People."

5. What do you enjoy most about blogging? I enjoy expressing my self through writing. On occasion, other bloggers have complimented by writing style. I also enjoy the opportunities that blogging has to offer: connecting with bloggers, reviewing products, and inspiring others.

6.  What do you enjoy least about blogging? Yes, I blog for myself, but followers and feedback are every blogger's dream. It takes time to build a following and time is a luxury that some of us can't afford. 

7.  How often do you blog? Sadly, I blog once or twice a week. I have my blog posts planned out. The problem is... trying to find time to compose my posts. My goal is to blog at least 3 times of week. As you can see, that is not the case. This week I vow to make a concerted effort to blog more.

8.  If you could meet anyone from the blogosphere, who would it be? That's a tough one. I am new to the teacher blog scene so I have not really had much time to explore and connect. However, Mr. Bradley from @bradleys_learning_paradise and I have discussed a possible Houston Area Teacher/Blogger Meet-Up. From the weight loss blogosphere, I would love to meet Bitch Cakes.

9. Are there any hot-button issues you will not discuss on your blog? In regards to both of my blogs, I prefer to stay away from politics and child rearing. I have learned that people can get downright ignorant and nasty. It's best to stay away from hot-button topics. On my weight loss blog, I keep my trap shut about weight loss surgery. With my new blog...anything goes!

10.  Name one thing (or more) that you would like to accomplish with your blog? I want my blog to be more than just posts about activities my students complete in class. Take for instance my previous post, The Three Most Annoying People You'll Meet At A Staff Development Meeting, I enjoy writing humorous pieces of that nature. I  wouldn't mind being published in the Huffington Post. In my opinion, my  brand of humor fits in with some of the snarky Huffington articles I have read. 

You're up! Answer the questions and then LINK UP! Can't wait to read about your blog aspirations. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Three Most Annoying Teachers At Staff Development Meetings

Monday, in my opinion, was by far one of the most productive staff development days...EVER! Rather than sitting through the usual session after session, listening to a parade of education specialists, the Special Education powers-that-be planned our staff development (SD) day as a Make and Take opportunity for the teaching staff to create new learning materials or complete other projects in progress..

Take a peek at the projects my team completed.

Admittedly, I started the SD meeting in a foul mood (It had nothing to do with the fact several school districts celebrated MLK day and my district opted not to) thanks to a lack of seating in a cramped, toasty room. After viewing a brief instructional video (devised to ignite a spark of inspiration), the facilitators provided a quick run down of the itinerary and dismissed the participants. Like ants at a picnic, everyone scurried upstairs to set up camp, so to speak. 

As I walked a lap around the work room looking for some prime "real estate," a stack of paint swatches grabbed my attention. Quickly, I dropped my messenger bag and dashed to a table. Apparently, the same idea popped into the minds of several other teachers. The next thing I knew, hands were grabbing every which-a-way. As I continued to ravage the tables, a couple of colleagues mistakenly grabbed MY new-found materials, which almost kicked-off an all-out no holds barred brawl. Thanks to my ninja skills and quick cat like reflexes, I held on to my new finds. HAA! Check out the cool Popsicle sticks.

I threw this color matching game together with the paint swatches. Perhaps next time I will die-cut the swatches into paint buckets and brushes. 

So, I bet you're waiting to hear about the three most annoying people you'll meet at a staff development meeting. First, a brief psychology refresher. From many years of being gainfully employed, I have learned the following... 

When working with or participating in activities with groups of people, certain annoying personalities emerge. Carl Jung referred to these "personalities," as personas or masks. 

Some individuals use their personas, as a defense mechanism, which allows them to display very little vulnerability when moving in and out of relationships (personal or professionals). The lack of vulnerability often produces people who are arrogant, discourteous,  and  well...just annoying. Okay enough of the psychology lesson (I guess I did learn something in college).

  • The EXPERT: This individual knows it ALL...or thinks they do. The EXPERT provides their unsolicited opinion whether they're knowledgeable about the subject...or not. I am more than sure you've run into this type at many professional development meetings. Although they may know it all, their lack of humility and arrogant demeanor makes them annoying, which sometimes creates friction in the professional environment. In my opinion, there's a difference between being knowledgeable and humble versus being knowledgeable and pompous. 

  • Chatty McGee: This type comes in all varieties: loud-talker (looking for attention), sidebar talker, gossipy talker, the saying-a-lot-but-saying-nothing talker, etc.  Some of the Chatty McGees hold sidebar conversation, often distracting other participants. When this occurs, I glare at the offenders giving off STHU vibes. Some of us take our professional vocation  seriously, and we want to hear what the presenter has to say. And the fact that I can hear you from across the room telling everyone about your mani-pedi means two things: #1...You talk too damn loud and #2...You are annoying.

  • The Comedian (a.k.a The Class Clown): Let me start by saying"You are not funny." This participant's ill timed barbs border on annoying and sometimes sophomoric.  I'm no Mindy Kahling, but I know funny when I see & hear it. 
To the class clowns and wannabe comedians:
A  word of advice, 
"Every silence does not have to be filled with the sound of your voice...or in this case horrific jokes."

What type of people annoy you at staff development meetings?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Meet the Teacher Monday: Three Things

Before I delve into Meet the Teacher Monday, I want to express how jealous I am of the teachers staying home tomorrow, to enjoy day 3 of their 3 day weekend. Think of me as I struggle to remain conscious through yet another staff development day *eye roll*.

Welcome to my second attempt at Meet the Teacher Monday. If you want to join the celebration and connect with some fabulous teachers, click HERE for the details. Last week's MTTM, took an introspective turn...and made you think. This week...not so much. I decided to keep it light and fun!

              This week's topics is: THREE THINGS                                                            
List three words that describe you:
  • I have been told. I keep my Facebook "friends" in stitches. With everyone posting about materialistic possessions and their perfect lives, I prefer to use Facebook as a platform to try out my stand-up comedy routines and brighten every one's days. LOL.
  • IMPATIENT...I can go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. And word to the wise, stay out of the my path. I leave a wake of destruction.
  • TENACIOUS...Living the life of a single mom has transformed me into an independent, determined, "take no prisoners" creative problem solver. Everyone is still breathing, so I commend myself on a job well done as mother and father. 
What three things are on your bucket list?
  • Ride a vespa in in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  • Cliff jump
  • Walk into an airport and spontaneously purchase a ticket to go...ANYWHERE!
What is your favorite music genre? What are three of your favorite songs (any genre)?
I enjoy indie adult alternative (Yuna), indie synth-pop (The Teenagers), chillwave (Washed Out), and pretty much anything you would hear in a coffeehouse. Asking me to pick three songs is like asking me to decide which one of my kids is my favorite. RIGHT NOW...these are my 3 favorite songs, but this list could change in the next 3 minutes...
  • Fitz and the Tantrum's Out Of My League
  • Massive Attack's Paradise Circus
  • Yuna's Live Your Life
If you won the lottery, what three things are you going to buy first?
  • A clue...when it comes to dating. I wrack my brain trying to figure out why someone as fabulous as me is still single.
  • The rights to the movie 50 Shades of Grey. My first course of action...RECASTING the movie...I am serious :-)
  • Some business...for those who feel the need to meddle into mine...HA!
What's your favorite movie genre? What are three of your favorite movies (any genre)? 
My favorite movie genre...foreign horror.
  • Imitation of Life
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Devil's Backbone, Let the Right One In, Dead Snow (I know...that's more than three. O well).
List three of your character flaws:
  • Lack of punctuality...My mother always says I will be late to my own funeral. She is probably right.
  • Aloofness...I tend to build a wall around myself to protect against life's hash realities. As a result,  I come off a bit standoffish and inapproachable to new acquaintances. That may be one reason why I am still single...SIGH.
  • Short-Tempered...On occasion, I may fly off the handle. A few road rage episodes come to mind. 
Three friendship personality DEAL BREAKERS:
  • DEBBIE DOWNER...Nothing sucks the life out of the room like a person with no sense of humor. I recently  experienced a Debbie Downer situation. This person (who shall remain nameless) actually invited themselves to a little impromptu soiree a friend and I threw together at the last minute. Upon arrival, DD's negative energy literally sucked the life out of the party. Everyone just stood there looking at each other awkwardly.  The experience reminded me of a balloon with a small hole...slowly deflating.  I don't need that in my life. Life is too short to walk around with a stick up your a** <--If you were offended by the profanity, then you are one of those people with a stick problem: -) 
  • SELF-ABSORBED SALLY...The world revolves around this hooker (Hooker...sometimes I use this word as a team of endearment, but not in this case.) Her life takes center stage and everyone else is merely a supporting actor in her life. 
  • JUDGMENTAL JUDY...I  HAD a friend who would always undercut any compliment I received with some unsolicited judgmental criticism. 
List three things you want MORE of:
  • TIME
  • PATIENCE & more MONEY...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Meet the Teacher Monday

Hey ya'll! Welcome to my first installment of MEET THE TEACHER MONDAY, a weekly linky celebration dedicated to making and culminating friendships among our tribe of fellow teachers. Here are the rules:
  • On your blog, please respond to this week's questions or prompt that I have provided.
  • Link up your post.
  • Visit two or three bloggers ahead of you in the linky, and leave a comment in response to their Meet the Teacher Monday post.
  • Visit one or two bloggers after you in the linky line-up and leave a comment as well.
  • And because it's so hard to find time to blog, feel free to post any day of the week, not just Monday.
Well, let's get to it!

 Vision Boards 2014

Very rarely do I allow my personal life to interfere with my professional world, of late, I find the two colliding like a tidal wave crashing to shore. 
When I step foot on campus, I prefer to leave my issues outside the door. But, on occasion...those concerns creep into my thought distracting me from performing at my personal best.

So, after deep contemplation and two watermelon margaritas, I came to the following conclusion. In order for me to be successful at work and stay focused (focus<---my one little word), I need to get certain aspects of my life in some semblance of order; so, I decided to create a vision board. 

My vision board depicts the goals I will FOCUS(<---There's my word again.)on this year. 

Before I created my vision board I asked myself the following questions posed by author and radio host, Ken Coleman:

1. Where did I win in 2013?
I consider myself a realist. Translation, I tend to process life with a glass half empty mentality. So as a result of my negative realist mentality, I struggled with the first question. Right I away, I knew my first goal needed to focus on keeping and maintaining a positive attitude. For me, the best way to improve my spiritual guidance. I have found some solace from Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church. Through his sermons I realized, a better attitude will help me deal effectively with my problems. (Note: I tend to stay away from certain taboo topics, like religion.)

2. Where did I lose in 2013?
Definitely, finances. My first order of business, submitting my forgiveness loan documentation. Since I work at a Title I school in a critical shortage area (Special Education), I am hoping for the maximum forgiveness amount. College is supposed to be part of the American Dream. The American dream ain't all it's cracked up to be. Another area I failed in...healthy living. Of the 57 lbs. I lost over the last few years, 19 of those lbs. found their way back. You can read about my weight loss trials and tribulations HERE

3. What did I learn?
I do not play well with others. I learned this lesson while on a group vacation with my son's dance team in San Diego. The book Traveling to Tondo pretty much sums up my attitude on group anything: group vacations, group projects, group planning, etc. 

The moral of the story is...when dealing with groups, if there is too much consenting, you waste a lot of time waiting on people. I wish I would have read that book before I went to San Diego. Things got a little ugly.

4. Where do I want to be this time next year? 
By this time next year I expect that I will have made a "divine connection" with someone special. I expect that I will have overcome my financial difficulties, (specifically my student loans), and I expect those 19 lbs. I gained, will be lost once again.

Of course I know I will not get around to every goal this year, but I must start somewhere. Since my vision board serves as a visual reminder of my goals, I set my vision board as my iPhone wallpaper. 

Now its your turn.
  • First answer questions 1-4.
  • Create your own vision board.
  • Link up your post. 
  • See rules previously stated.
  • Post your vision board on Instagram with the hashtag #IGteachersvisionboard2014
Thanks for participating. I can't wait to see what you create!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Not Another New Year's Resolution Post...

GUILTY! Yes, this happens to be yet another New Year's Resolution post (insert eye roll here). WAIT! Drop your hand and step away from the mouse! Whether you like it or not, New Year's Resolutions are here to stay. But on a more personal note, between you and me, I am the biggest New Year's Grinch. I avoid resolution setting like the plague. After many years of resolving and never fulfilling my promises,  I decided to ditch to the resolutions and set meaningful, purposeful goals. This year I followed suit with some fellow Instagram teachers and  chose one word to serve as my guiding principal to drive me through 2014. You can read about my one word HERE. The word I chose embodies the actions I WILL take to flourish creatively this year.

I digressed a bit. So let's get to it! Today the students returned. I felt like I went back in time to the first day of school in Marty McFly's DeLorean. We revisited many, many, many, many classroom rules. After we settled into our routine, we convened on the carpet to discuss...YEP, you guessed it, New Year's Resolutions (goals). To introduce the lesson I played the following video.

My favorite idea...LEAVE BIG TIPS. I nearly died when he started "making it rain." See urban dictionary for the definition of " making it rain." After the video the students created a New Year's hat craftivity courtesy of A Cupcake For the Teacher...

After the craftivity some of the students wrote about their New Year's Goal, "To make 2014 AWESOME for others."  
Pictured below: A 2014 New Year's Goals Foldable. We used the ideas provided by Kid President to set our goals. 

I customized the foldables according to my student's goals and objectives.

Until next time, make the ordinary extraordinary...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Did you know...?

So, the other night I glanced at the clock and nearly came unglued.  The time read 4:51 AM! I thought to myself, "Where did the time go?" What started out as me tinkering with my blog, wanting to make a few adjustments, ended with me adding customized Pinterest hover buttons to my blog images. Do you have customized Pinterest hover buttons for your blog images? NO, not the typical red and white symbol synonymous with Pinterest, but customized hover buttons. 

So, how do you get your own hover buttons? Glad you asked. After perusing the Internet for what seemed like an eternity, I finally found a tutorial that spoke to that didn't read like instructions from Ikea. I am the type of person that detest reading instructions. Just give me a picture or a video and watch me go to work. 

Where was I? O yeah, so after searching for a tutorial I ran across the blog, Katrina From the Block. I found a tutorial, which I dubbed "Installing Pinterest Hover Buttons for Dummies." 

After watching the video provided, I worked my magic and voilĂ , buttons installed. I was quite pleased with myself. It doesn't take much. To install your own customized Pinterest hover buttons, click the link provided. Hope my little cosmetic blog victory helps you take your blog from the ordinary to extraordinary. Next on my blog fix-it list, my funky font. Feedback and assistance will be much appreciated if you have expertise in the area of fontinization<--not a real word (but it is now). 

Until next time...make the ordinary extraordinary.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Currently NEWBIE!!

Well this must be the most unsuccessful blog start in the history of blog beginnings. After launching my blog a few weeks ago, I gained a total of 1 follower...ME!! Haa Haa! As a blog veteran, I understand it takes time to build and maintain a following. 

So, let's try this again:
Welcome to the Ordinary to Extraordinary Classroom. Sit back, strap on your seat belt and join me on my roller coaster ride of ups and downs as a Special Education Teacher. Although I teach special education, my ideas and activities accommodate grades Pre-K through 1st/2nd. As we adventure together, I plan to share printables, stimulating activities, and hopefully fresh ideas with you. 

The other day while perusing Instagram, I ran across @farleyfarleyfarley 's (from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade) CURRENTLY photo. Well, now that yours truly finally started a blog, I am eligible to participate. 

Thinking: Rather than create New Year's Resolutions only to abandon them a week later, I jumped on the ONE LITTLE WORD bandwagon and chose a word to guide me through 2014. And the ONE LITTLE WORD I chose: FOCUS!

Rather than watch another one of my projects, brainchild creations, brainstorms, ideas, etc, fall by the wayside, I WILL stop focusing on my fear off failure and work to ensure SUCCESS. 

Loving: While on break I started reading Veronica Roth's Divergent series. For a page turning, intriguing read I recommend this thrilling trilogy. I wanted to read the series before the movie release. Nothing thrills me more than watching the pages of a book come alive on the big screen.  Hope you enjoyed my CURRENTLY.

Until next time...make the ordinary extraordinary!

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