Thursday, April 30, 2015


Happy Thursday!  Tomorrow is the first day of May.  How many of you end your school year in May?  In my district we always end in June, though this year the date has been moved back further than usual to make up for the snow days we missed over the winter.  Poor Boston, I wonder how many days they have to make up??

I bet there are folks in Boston who never want to see another snowflake!!  If you live or teach in Boston, I would very much love to hear how your school system is handling all the snow days you had!

With me being out of work since the accident, I really don't have a whole lot of school stuff to blog about.  I know that the substitute is doing a great job with my Dragons, and that my team mates have been a big help to her and my kiddos.  I have gotten some super-sweet Get Well cards from my littles, and I have heard they keep asking when I'm coming back.  I missed all of their field trips, I missed having them work with their 5th Grade Buddies to catch sneaky leprechauns, I missed having them create encouraging notes to give to their Buddies while they took their Standardized Tests, and I missed getting to see their excitement when our chicken egg incubator arrived.  We work closely with the local university's 4H Program, and every year they deliver to each kindergarten classroom an incubator with 3 chicken eggs.  The kinders get to watch the eggs incubate and eventually hatch, and then they get to participate in the care of the chicks.  When the chicks get big enough, they are given to local farms and homes where they spend the rest of their lives laying eggs and enjoying life.  I don't have any pictures of the eggs and chicks that came to my classroom this year, but thanks to the awesomeness of TimeHop I was reminded of the very first chicks I had in my classroom two years ago.

Meet Salt and Pepper, our classroom chicks from two years ago.  The students I had then still talk about them, and whenever a new incubator shows up they stop in and check on the newest chicks. These chicks did not hatch from the clutch we were incubating.  Unfortunately, none of those eggs hatched.  Our super wonderful 4H lady, Victoria, purchased these little guys from our local Tractor Supply store. We didn't want the kiddos to be sad that none of the eggs had hatched, so we didn't tell them. One day these guys showed up and the unhatched eggs disappeared (Victoria disposed of them for us).  Salt and Pepper were much loved by our littles, who got to hold them and pet them and help take care of their little home.  I enjoyed watching my Dragons interact with the chicks so much, I made sure to have an incubator in our room every Spring from then on.  Salt and Pepper are happily living out their lives on a local farm, and they are MUCH bigger now!  I am so grateful for programs like the 4H Agriculture in the Classroom.  Does your school district have anything similar?  Our 4H lady has suggested we try duck or quail eggs in our incubator, though we haven't yet.  If you have Agriculture in the Classroom, have you hatched anything other than chickens?  i would love to hear from you, including any activities you did with your littles that focused around the chickens hatching. I'm stock-piling ideas for next year, when the incubator returns to the Dragon's Den!  Please leave some comments on activities you have done or would do with your kiddos that focus around having the incubator and chicks in your classroom!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Caught Up on Comments

Happy Wednesday everyone!  In my district, all elementary schools dismiss an hour and 45 minutes early every Wednesday.  Well, the students get to go home.  Teachers stay until normal dismissal time, working as a team to plan or having professional development.  Does your district do anything like that?

Yesterday I mentioned that I was going to be working on catching up on commenting on all of the feedback that has been left on my TPT products.  I was ridiculously far behind!!  I am very happy to say that I have completely caught up on all comments!!  It took a few hours, but I was able to leave a comment on all the feedback I have received from my TPT creations.  Some of the feedback left was so sweet, it really made my day and brought a smile to my face!  Here are some of my favorites!

Short and sweet and to the point, I appreciate fellow educators letting me know that something I made helped make their job easier.  I know how hard and hectic being a teacher can be, and I'm so glad I was able to help!  I never would have known if she hadn't left such a sweet comment!
I was truly touched that this buyer put such thought into the feedback she left.  I love to hear how my creations are used in the classroom, and I truly appreciate hearing different view points on what is included in my activities.  I am so pleased to know that she enjoys this activity so much she'll use it all year long!
When I get feedback from freebies, it means so very much to me.  Especially since commenting on freebies doesn't earn any TPT credits, so there is no real incentive to rate and leave feedback.  For someone to take the time to download one of my freebies and then leave such sweet and specific feedback, it really means a lot to me and shows me that I am doing something right!  This sweet lady left such kind and specific feedback on MULTIPLE freebies that she downloaded, and that really means a lot to me.  As a seller, I enjoy hearing what other educators think of my creations and how they have used or will use them with their kiddos.  Thank you so much Gail's Reading Rubies for bringing a smile to my face more than once with your kind and thoughtful feedback to my creations. It is people like you who make me want to keep doing what I'm doing!!

If you are a creator or a blogger, how do you handle comments and feedback?  Are you able to respond right away?  Also, are there comments and feedback that stick out to you because they were so thoughtful and kind?  I would love to hear from you all!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Commenting on the Comments

Good morning everyone!  I hope you are enjoying your week so far.  I bet most of you are wrapping up the school year, aren't you?  I haven't been to work since January 27th, thanks to my car accident injury, but I know that my colleagues are looking forward to the end of the school year!  At my school, there are 6 Mondays left until summer vacation!  How many for you?

I am going to be spending the next few days catching up on the comments I need to make in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I am WAY behind in commenting on the feedback that has been left from the awesome people who have purchased products from me.

I am ashamed to say I have feedback going all the back to SEPTEMBER!!!  I am a slacker, and I totally apologize!  I am going to be caught up by the end of the week!!  When you purchase a product from TPT, did you know that you can earn TPT credits toward future purchases just by leaving feedback on the items that you purchased?  Those credits can be used for anything in the TPT store.         Also, do you ever check the box under your comments that says 'Email me when the seller responds'? Do you ever look forward to reading the comments and feedback? I do!   So while I am resting and recuperating from my car accident injury, I am going to be working on getting my comments caught up.  If you are one of the awesome people who have purchased something from my store, please know that I will be responding to you very soon!!

Not only have I been horrible with responding to the feedback left me by the awesome people who purchase my products, but I have also been totally slacking in leaving feedback for the purchases that I have made from TPT.  Most of my purchases consist of different types and styles of clip art, though I have some activities purchased as well.  I have been almost as bad in leaving feedback as I have been in responding to it.  I haven't left feedback on my purchases since the beginning of November!! I have made a few purchases each month since then, mostly because I'm addicted to clip art, so I have a lot of feedback to leave!  I'm interested to see how many TPT credits I will earn by the time I have finished commenting!  Before I began catching up, my TPT credit balance was 42 credits.  I'll let you know how many credits I end up with when I have finished!

How do you handle leaving feedback?  Do you do it right after you made your purchase, or do you wait until you've had a chance to try it out with your littles?  Do you have a system for responding to feedback and leaving comments, or do you just try to fit it in whenever you have time?  I would LOVE to hear from you!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Accidentally Broken

On January 27th, my life changed forever.  I was coming home from work and was in a head-on car accident.  There was nothing left of my car.  All three air bags deployed, which not only saved my life but also saved my legs.

I was luckier than my car, and did not sustain any critical injuries.  Besides a lot of deep tissue bruising and swelling from the seat belt, I only broke one bone.  The talus bone in my right ankle. Apparently this is a very hard bone to break, as it is 'protected' by two much larger bones.  Since it is so hard to break, it is equally hard to heal properly.  I think it got broken from my foot getting stuck between the gas and brake pedals.  From the accident site, I was transported via ambulance to the local hospital.  However, because this bone is so rare to be broken and so hard to fix, the local hospital did not have the doctors or equipment to treat this injury.  So that evening I was transported via ambulance to the University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma in Baltimore.  There I spent the next three days and two nights, learning about all of my options.  The surgeons said the bone didn't move apart so there was no need for surgery.  After a physical therapist helped me learn how to use a walker, and was assured I would not be tackling any stairs, I was allowed to go home.

The surgeon at the hospital told me to keep ALL weight off of my leg for at least three months.  This meant that I could no longer go upstairs, so I have been living on the reclining part of my father's sofa.  I had to get a portable commode to use the bathroom in the living room since I cannot go upstairs.  It's pretty embarrassing to have your toilet in the living room, and this is one of the major things that has bothered me about this whole experience.  In February I went to see a local orthopedic surgeon, who basically told me I should be healed and not in any more pain.  Since I totally didn't agree with this, I went to a foot and ankle specialist for a second opinion. I am so very, very glad that I did!  The specialist told me that everything the previous surgeon told me was completely wrong, and that I may have done more harm than good from following his advice.  Awesome.  Anyway, the specialist made sure to get me on the right track for healing.  Still not allowed to put weight on my foot, I was given the okay to spend 15 minutes of every hour getting around using my walker, but no more than that.  Around the beginning of April, I have been able to crawl upstairs to take a shower using a shower seat.  Before that, I was relying on the kindness of my father and sister to wash my hair in the kitchen sink.

My foot and ankle specialist has scheduled me to begin laser surgery treatments starting in May and lasting the entire month.  These weekly treatments should allow to bone to FINALLY heal, and he thinks I should be able to walk again come June.  So far, I have been unable to walk since January 27th.  I have not been at work since the day of the accident, since I cannot walk.  Luckily there is no longer much pain, just the occasional twinges from over-doing it with the walker or crawling upstairs to get a shower.

I have spent the past 3 months with my feet up in the recliner of my dad's couch, completely relying on him to take care of my every need.  From eating to turning the lights on and off, he has had to do everything for me.  I can sit up for longer periods of time, but then my ankle starts to get all tingly and I have to put it up again.  I have spent A LOT of time sleeping, since what else is there to do when one cannot leave the couch for months at a time?  I have also been reading, and recently have felt up to working with the computer again to start updating the blog and working on new activities.  I am so very, very, very ready to be healed from this injury. I am so excited to be able to walk again.  It is amazing that I took so much for granted before the accident, namely being able to walk around on my own two feet and take care of myself.  This car accident has completely changed my life, and I know how incredibly lucky I was.  I made it through that awful wreck with only one broken bone, when I could have lost my life.  I was found to be not at fault for the accident, and the other driver only sustained some bumps and bruises.  While I am grateful every day to have survived the accident, I am becoming increasingly bitter about being stuck on the couch for weeks and weeks and weeks, with no end in sight.  I am truly hoping these laser surgery treatments are able to help me heal enough to walk again, though the specialist said I will most likely always have problems with this ankle.  At this point, I don't mind living the rest of my life with a limp as long as I can walk and take care of myself again.

I would like to thank everyone of my followers who have stuck with me through this process, even though I have not blogged in so very, very long.  I want to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts, and prayers while I heal.  The outpouring of kindness has been incredible, and definitely makes me feel loved!  I am planning on getting back in the swing of blogging and posting and creating, even if it may still be weeks yet for me to return to work.  Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me through this ordeal, and I look forward to our continued friendships!