Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's Up Wednesday? Why I NEED an Erin Condren Planner!

Ok, I skipped yesterday and I felt really guilty about not blogging (but a little ice cream and my a few lost hours over on Twitter made me feel so much better) I am back today and ready to go!

I don't know about you but I am a planner...I have to have my life and each day all planned out. As the mother of a very busy 13 yer old, and the wife of a police officer whose schedule rotates every six weeks, we always seem to have something (or multiple somethings) going on at all times. Add to that, I just started a Master's Program with papers, group projects, etc.  I have (and need) calendars for my calendars. The problem is, I am overwhelmed a lot of the time, and I still feel like I am always forgetting something. I know a lot of you have blogged about Erin Condren planners. I absolutely love them and have wanted one FOREVER. I struggle with the cost-benefit analysis...especially justifying it to my husband. **If you have never heard of Erin Condren and her Ah-Mazing planners...go HERE to take a look-see!

I would love to hear from this of you who have used one. Was it worth the money? Did it help keep you more organized? What are the Pros of using it, and what are the Cons?  Are there other planners out there that are less expensive and just as good, or more expensive and better?  I REALLY need some feedback on this so please tweet or share this blog post with others who you think might be able to help me make some hard and fast decisions.

In the mean me decide which of these three planners I should get, if I decide to go with an Erin Condren planner. Follow the link below to a Google form to vote. If I get 100+ votes, I will do a random drawing for a $10 Starbucks gift card.  So SPREAD THE LOVE!!!!

 Planner A- Be Brave

Planner B- Initial It

Planner C- Collage

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer...(finally!!) update from UTC and the importance of having a PLN!

Wow! Has it really been 4 months since I last posted? I know I have said this so many times before but I really struggle to blog during the school year because they are so many other things going on (like PD, grading, ummmm oh and TEACHING)! Rather than fill this post with excuse, or worse yet, promises to do better...I am just going to jump right back in and see where it leads. I am going to warn you...I just started grad school so that may cut into my blogging a little this summer, but I may schedule a few weekly posts and go with it!

So, today began my first full week of summer break. Last week I finished up school stuff on Monday and then spent 3 days at the Upstate Technology Conference (UTC) here in Greenville. This year I presented on two different topics: Using Google in the Classroom and Starting a Primary Technology Club (I really should have blogged about that last year, but I was a little busy STARTING A TECHNLOGY CLUB!!). If you would like to see my Google Slide presentations form either session, comment below with your email address and I will send you the link. This is absolutely the best technology conferences ever. And it is FREE. I would love to be heading to Atlanta to ISTE14 in a few weeks with a bunch of my other bloggy pals but I don't have an extra $400 for the conference fee. So back to UTC. Tons and tons of sessions on everything Technology related. This year there was no keynote speaker but that was not a bad thing because it gave extra time for more sessions. This year they also had a new opportunity called "Unconference" loosely modeled off of Edcamp but they were just 1 hour breakout sessions. While it didn't really meet my expectations as a true "EdCamp" type experience--what it did was allow me to re-connect with members of my Profession Learning Network (PLN) and even add a few members. Many members of my PLN were presenting at this conference, so it gave us all an opportunity to cheer each other on, all while learning some new tricks. I have to say, if you are in the NC-SC-GA area, you really need to try and attend this conference next year.

Now more about my PLN.  A few years ago, at UTC, I attended a session on building your PLN. The platform they suggested was Twitter but I already had a personal Twitter account so  I created a professional Twitter Account (I wanted to keep it separate form my personal one because it is always best not to be shouting my love of all things Justin Timberlake, OITNB and the Red Sox among my professional colleagues!!! AWKWARD!  Can you have a PLN without probably already have one thought whatever social media you are currently using, whether it is Blogging, Facebook or Instagram.  The point it, to connect, learn and share. And when you get the opportunity to meet face to face with these people who have your back is an indescribable experience.

During a session at UTC, there were several of my PLN members in a session with me, and the presenter was also a member of my PLN. We were all tweeting nuggets of wisdom during the presentation, and all you could hear was the notification "dings" going off on our phones, laptops and iPads! It was our way of supporting our friend and showing our excitement of being all together!

Here is a selfie of my PLN! They are awesome! Just AWESOME!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Currently.....

Wow..what happened to January?!?!?  I could swear we just celebrated New Years! Well the GREAT thing about a new month is that it is time for CURRENTLY by  Farley over at Oh Boy! Fourth

Here are my responses....head on over to Farley's blog and see hers and grab the graphic to do your own!

Listening- My son really wants to get on the laptop but I am blogging so he has settled for playing PS# and is playing one of the video games he got for Christmas. He loves playing video games but I find that he would play all day if I let him. Of course as soon as I relinquish possession of the laptop he will get on here and play Minecraft!!

Loving- Here in the South we don't do winter very well so when it snowed just a little over an inch here in the upstate of South Carolina, schools closed early Tuesday. were closed Wed-Thur and we had a delay yesterday morning. Not that I am complaining but I prefer my January with a few more 50+ degree days. Today is supposed to get close to 60...WAHOO! If I had gotten a pedicure this morning, I would be wearing flip-flops!  Soon.....

Thinking-I promised myself I would stay on top of papers and grading but so far...I am failing miserably. There is always tomorrow!!!  For now, the papers stay in the bag!

Wanting- I a not usually a cold Starbucks kind of gal but a few weeks ago I took a sip of my husband's Java Chip Frappuccino and I was hooked! I am craving one right now, but I will have to wait until later today when we head to church!!

Needing- I guess i should not complain since we had so much time off this week for snow but the weekends never seem to be long enough!! I need a 3 or 4 day weekend at least once a month..maybe twice. I could seriously get caught up if I had that!!

2 Truths and a Fib- Yes, I am addicted to Pinterest and yes, I have been to the White House back in 1991 I was dating a guy who was in the Army stationed in The Old Guard. He was able to get be on the guess list for the arrival ceremony for the Queen of England on the White House lawn. It was very cool and a nice in a lifetime memory. And NO, I was not born in France (but my husband a military Father- in -Law was a Colonel in the Army)...I was born her in the good ole U S of Virginia! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I have been challenged....

Alright..I admit it...I am a slacker when it comes to blogging. I try really hard to keep up but I just can't seem to stay on top of it an everything else.  Well here is my motivation to get going again...

About a month ago I was notified by George Champlin @GChamplinAP  via Twitter that he had mentioned me in a Tweet. It was the first day back to school after the Holiday break...and you know how this story ends..I have not been on Twitter or in my blog-related email account since them. So today I decided to get caught up on email, blogging and Twitter and fond that the mention on Twitter was realted to a PLN challenge.  So here is the deal...

I was challenged by Mr. Champlin to share some blog-love with flow bloggers out there via this challenge.  Let me start by telling you about Mr. Champlin and how we came to know one another. Two years ago I was sitting in a session at the Upstate Technology Conference here in Greenville, SC where I live an teach.  The session was taught by a fellow GCSD teacher Chris Beyerle,  whom I follow on Twitter, and was titles "Building your PLN (Professional Learning Network) through Twitter. We all posted our blog names and Twitter on the Edmodo page for the session, and George and I started following each other. He is an AP here in Greenville, and we know a few of the same educators (mostly edtech folks). Anyway, last September our paths crossed again as we both attended EdCamp in Rock Hill, NC. I think it is important to make professional connections and I always learn so much from the conversations George contributes to on Twitter. So here goes...

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve a little recognition and a little blogging love! (I chose 7 people who inspire me)
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you).
  • This is a challenge but you do not have accept.
11 Random Facts about me
  1. Teaching is my second (really 3rd career)...I spent the first 11 years of my post-college years in the Corporate world (data collection, information services production manager, corporate trainer, training manger). 
  2. I spend way to much time on my devices (phone, iPad, computer) but technology is my passion.
  3. I have an MBA but after completing it, really had no desire to continue working in the corporate business world (I only stuck it out for 3 more years after graduating..then left to be a stay at home mom).
  4. When my son was about to start Kindergarten, I decided to go back to school to become a teacher.
  5. Since becoming a teacher, I have taught at the same school for the last 7 years, although I have taught different grades...3rd, 4th and 5th).
  6. If I could teach Social Studies and Technology all day...I would be a happy camper.  Although I am developing a passion for teaching Math.
  7. In June I am starting on a second Master's degree..this one in Library Science. I hope to finish my career as a school librarian. 
  8. Our family is very involved in Scouting and despite my dislike for sleeping outdoors, I have enjoyed going on camp-outs with my son's troop. 
  9. I am originally from Virginia, but we moved to South Carolina almost 7 years ago when my husband retired (he has since gone back to work in the same profession he retired enforcement).
  10. This year, I started a technology club for Kindergarten, First and Second Graders at my school. We have our first meeting in a few weeks. I am hoping to teach them to code using Tynker.
  11. I try not to watch too much television, but my new obsession is the show Scandal. 
Okay, now to answer the questions posted by Mr.Champlin:

  1. What book or magazine are you reading?   Currently, I am reading two books...Divergent by Veronica Roth (for enjoyment) and Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen (for a professional book study).
  2. What inspires you?  Wow it is hard to pick one thing...I get inspired by great teachers and administrators, by students, by my own child, by people that have faced challenges and fought hard to overcome them. 
  3. Who was the educator that has most impacted your life? My High School English teacher. She was also a neighbor of ours and my Mom and Stepdad were going through a divorce. She let me hang out at her house, encouraged me to always do my best. She helped me realize that college was not an option but instead an obligation I had to myself .We have kept in touch over the years and last Spring we were both vacationing on the NC coast and got together for the first time in over 20 years. It was as  if we had not been proud to call her friend. 
  4. What motivates you to do what you do? My students...they don't have the best of lives at home, but school is a place they can feel safe, and successful.
  5. What is the best advice you received concerning education technology? Use it as a tool, not as a replacement for good teaching.
  6. Where do you hope to be professionally in 6-10 years?  I would like to be a school librarian but want to use that position to expose students to new technology and encourage them to dream big!
  7. What is your happiest childhood memory of school? Learning to read!
  8. What is your happiest memory as a professional educator? Helping a student learn to read!
  9. What advice do you have for peers who are overwhelmed with the current educational environment? Speak up, use your voice, stand up for the greatest profession. If you don't no one else will!!
  10. What is the best book you read to help you professionally? The First Days of School by Harry Wong....I buy a copy for my student teachers too!!
  11. What superlative would you give yourself and why?  Most determined....because no matter what I set my mind to, I am so determined to succeed! 
The questions I have for those I am inviting to the challenge are:
  1. What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator?
  2. What do you think you would be doing if you had not become an educator?
  3. What is your happiest childhood memory of school? 
  4. What is your happiest memory as a professional educator? 
  5. How would you want to be remembered by your students at your funeral?
  6. What is the one book you remember reading as a child?
  7. What is your biggest frustration with the current education system?
  8. What word would you use to describe how you feel on the first day of school?  On the last?
  9. What celebrity do you think would make a great teacher?
  10. What made you decide to start a blog?
  11. What book are you currently reading for fun? For work?
My PLN Invitations go to:

Joann Claspill 
Mo Mullen Detrick @mmdetrick
Shasta Looper
Lorraine Vasquez
Lacie Sullivan
Ginger Watkins
Bridget Pearsall