Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Fit: Instagram Photo a Day and My Fitness Pal

I'm so excited that other bloggers, Instagrammers, teachers and TpT sellers are as excited as I am to get fit this summer! Together I think we've created a fun and motivating course of action: 

1. An Instagram "Photo A Day" challenge {more details below}
2. My Fitness Pal app and web site {more detail below} 

Instagram Challenge: I've participated in a PAD (photo a day) challenge before, and it was super fun. All you do is post a picture along a certain theme or prompt every day and add a hashtag so people can see who's participating. {Ours is #PADfitness} Not only are you thinking about the topic, you're spreading the word to friends about how you're staying healthy and they can join in! Plus, Instagram is just fun. {My addiction detailed here and here.} Without further ado ... the challenge! Feel free to copy this image and post it yourself, and while I'm going to try and post every day, don't feel like you HAVE to do so. Jump in any time. :) 

My Fitness Pal: As I mentioned here, MFP is an awesome tool that you can use online or as an app on your phone. You plug in your height, weight and activity level, then pick whether you want to lose, maintain or gain {HAHA} weight. It tells you how many calories you should net each day. That "net" is a great word, because it means that if you exercise and plug it in, MFP will take it away from your total eaten calories and you get to eat MOREEEEEE. {Is that horrible? It's honestly a very motivating factor for me. More working out = more brownies and I can SEE it on my phone!!}

From the iPhone app - this is what your diary looks like.  At the top you can see that it adds your calories from food and subtracts calories from working out. I didn't really eat a sausage patty for lunch, but the pasta sauce had sausage in it and I couldn't figure out how to key that in, so I just roughly estimated, lol. 
This is what it looks like on the online site when you add your food. 

This is what it looks like on the online site when you log your exercise... or not, as was the case today. :)  

Plus, it's an awesome way to check about how much fat, trans fats, vitamins, carbs, etc. that you're consuming each day and try to get more of the "good" stuff in. It even has a place to add in the amount of water you're drinking. It really is an overall fitness app, not just for losing weight. 

This is a really cool feature that lets you see how you're doing in terms of nutrition, not JUST calories - I think I ate eggs for dinner that day so my cholesterol is high and I ate a TON of protein {not typical}. I also ate a lot of sugars {VERY typical}. 

The other cool part about it is that you "follow" each other and can see when someone works out or if they come in under their calorie goal. No worries, it doesn't say how much you weigh or what exactly you eat, it just posts when you burn calories or when you come in under your net goal. Then you can comment on others' status and cheer them on, or get motivated to go workout yourself! 

This is what it looks like when you're adding friends on the online site. 

This is what your "newsfeed" looks like on the iPhone app. Ms. Price (kindergator) is WORKING IT!! #soproud

The online tool has a TON of cool options for reports, community boards and other things, but I'm more likely to check my phone. :) 

SO if you want to follow me or anyone else, check this post, or find me on Instagram or My Fitness Pal {ashleybbz in both places}.  Can't wait to "see" y'all and get FIT! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Fitness Goals: My Fitness Pal Fun!

Alright, y'all -- I am SO SO serious about getting fit this summer.

I just started with an app called "My Fitness Pal," which is a social app where you track your diet and exercise. I love it because a) it helps me keep track of what I am and am not eating (enough protein? enough fiber?) and b) my friends see a newsfeed-style list of what exercise I've done and if I've logged in to track my food (not what I've eaten, just if I've logged in and if I'm under my calorie goal it will say that ... but not over, lol!). They post encouraging messages and it's a fun way to stay motivated to just MOVE.

SO ... my question is, would anyone here be interested in joining up for some cheerleader-style social media motivation? I'm thinking there are a few options:

1. Join up on My Fitness Pal (I'm ashleybbz -- find me using my e-mail, ms.bbzteacher at OR
2. Do a photo-a-day challenge or something similar on Instagram. (I'd make a list of exercise/fitness things to keep track of.) OR
3. A book-club style blogging check-in once a week or so, with everyone setting a goal and stopping back in to share their progress. (Sort of like Chris sets up here for our TpT goals.)

Editing to add: We decided on My Fitness Pal and Instagram! More information in this blog post.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Review of Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Writing Workshop

* Update: After you read this, head here for Five Steps to Implementing Lucy Calkins! *

When some of my colleagues and I attended Lucy Calkins' writing workshop in March and found out there was a NEW writing curriculum being published, we crossed our fingers and toes that we could get this curriculum for our writing instruction ... and we did! {WOO HOO!!} 


See, I don't know about you but I found the old K-2 set a little tough to use - by the time my students got to my classroom they either a) had heard it all before or b) the curriculum was too young for them. The new set has a different set of FOUR units for every grade level! The other reason we were hoping for the new units was that we felt, as a team, our writing instruction was suffering because we didn't have a {rigorous and Common Core-aligned} school-wide sytem of rubrics and exemplars on which to base our teaching {like we have in other subjects}. It was holding our kids back from writing at the highest level. It was a no-brainer. This was needed. 

So then we waited for what seemed like forever {until May}. The units finally, finally came in on the last day of school, and I've spent the last couple of days tucked up on the couch "digging in" to some professional development. {What, everyone doesn't anxiously await their summer break so they can ... read more about teaching?! LOL!}

Here's a quick list of three things I love:
  1. Rubrics that span grades K-6 so I can push or remediate my kids based on what they need. 
  2. Student exemplars so my kids have authentic examples of what their writing should look like. 
  3. In-depth mini-lessons that really TEACH my kids to refer back to mentor texts as examples of what great writers do. 
A few visuals of the things I love:

And finally ... my first-ever VIDEO overview of the curriculum. It's a little silly but I think it gets the point across. :) 

So ... do you implement a writing workshop or use Lucy Calkins? Thinking about purchasing or using this curriculum? Let me know what you think!

* Update: After you read this, head here for Five Steps to Implementing Lucy Calkins! *

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life Lately ....

I've been largely absent from the blog with end of year and trips to see friends and family {yay!} but I have been floating around Instagram during this busy month. Here are a few pictures of life lately ... 

Row One: 1. My favorite Vera Bradley backpack! 2. Tea + DRAs ... my life 3. Field Day fun! 4. Sudoku - awesome way to think logically at the end of the year 5. Road trip to a mountain cabin with friends and our pups :)
Row Two: 1. Tie-dye - stained hands 2. 40 2nd graders in 40 minutes for tie-dye ... shew! 3. Oobleck experiments for matter! 4. LOVE me some cider 5. Painting our learning journals for this unit! 

Row One: 1. My classroom!  2. Our push/pull wall for Community Night #4  3.  Solids, liquids and gas wall for Community Night 4.  Favorite outfit 5. Working on fractions!  
Row Two: 1. Random painting in my room 2. The BEST hair oil 3. Splattering paint Jackson Pollock-style as we learn about force and motion 4. Me, my mom and brother for Mother's Day!  5. Beautiful Stephanie Ryan print I bought for my momma

Row One: 1. A little reading  2. The front seat of my car ... oy 3. Cousins!  4.  My adorable door from my parents for Teacher Appreciation 5. Yummy muffin that Mr. BBZ took a huge bite out of ... 
Row Two: 1. My mom and Cici on the way to see my grandma for Mother's Day 2.  New shoes from Target! 3. and 4. Zoom balls as we learn about force and motion  5. Another Stephanie Ryan print I bought for my momma in law

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Disney Princesses

Well, it's been exactly two weeks since I last posted and ohhhhhmygosh life has been crazy! Crazy and good with visits to see family and friends as well as regular old end-of-year stuff, but busybusybusy and it's kept me away from blogging. 

One thing that brought me back here was this Merida controversy. You know ... Disney/Pixar tarted up the heroine Merida from Brave and people are up in arms. One of my favorite bloggers {The Bloggess} wrote about her perspective, and it closely mirrored my own reaction to the Disney Princesses, so I had to share. 

My reaction was that yes, yes yes yes I believe it's wrong to present a princess {with too much make up and measurements that are scientifically impossible} as the only image of femininity ... but that images from the media shouldn't be the only contact our girls {and boys} have with strong female role models. We {teachers, parents, friends and loved ones} can and should be examples that our kids can look up to, and it's our job to help them distinguish between fact and reality.

Fellow teachers ... what do you think?  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Family Matters: Science Experiments to Celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day

I'm squuueeeezzzing this one in right under the wire - a matter resource designed to help your kids understand how matter (solid, liquid and gas) changes AND give you some usable gifts for Mother's Day or Father's Day (or just Loved One's Day!). :) 

One of my favorite experiments is this liquid viscosity experiment (which ties in to a "breakfast in bed" motif).

I designed this experiment knowing that one of the toughest things to understand about solids is that things like salt, sugar and flour are all solids - they're just verrrrrryyy small pieces - they don't "flow" like liquid, they tumble!

Kids will explore gas properties by blowing bubbles ...

And learn about melting solids by making a crayon sun catcher! 

Just a little taste of what's inside (you can see the table of contents above!) - pop on over to my store if you're interested in seeing more! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Force and Motion + Teacher Clothes: Black and White Striped Dress

Now that MAP is over, we're back to full-force science time! We're working on forces and motion, and today we spent some time studying Newton's second law  ... {that's the one that says extra force means extra motion}. What better way to study small vs. big forces than use Pop pom Poppers?! 

This was the simplest thing to set up - I used red Dixie cups (other kinds weren't sturdy enough), cut the ends off balloons, and put the balloons over the top of the cup. Then I cut out the bottoms. We pulled back just a bit for a "small" force and more for a "big" force. Then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... LAUNCH!  

We (of course) measured and record our Pom pom "pops" ... and it was a great time to work in some non-standard vs. standard measurement. 

Tomorrow we're headed out on a SKATING field trip to learn about friction ... #mybootywillbesore #hashtags4life 

While I'm updating ... teacher clothes! I'm determined that after two off weeks, I'm going to get up in time to actually feel GREAT about my teacher clothes this week. I kicked off Ms. BBZ 2.0 with this new Target maxi {#loveamaxi} and a sock bun {whoop whoop!}. I have a serious black and white obsession. 

Since it's SUPER rare for me to show my face, I decided to keep it classy for ya and leave off the arrows and sources. The dress is from Target and the cardi is from LOFT. The necklace is a Chan Luu necklace that Mr. BBZ bought me for Christmas ... #lovehim. 

We have to talk about that sock bun though ... I'm seriously channeling a little Library Dragon, don't you think? 

Not gonna lie ... I love children's literature. Okay, that's probably enough geekery for tonight. Don't forget about the sweet sale over at my store {and many others} on TpT and our last day of the MEGA giveaway

Thanks Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs for the graphic! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teacher Pay Teachers Appreciation SALE!

Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a HUGE sale this Tuesday! If your favorite sellers are hosting sales (I am!), you can get up to 28% off your purchase with the code TAD13. WOO HOO! 

Thanks Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs for the graphic! 

I LOVE the idea of seeing what's on everyone's "wish list," so ... here's what I'll be stocking up on this Tuesday!  ... {And if you need more ideas, you could browse the fabulous sellers over at my giveaway!} 

First, these assessments from Alyssha are going in my cart, and I'm trying soooo hard to convince the other teachers at my school that we need to use them in other grades too. 

I  also think the idea of wristbands to show answers is SUCH a cute one, and punctuation is something we NEVER stop practicing. It's been on my wishlist for a while, so I'll be purchasing Leah's "Show Me the Answer" wristbands.  

I have Meg's conceptual fraction unit, and it's WONDERFUL. It's so hard to find good conceptual units. This will be a stretch activity for several of my kiddos - 

Can you tell I'm super math-focused right now? It's because after moving to my new school, math was the most difficult thing to coordinate between NWEA's MAP test and Common Core standards. We used Scott Foresman Investigations at my old school ... which is a littttlllleee different than traditional mathematics and highly Common Core aligned. The MAP test kind of flipped my math long-term plan on its head, but I have my game plan for next year and I'm ready to make it happen. I can't WAIT for summer planning. :) 

Since we're "window shopping," I asked Mr. BBZ to browse around a little and see what he would be interested in buying (he's a middle school special educator). Can you believe he hasn't ever bought a single thing on TpT?!!  After looking around he said, "It's going to be really hard not to spend a lot of money." Um, ya think?! ;) Here are his picks: 

The interactive reading and math notebooks from Jen Runde are top on his list (I know why; they're awesome!): 


He also does a lot of small groups with his kids, so he liked these reading resources from Jen Bengal (she has them for all F+P levels!!). 

And was intrigued by this middle-school  literacy reading resource from Kasey Kiehl. 

His kids are struggling with equivalent fractions, so he's definitely going to be purchasing from (the wonderful!) Dennis McDonald: 

Okay, our pockets are going to be empty, so we should stop. :) I hope you find something at TpT that makes your life easier this Tuesday! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Currently AND Five for Friday!

Ohhhhh y'all. I'm tired. It's FRIDAY! We finished up our MAP testing this week, and my kiddos worked so so so so so hard. I'm immensely proud, but my little heart can't take the stress! Testing, boo.

Anyway, every week I see people with their linky parties going on, so I decided to hit all of them in one fell swoop. First, it's MAY! So ... linking up with Farley for a "Currently ..." 

AND  with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday! If you follow me on Instagram {my new obsession} you might have seen many of these ... 

Currently reading Zen Shorts by John J. Muth (close reading!), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (read aloud!), The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein (another close reading text!) and Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen (AWESOME for our poetry writing!) {all wonderful, beautiful fabulous books, and you KNOW I love a beautiful book} ...

These two - Mr. BBZ and our pup Cecelia - are my favorite.

We set off rockets this week as part of our forces and motion unit. The kids LOVED it {duh, so did I!}.

A happy Friday outfit that matches my classroom! Aerosole shoes ... #comfy. ;)

Got a haircut yesterday ... it was time. I don't include too many pictures of my face around here, so I figured this one was a great one to start with. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!@#)($&&$#!!! {I'm tired} #crackingmyselfup

And a BONUS .... another teacher clothes outfit! My favorite rodeo princess boots and Spring-y scarf, with a jersey pencil skirt that is, quite possibly, the closest thing I'll ever get to a real pencil skirt in an elementary classroom.

That's it for me - I'm off to bed. ;)  Don't forget to enter the MEGA giveaway of AWESOME TpT supplies!! 

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