Is It March Yet?

This week was less than stellar, I am sure from my last post you maybe got that impression as well.  I think for myself at least January and February are the harder months to survive in school, they just seem to drag by without an end in sight. I just keep counting down the days until March...

January is just cold and dreary and really after all the excitement of the holidays sort of a let down.

February is filled with 5 days of MOY's and Valentine's Day, said with a shudder. Valentine's Day is hard at the middle school, they are used to elementary where they celebrate it and give each other cards but in middle school they are told to ignore it. Cards, stuffed animals, flowers, balloons and candy are all banned, but brought to school anyways.  By the way, its amazing how our students can't be expected to afford school supplies but suddenly have an unlimited amount of money to buy each other presents. So our front office looks like Halmark threw up in it all day and the students just act ridiculously crazy. We spend more time sending students to the office with their banned materials than actually teaching. Or dealing with the fighting and drama of the 'life and times of middle schoolers,' to say the least Valentine's is not a day I enjoy being in school.

Where is all this going you might ask, I began to realize that I was letting the annoying details of teaching and the humdrum routine of these past two months bog me down. 

One of my new years resolutions was to take more pictures, so I challenged myself to a 365 day photo challenge and I have been less than inspired to take any pictures. I hadn't updated my page in over a month! Really when the only places you go are to school, home and grocery shopping picture taking can get mundane quick.  So today I spent the time to unload my iphone of all of my snapshots and update my 365 Photo Page, which hasn gotten me inspired to snap more photos and try and break my routine some.

Also I am linking up with Life In Middle School for a View From My Hallway snapshot. 

I thought this linky was such a neat idea, as at least most middle school teachers are at their door a few times a day depending on how many passing periods your school has. I have 6 classes that rotate in most days so this is my view...

Not very exciting I know!

But I am down a ramp and in a hallway with just myself and the Life Skills room. When you need a classroom as large as I do, it often means you are in corner far far away from everyone else.  

Some positives: the only students I see are coming to me so I rarely ever have to deal with poor hallway behavior, bless the hearts of the teachers on our 2nd floor! And I generally have music playing that they hear as soon as they open the door and I can stand and greet each and every student as they come in.

The negative, I am literally all by myself. So I never get to interact with the other teachers on campus which is probably why I find it impossible to make friends with any of the teachers.

In an attempt to break out of my melancholy attitude I am also linking up with Rowdy in First Grade for Tell Me Something Good!

Something Good At Home:
On Thursday aka Valentine's Day, Mr B surprised me with a home cooked meal. Which included queso (queso is really the key to my heart, forget diamonds), Mexican turkey burgers with all the fixings, sweet potato fries and chocolate covered strawberries. And of course wine and flowers. Mr. B has been my Valentine now for SIX Valentine's Days and this is only the second time he has ever cooked for me, so it was sort of a big deal!

A close up of Mr. B's nerf gun I decorated for him!

Mr. B loved his presents!

For us Valentine's Day was long ago just named Pitchers and Catchers Report Day and we don't celebrate it in the Halmark style and I am pretty sure if Mr. B had it his way we would never celebrate it. But he loves me so, so he makes each year special in his own way. Wish we had a picture together...

Something Good At School:
Due to the MOY schedule I have had a bit more time to really think about upcoming projects, rather than just throw them together because I am trying to come up with three at a time, posting three lessons plans each week, three worksheets and three powerpoints...etc. 

In Robotics we started our Robot Races project this week which I completely revamped and the kids HEART IT, think Ice Road Truckers but with lego Robots. I have been racking my brain with how to create a race track that can be used repeatedly, is easy to store and looks cool. AND I THINK I DID IT!  For the low cost of $10!!! Woot! WOot! I worked on this most of yesterday and hope to share the finished product tomorrow.  

The start of the track...more to come!
This post turned into an incredible long babble session, but I think I needed it sometimes blogging can be therapeutic  While most of you will be enjoying your lovely three day weekend, we will be having a mandatory professional development at my is to hoping I keep my zen mood all eight hours tomorrow...

- The Babbling Box!

Bless Your Heart

I am pretty sure my all time favorite southern saying is 'bless your heart' right after y'all and ain't, but I am a teacher so those probably shouldn't be used too much. Who are we kidding I use them all the time, but I like to follow them up with "I probably shouldn't use ain't in the classroom" so I am making the effort  right?

Lately I have been on a 'bless your heart' role, or just surrounded by less than intelligent people, but I think 'bless your heart' is a much sweeter way of putting it and keeping my job friends positive attitude.

So here are a few 'bless your hearts' from my world lately:

Dear student who peed himself in the first 8 minutes of class on the cushioned rolling chair. I am sorry but everyone knew despite your efforts to hide it, and you ruined the rolling chair because I ain't cleaning up that mess.  Perhaps it would have been better to take the tardy and just use the bathroom during the passing period, you are 13 and all ... BLESS YOUR HEART!

Dear girl at the gym today who couldn't figure out how to work the leg press. I completely understand that little box of instructions, with pictures, might be hard to understand.  But while stopping a personal trainer and having him show you how to work might it have been your way of flirting, talking on your cell phone while he showed you just pissed him off. Bringing him over for a second time when your phone call was done, did little to improve his attitude. Your shock at him not be willing to spend time with you was cute, perhaps you can find shorts that do in fact actually show your butt rather than just the butt checks next time ... 

Dear student today who asked me if I was pregnant today, perhaps you should learn what is okay and not okay to ask females at some point. Especially when said female was in charge of your restroom breaks today ... BLESS YOUR HEART!

Dear MOY testing teacher, I did in fact sit through the same 45 minute training as you and recall being told very clearly that teachers would not be getting lunch on test days so pack your own and bring it to your testing room. Not rocket science. So your hysterical freak out about not getting a standard 20 minute break in front of your class who was still testing was a fun break from my 800 student escorted bathroom trips ... BLESS YOUR HEART!

Dear camp teacher who ran a camp in my classroom. I understand running a camp in a classroom, in a subject and grade level you don't teach is difficult. And allowing the students to roll all around the room, eat in my room, throw paper airplanes, destroy my computer speakers and spill soda on my rolling chairs was such a lovely surprise to return to after being outside for nearly 5 hours. Your shock at me raising my voice and forbidding the class to leave until all chairs were returned to their homes and they were seated was cute ... BLESS YOUR HEART!

I think stopping there is sufficient or I could probably babble on all night, but Mr. B is actually off for the first time since Thursday night so we have a little couch cuddling to catch up on. And TV of course! Thank you for listening to my southern version of ranting...sure felt nice to get that off my chest.

And just a little photo I took from my post during MOYs for the last two days, despite it being outside during the rain and eating lunch in between student bathroom breaks, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I felt extremely lucky, so if there are TESTING God's please allow me to continue my status as wing monitor through this testing season. THANK YOU!

- The Babbling Box!

Technology I Couldn't Live Without!

Today was a pretty super awesome day. One of those days where everyone does what they should: students work, stay engaged and remain positive. My conference period was filled with preparing and finishing all of my lessons for next week, and that never happens.  A school electrician came by to begin the process of getting my projector mounted on the ceiling, and I nearly hugged him!  And our PBIS meeting was really productive, I felt.

But the best part of the day was I had an unexpected observation from an administrator and it was an incredible positive review. I always get super nervous when I have an administrator show up, but with 8th period today I just went about my normal routine of checking in with groups and the conversations she was having with my kiddo's was what every teacher dreams of. 

So I am kinda floating on cloud nine right now.

And then I came home today to find that Mr. B updated his TV room's flat screen television to a 66 inch flat screen television with internet. As much as I tried to give Mr. B hell for purchasing it on a whim I already HEART the new television. The picture is AMAZING!

All this talk of things running smoothly and technology got me thinking that there are so many pieces of technology that I use daily in the classroom that I don't think I could live without. 

Here is my top five pieces of technology, besides the computer, because well duh I am a technology teachers, computers are pretty much in my job description.

If you have never heard of it, it is a free website where you can create webpages. I have created a class website and post the weekly worksheets, projects and links on the website so students always have access. 

What is also really neat about this site is it is so easy to use even a 7th grader can create a website. And they do. My final project in Web Design is to create a company website using, they have to first create a company, create logo's, business objectives, products and then they put it all together with the interactive website. They generally dig it!

This is a free website that allows you to create a class blog. Each student gets a personal blog, with their own name, avatar, background and can create posts. The beauty of kid blog is that as the teacher you have to approve every single post and comment before it goes live, yes this sounds daunting, but this also keeps the site incredibly school friendly.

I was completely overwhelmed at the number of responses I received in just two weeks this semester from only about 58 or so students. Its amazing how much they are willing to write in this format.

I have my blog activities available at my TPT store, that I am horrible at maintaining might I add, so they must be something special.

3.  Google Drive/Docs/Mail
I am very lucky that my district provides students with email accounts through gmail so they have access to all the amazing tools that google provides. Also this makes turning in work a breeze, every Friday they send me an email with the work attached. A skill I think everyone should master. 

My sixth graders did a google presentation project in partners and thought it was the coolest thing that they could all edit the project at the same time and see what the other person was editing. It had that WOW factor!

4.  Fun Websites!
We use a bunch of different websites for the funnier side of class, my favorite is using the built in webcam they can take a picture of themselves, what they are building, etc. Students adore this site, I have actually seen it occupy their attention for a solid hour before. 
We like using to edit pictures and create fun effects. 
And I get tons of fun easy build day projects from one which I will be trying out after a MOY next week. Hopefully I will remember to share.
For Robotics my favorite websites is, it has so many build instructions and my kids find it so user friendly.

5. Career Websites
I have two go to career websites that are super kid friendly and make learning about careers a breeze. Since a big chunk of my TEKS are career related they are incredibly helpful.  First is Texas based so it makes looking at local labor markets easy: and second is the Bureau of Labor and Statistics they have over 800 categories of careers that are broken down in awesome categories with easy to understand writing and some pictures.

I could probably go on and on if I wanted to, I like to babble a bit, but I think 5 was appropriate. Hopefully I will start trying to balance out my posts more with some Techy Classroom Tips mixed in with my random musings.

I am also linking up with Fern's Thursday Tech Tips for Teachers, which inspired this list to actually be typed and not just written in my head.

Fern Smith's Thursday's Tech Tips for Teachers Linky Party!

Thank Goodness Tomorrow is Friday!

- The Babbling Box!

Currently February

I am finally linking with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently linky, and I am number 326 so obviously I am a bit behind.

Hart of Dixie, I HEART bad television I might of mentioned that before a few times. And I am super behind on a bunch of shows so I am trying to knock a tiny teeny chunk off my DVR box before it explodes.

In Web Design we started our calendar creation project, over the next three weeks we will be making 26 page calendars using graphic design skills in Publisher. Out of all of my web design projects it is definitely a favorite and it keeps them so engaged!

Starting next week we will be MOY testing every Monday and Tuesday for the entire month of February, that is a ton of testing. And it means that I will only seeing my classes on average twice a week. Lesson planning wise this will make planning for me a breeze, but I detest testing. Keeping any group of students locked up in a room for 4+ hours is draining for everyone. This also means that teachers lose their off period most days, going to the bathroom is impossible and lunch is actually eaten with the students in your room. Sounds like a bucket of fun!  Then we send the students off to go see two of the periods each day, I can tell you TONS of learning happens after all that.

I would HEART a new pair of shoes. I love the Reefs brand and as soon as their new season appears on Amazon I want to scoop some of them up. They are SOOO comfortable like walking on foam and they are super cute!

To start on a Valentine's Day present for Mr. B! I like being able to make homemade presents and have a few pinterest inspired ideas floating around in my head, just need to hurry up and start.

Pet Peeves:  
1. Lying - I hate it! Just be honest even if you were doing something wrong, I don't care, I would prefer you just tell me the truth. At least then your word would mean something. Shakes head, if only my students would grasp that concept.  
2.  Cursing - I never would of dreamed I would detest cursing as much as I do, but it is like nails on a chalk board to me now. I blame my students.
3.  Selfish People - Selfishness drives me nuts. I could never be as selfish as some people are on a daily basis so I just don't get it. But I see it everywhere, from other teachers, students, friends and even strangers. 

- The Babbling Box!

2013 Resolution Reviews 1.0

Well hello there old friend...its been awhile since I have been able to find time to stop and blog. I could provide eight million excuses as to why, but I don't really feel the need, if blogging happens it happens and if not well life goes on.

So just like nearly everyone out there about a month ago I made a few resolutions for the 2013 year, posted here. The norm is to make these goals and work really hard for the first 6 weeks then slip back into the old routine. Case in point, this past week I found myself fighting less and less for my beloved stair master at the gym. 

But I don't want to be the norm, so when I made my goals I decided I would do a monthly check in to assess my progress and adjust accordingly. I might be a few days late but here goes...

1. Capture more moments!
I plan to take part in the 365 day photo challenge this year. I was so disappointed that during the holidays I literally took no pictures, so hopefully this will allow me to feel more natural about snapping a few shots each day.

January Progress:  This goal will forever be a work in progress, I have certainly taken a lot more pictures this year but I missed a few days at the end of January.  Hopefully I will have time to update my 365 Photo Challenge Page this week.

2.  Improve health and fitness!
I want to attend the gym at least 12 times a month and really focus on lighter easier meals to keep me going through the week.

January Progress:  Totally rocked this out! Made it to the gym 12 days last month and have made some really yummy pinterest finds which have resulted in less need to eat out. Don't get me wrong I am human, I might have had fast food once or twice, but its definitely a step in the right direction.

3. Fix/better my finances!
I am horrible at dealing with my money, its CRAZY, how bad I am. So my year resolution is to be $5000.00 less in debt and have increased my savings by $1000.00. I have been reading a lot of different techniques and I really think I found one which can work for me.

January Progress:  January was a great month for me budgeting wise. I hate the word budget, its like a curse word to me. But regardless, I was able to actually save a little, did not dip into my savings to live and actually chipped a small small small part of my debt away. It's a start! This will forever be a battle for me as I HEART shopping but it must be something I am constantly aware of.

4.  Spend more time with family and friends!
I want to make it a goal to talk to at least my immediate family once a month. See a family or friend once a month. And try and talk to at least two different friends a month. So many of my friends no longer live in state, and I think if spent half as much time talking to them as I do blogging I would become better at keeping my connections.

January Progress:  This goal might need some revisions. I feel like I have made a more conscious effort to talk to my family members this month. And I have spent time with a few different friends, but I still need to work on connecting more regularly with out of state friends and friends who have different schedules than I do.

5.  Make a 2-3 plan for the future!
This one might sound vague, but I know that I have talked about graduate school, leaving the state, etc many different times, but I have never bothered to even research one option. In 2.5 years I turn 30, scary! But I want to have made a plan and started on it before time just slips away. I also know that that plan includes making future plans with Mr. B, another scary topic. Perhaps I used the word plan too much.

January Progress:  I researched a few graduate school options and have it narrowed down to three, yipee! But I could really use some advise from someone who has traveled down the online graduate school process, any takers!  

Me and Mr. B are resigning are house lease for another 14 months, keeping us in Austin for the next school year and hopefully at my school (fingers crossed). And Mr. B just started an 'adult' job at the State land office on the 1st of February . So all in all I think this one is progressing well.

Hopefully tomorrow I will do a Currently link up with Farley, I HEART those and wanted to keep this post strictly resolution reviewing. 

Now I am off hopefully to the gym, grading student blogs and then a super bowl party, I might be am running out of time!

- The Babbling Box!