Saturday, December 20, 2014

Making a Difference: My Mom

Hello! It's been a while. I hope you all survived the week before winter break! It seemed to be the one of the longest weeks ever to me. I am looking forward to relaxing and spending time with family over the break. Speaking of family I would like to introduce you to mine, especially my mom!

This is my family. There are a lot of us, which means there is never a dull moment. We never would have survived all of the fun sibling disagreements without my mom. I am so grateful to have these people in my life and very lucky that we still all live close together! 

As I was growing up, my mom taught me a lot. She taught me how to be strong and brave. She showed me that I could use tools on my own. She showed me how to give as well as how to be compassionate and caring. My mom taught me to think about others instead of just my self. Most importantly she showed me how to love unconditionally. She was and still is a wonderful role model to me. As I've grown older she is also becoming one of my closest friends. 

Every year I ask my mom what she would like for Christmas and every year all she wants is for our whole family to be together to celebrate. This month my mom has been participating in Dressember

" Dressember is a collaborative movement leveraging fashion and creativity to restore dignity to all women.  Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who've been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.  Dressember exists to inspire and empower a global community of like-minded women who are locking arms to face one of the greatest injustices of our time. The heart of Dressember is freedom-- that every woman has the right to live a vibrant and autonomous life." (from the Dressember about page)

If you know my mom, you know that she wears dresses every once in a while but they aren't her go to wardrobe choice. She has been working really hard this month to wear a dress everyday and I'm very proud of her! She has been sharing her dresses on Facebook and Instagram. 

Here is my mom with a group from her church packing boxes of meals for families this holiday season! 
Her goal is to raise $500 to support the Dressember campaign and help bring awareness to people everywhere. She already has $65 towards her goal which is awesome! I know my mom wants our family to be together for Christmas but she would love to reach her fundraising goal as well.  My mom has worked so hard her whole life to make a positive difference in the lives of others and has helped so many people. Now it's our turn to help her, please consider supporting her! You can donate to her campaign here: Beverly's Fundraising Page

Mom, I am so proud of you and thankful for everything you've done in my life. I love you and hope this Christmas is one of the best ever! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy List - Classroom Edition

There are a few things I've been doing recently or created recently for my classroom that are currently making me happy! 

1. I made a Show What You Know Chart! This is a great way for my students and I to be held accountable. They place their stop and jot note or exit ticket on their number. I have a few friends who like to forget to write their name and this makes it so much easier to match post -its to students! (resource) Do you use something like this in your classroom? 

A photo posted by Sarah (@mrsjoy2) on

2.  I hope to start my students on a class blog soon but before we can do that the perfect way for us to practice is with Class Writing Journals! These writing journals are on my students Daily 5 choice board for work on writing. We have only been using them for a week and we are all obsessed! I have written the first entry for each journal and is a great way for me to model writing. (Teaching writing is my least favorite). Writing Journals are from Teach - A - Roo!

A photo posted by Sarah (@mrsjoy2) on

3. My class this year is very sweet but also very active. I just finished creating two playlists of classical music that might help us calm down and focus. Once students get used to working while music is playing, I plan to add in some Disney (more like Frozen) and other student friendly music to the mix! Do you use music in your classroom? How do you use it? Do you have any recommendations? 

What is currently on your classroom happy list?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Create Joy: DIY Glitter Acorns

I am battling some kind if illness I picked up this week at school and it is awful. Today I decided I would try to craft it away. I have a lantern that sits on the mantle in our living room and I like to change out the decor inside based on the season. What would be more perfect for fall than glitter acorns?? You know I am obsessed with glitter. 

These were actually fairly easy to create and super fun. 

Materials Needed: 

Mod Podge
Fall Decor Acorns (found at craft stores)
Glitter tray (best $4 I've ever spent)

I bought small packets of glitter at Michaels. I love these packs because you aren't stuck with an entire tub of glitter that you only needed for one project. I tried to pick out some fall themed colors. 


1. Apply ModPodge to your acorn with the paintbrush
2. Pour glitter over the acorn (use your glitter tray!), rotating to make sure you cover all of it in glitter!

3. Then repeat for each acorn. You can alternate colors or do them all in one color! I used five different colors for mine. 
4. Once your acorns with glitter have dried, spray a light coat of hairspray around it. This will prevent the glitter from coming off on everything. 

I used a plastic pumpkin as the center of my lantern and placed the acorns around it. I am also thinking of making more to put in an empty vase or jar. 

This is our fall mantle! Fall is definitely my favorite season. I am impatiently waiting for the weather to get below 70 degrees so I can break out all the pumpkin scented and flavored things. 

Let me know if you try this project! Would love to see your version of  it!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Made It!

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It! 

I have spent a lot of time making things for school and TPT lately. I really need to make sure I have a craft day this weekend. :) 

I Wanna Iguana has been on my classroom books to buy list since my first year of teaching. I finally found it this summer for $3! I am looking forward to using to teach persuasive writing this year. I also made an interactive read aloud product for it! Click the picture to check it out! 

I also recently tried making my own math task cards! I am obsessed with them. They align really well to the 2.NBT Common Core State Standards. I can't wait until we started working on those standards so I can use them with my students. 

It includes 12 task cards, a recording page, and an answer key! 
Click on the picture to check it out! 

Make sure you check out the link up at 4th Grade Frolics! 

Have a great week!! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy National Read a Book Day!

Happy National Read A Book Day! 

I am currently working on a goal of reading 26 books by my 26th birthday in December!
I just finished my 25th book today!!! I am hoping to finish 26 by the end of September. See all the books I've read on Goodreads!

Recently on Facebook, someone asked me to share my top ten books that I have read. I thought I would share them here as well to celebrate National Read a Book Day! 

1. The Hunger Games Series - loved this series, it helped me fall back in love with reading. 
2. Nights in Rodanthe - Mostly because of what it meant to me when I read it, encouraged me through our first year of long distance. 
3. The Light Between the Oceans - So many feelings and tears but definitely worth it. 
4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - This was an interesting read. I loved that it was written in the form of letters. 
5. The Fault in Our Stars - Once again many feelings and tears but a great story that made me think about life. 
6. Life as We Knew It Series - Fantastic series that made me think about the future and how I would respond in a crisis. 
7. Divergent Series - Enjoyed this series and the way it presented a strong female leader. 
8.The Giver - a classic that challenged me. 
9. Harry Potter Series - of course! no explanation needed. 
10. Wonder - as a teacher this really spoke to me and made me think about my relationship to my students and how important it is.

What are you currently reading? What should I read for my next book?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Websites for Students

My students always love using the computer to learn and practice skills we are learning at school. I am also a firm believer in the fact that students should not spend two - three hours each night on homework. 

I encourage students to use websites for extra practice at home. It also makes it more fun! Last year I spent more time than I should creating Symbaloos to put on my classroom website for my students and their families to use. Have you ever used Symbaloo? It makes organizing websites so much easier!!

I thought I would share them with you also! Feel free to use them and share with your students as well as fellow teachers! 

This one is for reading: 

And this one is for math: 

I hope these are helpful to you through out this school year!

Do you know of any other great websites I should add? 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently September 2014

I am linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for September Currently! 

Listening to The Kitchen on the Food Network. I am currently obsessed with this show. They all look like they have so much fun and the food looks delicious! 

Loving breakfast for dinner, especially when it includes chocolate chip waffles! 

Thinking: Every Monday should be a holiday or at least a workday for teachers. I honestly think I would be a much better person if this happened! 

Wanting: New clothes for work, I really need to invest in higher quality professional clothes that will last for a while. It's hard when you are a teacher on a budget. :)

Needing: The ability to focus. I now have "school brain" which means my brain is trying to completed eight thousand million things at the same time. I start one task then think "Oh yeah! I need to do this other thing. I should do it before I forget!" It's a vicious cycle. 

3 Trips: I would love to visit Italy, the Grand Canyon, and Australia! They all look so wonderful and beautiful. Have you ever visited one of these places?

Enjoy your holiday weekend! 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Overheard in 2nd Grade

Hello! I survived our first full week of school! To say I am exhausted would be an understatement but I am enjoying getting to know my students and I am very excited to watch them grow and learn this year! How was your first week?

After spending a full week with second graders, I was reminded of how much they make me laugh. Here are just a few of my favorite things I heard this week in 2nd grade.

Student (on the 2nd day of school): You are the best second grade teacher I've ever had!
Me: I'm the only second grade teacher you've had.
Student: I know but you are still the best!

How sweet is that?

After we had a bug in our classroom and I was in the process of helping it return to nature, some students were outraged and afraid I was going to kill it. One student commented with "It's okay guys, flys like to die." 

Sitting at lunch, after finishing an ice cream sandwich first and did not eat anything else on their plate: "Can I go buy some more ice cream?"

Of course my all time favorite was a note from a student 2 years ago during teacher appreciation week. He wrote: "Dear Mrs. Joy, Thanks for being a great chicken."

I am looking forward to many more laughs and giggles this year as well as lots of learning!

Here is a panoramic of my tiny mobile classroom (of course I've already changed the seating arrangement). I always feel like The Genie when I talk about my classroom size it is an "itty bitty learning space."

Which comment or note from one of your students makes you laugh?

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY Bulletin Board Banner

This week I worked on creating a banner for the bulletin board in my classroom. I was a little tired of the die cut letters and thought it was time to try something new! This banner was easy to make. The time it takes all depends on how many pieces you need. 

Chipboard pennants 
(from Hobby Lobby, they had a lot of different shapes and sizes to pick from)
Washi tape
Xacto Knife
Scallop Punch out
Double Sided tape
Hot glue gun
Letter stickers

The first thing I did was cover each of my chipboard pieces in washi tape. 

I put washi tape all the way across and all the way down. I placed mine straight across, you could also do it diagonally. I liked to line up each strip of washi tape to help it look like a cohesive pattern. 

Then I flipped the chipboard piece over and used my Xacto knife to slice along the edge. This took off the extra washi tape. 

I made a total of 24 pieces for my banner. 

After having each piece covered in washi tape, I used a scalloped punch on ivory cardstock. 

Then I used my best friend (aka double sided tape) to attach these scallops to each banner piece. 
How did I ever live without double sided tape?

Next it was time for stickers! I probably spent way too much time analyzing which pieces couldn't go next to each other and exactly what I wanted my banner to say. I also bought my stickers at Hobby Lobby. 

I placed a sticker on each scalloped piece for my almost finished product! 

The last thing to do was add the ribbon or twine to the back. Make sure you double check that each piece is in the right order when you flip them over. I used hot glue to add the twine to the back of each piece and then my project was finished!! 

If you try this I would love to see your take on it! 
I am trying to figure out where else I can hang banners like this. I am obsessed with this project. Maybe one with my name on it for my desk? 

Happy crafting! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics this week for Monday Made It! 

One of my goals in life is to visit all 50 states! Right now I think I am only at 15, all mostly on the East Coast. I decided to make a scrapbook of all of our state adventures. 

So far I have the title page done and a page for New York with pictures from our honeymoon! 
Next on my list are Florida, South Carolina, and Washington D.C. I just need to get pictures printed! 

Last night I uploaded my first Science Product to TPT. I am still really excited about it! This product uses QR codes to help students safely research habitats and animals. There are 12 different websites for students to visit and learn from. My students love using QR codes and it makes it much easier on me as a teacher! Click on the picture to check it out! 

I have been looking for a way to spruce up some of my clipboards at school. I decided the best way to do that was with washi tape! Are you obsessed with it yet? I definitely am. I used a mini-clipboard to test it out before I took the time to update my classroom clipboards. I love the way it turned out! This will be a great way to update my old clipboards! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Displaying Student Work

There are a handful of things I do not enjoy about being in a mobile classroom (mostly insects), there are also a lot of things I really like about it. 

In my classroom I have one bulletin board and do not have a bulletin board in the hallway. So where am I supposed to display all of my student work? Constantly taping student work to the walls did sound like a great idea. 

One of the things I really like about my mobile classroom is that I have "carpeted" walls (please ignore the color of them). This means that thumbtacks or staples will go directly into the wall! I decided to make Glitter Clothespins to help me display student work.

 I used hot glue to attach thumbtacks to the back of the clothespins and then all I had to do was push them into the wall! It was very easy and it makes changing student work throughout the year easy as well! You could add a magnet instead of a clothespin or even use these on a bulletin board. This will be my third year using them and I absolutely love them! Might be time for some new colors. :)

How do you display student work in your classroom?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

After we spent two days at Disney World, we went to Universal Studios! Of course we are all huge fans of Harry Potter so we made sure we visited Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts. It was wonderful to see one of my favorite book worlds come to life. 

Of course we tried Butterbeer! We ordered it frozen and it was quite delicious! 

 We rode the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade to King Cross Station and back again! It was really fun! 

We also got to travel inside Gringotts Bank in Diagon Alley. The inside was amazing! It was better than anything I could have imagined. 

I loved spending time in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Since we have been back, we have watched all of the movies. As we watched, I kept saying "we were just there!" Can't wait to go back! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Disney World Vacation!

A few weeks ago we spent a week in Orlando, Florida. We visited Disney World and Universal Studios! This was my first ever trip to Disney World and oh my goodness. I am obsessed. It really is the happiest place on earth. It was so much more than I expected it to me. I had so much fun spending time there with our family. 

We went to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot! It rained just a little bit (actually a lot) on our second day while we explored Hollywood Studios and Epcot, but we still had a lot of fun. 

I loved seeing all of the princess castles! They were one of my many favorite things, especially Rapunzel! She is my new favorite princess after Cinderella. I loved that bathroom was painted like the inside of her tower (see pictures below)!

We stayed at the Magic Kingdom all day (9 am to 12 am). I am very glad we stayed for the fireworks and the electrical parade at the end of the day. I almost cried after the fireworks show because I was so happy! I can't wait to go back to visit, hopefully we won't stay away too long.