Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gorgeous New Design + Dropbox + Tried it Tuesday


First of all, I have to thank Megan for the wonderful blog design! Please go visit her at A Bird in Hand Blog Design. Isn't it beautiful?! I told her some of my favorite things, and she had this done, lickety split! Easier than you could ever believe.

A Bird in Hand Blog Design

Thanks, Megan!


Next up - Dropbox. Have you used Dropbox? If you haven't, you must. It's a life-changer. Truly. Our server at school had a period of time where it was very unreliable, so I stopped using it. Flash drives filled too quickly, so I bought an external hard drive. I used to carry that thing back and forth between school and home. Every day. And then last summer, one of the connector pieces broke. I nearly died. Everything was on that little piece of storage, and I hadn't backed it up recently. Silly, I know. Fortunately, my boyfriend's wonderful dad helped recover all of my files, so all was not lost. However, I had a huge wake-up call. I needed something durable, reliable, and easy to use wherever I happened to be.

Enter Dropbox. I can access it from my school computers, home computer, iPad - and there's even an app for phones! It's reliable storage for my files. (Don't you just love The Cloud?!) I don't have to worry about having my hard drive with me. My files just exist in the right place. Always. 

If you haven't signed up, you need to do it. There's nothing to lose. Give it a try. Paid subscriptions are available if you need a lot of storage, but free storage is plentiful (and able to expand with referrals).

If you'd like some bonus storage (500MB) and would like to help me out, too, please use this link to sign up. You won't regret it! Free Dropbox Account - just click here for bonus storage! 

Tried it Tuesday Linky

Since Dropbox is something new I tried this year, I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her first Tried it Tuesday linky party!

Go see what everyone else is trying this Tuesday!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Final Stretch

We are on spring break this week. When we go back, we have 19 instructional days until our state testing. Eek!

Normally, I don't stress too much about state testing. It is what is, and my kids usually do just fine.

However, this year I'm anxious. Really anxious. We implemented Common Core State Standards this year in ELA and Math. Our state test covers our old state standards. (Makes a lot of sense, I know.)

One of my teammates and I gave short practice tests this week to give us some data for whole- and small-group instruction the next few weeks. It wasn't pretty. I'm afraid we spent so much time on CCSS that we missed some of the little, random state standards that are tested. I know they'll be prepared for fifth grade common core, but now our test scores could suffer. :( I hate caring about test scores, but our school rating (and level of state involvement in running the school) depends on the percentage of students passing. That goal is 80% this year. (Our evaluation scores are affected by students' scores, too. Ugh.)

Last year? 100% of my kiddos passed. This year, CCSS turned my teaching upside down (mostly in a good way)...and the predictors don't look good. Not only is my class the polar opposite of last year's class (chatty, unmotivated, highly distractible,...), but I didn't teach everything that will be on the test. This was directed by my district and supported by my principal.

I have just 19 days to fill in as many gaps as possible. I am nervous beyond belief. My teammate and I are working on a plan...I just hope it works!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Currently in March

March?! Where has the school year gone? We just finished our third quarter yesterday, and grades were due by 5pm. So hard to believe that the year is ending so soon! Anyone else get heart palpitations thinking about the gigantic to-do list that comes with ending a school year??

Here is my "Currently" for March. There has been a lot going on around here this month.

Listening to Ocean's 13. There is something about the Ocean's movies that is comforting to me. Maybe it's the music, the action, or the eye candy...

Loving my new MacBook Air! I got a great deal on it a few weeks back. My personal laptop was almost 10 years old, and my school laptop is a giant, slow brick, so I'm super excited to have this pretty, fast, functional machine!

Thinking about a nap. There's been a lot going on at home and school, and I haven't exactly been getting a lot of good, restful sleep. Today is about trying to catch up on some of that. I see a nap in my near future this afternoon.

Wanting to finish reading a book. I started The Perks of being a Wallflower last night. I'm about 2/3 done, and want to finish it today. Then I can see the movie.

Needing to clean the house. We had a minor rodent problem in our house. :( While I'm 99.9% sure they're gone, we now have to disinfect every. single. item. and every. single. surface. in our house. Ugh. The master bedroom, closet, and bathroom were done immediately, as was the kitchen. Now on to the rest of the house so we can actually "live" in it again.

Like - diet Coke (but I prefer Cherry Coke Zero).
Love - Disneyland! (I worked at Walt Disney World for 5 years after college, but Disneyland is MUCH closer to home now and much more cost effective to visit. I think a summer trip is in order this year.)
Hate - disaster areas (see 2/3 of my house right now. Again, ugh.)

That's it for this month's currently! Can't wait to see what everyone else has to share!