Write, Grade, File

Everyday,  I’m going to write a day’s worth of lessons, grade a set of work and file a stack of graded work. That’s the final piece of the puzzle for my classroom. It’s flowing so much better this year. I hope that if I can get this in order I’ll really be moving along.

Let’s review and retie this week


This school year has been amazing.  A real turn around has been that they’ve squashed meeting during our planning times. My trams planning is Friday afternoon.  Also we’ve moved from weekly lesson plans to 4 week plans. So that means I’m planning for the future weeks by pulling anchor charts, centers, assessments and the such.


This system is outstanding for me. I was able to get so much done today. Even with a few hiccups, I still got a ton done. 
My last post was about Meal Prepping.  It has been fantastic. I’d suggest everyone give it a shot if you want to control portions and your overeating. It’s so much easier to eat clean, do the whole30 or just paleo by meal prepping. 

CrossFit has been great. I’m glad I returned to CrossFit South Cobb. There’s been some uphevala at the gym and all I can say is I am so proud of this community.  There’s something about CF and how they build community.  Can’t imagine the support we see in other gyms.


It was a good tie week as well. 

Merry Christmas!

It's here! Christmas break is finally here what took ya so long. This school year has gone so slow fast.  I can't believe it's only Christmas break. So much to do. So much done. 

Christmas is a great time to reflect, relax and recharge and not see your students for 2 weeks. The 1st Sememster has been good in a running a triathlon with a brick tied to your head kinda way. My students are fantastic in a herding cats kind of way. I'm really going to miss them over the break dear Lord, don't strike me for that blatant lie

Can't wait to just kick back on the couch with some hot chocolate and catch up on some grading, paper work and grades. No seriously most of us do school work on our breaks, that's not cool at all. For most of us this is a real time to breathe. The year sometimes goes so fast that it's hard to catch a breath, think and figure out what in the world am I doing fine details of life. 

Got my list of Christmas wishes, too

  • That each of my students want to do better than they did the 1st part of the year. A full book bag would be nice, too! 
  • Better organization system. Less paperwork in general, please
  • Consistant parent involvement. Ok, I'll settle for working phone numbers
  • Fewer meetings. No joke there. Fewer meetings, dear Jesus! 
  • The perfect lesson plans. Just kidding my lessons are the best
  • A steady stream of iced coffee pumped into my class at an ideal 40 degrees. I'll take freshly squeezed green juice in January and February, tough
  • Some means to squeeze 2 more work home hours into the work home time
  • A new pair of work running and lifting shoes 
  • To be very comfortable with all my body weight workouts by dropping some bodyweight!

Ok, the last two had nothing to do with work, but they help me relax, relate, release so I can do my job. In all seriousness this school year's been a hoot and a holler. I expect some great things to happen in 2014 like Spring Break and Summer

I pray everyone has a safe and restful Christmas break. May all teachers experience 30 days worth or rest, relaxation and family. May every second of rest be better than 2 hours of work. Keep your head up and we'll see you in 2014. 

Merry Christmas I ain't politically correct and Happy New Years! 


The Longest days

The Longest days are those that the kids tend to grasp the least information. But also I'm teaching, grouping and talking a lot. I did not expect after this amount of time and practice my students would still be struggling with double digit addition with regrouping. It's tough. I just didn't think I wasn't reaching them that much! Wow! Got to moved on and start other skills, though. 

I'm amped up that we're doing a College and Career day in a few weeks. I've been gathering various college banners from friends. I'm decking out my classroom door to look like a huge Morehouse College application. I'm getting my Cricut ready for some grade A cutting. Got a lot to do in a few days. Pictures will follow. 

My foray into the 7 habits has been hit and miss. I'm not getting the students excited about anything. I've tried to review the 1st four habits a lot to no avail. I'm looking at me and my style to see why I'm not getting them on par. There are a ton of good, high quality excuses, but I have to find a better solution. We're just in November. 

How are you keeping the motovation high in your class? Are you? I'm putting up the SOS for new ideas and plans. 

The bowtie teacher’s week in review


The 1st full week has been great! Again, I won't count my chickens before they're hatched. But this group of students are going to be something special. I feel good. I'm on my schedule and I feel super rested. I have my plan and I'm working it. 

Oh yeah, I've had some snazzy ties, too. 


  •     The students are getting the routines. Those that don't want to are getting pulled in by those who do. 
  •     I'm not remotely as stressed as I was last year. Good school leadership goes REAL far. 
  •     The 7 Habits are useful. 
  •     I really feel like I understand the 2nd grade curriculum. Nothing like knowing what you know. 
  • This game is almost 72.3% mental. If you play the "man" and not the game, you win a lot more. I'm on a winning stream. 


  •     We have a LONG row to plow. A lot to get done in what seems like a little bit of time. 
  •     There are some mountains that need scaling. It's not just a cake walk mind you. Got to create somethings while I'm scaling said mountain. 
  •     I hate paperwork! 
  • Oh yeah, I'm not a huge fan of meetings, either.     


  •     Nothing is impossible. 
  •     We have so much to do this year, I have a lot of room to show off.
  •     As the kids get better, they'll do better. This could make for a great 3rd grade class. 
  • Nothing about this year has to be hard. Proper planning prevents poor performance. 


  •  If I don't remain on "10" with my procedures I'll have a really rough year. Maybe an 8. If I don't remain at least an "8" I'm in for a bumpy ride.
  • If I let my paperwork get out of control this could be a really long and stressful year.   
  • If I ease of the throttle on behavior and getting Home involved, I'm done. If home doesn't work neither does class. 

Year has started off just like I planned. I certainly see how I want the year to end. Now I just need to keep this ship on course for the next 170 days or so. 3,2,1… Go!


How was your week? Did you tackle or get tackled? 



I may have fixed a HUGE problem in my classroom


If you know me or follow my blog you know I'm not very organized. I want to be. However, BEING has alluded me to years. Last year I was buried in paper work. I honestly can't say I know what happened to it all, but I can tell you my inner tree hugger is silently crying. 

In order to save a tree or two and to keep my sanity I did something different this year. To my surprise so far it's been a 10 bow tie idea! I have the students keep the "Red Number Journal" for all class work and the "Blue Number Journal" for all their homework assignments that require them to write or what not.

  • I'm not sure, but I certainly feel I've used a lot less paper. 
  • I was able to check homework today in less than 3 minutes where as before I'd have to hunt down papers and the such. 
  • The kids have a great note system whenever we go back over their journals and put a sticky for key info. 
  • The kids can get to work quickly in the morning. No searching for paper or writing sheets. Just go to the next empty page, date and start. 
  • Whenever I have parent conferences I know I can quickly put my hands on ALL the kids class and homework in less than a minute. 
  • I feel as if the class moves better and flows easily. Translation…less stress. 


 Most teachers waste these composition books. During pre-planning I sent my helpers to find as many partially used comp books as they could. We neatly tore out the used pages and slapped a sticker over the name. I'm pretty sure I have almost 50+ recycled journals ready for duty. 

Not sure where I got this idea. I don't think it qualifies as a true interactive notebook,but I will give Pinterest credit either way. The teachers on my hall used to have 3 journals. 1 for Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science. That made me even crazier, cause I know most of the students didn't use them fully. Plus the kids didn't have a good place in my room to put their stuff so instant insanity. This year, thankfully I have a much better system and I see it working. 

One day I will report that I've found a great way to do my lessons in advance. Yeah, right. Anyone have any good suggestions on what to do with lesson planning so not to have to do them Sunday night? 

Tomorrow I must talk about what I did to defeat the ugly "Mr. Whitaker can I sharpen my pencil" monster. 

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The Bow Tie Teacher

Open house bow tie kick off

Meetandgreet (2)
Starting the year off with an open house. Have to say I was hyped up and I was let down like a lead balloon. No one came to my room to visit. They missed out.

I had some 2nd, 3rd thoughts about my 7 Habits trees I put up last week. So with the help of my niece and nephew I redid them and they look a lot better. I'll post pictures this week. I really feel that the "7H" will be helpful in my class. I thank God I was introduced to this book. 

Tomorrow I'm going to refresh my Opening Day PowerPoint (sure wish I had taken the time to learn how to do a Prezi!) as well as lay out my plans for the 1st week. This year I'm going to be a 10 at preparing and planning.

Wednesday will be here soon. I'm ready.

What has your 1st week of teaching or pre planning looked like? How are you preparing for the kiddos?

I really didn’t know this


I'm not sure how many people know what I'm about to share, but if you do please indulge me.

  • I live in GA.
  • Air Conditioning is almost manditory most of the year.
  • AC does tend to wear on your car and gas consumption.

So just this week I learned that the "recycle" button on the AC means that the car will stop pulling in warm exterior air and start "RECYCLING" the cooler air from inside the car. This might have been common sense to everyone else, but for some reason I didn't know this.

Ok so this week I was in a teaching reading workshop. *I know that's a Summer crime, but hey. I thought I knew what I was doing before the workshop, but WOW! I got a fresh dose of "sit down here and learn something".  Just like the common sense button on my AC I had the common sense button hit for my profession and I really feel I'm prepared to take my students to the next level.

One huge take away was how we as 2nd grade teachers are supposed do and have to bring our students to or on grade level by the end of the year. It's obvious, but the HOW to do it really has been elusive.

So even during the summer I can learn some useful, new ideas. As long as I'm willing to pay attention. This year I expect to not waste as much time and be far more efficent at moving this class to their future.

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Blog abandonment

This week was so draining. I don't want to drone on and on about how this week was a BEAST. You don't want to hear that. 

What I will say is this, no question this week built my faith. I have been working on building margin in my life. Even with this week beating me up I didn't get to my limits.  I know this week coming, I'm going to be pushed more than last week. Thankfully, I've already planned for it and I feel grace to do it. I can see that consistent on going improvement will yield huge results. 

To give balance I've found it really tough to plan/think LONG term about my lessons and class learning. I talked about in in my Avengers post aout making the lessons catchy to get the kids excited about the next lesson. I've had some success in my re-growing veggies lessons in science, but not so much in my other lessons. Just need to work on this for sure. 

I have an evaluation this week and I feel good about it. I picked up some great skills at a workshop a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, I've been kicking it hard so Monday will be the best teaching anyone has seen cause I've been doling out the best daily. 

Crossfit this week was strong. I didn't make it to Crossfit South Cobb everyday, but I was able to sneak into Basement Crossfit and keep my goals in line. I've been juicing well. It's not hard now at all. I'm down nearly 13 pounds. I hope to be able to plant our garden next week or the following week. 

Let's get at it.