September 19th is a day of the year
that always brings a little joy into my heart.
You may (or may not) know, but it’s a holiday!
It’s called International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
It’s a day for telling pirate jokes, wearing black and white,
and an excuse to say “Arrrrrrrgh” whenever you feel like it.
I celebrated in the following ways:
1) Wore a black and white striped shirt to school,
complete with a pirate hat and patch. 🙂
(I wish I would have remembered to take a photo!)
2) Shared pirate jokes with my students
3) Read How I Became a Pirate to my students
It was a pretty fun day! 
And, in the spirit of this holiday, I leave you with some pirate jokes:
Why couldn’t the pirate go to the movie?
What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?
How much does it cost a pirate to get a piercing?
A buck an ear!
What do you call a pirate that skips school?
Capain Hookey!

The Joy Factor

So an important element of my teaching practice is the what we like to call the “Joy Factor.”  This is a best practices that Aspire has shared with many of it’s teachers.  I see it as something I already try to do on a regular basis, but it’s nice to know that it’s emphasized around our organization.  It’s basically adding some fun and silliness to your lesson to get the kids more engaged and excited to learn! Easy!

So, here’s how my 4/5 team puts the “Joy Factor” into our lesson planning:

Duh!  We come to school dressed up as detectives!

We’ve been learning about the difference between a “fact” and “opinion,” so we had a Fact and Opinion Detective Day!  For the last day of this unit, we dressed up as detectives and “searched” for facts and opinions all day.

I have to admit, it is a “fact” that my mustache started getting on my nerves and crawling into my mouth by first recess, but this “Joy Factor” got the kids excited for our reading lesson later in the day.  

In other news, I made a very tasty artichoke dip this weekend for a bbq that I thought I’d share.  Not many ingredients, and NO OVEN REQUIRED!  This was a big selling point as I hate getting the house hot during these summer months!

Ingredients: 2 cans of 14oz artichoke hearts in water, 2 cups parmesan cheese, 1 cup mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.  And of course, something to dip with!
Step 1: Drain and coarsely chop artichokes.
Step 2:  Place ‘chokes, parmesan cheese, and mayo into a microwave safe dish.
Step 3: Stir well, then zap in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Be sure to stir half-way through to ensure the dip is well heated.
Step 4: Give another good stir, add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5: Enjoy! 🙂

Enjoy the weekend people!


So I often come across the random person or old friend who asks me, “Why do you run?”  People tell me I’m going to have knee problems when I’m older.  People say that the human body wasn’t meant to undergo that kind of stress.  People tell me I’m just plain crazy.

I totally get it.  I never thought I’d be a runner.  In fact, I used to hate it.  Truth is, I joined the track team in high school for one month.  One month!  My wussy self could barely walk myself up the front driveway to my parents house because I was so sore and sick of it, so I quit.  It’s probably the only sport I’ve ever quit. 

But really, let me just give you a picture of this love affair I have with this sport so you can see where I’m coming from.

Before – Unloved, unused, and spick and span.

After – Well loved, broke in, and dirty!
And really, here’s what it all comes down to.  Call me a big fat dork, but here’s my favorite part.  Here’s what makes it worth it.
Today I sat down with my training log for Urban Cow. 
I’m a pencil and paper kinda girl.  I use my Nike+ information online, but I feel like seeing all laid out on a piece of paper is the best part.  See all those stars?  Those are logged miles.  Preparation.  The proof and confidence that I know I am going to KICK butt when Urban Cow finally gets here.

Yes, I will say that signing up to run a half marathon on my 27th birthday was kind of motivation in itself.  But when you sit down with a piece of paper like that, and see that you kick butt, it’s the greatest motivation out there.  Because, yeah, I’ve missed a workout here and there.  But the workouts I almost missed because I was “too tired” or “didn’t feel like it” are the ones that led me here today.
13.1 – Here I come!
And THAT is why I run!

Undercover Bribery – DIY style

So this weekend, Abuela and I got together to do one of our “10 minute projects” to create some pillows for my classroom.  They’re fun; they’re comfy; and they’ll be used for undercover bribery to get my kids to read and work hard. 🙂

As you may remember, this fabric matches the bulletin board that I put together a few weeks ago for my student work.

I use the privilege to sit out of your own desk as a big bribery tool in my classroom.  Basically if you’re working hard, you just might get an invitation to work out of your seat for a lesson.  They LOVE it!  I’ve got all kinds of random areas the kiddos can be, but what they love most are the comfy chairs and now, comfy pillows! 

I’ve even started a new thing where we have a student of the day, “Bruin of the Day.”  If luck floats your way, and you happen to sit with that person in your group, you get first dibs on the pillows and cool chairs in the room (when it’s a time to work out of your seat).  They’re pretty obsessed with it.  Ahhh, the little things…

Abuela and I call this the “10 minute Project” because it really is.

What you’ll need:
3/4 yards of fabric for each pillow
sewing machine (or inspiration to hand-sew the straight stitches…not that hard, I swear!)
pillows or stuffing for the inside

Here’s what you’ll do:
-Lay the fabric face down on the table.
-Fold left side a little more than half way across the center.
-Fold right side a little more than half way across the center to create a small overlap with the left side.
-Measure the pillow to ensure you have the correct measurements, then pin the edges.  You will not sew where you created your overlap so that the pillow case can be removable.
-Make a straight stitch on the top and bottoms.  Flip the cover right side out, and be sure to poke the corners out. 
-Stuff case with the pillow.