Friday, August 28, 2015

Oh Hey Friday!


WOO HOO!!!!  Fellow teachers, we made it!  The first week of school is officially under our belt as of today.  I've already gushed pretty much everyday this week about how good it has gone so I'm not gonna say it again.....but IT WAS GREAT!!!!!

And now on to my favorite Friday link up!


[one] I totally loved my back to school outfit this year.  I actually wore this same outfit my first official first day as a teacher two years ago.  I didn't want to go buy a new outfit (read: couldn't afford one since I spent all my extra money on stuff for my classroom) so I had to pick something from my closet and I LOVED this outfit the first time I wore it, so I figured it was perfect.  
[two] Jenny found these DELICIOUS oatmeal based breakfast food.  She found them on Pinterest (of course) and made them all this week for us for breakfast.  Y'all go home and make the blueberry one because it was the best thing ever.  She also made the mango one and plans to make the peanut butter and banana one next week.  SO GOOD.  
[three] I snapped the cutest picture of Jenny and Brady.  She loves to give him a ton of love and attention and this picture captures just how much he loves it too.  He clearly is totally loving it, right?
[four] I joined some of my new teacher friends for our book club dinner.  Only some of us didn't finish the actual book (I didn't, but I'm working on it!) but we still had a great evening out together.  Oh and they're not exactly new since I've met all of them before but I'm saying new since I'm new to teaching at the same school!
[five]  I am totally loving my most recent RockBox and wore all my jewelry from it to school this week.....multiple times!  I subscribed to it last month before Europe and didn't love the first box but this second box has some great stuff.  I'll be sharing a whole review on both boxes next week so be sure to check back!
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I really hope the rest of the school year goes as well as the first week has.  I'm so excited to see what it has in store.  Life is just so much better when you like your job....isn't it?!
Have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Currently [August]

I just realized it's the last week of August.  I'm sorry what?  It feels like yesterday I was typing out how excited I was for Europe and school and now it's almost September!?  Before you know it I'll be putting up my Christmas tree and saying goodbye to my students for winter break!

For now though I thought I'd give you a tiny update on a few things.  SO here is what I am.....



Feeling...surprised and relieved.  I'm surprised because I have had such a successful first 3 days.  We had our first real history based lesson today and I was shocked because most of my students were actually participating in the lesson.  It was like pulling teeth getting my students to participate last year!  I'm feeling relieved because the first week of school is almost over!

Reading...All the Light We Cannot See.  I started the book while in Europe but haven't had a single moment free to read nor have I felt like picking up a book and reading at all.  Which is strange for me because I can usually read anytime, anywhere.

Drinking...Dr. Pepper.  Even thought I should be drinking water.  I set a goal for myself to drink more water and I have failed miserably.  Any tips y'all have to help with drinking more water would be much appreciated! 

Watching...the latest episode of Real Housewives of Orange County, for the second time.  There really isn't anything else on.  But I am SOOOO excited for all my fall shows to come back in a few weeks!

Thinking about...

Wearing...School volleyball shirt and yoga pants.  Said yoga pants have a nice big hole in the front now so they can no longer be worn out of the house.  But they are my most comfortable ones and so I still wear them out of the house.

Working on...Lessons for next week.  We're going to be over our first two settlements, Jamestown and Plymouth.  Another of my goals this school year is to be prepared with all my lessons at least a week in advance.  I don't want to be pulling together lessons the day of...wait what?  Sorry I mean the day before, because you know, teachers never do that.

Excited about...Ladies of London coming back to Bravo!!  Woo hoo! I absolutely LOVED the first season and cannot wait to see what my favorite American turned Brit Bravo-leberities have been up too.

Loving...these shoes, this sweater, and this quote....


What a nice thought! :)

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Classroom Tour: Ms. Norris' 8th Grade US History Class

And just like that, the first two days of school are officially over.  And I survived!  So far things are going pretty great.  So great in fact that I'm little worried that it's all too good to be true.  But I'm gonna hold on to these first two days for as long as I can, because I know it's just a matter of time before a few of these precious 8th graders of mine show me their true colors.  I'll be ready for them when they do! :)

Ok so I've spent the last week and most of my bank account getting my classroom ready for that oh so exciting first day of school.  And 5 paper cuts, 2 trips to Hobby Lobby, 3 trips to Target, 4 boxes of supplies and materials, and 2 Saturday mornings later, it looks pretty dang good if you ask me!  And I am so excited to share it with you!

I went with the same theme as last year, because I still loved it.  Turquoise, black, gold, and leopard were my main colors/patterns.  I did add ones extra pattern this year and that was chevron and I'm obsessed.  I could spend hours in this room and be completely ok with it.

Here it is!


I have my desks set up like this for the first week of school.  I want to get a feel for all the kids personalities, makes notes on who they should not be sitting next too, figure out who needs to be up front, etc.  Monday morning they will walk in and it will be set up completely different and they will have new assigned seats.  Most likely they will be sitting in pairs. Plus some of these desks will be taken out because thankfully I don't have more than 22 students in a class and I have 30 desks.  So hello extra floor space! 



I have a Smart Board!! These babies are the bomb dot com!  I'm obsessed with it and cannot wait to find out all the things it can do.  #technologynerd





One of my goals this year is to have my class run like a well oiled machine.  To accomplish this I've set my classes up with very specific procedures I want them to follow throughout the time they are in my class.  I did not do this last year and I think that if I did I wouldn't have had as many issues as I did.  I've found that structure is the key to good classroom management.  The more structured you class is they less time students have to misbehave.


The desks are all labeled with numbers and either an A or B, on red, white, and blue stars (because 'MERICA) to make it easier when I need the kids to work in groups or in pairs.  That way I don't have to worry about assigning numbers and there being lots of confusion.  So far it's worked great!


These little babies right here are my by far my favorite thing in the classroom!  Jenny made them for me with her sewing machine!  They add SO much to the room it's insane!  And they help the portion of me that is type A, stay sane so I don't have to see the clutter that is on the bookshelves.  Behind these curtains you will find the class crates for student to store their notebooks, resource material for the class, and extra supplies.

(Sidenote: Jenny just started a blog of her own. So go check out! Rants and Raves by Jenny.  She's pretty funny!)


My desk area isn't 100% complete yet.  I printed out a ton of Instagram pictures last weekend and intend to showcase them somewhere in this area.  But I've literally had zero time to think about that because I've had about 5,000 other things to do in the last two days.



Well there ya have it!  Ms. Norris' 8th Grade Us History classroom.  What do ya think? Would you wanna be in my class?!  Fingers crossed you would! :)



Linking up with Jenn and Jess!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Germany: From Cologne to Heidelberg


After two delightful days in Amsterdam, we all hoped on a private chartered bus and headed to Germany!  Thankfully there were only 20 people in our entire group so we could spread out and each have a whole row on the bus.  We drove for about three and half hours and found ourselves at our first stop, Cologne Germany.

Cologne is home to one of Europe's great cathedrals, Cologne Cathedral.  The church itself is breathtaking and awe-inspiring.  It took over 600 years for this church to be built.  Construction began on the cathedral in 1248 and wasn't full completed until 1880.  The entire time I was there I was thinking about the book The Pillars of the Earth, which is about the building of a cathedral that took just about as long to be built as Cologne Cathedral did.  It was a phenomenal read and I highly recommend it to everyone.  (Oh and it's over 1,000 pages, so make sure you have plenty of time.)

And now I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.









Afte a light lunch and some shopping in Cologne, we were back on the bus and heading toward our River Cruise on the Rhine River.  The views were amazing, but if I'm honest, this was a bit of a disappointment for everyone.  The boat was not in the best shape, there were about 200 other people on board, the windows were dirty so it was hard to see through them and take clean pictures, and the "wine tasting" we were told we would have was just a voucher for a glass of wine.  There was no "tasting" involved.  We were also told the river would be lined with a bunch of castles and while there were a handful, it was pretty disappointing.



We then moved on to our hotel for the night, in Mannheim.  Sadly we didn't have much time in Mannheim to see any of its sights (not even sure what there is in Mannheim actually) because we arrived later in the evening, checked into the hotel, and then headed to one of our included dinners.  Our hotel was adjacent to a park, that had gorgeous flowers and a very pretty fountain.  Plus our room had a balcony.  Only draw back to the hotel was that the air conditioning wasn't the greatest.  But they did have a delicious breakfast (complete with chicken nuggets, weird) and comfy beds.  So overall it was pretty good.



The following day we made our way to Heidelberg for a morning guided tour and some exploring of the cute little university town.  Our tour guide was this delightful little German woman, named Bridgitte, who had no problem telling other tour groups to quiet down because HER group couldn't hear her talking, nor did she have any problem telling US to be quiet if we were talking while she was talking.  (I have a feeling she may have been a teacher as some point).  She was hilarious and very knowledge about the whole city.






After our short bus tour around the city, we made our way to Heidelberg Castle for a guided tour with Bridgitte.  The castle was originally built in the 13th century and experiences various natural disasters (lightening bolt strikes) that caused it to be rebuilt and expanded several times throughout the 16th and 17th century.  We toured the outside of the castle and then made our way inside the castle.  The castle itself isn't used for much these days save for tourists and the occasional opera or play inside the main courtyard.  The fact that people actually used to live here is just insane.  Just as I was after visiting Versailles I was in awe of the fact that these places were actually homes.  I just cannot imagine inviting friends over to "castle" for a visit.  Insane.









The final leg of our tour took us into the Church of the Holy Spirit, the most important church in the city.  It's located in the center of the city right next to it's main square.  What I found most interesting about the church was the fact that apparently in the 1700s the church was used as both a Protestant AND a Catholic church.  According to Bridigitte the towns people put up a partition and on one side a Catholic service would be held and on the other a Protestant service.  This is so neat to me because the Protestant Reformation began in Germany and the fact that the two were able to worship side by side is amazing.  Additionally, the partition was not officially taken down until the 1970s when it then became exclusively Protestant.  So crazy, huh! Gosh I love History! :)




After our tour was over we had some free time to explore the city on our own.  I found my parents some fantastic gifts (which they loved) and we had lunch at one of the towns brewery's, Vetters Brauhaus.  I had a delicious Bavarian meatloaf (and no it's not ANYTHING like the Southern meatloaf I'm sure you're thinking of) and this delicious appetizer.  It's a house made sourdough bread covered in Bavarian cheese.  So tasty.



After lunch we made our way back to bus to head to our next country.  Let me tell you, the German countryside is GORGEOUS!  I have to make it a point to go back to Germany and spend more time exploring that part of the country.  It was so picturesque and reminded me of Disney movies.



Overall I think I was the most disappointed with our time in Germany.  But only because I felt like we had to rushed through it.  Actually I don't think disappointed is the correct word, I think a better one is "unfulfilled".  I don't feel like I got a good enough taste of Germany.  I wanted more.  So much more than what were able to get.  Clearly that means I have to make another trip to Germany, which is A-OK with me because the parts I did see I loved.  So I have a feeling I'll love the rest of it even more.  

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This has been so fun!  I am loving re-capping each country we visited and I hope y'all are too!  Come back next Tuesday because I'll be talking about the most expensive, neutral country in the world.....Switzerland! :)

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