"You say it's your birthday (nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah).   It's my birthday too yeah."  No really. . . IT IS my birthday! This morning I woke up to the best birthday present.  Can you guess what it was????  Here's a hint - - look around - - do you see something different??? Ding, ding, ding you got it - - it was my BLOG MAKEOVER Superstar Edition!

I was fortunate enough to have the one and only Jena Snowden from 1st Grade With Miss Snowden agree to do my makeover. I can't say enough about how wonderful Jena is.  She took my lack of vision and turned it into this fantastic blog design that makes me smile every time I look at it.  If you like my new design be sure to hop over to Jena's blog by clicking on the picture below and let her know.

Well, that's all for now - SHINE on everyone!!
1 week??!!??  Really I haven't posted for 1 whole week?!? I couldn't believe it either but it's true.  This past week I have been teaching a really exciting workshop called SEA Lab.  I get to work with some exceptional teachers and I have just been consumed by it.  I keep having visions of Dory from "Finding Nemo" saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming".  I'm only teaching SEA Lab for one more week.  When I'm done, I promise to post about this unique workshop.

Now on to (insert Charlie Sheen's crazy voice) WINNING!!!!  I won these fun awards from the lovely ladies over at Primary Possibilities.  I think they are adorable and I can't wait to use them next year with my little munchkins.  Click on the picture below to purchase these awards from their TPT store.  Thanks again ladies.

PINNING!!!!!  I am so excited to be joining up with some other pin-a-holics for a fantastic new blog, Endless Pinabilities.  This idea was the brainchild of Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher.  As she says on the blog, Endless Pinabilities is a place to share favorite pins and crafts that were inspired by Pinterest.  You can find my very first post by clicking here.

Well that's all I have for now, I'm off to stalk : )
Today was THE DAY. . . my first "official day" of Summer Vacation. Last Friday was my last day with students, this Tuesday was my last day with post planning, packing my room and finishing up paper work.  Then for the past two days I've been packing, moving and unpacking preparing for a summer workshop that I will be teaching for the next two weeks (more to come about that soon).

So after all of this CRAZINESS, today was THE DAY I have been waiting for.  I slept in late, procrastinated, took a nap and of course blog stalked. . . it was FANTASTIC. To top off my evening I just checked my email to see that I was a winner, winner, chicken dinner!  I entered Pin It to Win it and I won this awesome ABC pack from Tanya Dwyer's TPT store (click here to purchase).  If you haven't visited Tanya's blog be sure to hop on over, she has some great ideas and always cracks me up.

Well I'm off to stay up late, stalk some more and pin something.  Ahhhhhh summer vacation - just one of the many perks of being a teacher.
Today I got to meet up with some fabulous fellow bloggers for our first official. . .

It was so much fun!  We all meet at the Cocoa Beach Pier had a yummy lunch (with some great sweet tea) hung out and had an awesome time.  Driving over I felt like I was going on a blind date - anxious, excited and I'm not gonna lie - a little bit nervous.  All of those feeling quickly disappeared as soon as I took a seat.  It was amazing to me how well we all just seemed to click.

Here is a list of all of the great bloggers who were there today:

Thank you, thank you, thank you to  Jen, Tara and Mor for the cute gift bags and for organizing everything.  Be sure to check out Penny's blog to see a slide show of our day.
See you guys next time.
Friday was the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL for my Shining Superstars. This week was filled with packing, playing, paperwork, parties, hugs, a few tears but a lot of laughter.  Here's a short list of what worked for me this week:

1.  Pinterest / bloggers - Thanks for all of the great ideas.  My favorite new idea was from Stephanie's blog Falling Into First. Her ice-cream sandwich sundaes were a HUGE hit with the kids and the teachers. I will never scoop another bowl of ice-cream in school again.


2. My friends - Thank you all for helping me get through this stressful week where my CRAZY, CRAZY procrastination almost caught up with me.

3.  Remembering the reason - My favorite part of the week is when I took the time to remember the reason why I teach.  Every year on the last day while the kids are watching a movie, I pull each student up one at a time to give them the one-on-one attention that they need. First, I open their gift for me. I like to do this away from the other students so that I don't hurt anyone's feeling who might not have gotten me a present. Then I tell each child what makes them special and why I will miss them.  When I'm done talking, I give them one of my extra special "sqwishy hugs" - the kind that let's them know I love them.  I know it sounds kind of sappy but the smile on a child's face while I am telling them what makes them special, is one of the reasons why I teach.

I hope that during this crazy time you had a chance to remember the reason.

Wait for it . . . wait for it . . . I am joining yet another linky party.  I must really be in a partying kind of mood because this is my third linky.  Today I am joining up with the one and only Farley of Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the June Currently.
If you haven't read her blog before, be sure to head on over, she is a hoot.  Well this teacher is CURRENTLY exhausted but I have more blogs to go stalk a DVD to go make.

Time for another Linky Party.  Today I am joining Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory for her very first linky party Rockin' Resources, Things I Couldn't Live Without.  If you haven't been on her site yet, be sure to head on over (after you read my list of course).

So here is my list of the top 5 things that I couldn't live without:

1.  All things Apple - I heart all things made by Apple.  My phone, ipods and especially my macbook (or as I like to refer to it. . . my baby).  This year I was so obsessed about getting an ipad for my classroom that my principal finally just let me use hers during the day to get me to stop bugging her.

2.  My document camera - Seriously, where has this been all of my teaching life????  If the building were about to burn down this would be one of the first things I think that I would grab on my way out the door.
3.  Jack Hartmann - Thank you, thank you, thank you Jack for teaching my kids how to count, write and read all year.  You can find a link to his website here.  BTW notice I call him Jack because he came to visit our school a few years ago so I feel like I can be on a first name basis with him.

4.  YouTube - Our school district FINALLY lifted the ban on YouTube and I haven't looked back since.  My kids love watching the little short clips that I can find there.  They make a great hook to use for your writing in common core.
5.  Nicky Folders - Thank you to Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lillypad for reminding me about these folders on her linky party items. A friend introduced these to me last summer and I love them.  I convinced my principal to purchase them for my grade level this year and they were awesome.  Hands down one of the best purchases we made.  You can find a link to their site here.

Well thanks for reading my list.  I'm heading on over to the party to check out some more great ideas.
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