Monday, July 27, 2015

Freebie Monday!

Check out my new and improved
small group, anecdotal note taking sheet.

I am offering this free to blog readers for a limited time!
Please feel free to share and download!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Daytona Beach 2k15

Wowzers, I am finally caught up on my
orders and Master's work so I can update
about my awesome family trip.

Gorgeous sunset.

Yacht club view at one of our favorite restaurants, Caribbean Jacks.

Another lovely sunset.

View from our condo.

My view as I sat under the canopy.

My sunburn from sitting UNDER the canopy.

A spike I made for my mother.
Love it!

Clear skies after a downpour.

View from the pier. 
There were a few dolphins that were
hanging around looking majestic.

I call this UFO.
 I love how the lamps look.

Panoramic view of the storm coming.

One day while it was raining, I worked
on my Master's work in our cozy condo.

Random pier photo.

Pretty hibiscus at the putt-putt course. 

My sister and I messing with the safari totem man.

Mom, Me, Sister at the pier.

Yacht club selfie, take 2.

Yacht club selfie, take 1.

Love this.
This picture captures our true essence. 

Okay, more serious photos now.


I will leave you with this beauty.

2 weeks until the beginning of school!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beach and Fluency

Hello again from the beach!

Day 1: Reading on the beach

Day 2: Writing at the beach due to rain

As I have previously shared with y’all, I am in a Master’s course for Reading and Literacy at Walden University. This week’s discussion is based on professional partnerships, networks, and learning communities. This can be in the form of professional learning, blogs, wikis, and professional social networks.

We were given a few examples of educational blogs:

The Essential Blog

ASCD Weblog

NSCD: Leading and Learning Blog

PLC Blog

Education News, Analysis, and Commentary Blog

Edutopia’s Blogs

McREL Blog

From this list, I chose to use the Education Week Blog and began to think about my school’s improvement area(s). I remembered in previous meetings, fluency is our students’ main deficit. After searching for fluency blog post, I found Liana Heitin’s (2015) article titled “Reading Fluency: Why Is It So Hard to Teach?”. In this article, Heitin reflects on how even though she has been out of the class for fifteen years, not much has changed. Heitin  (2015) states, “What I found was that not a ton has changed. The same fluency-building strategies—repeated reading, choral reading, and echo reading—are still well prescribed. Having students read alone silently is still seen as lacking an evidence base.” This sentence made me think of how these strategies were, or were not, used my own classroom. I use the repeated reading and reading silently strategies in my croom. I do not have the traditional homeroom and see upwards of 30 students a week. We work mainly on reading accuracy and fluency interventions as well as comprehension; some of these students need math interventions as well. In these classes we repeat read passages on their individual reading level using different techniques/interventions. These students also take home books to read silently or they engage in silent reading in the morning in their homerooms.
Heitin (2015) quotes a literacy education professor at Kent State University, Tim Rasinski, as saying, "Fluency becomes little more than encouraging kids to read faster and faster. It gives them the wrong idea about what reading is about." Thankfully, I can say that I am not that teacher. I love to read aloud to my student, which is rare in my current position, and use different voices as I read. I make sure the students know why I am doing this and listening to how I read with feeling, purpose and that I am not reading as fast as I can. I tell my students it is more important to know what you than to read all of the words in under a minute. Most students do not realize, 9 times out of 10, they will be asked to explain what they read and to reflect on what it means or connects to their lives. This is why, as an educator, I focus equally on accuracy and fluency. The more accurate the student on their individual level, the more fluent they become. When they are more fluent, the next reading level can be attained. They can then continue to build their confidence and become closer to reaching their independent reading level on their appropriate grade level.
According to PTG Media (n.d.), fluency development is based on the following: Building conceptual connections through prior knowledge, providing explicit models of good language use and providing necessary scaffolding and support. When we look at building connections, PTG Media writes, “As students compare new information with what they already know, they deepen their understanding of the topic.” (p.41).  ELL students have deficits in basic content in what is read as well as the vocabulary in some text. As educators, we might need to reteach basic vocabulary and/or show visuals to help students. Next, being a model for speaking English well is a wonderful opportunity to read above the students’ reading level and introduce them to rich vocabulary they might not see in their independent leveled books.  As PTG writes, “For second language learners, frequent opportunities to hear English texts read orally will build vocabulary, deepen comprehension, and model fluency.” (p.41). The last strategy for ELL fluency development is to provide scaffolding/support when necessary. This might include recorded books, one on one practice and working with special teachers, such as ESOL.
In closing, fluency is a building block that all readers, not only ELL learners need have. When we are able to read with fluency, it helps us express ourselves in a more professional and educated manor. This is what we ultimately want for our students. We want them to continue their education career as a both a lifelong learner and a lifelong reader.


Cooper, H. (2003). Summer Learning Loss: The Problem and Some Solutions. Retrieved from

Heitin, L. (14 May, 2015). Reading Fluency: Why Is It So Hard to Teach? Retrieved from

PTG Media. (n.d.). ELL Students and Fluency Development. Retrieved from

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Affordable, 6 Ingredient Guacamole Chicken Salad

So0o0o I love avocados.
I love the color.
I love the taste.
I love the smell.
I love how versatile they are...
I love them.

Mr. Word and I have a running joke
about how there is a small window to actually
make sure the avocado is at its peak of deliciousness.

This illustrates this perfectly.

Okay, on to the recipe.

*Disclaimer: Cute cutting boards are great and dandy; however,
I HATE avocados, HATE dishes.*

It truly is a thing of beauty.

- 2 Avocados (Aldi, .78 cents each)
- 1 Lime (juice only) (Aldi, Less than $1.50 per bag)
- Cilantro, to taste (Aldi, Less than $1 per bag)
- 1/2 Small, white onion (Aldi, $1.30 per bag)
- 1/2 Rotisserie chicken (Sam's Club, $4.98/per bird)
- Garlic or garlic powder to taste (Already purchased)

Dishes Needed:
- Large glass mixing bowl
- 2 Paper plates (or a fancy cutting board) :)
- 1 Fork
- 1 Knife
So roughly $5.25 to make enough for 4 portions...Go Aldi!
 Okay, now for photos of deliciousness.

Cut up the avocados and add lime juice
while smashing with a fork.

Add in cilantro, onion and garlic.
Mix and set aside.

Shred up the chicken.

**I have to give Mr. Word props for
this huge plate o' chicken. I HATE touching
meat, especially raw meat (YUCK). He deconstructed the
chicken and I reconstructed it into this yummy dish.**

Set aside half for now and the other 
half when you want to run out and
buy 2 more avocados so you 
can remake this recipe...
any other recipe you find on Pinterest.

Mix in chicken as evenly as possible and enjoy!

Close up...mmm.

The carnage.
All the mess on one plate!

*Note: It looks like there is a lot
of onion left...there is. I am not
the biggest onion eater so I technically 
used a little less than half.**

One dirty dish,
a busy person's dream!

Now that you do not have to clean
a million and one dishes, you can 
think about how you are going to eat
your newly created meal.

I enjoy mine on sweet peppers.

It is kind of hard to see but 
I cut the tops off and deseed.
Once they are deseeded, 
I cut them in half and stuff it with 
the guacamole chicken salad.

I would love to hear how it works
out for you if you end up trying this recipe!

P.S. I cannot stop watching House of Cards!
Anyone out there gone through/going through this?! :)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Warped Tour 2015

Hello everyone! I have finally recouped from
the 20th anniversary of the Van's Warped Tour.

I know some of my readers (maybe most) have
no clue what I am typing about so I will give a brief history.

This is an awesome brand of shoe that was founded in 1966 in California
and to this day is a shoe favored by skateboarders and people like me!
Over the years, I have owned multiple pairs and they are some
of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn! 

Warped Tour:
This is simply a concert with 40+ bands, in one area, 
with multiple stages that travels all around the Unites States.
These bands are usually all categorized in one of the following:
Punk rock
Hip hop

The "festival" last around 10 hours and is filled with music,
tents selling the bands' merchandise, sponsors giving out free items, 
and like minded people all enjoying their favorite genres of music!

Other than offering music, this tour gathers canned goods 
and raises money for a multitude of charities.

Okay, now that that is done...
here are a few photos.

Senses Fail.

Senses Fail.

People "dancing".

One of my favorite photos of the singers, caught in action.

Miss May I.
This is a band I had not heard of and after
watching them, I found a new band to add to my pandora.

This is one of the many perks of Warped Tour,
you can discover bands that you might not have known about.

Memphis May Fire.

Memphis May Fire.

More MMF


Pierce the Veil.
Largest crowd of the day!



Asking Alexandra.
Hands down, the best of the day.

 Another of Asking Alexandria.
SO MANY security guards catching crowd surfer.

Me and my 3 friends!

Also one of the BEST performances of the day.


My other favorite photo of a singer.


Burned (which has since gotten worse, ha), 
dirty Vans, good memories with new and old friends!

After a few days of rest and constant aloe application
it was time to celebrate the 4th of July with friends and food.

Here is an adorable photo of Mac being a trooper!
He was a brave pup and did not flinch at the sound of
the fireworks or the people around him! 

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!

I am going to leave you with this random, adorable basset.