I am so excited for my first link-up with my Tell All Tuesday friends hosted by Jayme at Teach Talk Inspire and Diana at My Day in K. Thank you ladies for this fantastic link-up!

This week is all about a Summer Flashback, how fun!! Who doesn't love reminiscing on the old days and laughing at yourself (or at least I do with some of my fashion choices!)

Now for some fun pictures!!

Oh my word! This picture is from the summer of 2007. I was a single mom, and started dating Chris in September 2006. We took our first 'family' vacation to Ocean City, Maryland for the car show week in May of 2007. My little man had such chubby cheeks!! And my hair is so long! Oh my :)

This is a picture from hmmmm..... the summer of 1999 I think or 2000? I know it was the summer before a school year and I graduated high school in 2001, so I think it had to be 99 or 2000. My grandfather had been diagnosed as legally blind back in the mid-90s. He wanted to go back to his high school reunion in Beckley, West Virginia (I think that was the town name). I had my license, so my dad volunteered me and my sister to take a road trip with my 70 something grandfather. You can imagine our excitement (not at all) to spend a week with our Pop in a town that was foreign to us. However, looking back, I was so grateful for this time. It allowed us to have some really great conversations about life and his memories that I would have never heard about. My grandfather, PopPop, is still alive today. He lives in an assisted living care facility and he will be 90 in February. I have been so blessed to have had my grandparents there for me my entire life. Three out of four of my grandparents are still living, I know I am super lucky :)

Check out these other fabulous summer flashbacks from these amazing teacher bloggers!!

Hello! I am linking up with my girl Monica from I Heart Grade 3. This week is about our favorite quotes!
I have missed the last few weeks of this awesome link-up. I have been super busy running around to professional development sessions for my school, and hauling my kiddos to doctors and dentists appointments. But things are slowing down a bit, so of course, blogging was first on my list of to-dos (even before laundry and grocery shopping haha).

So I have always loved quotes! I remember being in 7th grade, and spending all my free time writing quotes on my folders for school :) In fact, when I started on Pinterest 3 years ago, one of the first boards I created was my Love it Quotes Board. Feel free to check it out :)

So my favorite quote.....that's a tough one. There are so many fantastic quotes out there. So of course I can't pick just ONE!!

Faith is an incredible thing. It makes people think, feel, and act in ways they wouldn't if they didn't have faith. In my life, there have been turning points when I have made decisions that were entirely faith-based. I had faith in my God when I decided to take the dive to going back to school with 3 young children at home to finish my dream of becoming a teacher.

One thing I have noticed, is everyone wants the quick way to success. Here's the secret--you have to work for it! Hard work pays off!! I had to work incredibly hard managing a household and a family (and a full-time job) while going to school full time for 3 years to finish my bachelors and masters degree. It wasn't easy, but oh my, it was worth it :D

The last quote is an Irish proverb. I think so many people can relate to this quote. In particular, it makes me think of my grandfather who passed last April. I know I will one day see him again :)

Make sure to check out others quotes who linked up with Monica from I Heart Grade 3

Welcome to Week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge!!

I am linking up with Jen from Sparkling in Second, Emily from Third in Hollywood, Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Ashley from Teach Create Motivate .

So I think that this is such an awesome challenge to be real with myself for a minute. I have so many different dreams, but here are my top 4 :)

Ok so the first dream I have from TpTing is to purchase a bigger house. The house we live in is a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom. And there is 6 of us!! Now it's not too bad right now, with the kiddos being younger (ages 10, 7, 5, and 1). However, as they get older, only having 1 tub/shower, is going to become a problem. Also the girls share a room, and the boys share a room. Again, not a problem now, however as they grow, I'm sure they will want privacy from each other. My dream would be to purchase a larger house. My husband wants to own 100+ acres someday, so it would be AMAZING if we could find something somewhere that we could either build on, or it has a larger house on a giant piece of land :)

My second dream is to pay off all our loans. I was a career changer. I always wanted to be a teacher, but when I become pregnant with my oldest at age 20, I was not able to finish college. It wasn't until 3 kids later that I went back to school. We had to take out loans for my undergrad degree, as well as my masters. I would love to pay off my college debt, as well as our truck! And EVEN OUR HOUSE!! I know I am dreaming big :)

My next dream is to purchase some investments for our(and our childrens) future. I would love to invest some money into real estate. I'm not sure I would like to be a landlord, however I love watching shows like Flip or Flop and Home Renovation shows. My husband is quite the handyman/builder/tool guy and I would love to get into that business!

My last dream is to help others. I was a single mom, and it was a difficult time for me. I would love to help out other single moms trying to go back to school to better themselves.

So as you see I have a LOT of dreams!! I have high expectations, but I think with hard work and dedication towards anything----your dreams are possible :)
Make sure to read about others' dreams!! And remember to dream big :)

So yes, I titled this blog post "A Kick in the Pants", cause really....don't we all at some point need a kick in the pants? Whether we need to get a reality check about our health/wellness or spending habits or relationships or spirituality or in my case----my older products on TPT!!

So I joined the #TpTSellerChallenge with the amazing ladies Emily @ Third in Hollywood , Ashley @ Teachcreatemotivate, Amber @ Peppy Zesty Teacherista, Jen @ Sparking in Second Grade

This is a challenge for TpT sellers to improve their stats, gain followers, and grow their business. So I am all up on that!!

So the week 1 challenge was titled, "MAKEOVER MADNESS". The directions were this, "Head to your store and find one product that needs a facelift. You can completely redo the product, or just the cover page!"

So immediately I thought about one of my first products. It's a project based learning activity for back to school. This is what it looked like before....

And I decided to COMPLETELY RE-DO it. The first reason being I didn't have it saved as a powerpoint for me to edit, and second---it just needed it!!

So here is some of the after pics!

So I'm super excited to continue with the #TpTSellerChallenge, and I think I'm off to a great start!! Join in the fun :)

You can find my made-over item in my store Let's Go Back to School Shopping MADE OVER!

Happy Fri---I mean Saturday, so I'm a day late :) I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for their weekly linky, Five for Friday!

This week has been such an exciting week! I can't wait to tell you all about it :)

So this week, I was off for 3 out of 4 of the last days of school. I had surgery last week for the IUD that went missing in my body, luckily it was removed successfully. But that surgery required me to be off through Wednesday. So I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday relaxing and enjoying my children!

I went back to work on Thursday, which was a 1/2 day for students, and then the rest of the day for meeetings! So I had to take a class selfie with them! I will surely miss these babies!
During my sons' baseball games, we have to arrive quite early for them to warm up. So oftentimes, Chris and I will walk the other kiddos down to the creek. Wednesday night was Karter's last regular season game, so we walked down to the creek, the kiddos got in, and they also caught a crayfish!

I have had the best experience this year with collaboration within my 1st grade team. We were departmentalized, and our ability to communicate and work together has been dream-like! I can't help but post a picture of my fantastic team! I am the one in the middle :)
Today is my birthday!! That's right, June 13th :) I am 32 years old today! I am super excited and so proud of everything I have accomplished!! Please feel free to celebrate with me! I am throwing a sale in my TpT store, ON EVERYTHING, including bundles! Momma with a Teaching Mission <----- Link to my TpT store :)

Wishing everyone a fabulous week!

So I am linking up with my girl Monica from I Heart Grade 3 for her weekly summer link-ups. This weeks' topic is an accomplishment I'm proud of...

Ok. So I'm going to be real for a few minutes. Not that I'm ever NOT real, but....here goes :)

Rewind my life to 10 years ago. I was a single momma of my gorgeous baby boy. I was working 3 jobs. I was a college drop-out who got pregnant, who had to move back in with my mom and younger brother and sister. I had a 6 month old, and was and out of control 21 year old.

I was what some may say as in a rough spot. I was dating loser guys, going out drinking while my son was with my mom, spending money I didn't have, I think some may have called that rock bottom, at least that's what I call it.

I would look at my son and cry, thinking how ashamed I felt making the choices I made. I chose to change. I chose to end that cycle. I made a promise to make a better life for us.

I met my husband when Karter was 18 months old. He became the father Karter didn't have. We had a baby, my Katie. We got engaged. We had another baby, my Christopher. I had a pretty decent job. I worked in the Human Resources Department of the school system. I really loved my job.

However, that job was not what I wanted. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. My husband saw and knew my dream. He encouraged me, "Melanie, if you wanna do it, what are you waiting for, go back to school, you can do it."

So when Christopher was 9 months old, I started taking classes full-time, while continuing to work. The fastest way for me to become a teacher, with the colleges around where I live, was to finish my bachelors in Sociology and then go through a 1 year intense Master of Arts in Teaching Program. So that's what I did. I finished my undergrad in 2 years, going full-time, taking classes on-line and in the evening after work. Then May 2012, I started the M.A.T. program, I was able to work through August, while having classes at night from 5-10 p.m.

I would leave the house at like 5:45 a.m. go to work, go straight to school, and by the time I got home my little babies were asleep. I really give credit to my husband, he stepped it up during that time when I was in school. Now I only did that schedule from May-August, then when August hit, I had to start my student teaching placement--so I could no longer work. The following May I graduated from Frostburg with my masters of arts in teaching. I got hired 2 days before we graduated to teach 1st grade, and everything was falling into place.

My life today is picture perfect, I have 4 amazing kids, a fantastic husband, and a great job. No one would ever guess the 'backwards' path I have walked down. However, I wouldn't change it for anything. My path has made me who I am, and I think has made me a more understanding person and teacher.

 Sometimes I look back and think, how in the heck did I do it? How was I able to have 3 babies, go to school full-time, and work full-time? Then I think back to 10 years ago, when my 1st love was such a wee one--and that promise I made him and made myself--I was going to change, our life was going to be better.

I have to say, I am so grateful and so proud of my 4 children, however, the accomplishment I am most proud of was that promise and change I made for them <3
Welcome to Relfect and Refresh, a two part linky party where teacher bloggers share their reflections on the 2014-2015 school year and ways they are planning to refresh their teaching in 201-2016. What a year!

Ok so looking back on this year--wow did it fly by!! It was a fantastic year, and I truly feel like I grew as an educator! My team changed from my 1st year (previous year), two of my team members left, and we gained two brand spanking new teachers. So my role had to change. I had to go from the newbie, to the one with experience, more of a leader :)

So I feel like I had all the good intentions of having a great line of communication with my students' parents. I signed up for Remind101, but only 2 of my parents signed up for it! I was shocked! So I did a couple reminders when I started the year, but then kinda gave up since I was only reaching 2 parents! Now, I will say that because we were departmentalized, our communication as a team goes ROCKED! We were able to meet with parents as a team, we were able to discuss students and their abilities or disabilities as a team. That part of my communication this year was amazing!

My first year teaching I took over a classroom of a retiring teacher. She left me LOTS of stuff, which I was super grateful for. However, I felt like my 1st year teaching, it really wasn't my own spin on a lot of stuff. Now mind you, I also had a baby my first year teaching, so I had a lot going on :) So I was more than happy to use everything the retiring teacher left me, but this year I was able to really purge things I didn't need, and create my own space. Things that worked for her, didn't work for me, and after a year under my belt I was able to recognize and change what I needed and thought. I re-arranged the room. Which I know doesn't seem like a big deal, but when the teacher I replaced came in to sub for me for a 1/2 day at the beginning of the school year, she commented about the new set-up. The older games I got rid of, and I was able to create my own items and organize them in my pull-out drawers :) Old books that were left to me that were of no interest to my kiddos, I sent home with some of my students that wanted them, and the others I gave to the newbie teachers on my team. I really felt good about my organization this year!

So all I have ever known is the common core. When I went through my student teaching, MD had started the common core that year. Last year, my first year teaching, I got a slight understanding of the standards, but this year, with creating my own assessments and lessons, I feel like I truly got an incredible grasp of what my kiddos are expected to do. I highly recommend trying to create items for your students to help you really dig deep and understand those standards.

My Big Summer Project
So, next year, my entire school is taking on our departmentalized model that I was a part of in 1st grade this year. In my school, the teachers are either assigned to primary reading or math (grades K-2), or intermediate reading or math (grades 3-5). So, I am assigned to a primary reading spot. I'm thinking I will be more with the higher level (2nd grade) students. So my summer project is going to be digging into those 2nd grade, and even 3rd grade common core standards. Why the 3rd grade standards? Well in my school, we have a huge gap from students going to 2nd to 3rd grade. So I want to make sure to push those 2nd graders to make sure they are ready for 3rd grade when they get there.

I feel like it's been an amazing year. I've learned so much. Next year, I am super excited about the change in primary and intermediate. I will also be a 'team leader', which will be a new role for me! So there will be a lot to learn, and I am so excited!! Stay tuned :)

Make sure to check out my other bloggin' friends and their reflect and refresh posts!

It's celebration time! We are celebrating Celeste's from Education Highway birthday!! It's a Pool Party Blog Hop! And who doesn't love a pool party!??!
Make sure to check out all the partyin' blogging friends for summer ideas, freebies, sales, and great giveaways!
So let's start with a fun freebie! I've created a few different freebies for summer! I had to be out the last 5 days of school due to an emergency type surgery, I'm fine, but it was unexpected! So if you are still in school, perhaps you can use this freebie!

IF you are outta school, and have some little ones, maybe this freebie would work for you!

Now for the giveaways!! If it's free it's for me, right?!?! Who doesn't love a good giveaway :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have scoured Pinterest (who hasn't) for ideas to keep my kiddos busy this summer! As a momma of 4, they tend to climb the walls during the summer for FUN things to do! My Summer Ideas Pinterest Board, here are some of my faves...

*101 Almost Free Things to do with your kids in Summer
*50+ Kid Friendly Summer Snacks
*10 Outside Activies to do with Kids

So not only is it Celeste's birthday week, but my birthday is June 13th! I was born in 1983, so I will be turning 32~although I still feel 20 something! Like Monica said (90s reference), "age ain't nothing but a number". So in honor of my birthday, my store will be on sale, everything, including my BUNDLES will be 15% off! You can find my store Momma with a Teaching Mission

So be sure to hop over to the others' to check out more great summer ideas and freebies!!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for their Five for Friday Weekly Link up!! I have often seen other bloggers post for Five for Friday, but I have never gotten around to linking up! So I am super excited for my first link-up for this :D

Last Friday May 29th we had our field day. It is an all day event. We rotate through 5 different events---kickball, water games, bounce house/blowup things/carnival games, clam digging (which is grabbing gems in baby pools with their toes--like a competition to see who gets the most), outside play (with sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, bubbles, and balls), and a indoor movie time (which is an episode of Magic School Bus). The kiddos OF COURSE loved it! It was a great day and we had great weather!! Do you have a full day field day at your school? Do you even have field day?

On Saturday, we got to go to my cousin's graduation party. My kiddos got to swim and play and it was so stinkin hot out! Within the first few minutes driving home, Christopher (5) was out!! I feel so successful when my kiddos are this tired!! Is that wrong?!? LOL

Just look at this kid! She is my heart, my love. She hates shoes, so Saturday evening when we went to her Daddy's dirt track race, she insisted (18months and insisting--I know look out for 2 years!) on not wearing her shoes and sitting on those nasty bleachers!! I guess I can say---I was letting her build her immune system!?! LOL Sometimes you just gotta let it be :)

So Tuesday June 2nd was my own children's last day of school. My oldest two, Karter and Katie, are now off for the summer with their younger 2 siblings, Christopher and Alexa. Looking at this picture is just crazy to me! To think I now have a 5th grader, and a 2nd grader, and Christopher will be going to KG next year! WHAT??! I'm sure you feel the same way about the babies (children/nieces/nephews/furbabies) in your life!!

So...last Thursday 5/28 I had my yearly woman check-up. I asked my gyno to make sure my IUD was there. Long story short, it wasn't! I hadn't felt any pain, it was more or less me being a paranoid freak thinking it was floating around in my body.....well out of the 1 million times of me being paranoid---I WAS RIGHT!!! So surgery was Thursday 6/4. I was told on Friday 5/29 that I'd have to have surgery. I was quite nervous and anxious. But everything went well, and I am recovering at home :)

My own students and I am in school until June 11th. So obviously this posed as a problem!! Thank goodness for some of the no prep resources I've created, as well as purchased from other FANTASTIC TpT authors. I was able to whip up some lesson plans real quick for the 5 days I would be out. But I also created this FREEBIE, that if you are still in school, maybe you could use as well, and I am leaving for my sub to use on the last FULL day of school! Summer & Reflection Task Cards FREEBIE K-5 

If you are already out of school, I hope you have a fantastically relaxing summer. And if you aren't finished yet---you are almost there!!!! Enjoy your time off :)

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