Life Update: October 2020

Hi y’all,

I’ve been sitting down yesterday and today making plans for content, but I also wanted to share what’s been going on in my life and why I haven’t been posting as much as I normally want to. I actually ended up filming a Youtube Video and wanted to let ya’ll know to subscribe so that you could be the first to know when I post a new video!

I’ll be posting a few school videos this weekend (specifically math related) so be on the lookout for those!).



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grad school, teaching

New School Year

Hello to the 2020-2021 school year! Life has been crazy so far, but I have successfully made it through the first 4 days with students.

Obviously, we don’t know what the future holds, and sadly in a district that is always short on subs, the likelihood of another COVID “shut down” (aka force to go all virtual) is very high.

I’ve been spending the first few days conquering technology and teaching my kids how to use Canvas. Which, I love Canvas. I use it at UVA; however, Canvas recently started allowing more Google integration. It’s way more steps to do integrate things like Google docs instead of a word doc. My district (like many) buy/lease chromebooks for the students meaning they do not even have access to word on their computers so Google is a must. Add in two of my students not have accounts because their registration had not been fully completed yet (aka put into the computer system).

I will say I am immensely proud of how sweet, kind, and forgiving my kiddos are this year. Even though they have limited social interactions and have been forced to deal with more technological issues than anyone could normally deal with, they have done it. They always make sure everyone is included and strive to make the best of every situation. We did a discussion in Canvas to learn how to do it, and they made sure everyone had a comment on their original post even though they only had to do two replies.

I have also started back at UVA, only taking 4 credits instead of 6. One of my classes is on diagnosis and remediation for Reading Intervention which is super fun and interesting. I have to do 3 practicum assignments in it though, so I’m still trying to figure that out. Luckily, there is a conversation about it on Tuesday night that I plan on attending (via Zoom) to figure out what exactly is the expectation. The other class is Dyslexia in the Classroom, which focuses on understanding more about Dyslexia and how to provide interventions. At no point is it my job to ever officially diagnosis someone with a learning disability; however, it would be my job to provide intervention for the diagnosis from a psychologist or other medical professional.

In my spare time (which granted hasn’t been much) I’ve been reading a ton and cannot wait to share the next book chat with y’all soon! Let me know what other posts or videos you want to see. I’m able to post more on Youtube right now since I have better internet.



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A Review of Skillshare

Hi y’all,

I recently had a trial from Skillshare and I wanted to share with y’all my opinion before you spend $99 a year for a membership.

First things first, it is mostly a membership site. You can get away with not paying and viewing free videos; however, that option is limited. For me, I cannot justify spending $99 a year or $8.25/month for the premium version.

There is not a ton of variety on Skillshare. It is definitely focused more on media, technology, and advertising.

I do think you can find a lot of the information that is on Skillshare somewhere else for free. It might not be as organized or specific, but it’s available.

On the flip side, it is convenient. You can click on a category and have immediate access to all the classes available on Skillshare that talks about a specific skill. The organization is a definite plus for Skillshare. However, YouTube and Google are just as good a resource for these, and you would find more of a variety.

Overall, I will not be paying for Skillshare. I thought a lot of the content available was easily accessible elsewhere or was common knowledge. I would prefer to spend my money more wisely on something else. During my free trial period, I watched one full class on Skillshare. It was an hour long video on Instagram, and honestly it could have been shorter or split into different videos/classes.

Have you tried Skillshare? Do you have a different opinion compared to mine?



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Planning for the New Year

HI y’all,
I’m really trying to get back into my planning kick. You see, I was always super organized when it came to school (during Undergrad and before). With real life, I find that I rarely open my planner and then miss things or have to re-organize my day based on that. I don’t like using a digital planner/calendar. I often just use them to find out when I have something (like my observations or other school important things) and then transfer it to my Day Designer by Blue Sky. Then, I make the ultimate mistake: I don’t open my planner again.

I think this is happening for a few reasons:
I printed out calendars for a few months to lay out my planning/pacing for school. I never wrote these dates down anywhere else, and reference the papers whenever I need to look at the calendar for where I need to be.

I don’t have a spot where I leave my planner. I typically just leave it in my school bag all day, which eliminates the purpose!  I’m trying to make a point to use my teacher table (I don’t have a desk, just a kidney table where I sit along with a few students). If it’s not even out where I can see it, when am I going to use it?

I’m not dedicating time to it like I used to. I used to write things down at the beginning of every semester or whenever the teacher/professor gave the information. I definitely need to get this habit back!

So, to change my planning to make it better than 2018, these are the things I’m doing:

-Color coding. Please excuse my major type A personality here, but color coding is my jam! In my education classes, the professors always made comments about my pens but let me tell you, they are life savers! I know just by looking at the color what the activity/assignment is for.

-Taking time each week to look at my planner on Sundays. This way, I know what is coming up for the week. I have both a weekly and daily view, so I will have to look at both; but at least I know what’s coming.

-Not over scheduling myself. I was trying to get a lot done this fall. I was taking a trial class (a trial for myself!) at the local university to see if I liked their program/how the classes were taught before I put myself through the admission process (two classes and a paper). I’m also in the local Junior League and I’m now an adviser for UVA’s ADPi chapter! While, I love all of these things, I often over schedule myself for certain weeks. Luckily, I planned strategically, because I knocked out most of my junior league stuff this past fall.

-Schedule every day. I bought a daily-monthly planner on purpose; yet, I am not utilizing the daily function like I should be.

How are y’all planning for this year?


The Highs and Lows of Technology in Classrooms

Hi y’all,
I’ve been finishing up the first half of my first year of teaching! EEK. It’s so hard to believe that I’ve worked so hard for something and have made such a big dream of mine come true!

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the highs and lows of technology.

I use technology almost (if not every single) day in my classroom. Technology can be super useful and create a unique learning experience that sticks with students. However, it can also quickly become the bane of a teacher’s existence.

Some of the high’s I’ve found with technology as a teacher:
1. Quick response/communication. I remember back to when I was in school and my mom had to leave teacher’s voice mails! I don’t even think I set up my voicemail at school. However, I check my email when I get to school, throughout the day, and at the end of the school day. After that, I don’t check it anymore! However, there is also the Seesaw app, which is incredible! I love it so much! It allows me to share pictures, videos, and student work all with the touch of a few buttons. Plus, a parent can send me a message and make sure I get all the information I need, and I can send them a message back! I hope to do a full post on how I use Seesaw soon.

2. Fact practice. As a math teacher, I get so frustrated that my fifth graders don’t have fact fluency. Especially when the majority of the skills I teach, relate back to their facts! I’m currently using Xtramath and Reflexmath.

3. Practice problems. IXL is great for this. It gives students practice questions that allows them to concentrate on specific skills. It helps them figure out how to get the right answer if students are struggling with a skill. *Disclaimer: my school only pays for Language Arts and Math, but there are 10 sample questions available every day for Social Studies and Science.

4. Creativity. Most of my students use technology in a way that benefits them and will work to create new and unique products/work instead of the bare minimum.

The Low’s:
1. Not every student can be trusted. I have had students lose technology privileges because they keep breaking our contract!

2. Becoming dependent on technology. I like to use a tech station at least every other day during Math. I also like to push a technology lesson in every Science unit as well. However, when students do lose their Chromebook privileges, I often forget to make a paper copy of something for them to work on!

3. Students already spend a ton of time with technology. My students are still all about Fortnite.

4. Lack of “proper” communication skills. I get so many messages in “text” lingo because my students are not consistently practicing “Proper” English rules outside of their Language Arts class.

Overall, I definitely do not love that technology is taking over; however, I know my students will need tech skills in their lives. In fact, I often make assignments that have them use different technology skills so they can learn to use their skills in a variety of ways.

What do you love/hate about technology in the classroom?