Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Southport, NC

Have you ever been to Southport?  We are sitting at Fishy Fish Cafe, a block away from where Safe Haven was filmed.  I am supposed to be in Wilmington because we are moving my daughter to a new apartment for school.  I am with my best friend and god daughter.
We decided to take an impromptu stop since they are from Pittsburgh and never been here.  I love it!  I bet this would be a relaxing place to retire!  

We pulled in, went to a couple shops and just so happened to stumble upon wine tasting.  My god daughter rolled her eyes.  
It was the cutest little wine shop.  Lifeguard chairs and bar that looks like a boat.  While we were laughing having a good time, there were some musicians there who asked if we could sing.  Well, I've always wanted to be a rock star, hence my Rockin Resources name, but I can't hold a tune for nothing.  However, BFF Dawn can sing the life out of Bobby Magee so we hit the stage!  No worries, only 5 people there.  I danced and snapped my fingers since he didn't have tambourines.  Yes I was doing a little hair swinging. Meg just blushed and took our pic!  

After dinner, we will see the house from Safe Haven and hit the road to Wilmy to meet my daughter and her boyfriend.  Tomorrow morning we will be busy moving!  Hopefully we will have time after to take them into Wilmy or Wrightsville Beach before we head back to Charlotte on Thursday.  Woo woo!  I love spontaneous trips with fun peeps!  #ilovesummer. #imprompturocks!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hyperlinks from Powerpoint to PDF for Mac Users

Since I am a new Mac user, I found it very frustrating to have my hyperlinks carry over from a Powerpoint to a pdf file.  On a PC,, they transfer automatically.  I scoured through many forums and sites with no success.  Needless to say, it is midnight and I have been troubleshooting all evening.  BUT WAIT, DON'T BE WORRIED ABOUT ME.  I FIGURED IT OUT.  OH YEAH!   I AM NOW DOING THE HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is what worked for me:

Hyperlink in your Powerpoint and save.  Convert to pdf with www.zamzar.com

Some of you may not need to do the extra steps.  (my cute fonts didn't transfer so I had to do more steps)

1.  Make a copy of your slide and take out the images you hyperlinked.

2.  Save only that slide as a jpeg

3.  Insert the jpeg into a new slide

4.  Select all your hyperlink images or texts and copy/paste them onto jpeg

5.  Delete other slides or save them in another file.

6.  Go to www.zamzar and convert to pdf wahhhhhllllllaaaaa!!!!!!!

Woo woo!  Oh yeah.  I'm rocking!   Swinging my hair around.  (My teenager just came down to eat again and wondered what I was doing.)  Ha!!!!  The little things in life that make us happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

10 Steps to Prepare for Writing Workshop

Are you dreading the year because of writing?  Don't!  Here are some great ideas for you to get your writing workshop ready to go!  Have no fear!  Mrs. O is here!  And I LOOOOVVVVEEEE writing!

Composition Notebook for each student
2 – 3 prong pocket folder for each student
Clothespins or magnets (1 per student)
1 package of Small Metal Binder Rings
Chart paper for instruction and anchor charts

1.  In one folder, print Student Resources for students to use during writing workshop.  (Million Dollar Dictionary, Figurative Language, Conventions Rules, Writing Process, etc.  (They are all found in my store and are included in my bundles.  Go to my store and print off the FREE Spelling Dictionary.  Students will need this when editing their writing. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spelling-Dictionary-65525
Copy of Million Dollar Dictionary
2.  Laminate Writing Process Posters.  Place them on a writing bulletin board.  Use small metal binder rings to attach them.  Don’t staple onto the board.  Use clothespins with students name on them so they can move their name down the process.  You can paint your clothespins to match your decor!  This will show where students are in the process at a quick glance.  This is especially helpful during teacher or peer conferencing.  If you have a magnet surface and magnets, that works too!

       Prewriting, Rough Draft, DARE to Revise, CUPS for Editing, Peer Reflection, Final Copy.

3.  Create a space in the classroom for a writing center.  (Stapler, white out, markers, colorful pens/pencils, dictionary, thesaurus,, tape, Elmer’s liquid glue)

4.  Print off any of the other colorful posters to use in your writing center or bulletin board.  Laminate. 

5..  Create a poster or part of wall for students to write the titles of their published books.  I’ve used chain links before too!  Anything works!

6.  Set up Writer’s Notebook
       A.  Have students create a cover page for their notebook. Use clear packaging tape    
            and tape it on for them.  Use volunteers to help with this!

       B.  Tabs:
         I use a separate folder for resources.  I decided on two tabs (1. Mini-lessons 2.  My Own Writing).  I put the “Ideas” at the beginning without a tab.  Some teachers label “Ideas” too! How did we make tabs?  The easy way!  I took 2 colors of post it notes and cut them in strips. I folded it over once.  Then I taped an orange strip onto the 6th page.(leaving the first 5 for brainstorming ideas) and a blue strip halfway through the notebook.  I used clear packaging tape and placed it on both sides of the tab and both sides of the page so it looks like it is a laminated piece.  I decided not to write on the labels this year.  

      C.  Create a Table of Contents for the first page in “Writer’s Craft.”  As  
          students learn the standards and the mini lessons, they will need to   
          number their pages and keep track on the Table of Contents page.

7.     Use the other folder for their published work.  (Final Copies)   Collect everything that they have published throughout the year- poems, stories, writing across the curriculum, etc and place them in a folder with brass fasteners.  File them each nine weeks and allow them to take them home for parent review.  At the end of the year, they get to keep their final product!  Another great idea is to set these out on tables when having parent/teacher conferences so parents have something to look at while they are waiting.  

8.  Post Writing Workshop schedule in your plan book: 
     10-15 min:  Mini Lesson
     10 min. Notebooking the lesson
     30-60 min:  Independent writing, conferencing, peer reflections, guided writing
     10 min:  Sharing

9.  Post Rules for Writing Workshop.   A good visual to keep noise down is to bring in a block and write “Writer’s Block” on it.  Tell kids that we want to avoid writer’s block by keeping quiet.  If I raise the block, that means it is getting too noisy.  Have students initial the chart to show ownership.

1.  Listen and share ideas during the lesson.
2.  Writing time is quiet time.
3.  Take risks in writing.
4.  Keep notebook neat and organized. 
5.  Be prepared before meeting with Peer Editor.
*Writers and Peers may only have one conference per writing period.
*Writers:  Explain where you need help then read your paper out loud to your peer editor.
*Peers:  Listen to the writer, fill out observation form, and give meaningful feedback.

10.  Presentations  When students publish their writing, I like them to present their work whether it is in a small group or whole group.   Their peers can evaluate them with presentation cards if you wish!  If you have an AUTHOR’S CHAIR, perfect!  Then they can put their published title on a chain link or portfolio as mentioned above.

I hope all these ideas help you get ready for writing workshop this year!  Do you have anything to add?  I would love to hear your ideas too!

If you are looking for yearly plans, forms, tracking, modeling, printables, slides, posters, etc. etc.  Check out the all inclusive writing bundle:  CLICK ME

Monday, July 14, 2014

TPT Vegas Trip

Where do I begin?  Amazing, inspiring teachers from wall to wall!  Everyone I met was so humble and so positive that I knew immediately I made the right choice to go to the conference.  The TPT team was incredibly approachable as well as the Veteran sellers!  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to attend such a motivational workshop.  I will cherish the friendships I developed and I believe In my heart that we will keep in touch from all over the world!

What does this pic have to do with our trip?  Well, I was so crazy busy before we went to catch our flight that I had no time to do my nails!  He He.  So I picked up these glue on ones and while we were waiting in the airport, I got them all set!  Ha!

Arriving in the city of sin, we were picked up by my hubby's old high school friend.  He drove us the amazing Venetian!  HUGE!  GORGEOUS!   I sent hubby up to get us settled and I went to meet some teachers at a meet-up.  Getting there late, I didn't have much time to mingle.  Afterwards, my hubby and I had all intentions to get some dinner and drinks, but we were WORN SLAP OUT!!! We called it a night and was ready the next day.

After walking a mile to get coffee, my totally fit hubby convinced me to start off the day at the gym.  I drudged my not-so-in shape body with him.  I have to admit, I did feel good afterwards.  Then we slurped up a delicious smoothie!

On our walk back, we saw some of my daughter's favorite stores!  Hmmmmm should I surprise her?  The Venetian had everything- shops, dining, gondola, shows, everything!  We got lost constantly!

Here is my favorite part of our sweeeeeet suite!  This vanity was perfect and I took advantage of it to do my make-up each day.  

We started off the day by meeting an old friend of mine for lunch.  Michelle and I taught together years ago in Warrenton, Virginia.  We have kept in touch for all these years and it was so nice to catch up with her.  We talked about our families and our schools and our jobs, and everything and anything else we could think of!  She has been teaching in Vegas for 20 years or so.  Christmas cards don't do it justice!

Later that night, I had plans to meet a few ladies that I joined up with and formed the blog, The Lesson Deli.  We have talked online and supported each other for a few months and I finally had the change to meet them in person!  We met at I Love Burgers and we hit it off immediately!  I decided to get a little crazy and order a black bean burger for the first time and it was absolutely delish!


Afterwards, we went to the Zebra Lounge.  I met many other teachers there too!  Since I'm Rockin Resources, we had to get a pic in front of the two man band.  Woo woo!  What happens in Vegas.....!   Then, the lovely Neetu had this bright idea that we should all ride that huge Farris Wheel and my fear of heights was thinking NO, NO, NO.  Then peer pressure got the best of me after Neetu gave me her 2 free drink tickets for the following night.  Ha!  Bribery!  I was pleased when we arrived at the ride to find out there was a line as long as Rapunzel's hair!  I was as happy as a clam!  Since our conference was the next morning, we all decided to hit the hay.  Yeah for me!

Here we are!  The TPT conference!  I love these super talented ladies!  There is Krista from Teaching Momster, Dynelle from First Grade Fun with Mrs. Dunn, April from Performing in Fifth Grade , me, Debbie from Crockett's Classroom, and Jen from The Teacher Next Door, and Neetu from Cinnamon's Synonyms.  Love them love them love them!!!!!!!  You can click on their blog!!!!

 Listening to Amy, Paul, Deanna's speeches gave me chills.  They were so inspirational.  I had to go to the little girls room so bad but I didn't want to miss anything!   

Nicole from TPT was so down to earth.  Jen and I could hang out with her forever!

I went to four wonderful workshops.  Although I learned something from each, my favorite by far was Rachel Lynette's.  April and I got a pic with her.  She was spunky, fun, informative, and you could tell she truly wanted to help all of us.  She was so kind to feature me on her blog Minds in Bloom.  I can't wait to use all her strategies and ideas!
At a workshop with Melonheadz illustrating, we had a quick activity to draw Mr. Hughes and only had a quick look at him.  Here is my version!  Ha!

Then it was time to celebrate at happy hour.  I've never been to a conference where we got two free drink tickets!  Woo woo!  I was waiting for my new friends and collected some more!  Ha!  Their drinks were already big so I didn't need them but it was fun.  While waiting in line for our photo shoot, Neetu, April and I welcomed Jen to our Lesson Deli group!  We had one opening and she was perf!  Sorry I cut off the end of some words.  I got that from my 19 year old.  It is addicting!

To keep the day rolling, we met up with hubby, his brother Derek, and Derek's girlfriend for dinner.  

Rockin Resources had to hit up the ROCKHOUSE for lunch the next day. Check out the cool pool table!  The guitar is actually a drink container!  I had to buy one.

Leaving the incredible Venetian, my girlfriend Michelle took me shopping and to dinner with her hubby.  It was so nice meeting two of her sons!  Pictures don't do them justice!  Dean and I stayed at his brother's house the next two nights and got to catch up with him and his kids.  My own children were jealous that they didn't come and see their cousins.  I love these kids!  Houses are so different here! I plan to share this during my Native American study!


My last night I wore my outfit from shop hopes!  Demi got me a discount.  Isn't it adorbs?  Follow her on Instagram for a discount!  @demihopesrep   

The desert and brown mountains are extraordinary.  It is such a different atmosphere!
Here we are flying away back to Charlotte!  Bye until next year!!!!!!  My new BFFs and I are planning already for next years conference!

Link on up with more Vegas stories from A Burst of First!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014



Why am I happy?

1.  After long contemplation, I decided to buy a MacBook Pro for myself!  Woo Woo!  I researched, asked advice, read forums and dove in!  I hope I am one of the ones that say, "Once you go Mac, you never go back!"  I've had it for a few days now.  I have made some of the transitions but there are plenty more to figure out!  Any advice is happily welcomed in comments below!!!!!  What is your tip trick?  Do tell!  Help this new Mac owner!

2.  Vegas is soooooo close!  My family leaves for Myrtle Beach tomorrow to visit with my mom and super duper good friends.  Did you ever meet a couple that just clicked with both you and your husband?  Well, our friends Maria and Randy from the DC area are them!  We lived by them for ten years and became close friends.  Although we have been gone for 15 years, that bond remains and we try and get together at least once a year.  (not enough!)  This pic was taken a few years back.  Love them!
Then, next week I go to Vegas for the Teachers Pay Teachers conference!  I am so excited!!!!!!  I've been messaging some great blog friends and can't wait to meet them!

3.  I am honored to join a group of 20 teachers grades 4-8 from The Lesson Deli.  We are going to collaborate and bring even more ideas to you!  Our blog and Facebook is now up and running!

4.  My first business cards arrived from Vista Print!  I am going to take them to the conference with me so I can keep in touch with all these wonderful teachers!  I couldn't resist and ended up buying a t-shirt and mug too!  They have such great prices!

5.  Summer is here.  I feel so relaxed and not stressed!  HAPPY!

Since I am sooooo happy, I am throwing a sale!  Go to my store to receive 20% off all products even my Interactive Notebooks that sell like hotcakes!  Click pic below to go to my store!

I also have a prezzie for you only!  It is not free in my store!  I took the lyrics to "HAPPY" BY PHARRELL WILLIAMS, and created questions for analysis.  It is part of my booklet of 10 songs.

Go here for free copy!  It is a jpg but can be printed full page!  FREE HAPPY ANALYSIS LINK

Go here for lyric booklet-  LYRIC BOOKLET

So what are you happy about?  Please share!

I am adding this to Mrs. Laffin's Positive Thinking Thursday so go on over to her happy page and see why others are being positive!!!  Click on the pic below!

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