Week Recap...

I didn't get around to doing my High Five for Friday post last week, but I had a ton of stuff I wanted to post about, so here is what I have done in the past week or so...

The weekend before last my brother and I took a trip up to Morgantown, WV to visit the law school, and Puppy, of course! 

The drive home was, literally, breathtaking! It's so easy to take where you're from for granted when you see it everyday. 

Thursday my best friend, Morgan, and I were inducted into Marshall's honorary teaching society, Kappa Delta Pi, and our mommas came to support us! 

On my day off, Friday, I volunteered at my mom's school and it was literary character dress up day! 

I decided to be Fancy Nancy! 

My mom was a HIT! Her and the other reading specialist were the tree and little boy from The Giving Tree.

Friday night I was surprise by my sweet boy with a text saying he was coming in for the weekend! 
Saturday we spent the entire day together watching football (Go Bucks!) and relaxing.
That night we hung out with some special friends! 

His outfit is too hard to explain, but needless to say it was a hit.

I know this was kind of a hodgepodge of things, but they were all blog-worthy! 

Have a great rest of the week! 


Character Traits

As mentioned in my previous post, last week we worked on character traits in our leveled reading groups. I thought I would share the lesson because the kids seemed to respond really well with it! 

This is a 3rd grade class, but I think it would work well with any grade! 

We have reading groups for 15 minutes Tuesday - Thursday and I see 3 different groups a day. 

I introduced each group's book for the week to them.
The books I used were Officer Buckle and Gloria, The Story of Ferdinand, Crysanthemum, and Elmer.

I got a FABULOUS character trait package from Amanda Nickerson. I used her inferring character traits by dialogue on the first day where my students and I read through the book and inferred the main character's character traits by what they said throughout the book. 

We went back through the book and used the second chart from Amanda's unit where we inferred character traits through the actions of the main characters. 

I created a vinn diagram sheet for the students to reflect on their own character traits, the traits of the main character, and traits they had in common. 

You can get this worksheet here!

Friday we got together as a whole group and made fall character trait mobiles to hang up in the room. 

We cut out a green circle and hung leaf colored shapes from it with each student's character trait hanging on them. I instructed the students to write "THEIR NAME's Character Traits" on the top of the green circle and we put their picture in the middle. 

They turned out great and once we hung them it made it look like autumn leaves were falling from the ceiling! 

We had so much fun learning about character traits! This week we are tackling author's purpose and writing autobiographies! WOO HOO! 


Teacher Moments

Between waking up every morning at 5:45 and not getting in to bed until past midnight on certain nights I often find myself wondering how on earth I'm still functioning... but last week as I was driving from point A to point B it kind of clicked. 

Most everything I do right now is geared toward teaching, and because it is something I love I can do it for hours on end. 

This past week I had so many awesome teacher moments happen that it became somewhat easy to get up at 5:45. I realized that although I was physically and mentally exhausted every time one of those "teacher moments" happened I was revitalized! 

Teacher moments can happen in so many forms:

 - when you see the light bulb go off
- when a product is produced far beyond your expectations
- when a guarded child opens his/her heart to you
- when a retired teacher shares her still burning passion for teaching children

These are just a few moments that happened to me the past couple weeks that really inspired me to keep chugging along.

The most intense/emotional teacher moment of the past couple weeks, however, was during groups when we were discussing character traits. All the children were thinking of wonderful character traits to describe themselves except for one. I sat down with this student, who I'd recently learned had endured things that most human beings never go through their entire life, and asked he/she to try really hard to think about a personal character trait. The child thought really hard and looked up at me and finally said, "I think brave." WOW. 

I'll have you know that I tried very hard to hold my emotions in, as everyone knows I wear them on my sleeve most of the time. 

Not only did the child COMPLETELY understand the concept of character traits, which is every teacher's goal -- for students to understand the concept being taught, but we were able to have such a great moment. We ended up compiling a list including courageous, kind, and several other positive traits. 

This is why I get up at 5:45 every morning.

This is why I go without sleep most nights to prepare the best lessons and learn the most possible information to better myself.

This is why I am going to be a teacher. 

I want to be that person that helps a student realize how brave they are, or how much potential they truly have. 

With this week about to kick off I hope to experience many more "teacher moments"! 

What are some of your favorite teacher moments? 


Checking Off the Bucket List

This weekend Morgan and I got to check off some things on our Fall Bucket List when we picked up our other "Morgan" and headed to Spencer, WV to my grandparents' farm! 

This weekend was the infamous Black Walnut Festival, so we hit up the parade and festivities before heading out to the farm.

Checked off fall festival! 

As soon as we got to the farm I had to take my girls to my favorite place on the planet... "across the hill" 

Checked off "take a nature walk"! 

After all that walking it was time to get schooled on how to bake pies! Grandma taught us all how to make her AMAZING homemade applesauce pies! 

(Look how cute Papaw is photobombing!)  
The finished product! Checked off "bake pies"!

 While, yes, we got to check off a ton of things on our Fall Bucket List, what meant the most was visiting and sharing these special angels with my friends!

I hope you all are checking fun things off your bucket lists this fall, winter will be here before you know it!



So, today during my tutoring session I was helping my tutoree/friend/(not sure of the correct term here) compose a piece of writing. 

I was desperately searching for my old English portfolio, but couldn't find it anywhere. I remembered a piece of writing I did the fall semester of my sophomore year of college... my favorite piece of writing to date, and decided to show it to her as an example.

Quickly after reading it I was reminded how much I loved this piece of writing and decided I wanted to share it with you. 

(Disclaimer: Some of the details are not completely accurate, so don't hate on me if I've written something wrong, please!) 

Life as a Twin: Learning to Share
            It’s cold and windy outside as I force the door shut behind me. School was boring and I was ready to be home. I walk in the kitchen and my brother sits at the table with his laptop.
            “What’s up?” I said.
            “I need help writing this essay,” he said, “It’s my application for Ohio State.”
            The coldness I just recently had experience was gone as blood rushed to my face.
            Ohio State…Columbus… that’s almost three hours away. Reality – it hit hard.
You see, my brother isn’t just my brother, he’s my best friend, he’s my twin. September 5, 1990 Dustin Ryan Shreve came in to this world at 4:16 a.m. Exactly six minutes later I came following, which is pretty much how its been my whole life.
            I regained composure with tears in my eyes and sat down next to him. “Okay,” I say, “What do you need help with?”
            We sit there as I read over his words, poetically written, but sprinkled with grammatical errors and a few punctuation mistakes. I was always jealous of his ability to put such powerful sentences together. I had been writing since I could remember. I loved to write. I joined newspaper my sophomore year of high school and made it my passion and of course encouraged Dustin to join. Our junior year he became our sports editor. I’ll never forget how moving his articles were. I’ll never forget any of them actually, since he had me copy edit every one of them. Come to think of it he’s had me copy edit about every paper and article he’s ever written. I loved having this job, I love being his editor.

            I add a couple commas and reword a few sentences. “So, you really want to go to Ohio State?” I asked.
            Who was I kidding, this kid was the biggest Ohio State fan in the world, I was sure of it. He knew every player, coach, stat, record, and award that had anything to do with the scarlet and gray. His room covered from the block O mural on his wall to his bedspread, lamps, light covers, and Woody Hayes book that sits on his night stand. Yeah, he definitely wanted to go to Ohio State.
I, as well, love the Buckeyes. It’s in my blood, since my dad was raised on the outskirts of Akron, Ohio. I’ll never forget my brother’s first Ohio State game, mainly because he chose to take me with him. His face had the most excited look I’ve ever seen as he took in the busy streets of downtown Columbus. We got to the Horseshoe two hours before the game started to see the team walk in. As I stood there watching boys a little older than my brother walk in to the field and the honorable Coach Jim Tressel move only feet away from us, I was so happy for my brother. And so honored that he let me be part of that experience with him. I loved being his friend.

            Caught on a wordy sentence I refocused my attention on his essay as he walked to the refrigerator and took out a can of Pepsi, sure to have been his fourth or fifth of the day. He never did have a good diet. Oh, the miserable dinners of our childhood! My poor brother, although older, was so small. At the age of three I shot up and it wasn’t until our junior year of high school that he was taller than me. We would sit for hours at the dinner table. Mom would make huge meals for Dad; mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, biscuits, and so on. Dustin liked pop, Slim Jims and hotdogs.  My dad wanting nothing more than to see Dustin grow to be a strong young man would fill his plate for him; mounds of mashed potatoes, and vegetables and those dreaded biscuits Dustin still despises.
            “Don’t get up from the table until your plate is clean,” Dad would say.
            Mom would clean the table and dishes and I would sit there.
            “Come on Bubby, you can do it. Two more bites,” I’d encourage. I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t just let him sit there alone. On more than one occasion I would take his plate and eat his food for him soon after yelling, “Dad! Dad! Come look at Dustin’s plate!” He would get approval and we could go on about the rest of our night. I loved this. I loved being his surrogate stomach.

            The last few paragraphs of his essay reflect on his home town and the one thing that brings this town together: football. Dustin was the star of our football team. Well, maybe that’s a little biased, but it’s what I thought. He was not the quarterback or the star running back, but he was the only player who received “First Team All-State” honors two years in a row. He was also one of the only players who knew how to get low, wrap his arms, and lay a hard hit on someone. It was more than just that, though. My brother was a leader on the field and more importantly, he was smart. He could read a pass or predict the way a play would go before anyone. Our sophomore year my brother and his teammates finished their regular season 8 and 2, losing only to Sissonville and our dreaded county rival, Tolsia.  It was the third round of playoffs and the winner of this game would go on to the state championship. We played Bluefield High School, the team that always seemed to be our final game. They beat us miserably a few years ago in the state championship and they surely didn’t care to do it again on our home field. I was in the very front of the student section as the final minutes were ticking off the clock. Two minutes left and we were up by six points. Bluefield had the ball on their forty-yard line. One touchdown and it was over.
The huddles broke. The whistle blew. The ball snapped. Bluefield’s quarterback threw a perfect spiral over the line and as soon as it approached its target a hand knocked it away from the receiver. The ball clumsily fell through the air and the same hand that had knocked it away grabbed it before falling on the ground.
            “Intercepted by Dustin Shreve!!” burst through the loud speaker from the same familiar voice that has announced my brother’s name since he was five years old playing midget league football.
            I went nuts. I grabbed my poster board, which I was known for, that proudly boasted, “That’s my brother!” I held it up as I stood on the railing shaking trying to keep balance. The crowd was on their feet, people cheering, some hugging, the old men shaking hands. Then there was me, standing on the railing bawling my eyes out. I was so proud of my brother. We went on to beat our county rivals in the state championship that year. The first football state championship our school has ever won and my brother helped us get it. I loved being his cheerleader.

            “Are you almost done?” Dustin asked.
            I looked up, eyes slightly misty and finished scanning over his final sentences. “There is no reason you shouldn’t get in. Good essay,” I said.
            I got up from the table and walked away. I sauntered down the long hallway that had been extended when we were ten years old. All four of us had slept in the same room that summer the addition was being put on the house. The hallway is one big shrine to Dustin and Casey, with huge 12x9 pictures of us at six months, one year, and so on, we were inseparable. Eighteen years of togetherness and never once had I ever thought about what it might be like when the day came for us to finally go our separate ways.
            I reached my room and turned with my back facing it, peering in to the room directly across from mine. My brother’s room, though the d├ęcor is slightly different, has never really changed. His bed was messy; his Xbox still on; his basket of clothes rummaged through; his little league trophies on display above his bed, right beside his first squirrel he ever shot, which Dad mounted even though Dustin blew the entire ear off. It’s those little things that illustrated my brother perfectly.
            I entered my room and slumped on my bed. I could handle this I thought to myself. I would be okay, but how would Dustin make it without me? For as long as he’s cared he’s been coming across that same hallway to approve outfits for school, or an important date. I am always the one he comes to when deciding whether to wear the hat or don’t wear the hat, or boots or sneakers? Who would he ask about girls when he was trying to win over the right one? And who would hunt down the evil girl who dared to break his heart? These were all my duties as his sister, friend, and twin. No, he couldn’t go away to college. He needed me for too much. I would be fine, but he couldn’t make it without me.

            The essay was typed and printed, folded and stuffed, stamped and sent to Columbus, Ohio. All that was left to do was to wait. Each week passed and I watched my brother looked through the mail each evening, nervously hoping that the letter showcasing his acceptance would be in one of those envelopes. Finally, my mom came in the kitchen for dinner one night and she handed him a letter. His eyes widened. He tore in to the letter. I tried to read his face as he scanned the words inside the letter, but could decipher nothing. Finally he lifted his head. ACCEPTED. His childhood dream granted in a single envelope.  But he couldn’t go away to college. He needed me far too much. I would be fine, but how could he make it without me? I wanted more than anything in the world to ask him this question, but it was obviously the farthest thought from his mind. Not sure what to do with the emotions that swirled inside me, I just did the only thing he wanted me to do: “Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. Congratulations!” And that was it.
            My twin, whom I love more than anything in the world had just achieved one of his biggest goals in life and I was sad. Where was the cheerleader that I had always been? Where was the one who had always encouraged him to be whatever he wanted? The one who reassured him that he could do anything he put his mind to?
I realized in that moment, I was being completely selfish. My brother had accomplished something he had worked for his entire life and I had secretly hoped against it. What I didn’t take the time to think about through this entire process was that I had a childhood unlike most people in this world, because he was in it. While most people search their whole life for their “other half” I’ve had one since birth.  I was blessed beyond belief because for my entire life I got to share literally everything with the person that I was closest to. It was only fair for me to realize that I would eventually have to share Dustin with the rest of the world sooner or later. It was just sooner, rather than later for me.  And in doing that I would be sharing the greatest part of my life with the rest of the world. 

I always get asked what it's like to be a twin, and to be honest this is the closest I've ever been to putting it in to words I was pleased with. I hope you enjoyed. 
(Disclaimer 2: He didn't end up going to Ohio State and still lives across the hall from me! YAY happy ending! )
(And bless you if you read that entire thing!)


High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday All!!! 

The past couple weeks have been crazy and I feel like I've gone nonstop! 

These are always my favorite posts so I'm linking up with Lauren for H54F! 

1. Baby Shower!

It was such a good time just fellowshipping with so many amazing women. 

2. Mommy/Daughter Dates

Saturday night we put together a mommy/daughter date and went to see Won't Back Down. Amazing. 
We, of course, cried our eyes out. Teachers. 

3. Puppy is in!
Pup came in this weekend for a quick visit. It is crazy how much I take for granted having him here. I'm not sure if it is harder for me when he's gone or when he comes in and leaves because it just makes me realize how much I miss him. 

4. Volunteering
I started volunteering last week at the school my mom teaches at. The closer it comes to me receiving my degree, the more I want to be in a school somewhere. Plus I'll always have a soft spot for my Genoa babies! 

5. Reading Block!
Probably the biggest thing that happened to me this week was starting my reading block! I am SO loving my third grade babies and know that I'm going to have such a great experience with the FABULOUS teacher I've been placed with. 

God is good... all the time. 

I hope your weekend rocks... mine will be filled with football, friends, and family! 


Reading Centers

Hello teacher friends! 

I was wondering if any of you had any fun ideas for reading centers?!

Next week I will be teaching my own reading center where I will work with my kids in their reading groups. 

I'd love to incorporate something like using note cards, sticky notes, or any kind of fancy paper because I was informed today that they respond well when given these kinds of tangible learning tools! 

I would LOVE any kind of helpful tips for reading instruction because I'm currently in my reading block clinical with a FABULOUS group of third graders! 

I'm finally starting to feel like a REAL teacher.

With that said, I just had my senior evaluation and I'm good to go for student teaching in the Spring! 




It's already October?!

I haven't posted in a while, but can I just ask where in the world did September go!? 

Although September was a blast filled with birthdays, football games, baby showers, and more, I'm more than ready for all the fun that October holds! 

This week I started my reading block clinical! That means I've been getting up at 6 every morning to go to my little elementary school with my sweet third graders!

  (Which also may be the reason for any typos in this post, I'm zonked!)

This weekend is Marshall University's homecoming game, so my boyfriend is coming in for the weekend and my best friends and I plan on tailgating and cheering on the Herd! 

Next weekend my girlfriends and I are taking a mini ROAD TRIP to the fabulous Spencer, W.V. for the Black Walnut Festival! 

My parents are from Spencer and my sweet grandparents still live there, so we plan on doing a couple days of festivals, parades, and farm life!!! 


I've also got plans to go to some local fall festivals with Morgan for our fall check list! 

My most recent, and probably most important, October event is that I'm going to interview Tuesday to become a "Big Sister" with our local Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Huntington thanks to Morgan and her deciding to join! Her first day was this week and after hearing about her experience she convinced me to join as well! 

If you think you'd want to be a mentor and sacrifice one hour of your time a week. 
Literally, ONE HOUR. 
Then go here!

That's all for now... there's jambalaya calling my name!