December 27, 2015

A Christmas Blessing!

Often times, educational blogs are intended to connect teachers across the Internet to share great teaching resources, tips, and other techniques to enhance the lives we impact daily; however, my post today is going to give you a little glimpse into my personal life by sharing a sweet story!

For most teenage girls, making a Christmas list and checking it twice isn't typically a chore.  But for my 17 year old junior in high school, it was nothing BUT a struggle for her this year.  Meet my daughter, Anna Kate...your typical high schooler who loves to cheer on her high school team under the Friday night lights during football season, can get caught up in Netflix for hours and watch episode after episode of Criminal Minds or whatever the series may be, and who loves to spend time with her friends acting just plumb goofy!

But there's definitely one thing that sets her apart from the world, and that is her amazing love for Jesus Christ! Last December (at the age of 16) she attended a weekend church retreat with our church's youth group, and came to the saving knowledge of Christ....

She truly lives with a passion that is so on fire for God, and anyone that meets her will immediately know where she stands in her faith...but not in an obnoxious "in your face" kind of way.  With that said, let's now fast forward to this December....

Back around the first week in December, this girl could not tell us ONE thing that she wanted for Christmas!  Do you know how difficult it is to buy something for someone who really doesn't want anything?  Not to mention, unlike most teenage girls, clothes are really not her thing either....As a matter of fact, most times, she will be found wearing an oversized sweatshirt, jeans, and her Chuck Taylor Converse high tops just like seen in the picture below...that is, if she's not in her flannel PJ pants.  So trying to come up with "surprises" was becoming as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack!

So one afternoon in early December as I am teaching my little heart out to my 2nd graders, my husband and I receive in a group text a message from Anna Kate.  (Yea... her high school dismisses before the elementary school that I teach at does, so I couldn't fuss at her for texting during school!)  However, after I read the first line of the text, I was THRILLED thinking that she was going to give me some ideas, and as you can see I was unaware of where her text was going....
I was literally blown away by Anna Kate's selflessness.  Want to talk about a mom being taught a lesson about priorities and the importance of putting others before yourself, but I was schooled!!!  So then we received yet another text which indicated that she had done her research....

After digging a litter deeper into this Christian based program, Compassion, we decided to make her Christmas wish come true by sponsoring the child she had chosen.  Of course, we did not let Anna Kate know this as we wanted to make what "Santa" brought her very special.  I began sharing this humbling situation with some of my closest friends/colleagues, and ALL of us were just in awe at how unselfish it was that she was not even thinking about herself despite this "Me, Me, Me" generation we live in today.  

I completed all of the online information necessary to begin the sponsorship, and of course after I did, Yordan no longer showed up on the website.  You can bet a hole in a donut that Anna Kate was checking that website daily, and as soon as she noticed that he was no longer available, she called us heartbroken to let us know he had already been sponsored.  :(

So...after eating our Christmas Eve dinner with our family along with one of my coworkers and her family who joined us because of their family being out of town, we decided to give Anna Kate her "gift of giving"while everyone was still at our house.  Of course, they were just as excited to see her receive it as we were to give it. My niece and I decided on involving a drone that her dad had just gotten as gift to be the way she received her Christmas wish!  Please...take a minute to watch the's priceless!  When you are finished watching, please leave a comment if you experienced a sweet Christmas blessing this year!  Just think of the difference you could make in the lives of others by sharing it on this post!  :)

December 13, 2015

Book Companions!

Hello, Friends!  I hope you are all surviving the Christmas hype in your classrooms....  You would know that Mother Nature has now decided to visit the south, and it appears that we will have indoor recess this week due to rain.....  #prayersappreciatedinadvance

I wanted to share with you a little of what has been going on in Mrs. Avery's Island!  My latest interest has been creating book companions.  These book resources have been created to assist teachers as they cross the curriculum by providing a plethora of math and ELA skills.

The first book companion that I have created is one that is probably safe to say is an all time Christmas favorite, The Polar Express. Included in this product are over 50 pages of thematic activities including ELA graphic organizers, math activities, and writing activities! These activities are guaranteed to motivate and excite your students as they begin their Christmas countdown!

My second book companion (which is fresh off the press) is another winter favorite that will be perfect to use during the month of January!  Inspired by the amazing author, Jan Brett, The Mitten is an incredible book which opens the door to cross the curriculum in so many ways.  Regardless of the age of your students, this book is a perfect way to even hit some of your social studies standards such as animal habitats or seasons of the year.  If your district is like mine, social studies textbooks/materials are simply not provided to teachers in grades K-2, yet we are still expected to meet the standards.  Therefore, it is up to the teachers to come up with our own materials and curriculum resources....  Oh yea,  and social studies seems to be the area in our district that students score the lowest on when it comes to standardized testing for grades 3-5.  #gofigure  


Soooo....if you are seeking for ways to keep your students engaged during December and January when indoor recess seems to be holding all of us hostage, I encourage you to check out these book companions!  I can promise you that the thematic resources will fit perfectly into your lesson plans for morning work, RTI, literacy groups, Daily 5, Daily 3, whole group instruction, and even INDOOR RECESS activities!  The most exciting news for YOU, the teacher, is that very little prep work is required, AND they are ink friendly too! #iteachtoo 

I encourage you to become a follower of my TPT store so that you can be the first to know about my upcoming products, sale promotions, and when my Follower Freebies are available for you to grab!!!  However, in order to be aware of these monthly Follower Freebies, you will want to visit my Facebook page and be sure to "LIKE" my page.  (Facebook is where I post my monthly Follower Freebie announcements!)  Within a week or so after the FB post, you will receive a SURPRISE message via TPT's inbox messaging system along with the directions on how to grab the freebie!  

To be sure I am reaching all grade levels for my followers, the last two months I have given away a FREE month of writing activities valued at $6.50!  These thematic writing activities include an entire month's worth of writing prompts, menus, word work cards, and more!  I encourage you to go check out some of my monthly writing activities to see what other teachers have commented and said about them! (I currently have August-February completed, and I will soon be adding March, April, May, and a Spring Bundle!)

Now.....I am already trying to decide on my next book companion, and would LOVE your input!  If you have a favorite book that you would like to recommend, please comment to this post and let me know what it is...maybe even include some skills that you would like to see in the product!  I am always open for suggestions, and LOVE for my teaching friends to have input in my products!  :)

Holiday hugs from Louisiana,