September 28, 2012

Shine On Sporty Girl Winners, Take 2

I've had one of those hectic, crazy, is my head still screwed on straight kinds of weeks, so blogging has been taking a backseat!  BUT as only 1 of the 3 winners of my giveaway claimed their prize, I had to get my act together at least enough to pick two new winners.  They are...


& Jennifer!

 Ladies, email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com by Sunday to claim your necklace!

September 25, 2012

Last call for giveaway winners!

Are you one of the winners of my Shine On Sporty Girl giveaway?? Check this post, and email me by midnight to claim your prize!  I have only heard from one winner so far, and will choose new winners tomorrow if I don't hear from the other two!

September 23, 2012

Race Recap: Zoo Run Run 5K + Giveaway Winner!!!

I had BIG PLANS for chasing my sub-30 5K goals this fall and 4 different 5Ks picked out to shoot for my PR, one of which was this morning, The "Zoo Run Run 5K" which involved running through a nearby zoo.  Little did I know I would nail my sub-30 on the first try last week!  Instead of trying to run yet another PR, I decided to just have fun this race and run with my favorite 5K buddy Katy.
I'm not going to do a long race recap because the race was pretty darn uneventful, but we ran negative splits, saw some animals, and generally had a fun race finishing in 33:06.  Today did mark, however, the first run this season when I was actually cold!!!  I wasn't thinking when I packed my bag last night before crashing at my friend's house, and didn't pack gloves--in fact, I'm lucky I threw in the long sleeved shirt at the last minute!!  I'm loving fall weather lately, but part of me can't be too happy about it because fall really means that winter, my MOST HATED time of year, is right around the corner...oh well.  Anyways, a fun race overall :)

And now, the winners of the Shine On Sporty Girl necklace giveaway! 

Winner #1...
#19, Jennifer!

 Winner #2...
#26 Fellow triathlete, ajh!

And last but not least, Winner #3!

#9, Running Librarian!

Winners: Please email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com by TUESDAY to claim your prize!
If I don't hear back from you by Tuesday at midnight, I will pick a new winner.  Please email me with your preference for necklace charms--preferences will be honored on a first come, first serve basis.  :)
Hope you love your new necklace!

 Thank you to all of you who entered!  I loved reading about the reasons running is close to your heart, especially these reasons...

September 22, 2012

Giveaway Reminder!

Today is your last chance to enter my giveaway to win a beautiful necklace from Shine On Spotty Girl!  Don't forget!

September 17, 2012

Shine On Sporty Girl Necklace Review + Giveaway!

I am SO excited to have the opportunity to tell you about Shine On Sporty Girl, a fabulous line of jewelry, medal displays, ornaments, and other fun things designed especially for runners and athletes.  I first fell in love with their adorable running-inspired charms when I saw one of their necklaces on (where else) pinterest, so I am thrilled to be able to write a review of their necklaces as well as to give a few (yes, multiple!) away to my wonderful readers!  
Kate Daisy and Team from Shine On Sporty Girl sent me a bunch of different charms to check out.  I love a small necklace that packs a big meaning, so this necklace is perfect for me.  I picked the "Love to Run, Live to Run" charm paired with a small 13.1 distance charm and a pretty crystal.  I adore this necklace.  It is perfect to wear with a v-neck tshirt and jeans, and it's the perfect way to hold my love for my favorite sport close to my heart in a subtle way.  The ball chain is also adjustable, which is a nice feature--you can just snip the chain to whatever length you want.  There are so many awesome charms on the website that you can mix and match to create the perfect necklace for you.  I honestly had trouble deciding which charm was my favorite, but "Live to Run, Love to Run" is just the perfect message for me right now, plus the 13.1 to remind me of my half-marathons and keep me moving towards my upcoming 13.1 goals.  (Hopefully I can add the 26.2 charm some day soon!)

Two beautiful necklaces from the website:

Shine On Sporty Girl sent me charms and chains to giveaway beautiful necklaces to THREE readers!  
 I arranged the charms on the chains for a picture, but half the fun is creating a custom piece, so three winners can choose from these charms to create their own special necklace.  Winners can choose...

(My pictures do NOT do them justice; use the links below to check the ones on the website!)

1 running charm...

1 or 2 small charms from the five below...
10K or 26.2 distance charms, running shoe charm, or pink or green  crystal charms
(And of course, one silver ball chain to wear them on!)

I wasn't really sure how to organize this giveaway since I wanted the winners to be able to choose their charms, but there are three chains, three running charms, and five extra charms, so this will be a first-respond, first-pick giveaway.  Each winner will win one chain, one running charm, and 1 or 2 extra small charms, depending on who responds first!

**One cool thing is that if you win the giveaway and don't get your first pick of charms, you can always add on to the necklace by buying an additional charm from Shine On Sporty Girl.  The distance charms are only $5!

To win one of these beautiful necklaces...
  • Be a follower of Juice Boxes + Crayolas and leave a comment letting me know you are! (Mandatory)
  • Leave a comment below telling me which charms you would put together for your necklace (+1 additional entry)
  • Leave a comment telling me why running is close to your heart! (+1 additional entry)
This giveaway will end at midnight on Saturday, September 22nd.  I will choose 3 winners using on Sunday and post them here, and winners will get to choose their charms in the order they email me to claim their prizes.  :)  Make sense?  Sorry this giveaway is so complicated...

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Shine On Sporty Girl provided me with one necklace to review and three to give away to readers.  I was not compensated in any other way or encouraged to express a particular opinion.  I just really think these necklaces are fabulous. ;)

September 16, 2012

Race Recap: Firefly 5K (or SUB 30 FTW!)

At the beginning of this year, I set 3 big training goals:
In April, I crossed #1 off the list with the Kentucky Derby Half-Marathon, in June I crossed off #2 with the SheRox Sprint Triathlon, and last night I crossed off #3, finishing my fastest ever 5K!  Let me start at the beginning...

I've spent the last six weeks trying to cram some speed into my perpetually slow legs with track workouts and tempo runs, and it definitely hasn't been easy!  I've never worried too much about speed, so speedwork at the track was a bit of a rude awakening...pretty much every workout involved me wanting to give up running or say "screw it" to the whole sub-30 5K goal!  My first tempo run a few weeks back definitely left me wondering whether I'd EVER be able to run miles below 10min.  I kept at it, though, and put 4 5Ks on my calendar, figuring I'd be able to nail that sub-30 at ONE of them.  Inspiration (on my new chalkboard wall!)...
I had high hopes for yesterday's Firefly 5K--I was familiar with the course, it was nice and flat, and the race was at 8pm (I'm almost always faster at night).  That is, I had high hopes until I woke up with a cold yesterday morning...
Yup, we've been in school 4 weeks and my body is already shutting down...sweet.  I downed the maximum dosage of Airborne, took plenty of cold meds, sudafed, and zyrtech, napped on and off all day, and tried to stay positive.  Luckily, when the time to head to the race site finally rolled around, I miraculously started feeling MARGINALLY better, and decided I would at least go for it.  I said good bye and good luck to my friends and shoved my way as close to the front as I could, which was still pretty far back!  This race was super crowded and a little bit disorganized...Unfortunately, as soon as the gun went off I realized that a bunch of people at this race didn't get the memo that you typically line up in order of speediness...I was dodging WALKERS for the first mile!  Now I am the first person to welcome runners and walkers of ALL paces to a race, but it was a little frustrating!  Weaving through people on a dark race course is not easy!  I ended up running a good chunk of the first mile on the grass to the side of the path...

After the first mile, I finally was away from the super dense crowds, and was excited about how awesome I was feeling.  I crossed the first mile marker in under 10 minutes, and as I obsessively checked my average pace on my garmin, I was excited to see that I was holding an average under 9:30!  After 2.5 I started to feel a little tired and needed to take an extra minute walking through a water station.  Somehow I managed to pull it together, though!  When my watch showed that I was getting close to mile 3, I dug deep and pulled out a sprint to the finish that I didn't even know I had in me, immediately collapsing with a bottle of water in the grass.  It was so worth it though--My final time was 29:26!!  
Mission Accomplished!
After reuniting with my friends Katy and Pati who also rocked a strong finish to this line and waiting in line over an HOUR at the most disorganized gear check tent I have EVER experienced, we finally got a picture. Check out Katy and Pati's awesome light up accessories!
 I am SO pumped to have accomplished this goal.  Seriously, 2012 has been an amazing year of running, especially after my year of injury disasters last year!  When I finished my first 5K in 36+ minutes a few years back, I never dreamed that I would be able to run a 5K in under 30 minutes!  I am realizing more than ever that running is such a blessing, and I appreciate so much every time I am able to lace up my shoes.
Anyways, I had planned to cross those 5Ks off of my chalkboard wall as I worked my way to a sub-30 this fall, but after crushing that goal on my first try, and checking goal 3 for 2012 off my list, I decided today that I need to set my sights on a new goal:
Yup, as much as I hate it, I'm going to keep up with my weekly speedwork and hope that it helps me shave 7 minutes off my half-marathon time in time for the Space Coast Half.  I've had sub-2:30 13.1 on my 30 before 30 list, and I'm starting to believe that I might actually be able to do it this fall.  I'll never know if I don't try!  

What fitness goals are you working towards?

September 13, 2012

Affirmations in the Classroom

Last summer I wrote apost about affirmation posters in my classroom, and shared these pictures:
Teacher Mom is also an artist and calligrapher--you can tell which posters she made!
I got the idea for these posters from Quantum Learning--here's an excerpt from the post in which I originally shared these pictures:

One small piece of Quantum is the affirmation posters that were all over the room.  Quantum research says that even when kids are just looking around the room, their brains are constantly taking in and processing information on the subconscious level.  They suggest putting posters with positive, first-person affirmations on your walls. From the Quantum website: "These supportive and inspiring posters can set the tone for a classroom and help create an environment of trust and safety – the kind of place where students learn best. In a students’ study areas they’re a good reminder of the things they need to remember about themselves."    

Last year I had these affirmations up all over my classroom, and while I pointed them out from time to time, I mostly counted on the students' absorbing their messages by "osmosis." :)  This year I decided to try a different approach.  After seeing this picture on the Clutter-Free Classroom blog...
above board with a quote
...I decided that an "accent space" like this would be a PERFECT spot to display my affirmation posters.  Besides creating a designated space in the room for these signs, another thing I did differently was display just one poster to start out with.
Since school has started, I have referred to the message on this poster literally every day.  We have talked about what it means, about what "best effort" looks like, and about how it feels to take pride in your work.  I point it out and have the kids read it with me before we start a task or assignment, and display it on the board along with a morning message every day.  They have it memorized, have internalized it, and I hope that they will carry it with them always.  Friday I was laminating construction paper folders the kids had decorated to keep their Word Work activities in throughout the week, and came across this folder:
Yup, this girl has gotten the message.  Mission accomplished.  I plan to add another poster in a couple of weeks, and continue to do so throughout the year.  Hopefully by June these kiddos will have a bunch of positive phrases to carry around with them in their pockets and to remember every day. :)

How do you inspire positive thinking in your students?  Besides the affirmation posters, another thing I do is have the kids write "Bring it on!" at the top of every test.  :)

September 11, 2012

Training Tuesday: So, speedwork actually WORKS. (or, Reflections on training)

Remember when last week I posted about how freaking hard speedwork is?  Well, I haven't come to like it any more since then, and I am NOT looking forward to the late night 400s on my schedule for after class this evening, but I am now living proof that the following statement I shared last week is true:
After just a couple of weeks of speedwork and tempo runs, last Thursday night I ran the fastest three miles of my life and never once felt like I wanted to quit or was going to die.

I set out for my run around 6pm Thursday with the plan to work on speed and keep my average pace as close to 10min/mi as possible, but definitely under 10:30/mi.  To give you a little context, a comfortable pace for me is about 11min/mi, or more like 11:30 if it's a longer distance.  But with my hopes resting on a sub-30 5K this fall and my race dates getting closer every day, I know that "comfortable runs" are not going to be enough to get me there.  When I started my run, though, and was realized I was averaging a 9:40/mi pace, I worried that I wasn't going to be able to maintain this for three miles.  I tried to slow down, but literally couldn't make myself do it.  After a mile, then two, my watch was actually showing my average pace decreasing, hovering in the 9:20s at one point, and I was still feeling great.  After 2 miles I started to feel a little tired and let that average pace creep back up a little bit, but I finished strong in 28:28 with a 9:30/mi average pace.
Tears actually came to my eyes as I slowed to a walk afterwards, realizing what I had accomplished and that my hard work at the track is actually paying off.  To be honest, part of me wondered if maybe my garmin was messing with me.  I have NEVER seen an average pace so fast, and I definitely haven't seen a 9:30 mile since high school presidential fitness testing, and back then it was ONE mile and I gave it EVERY OUNCE I had.  After this run, for the first time ever I feel like sub-30 really can be a reality for me, especially if I finished these 3 miles feeling so strong!  Can't wait for my first 5K of the fall season Saturday evening.  Bring. It. On.
Saw this article in this month's Runner's World--If you want a PR, you better embrace the inevitable pain.  
Consider it embraced!

While training for a speedy fall 5K, I am also training for my third half-marathon, the Space Coast Half in Cocoa, Florida.  The race is in November, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and was the perfect excuse for a Thanksgiving getaway to visit Older Brother, Sister-in-law, and Adorable Niece for a few days this fall.  As babies tend to do, Adorable Niece is growing like CRAZY!  Case in point:
Us this summer...
Olivia a couple of weeks ago, standing up!
After my length history of injuries in just the past few short years (stress fracture, shin splints, random hip flexor issues, and ITBS...), I currently feel the strongest I have ever felt during a training cycle.  It's like I've finally figured out EXACTLY what I need to do to get my body through a training plan, to the start, and eventually to the finish line strong and uninjured.  For the first time ever, my lingering IT band syndrome is LESSENING with my training, not getting worse.  Yesterday morning I set out for a 7 miler in beautiful 60 degree temperatures on an old favorite running loop.  I KT taped my IT bands, stretched, and hit the road...
I am still struggling a little bit with KT tape.  Even though I put the tape on the day before, I'm finding that in this particular spot, the long strip stays on great, but the smaller Xs just aren't in enough contact with actual skin to get a good grip.  They peeled off my left leg in just 2 miles and my right in about 4.  I still like it, though, because it DOES work (when it stays on...) and is way more comfortable than my ITB straps.  Even so, I was able to run 7 without any pain, just a tiny bit of discomfort at one point which disappeared with a quick stretch.  When I first developed ITBS over a year and a half ago, I couldn't make it ONE mile without pain.  Success.

Also, I try to keep my long runs molasses slow to avoid any unnecessary stress on my body and keep injuries at bay, usually around 12:00/mi.  Yeah, I know, I'm S L O W.  After my first mile, I was averaging about 11:30/mi, which I knew was too fast, so I tried really hard to slow down.  I swear I did.  I even got the pace down to 11:40 at one point, but my legs just wouldn't let me keep it there.  They had other plans, and by the end of the seven miles, my average was 11:23/mi and I felt STRONG.  The only time I felt tired was that last mile, which makes perfect sense as 7mi was a new distance in this training cycle.  WIN.
Once again, I can tell that the speedwork is working!
Last summer (or "The Summer of Injury" as I like to remember it), I remember talking to the PT I was seeing at the time about my training and the reasons I'd probably been injured so much.  (Seriously, I think I posted nothing but ice-pack pictures ALL SUMMER LONG...)
Oh 2011, you were a rough year on my legs...

Looking back through my training log, I'd realized that I'd jumped into training for Half-Marathon #1 after taking months off for a stress fracture and jumped into training for what was supposed to be Half-Marathon #2 but ended up a DNS (did not start) after taking months off with ITBS.  Obviously, training for both of these left me injured and miserable (and out 80 bucks in the one case).  What's different this year?  Here's what I think...
  • Tri Training/Cross training: A spring and summer of non-stop triathlon training left me with a body that is STRONG, and not just the running muscles.  Tri training = amazing cross training and overall fitness.  Plus, it kept my workouts interesting so that when I started the distance running again, I wasn't burned out and was HUNGRY for it.
  • Building a solid running base: This was the mistake I made twice last year and vowed to never make again.  This summer I kept a solid running base in the midst of tri training, putting in a 4-6 mile run one day a week in addition to my tri workouts.  It kept me in the running game and made it easy for me to pick up half-marathon training.
  • 5K training: Like I just said, speedwork and tempo runs are actually working for me, and while I'm using them to hopefully nail a new 5K PR this fall, I plan to keep them in my weekly run rotation even after the 5Ks to hopefully help me nail my second half-marathon PR of the year.  
Just PRed!
  • Understanding what works for my body: After my DNS last summer, I realized that part of my problem was running too many miles per week.  Even though I've always been an every-other-day runner, running just 3 days/week most of the time, I realized that the 5 milers I was putting in on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to my weekend long run were just too much for my body.  For the Kentucky Derby Half-Marathon, in addition to making a training plan that increased distances hella slowly, I also kept my weekday runs to just 3 miles for the entire training cycle.  I know it may sound like I'm not putting in enough miles to be really prepared for a half marathon, but truly, this made all the difference for me in that training.  Not only was I ready for the race in Kentucky, but I finished strong.  I'm keeping to this plan for my Space Coast training, knowing that it's part of what I need to do to stay strong and uninjured.
Anyways, that was a lot.  I'm dying to know, though...

What have you learned through your training about what works for YOU?

September 10, 2012

Using Music in the Classroom

Do you use music in your classroom?  I've always liked the idea of music in the classroom, but in the past two years, I have embraced it so much that if I forget my ipod at home, I don't know what to do!!  I learned a bunch of tips and tricks about how and when to use music in the classroom when I attended a five day training in Quantum Learning in 2011, and continue to work on how to use it effectively.
 At my school, we are lucky enough to have speakers in the ceiling that I can connect my ipod or computer to with a simple aux cable, so it's super easy to use music.  Before this, thoguh, I used a set of iHome speakers and my ipod.  I have several "school friendly" playlists that I cycle through during the day...

Here's a rundown of music in my day...

Our Playlists
1. Begin each day with an anchor song:  An anchor song is a song that you "anchor" to a specific task or instruction.  At the beginning of the day, the kids know that the music means unpack and turn in your homework as fast as you can, grab your book box, and be at the carpet with me by the time the song ends.  Last year, we used the song "Dynamite" by Tai Cruz.  This year we are using "Walking on Sunshine."  I kept the same song all last year to encourage routine, but by spring I was completely sick of it...I haven't decided yet if I am going to stick with "Walking on Sunshine" or change it up...maybe second trimester.

What it looks like in my room: I turn on the song in the morning after I have greeted each student at the door with a smile and a handshake (a critical part of my relationship building--read more on that here).  I then stand at the front of the room clapping my hands to the beat.  Once students are unpacked and ready to go, they come up and join me, clapping along.  Midway through the song, I increase the clapping, clapping on the off-beats as well.  The kids have to watch to keep up with the beat.  This is their signal to "Hurry up!!" and get to the carpet.  I've trained them to listen for a certain point in the song that means it's almost over, which is their last warning to hurry up and get to the carpet, at which point I increase the clapping to even faster.  When the song is about to end, we hold our hands open and do a big clap together, saying "Whoooa!" (a Quantum thing), and start our day.

Why I love it: Routine, routine, routine.  And classroom community--we start our day as a group, on the same page, with energy.  It sets a positive tone in the classroom and starts our day on a happy, upbeat note. The kids are all included and part of something special that is unique to our classroom.  Also, it energizes those kiddos who come in sleepwalking. ;)

2. Transition Music: Just like I anchored a song to our morning routine, I anchor a couple of songs to transitions throughout the day.  I keep all of these "anchor songs" in a separate playlist so that I can find them on my ipod quickly and easily when the time comes.

"Anchors" Playlist
What it looks like in my room: I have a song linked to "Get ready for math," which is my students' signal to pack up and leave for math if they switch classrooms, and a signal to the students' that come to my classroom for math that it's okay to come in the classroom and get started on their Math Message.  (Current song: "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac)  We also have a lunch transition song, which signals the students that it's time to get lunch bags and line up, as well as time to come into the room after lunch.  (Current song: "Hey Soul Sister" by Train)  In the afternoon, the kids listen for "Firework" by Katy Perry as a signal that it's time to line up and go to specials.

Why I love it: Again, ROUTINE!!!  My kids know what's coming next by the music!  Also, when they're lining up for specials, for example, they are usually quietly singing "Firework" instead of talking to neighbors.  :)  Not only is it adorable, but it keeps them from being crazy and is another special community thing in our classroom.

3. Clean Up Song:  When it is time to clean up at the end of the day, I play my last anchor song that signals the kids to CLEAN ALL OF THE THINGS!  I am a stickler for a clean room--I believe that the kids need to take ownership for the cleanliness of the classroom and understand that it is THEIR job to keep the room clean, NOT the janitor's job.  Clean up is really the ONLY time they are allowed to frantically run around the room, and somehow linking a song to it reminds them that they are actually supposed to be cleaning during this time.  Our current song is "Who Says" by Selena Gomez, and they know that by the end of the song they are supposed to be sitting on their desks, packed up, ready to go, with a clean floor beneath them.

What it looks like in my room: After we have written homework in our assignment notebooks, I turn on the music and go around from table to table checking that homework has been recorded correctly and stamping assignment notebooks.  Until they receive a stamp, the kids must stay seated.  I turn on the music at this time, and when the kids have a stamp, they may begin their cleanup.  THEY MAY NOT GO NEAR THE COAT HOOKS.  Seriously.  After my first disasterous year teaching, I realized that nothing creates chaos like letting every kid run and get their backpack at once.  The kids are to be CLEANING during this time.  After everyone has been stamped, I will turn the volume down for a second to get their attention, and call one table group to get backpacks.  I then turn it back up, and a minute or two later repeat this to call another table.  This keeps the kids cleaning and keeps the coat rack from getting overcrowded.  It also saves my vocie, as I've trained them to listen for the quieting and for their table to be called.

Why I love it: Routine.  Seeing a pattern?  Also, it gets our floor clean, gets the kids packed up, and gets us out the door quickly and efficiently.  I no longer have to scream at kids to get the scraps off the floor or to stop shoving over by the coats.  Also, like I said earlier, the kids get into it and sing as they clean.  It's adorable and a fun end to our day.  I find that if our day ends on a sour note, it puts me in a bad mood ALL AFTERNOON LONG.  I am never in a bad mood listening to Selena Gomez. :)

4. Classical Music during Writing & Testing:  This is hardly a new idea.  Everyone has heard about studies done using classical music and learning.  Who knows if they're true, but I figure it can't hurt.  The kids typically love the classical music during writing time (I call it our "quiet writing music"), and last year I started playing it during tests too.  I try to get the kids to have a positive attitude about testing--I've trained them to cheer when I say, "It's time for our test!"  :)  I know, I'm a manipulative teacher...but I think it really helps them!  I talk about tests as an opportunity to show what you know, as a "moment to shine."  Having the quiet music playing keeps the atmosphere calm and positive during testing.

How it looks in my classroom: Simple--I just turn my ipod to a playlist of Beethoven and Mozart and keep it playing REALLY QUIETLY.  Easy enough.

Why I love it: Like I said, it keeps things light and positive, and if there's any real possibility of a "Mozart Effect," I'm willing to try anything!!!
"School: Classical" playlist
5. Music during work time: If kids are working on something like a math worksheet or other quiet activity that doesn't involve reading or writing, I will play my "relaxing" music playlist--a collection of chill, relaxed songs with lyrics.  I keep writing/reading music classical because I find the lyrics distracting, but during a social studies activity, I find that the kids can focus just fine with the relaxing music and that they really like it.

How it looks in my classroom:  When it is time to begin work, I will turn my ipod to this playlist and keep it pretty soft.  I'll let the kids know that they should ALWAYS be able to hear the music, and if they ever can't, it's because they are too noisy!  It's a good way to help them self-monitor.

Why I love it: The atmosphere it creates in the room is WONDERFUL.  Anytime people come into my room at this time, they always comment that they love the mood.  I find that creating a positive, calm atmosphere in the classroom has a billion positive effects on the kids' learning.  THat's why I also try to keep the lights dim and the colors soothing. Every little bit helps!!
"School: Relaxed" playlist
6. Upbeat music during "fun time":  Every once in awhile, I'll decide our class needs a fun movement break and we'll get up a play a game that involves a little bit of noise and moving around.  During this time, I'll reach for my "School: Upbeat" playlist of fun, mostly-current music and put it on in the background.

How it looks in my classroom: Similarly to the relaxing music, I use this music as a way to help the class monitor their noise level, teaching them that they should be able to hear the music at all times.  When I need to get the kids' attention again, I turn the music UP a ton, then slowly fade it out.  By the time it's faded, their conversations are over and their eyes are on me.  I learned this trick at Quantum training, and it makes PERFECT sense.  If the kids are noisy, it's hard to notice fading music, but the loud blast and quick fade out is tough to miss!

Why I love it: Fun music reminds the kids that school and learning can be fun.  It gets us all in a positive mood!  Also, I love being able to get their attention again without raising my voice.  Amazing.
"School: Upbeat" playlist
Well, that's about it--I hope you got some good ideas on how to use music in your classroom!  I will NEVER go back to a silent classroom again!

How do you use music in your classroom?  Favorite classroom songs?

September 9, 2012

Slow Start Sunday

Good morning :)  My training schedule called for an early morning swim followed by an hour of vinyasa yoga today, but when I woke up still exhausted and with a headache after spending the whole night asleep on the couch, I decided training could wait and made a big pot of coffee instead.  Why did I sleep on the couch?  Oh you know, because I washed my sheets yesterday and have yet to put them back on my bed...without fail, anytime I change my sheets, I end up sleeping without them one night because I am never on top of things enough to get them back on the same day!  (I know, I should probably buy a second set of sheets...)
Anyways, where was I.  Oh yes, my slow start to the day.  Instead of getting in my car and getting to the gym, I decided to sit on my balcony with a book and coffee for awhile--until I got cold!  It's in the 50s here this morning!  Crazy, huh?  I could go for a FEW degrees warmer, but I'm loving the start of fall.  (I moved my book and coffee indoors instead :)
My plan for the day involves louging around until the coffee is gone, then putting away laundry, putting sheets on my bed, and finishing my lesson plans.  My dad is coming over this afternoon to paint a chalkboard wall in my apartment (!), hang a new painting my friend made for me, and help me put together a headboard I just bought from IKEA.  Ladies and gentlemen, after these projects are finished, my apartment decorating mission will be COMPLETE.  After only 14+ months of living here, too... :-/  I'll post pictures of the finished product if I ever get this place cleaned up!
I've got the chalk, just need the wall!
What are your plans for your Sunday?
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