Monday, December 29, 2014

December happenings...

So, as previously mentioned, I am the Hospitality Chair for my school.  December is our craziest I just wanted to share what we did this month.  :-)
It's going to be a long post, so thanks in advance for sticking it out.

Every other month we get together to celebrate the faculty/staff birthdays from those two months.  Our Pre-K/2nd grade teachers hosted the November/December Birthday Club.  They put together a Cookie Decorating Party for us.  It was delicious!  The only problem was getting out of the chairs...adults are not meant to sit in chairs for 4 year olds.  :-P

 Every year we have a staff Christmas party.  This year, our Teacher-of-the-Year was our gracious Hostess.  We always have food, and play Dirty Santa.  Which, if you've never played that before, you should.  The blonde lady above is our principal.  She really didn't have a choice in the gift she chose, as one of our Pre-K teachers made a gift with her in mind.  The ornament she's holding has a gift card to amazon inside of it.  Along with pictures of our principal making the goofiest faces.  It was hilarious!

Yes, our faculty does play Heads Up!  Which, if you don't know what it's an app by Ellen deGeneres.  Download it, you'll love it!

We started something new this year called December Eats and Treats.  Essentially it's a dessert potluck.  Everyone (that wants to) brings a dessert and puts it on the stage.  During lunch all faculty and staff members are free to go on stage and get some desserts.  I was a little worried at first, but more desserts showed up after I took these pictures.  And yes, that cake on the left was homemade by the wife of one of our 2nd grade teachers.

Last, but not least, we had an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest.  This is the second year we've had it, and more teachers join every year.  The gentleman in the gray sweater with the face on it was our winner this year.

I just wanted to throw this picture in, because if I didn't have this lady (my music teacher) I wouldn't be able to do half the things we do for Hospitality.  She is amazing and is always willing to do whatever is needed.

Thanks for sticking out this long post.  I hope it gave you some ideas for things to do at your school.  If you do something different, I am ALWAYS up for hearing new ideas...please share!

Until next time!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thanksgiving activity...what?

I know what you're thinking...
"Thanksgiving?  In December?"
But, I haven't found the motivation to write about the ONE Thanksgiving activity I got to do until now.  And really, I should be sleeping.  I have to get up in 7ish hours and drive 7.5 hours to northern Mississippi (pray for me y'all).

because I am now ESE, it's hard for me to do anything extra.  I have a set reading series that I MUST follow.  And I do love it, and it does I'm really not complaining.  I also am trying to fit in all of the grade level math standards, and the standards from previous years that my kiddos don't understand.  So, anything extra is not gonna fly.

Luckily, I have a group of 4th graders that came to for writing (well, had...people weren't thrilled they were getting pulled).  So, for our LAST writing group, I decided to do a Thanksgiving craft.  I know I probably saw this somewhere, but for the life of me I can't remember where.  And I also forgot to take "after" pictures.  You know, the ones of completed projects.

Anyway, directions:
  1. We created giant turkey cut-outs.
  2. Each student then cut out feathers out of certain colors (the colors happened to be what I had scraps of).
  3. The feathers were then glued onto the turkey.
  4. A turkey related word was written on each feather.
  5. (due to time) each child was put in charge of one feather.  We talked about thesauri (the plural for thesaurus, in case you were wondering.  :-P ), and how to use the guide words.
  6. Each student looked up their words and then wrote the synonyms on that feather.
  7. Students then shared their synonyms so we could write down all of the synonyms.
Here are some pictures of my kiddos working on them:

I'm going to try really hard to get into the groove of writing...and I have planned out my next few posts.  I'm just not sure what to write about after that.  It's hard to find things to share when you feel like you're not doing anything exciting.

Until next time!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Currently December

It's that time again...yup, time to link up with Farley for her Currently Link up.

So here goes:

Listening: My wife and I are trying to clear off our DVR from over Thanksgiving break (we were out of town), which means catching up on Ellen Show episodes.  I love, I would be one of those people who would cry just from meeting Ellen.  She might be my idol.

Loving: I'm super sad it's over already, but I love that we had a 5 day weekend.  It was just what I needed to rest and recharge before the crazy that is December.

Thinking: I had to change my schedule...again.  I'm so tired of all of this mess.  I wish people would pick something else to complain about other than my schedule.  Sheesh.

Wanting: My wanting kind of ties in to my thinking.  I would just like uninterrupted access inside certain peoples' brains.  I want to know why they think the way they think, why they feel the way they feel. (Do you know what movie that quote is from?  Haha)  For real though, I do want to know that.

Needing: It's past 10:00 here...which means I need to go to bed.  :-/

Giving: So...some advice that I think we, as teachers, need to hear every once in a while.  Elementary teachers teach math, reading, writing, science, social studies, penmanship, citizenship, manners, technology, and lots of other things.  That's a lot for anyone to keep track of.  We also have to remember, though, that we do not have to know everything about everything.  Pick one thing, and get really good at that one thing.  Then add another.  While you're waiting, ask for help.

I know the 3rd grade math standards like nobody's business.  I can tell you what our limits are and what we can and cannot be tested on.  And now, I have to learn 4th and 5th grade standards as well.  I know who in my school to ask for help.  I am slowly learning 4th grade standards, and once I have those, I will get 5th grade's as well.  But I am not going to burn myself out by trying to become the master at everything.  Not only do my students deserve better, but I deserve better.

Sometimes I think teachers have a constant need to be the best at everything.  We all need to remember that it's okay to not be the best at something.  It's okay to ask for help.  Isn't that what we tell our kids all the time?

Thanks for sticking out this long post.  Hope you all have a wonderful December!

Monday, November 10, 2014

I did it!

Ok, I know it has been awhile, and I should be writing a post about everything that I've done in my classroom lately.  And I will, at some point this week.

Tonight, though, I'm just writing a quick post to celebrate.

What am I celebrating you ask?

I just sold my FIRST TPT product!  Ahh!  I know that's not a big deal for some people, but I only have two products on TPT.  And the one has only been on TPT for like 2 weeks.  So I am VERY excited that I've had a product that got sold.

I earned less than $1...but hey, every little bit helps!

I promise, it'll be a real post next time.  But I was just super excited about this!

Here's a link to my store: The Disneyfied Teacher

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Currently

Time to link up with Farley over at

for November's Currently post.

So here goes...

Listening: I'm loving the new crop of shows this season.  They're all pretty good.  If you haven't seen Mysteries of Laura, you should think about it.  It's a cop dramedy with Debra Messing and Josh Lucas.

Loving: It's actually cold in the panhandle.  Well, for this weekend anyway.  :-P

Thinking: I need/want to rearrange some of my groups.  I'm up to 20 staffed ESE students, so the other ESE teacher is going to start helping me pull groups (she only has 7 staffed students right now).  I need to rearrange my groups and email some teachers.  I just have to think through some of the changes so they make sense and are effective.

Wanting: My wanting is always the!

Needing: I should be working on work-related things.  Instead I'm on here, posting (which is much needed).  But then again, if I'm on here, then I should be catching up on the 3 (or 4) weeks of posts that I need to read.  We'll see what happens.

Reading: I get my 4th graders for an hour for reading.  So I start every day with a read aloud.  Right now we're in the middle of Love That Dog.  It is a book of poems that are all written by the same "author", Jack.  If you haven't read it yet, please do.  I really want to get the sequel - Hate That Cat.

Can't wait to learn more about you!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Scoop (number 2?)

I'm trying really hard to get on here and read posts and write posts and it's just not working for me.  I'm actually still trying to get caught up on reading posts from September.  :-/
 I'm so embarrassed.

Anyway, linking up again for Sunday Scoop with Teaching Trio.

So here goes...

They all kind of speak for themselves, but for real, if anyone has suggestions on how to teach analytical writing to fourth graders who can't read sight words PLEASE let me know!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Working on Time

I can't seem to get it together.  I had grand plans of blogging more this year.  I've made it a point to take pictures of the fun things we're doing.  I'm trying really hard to use my planning time at school effectively.  It's just not happening.  I would love to know how those bloggers who also have kids find time for all of this.  So, if one of my followers would like to share the secret to regular blog posts...well I'd be forever grateful.  :-)

Anyway, for the past 2ish weeks my 3rd graders have been working on time.  I just wanted to share some of the fun things we've been doing with time.

First, is the ever-popular paper plate clocks.  Did you ever do this as a student?  I did, and loved it.  So anytime I teach time, we always make a clock.  It helps solidify the hour hand and the minute hand.  Plus it's just fun.

Also, since I'm juggling the standards of 3 different grade levels, I am all about finding products on TPT and using them.  Thank you to that wonderful invention!  Anyway, Nesli over at Second Grade with the Teacher Wears Prada (or at TPT here) created this wonderful cut-and-paste clock activity.  My kiddos LOVED it!  We forget how much fun it is to just bust out the scissors and glue.  So I've made a promise to myself to try for more educational, and rigorous, cut-and-paste activities.

And our last activity was a Time Scavenger Hunt (thanks Christen Stowers!).  I didn't hide the clocks, so much as tape them in random spots around the room.  It got my kiddos up and moving though.  It was just what we needed and a wonderful way for me to get a quick assessment of what we actually know.

Thanks for sticking out this long post!  I have already started planning my next ones in my head, so hopefully the come to fruition soon!

Monday, September 15, 2014

50th Post...well, sort of

So, I realized, rather belatedly, that I was rapidly approaching my 50th post.  And by rapidly, I mean, I hit it and didn't even notice.  :-(

I just so happened to look at my homepage and see that I had reached 50 posts.  I was going to do something special for my 50th.  Maybe a giveaway or something. know...back to school budget is incredibly tight right now.  Maybe I'll do something for my 100th.

Anyway, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of you who have stuck with me for my first 50 posts.  I promise that it won't take me another entire year to hit 50 posts again.  I am making it a point to blog more this school year.  

I will.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

My first Sunday Scoop

So I am linking up with Teaching Trio for their Sunday Scoop Linky Party!

The Sunday Scoop linky is to just give you a quick glimpse into my upcoming week.  So, here goes.

My three things I have to do are pretty self-explanatory.  Laundry, cutting Brag Tags.  Since I switched from 3rd to ESE 3-5, I don't know the 4th and 5th grade math standards.  I need to get them memorized (or at least semi-memorized) so I can make sure I'm hitting my standards.

I have a huge to-do list right now.  I'm hoping that I can get things crossed off as quickly as possible.  I also really need to start running again.  It is just terribly hot in Florida, and I have something going on every day after school this week.  :-(  I'm hoping to get at least one, or two, runs in this week.

And I'm SO HAPPY because Friday, at midnight, the wifey and I are getting in the car and driving to Disney World!  We didn't get to go anywhere over the summer, so I'm just gonna take a few days off.  We'll get into the hotel Saturday morning, see my grandparents for breakfast, and then hit the parks from Saturday til Tuesday.  We're also going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for the first time!  Ahh!  And then we come home on Wednesday.  :-(

I can't wait to see what all of you have going on this week!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is your school hospitable?

So...I really don't know if every school does this, but every school in the county I teach in has a Hospitality committee.  It's done differently at every school, but the major similarity is that the committee puts together the Christmas activity (party, luncheon, whatever).

Anyway, for the second year in a row, I am the Hospitality Chair.  I love it.  I try to plan different events throughout the year to keep morale high in our teachers.  Our jobs are difficult, it's not easy being a teacher.  So anything we can do to bring some fun into our lives - I'm all for it!

One of the things we do is Birthday Club.  Every other month we meet (usually after school) to celebrate the birthdays of our staff.  Last year it was always cake, this year we're thinking about switching it up a little.

Also, we visit a restaurant (usually Chili's) on the First Friday of every month.  It's just a time to talk and see each other outside of school.  I LOVE it!  Spouses and kids are always invited.  Some months we're a small group, sometimes a big group.  It just depends.

Here are some pictures from our two events we've had so far this year:

These two ladies and I usually close out the First Friday fun.  This year we're allowed to leave at 3:15.  Which means we made it to Chili's at 3:30.  We didn't leave until 7.  Usually someone tells one of us that they were gonna come but they thought we would be gone.  We just laugh and tell them to text one of us next time...cause we're still probably there.  :-P

Are there any things your faculty does to raise morale and enjoy time outside of school?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Classroom Reveal...finally!

Monday starts the 4th week of school.  And I am just now revealing my classroom.  
It's partially because it took me forever to get it finished.

I couldn't go to the school over the school was a "host school" for summer school.  Which meant that even if our room wasn't being used, we weren't allowed up there.

And then they had to strip and re-wax the entire school after that.  And I was teaching summer camps and going to workshops and just...yeah.

So...pre-planning week was really my big time to get in there.  But, if you read one of my last posts, my room was a MESS.  And I had to move all of the ESE curriculum into the mess that already was my room (I never did take a picture of that).  And, of course, during pre-planning I went to WAY too many workshops/trainings.  Luckily my principal left the school open until 9 one night.  And since I wasn't pulling groups the first 2 weeks of school (my schedule is still semi-changing), getting my room together was the last thing on my mind.  But this week I started pulling it had to be ready.

So here it is...

I got rid of almost all of my student desks.  I won't need them.  I'll only be pulling small groups and don't need all of that mess in my room.

All of that was junk I pulled off of shelves and out of filing cabinet drawers.  I have WAY too much stuff and I'm trying to get rid of some of it.

I don't have a teacher desk.  So my small group table is my teacher space.  I love it though.

Have you seen those Teacher Toolbox posts and pins?  I LOVE mine!  They were blue, and I just spray painted them red to match my Disney theme.

I have 8 4th-graders that I have to pull all at once for math, and my small group table is not big we're going to meet here.  I kinda like it...we'll see how it works though.

We were told at the beginning of last week that the little hideaway where we all keep our filing cabinets is blocking a window that is going to be turned into an egress window.  Which means we can't put our filing cabinets there.  I really don't like this...but it'll work until I turn everything digital like I want.

I am also the Hospitality Chair for our school.  So I wanted a space in my room where I could keep track of everything I had planned for the year.

Since I don't need the bulletin board outside of my room for student work, I turned most of it into a birthday board for our faculty.  Those are faculty/staff birthdays!  Every student passes my room on the way to art and music.  So now they can see all of the birthdays for that month.  Plus we will be spotlighting a different faculty member every month.  It's just a way to get to know the members of our school.

I also wanted to share this bulletin board that I did in the front hallway of our school.  Thank you to Sarah over at Math Equals Love for sharing about this bulletin board (and where she got the idea from).
We're trying to change our mindsets at my school.  

It's going to be a great year.
Thanks for sticking out this long post.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Currently September

 Well it's that time again...time to link up with Farley over at

So let's get to it...

Pandora...on shuffle.  I always seem to be listening to Pandora when I do this.  
(The wifey and I were watching "Head Over Heels", but we had to stop so she could write an article for work.)
When I started this, Warrior by Paradise Fears was playing.  Right before I hit "publish" The Way Down by White Tie Affair was playing.

It's Florida.  Which means that weather forecasts are just suggestions.  We have a very low chance of rain tomorrow, so if it's sunny when we wake up, we're going to the beach.  And I am feeling mighty pasty so I can't wait!

Tomorrow is the last day of my 3 day weekend.  And I have done NOTHING for school.  And I am so glad cause I needed it...but my next month is going to be crazy - we're Discovery Ed testing.  And as the ESE teacher I have to pull all of the ESE kids from 3rd-5th and test them in small groups.  Which totally messes up my schedule.  And I should be figuring all that mess out.  *sigh*

So, the wifey and I didn't get to go anywhere on vacation this summer...either she was working or I was working.  So we've booked a Disney vacation for the fall, and (you guessed it), we check in on September 20!  We're also going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for the first time ever!  We're very excited.
I need to go grocery shopping.  The first few weeks of school always throw me for a loop.
Three Trips:
Ok, so the rule was three places I'd love to vacation that I've never vacationed before.  The first is Paris.  We lived in Germany when I was little, and my older brother took a field trip to Paris.  I've always wanted to go.
The second place is New York City.  I have always wanted to see Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person, and go to a Broadway play.  Plus my bestie lives in NYC right now being all lawyery and stuff.
And the third place is Italy.  I really didn't think anything about it before my wifey and I started dating.  It's on her bucket list and it has slowly come over to mine as well.

Well, can't wait to learn more about all of y'all.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teach

So, Stephanie over at 
has decided to host a Meet the Teacher linky party.  And I LOVE the idea!
So, let's get started...
My name is Ryan Graber and I blog from the crazy state that is Florida.
I was an ESE teacher assistant for 1 year, and an ESE k-5 teacher for 1 year.  Then I spent 2 years in a K-2 behavior unit.  The past 2 years have been in a 3rd grade inclusion class (as the gen ed teacher).  And this year I am going back to ESE and will be the 3-5 ESE teacher.

Disney World...of course!
My boo thang and I have been married for 6 years (we got married, and honeymooned, right in the middle of student teaching).  We got engaged at Disney, honeymooned at Disney, and visit as often as we can.  (If you have any Disney travel questions, I can probably answer them.)

Sandy Cheeks!
We do not have any human children, instead we just have this snuggle bug.  Sandy, and the rest of her litter, was abandoned, with their mom, by a friend's neighbor.  When she found them she put a request out on MySpace (do we even remember that?!) to see if anyone wanted a puppy.  The wifey and I quickly picked Sandy up.  Her crazy just adds to our crazy and it's wonderful.

Now, on to the questions...

These are a few of my favorite things...
starting sentences with the word SO
watching movies
the sound rain makes as it hits my chimney
eating dessert first
the beach

If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
I have honestly always wanted to be a teacher.  But I guess if I wasn't, I would either work in a bookstore, or at Disney.  And if I was at Disney, I would either ask to guide tours or be in the parades or something where I could be ridiculous.
Three little words that describe you...

Finish the sentence: "________, said no teacher ever."
I HATE summer vacation, said no teacher ever.
It's your birthday, and you can invite anyone {dead or alive} to the party.  Who are you inviting?
You mean besides the obvious family and friends?
Well, Walt Disney (of course).
Ellen DeGeneres
the cast of Glee
Jane Austen
(random group, I know)

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
What's funny is my wife and I have talked about this...and my book title would be:
Wait, What?

You get to pick one superpower, what is it?
I have always wanted the ability to become invisible.  Then I would really know what people thought of me!
What's your favorite quote or saying?
"Don't be afraid of death, be afraid of the unlived life." - Tuck Everlasting
If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
 There's this 90's (or maybe 80's) country song.  I can't remember the band or the name of the song.  But it's about this guy who obviously needs some help with his mental facilities.  And he works in a restaurant with this girl that he falls in love with.
I used to LOVE that song.  It took me years to realize that it was not a happy ending...
And I don't know why...but that's the first song I thought of with this question.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am most definitely a night owl.  My wife will tell you that it is awful trying to get me up in the morning.
What's your favorite resource that you've created in your TpT shop?
Honestly both resources in my TpT shop right now are free.  And they're free for a reason.  One is just Whole Brain rules.  And one is a set of Partner Cards.  Eventually I will add more things...just not right now.
Share something we might not know about you.
So, Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland is based off a real castle.  Cinderella's Castle at Disney World is partially based off the same castle.  It's called Neuschwanstein Castle and it is in Germany.  I've been there before.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Well, I hope you learned just a little bit more about me...thanks for sticking out this post.

Don't forget to head over to Falling Into First and join the fun!