Back to school we go.

Man. I know everybody is saying it, but where did the summer go? We had a great summer full of lazy mornings, traveling, and chasing the not-so-baby boy around. But now, we’re back to school, and I’m super thankful for a really good first week.

I’m going to keep things short & sweet because #sodangtired, but here are a few of the highlights from this week.

  1. NAME TENTS: My most favorite, always and forever, way to get to know students and build some rapport.
  2. MATH IS LIKE: My most favorite, always and forever, way to get students talking about their SUPER HONEST feelings about math.
  3. THE FOUR 4S: I love this because anyone can try it, and it lets students explore and have some fun with math. (And it always brings up order of operations discussions!)
  4. STICKY NOTE STATIONS: This is a new find for this year, and I’ll definitely use it again. I loved the way it got students out of desks and talking about some important topics.
  5. BROKEN CIRCLES: This is a fun challenge. (Plus is forces them to be quiet and concentrate for a bit.) It takes a little prep, but I cut these out and laminated them several years ago… and I’m still using them!
  6. SET: This is the first time I’ve tried this as a Bell Ringer, and my students seemed to really like it! I posted an image of 12 set cards. Told them to find the sets (without really telling them much else) and it was so fun to watch them figure out the rules by trial and error.
  7. ESTIMATION 180: Always great engagement with these. I love using the cheeseball one to get students talking and reasoning. Again, a non-intimidating task that allows for more participation.
  8. TALKING POINTS: Dang. We had some GOOD discussions this year. It even got a little heated. 🙂 But I love the process this makes them go through.
  9. WODB: Another easy entry point into class discussion. Anything goes as long as they have a REASON.
  10. VISUALIZING MATH: I got this from Week of Inspirational Math. It was pretty good, but honestly I was hoping for a little better discussion. I probably need to set it up better next time! Still fun, though.

Whew! That’s it for now. All in all, I’m so thankful to be back in our high school building. This week has definitely renewed my love for teaching… and an early bedtime.

A few of my pdfs/documents I use during the first week are here… just look at ((First Week of School Stuff)).

Reflecting on year 3.

plush-design-studio-483666-unsplashWhew. This past year was a complete whirlwind. And even though I had hoped to blog/tweet more about my adventure in 7th grade, it just didn’t happen. AT ALL.  But that’s kind of par for the course in my life right now.

Wanna know something?

I just finished my third year of teaching, and I kind of hate telling people that. Normally people at my age already have around 10 years of experience, so I can feel kind of behind. BUT– that’s not my story and I’m learning to be ok with it. Either way, I know I’m learning and growing each year… and hoping that next year I’ll be better than the year before.


A little update.

Middle school teachers, I salute you! This was my first year teaching middles and it was just not at all what I expected. Suffice it to say, I did not love it. I learned a lot, and I’m thankful for that. I’m glad I tried it, and now I don’t have to wonder. But I’m also thankful to be headed back to 9-12 next year!

Even though this past year wasn’t exactly the year I had hoped for, I did learn and experience some great things along the way.


Here’s some highlights from year 3.

  • The Open Up Resources/IM Curriculum is amazing. Seriously. I loved using it and collaborating with the awesome community online.
  • I gave my first presentation at ACTM (Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Fall Forum and I’m so glad I did it! I definitely tried to talk myself out of it a few times, but it was a great experience. Hoping to do it again this year!
  • Collaborating with my new(ish) friend and colleague, Keri Flowers. She works at the university in my town, and her partnership has been an absolute game changer for me. Thanks for the endless support and encouragement, Keri! Can’t wait to see what the future holds for two math nerds like us.
  • And last but NOT least, I survived my first year as a working mom. Our little buddy did awesome at daycare, and we tried to make the best of our afternoons & weekends together. (Although don’t ask me how the cooking, cleaning, meal-planning went.)


Once again, I’m hoping to stay more connected to the awesome teacher community online this next year but we’ll see what actually happens when real life kicks back in. Here’s to soaking in the summer days–filled with toddler chasing, reheating coffee, and staying in my pajamas as much as possible.

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Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Finding your place.

I’m still very new at this whole teaching thing. And really, I’m still very new at a lot of things. Motherhood. Marriage. Life. And I don’t always feel very good at any of it.

I’m still figuring things out. If I’m honest, I’m not really very sure about much of anything. I don’t really know what I’m good at. I don’t really know what my “thing” is.

I’m not the smartest or the most creative. I’m definitely not the most organized or the most dynamic. I don’t have the prettiest classroom or the most exciting lessons. I’m not the best at twitter and I’ve only posted on this blog a handful of times. I’m giving the teacher Instagram thing a whirl, but I already know I don’t have the energy or the fancy Cricut to keep up. I don’t have the most experience and I don’t really have any great resources to share.


As I was thinking of all the things I’m not and all the things I don’t know, I thought of something else. Something I can do.


I can be an encourager. 


I can help someone remember that they matter. I can give a virtual hug (confession: I’m not much of a hugger in real life) after a hard day. I can write a note. I can be a sounding board. I can help us all remember the truth when it’s easier to believe the lies. I can be a positive voice and a supportive friend. I can be an encourager.

So maybe that’s my thing. Maybe that’s my place for right now, and probably for always. It might not be super fancy, and probably won’t get me published or make me famous–but still, it matters.


So be encouraged, friend. You have something that matters too, no matter how big or small it may seem to you. We need it. We need you. The inexperienced. The master teachers. The published authors. The bloggers with more drafts than posts. The teachers with ugly worksheets. The classrooms that belong on Pinterest. The dreamers. The rule followers. The artists. The laminated labelers. And those of us that fall somewhere in between.

Find your place, whatever it is, and live in it.

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Hello, 7th grade.

Friends, neighbors, mathematicians! I have an exciting announcement to make.

No. I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog. I’ve just been a tad busy with growing/birthing/feeding the most precious tiny human in the history of the world.

But I digress.

I’m moving to 7th grade! 

Yep. Call me crazy, but I’m really pumped about this new adventure.

I spent a little bit of time in a 7th grade classroom during my time at Auburn, and I absolutely loved it. And since I’m suffering from mom brain and hurrying to finish this during nap time…

REASONS I’M EXCITED. (In list form.)

  1. The content is super fun. Hello, unit rates, negative numbers, scale drawings? Yes, please.
  2. Illustrative Mathematics curriculum! Can’t wait to work my way through this awesome FREE resource.
  3. Our middle school has got it going on. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work alongside some fabulous teachers.
  4. Seventh graders are hilarious and awkward and stinky and wonderful. Amen. (In all seriousness, 7th grade is such a formative time. I’m super excited to be a part of my students’ growth and discovery.)
  5. ONE PREP. (*ish) Technically, I have 2 preps since I have an advanced section of 7th grade, but still. It’s a very welcome change after being used to having three preps every term.  I’m really looking forward to having a little more focus.
  6. A fresh start. As much as moving classrooms is annoying, it’s forcing me to reorganize and be more thoughtful about my classroom set up. Big thanks to Angela Watson and the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek for giving me some good direction.
  7. I get to be a little goofy. Maybe? I’m hoping that I’ll feel the freedom to bring my silly side out a little more with the younger kiddos.
  8. I’m the only 7th grade math teacher. And while that might be a tad lonely, I’m SO thankful for the community of educators I’ve found online. I don’t know what I’d do without the #MTBoS. (Besides probably cry and quit.) BUT — this means I’ll get to see the entire 7th grade class in my room. That’s exciting!
  9. I get my students for the whole year. I’m used to changing classes every semester, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes that can be nice. But it can also be tough to really dive into the content and build deeper relationships. I think it will be SO nice to have more time them.
  10. Change. Change is good sometimes and this change is coming at a really great point for me. I’ll be fresh back from maternity leave and I know that leaving my little boy is going to be tough. On the flip side though, I have so many things to look forward to as I’m coming back to work. In my third year of teaching, I’m getting to experience something completely new and I’ve got a good feeling about it. I think 7th grade is going to be a great adventure!


I’m hoping to share my journey by blogging/tweeting/gramming about it as much as I can. Looking forward to doing this thing with y’all!

Let’s do this thang.

Y’all. We’re on the downhill slope–the negative slope, if you will. (Slope dude anyone? Niiiiiiiiiice negative.) We have made it to the fourth nine weeks and I can hardly believe it. But then again, I look at the bags under my eyes and feel the exhaustion in my bones and I definitely believe it. Whew. I’ve almost survived my first year in the classroom.

I’ll be honest and say that this year has been an emotional roller coaster–somewhat resembling the graph of a polynomial function. (Apologies for the bad math jokes. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.) And now that we’re almost to the end, I’m determined to finish this year well.

up down, up down, up down… you get the picture.

Even if you’ve been teaching a long time, chances are you’re feeling pretty worn out too. The end of the year seems to be tough on everyone. Testing (Oh Lord,  the testing.) Sickness. Students going cray cray. And just plain ‘ole weariness. It’s tempting to just put on the cruise control and ride it out. Heck, I’ve already been doing this myself! BUT–the more I think about it, the more I don’t want that to be my end of year plan. I can do better, and my students NEED better.

So here’s the new end of year plan…

I’m going to plan the best I can. Smile the best I can. Love the best I can. Challenge the best I can. And put on my dang positive pants the best I can. 

You with me, teacher friend?


I spent entirely way too long searching for this GIF.

Dear new teacher, Hang in there.


[a letter to myself]

New teacher, let me tell you something. This job is hard. It really is. So when you feel the weight of it all, which you most certainly will, don’t feel alone. Don’t feel ill-equipped. Don’t feel weak. Don’t start reevaluating all of your plans. Here me say that teaching is tough. There’s so much to learn. It is completely, perfectly normal to feel all that you feel.

You know what else? It DOES get better. You’ll be amazed at how much you grow in just one semester. Second semester, you know things. Not allllll the things, but you’ve got some skills. Be proud of them.

And you’ll never believe this. It’s so great.  Like, unexpectedly wonderful. Those students you had first semester? Even the ones you *might* have wanted to strangle and didn’t, thankfully. They’ll come back and see you. They’ll smile. They’ll high five you. They’ll tell you that they miss you. And right then and there, you will melt into a puddle on the classroom carpet. And you will hang onto those moments. Tuck them into your back pocket. Because you never know when you might need to remember why you decided to become a teacher in the first place.

New teacher, you are doing a good thing. You may not be the most amazing teacher in the whole world, or even in your school… but you are doing a good thing. You are making a difference in students’ lives. You are investing in the future. You are caring for young people in some of their most formative years. You. are. so. needed.

So when your head hits the pillow at night, and your body, mind, and soul are so so tired. And when the alarm clock goes off at that ungodly hour and you wonder why you ever agreed to get up this early. And when your students act like they’ve lost all their sense and make you so mad that you think you actually could spit fire.


Hang in there. You are doing a good thing.

New teacher burnout.

New teacher burnout. I’m calling it a thing.

People have said, “You haven’t been doing this long enough to be tired”.

BUT I AM. I’m so tired.


All the newness has worn off. My energy has dwindled. And now, we’re here, deep in the trenches of the mid-semester doldrums and I am just. so. tired.


Teaching hormonal high schoolers is no joke, y’all.  (Well, there is plenty of laughing involved. Lots, actually. Kids are funny! It’s just not easy. It’s not easy at all.) 

So yeah. I’m tired. I’m not feeling quite as excited and energized as I did at the beginning.


But still–I’m happy to be a teacher.


Sure. I don’t always feel happy. But still I know I’m in the right place.

I’m happy to be a teacher because it’s wonderful to be a part of something. It’s a privilege to be a part of my students’ lives. And because I want to make a difference.


So even though I’m tired, I’m rallying (and drinking more coffee than I care to admit). God has placed me here. For such a time as this. I don’t want to waste it.

I may not be the best teacher my students have ever had. In fact, right now I’m SURE I’m not. I lose energy midweek. I get frustrated when they ask the same question for the millionth time. I get SO tired of asking them to be quiet. And my lessons definitely need some work. (hello, last minute Kuta worksheets). But I’m dang sure going to keep trying. I want to be a good teacher. Really bad. And I care about my students. I really do.

So for now, I’m calling that a win.

 To all the new (and veteran!) teachers out there who have no idea what they’re doing but keep trying anyway, solidarity.