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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, New Blog, New Season

Happy New Year friends!

As you may have noticed, I have a  new blog design.  I not only wanted to share my teaching ideas but I want to share my planner obsession, and my family as well.  I changed my instagram to Teach.Laugh.Plan but my facebook is a different story.  Facebook won't let me just change the name of my page from Fabulous 3rd Grade Froggies to Teach Laugh Plan.   My only option is to make a new Facebook page but I am leaning towards keeping it the same... let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The title of this post is so cliche but it's true!   It is a new year, I do have a new blog, and I am in a new "season" of my life. I am almost 51 years old and an empty nester.   My husband, of 28 years, and I are ready to shift our focus to us.  In other words, we are getting old and want to focus on having fun!

We want to jump for joy every day like the kids are doing in the pic during our Disney Thanksgiving vacation.  However, I can't get my big butt off the ground to jump so I let the kids do the physical work.

I want to live with intention! I'm actually going to set goals and try to keep them this year. I am even going to make a focus board with a Word of the Year!   I read the book Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life by Lara Casey and it really inspired me.

Have a blessed 2019 with lots of love and laughter!

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Hello Fabulous Friends,

As I sit here meal prepping and for the week, I keep stopping and just vegging on the couch.  I cannot stop thinking of yesterday's events in Charlottesville.  My heart hurts and I feel literally sick to my stomach (no, its not from my cooking) that it is 2017 and such ugly ignorance still remains in our country. As I am typing this I am weeping from pain.  I have written and deleted this post many times today.

I remember learning about slavery, segregation and plain ol' ugly racism.... I thought, "Oh my, that is awful, how could people even think that way? Thank goodness that was so long ago and things have changed." Boy how lucky and privileged I must have been to think this way.   Well as an adult I can tell you things aren't all that different.  HATE is everywhere! Racism (also known to me as IGNORANCE) is still running rampant. This is so wrong!  Nelson Mandela once said,

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

This is TRUE!  Young children are taught to hate and they grow up to be adults who still hate. We need to teach them differently.  I cannot change what happened in Charlottesville yesterday or in history but, as Kid President suggests, I can get loud and voice my thoughts.  As an educator I can show and teach love & kindness.  I can be kind to people, of any color, religion, or background.   I can model love and kindness not only to my students but to anyone I encounter.   

I want my friends of color (in real life and in my blogging life) to know where I stand and let you know that I will NOT tolerate racism and will not sit quietly, turning my head away from it.

Thank you for allowing me to get my feelings out and listening.  God Bless all of us (especially those with hate in their hearts)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

One of My Favorite Teacher Traditions!

Hi Fabulous Friends!

I am not sure if this "tradition" of mine is to celebrate the academic year that just ended or  good way to start the next school year but it always happens around late June.

What is it you ask?  It's buying myself a present! Not buying a present for myself from my kids or husband but it's  "to Lorraine, from Lorraine"  I buy the same gift to myself every year.   I know you are thinking ... "Whaaaat??? the same gift??? What kind of crazy person does this?"   This Fabulous crazy person!

Every single year I buy myself an Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner, a Vera Bradley tote or backpack, and this year I added some teacher planner stickers from Owl Plan with You on Esty. There is nothing like starting out the new year with a new teacher bag and planner.  

Erin Condren releases her the new Teacher Lesson Planner in June so I have to order it when it first comes out.  This year with the release she had a few free gifts to go with it.   If you click HERE or the above link you will get my referral link and if you are new to Erin Condren  as soon as you set up your account you will be emailed an $10 off code. I picked this cover and picked my own colors (green and blue are my faves) and personalized it with my name, the year, and a hashtag (#OttInspired - our school hashtag for this coming year).  I also happened to buy myself some personalized file folders because I like my name on stuff.  LOL!

Here is the front of my EC Teacher Planner.
Here is the back the of my planner.

Here is part of the inside and the stickers I bought that were customized just for me!
The owner of Owl Plan with You is named Betsy and she is incredibly kind and willing to please!

Also in late June Vera Bradley usually has a big sale (which is still going on right now by the way) on certain patterns and styles.  I got this fabulous bag for 50% off  and they had free shipping that day.  The bag is still on sale for only $34! Here is my bag for this coming year....  It's even more gorgeous in person and the perfect size, with pocket on the inside and even two on the outside for a water bottle.
The style of this bag is the pleated tote and the
pattern is called Havana Rose.
Besides these treats, a color and cut, and an fabulous deals on school supplies (that I usually share on my Facebook and Twitter pages) that's about it for school purchases.

Do you have any teacher traditions that you do at the end of year or the beginning of the year?  Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Time to rest, relax, and REFLECT!

Hi friends!

It's been a long time (a whole school year) since I have blogged.   The end of last year brought many changes for me... after 6 years in 4th grade I moved back to third.   I also became an empty nester!

First, the hardest thing for me... becoming an old lady empty nester.  My daughter, Bella, is 22 years old and attends Texas A&M San Antonio and lives on her own.   My son, Jake, who is 19, just finished his Freshman year at Texas A&M College Station and lived in the dorms.  He now has moved to an apartment while he attends some summer classes and  finishes his next 3 years as an Aggie!   I am so proud of both my kids.  They amaze me with their independence, their drive, their intelligence, and their great morals!   Even though they are both so independent and doing great, its so hard "untying those apron strings".   My husband and I raised them to be the awesome kids they are but it took me almost a year not to shed a few tears daily because I miss them so much.  I hear from them weekly and the come home to visit when they can.

So I can rest and relax after this year of changes, my husband and I are going to take our very first vacation (without the kids) in 23 years.  Tomorrow we leave for Vegas!  I can't wait!  Neither of us have ever been to Vegas so it will be a fun adventure for us.  We are staying at Planet Hollywood in the middle of the strip and have tickets to a comedy show,  Jennifer Lopez, and a tour of Pawn Stars (my hubby's favorite show besides sports).

My move to 3rd grade was a welcome one, 3rd grade is my favorite grade to teach!  I taught 3rd grade for 6 years when I first came to my current school.   However, so much has changed since I first taught third.   I had to learn a whole new curriculum and had a whole new team to work with (except for one teacher, my mentee and BFF, Melissa).   Planning, teaching, and everything in between was very different between my new team and last team.  AND  I totally forgot how young beginning of the year 3rd graders were.   I can go on and on about how 3rd had changed but now that this year is over it is time to reflect about two important things....   1) What went well and 2) What I may need to change for next year.   Let me preface this by saying that every year you have a new group of kids and you need to adjust everything to their needs but the things that went well can be continued with adjustments and the things that didn't go like you would have liked need to be changed completely.
My Fabulous 3rd Grade Froggies 2016 - 2017
Things I did well and will continue next year:
  • build relationships with my students
  • provide a safe, engaging, and a risk taking environment/classroom 
  • classroom management
  • advocate for my students
  • was a BYOD classroom (Bring your own device)
  • parent communication
Things I need to change for next year:
  • include specific student use of technology in plans
  • do more enrichment
  • use the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) to plan with my team and not just "do what they did last year"
  • keep classroom less cluttered and more organized
  • blog and share about my class happenings here not just on my twitter
I will go in more detail in my next post since I still need to pack for my Vegas trip but I want to share two teacher resource books I have on my reading list for this summer.  Let me know in the comments if you have read these or have heard anything about them.  To learn more about them click on the book itself to see them on Amazon.

What are your reflections for this year?  What educational books are you reading?  Let me know in the comments.    My next post will be on explaining how I am going to make the changes I need to make for next year.  I will hopefully have ordered my teacher planner by then and talk about that too!

Hoppy Summer!