Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I'm BAAAAAAAACK with a Catchall of the Past 8 Months!!

HELLO blogging world!!  Long time no see, but I'm back, and I have a few very good reasons for my hiatus.  Oh where to begin??  Well, if you were not aware, along with teaching my absolutely wonderful group of first graders this year, I was finishing up grad school and planning my (our) wedding.  So here's how the whirlwind went down...

December:  Tony and I spent every day of Christmas break planning our wedding.  We got SO much accomplished, which helped to ease my stress a tad.  You see, not much had been accomplished lately due to a very time consuming action research grad school class that I was taking in the evenings.

January and February: Lots of running around and late, late nights doing teacher things, finishing my last grade school class assignments, and of course lots of wedding planning and decoration creating!  Here are some items that were made...

My wonderfully amazing bridal party and lovely friends folded and twisted scrapbook paper until their fingers hurt and succumbed to a few hot glue gun burns to enable my vision of paper flower centerpieces to come true.  Now that is true love! <3  Rhinestones (not real ones haha) were glued to the middle of each flower.

Here is an example of what the finished products looked like...sort of.  Half of the tables had paper flowers and the other half had the paper lanterns to allow for some height contrast around the room.  The paper flower bouquet was eventually more full than that one there, and the sticks of the paper lantern display were spray painted silver and cut down so that they didn't stick out above the lanterns.  We used Wordle to create the table themes, which represented our interests.  This one is for the Pirates, as in the Pittsburgh Pirates.  GO BUCS!  Everything was placed on a circular mirror that was sprinkled with small (fake) diamonds and three fairy berries.  If you don't know what fairy berries are, check out the link.  They are magical!  Okay, moving on....

March: March 2nd was my bridal shower.  It was also the day that Mother Nature decided to have a blizzard and dump a large amount of snow on Pittsburgh...  Everyone, who was able, slip-slided their way to Grandview for an absolutely beautiful shower.  I was just as surprised as my guests because my maid of honor, Dani, and bridesmaids, Laura and Ashley, did not tell me many details.  

Can you tell that green and blue are my favorite colors??  When Tony arrived towards the end of the shower, the girls had us play a little game where we each took one of the other's shoes and raised up a shoe to answer questions, but we had to sit back to back so as not to influence each other's answers.  (I'm cheating and peeking at his answer haha!)  The questions were something like "Who is more organized?"  I would have held up my shoe, for instance.  The question being answered above was probably "Who will teach your children how to play video games?"  Tony, obviously haha!  Oh and if you're curious, he is wearing a paper plate hat of all of the bows and ribbons from our gifts!  :)

April:  The BIG month!  It was crunch time people, and boy, did I feel it!  April 12th was my Bachelorette partayyy with the best group of friends a girl could ask for!  April 16th was a half day at school before Easter break began, and my lils and their families surprised me with a bridal shower.  And when I say surprised, I mean it!  Those lil stinkers did not say one word, not one peep!  The whole time it was presented to me as an Easter party, and I was all too thankful for a little teaching reprieve so close to the wedding date that I didn't think twice about it!  They got me good!  LOVE them!  <3  April 22nd-24th was the NCEA convention in downtown Pittsburgh (school remained closed those 3 days so that teachers could attend).  April 24th was my last grad school final.  However, I had too much to do with the wedding on Saturday, so I had to previously record my part of the group presentation and send it in.  Whew!  April 25th involved decorating the reception hall (Olympia Hall in East Pittsburgh), rehearsal at the church (St. Maurice in Forest Hills), and rehearsal dinner at Grandview Golf Club.  Finally, (duh da da dummmm) Tony and I met each other at the end of the aisle on Saturday, April 26th and said "I do!"  Celebration shenanigans ensued shortly after!

Bachelorette Party!! (We took a hip hop class earlier in the day.  SO fun!)

I had THE best group of families this year!  Look at what they did for me!  That is a dress made of delish vanilla cupcakes and... did you get tricked? because I did!... the flowers are actually chocolate cupcakes!  They also made white chocolate bride/groom suckers.  The kids rotated to various wedding/spring/Easter related games and activities.  They had a blast!

I enlarged this pic so that you could read all of my lils' marriage/wedding advice.  This was also a surprise to me!  I had to take a half day one Friday at the beginning of April so that Tony and I could pick up our wedding license downtown dahntahn.  In the meantime, one of my parents subbed for me and had the kids secretly write their advice on paper, which was later transcribed on these Jenga pieces.  Too precious!  Not sure where "don't lose your ring in the cake" came from but it cracks me right up.  I displayed these in the lobby at the reception hall for all of our guests to see.  I received so many compliments about these and the behavior of my lils in church (oh yeah, we invited my whole class and their fams to the ceremony!).  I was one proud mama and told my lils about all of the compliments they received first thing Monday morning!  

One of my parents is also a photographer.  He snuck in at recess one day and snapped this adorable pic!  They put their hands in a heart shape!  It was also displayed in the reception hall lobby.  <3

The BIG day is finally here!!!
My Dad, me, Mum, and sister, Meredith  

Sneakin' peeks at the people arriving!  My lils caught me sneakin' by the way! haha

The new Mr. and Mrs. Odorisio!!  <3

Reception Shenanigans!!!

Tony and I dancing to our first dance song The One by Backstreet Boys!!!

Father/Daughter dance!!  We did a slow dance to Frank Sinatra and then surprised everyone with a lil choreographed dance to Dance Dance Dance by the Beach Boys to get the party started.  Probably one of my fav pics ever! <3

We danced the night away!  I did not want this party to end!

And what is a party without glow sticks??? A lame one, that's what!! Haha!  Glow sticks galore at the reception!  As you can see, Tone has about 6 glow sticks on in this pic, maybe more!

A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who made this beautiful day possible, from our families, to friends, to vendors.  The photos above are from our photographer Robert Cifone and DJ Eric Schiemer.  While I'm at it, our videographer was Matt Mastroianni.  (Our wedding video sneak peek is on his homepage right now if you click on his linked name!)

OKAY, moving on...

May: May was rough with a capital R; I'm not gonna lie.  Grad school was over (woohoo!).  The wedding was over.  My exhausted self was done.  The energy tank was on negative E.  But, somehow, I got through it.  Seeing those little smiling faces every day boosted me up as we finished the year.  I will miss this group terribly, and told them so pretty much every day in May haha!  

FINALLY!!! Now to take the Reading Specialist Praxis (and pass it) and I'll be legit!

June: The last day for kids was Friday, June 6th.  I was sad to see them go! wahhh!  Amazingly, it only took me 3 solid days to pack up my room.  It's just crazy how it takes me a few weeks to set it up but only days to take it all down.  *le sigh*  Anyways, the following few days consisted of buying necessary items (like shorts, dresses, tops, and bathing suits of course) and packing for our honeymoon in St. Lucia at the Sandals Grande.  We took off on June 15th and returned the following Sunday, June 22nd.  It was absolute paradise.  I definitely recommend it if you are looking for all inclusive.  For the first time in my life, I was excited to just SIT and relax.  It was a much needed break from real life, and of course, I got to spend some quality time with Tone!

Gorgeous resort!

The beach feet pic

We were there for my birthday, so we decided to splurge a little and have a private dinner on the beach!! (one of the only things you had to pay extra for)  It was so beautiful and peaceful to eat out their at dusk and then night time.  SO many stars!

July: VEGAS baby!!!  I will be back later to post about my first ever experience at ITeach1st because I feel that it deserves its own special post haha!

Okay, well thank you for making it to the end of my 8 month round up, at least I hope you made it! haha I can be long winded at times... I'm aware haha!  I'm going to finish watching the MLB All Stars game and hope that my boys Cutch and JHay help the NL save the game!!  Sorry if you're AL, but I'm partial to my Buccos!

<3  Samantha


Sunday, November 17, 2013

OOBLECK and a little Halloween Party flashback!

Oobleck, oobleck, oobleck!  That is the substance that was all over my lils' clothing and hair on Friday (we were able to at least wash it off of our hands/arms)! OOPS!  However, it should have washed off of their clothes pretty easily.  Oobleck is simply 1 part water to 2 parts cornstarch and a little food coloring for a fun twist.  Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid which means it acts like a liquid when poured, but like a solid when a force acts upon it (like when you punch your fingers in it).  Pretty neat stuff!  It complimented the end of our matter chapter in science since it takes on the properties of both a solid and liquid.

First, we watched a youtube video of two Spanish talk show hosts walking (more like running!) across a pool of oobleck!  Go here to watch the video... or watch it on here (hopefully this works!).

Their little minds were blown!  They kept asking, "What?!  How are they doing that?  What is that stuff?"

Then, I explained what was in the pool and that we were going to make it.  Of course, their next question was, "Are we going to run across it too?!"  I had to break it to them that I did not buy enough cornstarch to make a pool of oobleck... "awwwww....."

I made a batch underneath the document camera so that it projected on the SmartBoard for all to see.  Next, I made two more batches of the stuff in big plastic containers (the kind that you put shoes in and slide under the bed).  I split up the class into two groups of 11 and let them stick their hands in the ooey, gooey mixture.  Needless to say, things got a bit messy...  I forgot did not take pictures of the kids experiencing the oobleck, but here are some pictures of the ingredients I used and me playing with the original oobleck batch in case you have never seen it before.

I bought the cheapest brand of cornstarch. :)

If you look closely, you can see that the cornstarch package exploded all over the document camera and the cart... oops! 

 Hard/solid-like when I try to grab it.  I'm using all of my finger muscles(?) here.

Finally, I was able to pick up a chunk, but alas, it instantly turned into liquid...

Back into the bowl it went!

So, if you would like to make this in your classroom, it is super easy, but can get messy.  I would lay down a beach towel or old plastic shower curtain, something that you can easily clean up after all of the fun is over.  That is the lesson I learned from this little activity, so I am passing on my new knowledge to you! :)  

Now, onto our little Halloween Party flashback!  First of all, thank you so much to my homeroom mom and all of the moms and grandmother who came to help out!  I do not know what I would do without you all.  Here is a picture tour of the Halloween station games/activities that we enjoyed that day....

Halloween Bingo and Halloween erasers as bingo markers (all from the Target Dollar Spot!)

Skeleton ball toss


Halloween corn hole toss!  I believe my homeroom mom made it.

Paper towel roll ghost bowling with a plastic pumpkin!


Every game had a little treat/prize as well!  The kids had a blast!!

And not to disappoint, the two kindergarten teachers and I (in the middle) collaborated again this year...
...as The 3 Blind Mice! Thank you pinterest! :)

Well, that should do it for now!  It is off to bed for me.  After a day of making a rare appearance at the gym, laundry, figuring out how to renew my passport so I can go on our honeymoon in June, and working on my research study paper for my grad class, my brain has had enough.  I hope you all have a great week!  One more week and a few days until a lil Thanksgiving break! :)

Samantha :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Who Stole Our Candy Corn?!

Thanks to Babbling Abby, we had a Candy Corn Bandit steal our jar of candy corn today! The jar was sitting on our blue round table when we left for lunch, and when we returned from recess, it was GONE!  The bandit had taken it and left a note and a clue in its place.  Can you believe that?!

We were quite upset and shocked that someone had taken our candy.  Before going on our search, we made some predictions as to WHO we thought stole the candy and WHERE it was hidden.  Once our predictions were stated, we tiptoed down the hall toward our first destination.  You see, our first clue said to look in the place where we eat a meal.  Once we found our second clue under a cafeteria table, we were off again!  The bandit's clues led us to the gym, playground, library, and then back to our classroom, where we found the last clue and our jar of candy corn (thank goodness!).

Racing from the playground to the library!

Tiptoeing from the library back to our classroom...


The lils were really into the whole adventure.  They were curious as to WHO took their candy and were intent on finding it. I want to extend a BIG thanks to Babbling Abby for providing this awesome activity

We enjoyed our candy corn at the end of the day and still have more left!  I'm sure we will continue to enjoy it until the BIG DAY on Thursday.  Oh, the excitement is building, for sure!  Don't worry, there will be a post recapping all of the spooktacular Halloween activities! ;)

Samantha :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Quick Literacy and Math Link

Hello my poor, little, neglected blog.... :/  I wish there was more time in a day; that would solve so many of my time constraint problems.  Anywho, before it turned into a month since my last post, I wanted to pass along another idea from Mrs. Cara Carroll... :)  found HERE

So, borrowing her idea of our story characters writing math problem letters to the lils, the first letter I Curious George wrote to the class was a HUGE hit!  First of all, they were so incredibly excited to get mail, and I mean, who doesn't get excited about actual paper mail?!  I ALWAYS get super excited to get fun mail, like a card or invite.  It's the little things.  Okay, tangent, back to the main idea here.  So, I typed up a letter (using CCFonts!) from Curious George that included a problem for the students to solve.  Then, they had to write back to Curious George with their answer.  For the first two letters, I wrote what they told me to model letter writing.  For future letters, I will turn over the letter writing to the lils, now that they have an idea of how to do it.  I did not write a letter last week, and they were so disappointed about not getting mail!  Aww!  I will have to make sure to do it this week.  Thank you Mrs. Carroll for such a great idea that combines literacy and math in such a fun, engaging way!  You can really cover any skill!

I forgot to take pictures of the Curious George letter, so this is from Lucia, a character from another story in our Journeys curriculum.  You can even see that during our Writer's Workshop, some students wrote their own letters back to Lucia!  How cute!  Some asked if she could come to their homes to play! :)

Sorry I've been MIB (missing in blogging) lately.  Hopefully, I can get it together soon and blog more often.  I really do miss sharing AND reading other blogs (My blogger is at over 100 blog posts waiting for me to read! ahhhh! I'm missing out on so much!).  Okay, way past my bedtime.  Good night and until next time!

Samantha :)