Monday, February 27, 2017

Step Into My Week

I am really loving that Step Into My Week posts go live on Monday! There is something about being able to write about the week after a weekend that gives it a much more positive spin! Plus, it is fun to share photos with y’all from events soon after they happen. I hope y’all are feeling the same way about this adjustment as well!

Having Monday off made this week a bit more relaxing which I loved! Unfortunately when I spend time relaxing that is when my body tends to get sick so on Tuesday I woke up with a bit of a cold. Fortunately with the help of some sleep and medicine I felt much better by Wednesday! 

left: top (from LOFT outlet, similar) // pants // flats (the most comfortable shoes for teaching) 
right: top (mine is J.Crew Factory, similar here) // fluted skirt // flats (more affordable version here)

tassel cardigan (mine is LOFT outlet, similar here) // striped shirt // pants // slip ons

On Friday of this week we had our big fundraising color run. It was so much fun and at one point I think I had more color on me than the kids. I got to throw it at them as they ran laps to raise money for the school. About half of our class went home right after so the afternoon was slightly more laid back.

Aside from doing lesson plans and perfecting my resume this weekend KD had a function! It was themed Space Jam so some people went galaxy-esque, basketball, and Looney Tunes. I took my roommate Sophia who is also a KD but is inactive this semester and we had a blast! We are both a bit embarrassed with how sore we are from all of the dancing this morning. 


I hope y'all had a great weekend and are looking forward to a good week ahead! 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How I Organized My Student Teaching Lesson Plan Binder

I've mentioned this before but I definitely do not want Prep In Your Step to become a teaching blog. This blog has always served as a creative outlet for me and with teaching on the horizon it is my hope that it remains that way. With that said, a number of y'all have been asking for some posts that incorporate a bit of my experience or ideas when it comes to teaching which I think is fair. If I've learned anything from the education department at my school or student teaching so far it is that as a student teacher there is just no way to do it alone. Planning can be overwhelming and each day is so different that you never fully feel prepared. Since that is the case I figured that if I could help ease someone else's experience in any way then I definitely would like to.

Furman sets the standards for us very high so if you are student teaching then you may not be required to have the same sort of things for your supervisor when they visit. I thought it would be fun to share a look at my lesson planning binder with y'all since the organizational aspect of this was something that my friends and I struggled with. I have finally found a method that works for me and am aware that my method is very different than some other people's. It is all about finding what works for you that also works for your program and your cooperating teacher so don't be too worried if it changes around over time (mine already has a little bit).

I am a very visual person so when I started out and organized my lesson plans by week it completely threw me off. I felt like I was always searching for something and didn't feel all that prepared even though everything was right there for me. I eventually decided that organizing my lesson plans by days would be helpful. Furman makes us re-write our teachers' plans into their specific template so each of my lesson plans is typically between two and three pages. I place them behind one of the dividers (labeled A-Z but I have 2 sets) in order of when I teach them. So for us, math is first thing in the morning so that is the first plan I see followed by science, social studies, writing, and reading. The dividers I have at the back (labeled 1-12) have the teachers plans for the week. The teachers at my school all pretty much fit their weeks plans onto one sheet of paper so that is nice to reference when I am just trying to review for the day. 

At the beginning of my binder I made a calendar that outlines when I am teaching various subjects. This is helpful for both myself and my supervisor since we are encouraged to ease into our experience. I also have a course assignment due date chart that I made as well as other resources from readings I've done that I would like to implement into my own classroom some day. Another helpful sheet that I made was a brief run down of my students' learning styles and any medical issues they may have. This is great to reference when I am planning lessons to ensure that I am reaching all students learning modems! 

After I have taught a lesson I like to put a post-it note directly on it of what went well, what didn't, or anything I'd change for the next time I teach it. I also include information about timing or changes I'd make to specific resources that go along with it. I know this will be helpful to look back at in the future so it is worth taking a minute or two at the end of the day to do. 

After each subjects' lesson plan I like to include any resources we are using. I print out powerpoint to have on hand, student note sheets, observational notes I've taken, and even answer keys just so they are all in one place. This is really nice when I am reading over my plans and making sure that everything is ready for the week ahead since I am so visual when it comes to things. 

So there you have it, a quick but seemingly thorough glance at how I have my binder organized thus far. If there are any teachers out there reading this who have any tips at all please do not hesitate to share. Collaboration is crucial to teaching and I have definitely felt overwhelmed by everything at times so I would love to hear your insight!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Step Into My Week

Happy Monday! It certainly is a happy Monday for me because I got to sleep in (aka past 5:20 so waking up at 8:30 definitely felt that way). The school I student teach at is off for Presidents' Day so I get to hang out at Furman today which is actually really nice since Furman classes are still occurring today. 

I know Step Into My Week posts typically happen on Fridays but somehow Thursday nights become a bit too busy for me to make sure that they go up then. I think from here on out I'll be doing Step Into My Week posts on Mondays so that I can ensure that I have a post go live on Fridays and include my weekend while it is still relevant in my SIMW posts. Hope y'all are ok with this switcharoo! 

Last weekend I had my meet up at Swoozies in Greenville which was really fun and I talked about it here. The rest of that weekend was pretty laid back with homework to be done and a lot of hanging around.

pajamas // mug 

This week was definitely an interesting one. With Valentine's Day on Tuesday the kids acted as though every day was Friday which became its own challenge. I went to dinner with friends on Tuesday night, to a barre3 party on Wednesday night, and actually was able to enjoy my weekend so I am hoping that I am finally getting the hang of this whole student teaching and college student balance (although I know that isn't entirely the case). Below are the outfits I wore this week to teach in and I can't tell you how ready I am to bring all of my spring-y clothes back to campus to make things more colorful again!

left: striped shirt // flare skirt // loafers (similar)
right: pants // boots // blouse

left: sweater // necklace // pants // booties
right: dress // boots

sweater (similar) // pants // shoes // necklace

Hope y'all are ready for a little story time because I definitely have one from Friday. As I was headed to school around 6:30 on Friday morning I had the pleasure of experiencing my car stalling. I've never had any major car issues before aside from a flat tire on the way home for Easter one year and this was quite the eye opener. I somehow managed to hit my hazard lights as fast as possible to avoid having cars run into me as the light I was stopped at changed. When no cars were coming I was able to put my car in neutral and back it off to a side street. I tried turning my car off and back on and it started to shake and various lights came up on the dashboard. Fortunately I was right across from a gas station so I walked across the highway got some gas and attempted that although I didn't need gas. When that didn't work and the car still shook I knew I was kind of SOL. I called a friend that happens to student teach at the same school and she offered to drive me but first I had to figure out what to do with my car since it was very much so in the way. I tried calling some guy friends to see if they could attempt to jump my car so I could park it in the gas station parking lot and quickly discovered that most of them do not answer their phone so early in the morning and didn't actually know how to jump a car. NOT HELPFUL. If there are any guys reading this if you're ever in this situation I would highly recommend that you still offer to come and help or send a friend that could help. Eventually the girl at the same school that I student teach at came and a nice guy who happened to graduate 4 years ago from Furman stopped to help since we clearly looked pretty clueless (also it was freezing out so that wasn't ideal either). He attempted to jump my car and when that didn't work I had to call AAA to have my car towed. We were an hour late to school (fortunately our teachers and supervisor were more than understanding) and I was frazzled all day long because of my hectic morning. My car was fixed by the afternoon which was really nice but it was quite the way to end the week. 

Friday night I went to a date function with Nell that was themed "you are what you Netflix." We went as Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper which everyone thought was funny and made a pretty easy costume. Saturday morning Nell and I took a bunch of blog photos and went to breakfast at Tandem (a great crepe place in Travelers Rest) before I headed to Charlotte to visit my big. I got to Charlotte around 4:00 and Caroline (my big) and I spent time catching up before heading to dinner at Seul Gastrolounge, a delicious tapas place. After dinner we went to a friend of hers house before heading Uptown for the night. We went to a couple of different bars and it was interesting to see the difference between Charlotte nightlife and Greenville's. We finally got back pretty late and went right to bed as we were pretty exhausted. The next morning we walked to Sunflour Cafe which was delicious and walked the Light Rail for a while before I packed up and headed back to Furman. When I got back I did a little bit of work, Nell and I went for a walk, and then made a delicious dinner before chapter (recipe here). 

I am spending my morning cleaning and preparing for the week ahead and am excited to spend some time in the library this afternoon to embrace actually being on campus prior to two meetings tomorrow. I know waking up tomorrow bright and early again won't be quite as relaxing but I'm hoping that a slower day today will help me prepare for another week of teaching. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Casual Chic Bow Back Sweater and H&M Grand Opening Event

This post is sponsored by H&M and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Prep In Your Step possible!

When I find a new piece of clothing that I love, I have to do everything in my power not to wear it every day. This white sweater was precisely one of those pieces when it came in the mail last week. I may have worn it four times in one week but the style is so versatile that I could easily change up the way I styled it to create a completely different looking outfit.

I found this sweater at H&M and was immediately drawn to click on it due to its unique silhouette and soft looking texture. The last thing I needed was another white sweater but when I saw the oversized keyhole back tied together with a bow I was sold. While it looks just as good with brown riding boots as black over the knee boots for a more sophisticated look, I keep finding myself tossing it on with tennis shoes on more casual days and that may just be my favorite way to wear this sweater. Throw on a pair of jeans and grab a neutral bag and this outfit looks like I put more time to style it than I did.




sweater (c/o) // jeans // shoes // bag // necklace

If you’ve been following along for a while you may remember my summer obsession with H&M (here, here, here, here) that has followed me into the fall (here) and now well into winter. I find myself scrolling through their new arrivals at least once a week and there are always a number of items in my online cart just waiting to make their way to my closet!

As much as I love shopping online sometimes it is hard to know what size to order. Recently near my hometown an H&M opened up but now I don’t even have to wait to head home to be able to try items on in person since H&M is opening a store at Westgate Mall in Spartanburg, South Carolina! The store will be hosting a Grand Opening on February 23rd (a week from today!) at noon and you won’t want to miss it if you’re nearby! Some lucky shoppers in line at the opening will receive an exclusive Fashion Pass, which may be valued up to $300. This Fashion Pass is a scratch off valid on opening day valued anywhere between $10 and $300 and the first 100 shoppers in line before the grand opening at noon will receive one. If you’ve never shopped at H&M before you may not know that $10 can buy you a brand new piece of clothing or an accessory since the store has great deals year long but especially at Grand Openings! Some of the opening offers start at $5 and continue all week long. In an effort to give back, if you bring in a bag of unwanted clothing (gotta make room for the new pieces you’re sure to find) before the grand opening you can enter to win a gift card valued at $250!

I am hoping to make my way to the store soon since I’ve found so many great pieces at H&M this past year (including ones appropriate for student teaching). If your town doesn’t have an H&M you can still find loads of their cute pieces at great prices online to shop in the comfort of your pajamas! I’d love to know if you have any favorite items from H&M that I should check out!

Some of my other H&M favorites include:


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Novels With Nell - Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter

I am pretty ecstatic about today's post because it's a new series right here on Prep In Your Step! Every other week there will be a new book review written by one of my favorite people! Nell is constantly giving me recommendations of books to read and while I wish I had the time to take her suggestions (at this point it is becoming peer pressure) I figured that maybe y'all would be able to take her suggestions! Nell and I have been friends since right before freshman year of college when we were roommates and are rounding out our Furman experience as roommates again this year! She also does a lot of the behind the scenes work for Prep In Your Step with me such as taking photos, accompanying me on events, and serving as an editor of sorts! With all of that I am so excited to have her create posts for y'all on occasion since I trust her judgement and know y'all will love to hear what she has to say!

So without further adieu, here is Nell's inaugural post:

I was so excited when Dorothy asked me to start doing this book recommendation series with y’all! Why did she ask me, you may wonder? Probably because I love to read and often say to her, “you should read X,” whereas she answers, “I don’t have time to read.” (Boo. Though you can see she’s starting to make time so… Yay). I’m not an English major or have any sort of formal book expertise aside from experience. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to read- Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, (clearly I love a good series), Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Charlotte’s Web, all that good stuff. You name it, I probably read it. Caddie Woodlawn, anyone? (I could probably do a whole series just talking about children’s books I loved).

My mom took me to the library at least once a week growing up, where I could pick out the same number of books as the age I was at the time. It was a big time to go from 3 to 4 years old and be able to pick out just one more book at each trip. When I got into chapter books that kind of fell by the wayside but my love of reading stayed strong. Dorothy thinks it’s funny that I still go to the public library at home. I’m one of a small crowd of younger patrons who fall between the moms bringing their school-age children and the retirees. I don’t want to buy a book I know I’ll only read once, and bookshelf space at home is finite. The two bookshelves in my room go floor to ceiling and are already full to the brim. The library lets you read a book for free; what’s not to love? *stepping off my “support your local library soapbox* Anywho, let’s just jump right into it!

This first book is one I’ve been trying to get Dorothy to read for a while now, so I’m hoping one of y’all will read it and validate my recommendation. I found this book in a local bookstore in a small town in Alabama back in high school. It’s a story about Memphis born and bred Southern belle, Leelee Satterfield. When her handsome and charming husband, Baker, shares his dream to move the family (2 daughters and a dog) up to Vermont to run an inn, Leelee is definitely not thrilled with the idea of leaving her beloved Memphis, but agrees to the move in order to be supportive of her (even more) beloved husband. As one can imagine, Leelee is like a fish-out-of-water. The crowd is Vermont is not of the “ladies who lunch,” sweet-tea-drinking, debutante society variety from back home that she’s used to. She’s disappointed by the unfashionable choices when it comes to snow boots and misses the southern warmth and hospitality she was so used to.

Through a series of unexpected events, Leelee has to shed the Daddy’s girl persona she’s had her whole life, pull herself up by her bootstraps, and find her own strength, doing it all the while with Southern grace and charm. This read is funny, light, and leaves you with a good feeling by the end. Definitely a happy read! It also has two sequels, making it a trilogy, I suppose: Yankee Doodle Dixie and Southern as a Second Language, so you can see where Leelee goes next. It’s a charming and fun series that I loved! My mom and aunt took my recommendation on all three books and loved them too. As this series goes on, you’ll see that Southern fiction is one of my go-to genres, and if that’s you, then this would be a great fit. If you’ve read these books, let me know what you thought, or I’d love to hear y’all’s recommendations below!

Me (Dorothy) again! I've been trying to think of a fun name for this series so if you think of something cute or punny I want to know so definitely leave it below!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Prep at Swoozies Event Photos

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ve mentioned this before but I am really excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year since I will get to do so with my fourth grade class! Exchanging cards, celebrating with a party, and sending the kids home with way too much sugar in their systems seems festive enough to me.

I started the Valentine’s Day celebrations this past weekend with an event at Swoozies in Greenville. We had planned cookie decorating and card picking out and while with the late notice of the timing I didn’t get to meet a ton of readers, it was still a blast! Nell went along with me and we spent the afternoon perfecting our cookie decorating skills and trying to convince ourselves we didn’t need to buy everything in the store (because believe me, we could have).


The team at Swoozies was so sweet and we enjoyed entertaining some of the cute kiddos who walked in and were immediately drawn to the cookie table while their parents shopped. I’ve included a number of pictures from the event but completely forgot to get pictures in it at the event. I figured if we were celebrating Valentine’s Day I should look the part so I threw on a pair of red corduroys, a white peplum hem top with bows on the sleeves, and dark grey lace up flats.


If you need me today I’ll be trying to restrain myself from eating all of the candy and hoping that the kids don’t forget to bring me Valentine’s Day cards too!

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