Upper Elementary/Middle School Morning Check In Activities

 

Am I the only teacher that has a hard time getting started in the morning? This year, I decided that my students really needed a morning check-in.  Perhaps it was to help us stay consistent each morning, or maybe it was just something to help me feel better about those awkward first 15 minutes of the day where I forget to turn in role, the morning announcements interrupt my instructions, I am trying to track down my freshly made copies, and not dribble my coffee down my chin. 

In Auguest I started with a list of 7 different options for them to choose from. Here is a sample current options are: 

What is the weather like today? Who is our ______________ (fill in the blank with people around school like “janitor”.) Skip count by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s. Identify a noun. And so on. They each choose one of the check-in options that they would like to do. Once they complete it, I write the option they chose by thier name on a chart. That way they do not repeat the same task each day. 

Since August, I have been adding a little bit to our morning routine at a time. In Decemebr began making a morning worksheet for each of my students. It includes 3 questions for them to answer for each day of the week. They keep the same sheet all week, and I can easily differentiate it for each student’s needs and likes.

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For quarter 3 coming up, I am going to add a grammar activity for our morning meeting–Sentence a Week.

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Each week I will put a new sentence on the chart and each day we will answer the question provided. I predict that this repetitiveness will be extremely helpful for my students as they grow in knowledge of parts of speech and sentence structures.

Just to make it simple for me, I have gone ahead and made 32 weeks worth of sentences prepped. I also went ahead and labeled each sentence card with the quarter and week. It only requires 5 sheets of paper, and minimal prep–which is always a win!

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I have added it to my TPT account so you can enjoy this product all year long as well!

 

Thanks for being here!

That Teacher Wife

Age Appropriate Math Activities for Middle Schoolers Working Below Grade Level

When preparing to be a special education teacher, I collected anything and everything that I thought my future students could benefit from. During that treasure hunt I collected many books, toys, and learning materials. Many of my items are currently stored in boxes and unusable for my current setting. Just because a student is performing on a lower elementary level academically, does not mean that they want to be treated as if they were half their age. Sometimes students do indeed act younger than their actual age, but that has not been the case for the majority of the students in my classroom so far. 

It may shock the public to know that the majority of the students in the self-contained classroom are aware that they are in a different class than their peers. They are aware that they are not doing the same work as their grade level peers. I have had to have some difficult conversations with students to explain why we are working on academic success in my small numbered class of multi-grade levels instead of in the classroom with the rest of the students their age. The students they eat lunch with, the students they sit with at pep rallies, the students they run laps with during PE…I crave for my students to be included as much as they possibly can, but I am also intune with their academic needs and what it takes for each of them to be as independent as possible as an adult. 

I have scoward for activities that look age appropriate, but still on their academic level. Unfortunately there just isn’t a plethora of those materials available. Many of the materials are very complex and confusing. Recently I been creating my own simple activities and tasks. I have enjoyed having my students give input into what they want their center activities to look like. They love the independence that the materials provide them. There is no cute little characters, no “baby” things… just clean, simple, math activities that address their math standards and meet their academic level needs. 

One of the activities that all (Yes, ALL) my students have used to learn measurements are the velcro booklets. They include seven different problems dealing with a specific area of measurement. All the answer choices are provided in the booklet as moveable velcro pieces–like an answer bank.

My students have confidence knowing that the correct answer is there and available for them. They are still being challenged by calculating each measurement.

Links to Measurement Booklets and Task Cards.:

Finding the Area of a Square Velcro Book

Finding the Perimeter of a Square Velcro Book 

Finding the Perimeter of a Rectangle Velcro Book 

Finding Area of Rectangles Task Cards

Another activity that my students loved is the Finding Area and Perimeter Mats. This product comes with four different mats labeled A-D and an answer sheet for each station. I laminated my copies and used them as station rotations.

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An easy to use format and color coded answer sheet makes for an I-Can-Do-It-Myself feel.

I made this product color coded due to the processing challenges of some students in classes like mine. My students are able to follow along with the task easily. I also use simple tables in my class activities often. The students know they have to fill in each empty box. This serves like a checkbox for them.

At the bottom of the answer sheet, I ask three simple questions about the data collected. Being able to read a collection of data is also a skill that middle school students should develop. I love to use lamination to make my activities reusable and these dry-erase mats are simply perfect for station rotations or math centers. I use a simple Scotch laminator. 

I have liked creating these products, but I have loved seeing my students work towards mastery of these activities because of these products! They are simple, easy to manipulate, minimum prep, and they are age appropriate! Plus, you can download them right here!

Thanks for following along!

Addie Williams

 

Email me at addie@thateacherwife.com with any questions about my products!

Less than $1,000 beach challenge

As most teachers are (or probably should be), we are on a tight budget. Though we are working Dave Ramsey’s babysteps to become debt free (from college loans), we know that taking a vacation is good for our relationship. Being a teacher and coach is time-consuming enough. Add Grad School to the mix. We know we deserve a gettaway!

Annnnd, we don’t want to blow the budget. After saving some money and working extra jobs, we have come up with enough money that we believe could get us an incredible, relaxing gettaway.

Destination: Inlet Beach, FL.

Here is the budget we set for ourselves for the 4 night vacay:

Stay: $653.46

Gas: $100

Food: $150

Entertainment: $45

Now, looking at these estimations, we know our food budget is lower than your typical vacation. But, we wanted to be able to go on vacation without feeling the guilt of having loans to pay off ASAP. We have budgeted $70 for two out to eat meals, $10 for dessert,  and the rest ($70) for groceries/meals on the road.

We plan to pack PBJ sandwiches for the trip down and meat and cheese for day-time meals. (Do you realize how much money it cost to go through a place like Chick-fil-a for two? Multiple times a week? Like $20-40)

We expect to save on entertainment, because the location we booked has complimentary bikes, kayaks, and a pool! How much more entertainment could you need?

Follow me on @thatteacherwife on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with how we do on our <1,000 challenge!

Gotta go buy sunscreen,

That Teacher Wife

 

 

Make Money without Spending Money

Hi! Just a teacher wife over here!

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Throughout two of the 2.5 years of marriage, I have

been the sole income. My husband is rocking it in Occupational Therapy school, and so we have had to find creative ways to make extra cash to make money. Some ways we have chosen to make money, cost a little money. But I have found multiple ways to m

ake cash without spending much time or any money.

  1. Selling clothes
    1. Poshmark. Posh is an online platform that allows you to take and post pictures on an app in order to sell them. Poshmark does take a small percentage out of your sale, but the company calculates and the buyer covers the shipping. It is incredibly easy. You can even transfer the money you make directly to your bank account after the buyer approves the item. I suggest finding about 20 items you already own that you would be willing to post and sell. Once you make about 20 dollars, re-invest that into good brands you find at thrift stores.
    2. Facebook Group. Facebook allows you to create your own closed groups. These are private, so you can add people you know to them without having to deal with all of the general public. On this page, you can post pictures of your items, the price for the customer, plus your shipping charge. The down-side to facebook, is there is no guarentee that the buyer will pay timely. Plus you have to hold yourself accountable to ship on time. You also have to calculate your own shipping cost, and hope you don’t underprice yourself. A facebook group does allow you to create your own rules and you make 100% of sales.
    3. Platos Closet. Find a box. Fill it up with items that are less than 5 years old. Once it is full, take it to your nearest Platos closet. They have an online system that will “price out” the items you bring in. You won’t make as much on your items than you would on Poshmark or Facebook, but you get cash on the spot! It is also quick. Drop your items off, go grab lunch or shop around, and then see what your payout is! They love brands like: American Eagle, Old Navy, Target, Free People, etc. Workout clothes sell really well. Mens clothes as well. They also love Patagonia, North Face, Free People, Madewell, LuluLemon, etc. but you will not get as much for these items at Platos as you would selling on Poshmark or Facebook.
    4. Thred-Up– This is a great “last resort” for those clothing items you have tried to sell at all the above places. It’s really simple. you just order a shipping bag. It’s free. Once your bag comes in you fill it up with clothes. It needs to be womens, stain-free and hole free clohtes. They will not be able to purchase if the size tag is removed. Once your bag is full, you seal it up and take it to the post office. The shipping is paid for by Thred-Up (which is crazy to me!!). They then will take several weeks to go through the items and then they’ll send you credit for the website or a visa card ( aka cash!). I love this method of getting cash for clothing, because I do not have to feel that “rejection” from buyers when they don’t want my item. UPDATE: After recently checking ThredUp, it looks like they are accepting items as consignment only. This means you will not get an immeadiate payout, but it could take up to 60-90 days after your items have been processed. The great thing is, once you ship your items, you do not have to do any work.
  2. Selling computer-made products.
    1. Esty– You can create invitations that the consumer can download for a small cost. After you create one, you could sell that item over and over. This is a little “off” of the whole spending money thing with this one. You do have a 20 cent fee per post per month on Etsy. That’s nothing to even blink about, though.
    2. Teachers Pay Teachers-You do not have to be a teacher to create items for this website. You can create pdfs, fonts, etc. that could be used in a classroom and make money over and over again. For example, you could create a google slide presentation that included a cute layout of the Tennessee State Standards for 5th grade science. Give credit to all the graphics or fonts you used, and then post it for $1. It may have taken you one hour to create, but once you post it, you could make money on it for years. The higher quality items you create, the more you make.
  3. Teaching on VIP kid-I have never actually done this, but I have many friends who do. You have to spend just a small amount of money to set up your teaching area. That should be no more than $20.00 I think. You could earn $12-$22 per hour on VIP Kid teaching young students English as their second language. I also know you can recieve bonuses based on referrals and professsionalism. Now, unlike most of my other examples, you have to do this at a certain time of the day and you have to log hours. But, this is also a inexpensive way to earn money, and it is very flexible. Before you sign up for this, be sure you contact me or someone you know that could earn credit for refferring you!

I hope this list helps you make a little cash and jump starts your side hustle!

Here’s to paying off debt, building that savings account, and paying cash for cars!

Happy Thursday,

That Teacher Wife

Teachers “Without a Life” Trying to Teach About Life

A friend and I met up to eat Mexican food the other day, because who doesn’t like stuffing fried tortilla chips topped with cheese dip in their mouth? She also is a teacher. She is on year seven of her teaching career, and I am on year two. She said something to me that has sat with me all night. She said, “I have decided that I am not taking work home with me anymore”. She was referring to actual work. Papers to grade, lessons to plan, etc. We will always take stress from work home with us. It’s so hard to keep  7 hours of your day and additional hours of your energy and thoughts out of your home.

After 6 or so weeks of being in school, the new has worn off and the grind starts to happen.You know how your brakes will do that little squeal for a bit and then when it starts grinding you realize you let yourself go to long without a check-up?

That’s my analogy for teachers. You’ve got to give yourself a check-up on reality and a check up on your values every so often.

As a responsible teacher, I give my students breaks often. When was the last time I gave myself a break?

You value family? How much time are you spending with them?

You value adventure? Where are you traveling?

You value Christ? How are you growing in Him?

You get my point, right.

Unfortunately teaching goes from being a “job” on paper to being a life in action. Before you even realize it, you spend 12 hours at the school building, and 2 more getting lessons planned when you return home.

If you’re not actually doing something for school, you are thinking about school. And if you’re not thinking about school, you thinking about how you should be thinking about it.

So over this bowl of cheese dip, my fellow teacher friend and I, as hard as we try to get our mind off of school, tried to talk about families and life.

She talked about her new goal to get her planning done while at school. Doesn’t get done at school? It will still be there tomorrow.

Why? Why do we say this? You cannot teach your students about life if you don’t have one. You can’t teach them about family if you don’t see your own. You can’t explain living a balanced lifestyle if yours is all out of whack. You can show them how to let adventures take you places if you spend all your time at school.

Maybe this relationship with work is something ingrained in us, but my personal opinion is that it we have such high exceptions of ourselves from ourselves. Yes, there is A LOT that they ask of teachers. Mu belief is that our long-term tie to our classroom and our students is because they become our children and our lessons become our masterpieces.

If an artist never went outside, how could they paint landscapes? If a musician had never been in love, how are they going to passionately sing about it? If a writer had never been a mom, how could they write “how to” books about parenting? You get my flow? If a teacher does not have a life of their own where they are involved in their community, supportive of their family, active in their friendships, and indulging in hobbies , how are they supposed to teach their students about anything other than “being a teacher.”

No wonder there are a lot bitter, burnt out, tired, or empty feeling teachers.

A possible solution is to prioritize our lives to rearrange our job as a teacher to be a little lower on the totem pole. That way characteristics from our higher priorities above teaching can filter into our lessons and our discussions with our kids.

This looks like setting rules for yourself and your preparation for school. Bringing your work home every night SHOULD NOT happen. Staying multiple weekends at the school in a school year is not helpful. I know this, because I have done it.

We need experienced teachers, not burnt out teachers. We need helpful teachers, not exhausted ones. We need life-breathing teachers, not life sucking.

This was a tough blog to write, because I stepped all over my toes. If you remember ANYTHING, I hoped it’s this:

Being a great teacher is not determined by the number of hours you put into a lesson. It’s not about the elaborate bulletin boards or the fancy technology. Being a great teacher is determined by how you engage the students, how you love the students, and how you encourage learning and a good life for them.

Yes, some lessons require some planning time outside of the classroom. But, when teaching becomes our life, we’ve done a disservice to our students in a strong way.

Go get a mani/pedi and soak in your tub. Go for a jog, take a nap, blow dry your hair. Grab a Sonic drink, take a walk with your hubby, and even take a second to breath. Sit on your couch with you favorite Netflix show and let you feet stay propped up for at least 45 minutes.

For people like me, its harder to take it slow and to do less. It literally pains me at times to sit. But, oh, do I and my family, and my students, and my community need it.

That Teacher Wife.

 

 

Picture credits. hannah-olinger-549282-unsplash

Good thing kids aren’t listening to adults

How frustrating is it when children don’t listen to you? I tend to change my voice to one a little more irritated and frustrated when this happens in my classroom. You know you do it too.

Honestly though, it’s probably a good thing our children “don’t listen”.

If they paid attention they would probably learn a few too many things about their world’s adults.

They would probably learn that you should complain a lot. Something doesn’t go your way? Go ahead and complain.

If children really listened they would most likely decide they, too, were not good enough.

If children really paid attention to adults, they would learn that dreaming is for naive  people. Dreams won’t really come true.

Good thing children aren’t ever paying attention. If they were they would learn that it’s never their fault. There is always someone around they can blame. 

If children really listened, they would learn that pitching a fit is something you do when you don’t get your way.

They would learn that commitments are just something you pretend you’ll keep, money is pretty much everything, and that their are plenty of unhealthy outlets you can indulge in when you are tired, sad, or confused..usually because, remember, money is everything. 

If they were actually listening they would learn that ________________________. You fill in the blank.

Fortunately children are actually listening. Unfortunately, adults aren’t always a good example to eavesdrop on.

We want our students and children to be patient. Yet, are we?

We want our children to be content? Are we content?

We want them to share? Who do we share with?

We want children to learn? How are we growing?

We want them to believe in themselves? Are we goal setting?

We want them to be passionate? Do we talk about our passions?

We want them to be confident in who they are? But, are we?

We want our children to be kind and gentle? How softly do we speak? When do we encourage?

We want our children to communicate appropriately? Do we speak with class and dignity?

We want our children to be bold? What do I stand for?

We want our children to love others, make friends, apologize, wait their turn, chew with their mouth closed, say “yes ma’am” and “No ma’am”, and speak only when needed.

Children are learning from the only models they have access to…and that is US. Are we living up to the expectations you set for even children?

That Teacher Wife

Learning Fractions with Skittles

We were mid-lesson and I was about to pull out a worksheet that I had pre-made for my students. (You can purchase that worksheet and supplemental task cards here). But I made a teacher-thought-out (split second) decision to just use one more hands-on activity before we moved to paper pencil. Previously we had used a whole group lesson, several videos, and a hands on folding paper activity in order to address fractions. IMG_3776

Searching around the room, I grabbed some white paper and made a chart for my students to organize on. I pulled down the 1lb bag of skittles from my desk, and prepped my students for the activity.

Using my silliest voices, I announced the directions to my students. From hick-country to rapper I explained how we would proceed with this activity in order to gain a better understanding of fractions. We would not be able to eat our skittles until I gave them the “go-ahead”. (Kicking myself for not getting a cool video of me doing this..their reactions were quite hysterical.)

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These were made right before the lesson due to my realization my students needed more support before moving to more independent work. 

I distributed the quickly made charts, and then handed each child a handful of skittles (while continuing to use my silliest voices). ALL of my students were able to refrain from eating their skittles until I gave them the green light. (insert praise hand emoji.)

 

The instructions were:

  1. Find total number of skittles
  2. Document total of each number
  3. Using a dry erase marker, create a fraction to show each color.

We will follow this activity up using this activity and task card set.

My students absolutely loved the activity. It was teacher data friendly, since I just walked around and noted whether or not the child understood where the part and whole went when forming a fraction.

Have you ever made a lesson mid-day, because you see that your students just aren’t ready to move on to what is planned?

Until next time,

That Teacher Wife, Addie

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You can tell from this picture that some of my students didn’t quite get the concept of gathering information to use in the form of a fraction just yet.

How Two Thrive On A Teacher Income

IMG_3488Warning: We do not have car payments or health insurance costs to pay, just yet. I do not “look down upon” anyone who does not do what we do. Money management is a difficult task that many young adults have not been adequately prepared for.

“Teacher Broke” is a phrase we throw around in our educator community. It’s like we feel the need to humble ourselves around one-another…or maybe that’s really what we think we are..broke. 

Many fresh-outta-college “kids” (young adults) will have their first couple pay checks spent before they even get a job. You think I am kidding? I also know people who will literally check their bank account before they go out to eat..see that they have a couple of bucks.. and proceed to get a coffee with me.  I have friends who keep a list of things they want to buy when they get their next pay check. I personally have hives starting up my neck just thinking about it. 

Before we get started on my tips for providing for two on a single teacher income, I want to tell you some lies you might not know about.

Lie #1: You should get a new car.

YOU SHOULD NOT BUY A NEW CAR. Please tell me you know how much value they lose as soon as you drive off the lot. You know that right? Thankfully my parents were able and willing to buy my first car back in 2011 when I turned 16. It was 5 years old at the time and had fairly low milage. I have driven the same car for 7 years. Do I dream of having a SUV with a sunroof? Absolutely. Do I think about it…look up cars…run the numbers daily? No. Because I know that my car gets me where I need to go and that is a payment I do not have to have yet.

Lie #2: You should get a house.

Renting is not ideal. You are spending money you will never see again. But, if you do not have enough money to purchase a house, you do not have to buy it.

Lie #3: You deserve new clothes.

When you first graduate and hopefully land a job, something in your head says “you need a new wardrobe”. Though that might be accurate, you do not have to buy your clothes new.  There are so many websites that have amazing products for less. The key to a versatile and well-worth-it wardrobe, is to have pieces that you can wear year-round and are not going to be “out-of-style” in the next few months. Pieces that are timeless are going to be worth the most to you. Websites like ThredUp and Poshmark have products that are NWT or used that you can purchase. Plus, both of those websites allow you to sell clothes from your own closet.

Lie #4: You need a pet. 

You do not need a pet. You may want a pet. You may benefit from a pet. Puppies are adorable, but if think about how much time they need before you go out and rescue one.  Many people do not realize how much pets cost. Cats are less maintenance than dogs, but nevertheless cost money.

Lie #5 Eating out is cheaper.

Depending on the type of “eating out” you are doing, you are most likely spending $6-$12 on a plate that will last you one meal. I struggle with this concept, and we eat out a lot due to time and effort. I, too, lie to myself and say that it is cheaper for us. If you go to a sit down restaurant you are also paying to tip your server. Heaven forbid you order water.


Now that we got the lies out of the way, this is how we currently function and semi-thrive on our teacher income.

Tip #1: I buy all most my clothes at thrift stores, yard sales, or online reseller pages. 

Most of the clothes you see in stores these days are not close to worth their price-tag. I hate to say that, because I have several friends who own boutiques and small businesses that sell clothes. I will say, before we were married and before I had bills, I would purchase my clothes from my friends who own boutiques. Since this is a blog about how to thrive on a small income for two, I will tell you that you probably should not be spending $25-$45 on a new top or dress. I have a Lazy-Susan type closet currently. Not the actual structure, but the content is on a wheel. I will purchase an article of clothing used. I wear it a few times, and then I will resell it. This keeps my closet ever-changing as well as my money growing (or at least not being buried into my temporarily trendy clothing).

Tip #2: We shop at Aldi for groceries.

This is about to change for us due to us moving closer to my school, but we typically shop as needed. We currently live so close to the store, that I will buy the meat and sides we need weekly in order to prep food without having to freeze it. That is just what works for us right now. My point is that if you have an Aldi grocery store and are not shopping there, you are ignoring a big opportunity to save money on your food items.

Tip #3: Buy the double packs. 

When we do go to Walmart, it is typically for toiletries. This doesn’t happen often because we buy the double packs of items like deodorant, soap, body wash, toothpaste, etc. This saves a little bit of money for us initially. Also, remember that the less times you go to the store, the less money you are more likely to spend. 

Tip #4 We use internet to watch television. 

We are not paying for cable, so therefore we are able to save money as well as time. We do use Netflix at our house. We download the app on our devices so that we can watch as we work (dishes, folding laundry, etc.

Tip #5 Make your own caffeine.

Coffee grounds are so inexpensive compared to buying it from a fast-food restaurant…much less Starbucks. There are so many ways you can do this, but at our house we like to brew it at night, put it in the fridge, and pour it over ice the next morning with our french vanilla creamer from Aldi.


Those are just a few of the ways we have decided to save money for our family of two on a teacher salary. Though our salary is not much compared to many degree holding workers, it works for us to be able to have more than we currently need. 

There are so many other ways for us to save money that we do not do yet. Please share with me what you do to save money for your family. 

Saving money is challenging, but not impossible. There is a mindset change that has to take place in order to go from “just barely making it” to thriving. We definitely don’t have it all figured out, but I try to challenge my mindset about money each day. Recently I have been filling my time with business podcasts as well as personal development podcasts. Listening to a variety of podcasts has helped me help fix my mind on long term goals as well as short term financial goals. 

Thanks for reading,

That Teacher Wife 

My First Student Was Myself (Special Education Teacher’s Story)

I have always day-dreamed of having a teacher blog and sharing ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers, so when a friend of mine messaged me and told me I should start blogging my ideas, I jumped on it. So…here we are! I am starting out with a Freebie for 9/11 activities and a little info about me, Addie. Click that link. Download the FREEBIE. See if you like my details in the accommodations, and expect that same support with all your future purchases.

41033391_10212778923243386_3575711697286987776_n (1)I am Addie. I am a 23-year-old entrepreneur-wanna-be exceptional education (Jefferson County’s inclusive way of saying special education) teacher wife. I am married to my college sweetheart, Tyler. He pushes me to be a better me, daily. He encouraged me to pursue my dream of special education all throughout school while even sharing memories with me at a summer camp for children and adults with special needs. I attended my 5th summer this past year, and I have dreams of going back every year.

I have always been a teacher. Since early elementary, I brought home every book I had at school in order to re-teach myself everything my teachers “taught” that day. I said “taught” because though they were exceptional teachers, 18 years ago education was different. I struggled. I could not process what my teachers said while lecturing. I am that student that has to write the information down, condense the information, and then illustrate the information. Back then, lecturing was huge.  Centers only happened in Kindergarten.

Sitting still in a seat quiet as a mouse was expected and demanded. Having piles of homework each night was typical. Chapter tests in each subject “directly from the book” happened every Friday. I had great  teachers, but I had difficulty learning in the early 2000’s manner. I am a “study all week and get a C” kinda gal.

I vividly remember sobbing each night in elementary and middle school over homework. I knew then I would not ever require homework from my future students. After trying so hard all day to do my best, pay close attention not to miss the homework page numbers being given, and hoping no one realized how weird I was, I was exhausted. I had very little time between the 3 o’clock bell and the 9:00 pm bedtime that was not filled with homework and studying. I honestly did not enjoy learning. I struggled to comprehend anything I read (more than a paragraph) until the summer between 6th and 7th grade when I went to a reading camp. “How embarrassing?!” I thought. At that camp I was taught strategies to help me process what I had read..a paragraph at a time. I learned that I had to take intense notes on what I read in order to be able to make any understanding of it. I continue to do that today. In college I would take intense notes, share them with my friends that slept in, and they would still do better than me on the test. After college I tutored elementary students. We played games, read silly poems, and learned how to enjoy even homework. I love 1-1 teaching.

For meetings now, I  have learned that I can first listen to what someone is saying to me by looking at them and I can go back and re-read the handouts. Or I can listen and take intense notes on everything they say.

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So here I am 5 years after high-school graduation, teaching students. My very own students. I teach them reading, math, social studies, science, life-skills, and so much more. It is my dream job.

When I approach my students today, I have a part of me that wants structure and silence, since I was raised with the “sit down and stay quiet” early education, and then I have a “duh” moment  and want my kids to just learn something in some form. So if you follow my blog, you’ll notice we paint a lot. We answer test questions orally standing in the hallway. We do data collection swinging on a swing, jumping on a trampoline, or laying on a rug. We learn, though.

IMG_3777We have fun. We dance everyday. We reward ourselves for the hard work we put in and then we jump right back into work. We use computers, task cards, dry-erase and magnet boards, games, flashcards, books, music, videos, crafts, projects, posters, and even cook.

We like to dig in and sit on a topic for several days instead of hopping from one thing to another. We move slow some days, but we grow and we build upon each concept. We back track somedays and fast track the others. We get discouraged and we get back up. We try out a lot of methods and discuss openly what works. We build relationships and we learn how to keep them. We act silly and sometimes we even dab (every time someone sneezes). We tell jokes and make each other laugh. We love so stinkin’ hard and care so, so much. We are one month in, and we enjoyed every little quirk and hiccup encountered along the way.

I’d love for you to follow my journey to changing the way we see school and learning. I am still learning to like learning.  I stopped actually enjoying reading around 2nd grade when I could no longer keep up with my grade level. I just started reading again. I believe helping others fall in love with growing intellectually has helped me in my desire to grow in that way, too.

Love,

That teacher wife, Addie

 

7 Questions Answered by Couples Striving for a Godly Marriage

There have been many interpretations of God’s plan for marriage come to light since the beginning of time. Since the New Covenant was established, it was made so clear in scripture that God’s intentions for marriage is for one woman and one man for life. Marriage is between two humans, and so unfortunately some spouses are abusive and some are unfaithful. Marriages do end and that not only hurts people but also God. When most couples say their vows, their intentions are to stay together for a lifetime.

Some people enter the marriage covenant abruptly without properly preparing themselves. Others enter the lifelong commitment without knowing themselves or their now spouse enough. And then there are couples who make the commitment based on the lust they have for their mate, not the love.

Thankfully many couples come in with all the right premarital counseling, the right intentions to have a God centered marriage, and fully knowing their spouse…but with even all of this, many do not follow through. Getting married is the simple part. Planning a wedding is nothing compared to being intentional daily to be what you need to be as a wife or husband. Staying married is the challenging part. Constantly choosing one another, being completely selfless in order to support each other while still taking care of your own personal needs, and  balancing work and play are just a few of the qualities one must have to be a Godly spouse for a lifetime.

I have personally noticed a trend of couples not staying committed to the commitment. Many couples are even choosing to not fully commit to marriage while enjoying the benefits that God purposed for marriage.

I want to place focus on those couples who have already made the commitment to be married for life…a life they will live together for Christ. I want to focus on sharing their advice on what they are currently doing to keep their marriage fun, focused, and fruitful.

To the spouse feels like you are the only one trying, you are not alone.

To the spouse that feels like you are not enough, you are not alone.

To the spouse that feels like you have messed up too much, you are not alone.

To the spouse that feels like you are too far apart, you are not alone.

To the spouse who lives in fear that this is what it will always be like, you are not alone.

AddieZAlana0346eYou are not alone, because others feel the same way. You are not alone because God hears your cries. You can have hope, because others have overcome it. You are not alone, because Christ died to bring you salvation. God is The Healer of more than just diseases. God can fix a broken marriage and mend a hurting heart.

I have used my Instagram platform to address 7 questions (so far) that I feel could benefit other married couples committed to a God centered marriage. Receiving these responses have been so beneficial to me thus far by encouraging me to be more intentional in choosing my husband, Tyler, each day.

Day 1 Question: What do you do to make your marriage more God centered?

  • We pray together every night. We always specifically pray for our relationship.
  • We try to read our Bibles at the same time every night to bring us intentionally together in God; I tell my husband I am praying for him and ask if I can pray for anything specific; say every day reasons why we are thankful for our marriage and each other!  
  • Openly communicating with each other about what they say/do when it may come across wrong. Helping each other think through whether or not it is a godly decision/one that represents Christ and His attitude. It will hurt your pride when your spouse speaks up over something you said/did, but we’ve told each other they have permission to say what needs to be said-because at the end of the day we are representing Christ and we want it to be an accurate representation, as much as possible. 
  • We pray together every morning. It may be on the phone, it may be in person, but we always pray together in the mornings at some point. 

Day 2 Question: What is your favorite “little thing” that your spouse does?

  • He ALWAYS hugs me as soon as he comes home from work, no matter how crummy his day was.
  • My husband works 12 hour days. He rubs my feet and back every night. I don’t deserve him.
  • I love it when my husband lets me sleep in on Saturday mornings and gets our daughter dresses and fed! It seems so small, but it’s greatly appreciated. Also, his “I love you” texts he sends while he is at work always puts a smile on my face. 
  • He always makes sure I get my coffee in the morning. It might be because he knows I can’t have a conversation without it, but it helps get my day started.
  • He cleans the house for me when I work weekends. Seems insignificant, but when you work 12 hour shifts it’s amazing to come home to a clean house. 
  • He washes dishes!! I have a really weak stomach, so I can’t handle cold leftover food or old food that’s been sitting on plates. So he washes all the dishes no matter how long they’ve been there.
  • My husband will make the bed, because he knows how much I love getting into a “fresh” bed.
  • He never leaves the house without kissing me.
  • My husband tells me I look beautiful every single day. I might be in pajamas with spit up stains, unwashed hair, and morning breath, but he is going to tell me I look beautiful….even when I don’t. And the thing is, he makes me believe it!! Even though I know I can’t possibly be attractive at that moment!! Mommin’ takes a lot of self-care time away.
  • My husband always washes the dishes! He knows how much I hate it and so he does it almost every single time! 🙂
  • He makes our bed in the mornings. 

Day 3 Question: What did you do to prepare for marriage as a couple?

  • We went to premarital counseling. It was so helpful to go through all of the topics together with someone we trusted. It makes all the difference!
  • As soon as we got engaged, we immediately opened up a joint bank account and deposited about 75% of each paycheck into the account. So, when we got married, we had a nice savings built up. This was amazing because we were living of a very, very small amount of money from his preaching job when we got married. Fun fact: we did not touch any of the money we had saved up pre-marriage until this past November when my car died and we had to get a new one!
  • We went to pre-engagement counseling instead of premarital! It focused on the exact same things, but without the pressure of an engagement and wedding dates looming over our heads. We wanted to take every problem head-on with time. honesty, acknowledgement, and prayer. We also saved money until it hurt wayyyy before we got married. We wanted to have a solid savings account to lessen the financial strains from the beginning. That savings enabled us to move without a financial burden and built on our nest egg. We went without for a long time, but it was so worth it. 
  • We just stayed true to our values we were raised on. But knew God was in the forefront no matter what.
  • Premarital counseling. It’s an absolute must. And not just a preacher. Use a licensed counselor (who might also be a preacher). Personal opinion, but it helped to be evaluated as a couple psychologically.
  • We talked about realistic expectations….like house cleaning, for example: I don’t mind folding clothes, but I hate putting them away. He doesn’t mind doing that.

Day 4 Question: What’s your process to make big life decisions as a Godly couple?

  • We pray about the decision separately and then together! Usually, we’ll have a coffee date or go on a long walk and talk about our thoughts, our prayers, and how the decision can be made. We encourage each other to trust God will lead us in the decisions we make!
  • Pro/Con white paper. We write it down and weigh out the pros and cons on whatever the choices are. 
  • We discuss it, write it down (pros/cons), pray over it, and give ourselves a set time we come back and talk about it again.

Day 5 Question: What do you do to continue to intentionally and fiercely date your spouse?

  • We act like it’s our first date each date we take.
  • This one is hard since the baby got here. We try to pick out a movie on Netflix to save for later in the week, to anticipate. We normally get ice cream and sit and watch something together. Really its just planing and anticipating something. Doesn’t matter what. 
  • Now that our twins are here, we are still working on this! Usually we wait until both babies are down for the night, and we eat ice cream and watch Andy Griffith. Good for the marriage….not our weight!
  • We Netflix and chill!! We also try to go on an adventure a few times a month!
  • Well since we just got married, we are still in that phase where everything seems like a date. But I love nights when he just asks me to watch a movie with him and we just cuddle up on the couch. 

Day 6 Question: If you could give advice to a couple about to enter the marriage relationship, what would you say?

  • Date! Keep dating always, no matter what it takes!
  • Read good books together. We read out loud when we are traveling so we can discuss them.
  • Enjoy everything you go through in the present time. Soak it all in. Because one day you’ll look back and say “remember when….those were great times” Also—-keep God first in all you do!
  • Learning to be selfless is hard-SO hard- but necessary for marriage to work. It’s a learned habit that you still have to choose each day!
  • It will BY FAR be the hardest things you have ever done. If you are blessed to have kids, for most people, that love comes naturally. No matter how many times our kids hurt, disappoint, or offend us when they are young, we always just love them no matter what. With a spouse, it’s different. It’s a choice you make everyday. There will be days you like them and days you might look in the mirror and thing, “What have we done? Do we even have anything in common anymore?” There will be HIGH highs and LOW lows. What a lot of people don’t tell you is that when you stick through the lows, the highs become much sweeter. Some seasons will be much easier, fun, and new. Some seasons will feel stale.  IT IS NORMAL, but that doesn’t mean you just accept it and don’t do anything about it. You continuously fight to be the best you can be together. Marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. Sometimes you have to pick up the slack for your partner, and that’s okay. But I really believe that to make it work the best, God wants 100% of the best you can do from both the husband and wife. Also as weird as it might sound, I don’t believe God created marriage for us. Do we get perks from it, pleasure from it? Yes. Husbands get a help-meat, wives get a protector, both spouses get strength and a place to share a physical desire. But the ultimate purpose of marriage was to further God’s kingdom. So if your ultimate plan for marrying someone is for them to make you happy….ACK (insert buzzer sound). Happiness can’t come from another human, that void can only be filled by God and it’s something most people work their entire lives to figure out. So understand that you’ll have happiness (and sadness), but the purpose of your marriage isn’t about you or him, its about HIM. 
  • The small things are the killers. You discuss and agree on a lot of big things, but you didn’t realize he leaves his towel in the floor, puts toilet paper on backwards, and likes sleeping on the same side of the bed you do. Communicate about all these little things. Those are the things that become big fights over time. 
  • BE KIND! Kindness matters in friendships, work relationships, etc. and it is SO important in a marriage. Kindness fills each other’s love tank instead of depleting it. A lot of things can be solved if each person is kind in speech, attitude, and actions! 
  • (The small things) Some of our biggest arguments when we first got married were over him always leaving his clothes on the floor beside our hamper and the fact that I always sleep in the middle of the bed no matter how big it is!
  • COMMUNICATE!!!!! Being open with each other makes things so much easier! And never go to bed angry. Even if you have to stay up later than you want, talk it out. A lot can happen during the 8 (or probably 5-6) hours you are asleep.
  • Never forget you are on the same team.  If a problem comes up, frame it in a way that you’re both working toward a solution together instead of being against each other. 
  • Be slow to anger and quick to forgive. The longer you let something frag on the harder it is to forgive and let it go. Communication is a huge thing. If something makes you upset, then tell them. Don’t pout around hoping they’ll just know what they did because men will never just know.
  • Remember to have fun!!! Go and do and play! You work so hard to start your life and build up your bank account but having fun with your spouse will mean so much more than whatever number is in your account. And once kids come (speaking from experience) it’s hard to go, do, and play! Enjoy each other and have a blast!
  • That everyday you are not gonna like each other, even though you love each other!!! In the bad moments, remember they are human too and you are in this together!!! Some days you will not remember why you married them, and other days you will see every good thing in them. You are in this TOGETHER!!!
  • Don’t give up!!

Day 7 Question: How do you serve your spouse and your family like Christ served the church?

  • I had to really think about this one. I believe this has to do start with being selfless. Now, I am NOT selfless all the time. I am human. I am an emotional woman. I am definitely not always selfless; however, I should be. I am constantly working on that and praying to be more selfless–not just in my marriage, but also in my other relationships. I am not saying to let anyone run over you, but when you put God first, other people automatically become second. It isn’t about me and what I want. It is about pleasing God and bringing Him glory by putting others above myself. That’s why he died for us. He put God first and us second. When each spouse is working to be selfless, their marriage thrives. Again, we are human and don’t get this right all the time, but I truly believe all the other godly things in marriage grow from selflessness. That’s where is starts.
  • We seek to keep each other pure! Purity is often synonymous with sexual purity, in Christian minds, but it reaches far beyond that in marriage. From movies to books to speaking or people in your work environment, we strive to keep filling our lives and minds with purity. 
  • I try to love them and try to remember that it is an honor to serve them, not a duty or a drudgery. I try to do for them the things no one else wants to do. But, at the same time teach them in a way they can understand because I know I won’t always be here for them physically and in person. 

WOW! Isn’t it a blessing to learn from other couples who are fighting against the devil each day to sustain a marriage that resembles the way Christ loved the church? How awesome would it be to hear what works for other married couples more often? Sometimes the truth hurts and it steps on our toes. I feel like we find it easier to air our dirty laundry instead of encourage others with our personal war story! (Our war against the devil.) We chose to complain about what our mate doesn’t do rather than praise what they are already doing. We focus too much on the let downs, and not enough on the pick me ups.

My goal is try to implement at least one of these ideas/actions that I have learned from my survey each day as I try to be a more Christ-like bride to my sweet Tyler.

A huge”thank you” to all who shared how you and your spouse are nurturing your marriage in a way God is proud of. I would love to collect more insight for each of these questions from other couples who are pursuing a Godly marriage.

Click here to participate.

Sincerely,

A Wife (in progress)

 

Jud Davis Photography

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