July So Far and Goals Check-In

The first two weeks of July have just blown by, and our little family has been thoroughly enjoying!  We have had two guests come to meet our little guy: my SIL and best friend.  Cliff fell in love with them both, and the feeling was totally mutual.

Cliff has been thriving and developing new skills so quickly these days!  Wednesday night we started feeding him some rice cereal from a spoon, and at first he wasn’t so sure what his crazy parents were up to.  He sort of let the liquid pool around his lips and tongue, then would let it seep further into his mouth.  The next night, he started catching on halfway through that he was actually being fed, so he opened his mouth each time I brought his red spoon to his mouth.  it was adorable.



Cliff had the same emotional reaction: rice cereal in formula is blaaaaaaaand.

What little boy’s life, whose name is Clifford, would be complete without these???

Exactly!  Three months old is the age when you start wearing backpacks anyways, right???

I was asked to run a two-week, SAT Reading tutoring session, which has been a great opportunity for us, not only because of the extra income, but also it forced to met get to know the updated test.

July is already halfway over, and before I begin to think about August, I thought it would be a good idea to check in with the progress that I’ve made with my July goals.

Books/Reading/Curriculum Planning:

Goal: Review the following books & create “Lists”

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Goal Update:

I have reread both The Great Gatsby and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and have reacquainted myself with the specific motifs and themes from both novels.

I wouldn’t say that I have created specific lists, by chapter/section, that I want to have the students focus on, but I am definitely closer to having my first units completed.  Luckily, the texts and strategies are familiar to me, so I can easily outline the curriculum.

As for The Scarlet Letter, I have decided that I want to put that title on hold because I am not using it this year.  Instead, I want to spend more time organizing my first two units for English III and AP Literature.

Health and Wellness:

July Goal: Workout daily & fit into my black and khaki capri pants.

Goal Update:

There is definitely more room to breath in both pairs of these pants.  I wouldn’t call them wear-ready at this point, but I still have 15 more days.

A friend of mine asked me how I was able to get back to my pre-baby body so quickly in comparison to some other women, and I told her it was all through hard work and dedication.  I still go to the gym daily, but the harder part is monitoring my food.  I’m an “all-or-nothing” person, so I can’t nibble on things or feel successful with portion control of what I call “heavier foods.”  These include: ice cream, chocolate, fries, chips/crackers, “salads” that contain a creamy dressing that is mixed throughout the ingredients, and breads.

Instead of fighting to be the person who can indulge now and again, I figure it’s better to embrace who I am and just avoid those foods that may taste good for a moment, but make me feel bloated and deflated beanbag-esq.  So that means I have cut out most unnatural sugars and increased my water intake.  It’s not easy this time of the year, what with all the BBQs and appeals to eat ice cream on a hot summer day.


Four Fun Facts Blogging Survey

Happy Monday!

It’s a two-day work week and I am loving it!!!


To kick things off, I’m going to respond to the challenge set by Monica at Run,Eat,Repeat.

4 fun facts:

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  • Rosie
  • Ferranda
  • Ms. Ferr-Ferr
  • Amanda Rose

Four jobs I’ve had:

  • English teacher
  • Weight Loss Consultant @ Jenny Craig
  • Sylvan tutor
  • Bagger at a grocery store

Four movies you’ve watched more than once:

  • The Princess Bride
  • Love, Actually
  • Hope Floats
  • 10 Things I Hate About You

Four books I’d recommend:


  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • 1984
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Eleanor & Park

Four places I’ve lived:

  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Grand Ledge, MI
  • St. Paul Island, AK
  • Jacksonville, FL

Four Places you have visited:

  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • Alaska
  • Western Caribbean

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  • In Michigan with my family
  • A bookstore and/or library
  • A big cozy bed with a DVR full of Real Housewives of ______ episodes
  • My crafting room – I’ve got projects to work on!!

Four things I don’t eat:

  • Raw onions
  • Mayonaise
  • Oysters
  • Fried foods

Four of my favorite foods:

  • Sushi
  • Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad from Panera Bread (If they have baguettes, not dinner rolls)
  • Mochi frozen yogurt
  • fruit salad that someone else cut up – it just tastes better when someone else does it =)

Four TV shows I watch:


  • The Bravo Network – a guilty pleasure for sure!
  • Survivor
  • Christly Knows Best
  • The Walking Dead

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  • Working away on my MA in English
  • Celebrating our 5th year of marriage in June
  • The Diva’s Half Marathon – December 7th
  • Enjoying the reprioritized life that I’m creating with my friends and family (starting now!!)

Four things I can’t live without:

  • My husband, family, puppy Sophie
  • My bullet journal – it keeps me organized and on track
  • The Kindle app – books! books! books!
  • Coffeeeee!


Annual Plans

I’m a confessed curriculum nerd, so when I was asked to create an annual plan (otherwise known as a pacing guide) for my three classes this fall, I didn’t look at the request as work, but more or less like a fun, organizational activity.  The format for our annual plan was already selected by our administration, and while I understand the one-size-fits-all mindset might work in some instances, I was less than excited about working with this template.

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Excel and I have never really gotten along and I’ve always preferred to work with Microsoft Word when I had the chance.  I’ve had to watch a few Youtube videos in order to make my annual plan come to fruition, but here are a few excerpts:

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Here is a link to my completed document: Yearly Course Outline English IV

When I think about the purpose of an annual plan/pacing guide, I think about the useful nature of the document for the teacher.

1.  First and foremost, it helps streamline and prioritize the curriculum.  Most teachers will spend the vast majority of their summer vacations researching and organizing units or activities within the unit.  I moved up an entire grade level which caused me to add four completely new text titles because I will be working with the same students two years in a row.  With all of this brainstorming and new materials, I need to be able to reign in the content into an applicable manner.

2.  Identify timelines for how you will be able to cover the vast amount of content into a relatively short amount of time.

3.  Assess the new standards.  For myself and those other teachers who work in states where the new Common Core standards will be implemented, we realize that it’s now time to put up or shut up about our understanding of the requirements of the new standards.  We have been through workshops, read articles, Think-Pair-Shared with colleagues and administrators, and now it is time to put them into action.  Before you can truly understand where you’re going (Pacing Guide) you must be able to truly understand the what and how to implement the standards.

4.  Matching how much your mouth can hold versus how much your belly can.  In my ridiculous method, I am simply trying to say that the pacing guide is used to help trim the fat.  If I could have the entire school year, minus vacations, assemblies, testing, etc, I would add about another three to five novels to my curriculum.  I have utilizing four main texts: selections from The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Frankenstein, and 1984.  If I could, I would ask my students to read John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club.  I know that I can’t afford to do this, go over my time budget, so realistically the pacing guide lets me know how much room I have left on my plate.

Question: How do you utilize your annual plan/pacing guide?