Step away from your Google Reader…

Step away from your Google Reader…

and come visit my blog to see my new look! During my first week of blogging, I was so fortunate to win a free custom blog design from Lindsey at Sour Apple Studio. She did an amazing job and was very gracious as she dealt with my perfectionism! What do you think? I am still putting on a few finishing touches, but I couldn’t wait to share. Please visit Sour Apple Studio if you are looking for a new design!

Since The Teacher Wife only had 180 bloggers link up to her Must Have Picture Books party, I thought I’d link up and turn the party into 181!

{FYI: Click on each book image to be taken to Amazon}

1) There is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems. Most definitely one of my favorite authors. This book {and all of his others} will have your students rolling on the floor with laughter. Whenever I read the first Elephant and Piggie book of the year, I always end up having a spontaneously long read aloud session as I read every other book in the Elephant and Piggie series!!

2) Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight? by Jerry Pallotta. My absolute favorite seasonal series {there is a “who will…” for many holidays}. This past year, my students loved this book so much that they wanted me to read it three times in a row. For the third read aloud, we went next door to another second grade class so they could join in the fun! I had the chance to hear Jerry Pallotta read some of his books aloud one time… he’s fantastic.

3) What Color is Your Underwear? by Sam Lloyd. Are you picking up on my favorite genre yet? I LOVE funny books. In fact, I had to expand the “silly stories” category in my classroom library to fill two big baskets! This is a lift-the-flaps book that reveals, none other than, each animal’s underwear!!! The text is very simple, so it could easily be a K-1 book. You will love it.

4) The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy. On a more serious note, this is a fantastic book to introduce your students to the impact of secrets and rumors. In the story, the secret is depicted as a balloon. As the secret spreads, the balloon gets bigger. I have used this book both in my classroom and in counseling sessions. It always makes a great impact.

5) The Red Book by Barbara Lehman. I LOVE wordless picture books. I use The Red Book when I introduce the concept of metacognition. I always project wordless picture books with my document camera onto my SmartBoard. That way, students can see a huge image, which really drives their discussion.

Wow, it sure was hard to only choose five books! Library Thing {the site I use to organize my classroom library… more on that later} tells me that I have 1,655 books in my classroom library… not bad for a somewhat new teacher! I’m addicted. Please link up with The Teacher Wife so I can find more books. You can be #182. :)

Next up on my linky party to-do list is the fabulous Amy Lemons’ Tell Me More Party! I have loved reading everyone’s responses so far. I love teaching posts, but what I enjoy even more is reading about the behind-the-scenes of each teacher! Please link up if you have not already done so!

Here are some random facts about me:

1) In case you’ve never noticed, I love lists. Most of my blog posts are written in lists. I make to-do lists for my to-do lists. I love lists.

2) I come from a teacher-oriented family. My mom is a retired special education teacher and my sister currently teaches sixth grade art. My dad is a psychologist {who is retiring next week!}, so that is where I get my counseling background from. Here is a picture of my family at my sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner {isn’t it strange that we are all pretty much the same height?!} I am in the pink dress.

3) I love odd numbers. Even numbers give me the heebie jeebies. My iPhone alarms are proof:

4) One of my favorite foods is sushi!! Although, I never order anything fancy… I almost always order cucumber and avocado! Om nom nom. Speaking of avocados, I love those too! I cute them in have, sprinkle them with pepper, splash on some lemon juice, and scoop them out with a spoon. YUM.

{Special thanks to my friend who shot this really lovely sushi action shot…}

5) Unlike 99% of teacher bloggers, I am single. If your husband has a friend, brother, or cousin, please feel free to send him my way. My celebrity dream crush is Gyllenhaal… sigh! In college, Jake came to my university with a bunch of celebrities to campaign for the 2004 election. I got to meet him. And take my picture with him. But… I am still jealous to this day that he is putting his arms around my roommates, and not me.

{Please ignore my jet black rock star hair… it was a phase…}

6) I have been told by at least 17 strangers that I look and act like Amy Poehler. I don’t really see it… I can’t get past the blonde hair. What do you think? Perhaps someone should arrange a meet-up so I can meet her in person and see for myself!

7) I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Ohio. During my internship, I was very fortunate to be able to work with a large variety of populations. I did play therapy with children {my favorite, of course!}, individual counseling with young adults and adults, marital counseling {fascinating!!!}, and I even wrote and implemented an art therapy group with teenagers who were at-risk for sex trafficking. I just love listening to people’s life stories. I am still not sure what role counseling will play in my career in the future… time will tell!

8) I am fascinated by education around the world. I have taught in El Salvador and Ghana. I would love to travel around the world to experience education in a million different places! Here I am with some of the kids in Ghana!

9) I am blessed to teach with a fantastic team of second grade teachers! Here is a picture of us on our annual field trip to a local science museum. {This is also a test to see if they read my blog because they will probably kill me for posting this picture!} Hi girls!

10) I am a Steelers fan. I also love Golden Doodles. This picture is the best:

11) The most important random fact about me is that I am a Christian. The symbol plastered all over my blog is called Nyame Dua. It is an Adinkra symbol from West Africa {I discovered it while I was in Ghana}. The symbol stands for God's presence and protection, which is very important in my life!

PS: If you want to read more about how I got started blogging, the lovely Dana at Fun in 1st Grade featured me this week! Click the image below to read more!


  1. I LOVE your new design!!! It is so pretty! Mmm I am crazy about sushi too!! My hubby and I get it once a week at least! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Kate . . . your new site is absolutely fabulous. Lindsey so nailed this for you!!! Great post today too! I loved reading more about ya :)

    Kelley Dolling
    Teacher Idea Factory

  3. Kate, I love your new blog design!! I set my iPhone alarms to particular numbers too (the ones digit must be a 2, 4, or 7)!! I'm glad I'm not alone in this habit. :)

    Love Goldendoodles too!! I have a picture of one on my Pinterest "Wish List" board.

    The School Potato

    1. Glad I'm not alone with the number issue! You have to get a goldendoodle... I may be biased, but I'm pretty sure they are the best dogs ever.

  4. Thanks for linking up! I love the new blog look!! :)

  5. Kate, your blog loks great! By the way, love your blog title :)

    primary practice

  6. I am so excited! Your new blog design is awesome! I specifically logged on just now to look for blogs I love because I want a new design for mine. It might just be meant to be:) Thanks for sharing!
    Bright Concepts 4 Teachers

    1. Thanks Jaime! You should definitely check out Sour Apple Studies. Lindsey is very easy to work with and her designs are wonderful!

  7. Your new design looks so good! Nice choice!

    Mrs. Cobb's Kinder Sprouts

    Come see my poster giveaway!

  8. I love lists too! With school about to start back, I have so many lists going on. It definitely keeps me organized.

    Elizabeth L.
    The First Grade Jungle Room

  9. Enjoyed reading about you! I love sushi! :)

  10. I absolutely LOVEEEEEE your new layout!!! It's beautiful, Kate! Loved learning more about you bloggy friend :)

    Miss V's Busy Bees
    I'm having a 2-0-0 follower giveaway - come on by!

  11. Very cute new layout, and I loved reading your Tell Me More (oh, and There is a Bird on your Head is one of my favorites, too!).

    The Dalton Gang

  12. Love the look. It was great getting to know you better. I am so amazed at your work in other countries. :) What a great experience you have had. I would to have the experience someday :)

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

    1. Thanks Heidi! I hope you get the opportunity to teach abroad someday!


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