Linky Party Triple Threat! {Currently, Tech + Math, and Reading Fun!}

Happy 4th of July! I hope you're enjoying the day with your friends and family! My town has its fireworks celebration on the 3rd, so all of my 4th fun happened yesterday. Today, I've spent the day cleaning up my PC in preparation to transfer everything to my Mac... oh what fun! I wanted to stop by this evening to link up with 3 of my blogging friends... here comes my linky party triple threat!

First up, it's Currently time! I'm a few days late to the party, but at least I didn't completely miss it like I did last month... oops!

Listening:  I'm obsessed with Stay by Rihanna right now.  I had never heard it until recently when my teacher friend sang it in her school's talent show!  I've been playing it on piano and dreaming that I could sing along {in key}!

If you love the song, you have to check out what they did on So You Think You Can Dance a few weeks ago! Love it.

Loving:  Soooo I bought a MacBook in September this year {If you're in the market for one, watch out for the back to school specials!}... but I haven't really gotten around to use it very much... until now!  No big surprise, but I love it!  I've been using a Dell laptop for several years and it's currently on its last leg.  Now, I'm working on cleaning up the Dell in preparation to transfer everything I still need to my Mac!  It's quite the process!  TOO.MUCH.STUFF!!!

Thinking:  As of tomorrow, I have been on summer vacation for 1 month!  Oh my.  I have no idea what I've done during the past month, but it's about time I start my Summer To Do List... umph!

Wanting:  I finally bought some new running shoes!!!  {I think I've mentioned running shoes on a million Currently's now!}  They are zero drop shoes and I feel like I'm running on a cloud.  Huge change from the clonky New Balance shoes I've been running in for the past few years.  Here they are!

{Hmm can't get the right picture to copy, but if you click on the pic, I got the pink and yellow ones because they didn't have the pink and green ones!}

I was also talked into buying some rollerblades!  I haven't rollerbladed since the 90's, so it will be quite the experience!  Here is a pair that is pretty similar to what I got {they are on sale at Dick's Sporting Goods right now if you're interested!}

Needing:  Before I can run and rollerblade, I need to get rid of my cold!  Who gets a cold in the summertime?!?  This girl.

Tips, Tricks, and Hints: My biggest piece of advice for bloggers and TPTers is BALANCE.  Sure, we'd all love to make millions.  And, we could spend 24 hours a day reading blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, InstaGram, and Facebook.  But... what matters to you most in life?  Probably not blogging.  Find a way to balance your time!  Just my 2 cents.  :)

On to Linky #2...

My friend Jessica {Tales of a Teacherista} is hosting a Summer Reading Linky Party!

Next week, I am guest blogging for my friend Kim {Funky First Grade Fun} about my favorite professional books.  So today, it's all about non-teaching related summer reading!  I love my local library because I can search the county's database of books and submit requests online.  Then, I just head to the library and pull of the books I requested from the "on hold" shelf.  It's such an easy and quick process!

I am currently in the middle of Brain On Fire, as recommended by my blogger friend Amanda {Travel, Teach, and Love}.  This book is absolutely fascinating.  Here is part of the Amazon description:

"One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory at all—showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind?  In this swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the brilliant, lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen."

You have to check this one out!

Some of my other "just for fun" favorites are listed below:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: "Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey."

You have to read this one!  The movie was good, but the book is amazing.  Plus, the text features in this book are fascinating!  I even brought it in to show my class some of the crazy text features :)  Here's an example!

Oh my!  {source}

The next one up, Room, is intense.  

Room: "To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer. Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child."

Although it's a work of fiction, it's not for the faint of heart.  Right after I read Room, I read A Stolen Life: A Memoir, which was written by Jaycee Dugard.  She is an inspiration.

A Stolen Life: "In the summer of June of 1991, I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother that loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen. For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation. On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim, I simply survived an intolerable situation. A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it."

Wow, apparently, I enjoy really intense books!!  I hope you link up with Jessica so I can find some new gems to keep me busy this summer!  

Last, but not least, on to Linky #3!!

My friends Kristin {I Teach 1:1} and Amanda {Learning to the Core} are hosting a Tune Into Technology Linky.  This week, the Linky is all about integrating technology into math.

This year, I was fortunate to be able to house a laptop cart in my classroom.  After students were done with their daily work, they got out the laptops for some math practice!  Before students could play math related games, students were required to practice their fact fluency with the website, XtraMath.  

I have been using XtraMath in my classroom for three years and it is a phenomenal FREE resource.  Unfortunately, I can't grab any screenshots right now because my account is already set up for next year.  Students can work on all 4 operations in XtraMath (you can control which operations they work on in each student's settings).  

First, students take a placement test on an operation.  Then, XtraMath charts their score on a fact table and displays which facts are automatic, correct but not fluent, and incorrect.  Each time students log on, XtraMath checks their progress and creates a game called Race the Teacher based on what facts students need to work on.  Students can log on for free both at school and at home.  

Students are able to check their progress via the fact chart and teachers/parents can see even more information about their progress.  From the teacher account, I can see a line graph displaying each students' progress, as well as what facts students are struggling with.  I can even see what answers students type in, which I can then screenshot and show parents when there may be a slight effort problem! :)  

For 2nd grade, my goal was to have all students master their addition and subtraction facts on XtraMath.  About half of my class made it to multiplication and division!  I even had one student complete the whole program, so I was able to further customize his program by changing the speed required to answer the questions!  Each time a student passes an operation, XtraMath alerts the teacher with an email and you can then print out a certificate to send home!

I love XtraMath because it has a simple interface, is add free, and is very practical-- no gimmicks or distractions!  Check it out and don't forget to link up!

***I will be back soon with details about my 500 Follower Giveaway!!!!  Over 40 bloggers have donated prizes, so stop by to enter {and win!}***


  1. Thanks for linking up with me! 'Room' has been on my to-read list for quite some time. Maybe it's time to make it happen. :)

  2. I am adding Brain on Fire to my wish list. Have you read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? I just finished it and thought it was a really good read.
    Stories by Storie

  3. We use Xtra Math too! I couldn't agree more that it is simple and fabulous. It really helps kids with their fact fluency. I can't believe how many of your kiddos got to multiplication and division! I need to think of some kind of class goal/reward to really push some more of my kiddos through their addition and onto subtraction!!

    Thanks so much for linking up! :)

    Learning to the Core

    1. My class was VERY split in their abilities this year! Although half of them made it to multiplication, the other half didn't make it to subtraction! Thanks for hosting the linky!

  4. I used Xtra math when I taught first and I still use it in fourth. It's such a great site and I really can see big results from it. You should go get those rollerblades, girl! I might have to stop in Dick's because the ones I use are from the 90s, haha! But my hubby and I like to rollerblade still- it's a great workout and I'll do it when I'm not in the mood to run. Thanks for linking up with us.:)

    iTeach 1:1

  5. I used to LOVE rollerblading! You have some deep books on your list! I didn't realize Jaycee Dugard wrote a book-that sounds like an interesting one.


  6. I'm right with you when it comes to the July to-do list... where does June go? Sorry about your cold - summer colds are the worst!

    Have a happy and productive July!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Denise! I'm finally starting to feel better :) Enjoy July!

  7. I have officially been on summer vacay for a month too.. and also am wondering what have I done in the past month??? haha. This is the first summer I think I've gotten such a late start. Better late than never right? I love xtra math! Found that a few years ago and have my whole team using it. Didn't use it much this year, so hopefully next year I'll be a little more on top of it!

    Reaching for the TOP!

  8. I hope you are feeling better soon! :) I found you through the Teacher Treasury Blogs. I am your newest follower. Feel free to stop by my blog :)


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