Tuesday, July 28, 2015

*Updated!* INSTRUCTIONS: Beliefs to Actions Blog Hop

Hi there!!

First off, I'd like to say WOW. I have had a huge outpouring of support about this blog hop. It says a lot about our profession that so many educators are so passionate about what they do that they will dedicate the time and effort to reflect on their beliefs and write about it. I'm proud to be a part of this. :) 

Secondly, if you are unable to participate in this blog hop, please email me ASAP! I will need to make adjustments so there is not a dead end in our loop. Thank you for your help with this! :) 

Now, let's get to business. Here is what you need to know for the blog hop:

The main purpose of your post is to list your education beliefs. You may do so however you please.. writing them down, using a template I created (https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BxSwYMKRMkIifkxIb2wtbDM0Y2szdkdLQndxbm1oOTFJME1DNGNPWjVLZldkRTJ6ZndaVXM&usp=sharing), or creating your own!! You may add to the post as you see fit, possibly discussing how you came upon these beliefs, how these beliefs will drive the upcoming school year, how your beliefs align with your teammates/school/district, etc. Completely and totally up to you! 

At the bottom of your blog post, you MUST link up to the person after you on the spreadsheet (see instructions and spreadsheet below).  I encourage you to make the 'link up' portion stand out by adding color, highlighting or SOMETHING to encourage your reader to continue through the hop and discover all you amazing educators!

Insert the attached image somewhere on your blog to have continuity across the blog hop. Use this image on social media to spread the word, too!!  

See my blog for an example of how it should look if you have any questions. :)  http://withlovefromtexasblog.blogspot.com/2015/07/i-challenge-you-turn-your-beliefs-into.html 

Click this link to see a spreadsheet listing all the contributors to the hop. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PtqPEyVaKNeDsqU2YFFal3R3OFGUhwmHH_bUNRszajQ/edit?usp=sharing 
*Please email me if there are issues with this file to let me know!

The spreadsheet is numbered, and it will indicate to you who you will link up to at the end of your post. The person with the number before you will link up to you, and the person with the number after yours will be who YOU link up to at the bottom of your post. 

Also, remember you are commenting on the person before you and the two people after you once the blogs are published! That is THREE comments total. Share some love. :) 

**VERY IMPORTANT**: Your blog post must be published by this Friday, 7/31! Post your three comments (on the post before yours, as well as the two after yours) by Sunday, 8/2!

Thank you so much for being such a wonderful group to work with! I am having a blast organizing this, and I hope it is a great experience for you, as well. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  

Thank you:)


Lizzie Clarke, a contributor for the hop, had a great suggestion. She thought it would be best if on the link-up, we included the exact link to the blog post instead of the blog site itself. This way, the post will not get lost in the shuffle (especially if you are a frequent blogger)! 

This is completely optional. If you do not blog often and know you won't have another post for a little while, it is fine that you leave your blog site link in place. However, if you think you may be blogging soon after you post the Beliefs to Actions post, you may want to do this!! 

If you are on BLOGGER:
See the attached PDF for instructions on how to access the permalink to your post. You can edit the spreadsheet with the permalink even if you are not done with the post itself!

If you are on WORDPRESS: 

Here is the link to the spreadsheet again (now editable!) so that you may change your link if you choose to do so. :) 

I ask that EVERYONE double check on Friday to make sure they linked up to the correct link for the person following you. If you were a go-getter and wrote your post early, you may need to go back and edit it if the person after you chose to change his/her link! 

​Thank you so much for your cooperation with this!! I'm sorry for the extra work it caused. :p

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BLOG HOP CHALLENGE: Turning Beliefs into Actions

Eeek! Forgive me if I sound like a giddy, overly excited teacher, but that's what I am right now! I recently posted a blog about my experience of writing down my beliefs to turn them into a compass for my actions (see the blog post here). My sweet friend and fabulous educator Monica MeGown from Mrs. MeGown's Second Grade Safari encouraged me to spread the message by encouraging others to partake in the challenge via a Blog Hop.

Emotions I typically feel nearing the beginning of the year: excitement, stress, happiness, stress, giddiness, and... stress. Is anyone with me? There is just SO MUCH to be done! What better way to start off the year by reminding yourself of your purpose?? If you are able to answer the WHY behind organizing your classroom library (again), triple checking that your borders are straight, and designing the first week of school activities, it takes away the stress and replaces it with JOY. Because those books are for eager eyes and opened hearts ready to take on adventures, those borders are stapled down to showcase proud student work, and the first week activities establish a safe, fun, and loving environment for the year. 

So, friends, I pose a challenge to you. What are your education beliefs? What do you feel strongly about? What spins around in your head as you lie in bed at night? Take your time, don't be afraid to use your eraser, and open your mind to the WHY of what you do.


1. Help spread the word by sharing the social media button (located on FB and above)

Signing up is now closed. Anyone who signs up past this point will unfortunately not be able to participate, as I need to organize the hop. Thank you to those 40+ educators who have done so!! 

2. BY SUNDAY 7/26: Fill out this Google Form to let me know that you are participating in the Blog Hop
**I will send out an email by Wednesday 7/29 detailing the Blog hop (who will link to you & who you will link to). I will also send out a graphic to advertise the Blog Hop so others who aren't participating can read.**

3. Advertise the event by posting the social media button that I will send out on Wednesday! This will generate interest and excite others about what we are doing.

4. BY FRIDAY 7/31: Consider and jot down your education beliefs. Once done, write a blog post about your beliefs. Possible channels your post could take: How did this activity help you as an educator? How will this shape your upcoming year? Why do you think your beliefs are what they are- what shaped them? Did you learn anything about yourself while doing this? You could create a graphic detailing your beliefs, borrow one of my templates, or simply write a post! Whatever works best. Be sure at the end of your post that you link to the next educator in the loop! Click HERE to see my templates. Feel free to save PNG, upload it to ppt and edit it to make it your own.

5. SHOW SOME LOVE BY SUNDAY 8/2: At the risk of sounding too much like a teacher... feedback is a great tool, right?! Leave a comment on the educator's post before you, as well as the two educators after you. This will be 3 comments total, and it will also generate a lot of views for your own blog!! Comments create smiles. :)

OFFICIAL HASHTAGS: #imaBELIEVER #actions2beliefs

I am SO excited to see what drives everyone!! Different ideas and opinions bring such insight. I am honored to be hosting this Blog Hop. Thank y'all for being such a support. :)

Please, please email me at whitneyalexanderson@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

With Love from Texas,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I Challenge You: Turn Your Beliefs into ACTIONS

Hi there! I hope my fellow Texan friends are staying cool in this weather. If you are escaping the heat.. well then.. I'm jealous. :) This past Sunday, I attended a church service. The preacher's message was on that really stuck with me. He asked if we know what we believe in. And if so, do we really live by those beliefs? Sure, it seems simple enough. Without analyzing, you could easily say yes! But if you take the time to really truly look inside and evaluate yourself.. do you really? 
It got me thinking... I have my beliefs about religion, family, and life in general. But I have never written them down. After doing that, I was on a roll. Because education is another integral part of my life. I could apply this to my profession, as well!

After days of erasing, crumpling paper, and jotting down notes, I *think* I have my education beliefs covered. There are so many things I could say, but everything boils down to these 8 statements for me.
The experience was one that really helped me grow as an educator. I gave myself time to really reflect and decide what was most important to me. Writing it down just solidified my thoughts. 

What about you? Do you have your beliefs? Most importantly, are they written down? Because now that I did, I have a reference. Anytime there is a sticky situation, or I am feeling frustrated, or I am unsure of how to handle a situation, I will come back and read my 8 statements. These give me purpose, and they drive my action. 

The Purpose Driven Life is a popular book with a widespread audience. I challenge you to take the message, but funnel it to our profession. Teach with a purpose. Use your statements to drive, encourage and help you through the fulfilling, emotional, gratifying, overwhelming, happy profession we call teaching. 

I encourage you to write your own beliefs. Please share a link to your Blog, or the beliefs themselves, in the comments below. Let us teach purposefully!

Continue on with the Beliefs to Actions blog hop by visiting my friend Racheal Burden (also known as 180 Days to Happy) by clicking here!! 

With Love from Texas,

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Biggest Summer Revelation- COMMUNITY

Hi there, friends!

Well, we are into the dog days of summer. Mine has been selfishly filled with books upon books, my goal of living a healthier lifestyle involving Camp Gladiator (check it out here-- awesome outdoor group workout!), and MOVING.. not far just half an hour away! :) 

What has it not been filled with? Well.... I hate to admit it, but not a whole lot regarding school. Sure, I've attended two AMAZING workshops via my district- one involving instructional technology and one involving teaching nonfiction literature. I've also participated in a book chat about the book A Whole New Mind (an incredibly interesting read regarding education and the workforce in this new world geared towards right brained thinkers). However, I haven't engaged in what I feel is the most IMPORTANT type of learning... self guided. 

Well, friends, I am back on the horse. Summer is a fabulous time for relaxing and rejuvenating. Now that that part is done, I'm ready to rock n' roll. Through this, I came to realize something... In summer, with the absence of students, deadlines, and projects, my professional learning community is what keeps me going. They are the ones who encouraged me to get out there and try/learn something new!! 
I want to extend a HUGE thank you to my dear friend Whitney Parlin over at At Whit's End. She never ceases to amaze me.. I don't know how she does all that she does, I think she has more hours in the day than everyone else. Whitney, or WP as we call her on our 4th grade team because both our mommas like the same name, is a driving force in my professional development. She will text me links to great Blog posts, call me spontaneously to try to go to the TPT conference, and message me on Facebook about all the biggest and best coming out in the world of education and technology. I hope to instill the passion in others that she does in me. :)

I also have sweet Lila from The Polka Dotted Pencil to thank! Lila and I both began our teaching career at the same time. She also started her Blogging and TPT adventures around the same time as me. (Sidenote: If you haven't read or seen any of Lila's stuff, go fix that right now. She is such a creative, inspiring teacher with her fun outlook and positive attitude!) I have looked to her for the past 3 years for companionship, collaboration and as a thinking board. Over this summer, I have seen her working tirelessly through social media to share her learning and delve into the education world. She infuses my education world with so.much.fun.

These two ladies are two of so so many in my world. I simply cannot list all the good that all the people around me have done. It's my hope that this post introduces you to two educators who are near and dear to my heart. If you already know them, then lucky you! ;) I also hope it encourages you to surround yourself by educators who won't take complacency for an answer. These ladies have driven me to improve myself. Everyone should have a support system like that. :)

For those who want to build their community, I advise you to check out:

  • TWITTER-- Watch or participate in a Twitter chat and follow inspiring people! Here is a great resource that lists every education chat. Make it a goal to follow one this week :)
  • GOOGLE PLUS-- This is a new one for me, but I've spoken with many educators who love the connections and collaboration made possible through Google Plus communities. Click here to find the Educators of Google Plus page. 
  • INSTAGRAM-- Follow and post pictures sharing your learning! Popular educator hashtags for Instagram include: #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram #iteachtoo #iteach(fill in grade) 

I would LOVE to be a part of your Professional Learning Community (PLC) as well! Please follow me on Twitter @Ms_Alexanderson and on here. I would love to interact and learn with you. 

With Love from Texas,