Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Against the Grain (Part 1)

I just want to be honest. This post has ZERO to do with teaching or my classroom. If you want to stop reading right here, I totally understand.

I thought I would give you a look into my gluten free lifestyle. It can be tricky thing to understand and a lot of people are throwing around the phrase "gluten free" these days but what does that really mean? Here is the beginning of my journey, the process of being diagnosed with a "gluten allergy."

During my first year of teaching  I started experiencing a lot of symptoms that I just attributed to working in a high energy, (and high stress at times) environment for the first time. I experienced weight gain, abdominal cramps, major nausea, lack of energy, and migraines. I remember being very careful about what I ate and I even though I wasn't "working out," I was being way more active just being with 22 eight year olds all day. I bought new jeans for the school year and by Christmas they wouldn't button anymore. I was gaining weight like crazy and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. There were many mornings that I got ready for school in tears because I couldn't fit into clothes that I had just bought.
On top of all of those symptoms I listed above, I started to have terrible anxiety. I felt nauseous after almost every meal and so I started not wanting to eat anywhere but home. I would get very anxious if we were eating out with friends or family because I was worried I was going to be sick somewhere besides our house. I didn't even want to get in the car for extended periods because I would worry there wouldn't be somewhere to pull over if I needed to be sick. These may seem like silly reasons to worry but to someone with anxiety, they were very real worries. I was so miserable, I felt like a shell of myself.

Last summer, after I finished my first year, Hubs and I decided I should talk to a doctor. Fast forward to several appointments, tests, and weeks later I still wasn't feeling any better. My primary doctor suggested that I visit a local Gastroenterologist for a second opinion. He felt that after hearing about my symptoms that I should have an upper GI scope done. (TMI, I know! Sorry!) He was testing me for an autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease. Results came back negative for Celiac which was good news but he did notice some inflammation in my small intestine that looked a lot like Celiac. When he called to tell me the results he said, "I know this isn't the answer we were looking for, but I want you to just try avoiding gluten for two weeks and see how you feel." He felt like it most likely an allergy to gluten.

It was like a gift sent from heaven. After avoiding gluten for just TWO DAYS I felt better. After TWO WEEKS of not feeling sick and being headache and anxiety free, my doctor called to check on me and after I told him how amazing I felt, he was felt sure enough to diagnose me with a gluten allergy.

Whew! That was a long process! So that was the first part of my journey to becoming gluten free. As of August 18, 2014, I am living a gluten free lifestyle--and loving it! I knew they first thing I had to do was to educate myself on exactly what that meant. So I bought several books and joined some online blogs dedicated to being gluten free. In my next post (Against the Grain, Part 2) I will share some of what I have learned in the past 11 months and some of my favorite things to eat since becoming gluten free. I promise, being gluten free doesn't mean being taste free! Stay tuned!

P.S. Just because you may have some of the same symptoms that I had, doesn't mean you are allergic to gluten. Please don't worry. But if you aren't feeling well, please go see your doctor.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday! I am linking up for my first 5 for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

I went to my new school this week for two days of professional development. Let me tell you, I am going to be working with some AMAZING women. I am really looking forward to collaborating with them and bettering myself as a teacher. It seems to be a very positive work environment which I find extremely important, especially in schools. When you and the people around you are positive, the students feed off of the positive energy and in turn will have a better attitude towards learning and school in general. 

 Hubs and I have two VERY different jobs in the workforce. He is a software engineer for a company and most of the things he tells me about his job go right over my head! Ha! I am thankful for people like him who understand it because without them, we wouldn't have a lot of the technology that we have. When I was throwing around the idea of starting my own teaching blog, I was telling him that I wanted to make mine super custom but didn't really want to pay big bucks for it. Hubs told me that if I could design it, he could hook up the back end of the site for me. I wasn't sure what I wanted exactly but we decided to just give it a try before we paid someone to do it. I think we both surprised each other at how smoothly it all went. I am so thrilled at how amazing it looks! I also loved working side by side with him, we never thought our professions would collide like that!

My sweet mom and I are taking a girls trip to Houston this weekend. We are reliving the 90s and going to a Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood concert. I can't wait! I was a huge fan of them both growing up. It's always so much fun spending time with my mom, too.

This was a few years ago at Parent's Weekend at Baylor. I know, I know--- we look nothing alike. ;) Just kidding!

We are focusing a lot on writing this year at school. I have to admit that writing is not my favorite nor my strongest subject to teach. I am committed to working this summer to educate myself on some great writing practices. Do you have favorite books you can recommend for teaching beginning writers? I am open to any suggestions!

For the first time all summer, my whole next week is open! My plan is to reorganize our kitchen. I want to clean out the pantry and organize some of our cabinets. Hopefully I am motivated to get it done because let's be honest, Netflix and the couch like to keep me distracted from home projects in the summer. ;) I'll let you know how that turns out next Friday!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Osmo Amazement

I am always on the lookout for new and interesting things that will keep my students engaged while still providing them meaningful learning experiences. I whole heartedly believe in learning through play, especially in Kindergarten. Thankfully, my school supports those same ideas.

Last Christmas, my sweet aunt and uncle game me the Osmo system and I knew immediately my classroom kids were going to LOVE it. If you haven't heard of the Osmo, you should check out their website. It is a system that goes with the iPad. You attach the little red mirror over the front facing camera and put the iPad in the base that comes with the system. You can play four different games with the Osmo system and let me tell you, my kids were instantly in love and more importantly, engaged! Here is a short little video that the great people at Osmo put out to introduce the system.

I can't say enough good things about the Osmo. I highly recommend it to anyone in the classroom or parents with kiddos at home. This is something that kids of all ages can enjoy. Osmo is running a pretty neat program right now where when you buy one from the Osmo website, you can pick a classroom and Osmo will donate a system to that teacher. How awesome is that?! You can find more information on the Buy One, Give One program here.

Here are some of my own students working with the Tangram game. They are learning so much here-- following directions, spatial reasoning, shapes, working in a team, problem solving and being patient! It's always a bonus when I can combine academics and social skills into one activity. I LOVE this system!

P.S. Osmo did not ask me to write this post. I am just a fan trying to spread the word about their amazing products. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Let's Be Friends!

Well hello there! Welcome to Mrs. Allison's Wonderland! First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this little blog. I am a Kindergarten teacher who just loves all things education. When I started teaching, it was other teaching blogs that gave me a lot of inspiration and advice. My hope is that maybe I can do the same for someone else. If nothing else, I hope I can keep you entertained!

First things first, a little introduction of myself. I am a twenty something year old that graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Baylor University, (sic 'em bears!). I taught second grade for one year and then moved to Kindergarten. I can remember wanting to be a teacher since I was a little girl.

My wonderful husband and I live in Austin, Texas with our sweet pup, Annabelle. We met in high school and were married 2 years ago. When we aren't working we love to do home improvement projects, go to the movies, and cheer on our Baylor Bears.

I hope that this blog will give me a place to share stories and experiences that happen inside,(and outside!) of my classroom. Hopefully you find it helpful, uplifting, and entertaining!