Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More Linky Party!

You know me, I love a good linky party and I feel like *this* is a GREAT one :) I'm linking up with Amy Lemons over at Step into Second Grade and sharing a little bit about myself with you!

My Baby Brother and I at our most recent trip to Disney

I'm extremely close with my family. I have one brother (who is in college still) and my parents who still live in the home where my brother and I grew up--though now it has a pool....after my brother and I have left the nest...go figure. I see them every day--no really, every. day. I love it :)

Just sittin' around being adorable. 
I am in LOVE with my Dog, Rory. He's 14 weeks old and (literally) the most adorable puppy ever. He thinks he's a lot tougher than he actually is. Dogs really are a girl's best friend :) Although I have to say, he thinks taking all the toilet paper off the roll and dragging it through the apartment is really fun...I disagree. 

I LOOOOVE junk food. Pringles, cookies, chips and dip, Doritos, s'mores...I'm all about it. I also love all fast food--seriously, throw some Taco Bell or McDonald's--Heck! Even Long John Silvers!-- my way and I will love you forever. I do occasionally have those moments where I think about not eating so much junk...then I go to Wendy's. Oh well! We all have our flaws. haha

I'm a pray-er. I talk to the Lord on a daily basis. In all honesty though, I pray most often while I'm in the shower...I have no idea why! haha Though, I'm told that God hears your prayers even when you're in the midst of lathering, rinsing, and repeating. 

Me (many moons ago...) as Catherine in Pippin

I've done theatre for most of my life. I've been in over 45 different productions and was lucky enough to dabble in some professional theatre when I was really young. Sometimes I miss being on stage, but I miss all the backstage funtime shenanigans even more :) Though, to be honest, I do still sing and dance around my apartment on a daily basis...Rory doesn't mind the singing, but he really doesn't dig the dancing. I think he'll eventually just learn to deal. 

I can't wait to learn more about all of you!! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 23, 2012

That's Pinteresting Monday!

Ok, ok. I know this was supposed to get posted on Saturday....but it's summer and the days just kinda fly away from you. It happens and it can't be helped. haha

Here are my favorite pins from the past week :)

Printables Organized

I really dig this idea for organizing printables and handouts--great way to stay organized. And check out that snazzy box at the end for "next week"...love. it. I love to plan ahead, so figuring out where to put all the "next week" stuff was always a puzzle.

Quiet Critters

So these little guys are just too cute. You give the kiddos a couple at the beginning of a lesson they need to be especially quite for, and if they get chatty they get their critter taken away--the kiddos with all their critters left at the end of the lesson get to move their clips up. Fabulous :)

Transportation Clips

Enough Said. Hello no more transportation mix-ups. Love. It.

Number of the Day Sheets

I used something similar to this in the mornings last year and really liked it--I think I may put together "Morning Books" for my kiddos to have with word and number of the day sheets ready to go....hmmm.... :)

...And Ryan. 

Why thanks, Ryan. You really are too sweet.

Happy Monday, Sweet Teacher Friends!! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Hi there Teacher Friends,

First of all, I'm sorry I've been so MIA lately, but to be completely honest there really hasn't been a lot of blog post worthy STUFF going on! I've been working on getting my new classroom (I moved rooms this year) all set up and the nice thing is now that I've taught for a year, it's so much easier to figure out where to put everything--you know, what works and what just doesn't? I had NO idea when I was getting set up last year but this year there's plenty of time (and, yes, even a littlebit of experience) to help in the whole "setting up" process. I'll be sure to post pictures soon :)

Besides that, I've been spending a LOT of time with my family and friends. Seriously, it's so nice to just enjoy their company...I'm a lucky gal.

Finally, I've also decided to re-decorate my apartment--eep! The main room went from a sea of orange and reds to a very calming gray and yellow combo (I may be a little bit in love with my new room....)

Anywho, just thought I'd check in :) What "not blog worthy, but still fun" stuff has been going on in YOUR lives?? I wanna know! :)


Friday, July 13, 2012


A big thanks to Allie over at the Gypsy Teacher for giving me the Liebster Award! If you haven't checked our her blog, you should because it's fabulous :)

The Liebster award is for blogs with less than 200 followers who need to get the attention they deserve--the rules are as follows:
1. Copy and paste the award onto your blog
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Nominate 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blogs.

And the Oscar Liebster goes to....
1. A Day in First Grade
2. Gypsy Soul
3. Wee Wise Ones
4. Sprinkle Teaching Magic
5. Super Pig and Tyrant King

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Advice for a First Year Teacher Linky

Better late than never! Thanks so much to Deb over at Fabulously First for hosting such a sweet linky party. I'm still fairly new, but would've LOVED to have seen this when I was starting out last year. :) The advice every one has posted is not only useful for a first year teacher--but for anyone who still wants to learn how to be better in this fabulous profession.

1. I can't tell you how many times the "plan" was scrapped this past year. As a first year teacher, you really have to be ready to improvise because so much of what we're doing in the classroom that first year comes from improvisation. Just don't be afraid to scrap the plan! If your first idea didn't work--so what?! Try something new on the spot--you might end up pleasantly surprised :)

2. The text books offer some awesome lesson plans. That being said, be sure to look for other ideas in other sources as well. You will become VERY WELL acquainted with Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers--some of my very most favorite lessons/units last year were from the fabulous folks over at TPT. Be sure to utilize these fantastic resources.

3. Have fun with your little kiddos. You only get one year with this group of munchkins. Have fun with them because they really ARE so much fun :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

That's Pinteresting Saturday and a 31 Idea/Question

WHOA! It must be a good day if "That's Pinteresting Saturday" is getting posted on time :)

DIY Hanging Pocket Folders

Now *this* is what  I call practical. A set of hanging pocket folders you can make in the colors that match your room?? Yes please. (Made with duct tape and file folders....brilliant.)

Word Boxes

If a student doesn't know how to spell a word, they check the card in the box. If it's not there, they bring the card to me, we spell it together, and then the card goes back in its spot when they're done. Promotes independent writers :)

Teacher Organizational Board

Now, this wasn't originally meant for  the classroom, but with a few changes--why not? I really loved the "Daily, Weekly, Monthly" lists.

Portable File Tote

I sell Thirty-One products and just HAD to add this when I saw it today on Pinterest. I'm all about making this portable file tote because sometimes you just want your files at home with you!

Ryan Gosling

Oh Ryan. You always know just what to say....haha

Also, If anyone ever wants any Thirty-One products, please let me know and I'll order it for you! Like I said ^up there^, I'm a Thirty-One Consultant. My ordering email address for Thirty-One is StephanieRudakas31@gmail.com.

Also, be on the lookout--to celebrate a milestone amount of followers (100, perhaps??) I may be having an online Thirty-One giveaway/party...is that something anyone would be interested in? Please comment and let me know your thoughts! Thanks!!

Thanks for reading, Sweet Teacher Friends!! Have a great Saturday! I know I will. Plans include spending the day with Rory and Blarso...also going to see the movie Brave (finally!!). :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Being from the Chicagoland area, I couldn't resist the Lollapalooza play on words :) (on that note--less than a month away! Wahoo!!)

Anywho, I was lucky enough to be awarded the One Lovely Blog award from Miss N. over at Coffee, Kids and Compulsive Lists as well as Stephany at Primary Possibilities. I was also awarded The Versatile Blogger award from Laura at TIPS and Stephanie at Maestra Bilingue. I feel so so lucky and special. You are all so sweet to have though of me (and seriously, when I read the comments you'd left, I was so excited you'd have thought I'd won an Oscar! I had a Sally-Field-You-Like-Me-You-Really-Like-Me moment haha)

I really wanted to take my time and pick out some of my favorite bloggers to send these super fun awards out to. Some of you may have already received one (or both!) of these bad boys, but that just means you're THAT AWESOME!! :)

One Lovely Blog Award

There are only 3 rules to follow once you've recieved this award :)
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

There you have it! Here are the fantabulous bloggers I'm passing this award on to:
1. Smiling in Second Grade
2. Adventures of Ms. Smith
3. Kinder-Craze
4. Heather's Heart
5. Teaching in High Heels
6. Teacher Bits and Bobs
7. Second Grade Style
8. Chickadee Jubilee
9. Fourth and Ten
10. I Teach. What's Your Superpower?
11. Maestra Bilingue
12. Wee Wise Ones
13. Gypsy Soul
14. Super Pig and Tyrant King
15. Forever in First

The Versatile Blogger Award

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site
7. Let the other bloggers know they've been nominated. 

*Here* Are my 7 Random Facts :)

1. When I was a kid, I did professional musical theatre in Chicago. I performed in a few productions, but did most of my work at the American Girl Place theatre in Chicago. I played Kirsten and Josefina for those of you who are familiar with American Girl. The people I met there, remain (to this day!) some of the greatest people I've ever known. 

2. I learned how to French Braid hair before I learned how to read. I've always loved doing hair and seriously considered going to beauty school at one point when I was in high school. However, I chose teaching and here we are! 

3. I am a classically trained vocalist. I took voice lessons for 10 years and went to college on a music/choir scholarship. 

4. I am a Christian. Though that doesn't seem like much of a random fact. I'm lucky enough to attend church each Sunday with my family. It really does bring all of us together, and without it, I just don't think I'd feel....whole. There is, I guess, one random fact about my faith...most of my praying just happens to happen in the shower. I have no idea why! It just does. haha Oh well! I hear God listens even when you're shampooing :)

5. I am WAY clumsy. You'd think that my being a dancer would make me more graceful...nope. I can't walk safely in socks. I consider the day as an overall "win" if I haven't managed to fall on my face. haha

6. I have just become a pet owner! I am mommy to one golden doodle named Rory. He's such a little character. Rory's got personality coming out of his EARS and I LOVE it. haha Feel free to check out my personal blog for occasional Rory updates :)

7. I am a reading JUNKIE. I can literally forget about the rest of the world for days on end if I'm in the middle of a great book. This is probably not a good thing...haha

There you have it folks! My 7 Random Facts. Here are the people I've decided to nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award:

WHEW! Big post! For those of you still reading, thanks for sticking around!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Update and July Currently

Hello there! I've returned from my Disney World vacation and am ready to dive back into the real world--however, there's been one. big. change. from before I left, to now....

Everyone? THIS is Rory :) He's the newest little addition to my house! He and I are becoming fast friends :) I can't believe I'm actually a dog owner now...I'm so excited to start this new adventure :) Feel free to check out my personal blog for occasional Rory updates! 

Disney was wonderful. It was so much fun to be in the one place on earth where acting like a child is not only encouraged--it is expected. Love. It. It was also Blarso's first time visiting, and it was so great to see him experience all the fun!

That being said, I am so glad to be back and getting the chance to really dive into planning and setting up my room for next year. Quick question--do any of you *make* your own planbook? If so, any tips? 

OO Also, it's time for my favorite part of the month....Farley's Currently! Wahoo! 

These are two of my absolute favorite reads. My favorite read aloud book for my 2nd grade friends is definitely Interrupting Chicken...it's about a little chicken who keeps interrupting her bedtime stories! Too cute. Here's the link to find it on Amazon :)
My favorite professional read is most definitely The Daily 5 (I know. Surprise Surprise...), but it's just so DARN USEFUL!! I just keep coming back to it. Here's the link to find it on Amazon, if you haven't already read it. 

Can't wait to start reading all the other July Currentlys!!