DIY Bingo Poster

DIY Bingo Poster

Hello and happy Saturday. As a teacher, I’m often asked to do crafty stuff even if it’s not for the classroom. A few weeks ago, for a party at the institute where I take Portuguese classes, I was sent this picture to make a Bingo poster. I wasn’t sent a source so I have no idea who came up with the original poster, but in all honesty, I think it looks plain tacky.

I know non-teachers can see this and think “wow, there’s a lot going on,” but if you’re a teacher, then you know that the key to make an elaborate poster is to go step-by-step. I decided to keep the original idea of the poster, but to make it classier, you know? The elements would still be there (except for the giant head on top), but they would look better. In today’s post I’ll show you how I made my own Bingo poster, and of course, I’ll share with you the end result. Let’s get started, shall we?

The first thing I did were the letters, which I got from Life Over C’s. I colored them using jumbo markers. Now, when I say I did everything step-by-step, I mean I actually worked on each element and once I had everything ready, I glued it to a cardboard. That way, I avoided stuff falling out or getting wrinkled before the big Bingo day.

 

I went for a whimsical, multi-colored themed for this poster because I think part of the problem with the original one was that the colors were too opaque.

I printed these two cards from myfreebingocards.com and colored them using India ink markers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the remaining paper I made the chips, using the same colors I did for the cards.

 

 

 

This here is the end result. I think the light blue background makes the other colors pop. I added some banner-like thingies in the corner to make it look more like a fair stall, and kept the multi-colored vibe.

I think it keeps the elements of the original poster, but it’s a lot friendlier because the colors are way more vibrant, and it looks like something I’d make for one of my classes, so I’m pleased with the end result.

Is there any poster you’d like to re-create or simply make from scratch? Let me know and I might help you with it!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

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Okay, I’m Interested

Okay, I’m Interested

Hello and happy Wednesday. I recently read Where We Were by Kellie Sheridan, which is the prequel to Four of a Kind. I got to read and review an ARC provided to me by NetGalley, and here’s what I thought about it. 

This book was super short because it is a prequel, not an actual full-on novel, so my review will be short as well. It is definitely a story you can get into super quickly, and that’s because the four main characters are all introduced in the first few pages, so the reader gets the feeling that they know the characters right from the start.

One problem I had with this story, and that we all know is an issue I have with many stories written nowadays is the portrayal of teenage drinking. I know that is a reality, but I think authors writing about it in such a casual way makes readers believe underage drinking is okay, which is not, it’s illegal, at least in the U.S where this story takes place. Besides, these characters are not seventeen or eighteen; they’re fourteen, which makes the drinking part all the more upsetting to me.

Yes, I was upset by this, but in general  I really enjoy this read, and it left me wanting to read the real deal, you know? I think the author did an amazing job with each of the characters because they’re all different, but it doesn’t seem forced. They’re just four sisters who have their own personalities, their group of friends, and their own interests. Also, bonus points for Rilley being into girls.

If you want a super quick, nice read, you should definitely pick up Where We Were, especially if you’re interested in reading Four of a Kind or have already read it. Thanks again to NetGalley and Kellie Sheridan for this ARC.

Now you tell me, what is a prequel that you’ve really enjoyed and would totally recommend and why?

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

On Dermablading

On Dermablading

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Hello and happy Sunday. Let’s talk about something that is not fun, and that once you’re aware of will haunt you wherever you go. I’m talking about facial hair, more specifically upper lip hair. Yeah, I’m talking about mustaches here because, at least for me, it’s been a struggle to find an effective method to remove it that actually lasts.

I’ve tried wax, and the thing is, it hurts like hell, and also, I feel like in my case it doesn’t remove all the hair at once, but then my skin is sensitive and I can’t go over again with it, so I’m basically left with a red rectangle over my lip and patches of hair. Sexy.

I’ve also tried using tweezers because I use those for my eyebrows, but it’s such a painful and time-consuming process that I ruled it out the first time I tried it. Nope, sorry, I’m not going to pull at my mustache for an hour while tears run down my face from the pain.

What really messed everything up for me and my sexy upper lip was that hair removing cream, the one that’s meant specifically for facial hair. That stinks alright, but it’s supposed to take you like three minutes and then you’re done. It doesn’t hurt and it removes the hair alright. The problem? A week after using it, scratch that, three days after using it, I could already see hairs growing, and they were coming out thicker than before.

It was so discouraging I literally decided to just let my mustache grow wild and free, and I don’t know for how long I stopped trying to remove it. That is, until I watched this video in which Tati talks about Dermablading.

Now, the real thing is done at specialized places and it involves blades and basically getting dead skin scraped off your face or whatever, which sounds creepy and not fun at all. However, by the end of the video, Tati talks about how you can get those blades that are used for shaping your eyebrows to remove peach fuss if you’ve got very light, thin facial hair.

That got me thinking, if those blades work for peach fuss, they might work for my mustache, so of course, I bought myself a pack of three and proceeded to shave. The process itself didn’t hurt and didn’t leave any marks on my skin, so it was immediately better than wax. It took me like two minutes, but I was able to go back and remove more if I saw that I’d left some hairs, so it beat the tweezers.

Here’s where it wins all the hair-removal prizes in the world: it lasted a freaking month! Okay, so originally I was going to wait a week and then do a check-in post and let you know about me trying this new method (at least new to me), and my thoughts on it. The week was over and I had no visible hair, so I thought “okay, let’s do a two-week update,” and, you guessed it, two weeks later I had some very short and fine and not at all noticeable (unless you were literally pressed against me, looking at my upper lip) facial hair. I was kind of nervous to wait out two weeks because usually with my mustache one day I have nothing and then the next day I see myself and I’m looking like my dad, but the hairs actually grew so slowly and so thin, that I survived a whole month and fell great through it all.

This is a cheap method for removing your facial hair, it takes no time, it doesn’t hurt or cause any discomfort afterwards, and at least in my case, it lasts longer than other methods I’ve tried. I, however, have light and thin facial hair, but I honestly wouldn’t know if it works for people who have thicker, darker hair. I would advise you to try using the blades and do weekly checks and see if this method works for you, and if it does, please let me know because I love to give people helpful advice!

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

The Teacher Tag

The Teacher Tag

100th day.pngHello and happy Saturday. Let me tell you something, I love teaching-related tags because I love hearing from other people’s experiences and reflecting on my own. This is why I decided to share with you another Teacher Tag, this one inspired by The Tutu Teacher, who is absolutely fantastic. I’ll list each question and write my answer below, and I encourage you to share your answers in the comments as well. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. How long have you been teaching? 

I’ve actually worked as a private tutor and as a teacher for almost four years, but this is currently my second year working as a school teacher.

2. What grades have you taught? Talk a little bit about your background. 

Before starting working at a school, I worked with kids from basically every grade in elementary and middle school. Currently, though, I teach Pre-K, Kindergarten, and the equivalent of first grade.

I have a BA in Teaching Modern Languages from a very prestigious university in Colombia, which is where I’ve lived my whole life. I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher and never really considered other career paths. I enjoy teaching kids from every school grade, but I would never see myself teaching adults. I’m especially passionate about bilingual education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, especially if their native language is Spanish.

3. What grade do I currently teach and where? 

Again, I teach Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Transition at a boys school in Bogota, Colombia.

4. What is my school’s mascot?

I’m almost certain we don’t have one. School mascots are not something common in Colombia.

5. How many students are in my classroom? 

I’m not a homeroom teacher, so I don’t have my own class. Last year I taught two Pre-K classes with eleven students each, one Kindergarten class with sixteen students, and two Transition classes, one with seventeen students, and the other one with eighteen. That means in total I had 73 students.

6. What is my ideal class size?

I’m not going to lie, I love that my Pre-K classes are so small because that makes everything more manageable and personalized, but to me a class of fifteen students is just about perfect.

7. What is my favorite coffee drink? 

We’ve been through this, haven’t we? I’m a straightedge, I don’t drink coffee. At school I always have a water bottle. Water is my fuel.

8. What is my favorite online resource?

Okay, this is funny because literally right before I typed the question, I opened Pinterest. I’ve had a Pinterest account for I don’t know how long and it’s really made me a better teacher. I get inspiration from Pinterest to do bulletin boards, anchor charts, I have access to a ton of free resources and cool TpT stores I didn’t know of, I can discover ways in which my life as a teacher can get easier…and I’m just talking about teaching stuff here.

9. Describe your perfect classroom? 

I honestly don’t know if this has to do with the actual physical space or with my students. In both cases I think it all depends on how I’m feeling. In my previous job I had a tiny room for my tutoring sessions, but I made it my own. I made posters with the “classroom rules”, I put dividers in the whiteboard to make a daily agenda, and I did this mini word wall. If it has to do with a physical space, I’d say my perfect classroom should feel like a safe place for anybody who comes in.

As for students, I think it’s kind of the same idea, you know? It’s all about the relationships I as a teacher get to establish with them. I know for a fact that the classes I’ve loved the most and the kid’s who’ve made the most progress with me were the ones I connected with from the start. I don’t expect perfectly behaved kids and I don’t expect students who do well on everything, but I love when I get a group of students that are open to learning, and who show me growth throughout the year. That’s my perfect classroom.

10. What are my favorite and least favorite things about teaching? 

My favorite thing about teaching is the fact that every day is different. Every class I teach is different. Yes, I have a schedule, but each lesson is unique. I love the fact that I need to be creative every second of the day, and that I use those creative ideas to make my classes the best they can be. And if for some reason, I can’t use an idea just yet, I can keep it for later (or, you know, Pin it). Obviously seeing the progress my students make is amazing and it’s what makes me wake up energized every day and be ready for whatever there is to come.

My least favorite thing about teaching, sadly, is encountering people whose main purpose is not seeing their students grow and advance. There are teachers who aren’t really passionate about what they do and who instead spend their time spreading negativity. That’s definitely not what you sign up for when you become a teacher.

11. What is some advice for beginning teachers?

Have fun. I was told this before I started my first year and I didn’t really take that piece of advice seriously, and trust me, I regret that now. New teachers have all this fresh theory and a ton of ideas and this desire to prove to everyone how good they are. And I’m saying this because last year I was just like that. It’s your first year and you’re bound to screw up, not once but many times, so don’t be so hard on yourself, not everything has to be calculated. Have fun! Play music in class, take your students outside, do a lesson on directed drawing. The kids will love it, but more importantly, you’ll be happy, and those memories will be the ones that’ll stay forever with you.

That was the Teacher Tag. Please feel free to answer these questions in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

An Easy, Breezy Read

An Easy, Breezy Read

Hello and happy Wednesday. I feel that lately I’ve been reading and reviewing my fair share of Olympic-related books, which is funny because actually the closing ceremony at my school is about the Olympics. Today I’ll share my thoughts on The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson and A.L Sonnichsen. Before I begin, I’d like to thank NetGalley and the authors of this novel for providing me with an ARC for reviewing purposes. 

I went into this book blindly, like an often do, and it was a pleasant surprise to discover that this too was a sports-related book. I love the fact that Charlie, the main character leads a double life because I immediately knew that was going to add to the plot, and it was going to make it more interesting. Charlie herself is very relatable in the way that she’s sort of desperate to get a boyfriend and she often discusses this issue with Gwen, her best friend from gymnastics. I think this book showed different aspects of being an aspiring Olympian, you know? Like, Charlie had to fight for her chance to live a normal life and to balance it with her training and competitions.

Something that bothered me a tiny bit, and that caused me not to give this book a five-star rating, is the fact that the beginning was super slow. I understand that we’re being given the whole description of Charlie’s two lives and how she manages do deal with both of them, but honestly I just wanted interesting things to start happening, and so when Bobby was introduced I was super happy because I knew he would help change the story and spice it up.

Now Bobby is a sweetie and a total catch, but Charlie was overanalyzing her situation with him a bit too much. I mean, after the first time they hung out together, which was sort of a double date, she started thinking about how a boyfriend could affect her career. Relax, girl, you just met the guy, and I know he’s perfect and you’re desperate, but come on, let things naturally unfold and don’t start stressing too early on in the game.

The fact that Charlie systematically rejected Bobby because she had to focus on training and trials and stuff was unnerving. There was a point where I got sort of desperate and just wanted her to stop lying to Bobby and tell him who she really was because he just kept trying to do things with her and she always said she had something else to do.

Maybe it’s because Charlie is super young, but I felt that this book wasn’t really intended for young adults, but rather plain teenagers. I’m sure my thirteen-year-old self would’ve enjoyed this book way more than I did, even though I really liked it.

Another reason why I related to Charlie is the fact that she cherishes her time with friends and family. Charlie enjoys spending time with her parents and her friends, and I like reading a story that shows that. I’m genuinely a family person, so novels that are always showing a bad relationship with parents are not my cup of tea. I also love the relationship Charlie has with her brother, Josh, because it’s not forced, like you can tell they love and respect each other, and Josh takes care of her younger sister. Again, it’s nice to see that kind of dynamic between siblings in a book intended for teenagers and young adults.

Have you read any book about athletes? Let me know, I’m kind of into them now!

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

Laser Hair Removal Session 2: Legs

Laser Hair Removal Session 2: Legs

 

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Hello and happy Sunday. I owed you an update on my laser hair removal treatment, but the truth is I was waiting to get my bikini done too, so that I could update you on both legs and bikini, but decided I wasn’t going to do my bikini this session. Yep, I started from the end, so let me explain to you through this post why I came to this conclusion.

I got different appointments for legs and bikini, so I first went to get my legs done, expecting they wouldn’t hurt, just like the previous time. Before the laser treatment started, the lady covered my tattoos. I was already wearing the protective goggles so I couldn’t see what she was doing or how she was doing it, but I trusted she was qualified to properly cover my tattoos.

The laser session began, and I felt the warmth I always felt, no pain whatsoever. That was until I felt a sting, like a real sting near one of my tattoos, which literally made me jolt. I thought “okay, maybe she got too close to the tattoo,” but the pain went away immediately, so I didn’t care much. Then I felt another sting. This one wasn’t as sharp, but it was right on top of a tattoo, and the pain remained throughout the session.

When I went to look at my ankle at the end, the lady had a concerned expression on her face, so I knew she was aware of the fact that she’d burned me. I had a little blister, you know, like the ones you get when you get a burn, and the lady applied some cream and that was that. As I walked home, I felt my tattoo kind of pulsating, announcing an infection.

It wasn’t that bad at first, but with the days, the first letter of my tattoo was looking pretty bad. It was inflamed and it looked a bit infected. I cleaned it every day with alcohol and then put scar cream on, and it looks better, although it’ll never look like it did before, and I’m even planning to cover it up with another design.

That’s not why I’m not going to get my bikini done, though because I actually went to the appointment the following week. I walked from my Pilates studio after class to the place where I get my laser, only to pull my panties down and being told by another of the laser ladies that she couldn’t do the procedure on me because my skin looked irritated. Man, I was the irritated one.

With that, at least for this couple of months I’m going to stay away from laser and hope that my next session is better. Have you gotten burned in a beauty procedure? How did you treat it?

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

Teachers Can Be Bullies

Teachers Can Be Bullies

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Hello and happy Saturday. One cool thing I’ve noticed about having a teaching blog and other teaching social media is the fact that other teachers share their experiences, which are very relatable, even if these experiences aren’t always nice and fun.

That’s how I stumbled upon a blog post by Simply Kinder called Teachers Who Bully Other Teachers. The timing was perfect because I’d been thinking about that issue for a while, and it was great having someone put into words what had been going in my mind, but it also gave me clarity and sort of pushed me into writing my own post on the subject. I think sometimes we ignore some issues because they don’t concern us directly, teaching-wise or not, but we still have to be critical when it comes to certain situations in our surroundings, even if we’re not personally affected.

As I finished my first year teaching a school, I reached the conclusion that I work with a teacher bully. Let’s call them E. Now, E is your typical case of a bad teacher who wants to hide the fact that they’re bad by creating controversy among their peers. We’ve all seen someone like that, and we always wonder why they’ve still got their job until we realize they’re close friends with the boss and are constantly going behind their colleague’s backs, telling on them.

This post, however, is not about bad teachers but teacher bullies, so let me stick to that (though let me know if you want me to write about characteristics of a bad teacher, and I’ll write a post on it). You might know a teacher bully if you have a colleague who’s always talking -gossiping- about everyone. And, trust me, it’s not easy to identify this trait at first because humans talk all the time, that’s how we communicate. But it’s not the fact that a person like E talks, is what they talk about. E, for example, used to tell me about things their colleagues did and said the previous years. I’m sure E did that so that my image of the other teachers was clearly biased, but I decided that I’d better hang out with E instead of the others. As I said, it’s hard to identify that a seemingly nice person is always saying bad things about the people they work with, but when you do, just don’t engage in those conversations.

When I noticed that the stories E was telling me were meant for me to side with them, I avoided situations when it was just me and them, which wasn’t hard given that the other teachers, the ones E wanted to drag, are nice and welcoming and I’ve become genuine friends with them. Obviously, there are moments when I have to interact with E and when doing so, I have to be a decent human being and show politeness. In Colombia there’s a saying that goes “decency doesn’t fight with anyone,” and so that’s what I do, I’m decent, polite, courteous, but I don’t engage in negative conversations.

The way I had E stop talking to me about other teachers, and really other people (they talked this way about kids and their parents sometimes), was actually fun, and if you’re faced with a teacher bully, I suggest you use it. So, basically every time E started talking about someone the way they did, I pulled a confused face, like I didn’t know why what they were telling me was so horrible. It was kind of like when someone tells a racist or sexist joke and you ask them to explain it to you. Sometimes E insisted though, persistent as bullies can be, so they’d go ahead and tell me a story I’d already heard from them. I patiently waited for them to finish and then said “yeah, you’ve already told me that one.”

Two things happened after I started using that strategy: 1) E stopped trying to systematically talk about our colleagues, at least with me; and 2) they no longer seem interested to have me as a sidekick. Bullies have a weak character, which is why they always tend to hate (envy) people who have a strong character, and they want to take advantage of people who seem weaker than them. Bullies often look for a sidekick, someone who agrees with them on everything and follows them around. Sadly, E found a new teacher, one of my friends to be their sidekick for almost the entire year.

A, this new teacher and probably my best friend at school, became E’s sidekick, more because they both had to work together throughout the year than a real affinity towards each other, but still. A is this kind, generous, at times a bit naive person, who we all like, but the other teachers tended to tiptoe around them because they were worried about what E could do or say. Yes, my reader friends, high school never ends.

It wasn’t until the end of the year, when we received some bad news about one of our colleagues, which I felt E was behind (remember I said the told on other teachers behind their backs), that I told A they should be careful what they say around E. I then found out that another teacher had warned A about exactly the same. This might sound super childish, and if you ask me, it is because we’re supposed to be teaching children how to live in a community and all that, but here we are, having to protect ourselves from one of our colleagues. That is, however, how bullies operate. They don’t focus on doing their job as best as they can because they know they’re bad at it, so they bring good teachers down.

Find a teacher or a group of teachers you feel comfortable around. Find that one friend with whom you can laugh and cry. Find that one person you won’t hesitate to tell something to, no matter how personal because you genuinely trust them. Beware of signs of a teacher bully, and stay away from them in the most decent way possible. Stick your relationship with that person to the strictly professional, and if you’re new, try to pick up on how other people interact with them; I’ve never seen a teacher who everyone says is nice hanging out by themselves in a get together.

Have you faced a teacher bully (or any other sort of bully)? How did you deal with them? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.