Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interview with Corrina Allen from Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files

Last Thursday I got to meet up with a fabulous blogger: Corrina Allen, From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files.

We met up at Friendly's and chit-chatted about home, school, blogging, and TPT.  Corrina has a wonderful Classroom Q & A Interview Series on her blog.  Rather than Corrina just interview me, we decided to interview each other!

Corrina lives in Camillus, New York and is a wonderful wife and mom to 2 young girls.  She teaches 5th grade and shares her classroom ideas, interviews with other bloggers, educational freebies, and more on her blog.

Here is our interview:

Q:  I saw on your blog that you have mostly taught 5th and 6th grade.  Have you taught any other grades?

A:  Sort of, when I first finished my student teaching I got a long term sub job in kindergarten for the end of the year.  It was exhausting.  2 days before school started I got an offer to teach middle school English and Science.  I had never envisioned myself at middle school but I really liked it there.  I focused on English and human body systems for science.  Last year we had an opportunity for a teacher to transfer to 5th grade and I volunteered to go.  I was looking for a change and had always pictured myself at the elementary school level.  I figured this was a good opportunity.

Q: Do you like 5th grade more than 6th grade?

A:  It's tough to say.  I like teaching older kids because you can joke and laugh with them.  Kindergarten is exhausting and there is a lot of prep work.  Although the first year was a lot of work learning the new curriculum, I think I am going to really like teaching 5th grade again this year.

Q:  Have you lived in Syracuse your whole life?

A:  I lived in the Syracuse area my whole life.  I grew up in the North side of Syracuse and went to school there until I was 8.  My mom got married and moved to Solvay.  My step father adopted me.  It was really sweet.  When I got married I moved to Camillus.  It seems I keep moving west but I think we are in Camillus now for the long haul.

Q:  How do you balance your classroom, family, blog, Teachers Pay Teachers/Teachers Notebook Stores and everything?

A:  It's hard.  It helps that my husband works at home so I don't have to take sick days when the girls are sick.  On the other hand, at night he's working, so I'm it.  Now that they are older I can check an email or quick put up a Facebook post.  The older they get the easier it is.  Often it is like juggling and I might drop the ball.  This last year with teaching new subjects and being in a new building it was hard but family is always the priority.  If anything needs to go it's not going to be that.

Q:  What unit or topic do you enjoy teaching the most?

A:  Overall I really like teaching literature a lot.  Our figurative language unit is fun.  I like teaching about story elements, plot charts, protagonists, antagonists, conflict, conflict types and connecting it to anti-bullying.  I think that is my favorite part of the day.

Q:  In comparing your teaching style to an ice cream flavor, what flavor would you be?

A:  I think I would be chocolate ice cream with peanut butter twist and chocolate sprinkles on top.  The chocolate ice cream is sort of like the things that you have to do during the day like the Investigations program that is pretty scripted and the writing program that is pretty set.  The peanut butter swirl are my additions and my things are the sprinkles on top.  Plus, I like chocolate and peanut butter!

Q:  Where are your go-to places to shop for back-to-school supplies?

A:  Staples is 2 minutes from my house so that tends to be the spot that I go to.  I also like Target and their dollar spot.  Sometimes I go to Walmart and I do a little bit of shopping online to Really Good Stuff.

Q:  What's your favorite holiday to celebrate with your class

A: I like Halloween.  We dress up.  Last year my team had big, giant Winnie the Pooh costumes.  I was Winnie the Pooh and the costume was really hot.  Maybe next year I will be a pirate or something fun.

Q:  Do you keep a Bucket List?  What's something crazy you want to do?

A:  I don't have a Bucket List but there are a few things I'd like to do.  One thing I've dreamt of doing is taking my family and going to England to live in a cottage for the summer.  My husband's job, he can do anywhere.  I have the summer off.  I've been there twice before and I loved it so that would be fun.  The other thing that's crazy and I'd love to do would be Roller Derby.  I think that would be a lot of fun but I'm clutsy so I might fall and break my arm or my leg and be out of school for a month or something.  I saw a TV show about it once and thought, "I would love to do that."

Q:  What are your top selling items on TPT or Teacher's Notebook?

A:  Right now I have a Beginning of the Year Student Survey.  It's a back to school item that is doing really well.  It's only $1 and it's my best seller.  After that I have a Vocabulary Journal that is doing really well.  Those are my top two.

Q:  What are your goals for this school year?

A:  After talking to you I think Donors Choose is up on my list.  I'd like some Kindle Fires or iPads.  A rug would be nice to have for a meeting place.  I think I'd like to be more organized with my students' goals.  Now that I know the curriculum and have gone through it once I'd like to post the goals consistently in the classroom.  I'd also like to be more organized with my desk and keeping it clean.

It was so much fun meeting up with a fellow blogger who lives close by.  I can't wait to meet up again. 

Stop by Corrina's blog:  From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files and show her some bloggy love!


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