Saturday Happenings

Because rainy days are for baking.

Click here for the recipe from It’s my first gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut free cake. And it’s chocolate. I’m a fan!

My recipe notes:

Apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar (keep in mind some vinegars ate NOT gluten free)

Add 2 Tbs. strong dark roast coffee and as much extra GF flour. Trust me on this. 😍

Grapeseed oil instead of canola oil

Coconut sugar instead of cane sugar… not sure how much difference it makes. I just didn’t have any cane sugar.

I didn’t put in chocolate chips, because I was out. I have allergen-free chocolate icing to use instead.

Saturday Song: Counting Every Blessing

Count blessings instead of unknowns.

Persistent in thanksgiving instead of complaining.

Remember past grace instead of dwelling in uncertainty.

Rejoice in salvation instead of cultivating bitterness.

Counting Every Blessing by Rend Collective

Teacher Space

Something new I tried last year was getting rid of my teacher desk.  said goodbye to the massive, clunky metal desk that had served well for the last five years. Granted, this was partly because I have a room half the size of normal classrooms… but my class size still runs 15-18 students. There wasn’t room for a desk and intervention table.  After teaching the previous year with a desk but no small group table, I decided to dispense with the desk and ask for an intervention table.

I had help, though. There are several helpful blogs highlighting the benefits of a teacher “space” over a teacher desk. From them (thanks, Pinterest) I got some ideas and gave “teacher space” a go. It went well enough that I’m doing for a second year. The picture above is from last year in the final stages of setting up my classroom. Several issues popped up that I hadn’t anticipated, which I have tweaked this year and it has already helped so much.

First Year

Issue 1: Set-up — Access

Negative: The printer actually ended up on the table… along with stacks of paper. Keep a lamp that big was not a viable option when students came to sit at the table. True, I had access to the printer easily… but that was not something I needed.

Positive: I had good access to the teacher books behind me, as well as my supply organizer, which I’m still using (it’s so helpful that the kids can get their own band-aids now).

Issue 2: Set-up — Aesthetics

Ok, I know that I can’t expect to have a Pinterest perfect classroom, but that shouldn’t rule out keeping aesthetic in mind.

Positive: The big, clunky desk was gone.

Negative: Looking back at that picture, the furniture is different depths, there are too many colors, too many drawers… it was organization flirting with chaos.

Issue 3: Procedures

Positive: I had a small group table, which I did not have the year before.

Negative: Since the teacher space was also the small group space, students had trouble understanding and respecting the boundary lines that a teacher’s desk should have.

Second Year

Teacher Space Year 2

This year, I kept in mind the positives and tried to incorporate them. It involved switching around several things in the classroom (check for upcoming classroom organization post).

Issue 1: Access

These bookshelves had originally been in classroom library. However, this set up was similar to something I had a couple years ago, and I regularly use this small white board with group work. Using these bookcases gave me more horizontal work space — something I had needed before.

Issue 2: Aesthetic

This set-up helps create a feeling of symmetry, even though I still have many materials stored in this small corner. The tray on the table is wonderful for keeping the desk free of misc. staples and paperclips and sticky notes. Things I need in drawers are in the cloth containers (mostly on the bottom row of shelves) instead of having multiple free standing drawer units. The catch-all paper bucket (I still don’t know how to teach without one) has a home in one of the cubicles, instead of one my desk. Now, if I could just work on getting two more stools instead of clunky chairs. :)

Issue 3: Procedures

Granted, one of my classes has all students from last year, which made it easier. However, I had two new classes this year. At the beginning of the year, I told the students that the teacher chair and space behind the table was my space. As the year went on, I added things students were allowed to access — the foreign language dictionary shelf and the staples/band aids. They also know not to look through any copies that I might have on the table. My students sometimes ask if they can work in my chair or move a stack of papers for more space (which I usually agree to).


All things considered, this teacher space works for me and my classroom. It gives me more space to work.  My materials are accessible for planning and group work. My students like the set-up. Parent-Teacher conferences around this table work great.

Sure, it takes a minute to adapt. Sometimes I still miss having a junk drawer. Sometimes, it still gets messy — copies attack, ya’ll. So, if you think if could solve space issues or just help with the look of your room, give it a try.


When the end of the semester attacks… Keepin’ it real, folks. ;)

Bitter Jealousy

3 A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
    but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy? Proverbs 27:3-4

 Jealousy: It is “the green-eyed monster that doth mock” (Othello, Shakespeare). It craves after what it does not have. It strives to keep what it has at any cost.

The obvious answer to the wise man’s rhetorical question: No one. No one can stand before jealousy.

This forces me to ask myself questions that require a long look and thoughtful answer.

  • Where is jealousy hiding in my heart?
  • How is discontentment feeding jealousy in my heart?
  • In what areas have I become embittered because of jealousy?
  • How are contentment and thankfulness routing out and defeating jealousy in my heart?
  • When was the last time I prayed for help to identify and fight jealousy in my heart?

Saturday Song: He Will Hold Me Fast

When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast

For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last

He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Singing this song while meditating on God’s promises in Scripture encourages me to push through feelings and renew my thinking.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:23
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
… But God, who called me here below, shall be forever mine. – Isaac Newton

He Will Hold Me Fast/Amazing Grace

By God’s grace, arranged and played by Katie