Happy New Year friends! Can you believe that 2015 is here? I can't! How will you be celebrating? We will be hanging out with our besties,  enjoying good food, shooting off fireworks, and ringing in the new year together.

While I wait for midnight to arrive, I'm joining up with two linkys. First visit with CaseyJane at Primary Powers for her ONE WORD Resolution party. Here's mine:
I love thinking about just one word. Too many resolutions bog me down and I never follow through anyway, but I think this year will be different. Persevere means to keep going and work hard. Over the last several months, I have been focusing on my weight and overall health. I've lost 17 pounds since September and I'm very happy! My goal is to lose 25 total, so only a few more to go...I need to push through to get those last pounds off. It hasn't been difficult so far. You read that right. It HAS NOT been difficult.  My mind was ready for the change. I think that's the only way to do it. You have to be ready mentally. I've been following Weight Watchers Simply Filling plan and I love it! I don't have to count the points, just eat the power foods. I've been able to make changes to some favorite recipes and my family doesn't know the difference, so that's a bonus!

Persevere is also the perfect word for my school life. I have to remember that between 8am and 2pm my students matter most. I have to let go of all the outside forces that can get in the way of teaching. My students come first. (You can all probably relate!) I need to work hard and push forward with teaching what I know is best for them and not let the other "junk" get me down.

What is your ONE WORD for 2015?

The second party I'm attending today has to do with a little shopping. Head on over to my TpT store for 20% off December 30th and January 1st. Visit Molly at Lucky to be in First to link up your store or to find other wonderful sellers! Stock up and get ready for 2015!

Check out my newest product and grab it while it's on sale. It's a perfect activity to start off the new year. Your students will think about reading resolutions, as well as personal goals for the new year. Make a cute 3D display or bulletin board for January. 

Thanks for stopping by today. Be safe as you celebrate the new year and enjoy the rest of the winter break!

It's the first day of....

And I'm lovin' life right now!! Shopping is done (not wrapping though). Cookies are made. House is clean. I'm ready to enjoy the next two weeks!

On our last day before the break, we enjoyed a  Snow Day. Yes. A snow day here in Florida. The kids dressed in their winter best. Hats. Scarves. Mittens. (And their shorts!)
We enjoyed a day of Minute to Win It games, crafts and a fun sweet treat. 

The students made their own melted snowman cookies. So adorable!

I took their pictures using some fun snow hat props. They transformed themselves into snowboys and snowgirls! Using a white ink pad, they used their finger prints to create the falling snow.  These really made them giggle! 

We also made these clothes pin snowmen. (THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO) I put a magnet on the back and used grosgrain ribbon for the scarf. Forgot to take photos of the finished products. 

One of my teammates went all out on these adorable crafts. She used CDs to create glittery snowman ornaments...all that glitter makes cringe! LOL! She was very clever with the snowman spoon craft. To cut cost, she used a styrofoam cup instead of clay pot. The kids painted and decorated the cup and then added cute details to the snowman spoon. How fun are those??

Check out more fun winter ideas for the classroom HERE on my Pinterest board. I think many of these activities can be done into January and February. After all, winter lasts until March 20th. 

Looking for some winter research and activities for your lesson plans?  How about a reindeer mini unit? Just because Santa has come and gone doesn't mean your students can't learn about these fascinating animals. Check out  my Wild About Reindeer pack. Students have a chance to conduct research and read about reindeer, as well as write about them to create a mini-book. Assign all or just some of these activities.

Look for all my winter products and freebies here on TpT.

Hope you are enjoying a relaxing time off!

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for their Sunday Scoop linky.

 I have to type quick because I'm getting ready to head out early this morning. Here goes...

My Sunday Scoop is pretty self-explanatory. It's such a busy time of year and we have lots going on. I'm sure you do, too! Our weekend has been spent on-the-go with water polo games for my son and dance for my daughter. I have had very little down time. I love it though! Anytime I get to watch my kids doing what they love it makes me happy!

This week we have 3 full days, an early release on Thursday and planning day Friday. I think I can handle it! My class will have a "Snow Day" on Wednesday. We will do snowman related crafts, games, and snacks. The kids wear hats, scarves, and other winter gear to get in the mood of the day.

I have to share this one little fun find. One of my favorite holiday books, How Murray Saved Christmas, is now a movie!! I'm so excited. This book brings back so many fond classroom memories. If you don't own it, get it! I'm sure it will be fun video!!

We have been working on short research projects all year. My kids have loved bringing in their own devices and learning how to peruse the internet. Being 3rd graders, they still need guidance and support. There is a lot of information out there to shift through!

To help them narrow down to the pertinent information, I have created these Winter Holidays Around the World Research Cards. Students are asked to find specific information about winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Santa Lucia Day, Las Posadas, and Chinese New Year. After they gather the research, the cards can be stapled together to create a cute little mini book that fits nicely in a spiral or composition book as part of an interactive notebook.

Along with the research cards I've included two foldables. One is a compare/contrast activity and one can be used to showcase the information researched about one of the holidays. Have students take their research to writing using the graphic organizer and writing paper.

Provide books as well as computer time to conduct research. I like this series from National Geographic.

I think your students will enjoy learning about holidays around the world and sharing their own traditions!

Building confidence and self-esteem in children is a stepping stone toward being a healthier adult. When students have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses they are better able to face life's challenges, conflicts, and negative pressures. As teachers, helping students develop self-esteem is something we do on a daily basis, but not all students find success or confidence in the classroom setting. Kids can feel as if they are only as good as their test score or a grade on a report card. In this testing frenzy time, I think we need to step back and remember the WHOLE child. There are so many talents hiding within our rooms that we can't even see.

Years ago, needing an activity for the last week of school, a colleague and I came up with the idea of Hobby Time. We allowed the kids to bring in hobbies/crafts to work on and share. They were having a blast teaching each other and "showing off" what they could do.  Over the years, it evolved into more than just a show and tell time. I began to realize that even the students who were not top academically had something to offer and share. Their confidence was up and their self-esteem inflated!

Hobby Time includes activities that give students a chance to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. They have the opportunity to research, draw, create, write, and share about what makes them special. All of these activities come together to make a perfect lapbook scrapbook or can be used in an interactive notebook. What a nice keepsake, too!
Some students may need help and encouragement finding their hobby/interest/sport. Allow them to write about one they want to succeed at. Discuss goal setting and what it takes to achieve those goals. Help them discover that everyone has talents!

We need to guide and nurture the whole child. We need to take time to get to know who our students are outside of the classroom. By allowing students to showcase their hobbies, recreational activities, and sports, we will help them feel confident, fit in, and shine in the classroom!

Use this product as a back to school/get to know you activity, an end of year culminating activity, or anytime in between. JANUARY is Hobby Month so that would be a perfect time!! Do some or all of the activities provided.

TODAY ONLY you can win this product! Visit my friend Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade and enter her Winter Giveaway going on now until December 14th! Good luck!!

Hi Friends,
Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and a little time off. I know I have!

I'm so excited for the TpT Cyber Sale starting Monday, December 1st. My store will be 20% and TpT offers an additional 10% off with the code TPTCYBER.

Are you getting your wish list ready and wondering what to purchase? 
I'm linking up with Ideas by Jivey and giving you a peek into my store and my shopping list!

My most wish listed (and popular) product is my Text Features Pack.

This pack includes posters, games, and graphic organizers. Students will get lots of practice finding and naming text features. They will also have a chance to add text features to an informational piece. Your students will be text features experts!

One of my favorite newer additions to this set are these text feature arrows. They are perfect for a quick formative assessment, partner work, or small group work.
You can find this product HERE in my TpT store.

Second on my most wish listed list is  Fraction Scoot. Included are 32 cards that can be used for a scoot game or as task cards. I love scoot games because they make a great formative assessment, they get the kids moving, and can be used over and over. You can find all my scoot games HERE.

Now...what will I be purchasing?? I really love these Grammar Tab-Its from Simply Skilled in Second Grade.   You must check out her flip flap books, too. My kids love making and using them!

 What is on your wish list? Link up and share! Happy Shopping!!

Oh. My. Goodness. I feel like I have gone completely AWOL from this little ol' blog of mine. I'm quite sad about it, but it can't be helped. This school year has been BEYOND crazy. I'm lovin' my class from 8-2. They are super sweet and funny...which is my favorite part!  When that bell rings, though,  it's a whole different story! Before and after school...there is WAY too much going on! New test. New acronyms. Data collection. Assessments. BAM! BAM! BAM! We are getting hit from all sides with so much. The funny thing is no one really knows what the future holds. So as fast we are told about something "new", it's OLD! With a new standardized test looming in the distance things have been quite chaotic. It seems like everyone is in panic mode. Does anyone else feel like that? I've been at this 25 years and I will say this is the toughest one yet!

All I know is I am required to teach the standards. If I do that then they SHOULD perform well on the test, right? (Someone please agree with me!) I am doing my best to stay afloat and TEACH ON!

Since it's Halloween weekend, one of my favorite times of the year, I wanted to give you all a little treat! And if you're like me, retail therapy always makes you feel better! I'm also in an extra good mood because Halloween is my big sister's birthday! We have lots of special treats planned for her...can't tell you what they are here in case she reads this! But I will say that she is the BEST sister in the world. So giving. So caring and patient. And one of the best teachers I know!

Stop by for a little sale going on all weekend.

If you haven't picked up this challenging analogy freebie yet, go and get it at my TpT store. My kids had a blast with this!

I hope everyone enjoys a very spooky weekend!!
It's Sunday night. The weekend is over. Looking forward to a short week ahead. We have an early release on Thursday and a planning day on Friday.

I can relax a bit since my formal observation is out of the way. WOOT! WOOT! I decided to finish it up early this year, rather than wait until the end. I have to say it went really well. I taught a lesson on analyzing primary and secondary sources. We worked with an excerpt from Christopher Columbus' journal. It was challenging text, but the kids had some wonderful conversation. I will share the lesson with you in a later post.

Right now here is my SUNDAY SCOOP with the Teaching Trio. Stop by and link up!

Thanks for stopping by and getting the scoop on me! Now off to get some plans done for the week!
I'm happy to link up with Fourth Grade Flipper for
Technology is here to stay! We all know it. I decided it was time to embrace it. I tried BYOD. Yes! I allowed my students to bring and use their very own devices. I first emailed the parents to explain how I wanted to use technology in the classroom. I requested that the students bring in a tablet, iPod, or phone as long as they could access the internet. I have 3 iPads in my room and I brought in my own for any students that didn't bring a device. As it turned out, only 3 kids didn't have a device, so it worked out perfectly.

The first day we practiced using the site Poll Everything. (I had asked that the students to download the app the night before.)  They were able to answer multiple choice questions or short answers that appear in speech bubbles or word clouds. I gave them basic questions for the practice like "what is your favorite movie?" and "what is your least favorite ice cream?".

They had a blast!

I plan on using this app again during my formal evaluation coming up on Friday.

We have been studying the sun and stars and the kids took an interest in space. I taught them how to find websites appropriate for kids and bookmark them on their tablets. Most did not how to do this believe it or not.

The next day we worked on these super fun Space flip flap books created by Simply Skilled in Second.  I LOVE these books and so do the kiddos! Having their sites bookmarked made research go quicker and smoother.

If you have not tried BYOD give it a try. Let's embrace technology and bring it into the classroom more often. Of course, inform your parents and lay the ground rules for using their own devices at school.
Have fun!

October is here! Fall is my favorite season even though there are no leaves changing or cooler weather here in Florida. This time of year just makes me happy! The colors. The smells. The holidays.
With the start of the new month, comes Farley's famous CURRENTLY linky!

LISTENING to SILENCE! There are only 2 nights per week that I am ALONE! I love this time to get things done or enjoy some reality TV all by myself!

I'm LOVING my class. I feel a little guilty saying it, but they are super sweet and smart. I think it's going to be a great year!

October 17th is my formal observation. I decided to schedule it early and get it over with. What I'm going to do, I do not know! I'm still THINKING about it. My administrators are very supportive and I feel comfortable with them in my room. I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

Getting older makes weight loss a challenge. It just gets harder.  I've been trying to lose here and there, but I just haven't been motivated enough.  A few weeks ago my older brother suffered a heart attack during the night. He had terrible chest pains, but wasn't sure exactly what was happening. He remembered how his good friend had recently described symptoms of his heart attack and my brother decided it was time to get to the hospital. The main artery to his heart was 99% blocked. The doctor said he was an hour from death. It's hard to even think about! I was a nervous wreck all day. Our dad died from heart disease and that was in the forefront of our minds.That day was the turning point for me. I decided that I had no choice but to get my butt in gear and lose some pounds! I HAVE to get my cholesterol down and get healthy!  I joined Weight Watchers online (like I've done a million times) and I started their Simply Start plan. It's basically eating healthy. No counting points, just eating good foods. Loving it and I've lost 7 pounds!!!

I currently have 3 iPads in my classroom. I am trying to get the most out of them with 18 students.  I have used them for word work time and the kids love that. I'm going to try a response system called Poll Everywhere. You can ask open-ended or multiple choice question.  The kids can answer via text message. I'm thinking they can pass the iPads around and take turns answering. What do you think? Have you ever used something like that? (Might be neat to use during my observation!)

Now for a little TREAT! Columbus Day is around the corner. I created a set of graphic organizers to accompany the books Pedro's Journal: A Voyage with Christopher Columbus by Pam Conrad and Encounter  by Jane Yolen. This is one of my favorite activities and I think you'll enjoy it, too!

Check this set out HERE at my TpT store. It will be on sale until Monday, October 6th.

Thanks for stopping by!

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