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!!

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