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Monday, December 31, 2012

End of year sale and a giveaway

Not a very long post today, but I decided to throw a sale (20% off my entire store) as a last hurrah for the year and an opener for 2013. Part of me just really wants to reach $300 for the quarter. I'm sitting just shy of it. The sale will end tomorrow night, so go shop!

Then I also found an AMAZING giveaway that I had to share. The Peanut Gallery is giving away 4 gift cards! Barnes and Noble, Hobby Lobby, Starbucks AND Target. You don't want to miss this!

Steven's out car shopping for me as we speak, so I may have a new (to me) car by the end of the year! We weren't quite ready to do this, but my car is DEAD, so we need something. Prayers that we can strike a great deal (like payments under $200)!

Then tonight we're heading to some friends' house to hang out and ring in the new year. Nothing too crazy. Just a fun night probably playing some board games and hanging out. Maybe we'll even break out the Wii for some Just Dance!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Linky

I know, I know...I've been a little off the radar for the past few weeks. With Keagan's birthday and Christmas activities, I just didn't really have time to post. Keagan's new toys (and some online shopping/browsing) were just way more fun! But I'm back, at least a little bit, and I figured I'd ease back into the whole blogging realm with a simple and appropriate linky party or two.

Teaching Maddeness

Both of these linkies are pretty much the same, so enjoy checking out what other people resolve to do for the new year. Jen recommends listing one personal and one blogging, but I also wanted to add one professional resolution as well.

Personal: This one is a continuation of my resolution from last year. I gained somewhere between 40-50 pounds with my pregnancy, and I'm thisclose to losing it all (or being at a weight I like again). I'm between 5-8 pounds away depending on the day. Before all the Christmas festivities started up hard core, I had actually gotten within 3 pounds for one day, but that went away quickly. I just ordered the Zumba videos and will be working hard to get back down to size. In the meantime, I did actually buy myself some cute clothes that fit me a little better right now.

Blogging: I want to host my own linky party, but I've got to come up with a good idea.

Professional: I want to create more TpT items (keep your eyes open for more literacy centers especially), and I want them to have to mail me a check next time! I way surpassed my previous quarters and made just under $300 so far, which was super exciting. But momma has a lot of college loans to pay off. Plus my car just went ker-put, so I need to buy a new one (to me). We're looking at local auctions because this is NOT the year for us to buy a new car. Steven's job is still part time until next school year, and he's working on his last semester of grad school. Oh well, we'll find something.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I have still been doing a little bit of blog stalking in between my online shopping sprees and play time. I still have three more days of break to relax and enjoy, and I plan on juicing everything I can out of them! When do you go back?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Sale

Hooray! Today is our last day before break, AND it's pajama day for 5th grade, so I joined them. There's nothing better than just throwing on a clean pair of pjs to get ready for the day. My agenda today is pretty easy as well. I'm reading to two classes, and I MIGHT pull one group this morning. Otherwise, I'll be party hopping around the school! ;-)

I know I just threw one of these the past few days, but I didn't realize that a lot of other bloggers were throwing their big winter sales this weekend. Plus I don't think I did a very good job advertising mine because I only had one sale for the past few days. So I'm extending my sale to join with a bunch of other people. This sale starts today and will end on Sunday, so stock up! Plus I'm almost finished with another Magic Tree House packet (Twister on Tuesday) and hope to do two more this weekend (maybe even today since I have to be here but won't be seeing most of my kids anyway). Keep an eye out!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TpT Sale

I'm having a sale in my TpT store today and tomorrow only! Go check it out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A RACK linky party

One of my new blogging friends, Mrs. Foxwell, is having her very first linky party, and it's such a cute idea! Plus, isn't that graphic adorable?

Here's how it works:
You choose 2 blogs that you follow {one newer blog that you recently began following and one blog that you have been following since you first began} and highlight them on your blog by explaining why you think they are such a gift! Then you give them a RACK by offering them one item as a gift from your TPT store!

So here are my 2 blogs:

Fun with Reading and Writing

I just recently discovered Sally (can't even tell you how I stumbled upon her blog - I think I was browsing for more VA bloggers), and she's another reading specialist. She works with grades K-6, and recently she's done a few posts about preparing for the 5th grade writing SOLs. I've been slowly looking through some older posts, and they're all filled with great information. I don't know how she only has 6 followers, but I'm assuming it's only because she hasn't been discovered yet. i wrote about her yesterday, and I'm serious. Check this girl out!

I've been following Amanda at One Extra Degree since I entered the teacher blogging realm back when I just had The Dalton Gang. She is one of the very first TpT stores I found and fell in love with because her stuff is SO cute! She teaches 3rd grade (or at least she taught it), so everything is very relevant to what I teach. But it's young enough that some of her stuff even works for the younger grades. If you haven't discovered her, get out from under your rock and find her!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guide word epiphany and VA Writing SOL help

We still have a full week of school left, so it's been business as usual here (with a few more stories and fun crafts thrown in for the regular classroom teachers...not!). This morning, I was working with 2 fourth grade students on guide words because they just aren't getting it. I tried a few different strategies that I use to put the words in order, but none of it seemed to help.

Then it hit me!

Why not put ALL of the words in order, underline (or circle) the guide words, and see what fits in the middle? So stinking easy! Most of the kids can put the words in alphabetical order. It's finding the word that fits on the page that gets them. So we tried it, and one of the two walked away excited and confident. The other still needs some practice, but he only did it for the last problem. We'll try again tomorrow.

Here's an example of what I mean for those who need a visual like me(or just like pictures):

I would have them underline the guide words (like I showed) and then circle the word in the middle. The nice thing about this is that if there's more than one word in the middle and shouldn't be, they can check the order and correct their own mistakes (this happened today also). I then had them cross out the wrong words and label if it came before or after (more practice!) before they chose the correct answer. I hope this helps!

I also wanted to pass along a FANTASTIC resource I found for those friends of mine who are taking the 5th grade VA Writing SOL. Sally from Fun with Reading and Writing went to the DOE website and looked at all 44 writing prompts that a VA 5th grader may receive. She then broke them down into categories based on the kind of writing they require. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out! I wanted to pin it from her site, but there were no graphics. So click on the picture below to check out her information. I promise it's worth  your time:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook

I felt like it was appropriate to make another quick post. As most (if not all) of you know, there was a huge tragedy this morning in Newtown, CT in a school not very unlike mine. Almost 30 (I've seen different numbers) people, mostly students were killed at an elementary school. I cannot even begin to wrap my brain around it. I hear of things like this happening in high schools, colleges, and even middle schools. But what makes a person come into a kindergarten class and open fire?

We always think that everything is safe and fine in our "little kid" worlds, and I was among those who believed it. But today has shaken that belief to the core. Just yesterday I sat in a dark room with 3rd graders doing our annual intruder drill, not really concerned about it ever actually happening. But Sandy Hook was a quiet, small town school, too.

A large number of bloggers are coming together on Sunday, December 16 to post only this picture along with the title "Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary". Please join us to remember those sweet angel children and staff who died in this senseless act. And lets remember to cherish the time we have with each and every one of our students and coworkers. We really never do know when it will be our last time. I feel like that's something that keeps popping up in my world recently.

I love you all, even though I've never actually met any of you. I felt like that needed to be said. You really do mean so much to me in this strange little blogging world, and I consider you all my friends.

TpT Giveaway

Alison from Teaching Maths With Meaning is having a great little giveaway on her blog today! She's one of the ladies who helped with my giveaway, and she's giving away at $25 gift certificate. Think of all the amazing things you could buy with that! I've got a lot of stuff in my wishlist right now, and I'd love to empty it out a little.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I'm doing for Christmas

We've been busy in my Title I class recently, and even though I'm missing out on all the fun crafts and activities that I did/would do as a classroom teacher, I've still been able to fit in some fun literacy centers.

I've also had the pleasure of pushing into the same 3rd grade class every day for the past week and a half to work with them on Daily 5/CAFE lessons. That's been so much fun to me! I got to help train on all of that this summer, but I never got a good opportunity to do it since we only piloted it last year and I was out on maternity leave for part of that time. Tomorrow will be my last day to push in though, but I think we're going to do two activities with the Polar Express for those two days. We're already working on Read to Self for Daily 5, and they will hopefully be able to start Read to Someone next week. In CAFE, we added Activate Prior Knowledge (where I taught them my favorite word: schema!), Check for Understanding, Find Good Fit Books (with IPICK), and Use the Pictures. Today We're going to do Back up and Reread. They're so excited about it!

Now back to Christmas:

I said I've been doing literacy centers, and it's been so much fun. The kids remember the format for most of the centers from my Thanksgiving pack that we did. So there's less set up and explaining required. I just focus on the new centers to talk them through. Fifth grade has already started them, and I'm noticing some improvement. 3rd and 4th will start either today or next week.

With my younger kids, I focused on the book The Great Christmas Crisis by Kim Norman.

The Great Christmas Crisis

If you remember this post, she was the author we had come visit back in early November. Anyway, I created a packet based on the book.

It had two little activities that I used as centers (one for sequencing and one game using words from the book). There's also a cute writing activity that I may let them do tomorrow. I'll even let them color and decorate their elves if they finish the writing! Here's a sample of that.

I have also completed my winter literacy centers. These are the same format as the Christmas ones, just without the Polar Express sequencing. 4 comprehension centers and 4 word-knowledge.
Pinned Image

What are you doing in your class right now? Or are you allowed to do Christmas-y activities?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My 12 in '12 and a boo-boo

Miss Kindergarten and Teeny Tiny are hosting a great linky party that I had to join! I missed their 11 in '11 party last year, but what a fun way to end out the year.

12. Favorite movie you watched:
The Hunger Games. I don't watch many movies anyway (actually, this may have even been the only one I saw in theaters this year), but this one I couldn't wait to see. I LOVED the books, and the movie was pretty impressive as well. Can't wait until Catching Fire!

11. Favorite TV series:
Big Bang Theory. Always. Especially with Amy Farafowler (sp?).

Although I've also become a fan of Duck Dynasty. I can't help it. Si alone is worth watching it. I laugh so hard every time I catch it!

10. Favorite restaurant:
I still really like Bonefish Grill, but a newer love of mine is Mimi's Cafe for breakfast! Best. Breakfast. Ever.

Locally, I still crave Gibson's Grill for their Irish Nachos. But I can't eat them this week. Maybe after the new year when I'm further along on this South Beach Diet. (Yes, my hubby and I are nuts and doing the diet during Christmas)

9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Spaghetti. I know I'm a complete weirdo, but I used to HATE tomato anything (still not a big fan). While I was pregnant, I started eating noodles with LIGHT sauce on them, and now I love it. Before I would just do noodles with butter.

Oh, and TpT. Love it!

8. Favorite gift you got:
I'm honestly having trouble even remembering what I got for Christmas last year. It was all a BIG blur. I guess I could say my favorite gift was Keagan, but I feel like that's too cliche. Ooh, I remember getting a gift certificate for a much needed pedicure. It was so relaxing!

7. Favorite thing you pinned:
Wonderful Christmas countdown!
I had forgotten about this from Kirsty Wiseman's photography blog, but I may have to make one now to start. So cute and simple. I love simple. Unfortunately the link just goes to her blog and not the specific post.

6. Favorite blog post:
Probably the most helpful blog post I have so far is the one I did on context clues here. Remember Manana Iguana?

5. Best accomplishment:
Becoming a mommy. (Well, technically that was 2011, but the very end) I love this little boy so much!

4. Favorite picture:

I just love this one! His blue eyes are so pretty!

3. Favorite memory:
There have been so many great memories, but I think my favorite might be when Keagan first started to give kisses. Now he'll come over, especially if I'm lying on the floor, and give me a big wet kiss (or 3) right on the cheek. Such a sweetie!

2. Goal for 2013:
Well, this is my goal for the end of this year, but to lose the rest of my pregnancy weight and keep it off (unless I get pregnant again).

1. One Little Word:
organization - I need some more of it in my life.

Oh, and about that boo-boo? I've made it 28 years without ever getting a black eye, but today I think I broke that record. I was getting out of the car this morning and caught the corner of the door with my eye. Fortunately it missed my actual eye, but it was bleeding and swelling earlier. I got an ice pack from the nurse and laid down in the clinic until I calmed down (I got nauseous when I saw my eye), so it was a good thing no students were there yet. It's okay now, but I have a big headache. Plus vain me is thinking how crappy it's going to look in Keagan's birthday pics this weekend. Boo! Maybe it'll die down a lot though. Not too many people have noticed it since I cleaned it up.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tell Me Something Good

Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade is hosting her Tell Me Something Good linky for December, and I love these! It's always nice to talk about the good things that are happening in our lives.

This month, along with talking about one good thing at school and one good thing at home, Jennifer wants us to share something good we've bought as a gift either in the past or present. So here's my list:

Something good at school: I have been able to go into a 3rd grade class to teach Daily 5 and CAFE lessons to model for their long term sub. This is really exciting for me because it almost feels like I'm back to being a classroom teacher. I miss getting to set up things like this, so it's been a nice change of pace. I'll be in there every day for 45 minutes for a little while until we get everything settled. It's been a lot of fun, and I even found some really cute Hippie Daily 5 signs that I want to put up if I can ever get them to print on our crazy school computer. Or remember to print them at home.

Something good at home: There are SO many fun things right now as Keagan continues to grow. He turns 1 on Sunday, and we're getting ready for his birthday party on Saturday. Plus he's starting to stand on his own, give more kisses, and plays patty cake. He's just so adorable, and I can't get enough of him. Oh, and he's a CHATTERBOX! I know he's speaking, I just can't understand him yet.

Gifts purchased: This year has been a lot of fun to shop for with a little one. We bought Keagan a kitchen set, and I can't wait to see his excitement on Christmas morning!
Fisher-Price Servin' Surprises Kitchen & Table
Okay, and maybe I'm a little excited to play with him, too. I think this one's especially cool because all of the kitchen stuff can go inside the table, and then it's just a table to color on. How fun is that?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Happy Sunday!

Can you believe how close we are to Christmas? It seems like time is quickly running out, but we still have two full weeks of school left. The county I live in gets out next Tuesday (very jealous). When does your break start?

Anyway, this will be a busy week. Keagan turns 1 next Sunday (can you believe it? I can't), so this week will be full of preparing everything for his birthday. And of course school.

Oh, and then Steven and I are going on a modified South Beach diet. During Christmas. I know, we're nuts. But we both really want to get rid of this extra weight by Christmas. I don't know how we're going to make it through Keagan's party on Saturday though. We'll see how it goes. Most people lose an insane amount during phase 1, but I only have 5 pounds to go anyway. Maybe they'll all go away this week! No carbs or sweets for the first 2 weeks (I'll probably just do 1). That includes fruit. That's going to be the killer for me.

But my real point for this post was to congratulate my two winners and thank everyone who discovered my blog and joined in on my giveaway. I'm already over 150 followers! You ladies (and gentlemen if I have any of you following) are so amazing!

My winners were Jo and Cindy! Congrats, and enjoy your prizes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2 new products

I finally made another novel unit, and I'm SO excited about it! This is MY favorite Christmas book. I cry when I read it. I have been wanting to put together a literature unit for it, and today was finally that day. I hope you're able to use it and enjoy it!

This week, I have also been working on decoding strategies with my students. I've noticed that this is something my 5th graders especially struggle with, and I wanted to download some posters to put in my room. But when I looked online, none of them quite matched. So I created my own! Here's an example of one, but there are 8 total. Click on the picture to go to my store!

Finally, there are only a few more days before my giveaway ends, so don't forget to enter!

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Currently

It's that time again! I can't tell you how excited I am that it's December. Last week was a really rough one, and I'm ready for some great Christmas spirit. Go link up for Farley's December Currently!

For my RAK (Random Act of Kindness), this is one I've heard of people doing, but I've never done it before. I think it would be really neat, plus I can treat myself to some Chick-fil-A to accomplish it!

Yesterday we went to a friend's house to watch the local Christmas parade. Can I just say that this was the LONGEST local parade I've ever seen? We don't live in a city, but there were 4 high school bands and a TON of old cars! I even scored some coupons for Sonic and Chick-fil-A. Those cows had to give me a freebie when they passed by!

Oh, and I just HAVE to share a picture of my little man from yesterday! He'll be 1 in about two weeks. Time flies by so quickly!

I really wish I'd moved him where there weren't feet behind him because this would be a PERFECT Christmas card photo. Oh well, hindsight's 20/20. We're going to take him to see Santa at Bass Pro later this week. Did you know they give you a photo for free? Plus I think the kids get to make an ornament this year. Can't beat that deal!

Finally, don't forget about my 100 follower giveaway. It ends Friday at midnight!