Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolution Linky!

I'm a bit behind, but I'm hoping putting some of these resolutions in print will help me stick to I'm going to play catch up with some of my favorite bloggers!
Technology: Learn to Use a REAL Camera
My mother-in-law to be has graciously offered to get us a new, "real" camera for a wedding gift! I've never had anything better than a basic point and shoot and I am super excited to learn how to shoot in manual with a nice camera.  I love to take pictures but am currently limited to my phone because I can't find the daggone charger for the camera.
(Hmmm...maybe that's a sign that I need to move on down to the ORGANIZATION resolution...)
Anyways, this is a resolution I know that I'll keep because it's something I've been wanting to do for a while!  Hopefully we can say goodbye to my grainy, dim-lit pictures on this little blog!
I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of test shots of this handsome dude during the learning process!
More pictures???  Oy.

Organization:  PURGE!
I've actually gotten a headstart on this one!  As I've been putting Christmas decorations/gifts away...I've felt the need to clean and organize every nook and cranny of every closet before I put anything new in there!  I don't think the next 2 days of break are going to be quite enough time to tackle that I'm hoping to try to go one room at a time over the next few weeks and do some tossing/donating.  So far, only our master bath closet has been completed...nothing fancy but everything has a "home" and I didn't have to buy any baskets, etc.  I did a little shopping in my basement and found what I needed. I think some littlechalkboard labels will be the perfect finishing touch to tie it all together!
(I told you my camera was bad!)
Here are a few of my favorite organization pins from Pinterest that will be my inspiration!
Click the pictures to check out the original source.
Professional Growth: Be a good mentor to my student teacher
I am getting my very first student teacher *ever* in a couple weeks!  I have been busy preparing for her arrival and I plan to share my experiences in the weeks and months to come!
Downtime: Close the laptop
I am promising myself to use my time more wisely at school (mainly grading papers and entering grades instead of running my mouth).  That doesn't mean I won't have work to do at home (yea right!) but I do want to try to spend more time with my boys that doesn't involve looking up from my laptop.
How could you not want to be a little bit lazy with these cuties?
I also have a new neice on the way and I'm looking forward to spoiling her very, very rotten.
Fitness:  Do SOMETHING
Plain and simple.
Hello Jillian.  My name is Amy.   We are going to be getting to know each other over the next few months.  Please be nice to me.  I haven't worked out in a really long time.
I did P90X last spring and haven't worked out since day 91. Disgusting.  Apparently, since I was so proud of myself for doing P90X and eating right for 3 months...I thought I could never work out again and eat junk.  Oops.  That didn't work out so well.  I have a beach wedding coming up in May and I have 3 phases of Jillian videos ready to kick my butt back into shape!  I loved doing P90X with Andy, but the workouts are so, so long (some over an hour!).  Most days we worked out as soon as I got home from school and all I had time to do was make dinner and do school work before it was time for bed.  I'm hoping these shorter 20-30 minute videos will be more do-able for the long term.
This just cracked me up and I had to share.  In all seriousness though...I'm going to try to eat healthier without "dieting."  This girl needs a cheat day every now and then to eat some pizza and drink a glass (or two) of wine and I fully intend to do just that.
2012 has been absolutely fabulous...2013 promises to be even more exciting!  Many blessings to each of you in the new year.
Want to link up?  Click here to head over to sweet Amy Lemon's blog to do just that!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Geometry & Patterns: Hello Winter!

I hope you all had yourselves a VERY merry little Christmas.  Andy and I are at his sister's house in Nashville for a few days visiting with our adorable little niece and nephew....while we patiently wait for a sweet niece (and goddaughter) on the other side of the family (my brother and his wife) to make her arrival!  Exciting times! 

This post will be short and sweet because we are back on the road today, but just in case anyone is being REALLY good and already planning for your return in January, I wanted to share a few  fun math projects that we'll be working on when we get back.  We will take our "short week" to review addition and subtraction strategies before we dive into patterns, geometry, and comparing/ordering numbers to 100.  

My brand new "Hello Winter" math pack includes:

 -a winter story problem book (15 pages concentrating on addition/subtraction)
-backwards story problem templates 
-addition/subtraction independent practice sheets (to 12 OR to 18)
-a geometry book for introducing vocabulary (closed vs. open shapes, sides, vertices, etc.) and attributes of basic plane shapes 
-list of geometry books available to enhance your teaching
-"At First it Was a Shape..."  book (my absolute favorite!) which incorporates creative writing into recognizing plane shapes in our environment
-"Draw Me!" independent practice and/or assessment sheets to monitor students' understanding of attributes of basic plane shapes AND ability to construct them
-pattern block cards
-winter pattern picture cards (to use in centers/stations OR as a whole group/small group)
-Pick the Pattern independent practice and/or assessment sheets to monitor students' understanding of how to extend shape/color patterns
-"Between Teens" partner/small group game and coordinating number cards to introduce and practice numbers 10-20 as well as concepts of one more/one less  



I am really proud of this product and excited to use it with my own kiddos when we return.  I will be back soon to show you more of this pack in detail.  Right now...I think there is a dance party starting upstairs in our nephew's room with a Yo-Gabba-Gabba CD and I don't want to miss it. ;)  

If you're interested, there is a lengthy preview available to download on TPT to see if it's something you might want to use.

Click on over to my TPT store and grab this Hello Winter math pack while it's on sale for $5 through the end of the year!

Happy end of December to you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blog Hop & Shop

Happy winter break teacher friends!!  This is what my to-do list looks like today.
1. Cuddle with the dog and watch the Today show
2. Clean the house
3. Wrap ALL our presents that are stuffed in the guest bedroom
As you can see, my priorities are in order. ;)    The best thing about this list is that none of these tasks require me to shower or change out of my PJs.
I hope your list looks similar!
If I can manage to get through this list by tonight...I will probably spread out my school stuff and start getting organized for January.  I know that makes me a giant nerd but I've found that I can enoy my break more when I know it's done...and my productivity seems to dwindle as break goes on. ;)  Also - We are heading to Nashville to see Andy's family right after Christmas and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new neice so I'm just not sure what the end of the break will look like for me! Lots to look forward to.
Just in case there are any other fellow nerds out there...there is a big sale going on right now to help you stock up for the second half of your school year!  Here are some of the fellow teachers who have their stores 20% off through the 23rd. 
For all my kindergarten teacher friends...if your babies are ready to take off with their reading...pick up my Super Sight Word Pack to start when you return.  :) 

I do plan to post some winter activities soon check back!
I hope you all enjoy your holidays and cherish your time with your loved ones.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers For All

My sweet sister-in-law (to be) found this post on facebook this morning and it is the only thing that has made me feel any sense of peace.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers--so many caring people in this world."
-Mr. Rogers


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I think I can. I think I can.

7 more school days before a little time off.  Not that I'm counting. :)  I have to babies have been pretty good considering they have Santa on the brain...I am just looking forward to some time off with my guys to recharge for a fabulous second half of the year.
Yes, I am that person that puts my dog in a tacky Christmas sweater so that I can take a picture for the "December" page of our 2013 calendar.  Yes I am.

I have come to the realization that I cannot fit every cute "pinterest find" into the next 7 days...(and I keep telling myself that's OK...but I don't believe myself sometimes). Here are some of the fun things we HAVE done so far. 

One of our Virginia Standards is about diversity in our state and understanding that people have different traditions, customs, etc. and why.   We talk a lot about how people's ancestors are from all over the world and some people were born in the United States while others moved here, etc.

I get a lot of..."I was born in North Carolina" comments.  We are still working on the difference betwen continent, country, state, city. ;)

I randomly ask the kids all the time "Where are you?"  and they have to answer either United States, Virginia, North America, etc.

They think it's hilarious because sometimes I will catch them off guard and they look at me like I'm crazy. 

I have one sweetie who is from Nigeria and I was asking him what kinds of recipes and traditions that his parents may have brought with them from Africa to try give the class an example... and he said "Umm...we like to eat at El Rodeo" (popular Mexican restaurant here).


Not exactly what I had in mind...they crack me up.

One activity we did this year to help them understand this standard was an "at home" writing project.  Their parents helped them write a few sentences about some of their family's favorite holiday traditons.  We read them all and they made a lot of connections that some traditions were the same from family to family and some were not.  That conversation was a great pathway to discussing Christmas Around the World, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, etc. and how many of our holiday traditions originated in other countries.

I found this adorable Rudolph and incorporated it with the writing for a hall display.  No pattern except for a brown circle (for the head) and a red circle (for that big ol' nose). The rest we just did it step by step together using a sheet of brown construction paper (cut a rectangle for the neck, cut strips for the arms and antlers, etc.)  I love how they all turned out so different...and so darn cute. 

The top of it says "If Rudolph looked in my window at Christmas time...this is what he would see.

If you'd like a copy of the letter I sent home to families and/or the writing here for a free Google doc.
We also made these adorable ABC Order reindeer inspired by the fabulous Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade.  She posted these last year and I didn't find them in enough time to do them before Christmas.  We did some Christmas ABC order cards with partners to practice our skills and then we put all of the reindeer names in order on this sweet little guy.

We used alphabet strips and bears to "mark" the beginning letter of each word.  Then, they can see which bear is first in line, etc.  This helps as they are just learning how to alphabetize words!

We also complete our Christmas 5 Senses Poems.  They came up with some awesome things! 

How awesome is the spelling of "cinnamon buns" on this one?  Adorable.
I am off to rest up for Mooseltoe activities tomorrow and GRINCH day (my favorite) on Thursday. 
Pinned Image
Happy teaching to you!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fa-la-la-la Freebie!

Two posts is two days? Who am I?  :)
 I just couldn't pass up a chance to link up with the sweet gals from Freebielicious. All freebies...all the time.  Plus, some of THE sweetest chicks in the "blogosphere"  contributing to that site. Seriously.
 What's not to love? 
I posted a five senses poem about FALL a couple months ago and since then, I've had lots of requests for more of them.
I've done a Christmas one in the past that always turns out soooo stinkin' cute.  They always usually make my heart happy!
Some examples of ideas my first graders have come up with in the past...
Christmas sounds like...jingle bells, Christmas carols, laughing, Ho Ho Ho
Christmas tastes like...candy canes, hot chocolate, pancakes, sugar cookies
Christmas looks like...snow, red and green, bright lights, fun, family, presents, ornaments
Christmas smells like...a fire burning, pine trees, peppermint, cookies baking
Christmas feels like...slippery wrapping paper, love, fun, happiness
and my all time favorite...
"Christmas feels like hugs."
The "feels like" one is often the hardest for them to come up with...I tell them it can be a feeling on the inside or the outside. In other words, something you actually touch with your hands OR something you feel in your heart. 
I hope you enjoy doing this with your kids as much as I do. :)
I also whipped up a "Winter" one in case you don't do Christmas activities at your school...or if you're like me and are trying desperately to fit everything in before break and just run out of time!
Happy teaching to you!