Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year... New Me?

Ok so maybe I won't be a completely new person, but a new year is a good time to start making changes that need to be made. I know everyone makes resolutions but how often do we stick to them? I am going to try REALLY hard to stick to them this year. So, in order to hold myself accountable,  I am linking up with Jessica over at First Grade Nest and sharing them here. I am even going to revisit them every few months and let everyone know how I am doing. Accountability people! We all need it every now and again!

Let's expand on these resolutions shall we...

You can see that most of my resolutions are personal as opposed to professional. I have those goals too, but this year, I am focusing on me. I am going to share my professional goals too, but this year is all about ME (and my family is part of me)!
I want to lose weight and get healthier. Well... so does half of the world. That is why gyms will be jam packed in January. With our crazy schedules, joining a gym is not an option for me right now. But my goal is to lose a little over 20 pounds by my 30th birthday. In order to do that, I HAVE to be healthier, so the two go hand in hand. I am giving up pop (yes, I call it pop) to start. That is a lot of calories. I am also going to make myself a little workout calendar. I am good when I have a calendar that I can cross off. If I can cross something off of a list, I am more inclined to do it. I plan to make it realistic. Nothing that requires hours of time that I don't have. Nothing that I will be too tired to do.

We need to save more money. Who doesn't?! I have been quite a shopaholic lately. Engaging in retail therapy very often. No more! For many reasons. One- I want our credit cards paid off. The goal is for them all to be paid off by June. Two- We are moving soon and I will not have a job right away. Three- our daughter wants to go back to Disney. We have told her we have to save money, and every time she gets money she puts it in her bank and tells us it is for Disney. (In reality it is for college, but she thinks she is saving her money for Disney too.) We also told her once she is potty trained we will go back. Candy doesn't motivate this girl, but maybe Disney will. We already have some money saved for the trip and are about a third of the way saved. We are going to try the weekly deposit in a jar. Week 1 deposit $1. Week 2 deposit $2. Etc. By the end of the year you have saved over $1300!

Stay organized. I suppose this is professional AND personal. At home we HAVE to keep our house in order. We have to list it for sale soon here and no one wants to look at a house full of clutter. Professionally- I have been pretty good with my organization lately so I just need to keep it up. I have folders upon folders that no one else would even know what to do with. But it works for me.

Read more. Simple enough. I love to read. I own 185 books that I have yet to read. Oh my goodness- typing that out it looks like I am a crazy person. I have a lot of them in ebook format that were free or really really cheap, and when a book is $2 you can't not get it (if it is one you want) because next time you look, the price will have gone up. Yes, it has happened to me more times than I can count. Anyways... my goal is to read one book a week. I know that won't even put a dent into my 185 books (not including the ones I am sure to buy in the next 365 days) but it is a start. I have a mommy blog that I post about books that I read (well I did...before I neglected that blog too). I am going to make it my goal to get back to that. See- accountability!

And my last personal goal- take more pictures. I love my camera and really want to learn more features and how to use it better. The only way to do that is to take pictures. But this goal is two-fold. In order to take pictures, we have to be doing things worthy of picture taking...which will result in me spending more time with my family and less time on work. And that is my ultimate goal this year. Family has to be first!

With that said, I do have some professional goals...
My biggest goal is to do the best I can, when I can. Like I said before, this year is about me and my family. I have taken away too much time from my daughter and husband, so I need to find the balance. Here is how I plan to do that... use every minute of my planning time possible. Get the actual plans done before the weekend so all I have to do on the weekend is prep. Grade papers in the hall during restroom breaks. Spend 1 hour a day (no more, but possibly less) on work at home on weekdays. On a night where Tim is working late and Payton is in bed, that is different, and I might work longer.

A friend gave this analogy to me earlier today...and it really sums everything up for me.
"As an adult- you are juggling so many balls- mommy, wife, teacher, business owner, etc... we have to remember that the only glass ball is family. All the others will bounce back. You have to treat your family like the glass ball." 
And another friend chimed in with
"It isn't worth breaking glass to add in any unnecessary juggling that can't be handled at the moment." 2014 is going to be about making sure that fragile glass ball does not even come close to breaking!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quick giveaway and mega deal!

I am sorry I have been such a slacker blogger lately! Life has just taken over. I promise you I am taking pictures and writing ideas down to make sure I share them with you, and I even printed out my 2014 blogging calendar to try and get back in the swing of things... but we have a lot going on at home and a very active 2.5 year old. Forgive me?

Okay... onto the giveaway... that started a few days ago and ends on New Year's Eve. What better way to start 2014 than by winning some awesome prizes!
 There are FIVE New Year's Giveaway Packs which means FIVE WINNERS! And one of the packs has winner's choice from me! The winners will be chosen at MIDNIGHT on January 1 to start the new year off on the right foot. To get all the details and enter the giveaway yourself, stop over to Tailor Made Teaching. Happy entering! 

And now for the MEGA deal...

These long breaks are a great time for some reflection!  It's easy when you are teaching to think... oh this needs to be changed or that needs to be changed but who has the time do it when you are teaching?  Certainly not me!!!  

So some friends and I got together to offer you this amazing bundle for you to quickly and easily make some changes!  

I am so excited about this bundle because it includes new management techniques, behavior interventions, decor, forms, and all sorts of other organizational must haves!  It's only $10.99 and includes over 600 pages of items that can be quickly and easily implemented when you return to your classroom!

If you have had your eye on my pirate decor or were debating it, THIS would be the time to get it. If you want more information about it, check out these posts.

But this is just one product from the bundle.  There are 14 others!  Here's a quick peek, but you can surely head over the Educents post to read about each one!

It's only for a limited time so you won't want to miss out!  

Comment below one thing you want to change in your classroom and be entered to win one additional product from the listed participating stores!  {Oh you can pin something too for an extra entry!}

I don't know about you all.. but when I get this down time I really like to catch up on work things!  So much easier to do now when I can give up an hour here or an hour there than staying an extra hour after work.  Not to mention the mental exhaustion!  

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your holiday!  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Deck the Halls...

It's time friends!!! Time for the HUGE Cyber Monday (&Tuesday) sale at TpT. And Christina Bainbridge has come up with the CUTEST linky party idea. I know I have been slacking with blogging lately, but I just had to join in on this fun one! Check out the playlist below to see some of my favorite "tunes" in my store. Then click the button above to head over to Christina's blog and see everyone else's tunes!

*It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Reading*
Up first- my best seller- comparing and contrasting with nonfiction passages.
There are currently 6 different original nonfiction passages with multiple choice questions for each one, as well as an interview a friend activity that has students comparing and contrasting with their friend. This is regularly priced at $3.50 and will be $2.52 after the sale and using the code CYBER at checkout! And the best part... when I add more passages (I have a few more planned once I get time), you will get the update for FREE even though the price will go up! You can find a little more information about this one here.

*Oh Management, Oh Management*
I am cheating a little bit on this one because I have two that I want to share here. One for you as a blogger and one for your class. So up next, one of my favorite things I have in my classroom this year...  my sound check and noise control chart. 
This is $1.00 regular price.... you can't beat $0.72 cents on a sale day!!! And it really works wonders in my classroom. Here is a blog post where I discuss how I use this in my room. 

And my second management tool is for you, the teacher blogger. It is one of my favorite things I have ever created... my Ultimate Blogging Calendar. 
I could tell you all about this one, but nothing I write will be nearly as good as true reviews from people who have used it and blogged about it (without my knowledge or asking of them to do this!) To find a list of blog reviews (that I am aware of), click this link. You will see a few reviews in there and each post has plenty of pictures! The best part about this one... you pay $5.00 (or $3.60 during the sale) and you get it updated EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR! What a deal! 

*Walking in a Math Wonderland*
My last jam for this post is one of my newest creations and another favorite. My math journal word problems... I have them for addition/subtraction, multiplication, and division. 
Each set has 15 word problems and each question has a regular question and then a "bonus" question. I make my kids do the bonus because it prepares them for 2 step problems. They LOVE them...and I am not just saying that. I tell my kids to get out their little math journals and they cheer! To see how I use them in my class, click here. These are regularly priced at $3.00 each. During the sale you can get them for $2.16 each! If you buy all three, it would be $6.48! You are almost getting the third one for free! 

Be sure to stop by the linky party and see what everyone else is singing about... I know I will be checking out posts to find out what I might need to shop for! 

And don't forget...when checking out on Monday and Tuesday, use the code CYBER for the additional discount. Everything in my store is 20% off and TpT adds the extra discount when you use that code. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's an "All New" giveaway!

I am so excited to share with you this HUGE giveaway! Meg over at The Teacher Studio (formerly Fourth Grade Studio) is having a HUGE giveaway to celebrate her new blog name and design. And she has set up the most amazing giveaway for you... are you ready for this??

Each day there are 12 bloggers/TpTers that are letting the winner choose $10 worth of stuff from their store! That is $120 of prizes the winner gets to choose! Seriously?! Have you ever won something so amazing?! That is like a teaching lottery if you ask me!
Today's donators are 3rd/4th grade sellers, including yours truly. (Even if you teach 2nd stop by and look because everyone has different things in their store, you could use them!) Yesterday's donators were 2nd and 3rd grade and you still have a chance to enter, so head over there quick!

Here are the important details... you have 2 days to enter to win each day's prize package. You can enter any and all of the giveaways.

Since this is an "all new" giveaway... I wanted to share with you a few of new things I have. (Other people may be posting about their new items too so be sure to click each button on Meg's post and check out each blogger's post. You might find something new you didn't know you needed.)

Here are my newest creations..

 And these next two are my newest freebies!

So what are you waiting for? Hop over to Meg's Blog and enter to win your teacher lottery!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Workin' Wednesday- Math Journals

Word problems... They usually are the things that make me want to cry because my kids always think you always just ADD. No matter what the problem says- add. Then...when we learn multiplication, everything becomes multiplication problems. This year I tried to do something to help stop that from happening. And for the most part it is working (of course we are just starting division so they want to divide everything just because it is SO COOL to divide).

And what I am doing that is working is daily (or 3x a week) word problems in a mini math journal. Each day, at least 3x a week, students are given a word problem. They quickly glue the word problem into their mini journals and begin working independently. I give them anywhere from 4-6 minutes to solve the problem (and the bonus if there is one) on their own. Then they get 4 or 5 minutes to work with their groups discussing the methods they used to solve the problem and what methods worked and didn't work. At the end of that, we all come back together and discuss what information we know, what we need to find out, what operation to use, and then finally solve the problem (and label).
The problems that I have started created have (for the most part) a bonus question after the first question. The reason I did this is so that students can get practice working with 2 part problems, but having the problem broken down for them. My students LOVE taking out their math journals and working through the problems. And they get extra excited when they solve the "challenging" ones correctly. And I just LOVE seeing them work through the problems.
This process takes no more than 15 minutes a day and I think it is well worth the 15 minutes.
(And for those of you wondering, the mini journals are regular composition books that I took to Office Max and had cut in half. They charge by the cut and can do a few at a time. I saw on pinterest that Home Depot would do this for free...however when I took them there, the guy completely destroyed one and I refused to let him try again.)

If this is something you want to try, I have so far added the Addition and Subtraction set and Multiplication Set to my TpT store. I am working on Division now and mixed multiplication and division next. You can find them by clicking on the pictures below. And each one's preview file is a free sample question!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fallin For Fact Families Freebie

Before we started really getting into division, we worked on fact families in my class. I started by reviewing what fact families are (relating to addition and subtraction). Then I threw out the big bad word.... inverse. I want my students to know the word inverse and use it. And they know it. Tell them something is a BIG word and they won't forget it. Once students understand that division was the inverse of multiplication and figured out how fact families could help them divide, we did a fun activity. Forgive me for not taking pictures, but my AP walked in during this lesson and I just didn't want to bust out the camera mid lesson to start taking pictures.

Since I have no pictures, I will do my best to explain how we used this in my class.

Each  pair of students got an acorn top that had 2 factors on it. They had to first figure out what their product was.

Taped around the room I had the bottom pieces to the acorns which had the products on them. Once the pairs figured out their product, they had to find it and tape their top to the bottom.

Since the lesson was more about fact families than it was knowing actual multiplication facts, and I was limited on times, the next thing we did was scoot through the room traveling from acorn to acorn and recording the numbers on our recording sheets.

Once that was done, we did one example writing fact families together and then students worked in their groups/pairs to complete the page, writing fact families for each set of numbers.

It was a quick way for students to make the connection between multiplication and division and even my lowest student was successful. So much so that he didn't even want to stop when it was time for lunch. He asked if he could take it out to recess to finish!

Click on any of the pictures to snag your copy for free from my TpT store.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Working Wednesday- Organizing some...

I am back with a quick post to share something that is working to keep me sane. And this one is one that makes me exceptionally happy. See, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am one of those people that LOVES to do lists. Not only do I love crossing things off them (and may be known to add things to the list that I just finished just so I can cross them off) but I NEED them. My memory has never been the best...then I got pregnant and enjoyed the "pregnancy brain" (that is NO joke friends... that is a for real thing). And now I just have mama brain. But it is ok because Payton is pretty darn smart so it is ok that she stole my brains.

So back to the point of this post...

My friend Tara (who is a Gators fan...we are FSU fans in this house... she is lucky she is so nice...) creates the CUTEST to do lists and calendars. Last winter we got to talking about how we needed some kind of organized to do list. And she got to making the cutest things ever. So far she has Oct-March in her TpT store. The best part... they are FREE!

I print the month calendar and 4 weekly pages. On the monthly calendar I keep track of everything I need to remember for my planning purposes. I write down the big reading and math skills our grade is working on and testing on. I also added our testing. This is great so that I don't have to pull out the pacing guides when I am trying to remember what skills we are doing in the next couple weeks.
Then I staple the 4 weekly pages under the calendar to make a little packet. The to do lists vary for the months but you can see what is included on October's. This one is blank for the most part because it is for next week and I haven't planned it all out yet.
If you need or just want some cute calendars and to do lists, hop over to her TpT store linked above and snag these awesome freebies. Thanks Tara for making to do lists that make me happy!

And because Tara is awesome and makes some super cute things... I want to share about her AMAZING deal going on at educents right now... This is a $20 value that is on sale for $6! Click the image below to check it out!

And now some reminders...

Marie over at The Hands on Teacher (who is just an all around awesome person) is having an awesome giveaway! Click the image below to stop by and enter each day of the giveaway. (I am donating for the day 2 winner!)

And of course, I have to remind you about the AMAZING grades 3-5 educents bundle. It ends in about 3 days so be sure to stop by and check it out asap! The image below will take you to the bundle!

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