Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I did over Winter Break

As I was blog stalking browsing this morning, I was catching up with Kelley from Buggy for Second Grade. Make sure you check her out!  She had posted about a new linky party.

Buggy for 2nd Grade

If you follow my blog, you know I LOVE a good linky party.  So when I heard about the one at A Clutter Free Classroom, I had to participate!

What have I done over winter break?

1. Celebrated the birth of my adorable twin girls.
2. blogged
3. made tons of posters for my TpT store
4. FB a ton
5. read my Kindle (awesome Christmas gift from the hubs)
6. Celebrated the birth of my Savior, Jesus!
7. blogged
8. One word...Pinterest!
9. actually made lesson plans (only yesterday!)
10. blogged some more
11. Spent time playing with my girls everyday
12. Shopped, shopped, shopped (no more money left!)
13. Actually had time to play Rockband!  I haven't played since the girls were born!

Needless to say, I had a fun filled restful break!  I am ready to see my sweet kiddos and hear about how their break was.  This year has been flying by and what is sad is, it is one of my best classes ever! Oh well, no time to think about getting sad now, on to planning super fun lessons for the New Year!

Now its your turn!  Head over the Clutter Free Classroom and create your own list and link it up!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Feebie Friday - The Last of 2011!!!

I LOVE Freebie Friday!!!  And couldn't wait to participate in the final one of 2011.  I have a sweet Reading Comprehension poster to share with all my bloggy friends.

Freebie Fridays
Make sure you check out all the Freebies and load up on them today!  I will also be looking for new blogs to follow!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reading Poster Give Away

I previously posted about my sweet Reading Comprehension posters that I have made while on break.  I changed a few things on them to make them even more colorfu; AKA fun!  Here is a quick preview of a few of them.

While I was checking out my friend, Amber's blog Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher, I saw that she was giving away her new math posters.  So I decided to have my own giveaway.  Check out Amber's sweet math posters and get them while you can!

 In honor of all my new bloggy friends I have decided to give these away for, wait for it...FREE!!!!  All you have to do is follow my blog (if you don't already do so!), follow my TpT store and leave a comment below.  Do all this by January 5th and I will send you a copy of the file with all 6 posters to your email!  It is already up on my TpT store for $4, but why pay that when you can get them free!!!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11 in 11

I just love linky parties!!!  I was blog browsing this morning and came across this one from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  I just couldn't wait to participate, so here goes!


11. Favorite movie you watched
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2.  Ok so many of you will say 'what a dork' but I  don't care!  I LOVE this series and have read all the books many times and plan on doing a huge unit this spring with the first book.  Look for that unit to be up then!

10. Favorite TV series
I have 2 favs, is that ok?!?!?!  I am obsessed with two new shows on right now.  The first is Revenge.  I am so hooked on this one that I watch it on hulu when I'm not home to watch!  I also am loving PanAm.  I always make sure that I get a Sunday nap and all my work is done so I can watch it without distractions!

9. Favorite restaurant
My blog wouldn't be what it is without my favorite Mexican Restaurant, Los Arcos!  The offer my favorite special of the week, $1 Taco Monday!!!!  Our group has grown to over 10 people on some Mondays.

8. Favorite new thing you tried
Mine has been blogging.  I am part of a technology leadership group in my district and one of the requirements was to begin and maintain a blog.  At first I was a little hesitant, who would want to read what I have to say!  But as I have gotten into, I love my blog and bloggy friends!   

Favorite gift you received

My hubby got me a Kindle!  I didn't even know I was getting it and am in absolute heaven with it!  
6. Favorite thing you pinned
It would have to be the Owl things for my twins first birthday party.  It wasn't one pin, but a whole board of all things owl!   I loved finding cute ideas and making them myself.
Favorite blog post

My favorite post had to be when I began teaching without our Reading Anthology!  After learning about teaching this way, who wouldn't want to change their teaching style.  I get inspired each time I read it to be a better teacher!

Favorite accomplishment

Deciding to pursue my National Boards Certification!  It took me a long time to decide to dive into actually signing up, but I've done it now!  Wish me luck!

3. Favorite picture
My twin daughters, Raegan and Kenley, were born last December and this picture of us is my very favorite pic!

The babies were only 4 days old here.
Can't believe how tiny they were!

2. Favorite memory
The twins 1st birthday party.  The theme was 'Look Whooooo's Turning 1!' and it was covered with owls everywhere.  It was a great celebration of the twins first year and of me and my hubby surviving and the twins being alive and well haha!
Raegan eating cake
Kenley eating cake and saying her new
favorite phrase, "Hey there!"

1. Goal for 2012
In life:  Our church sponsor an orphanage in Ethiopia and I would love to go on a mission trip down there to help people in that area.  I also want to have less stress.  My twins are the light of my life and I don't want to go around being stressed about the little things, when they don't really matter.

In school:  I want to be more creative.  I see all these fun ideas that so many teachers have and I want to get more creative juices flowing and crank out some of my own.  I also want to meet more of my students needs instead of just doing enough to get by.  I don't do this often but there are some instances which it is easier to just do something that is easy to be done.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas is Over, but here's a freebie!

It doesn't seem like Christmas should already be over!  I just got finished wrapping presents and now there are no presents under my tree.  The twins racked up this Christmas and shouldn't want/need ANYTHING for sometime.
This isn't everything either!  They also got baby dolls, strollers, and a ball pit.

Christmas Morning

Taken at 4 days old

Its very hard for me to believe that last year at this time, I was a new mother to twin girls and was passing out every chance I could just to sleep a few minutes at a time.  They are so active now and are just learning how to stand and cruise around furniture.

Between playing with the twins, and eating (we all know that's what the holidays are really for!) I have been working on Reading Comprehension Strategy Posters.  I am happy to say they are finally done!  I have put all 6 together in my TPT store.  Check out this preview of them!

If you like these make sure you head over to my TPT store and pick up your set! 

And as promised for all my loyal followers, I am giving the Making Connections poster away as a freebie!!!  If you would like to get yours, click here!

Hope you are enjoying your break!  Now time to snuggle up with my new Kindle and read, read, read!!!!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

How is it Already Christmas Eve!?!?!?!?!

Last year at this time I was still in the hospital getting ready to bring my sweet twin girls home for the first time and now they are 1 year old and we are getting ready to celebrate their 2nd Christmas!  This year has flown by and I have mixed emotions watching it go.  I have the BEST class I have ever had in my entire 8 year career and I am already getting sad about them moving on.  I also have watched my adorable twins grow from small 6lbs 2oz Kenley to 24lbs 1oz, 6lbs 9oz Raegan to 22lbs 9oz now.  At this time last year I was snuggling them and praying for sleep.  Now they don't want to be snuggled and I can sleep whenever basically.  I am excited to see them grow and continuing learning, but I wish they could be my little babies just a little longer!  I am almost done wrapping presents FINALLY, and then its on to make a birthday cake for Jesus with my girls.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy it with those you love!

I was stalking several blogs this morning and came across Oh' Boy 4th Grade She was doing this awesome Currently December linky party thing.  Check out her page and get your own to link up with other bloggers!

For those workaholics (like me!) I did want to share an awesome blog from one of my dear teacher friends.

Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

She is a third grade teacher as well and has lots of great ideas.  Check her site out over break!!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Freebie Friday!!!!!!!

If you are looking for awesome Freebies make sure you hop over the Teacher Blog Addict  and pick up all the freebies that are available.  I have my Math Key Word Posters available at my TPT store
If you have a freebie, make sure you link it up on Teacher Blog Addict !

Freebie Fridays


Questions about Questioning

If you read my blog, you know that I have recently given up our reading anthology for instruction that is more inline with the common core.  As I am out on break over the holidays I am working (or supposed to be) on our shared reading plans.  I have planned for us to study questioning when we return.  I have always taught the comprehension strategies in the past as part of my reading workshop minilesson, but now I am rethinking how to teach it.  When I first started doing Reading Workshop about 5 years ago I found Beth Newingham's site and have been stalking her ever since!  I love the lesson she has about questioning and plan on using it.
These are courtesy of Beth Newingham's Website 

What do you do when teaching this strategy?  I need fresh new ideas to engage my students like never before!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Math Key Words Posters

While looking around on Pinterest one day I came across Ms.Durbin's blog (Check her out, she's full of great ideas!)  One of her ideas was these awesome math key word posters.  I loved the design and simplicity of them.  I am currently very lucky that I have a "poster queen" at my school who is always willing to take things I find and blow them up into posters.  I began playing around with ideas and came up with these.  

Check out my TPT store to pick these posters up!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays, Victorian Style!

This week has been a little crazy and I will admit that I was a little jealous of those that didn't have to go these 2 little days, but today was an awesome day in my class. We have been studying Christmas Around the World the past week and have visited many different countries. My students made crafts from each country and even learned how to say "Merry Christmas" in various languages. We made cute little suitcases complete with stickers from each country we visited. My students decided they wanted to live in Italy because children there get gifts from 3 different people.

When we began planning field trips at the beginning of the year, my team decided to plan them for weeks that are basically considered "wasted" anyway (I know we're not supposed to "waste" instructional time but you know what I mean!). Today we went on our field trip to a local museum that used to be a historic hotel. The did a program about the holidays during the Victorian era which tied perfectly with our study of Christmas Around the World. It gave my students a look into how Christmas was celebrated back in the 19th century. They looked at toys, decorations, and foods. Each student also got to make an ornament that a child would have made during that time. We finished our visit with a treat of animal crackers and apple juice. I had no idea that animal crackers had been around for so long! Our study of the different countries Christmas customs paid off as well. My students were able to answer where the Christmas tree originated from (Germany) and asked several questions based on what we had been learning in class. Our group was also paid a very high complement. The staff told us that we were the best behaved group they had all holiday season! They were nervous about having a group so close to Christmas break, but told us we were great!

My Third Graders
Making their Victorian Ornament
Finished Ornament

When we got back to school I had more ornaments planned for my students to make. It went along with the Victorian era when children would make their Christmas gifts, rather than buy them. Each student made a little nut bear, a Santa spoon, and the classic Rudolph candy cane. They had the best time working on them. I actually made the nut bear when I was in 2nd grade and mine still hangs on my mom's tree to this day. I have made it with my students each year I have been teaching. I am hoping that my students will look back at their ornaments when they are older and remember their crazy third grade teacher!

Santa Spoons
Candy Cane Rudolphs
Little Nut Bears
It was a busy, but perfect day! I can't wait to see what 2012 holds with these students.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When Teachers Collaborate Magic Happens!

I am always amazed at the things that come out of teacher collaboration. By now I should be used to magical things happening when groups of teachers share their new ideas or "oldies but goodies". I was asked to share what my third grade team is doing with the Reading and Writing Workshop and Shared Reading at another school in our district. I recieved a very warm welcome and could immediatly tell that this staff, was ready for change! They flipped through examples of my student work that I brought along and asked very thoughtful questions throughout the presentation. Their principal then broke them into different break-out sessions to allow teachers to learn from their own peers about things that were going on in their classrooms to be able to take those back as well. Teachers came over and asked me questions about how I started, how I got grades and a variety of other things having to do with giving up control as the teacher and allowing students to take that on.

After the session as I was packing up to leave, several grade level teams stayed in the school library and immediatly began planning what they wanted to change first! It was awesome to see teachers so commited to their students that they didn't mind changing what was comfortable to them in order for student achievement to be higher. I am so glad that students in our district have teachers who are so commited to their learning!


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