Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Birthday & a Freebie too!

Wow – I can’t believe it is my 19th Birth-Giving Day! Okay – I guess it’s really not all about me – what, are you serious?! It came as a shock to me too!

Happy birthday to my amazing, incredible and brilliant son! I can’t believe he is 19 years young today. And, hopefully, reading this on the way to class!! 

Here is an amazingly cute picture of him and Realistic Girlfriend near their Realistic college!!  Yes, a beach school!! {{{LOVE}}}

In honor of son Realistic’s birthday I am posting a freebie! This is the birthday pack that I give my students on their birthdays. They can work on it throughout the day and take it home with them. Click on the photo below to receive the pack!!

They also get a special pencil with a balloon on the top. I found the idea on Pinterest and made my own but will spare you the photo…it totally doesn’t look as good as the one I saw on Pinterest. I do not claim, nor have I ever claimed, to be a “crafter”, but I gave it my best effort, which is the same as I expect of my students.

Happy Birthday Bud! I am proud of the amazing and wonderful things you have done over the last 19 years. I can’t say each moment has been easy, but we’ve learned and grown and my world is so much brighter because of you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back When I Was In...

Just a quick and fun post tonight! I’ve had a crazy busy day and still have a to-do list about 2 feet long that I’d like to get done tonight.  I am linking up with Second Grade Sparkle for “Back when I was in…”

How crazy fun is that!?! So, here is me back in the day… actually my first trip to Disney!!!

And here is me (kinda) now…

Yep - still have the same color (now out of a bottle) hair & squint in the sun!

Please join in on the fun – I can’t wait to see what the rest of you looked like!!

The rules are simple:
1.  Post a picture (or two) from when you were in the grade you teach
2.  Post a picture of you now
3.  Visit with others & post comments

Happy early Friday friends!! Have a fantastic day tomorrow!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blogging for the Classroom & Great Giveaways

This will probably be my last Wednesday blog for awhile! I am heading back to school tomorrow – it’s track-in time! My time off has flown by, but I’m ready to go back knowing that next month we’ll get a little time off for the holidays. 

This next track-in does seem to be my longest stretch though – getting through the winter months is just as hard for a year-round teacher.  I remember teaching traditional and thinking knowing spring break would never arrive!!  On a more serious note, I have some questions for my bloggy friends…

Do you have a blog for your class?  Do you use your personal blog as a classroom blog? 

I’m thinking about starting a blog for my students and their families. I know, really?! like I need one more thing on my plate. I already have my Blackboard site, but I don’t use it that much. I find that blogging is way easier. Please let me know what you do because I’m curious and would love your opinions before I start something I shouldn’t…or start something that would be fantastic!! I know I can count on my virtual teacher friends :)

Here are some great giveaways that I am excited to be a part of right now. You know I love a great giveaway!!

Mrs. Jones Kindergarten is hosting a Primary Holiday Giveaway! This is her first giveaway, so make sure you head over there and give her some bloggy love & support!!

From my store you can win…one of my holiday favorites…The Nutcracker station and activities unit!!

And…First Grade with a Twist (love the name of her blog) is having a giveaway too!  She has reached her 100 follower goal!!  Yayyy!! 

From my store you can win…Diary of a … {A winter writing unit}.  I can’t wait to use this next month with my kids! As soon as we do, I’ll snap some pictures & post the results!!!

Don’t procrastinate!  Make sure you head over to these amazing blogs and enter their giveaways today…and give me your opinions…to blog (for my classroom) or not?

Peace out peeps!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tremendous Tuesday

I am linking up with Sweet Tea Classroom and her TpT Best Sellers and Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) Sale.  I know, I know, you probably already know about the TpT sale…who doesn’t, right!?

Sweet Tea Classroom

My best seller is The Giver novel study. This was one of my favorite books to teach in the classroom.  If you haven't read The Giver, it is a MUST read!!  Please read it yourself before reading it with your class - I recommend this with all books, but especially books that can be sensitive in the classroom. This is not a book that I have the opportunity to read with my students now, but when I taught 7th grade it was my favorite novel to teach!!

Right now many sellers (including myself) are focusing on their seasonal products; but there are some other great products out there as well!! Here are some great featured products that you might want to explore for your classroom:

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Time to go Back, 5 for Five & a Manic Monday Freebie

I can’t believe this is my last Monday of track out! I head back to school for work days on Thursday and Friday and haven’t done any lesson planning! My teaching bag is still where I put it 3 weeks ago. If I don’t get in gear soon I won’t be ready next Monday when my kiddos come back! Ugh!

One of the downfalls of year-round is all the moving. It sounds like it should be easy – the kids move their own materials into storage cubbies and then into our new classroom cubbies. But hanging up all the materials and arranging the room is a nightmare! And, to do it every 9 weeks is stretching me way too thin; especially, when I like everything a certain way.

Thank goodness it is 5 for Five Monday - another way to make sure I get through my list this week!!  Jenn & Jessica help me stay motivated throughout the week!

Here is how last week turned out:

1.  Check out a new non-teaching book – and READ it!  Check – done! I actually started and finished Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky.  I know controversial – but it was on my to read list and I am so glad that I did. 

2.  Get Oldest Realistic his new phone – check done! He is thrilled to have the new iPhone 5 and this momma is thrilled to have it done. Now he can facetime his Nana & Papa and I can get my twice-weekly scheduled calls.  Yes – I am limited because I have helicopter hovering parent syndrome. I would be on the phone with him 3 times a day if I could!

3.  Get to the gym twice this week – sadly, I didn’t meet this goal (again) this week!  I made it to my Monday zumba, but that was it…this week for sure!! I’ve realized how difficult it is to go to the gym when your schedule changes.

4.  Continue to grow my little slice of cyberspace – check done!  I completed the 3 post minimum that I set for myself and am so thrilled that I continue to grow.

5.  Take time to enjoy my family and friends – check done! I spent some much needed time with my boys and Mr. Realistic.  We enjoyed Thanksgiving together and had a nice evening with Oldest and his girlfriend.  Ahhh…young love – they are so cute!!

4 out of 5 isn’t bad, but I am really going for the gold this week and am going to meet my challenge head on!!

This week’s goals…

1.  Lesson plan for the next two weeks.  Yes, the second week will be just a rough sketch, but at least get it formatted and saved on my flashdrive.

2.  Hit the gym three times this week.  No more excuses!!

3.  Start decorating for Christmas – even if it is just brining the boxes into the living room…

4.  Paint more clothes pins for our behavior chart.

5.  Have my classroom set up and arranged before next Monday morning – that may mean staying on Friday until 6:00, but it must be done!! 

Yayyyy!! It’s Manic Monday again! I am keeping up and have your freebie on time today!! Go me!! Here is a freebie that will help you get through December!

Now – I’m off to TpT to finish my shopping!! Don’t forget you can get 28% off my store today and tomorrow!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Better Late than Never Friday Freebie & Some Ramblings

Oh my gosh – I can’t believe I let a Friday Freebie post slip by me! I was so caught up with the fame of the Liebster award that I missed a Friday Freebie – please forgive me!!! Did I say I’m sorry, because I really am! :(

In return for your forgiveness – I guess this is kinda like a bribe…what am I the mafia?? Anywho – my mind is racing today – can you see the ADHD label stuck to my forehead?! Here is my peace offering…  The Snowman Book Report.  Just a little something from my blog to you…remember, you owe me forgiveness now :)

And did I tell you? I am trying to convince my son to create clip art!!! He is an amazing artist – this is oldest Realistic we’re talking about – and I thought he could start his own TpT store (with the help of his mama because I know how busy he is at college – can you see my eyes rolling – seriously he sleeps 12 hours a day) called the Teacher’s Kid!

If you’re a parent you know what it is like for your son/daughter to be the TK (teachers kid). The expectations are a little different…maybe they’re held to a higher standard or expected to be better behaved – more mature.  Okay – maybe that is what I expected from my biological TK’s. 

Anyway – I thought it would be a great way for me us to score some amazing clipart and him to make some extra money for his junk books, pizza, bike, clothes, college kid expenses. His own little entrepreneurship.  I’m sure youngest realistic will be in on the deal soon – he is really the entrepreneur of the two.  Here will be his offer, “I’ll run your store” for a percentage. Ugh – these boys keep me on my toes!

I’ll keep you posted about my scheme the TK’s art and store as soon as he gets back to me!  Which may up to  1 year...depending on how fast he moves!

Off to refill my coffee cup – peace out peeps!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Liebster Blog Part II

Oh my gosh – the most flattering two days of my life!!! The Price of Teaching and Classroom Cupcakes also nominated me for The Liebster award!! I can’t believe it – you really like me!!! Yes, I am squealing with delight!

11 more random things about me…

1. I love coffee – it is one of my addictions…

2. When I sleep I wear a sleep mask. It is not a pretty image – my poor hubby!

3. I suffer from migraine headaches; I get them once or twice a week…it’s a long story, yes I take medicine; yes, I have tried the chiropractor; yes, I have tried IV therapy; yes, I have been hospitalized for them; yes, I have seen a massage therapist; yes, I still do a combination of these things to “prevent” them, but I still get them.

4. My first career was in insurance. I still love the business world and often compare things in education to business because I see so many people trying to implement a business structure in education. Nope, not going to work – we’re dealing with children – it is completely different! They are not, will never be, and should never be seen as pieces of data!!! Okay – off my soapbox; but yes, I love business – it would be my third career if I ever changed careers again which is highly unlikely.

5. I tell my students that my husband’s first name is Mr. They always ask what his “real name is” but I tell them that his mom named him Mr. – I spell it out on the board “Mister” and they believe me!!! The parents always ask and I tell them the truth, but it is one of those little games I play with my kids!

6. My first job was as a telemarketer. I called and asked for donations on behalf of PBS. Yes, it was the perfect job for me – I love to talk!

7. I am a diehard Spartan fan!! I don’t care if they have a bad season, or two, or three, or decade. I am an East Lansing girl at heart!!

8. I have an addiction to school and office supplies. I hide store them under my bed in plastic containers.

9. I cannot read a map and get lost…a lot…even when I am going somewhere I’ve been before.

10. I make lists for everything. When I cross something off my list, I rewrite it because otherwise it looks messy.

11. I love huge and violent thunderstorms & would love to try tornado chasing!!

Here are Brianna’s questions

1. If you could chose one famous person to meet, who would it be and why? 
I would love to meet Thomas Jefferson. He is a wonderful writer and was an amazing president. I think he could provide a lot of insight in today’s world.

2. What is your favorite smell?
My favorite smell is coconut. I love anything coconut!

3. Other than your computer, what do you hear right now? 
I am listening to the furnace and shower running. I think someone is up and ready to go shopping in our house!!

4. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
There would be a lot of new purchases – however, the first would be a home. We definitely need an upgrade!!

5. What is the top item on your Christmas list? 
The top item on my Christmas list this year is an iPhone. I am so incredibly excited to finally be getting one this year.

6. What do you do most when you are bored? 
I don’t really have time to get bored. I always have some type of project going or something to do for school. During my down time I love to go to the gym and read.

7. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I wanted to be a million different things growing up. Stages and phases I guess. The first thing I remember wanting to be was a teacher. I loved to “play teacher” at home and with my friends.

Probably about middle school and high school I wanted to be a stock broker so that I could live in New York. Ahhh, the glamorous life!

During my first round of college I majored in travel & tourism, but ended up going into business. I was actually in business for 10 years before I decided go to back to school and major in education.

8. Do you have pets?
We don’t have a pet any more. Scamper, our dog, passed about 2 years ago and we just haven’t gotten another pet.

However, that would be item number 2 on my Christmas list this year! Mr. Realistic is not interested….we just have too much going on right now. I continue to scheme and will have a new puppy in 2013!!

9. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? 
This is definitely with my best friend Nicole. Once she and I get started we can’t stop!!

10. What is your favorite children's book?
Oh my gosh – this is a tough one!! I can’t really pick just one because I am obsessed with kiddy lit! I loved reading Where the Red Fern Grows to my older students. At the end we would all sit on the floor in a circle and cry. Yes, I let my students see me cry when I read – they need to know that we can be so attached to a character that they touch a place in our hearts.

With my 2nd grade babies I love to read The Three Questions. My students find it very thoughtful and they love to analyze it and pull out the author’s message.

11. If you could compete in any Olympic sport, what would it be?
Bwhahahahahaha!!! If there was a reading competition I would totally win a gold!! I am not an athlete, and have NEVER been accused the being one!!!

I figure skated as a little girl and would love to be an Olympic figure skater…again, God would really have to change my ability though – I need some a lot more grace and much better balance!!

Miss Chaney’s Questions
1.  If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Baby Got Back!  Hahahaha! Just kidding – although there is a ton of truth to that statement!

My Wish – Rascal Flats

2.  Why did you choose to become a teacher?
Honestly, teaching followed me.  I knew when I was little that I wanted to be a teacher.  I had amazing role models.

3.  Why did you start blogging?
I followed a ton of blogs for a few years and loved reading about other teacher’s adventures in their classrooms.  Another teacher suggested I start my own blog and I did!

It’s a great way to share my stories and learn from others along the way.

4.  What has been the best thing to happen in your years as a teacher?
I have met and become friends with amazing families!!! Since I have changed grade-levels a few times I have had the opportunity to teach siblings for 3 years in a row.  I have become very close with those families and love their kids as much as I love my own.

5.  Skittles or M&M's?
M & M’s.  My favorite are the coconut, but I love the pretzel ones too!

6.  What was the last book you read for you?
Actually, right now I am reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  It is really good!

7.  Apple or Android?
Currently, I am an android girl; but I am getting ready to make the switch to Apple.  I can’t wait to get the iPhone 5 in December!!

8.  If you could create a new species, what would it be?
I’ve never been the scientific type so it’s super hard for me to imagine doing this…  I would have to combine dogs though.

It would have to be some kind of pug, chihuahua, dachshund, yorkshire mix. I would have to leave it to the professionals though because I know nothing about breeding dogs!

9. Acrylic nails or au naturale?
Au naturale right now; however I loved my acrylic nails – they were so much easier
10.  What food makes your mouth water just by saying its name?
Coconut cream pie

11. What are your plans for the holidays?
I would love to go home for the holidays but it is just not in the plans this year.  The four of us, Mr. Realistic, Oldest Realistic, Youngest Realistic and me are going to stay home for the holidays.  Of course, Girlfriend Realistic will be joining us too.  I am really just planning on relaxing and reading.

 Here are my 11 questions for the blogs I nominate
1. What is your favorite smell?
2. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
3. Do you have and what is your end of the day routine? At school & at home?
4. What is your favorite TV show?
5. Do you have pets?
6. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
7. What is your favorite book to read to your students?
8. Why did you start blogging?
9. What is your favorite type of weather?
10. Are you a “list maker”?
11. Do you workout, go to the gym, or exercise in general?

Here are the blogs I’m nominating:
1. Two Tacky Teachers 
2. The Happy Teacher
3. Mrs. Hutten’s Buttons
4. The Reading Buddies
5. The Creative Chalkboard
6. Drowning in Paperclips
7. The Balanced Classroom
8. Teaching Maths with Meaning
9. Study all Knight
10. Ms. M’s Third Grade Gems
11. The Teachaholic

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving & Liebster Blog Award

What, what?!?!  Happy Turkey Day peeps!!  My house currently smells amazing – no thanks to me – but to Mr. Realistic who (thank God) does all the cooking. We don’t need anyone here dying of food poisoning. 

I received an awesome nomination today – which made my Thanksgiving even sweeter – for the Liebster Award.  Thanks to Learning with Mrs. Leeby who nominated me.  I am really flattered!!

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers – yep, that’s me!! It’s to show that new bloggers are appreciated and help spread the word about our little pieces of cyberspace.

Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see who you nominate.

Whoa – 11 random things about me…
1.  I love Zumba!!! I’ve never been a workout girl, but I joined the gym and am now addicted. I go to Zumba twice a week and work with my trainer the other day.

2.  I wanted to be a teacher since I was in 1st grade. I had an amazing teacher (Mrs. Mock) who inspired me to love reading and writing.

3.  I love reading! Every year I try to read at least 200 new books.

4.  I eventually want to teach abroad – even if it is only for one or two years. I couldn’t leave my boys for too long and I definitely won’t be able to do this until they are both in college. Mr. Realistic isn’t as passionate about this goal!

5.  I have an obsession with reality TV. It drives Mr. crazy but I can’t help it – Storage Wars, Buried Alive, Hoarders, American Pickers…if it’s on A&E or the History channel I love it. I know – nerd (ha, I’m really okay with that!)

6.  I talk to myself – all the time! It doesn’t matter if someone is in the room with me or not. This even happens in public – sometimes it’s embarrassing when someone catches me, but I can’t help it! My guys are always saying, “What?” and I have to admit, “Sorry, I was talking to myself…again”

7.  I practice my handwriting. I have since I was little, because I always knew I would need perfect teacher handwriting!

8.  If I don’t do things well I choose not to do them at all. I am a perfectionist so if I don’t exceed expectations then I just don’t do it. That is one of the reasons I don’t cook! My contribution to Thanksgiving is usually Jello. Yes, I’m that cousin!

9.  I want to spend my whole summer in Michigan. I miss my family sooo much it hurts and I want to spend the next summer with them. I’m working on making that goal happen, but I currently teach at a year-round school and I’d have to move to a traditional school. I hate the thought of leaving my school because I love it there!!

10.  I despise math. I don’t tell my students this, but I do tell them that we all like certain subjects better than others, but that we need to do our best at all of them. Most of them have figured out my favorite by the end of the year though!

11.  I have a passion for children’s literature and collect children’s books! Yes, it is an obsession. I love to figure out what students like and find the perfect book for them to read. I also love to read aloud to my students!!!

Questions from Mrs. Leeby:
1.  Do you plan an instrument?
No – I “played” the flute in middle school, but I couldn’t read the music so I just copied the finger movements of the first chair.  Yes, I was last chair. My poor parents had to listen to me try to play every night. They are saints!

2.  Where have you traveled?
I have been to 29 states. I want to make sure that my children see the entire country before they graduate from college. I think it is super important for them to understand the country they live in.
Outside of the United States, I have only been to the Bahamas, Mexico, and Canada; but there are so many places I want to see!!

3.  What is your favorite thing to cook or your favorite recipe?
I hate to cook – but I have tons of favorite recipes for others to make for me. Yes, that is the princess in me talking!  My grandma makes the most amazing pasta from scratch and I have amazing memories of baking and cooking with her in the kitchen. I love when my mom makes me meatloaf – it is the best!!

4.  How long have you been teaching?
I’ve always loved to teach people new things; but officially this is my sixth year in the classroom.

5.  What’s your zodiac sign?
I am a Libra.  You can definitely tell because I like balance in my life – although I rarely get it because I am always busy with one project or another.

6.  Camping or hotel on a beautiful summer weekend?
Hotel!!! I am not an “outdoorsy” girl. I am fortunate that my parents have a cottage on a lake in Michigan, so I am really a cottage kinda girl! The last camping trip I went on was for my boys Cub Scout group and we went in a camper.

7.  Most embarrassing blogging moment?
I can’t answer that. I haven’t been blogging long enough to have an embarrassing moment. I’m sure, with my luck, that it will happen soon enough!

8.  Bath or shower?
Shower – I don’t have time for the bath. Some of my best ideas happen in the shower!!

9.  Wine or beer?
I am really not a beer girl – long story & probably definitely not appropriate for my blog.  I recently found a wine I finally like, but I am more of a liquor girl. Give me cake vodka in a cookies and cream milkshake any day!!

10.  Real or fake Christmas tree?
I only have real Christmas trees growing up and I only had real trees when we lived in Michigan, but now that we’ve moved, it’s easier to put up a fake one.

11.  Is blogging taking over all of your free time?
Blogging is beginning to take up a lot of my time, but I am not letting it take over my life…Mr. Realistic would not agree!  I make sure that I take time to work out too, but I’ve put reading on the back burner. I’ve also started tutoring lately so that is starting to take up some of my “free” time.

Blogs I’m Nominating

Questions for blogs I’m nominating:
1.  What is your favorite genre?
2.  Do you parallel park or find another spot?
3.  Do you have any tattoos? How many? Of what?
4.  What is your favorite book?
5.  When did you last laugh?
6.  Where have you traveled and what was your favorite place?
7.  Do you like to dance?
8.  What is your favorite type of music?
9.  Have you ever, or would you ever, go skydiving or bungee jumping?
10.  Do you garden?
11.  If you could eat lunch with a favorite person who would it be?

Don’t forget to leave me a link to your blog when you’ve answered!  I can’t wait to read more about you and I hope you enjoyed learning a little something about me.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyber Monday & My Favorite Things

I am so excited – next Monday and Tuesday is the Cyber Monday and Tuesday TpT Sale!! That is up to 28% off most stores!!

Here is how it works – most stores are already offering 20% off.  If you enter promo code CMT12 you receive an additional 10% off.  That makes it –  forgive me because I’m not a math major, but I do know that 20+10 is 30 – 28% off the regular price.

Here is the real break down because, like I said, I'm no math major – I needed remediation! You get 20% off the price, so if you have a product for $3.00 – you are paying $2.40.  And then you take 10% off the $2.40 – you are now paying $2.16.

Shut the front door! Like my Dad always says, “that’s almost free!”  This Daddy’s girl can’t pass up anything that is “almost” free – you can double check with Mr. Realistic or VISA for verification!

I’m also linking up with The Hands on Teacher in First.  Did you really think I would pass up a party this close to the holidays – not a chance!! 

One of my favorite things to do in our class this time of the year is Holidays & Traditions around the World.  Now, I can’t remember where our grade-level gathered ALL of our materials – we have a metric TON – but I that some of what we use came from Christina Bainbridge’s Christmas Around the World (yes, I’m a HUGE fan!!) and her adorable Christmas Around the World Scrapbook freebie on TpT!! One of my all time favorites! We switch classes for writing so we implement this in during our writing time!! Yayyy!! It means I get to do more fun stuff with my kiddo’s in addition to the other projects we do this time of year.

This probably goes without saying because I think everyone loves The Grinch!

The Nutcracker – it’s a long story and I won’t retell it – but if you’re curious, check out my Nutcracker post!

Reindeer!!  I love the book Olive, the Other Reindeer!!


Okay – seriously?! I could go on forever & I know you don’t have that much time!! I’ve covered a ton of school favorites & I won’t even get into my personal favorites list, no one has time for that!

Enjoy your Turkey Day tomorrow all!  I know I will be snuggled up sitting next to my boys and enjoying some family time!!

Love, peace & chicken turkey grease! ~Realistic

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Great Blessings Giveaway

I am so excited to share a fan-tab-ulous giveaway with you today!! Learning 4 Keeps is having a Great Blessings Giveaway.

She is giving away amazing things!! From my store you can win the Plymouth’s Pilgrims Activity pack from my TpT store.

Be sure to enter each giveaway & get your freebie at the end! I’ve got lots of shopping and baking to do today so I'm making it a short post - happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

5 for Five & Manic Monday

Whoa – I can’t believe it is Monday again, already! It seems like November has zoomed by!!

One of the great things this week is that my son and his girlfriend will be home from college for Thanksgiving break on Tuesday evening! Yayyy!! I’ve missed the oldest Realistic son and girlfriend. Of course, they will have to leave again on Sunday, but that means 5 days with him! Youngest Realistic has already signed up for his “time slots” so that he can get some video game time. Seriously!?! Boys!

I’m linking with Jenn & Jessica's 5 for Five list again this week.

Here is how last week turned out…

1. Finish the Nutcracker Unit – Check, done! It turned out great and I can’t wait to use it!! I won’t go into all the details again so if you’re curious check out my blog post here.

 2. Go to the gym…um, not so much. It is going on the list again this week. Since I have been tracked out I’ve found it hard to fit my typical workout into my routine.

3. Focus on the growth of my blog and Facebook pages – Check, done!! I have a few new followers this week and I have posted quite a few times. I’m not done growing, but can say I’m happy with the progress I made this week!

4. Start & possibly finish my Christmas Eve Pack – Check, done! I am so excited about the way it turned out!! I can’t wait to give it to my kiddos before break. It is always amazing that when I give them “extra” work they race to do it – like it’s a holiday treat! You can check out my post & get it for FREE here!

5. Eat breakfast everyday… nope, didn’t make this one either. Like I said before, my routine is totally off since I’m tracked out. I feel like a traditional teacher in the summer, except I still have to get up early to get youngest Realistic to school I just eat what I want when I want. Not a good thing…

This week’s goals…

1. Check out a new – non-teaching – library book. And READ it! I need to take some time for myself this week.

 2. Get oldest Realistic his new phone – for his birthday! Yayyy – I can’t wait to get him the new i-phone. He needs a new phone for sure!!

3. Get to the gym at least twice this week – today for sure!! I can’t miss Monday Zumba!!

4. Continue to grow my little slice of cyberspace… a repeat from last week, but important to me right now. 

5. Take time to enjoy my family and friends. Maybe we can make some time to see the new Lincoln movie – no, not the one with vampires, the other “historical” one. I have to convince the kids to go with me…I might have a plan!

 Okay – I know I’m long winded today, but don’t leave yet – I have a Manic Monday freebie for you!! A creative writing freebie – If I Had Magic Shoes

Have a great Monday all!!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Great Giveaway

This is going to be a short post today because I have a ton of things to do with grocery shopping is at the top of my list, along with laundry!

I’m linking with Diving Into Learning today for her amazing winter giveaway!! There are 39 winter themed products and a baj-illion chances to win. Thank God I don’t teach math to older students, because I think they would have pointed out that made up number – but seriously, there are a TON of ways to win!

From my store you could win Holiday Theme Writing Paper.  A must have for this time of year!!

Catch you tomorrow for Manic & Motivational Monday, and 5 for Five!
Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

S is for... Sad, Secondary, Spartans, & Saturday

Today I am dedicating my blog to the letter S.

S for “S”ad teacher… I cannot figure out how to reply to your comments!! I am so frustrated – when I attempt to reply to your comments and click on “reply” nothing happens. I can scroll down and comment, but that is not what I want to do…if anyone can help me I will change my dedication to you!!

I just don’t want to seem like the mysterious blogger – I really want to be able to reply to you!!!

S for “S”econdary! I am linking with Live. Teach. Create today to share a secondary product. Although, I am not currently teaching secondary, I have quite a few resources that fit into that category. That is what happens when you’re there for 3 years and teach AG, regular education, and inclusion classes – you amass a rather large and assorted collection.

When I taught 7th grade my two favorite book studies were The Giver and The Cay. I loved reading both of these books with my students. It is amazing how much you learn about your students through their response to literature. Hopefully you can use them in your classroom.

I know my students loved the movie project with The Cay. Their final assignment was to design a movie poster for the book. They loved it! I was truly amazed to see their creative (and sometimes emotional) sides come out in their work.

S for “S”partan football! I couldn’t leave out my Saturday football. Let’s go State!

Have a great “S”aturday all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Double Freebie Friday & Holidays Galore

I am so excited that I finished some huge holiday projects this week! I am gearing up for Christmas already!! It helps that I have full free days to get stuff done. Have I mentioned I love track out!!

The other thing that has me so excited is that I talked to my son who is in college last night! I can’t wait for him to be home next week! He shared some (what I think is) great news. He got a haircut and new clothes!! Sending your child away is hard. It’s the little things you worry about. Haircuts and new clothes were always the things I took care of for him. I am so glad to know that he does them on his own now…or at least with his girlfriend’s reminder! It was nice to hear him so excited about how much money he saved shopping…again, he hasn’t had to think about that in the past!

Anyway – I know I’m rambling about my personal life so let me focus on my teaching world. I’m linking up with Teaching Blog Addiction to share my Friday Freebie! Actually I have two freebies to share!!
Freebie Fridays

I can’t wait to use this in my classroom this year and thought you might like it too! It is my Christmas Eve Day activity pack. I am planning on sending these packs home with my kiddos to give them something to do besides get on their parent’s nerves play video games, watch TV or ask “are we there yet?” from the backseat. What a better way to keep them occupied and keep their brains turned on.

Here is another quick freebie that I created this week. Hopefully you find it more useful that I do – it has a Thanksgiving theme, and did I mention I’m not in school during Thanksgiving so it probably won’t do me any good? It’s a quick morning work item to keep students thinking about figurative language!

I already posted about my Nutcracker unit – which I am still so excited about; but I also finished my gingerbread stations. My kids loved, loved, loved this last year. I actually had my son come in and help me run some of the stations.

  No, he did not skip school and yes, he is old enough that my students listen to him. He loves my little people!! I tell my school kids they are a part of my family for the year, so when my boys come in to see my students they love to hear what my kiddos have to say. Okay – enough rambling – I know, on with the show!

Here is my gingerbread station day! I divide my kids into small groups (3-4) and they rotate between 10 stations throughout the day. It is fantastic. We set up a cocoa bar and the kids get to work while they sip their hot chocolate. What a better way to finish up before heading home for the holidays! I also love that it is easy clean up for me! Everything is included – teacher directions, student response sheets, station directions (I posted them on table tents last year) and everything that you need for each station.

Even though I haven’t been in school this week and wasn’t able to post about what we’ve been doing, I’ve gotten a lot of things done and am so happy to share. Make sure you head over to TpT to save, pin or print! Thanks for sticking with me through my ramblings today – I just have so much great things going on in this brain right now…and have had about 5 cups of coffee too many this morning! Happy Friday!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Thankful Little (but growing) Blog

I’m linking up with Teaching in Room 6 today! She is hosting a Thanking Fellow Bloggers linky party.

I’ve already been keeping my list of things I’m thankful for this season, but I’m adding to it and sharing it with you!
1.  I am thankful for fellow bloggers who take the time to share what is happening in your classrooms. It motivates and inspires me to be a better teacher. Although I don’t know each of you personally, I feel like we are connected through out blogs, so thank you for investing the time to make be a better teacher and blogger. 

2. I am especially thankful to Carolyn Wilhelm at Connect-a-blog.  She has been a gracious guide since I started blogging.  There are really a ton of places that you can find her! I’m not kidding – she must have a trillion projects going on!

Connect-a-Blog K-12
Another blogger that I am especially grateful for is Jodie at Growing Book by Book.  I am so excited to be working with her on a new collaborative project.

3. Thank you for TpT and Pinterest. Besides blogging, this is where I find really amazing, fantastic, tremendous material. There are endless ideas shared for free and it is always inspiring to know that at the end of the day teachers really care about our kiddos learning, and sharing their resources so graciously.
Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for this year!  Make sure you head over to Teaching in Room 6 to link up. I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things you’re thankful for!!