I'm linking up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for her My Truth Monday!

This week she has changed the take on New Year's Resolutions and has asked us all to pick one word to stick to this year.  I am very much someone who likes to make goals, because I like to check things off.  My goals for the year aren't really things that are going to be hard to do, but instead are more of a check list of things that I would like to accomplish this year.

Now, my word that I came up with is . . . .

I strive to live a life that is Christ Centered.  I know that is very hard to do in this world, but I want to lead by example. I am put in a great situation, where I am able to freely share my faith with my students daily, and not just in our religion class. I am able to share my views with them throughout the day, and pray with them whenever we feel like it.

Even with this going on in class I know that I sometimes am short tempered with them, and do not always show them the grace and love that they deserve.  My goal for my class this year is to show them the grace and love that God freely pours out to us!

At home I hope to be more Christ centered as I remember that I need to put my families needs before my own.  My children always come first, but I need to make sure that I take the time to pray with my babies, and that they are getting the positive influence from us as well.

Finally I know that I need to work on this greatly with my husband.  He always gets the worst side of me, as I am usually tired and grouchy by the end of the day and have very little left to give.  I need to make sure that I am being the wife he needs, and that I am doing everything in my power to lift him up to the Lord in prayer daily.

I pray that each of you has a great 2014, and that you are able to grow even more this year!
With the new year rapidly approaching I have been thinking a lot about how I want to make 2014 a better year than 2013. Every year my husband and I come up with things that we wish to accomplish in the year.  Last year our goals were to read 24 books during the year, make 12 new pinterest recipes (one a month), to work out more, and eat healthier.

I always have such high hopes when we make our goals near the end of the year, looking forward to the new year, but always get so off track with things that I don't have a set plan for!

The reading goal is quite easy, as I LOVE to read.  Especially now that I am up in the middle of the night feeding, any book I can get on my phone is great because then I can read as I am feeding baby girl!  My local library as an ap you can use to download books, so it has been a great way to read a lot of books for FREE!!  Free is another one of my favorite things!

Pinterest has also been a great source of recipes for us this year.  We have tried many new recipes, some failures, but it is always fun to see what we can find for dinner that month.  I tend to go in spurts of trying new recipes though.  Our goal was one new recipe a month, hence the number 12.  We for sure didn't do that, but I know that we tried way more than the 12 we aimed for during the course of the year!

Now the healthy eating and working out didn't work out so well for me.  I was pregnant with baby number two when the year started, and had an almost two year old.  Needless to say I was tired.  The eating healthy thing wasn't horrible, as I did have gestational diabetes with both pregnancies.  I like sweets though, so there is no willpower here!

My new goals for 2014 are more tangible, and have to do more with my teaching then they do with my personal life.  I am going to try to find a better balance of home and school as well.  I need to spend time with my kids, because I know it goes way too quickly!

I'm hopeful that these goals will be easy to accomplish, and that by doing these three things I will feel a little more organized and sane in my life as well.

I am going to keep this updated every month, to make sure that I am staying on top of my goals!  I am excited to see what 2014 will bring, and how I will be able to tackle so much more this next year!

Well 2014, I don't know if I am ready for you or not, but I am as ready as I'll ever be!!  Bring it on new year!

I found this awesome link party by Simply Kinder too!!  Go and find some new blogs to follow!

December is such a busy month!!  We did so many activities in class to prepare for our Christmas break!  We read the story of Jesus being born, and how King Herod wanted to find Jesus.  We talked a lot about the gift that God gave to each of us, and how that is the best gift that we can get this Christmas season.

On our Christmas stockings we wrote not a wish for ourselves, but a wish for someone else.  My students came up with some interesting things that they wish for each other, or for others not in our classroom.  One students wishes that his friend will own a car dealership when he grows up!  Others wished for presents for those who don't have any, or even for food for the poor!

We also spent a couple of days giving gifts to random teachers and students in our school.  We decorated foam presents for the first graders, and put them on their desks with a pencil!  We did this while they were out at lunch, so they were surprised when they came back in!

We also gave the 8th graders cupcakes, two teachers plates full of cookies, and our sixth grade teacher cozy socks!  The students enjoyed doing these things, and we tried to keep them a secret as much as we could!

Our favorite activity was a writing activity where we were able to write stories as if we were elves, and then create an elf!  This was from Kayla Delzer and it is in her TPT store!  If you don't already own this product make sure that you go and check it out for next year!  My kids loved it!  It was amazing to see how each elf started the same, but when the kids were done they all had their own unique elves hanging around our classroom!

I'm looking forward to getting my kiddos back next week, and to hear all about their amazing Christmas breaks, but I am going to enjoy this next week with my babies!  I hope that everyone has a great week off!
I can't believe it is December 1st already!!  Where did November go!?!  Between the Daily 5 Conference in Vegas, and then our LEC conference in Palm Springs, it seems like the month just flew by!

I know with only 14 1/2 teaching days until Christmas break this month is going to fly by too, and we will be sitting here working on our January Currently!!

I am linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

I love listening to Pandora, whether it is on my home computer, work computer, iPad, or iPhone.  Sissy loves listening to it too, and it is our new routine from about 1 am - 2 am, hence why I really need a good night of sleep!

I am loving that their is a big TPT sale going on tomorrow and Tuesday.  I will be participating in the sale as well, so make sure you go over and check out my TPT store!!  I love that I was able to set up a bunch of Christmas stuff this weekend with my babies, and husband.  I can't wait to celebrate the real reason for the season with my students over the next three weeks!

I am thinking that I need more time in my life.  I wish I had more time for TPT, my kids, and to sit in front of the fire place, or in bed, and just read.  I am almost done with Allegiant!!  I can't wait to finish it!!  If you haven't read the Divergent series yet make sure you read it before the movie comes out!

I am wanting to order my Christmas cards!!  We just got our Christmas pictures yesterday.  I LOVE THEM!!  Our photographer is amazing!  I am so thankful that we paid for a year worth of photos with her, for sissy's first year of life.  The hubs and I talked about asking her if we can do this every year!  It is so amazing to see the way they grow up between the different photo shoots.  Plus, then we will be able to do some crazy cool things as they get older!!

My favorite tradition that I started last year with Bubba was to read a new Christmas book every day.  Since these books disappear with the Christmas stuff every year they are new to him.  Plus, he is only two, so of course he doesn't remember what we read last year either.  I believe that I am really close to having 25 books now, so I can't wait to continue this tradition year after year!

Time to go off and try to create another product to put up in the store before the sale tomorrow!  Make sure you check it out, and I pray that you have a very Merry Christmas!!

I love shopping, and even more for others!!  One of my favorite places to shop for myself, and my classroom is TPT!!  I have joined the forces and I started creating TPT products in October!  I am happy to announce that I will also be joining other sellers and having a sale in my store on Monday and Tuesday!  Make sure that you go fill your cart now, so that way tomorrow  you can start shopping!!

I am working on some new holiday products too, so make sure you check them out later!!
As a huge thank you to all of her followers and fellow teachers, Kristen is hosting a huge Christmas giveaway as her gift to all of you for your dedication to the teaching world.  She's teamed up with some AMAZING teachers to bring  you a fantastic giveaway just in time for Christmas.
Giveaway ends on December 1st
I don't know about you, but this school year is flying by.  I feel like I was just prepping Thanksgiving centers and I'm already rushing to get December centers and activities ready.  Holy moly, is it vacation yet???
Here's what all 26 of us came up with!  You can click on the photo to see more.  All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below!  Ready, set, go!!!

One HUGE thing I took away from the conference was when they said they try to go PAPERLESS!!  Could you IMAGINE?!!  To me that just seems so crazy.  I teach in a school where parents are looking constantly for a grade, a paper with a grade on it, and to see how their child is doing.  I can't imagine not having these "grades" to show them.  But really, what are these papers that we are giving them for?  Are they really helping the students, and assessing where they are?  Or, are these papers to please the parents, and keep students busy so they are quiet!?

This week I told my kids we were going to go paperless for word work.  They asked the typical questions.  Well then how are you going to grade us?  What are we going to turn in?  Do we have to take a picture of it to show you?  (This is my thing for math, so that way I can see what they are working on when I am working with small groups - more on this later!)

I told the kids I would know if they were working or not by assessing their writing and their spelling test on Friday.  If they did well, then they were probably working on their words, practicing spelling the words, and working hard during the time.  If they didn't look at their words all week, then they probably wouldn't do very well on the test.  Now I know some of you will say, but hey, my kids are great spellers.  That may be true, but then it really doesn't matter what you give a student to work on, at that point it is just busy work for them, right?

Let me tell you, it has been great not having papers to grade this week for their spelling weekly work.  I still graded their spelling homework, where they had to write sentences to practice their words.  I think I am now going to give them options for what they can do for their spelling homework, and give them a grid where they can do different activities, instead of just writing sentences.

What would you do with all that extra money in your budget if you didn't use paper?  Are you set on the number of copies you can make?  What happens if you don't use your designated number of copies?
Wow!! What an amazing conference we went to! I need to start by saying that Gail and Joan are amazing presenters and spent a lot of time getting to know the people who came to the conference. At every break we were given they would stand and talk to whoever came up to ask questions.  During lunch they stayed to take pictures with people, and answer questions.  They did the same thing at the end of the day too!! It was great being able to talk with the sisters, and to take our picture with them after.

Our handbook and chime from day 1  - My kids already love this chime and they respond so quickly to it!!
One big piece of research I took from the conference was the 7-10 minute rule. A child's brain can only receive this long of instruction before it is no longer productive, and you'll have to come back to it and reteach. To engage students about every 7-10 minutes you need to shift what you are doing, or how you are doing it. This helps keep your mini lessons shorter. This also helps me with our math rotations to know I've got the first 5 minutes to get the instruction in, and then I need to have them practice that information.

Handbook, notebook, and pen from day 2!
Another huge piece of information was about reading just 10 more minutes a day. They showed this great data of a student who scored in the 50th percentile, and only read 4.2 minutes a day. By just adding 10 minutes of reading a day it increased their score to the 80th percentile!! I shared that with my kids and stressed how important it is that they are reading!!

I love all of the new books we were able to bring home!
We learned so much more, but this is where I will leave you for now. They talked briefly about AR as people were able to ask questions, and they answered them for us. They said AR will be going away soon. How do you feel about this?! Is AR something your school uses, and you support? I'm interested to see what every one else thinks of AR.
As a thank you to all of you sweet teachers Kristen has learned from, she's hosting a Fall Giveaway to share some great items with you.
 As you know, practicing High Frequency Words are essential for emergent readers.  Kristen is donating this fabulous product that her students love.  It can also be purchased in her TPT store.

The winner will be announced on November 10, 2013 via blog and e-mail.  Bloggers will e-mail the winner a copy of her product!  Thank you for participating in this giveaway!
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