I am sitting here tonight ready to reflect on all that 2015 has brought me.  2015 was a year of surprise for sure!  2015 had some AMAZING things for me and brought me SOOO many amazing friendships that I am beyond blessed to have!  Without all of these crazy things happening this year I know that I wouldn't be the teacher I am today, so I am okay with things that have happened even though I know I don't have control over them.

I just wanted to take a moment and THANK these amazing ladies who have made such an impact on my life this year!  Vegas was AMAZING!!  I am doing everything I can to make 2016 my year and to make sure I can make it to Orlando to capture some of these amazing faces again!!  <3

These three ladies!!  I LOVE them!  Seriously, they are the ones who help me get through the hard times.  They are the ones who constantly push me, encourage me, and help me to know that I am not in this alone!  Without the three of them I know I wouldn't be the teacher I am today!  Ladies, I love you!  Thank you for being my bloggy besties, my tribe, and ladies that I know I can ALWAYS count on!

I am forever grateful that I live in a state, and an area that has so many AMAZING teachers and bloggers close by!  These ladies are inspiring.  These ladies are amazing! These ladies help me daily!!

These have been some of my favorite quotes this year, and I look forward to using them to help guide me in 2016!

Life is a journey, and it is full of ups and downs.  I began working at my school in 2008, as a second year teacher.  I had just moved to a new state with my husband, and a friend got me a job teaching third grade. 

I LOVED every second of it.

I was working down the hall from my friend, I had an amazing administrator and a FANTASTIC class!  That first class I had is a class that is forever in my heart.  I have written about them before, and I still am in touch with a handful of them even though they are now half way through their sophomore year of high school.

Over the years administration has changed, teachers have come and gone, and families have left.  New families have come into our school, and the school has changed over the years.  I didn't expect it to ever stay the same, but I didn't expect this.

I found out the last day of school before Thanksgiving Break that my contract will not be renewed for the next school year.  I was in shock when I found out, and I didn't even have a chance to ask questions.  I was trying to figure out why.  You know all of those insecurities that run through a person's head.  Am I not a good enough teacher?  Did I do something wrong?  Is what I believe in or stand up for wrong?  Did I not reach out to families?

My husband keeps reminding me that I need to not let this validate my teaching.  I know that I am a great teacher.  I know that I do everything I can to reach out to my students and their families.  I will not let this bring me down.  Even more than that, I refuse to let this effect my own children or my students.

During Thanksgiving break an email was sent out to families about next year's enrollment and my name was not included anywhere in the email.  I received a few texts, emails and Facebook messages about this.  There was a lot of concern, and a lot of people had questions.

Now I have faced three more weeks of teaching in my school knowing that I will not be coming back next year.    Those three weeks were fun!!  We embraced the crazy of Christmas and had so many fun days we didn't have time to think about what next year will look like.  Every now and then the four of us would look at each other and realize this was the last time that we would do this as a team.  This is the last time we will plan our amazing Polar Express day!  This is the last time we will go out to lunch before Christmas break.

Yes, I found out that I am not going to be on staff next year, but I will NOT let this effect my students this year.  I AM going to be a great teacher for them.  I AM going to continue to have amazing lessons.  I AM going to reach these students.  I AM going to make a difference.  I will NOT let this bring me down.  I will NOT let them see how defeated I feel.

For those who have been in this situation before I would LOVE your advice.  For those of you who are going through it now, I UNDERSTAND.  This STINKS!  I am looking forward to making more great memories this spring.  I am looking forward to holding my head high, and doing my job the only way I know how.  The BEST way I know how!
The end of the quarter is always a super stressful time!  There is always so much to do.  Then you add in Christmas being the week after your quarter ends and your world of crazy gets even worse!!

Thankfully I was blessed to be part of a product swap and was blessed with an amazing product that helped us take time to reflect on what the quarter looked like!

I don't know about you, but I love time to reflect on my learning, and to think about how I can improve and make things better.  This portfolio product from Tried and True Teaching Tools was awesome to do just that!!

These two reflection sheets were perfect for my students to start looking at now as our quarter is ending and as we prepare for the third quarter.

It was great to see what my students thought they were good at, and looking at what a great goal could be for the next quarter.  I am then going to send them home after break so that way their parents can add their reflection to it as well.

The semester self-evaluation sheet will be perfect to start talking about after break as we set goals for not only the new year, but also the new quarter and semester.  It will be great to talk about how goals are measurable, and then how we can track their goal.

Now here is the best part for you!  You can win this product, along with all of the other products that were given away!!  Make sure to enter so you can have your students reflect on their learning!!

Kovescene of the Mind Product Swap Products

You can hop to all of the other blog posts to learn more about the products here!!

I feel honored to be asked by the super sweet Cassandra to be a part of her 30 Amazing Teachers blogging series.  Cassandra and I met online through Facebook and our friendship continued on Instagram.  Being able to spend time with her in Vegas at the TPT Conference validated that she is not only a sweetheart online but also in person!  Cassandra is one of those people who I could just put in my pocket and save for those days when you need a pick me up.  She's so good about "filling my bucket" and making me feel like my work is top notch.  I will always love her for that!

I decided to feature some of my favorite Christmas "goodies" for this post and the great news is that EVERYTHING that you see in this post is FREE!  Yep, that's right, FREE!  First up, Grinch Day Resources!  Do you celebrate Grinch Day in your classroom?  Our entire grade level celebrates Grinch Day and we keep the kids active and busy with Grinchy activities!  You can read all about it HERE and grab some FREEBIES too!

These reindeer make my teacher heart SMILE!  Yes, they are FREE to make too!  No need to purchase anything.  Simply give your students an oval and circle tracer, strips of green, red, and brown paper, yellow paper, black paper, and cream paper.  My students used my example and created these on their own!  Aren't they adorable?  The legs and eyes are my favorite!

I don't know about you but this month is my favorite but busiest month of the school year!  I created these Holiday Print & Go Sheets for the busy teacher that I know we all are!  I put these in a packet and use them for morning work but think they are versatile and can be used during other parts of our busy December school days!

Lastly, I want to leave you with this image.  I know that Cassandra and I both share a love of having quality time with our families.  This picture makes me smile because as busy as the school days get in December, it all is worth it because after a few short weeks, we are home with our families.  For me, I enjoy spending Christmas break cuddled up on the couch with my husband and 4 year old daughter, watching movies, and just being together as a family.  Let this image remind you that SOON it will be your Christmas break.  I hope you enjoy the down time and allow yourself to spend it with family, relax, and recharge your batteries because YOU DESERVE IT.

There are so many things that need to get done during the month of December.  Planning is something that is key to make sure that you have enough to fill your days!!

Ashley, from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second has an amazing planner to help you with just that!!  I always go to Ashley for all things planning!!

I love to have fun and engaging math centers during December too!!

Setting up math centers ahead of time gives you time to prep and prepare skills that students need to work on

I try and have different task cards out for every week.  There are so many amazing task cards out there, it is awesome to find them!

This growing bundle is a great way to get some math centers at an awesome price!

My snowman activities are a lot of fun too, and we try to have an entire snowman day where everything is tied together!!

A great interactive notebook to help your students prepare for Christmas

My favorite thing to do with my students is my interactive notebook about the true meaning of Christmas.  I created this notebook after our Easter notebook last year.  I am really looking forward to diving into it this year with my students.

You can find more great products, and link up your great products below!!  I'd love to find some more engaging activities to do with my students over the next two weeks!!

There are so many great things to do in your classroom, and so many ways to make your classroom come to life in December!

Reading Christmas books is a great way to keep students engaged and a fun resource to use for different activities

One of my favorite things to do is to read some amazing books, and then do crafts or art projects to bring the stories to life!  One of our favorites to read is Mooseltoe!

Building their own moose students are able to be creative and have fun!

When we read Mooseltoe we talked about the problem in the story, and then how the problem was solved.  It is fun to see creative ways to solve the problem as well, and the kids really enjoy this story.

A finished moose shows off what they remember from the story, and is a great visual before their write about how to decorate a tree
When we are done reading, then we create our own Mr. Moose dressed up as the Christmas tree!  They are so unique in the way that they create their moose!

Check out more fun activities for you to do in your classroom!

The holidays are a great time to continue to work on writing.  Our students are always so eager to write letters to Santa or their elf!!

You can hang writing from the ceiling as a way to display work without having to use your wall space!

I love displaying my student's work around the classroom, and finding fun ways to hang it up!  I LOVE using these placemats as a fun way to show off student's work.  I use clothespins to hold up the work so that way I don't have to staple the work to the wall!  I love these hanging clips too, because then I get to put things up and don't have to use my wall space!!

Having students write about their Christmas wishes is a great way to have them reflect on what they really want for Christmas

We found a new way to get our students writing this year, and one that didn't include a lot of prep, and gave them time to reflect on what they would like for Christmas.  We read an amazing book called The Reindeer Wish.  In the book the reindeer wishes he could be a part of Santa's sleigh.  To help our students think about what they wished for we created this fun sheet for them to fill out.  I loved seeing what they were wishing for.

Students write about their adventure with their elf!!

Our elf day is one of our annual traditions and we LOVE it!!  We use these awesome elves from Kayla, and then we have our students write about their adventures with their elf!!  They LOVE it!!

Another great way to get students up and writing during this busy season is to have them write a class story.  I have each student begin their story with one sentence based on the picture.  Then they rotate and add another sentence to the next story.  Then they rotate and add another sentence to the next story.  The stories are a lot of fun to read when we are done!

I hope that you enjoy these awesome writing ideas, and be sure to check out some more from these awesome bloggers!!

One of my favorite craftivities is building a snowman.  There are so many great ways to do this, and last year we had a snowman day!  The day was complete with math projects, writing prompts, building a snowman, and of course watching Frosty!  The kids had a great time.

Having students create snowman is a great way to keep them engaged, and a fun way to talk about how God made each of us unique!

The students cut out their snowman pieces and then were able to assemble their snowmen.  We talked about how different all of their snowmen would look, even if they were all built out of the same pieces.  It is a great way to tie in how God made us all different, and that each one of us is unique.

A classroom full of snowmen, where each one is different from the others!  Love their individual personalities come out too!

When we were finished with our snowmen I immediately put them up on my wall.  If I don 't do this right away then they will get lost in the sea of crazy that is Christmas, and not end up going up.  I couldn't let these go by without showing off their awesome work!!

Adding glitter to anything will make a mess, but make everything so much better!  These snowflakes from the Dollar Spot are perfect to spruce up your classroom!

Another favorite and EASY decoration piece that we like to do is our snowflakes!  Once again I am able to talk about how different they all look, and how unique we all are.  It is AMAZING how they turn out!  Then I hang them from my ceiling and I love it because I usually leave them up until the beginning of February when we start decorating for Valentine's Day.

Thank you for joining me for day 3 of the 12 days of Christmas.  Be sure to check out these other amazing ideas to find ways to bring more arts to your classroom!!

I LOVE everything about Christmas!!  I LOVE even more that I am able to share my excitement with my students and get them excited about Christmas as well.

This month I am linking up with Ashley and Angie again to bring you another great month full of awesome ideas to use in the next three weeks.  I LOVE everything about #2getherwearebetter and these two ladies bring us so content and awesome information weekly!!

There are so many awesome things I LOVE about Christmas!!

Our elf comes and spends the three weeks of Christmas with us!  We love having him around, and the kids enjoy seeing everywhere that he pops up!  We also do some awesome writing projects where our students write about what kind of adventure they would go on with our elf.  They love getting to know our elf, seeing where she will be hiding the next day, and doing whatever tasks she gives us!  Some days she leaves us gifts, and other days she helps us remember to do nice things for others!

Another one of my favorite traditions with my class is to take pictures in fun places!!  Last year I had an AWESOME parent who drew this snow globe for me!  She also built me a fireplace!!  We used both of these set ups to take fun pictures in front of!  Then I sent home these pictures as part of our Christmas presents.  The kids loved them, and their parents loved them even more!!

For more great ideas be sure to check out these other awesome posts to see what everyone else is up to this month!  I am POSITIVE you will find some great ideas!!

Here are we, counting down 24 days until Christmas!!  How does this always happen so quickly!!

I am linking up with Farley today for another month of currently!!

I am hooked on Army Wives and have been watching like crazy! I am almost done though and then what am I going to watch while I'm up working!?!

I am LOVING Christmas!  I LOVE everything about Christmas!  My tree is up, decorations are outside, lights are on, and candles are burning!!  We have a fake tree though, so I have those awesome Bath and Body Works candles making my house smell good!!

I am sitting at my table working and there is always a draft here.  I need to go grab my blanket!!

I really need to a wrapping party!!  I have presents I need to wrap and love to watch Christmas movies while I wrap them!!

I hope that you all have a great December!  Be strong, and know that you have Santa and his elf on your side!!
I can't believe we have LESS than three weeks for Christmas activities before break!  Where oh where is this month going to go!?!

Today I am excited to bring you some great ideas of things to do for math this month!!

I LOVE all of the great things that you can do during December to practice math skills and bring the Christmas magic to life in your classroom!!  One of my favorite things to do in class is to have a snowball fight!  There is no prep required for this, nothing you need to copy or have ready.  

Snowball fight out of scratch paper using math facts.  Have students throw their snowballs across the room to practice and have fun!

I had my students write a math fact on a sheet of paper.  It could be anything we had learned about, addition, subtraction, and beginning multiplication.  They had to write this in marker so we could tell the problems apart from the answers.  Then they took that sheet of paper and crumbled it into a ball.  On the count of THREE we started throwing the snowballs across the room.  Students then had to grab a snowball, flatten it out and answer the question.  They had to show their work, and write their name to get credit for their team.  I let them play for about 5 - 10 minutes!  Then we went through and quickly checked to see what team had the most points!  It was so much fun, they enjoyed it, and were totally engaged the whole time!

Building Christmas trees out of scrapbook paper and then measuring to the nearest quarter inch.

Another fun and easy activity that we do is create these Christmas trees out of scrapbook paper.  I use these scraps left over from our elves that we make earlier in the week.  They have to make their tree using at least six strips of paper.  They then measure their papers to the nearest quarter inch to practice their measurement skills.

Centers are a great place to have task cards so students can practice different math ideas to stay engaged and practicing

One of my other favorite ways to keep students engaged during these busy weeks is with lots of scoot games or task cards.  I love these because they are moving around, going from place to place, and not just sitting in one seat filling out a worksheet.  I typically will put these in centers or taped around the classroom with washi tape.  The students are able to practice many different skills using these tasks cards, and they can be engaging and fun!

Scoot games or task cards are a great way to keep students engaged during busy times of the year

There are a lot of great task cards that you can use to keep your students engaged, learning and having fun this month!!  You can check out my snowman set here, my growing multiplication and division bundle, lots of awesome math products on TPT like this awesome freebie by Angie from Lucky Little Learners.

You can find more awesome ideas by these wonderful teachers too!!
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