Thursday, December 27, 2012

My favorite 12 in '12! So fun! :)

Ugh -- I know I say this all the time, but I swear I'm going to try to be a better blogger!  I think I'll start with a linky party! Today I'm linking up to share my 12 favorites of 2012! Click the picture and you can link up, too!
12. Favorite movie you watched:
I have a serious problem with movies.  I.  Love. Them. ALL.  I love action movies, romance movies, cheesy romantic comedies... I love funny movies, scary movies, horribly made but also laughable movies.  Picking one is so hard for me, but I think I will go with...
I had read the book many years back and fallen in love.  So naturally, I was apprehensive about the movie as it seems movies tend to ruin perfectly wonderful books.  But this movie was *perfect*
11. Favorite TV series:
Yikes.  It seems that this 12 in 12 linky will reveal me as quite an addict, because I have a serious problem with TV as well! haha I have many shows that I watch pretty religiously.  They range from dramas like Grey's Anatomy all the way to cheesy teenager vampire shows like The Vampire Diaries (but come on... Ian Somerhalder... need I say more?!?).  My favorite series of 2012 was by far...
...New Girl! Mostly becaue of Schmidt!   My husband likes this show, too and it's nice to not have to watch it all alone like all my other shows! :)
10. Favorite restaurant:
We have gone out to eat a lot this year.  It was my first year of teaching, and at the end of the day, I just had no desire to cook!  We have a couple go-to restaurants, but this year I tried a new one and fell. in. love. 
Oh. My. Gosh. you guys.  Have you been here?!  If you like stir fry, you HAVE to go.  Right now.  Look up the nearest location and head that way for dinner!  They have a "make your own stir fry" option.  You choose a meat and a sauce, then go up to a salad bar of sorts and pick all the veggies and add-ins that you want... then they make the stir fry right in front of you.  SO GOOD!
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Uhhh... STIR CRAZY!!! Haha, no I will give you a new answer.  This year I was introduced to the wonder that is fro-yo (frozen yogurt).  But not just any fro-yo.... Orange Leaf.  In similar fashion to Stir Crazy, Orange Leaf is a glorious place where you choose your own self-serve fro-yo and then pile it on with all the fixins your little heart desires!  I usually get a vanilla-type yogurt and pile it up with fresh berries! :)
8. Favorite gift you got:
Wow... I got a lot of gifts this year!! Between Christmas, my birthday, and getting married... I can't turn my head and not see something that was gifted to us!!  I think my favorite gift was a set of chairs my mom gave us when we bought our house.  They are from Target and are SO. STINKIN. CUTE!  They go perfectly in our living room! :)
Armless Upholstered Slipper Accent Chair-Grey Medallion
P.s.  In the online search for this chair.. I saw that Target has chairs (this style) with Chevrons.  I must have these.  I will find space for them somewhere! ;)
7. Favorite thing you pinned:
Oh gosh.  People... I pin a LOT.  I get on a pin frenzy and just can't stop myself.  There are many things I've pinned with the intention to look at later and just never got there.  Some of my favorite pins are food ones.  I'm not very creative in the kitchen, but when I get that motivation, I like to make pinterest recipes.  This one has become a go-to for our family!  So easy and delicious!
 Click the pic. for the recipe.
6. Favorite blog post:
As stated earlier, I am not quite as good at this blogging thing as I would like to be.  I would say that my favorite posts in general are fun linkies (like this one!) and opportunities to offer some great freebies!  There was one post in particular that went really well.  I was so excited to post it because I had just finished an awesome fall freebie and couldn't wait to share it!  Also in that post, I shared something I was doing in my classroom and it was pinned countless times.  You can check that post out here!
5. Best accomplishment:
My greatest accomplishment this year has been surviving my first year teaching!! I'm very proud of the hard work I've put in with these second graders.  I can't believe my first year is already halfway over!  I will not lie and say it was all rainbows and butterflies.  This stuff is HARD! But wow is it ever rewarding! :)

Here's a peek into my favorite part of our classroom!  This was taken before school started and it hasn't looked that nice since, but it is such a cozy little area and we have all our best talks at the carpet! :)
4. Favorite picture:
Can I pick two? Please?!?  These are pictures I have shared on my blog before, but can't resist an opportunity to share them again and again and again. They are from my June 8, 2012 Wedding! :)
3. Favorite memory:
My favorite memory is my entire honeymoon in Riviera Maya.  It was such a beautiful place.  It was perfect weather.  There was always something to do -- and oh my gosh -- the FOOD! I so miss having a buffet full of amazing food for every meal.  Just being there and relaxing with my new husband was perfect. 
2. Goal for 2013:
My goal for 2013 is to get better at blogging.  I love being able to reflect on my life and on my teaching and think blogging offers such a great opportunity for that.  I have learned SO much from other bloggers and gotten a million great ideas from them.  I want to be able to offer good ideas for other teachers as well.  My goal is to get more consistent with my blogging and, of course, to follow more and more amazing bloggers.  I am looking for second grade blogs -- I feel like they are few and far between.  If you have any suggestions -- please let me know! :)
1. One Little Word:
There is so much in life for us to be grateful for.  It is SO easy to overlook those things and to focus our energy on problem areas or things we are lacking.  I want this one little word to inspire me to ALWAYS focus on what I have and all those amazing blessings I should be forever grateful for.  Life is too short to dwell!
Wow!! Thanks for sticking with me!!! This was such a fun linky and a great way to round out my 2012. It was a huuuuuge year for me and I'm so excited for what 2013 has to bring!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fun with Time, More Math, and Tons of Prayers

I hope you don't mind if I open today's blog post with a prayer.
Father God -- I come to you today asking you to wrap your loving arms around the people affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I know that these people stretch far and wide, as a tragedy of this magnitude affects many.  My heart aches for the families who woke up today without their loved ones nearby -- praying that yesterday's devastation was only a dream.  Lord, please guide these people through these troubling times as this kind of devastation is unimaginable and cannot be navigated without You.  Lord, as the days continue and life moves forward, plant peace in their hearts.  May it aide them to know that their babies, their teachers, their principal are all overhead, serving in your Kingdom as the most beautiful, pure, and everlasting angels.  In Your Name, Amen.
It is hard to fathom in the wake of a tragedy that life moves forward from that moment -- that the world doesn't simply stop.  Your obligations and responsibilities don't simply halt for you to grieve. On Novemeber 30th, I went through a small trauma of my own.  At the moment, it seemed like the absolute worst thing that could happen.  Now, in hindsight, it was one small trauma that affected my individual life greatly.  My (brand new) house was broken into and my family was robbed.  In the midst of the robbery, my sweet dog Brody got out.  He was missing for four days, the worst four days of my life.  I am so blessed to have amazing people in my life -- my family, my friends, my second graders, my "virtual" friends on TPT -- they all lifted my family up in prayers and my sweet puppy Brody returned home!  In that four days he was gone, I was a complete wreck.  I wanted so badly for time to pause to allow me to grieve -- but it doesn't.  Life moves forward and we simply have to find a way to hold on as it does. 
It may seem insensitive to post about a teaching topic, but in an attempt to hold on as life moves forward from this absolute tragedy, I have some things to share with you today. 
We have been spending the month of December learning about Time! Common Core has some pretty heavy demands of my second graders when it comes to time! Where my 7 year olds used to be expected to learn time to the 15 minutes -- now they must know time to the 5 minutes! They also must know the relationships of time.  For this, I wrote a little song that I'd like to share with you! This song is to the tune "If You're Happy and You Know It"
I was going to post a video of them singing this song, but upon playing it back -- I simply can't do that to you.  The kids sound great, but my voice overpowers theirs and I've been terribly ill since Wednesday.  I will spare your ears! Anyway, the kids LOVE LOVE LOVE singing this song! I wish I could have found a way to stick 12 months in a year in here.  You're on your own for that one ;)
This past week, I began math journals in my classroom.  We had a small shift in our schedule which left me with 15 extra minutes in math.  What better way to spend that time than to stretch my kiddos' mathematical thinking?  I L-O-V-E math journals because they help these kids to become problem solvers and to think deeper about math.  I created a set of December math journals which are Christmas and Winter Themed.  They. Love. These!  Here's how I have my kiddos do them...
I gave each student a green math notebook to use as their math journal.  You could also staple printer paper together for a monthy journal.  Kids will paste their journal prompt onto the top of their page.  I usually read the problem out loud a few times and encourage my kiddos to underline key words that will help them to solve the problem.  Then, they are given 5-10 minutes to complete the problem in the space below.  I prefaced math journals with an example problem.  I expect my kiddos to show their work AND to write IN WORDS how they worked through the problem.  I tell them to "Think like Mathematicians and to share those thoughts on their papers." 
I will be making a monthly set of Math Journals.  So far, I have completed December and January.  Click the pictures below to go check out my Arctic themed January Prompts below!
Lastly, If you are still on the search for some engaging Christmas Fun to do with your class -- be sure to check out my Christmas Math Centers.  They are all aligned to the Second Grade Common Core Math Standards and they are SUPER fun if I do say so myself!  Included you will find 5 centers:
-Gingerbread Even/Odd Sorting
-2-Digit Subtraction (No regrouping) with Christmas Trees and Ornaments
-Time to the 5 Minutes: Santa on a Schedule!
-Holly Jolly Word Problems - Addition and Subtraction
-Regrouping Vs. Not Regrouping with Christmas Carolers
Click this image to check it out further at my store:
I hope these items will help you move forward into your school week.  As we approach Winter Break, I'm so grateful for the time I will be able to spend at home with my family.  My prayers will continue to extend toward those who will be spending their first holiday season without their loved ones.