Happy New Year!

I CAN'T believe it's almost 2013!!!!! 2012 was such a wonderful year! I'm linking up with the amazing Jen at The Teacher's Cauldron to share some goals! 

Go with the flow. :) Simple, right!? ;-)

I have a tendency to turn super crazy become upset when things don't go as they should- just how I planned... 

This year, I'm really going to try to worry less and try to embrace the unknown & unexpected...

                                                                                 Source: sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net via Crystal on Pinterest

We'll see how that goes...

(I kinda cringe just thinking about it...)


     I think I (maybe) want to start a FB page for my blog...maybe...? I know I definitely want to keep creating and sharing and blogging and commenting as often as I can! :) I've had so much fun learning about myself as a teacher, documenting an amazing year with amazing students & colleagues, and most importantly learning so much and collaborating with some absolutely wonderful teachers out there!  

Have a safe a happy New Year! 

Here's to 2013!!!

Happy Bloggy Birthday to me + 12 in '12

Today is December 27th! I didn't EVEN realize it... but today is my one year blog BIRTHDAY! One year ago today, I ventured into the teacher blogging world, and really had no idea what I was getting into. So much inspiration, countless amazing people and bloggers, and 452+ new friends later, I've 100% become a better teacher. THANK YOU to everyone out there who takes the time to stop by my little blog, to encourage and support me, and listen to me rant and rave about how much I love my job. 

One year ago today, I linked up with Kristin and Hadar for their 11 in '11 linky. So I thought it would be fitting if I linked up with these two amazing ladies for their 12 in '12 party, although I'm quite late...

Here goes!

12. Favorite movie you watched 

I think I only went to two movies in the theater this year-


They were both really good!!!

11. Favorite TV series 

Love this show!!!

And of course, my ALL TIME fave is FRIENDS!!!!!
                                                                                      Source: Uploaded by user via Sandy on Pinterest

10. Favorite restaurant

Weekly date nights to Bahia Don Bravo...like always, I love Mexican food!!! And here's the view:

9. Favorite new thing you tried 

I'm a really picky eater so I didn't try any new food... I'm not a very adventurous person so I didn't try sky diving or anything crazy like that... I did try Teachers Pay Teachers, which was fun (and stressful at times), but it allowed me to try this: 

I love this new camera (and am so proud I was able to buy it with my TPT $$$) and am having so so so much fun playing with it and learning how to use it! 

8. Favorite gift you received 

This is going to sound cheesy but time! My mom retired this year, and she has been able to come to my classroom once a week and help out- ALL day! This is SUCH a HUGE gift and means the world to me- and the kids!!! (They love her!) 

Thanks Mom!!! 

7. Favorite thing you pinned

How can you pick JUST ONE!?!?!?!?! And because I can't pick just one, I'll just go with this: 

                                                                             Source: heygirlteacher.tumblr.com via Sandy on Pinterest

6. Favorite blog post 

Had to be this one...

I LOVE being able to share ideas and resources with other teachers (because I've gotten so many from so many amazing teacher bloggers out there!), and this one seemed to be a hit! :-) 

5. Favorite accomplishment

Finishing my Masters in Literacy AND my Reading Specialist Credential! Yipppeeeeeeeeee!!!!

4. Favorite picture

I have two! I hope that's okay!!!

My favorite school picture:

Looking for our elf before school starts!

And my favorite family picture: 

Me and my hilarious sister!!!

3. Favorite memory 

Oh no- I have two again...

#1- Our cruise to the Bahamas over the summer! This was SO much fun!!!

And #2- For my graduation, my mom got me tickets to see Wicked! We went and it was AMAZING!!!!!!! We had so much fun spending time together! 

2. Goal for 2013

Understanding that not everything happens how we plan (and you know we teachers are PLANNERS!) and to just stop and enjoy what is. :)

1. One little word

Thankful- for everything I have, big and small. 

Happy (almost New Year!!!) 

Thank you Kristin and Hadar


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!! 

I hope your day is filled with laughter and family and lots of love! 

Goodbye Elf & Gingerbread Fun

Friday was SUCH a fun day at school (and it didn't hurt that I was soooo looking forward to our two week vacation!!! :) We said goodbye to our class elf. She was really fun to have around throughout December. I'm not sure who will miss her more- me or the kids. 

She decorated our SMART board with Christmas lights and put Christmas music on our iTunes! { I'd like to think the small, temporary power outage in our wing did not have anything to do with this... }

Gone finishing! 

She changed ALL of our screen savers....even on the SMART board!

The kids brought her lots of goodies and treats...

We think she was scooting over to reach them when she fell...
She laid there, face down, all day long- so sad...

But don't worry- she got back up and enjoyed her treats that night with her BFF next door-

On her last day with us she brought us a beautiful tree, candy canes, and homework passes! (From Tara at 4th Grade Frolics!) 

She also decorated our tables! 

Love the wrapping paper as table runners- found this idea on Pinterest

During her stay, she even hacked into our class blog! Check out some of the funny comments she left...

 I know what we'll be working on when we get back.... question marks at the end of questions!!!

And we made gingerbread houses! I used Amy's Gingerbread House pack during the week, and the kids and parents had such a blast building their own gingerbread houses! Check it out!

I'm pretty sure not one of my kids ate dinner that night- I told them three pieces of candy and I'm pretty positive no one followed that rule...they literally had the shakes from all the sugar! I even had pictures of kids licking their hands and arms (like cats) that were covered in frosting. We had such a fun time, and now I'm ready to relax and enjoy the holidays with my family and friends!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you!!! 


Elf Fun

We've had so much with our elf, Sparkles! Check out some of the silly stuff she's gotten into!

She arrived in our homework chart! 

Messing with the alphabet chart! 

Playing with our free choice Friday tubs! 

Elf hunting before school! (Cutest picture EVER!) 

Someone "accidentally" touched Sparkles and she lost her magic. Luckily we were able to email Santa and he responded. The next day, he sent us some "magic" dust to sprinkle on her so she would get her magic back...

Marshmallow fight with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head! 

Taking a little break in the tissue box. 

She switched all of our math racers around- we all had someone else's rather than our own...

She replaced our class picture with a picture of her and her best friend "Elfis" from the classroom next door. They're BFFs. 

Rollin' around in the hamster ball...

Then she got into the glitter...in hindsight, not the best idea....

Over the weekend, the kids thought it would be a brilliant idea to time lapse her overnight to see how she moves!!! Check out what we found on Monday morning...

(You can see her in the beginning on the table with the huge mess glitter.)

I wonder what she'll get into next... 

Need a fun holiday project...???

If you're looking for a fun holiday activity in your classroom (or at home for your kiddos!), you MUST run over to

and check out her

Click the picture! 

I am SO excited to do this unit with my kids this week! 

So much so that this is what I did on my Saturday night:

Gingerbread house prototype!!!

And my living room has turned into a gingerbread house prep factory!!!

I love it! 

On top of the fun, though, there's TONS of Common Core aligned activities- I'm talking reading comprehension, writing, math!!!!- to engage your students!  

Plus, EVERY single thing you need to have a successful gingerbread building house celebration is included here! Everything! Directions, tips, tricks, family letter! I'm all set!  

I've even turned it into an incentive for good behavior (because they're a little whack-a-do lately excited about Santa coming- if you know what I mean...)! Kids earn quarters for good behavior, and on Thursday they're going to visit the gingerbread supply shop and purchase the items they want to decorate their gingerbread houses on Friday!  

I'm looking forward to a fun gingerbread week with my students thanks to Amy!!! 


Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary


Math Racers Revisited

Ahhhh! Where does the time go!???!?! I have so many things I want to post about and share, but not enough time in the day to get there! Eeeeek! Needless to say I am so excited for Christmas vacation coming up!!! So excited!!! 

Congratulations to Lori & Karyn! They were the winners of the Holiday Party Pack

A while back, I posted about the Math Racers my students do everyday in class to practice math fact fluency. You can read about it HERE! It's a quick process, taking less than 5 minutes each day. The kids love it, and are really motivated by it! Kids start on their addition +1s and as they pass, move through all of their addition facts, their doubles, doubles plus one, mixed addition, and then on to subtraction. I even have some kids who have made it all the way to their multiplication facts and it's not even Christmas break yet!!!

My hubby used to I used to collect every single student's math racer every single day, correct every single one, and staple a new one on top for the next day. This not only took me a lot of time (when I could have been watching reality TV at home ;), but it was also kind of a waste of paper (however this really did work for me the first three years of doing math racers!).

Over the summer, I gave my Math Racers a little make over and posted them on TPT. I printed out the answer keys, laminated them, and used a binder ring to connect them together...

And we had an idea!!!

Why not create a ring for EACH student!?!?! So....I printed and laminated (I heart my laminator!) a class set of math racers. Each student started off the year with Addition +1s on their ring. Since they're laminated, the kids are able to use a dry erase marker on them:

{ And there's even an eraser on top!!! And they were pretty inexpensive- 6 markers for $4.00- from Target! We're still using the ones I started the year off with in September, so they've endured 27 second graders thus far!!! }

Kids write their answers each day on their math racer with a marker. After the minute and 30 seconds is up, ONLY the students who think they passed (answered ALL of the math facts correctly) turn them in to me to the basket on the right.

This has cut my grading in HALF (because not every student passes every day!!!). The kids who did not finish, simply erase their answers and hang them on their hook and they are ready to try again tomorrow (without wasting ANY paper!!!).

I drilled little hooks into the kids desks, and that's where they keep their math racers!

A wonderful friend created this for me to hold all of the laminated math racers:

That way, when a kiddo does pass, I can quickly and easily find the next math racer, hand it to the kid, and they hook it onto their ring!

If a student passes all of their addition facts, I give them two of these:
(one to take home and hang on the fridge and one to attach to their math racer ring.) Then I collect all of their addition math racers from their ring, erase them all- so they're ready for the next user, and they start on subtraction -1s!

I love this new system because:

1. I am only grading the students who passed- not every single one!
2. After I printed off the class set of math racers and laminated them, there is NO prep or copies for me!
3. We're wasting much less paper!
4. The kids are more in charge of it them I am!
5. It just makes sense to me! :-) 

If you're interested in checking out my math racers, click the picture to take you over to TPT!

Also, if you've already purchased the addition or subtraction math racers, make sure to redownload it because I added a few things to the file!

Thank goodness the weekend is almost here!!!!! Have a great one!