I'm back for one more post for 2013.... oh where has the year gone?  I'm linking up with Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade for a final My Truth Monday (even though it's halfway through Tuesday already)... cut me some slack, please - I'm still in my pajamas over here...

Which brings me to the link-up.... what is my one little word for 2014? 
I shared with you in another post, the excerpt from a James Patterson book that really does sum up what 2014 needs to be for me...  I have so much on my plate - and I like it that way :-) - but I need to find a better way to balance everything... and to remember that although school, TpT, blogging and all that other "stuff", while it is important.... is not what really matters in the long run.

Visit Denise to see some other "one words" and maybe get inspired for 2014!

I also want to share that launching tomorrow, there's a brand new collaborative blog in town - and I'm so excited to be a part of it!

Whos' Who and Who's New brings together almost 30 great teachers and creators from teachers Pay Teachers in one place.  There's set to be a new blog post every day of 2014, so be sure to check it out!
Speaking of new friends (see how I did that?  nice transition, thank you)... I'm also joining up with Simply Kinder for a "share your blog" linky.  Now how did she know I was sitting in bed last night with my ipad thinking that I needed to find some new blogs to follow?
Click on the image to visit her link-up full of blogs you might not know.  The new year is a great time make new friends!
One last thing for the last few hours of 2013 - no one likes a sale better than me (just take a look in my closet!), sooooo....
(graphic shared by Primary Inspired)

I'm putting my whole store on sale for today and tomorrow to celebrate the beginning of 2014.  I just uploaded my winter centers and some fun math card games... stop by and take a look!  I know I'm not the only one having a sale, so you might be able to take a few things off your wishlist!
I wish everyone a Happy New Year and wonderful things to come in 2014!
Happy almost-Christmas everyone!  Are you done with  your shopping, and baking and wrapping and everything?  I am not.   That is what today is for.  Today will be bring all the presents and wrapping paper and bows and ribbon down to my living room and turn on all the Christmas lights and put on the holiday music and wrap away. 
But, before I do that, I thought I would link up my little blog with a few bigger blogs (like, way bigger....) for a
Here we go!

This one is easy - shoes!  Any shoes, thank you... flip flops, sandals, boots, etc.  Here is my most recent purchase
I am not a shoe snob (as you will see if you click on the picture to follow the link) - if they're cute and comfy, I'm in.  I already had this pair in black, but they were so comfortable I needed the grey, too.  I don't have many grey boots.  Love!
This reminds me of a story from Friday before vacation.  One of my kiddos was talking to me about the present he had gotten me. 
Kiddo:  "Ms. G. I couldn't get you the present I wanted to because my Mom wouldn't let me."
Me:  insert assurances from me that no present was needed, etc....
Kid response: "Yeah, she said high heels would not be appropriate."
Crack.Me.Up!!  And whoever said they would not be appropriate obviously has not been in my closet.  (He gave me a gift card to a shoe store, by the way :-)
OK, I admit it.  I do not watch movies.  Seems I do not have the attention span.  How about a movie I WANT to watch?  I have not seen "Heat" yet, with Sandra Bullock... so maybe I can find it on Netflix or Hulu or something this coming week.
I really like the "The Amazing Race".  Does that count as a series?  It comes on every week so it must.  All these teams travel to far away places and do crazy things on a race around the world.  Every time I watch it I realize why I am not on it.  I get car sick, plane sick, boat sick, motion sick.... I won't eat bugs, jump off of high places, swim in alligator infested rivers, etc.  Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Not much to say here.  Good food is good food.  Anything with chicken, seafood or potatoes works for me.  I like soup and sandwiches, so Panera Bread is a favorite.  That's not really a restaurant, though.  There is a great place about 45 minutes from me called "The Chowder Pot."  They have shrimp cocktail the size of your hand and the best lobster bisque in the world. 
Oh my.  I do not try new things.  I am very much a creature of habit.  But I did try blogging this year and I am definitely enjoying it!  Although I have not had the time I would like to put into it, I'm having fun getting my feet wet and sharing what goes on in my little part of the teaching world.  I also tried something else new, although it was definitely NOT my favorite thing.  I am proud to say I camped outside in a tent for the whole night.  Those who are with me will say I did not camp (the queen size mattress, space heater and the fact that it was 10 feet from the doorway will take away some of the camping experience), but for me anything that involves sleeping outside of the house and not in my own bed qualifies as camping, thank you very much. 
This is a tough one.  I can't say I have a favorite gift from this year.  I much prefer to give than receive.  My favorite gifts are little things, like the birdhouse made for me to add to my wildlife area in my backyard... or the dark chocolate and peanut butter candy my Dad picks up for me once in a while... I think being able to have the summer off to spend time with the people I love is a great gift.  Sappy, I know, but that's me.

I don't pin too many exciting things.  I pin stuff for my classroom a lot, but I did also pin this
Enough said.

I just started blogging at the beginning of this school year, so I do not have a ton of posts.  I think the one I like best so far is about how I use my ipad in my classroom.  I really love integrating technology into everything I do and I plan on sharing more tech-related posts this coming year.  I am thrilled to say I now have TWO ipads - so the fun is doubled!

This one is easy.  I am so proud of my little TpT store and the fact that other teachers have found what I create useful.  I absolutely LOVE creating new products and knowing that they are being used in other classrooms is a wonderful feeling. 

I LOVE taking pictures.  I used to be part of a sports photography business and photographed a ton of youth sports.  While I am no longer an official sports photographer, I still love taking pictures at my niece and nephews and friends sporting events, as well as in my classroom.  This picture is not one I took, but it's a pretty shot of a very relaxing spot.

My favorite picture also goes with my favorite memory.  I had a wonderful summer, filled with trips with friends and family.  The picture above is in VT on a friend of mine's family property.  We hiked up the mountain, swam in the river (cold!!), had campfires and just relaxed.  It was beautiful.  The places I went were not what made the memories, but the time I spent with everyone.  Of course, I could have done without the 10 hour car ride to Myrtle Beach, the run-down motels we stayed at or the constant cold rain the whole time we were in Old Orchard beach...some parts are better left out :-)

Earlier this school year, someone shared with me a quote from James Patterson about juggling everything in your life. 
This really stuck with me and I'm going to use this as my goal for 2014.  There are so many challenges each of us have in our lives, and often times we forget what is really important.  If you click HERE, you can read the full excerpt from the book about HOW to keep things in balance.  Definitely words to live by.

To go with my goal, I'm choosing the word
With all the craziness going on in education right now - all the new initiatives, expectations, evaluations and more... it is so important to realize that we cannot do our best job as a teacher if we don't take care of ourselves and our own lives first.  The rest will fall into place. 
Well, that's it!  I'm off to wrap my little heart out and enjoy some Christmas cheer.  I may just have to run to DD and get me some peppermint mocha hot chocolate, too.  Happy Holidays!

Well people, we are down to just 3 days before the holiday break.  Today was a snow day for us, so that certainly made my week a little shorter.  You would think I would have used today constructively - wrapped presents (that means I would have to have bought them all!), did some shopping, cleaned house.... yes, you would think that, but instead...this is how I spent most of the day
No, that is not me.... I did not spend my day in my jammies just to have the picture posted for all the world to see... but those ARE the jammies I have on, and boy are they comfortable!  Sooooo soft and cozy... I originally ordered them for my niece for her birthday, but when I felt them I just had to have a pair for myself...(link to Amazon by clicking the picture).  And no... I did not wrap anything, clean anything or cook anything today.... clearly, I must have done something because it is late afternoon already, I'm not quite sure what though....
Anyway.... I was thinking that if you are like me and still have a few days left with your kiddos, you might be looking for ideas.  I thought I'd pass on what I'll be doing in my room, just in case you get inspired.  My many years if teaching (and yes, there have been many) have taught me that sometimes you just have to roll with it - and the week before Christmas is definitely a rolling week!
I created this little word work activity for spelling this week.  You can use it with any set of words - skills, sight words or holiday words.  Click on the image to download.
I will also be using my Christmas Fix-It freebie during writing on Thursday

On Friday, all three second grade classes are mixing it up and doing "Reindeer Games" for the morning.  Honestly, it's not just games, but that name sounded catchy so we went with it.  We'll have 3 activities for them to rotate through
I will be making reindeer food (focusing on following directions and then a quick writing).  I know there are a million directions for how to make this, but here's a simple one if you're looking
Another group will be doing find and tally math activity
and the third group will be doing a fluency activity

That will pretty much take care of the morning.  In the afternoon, my class will go outside and decorate our Night Tree.  Do you know this story?
It's the story of a family who goes out each Christmas Eve and decorates a tree for the wildlife.  I have done this with my class for over 15 years now - and we use the same tree every year.  It's so neat to go up that day and see the strings and little bits of fluff left from last year's group.  My students have a family homework project this week to make a few ornaments that can be hung on our Night Tree - pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed, string popcorn or cereal, etc.  I found this great recipe for a new twist on the edible ornaments
After we decorate the tree, we'll come back in and have hot chocolate (just like in the story) and some cookies.  I'm going to prepare the hot chocolate the night before and warm it up in crock pots that afternoon.  Here's the recipe I'm using (this one doesn't seem to separate like the regular mixes do after it's been sitting a while)

And that, my friends, will be it!  After our snack we'll read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Jan Brett version), pack up our things and head on out to the buses for two weeks off!  Oh that seems like SUCH a long time not to be in school.  Coming back in January is going to be like the first day of school all over again!  Enjoy your week!

As you go about your errands and sports games and shopping this weekend, take a moment to remember the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  I teach in CT, about an hour and a half from Newtown, so the events of that day hit home especially hard for the teachers and students at our school.  The families of Newtown have been so courageous and inspiring in their actions, and their hope is that people everywhere will bring more kindness into the world.
This week, my students have worked hard to do random acts of kindness during their school day.  Their homework next week includes a menu of choices for doing random acts of kindness at home - all from ideas they brainstormed themselves.  I have been doing one "RACK" each day myself(working toward 26) and I have loved to see the smile on people's faces.
Join me today - next week, and beyond - to work to add just a little more kindness to the world. Celebrate the lives of the 6 adults and 20 children who never made it home to their families that day.  Let something good come out of such an unspeakable tragedy.

Spread the word.

Is everyone out from under all the snow and ice yet?  We had an early dismissal today due to this
That's the view from my classroom.  We didn't end up getting a lot of snow, but we had a delayed opening yesterday, an early dismissal today and we may possibly have a delay tomorrow.  Ugh - three half days in one week.  That makes it very hard to get things done.
Fortunately though, we did have a chance this morning to play "Holiday 4-Corners" for our morning meeting activity.  If you've never played 4 Corners before, the directions are simple.  Each corner has a number (or a cardinal direction, like north, south, etc. if you want).  One person closes their eyes and counts to 10 while the others quietly go to one of the corners.  The person who counted keeps their eyes closed and calls a corner - everyone in that corner is out.  The last person left is the winner.
This is one of the first games I introduce to them at the beginning of the year and it's a favorite - especially around the holidays when we change things up.  For Thanksgiving, we renamed the corners, "turkey, mashed potatoes, pie and stuffing."  They loved it and begged me to do one for Christmas.  Sooooo... here it is!
Now, I ask you - why can't I just anything simple?  I could have just made 4 easy pages, one for each corner, and called it a day.  Nope, instead, I do 10 different words, add borders, a cover page and directions... my team members think I am nuts.  But, you get to benefit from it, so enjoy!  We switch the words each week.  You can grab it to use in your own classroom by clicking on the image to download. (update:  click on the link under the picture to download it.)
I also wanted to share my students' new favorite brain break.  I LOVE this one - it's so much fun!
I finally got around to putting all our brain breaks on one Notebook slide for the Smartboard.  I was originally going to them through my pinterest board and that was getting a little cumbersome.  This is sooooo much easier - now we just choose a title and click the link to go to that video. 
I hope you enjoy these holiday cheer activities.  I know my kiddos need SOMETHING during our day to get that Christmas energy out.  Have fun! ~ Lisa
It's that wonderful holiday time of year!  Teachers are masters of sharing - it's one of the things teachers do best.  We teach our students to share and we lead by example.  This blog post is filled with links to great resources sure to help in your plans before the big holiday - and the best thing is, they're all free! 


It's time for the TpT Holiday E-books - filled with over 50 freebies from teachers in all grade levels. 


This one is the Grades 1-2 book, but there are 2 others for all different grade levels.  I am thrilled to have my "Christmas Fix-It" freebie included in the book.  Click on the image to go to Teachers Pay Teachers and download the book, then grab a cup of coffee, a latte, a hot chocolate - whatever works for you! - and start downloading.  There are links to the other books, too!


Only about 24 hours left in the Winter Planning Giveaway!
I'm so excited to be a part of this fun!  EVERYONE wins when you visit all the stops on the blog hop and collect the secret words.  It's easy and fun.  Click on the image above to go to I'm Lovin' Lit's blog to see how to start.  There are 3 packs you can choose from - or choose them all!

Although I'm not a part of this great freebie frenzy, I'm going to be spending a LOT of time tonight checking out some great Facebook pages - and gathering some freebies to fill my stocking.
The links in the image are not active so if you click on the picture you'll go to Stuckey in Second's Facebook page where you'll find a link to download the frenzy map.  There are a TON - and I mean a Christmas TON! - of freebies to be had here.
Whew!  How's that for some holiday cheer?  I'm off to grab a hot chocolate (red velvet, to be exact - delish!) and sit by my computer in my cozy pj's blog-hopping and facebook-liking for rest of the evening. 
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