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!
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. 
 Happy Sunday!  Remember how I said in my last blog post (which, unbelievably, was just yesterday, if you are keeping track) that it was going to get busy around here this week?  Well, the time has come.  Get ready for some giveaway fun!

I am stop A-3 on this fun-tastic giveaway blog hop.  And what makes this giveaway so great, is that EVERYONE wins!  That's right - no rafflecopter, no have-to- follow-a-million-people, ...nope.... Just a little detective work on your part and wham!  You're a winner!  How's that for some holiday cheer?

These packs are full of great ideas by lots of creative teachers and clip artists.  I donated my Christ-MATH Card Games to pack A.  They are easy and quick to prep games to practice 2-digit addition and subtraction. 

   I use them for math centers, as well as a reteaching activity for those who just need a little more practice.

If you've already started the scavenger hunt and you're looking for my secret word - here it is:

You can follow me on Bloglovin by clicking the icon on the side of the page... or by email... or by Google... whatever works for you.  Then you can click on the image above to go back to the Prize Pack A start page.  And if you want to start at the beginning and find out all the details, click on the giveaway image at the top of this post, or click (HERE) to go to I'm Lovin' Lit's blog and see what to do. 

And since we're all about being kind and caring this holiday season, if you find a new blog, TpT store or Facebook page you like, follow it for more great teaching ideas... And maybe even leave a little love with a comment.  It's nice to hear from everyone out there once in a while.

One more thing - don't forget about the big Cyber Monday (and Tuesday!) sale at TpT.  Time to get your shop on!

Whew!  (insert big sigh here)  I cannot believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone... I did a little online shopping yesterday, but I am not one who enjoys those crazy Black Friday crowds.. been there, done that... not for me!

Now it's time to turn our attention to the holidays!  I love Christmas - the lights (I put lights on just about everything that doesn't move at my house... and maybe a few things that do!), the happiness... the SHOPPING!!

Ok, friends.... this blog is going to be B.U.S.Y over the next few days.  I have so much to share with you!  Sales, linky parties, a giveaway and more!  So be sure to check back often - now let's get this party started!

Get your wishlist ready, because Monday and Tuesday are the big Cyber-sale days at Teacher's Pay Teachers!
My store, along with tons of others will all be on sale... PLUS if you use the code "cyber" at the check-out, you get an extra 10% off on top of the sale prices!  How cool is that?  You can click on the graphic above to go to my store.

I have already gotten my wishlist organized and plan to do some serious shopping.  If you're looking for some great stores to check out, visit Primary Possibilities' link up - filled with stores offering 20% off (don't forget to add the 10%, too!)

Ok, I'm off to finish 2 more holiday products by the end o this weekend, and do some planning for next week, and put up my Christmas decorations... wish me luck! 
Time for the weekend - and just 2 1/2 days next week, then Thanksgiving break... whoo-hoo!  I love Thanksgiving... the food, the colors, the family.... it's a great time of year.

This week we started a quickie unit in math on place value through 100.  I was pleased that most of my kiddos already had mastered a great deal of what we did, since much of this is part of my morning meeting smartboard calendar every day.  We count days we've been in school, add money to the piggy bank, do some math review.... suddenly the light bulb went off for some of them when they realized, "Hey!  This is just what we do in the morning!"  Oh yes, your teacher really DOES have a plan for all she does!

Anyway, a favorite math time this week was when we reviewed comparing numbers.  And I have to be honest, I cannot take credit for this.  Although the alligator idea has been around forever, this song from Ron Brown of Intelli-tunes really got them hooked
You can also click (HERE) to download the mp3 and the lyrics.

We started the lesson (after a quick review of how we knew numbers were greater or less) by listening to the song and singing along.  We added hand motions and dramatic effects - they loved it. 

Then we did some practice on the smartboard
(You can search for great smartboard lessons on the Smart Exchange)

We also practiced READING the symbols - since some of my kiddos kept wanting to start with the bigger number no matter which side it was on.

Then we partnered up and each pair got a board, marker, eraser, dice and one set of these cards
Each person took a turn rolling the dice and they worked in partners to write the number sentence and put down the correct card in the middle.  Some of my pairs did 2-digit numbers and some did 3-digit.

Finally, a little independent practice - same idea, just by themselves.  I divided them into 3 groups for this so each group had a different way to get their numbers - one group rolled dice again, another group used a deck of cards (face cards removed) and another group used the random number generator on the smartboard.  They used this recording sheet

You can click (HERE) or on either of the pictures above if you'd like the cards and sheet.

All in all, it was a fun way to get a little practice with a familiar skill. 

Well, that's it!  Next week will be all out Thanksgiving and turkeys in my classroom.  I can't believe it's already the end of November!  Where has the year gone?
Hello bloggy friends!  Today is Day 2 of Blog Hoppin's wonderful We are THANK-ful linky party
And, as usual, I am late to the party... Soooo... I decided to combine T and H because time-savers are definitely helpful hints!  I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to blog about here.  I'm one of those people who worries that I won't say the right thing.... or that my post will be off base and not what it's supposed to be about... which is half the reason I'm late for this anyway... so here goes!
Helpful Hint and Timesaver #1
Stay organized!
Bet that's news to you, isn't it?  I've been teaching for so many years and every year it seems I try a new organizational strategy for something.  These two have stuck around for the long haul so I know they work for me:
In the corner of my room by the rug area is my "basket bin."  It holds all the stuff I need for the week - and then some.  I keep it here because that's the place where I am the most, and it is so much easier to have everything near where I teach, rather than across the room.  Anything I need for the current day goes in the top basket, things for the week in the next one, and so forth.  I clean everything out on Friday... or I try to... at least I clean the top basket... usually...
and over by my desk (which, by the way, I love - see it (HERE)
are my file folders that hold all my papers and stuff for current units, often-used templates, etc.  Having everything at my fingertips makes it much easier to find everything.  Or at least to know where it is supposed to be...
HH and T #2
Make sure students have a place to put everything
These are my math activity tubs for each week.  (The cute labels are on the other side, trust me.)  I do four activity tubs each week and EVERYTHING needed for that activity is in the tub - dice, pencils, crayons, cubes... anything.  This really cuts down on the transition time needed to get started with an activity.  One person from the group takes the tub to the work spot (each tub has a designated sport to work in that stays the same all the time) and everyone can start working right away.  If I'm going to have 4 students in that group, then I have 4 sets of materials, all in baggies or whatever, ready to go.  This has been a major timesaver for us!
HH at T #3
Have a lot of what you use the most and keep it easily accessible.

We use dice A LOT during math.  So I need A LOT of them - all kinds.  I used to keep them in plastic bags, or tubs, but last year I decided to put them in this 4-drawer container and keep it out on the counter.  Soooo much easier.  (And the dice mats are GENIOUS!  Students take one to roll the dice on - the dice has to stay on the mat so it keeps them from flying all over the place, and it cuts down on the noise of 24 kids rolling dice at the same time.)
This idea of having multiples of what you use most works with everything - I also have 3 or 4 baskets all over the room (which I apparently forgot to take pictures of) filled with pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, post-its and scissors.  I have them strategically placed by where I usually have groups (by the rug, near the back table, next to the counter...)... this way I always have what I need and can take it out in an instant. 

and finally....
HH and T#4
Let yourself indulge once in a while
For me, some DD hot chocolate (the dark variety) and peppermint patties are my weakness.  You need to make time for yourself and enjoy life.  That's what matters.  (And by the way - so many delicious DD hot chocolate flavors came up on google - mint?  white chocolate?  who has these near them??  I am so jealous!)

Well, I hope my blog post was everything you thought it would be.  And I hope I gave you at least one idea that might be helpful.  I'm hoping to be back with more ideas for the linky this week!
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