Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tunes Tuesday {Tried it Tuesday linky}

Happy Tuesday everyone!  I am happy to link up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for her weekly Tried It Tuesday linky.  I LOVE this link.  I have found some great ideas that I have either already pushed into my classroom or put in the try it later folder.  You have to check it out!

I must admit it is a bit hard to try things when we keep having SNOW/COLD days!  Today is number 6!  I am so hoping that January will end and all this super cold nastiness will fade away with it.  Oh well, can't change it so I guess I'll just have to go with it.  Anyway, here's my

Last week I tried out Tunes Tuesday, an idea I read about over at Nick's Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason this past summer. You can check his post out here.  Tunes Tuesday is a way to incorporate music into your grammar lessons.  
Want a copy?
Here's how it worked in my room.  We've been reviewing parts of speech lately. I felt like most had a good handle on nouns, so  I chose the song "Hall of Fame" by the Script.  I love this song and it has such a powerful message, plus it is FULL of nouns.  For this activity students gets copy of the lyrics and are to highlight all the examples of nouns they could find.  You can simply play the song or show the video (if it is kid appropriate-Why is that so hard?)  I really like the official video for this song, but I ended up choosing this one because it showed a variety of people reaching their goals and tied into the Olympics.  We played the video through once.  After we watched the video, we played the song one more time while the students highlighted the nouns in the lyrics.  

My students all seemed to enjoy this activity.  It was funny to listen to them as the song started.  Comments like "Hey, I know this song" or "This one is on the radio" were plentiful.  They never know what music I am going to play- they have heard a lot of songs that they've never heard of, so I think they were pleasantly surprised to hear something familiar. :-)  Some even chose to sing along.  What's that quote-"Whistle while you work..."  it surely does make a task sweeter.

We are going to try to make this a weekly thing in our room for the remainder of the year.  (This week it will be Tunes Thursday-since we are home today.) When Nick did his link up in July people shared songs for all kinds of language arts skills- figurative language, verbs, similes and metaphors, pronouns and more.  If you want to try Tunes Tuesday in your own room I definitely recommend you visit Nick's blog it is worth it!

That's my Tried it Tuesday.  Head over to Holly's to link up your new ideas and see what other's have been up too.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Indoor Recess turned Dance Party...Tried it Tuesday

I am excited to link up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for her weekly Tried it Tuesday Link up.
Winter weather in Iowa...cold temps (anywhere between 32 above to lately -20), blustery winds, stinging snow in your face, icy sidewalks and playground equipment all add up to the dreaded INDOOR RECESS!  Needless to say we have been experiencing A LOT of indoor recess time since Christmas break.  I think in the 9 days we've been back to school we've only gotten to play outdoors 2 of the days.  (We don't go outside unless the temperature is 10 counting windchill.) Needless to say being cooped up all day in the classroom with the same old boring recess games day after day was leading to some misbehavior and malcontent.  Where I am I going with this seemly endless rant you ask? Why to my Tried it Tuesday... this one was a success!

So after a week's worth of indoor recess my fourth graders were definitely feeling the cramped conditions and lack of bracingly fresh air one finds in Iowa this time of year.  They'd played all the games, gone through a ream of white paper for "art projects" and were generally acting restless.  What's a teacher to do? I couldn't take them outside, the gym was busy with classes during our recess times, so we couldn't go there to run off some steam.  Enter Just Dance.  

Thursday night while reading through my Bloglovin feed (yes, I know I was supposed to be checking math papers but I just couldn't...don't tell, but they are still in my bag :/) when I came across another teacher's use of some musical Sesame Street videos (I am at a loss right now about who's blog I read it on...I sincerely apologize...it was an awesome idea).  So anyway I'm listening to a few of those when my lovely daughter Jenavieve asks me just what it was I was doing.  I told her I was looking for musical videos to use in class to which she gives me a look and says "Not those ones I hope."  You have to love preteens don't you?  She decided I needed help. Together we searched through Youtube and found several Just Dance videos that we thought my fourth graders would enjoy.  I created an Indoor Recess playlist and the rest they say is history.  
(Sorry for the blurriness...they were dancing. hehehe)
During the first recess I projected the first song on the whiteboard.  There were a few twitters and giggles and one lone student braved the crowd and started to dance.  That's all it took.  By the end of the recess about 7 of my lovelies were dancing along-even some of my hard core boys!  They all wanted to know if they could do it again during the lunch recess.  During the second recess there were only 6 students NOT dancing!  We even had a few of the paras dance along as they wondered through to check on us :) It was great!  

Well, that's my Tried it Tuesday.  What new things have you tried? Head over to Fourth Grade Flipper and link up your own. Be sure to check out some of the other great ideas as well.  Have a great week and if you are in the Midwest...hope you stay warm.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Day Our Way - An Adventure in Fourth Grade

I think this might be a record for me...3 posts in one week since school started in August!  I really am trying to keep to my blogging resolution so far so good. (I've actually done even better than I thought hehe)

Well anyway as I was reading through my blog feed tonight I came across this awesome linky being held over at Where the Wild Things Learn and I just had to take part!  What's so great about it?  Its all about SCHEDULES!
Yeah! Ok I know not everyone gets as thrilled about working out their daily schedule as I do, but I love when things flow nicely from one subject to another ---all is then right with the world.  (At least until someone comes along and asks to change it or deviate from it for the day, or Mother Natures whips up some wind to cause drifting and blowing so school lets out an hour early.......grrrr.  But flexibility is one of the teacher bylaws right? Seriously, I'm not that obsessed with my schedule {Wellllll maybe a little}
Anyway here is a peek at a typical day in our classroom followed by a bit of explanation.
8:15 - 8:30 - Students are allowed into the classrooms.  I post a morning message with the tasks that students need to work on before the bell rings at 8:30.  I feel pretty fortunate that most of my students are in the room right at 8:15 so they can get settled and are prepared to hit the ground running when the bell rings.  My bell work usually consists of turning in homework, getting reading materials ready, sharpening pencils, silent reading or starting on the day's daily language or vocabulary assignment.
8:30 - 8:45 The leader starts the class with the pledge.  I do a visual for attendance while they are doing that.  We have morning announcements which is a positive message dealing with Character Counts.  I expect students to give those announcements their full attention-it's amazing how those announcements can sometimes lead to some teachable moment later in the day.  Following those, we do a Status of the Class.  The students have to tell me the title of the book they are reading along with the page they are on.  It is a great accountability piece plus kids hear TONS of great titles through the year that peak their interests. 
8:45 - 10:20 Literacy Block/Daily 4.  I usually start with a mini-lesson.  Lessons might be reading or writing oriented depending on what we are working on.  After the lesson we break into our Daily 4 rotations.  Each rotation is 15 to 20 minutes long depending on how long our mini-lesson was.  Last year I gave the kids free choice. They were able to pick what they wanted to do each rotation as long as they got all 4 things done.  This year I set the rotations because I have a large group who leaves me at 9:30 to go to the resource room and it just didn't work as well.  I am fortunate enough to have two paraprofessionals come in at this time to help out also. (A third of my students have IEPs)

Word Work- Students work on spelling and vocabulary activities.  Some use our classroom computers to get on SpellingCity while others work on activities at their seat or with a partner.  On Friday they all take their spelling test on Spelling City.  I love this feature.  The computer grades it instantly and I don't have to!  At the end of the day I can pull it up and record the scores in my grade book.  No piles of paper, no fuss=bonus Friday time for me!
Work on Writing- I usually put up a list of things students need to be working on during this round.  They do a daily grammar practice and a daily geography (if we are doing Social Studies) I include the geography here because I expect the students to write their answers in complete sentences.  We take time each Monday to highlight key words from the question that should be in their answers.  They also have some type of writing project or writing Bingo they work on.
Read to Self- that one seems pretty self-explanatory doesn't it. :-)
Meet with the Teacher-  This one of the four rotations varies the most.  Sometimes I am meeting with groups for guided reading but other times I am doing individual conferences.  I wish I could say there was some method to how it all shakes out, but it really depends on the kids and what we are working on.  I have to admit I like the individual conferencing better than small groups because I get a better fit with the students.  We set goals for our reading, work on reading strategies or writing things.  Some days I just float so I am available for whatever this kids might need.
10:20 - 10:35 Recess.  A blessed break to get ready for science/social studies or I use it for reteaching time for those who are struggling.
10:40 -11:32 Science/Social Studies.  I alternate between these two subjects by unit.  I try to make it work out about every 4-6 weeks.  So far so good this year.  All of my teammates do both science and social studies at the same time, but I don't feel like I give each subject the importance it should get with a shorter time period.  We just switched back to Social Studies after the break and my kids are chomping at the bit for our next historical simulation.  By the time we are done with this unit they'll be rearing to go for some science experiments again. :-)
11:36-12:15 Lunch/Recess.  This is prep time for me.  Sometimes I invite the students to eat lunch in the classroom for a little time to connect in a different way.  Many days its a chance to sit down, breathe deep and regroup for the afternoon.  Thankfully this is duty free time for us.
12:20 - 12:50 Math or Reading intervention time (Wednesdays-Art).  Monday and Tuesday we have math intervention.  Some of the students go to other teachers for intensive work on math while the majority of the class stays and works on extra math with me.  During this math group time, students work on Accelerated Math or problem solving. A para and myself work one-on-one with students or in small groups.  Every other Wednesday we have an early dismissal for professional development, so the Wednesday that we don't get out early we do an art activity.  Unfortunately we do not have an art teacher, so it is up to me to come up with an art lesson... I should probably tell you I struggle to draw stick people most days. This is a tough one for me!  All I can say is thank heavens for all of my blogging friends who are artistic and willing to share lessons even a challenged artist like me can follow!  Thursday and Friday we have reading intervention which works the same way as math.  We had to implement this a few years ago because we were on the Watch List and SINA for reading and math.  Thankfully our interventions paid off and we are no longer on the list but we continue to maintain these arrangements because it is effective with our students.
12:50 - 2:00 Math.  We start our math time by discussing the nightly mini-math homework.  I use Evan-Moore's Daily Math and Problem Solvers.  We have some great discussions about the different ways students go about solving some of the tougher problems.  I think it's important that they learn there is more than one way to solve problems.  After the mini-math we do a whole group lesson then students work independently or in small groups with the resource teacher and I. (She comes in to support/co-teacher during math).  I am hoping the switch to a Daily 4 model for math next week to allow for some more differentiation. (I'll have to write a separate post to let you know how that goes.)
2:00 -2:15 Writer's Workshop/Study period/Read Aloud.  This 15 minutes is the jack of all things in our day.  If we have more we need to do for a writing lesson it is Writer's Workshop time.  If our day was interrupted somehow or I know I have students who need additional time on an assignment it becomes a study period.  If everything is peachy than it is read aloud time.
2:20  3:00 Specials.  We run on a six day cycle, so the students go to P.E. Music or Guidance at this time. (On day 3 Media is at 1:40 so that all the fourth grade teachers can have a common planning time.)  This is prep time for me.  Some days it is used to meet with the resource teacher to discuss students or future plans, but most days it's my time to plan or check papers.
3:00 - 3:15 Prepare for Dismissal.  Students fill out their Mustangs (agenda/homework binders) and straighten their seating areas.  We finish up the day with our read aloud before dismissing at 3:15.  After the kids are gone (last ones are out the door at 3:25) it is more prep time for me.

One additional part of our day on Fridays is Walking for Wellness.  Each week we take all the fourth graders out to walk on the track for 15 minutes before the first recess.  Unfortunately Iowa weather makes it a bit difficult to do that come winter, so we have to get out and walk when the weather permits.

Well, that's a day in my classroom.  What does your's look like?  Be sure to visit Where the Wild Things Learn to check our how other people spend their days.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Editing with GoogleDocs- Tried It Tuesday

Happy Tuesday all!  I'm late getting to the Holly's party over at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday but I did want to share my newest experience with GoogleDocs and student writing.  So here's my

This week my students are finishing up our work on expository writing.  Each student has researched an animal and is writing a research report.  We've talked about taking notes, webbing, topic and concluding sentences, citing sources and tied in the traits of organization and sentence fluency.  Now we are down to the final revisions before publishing them to our classroom website.  Throughout the writing process, I have met with students to talk about fix-its and corrections and in the process, we have covered their rough drafts with post-it notes and ink.  Having gone this route before, I knew that despite all the notes and conversations their final typed copies would still need work.  Enter GoogleDocs :-) 

A few years ago my district went "Google" in preparation for going 1:1.  All the students k-12 have Google accounts (although only 9-12 is actually 1:1).  Needless to say I don't use the tools as efficiently or as effectively as I'd like, but I'm always attempting to find more ways to use them with the kids.  

So when it came down to the final stage of this writing project I decided to try making digital comments on the students reports as they shared them with me.
The areas where they need to make corrections are highlighted, so they can go right to the issue and make the change.  Once they have corrected things they can resolve the comment and it will go away.  They will be responsible for making the corrections I've noted, instead of me acting as their sole editor.

The kids think it is pretty cool to get comments from me this way.  Next time I want to try having the peer editing done this way too.  That way I can see what types of things they are catching in their own writing. 

Well, that's my tried it for this week.  What have you tried out lately?  Head over to Fourth Grade Flipper to see the other great ideas.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Peek at My Week {1-13-14}

I am super excited to link up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her Peek at my Week linky.  So far so good on my blogging resolution-I have surpassed my one post per week and 5 weekly comments goals!  It probably helped that we only had school 2 1/2 days last week thanks to Mother Nature and the polar vortex hanging over the MidWest.  Sure hope I never see another one of those!!

Any-whooo.  I am looking forward to a full week.  It will be a busy one.

Monday and Wednesday we are running shortened schedules. We have an S.K.A.T.E. anti-bullying assembly Monday afternoon and professional development on Wednesday.

We are wrapping up our animal research reports.  Most of the class is in great shape, so we should be able to publish them on post them to our classroom website on Friday.  I have decided to abandon our classroom blog (poor thing hasn't gotten any action this year with everything else going on) and will be posting our reports to the class website.  Not 100% how I want to put them up, but still have time to play with it a little.

We'll be starting our new Social Studies unit on the Southeast.  I am excited for the kids to try our the new foldables I created to put in their notebooks.  Crossing my fingers they will work as well as my example.

Over course the dreaded part of my week will be starting our Winter Fountas and Pinnell testing.  It takes so long and I hate losing the instructional time especially this time of year.  Oh well.  While I am busy with the testing, students who would normally be meeting with me will be working on the task cards for author's purpose and informational text from Rachel Lynette .  This is a good time for them to work on these two areas before Iowa Assessments next month.

Friday we will be holding session two of our Genius Hour.  I am super excited about this new project time!  The class is to have their two inquiry questions and possible project ideas for approval.  I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Well, that's my school week.  On the home front things look relatively quiet only one wrestling meet for the week.  Here's to warmer temperatures, less winter yuck and regular routines!  Have a great week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Little Word Project

What a week!  After a wonderful two week winter break, we ended up with a two day extension thanks to some extremely cold weather, we ended the week with an early dismissal on Friday thanks to another dose of winter wonderfulness.  Despite only being in class for 2 and a half days we did manage to tackle and complete our One Little Word Project.  The kids really had a positive response to this project and choose great words for their year.

To get this project started I shared the book The Quilt maker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail De Marcken. I asked the students to think about words they thought would define the king and the quilt maker's lives.  They came up with words like magical and generous for the quilt maker and greedy, selfish and mean for the king.  Next we talked about how the quilt maker made a difference in many people's lives, especially the king's so they determined that a couple good words for both by the end of the story were give or share.
Next I had my students look at our verbs list in their reading/writing notebooks.  I asked them to think about what they could do to make this year different.  After they checked out that list I told them I wanted them to pick one word that they could focus on for 2014.  To help them stay away from "weak" words like "nice" and "fun" we talked about the fact that this is the time people set new goals or resolutions for this year, so they should try to find a word that really meant something to them. I then shared the presentation that Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings {check out her post} created to share with her class.  It was great-as they were watching, you could literally see the light bulbs above their heads turn on as the idea starting to sink in.  To end this initial lesson I had the students write down 5 words that thought might be good for their one little word and I told them we would return to it the next day to finalize their word after they had a longer chance to think about it.

Day two of this project I had the students pull out their sticky note with their 5 words and we watched the Pep Talk from Kid President.  We had actually watched this video earlier in the year, but I felt like it was a good message to get them to think about how they could be awesome. (Plus it fit in with the my launch of Genius Hour (I'm planning to do a few posts on that topic later) that I had planned for the end of the week).  After viewing the video I had the class do a quick group share with their words--I knew I had a few students who could use a little inspiration from their peers before they made their final decision.  Next came the creative element---(we don't have an art teacher in my district any more so it is up to the classroom teachers to come up with art activities--thank God for the blogging community and all the artsy teachers out there or I would be in BIG trouble), so using Jennifer's idea again, students created a little word art with their One Little Word.  To finish up the project students had to write how the word they chose could be applied to their school life as well as their everyday life.  I have to say I was very impressed by some of the deep thinking many of my students put into this activity.  Here is a little video clip showing our finished project. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tried It Tuesday

Brrr! It's another freezing morning here in central Iowa!  I cannot remember a winter that has been this cold for such a stretch of time.  I can quite honestly say I have already started praying for Spring or that someone will hand me a ticket to a warm tropical getaway!

In the spirit of sticking to my New Year blogging resolution,  I thought I'd try to link up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for
One of the new things I have tried out this year is Planbook.com and I have to say I love it!  In the past I have always created my own planning sheets using  Excel.  Last year I kept all my plans in one excel workbook with a tab for each month.  It worked nicely, but I still had to do a lot of copy and pasting each week.  We run on a 6 day cycle so everyday is a little different.  Needless to say I am always looking for a way to make my lesson planning more efficient and less painful. :)

I read a post this summer from someone else who was thinking about trying Planbook.com so I headed over to the site to check it out myself.  At first I was a bit skeptical about how easy it would be to use and if in reality I would use it.  I have experimented with online planners before without a lot of success and they can be pretty costly, so I held off on doing the trial until school actually started so I could see if this one would be any different.  Let me just say- this one is a keeper!

 Here are some of the reasons I particularly like this planner:

1. It's not as costly as many- it only costs $12 a year!  I know money isn't everything, but I spend a lot of my own money on school things.  I try to make sure I get the most bang for my buck wherever I can.
2.  It is super user friendly. The site offers several video tutorials to help you get started.
3. I like that I can set up my lesson blocks in the template then just add the specifics when I do  my weekly planning- no more typing it over and over or copying and pasting.
4. I can code the day's lesson with the standard code for the Common Core- at the end of the year, I can print a report that shows all the skill codes I taught which will make filling out my ICAT so much easier plus it's provides an artifact for my principal.
5. I can quickly adjust my plans either to extend a lesson or bump it to the next day.  Snow days or other events no longer make my plans look like a toddler scribbled on them LOL.
6. Another nice feature that I don't use a lot but does come in handy is that you can print your lessons out either for the day or by the week.  An emergency came up this fall that had me running out the door  with no time to lay out my usual sub sheets- all I did was print the day's plan and they were able to move on without me.
7.  You can also share your plans with other teachers.  Right now, I am the only one in my team using this so, I don't use this feature but think it would be great when team teaching.
8.  Lastly, I love that my planner is with me all time and it isn't an extra something in my bag.

Well that's my Tried it Tuesday.  If you are looking for an online planner, you'll want to check this one out yourself.  Have a great week!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold Day...Monday Made It-January

Can you say frigid?  Well, I can honestly say even that adjective is not adequate in describing today's temperatures in central Iowa.  When I got up this morning the windchill was a grand -51.  Yes, that is a negative sign :(  Needless to say we did not have school and won't tomorrow due to this lovely (yep-that was some sarcasm) winter weather.  I didn't mind the first snow day or even the second-they extended our winter break, but tomorrow will be our third day and it is only January 6.  I don't want to be in school in July, so I REALLY hope Mother Nature takes pity on us and sends Spring soon.   I am ready to head back to work and my children are a quite tired of being cooped up in the house in each other's company, so they need to go back to school too.  Ok, no more whining about winter. On to the more important stuff.

Since today was a free day and I was in the mood for school, I jumped on a couple projects that have been bubbling in my mind for a bit.  Knowing that it was Monday and I could link up with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It was also inspiration for my craftiness :)  So here's a couple of the projects I got done today.

Monday Made It #1: Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup and baguettes. Yumm!  Who can resist a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day? Not me!  I'd recently pinned a copycat recipe for Panera's Cheddar Broccoli soup and decided today was the day to test it out.  You can't have homemade soup without fresh bread so I decided to try my hand at baguettes while I was at it.  Both turned out tasty, though the bread wasn't as pretty as Panera's LOL.  I love the smell of fresh bread baking!!

Monday Made It #2: Math Daily 4
Last week I read a post by Tina over at Mrs. Croft's Classroom about how she does her math workshop.  I really liked her set up and got to thinking about how it might help me solve a few problems in my own math block. We switched to Everyday Math last year and all I can say is I am not really a fan.  I feel like my high kids are being held back and my low kids aren't getting enough practice.  Before this switch we had been doing more mastery teaching and I felt like my students really knew their math when they left my room.  Anyway, after reading Tina's post I thought I could work at putting something similar in place in my classroom.  We already do the Daily 4 in reading, so the kids are familiar with the concept of rotations.  In order to hit the ground running with this, I put together my rotations board.  I plan to introduce each rotation (Meet with the Teacher, At your seat, Technology, and Hands On) one at a time and practice them just like we did with the Daily 4 in reading.  We'll make our I can charts to go along with each one.  I am really excited to try this out.  I'll try to come back and write up a post or two about how it goes.

Monday Made It #3- States and Capitals Foldable for Social Studies Notebook
This year I am trying to use an interactive notebook for Social Studies.  I have one that I feel pretty good about for science and thought it would be a good concept to put in place for Social Studies too. Unfortunately it hasn't been going very well.  Since I alternate between science and social studies and I knew I'd be starting a new SS unit after break, I've been trying to figure out how I could make a foldable that students could put in their notebooks to help them with the states and capitals.  I FINALLY got something to work and I must say I am pretty pleased with how it came out.  Each page has a spot for the state name, capital and abbreviation.  I filled in some of the information but students will have to fill in the rest.  They will also color the in the state on the map to help them work on state locations.  We always make a set of flash cards for each region, but I think having the information in their notebooks will be helpful too (especially for my young ones who are organizationally challenged LOL).  Once I figured out the set for our current region of study it was easy to put together ones for the rest of the regions.

Monday Made It #4 New Reading Daily 4 chart
After making the chart for the math rotations, I decided I needed to revise my reading rotation chart to make them match up a little better.  You'll notice a few blank spots on the board....my dog Faolan  decided he should help and managed to snag a few pieces while I was switching the laundry.  I'll have to do a reprint but thought I'd better pick it up and play with the puppy before he chewed up something else.

Overall it was a pretty productive day.  Now it think its time for bed.  I hope all my blogging friends are staying warm...anyone in the warmer states if you could send a little heat this way  that would be great!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


It's the start of a new year, the start of a new month so that means it is time to link up with Farely at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for a new currently.
I love reading what everyone is up to...it seems like many of us are doing the same things..lounging in our pjs, relaxing and enjoying family time.

So, here's mine.
Listening- the kids are with their dad so it is really quiet here.  Oh how I adore my children, but a day of quiet is a blessing too.
Loving that we had 2 full weeks of vacation (plus an extra day because we had a snow day to kick it off)  I really needed this time to reboot.
Thinking about lesson plans.  After blog hopping yesterday I am getting the itch to put together some new lessons.  I want to go back with as much put together as I can so I don't feel like I'm drowning half-way through January.
Wanting to stay in my warm jammies and blanket- Man is it freezing here!  We are having extremely cold temperatures (-17 for tomorrow) and I am not a fan!!!
Needing to straighten the house and organize.  My oldest daughter was home from college so we had to do some shuffling of space. Now I need to regroup and finish putting away the Christmas things.
Memory- the best memory of this Christmas was a visit from my brother and his family.  It was a complete surprise!  They haven't been home in almost 5 years so it was especially wonderful to see them all. He and my dad made the arrangements and kept is a surprise until they walked in on the Friday night before Christmas.  It was awesome!
Well, that's my currently.  Now I think I'll turn up some tunes (nobody is here to tell me to turn it down or harass me for my listening choices haha), get dressed and get busy- doing what I'm not exactly sure, but I'm sure I can figure out something. Smiles to all!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

1 For Me, Resolutions, and a Return...(I hope)

Happy New Year friends!!!  I can't believe that it is 2014- I swear every year goes faster.  This year has flown by the fastest yet!!!  As I sit here reading all the posts written by my blogging buddies I am in awe of all the wonderful things everyone is up to in their classrooms and with their families.  A part of me is feeling a bit lost-it seems I haven't quite accomplished all that I thought I could this year.  I admit I was feeling a bit down in the dumps about it.  However, a post by one of my favorite bloggers lifted me up and made me remember we aren't alone and that we all struggle at times whether it is personally or professionally.  I want to give a shout out to Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for giving me that boost I needed and creating the 1 for ME linky.

For 2014 I hope to remember my inner Princess Warrior outside of my classroom.  In my classroom I feel confident, competent and a host of other words that as I think them make me feel like I am blowing my own horn a bit too loudly. Reflecting over this past year I look with pride on my professional life-I've accomplished a lot, my students have grown, and I know I am respected by my peers.  Outside of the classroom I lose some of that.  Don't get me wrong, my home is well cared for, my kids are happy and healthy but there is very little ME outside of school or family.  Since my divorce 3 years ago, I live for school and for my kids.  It is time to put me out there again...not me the teacher or me the mom but me the person.  I want to try to do at least one thing each month for me that is not connected to school or my kids, maybe try a new hobby, take a class unrelated to teaching, get creative, who knows what.  Here's to making 2014 a little more ME friendly.

That leads me to my resolutions for this year. I've linked up with A Peach for the Teach for the 2014 Resolutions and Diane over at Fifth in the Middle for my blogging resolutions. If you want to share your goals for the new year jump on in.   I think my resolutions are pretty clear, so I won't take the time to go in-depth with them (this post will be a book if I don't sign off soon :)

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year and many blessing to come in 2014!