Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Scoop December 28

Happy Sunday Morning!
It's time for...
I love this linky by the Teaching Trio!  Such a great way to catch up with bloggy friends and meet new ones.  Click the picture above to join in on the fun!

Here's what I'm up to this Sunday.  How about you?

I'm watching my friend's daughter this week during Winter break while she is at work.  Our daughters are best friends.  I need to plan some fun activities/crafts/projects to keep them happy.  Time for some pinspiration!

I totally unplugged this Christmas.  I haven't posted any products, posted to Instagram, or posted to Facebook.  It was really nice just to relax and enjoy Christmas.  But I do need to get back to work...

This Tuesday for story time we are including the older siblings who are home for winter break.  I need to take a look at our plans and gather everything we need.  All I remember is that we are making some fancy form of snowflakes and are differentiating for the biggers by having them add a writing peice to their craft. 

2 years ago today we finalized my son's adoption.  Such a fun day!  We had a great judge who made it very special.  Today we celebrate 2 years of officially being a family of 4.  We are going to order some pizza and get some ice cream from Dairy Queen to celebrate.  We'd go out but the Packers game and the Seahawks game are on at the same time and the husband and I are going to have to battle out switching channels to see both our games.  Go Pack Go!

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Scoop

Good Sunday Morning Everyone!  Last Sunday before Christmas!  I can't believe that Christmas is Thursday.  So much to do but all of it fun, mostly.  :)  I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for a Sunday Scoop linky.  Here's what I'm up to this Sunday...
I baked Christmas cookies with my 2 kiddos yesterday.  While I swept up after we finished... the floors definitely need mopping.  One of my least favorite things to do... Sigh! 

I volunteered to take over the planning for our 2-3 year old room at church.  There is a curriculum.  I just need to pare it down to the materials that we have and what are the most important ideas.  I admit... I'm enjoying adding a little "pinspiration" and making things a bit more interactive and fun for this age group.  This week it's all about how the shepherds came to see the baby Jesus.  There are some fun games for them this week.  They are also going to dress-up like shepherds.  Last, they get to make these adorable fingerprint sheep.

Fingerprint Sheep Craft for Kids #DIY |

My husband and I also need to purge some toys from our toy area and the kids' rooms in anticipation of new toys arriving Wednesday and Thursday.

My kids and I made some Christmas cookies yesterday.  There are two more recipes I want to make.  I am giving homemade vanilla extract along with a plate of cookies as gifts for our neighbors and friends this year.
The weather has been beautiful lately.  I'm trying to enjoy and soak up all the sun I can in anticipation of being back home next year.  Gotta enjoy it while I have it.  :)

"Operation Wrap All Gifts" commences this evening as soon as the kids are asleep.  My husband is off the next 2 days so we can stay up a little late if need be.  My parents always use to stay up late wrapping Christmas Eve.  My husband and I did that once.  We are trying to not do that again.  All the gifts are here and are hiding in our closet so we have no excuse.  Let the wrapping begin!

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

My Favorite Things

I'm linking up with Erica Bohrer from Erica's Ed-Ventures for a fun linky all about our favorite things.  Here they are in no particular order:

1.  My family

I have a wonderful husband who shares my wacky and sarcastic sense of humor.  He quotes movies lines and can always make me laugh.  We have 2 amazing children through adoption.  December is adoption month in our house.  Both our children's adoptions were finalized in December.  Suri in 2010.  Levi in 2012.  So here are their adoption day photos.

2.  My friends.  What fun is life without friends?  Friends make where you're at feel like home.  I don't have a picture of my crew here in the Bahamas.  I'll have to work on that.  Here's a pic of my besties from back home in Snohomish.  2 are my former teammates.  One is my friend's mom.  I "share a brain" with one of them.  Do you have that special teammate who you can go to and they just seem to be able to help you finish what you've started when you're stuck, solve a problem, see what you're just not able to see?  That's Lindsey for me.  She and her mom have a blog and TpT shop called 2 Literacy Teachers .  Have you discovered it yet?  If not, check out their passages.  Talk about meeting teachers' needs.  Passages at reading levels A-I on the same topic?  Now all the students in your classroom have access to the same topic and material but at their reading level!  Genius!!! 

 Then there are the friends who enter your life when you need each other the most.  That would be my friend Karleen.  Last, but not least, my best friend since 4th grade also lives in the Seattle area.  We've been friends "forever".  

3.  The ocean

Living here in the Bahamas has its ups and downs.  One thing I never tire of seeing is the ocean.  The color of the water here is something I never want to forget.

4.  My Kindle

I'm not a fan of listing material things as a favorite but I don't know what I'd do without my kindle... ok, actually I do.  I'd just spend a lot of money on amazon buying books.  With my kindle I can just download as many books as I can read.  I'm currently reading The Light Between Oceans.  I just finished Unbroken.  Highly recommend it!  Such a powerful story of survival!

5.  Teachers Pay Teachers

I am so thankful for Teachers Pay Teachers.  As a teacher I bought products all the time for my classroom.  Then I started my own shop back in spring of 2012.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I sold a couple of my products.  Then I went to the conference in Vegas last summer and saw what an opportunity it is.  I'm currently staying at home with my youngest while we are here in the Bahamas.  I was having a hard time adjusting to not working and being a stay-at-home mom with not much to do here on the island.  This is where the work from home opportunity of TpT has saved me!  Now I am working on growing my shop and can do it while still being at home with my children.  Talk about a dream come true!

There you have it.  My favorite things!  What are yours?  Link up, I'd love to read about yours!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Power of Math Games

Making Math Fun

A few years back the district that I worked for adopted a new math curriculum.  Overall it was a big improvement from what we had been using (Everyday Math).  The biggest change we began to notice as we went through training on the new curriculum was that it made the jump from concrete to abstract much quicker.  I'm sure you're thinking... "What? concrete to abstract?"  Hang on, let me explain...

What I mean by concrete is hands-on experiences with math materials and manipulatives.  The majority of the students at my former school are English language learners and live in poverty.  Even in second grade they still need those hands-on experiences manipulating the materials before they can do the math in their heads and on paper.

What I mean by abstract is the ability to do the math using strategies in their heads or on paper.  The new curriculum moved very quickly out of the concrete phase and required our second graders to perform their math skills at an abstract level.

So we as a second grade team had to make sure and build in extra time for our students to use the manipulatives.  Sometimes (well quite often, actually) we fell behind the pacing schedule but we always manged to catch-up by the end of the trimester when it came time for the trimester assessments.

Another way we helped our students was to incorporate math stations into our daily math routine.  I even did a math Daily 5.  Our math block was 70 minutes so we had enough time to do a warm-up, teach the focus lesson, and then give our students time in stations.

I spent 15 years teaching both first and second grade.  One of the biggest successes I had as a classroom teacher was when I implemented a workshop model in math.  Granted, it wasn't perfection right away.  Over a couple of years I figured out all the kinks and got it running like a smooth machine.  What did my students enjoy the most?  I'm so glad you asked!

I remember one particular class of first grade students being honestly surprised that playing all the fun games was math.  Still makes me smile... :)

What are the benefits of math games??
*They provide social interaction
*They are highly engaging
*Students practice cooperation and game-playing skills (turn taking, deciding who goes first, solving disagreements)
*Games can provide both concrete and abstract practice of a targeted skill or topic
*Students scaffold each other's learning
*Students learn from each other
*Games are fun!
*Easy to assess student understanding/mastery of the topic
*Frees teachers up to work with small groups or individual students

I am a firm believer in the power of math games and have created many that are for sale and for free in my TpT store.  Click on the pictures below to head on over and grab some math games.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Conversation Linky Party!

 Good Morning!
I am excited to participate in A Christmas Conversation, a fun linky party with Abby from The Inspired Apple.  Click the picture below to join in on the conversation!

Here's my Christmas Conversation...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

 Happy Holidays Everyone!
 I have a ton of academic content I really want to blog about but I just can't do it right now.  Not with Christmas on the brain!  I love Christmas!  I have since I can remember.  My parents did a really good job of making it special and magical... more on that in another post.  :)  For this post I thought I would share what I've been up to since I haven't blogged in awhile (except for a couple linkies).  We have been getting ready...

Jingles (our elf) reappeared.  He is a silly and kind elf.  He notices when the kids are really kind to each other and when they need help.  He is always ending up in silly places.  Suri's sleeping bag, our play kitchen oven, our toy camper, etc...

My daughter has had a couple of play dates recently.  To get the girls in the spirit and give them something fun to do I dug out some of my faves from the classroom... an elf project and a grinch project.  Both are from Deanna Jump.  You can get them here and here.

Then it was time to put the lights up outside and introduce our newest member of our holiday decorations.... The Santa Camper!!!!  He comes out of the camper door and waves and then goes back in.  It's a huge hit in the neighborhood.  Kids come by every night to give Santa a hug.

Once the outside was done, it was time to get our Christmas tree and decorate it.  We have a spot where we like to go and get our tree.  Unfortunately this year the ATM machines weren't working the weekend we decided to get our tree.  No cash, no tree from our favorite spot.  So we headed to the grocery store.  At least there we could use our card.  We put it up and let it drink lots of water for a day.  We had a hot cocoa and decorating the tree party the next day.  We let the kids put up most of the ornaments, except for really fragile or special ones.  Our tree is not glamorous in any way, but the kids got to do it, and they LOVE it.  I just took a step back and relinquished control. :)  And yes... that is Winne the Pooh dressed as an angel on top of our tree.

Along with my two kiddos at home, I've been working hard with our preschool story hour kiddos to get them ready and in the spirit for Christmas.  Last week we made handprint Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and had reindeer antlers for snack.  The kids giggled when we painted their hands.

This week we made handprint Santa ornaments.  My friend and co-teacher made green and red rice krispy treats for snack.  Yum!

And at home we have been reading a book I created as we are focusing on the real reason for the season... Jesus.  I made this book to introduce the "characters" in the story of Jesus' birth.  We do the read-aloud version with Levi.  Suri knows the characters now and is excited to make her own book with her own illustrations.  Pictures in a future post...promise!  Click the picture to head over to my TpT store to grab a copy for your family.

And I myself am immersed in the "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him" plan on the She Reads Truth app.  I have the journal that accompanies the plan for the first time and I am loving it!  I spend a few moments every morning and evening reading and rereading the verses and reflecting on them.  For this is the season to adore Him and have Hope in Him.  There is no greater comfort than the Hope I find in Him.

What are you doing to get ready this season??

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Scoop

Happy Sunday Morning!

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for a fun linky...  Click the image to join in the fun!

Here's what I'm up to today...
I'm not going to elaborate on the things I have to do.  Nothing exciting.  Just the usual Sunday stuff.  

We got our tree yesterday.  The kids are really excited to put the lights and ornaments on.  We are waiting for the branches to relax a bit.  We have promised them a decorating "party" with hot chocolate and Christmas music.  Hoping we can do this later this afternoon.  I really need to do some baking.  We use muffins, granola bars, pancakes, and waffles as our go-to snacks and meals from the freezer and our supply is nearly gone.  I know a 3 year old of mine who will be very excited to help me in the kitchen.  :)

My husband is off this weekend which means he actually gets to go to church with us.  My daughter is an angel in the Children's program today at church.  She is very excited that daddy gets to see her in the program.  I'm hoping her little brother is just as excited since there's no Sunday school or child care today.  Keeping him entertained can be a challenge.  But I'm looking forward to church anyways.  It's Advent, my favorite time of the year.  Looking forward to worshiping Him and seeing my daughter be an angel.

What are you up to today?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December Currently...

Oh boy am I late to the game this month!  I was soooo busy getting my store ready for the big sale I completely forgot about my favorite linky...this one!  December totally snuck up on me.  So grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, curl up on the couch, and join me for a little December Currently, hosted by Farley of Oh Boy Fourth Grade.
 We have an internet radio that we bought last year.  I'm so glad we did.  I love being able to listen to iheart radio.  We can't get pandora but iheart radio has been great.  I'm in love with their Christmas favorites station.  It's totally getting me in the mood despite the fact that it's 75 and sunny here and doesn't feel a bit like Christmas.

My Starbucks store order arrived yesterday.  I ordered all my holiday faves.  Thankgoodness for peppermint mocha via!!!!  They don't make the peppermint mocha at Starbucks here so I'm grateful to still be able to order it and get it here.  I also got a tin of JOY tea.  My favorite tea this time of year.  Love that it's JOY, so close to my name, and let's face it, it brings me joy to curl up with a hot mug of it.  I ordered some pumpkin chai mix for my husband and peppermint hot cocoa for the kids.  Everyone is happy which makes me happy!

I have so much wrapping to do.  I was able to get all the Bahamian gifts I'd bought for family and friends wrapped, boxed, and mailed off today.  Now to face all the presents stashed in our closet that need wrapping... I will not wait til Christmas Eve, I will not wait til Christmas Eve, I will not wait til Christmas Eve!

I got an amazon gift card from my sister for my birthday.  I purchased Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Unbroken, Where'd You Go Bernadette?, and The Light Between Oceans to read on my Kindle.  Looking forward to getting in some reading.  I sense some late nights coming... :)

The hubby is off for 4 days this weekend and so we are going to be able to go get our tree and get our decorations out.  Looking forward to decorating the tree and decking the halls!

Our church hands out shoe boxes for local charities in need at the holidays.  Inside is a list of needed items.  Each of my kids picked out a box and my husband and I are sharing a box for the Children's Emergency Youth Hostel.  These are kids without homes, orphans basically who live at this orphanage.  If you read my blog, you know that adoption and orphan care are near and dear to my heart.  We picked out pjs, socks, and underwear for boys and girls to fill our boxes.  My kids were part of the shopping and had fun choosing items.  I'm proud of them for wanting to give back.  I also am going to be in charge of the toddler room Sunday School curriculum and planning from here on out.  This is a big step for me.  I've been looking for a more significant way to serve other than just working in the toddler room once every 4-5 weeks.  Well, God put it on my heart to do this and so I am going to do this with incredible joy!  To spread the joy here is a freebie from my store for you all to enjoy!
CCSS Aligned 2D Shapes Gingerbread SPLAT!

Happy December Everyone!