New Year's Resolution Linky!

Here I am again wanting to be held accountable. 

I know, I know...

What better way to do so than to have people read what my resolutions are so that I feel obligated to keep them?  Actually, I'm not a "resolution" kind of gal.  I never keep them.  Surprised?  What I do like to do, however, is to set some goals.  I guess that's an easier way of saying "resolution".  Maybe I just have a hang-up with the word resolution.  Whatever.

So, here goes.  I'm linking up with the sweet Jen from The Teacher's Cauldron. 

Personal Resolution:

I need to learn how to balance everything better.  I want to be efficient, but in a way that doesn't make me look too OCD.  You know what I mean?  I want to make sure I am living in the "present" and making time for my family first.  All other things can wait.  My kids are getting older and I'm going to be sad when they go off and leave me.  I need to remember that these last years with them both under my roof will be precious and I don't want to miss a minute of it.

Blogging Resolution:

Simple~Blog with purpose.  Last year I would have said that my goal was to blog more.  But now I really want there to be substance and purpose to each blog post.  To do this, I have to make sure that what I am doing in my classroom will make me want to blog.  This, then, is a two-fer goal.  It's great for blogging, but ultimately great for my classroom, too. 

So what are your resolutions/goals for 2013?  Head on over to Jen's blog and link up!

By the way...throwing a little sale of TpT today!  Head on over and check it out :)


Organized? ...Yeah, Right.

Oh, to be organized.  Wait, let me clarify...Oh, to be organized ALL.THE.TIME.
I know how to get myself organized.  See:

It's STAYING organized that seems to be the issue.  Anyone with me?

Sure you are...see, I found at least 3 ecards on Pinterest while trying to think of how unorganized I am...

I'm going with ecard #3.  See this mess:

This is how my organizing starts.  I dump E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. on the floor and begin sorting.  That is all the junk from my Christmas gift wrapping box with a few of my son's old Legos thrown in there.  How did that happen?

I'd love to show you the final organized box, but I've gotten distracted by the Internet again.  Silly invention.

I would like to share with you my goals for the rest of my vacation as far as organizing goes.  This way, you will hold me accountable, right?

Goal 1:
Finish organizing that gift wrapping box. Pleh! Then, put away all of the Christmas stuff.

Goal 2:
Organize my computer.  However, I'm afraid ol' Internet will get in the way again.  Poo!

But, I'm hoping that this present from my mom and dad might help:

I'm thinking I'm going to put all of my teacher "stuff" on there and organize my files better as I do.  Should I keep the files only on the external hard drive or should I still keep them on my laptop?

Goal 3:
Organize all of my Teachers Pay Teachers items and upgrade/revise a few. 

That's enough goals, don't you think?  I wouldn't want to strain a muscle or anything.  If I do, though, maybe I could just say to heck with it all and spend more time with ol' Internet.

Or maybe with a good book.

Yeah, I'll go with that one.

If you haven't already shared what you plan to organize, then head on over to fellow SC blogger, Hope King's blog and link up:

Best and the Brightest of 2012

 I'm linking up with Christina Bainbridge for her 2012's Blog Best and Brightest linky! I love a good linky party.  It is really the way I got started in blogging in late 2011.  I must admit, I was rather a dork when it came to these linky parties at first.  I'm so glad that I've had a year to "grow" into myself as a blogger.
I'm here to share some of my favorite highlights from my year here on my little blog.  

Best Post
I have "met" so many wonderful friends in blog-land (more on that a little further down), but the best thing that I have been able to do through blogging is to network with some of the best teachers across the country.  I've been frequenting several websites for many, many years and then over the last few years I've been reading so many fantastic blogs and thought I wanted to try blogging myself. I'm so glad that I did.   This leads me to my most popular post, "Math Stations...Making It Work".  It was a link up to Laura Candler's Corkboard Connections blog on math centers/stations:

As much as I love that post, I equally love the next most popular post, "Repurposed Filing Cabinet-A How To Guide":
There are so many reasons I love this post.  But, the number one reason I love it is because it was a link up to my FAVORITE summertime past time:
I enjoyed making so many things for my classroom, but what I gained most from these link ups was a most precious friendship with Tara.
Tara has become a real true friend over the last few months and I am very grateful for her friendship.  She and I often joke that we just don't understand why we don't live down the street from each other.  It's really as if we do the way we chat all the time.  Oh, if only....
Freebie Shared
This is not the freebie with the most downloads (that's {this} one instead).  However, it is the one that I started seeing on Pinterest  without being my own pin.  It's the first time that I thought, "Wow, people like what I share!"  I even said to a co-worker that I was surprised it was popular because I just whipped it up on the fly when I needed something to add to our research projects last year. 

Some of my favorite products from this year include the two lapbooks from the fall on multiplication and division.
These two products are by far my "best sellers".  However, my favorite item all year was my very first "real" paid product:
Last March when my class was working on poetry and figurative language, I had my students make these lapbooks. I really loved the way my students were actively engaged in the learning, took ownership of their work and really LEARNED the content.  I've been a lapbook fan ever since!  When I decided to sell these, I remember running in and telling the secretary at my school that "I've found a way to retire early!  I sold one!"  (I was joking, of course, but I was excited none-the-less to know that someone else wanted what I made.)  **By the way, it is my goal over the break to revise this product to make it better!**

Bloggy Wisdom
Just like my dear friend, Kristen, I too am worried that I might forget someone that has meant so much to me this year.  I'm going to try to name everyone.  Let me start with Kristen:

About a year ago when I really started commenting/ asking questions/ getting serious about blogging, I would frequent Kristen's blog.  I learned so much from her tutorials that I truly felt confident in what I was doing.  I was shocked when Kristen started commenting/emailing back and became a follower.  Shocked!  She's got a gazillion followers.  But, she took time for me.  We really started becoming great friends during the summer when she helped me give this blog a make-over.  Don't you love her design style?  Now, she's my go-to gal for everything, really.  I'm so glad I can call her a friend. 
Stephanie has been a true inspiration for me.  She's introduced me to so much (and to a ton of new friends) and I just can't say enough about her. Those of you who have followed for a while already know how much I admire Stephanie. I don't think that my math routine/curriculum would be complete without her  Calendar Math. This is by far the BEST tool I have in my math toolbox this year!

My admiration for Stephanie isn't truly complete without Jen Runde. When I think of one of these gals, I think of the other. It's like they go together like peas and carrots.  {I think they'd agree.} I have to tell you that she is so generous.  She answers all of my silly questions and shares so much with me that I'm completely indebted to her for life!  Her Interactive Math Journals have been a hit in my classroom and it has made me learn how to make my students truly THINK about what they are learning.
Blogging Joy
I have to tell you that some of my favorite connections have been with such fabulous blog friends like:
joyin6th Homepage
3rd Grade Thoughts

However, by far the brightest point of my 2012 blogging experience has been my journey with all of you!  I'm shocked and amazed when I look at my statistics and see how many followers I have, how many times people frequent my blog and how many people stop to leave me a comment. 
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm grateful for all of you!  I wouldn't be continuing to grow as a blogger and (more importantly) as a teacher without all of you.  So, thank you!  May 2013 be even brighter!!

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours {Shhh}

Don't tell Sarah that I put this on here.  She would die!

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Merry Christmas from my crazy family to yours {not meaning that your family is crazy} :)

I hope your holiday season is filled with many blessings.  

A Little Time-Out for Self-Reflection

I can see the light!!
Christmas break is right around the corner.  Halleluiah!

I’ve been thinking about all of you over the last few days.  I haven’t been around here much lately because there has been a lot going on in my own life.  Then, our lives as educators have been completely changed after Friday.   I think we have all been rocked to the core.  How can we not be?  I’ve spent some time reflecting over the last few days and have come to realize a few things.

The most important thing that I’ve realized is that I need to start living in the present.  I will make a point to listen more, take the time to support others more and just “be there” for my family and friends.  How many times do we say, “I’m so busy.”?  I know I find myself saying that so much.  I bet if I put the phrase “I’m so busy” in my search bar on this blog that several posts would pop up with those exact words. 
But why am I busy?  Am I trying to accomplish too much?  Am I putting too much on my plate? 

If nothing else, my self-reflection after this tragedy has made me realize that I need to STOP and live in the “now”.  

With that being said, I took some time this week with my students to just enjoy the season.  Often, I’m rushing around during this time of year… trying to cram in the last few bits of material before the break.  This week, I’ve decided to STOP and just enjoy the season with my students.
First, we made these stockings {Thanks, Teri}:
Today we spent some time working on some crafts for my students to take home. 

Aren’t they cute?
I cleared out my craft closet, y’all.  I had about 19 of those cuties.  So, 19 of my kids made those, while others made different crafts.  All in all, my kids are going home on Friday with about 4-5 different crafts.  That’s a record!  Usually, I’m lucky if I get one craft in during the week before Christmas break.  Yay!
Here’s another craft we made:
Also, thanks to Gina S., I’ve enlisted the help of Jingle.  Take a look at her:
She’s been keeping my kiddos in line.  She shows up and leaves them notes of “encouragement” to stay focused and to behave.  It’s working!  Even with big ol’ “fourthsies” :)
My gift to my kids is pretty much the same gift I’ve given for years. 
Inside I added some candy and this homework/extra credit pass {Thanks, Ashley Hughes for the cute graphics}:

Click {here} to grab your copy of the coupon if you are interested. 

I hope that you take some time to live in the “now”.  It’s not always easy.  It’s hard to be “present” at every moment in our lives.  I just know that I’m going to try a little harder.