Ring in the New Year - with a Sale!

{adorable button by Hope King}

Some of my FAVORITE bloggers and I are ringing in the new year with a *quick* sale!

Everything in [my TPT store] will be 20% off through New Year's Day at midnight!!

I  thought I would show you a few of the exciting projects my class will be working on in the next couple months:

 Writing Through the Seasons {Winter}:
Tons of winter-themed narrative, informative, and opinion writing prompts!
I usually pick one of these a week to complete with my kids.

MLK Jr. Mini unit:
This is a literacy and craft mini-unit for MLK Jr.
We will start in on this next week! I posted this product over the summer, so you can see the craft and read more here.

Creating an All About Book:
This is my favvvvvvvvvvorite writing unit to complete with my class!! It is a full on, research-based writing project! We pick animals to research, go through non-fiction text features, and create our very own non-fiction "All About..." books. I can never tell who has more fun, me or the kids!

Be Mine, Valentine:
This is my newest writing and craft pack that I made for Valentine's Day!
I just, just, just posted this so you can see some of the activities in this post!

I wish you all a Happpppppy New Year filled with laughter and joy!
Enjoy your last couple days off!
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Engagement Photos and Valentine's Day!

Waaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!
I am sick. Eyes hurt, nose hurts, throat hurts. EVERYTHING HURTS... Wahhhhhh!!!!

Okay... done being a baby.

This is my last night on vacation at my parents' house and I am happy to say that it has been a BLAST! Parks and I celebrated our very first Christmas together, we visited so many friends and family andddd we took our engagement pictures! Eeeek!

We just took them yesterday but our awesome photographers already had some *sneak-peak* shots up on their facebook page. These are my 2 faves!
Tehehehe... I can't help but giggle, because I love them so dang much!!
 Kendra and Dan over at Lightshed Photography Studio did an amazing job - especially because I was so sick and it was fa-reezing outside! You can't even tell though can ya?!? You can click on either of the pictures to head to their facebook page and see some more of our pictures. I can't wait to see them all when they're finished!

Since I have been coughing up a lung the past 24 hours, I thought I would hunker down and finally finish my Valentine's Day pack I started a few weeks ago! I just uploaded it to TPT and I thought I would show you some highlights:
 

This pack has some different writing activities and crafts, perfect for Valentine's Day!
^^ some of the writing prompts included ^^
3 different crafts:
{Let's Make a Love Potion}:
A "how-to" writing craft in which students make a love potion for their Valentine using some of their Valentine's favorites treats and sweets!

 {Love Tickets}:
Super-easy coupon gifts for students to give as a parent gift! Students can use the pre-made tickets or write their own coupons for their parents to redeem.


 {Spread the Love - Community Building Activity}:
This is a follow-up activity to my Stocking Stuffers freebie we used last month. My kids l-o-v-e-d spreading the holiday cheer around the classroom and reading their notes so much that I thought I would continue the notes, but with a little twist! Instead of stockings, we now have our hearts that can be filled with notes!

To see the whole pack in more detail, download the preview at my TPT store.
 
 I am also linking up Denise, over at Sunny Days for Show & Tell Tuesday! Click the button above to see more V-day ideas!


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Merry Christmas! [The Best and Brightest]

I am a few days late but....
Merry Christmas!!

I am still here in Salem with my family enjoying some much-needed relaxation.

Here are some of us on Christmas Eve:
Little sis and I, "little" brother and I... and on the right is me and the babe!

I am also linking up with Christina Bainbridge to share my blog's best and the brightest of 2012:

These are my top 2 posts of the year:

#1:
 
 
My favorite freebie:

My favorite product:
My favorite products are my writing packs! They have helped me sort through the CCSS writing standards for first grade and they took a lotttt of time and effort.
If I had to pick one, I would say my personal narratives pack is my all-time fave!
 
My favorite blogs:
I have "met" so.so.SO many amazing bloggers/teachers/friends this past year through giveaways, product swaps, linky parties, and just good, ole-fashioned emailing :) Some of my faves are below. Be sure to check them all out because they truly are out-of-this-world!

Kelley:
Sour Apple Studio
 
Katie:

Stephanie:
Falling into First

Reagan:

 A Kup of Katie:
 (^adorable, quirky, and fun personal blog^)
 
As the last few days of 2012 come to an end, it has been fun to look back on my crazy 1st year of blogging/TPT-ing. I am proud of my successes in the blogging world and have learned a heck of a lot from my mistakes! 2013 is a big year for me as I plan to:
-buy a house
-get married
- go on my honeymoon!!!!
-get pregnant (hopefully)
among many, many other things. I am so excited to see what is in store. Hopefully you'll be able to follow along the crazy journey with me!

Happy almost new year everyone!!
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Parent & Student Holiday Gifts!

Christmas break is HERE!!

The past week was wild and fast and fun... but I am glad it is over and I am even gladder(?) that I am relaxing in my hometown of Salem, MA. 

I wanted to do a quick little post on some cute n' crafty parent gifts we made this year!
My friend, Janie, has been making these for years and I finally hopped on board! They came out so cute and they were really easy. First, we used a die cut and some poster board to make the green circles. Then the students glued on puzzle pieces in 3 layers. Janie spray-painted them all (green for Christmas wreaths and white for snowflakes for our little ones who don't celebrate Christmas). We added a little ribbon, some berries(wreaths) and glitter(snowflakes) and VIOLA! 

We put them in some rudolph gift bags and now they are hanging from Christmas trees all over Vegas.

Janie told me this craft has been around for a while so I did a bit of searching and found directions for the craft HERE!

I also had to share these Reindeer Kit treats that a 1st grade room mom made!
Mother of the year award?!? I think so!
She made one for each kid in the class.
Contents:
"reindeer food" - carrot sticks
"melted snow" - ranch dressing
"reindeer antlers" - pretzels
"reindeer noses" - grapes and 1 tomato for Rudolph
"snowballs" - marshmallows
1 homemade reindeer cake pop!

SO CUTE! I must remember this when I am a momma!

Happy holidays to you all!
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Back At It... With Holiday Photos!

Monday was filled with hugs, learning, and laughter.

It was exactly what we needed to get back into the swing of things in our little classroom.

Today... was jam-packed with holiday fun!

This morning we read The Gingerbread Man and retold the story using headbands and a little reader's theater action. The students picked their parts in the play, colored in their headbands, and retold the story to the class! They did a great job and they were pretty darn funny. I love that we practice, and practice, and practice. Then the students get in front of the class and go BLANK.
My friend, Tracy got these cute little headbands from this book. It has some classic stories for the kids to read and practice retelling in order.
  
To kick off our math block, we used Deanna Jump's gingerbread cookie graphing activity found in THIS pack. The students were each given a gingerbread cookie and they were told they could take 1 bite from the cookie. After they took their bite they came to the mat and we graphed which part of the cookie they ate first: the head, the arm, the leg, or the tummy! The students thought this was hilarious. Then, they went back to their seats and filled in their graph independently.
 
Next up, we reviewed fact families and made Kelley's Gingerbread Fact Family Houses.
My students lovedddd making these and they turned out adorable! It was the perfect activity to review these skills before break.
Lastly, we traveled to our second stop - MEXICO - to learn about how Christmas is celebrated. The students created this adorable poinsettia and completed their Christmas around the world journal created by the ever-amazing, Stephanie, from Falling into First.
 You can get her pack HERE!
That is about it for our fun-filled day. I hope all you other teachers out there are getting back into the swing of things with your students and enjoying the last few days together before break!

T-minus 3 days!
WOO!
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Silence


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Prayers


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12-12-12 = WAY COOL!

One of my favorite blogging buddies, Stacy, is having a wayyyyy cool linky party to help us document our day on 12-12-12!

Here are a few pictures from my day:
1. One of my little guys took a picture of me while I pretended to read a Santa book (after I really read it aloud).
2. My students playing cover up to practice numbers to 120.
3. My friend, Tanya, put a little twist on my {stocking stuffers} community building activity. She made a seriously adorable fireplace for her students to gather around and write notes to one another. I loved it so much I had to snap a picture!
4. Me being sad that our bulletin board still has pumpkins.... they are Kelley's amazing adjective pumpkins... but still... it needs to be changed....
5. My kids all took pictures with Santa for a gift we are giving to parents!
6. Long o (ow) practice on the rainbow.
7. In-n-Out burger for dinner.
8. Bundled-up for a late night trip to Walgreens.
9. To get POPCORN! We do Cara Carroll's brown bag book club and I have an awesome classroom dad who comes in once a week to reward the students.
10. One of my cuties practicing her read-to-self.
11. We "put up" our sad excuse for a Christmas tree... bahaha... I swear we will be better when we have kids.
12. Bethenny! Catching up on my DVR :)
All-in-all, it was a pretty normal day for me... but I love that I got to share this special day with you all and I get to read about other bloggers' day at Stacy's linky!
 
Happy last few hours of 12-12-12... and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful sister-in-law, Romy, love ya!!! :)
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12 in 12 linky party!

I am so excited to join Hadar and Kristin in their 12 in 12 linky party!


I remember reading these last year, but I couldn't link up because.....well.... I wasn't a blogger! Now, T.G.I.F. is ready and rearing to go!

Here are my top 12 favorite things that happened in 2012:

  (12) Favorite movie you watched: 
 This was a long year and I sure as heck don't remember every movie I saw... but, I just saw Silver Linings Playbook last weekend and can tell you that I LOVED every second of it. I laughed, I cried, and I stared at Bradley Cooper. It was so, so good. The fiance loved it too!

(11) Favorite TV series:
I'm with Teeny Tiny on this one... I never miss an episode of Housewives - any season. Beverly Hills quickly became my favorite cast of crazies since it first aired.
 
(10) Favorite restaurant:
I don't know if Chipotle counts as a restaurant, but it is my favorite place to eat. Always. Chicken burrito bowl, brown rice, black bean, veggies, and guacamole. To go. Now.
 
(9) Favorite new thing you tried:
 BLOGGING!
It was soooo nerve-wracking and scary, but the relationships I have made through blogging are nothing less than amazing.
 
(8) Favorite gift you got:
 Uhhh, DUH!
The love of my life proposed and got me my canary diamond I always wanted!

(7) Favorite thing you pinned:
 This little girl makes me want a baby. Like, now. And, I will dress her in this immediately.

(6) Favorite blog post:
This summer I went to a blogger meet up here in Vegas and I was SUPER nervous. I was such a newbie blogger and I was shaking in my boots introducing myself to some of the bloggers I had loved to stalk via the computer screen. I am so, so, so happy I went because I met some of the coolest and funniest ladies EVER! The best part is that I am still in touch with most of these ladies now!

(5) Best accomplishment:
  My biggest accomplishment this past year is TPT! Just like blogging, Teachers Pay Teachers was scary!! I knew I was putting myself on the line and asking people to like my stuff and even, yikes, BUY my stuff, but it has been oh, so worth it!
 
(4) Favorite picture:
 Me and sisters being ridiculous in the hotel mirror. Sums up our relationship .
That's me on the right doing a curtsey.
 
(3) Favorite memory:
 GETTING ENGAGED!
(see #8)
 
(2) Goal for 2013:
 Get in sexy, wedding/honeymoon shape - I CAN DO IT! 
(right?!?! just tell me I can)
 
(1) One Little Word:
Relax.
 This upcoming year is going to be filled with many milestones in my life: wedding/preggers(God-willing)/home-buyin'. These are all very stressful and stress is NOT a good look on me. I need to remember to breathe and relax and enjoy all the amazing adventures ahead of me!
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Holiday Scratch n' Sniff & Reindeer Writing

My Christmas countdown is ON! Is yours?!?
We started a few holiday activities today and let me tell you, the kids were SO excited! I picked a few of the most exciting ones to highlight this evening.
 
First up: Holiday Scratch n' Sniff 
 
Peppermints, gingerbread cookies, cinnamon and some pine needles (or just a green marker and some imagination).
 
That is all you need for this holiday activity! My first year teaching, my friend, Carisa, introduced me to this and I knew I had to try it. I made a few adaptations over the years and I tell can you this is a BIG hit in my class! The kids loooove it!

First, you put some holiday scents into unmarked containers. This year I chose peppermint candies, crushed gingerbread cookies, cinnamon, and a Christmas tree. Now... in the past I have crushed up the peppermints and added them to an unmarked container as well. This year, I don't know what type of dang peppermints I got, but these ones would NOT break... I tried everything... except a hammer...and that is mostly because I don't have a hammer at school. Soooo I just glued a whole peppermint candy to the paper. 
You can also see that the Christmas tree is clearly not real. Parks and I aren't getting a real Christmas tree this year due to the fact that we have a teensy-weensy apartment, but thankfully, many of my students already have one. I just had them draw a Christmas tree and they wrote down some words to describe it on their own.
[In the past, I would snip the ends of a few branches off the tree and bring those in.]

Now, onto the activity...all students need to do is dab a little glue in each box and "sprinkle" the holiday scents onto the paper. Once each scent has dried, students lightly scratch each box and sniff away! They think this is hilarious and I love watching their faces as they smell each one. Afterwards I have my students write down some adjectives to describe what they are smelling and they try to guess what each smell is. It is a simple little activity, but it brings a lot of giggles and my room smells like Christmas for the rest of the day!

How can you beat a room that smells like Christmas and is filled with the sounds of little kids laughing?!? You can't! It is amazing.
 
 This one cracks me up...
Christmas tree - "smells super good"
Cinnamon - "smells excellent"
Peppermint - "it's kind of good"
Gingerbread cookie - "smells bad"

After it is all said and done, I reveal the mystery scents and we all have a goooood ole time!
 
Some other scents I have used in the past:
-Candles: this one is easy, you can find SO many holiday scents. Just hide the label and have students take turns smelling!
- Peppermint oil (one drop goes a longggg way)
- Nutmeg
- Ginger
- Crushed sugar cookies

Activity 2: Reindeer Writing

At the end of the day, we made these cute little reindeer writing activities:
 
^^Tee hee^^
 I told my students that Rudolph was taking a vacation for Christmas and they needed to write a how-to piece for the other reindeer to "step up their game" and become the new Rudolph! My phone died before my kiddos were finished (Santa is bringing me a snazzy, new camera for Christmas), but they thought that the new lead reindeer had to be strong, smart, funny and one little guy said he had to be "a good guider through the winter night."
 
If you'd like to get your hands on either of these activities, they are in my Sleigh Bells Ring Pack!
{This pack is currently on sale for only $3.50!}
 
The next few weeks will be jam-packed with more fun activities, but for the next 48 hours, I am going to unplug and enjoy family, friends, and a relaxing deep-tissue massage. Have a splendid weekend everyone!
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