Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013...

Hello, hello!  Friends, can I be honest for a minute?!  I honestly feel like I blinked and 2013 was O-V-E-R. Over.  Just like that!  In 2014 is ANYTHING like 2013, then I am in for the ride of my life.  I'm totally buckling my seat-belt.  Right now.   I'm also eating OREOS (which is kind of wrecking my brand new diet)... and relaxing...because once in a while you just have to have some ME time!  Ha! 

So, here's the deal.  In 2013, I learned a thing or two about balance.  I learned how to carve out more time for myself... to carve out more time for things that don't necessarily revolve around school.  It's been really good for me.  I just feel guilty every now and then when I spend too long away from my blog.  I'm going to try to be more balanced with my balance in 2014... and I'm going to TRY to blog more.  We'll see how that goes... considering that I start coursework for a gifted endorsement on the 6th... but that's the goal!  I'm going to kick this off by sharing a few things we did before break!

We spent some time reviewing nonfiction features and making a non-fiction features book from my Arctic Snow Business: An Avalanche of Nonfiction Fun pack.  I projected the posters on the SMARTboard, and the kiddos practiced note-taking by recording the definitions.  They will be making nonfiction books to accompany their Wild Ones Wax Museum presentations, so this was a nice lead-in, and it was a nice review too. I'm excited to kick this off soon! 


We've been working our way through my Community Capers pack, and it has been tons of fun! As part of the community capers, my students worked in groups to created urban, suburban, and rural communities.  They became founders, and I LOVED the details and deep-thinking that my students put into their creations. This may be a bit of an overload, but I couldn't resist zooming in to share some of the details with all of you. 


As part of the unit, we also talked about the common good, and how we can help our communities, even as kiddos.  They created advertisements to drive the point home.  :)  A few students decided to create commercials to try to get more volunteers on board.

We didn't get around to making these flipbooks this year, but they are another great way to drive home the concept of rural, suburban, and urban communities.

We did manage to squeeze in travel brochures (by the fabulous Sarah Cooley) promoting our own community.  This always leads us to wonderful conversations about what makes our community unique and how it compares to other communities that they know or have visited.  It also helps us lead into conversations about how the community has grown and changed over time.  We are fortunate to have an active historical society that always visits our school around this time of year, so the students have sufficient background knowledge about the history of our township, and it shows!  Seriously, isn't this just precious?!

All of the talk about responsibilities, community, and the common good  fit in really nicely with a little classroom RAK project.  We found small ways to spread holiday cheer throughout the building each day leading up to break.  I provided most of the goodies, but some of the kids brought candy canes to distribute to random classrooms or left nice notes on teachers' doors.  :)  It made my teacher heart so FULL and so happy!

I even got RAK'd a few times myself.  :)  This one really made me smile.  I just love my kiddos!

Of course, we whipped out some holiday centers too!  They are always a huge hit with my students, and I am already looking forward to putting out my winter set. It's nice having them available every month as a spiraling review of skills we've been working on, and as a fun way to prepare for state testing with regards to synonyms, antonyms, homophones, etc.  It's fun, and they're learning, so I guess you could call that a WIN-WIN situation! 

In addition, we've been having fun with the i-Pad.  I LOVE giving them extra practice with word processing skills and different apps whenever we get the chance.  I am able to borrow about 15 i-Pads once every eight days, but on Day 6, it's been a wonderful way to extend learning while my students are working in centers, and I am working on Close Reading with small groups!  Here are a few kind of recent examples.  "Recent" is used lightly here... but I thought I'd throw them out there anyway! 

In other news, I am teaming up with some of my bloggy BFFs for a New Years sale!  Everything in my store is 20% off through tomorrow evening (1-1-14), so if you've had something on your wishlist, now's a good time to pick it up at a discounted price. Here's a looksie at some of my favorite winter activities!  :)  My favorite?!  My Valentine's Day Book Reports!   Hands-down!  I can't wait to do them again this year! If you're interested, you can see the post from last year HERE!


Simply click any of the images below to take a closer look! 





Well, I suppose I should start wrapping up my last post of 2013 so I can enjoy my evening with Hubs.  I am REALLY enjoying having some extra time off together... and I am trying to stay offline as much as possible.  So, with that said, HAPPY 2014!  May you be BLESSED!

P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for a fun New Years linky over at Blog Hoppin'!  


  1. Everything looks great!
    Good luck in your class.
    Happy New Year!

    Fit to be Fourth

  2. OK, I LOVE how you've integrated character into your community helpers unit. What a wonderful example of curricular character infusion.

    Here's to peace and plenty in 2014,