January Currently!

So many posts in one day! I want to make sure I jump on the band wagon early on this month. And by the band wagon, I mean Farley's Currently Linky! Head on over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to check out her awesome blog and to link up yourself :)


May the New Year bring you {mindfulness}, *good fortune*, and health <3.

Cheers!

Rae (signing off)
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Quickie Update: Genuine Excitement!

Hi again,

Quick post about how I won a tremendous giveaway from You Might Be a First Grader!!!! I am so excited to have won, because the Winter-themed literacy and math centers that I won is jam-packed with grade appropriate ideas to use with my kiddos. Plus, its so colorful and fun! If you would like to check it out, please head to her TeachersPayTeachers store and pick it up, because I highly recommend you purchase it!

This Literacy and Math Pack includes:

  • Nonsense Word Game
  • Pocket Chart Activities
  • Sight Word activities
  • Punctuation practice
  • ABC Order work
  • Patterns
  • Number Sense activities
  • Money Activity
  • Nearly 70 pages of activities and center ideas
I am genuinely so excited! What a great way to head back to school after Winter Break.

Thanks again Brenda!

Cheers!
Rae
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The Year of Rae and Resolution Link Ups!

Happy {almost} New Year!

After some serious pondering of my life values and goals, I have figured out the most meaningful and manageable resolutions for me for 2013! This is my year people: between graduating graduate school in May, getting married in June, and continuing my work as a professional special educator, and future BCBA, there is A LOT to be thankful for and work towards. 2013 will be full of excitement and changes. All the more reason to make changes now, so the shock of new lifestyle changes doesn't paralyze me!

This is... 
the Year of Rae (selfish much, eh?)


Special thanks to the Teacher's Toolkit for the Chevron Background!

Okay, enough about me...let's talk about...me?
Whatevs...here are my Resolutions for the New Year...

My first link up is with The Teacher's Cauldron.

Jen created this fun link-up to share New Years Resolutions. This Linky is to share two resolutions you have for the year: 1 personal goal and 1 blogging goal. Seems reasonable, so here I go...

My 2 Resolutions for Teacher's Cauldron Link-Up

  • My Personal Resolution: Get fitter and healthier! How will I do that you may ask? Read below for more details on how I plan to reach my goals.
  • My Blogging Resolution: Post at least 2 times each week. I would love to post more, but I can't make any promises. I am on vacation now so it has been easy to find time...that won't be the case by Wednesday when I go back! I'm just being honest... :)

Make sure you link-up with Jen over at Teacher's Cauldron for this fun Resolution Linky! I would love to hear your personal and blogging resolutions for 2013!

Jessica at Fantastically Average is hosting a special edition of {5 for Five}, called {5 for Five 2013} w00t!

Today, instead of outlining 5 goals for the week, we are setting 5 goals for the year! Yes, 5 New Years Resolutions!

My New Years Resolutions for 2013
1. Eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack. I want to make meaningful, healthier lifestyle changes, and I need to start somewhere. I am overall a pretty healthy eater, but I would like to incorporate more produce into my life, and starting with a measurable goal such as this, will help me to adopt this as routine, to which I can further my goals with additional steps. It's a start!
2. Workout 4-5 times per week. My schedule is out-of-control busy, especially for the next couple of months (the 2nd half of the school year, my last semester of graduate school...oh yeah, and my wedding), so I don't want to commit to a goal that I know is not reasonable for me to achieve. I don't want to burn out and give up all together. Plus, 4-5 weekly workouts is a good start and is by no means easy nor a cop out. I like this goal!
3. Figure out a set chore schedule! I need to be m ore organized across my life, but household chores are a disaster! I always end up doing everything on the weekend, and then the house is a mess by Tuesday again. I want to create a manageable cleaning schedule that my fiancé and I can use so that housework doesn't seem like so much...well...work.
4. Keep in contact with my friends! My way to do this is by hosting a book club that I just started this month. I'm hoping that my friends and I will keep our friend dates, and it will motivate us to schedule more time together outside of our book club obligation. I love my friends, but between my wedding planning, lesson planning, and life planning, they are becoming less of a priority, which I don't like!
5. Save an additional $100 each month. I go out for coffee and breakfast nearly every day during the work week. That's about $25 each week, which amounts to $100 a month on something I could make at home! So this is the year I kick my Dunkin Donuts habit, and start making my coffee and breakfast at home. Plus, by making my own breakfast, I will be able to reach my #1 goal!
6. Spend more time with the fiancé! I am not very good at managing my time. I come home from work most days, and either sit at my computer to complete graduate school work, or sit at my computer to create lesson plans. Either way, it is a lot of computer time, and little fiancé time. I need to figure out a system to be able to manage both so I can be happier, saner person, and so he can be happy too :)
7. Blog 2-3 times a week. See my explanation above with my other link-up.
8. Create 2 products for my Teachers Pay Teachers store a month. At the rate I go with my products, this seems like a manageable, but challenging goal to reach. I can do it though...
9. Run a race every month this year! I love racing (10k distance is my favorite), and would like to plan a race for each month this year. At least! It's something fun I love to do, and a way to reach my last goal...
10. Get fitter! Each month I plan to set a new goal for myself. Thanks to Desirae over at Going with the Flow, I have joined her DietBet for my January goal (weight loss). The pot is over $900!! I have invited my friends and co-workers, and if you are interested in meeting a fitness/weight loss goal, you should check it out. There is still time to sign up! The goal for this DietBet challenge is to lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days. The deal with DietBet is that you put a certain amount of money into the community pot (in this challenge, it is $10), and at the end of the challenge, the pot is split up for all the winners of the challenge. It's pretty simply, confidential, and totally worth it (if you ask me). Once the challenge is over, I will let you know my thoughts on DietBet if y'all are interested. As for my future month's goals, they are yet to be determined, but they will be fitness/health related, and I will post them as they come up.

So I doubled by goals, but I think that's okay. I know you might think that it's too much, that I will get burned out, or overwhelmed, but I don't think so. I am eager to get started on these goals, which is an important piece to the goal setting puzzle. These goals are meaningful for me. Plus, many of them overlap with each other, making it more manageable in my opinion.

My final link-up of the year (weird), is through Teaching Maddenness. Amanda started this link-up to hold people accountable for their New Years Resolution (I like where her head is at...).

Following her lead, I will set mine up in categories like Amanda.

My Resolutions for The Resolution Solution Linky Party

Personal:
Get Fit! I gots a wedding coming up that I need to look hot at! I can do this!
Eat Healthier! Bring on the greens!
Get organized! Let's get at this mop and broom...
Cuddle more! Fiancé! Here I come...

Work/School:
Get organized! I need to do this at school as well...not for cleaning, but for keeping order in my chaotic teacher brain!
Assess! I need to get better at keeping track of my students' assessments and come up with a system for organizing them.
Prep early! As suggested from my boss (yikes!), I am going to get to work earlier so I can prep all of stuff for the day before school starts. That means arriving BEFORE 7:30 and keeping my door closed! (I love you guys, but you gotta leave me alone until after 3:00).
Manage my time! This goes back to a previous goal for spending more time with the fiancé. I need to figure out how to balance it all. I don't even have kids yet! What's gonna happen when they come into our lives and I haven't figured this stuff out yet!? Better start now...

Blogging:
Post 2-3/week: See my explanation above (my first link-up).
Create 2 New TpT products/month: See explanation above (my 2nd link-up)
Reach 100 followers (or more!): I am at almost 70 as of this post, so I am hoping to reach 100 followers and more before the year's end. With that being said...
Host a giveaway! After reaching such a milestone, I would like to host a giveaway. I don't know the first thing about it, but I'm hoping my blogging pal Heather at Heather's Heart can give me a few pointers (as she has already offered, because she's the best!)

I have faith in my motivation, perseveration, and longing to make lifestyle changes to achieve these goals! Who is with me?!



Also, Halle over at Across the Hall in 2nd Grade is hosting a fabulous giveaway to honor the Perfect Pairs! It's super cute, so please make sure you check it out. What is your perfect pair?

Oh, and one more thing...Deedee at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten has a cute little Linky and Giveaway at her blog. 
Make sure to head over, link up your fitness resolutions (I did!) and enter her giveaway (hint: its SUPER easy and worth it!).

I would LOVE to hear about some of your New Years Resolutions for this year. Even if you aren't planning on making any set goals, what are something you look forward to for the upcoming year?

Cheers to the New Year!!!

Rae
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Goal Setting for Adults

Hi again,

As I write this, I am snuggled up on my couch, with my pup laying on my lap, a sherpa blanket wrapped around me, and my Christmas Tree blazing. Oh yes, and I am sick as a dog...

What a great way to spend the last couple days of vacation. NOT! Boo...

I'm really really praying that I kick this head cold before I go back to work. I can't afford to feel sick the day after Winter Break. I'll get eaten alive!

Oh well, aside from drinking lots of fluids and resting, there's not much I can do. So I might as well look ahead to my New Years Resolution...and start thinking of how I can meet my goals for the year.

Thankfully, I am not alone. Many, many fellow bloggers are also thinking of their resolutions for the upcoming year, and many have linked up with others to hold themselves accountable. What a brilliant idea!

Setting goals for myself has always been easy...it's the execution and accountability that is the tough part. I know the things I need to work on. I dwell on them throughout the year. When the times come for New Years Resolution, I dive in head first. However, usually within just a short couple of weeks (if even that!), my fire dwindles, and my dream dies. That's it! No long drawn-out goodbye, no preparation, nada. It's just gone, and I feel numb. Numb because it's so darn cold outside because it's still January.

I went to a fabulous Goal Setting Workshop through Lululemon this past autumn. It had a wonderful grid to help me visualize my goals and write them down on paper. Check out their blog section on goal setting.

This video may be of interest to you if you are wondering about the power of writing down your goals. It may also be worth a listen if you are nervous about making your goals more real, or concrete. This video comes from the Lululemon blog, and is short (only about a minute).



I have decided to link up for 3 Linky Parties! (because I just love me a good soiree) But before I link up, I want to really set meaningful, manageable goals for the new year, and I suggest you do the same. Further, we need to be setting goals for ourselves; things we want to achieve, not things others want us to achieve, or things we think we should change about ourselves.

My first step is to identify my values and goals for my life overall. It's hard to make a resolution if it doesn't fit with your life plan and values for yourself. At the Goal Setting Workshop, we were provided with a terrific double-sided worksheet to help define these goals. I have adapted the first page slightly as seen below.


get this worksheet from my Google Docs

This worksheet was downloaded straight from the Lululemon blog. If you download the PDF file from the website and have access to Adobe, you can type directly into the form. I prefer writing down my goals with pencil (I'm sure its something kinesthetic related, but I don't know what)


get this worksheet from my Google Docs

I find this worksheet fabulous! Something about the set up, the colors, the font...it's all very enticing. It also helps that it comes from Lululemon, as I love them (as evident from my latest Tweet). If this worksheet doesn't work for you, don't be discouraged! When in doubt, create your own! Whatever works for you! But make sure when you do create something that works, maybe share it? Other's would love to see it (I know I would!).

This may seem a little overboard for something as mundane and routine as a New Years Resolution, but let's be real...should changing your life for the better feel mundane? Should it be a chore? NO! The New Year should inspire you to change! Change is good! Opportunities are good! You should feel empowered to make these life changes, not trapped. So please, take this seriously, and I promise you, by this time next year, you won't feel like you've failed last year's "goals", nor will you dread expanding your dreams for 2014.

Cheers to making lifestyle changes that last!

Rae
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New Years Resolutions for the Classroom!

Cheers!

I have finally created my New Years Resolution Mini-Lesson Pack I plan to use when we get back on the 2nd. I have uploaded it to my TpT Store.


This pack includes:
  • A mini-lesson plan
  • Discussion topics
  • Differentiated worksheets to reach all learners
  • Independent and Group Work ideas
  • New Years Craft Activity
  • Goal Setting techniques
  • Resolution definitions
  • Graphic Organizers
  • and more!
I hope you will check out my preview, and if you are interested, please purchase it. I would also love honest feedback. If you feel that this product is not up to your standards, please contact me and let me know how I can better it. If you love it, then please provide positive feedback on my TpT Store! 

Also, I would love for you to follow my TpT store! Let me know you did and I would be happy to do the same :)


Oh, and please make sure you check out these fabulous giveaways The first giveaway is from The Peanut Gallery as a special New Years thank you gift! Too kind, right?
The next awesome giveaway is from Second Grade Nest! There are 5 fabulous Giveaway Sets that are up for grabs! Act fast so you can cash in :)

And finally, this giveaway is from Lori over at The Reinspired Teacher! She has reached a monumental blogger milestone of having 100 followers! {see my previous post for other fabulous blogger accomplishments!} Make sure to check out the giveaway she is hosting to celebrate this occasion :)

Thanks so much and Happy New Year!!

Rae
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A Year of Accomplishments and Milestones!

Hi there!
This is a massive post, but I wanted to acknowledge all of the fabulous blogs I have been following this year and give a shout out to some wonderful accomplishments!

With the end of the year approaching, it's hard to avoid all the promises made to better ourselves in the New Year...but I gotta tell ya... I think you all are doing pretty amazing this year! That's not to say we shouldn't all find things to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, but I think you should all give yourself some credit! This has been a very successful year for many of my fellow bloggers :)

Many reached great blogger milestones this year! I have by no means exhausted all the wonderful milestone shout outs there could be. All of you deserve a shout-out! But alas, I do not have the time, nor space on my blog to shout out everyone. Below are a few of the wonderful accomplishments bloggers have made this year:

Reaching x Followers!

Mrs. Foxwell at First Grade in Foxwell Forest reach 100 followers just today! Congrats to her! Make sure you follow her wonderful blog and enter to win her 100 Followers Giveaway!

2 Brainy Apples celebrated reaching 25 followers in October. Now they are up to over 50! Congrats!

Surfing to Success celebrated reaching 200 followers...and counting! Fabulous accomplishment- congratulations :)

Lovely Literacy & More has reached 50 followers, and is proud of it! (as she should be!) Congrats! She is also offering a freebie to celebrate her accomplishment. Check it out here.
Tammy at Dots of Fun has reached 200 followers, and is hosting a giveaway. It ends today so make sure to check it out!! 

The Realistic Teacher reached 100 followers earlier this month and is already up to 149 (at the time of this post). Yay!!

Angela at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade also reached and celebrated 100 followers (actually 102). Check out her funny post about reaching this milestone here.

Early this month, Aimee at Primarily Speaking reached 300 Followers! Congratulations Aimee on reaching that great milestone!

Congrats to Marie at Beach Lovin' Teach for reaching 50 Followers! Big accomplishment :)
{Oh...and she also received a Liebster Award! Congrats!! You are on a roll!}


Being Inspired reached 100 Followers this past month as well! Wonderful!!

In May, Andrea at Cheers to School reached 100 followers! Congratulations Andrea -- you are on your way to even more :)

In July, Lacey over at Wild About Teaching reached 500 followers! She is already at over 700 now! I hope to reach 100 followers...let alone over 700!

Michelle at Inspired by Kindergarten hit a double whammy! She reached 500 followers and celebrated her one year blogiversary in October! Congrats Michelle!

Also in October, April at the Idea Backpack reached 400 followers! Her blog is invaluable for teaching ideas, and how cute is that blog button?! Love it!
Bridget from Little Lovely Leaders also reached an enviable milestone: 500 followers! Her blog is full of tremendous ideas for teaching our nations future leaders :) Check it out!


Linsay over at First Grade with a Twist celebrated her 100 Follower accomplishment back in November! Congratulations Linsay :)


Wendy over at Teacher's Toolkit reached a fabulous milestone of 200 followers (now over 250!) Congratulations!


Emily at I Love My Classroom celebrated her newest accomplishment  -- 300 Followers!! Congratulations Emily! 

And as a thank you to her followers, she had a wonderful giveaway, and I got something. Actually two things, and I love them! Check out the two products that I won from Emily. I highly recommend them!

And Kelly, at Kindergarten Kel reached an equally fantastic milestone: 100 followers on her TpT store!! Check out her products - they are super cute and helpful :)


Blogiversaries!
Also, many bloggers have celebrated blogiversaries this year! Check them all out below:

Cynthia at 2nd Grade Pad celebrated its One Year Blogiversary! To celebrate, Cynthia is hosting a great giveaway: HER STORE! Make sure you check it out and enter -  but hurry because it ends today!

Teri at A Cupcake for the Teacher turned one earlier this month as well! Happy Blogiversary!!!

In October, Michelle from The 3 AM Teacher celebrated her one-year blogiversary as well- in style! She hosted a week-long of festivities to celebrate her milestone!

Brian at Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings celebrated his one year blogiversary YESTERDAY! Make sure you check out his blog and wish him a happy blogiversary!


Award Nominations!
Additionally, many wonderful bloggers were nominated for various awards. The Liebster Award celebrates up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. A great way for new bloggers to gain a following and to find other new bloggers. The Versatile Blogger Award celebrates bloggers who reach all different kinds of audiences! Here are some of the winners of those awards from this past year:

Carol at Kinderbear Blogger was nominated for the Liebster Award. Check out her blog post about the award here. Congrats Carol!

Tara at And They All Fall Down... was also nominated for the Liebster Award. Check out her blog post about this award here. Congratulations -- it's a great accomplishment :)


Christina over at Apples, Books, and Crayons was nominated (by yours truly) for the Liebster Award! Please, please check out her wonderful blog - it is full of teaching ideas, freebies, and all around fun!
Brie at Breezy Special Ed received a Liebster Award Nomination for her terrific newbie blog! Make sure you check it out - especially if you are a special educator, like myself. This blog is full of wonderful resources for all teachers!

Miss Swanson at Teaching and Tapas was nominated for a Liebster Award (by me...again!) for her up-and-coming blog! Check it out - it is fabulous and she is living one enviable live :)


First Grade Carousel was also nominated (by me...once more!) for a Liebster Award. Her blog is fabulous, and she has a beautiful banner (it's the little things that make me smile)

The Autism Tank was nominated the Liebster Award as well. I have to say, I love, love LOVE this blog - especially because I am a teacher of students with Autism. Please make sure you check it out and follow it! It's fabulous :)


Mrs. Dunn at First Grade Fun was also nominated for a Liebster! Check out her fun blog (not just because she has the same font as me...but that's a plus!)

Melissa at First Grade Smiles was also graced with a Liebster Award nomination! Congrats Melissa - your blog is fantastic and definitely worth a follow :)

Teaching is a Gift was also nominated for a Liebster Award! Their blog is fabulous - definitely worth check out and following :)

Cindy at Cindy's Curriculum Corner was nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award. Check out her versatile blog! It's great :)

Kathy over at Kathy's Coordinated Class also received a nomination for a Versatile Blogger Award! Check out her blog - lots of fun!


And a special shout out to Heather at Heather's Heart. She was my first follower and I am so grateful that she was! She encouraged me to hop onto other blogs to follow them, post to my new found followers, and continue with my blog. Thank you Heather :)

Cheers!

Rae
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