A Look Back

Greetings friends!

As we say goodbye to 2013 and prepare for new beginnings in 2014, let's stop to appreciate the past year.

I've decided to share snippets from my favorite blog posts from the past year:

In a post from January, I was just finishing up our Save the Dates...le sigh...



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Willpower and Skillpower in the New Year

So this post is a bit of a smorgasbord of New Years-y things! I'd like to direct your attention to a throwback post, all the way from last year:

Original post from December 30, 2012

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 (of 2012). 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.

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Post-Holiday Slump? Giveaway Time!!

Hope your Christmas was merry and full of cheer! Don't be sad that it's over...smile because it's time for a giveaway!


The incomparable Tammy over at Dots of Fun Designs and 1...2...3...Teach With Me is hosting a fabulous giveaway! She has reached over 1,000 Followers and has asked some terrific bloggers (plus me) to help her celebrate!

I am donating my Prompt-a-Day for December and January. This product is over 122 pages and includes 33 holiday-inspired prompts and 32 winter-themed prompts. This product can be used as both a holiday and/or winter writing pack - there enough non-denominational prompts to take you through both months of school. There are also two versions of each prompt -differentiated for your students' needs.

Make sure to head on over to Tammy's blogs to check out the other incredible products in this giveaway!
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Merry Christmas Eve!

Greetings!

Just popping in to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I haven't been a very devoted blogger in the last few weeks and I apologize for that. I'd like to say it's because of all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but in reality, it's me. I come home from work each night exhausted, and just wanting to cuddle with the Husband and my fur babies. You understand that right?

Well, with the New Year fast approaching, I vow to do better! Stay tuned for my New Year's Resolutions for work, personal and blogging!

In other news, I have updated my New Years Resolution Mini-Pack for 2014! If you have purchased this product, please make sure you re-download! If you are looking for a New Year's Resolution mini-lesson for you class when you head back to school (for us it's the 2nd!), check it out by click the picture below!

And now, for some festive photos to get you in the mood for some holiday cheer:

Our Tree of Thanks turned into our Tree of Kindness

Printed some bulbs on colored paper and strung them along the already-existing tree in our hallway

Printed large Christmas Lights with this writing stem for the students to write their "Act of Kindness" this season. Isn't Chris' just darling?!

Our Winter Music Festival

The whole school + 3 guests each student = violation of fire codes!
On Sunday I ran the Somerville Jingle Bell 5K with some friends! I don't know what I am doing with my face...

and of course - Miserable Festive Lucy in a Santa hat.
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Find Me at A Special Sparkle

Morning Y'all!

I am blogging over at A Special Sparkle today. This post is all about sticking with your classroom routines to help make this week manageable and to benefit your students (and you). Let me know what you think ;)
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Sheesh! It's December!!

I know, I know - I already posted in December. But that one was scheduled, and didn't really hit me that the year is coming to a close until yesterday when I wrote "December 2, 2013" on the whiteboard. But alas, whether I'm prepared or not, December is here. So I guess that means it's time to embrace the holiday season with a CURRENTLY!


Listening: For those who celebrate Christmas - who's NOT listening to Christmas music right now?!

Loving: Yes, I have my own countdown to freedom! I love that we have a nice "long" break, due to when Christmas fell this year! Huzzah!

Thinking: I know I'm not technically late, but I don't do the whole Black Friday shenanigans, nor am I big Cyber Monday person (I guess lack of money will do that to you). Once I transfer my moola to my Christmas account, it's off to the races!

Wanting: I'm <<OBSESSED>> with Tieks. Well, I don't actually have a pair, but I know I will love them. They look so comfy, I've read great reviews, and they are so deliciously cute!

Needing: You would think that someone living in New England would have a few good quality pairs of snow boots, but no. I have a pair from, oh...5 years ago. They have a hole in them and smell like sour cream (sorry, not sorry). I just can't seem to get my act together to buy myself a pair! Each year, I think I need to buy a pair in March, when they go on sale! and each year I forget, or buy myself a swim suit, or something that doesn't remind me of cold, dark sadness. Now, it's come to the time of the year, again, that boots will be full price, and I won't be able to justify spending money on myself, no matter how badly I need them. I'll try again next year I suppose...

Favorite Tradition: I LOVE my tradition of making Cappuccino Bon Bons for Christmas Eve at my husband's aunts house. My mom used to make these each year for Christmas and I LOVED them as a kid. As I began creating my own holiday traditions, this was always a staple. They are a huge hit at the Christmas Eve Party, but I make sure to make an entire extra batch for our house :)

Link up with the incomparable Farley with you December Currently!

Also, you may have seen today on my Instagram this little cutie-patootie...

My firsties math group is working on subtraction concepts. Our unit is coming to an end, and I wanted to do a fun craft this week to sum it up. I scoured Teachers Pay Teachers, with exactly what I had in mind, but to no avail. Instead, I realized, I could probably make my own Craftivity! I was a little intimidated, not because of my art skills (I think I'm quite crafty), but because I wasn't really sure how to do the whole "template thing." So on my prep today, I tried it out. Fifty-minutes later, this fella was born! Tomorrow my kiddos will be making Pete after we read Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. I have the templates scanned to my computer, ready to share with you all, but I realized - I don't know about the copyright laws behind Sir Pete! Does anyone have any clue if I'm allowed to share this craft (either for free or purchase)? I've seen them posted on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I'm not sure if they are "legal". Any insight would be fabulous - I must admit, I don't even know where to look for those rules! Please and Thank You!

And, it's your LAST chance to SAVE BIG on TPT products for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale! To head to my store to score savings, click the beautiful button below, created by none other than Krista Wallden!



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Deck the Halls Linky!

Happy December!

Can you believe it? Where has the year gone?! I know, I know, what a cliched remark about the start of December, but I mean seriously....wth?

The start of December always inspires my inner creativity... DIY gifts, homemade goodies, craft decorations. The holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Years) is my favorite time of the year - so many reasons to count your blessings! And in the spirit of thankfulness, I am so thankful for this blogging community. Whether it be a forum for complaints, suggestions, and new, fresh ideas, I'm also thankful that I have this little escape for the chaos of reality.

Additionally, I am so thankful for the TPT community - my go-to place for new teaching ideas and activities to inspire young minds. I check out the new resources nearly everyday, love getting the newsletter, and have more ideas for products I want to create than I know what to do with. What I love about TPT is that they frequently run special sales for its members. It's the perfect time to stock up on all those fabulous resources you have on your wish list! And, with Black Friday devoted to in-store savings, we have our Cyber Monday to look forward to...

Darling Christina at Bunting Books, and Bainbridge has created a great linky for the Cyber Monday Sale on TPT! Not only is it a great way to find fabulous resources from other members, but her linky divides these resources into categories, so you can find just what you are looking for!

Click here to find other awesome resources!

Check out the "playlist" below!
Thanks to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah for the donated additions to the Linky Button!

Check out this seasonal classic...


And a new hit to add to your faves...

Check out Christina's linky to stock up on other fabulous resources for the Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale! Many stores will be throwing a sale already, and when you enter the code "CYBER" in at check out you will receive an additional 10% off your order! That's a whopping 28% high-quality teacher resources!! Are you thankful yet?
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November Goals Linky!

Happy Long Weekend (hopefully),

I am SO thankful for this long weekend. It has been a bumpy road this year, so each break I can get is a  blessing!

Last week, our DonorsChoose shipment came in! We are so elated!

I posted this gem on Instagram when I got the packages
I couldn't wait to get our Listening Center in order so we could start benefitting from the generosity of those who donated!

Our amazing new hanging organizer for our books and CDs, book bags, and set of headphones!

We also got a headphone splitter! Pretty in purple!
I dreamed this idea up just before I took some pictures of our Listening Center space. I was embarrassed by the chipped paint and ugliness of the wall. So, I decided I wanted to put something up there - but didn't just want it to be some meaningless poster. Because this space was designated for literacy through listening to stories, I wanted this center to provide meaningful resources. Thus, the interactive anchor chart was born!

If you notice in the above two pictures, I have my Comprehension Posters hanging on the wall as well. On our Interactive Anchor Chart, I included 4 of the commonly used comprehension strategies for students to jot down their ideas and visualizations while listening to their texts. We practiced these strategies using this system before I hung it on the wall. The purpose of the Interactive Anchor Chart is not to assess student comprehension, but to hold students accountable for their learning and analyzing. I  include a blue cup with sticky notes and pencils to jot down their notes about the text. They then stick it in the corresponding column. For my non-readers, I have decided I need to add pictures to correspond with these columns - most likely I will add mini-versions on the images from my Comprehension Posters. This will be added this week.

I plan to change the sticky notes periodically - not on a set schedule. Again, the purpose is for students to track their understanding in a meaningful, and functional way. I want to keep some exemplars up on the chart for reference, especially as students are still learning which notes and comments are relevant and meaningful.

So, again - A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated to my classroom, as well as anyone who has ever donated at ALL to one of these great projects! A million thank yous!

In other news, I sprained my shoulder. Yesterday (Sunday), I was playing in our last soccer game of the season, when BAM. I was fouled. No big deal - I tend to get fouled constantly (that's what happens when you play Mid). This time however, as my right shoulder slammed to the ground, absorbing all of the force from the unapologetic dirt from the field, I knew I did something more than just tumble. It felt like my shoulder popped out of it socket. Maybe it did, then popped back in. I'm not sure - all I know is it was immense pain, followed by tingling and numbness. Being as stubborn as I am nontraditional, I decided to forgo the doctors visit, especially since my insurance from my new job has yet to kick in (ludicrous right?). I was able to drive home, and put some Tiger Balm on it. As the day went on, I discovered tightness and pain in my back, neck, and elbow. Time to break out the Tiger Balm and heating pad (my version of alternative medicine) again. While I have full-range of motion in my arm, its quite painful to attempt to rotate, so I just stick to keeping it close to my body. I don't think this is a lasting injury and it's certainly not going to stop me from my healthy lifestyle I've been working so  hard to maintain! But, the good thing is that I have several months to rest from soccer, which I think my body will appreciate.


Now, time for some fun! I LOVE the Rhonna Design and A Beautiful Mess apps for my iPhone. They beautify my pictures and can create some fun images, like the one below.

I created one of these for October as well. It was strictly for Instagram. I posted my November Goals in Instagram as well. I thought this time it would be fun to create a linky on my blog as well.


I used Rhonna Designs for the above image, but you can create your goals in ANY format - even just by typing them in your blog post! I would love to read others' personal and professional goals for the month of November! If you create this and post it onto Instagram, I would love for you to tag me (so I can check it out! - @mindfulrambles) and include the hashtag #novembergoals. Spread the love and share the motivating by linking up your November goals below!
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Peek at My Week (avec Freebies!) + Thankful Linky

Evenin'!

With just a few more hours of my weekend to go, I decided to share my upcoming week with all of you. I've also decided to link up with a fun new link from Stephanie over at Principal Principles! Read on for more info...


I would tell you to click and download for all the links, but for some reason they aren't working. So instead, click the units below for more info. Make sure to find the freebies!










Freebie Poetry Journal of the Week!
And now...for that Linky!




Have a great week!
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Huzzah for Saturday, Healthy Meals, and November Lovin'

Greetings!

What a week! My para was back this week (THANK GOODNESS), but this week was still rough. I'm sure it was for all of you whose celebrated Halloween this week! I forgot how EXHAUSTING the week of Halloween can be! As a result, I ended up developing a witch of a cold (teehee), and by Halloween night, I was in full-blown infected mode. I ended up calling out on Friday (which I still feel terrible about) and lounged on the couch all day in and out of a pharmaceutical drug-fueled coma. I was supposed to go to a Halloween Party of a former coworker on Friday night, which I was so excited for! I had my costume ready and everything, even "trying it out" for warmth on Halloween night. But, alas, I hung my costume back up until next year...boo.

Well...that's all in the past. Let's talk CURRENTLY!


Listening: Today is a beautiful Autumn day in Boston! The last few days, though rainy, have been unseasonable warm. Today, we are blessed to have the perfect Fall weather - mid-60s, light wind, crisp air, and sunny weather! Couldn't ask for a more perfect Saturday if you ask me. Well, I guess if I were healthy and able to enjoy the weather by actually being outside, and not just next to an open window, that would be a more perfect Saturday. Still feeling blessed :)

Loving: GRIMM!!!! I'm so excited that Grimm is finally back! I've waited for what seems like ages (really, months -but that's a long freaking time!), and just when I stopped thinking about it, BAM! It pops up on my DVR. w00t!

Thinking: So, all of you have read my rants recently (or maybe you've been smart enough to avoid them). I've come to the realization, last night while laying in the steam of the shower attempting to smoke out my cold, that my situation is not going to change until I do. I've been having a poor attitude about everything related to work lately. I've no desire to be there, and I fear it's obvious. This last week was no different, even having my para back. I was misled into the idea that all would be better once I had my extra set of hands again. Well, of course it's not! It's not her and her absence that was the problem. It's the system in which I am apart of. It's the ongoing lack of support, guidance and compassion. Me complaining about it isn't going to change a thing! I need to buck up, take action, and remember why I became a teacher in the first place!

Wanting: Who couldn't use a new wardrobe? With all of the fabulous colors, fabrics, and styles, I can't help but scrolling longingly through Pinterest, getting ideas for cute fall outfits that I don't own (yet). If any of you are feeling so inspired...take a peek at my Pinterest boards devoted to making me stylish. Christmas is just around the corner...





Needing: I should've changed this to "A kick in the rear!" I have my wake up call - now I need to put it in action! Read "Thinking" for more information.

A Yummy Pin: I blame all of you for my obsession of cuteness! I couldn't just post the pin - I had to create an adorable Recipe Image for you all to have too. Ya know, because I have time for that.

Fonts: Mrs. Leeby & Fonts for Peas; Graphics: The 3am Teacher, Mr. Magician, The Graphics Fairy, & Angie Makes
I LOVE steel cut oats for breakfast. My husband says (every.single.morning) "No body actually likes oatmeal. You just eat it because it's healthy." NOT true- I LOVE oatmeal, especially the steel-cut kind! My favorite mix-ins? Frozen blueberries, 1 banana, and a pinch of brown sugar. What do you like to add in your oatmeal?

Here's the original link. This is exactly the same recipe - I didn't change a thing. I just like to make things pretty. All the credit goes to theKitchn.

Here's the final product - an entire week's worth of delectable breakfasts!
Picture courtesy of theKitchn
If you don't have any mason jars laying around (I have a bunch from my wedding this past Summer!), this link also has directions to the traditional overnight steel cut oats recipe. Enjoy!

I've also linked up with Susan at Thank God It's First Grade! for her What's Your Schedule Linky.
Here are my daily schedules...






*Note: I teach 2 different grades in the same classroom - so often during academics, I split the groups and work with one, while my para works with the other. Sometimes, I don't have that luxury and we do whole group lessons. Also, notice that on Thursday, I didn't include a time for snack or classroom business (AKA morning meeting). On Thursdays, because we are so jam packed with specialists and specials, we don't have a time in the schedule to meet as a group (bummer). The students do have snack, but they just have it during Social Skills time.

It is certainly an art to schedule a classroom of first and second graders, while making sure to provide Inclusion Time for the students are able to do so during academics. It's an art form I have yet to master...


Oh, and be sure to check out my newest product uploads on TPT! I've been a busy bee!

My November edition is up! Thanks for the fabulous editors who helped me make sure I got it up in time for November to start!


A compliment to my Winter Synonyms Match-Up... one for Antonyms!


Speaking of Synonyms...I've updated this packet to include a recording sheet, an additional match up, instructions for additional uses, teacher prep, and directions.

And, coming soon...

That's all for now! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
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