Monday, December 30, 2013

13 and 1 Reflections and Looking Ahead

I'm back in Jersey after a wonderful Christmas break with my family.  I am so thankful that I got to spend time not only with my parents, brother, and grandparents, but also two aunts, an uncle, and three cousins who I had not seen in 2 years.

Some highlights of the break included having a wonderful Christmas dinner (on the 22nd), celebrating Jesus' birth at two Christmas Eve services, baking and eating way too many cookies and other treats, spending Christmas day with my family, going bowling, taking lots of walks with my mom etc.

AMAZING French Toast Casserole.  A total PinSuccess!

Tin foil wrapping paper turned into a fashionable hat.  LOL.
My brother the crazy outdoor's man.
My mom with her nice new sweater.
Dad cutting the chicken pot pie.
So those were the highlights of my Christmas season.  I hope that you all had a wonderful time with family and friends too.

Now, 2014 is just around the corner, so it's a great time to both reflect and look forward to the future.  I am joining up with some linkys to do both.

13. Favorite article of clothing:

The world's most colorful and amazing pants!!
These pants have got to be the one of my all time favorite clothing pieces.  In case you didn't know already, I LOVE bright colors, so when I saw these pants, I felt like they were calling my name.  What's even cooloer is that these insane pants were made in Senegal and the proceeds go to the Senagalese artisans called the Malika Monkeys.  You can check out their other colorful and cool products (aprons, headbands, skirts, drums etc.) at their website.

12. Favorite movie you watched:

11. Favorite TV series:

10. Favorite restaurant:

Same as last year.

9. Favorite new thing you tried:

Chai and Indian food in general.


Guided Math Centers

8. Favorite gift(s) you got:

A zoom lens for my dSLR, a book about India, and this adorable Vincent Van Gogh key chain.

7. Favorite thing you pinned:

Thai Chicken Pizza
Thai Chicken Pizza
6. Favorite blog post:

Well, I must say that I am really enjoying this one, but if I had to choose, I would pick my most recent 6 for Friday.  My kiddos and I had a great week and I used some fun resources.  Check out the post here.

5. Best accomplishment:

Turkey Trot 5-Mile Race (not counting the memories/accomplishments pictured for #4)

4. Favorite picture:

I'm cheating and choosing more than one because I had so many highlight moments of 2013 and fortunately many of them were captured by someone's phone or camera.  By the way, these pictures are also my answer to #3.

Washington D.C. with two of my best friends, Stephanie and Arielle.
My sister Carrie got married!
My Indian sisters.  Miss these beautiful girls and my amazing teammates more than words can express.
Arielle and I took over the Netherlands!
My BFF from elementary school, Allie, got married!
Bible Study Sisters!  Love these ladies so much!
3. Favorite memory:

See above.  There is no way I could just choose one and I probably even missed a few other favorites.  This year was full of priceless moments which turned into precious memories.

The one I need to add that I don't have a picture of is that I got to help my best bud, Jessica (Joy in the Journey) prepare to move to Seattle.  The fact that she moved so far away is not my favorite memory; however, I am thankful that I got to spend some great bonding time with her just before she left.  Living close to her as we both navigated the ups and downs of our first two years of teaching was such a blessing.

2. Goal for 2014:

Take these lyrics and put them in goal form and that's my deepest desire for 2014...

"I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up
Have your way in me"

1. One Little Word:


This past year was one of the most amazing years of my life, yet it was also one of the most challenging.  Through the help of a mentor and my strong group of friends and family, God began to do some serious work in my life.  He broke my pride until I realized that without Him I am nothing.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot and will not ever be perfect.  Nothing I say or do could ever earn my salvation.  I am a mess and a failure.  Yet, I am LOVED.

I am loved by the mighty Creator of the universe who has every right to condemn me to Hell for my rebellion against Him.  I am loved by my gracious Heavenly Father who sent His perfect son to pay the price for my sin.

It is only during this past year that I began to truly understand the depths of God's love and it is only through His strength that I have and am continuing to overcome some major struggles in my life.

Therefore, the only way I can think of responding to this kind of love is to surrender to it.  I want to surrender to God and His will each day.  He is the one who will continue molding me and shaping me into the daughter He wants me to be.  He is the one who will lead me each step of the way in 2014.  Looking ahead, I know it won't be easy and it won't be what I expect, but it will be incredible.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas Break!! 6 for Friday!

Christmas Break is here.  Happiness and Cheer.  Relief for all teachers that falls partway through the year.

Okay, that was lame.

Anyways, I am here.  I am alive.  I am blogging.  Yes, this is happening.

I actually have a ton of things that I am excited to share from this week and the end of last week.  I intended to share some of them last Friday, but I was wiped out with a fever and congestion.  Some bug hit my class and knocked several of my students and me out.

Now that I am feeling better and it is break, I have time to share 6 things!  Hurray!

Positions and Ordinal Numbers

To wrap up our math unit on ordinal numbers and position words, my colleague came up with a highly engaging and meaningful partner activity for the kiddos to do.  She gave them each a set of position words to cut out and a sheet with lines for sentences.  The students worked with partners to come up with a sentence for each word.  They wrote the sentences and glued the position words in place.  Then, they had to act out the sentence.  Talk about engaging!  

I love this activity because it not only gave them practice with position words, but also sentence writing.  My kiddos had to include a naming part and a telling part in their sentences and they needed to use correct capitalization and punctuation.

Word Work

Word Work continues to be a highlight of the Daily 5.  You can read about how I am using Word Work Bookmarks this year and pick up a freebie in this post.  So far they are working out great. 


Teaching visualization is so much fun!  This year I found so many great resources and ideas on blogs that made this week's lessons even stronger and more enjoyable.  For example, I used Mrs. Williamson's idea and read "Green Giant" by Jack Prelutsky.  You can grab a freebie with the poem from her blog.  Here are some of the kid's visualizations.

We also talked about visualizing using all 5 senses using the poem "My Puppy Makes Pizza" by Kenn Nesbitt.  

Everyone else in the restaurant is running away screaming.
Not totally based on the text, but funny.
Social Studies

Since our district social studies unit is always a bit dull, I spiced it up this year with some great free resources.  These cute sorts came from Sheree Peterson.  You should have seen the intense discussion these cards sparked.  Let's just say it would have been a great time for an observation since there was a student-led, higher order thinking discussion going on for quite some time.


My creative and artistic students also enjoyed drawing their own Goods and Services Towns.  One street was for buildings where goods were sold, the other for services.

Mo Willem's Author's Craft

Finally, we have been studying the works of our favorite author friend, Mo Willem's to see what craft techniques he uses.  It's been so fun to see the kiddos trying these special techniques (more to come) in their writing.
Winter Party

I will summarize this in three words: crafts, treats, and...PUKE!!!!

One of my poor boys ate too may sweets and blew chunks all over the floor as I was trying to shove the trash can at him.  It was disgusting and quite unfortunate.  Other than that though, we had a lot of fun.

Making snowflake ornaments
Cute and edible marshmallow snowmen.
My gift to the students:
cup, Hershey Kisses, candy canes, stickers, and a Scholastic Coupon (not pictured).

Well, that's my week.  It was long.  It was busy.  Yet, it was awesome.  Now, it's time to enjoy break.  Ahhhh.....

Merry Christmas Everyone!