Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 New Year Remember, Reflect, & Goal Set! Linky Party!

Good Bye 2015 and Hello 2016!  It's hard to believe that another year is coming to a close and a New Year is about to begin.  

I created this Student Goal Setting Packet last year for my 4th Grade students, and they loved setting goals (New Year Resolutions) for themselves.  I decided to update the packet for the 2016 New Year!  It's an excellent writing activity to help students get back into the swing of things after the long winter break. You can find it here at my TpT Store!

I also find myself wondering where has all the time gone, what did I actually accomplish during 2015, and what goals can I set for myself in 2016? 

 Sounds like it's time for ANOTHER NEW YEAR LINKY PARTY!!  

I really enjoyed last year's Out With The Old & In With The New Linky Party, so I thought maybe I would give it a try again this year. It is my hope to inspire more bloggers to spend a little time remembering and reflecting on 2015 then going ahead and setting new goals for 2016!  I'll start...

Questions to ponder as you remember...
1.  What were the best memories of 2015?
2.  What do you remember most about 2015?

My best and most powerful memories of 2015 are...

First, my husband & I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary!  We had a magical night! My husband, Al, made sure everything was very romantic.  We spent a lot of time talking about our future as "Empty Nesters" and what we wanted to do.  My sweet hubby wanted to spend more time together because he was worried that we would grow apart. 

25th Wedding Anniversary 1/6/2015

 This warmed my heart, and of course I agreed.  As I look back on 2015 here is what I remember the most...I blogged only TWICE!  What?  Yep, you read that correctly.  I went from 34 blog posts my first year to only 2 during my second year.  However, I spent a lot of time enjoying my husband, family, and friends.  We didn't do anything super amazing, just enjoyed each other, family, and friends.  It was wonderful! 

Trips to Disney World

Orlando City Soccer Games

We were invited to hang out with my daughter and the "Cool Kids"

Enjoyed Several Craft Beer & Wine Walks

Spent time together being silly or hanging with friends!

Then my son came home for a visit before his deployment to the Middle East

I'm crying in this picture...trying to stay positive, smile, and say good-bye.  Not easy for this Marine's Mom!

Thank Goodness my daughter is close by for frequent visits that make me smile!!

Now it's time to Reflect on 2015.  I went back and looked over the goals that I had set for myself.  They were...

1.  My first resolution of 2015 is to try and not break any resolutions that I make here today.  Easier said than done, right?  (EPIC FAIL!)

2.  Blog at least once a week in 2015!  Even if it is a quick post just to say hi to my blogging friends.  (Again, EPIC FAIL!)

3.  Publish at least one new TpT product each month.  That's only 12 new products!  I know I can, I know I can!!  (I created and published 6/12 items for my store!) 

4.  Walk/Exercise at least 5 days out of the 7 day week!  (Notice I couldn't give up my M & M's just yet?)  Maybe for Lent...  (I was able to accomplish exercising 3 days a week, and I eventually gave up the M & M's in order to lose 10/20 pounds!)

Questions to ponder as you reflect on 2015...

1.  Did you accomplish any of your goals?
2.  What was good/bad?
3.  What do you want to do differently?
4.  What do you want to change this year?

In summary, I accomplished some of my goals and I had a fantastic year.  In truth, I had modified my goals on 1/6/15 to include spending more time and having fun with hubby! (This was a huge success!!) 

In 2016 I will...

1) Continue to spend time and have fun with my hubby, family, and friends! YOLO!!

2) Try to return to blogging because I really missed it.  Maybe once a month?

3) Continue to create and publish products for my TpT store.  I'm going to keep my once a month goal for this as well.

4) Enjoy life and make the best out of what ever comes your way!

Link up and share your 2015 memories,  reflections, and your 2016 Resolutions!  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Stop!! Don't let your Brain Turn to Mush!!

Summer is in full swing down here in The Sunshine State.  Many teachers & students are enjoying staying up late, sleeping in, swimming in the pool, theme parks, traveling, and of course the beach! As a teacher, I look forward to the summer as a time to unwind, relax, and recharge my teacher batteries.  I try to let go of all the stress and demands of the past school year, but I still worry.

I worry about this very real threat to all students everywhere during the summer.  It's called Summer Brain Drain and it is real!  Google it and see! The results are Shocking!!  An average student can lose between 2-3 months of academic learning during the summer!  That's an average student so I'm afraid to know what happens to a student who is at risk or below level. YIKES!  This is why we spend so much time trying to whip our students' brains back into shape each and every school year.  By the time we have gained back what was lost over the summer a quarter of the school year is gone!  

What can we do to keep our students' brains from turning into mush?  Well, this summer the teachers at my school are working together to try and fight this battle.  First we invited PARENTS and STUDENTS to an End of Year Summer Resource Fair at our school.  

Each Grade level was represented and filled their booth/table with fun activities, websites, games, and other ideas to send home with parents over the summer!  
 3rd Grade Teachers Rock!!

2nd Grade Teachers are so much fun!!

Our school district purchased every teacher a Reading A-Z license and all of our students have access to RAZ KIDS!  Shut-UP!!  No Lie!  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Reading A-Z reading resource website check it out!  Long story short, my students have access to a leveled reading library all summer long and I can track their progress, see what they are reading, and monitor their quizzes! 

For Math we set up our students on the Prodigy Math Game website! This site is free for teachers and students!  They make their money off of parents that purchase game upgrades, but you don't have to purchase anything!  Teachers can track student usage, skills, give assignments, etc...It is amazing and fun!!  

For my rising 5th Graders, I am keeping in touch with them over the summer using Edmodo!  This morning I posted a big shout out to those students utilizing RAZ KIDS & Prodigy so far this summer and praised them for helping fight Brain Mush!  I also told them that we would have a pizza party for all those that participated this summer during the first week of school in August!  

I've also challenged my students with trying to read all 15 Sunshine State Young Readers Award Finalists for 2015-2016!  We are sharing out which books we have read and recommend on Edmodo!  Here is a picture of my Wild Reader SSYRA Book Stack!  I'm starting with Nerd Camp, which was recommended by one of my students!  

Hope your summer is full of fun & sun, but don't forget to help fight Brain Mush! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting Ready to Return to School-Ahhhhh! Too Much To Do!!

 I wonder how many of us are preparing to return to school this week and are spending the evening working our tails off trying to get all of our planning finished.  Ha!  This is how I feel because I have procrastinated until now!  I tried to get a jump start on my planning earlier in the week, but was easily side tracked and distracted.

 This is a picture my husband snapped of me snoozing by the pool Friday afternoon when I should have been trying to get my lesson plans finished for this coming week.  He titled his Facebook post, "Roughing It During The Last Days of Christmas Break!" It was very difficult, but somebody had to take a nap!

I had a wonderful break spending much of my time with family & friends, relaxing, and just having a good time, but...

Tonight, I am focused on the tasks ahead and wanted to take a moment to share what I have been working on...

I mentioned this new product in last week's The Sunday Scoop that I was trying to finish it.  Well, most of it is finished now so I decided to go ahead and add it to my TpT store (here).  I will continue to update this product as I add the finishing touches to the ELA  & Math Standards, student graphs, teacher grouping & planning, and the home-school connection pieces.

This packet also includes my Happy New Year 2015 Resolutions along with how to set your SMART GOALS!  You may want to just try the Happy New Year 2015 Resolutions first, and if you like it, then you may want to checkout the Student Goal Setting Packet.  

I was completely inspired to create this product after participating in a Twitter Chat for 4th grade teachers, #4thchat, prior to Christmas Break!  It was amazing, and if you are a 4th grade teacher I highly recommend you join us for the next chat scheduled for tomorrow, 1/5/15 starting @ 8:00 pm EST!  Then I came across this fabulous blog by Stephanie Van Horn...

3rd Grade Thoughts
Stephanie blogs about starting her 3rd grade students on weekly SMART Goals! I spent at least an hour scouring over her wonderful blog and outstanding ideas! I haven't incorporated her ideas yet, but I've written them into this week's lesson plans!  Thanks Stephanie!  Go Check her out!!  

Well, it's time to get back to my lesson planning!  I'm off task yet again!  Man, this is going to be hard to focus this week.  It's a good thing I'm goal setting!  HA!  Happy New Year all, and I hope you have a wonderful week.