Sunday, December 23, 2012

Balancing Act Silent Letter Patterns Center Game

Wow, this holiday season has been crazy!  I drove 8 hours to get to the airport a few days ago and then came all the way back home when weather ruined my flight.  I didn't get to make it home this year to see my family and friends, which makes me really sad! :(  At least winter break is finally here and I've really enjoyed having a few extra minutes to myself.  Funny how a couple extra days off really recharge my batteries and get me excited to go back.  Are you all enjoying yourselves?  I hope so!

I used some of my extra time to create a game for my kiddos to play when we return.  It goes along with our Reading Street program, but along with all my other games, you don't have to use that program to play it.  First of all, I've had these graphics for awhile and I have been really itching to make something using them.  The premise is pretty simple, but I think the kids will love it.  They draw a card with a seal on it and have to find the ball with the silent letter pattern that completes the word.  If they're right, they get a carnival ticket.  The student with the most tickets at the end wins!  Cute, huh?  I also added in an extra practice worksheet with this game.

You can check this game out in my TPT shop by clicking HERE.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

12 in '12

So I cannot believe that 2012 is almost over.  When was the world supposed to end?  I thought it was sometime this month, but I don't like to pencil things into my plan book unless I know for sure they're going to happen. :)  I do not have my ESL class tonight (WOOOOOHOOOOO!) so I thought I would blog a little and link up with Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher for her '12 in 12' linky party.  Here it goes!

12. Favorite Movie You Watched

The hubby and I go to a lot of movies, so this one is a little hard.  If I had to pick just one, it would be 'The Five-Year Engagement' with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.
I think I enjoyed this one so much because there was quite a bit that my husband and I had in common with the main characters.  I moved from my home state where I was quite comfy and satisfied to the other side of the country so my husband could finish school.  After 4 years, we're still here and I haven't been the best sport about it.  Not to mention, we didn't even get engaged until we had been together for 5 years and we married after our 6 year anniversary.  The film was funny when it needed to be (often ridiculously so), but it was also very honest and heartwarming, so that's why I've chosen it! :)

11. Favorite TV Series

 Ugh....I'm a little embarrassed to say this as I have already previously mentioned that I watch the Vampire Diaries...  Thanks to a fellow teacher, I've been hooked on 'Pretty Little Liars' although I'm confident I'm not the show's target audience (even though Spencer plays a 17 year old and is really the same age as me!).  It's just SO good!

10.  Favorite Restaurant

My husband took me to a little diner that's been around since the 1930s called Ruth's.  Not only do they have amazing burgers and onion rings, but I accidentally stumbled upon the best-tasting daiquiri I've ever had.  I ALWAYS order a strawberry daiquiri because I'm such a picky eater/drinker but they were out.  I took a chance and ordered a mango one instead and was heaven!  This part makes me sound like an alcoholic, but I swear I have about one drink a month, if that!  Although there have been many times my job has made me wish it was a little more than that. ;)

9. Favorite New Thing You Tried

Well...this has got to be TPT!  Although I have followed teacher blogs for a few years now, I never really paid much attention to TPT, probably because I wasn't sure anyone would buy what I make.  I'm still a newbie to both the TPT and blogging worlds, but the little extra income I've made from the site has made it possible to quit my extra job.  It was just a few hours each week, but now I can come home after a long, hard day at work and not have to worry about putting in another hour or two on top of it all.  I just made my first K (total) on the site, so hopefully it'll continue to go up from there!

Ahhh...Deliverance8. Favorite Gift You Received

This year for my bday, I bought myself a banjo.  I count this as a gift because I had to get the hubby's permission to fork out that kinda dough on an instrument I *might* be able to play.  He's so great, btw!  Anyways, I haven't practiced as much as I would've liked, but I can play a few old-timey tunes now in a variety of ways, which is more than a part of me ever thought I'd be able to do.  So what if one of the songs is about cabbage? LOL.

7. Favorite Thing You Pinned

Well...I'm not as addicted to Pinterest as I was for the first few weeks I tried it.  I hardly ever get on it now, to be honest.  It's usually the last place I go when I'm bored, after I've checked TPT, my email, all the teaching blogs I follow, etc.  However, I would have to say that I really love this:

I love this. Every so often I need a reminder that happiness comes from within.

I know a few people who are like this and I'm incredibly envious.  This year has been super rough and I've need a reminder way too often that happiness comes from within.  Plus, the whales are so stinkin' cute, aren't they?

6. Favorite Blog Post

I should probably say that my favorite is a post that actually has comments, lol, but I'm going to be honest.  I posted Science Magic! a few days ago and it doesn't seem like much to other people I'm sure.  Like I said before, it's been tough this year.  I've considered becoming a statistic and quitting before my 4th year, but that day gave me a boost I desperately needed.  The post is simple and mostly serves as a reminder for me that there are good days and I can get my teaching confidence back!

5. Favorite Accomplishment

I've thought about this one a lot and I've decided it's got to be eating better.  I need to lose some weight as usual, but I've always wanted to be a vegetarian.  This year, the hubby and I have cut out a lot of meat and I've discovered that some veggies (hello, brussel sprouts!) aren't as bad as the child in me remembered.  In fact, we're having brussell sprouts tonight.  So...I guess I'm excited that little by little, I'm closer to living in a way that reflects my beliefs.

4. Favorite Picture

I don't have my school camera at home with me now, so I'll use a personal picture instead.  After browsing my computer and seeing I've only taken 3 photos this year that weren't of my cats (they're super cute, what can I say?), this one is my favorite.  We went to see an outdoor musical of Sleepy Hollow (my favorite Halloween-y story) and it was such a great date night! Not to mention, I was rockin' my $5 Old Navy orange jacket that I love oh-so-much! :)

3. Favorite Memory

See number 4 above.  I hope that's not cheating.

2. Goal for 2013

For the billionth time in my life, my old new goal is to lose some weight.  We've been trying to have a baby since we got married a year and a half ago and the doctor says it's more than likely not going to happen for a variety of reasons.  However, I do know that losing some weight will be beneficial to me for all sorts of reasons, and there's a part of me that's hoping once it comes off, my body will change its mind about wanting to reproduce.  We shall see!

1. One Little Word

The Affirmation for this Weekend Wordle is: Healing Words and Healing Thoughts carry my body, mind, and spirit to healing places.
Since this year was definitely not my favorite, I think it's appropriate that my word for 2013 be "healing."  My aunt, to whom I was very close, passed away rather unexpectedly from cancer at a very young age and I have not come to terms with that.  I've lost a lot of my teaching confidence and I'd love to get that back.  My body is also in some need of healing, as well as my mind.  I hope next year is one of joy and peace for me because I'm due for a rebound!

Well, thanks for reading, everyone!  Hopefully this wasn't too boring.  Stop on over to A Teeny Tiny Teacher by clicking on the 12 in 12 pic at the top to link up!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Science Magic

Have you ever been amazed at how smoothly a lesson went?  Well, that was me yesterday!  We started our Force & Motion unit this week and the first concept we've been learning about is gravity.  For our first experiment, the kids made predictions and observations about a variety of falling objects. During our debriefing, a lot of the kids just couldn't believe that the items hit the ground at the same time regardless of weight.  Even when I demonstrated dropping some of the objects from an equal distance, the kids could not dismiss their predictions that the heaviest object hits the ground first, despite what they were actually witnessing.

Then, a light bulb went off!  I grabbed the digital camera, laid on the floor, discouraged the kids from throwing anything at my behind, and video taped a student dropping pairs of objects in front of the camera.  I popped the memory card into my laptop and we watched the videos in real time and in slow-motion and the kids LOVED it!  I hadn't planned on doing that and I was a little proud of my ability to think on my feet.  The kids were able to see that all the objects, regardless of weight, hit the floor at the same time.  This clarified the concept for them and led us into a great discussion.

I know that this probably doesn't seem like much, but considering that my year has not been going as planned, I really needed this little pick-me-up.  Have you had any moments like this during your teaching career?  I'd love to hear about them! :)