I can't believe it's the end of 2013 and I haven't blogged in over 4 months!  Like many of you life has taken over, but with the new year comes new goals and resolutions and blogging on a more consistent basis will be one of mine!

First up, I'm sharing my goals and resolutions.  I'm linking up with Jessica from First Grade Nest: 

Most of these are self explanatory.  Like many, I need to lose weight and get healthy.  I plan to use Leslie Sansone's walking DVD's as my main form of exercise right now and have already created my meal plan for the next 4 weeks.  This past year I ate out way too much and used food as a reward and comfort.  That will NOT be happening this year!

I also realize how I cannot do anything with God.  I read my Bible on a consistent basis, but I need to go deeper with it and spend more time in prayer.  I plan to link up soon with Ashley from Just Reed for her Spritiual Goals linky and go more into detail there, but for now I know that I need to develop my prayer life and really meditate on Scripture and commit it to memory.

It's so common to resolve to find balance, but that's one of the things that I seriously need to do.  I want to accomplish so many things personally and professionally, but I need to find time for them all.  I can't neglect things that I enjoy doing (like blogging and creating for TpT) just because I'm caught up in other goals.  I will make better use of my planners and free time to do more of the things I want to do.

This leads to my last goal which is to enjoy my family time.  My daughter is growing up so fast and I want to savor every minute of it.  I need to organize my tasks so that I am all in when I'm with her and not thinking of the million other things I need to do.  Again, this goes back to balance and putting God first in all that I do.

Next, I'm linking up with Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade for 

This week's theme is One Little Word.  The idea is that you pick one word that will define your year.  Here's mine:

Like I said earlier, I need to grow spiritually this year.  I need to rely on my faith to get me through at times.  The last few years have been rough both personally and professionally, but when I look back, I see God's hand over my life.  I may not understand things as they happen, but I need to let faith guide me on my journey!

Ok, now to the fun stuff!  Since I've been out of the blogging world for months, I'm linking up with Jennifer at Simply Kinder for her Teaching Blog Round Up.  I can't wait to find new blogs to follow!

One of the things I've missed these last few months is linking up with Farley for the monthly Currently.  I'm excited to get a jump on this early in the month:

Finally, I wanted to give you a little teaser about an upcoming blog hop!  Make sure you follow my Facebook page to take part in this fun hop in the new year!

Are you done shopping?  I had such a blast looking at different products figuring out what to buy.  Since I'm changing grade levels, the B2S sale came at a perfect time.  I filled my cart up with some fabulous 4th grade goodies.
When I saw Erin's linky party over at The Open Door Classroom, I knew I had to join.  Here's a peek at some of the things I bought:
Math Moves by Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B:
 Math Moves: Stepping Up Our Math Game {4th Grade CCSS Dail
I can't wait to use this as part of my morning work.  We haven't transitioned over to Common Core, but I love the set up and the fact that it truly spirals and increases in difficulty as the year goes on!
Interactive Math Notebooks by CreateTeachShare:
4th Grade Interactive Math Notebook - Number & Operations
I purchased the Number & Operations in Base 10, Geometry, and Operations & Algebraic Thinking sets.  I can't wait to really get into notebooking with my 4th graders.  I've had my 2nd graders take notes for the last 2 years, but they never really had ownership of them.  I know that these products will help with that....and they're cute!
The Ultimate Interactive Notebook Template Collection (Bla
I'm really jumping on the notebooking bandwagon so I purchased this set that will allow me to create my own pages for my language arts notebooks.  Like I said, we haven't switched to Common Core, so I'll be creating things for the current California standards.
Homework Club by Christina Bainbridge:
Homework Club {Homework Motivation Pack!}
I'm super excited to use this product as a way to motivate my students.  I love that it's all set up with awards, invitations, and editable labels to add kids to the club.
Task cards:
I'm not going to post pictures all of the task cards that I bought, because there were a lot, but here are the titles:
Boy that's a lot!  I plan to use them to play Scoot and put them out as early finisher activities.
Science Cootie Catchers by Creative Teaching Press:
Cootie Catchers: Science (Grade 4)
I used this book last year for second grade and my kiddos loved it.  When I saw it I snatched it up, hoping my 4th graders will love it too!
A Three Ring Circus of Idioms
Idioms are a big part of our state standards and I'm exctied to teach them.  So many different ways to incorporate them into the day.  I also purchased Molly's C is for California Alphabet book and Colorful Genre Posters.
Place Value Block by Fourth and Ten:
Place Value Block {a math craftivity}
I loved doing craftivities with my 2nd graders, and I'm bringing it up to 4th!  We're starting the year with place value so I will be doing this craftivity and putting it up on the walls!
And finally
Pencil Strategy for word problems
I'm excited to use these as a reference for solving word problems.  I also love that the kids can use the color coded parts to code the problem.
So that rounds up my buying for the sale.  I'm not going to even get into the freebies I found and downloaded.
Now I feel more ready to start the year in 4th, but.....my classroom?  Well, that's a different story.  I will be spending tomorrow moving into my new room and hopefully beginning the set up process.  Luckily the kids don't come until September 4, but we're in meeting starting on Thursday.
I can't wait to see what everyone else bought.  If you want to stock up on some more things, my store is still on sale!
Sorry I've been MIA recently.  I found out on Tuesday that I'll be moving to 4th grade!  I'm overwhelmed and excited.  They seem so big in 4th, but I'm looking forward to the independence. 
I'd love to connect with some upper elementary bloggers so please leave your link in the comments so I can be sure to follow you. 
I guess I need to change my blog name now too....maybe even get a new design.  But that will have to wait.  I need to focus on curriculum and getting ready to teach in a few weeks!
Luckily, the blowout TPT sale is this weekend!
button courtesy of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
I've got my cart stocked with some grade 4th grade resources and wonderful clip art.  I'm excited to shop!
I've also marked my store on sale starting now if you want to get a head start!  Don't forget to leave feedback to earn your TPT credits!  Click here to head over to my store.  Happy shopping!
I'm linking up with Latoya again for her Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party.  This week's topic is goals for the upcoming school year.

So here are my goals:
Keep my kidney table organized!  My small group table in the back of my room becomes the place papers go to die!  I'm determined this year to not let this happen.  I will be filing paperwork as soon as I get it so that it doesn't pile up.  I also plan to recycle the papers I don't need instead of keeping them in a pile.

Effectively use my prep time!  I'm blessed that I get 4 prep periods a week.  I need to use them to plan and prepare for the week.

Utilize parent volunteers!  Parents at my school have to do 20 volunteer hours and many do more!  I need to have an effective schedule of what I want them to do and when I need them.  I also need to be firm with the schedule to make sure I always have something productive for them to do.

Leave by 4 pm daily!  The last few years, my poor daughter hasn't really done any extracurricular activities after school.  Luckily her preschool has dance during the day, but she's signed up for Taekwondo this summer and wants to try gymnastics in the fall.  I will be leaving work to make sure that I can take her to her events.

Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate!  I'm taking classes toward my GATE certificate beginning in a few weeks.  I want to make sure that I differentiate for my GATE students, as well as provide engaging, relevant activities for my kiddos that might be struggling to help them along.

What are your goals for the year?

Sorry for the lack of blogging last week.  I'm back in the swing of things ready to show off what I've been up to recently.  So I'm linking up with Tara and Joanne for

Here are my made its:
I decided to make reward tags!  I love all of the positive reinforcement opportunities they create.  I also love how they can be used for just about anything---behavior, academics,  milestones, holidays.  In reflecting on the past few years, I haven't been rewarding my kiddos enough.  I don't like the treasure box because I want to focus on intrinsic motivators, but I also realize that everyone likes a little extrinsic motivation.  Since these didn't cost much, I'm all about it!

I went a little overboard and made a ton!  I have some for WBT Super Improvers, ST Math, AR, birthdays, lost tooth, holidays, seasons, character traits, homework, class dojo, sight words, math facts, box tops, mystery student, writing, spelling, sight words, fluency, bucket filler, science, computers, music, art, p.e.! 

Goodness!  Typing it out that list seems so long! Everything is printed, but I ran out of laminating film and had to order more from Sam's Club (they don't sell them in my local store anymore...boo!). 
Here are some pictures of the pages I still need to cut and laminate

In the end, I think I'll end up with 4 container's worth of tags, but hopefully I'm done making them!
Bunting!  I've also caught the bunting bug!  I made a welcome bunting 
from the fabulous Christina Bainbridge
Ms. Miller bunting
and 2nd Grade Rocks bunting 
Sorry for the bad pictures.  I hung them up on my closet to take them! :)
The reward tags and {Your} grade rocks are available in my TpT store if you'd like to check them out.  Also, don't forget to check out my Facebook page for your fan freebies!  Now I'm going to sit back and get more ideas before school starts!
Hey everyone!  I'm linking up again with Elizabeth and Kristen for another week of Optimum Organization!
My tip this week is something new I'm using to help keep me organized this year.  I bought myself a Thirty-One organizing utility tote!

I love how it looks and there are so many pockets!  So far I have my favorite pens and highlighters in the front pocket.
erasable gel pens

erasable highlighters
I also bought an open top file box to put inside for hanging folders.  I found these bright colored ones from Wal-Mart.  I haven't labeled them yet (I've mostly sat admiring the bag!).
I did put my planner in the front and my Franklin-Covey personal planner in the back.
There are also some other things that I need to prep in the folders (hopefully for a Monday Made It soon).  My house is being fumigated this week so I've packed up to take some work with me.
I'm hoping that this bag will help keep my school life orgainzed as I go back and forth from home to work.  And if it doesn't work, at least it's cute right?
Today I'm linking up with Latoya for her Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party!  This week's topic is advice to new teachers.
Here's my advice:
Comfortable shoes.  When I first started teaching I was 22 and wanted to look older professional so I wore dressy heels every day.  My background is in softball, so this was so uncomfortable for me!  There are so many cute, comfortable shoes that I now wear.  Remember, you'll be on your feet most of the day!
Over plan.  I still do this now going into my 10th year.  I find that it's better to be prepared then to sit with rowdy angelic children in front of you with nothing to do.
Be afraid to ask questions.  Veteran teachers don't know everything and no one expects you to.  Find someone you're comfortable with to go to when you need a little direction.
A friend on your staff.  You don't need to become besties with everyone, but you will need someone to talk to, vent, cry, and laugh with.
Time for yourself.  Teaching can be consuming, but you need to remember you are a person in addition to being Mr./Ms./Mrs. Teacher.  Take care of yourself so you can be your best for your kids.
Open minded.  You've learned a lot of stuff in classes and have visions of how your year will go.  Just remember to have an open mind.  Change is okay.  If you have to scrap your classroom management plans midyear multiple times, do it.  Find what works for you!
And don't forget that today is the last day for the 2nd grade facebook freebie hop!

Hey Second Grade Teacher Friends! Is it just me, or does it seem like there aren't a lot of second grade blogs to follow? Or when you're shopping on TPT, the K-2 products seem too easy, yet the 3-5 stuff is way too hard?

My girl, Tori, over at Tori's Teacher Tips, has rounded up some of the best second grade bloggers for a Facebook Freebie hop! Each of us has an *exclusive to Facebook* freebie for you. All you have to do is "like" our Facebook pages to pick it up. When you get to the Facebook page, look for this image:

Click on it and grab your freebie! It's that easy!

Look who's participating!

The easiest way to grab your freebies is to start at Tori's Teacher Tips' Facebook page, as she has all of our links in one convenient place. You'll also notice that she has a Rafflecopter on the page. That's because we all decided to throw in a Winner's Choice from our TPT stores for our Bloglovin' followers as well! That's right! You could win 23 products just for following us on Bloglovin'!!! Here are our Bloglovin' links:

Make sure you head over to our Facebook pages ASAP, because these freebies will only be available THIS WEEKEND! The freebies and giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, July 21st. GOOD LUCK! 

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