Sunday, February 22, 2015

How I Spent My Mid-Winter Break

It's Sunday.  Mid-winter break is over.  Everyone should get mid-winter break because it is fantastic.  It's five glorious days tucked between two weekends during the shortest-yet-longest month of the year, and also the most depressing month because by February you are just ready for spring to show it's blossoming face.

Here's how I spent my days away from school.  I only went to school once.  For only a few hours.  I should probably get there really early tomorrow to be sure I'm prepared to jump back in.

First, I helped some friends paint their living room in their new house.  Painting is so rewarding and refreshing because when it's finished it feels so fresh and clean!

Next, I spent some quality time with my blog, specifically the Websites & Resources tab up above.  I'm pretty excited about it.  I was busy locating and curating a few resources I love.  I expect this will be an ongoing resource for myself...and hopefully others!  Teaching is all about sharing!  Check it out...and let me know what I should be adding!

Then I spent some time enjoying the Puget Sound.  I went kayaking.

Visited Point No Point, the first known lighthouse on the Puget Sound.

Watched cargo ships anchor themselves in the water and wait for union workers to come to an agreement and start unloading ships again.

Visited Chief Seattle's gravesite.

Stood in the Puget Sound water and just generally admired my surroundings.  Love the Pacific Northwest and all it's beauty!

Then, I've had a few unfinished TpT projects taking up space on my computer desktop.  I usually have them ready for my class use, but then drag my feet on the part where I have to prep them for the store.  I was feeling motivated at the beginning of the week to wrap a few of them up.  I prepped a few for my classroom and got them all ready for the RTL store.  A few of them have been sitting around for awhile, so it was nice to get them off my plate!  

Here's a quick share of what I worked on and what's new to the store.

I get super excited when I see my own activity pinned by someone.  My most-pinned and one of my best selling activities is my 100s Grid Art for fractions and decimals.  I l-o-v-e using my SmartBoard center that follows this activity up, so I finally got it all together and up on the RTL store.  So now I have the 100s Grid Art, and the SmartBoard center up separately, but if you want BOTH, I bundled them, too.

(this picture is from before I got my SMARTBoard and was using a Mimio file, but the TpT product is a SMARTBoard Notebook file)
Another one of my favorites is the Retirement Booklet that I have in my store because I love being able to have it on file and ready to pull out at the end of the year.  However, I'm not one for doing the same thing year after year, so I like to have activities on more of a "round", or "spiral", if you will.  So I made another retirement booklet so that I have a few ready at any given moment.

This one is more of a Mad-Libs style (I call them Fill-Ins).  I made it pretty versatile because class personalities can vary from year to year.  I have a page for fill-ins prior to seeing the retirement letter that you can do first and then put your silly answers into the retirement letter page.  Or you could just do the retirement letter page without the first fill-in page so that answers make a little more sense or are a little more personalized.  Or if you have younger kids or students who may need a little extra help picking some words, I have a page with three word selections for each blank to help them out.  It could be done as a class for one letter or individually from each student.  It's up to you.

The cover is also in color or black and white, so you can choose.  This one has been on my mind for awhile so I'm excited that it is together and ready!

THEN (I'm telling you, I was motivated to wrap these up!), I finished a poster set for three sets of commonly misused words to give my kiddos a classroom resource to use.  My goal was that during writing conferring time, I could just point out that a word was used incorrectly and then guide them to these posters to see if they can figure out which word to use for themselves.  I am laminating them today and they will go on my bulletin board tomorrow morning!  Yay!

Again, color and black and white options, in case you're more of a print-it-on-colored-paper person like I am!

I posted a few other things, too... I was productive!

I finished my week of relaxing with a little professional development with on a Saturday.  I got to go hear Georgia Heard, author of Awakening the Heart and Finding the Heart of Non-Fiction (and many more), speak about using non-fiction and poetry to help students become better writers.

I took lots of notes, and I left with some good stuff to work on and bring to my "family of writers".

Ready to see those kiddos again tomorrow and start doing some fresh new learning!


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