Good-bye 2013...Welcome 2014!

Happy New Year!!
2014 is just around the corner!
Are you ready?!?
I'm linking up with "A Peach for the Teach" 
A Peach for the Teach: Behavior Supports & Multi-Age
for her fun 2014 Resolution linky party:

And if you're looking for something FUN and ENGAGING to get you through the first couple of days back to school, I've got just the packet for you!
"Ringing in the New Year" is a 19-page packet includes activities across the subject areas: from reading to math to writing to spelling to poetry! This packet has it all :) It even includes a quick and easy bulletin board idea!!!
Click HERE to check it out - and snag it for only $3!

Mathematical Monday: Frosty's Fractions

Hellllooooooo friends!
I pray you all had a fabulous Christmas week!
I sure did - we spent a wonderful week in New York, surrounded by family and friends. 
 Ready for a day of adventure in New York City:
 Enjoying a delicious dinner and indulgent dessert at Max Brenner, the chocolate restaurant!
Infused with the Christmas spirit at the tree at Rockefeller Center!
I'm enjoying my week off at home with movie marathons, recipe experiments, and crafty afternoons. I am also getting back in the swing of things in terms of blogging.

I am linking up with my bud, Jess, from "I Heart Recess" for her Mathematical Monday linky:
5th grade made consists of fractions, fractions, and fractions!
To practice fractions in a fun and festive way, I have created a packet that can be used to review equivalent fractions:
*I know it's rather Christmas-y, but I figure snowmen can be used throughout January! :)
It's a memory-type concentration game where the cards are shuffled, placed face-down, and players flip them over one at a time, trying to find a match.
Here's a preview of the entire packet:
To celebrate this Christmas season, I would love to GIVE AWAY two free copies! 

Five for Friday: I Survived the Week Before Christmas Break!

I feel like this perfectly describes my December...
I laugh, but I also want to cry because it is so true.
It was fun, festive, and slightly chaotic - just like a 10-year-old likes it! :)

I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for her 5 for Friday
Here's what we've been up to:
Unwrapping a Book a Day!
This week we unwrapped our final books in our countdown to Christmas vacation!
Photo: Is wrapping books! Each day in December my students will unwrap a book for me to read to them :) whatever it takes to foster a love of reading...
You can read more about this fun December tradition HERE.
School Gifts:
 This year I bought my students cute little ornaments that say "Find JOY in Jesus"
I wrote a personalized note on the back - for them to look back on fondly as 5th grade will definitely be their favorite grade ever :)
I packed the ornaments in goodies bags along with a pencil, a candy cane, an eraser, and the ever-popular...
Scentos (available Michaels)
My kids are NUTS for these smelly markers :)
They LOVED their bags - and were so appreciative. It was sweet to hear their grateful hearts.

For my principal, I made this funny frame:
We all have "those days" :)

And lastly, for my lovely TA (high school senior who helps me for an hour each day!), I filled a basket with chocolates, mints, and a gift card to her favorite store. 
I would be LOST without her - and am so thankful for her willing spirit and cheerful attitude. 

On Thursday we celebrated the last day of school with a fun-filled festive day!
We started out with a Secret Santa gift exchange:
Love to wrap Christmas presents.
While we unwrapped and enjoyed our presents, my fabulous Room Mom passed out yummy Krispy Kreme donuts and milk!
Homemade "Krispy Kreme" Doughnuts
Then we enjoyed a holiday classic:  "Charlie Brown's Christmas"
Charlie Brown Christmas
 Then, the festivities continued in the afternoon with the annual 5th Grade Marketplace!
Each student made something to "sell" - a food, a craft item, or a carnival-type game - and then the students went around to "buy" (with Monopoly money) products from their classmates. They LOVED the experience and it was an awesome lesson in beginning economics, supply and demand, and product pricing.

Christmas Parties!
We hosted a small get-together with friends - SUCH a fun time!
Then I got together with the ladies in my Bible study for a Cookie Exchange: 
Christmas at the Lawlers:
As I speak...err, type...I am sitting in the SeaTac airport, waiting to fly home to New York!!!
Hubby and I had our own quiet little Christmas yesterday, complete with stockings, presents, yummy food, and a Home Alone marathon :)
I cannot cannot cannot wait to see my family!
And what could make the first day of Christmas vacation sweeter? 
 I woke up to a winter wonderland this morning:
Lucky for me I didn't have anywhere to go - I stayed snuggled inside, drinking tea, and watching the flakes fall.

Spark Student Motivation: Light of the World

Howdy, friends!
I'm so excited about today: I love Saturdays in December!
Today I will not be getting out of my pajamas. I plan to spend my time wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, and baking for the four Christmas parties we have this week! :)

That sure motivates this little teacher :)

and now I'm linking up an idea with my bud, Joanne, from "Head Over Heels for Teaching" - here's something that has motivated my students this week.

Because I teach at a Christian school, we don't emphasize Santa. I mean, we talk about him, he's in a wordsearch or a Christmas Test I'm giving my students (more on that later...), but we don't make too big of a deal about him. Plus I teach fifth graders, who are "in on the secret."

So in my classroom I do a balance of secular Christmas activities and ones that focus on the true reason for Christmas: the Savior of the world coming to Earth as a baby, to dwell with mankind and provide a way for reconciliation. 
Love this
The Magic Of Christmas... so true... which is why we are doing NO gifts this year... they've forgotten the true meaning so we're gonna remind em. :-)
To enhance our discussion, I asked my students about Christmas lights and why we use them.
tumblr_muow0sFPhZ1sfclluo1_500.jpg 500×750 pixels  This is cool... but I'm not sure where I could put it inside? Curtains kind of cover the edges of my windows... --JP
They are bright.
They are beautiful.
They dispel darkness.
Beautiful Christmas Lights
Just like Jesus.
Just like Christians are called to do.
Light of the World ideas
 So I gave the students a "light bulb" and had them brainstorm ideas of how they could be a "light" to the world:
Here's a bulletin board of all of our "lights"

Christmas Questionnaire

Hello friends!
Whew - sorry I've been MIA this week! The Christmas hustle and bustle both at home and school have kept me running. But this little teacher isn't complaining - it's my absolute favorite time of year! :) Fabulous in First is hosting a fun Christmas Questionnaire linky party:
Hot Chocolate or Eggnog?
Hot chocolate! Preferably mint hot chocolate :)
Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them underneath the tree?
Without any kids in the house, Santa doesn't make an annual appearance just yet :) But when he does "deliver," they will be wrapped.
Colored lights or white?
Both! I love colored on the outside to decorate and add Christmas cheer, but our tree has white lights on it.
When do you decorate?
The day after Thanksgiving! :)
Here are some pictures of our decor at home:
 My snow globe collection!
Our tree :)
My Christmas scrapbook page for my Seasonal Scrapbook Frame (I change it out each month)
I'm linking these ideas up with Tara for her monthly "Monday Made-It" :)
Real or Fake Tree?
We prefer real trees, but this year we're flying back to the East Coast to spend Christmas with family, so we got a fake one. We didn't want to leave a real tree without a baby-sitter for a week :)
 What Tops Your Tree?
A star
Favorite Christmas Memories or Traditions?
My hubby and I have started a tradition that I can't wait to share with our {future} kids! We put on our pajamas, get in the car, get Dunkin Donuts Mint Hot Chocolate (drive-thru of course, so I don't have to leave the car in my polar bear pants!), and then drive around looking at lights and Christmas decor.
With my extended family, we have started a fun tradition in the past few years. Rather than doing a traditional Secret Santa where we draw names, we each bring a wrapped book that we love and do a White Elephant gift exchange. Everyone goes home with a new and well-loved book!
At school, I started a fun tradition this year. After Thanksgiving I wrapped up 14 Christmas books (One for each of our school days in December). Each day I choose one special student to pick a book to unwrap. Then, we read the book during snack time. The kids have LOVED this tradition and I'm thinking of making it a regular routine each December :)
Photo: Is wrapping books! Each day in December my students will unwrap a book for me to read to them :) whatever it takes to foster a love of reading...
That has really motivated my kiddos - and allowed us to enjoy reading festive holiday-themed books. I'm linking this idea - as well as a packet of Christmas-themed graphic organizers:
 with my buddy, Jivey, for her Workshop Wednesday! 
These graphic organizers have really strengthened my students skills when it comes to retelling and defining the different story elements.
 Do prefer giving or receiving?
Definitely giving! I love finding the perfect thing for people - I stock up all year long!
What is your favorite Christmas song?
I absolutely love Christmas music!!!
My favorites are: Joy to the World, Silent Night, and Angels We Have Heard on High
Candy Canes. Yuck or Yum?
Yum - but I don't consume them like my husband does :)
Favorite Christmas Movie?
White Christmas
Do you shop online or at stores?
In stores! Call me crazy, but I love the hustle and bustle, the Christmas music playing, and the decorated store windows.
Photo Cards, Letter or Store Bought Card?
Photo cards!
Here's the one we're sending out this year:
We also send a letter detailing our adventures from the year.
 If you're looking for some fun, festive, and engaging activities to tide you over til Christmas break, here are some holiday packets from my store:
First of all, here's a FREEBIE for you!
Click HERE to snag your FREEBIE!
Snag this now for only $1!
Run, Run Rudolph!
Verb Centers

Click HERE to see what other teachers have MADE this month or to link up your own creations! :)
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