Introducing....Math Packs!!!

So I am slowly switching gears from vaca mode to back to work mode...(I'm fighting it all the way though!  It finally got cooler in Florida and I just love it!!)  I've shared before my kiddos struggle with their basic multiplication facts....as in, they just aren't memorized!!  This is really hindering them as we do 2,3 and 4 digit multiplication so I have come up with Math Packs!  I guess they would be the equivalent of a Literacy bag for Math (which I so want to do for my classroom and is totally on my To Do list for the summer).  Right now I feel they struggle with Math way more than their reading so I created Math Packs.

I made 7 of these packs.  I will be sending home a letter to parents next week introducing them and then start sending the Math Packs home the following week.  This will be part of their homework.  They will take them home one night a week and bring them back the next day for another student.  The packs have different games in them for multiplication practice.  I am going to start with 2 games and then rotate those weekly.  Eventually I will incorporate fraction games and others but right now the need is MULTIPLICATION!!  I still have to add little bags of counters and things....those are at school but so far this is what I have for the bags. 

I got these cute bags at the Dollar Tree.

This is a reminder/info. letter that will go in each bag for the parents.


One of the games I made from my Teachers Notebook (I just changed the directions for the parents)


A wonderful free download I got from Teachers Notebook at Circus of Learning.  You can also check out Emily's blog here:)  She's got some great stuff!


I also wanted to share this awesome find at Dollar Tree.  They are FOAM!!!  FOAM!!!  No more noise of rolling dice on the desktops!!  Yipee!!

Not only am I going to incorporate these into my Math Packs but also into some Math group games.  We numbered them 4-9.  My kids know their 1's and 2's and aren't too bad with their 3's.....it's those other numbers (minus the 5"s).  Rollem and multiply away:)

I am pretty excited about this new project and am hoping it is successful!  I have laminated everything in hopes they will be a little more durable.  I know there will be lost pieces and even some forgetting of the bags at home....I will work around that but my hope and prayer is that they will not only get better with their math facts but also get some fun family time in too:)

This will be it from me until next year so I wanted to say Happy New Year to all my bloggy buds.  You truly don't know how your comments, encouragements, emails, cyber hugs (Kim:) ), and inspirations have truly blessed my life!  Have a blessed and safe New Year!!  I'll be back Monday with a super cute new addition to my classroom:D (NO, it is not another animal!!!  teehee)

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New Years Resolutions Linky

Today I'm linking up with A Teacher's Treasure for a New Year's Resolution linky!  I have so many I want to do and then there's so many I should do and then the need to do.. soooooooo, here goes!

Personal:
1) Spend more time in my Bible and get a devotional journal going:)
 2)  Gotta be lose weight!  Hate having to make that one every year:(  Would give anything to be one of those naturally skinny people but I'm not soooooo, I shall try once again!!  Good news is I've been walking since I got out on Christmas break so at least I'm not starting that on day 1.  Also have been doing some boxing with a heavy bag and if I don't break something I may be on my way:)
3)  Stay on top of my house work!!  Either my classroom is all in order and my house is upside down or it's the other way around.  So getting organized in both at the same time!
4)  Squeeze in some ME TIME!  Take some time for me to read, journal, garden, and exercise.  I tend to throw it all into one basket (the classroom basket) and put everything else aside.
5)   Be the best mom and wife I can be.

Professional:
1)  Push myself in areas I feel I am weak. 
2)  Go with the flow and not freak out every time something changes in my classroom/school world!!  I tend to not deal with change very well at all!!  (to the point of very bad headaches:( )  I think God is growing me in this area because evidently I am getting a student teacher the first week we are back.  The 2011 me is freaking out because FCAT is coming and there is soosooo much to do and oh my gosh!!!!!!  2012 me is trying to say (it's not 2012 yet so cut me some slack)  God is in control and it will all work out:)
3)  Amp up my Math instruction and come up with creative/effective ways to get those stinkin multiplication facts set in stone in my babies brains!!
4)  Sign up for some good professional development and read more professional development books!

So there you have it!  I am sure there are so many more I need to list but those are some of my tops!  Jump in and join the linky:)
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My 11 in 11 Linky Addition

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and got everything they put on Santa's list;)  We had a terrific Christmas...kinda can't believe it's over already and today I dove into the Christmas tear down.  Had to.  I was afraid my tree was becoming a quick fire hazard. (one of the bummers of living in Florida:( )  So now I am joining up with Hadar and Kristen and their 11 in 2011 linky party.

11. Favorite Movie you watched:
Is it terrible that I can't remember the last time I went to see a movie?!?!?!  Ummmmm, just asked my son and not even sure I went to the movies this year....is that nuts????  Good golly, I'm thinking the last time I went to the movies was to see a Twilight movie (and I haven't seen the newest one yet) sooooooo, yes I'm a Twi Mom.  Those movies are my fave.  I have watched the first one like a million times....sick, I know...if a TV movie counts then it has to be Elf.  We have watched that about 10 times in the past week.....SO funny!!

10.  Favorite TV Series:
That's a hard one...I am kinda hung up on a few:  Castle, Rizzoli and Isles, and Psych are my tops.  See the cop, investigator theme going???  Maybe I should have been a cop??  Psych absolutely cracks me up!!!!

Reality TV it's gotta be Big Brother:)

9.  Favorite Restaurant:
Wow.....as I am laying this all out I am realizing I'm kinda lame and don't have a super "go out" life style....Applebee's and Chilis are my big going out meals....don't be a hater....

8.  Favorite New thing You have tried:
     Hands down it has to be blogging!!!  I just love it!  The ideas, friends, support, encouragement, laughs,.......

7.  Favorite Gift You Received:
    My Christmas gifts this year.  My kids each got me Pandora charms....my son got me a football for Tim Tebow because I love my football and I love that boy!!!!  My daughter got me an angel (super special meaning....but don't want to get into it on my blog right now). 
Then, my hubby surprised me with a color Nook!!!  LOVE, I am reading The Help now and then bought The Kitchen House (sis recommendation) Has anyone read that one??? Would love to hear your thoughts:)

6.  Favorite Pin:



5. Favorite Blog Post:
It's supposed to be one of my own posts??? right???  Well, I think it has to be my Popsicle stick multiple choice stick posts.  I say posts because I posted my originals over the summer and then redid them in super fun colors:)  I love that I came up with these all on my own and we use them every day in my classroom:)


4. Favorite Accomplishment:
    Professionally - completing my ELL certification:)  Personally - "letting go" of my baby girl so she could spread her wings and head off to college.....and I lived through it!!!

3. Favorite Picture:
    Has to be pics we just took of our family.  I am embarrassed to say it has been years since we have all 4 been in a pic together so my mom gave a push (so glad she did) and we took pics Christmas Eve before we were off to Christmas in the Park service.


2. Favorite memory:
    Hard to pick.......toss up between watching my daughter graduate and picking up my son from a golf tourney where he had the winning putt and gave their team the championship:)

1.  Goals for 2012
     Hmmmmmmm!  Soooo many to chose from......ok, here goes:
Professionally :
- be the best teacher I can be to my students
- push myself in the Math dept.
- go with the flow and change gracefully instead of FREAKING OUT!!! (I don't do change well)
- Don't sweat the small stuff (see bullet just before this one)

Personally:
- Of course, lose weight!!
- Be a more laid back mom
- Spend more time in my Bible
- Be the best wife and mommy I can be:)

Link up with Kristen and Hadar below:



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Merry Christmas - Giveaway Winner - Preview!

It's Christmas Eve, where does the time go??  Sooooo, this will be a quick post! I'm going to be taking some time off with the fam and enjoying what's left of my break:)  I want to say Merry Christmas to all my bloggy buds!  I can't even begin to tell you the joy I have found in blogging and the friends, inspiration, support, and encouragement I have received since I started.  It truly is a blessing!!  I hope each and every one of you have a very blessed Christmas!

(side note: notice it says Happy New Year and not Merry Christmas......that's cuz I can't get my act together in time to send out a Christmas card!!!  Uggg.....organization Santa, please!!!)

 Now to my giveaway. Thank you bunches and bunches to everyone who entered my Holly Jolly giveaway:D  Comments, followers,  and giveaway entries make my heart sing!!  The winner is:



Congrats Mrs. L!!!  Please contact me at tara.eiken1@gmail.com and let me know which 3 activities you would like:D

Be sure to check back here next week to see what I am going to do with these little goodies for my students:)

Have a BLESSED and Merry Christmas all!!
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New Year Bookmark Freebie and Giveaway Reminder

I made this bookmark to give my kiddos to start the year off (hopefully) on the right foot.  My classroom and a lot of what we do has been centered around The Book Whisperer and Daily 5 (which is new to me this year) so of course the bookmark HAD to do with reading.

Their first morning back they will start the day with their weekly book frenzy (a la Book Whisperer) so these little bookmarks will greet them for that:)

(I bought some really cute star ribbon to put on the top but it looked a little overkill so decided to go simple:) )

I have posted them at my Teachers Notebook store for free to share with you all:)  I made it in color and black/white as well.  Hope you can use them:)  Leave me some love if you do:))


I also wanted to remind you about my Holly Jolly giveaway (just named it yesterday)!  So if you haven't I would pretty please with sugar on top love it if you would enter:)  (I know, I know....think I'm trying to break a record for run on sentences today!!)  The winner will get 3 items of their choice from my Teachers Notebook store.  Click picture below to enter and for details:)

Now, I have GOT to stop procrastinating and do some inventory (make sure I have my shopping done which I am sure I don't which means I will have to brave the crowds, which I don't do, soooooooo), some wrapping, some cookie making and some cleaning!
Have a happy Wednesday all:)
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Giveaway for B-day, Celebration, Happy Monday!!

Hi all!  Today is the hubby's birthday!  I am actually baking a cake as I type:)  So in honor of that AND the fact that today is officially my first "school day" off for break (although I woke up at 4:00 a.m. this morning......let me repeat 4:00!!!!!!  WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?)  It's all good though, I actually took advantage and went stocking stuffer shopping at Wally world.....I don't think I have mentioned it but I DON'T like crowds....not at all.  If I had a lot of money, I would have a personal assistant that would do all my "going into crowd" errands.  Well, that's not happening soooooo I shop at 5:00 in the morning....now, if I can just get the mall to make the same arrangements so I can finish my Christmas shopping!!!  HAHAHHA!

Ok, there's that A.D.D. again...sorry.  Back to the giveaway.  In honor of hubby's bday, no work for 2 weeks, and I'm just in a happy, giving, Monday kind of mood I am having my own little giveaway.  This will end midnight (Florida time) December 23.  The winner will get not 1, not 2, but 3 items of their choice from my Teachers Notebook store:)  Hopefully there's something there that you can use to start the year off:)  Here's a peek at a few of the items.....




Here's what ya have to do to enter: (please leave a separate comment for each entry)

1) Follow me:)
2) Make my Teachers Notebook store a fave HERE
3) Blog about this giveaway and leave link in your comment
4) If you could pick anything, tell me one thing you would love for Christmas!

Kinda painless and easy, right? Don't forget to leave one comment for each entry.  Winner will be chosen by random number generator:)  Good luck, Happy Monday, and Happy Birthday to my awesome husband:)
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Snowman Stories and my Currently link up...

I finally got pics of my snowman stories.  The kiddos did these last week.  Their writing prompt was kinda Frosty like......"You made a snowman and he came to life.  Tell me about what you did together".  Creative right??  Just kidding, I know it's totally Frosty like but it was the last week of school and my brain was all kinds of tired and out of creative juices....so......there you have it.  Anywho, after they finished their narrative, I gave them a piece of chalk and paper and they drew their snowman:)  Here are a few of my faves:
Here we have your typical snowman....which by the way blows my mind because we are in Florida and most if not all of my kiddos have not even seen snow let alone built a snowman:.(

These 2 crack me up.....snowman A has on glasses...sunglasses maybe???  Snowman B has a coffee mug on his head....hahahahaha...Love!  I sprayed the chalk drawings with cheap hairspray so the chalk would not smear so much.

Haven't read the stories yet because I am putting off grading and school related activities as long as I can....but, I am sure they will be entertaining:)  For those of you who have school next week...maybe you could do this to keep'em busy:) 

Now I am linking up with my bloggy bud Farley and her Currently I am linky:)


Uggggg!!!  I just realized I left the s out of Ladybug's Teacher Files!!!!!  Kristen, please forgive me and know that it would take me forever to redo this so I have corrected it here:)  If you haven't seen her blog, you must go check it out:)  HERE!!!  She is super creative, a technology whiz and a wonderful teacher!!!  Have a blessed and happy Sunday all!!
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Last 2 Days of Fun - Pinterest Style

I can't believe I am on break!!!  This last week has been a fun one but absolutely exhausting...mostly mentally.....wound up kiddos, breaks in normal routines, crafts, grades in for report cards, and the worst......saying goodbye to my sweet, sweet student from Hungary who is returning there.  Yes, I did the ugly cry yesterday:.(  My classroom will not be the same without her.  Super sweet girl who truly made me grow as a teacher as she came speaking no English at all and left speaking so much...amazing, precious child.

Ok, before the ugly cry starts again, I'm gonna chat about our crazy last 2 days. I loved all the theme days I saw on blogs and Pinterest and next year will do a better job at planning ahead......Grinch Day was Tuesday, and Polar Express Day/pajama day was Thursday.

I made each child a Mixed up Snowman Snack that I saw on Pinterest from Gourmet Mom on-the-go.  They loved it and it really turned out cute.  I redid the tags.
It really did look like a snowman in a bag:D

Then, you can't have Polar Express day without bells.........

I think the kids were more excited about the bells than anything....they kept asking if they could keep them...so cute.  They were too funny and jingled them during the "appropriate" times in the movie.


We finished our puzzle piece reindeer, found on.......where else??? Pinterest....from For What it's Worth.

I love how they each had their own "personality".  (like the one on the right looks like he's watching you.....teehee)

As usual....Petunia had to get in on the fun!!!



Here's a pic of the gifts I gave my peeps....they each got a book from Scholastic, pencil, eraser, reading rocks bracelet, also from Scholastic, and a candy cane.

Fun days.  I told them all to rest up cuz we are hitting it hard when they come back in January:)
I know I posted that I would be sharing my snowman stories....well, I still haven't taken pics but promise will post them before Monday.  They turned out too cute and are the last thing I have to get graded!!  Happy weekend all and happy break to those of you that are out!!
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Grinch Day Fun:D

I just LOVE bloggy land.  I would live there all the time if I could:)  Thanks to all the wonderful bloggers I stalk   follow and am inspired by, we had the best Grinch themed day today! 

My girl and I in our Wally world Grinch tshirts.  She's home from college and has been my little elf this week:)

The day started with a mini-lesson on adjectives.  My kiddos are getting to be good writers but lack details with yummy adjectives so....my awesome daughter made this anchor chart for me, inspired by Amy at Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons.........................oops......looking.............ok, so spacey me forgot to take the pic!!!  So go to Amy's blog and see my inspiration:)


Next I told them they were going to get to watch the Grinch movie (original) and they had to come up with a list of adjectives to describe him (when he was being bad).  Then we did another blogland, Pinterest inspired anchor chart from Mrs. Carroll at The First Grade Parade:
They did a pretty good job coming up with adjectives for our old buddy the Grinch and had a blast!  Then they wrote a paper on: Their day with the Grinch.  Can't wait to read them all!!!  They made covers for their papers and we made them books:)


And finally, one last idea from Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens.  I printed the lyrics of the Grinch song and we found the similes and metaphors.  We chose the old famous words:
You're as cuddly as a cactus and you're as charming as an eel, which they drew and they were adorable:

I kinda pulled this all together at the last minute so didn't have enough time to get green candy canes....ours had green stripes so that counts right??

I am oh so grateful for the inspiration I get daily from the place called blog land!!!  Thank you all!!  We will definitely be doing this again next year and I plan to add to it:)

The Grinch and his adorable little dog even paid a visit to our room!!  (I know I should know this but what is that poor little dogs name????????  Anyone???)
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12 Days Giveaway Update!!

Hey all!!!!  Yes, I know I am doing a blogging no no by posting 2 times in one day BUT.....I guess I made a goof!!!  Can I claim that my brain isn't working in anticipation of my oh so too terribly excited and anxious for Christmas students I will be seeing in the morning????  Or exhaustion from fighting crowds to finish shopping because I was a spaz and left it until the last minute????  Anywho, I have had several of you say that you have tried to rate one of my products and can't (that is one of my entries for the giveaway)....I am very new to Teachers Notebook so forgive my ignorance:(((  I emailed them and they said rating can be done for a purchased item...I guess not freebies...sorry, my goof!  If you would like to leave me a message on my Teachers Notebook (feedback) and leave me a comment on one of the items (that's like rating it right????) then that can be the entry for "rating" an item.

Click pic below to go to my Teachers Notebook store:)



 The good news.....there's still plenty of time:D  Again, I'm sorry for the confusion and oh so excited by all the entries in the giveaway!!!      (click the pic if you want to go to the giveaway)
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12 Days Giveaway Reminder!! Time's a ticking...

Good Morning friends!!!  Just wanted to remind you to hop over to Farley's blog Oh Boy 4th Grade to enter the 12 days of Christmas giveaway.  Lots of amazing bloggers with wonderful prizes each day!!  I am lucky enough to be part of this fun and have some wonderful elves (friends) helping me with my giveaway!!  You could win these:

Chicka Boom bracelet from Sophie's Beads and....
KPM Doodles
2 clipart sets from KPM Doodles!!

Be sure to enter all the wonderbar giveaways starting with Day 1!  The giveaway ends Dec. 12 at midnight and one super lucky ducky winner will win all the days!!!

Check back soon, I be posting our snowman stories:)
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