It's been a lot of fun hosting My Truth Monday for the last 12 weeks. I've loved getting to know a bit more about all of my fellow bloggers and blog readers! 

Now that the craziness of the holidays is (mostly) behind us, I thought it would be nice to focus on the year ahead. Instead of making a New Year's Resolution this year, I like the idea of One Little Word. It's something I've heard before, but it seems to have originated here, on Ali Edwards' blog. The idea is to choose one word that will define your year. It didn't take me long to think of mine.

I chose revise for many reasons. I've been finding myself endlessly revising my tpt products. I'm always revising my teaching and classroom methods. I'm itching to revise my kitchen cabinet organization and revise and update my home decor. But more than that,  I really feel ready to revise myself. I'm ready for Denise 2.0!

 The older I get, the more important I realize the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle. I always say I want to lose weight (my lifelong battle) but it's becoming more about feeling better and warding off some of the painful to think about diseases and conditions that run in my family. I constantly flip flop between feeling old and feeling like I have so much life ahead of me, and I'd really like to concentrate more on the latter. And in order to that, I need to do a lot of revising. Revising how I take care of myself. More than just "dieting" I'm ready to to revise my lifestyle. Eat better, move more, challenge myself to unplug more. So this year, instead of throwing out everything I already do, I'm just going to revise. It's a gentler way for me to think about making big changes. I always start a new year in my typical style - with big lofty goals, major changes, going cold turkey, vows and promises that I think will somehow help me change overnight what I haven't been able to change in 40 years. So this year I will forget all that and just think "revise". I've already got a pretty good foundation, I just need to make some revisions. Sounds good to me!

So, whats your One Little Word? I'd love to hear. Feel free to grab the graphic if you want, but of course, it's not necessary to share your word. If you link up, please do grab the My Truth Monday button below and be sure to link to your specific blog post. If you don't have a blog or don't want to write a whole post, I'd love to hear your word in the comments!

So, how were your holidays?! My Christmas was fantastic. I was super stressed about shopping and waiting so long to decorate, but in the end everything was wonderful and I'm left feeling blessed beyond belief. And exhausted...but that's what the holidays are all about, right?

In the midst of all the holiday hoopla, I've managed to mostly turn off my teacher brain, but my TpT brain never quite shuts off completely. I swear ideas pop into my brain as I'm trying to fall asleep, or standing in line, driving the car...  I have random little slips of paper and notes on my phone that are sometimes pretty funny to decipher when I sit down to work! Luckily, I can usually figure them out.

My latest obsession is updating my printable packs. I've added tons to the January pack and even jazzed up  the name from January Printable Pack to January's Ready, Set, Print!

Another, more important improvement I made was aligning each page with Common Core Standards for grades 1-3, to help you plan. As always, each page also has a bit of an extra challenge for kids who finish early. And every page has an answer key. Nothing frustrates me more than buying a great pack on TpT then having to make my own answer key. I know that sounds silly, but it's a big deal to me!

I added a few different phonics pages because I found my kids struggling with some common spelling patterns.

Fact and Opinion was another biggie my kids are struggling with, so I added a practice page for that, along with a nice parts of speech review and some ABC order, critical thinking and some writing/research forms. 
Can't forget about math! You'll find some addition and subtraction, line plot graphing, expanded form and more. Altogether there are 32 pages of goodies to choose from!

I use these pages in a few different ways. I choose a few to make a "challenge pack" for my kids as a choice for them to work on when they're finished with classwork. I use some for homework, some for morning work, and I especially rely on them for sub plans. As team leader and gifted teacher, I'm out of the room for meetings a few times a month and I love having these as go to activities for my kids.

I really try to pack each page with things that are worth printing. If I wouldn't use up my copy allowance on it, I wouldn't expect you to either! 

I hope you find them as useful as I do. I'm always open to suggestions, so feel free to leave a comment with things you'd like to see in future packs. I'm working on updating February now. 

P.S. Remember if you already purchased the original January Printable Pack last year, just re-download to get all the newest additions.

So, full moon the week before winter break...oh, what a sense of humor you have Mother Nature!!
I have about eleventy billion things to do besides actually be a full time teacher this week, but I didn't want to let My Truth Monday slip past me. I hope you all enjoyed the ridiculousness I shared last week. I know I'm not alone in my misheard lyric wonderland, which makes me a feel a tiny bit better...

So, in case I didn't embarrass myself enough, here I go again. This week, I thought it would be fun to share a favorite app. It goes without saying that my real favorite apps are Facebook and Instagram. I'd also have to say Kindle, Groupon, Paypal, and when I'm in the zone - MyFitnessPal. I don't play a ton of games on my phone (although there was a time when I counted down the days waiting for the Farmville app! #nerdalert  #formerfarmvillefarmer  #dontjudge) So today I planned on sharing an app that I found out wasn't really an app! It's just a website, so since I make up the rules around these parts, I shall now include websites along with apps for today's My Truth Monday. To further mess up my plans, I found out that the free non-app, website only I wanted to share with you isn't free either! I think at this point most people would turn around and just share something else. But people, my brain is so full with to-do lists, to-buy lists, to-decorate lists, to-bake lists, and try-not-to-freakout-lists, that it was easier for me to just pay and be done with it.

So, the free app I'm sharing today is neither free, nor an app. {Where's the freakin eggnog??}
But in hopes that it will at least bring you a laugh, here it is. Me and some of my best blogging buds dancing our hearts out for you. Now to up the fun factor, I'm throwing a little challenge your way. Leave a comment here correctly naming each blogger in this video AND link up with your own favorite app or website and I'll choose one winner at random to pick any product they'd like from my store!

So, click on the picture below to see my favorite non-free, non-app app. If you're linking up, be sure to grab the button below. If you want to enter the contest, link up AND correctly name each blogger in the video with me! Adios muchachos!

Last year I shared a wonderful classroom kindness project made by Susan at TGIF. It was definitely one of the highlights of the holiday season with my class. I'm in the middle of it with this year's class and again, it's proving to be just as wonderful this time around. It's really not too late to start this little project this year if you're still in session though this next week, like me. <insert prayer for strength here>

I actually started a little later than usual this year, so I took some time saving shortcuts myself. Instead of making the stockings using Susan's cute pattern, I picked up some stockings from the Dollar Tree. I let the kids pick theirs and wrote their name on it so it will become part of their gift from me this year.

I gave each student a class list and a few pages of blank notes. They must write at least one note to each student in the class so the list helps them keep track.  {The were a little excited about that...}

Last year I had them write the notes and put them in a basket and I would get up on a stool every day or so and stuff the stockings. This year I hung them low enough so the kids could just stuff them as they wrote them.

We talked about what kinds of things to write that would be appropriate. It really came down to write something you'd like to read about yourself. I told them to start noticing what other people are good at, how they help you or a friend, or a talent or trait they admire. So far, so good. I've been doing a few spot checks, just in case. But my kids really are pretty good...

On the last day before break I'm going to slip the rest of my gift to them inside and we'll open our stockings together. Here's a peek at what that looked like last year.
I think I'm looking forward to "opening day" as much as they are!

Ok, believe it or not, I still don't have my own Christmas tree up, so that's on tap for today. And I thought I'd give you a head's up for tomorrow's My Truth Monday in case you want to get your post ready today. Tomorrow I'm going to ask you to share your favorite app. It could be for personal, fun, or classroom use...anything goes! {Well, almost anything...}

I've become a pretty big Jimmy Fallon fan lately. I think it started with this video with The Roots and Robin Thicke singing Blurred Lines using classroom instruments {which is now my ringtone btw!}

From there I started poking around YouTube and found his Late Night Hashtags. Every Wednesday he starts a hashtag on Twitter and asks people to chime in. This is one of my favorites. It's #IusedToThink. Please watch this. My husband and I were practically in tears at "Farmer Cheese".

So that got me thinking about song lyrics I used to think I knew, but toooootally did not.
Ready? I've got more of these than a person should. The best part is that I can totally justify MY lyrics as opposed to the "real" lyrics.

I only share this ridiculousness because I love you. I do. I just can't hear...

I'm an 80's girl and The Go-Go's were IT back in the day. One of their hits was "Our Lips are Sealed" I used to sing at the top of my lungs "Honest Cecile". I mean look at these lyrics and tell me they don't make sense.
The whole thing is about other people telling lies and how we don't have any secrets - WHY? Because we're HONEST CECILE! Am I right?

Speaking of the 80's, remember a little ditty called "Jack and Diane"? Great song, but John should have consulted me on the lyrics. I used to sing "let the bottle bounce" instead of "let the bible belt"
As in, let the bottle bounce, as in stop drinking, so that your soul will be saved. Get it?? No? just me?

Alright, this one is hardly my fault. I mean we're talking Elton John now and really who can understand most of his stuff? Not that it's not great music... here's my version of Bennie and the Jets:
I mean, what's not weird and wonderful about electric boobs and a mohawk?

This last one is one of my funniest, most embarrassing memories ever. I was with my husband way back before we were married and we were waiting in a line at the bank drive through. The Prince classic "Little Red Corvette" came on and I belted out at the top of my lungs, MY version of it. Theres a part where he kind of sing-talks and well, what I thought is not even close, but I was pretty sure I was nailing it...
Don't ask. I'm not even sure I can justify this one. But I will never forget the look on my husband's face right before he started laughing so hard I really thought I was going to need to find an oxygen tank. The drive through teller surely thought we were under the influence. When he told me that it was "limousine" instead of "your head Jesus" I understood why he nearly lost consciousness.  Good times.
I still sing it that way. Old habits die hard.

Ok, so..what about you? I can't be the only one. Link up and share your misunderstood song lyrics! Make sure you grab this button and link back to this page. Can't wait to read yours!

I decorated the blog for Christmas! It was way easier than decorating my house, I'll tell you that much. Wanna hear a secret? I still haven't even really put away everything from Thanksgiving! I just decorated the classroom before I left on Friday, so at least my kids will be a little surprised on Monday morning. Tomorrow I have GOT to bust a move on this house!

So, I've been trying to think of a way to bump up the kids' productivity at the writing center. Their time at the center is certainly not their only exposure to the writing process, but it's a great way to give them a bit more choice and fun in their practice. I've been using my writing center task cards for years and while I love them, I wasn't always in love with what the kids were producing. I included many different styles of writing, like list making, letter writing, venn diagrams, illustrating ideas, acrostic poems, and recipes just to name a few. For those types of activities, the kids were a bit inept at setting up the page and spent more time doing that than I'd like. 

So for a while now, I've had the idea to make some pages that correlate to the task cards so that the kids could just concentrate on their ideas, not how to set up the page. Somehow during the craziness of the holidays, I managed to finally do it! I took the topics on the cards and created printable pages for each one. I made each topic on a half sheet because I feel like some kids get a bit intimidated by a giant blank page they feel like they need to fill up.

Now,the cool thing is that you can print out whatever or how many pages you want for the month and make a little rubber band book they they can use for the whole month! I really like this idea so when I send it home at the end of the month, the parents can get a good glimpse of their child's writing. Here's how to make a rubber band book.

If double sided printing and rubber banding isn't your thing...

I also added a little self evaluation at the end of the journal that they can complete after they look over their writing for the month. They can set a goal for the next month and get some feedback from me. And of course, we have to have a cute cover.
I've only completed December so far. I'm working on January now and really want to get the rest of the months updated over winter break. If you already own the set of task cards, make sure you download the revision so you can grab the journals. If you don't already own them, you can find them here.
I have sets for every month listed separately, as well as in bundles.

Just a little head's up, as I add the journal companion to each pack, the price will bump up just a bit. If you've already purchased them, of course you'll get the revision at no additional cost.  If you buy the others now, you can also get in on the reduced price too!

I'm sure you've heard the news by now, but it does bear repeating. The big TpT Cyber Monday & Tuesday sale is upon us! Hey, anytime we can save a few dollars it's worth spreading the news. Of course, I'm a seller but I'm also a HUGE buyer! See...this is a snapshot from "My Purchases":
I've purchased 279 items from TpT! Ready for my wish list?

230 items on my wish list! Not sure how many I'll actually purchase during the sale, but knowing me, it will be quite a few. So as a buyer, I really do appreciate when my favorite sellers highlight their new schtuff for me to peruse. How do you think my wish list is up over 200 items? 

So, I thought you all might like to see some of my December resources in case you're filling up your cart for the big sale. If you're a newsletter subscriber, some of this will look really familiar ;)

Be sure to leave feedback on all of your recent purchases before you shop so you can use those credits to save even more! Be sure to use the code CYBER when shopping on Monday and Tuesday. Well, besides shopping and leaving feedback, I've got tons of planning to do! I'd really super love to be all planned up until winter break, but right now I'd feel really great if I just knew what the heck I was going to do come Monday morning...

Back to Top