Monday, December 31, 2012

Sweet Synonyms {Flash Giveaway}!

Happy New Year's Eve!

I'm not going to lie.  New Year's Eve is my least favorite holiday.  I seriously need my sleep people!  I don't know how some of you do it.  I need a full eight hours or watch out!  I wasn't allowed to go to sleepovers as a little girl because I was so miserable for days afterwards.  So tonight, the hubs made me dinner, we are going to curl up on the couch and probably fall asleep before the ball drops.  I'm okay with that!

Since I'm not preparing for a big party tonight, I started creating instead.  I made some Sweet Synonyms!  I love, love the candy theme to this one.

There's a Memory Match game:

Puzzle Pieces:

I Have, Who Has:

And more!


Since we are talking about candy here, can you guess what my favorite candy is???
Leave a comment with your guess and your email address and the first person to guess correctly will win the Sweet Synonyms pack!
Congrats to Sara for winning!  My favorite candy is, indeed, the Milky Way.  Yum!

I'll give you one chance to win here and one chance to win over at my Facebook page.

I might drop hints... make sure you follow me!

Since it is almost a new year, it is time to link up with Farley's Currently! husband built himself a computer for Christmas and the thing is so dang loud.  And, yes, he is a total computer geek.  And, yes, he knows it!

Loving...Did I mention that I need my sleep?  Staying in for New Year's - whoohoo!  Does this mean I'm getting old?? just got cold in RI.  Like, real cold.  I didn't like the 40 degree weather.  The 15 degree weather is worse!  Trying to convince the hubs to move South.  It is not working so far., do I need to explain this one?  Christmas vacation goes by so fast!
Needing...a nice warm bath.  My brother ordered me a bath pillow, bath salts and a tub caddy for Christmas.  They haven't come in yet and I can't wait till they do!
OLW...Focus.  I am trying to expand my blog through social media, but I have to learn to focus on one at a time.  I am so all over the place right now!

And P.S. ~ My stores are still 20% off!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's a New Year!

Well, almost.

Jen over at The Teacher's Cauldron wants to know what are New Year's Resolutions are!

Personal Resolution:
Save some major money!  2012 was a big year for the hubs and I.

Hawaii, Disney, Georgia.  A new house.  A new car.  A new puppy.  It was a busy one!  I hope we get to have just as many experiences in 2013.  However, I am taking on the art of extreme couponing.

The hubs has even signed me up for a class to learn more!  Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Blogging Resolution:
To expand more through social media.  I want to be more active with:

Click on any of the links above to make sure I keep my resolution!!

And to end the year, I am having a 20% off sale in both of my stores!

Graphics by Aisne's Creations, Scrappin Doodles and Sassy Designs

Get it?  Sale-ing??  I know, creative.  Everything is 20% off, not just the items in the picture.



Happy {almost} New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best Books for Boys

Boys, boys, boys.  My husband and I have 10 nephews and 2 nieces.  I joke that we are going to have all girls when the time comes.  He really wants boys though!  Guess I should be prepared.  

Makes me think of the boys in my classroom.  Sometimes getting them to read can be a great challenge!  I work hard to find books that they enjoy in order to motivate them to read.

Their absolute favorite is Fly Guy.   It is easy enough for some of my lower readers and they get such a kick out of it!  A huge shout-out to Tedd Arnold for continuing to make so many Fly Guy books!  I think I have almost all of them and the boys keep asking for more.

And, David, is quite the popular character as well.  Maybe because he reminds my boys of themselves??  They love to shout, "No, David!"

My boys seem to love anything to do with facts.  And then they love to share them with me - so cute!  They also try to quiz me and, well, I don't always get all the answers right!

A popular chapter book among the boys is the Magic Tree House series.  I use them as read alouds during snacktime.  They love it when I finish a chapter and "leave them hanging."  I get a chorus of "nooo" and "read more!"

Need more ideas for books for boys?  Check out the linky party going on over at Swimming Into Second!

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Best and Brightest Linky Party!

One of my favorite parts of blogging is being able to look back and reflect on my year, both personally and in my classroom.  Christina over at Bunting, Books and Bainbridge {love her!} has created a linky party to share brag about blogging in 2012.  P.S. is it really almost 2013?!

One of the BEST things I did this year was continue to blog.  I know, that sounds weird.  I tend to start projects, but not follow through with them.  I started blogging in the end of 2011 and the best thing I did in 2012 was to keep up with it!  I have learned so much from other bloggers and feel so encouraged by this wonderful community.  Continuing to blog this year has also led to a TpT store, a TN store, a Facebook page, Twitter account and an Instagram account {smilinginsecondgrade}.  Love, loving social media this year!

The post I love the BEST is my Open House post.  Open House is just a few {hectic} days into our school year and I never feel as prepared as I want to be.  This year, through the help of some wonderful bloggers and Pinterest, I had the best Open House yet!  I was so proud to show it off!

My most popular post this year was Time-Out Tuesday and Some Dancing.  I shared a dance that my co-teacher came up with to teach the students how to subtract with and without regrouping.  It made it's way onto Pinterest and has been my most popular post ever since! 

The BEST news I shared

The BEST product I created this year were my Writing Journal Prompts.  As soon as I made them, I declared it my favorite product (really, check it out here)!  There are 12 calendars with writing prompts for every school day - over 300 writing prompts!  It has also become my best seller in my store.

The BEST freebie I created were my Word Wall Games.  There are four different games to help students become well-acquainted with the classroom Word Wall.  I like to play them at snack time!  Learn more about them here.

Some of the BRIGHTEST new bloggy friends I've made are 

Nicole from Teaching With Style

Thanks ladies!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

With a Heavy Heart...

As teachers, it is our job, our duty, our passion to provide a safe haven for our students. To allow our students, no matter their age, a place where they can express themselves and grow freely. What happens when the feeling of safety is taken away?  What happens when we can't protect them?  It's the biggest fear of any teacher. And now that fear has become a reality for the teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

When I found out about the tragedy that had taken place, I could not fathom what had occurred.  The colleague who was informing me had to repeat the news three times before I could process this horrific event. Thankfully I didn't have students at the time and could spend a few minutes gathering my thoughts.  I waited until I got home before I just broke down and cried.

I cried for the children who won't make it to their kindergarten graduation. I cried for the parents who have presents wrapped under their Christmas trees that will never be opened. The parents who will be planning funerals rather than visits to Santa. I cried for the children who will never feel safe at school again. I cried for the teachers who will always have their guard up for fear of their students.

Please join the blogging community in a day of silence. We will be remembering all the lives lost and affected by this tragedy. Please visit Megan Farley's blog for more information on Thursday of silence.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Money Exchange Game

Even though money isn't really in the Common Core anymore (apparently coins will be obsolete in 20 years - who knew?), we still need to touch on it for the state testing our students will take before we are in full PARCC mode.

Today we threw in a game from the Everyday Math series.  I'm pretty sure it's just called The Money Exchange Game.  Original.

Each pair of students receives a handful of coins.  They divide the coins into like piles (dimes, nickels, etc.).  One student rolls a die and picks up the amount of money to match the die.  For example, if you roll a 4, you pick up 4 cents.

As the students acquire more money, they "exchange" it for larger coins.  The first student to reach $1.00, wins!

I'm sure you have heard of this game before.  The reason behind my sharing this with you is that my students did so well with it!  Not only did they play the game well, but they helped each other out by "teaching" their partners how to exchange their coins.  They were so respectful of each other, it was amazing and wonderful to watch.  I was so so so proud of them!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

12 in '12!

It's almost 12-12-12!  Time to celebrate!  With a Linky Party of course...

Miss Kindergarten and A Teeny Tiny Teacher are hosting a 12 in '12 linky party!

12. Favorite movie you watched:
Eesh.  I'm not a movie person.  I don't think I could even tell you what movies came out this year.  I am looking forward to The Great Gatsby coming out next year though!

11. Favorite TV series:
My favorite TV series has always been and always will be Friends.  I watch it all. the. time.  I did get into Big Bang Theory and Modern Family this year though - so funny!

10. Favorite restaurant:
Tried Buffalo Wild Wings for the first time when I was done in Florida - yum!  Just wish they had one closer to my house...

9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Surfing in Hawaii!

8. Favorite gift you got:
My puppy!
He's not that small anymore, but still just as cute!

7. Favorite thing you pinned:

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

I've seen so many of the "Keep Calm" posters, but this one is my favorite!  Made me laugh.

6. Favorite blog post:
My favorite blog post this year was about Open House.   It comes so fast at the beginning of the year, that I feel as though I am always rushing to get student work out and everything organized.  This year, though, I really worked hard to get my open house ready this year, thanks to many other bloggers!

5. Best accomplishment:
Buying a house!  It makes me feel like such a grown-up!
This is halfway through our renovation - yikes!

4. Favorite picture:
Looking forward to many more adventures with my husband!

3. Favorite memory:
Disney vacation with my whole family - so much fun!

2. Goal for 2013:
To have as many adventures and create as many memories as I did in 2012!

1. One Little Word:

Go link up and share your 12 in '12!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 7th

I know, it's December 8th.  I wanted to write this post yesterday, but my lovely students decided to give their teacher the stomach bug on a Friday night.  Ugh.

This isn't a topic that I discuss in second grade, but December 7, 1941 is a huge part of the history of our country.  This summer, I visited Pearl Harbor and it was an amazingly powerful experience.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I love December in my classroom!  You are thinking, lady you are cah-razy.  I know, I know.  


I get to do a Christmas Around the World unit in Social Studies.  My {absolute} favorite!
I use Christina Bainbridge's Christmas Around the World 

Bunting Books and Bainbridge

And this year I'm combining in with What the Teacher Wants' Holidays Around the World unit.


Today we started by making our suitcases:

I made my own {as an example} too!  Love to color :)

Next week, we start our "virtual field trip" and the kids are so excited to add to their suitcases!  I told them that if they were well-behaved, we could do extra Social Studies.  Bribing them with extra work, haha!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Currently...there's a freebie!

Well, hello there December!  Farley reminded me that it's that time again!

Time to link up for her Currently!

And since I'm in the giving mood, lookie what I created!  A freebie just for you!

My students are working on problem solving strategies, so I made some colorful posters to display in the classroom.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

When I Was In...Linky Party

It's been awhile...I know.  Sad face.  Grades are due this week and we have a brand new report card, which takes some getting used to.  And, of course, I've been decorating for Christmas!  It's been a slow process this year, but I'll share when I'm done!

In the meantime, Kate over at Second Grade Sparkle is having a super fun linky party!

We are sharing pictures of us when we were in the grade level that we now teach!  And...well...obviously I teach second grade, so I had to dig real deep in my messy basement to find some pictures so I could join:
Get ready...
Apparently, I was not a happy child.  Actually, I was a happy child.  I was just stubborn and didn't like people telling me what to do.  Aka, the photographer didn't get the "smile" he asked for.

And, I'm not really sure what my mother was thinking.

This was the one and only day of my modeling career.  Well, I wasn't really modeling.  Just awkwardly posing for a picture in the early 90s!

Fast forward 20 years...and here's a picture of me and my husband now.

Happy happy!  And smiling!

And, who is getting ready for the holidays??  And likes freebies??

Check out the newest holiday ebooks on Teachers Pay Teachers!  It has tons of freebies and tips for your classroom for the month of December!  Just click on the pictures to get your FREE copy of both!

There is one for Grades 1-2...

And PK-K...

Be sure to check out both because many of the activities are applicable to all four levels!

One last can win something from my store (and other wonderful stores too)!  Head on over to

to enter her giveaway!


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