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Roses and Thorns for 2013 and Resolutions for 2014

For years I've been doing a little ritual at the end of the school day that we call High/ Low.  The children take turns telling their high point of the day and their low point of the day.

Read this blog post and this blog post to find our more about how I do High/ Low with the kids.

I saw recently that President Obama does something similar with his family at dinner each night, but they call it Roses and Thorns.  (I love being home during the day to watch The View!)

I think the end of the year is a good time to reflect back on the highs and lows of the year!
Plus, it's a great time to make goals for the future!

Let's start with the reflections:


There were a lot of highs this year!  Most of them were connected to my daughter, my gentleman friend, and my students, but I think the ultimate high of 2013 was the connections I've made with other teacher-bloggers, along with the trip to Las Vegas in July!

That was a whole lot of bloggers!
Unfortunately, my low of the year happened shortly after this trip.  While I was waiting in front of my hotel for the shuttle back to the airport, I got a call that my stepmother had a bad fall and hit the back of her head.  She was brought by ambulance to the hospital, then transported by helicopter to a hospital with a strong neurological unit.  When we visited that weekend, she was in good spirits, telling her great stories, and chatting away.  A few days later, she passed away.

Although she wasn't a young woman, she was young in spirit and very healthy.  
We expected her to be around a long time. She was a classy lady, and a big part of our lives.

For more reflections, see this post: 13 in 13.

Now for looking ahead!  There's a little linky going on at A Peach for the Teach, and it's all about New Year's Resolutions!

Personal:  I need to be spending less time working and more time looking out for me.  I resolve to go home a lot sooner than I have been.  I won't tell you how ridiculously late I've been staying, but it's got to stop!

Professional: Things are pretty stressful at school right now.  There is a lot of pressure on the teachers, and not a whole lot of support.  I resolve to be a positive influence to other teachers and keep smiling, no matter how tough it gets.

Classroom: I'm having a blast learning more and more about brain based learning and how the brain works by reading about recent research and how children learn.  I plan to continue to bring this into my classroom.  (There's a Whole Brain Learning Book Study coming up in January... I can't wait!)

Blog/ TpT:  I'm working to keep the quality of my blog posts professional and helpful. I think I have good products on TpT, but I need to get better at getting the word out.  I've never been good at self-promotion, but I've got to figure out how.  I'll start by more aggressive pinning! And of course, I'll work to get more good stuff out there!

Just-for-fun:  I definitely need to do more fun stuff!  I'll be making more plans to visit friends, go to the theatre, look for opportunities to sing, and I'll be visiting my other teacher friends in Vegas again this summer!

Be sure to check in on A Peach for the Teach to check out her Resolutions link up!

A Peach for the Teach: Behavior Supports & Multi-Age

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas

I'm bracing myself for a challenging week.  
It's a busy time of year.
There are very few hours of sunlight per day.  
That really affects the spirit of many.
Kids are overstimulated, sleep deprived, and downright cranky.

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!
Plus, did you realize the full moon is this week, too?  

Here are Six Ways to Survive the Last Week Before Christmas:

1.  Bribery Works!  Yes, I've been known to resort to bribery. I would hope that children want to be good just for that personal pride, but that's not realistic.  They need to earn something.  
This week, we're working toward a Christmas party on Thursday afternoon.  I've already planned the party.  We'll have entertainment and gifts to open, and food and fun stuff.  But I tell them those plans can be cancelled if they don't earn the party.  I've come close to cancelling the party in the past, but we've always had the party.  One thing to remember about bribery... the "bait" needs to be WORTH IT, or it won't work next time! (I'll be sure the Christmas party is awesome!)

2.  Keep Them Active!  I've got some games (freebies!) that keep the kids out of their seats.
Try Golfing for Tens, 
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!



Or even a game like this one I found on Amazon.  (Click images for links to these games.)
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

The key is to get the kids having so much fun, they don't realize they're practicing their adding skills!


3.  Try a Little Yoga!

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Kids really adapt well to Yoga, and it really calms them down and helps them focus!  Honestly, it helps me, too!


4.  Add some music to your day!


I use this one in my classroom frequently and I swear by it! (Click image for link.)
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Any baroque music makes a great calming background for the classroom!
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Of course, my acupuncturist uses this background music, and I know it relaxes me!
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Or, if you're looking for holiday music, this one is my personal favorite for the classroom
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!



And who doesn't love this one?
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners! 


5.  Let them paint!
I am always amazed at how quiet the children become when I pull out the water colors!  Of course, one needs to have an educational purpose for painting, but I really don't think creative teachers like us would have a problem thinking of something, do you?
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!
6. Have a Game Day!

There are plenty of board games out there that are perfect for strengthening the children's reading and maths skills, and some great strategy building, but be sure to keep the "learning" part a secret... they'll think they're getting away with something!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Apples to Apples is my favorite!  It always makes the kids giggle, and (shhhh...works some valuable thinking skills)

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Scrabble works reading, writing and even math, as well as strategic thinking!

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Uno is a classic!

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

Plus, Yahtzee is a great game for strengthening math skills!


Then of course, regular playing cards will always entertain, and make mathematical paths in the brain.  (Seriously!)



Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!


Well, there are six ideas to help you through this week.  I hope this helps!


But, as all teachers know, when all else fails, be sure to keep a stash of chocolate in your desk for those particularly stressful days!

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

And if you're still looking for holidays, I've got a whole bunch of freebies linked to my

  December Pinterest Board!





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