Monday, July 28, 2014

Teachers Be Shoppin'

Hey, ya'll! As promised, I am back here once again to share my latest teacher (and un-teacher) related purchases, courtesy of Elizabeth at  Kickin' it in Kindrergarten.

To kick it off, I'll start with an overview. I know what you're thinking, "This chick is craaazy." But I'm not ya'll, swear it. Every purchase I've made this week has been completely intentional. The real test will be if intentions ever meet reality, but that's for an entirely separate blog post. For today, I'll just stick with the updates. You see, I'm moving to a brand spankin' new classroom this year, and I couldn't be more pleased. With an entire work day scheduled for tomorrow, I am beyond excited to share the final results with you. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a bit of a sneak peek, but that doesn't even begin to cover it. 

 That plethora of  (blurry) scrapbook paper you see? Well that's just for a little art project I have planned for one of my bulletin boards. You'll have to exercise patience to see the fruits of that purchase, but I promise it'll be worth it. With any luck I'll have it up and posted for you by the end of this week. Until then, I'll leave you with a little'll definitely be "blown away".

 I found that precious picture frame above at Marshall's for all of about 3 bucks. I previously owned a small and boring white one, so when I saw this frame in my new classroom colors I knew I had to snag it. Personally, I use the frame to display my small group objectives. However, I can think of a million or more ways you could incorporate them in your classroom.
 Center directions, anyone? 
Do any of you own the same, or similar frames? I would love to see how you use them!

 Another item I'll share today is the colorful pennant I also found at Michael's. Now, let me just say, I am typically a Hobby Lobby kind of gal, but I just so happened to be in the neighborhood of a Michael's yesterday, so I decided to take a gander. It was a trip I certainly do not regret. In fact, I even had to put BACK a few items before finally checking out. See, I do have some restraint! My plans for this pennant? Well, I'm not quite sure yet. But I am full of faith that it will all work out tomorrow.

 My last purchase is absolutely, positively, 100%....unrelated to school. I found this beauty at Hobby Lobby and proudly used my 40% discount to snatch it up. 

Holy cuteness, when did Hob Lob get so chic? If this keeps up, I'll be out of money in no time. I plan to place this newest purchase right where it my bedroom, of course.

So, how'd I do this week? I'd love your feedback and suggestions for making use of my newest purchases, so please fill me in on how you've made use of any products I've shown above. And of course, you can check out how other fabulous teachers have spent their hard earned money by linking up with Elizabeth!


 Be sure to check back soon for more classroom updates, and some information about my newest products. Until then, happy teaching!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hit the Jackpot Baby

Ok, ok, so I lied. I swore I wouldn't continuously rub all my Vegas fun in your face over and over and over again. But here I am, ya'll, about to do it again. Don't you worry though, this time it's for a little fun!

You see, I may have mentioned that I made some fabulous friends while at the Vegas TPT convention a couple of weeks ago, and I totally meant it. These girls are just great, and I feel so lucky to have them in my teaching/ blogging/ TPTing/ personal life. And because these girls are so fabulous, they've decided that it would be a great idea to join forces for a little giveaway!

Queue the drum-roll...

That's right, folks, my wonderful gal pals, Becky, Alyssa, Kimberly, Elissa, and I have teamed up to for a little Vegas fun! You can enter the giveaway below for a chance to win your own copy of each of the following products! See, I told you it'd be fun! 

The raffle will be open until next Monday, and then we'll select a winner! So, if you weren't so lucky in Vegas, let us help you out right at home!

If you hit the jackpot, you will be receiving 4 wonderful packets from my amazing friends, along with my "R" controlled Vowels phonics packet! I created this packet to give my sweet kiddos hands-on practice with one of the hardest phonics sounds, and I would be thrilled to pass it along to one of you!

 For a closer look at the packet I have up for grabs, you can click the picture above.

 So what are you waiting for? Go enter the raffle! Until we announce the winner, keep checking back for more exciting updates. Good luck, everyone!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Linkin' Up!

Hey there, friends! Today I am linkin' up with Kickin' it in Kindergarten to talk about one of my most favorite
Since becoming a teacher, I've realized that this is a quality almost necessary if you want to have a well organized classroom. But let's be honest, shopping for teaching supplies isn't the only the thing I'm addicted to. Fortunately; however, I have been SO consumed with back-to-school business that I've had hardly any time to shop for items unrelated to my classroom.  But guess what that means? I've got plenty to share with you today!

First up,  the newest addition to my library...

Seriously. Cuteness overload.
 Was it necessary? No. Do I really have room for it? Probably not. Did I make it work? You bet I did. And now, I absolutely cannot wait to get my new batch of cuties and see their excitement each day as they enter my reading center. I'm completely aware that this tent may also be the catalyst for many disagreements in the classroom, but for now I'll just choose to look on the bright side of things. #aintnobodygottimeforthat

Next up, I have a three in one picture for you....

If you've followed me for any amount of time, then you probably know I use a "microphone" in my classroom to control rug time. The microphone is not only fun for my kiddos, but it truly is an easy way to keep their blurt outs in check without them even knowing! Unfortunately, my original microphone, from my very first year of teaching, bit the dust by the end of this past school year. Not to worry though, I was able to snag a new one for this year, and I must say it's even snazzier than the first!

Oh, and that precious elephant? Well that's Ellie, of course. She's our new class mascot for the upcoming year. I have been wanting to incorporate a mascot that could be sent home each week, and now I've finally gotten around to it. I told you third times the charm! 
Since my classroom "theme-ish" is the circus, I thought an elephant was totally fitting. Each week I choose a "ringleader" to lead the class, go first in line, and run errands. Now, the ringleader will have the added bonus of taking Ellie home for the weekend {in that cute little canvas tote that needs some decorating} and writing a journal entry...or blogging...or writing a letter about it. I haven't totally worked that last part out yet, but I'm getting there. Promise. 

And lastly, since my first year of teaching I have been using dry erase circles at my small group table. If you haven't tried this yet, it's a must. Totally life changing. I'm not sure where I got the idea from, but I bet you I didn't dream it up myself. Whoever did give me that idea, thank you, thank you, thank you! My kids love nothing more than writing on their very own, colorful, dry erase circle. The only downside to these cuties is that they are really only good for a year, depending on how often you use them. But trust me, ya'll, completely worth the money. 

Well, that's about all the shopping I can handle talking about without freaking out about the crazy amount of money I spend on my classroom. But don't you worry, there's plenty more where that came from. I'm thanking Elizabeth for enabling my shopping addiction. Check back again next week for more of my recent finds and splurges! And for more awesome shopping finds, check out Elizabeth's linky

Happy teaching, and shopping! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Math Homework Made Easy!

Hey there teachers! I hope you are enjoying your remaining weeks of summer as much as I am. Actually, that may be only partially true. I've been working my tush off lately trying to get things prepared for the upcoming school year. You know what they say, third times the charm. If that saying has any truth to it, then this upcoming school year should be an absolute breeze. 

As part of my preparation for school, I have been getting together my homework packets. You see, homework is always something that I absolutely loathe getting together. I have a hard time sending home lots of work for my students to do, but I also want parents to stay involved and have opportunities to work on school with their kiddos. Many times, I'm disappointed with the homework pages my curriculum has to offer, so this year I've decided to homework into my own hands. Drumroll please....

Math Homework, Practice, and Review For All Year Long! (1s

Let me introduce you to my newest labor of love: Mastering Math. Of course, the sole use of this packet is not just for homework. The great thing about it is, you can use it in any way that works best for you! It would be a great independent practice piece, or for re-assessing kiddos who need a little extra help.

This packet goes hand in hand with my math assessment packet, and has enough work to keep your little ones busy all year long! I included enough practice pages for each week (Monday-Thursday). I also included a homework rubric that will go along with my phonics packet that I will be posting soon (pinky promise). When I get that up and posted, I will share with you just exactly how I plan to send home my homework packets each week. Until then, I wanted to highlight a few of the activities in the Mastering Math packet and show you how I keep it all together.

To start, I printed off every single page in the packet (just once!). Then I placed each page in order in page protectors ( back and front). I have the pages organized by skill and labeled by standard. So, I printed all the header pages (see picture) and put the corresponding practice pages behind them. That way, I know what standards go with each and know exactly where to look when I'm teaching say...addition.Or subtraction. Or time. Or any other skill you address in first grade. I promise...they're all there! 

Now, when I go to prepare homework for the week, I know exactly where to look. No searching through files or textbooks. Easy Peasy! 

Sounds pretty simple right? If you'd like to get a closer look at the activities in this packet, you can head over to my shop by clicking the preview picture below. I will have this packet as well as my corresponding math assessment packet on sale for the next week! Get them while they're hot! 

I'll be back soon to give some classroom updates, and to post my phonics homework packet. Until then, enjoy your break! See you soon, loves!

Happy teaching!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top 5 Tips from Vegas!

Have I mentioned I've been to Vegas recently? Please pardon my repetition, but it was *hands down* the best trip ever. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the best things about the trip was all of the wonderful women I had the opportunity to meet. One of these women just happen to be my new friend Becky. Have you heard of her? Sweet Becky made the solo trip from Tennessee all the way to Vegas to attend the TPT conference on her BIRTHDAY! Yep, that's right. Talk about dedication ya'll. I was fortunate enough to meet Becky and share a small birthday celebration with her, and now I'm fortunate enough to be linking up with her on her blog to share a few of the tips I learned from Vegas.

Be Authentic

One of the most emphasized pieces of advice throughout all of the conferences was the importance of being yourself. By doing so you can bet your work will be unique and valuable. Nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again. Staying true to yourself is a great way to make sure your products stand out against the crowd.

Give it a test run.

Before making a product "live", try it out on your little ones! I know first hand that my students are the best way to catch a mistake. Trying it out first helps you know whether or not your activities are helpful and realistic for the classroom.

Protect your work

We put SO much time into all of the wonderful activities we produce, so it's important to make sure we product all of our hard work (and the work of others). Make sure you put your copyright information at the bottom of your pages, and secure your documents to prevent others from copying the clip art you use.

Check and Double Check Your Work

This goes hand in hand with testing out your work before posting. Edit your work yourself, but also have others check it over. Chances are they will find mistakes that you looked over.

Treat it Like a Business

If you want to be a successful TPT seller, you have to treat it like a business. That means setting time aside each week for creating, marketing, revising, and whatever else you need to do. It will pay off in the long run!

As you can see, I learned a whooole lot on my short little trip. I am excited and inspired to start implementing these tips in my personal life. If you'd like to read more about what others learned from the recent TPT conferences, check out Becky's blog. 

Check back soon for my updates! 
Happy teaching, sweet friends!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Viva Las Vegas!

Hey there, sweet friends! So happy to be back here on this little blog of mine. After taking a break from blogging for the last few and crazy months of school, I thought there was no better time to rekindle our friendship than after spending an amazing weekend in Las Vegas with some exceptional educators.

That's right friends, I was lucky enough to attend the very first TeachersPayTeachers convention, and let me tell did not disappoint. My bestie Ms. Winter and I managed to make our way west for the week of a lifetime.

First up, we started out with a keynote speech from the man himself....Paul Edelmen. Ya'll, words cannot express the wonderful and inspiring messages he shared with us. I have never felt so proud to be an educator or a part of TPT. Totally and completely life changing.

Following the keynote I had the privilege of listening to some truly amazing women share their TPT tips and experiences. Seriously....I was pinching my cheeks in disbelief. I am still in shock that I was able to sit in the same room as all those ladies who never cease to amaze or inspire me. 

No you aren't dreaming, that is most certainly Erica Bohrer, Cara Carrol, and little ole' me! 
It's ok to be a little jealous. 

However, my most favorite part about this weekend was meeting all of my new friends. 
Hands down. 
My greatest takeaway was the connections I formed with some wonderful ladies who I would have never met without TPT. That alone is what made this trip truly money well spent.

Now, don't go thinking that my trip was all conventions and connections.Of course, we snagged a little free time for some fun!

Well friends, that about wraps up my weekend.
We laughed, we cried, and...well you know how the story goes.
Now I'm heading back home to put all this new found inspiration to good use!
Please check back soon for some truly exciting news from myself and my new friends!!