Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dare to Dream #tptsellerchallenge Week 2

TPT has been such a blessing to me already.  I started out putting my things up just so I could buy cute clip art to make things for my classroom.  While, that is still always my goal (to cover the cost of things I buy for the product), I now have additional goals since that one is usually reached pretty quickly.

1.  Family.  Without TPT, I'm pretty sure we could be a 4 person house.  TPT gives us extra money each month to help cover an additional kiddo in daycare....  1 more year of paying for 2 in daycare (my middle is going to K next year, but it's only half day around here... and half daycare care costs just about the same as a full day!).  We choose to send our kids to a daycare center for our own beliefs.  The center we use is just FABULOUS!  My middle child gets Spanish classes and also Physical education.  They are incredible with the arts (both art and music).  Because of TPT, I'm able to continue that.  While that is currently happening, it's still a goal that I have to reach.  We also like to give our kids life experiences as well and like to travel to different places.  We've been to Disney World countless times already (and we're heading there this summer as well), since I've started with TPT (a goal to pay for the trip), but I'd also like to start saving some money to go to places much further away than 2 hours on a plane....  Hawaii, Europe, Caribbean...  This will only happen with the littlest little gets a little bigger.  ha!

2.  School.  I want to be able to provide things in my classroom that isn't covered by my tiny budget (which I know isn't tiny compared to many, many places).   In addition to money----my goal is to continue to stay positive and focused on the students because of TPT.  When I get feedback that others use my things and how their admins love it too....  There's nothing that can top that feeling.  Things aren't as great in education these days and to get that kind of feedback just brings such a smile and happiness to my life.  Being able to help others be the best teacher they can brings such joy.  I can't wait to get back on the TPTing this year now that I've had 1/2 a year in my new grade!  I have quite a few things started that I'm excited about.  I just need to find some time to finish them---which is hard with so many littles running around this summer....  especially the BOY kind!  ha!

3.  Beach House.  Oh, how I would love to have my own place at the beach.  Now, while I'd just about die if I could ever afford those ones RIGHT on the beach....  I'd settle with any that is within 10 minutes of driving to the beach.  We love Delaware beaches, and head there every summer.  I've been going there since I've been a baby.  We used to have a family reunion camping trip every year there.  It was the best time of my life.  I do not feel completely relaxed till I can be there in the summer.  But, to be able to not worry about where to stay, when to go or if we have enough funds....  To pick up and go one weekend (that we don't have sports!) just because... and eat that bad yummy food!!!

I'm so thankful for TPT and the opportunities that it has brought me.  Thanks for sticking with me and reading!  XOXO

Friday, June 19, 2015

Common Core Checklists

Well, hello!  It's been quite some time since I've had a second to post.  Life is quite different with 3 boys!

This is the earliest summer break I've had in quite a few years.  I just finished my first week off.  Summer vacation hasn't really hit me yet.

This post is going to be about a few products that I've redone.  If you are like me, I need to have things printed out for me to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to do.  Sure, we have curriculum that we follow but we don't have programs.  I LOVE that.  I love that I can be more creative and selective in my teaching, but it's also quite draining. (reason 1056 of why I haven't had enough time to blog)  Even we did have a program to follow, there were still times that we needed to differentiate. I needed those standards printed out to make sure that I was covering them, and I didn't need them all jumbled up from the state (or country).  I've joined up with many fabulous new and old bloggers/TPTers for the #tptsellerchallenge.  This week was #makeovermadness and we were challenged to revise an old pack.  I decided to tackle these first.  Keep reading..

So, a few years ago when we jumped ship to the Common Core standards (well, not completely--cause my state had to rename and renumber them.... however they are essentially the same.  They eliminated a few standards but for the most part-the CCSS are the same as my state... it might be the same for others).  At the time we grouped kids homogeneously---even in first grade!  I had the high kids, so I knew I couldn't just follow our regular curriculum.  That's when I decided to make the checklists that I have out now.  Only.... they looked like this:

Click {HERE} to read all about it when I first uploaded them and to see what they looked like.

That was back when I first started making and creating on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I bought the clip art, but used freebies for everything else.  And, well... let's face it.  When you see my revisions with items that I've paid for (fonts, borders...) you notice quite the difference!  I am in LOVE with the new revisions, to the point where I may come back to using these next year.  (I've been using my owl ones instead...   but, these are more colorful)  Click on the pictures to see them in my TPT store.



Now, for GRADES 1-2, not only do they include the printable, but if you have PowerPoint, you can document electronically.  (other grades will be coming soon, I just need to find more time!) Unfortunately, at this time, I do not have a way for you to edit and add your own.... but, I may soon!  Make sure you are following me to find out if that happens! :)

****I'm still working on getting the K-6 bundle updated.  It will be done by the end of the weekend {fingers crossed}

Monday, March 23, 2015

Instagram for the classroom

This past summer when I met up with some of the PA bloggers for lunch, one of the fabulous bloggers, Mr. First Grade, was telling us about how he set up an instagram account for his classroom. Well, since I didn't really start the year till now, I couldn't start this till now.

Gotta say, it's SO much easier than writing out newsletters each week-which I can't keep up with.  And for those of you that do, you.are.amazing!  With all that my district requires for lesson planning, data, etc... plus my "party of 5" at home...  It just doesn't work for me.

I downloaded the app to my iPad.  (it is an iPhone app though, so it's not the "best" looking app on the iPad, but it works just the same!)  I set up our class as a private user.  Only parents will have access and I ask them to email me their user name, if it's something that doesn't let me know who they are.  I just love the privacy!

I just snap various pictures with the iPad throughout the day.  Somedays it's one (maybe none!) others it's a lot!  I upload a pic or 2 (or 3) after school.  Parents get to see us in action.  I spent maybe 5 minutes or less letting them in on the awesomeness that goes on in our classroom.

Here is an example from last month:

*of course, there are those who don't have it.  I don't do anything different for those parents.  As much as I'd love to find a way to include all, you just can't with this.  I'm confident that in the coming years, more parents will have an instagram account than now---AND I'll be able to show them all about it at Back to School Night next year, since I will NOT be out on maternity leave again during that time! ;)  Pictures tell a thousand words....  who wouldn't want to possibly see their babies in action while they are out!

*also, I toyed with the idea of Facebook, but I'm just not a fan with how they change privacy stuff all the time... and my school has it blocked.  Instagram is simple and not blocked.  Something I may consider is setting up a class account for Facebook JUST for pictures from Instagram to be posted there as well.... but, honestly-I just like the simplicity of Instagram to tell our story.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Got Eggs?!?

Well, if you haven't turned the calendar to peek at April yet, you may have not noticed that Easter is 'springing' upon us quite quickly!  We are deep into money in second grade and are needing LOTS and LOTS of change counting practice....

I absolutely LOVE those plastic Easter eggs.  They are SO wonderful to use in the classroom for SO many different things!  Counting change is just perfect.

While I could have hidden the eggs all over the room to begin with, I decided to work up to that eggcitement closer to bunny day.  We started the first session of eggstra-special coin counting with eggs in a basket on our desks.  {I bought a ton of those little baskets years ago at Target in the dollar spot..... and haven't used them till NOW!  See, I did buy them for a reason, right?!}

 I had a recording sheet for the kids to write the amounts that were in each egg.  I have enough space in the boxes for students to draw the coins too {that's only good on the 6 and maybe 8 egg page}  I labelled the eggs with letters instead of numbers, just to eliminate number confusion if I use them for something else in the near future!

We repeated this a second day with different amount.  TIP:  Don't just take all the money out and think of a new amount.  Just add or take away a nickel... or a dime... or add a few pennies to each.  They will not remember how much the egg had the day before.  Trust me.  {Also, make sure you write down how much is in each! ;) }

The third day I mixed it up a little and had all the same eggs in a basket and "hid" the baskets {in plain eyesight} around the room.  Getting up to get the eggs was just what we needed on a Friday of a L.O.N.G. week!

Next week we'll be moving up to 8 and 10 eggs...  maybe.

One last TIP:  Make sure to stress the point of making sure they are putting ALL of the coins back into their eggs so that the next person doesn't get the wrong amount. Check under papers and desks for lost coins!

Click {HERE} for the worksheets to use to count money in your classroom too!  It's always great practice, no matter the age!  {and if your littles aren't ready for money, you could always use pennies to practice counting and just add in how you write a cent sign afterwards!  Bonus!}

I have so many other plans for these little eggs in other subject areas!  Check back soon for a new idea!  What are some ways you use eggs in your classroom??

PS-I'll be updating my first grade Easter Math games soon, as well as having a second grade one too! XOXO

Saturday, February 7, 2015

WHOOOO Doesn't Love an Owl Valentine bag?!

Oh, my word.  Can you believe your eyes!?  A blogpost from little old me?!?!?  I'm back to work--barely above water, yet I have to share this with you.  Since moving to second grade, I could no longer make the adorable penguin valentine bags that we've made in the past in first (click HERE to read and see those)... since, well, they have done it!  So, this week I was on a mission to find something equally adorable.  I had no luck online, so I whipped something up myself.  {You'd think by now that would be my FIRST step...}

First, I have to tell you that Target has patterned lunch bags now!  I've found these dot ones and also blue/green striped ones.  (I may or may not have gone back to my Targets and gotten quite a few of the dot bags to supply me with YEARS more of these bags... I think they make the bags even sweeter)  I THINK they are $1.99 for 40....  You know.  You go to Target for like 1-2 things, and come home with like $200 worth instead....  Thank goodness for the Red card and Cartwheel! :P

Our OWLdorable Owl bags!  Aren't they a 'hoot'?!  My kids love them.

If you'd like to make them for your kids, you can click {HERE}  There's nothing fancy with it.  I had NO time to cute-sy it up for ya.  I traced what I made onto paper and scanned it (really, so I had it on my computer for the future, when I'm looking around my classroom like a madwoman looking for the patterns.... especially right now since I'm in a new room, back from a 4 1/2 month maternity leave... lol)  PS-the eyeballs--the kids drew hearts in their favorite color--there is no template for those!  Gotta have something a little different to make these stand apart from each other! ;)

Happy Valentine's Day friends!  Hope your week is filled with love and happiness!

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