Thursday, July 31, 2014

Did Someone Say Sale?

I have been waiting for TeachersPayTeachers Back to School Sale for weeks. My wish list is bulging at the seams and I am ready to shop and save some money. How about you? So, set your calendar for an amazing sale on August 4th and 5th.

Wendie and I have added new titles to our Reading to Learn booklets this summer and ALL will be under $1.00. If you are looking for some great informational texts for close reading our booklets are the way to go. We welcome you to browse our store and begin adding items to your wishlist. Happy shopping!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What Happens in Vegas...Gets shared!

Wow! I have to say there was so much valuable information shared in one day, my head was spinning. My to do list just kept expanding. I appreciate that other TpT teachers were open and willing to share their tips for success. I know that is the part of teaching, blogging, social media(ing) that I enjoy. Teacher helping, encouraging, motivating other teachers. Now, I have the opportunity to share my AHA moments with you. I'm linking up with A Burst of First to share my experience. There were many sessions, so be sure to visit other bloggers to get their insights. I will be!
Wendie and I attended the Kickoff Keynote session where we heard the founder of TpT, Paul Edelman, speak. I was just amazed how an idea (teachers selling their products) grew into what TpT is today. The growth and continued growth is truly amazing. Deanna Jump shared her story of success and emphasized the importance of quality of products over quantity of products.

Here are my AHA moments.

First Session
 Jen Jones

 Providing Top-Notch Customer Care for Your Buyers

  • Covers of product should reflect fun and rigor of that product
  • On TpT use Custom Categories to make finding products easier and organized
  • Products put on TpT need to have 4 thumbnails, a detailed product description (more is better), and preview 
  • When you provide feedback as a buyer make sure it is meaningful and explicit. 
  • Provide your followers on TpT with notes once a month. Choose non peak times and make it catchy
Second Session
Laura Candler

Winning at Facebook: How to Connect, Engage, and Inspire!

 She has over 400,000 (yup, really) friends
  •  2 to 5 posts a day. You can schedule post just like in blogger.
  • Possible posts: links to blog posts, freebies and TpT store, engaging questions, quotes, cartoons, etc.
  • Post good content (50% free) find your niche
  • Facebook freebies (check out Woobox)
Third Session
Hadar Maor

Beginning Blogging it's Serious Business
Handout has clickable links-
  • Widgets to have on your sidebar: follow by email, labels, popular posts, and blog list
  • Don't post pictures of your students without parent permission
  • Take nice pictures to post
  • Have a schedule to follow: posts, giveaways, product reviews, guest bloggers, etc.

 Final Session
Jennifer White

Make Your Product Pop!

  • Create great covers- colorful, easy to read, and attractive
  • Look for trends in colors and graphics
  • Proofread your work and ask other bloggers/teacher friends to help proofread. You can trade product for proofreaders
  • Here is a great link for HTML codes for TpT products and blogs
These were my AHA moments. I hope you find them helpful. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Instagram Board- BTS

Back to School (BTS) freebie!

As you know I will be teaching 4th grade in August. So, I want to change up a few things in my classroom. One thing I have been wanting to do is create an Instagram bulletin board to showcase class pictures. I am thinking of a small space that we can post pictures of class activities, field trips, assemblies, etc.

On the first day of school I want my students to "post" a selfie onto our Instagram board. I am thinking that I will take a picture of them that they can add to their post or they can create their own self portrait. I made this very simple worksheet to use for that day. Hope you can use it too! Click on the pic to download.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two for Tuesday

    Here is a nice summer sale for those of you starting to prepare for a new school year. Today we have our Thought Launchers for 50% off. Link up to The Teaching Tribune for more shopping fun!

   Thought Launchers are quick, fun activities to ignite imaginations and encourage creative writing. You can use the Launchers as a supplement to your writer’s workshop or as a warm-up activity for language arts.
Our Thought Launchers provide budding writers with a motivating start to a story. Some are in 1st person point of view and some are in 3rd person point of view to help students learn different points of view.
  • Scenarios describe a particular setting and situation to provide a focus for writing.
  • Dialogue practices provide interesting situations where students must write a dialogue to go with it. They will develop their punctuation skills too.
  • Descriptive and instructional writing encourages the use of details and sequencing in writing.
  • Poetry guides students and provides practice through writing different forms of poetry.
  • Informational activities provide students with facts about a topic that they can use to develop skills for writing non-fiction reports.
Purchase today HERE for $1.50- That's a Summer Bargain.

I am working on revamping our "My Two Cents" Series and I am not quite finished. So as soon as I finish I will post for 50% off.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Random Meet Up

So sad this is our very last Monday Meet Up. I have totally enjoyed getting to know other bloggers a little more. So, here is my final link up to Monday Meet Up with The Teaching Tribune.
Love these random facts I get to share about me :) Don't tell anyone.

1. One of my favorite things was to sit on a stool in the kitchen and watch my mom prepare dinner. It was so pacifying! I enjoyed watching her calmness, hearing the sounds of pots and pans, and smelling all the delicious scents of the food being prepared.

2. It is a version of my mom's name and I like all the possible nicknames... Isa, Bella, Bell... I have put some thought into this because I find that my name is typically used in movies and books to represent an older, unhappy woman.

3. The worst day ever in my classroom was when my first grade class was having an ice cream party and I did not purchase enough. I can't even write about it I feel so bad still 20 years later. I had a handful of students with no ice cream!

4. I read Wonder by R. J. Palacio and it was such a great read. August (Aussie) the main character was born with a facial deformity and was homeschooled up until 5th grade. All he desires is for kids to see him as any ordinary kid. His courage and sweet demeanor is aww-worthy.

5. I have 4 sisters. My two older sister are also teachers and my two younger sister wanted nothing to do with teaching.

6. Give me some fluffy pancakes with a hot cup of coffee and I am a happy camper. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Currently in July

Where has the time gone? I love teaching, but I also love being on vacation. I don't have to wake up early, I can sip my coffee, I can hang out with my dogs all day long, and since my hubby is also a teacher we get to hang out together all summer long. Cool huh?

Another big thank you to Farley, for sharing her monthly currently with all of us. So here is what's happening in my little world.

Listening: There has been FIFA World Cup fever in my house since the games started. With the USA and Mexico  out my hubby and I can enjoy watching with less emotional attachment. Good job Netherlands!

Loving: My iPad is amazing! I love that it is small enough that I can take it anywhere. Much lighter than my laptop. It is also bigger than my iPhone screen which makes browsing much easier.
I now have access to tons of apps too. I recently purchased iDoceo which is for teachers and has a grade book, planner, schedule, as well as other nifty features. This app was recommended by Ladybug's Teacher Files back in March 19, 2013. That's how long I have needed this iPad. She does a great job explaining all the bells and whistles.

Thinking: Yup- summer is just flying by. Ahh! I return to work August 6th. I typically go in a week or two early to set up. I don't like feeling rushed or the pressure of not being ready for the first day of school.

Wanting: Oh I love chocolate and there are certain times when I want (need) chocolate more than others. They have these delicious dark chocolate peanut butter cups at Trader Joe's that are simply delicious!

Needing: The TpT conference in Las Vegas is happening Friday, July 11th. And being that the 2 Smart Wenches live in California we are driving to Vegas on Thursday so that we are rested for Friday. I think this is going to be such a great opportunity to hear from successful TpTers (not a word) and learn from their successes. Thus - I need a new outfit.

Our Plans: My hubby and I enjoyed a nice lunch with my family and then headed home before dark. Lefty and LuLu do not like fireworks at all and although fireworks are not allowed in our city we can still hear the booms from the neighboring cities. Luckily, my hubby and I have a system to help them get through the fourth of July. Our system- AC on all night, windows closed, TV on (loud), and Benadryl if needed. I think this was the best year yet- they never heard a boom and slept through the night :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

8 Standards of Mathematical Practices

I have been struggling to find an effective way to refer to and dive deeper into the 8 Mathematical Practice Standards. These Practice Standards make so much sense to me- I see them as the foundation to help my students become effective mathematicians. I also love that they are not bound to a textbook, grade level, or program...they are just plain and simple "good math instruction."

So, the toughie is how to help my students develop these practices and make them their own. I read an article where they discourage thinking of them as a separate skills, Think Math suggests that "the intent is that these essential mathematical habits of mind and action pervade the curriculum and pedagogy of mathematics, K-12, in age appropriate ways."

Sounds amazing! But I need more help. What I decided to do for me was search for practical, intentional ways to make this happen in my classroom. I compiled resources that I found useful to me and wanted to share with you. These resources clicked with me and helped me visualize how I my instruction can complement and emphasize these standards.

I would love feedback and if you found a resource that would benefit me and other teachers feel free to share.

First, I found a  resource that has each standard in kid friendly terms, but still contains the essence of the standard. I put them onto posters so that I can refer to them often. To download all eight click on the title page.

Then, I found this amazing blog posts by Michelle Flaming  where she provides concrete examples of each standard. I especially appreciate the open-ended questions she created. I used here examples to put into an easy to use, handy dandy resource (at least I hope it is). 

Here it is! Take a look, by clicking on the cover.

I am working on creating an Interactive Math Notebook for my fourth grade class and want to incorporate a reflection page. This is still a work in progress, but the idea is that students will reflect on which standard they used to problem solve and provide written or visual evidence.