TpT Conference 2017: A perspective from a 50 something Teacher Seller

Hey there! WOW!! I tell you what!! Even though I AM looking forward to beginning a new school year…..

(teachers started back on Friday….it was so very surreal……I think we were all in a daze because we are so used to starting on a Monday and it is still JULY!!)

July is almost over!!

Almost over!!! I tell you!! Where did it go? One day it was here and then….

poof!!….

It is almost gone!!

HOWEVER!!!!

before this glorious month TOTALLY leaves me….

I want to tell you about my experience at the 2017 TpT conference in Anaheim!!!

I had a fabulous time and I want you to know all about it through the eyes of a 50 something lady like me!

Let me preface this post and warn you that there won’t be me in a lot of pics with other teacher sellers. I’m kind of shy when it comes to taking pics at events like this.

I really don’t know why and I did regret that I didn’t do that!!

So I hope you enjoy the pics I did take!!

The theme this year was: Discover New Dimensions

And that was what I was determined to do!!

Last year I went to the TpT conference for the first time EVER!! I was totally awestruck!! I loved it!!

So when I found out it was in Anaheim this year, I knew that I would need to make arrangements and go back! Dan, Jaden and I are big Disney fans. So to have the opportunity to get to go to Disneyland was one that we just couldn’t miss!!

I love that the TpT team chooses different locations for the conference. That way, it is easy for me to coax my husband and Jaden (my granddaughter) to come along too!

The conference was held at the Hilton in Anaheim! Dan and I have been to other parts of California but never in Anaheim. We really loved this city!!

The weather was awesome and I thought the Palm trees were so much prettier than the ones in FL.

Everywhere we went and being the southern girl that I am, as soon as I opened my mouth to talk, I was asked where I was from. Now let me tell you….

I don’t sound like I’m from way up in the hills, but I do have distinct dialect.

There were a few people who told me how much they loved hearing me talk and that they could listen to me talk all day long!

Now that is the kind of audience I would always love to have!!

We arrived on Sunday and just hung around the hotel and walked around a bit.

Then, on Monday, all of the fun began!!

There was an IHOP just a block away. So we decided to walk over there and eat a nice breakfast. While we were waiting, a lady stopped by our table offering to make a Disney character out of balloons!! Being the awesome grandparents that we are, we let Jaden choose a character for the balloon girl to make.

Can you tell which character this is in the pic??

Yep!!

Pluto!!

But this balloon girl had no limits!! She could pump, bend, and knot balloons like nobody’s business! I think she should try out for America’s Got Talent!! I’m sure those judges would be impressed!!

I mean!! Jelly bean!

Dan and I were amazed at her talent!! She could make ANY Disney character…..REALLY…..any!!

She took donations for her craft, so I thought that it was quite worth the $5 I gave her.

When we got back to the hotel, I decided to go on up to the conference area and check in! It was so fun to be greeted by this handsome crew!! They made me feel very special!

I checked in and got my lanyard and nametag.

TpT always gives us some swag, too! This year, it was a gray back pack with a TpT badge on it! I. LOVE! IT!!

That afternoon they had a networking time for different regions. It was a great time to meet sellers from around my parts!! It was led my Shelly Rees and Latoya Reed– We first grouped up by when we started selling on TpT. Then, we grouped up by what state we lived in, and what grade we taught.

The rest of the time we played Share one, Slide One. We had a sheet of paper with 12 boxes on it and in each box there was a different category. Like: PowerPoint tip, Photo-Taking Tip, Favorite Clip Artist. We would find 2 people to give us 2 tips for each category. I really enjoyed meeting some new people and seeing others that I’ve met before. I was totally excited to have met Kim Adsit and to talk to Deanna Jump. I’ve been to Deanna’s conference Get Your Teach On and got to meet her there! When I talked to her this time, she recognized my face and I told her why. I attended the first Get Your Teach On and when I told her, she apologized and said that the first one was not up to par to what she wanted it to be! I told her that I really enjoyed it and didn’t think that at all…..

And I really didn’t!! I loved it!! Deanna Jump is a major inspiration to me, so of course I think that she can do no wrong!!

The rest of the afternoon was filled with a TpT Town Hall Live and Breakout sessions with the TpT team facilitating them. I learned about how to create a UTM code and a way to use a graphic organizer for design thinking. All of these things that afternoon were very informative and I really enjoyed getting to know more people!!

That afternoon while I was learning more about being a teacher seller, Dan and Jaden ventured around the Anaheim area and visited Downtown Disney!!

Again…..

Don’t you just LOVE the palm trees in Anaheim!?!

 I loved entering through this area each day!! It really brought a smile to my face!

TpT really knows how to put on a conference!! I wanted to get my money’s worth so for the next 2 days, I was determined to learn as much as I could!!

There were so many sessions to choose from that I had to really think about why was I here….

What was my purpose in being there?

What did I want to learn from this conference?……

My answers??? I knew that it was time to think about how to use social media better and see what I needed to do to make my store better.

I didn’t have any fancy binders to use for note taking. However, with pen in hand, the 2 items above were my constant companions throughout the conference!!

So I listened to TpT sellers such as Jennifer Kadar from Simply Kinder about building my brand through community, Elizabeth Konechi about making videos, and I got a lot of information from Chris Kesler’s session on creating email lists. I also learned ways to improve my resources by listening to Martha Hach of The Owl Spot and Erin Cobb of Lovin Lit. After I listened to and watched videos of sellers using Instagram Stories, I realized that I need to get out of my shell and try some of my own.

 

Even though, most of the conference was more for teacher sellers, I also went to a couple of incredible sessions that would help me in my teaching profession. One sessions was about being culturlly responsive. This is a big thing in our county. So I wanted to get as much information about it as I could. Lindsey Nagorski spoke on this topic and how important it is to use it in the classroom. I decided to find her blog and start following her to read and do more when it comes to being culturally responsive.

 

When I was learning how to be a better teacher seller , Dan and Jaden went to Disneyland!! Disneyland was just a short bus trip away. They honestly could have walked there but the bus tickets were $5 for 2 days, so it was a no brainer to take a bus to and from the park each day. Then, they would come back take a nap and then I would go with them at night! I’m telling you!! This was a dream come true for us!!

The scenery behind me is the boardwalk section in California Adventures.

 

 

All I can say is, “WOW!!” Not about JUST Disneyland but also for the time spent at the TpT 2017 Conference!!

 

I absolutely felt like this whole conference was well worth every penny!!

I felt valued by the TpT team!

I felt happy to have gotten to meet a lot of teacher sellers like me!!

I felt like even though there were many teacher sellers who were young and just cute as buttons with their blonde hair and precious dresses, there were just as many of us who were probably 50 and older and we looked just as cute and had just as much fun as they did!

And most of all I felt like I was inspired to take on another year of being a teacher seller and doing what I enjoy…..

creating resources and selling them through the best online store for teachers ever!!

So at the end of the last day when I saw a few teacher sellers trying to spell the word for the next location of TpT conference 2018, I got really excited when I saw the name of this city…..

Well if you can’t see it here clearly it spells…..

NASHVILLE baby!!……that is not too far from my stomping grounds!!

YIPPEE!!

I know that this 50 something will be back for sure!!

God bless you real good!!

My Dad Rocks!: A Gift for Father’s Day

Well hello there!

For  the first time in forever, (have you got the song in your brain now…yea.. me too!!), I decided it was time that I made sure my kinder cubs gifted their dads before the school year was over.

I’ve always felt that my dads got a bum rap when it came to their special day….

but not this year!!

NOPE, NADA, No!!

Since my thematic instruction was based on summer activities and we were also studying rocks, I would incorporate a craft that my kiddos could make for their dads for Father’s Day!

Now, for a little sideline here….

I love to help the kids make this special gift for their moms for Mother’s Day:

 

The moms in my class absolutely love it!! If you haven’t seen this before click HERE to see the post I wrote with instructions if you’d like to know.

 

Now…

back to the dads…

I searched and searched on Pinterest. I knew I wanted to use something with a picture of them incorporated in it. Then I found a post, that used the phrase: My Dad Rocks!! Click anywhere on the picture below to get to the post from Mommy Moment to find out how to make it! It’s really nice!! Don’t you think??

This DIY My Dad Rocks picture frame is the perfect DIY Father's Day Gift that dad could proudly display on his desk at work.

So, I used this craft to get my inspiration for a kid friendly Father’s Day craft.

I just loved it and I think my teacher’s aide loved it even more.

My kinder cubs had a great time making a special frame for their dad.

 

Now if you’d like to try this in your classroom or at home……

Here are the instructions to make the frame and also how I took the pictures:

You need to give about 2 days of drying time to make this correctly.

Supplies:

1 wooden frame that will hold a 4×6 inch picture ( I found mine for $1 at Michael’s)

Acrylic paint- I chose brown and gray that I mixed together to get a dark taupe look. (Honestly, it really didn’t change color that much.)

Tacky glue- that is the type of glue that really works best (you can find it at Walmart or any craft store. It is in a brown bottle.)

Small craft sticks- for the students to use to spread the glue

Aluminum pie pan- I used 2

Decorative Rocks (I bought 2 bags at Michael’s for $4.99 each. I took out any rocks that were really large. )

1 Chalkboard with the words: My Dad Rocks written on it with chalk (I found a decorative one at Michael’s that cost me $10 (with a 50% off coupon)

Blue Butcher paper for the picture background

 

How to take the pictures:

I wrote My Dad Rocks! On the chalk board sign. Writing the statement on the sign, took about 3 tries for me to get it JUST RIGHT! Next, I took a long strip of this pretty blue butcher paper and hung it on my dry erase board with magnets. Then, I had the student sit on a low shelf unit that I have in front of the board. Next, the student held up the sign and once I had the picture scene the way I wanted it, CLICK went the button(probably not the right word…) on my cell phone for a nice photo.  I love to use Walgreens  to develop  my pics because I can always find a good coupon to use.

NOW for the prep work:

These type of wooden frames come with a dowel rod to use to make the frame stand up on its own. I opened each frame, taped the dowel rod to the back of the frame and wrote the child’s class number on the back.

Next, I covered my work space with butcher paper that we reuse for painting projects.

Finally, I mixed the 2 paint colors together in aluminum pans. I set out craft paint sponges.

That was about it for the prep work.

Now!!

On to the fun part…..

Once the kinder cubs put on a painting shirt, they went to town on the painting!

We waited a day for the frames to dry before we glued the rocks on the frame. However, the paint really dries fast. So there is no need in waiting an entire day. A couple of hours should work.

We also decided to wait and put the photos in after the frames had the rocks glued on them. It would have been easier to have done that before the rocks were glued on, but glue would have DEFINITELY gotten on the pictures.

Next….

It was time to glue on the rocks.

For the prepping of this step, I put the rocks in paper plates. I really made sure that there were no big rocks in the plates.

Then, I poured TACKY glue onto small paper plates with small craft sticks set beside each plate.

Once the students sat at the workspace, they each took a craft stick and started putting glue on each space of the frame where they wanted a rock and placed the rock gently on the frame. I didn’t limit them to the number of rocks to use, but you can certainly do that. Of course in kindergarten, we had to demonstrate how to glue the rocks on the frame, and we stayed nearby to help. We noticed that if you push the rock too much into the frame, the glue would spread around the edges and not stay right underneath as well, so don’t push the rock down too much. We made sure they used a lot of glue!

This pic shows how I placed the rocks on the frame as a visual for the students.

No gluing has been done yet!

It took about a day for all of the frames to dry before we began to put the pictures in for display. Some of the rocks did “pop” off, but we just had tacky glue or a hot glue gun ready to fix it.

Here are the results:

During the last week of school, each kinder cub took his or her picture frame and wrapped it in gift wrap paper.

They were so proud of their gift for their dad!

Yep!…..

This is a project I will now incorporate into the end of my school year!

I’m going to send a message out to my class dads and see what they thought of their gift!

I hope they will consider it a treasure!!

Be sure and give your dad or special father figure a hug this weekend!

God bless you!!

Five for Friday: New Things I Tried for Dr. Seuss Week

Hello there! I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching: Five for Friday to come up with my 5 new “things” I tried for my Dr. Seuss Celebration with my kinder cubs. We only got to celebrate for 2 days this year, but that is ok. Those 2 days were jammed packed with lots of fun learning that I hope they will not soon forget!!

Decorations! I decided this year to set the tone for our Dr. Seuss celebration with more decorations in my room! It is amazing how a few ceiling party streamers can just brighten up any kind of celebration! I just added some Seussy Pennants and signs on the dry erase board to add a little pizzazz. One of my students has a mom who teaches a couple of doors down from my classroom and he ran out of the classroom telling his mom that she just HAD to come and look at the classroom! It was full of Dr. Seuss!! My day was made!!

My morning routine activities are not new, but I just wanted to show pics of the sensory bin, and the books on my display. The stuffed animals and books just really drew the kids in on Thursday morning. After they unpacked that morning, they had the choices to write words on Seuss style dry erase boards, play in the sensory bin and match numbers, or read with the stuffed animals. Reading with the stuffed animals was practically unanimous!! No one even touched the sensory bin!!

Now doesn’t this pic just make your teacher heart go pitter patter!?

And this was happening around 7:30am!! WOW!!

The two older girls are my 5th grade tutors who come in every morning before the tardy bell rings to help my students with their academics.

They got right in on it all and had a blast!

 

I absolutely LOVED these photo booth props that I bought at Party City!! They are very high quality! I will for sure use them for next year!!

By the way….

As soon as they unpacked that morning, I had each one pick a couple of props and I started taking the pics. That way, the day wasn’t wasted by taking pics. Done and done!!

A friend of mine forwarded the directions for these fruit kabobs. After we watched the original cartoon of The Cat In The Hat on DVD. I knew this little snack would be a great activity for the kids. I made this into a “LOOSE” STEAM activity. Their problem was to make a CAT IN THE HAT fruit kabob with the parts they were given. The above pic gives the examples of the finished product. I gave them food writers to share, so they could draw on the cat in the hat face. They had already completed a Cat In The Hat directed drawing that morning. Therefore, they were familiar with how the face needed to look. Also, I put a picture on the screen to use as a model. The kinder cubs were so excited to do this and they had a great time from start to finish!!

After they ate it, they had to get their science journals and draw the kabob and label the parts of the snack. Click HERE for the directions for the Fruit Kabobs.

Last weekend while I was getting everything ready for the week, I came across a blog post in Bloglovin’ from Crayons and Cuties in Kindergarten .

She had lots of ideas for a Dr. Seuss celebration that I just absolutely loved!! Because Party City had given her some Dr. Seuss party goodies, she gave a free Dr. Seuss resource to her readers. Click the name of her blog above to get to the post with the freebie. One idea she had was to put her Fox rhymes in cute socks and the students would match rhymes. She also made green eggs using Wilton’s Candy melts in white and green. I decided to do the same thing and the kids loved it!

Also, the middle pic shows one of my students holding up a Dr. Seuss quote poster that I bought at Target last year. I had 4 different posters. So I decided to have each kinder pick one to have a picture made with it. I’m thinking about making cards out of each pic and mailing it to their parents.

This year, I found these precious Dr. Seuss outfits at Target! Target has got it going on when it comes to Dr. Seuss!!

This is my grandgirl Virginia showing off her cute dress on Dr. Seuss day.

My daughter was so sweet to make sure that Virginia wore the jumper that day!!

Isn’t she precious??

Well that is it for my Five For Friday. Hope you enjoyed reading through it! Please hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching , to link up with Five For Friday. Enjoy your weekend and I hope your week will be a blessed one!!

Being a Good Steward

Last week I was at my BFF’s house where we meet with other friends for a Bible study. We were talking about faith and one of the ladies started talking about some issues she was dealing with right now with her autistic daughter. We were all sitting there encouraging our friend and one of the other ladies told her that God has handpicked her to take care of this girl. My sweet friend said with tears in her eyes, “Yes, I have always known and believed that God gave me _______________ as a gift, but I always want to make sure that I’m a good steward over her.”

That really struck a chord with me that night….

She wants to make sure that she is being the kind of steward she needs to be over her daughter!!

A good steward?! I have never thought about being a good steward when it comes to people God puts in our path.

Now a steward or stewardship defines our practical obedience in the administration of everything under our control, everything entrusted to us.

In other words, a good steward is one who takes care of everything they have and this includes people!!

Ok…so these adults above me are my kids with their spouses that God handpicked for me to take care of…..from their birth until they both got married and even beyond that. :)!!

Have I been a good steward of them? I tried, but I know I have come short of that many times!!

And now I have 3 grandgirls who are a mighty wonderful blessing!

And they are the ones whom God has entrusted to me to be their Grandma!! Love. Them.!

And every year on the first day of school, I am entrusted with new little kinder cubs! Here is my most recent group:

God has handpicked each one of these kiddos to be a part of my 2016-17 kindergarten class!!

Therefore, it is important that I do my best for them…..

in other words…

I need to be a good steward!!

How you might ask?

I need to display good stewardship with these children each day by……

giving them hugs as much as possible.

listening to their stories that MUST be important to them because they won’t stop raising their hand or trying other means to get my attention

learning how each of them learn and work best

fitting my instruction to meet the needs of each individual child

keeping calm (no matter what might frustrate me during the day!!) and carrying on

believing that each child in my class CAN learn

helping with tying their shoes

putting Bandaids on boo boo’s

giving them times throughout the day to rest their brains

not RAISING my voice

making sure that none of them are hungry

building trust with each kinder cub

showing patience in every situation

giving them more positives than negatives throughout the day

reading aloud to them each day

allowing them to ask questions….many….many….questions

LOVING them unconditionally!!

My list could go on and on…….

When I get back to school next week, I plan to put forth much effort to be a good steward towards my kinders!

That is what God wants me to do…..

now that I realize each one of them was handpicked just for me,

I see what a true gift they are to me!

They are not just any kind of gift but a priceless gift!

And when we get priceless gifts, don’t we take care of them a little better than gifts that are not priceless??

Yep. We sure do.

Can’t wait to get to be with my little gifts next week!!

And I plan to take care of them….REAL GOOD!!

It’s Five For Friday and a TIEKS Giveaway!

Goodness gracious!! What a week!!

 

These past two weeks, I’ve had to be out of the classroom for some pretty important professional events.

It will feel good to be back on a regular schedule next week!

When I’m out like that, I realize how important it is to keep my students on a regular routine, because that is what I like as well.

Being on regular schedule in my life is just….well….comforting….and we all like to be comforted….right?!?!

Now I’m here in Five For Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching to not only discuss 5 things but to also give you a chance to feel comforted with a pair of (DRUMROLL PLEASE)

TIEKS!! Yes !

Several of us have gotten together and are offering a giveaway for a free pair of TIEKS shoes!!

So…

stick with me here and then go to the  Rafflecopter to enter!!

You have 27 ….yes …..27 chances to enter!! So please enter!!

During the month of January, we did a lot of informational reading on Martin Luther King, Jr., penguins, and polar bears. Part of my writing activity for this is to write using a graphic organizer with Can, Have, Are. For Martin Luther King, I made up an organizer using Had, Was, Helped.

After we completed the chart, then the students wrote an informational piece in a mini book.

Here is a picture of the organizer I created for our kindergarten teachers to use with their kinder cubs.

If you click anywhere on the pic, it will take you straight to the freebie to download. Also, in that set is a Had, Was, Helped organizer.

This week, while I was gone, the kinder cubs worked on many things Valentine!! Our focus book was Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat using the Guiding Readers Series from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills (LOVE them!!) . In this unit, the kids learned about problem and solution in stories. In their writing they connected to the story by writing about a time they did something nice for someone. I love the sentence study in any of the Guiding Readers Series. We talk about the sentence: How many words?, What are the verbs?, What are the nouns?, What are the adjectives?. Then, we chat about the punctuation. Then, they take the mixed up sentence and put it in the right order and illustrate the main idea of it.

 

For Valentine craftivities they created a Valentine Selfie (from the Guiding Readers February Resource), a Valentine alliteration writing piece, and their Valentine Critter Carriers. When I came back on Friday, my classroom looked just LOVEly!!

I have made these Valentine Critter Carriers for years!

I put them outside the classroom and then on Valentine’s Day, the kids bring their cards and “feed” each child’s critter the card that is for that child.

Then, they take their critter home and open the bag and enjoy all of their cards and goodies they received!!

Click HERE to find my post about how to make these super cute bags!!

One of the math stations this week was to put shapes that were cut for them into a Valentine’s Day picture. I love doing these! However, for kindergarten, it is best if we cut out the shapes for each child and keep them in sets. It is difficult for them to cut out the shapes and take on the spatial relationship work it takes just to put it together! They all did a great job with it this week!!

This resource comes from, Christine Maxwell Hand to Heart! Click HERE to get to this awesome resource.

On Valentine’s Day, I plan on using conversation hearts or a graphing activity.

Even though you have probably seen a million jillion of examples of this graphing activity, I have one that is geared towards kindergarten that is FREE!! Click on the image below to download a free one for your file!!

And now to finish out my FIVE FOR FRIDAY, I want to offer you the opportunity to try for a FREE pair of TIEKS!!

Go to the Rafflecoptor below and enter!! This giveaway will run from February 11-16th!! So go for it!! A new pair of TIEKS would be an awesome gift for YOU or someone you love!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you would like to link up with this fun linky, then please go to Doodle Bugs Teaching: Five For Friday !!

Please enjoy your weekend and I wish for much love to come your way on Valentine’s Day!! God bless you!!

MindWare is Great Brainware


I recently had the fantastic opportunity to try out some products in my classroom from the company called MindWare. MindWare shares a site with Oriental Trading. Which I think is pretty cool!  This company has the slogan for their awesome products that says: “Brainy toys for kids of all ages!”. After trying 3 products out, I have proven them absolutely CORRECT!!

 

I love to change up my early morning work time in my class with activities that the kids can manipulate and use to get their brains in gear for the rest of the day.

I hate to say this, but I’ll just put it out there….

I am sometimes not successful with this,…something that seems so perfect in my head, doesn’t always turn out the way I’d like

but….

when I pulled these brainy toys out, my kinder cubs were so excited and were looking forward to the rest of their day!! YAY!!

 

One of the fun toys I put out were the Keva Brain Builders and Brain Builders Jr. . These inexpensive wood puzzles come with 20 small pine planks and 30 puzzle cards. The Jr. set has 20 cards but each side has a puzzle…so that makes 40 puzzles! The pine planks are very high quality and smooth. The planks and cards come compact in a little zippered bag. This makes it so easy to keep the entire set stored and ready to use anytime!

Now, if Brain Builders had been around when I was young, “Boy! Howdy!” (as my momma would say) I would have been so much better at putting together furniture and other things as an adult!! This is because the puzzle cards have 2D diagrams on one side and the solution on the other. The object of the puzzle is to turn these 2D diagrams into 3D objects. Then, you are able to check your work by looking at the solution side.

The 2 pics below show the 2D side and the solution side of a card. The cards are labeled beginner, intermediate and expert.

Brain Builders are for ages 7 and over. However, my little kinder cubs didn’t have too much difficulty with the beginner level cards.

                                                                              

I love the Brain Builders set. I think it would also make a great gift for a kid who really loves to build.

I could even see a child incorporating the objects he or she builds into playing with Barbies or any kind of action figures.

The Brain Builders Jr. Set was perfect for my kinder cubs and I found many ways to incorporate them throughout my instruction.

The students could build letters, numbers, and shapes using the planks. I also like to incorporate them with my STEM bins.

The cards have pictures on both sides. There are a total of 40 puzzles. My students really enjoyed duplicating these pictures with the planks.

Another way that I could use some of the cards, was to show a card to a student and have him/her count the number of planks he/she can see in the picture. Then, the students could count out that number of planks before assembling the object.
Yes! These Brain Builder Sets were a hit in my classroom!!

But wait!! There’s more!!

MindWare also sent me Pattern Play!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       My kinders were immediately drawn to this unique puzzle because of the colors! Again, all of the blocks that come with this set are high quality! There are 40 cards that children can look at and try to duplicate using the unique blocks.  

When I first got Pattern Play out, I had to get my hands on it too!!

There were 2 sweet kiddos helping me! It is a terrific puzzle to teach spatial relationships. Because all of the blocks had angles, the kids had to really think about which way to turn the angle on the block so that it would fit correctly. Not only were they thinking about that, but they had to also think about the size and the color of the block to use!!

Wow!! What a way to wake up their brains so early in the morning!

Then when we got finished with the entire puzzle, we were so proud of ourselves and we were giving each other a high five!

I just love those kind of moments!!

But the teacher in me couldn’t stop there….

We had to discuss what shapes did we see throughout the puzzle.

The best way for me to store this brainy toy is by leaving the last puzzle intact and putting it into the box until it gets used again!

After having the opportunity to try these products out, I will definitely be looking for some more Mindware products to add to my “brainy toy” collection!

Click HERE to get to  MindWare.com!

Click HERE to find some lesson plans that go along with MindWare Brainy Toys!!

If you liked what you saw on this post then:

Please be sure and follow MindWare on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MindWareToys

And on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MindWareToys

And on Instagram, too!! : www.instagram.com/MindWareToys

Because I loved these products so much, I am giving away 1 of the Brain Builders or Pattern Play sets.

Just enter my rafflecoptor below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lastly, please know: “This review is based strictly on my opinion. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company to provide my honest review. No other type of compensation was received. All ideas and opinions are my own.”

If you liked what you saw on this post then:

Teacher Christmas Treasure Tree

Well I am here on my Christmas (I still call it Christmas) break putting away all of my unit materials that I used for December in my little teacher shed……

So happy and blessed to say that I survived December with my kinder cubs!!

Yes!!

It was a tremendously busy time with them, but a fun time and a time I won’t soon forget.

If any first year or veteran teachers for that matter saw my plans for December they would have thought I was absolutely CRAZY!!

Which I am in some ways

BUT…..

It is a good CRAZY….if there is any such thing as being GOOD CRAZY!!….maybe I should say CRAZY GOOD…anyway….

I just LOVE all the units that can be taught in December so I practically teach all of them and then I’m “slap wore out” (another phrase for tired) by the time the last day of school for December gets here.

BUT…..

it is a happy tired!

Even though I was tired, I was still able to smile on the day before we checked out for the holidays!

This pic was taken of my cute little kinder elves on the day we had our Polar Express Palooza!!

The Polar Express Palooza was our party.

I don’t know if anyone else ever does this, but I take a class photo and I use my local Walgreens to create a Christmas card to send to my kinder families! Do any of you do that? This year I had to take 2 photos, due to kids being absent.

It is really soooo inexpensive!! I ordered a box of 20 cards for $11.00 (that was with a 30% discount). Adding the postage to it was about $20, When the families receive them in the mail, I always get positive responses back from them. I love doing this because I believe it builds that rapport that I always feel is important with my families!!

This year’s card turned out so cute!!

Another special thing that I do in December is put up my Teacher Treasure tree.It is a little table top tree that is filled with teacher ornaments that I’ve received throughout my teaching career.

I didn’t take ANY pictures of this special tree when it was in my classroom, so I put it up in my house and took a pic of it. I am getting to a point where it is almost too small to hold all of the ornaments! I try to remember to write the child’s name and the year on the back of each one so I don’t forget who gave it to me.

Here is the star on the top!! It makes me smile every time I read that quote!!

This year as I was putting the tree up in my classroom, I got this bright idea!!

Why not take a picture of each student, make the pictures into little paper ornaments and put those on my Teacher Treasure tree!!

I would also explain to the students that the reason their picture is on my Treasure Tree is because I consider each and everyone of them a TREASURE to me.

Then, on the last day before our holiday break, I would give the ornaments to the parents.

So, I would take a picture of each student, create each picture into an ornament and put a cheesy but cute little poem on the back.

Then…….

I got too busy to finish them up and to get them on the tree!! (insert sad face here)

I’m just going to send them home when we get back to school in January.

Next year, I’ll be READY!!

If you would like to have a freebie of the template and the poem, then just click

HERE !!

 Next year, I’ll be sure to blog a picture of what my Teacher Treasure Tree looks like in my classroom with the Teacher Treasure ornaments hung on it as well.

In the meantime, I’m going to get busy and finish the ornaments I have now and get them sent to my parents.

Blogging about it has given me the motivation. That is another good reason to blog!!

Wishing you peace, love and joy this Christmas season!!

Five For Friday: Thanksgiving: So Very Thankful!!

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I haven’t posted on Five for Friday in FOREVER!! However, tonight I am getting the show on the road and getting it DONE!!

Thanks Doodebugs Teaching for sponsoring this fun link up!!

I thought it may be fun to make my five into thankful points at school.

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I am thankful for my blog!!

I know I don’t have thousands of readers to my blog….

yet…..(I am still hopeful that someday, my numbers will reach to a thousand….goal setting at its finest!!)

However, I think of my blog as a journal of my teaching experiences with my awesome Kinder Cubs

and the privilege of what I get to do with them on a daily basis!

I can’t tell you how often I go back on different posts of mine and look at things I may have done in the past to see what I did and how it looks so I can model it for this year!!

Well, this week, I had to do a lot of that because I ended up repeating a few things I did last year.

I know I could look back on my lesson plans, but Y’all!! I need pictures!!

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I am thankful for my home projects!!

thankful-turkey

When I began teaching kindergarten 4 years ago, I decided to start having a monthly home project. Each month, I have something special that I want the families to work on together. For November it was a Thankful Turkey Feather. I get black poster board and trace and cut out turkey feathers.

I can usually get about 3-4 on a poster board.

Then, on their November homework sheet, I type this on it:

Thankful Feathers: Your child has a cardboard replica of a turkey feather. It needs to be decorated with things that represent what he/she are thankful for. It can be photographs, stickers, pictures from magazines. The sky is the limit!! This will give an opportunity for you to talk to your child about thankfulness and what that means. The feathers will be displayed on our turkey display. Before I display the feathers, each child will give a presentation and talk about the things he/she are thankful for.

Then, I set a deadline.

I had all but 1 child turn his/hers in and they all loved talking about their own feather!! Usually, if a child doesn’t turn in a home project, I send a reminder home or I get my paraprofessional or a volunteer to help the child complete his/hers. The child who was missing hers is not one who has done that this year, so I left a spot for her in case she brought it the next day.

I took brown butcher paper and found a large circle and medium circle in my classroom (a small round table and a base to my globe) and I traced and cut those out.  Then I free handed the feet, waddle, beak and eyes. I cut those out. Next, I found a nice big spot on a wall. I taped up the circles. Then glued the pieces on an…..

Voila!! a Thankful Turkey was created!!

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I am thankful for our Thanksgiving Feast!!

thanksgiving-feast-table

Every year at our school, we have a Thanksgiving Feast for PreK, Kindergarten, and First Grade.

We all enjoy decorating our tables with items that our kiddos have made.

For the 3rd year in a row, I have used the burlap that you see pictured above to decorate my tables. It is so easy!! I’ve used butcher paper in the past, but this burlap is so durable. If anything gets on it, we just wipe it off, leave it out to dry and then I just roll it back up to save for the next year!!

I’m telling you!! I love it!!

For my decorations this year, I made my tried and true handprint turkey painted on a potholder.

handprint-turkey

Here’s a little picture tutorial of how I do these little keepsakes. After the brown paint dries, I paint a different color on the other 4 fingers and they press them right above the brown turkey body. Then, with yellow, and red paint, I help them free hand feet, beak, and a waddle. Next, I get a black sharpie and make a little dot for the eye. To finish the keepsake off, I write the year on the back and tie a little yellow yarn bow around the loop.

This year, I used blue potholders instead of red and I liked that better!! These potholders were just 2 for 88 cents at Walmart!! What a bargain!!

Do you like the photo prop pics? I had the best time creating these!!

I found the photo props from Pinterest.

Click HERE to get your free Thanksgiving photo props!

I put a piece of blue butcher paper as a back drop on my board and then I let each kinder cub choose a hat and food prop or the “so thankful” sign. After I took each picture, I had the them developed. Then I cut cardstock in half lengthwise and glued the photo on 1 side. On the other side, I made a border using power point and I typed what the kinder was thankful for and typed his/her name with the year. I printed each one out and cut around the border and glued it to the other side of the photo card.

Then, I laminated each one.  As the decoration on the table, I folded them to set up like a placecard.

I have to say…..as I say A LOT….

I LOVED IT!!

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Here is a pic collage of a fun time at lunch!

I take pictures of each family with their child and got them processed.

Then, I will write a note to each child about what it is about him/her that I’m thankful for and put the picture in the note as well. I will get the notes in the mail before Thanksgiving. It is just a simple way that I make sure my precious kinder cubs know they are loved by their teacher!

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I am thankful for reading!!

I think just about every time that I blog, I add in about how I adore the Guiding Reader series that I use from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills! Well in the November packet, there is a unit about the book Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano. I love reading this book aloud to the kids and they did a great job with comprehending it and writing about it. One activity that we did was to unscramble a sentence and learn how to draw the turkey when he was disguised like a rooster. Y’all!! My kinders love to see the step by step directions on how to draw and they do such a fine job with it!

Look at these drawings and see for yourself!!

turkey-trouble

On Friday, a 3rd grade class came into our classroom and each 3rd grader took one (or 2) of my kinder cubs and read to them. My teacher friend of the class, had the student pick out the book he/she was going to read and they practiced the day before. Not only did they read to my kinders, they asked engaging questions to encourage my kinders’ comprehension skills.

Now here is the kicker…..

These 3rd graders earned a reward for making good behavior choices.

Guess what?!?

They voted on what they wanted to do as a treat and reading to my kinder cubs was the winner!!

Isn’t that just simply awesome!!

Here is a pic of a few of them reading:

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Doesn’t that just make your teacher heart go pitter patter!! I know!! Me too!!

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I love giveaways!!

This weekend, I have entered a few giveaways and it is time that I have one as well!! I am so thankful that you are reading my blog. It truly makes be feel even more blessed!! So to possibly help you with your Black Friday shopping, I am giving away ….

A $25 Walmart Card (applause inserted here)

a $25 Target Card (applause inserted here)

and a

$10 TpT gift certificate (can I hear applause here again! :)!

So just get on the Rafflecopter below and enter!!

I will choose the winners on Wednesday evening , Nov. 23rd around 10pm.

Well that is my Five For Friday!! Hop on over to Doodlebugs Teaching to see other blog posts that might help you out!!

Hope you have a thankful Thanksgiving!!

Bessings!!

Linda G.

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Alphabet Palooza!!

I am so very excited that SEPTEMBER is finally here!!

That means that I have made it through 4 long (and I’m sorry to be like this, but honey, I mean L-O-N-G) weeks!!

However, I really can’t complain….

So far, there are only 15 students in my class. I really like that and I’m just counting my blessings over that number everyday!

 I started the very first week of school with Deanna Jump’s and Deedee Wills’ Guiding Readers resource using Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. If you have read any of my past posts, I am a big fan of their monthly Guiding Readers resource!! It is a great way to teach reading comprehension without worrying about who can decode and who cannot. It is based off of popular read alouds and each month, I can ALWAYS find a book in this resource to match my theme for that week. But it doesn’t stop there……THEN, these 2 kinder teacher geniuses created a resource to go along with the Guiding Readers series called “Science, Math, and More”. It is a supplement resource to integrate math and science and other things using the same read alouds.

Science, Math, & More August/September

Using both resources really got my first week off to a great start!!

Coconut Shake Down

Here’s one of my new kinder cubs having a coconut SHAKE down while she listens to what the inside of a coconut sounds like. Then, we wrote words on an anchor chart to describe how it sounds, along with how it looked and smelled. We also tasted coconut. In the Science, Math and More resource, there are some great printables and pictures to help a teacher work through the coconut exploration and a graph to use to see if you like or don’t like the taste of coconut. My kinders also got out their science journals and drew a picture of the coconut and wrote the words that described the coconut beside the picture they drew.

We also did a sink and float experiment using the coconut. Total FUN!! They loved it!!

Then, to celebrate the last day of our study using Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the kinders made a cute healthy snack that looked like the coconut tree and the letters. I found that in a post from DeeDee Wills blog.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Snack

Ok….Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was a great way to start some fun and engaging learning in my classroom. But the learning I was most excited about was a study of the ALPHABET!! I listened to other bloggers and researched myself about how good it is to teach the alphabet using a letter a day, so that got me to thinking about trying it out this year. I wanted to start with A and end with Z, but my only problem with this was that I knew I needed to make sure it worked within our district’s scope and sequence in ELA. The scope and sequence begins with M, R, S, T, N, P, C and short vowel A. What worked in my favor was the fact that the focus on those letters begins the 5th week of our scope and sequence.

YAY!! I was thrilled! I would be able to pull this off and still stay within our the guidelines of our county scope and sequence.

So we have been on an adventure since day ONE!!…..

an Alphabet Adventure!!

And it has been majorly FUN and very engaging for all of my kinder cubs!!

During my Literacy Station time, I have introduced the Letter of the Day by reading a book from the Alpha Tales collection (We happen to have these at our school.)

Then, we create an Anchor Chart of the letter of the day. This is when I can incorporate some kinders who know the letters already but they still love to think of words that begin with that letter. They have loved watching me draw pictures to illustrate the words!

After the anchor chart is completed, the kinders go to a Letter Station and rotate within 4 of them:

I didn’t have time to create my own resources, so after some quick researching, I mainly used a couple of different resources to create the centers.

My station was Alphabet Brochures by Simply Kinder! This resource has printable trifold brochures where the kinders complete little activities in in it for each letter. Just click the picture below to find this resource. It gives them handwriting practice as well. I especially love the home link section on the back.

Alphabet Brochures

For station number 2, the kinders work on an independent center using a resource from A Teeny Tiny Teacher called:

Just Fold! Mini Books {All About the ABC's}

Click the pic of her resource above to get it! These mini books are so very simple to print and fold ready to use. The students trace letters on the books. LOVE IT!! Then, the kinders can take them home and read them to a parent.

Alphabet mini books

Station number 3 has been the kinders absolute favorite! I knew I wanted some type of ABC craftivity to use in a center, so creating a hat for each letter was a  no brainer. So after I looked around, I found that Simply Kinder’s Alphabet Hats met my needs. You can click the pic and see them for yourself if you are interested.

Alphabet Hats

Everyday since the first day of school we have made these hats! I have gotten messages and emails from parents telling me about how much fun it has been for them to guess what might possibly be on the hat for a certain letter.

I just HAVE to show you some of the pictures of our hats.

Alphabet Hats

On Mm day the hat was moose ears. So…..

I just HAD to let them wear their hats and we did Moose-Ta-Cha from GoNoodle!!

Moose Hats

Then for the last station, I have alternated between uppercase and lowercase puzzles  and playdough letter mats. Well….again these resources are from TpT. The way I used the puzzles worksheets, was quite simple. I printed the letter puzzle and the pieces. Next, I colored the pieces and colored the borders and then I laminated all of it and I cut the pieces apart. And…VOILA! I had reusable puzzles.  Click the pics to find them.

Alphabet Puzzles for Lowercase Letters   Alphabet Puzzles for Uppercase Letters

Alphabet Puzzle

Alphabet Play Dough Mats

The alphabet play dough work mats are fun and easy to laminate. The kinders have had a blast with them!!

Alphabet Playdough

We have only 6 more letters to go and when we are done, we are going to have an Alphabet Palooza Party!!

I’m calling it that, because well….I just love that word Palooza!!

I have found lots of ideas on Pinterest. My plans right now are to make alphabet necklaces, and an alphabet trail mix. Then we will play Alphabet Stack Up using sliced up pool noodles with letters on the front. We will play some sort of ABC Relay Race. I will end it with an Alphabet cookie walk. I just completed a resource to use for the cookie walk. As I developed it, I realized that the small cards can also be used for a matching game. I am really excited this celebration. I will post about it, after it happens!!

The Alphabet Cookie Walk resource is on sale in my store $1 for a week. I hope that you will walk on over to it and check it out!

Just click the pic below to look it over!!

Alphabet Cookie Walk

I really want to end this blog post with a giveaway to honor those of you who have been in the classroom for a few weeks now and for those who are just starting back this week!! Please check out my Rafflecopter below to enter to win a $10 gift card from Teachers Pay Teachers. I’ll be giving away 2!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you have a great week!! Thanks for checking in!!

Five for Friday: Back to School Giveaway!! 7-29-16

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I thought this would be a terrific week to join in with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!!

I mean not only do I have a few events to share being my last week as a teacher on summer vacation

BUT

NOW HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS!!

I also have a little giveaway for you to enter at the end of the post!!

Here goes!!

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Aubrey and Granny

Well this little cute thing above was born RIGHT BEFORE I left on vacation to go to the beach!! She is my third granddaughter!!

I got to hold her a tiny little bit before I left, but not as much as I wanted to. When I got back, I couldn’t WAIT to get my hands on her!!

Her name is Aubrey Elise and she weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz and was 18 inches long.

This picture reminds me of when I was a little girl and my aunt had a Thumbelina doll that looked just like this….eyes closed and all!!

I would hold that doll until we left to go home…..

so hoping in my heart that my aunt would let me take her home…..

she never did….

but I never held it against her…

little did I know that there would be some real Thumbelina dolls in my life!!

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Food Truck Night

Tuesday night, we did something that we had never done before. My son lives in a neat little city in Georgia called Smyrna and every Tuesday during the summer there is a Food Truck Night in a local park. We went to Daniel’s house and walked about a mile to get there. It was hot as blue blazes y’all!! Once we got there, I HAD to get some water and a Diet Coke before I could even walk around.

I know….I’m old…..heat gets to me pretty quick!!

There were all sorts of food trucks and you could go and buy any kind of food from lobster sandwiches to fusion food. Then, there was a dessert truck and an ice pop vendor as well. Once I cooled down, we had a lot of fun spending time with family and eating!

Oh yea…..and my daughter in love picked us up when we were done, so we didn’t have to walk back…..

she’s such a good daughter in love! 🙂

Food Truck w the Fam

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Then….On Wednesday I came to my school and THIS is what I saw when I opened my classroom door:

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If I could play that horror music you hear in movies when someone walks in a creepy room right now, I would play it. But right now, you just have to imagine it! Actually, it wasn’t THAT bad, so I just dove right in and tried to make it look like a classroom again. I still have quite a bit to do….I mean….. Meet the teacher is August 4th and I have QUITE a bit to do, but I know that it will get done!!

I am confident……IT.Will.Get.Done!! That’s my way of giving myself a pep talk during my blogging…..:)

I’ll post the after picture next week!

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For several years now, I enjoy having a class reunion with my previous class before we start a new school year! This event is one of the highlights of my year.

It was even more special when I became a kindergarten teacher. My little kinder cubs have been away from each other since May 20th. Then, when they get together for the class reunion, they are a little shy with each other, but as more and more of them arrive, the party begins!!

It is such an easy time to plan. I always schedule the reunion the Thursday before I have to go back to school from 6-7:30pm. I have it a local McDonalds that has a huge indoor playground. I send an email to all of the kinder cubs’ families. I make it clear in the email, that a parent has to stay with the child.  They also pay their children’s food. Once the kiddos eat they go and play. My parapro and I mingle with all of the parents and catch up a bit. It is fun and the time just flies by!! Of course, we can’t end the night with one last classroom picture! I make sure that I hug each kinder cub before he or she leaves. It is a bittersweet moment for sure!!

class reunion small

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And now for the giveaway!! TpT gave me a $10 giftcard to use for a giveaway. So to make it even better, I’m giving away 2 more $10 giftcards.

So look at the Rafflecopter below and enter! It is super duper easy. To get 2 entries, just comment on blog post, click that you did that and follow me on my TpT store and write what number follower you are. If you already follow, just say: I already follow you!

I know that every teacher enjoys TpT gift cards, so go ahead and enter!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, y’all!! Be sure and link back to Doodle Bugs Teaching to get your Five For Friday blog post in!!

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