Thursday, July 30, 2015

I believe...

Let me start by saying, I have many. HA! Y'all I'm all kinds of opinionated, but I narrowed it down to the ones I thought were essential. I was raised in very loving classrooms and I grew up to absolutely adore school. I'm so blessed to have began my student life and teacher life in the district I now work in. I LOVE my district. There are so many things wrong with education in so many places, and we're not perfect, but my district knows a thing or two about loving students, families and their teachers-for that I'm forever grateful. 

I think that building relations with students is my number one job. ANYONE can stand at a board and teach a math lesson. ANYONE can print off and laminate math games. None of that matters if students aren't engaged, and part of being engaged is having a relationship. I remember having a teacher in high school who I didn't like. He won so many awards and it still amazes me because I never saw it. I had no respect for him or relationship with him, and I learned little in his class. Sad right? I would hate for that to happen to my students! 

Students have to have their needs met, I think we all can agree on that! Safety is a big deal for me. I know that sometimes students don't feel safe at home, I encountered that a lot during my student teaching in another city. I need my students to know I have their back. They can come to me if they're hurting. They can count on me to care about their well being. 

Laughter is SO important in my classroom. If you're not laughing everyday, something's wrong. I like to teach my students that it's okay to laugh at yourself. We all do silly and embarrassing things, and life would be so sad if we never laughed at ourselves. With that being said, there's a time for silly, and during math independent probably isn't the time! 

Students love structure. Sometimes I feel like I get a little nuts with rules, but then I remember that high expectations are so important. When we have kids and send them to school, I pray their teachers will have high expectations for their character. I know that my students always preform better when they know exactly what to expect, and when they're striving to be their best. 

Modeling grace is SO important. Sometimes the best thing to do is offer students grace, because they're children! They can't be perfect all the time. While I can't preach the gospel to my students, and oh how I wish I could, I can show them that love isn't earned. It's given unconditionally. I pray daily that I will model Christ's love to my students and families. (Part of this is also admitting when I make a mistake, like when I'm in a bad mood and say something not so nice. Owning that is important because I know that all my students don't see adults owning their mistakes.) 

That was a FULL post for sure! I would love to hear what your beliefs are! Do we have any in common? :) Keep following the loop by clicking here! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

2015-2016 Erin Condren Lesson Planner

Come take a look inside my 2015-2016 Erin Condren Lesson Planner!
Hooray! My Erin Condren Lesson Planner arrived yesterday, and I love it! I did realize quickly that there are some note pages missing, but I've already emailed customer service about them. 

Have you considered taking the plunge to get one of her teacher planners? I absolutely love her products. Last year I used a Life Planner and a notebook to keep track of school things, but this year I'll be using the lesson planner again. 

You can watch this video to see what it includes! 
I absolutely love the cover I chose, and the sweet quote on the front. I'm loving it so much I almost feel ready to start planning. Almost! :) 

You can see all the cover choices for the lesson planner here! Don't forget to use code Teach25 for 25% off your lesson planner. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Super Reminder Bracelets to the Rescue!!

Free superhero themed reminder bracelets. Perfect to help students remember upcoming events or deadlines!
Do your students constantly forget things? I know my sweet students don't leave things like field trip forms or shoes for P.E. at home on purpose, they just seem to constantly forget! 
I remember when I was a kid, and people would tell say to tie a ribbon around your finger. Did anyone really do that? I never tried it, but the idea was that every time you look at the ribbon, you'd remember whatever it was you needed to remember. Then I'm sure we can all remember scribbling on our hands in middle school. It would drive my mom crazy when I'd come home from school covered in reminders. Fast forward to a year ago. My mom gave me a set of sticky note meant to be tied around a purse or backpack strap. I thought they were great, but a little pricey for how often I really wanted to use them. (You can find them HERE.)
So the solution to that constant madness? SUPER REMINDERS! These superhero themed paper bracelets are an easy and cheap way to help your students remember what you need them to! You could have some cut up for students to get as they need, or you could write on one page of them and make copies to save time. They come in color and black and white, so you can use what works best for your ink situation. ;) Print the black and white version on neon paper and there's no way your students could forget! 
You can click on the image below to download this for FREE from my TpT store. Want to be the first to know what knew products I have? When you get to my TpT store, click the star under my name. 
Free superhero themed reminder bracelets. Perfect to help students remember upcoming events or deadlines!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

Home sweet home! My husband and I are back in Texas after being in Vegas for four days. Fun fact: We had never flown anywhere together! We took our honeymoon about two months after getting married and we drove! That's the only vacation we've ever taken just the two of us, until VEGAS. Y'all it was so fun!

I'm linking up with Elementary Entourage to tell you about my trip!
We had to be at the airport at 4:50am our time, OUCH! But check out this view!

Wednesday my husband and I landed and went to our hotel. We stayed at Mandalay Bay because we knew we wanted to enjoy a day at their "beach." We were able to check in at 9 am (bless them!) and relax a little before hitting the wave pool! We had a great dinner at The Border Grill. It was amazing, and this was our view:
For those of you thinking about going to Vegas next year, but worried about spending too much while there, check out travel zoo! Our dinner was 50% off because I bought a deal before we left! 

Wednesday night was the TpT hosted meet up. I believe in full transparency, I don't ever want my blog to misrepresent myself. So, to put it simply for now, I will say that 900+ people in one room, none of whom I've spoken to in actual face to face real life, not my thing! So after really stressing out for about 15 minutes, I left and went to gamble with my husband. I won $20! Then off we went to see Mystere, a Cirque Du Soleil show. 
The next day was a half day of conference sessions. I grabbed lunch with my husband and then it was off to the conference! 
(This place was so cute, and the Mac and Cheese was fantastic!) 

It was probably my favorite day because I got to sit in a class taught by Rachelle Smith (I adore her, and she inspired my husband and I to do Whole30!), Hope King (I've followed her since I was a junior in college and she was the first person I bought something from on TpT!) and Michelle Oakes (so sweet)! They covered how amazing powerpoint is and how much it can help your products. While I'm really comfortable with powerpoint, I learned a few new things and got to learn from three of my role models! What could be better?! 

Then on to a beginner seller panel with Cara Carrol. She, along with all the panel members, were so sweet, encouraging and full of great advice! 
I took the most awkward selfie with her, but obviously I love it anyway! I strive to engage my students the way she does. 
Then it was on to a marketing panel that was so overwhelming I didn't even think to take a single picture. Basically I learned that I should change how I do almost everything! HA! ;) So maybe it wasn't that bad, but it was a ton of information in a short amount of time. 

That night my husband and I went to see the Blue Man Group. It was so fun! We were front and center which meant that we had to wear ponchos. We didn't have any plans after the show, thank goodness because I left covered in banana goop and paint. (We got our tickets from travel zoo as well! It was a great deal!) 
Friday was a full day of learning! I got to meet Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills. It was so fun to be at their session. Their passion is so evident! 
Then Jennifer White from First Grade Blue Skies did a session on how to do it all. Spoiler alert (and what we all already know) you can't! But she had so great suggestions for time management and some very inspiring words. Her handouts would be helpful even for those who didn't attend her session! So find her on TpT and download those if you need some time management ideas, and don't we all?! :) 

My last conference session was with Lovin' Lit, Erin Cobb. Erin started her session by saying that she's a true introvert and that she had spent a lot of time building up to speaking in front of so many people. I instantly relaxed, a seller after my own heart. Her presentation was funny and inspiring. Sometimes I feel really strange saying I run a small business, but I shouldn't! She really got me thinking about my attitude regarding TpT and the differences between a hobby and a business. She also gave out a "Teacherpreneur Toolkit" to ever. single. person. Isn't that amazing?! I was so impressed by her generosity. 

The sessions I took were wonderful! They were worth it, and if you didn't go, you should! 

Saturday my husband and I explored! We did some touristy things and enjoyed some frozen hot chocolate! We were so ready to get back to Texas by Saturday afternoon, can you tell by my attire?! 

Did you go to Vegas? If not, are you planning on going next year?! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Keep Folder Freebie

Hey sweet readers! I hope you're having a great summer! I've been spending some time on Instagram and reading that some teachers are starting back in a couple weeks! OUCH! While I'm sure most of us have at least another month of summer, I thought I would post this now in case you're going back sooner rather than later.

Our students bring folders in their school supplies, but for folders we access every day, I buy plastic folders.
Molly loves "helping" get folders ready. 

One folder we use every single day is our "Keep" folder. This folder came about my first year of teaching because I had no idea where to have my students put an assignment some hadn't finished. (What do you mean every student isn't finished at the same time?! HA! Bless my first year teacher heart!) So out of desperation, I quickly renamed a folder in their desk, "Keep Folder." I know I'm not alone in this. I have teammates who also use a "Keep" folder. Although sometimes I think it should be called the "Black Hole" folder. ;)

So, if you have a keep folder, or want to implement one this coming year, here are some free labels for you to use!
The "Keep Folder" Label goes on the front of the folder. (2x4 labels)
The "In Progress" label goes on the left inside pocket for unfinished work. (return address labels)
The "V.I.P." label goes on the right inside pocket. It's for papers you want your students to keep and reference. We put a list of character traits, informational book marks (I use one for context clues) and some students have their reference materials stored there as well.
Click HERE to download a copy of the labels. Enjoy!

The cute pencil clip art is from Krista over at Creative Clips Clipart!
You can click HERE to go to her TPT store! :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Makeover Time!

I'm so excited to be joining up with some amazing teacher bloggers to complete the TPT Seller Challenge! Click here to get more information!

So the first challenge was a makeover challenge. I was so excited because product makeovers are on my forever to do list. You know, that list that NEVER ends!? Yeah, it was on that one. I recently changed up a bunch of my covers, but there are still several products that need a boost.

So I chose this gem:

Y'all, bless my sweet heart. I really thought this was precious not even a year ago! Whoa! Here is the new cover:

I'm really excited about this product's makeover because it wasn't just surface level! I added an activity and added more choices for differentiation! So if your kids are working on their hundreds or their hundred thousands, this has you covered! It's on sale through Wednesday-so grab it while it's on sale! (Click the picture below to go to my TPT store.) 
I'm so thankful for this challenge! I'm feeling really inspired for the first time in quite a while! :) 

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's Summer Time!

And the livin' is easy. Today was day one of my summer vacation and I am already feeling so relaxed. I'm thankful for summer, but I wasn't ready to give up the sweet group of kids I had this year! They were so stinkin' precious! And their families?! Y'all- the level of support I got this year is every teacher's dream. I have no words for how loved and supported I was this year.
I mean, look at this precious end of the year gift! My heart is just so full! 

I was so excited to put together end of the year gifts for my sweeties. I knew I wanted it to be something special! I bought pails at the Target Dollar Spot and then used my silhouette to add their names in vinyl. They turned out so cute! 
Then inside I added a dollar Scholastic book, a glow stick bracelet, two pieces of chalk (from a container of 60 pieces of chalk from Target) and a container of bubbles (three pack from the Dollar Spot). I also added my student's "First Day of Third Grade" picture and our class picture from the beginning of the year. 

For my team, I decided to monogram mason jar cups (also from the Dollar Spot-but not a dollar... which still does not make sense to me) and add in some yummy watermelon gum and water drops. Simple, easy and hopefully useful! 
Side note: If you don't have a silhouette, add that baby to your Christmas list NOW! It's one of the absolute best gifts I've ever picked out for myself received! Thanks Mr. H! It makes personalizing gifts so easy! Plus, who doesn't love a great monogram?! 

Do you have any great team or student gift ideas?! Let's hear them!