Happy New Year 2014 Teacher Motivation Video

Happy New Year to all of the wonderful and dedicated teachers in the world.  You make a difference in the lives of children every day.  Teachers really do make the world a better place. :-)

Enjoy this New Year's video I made.  Pass it to a friend.  Use it in your staff development introductions.  Post it on your blog or facebook page.  Spread the teacher love for the New Year. 

                                         You can also download for free by clicking HERE.






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Christmas Picture Frame Wreath

As I am getting all festive for the holiday season, I have a few crafty ideas I am trying to get out of the way.  I love going on Pinterest and looking at all of the Christmas ideas.  One neat idea I came across a while back is to make a picture frame wreath or other decoration using a frame.  Basically, you just use a picture frame for the base of the wreath and decorate it sort of like you would a regular wreath.  When I came across a white frame on clearance for $1.50, I decided it was time to get crafty. I just love a bargain! I used thin wire to hang the ornaments from the top of the frame.  I used garland to hide the wire.  It turned out pretty cute.  I have it hanging between my front door and a window.  Here is the finished picture frame wreath.
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Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags

Yes, I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I am quickly getting into the Christmas spirit.  It's kind of hard not to when you see all the Christmas decorations in stores. I always like to give my co-workers or neighbors a little something for Christmas, so I made these whimsical tags to use on gifts for friends.  I thought I would share the tags with you.  Just click on the link below.  The file is a png image saved in a power point.  All you have to do is open it up and print the slide. Punch a hole in the corner and add a ribbon. Instant Christmas tag. :-)
Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags
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Turkey Toes Baggie Toppers

Your students will think these are the funniest thing.... turkey toes!!  I have made the baggie topper, so all you have to do is get the candy corn and print the turkey toes baggie topper and your are set.  If you are a room mom, this is an easy treat to take in for the kids. Teachers, your coworkers might also find this cute if you leave a baggie in their mailbox.  :-)  Just click the link below. Enjoy!
Free Turkey Toes Baggie Toppers


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Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

Whether you are a teacher looking to do a Thanksgiving craft for the classroom, a room mom looking for Thanksgiving craft  or sweet treat ideas, or just a mom looking for decorating ideas, you are sure to find something fun from the links below.  Enjoy!
 
 
 
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Free Printable Thanksgiving Bookmarks

Your students will love receiving one of these colorful Thanksgiving bookmarks.  Laminate the bookmarks for durability.  I love placing something like this on my students' desks where they find it when they arrive in the classroom. Another option is to meet them at the door one morning and pass them out as they come in.  It brings a smile to their face and makes them feel appreciated.  
Click below for the free printable Thanksgiving bookmarks.
FREE Thanksgiving Bookmarks
Hover over the image to pin on Pinterest.
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Free Fall Summarizing Activity

When we teach students to pull out the most important details from a text and organize those details in a meaningful way, we are teaching them to summarize.  According to a statistic I read on the West Virginia Department of Education website (taken from Marzano research), the skill of summarizing is one of the top ten most important skills taught in school.   I would say that means it's pretty important. :-)  With that said, it's not something we should just teach once and walk away from it never to return. It should be a skill we come back to time and time again. In order to do just that, I have made a fall summarizing activity sheet that can be used with any book or story.  It's a free activity and can be found in my Teachers pay Teachers store by clicking the link below. 
 
Free Fall Summarizing Activity
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Candy-Corn-Summarizing-Activity-967104

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Candy-Corn-Summarizing-Activity-967104
Feel free to pin the images above by hovering over the image.
 
You might also enjoy watching this Marzno training video on summarizing.
 I found it to be interesting.
 

 
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Fun Fall Preschool Activities and Treats

Yesterday my son had a little Halloween party at his church preschool.  The room mom did a great job of putting together  a fall activity that I thought was perfect for preschoolers or even kindergartners. The finished product turned out so cute, so I thought I would share.   It was a little water bottle jack-o-lantern. It was made using a small water bottle (the more rounded kind), a piece of orange construction paper, some black face pieces that were already cut out, and a green cap for the top.  All the kids really had to do was tear the paper into small pieces, kind of give them a crumpled look, and stick them on the bottle.  Once the bottle was filled up, they screwed the top on and stuck the eyes and mouth on.  Those pieces had little sticky pads on the back which worked well.  The craft was such a great idea for little hands. Here are some pictures.





In addition to the fun water bottle jack-o-lantern craft, they enjoyed a few fall themed treats.  One was rice krispy candy corn on a stick.  The other were cute little acorns.  The acorns were so cute and would be fun for any adult to serve at a party too.  They were made using a Hershey Kiss, a small Vanilla Wafer, melted chocolate to stick everything together, and top it off with a small peanut butter chip.  Adorable!!  Here are some pics to share.




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Copyright and Trademark When Starting on Teachers Pay Teachers

If you are just starting out on Teachers Pay Teachers as a seller, I would encourage you to take a few moments to listen to this three minute sound recording.  Good luck in your new adventure.



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Sarah, Plain and Tall Activities

I love reading the book Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan with my students. I actually have an entire class set, so we typically read and discuss it together. I have also used it with a small group, such as with non-struggling readers that may be working together while I am working with a lower level guided reading group. I like the book Sarah, Plain and Tall because of its realistic fiction and because of its plot, which I would consider a slower paced plot.  It's sort of old school, way far from today's favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and such. My kids never seem real sure about the book when we start, but then they always end up loving it.  As always, I tend to create activities that go along with what I am doing in the classroom.  So, you guessed it.  I have put together a fun little activity pack to use with this wonderful book. These activities are great for holding students accountable for their reading, especially if it is independent reading. If you use interactive notebooks in your classroom, these activities are perfect.  If you don't use interactive notebooks, you can still use them.  You could have them glue the activities onto construction paper, tag board, or inside a file folder.  If you use a file folder, it will be like a lap book.  You can learn more about the activities by clicking the link below.  Enjoy!




You might also enjoy these activities:
How the book evolved- Click HERE for audio.
Video reading of Chapter one- Click HERE for video.
Interview with Patricia MacLachlan- Click HERE for interview.
 
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The Brilliance of Teachers Pay Teachers


Teachers Pay Teachers,  aka  TpT,  is the place to be. I am not overstating when I say 'brilliance' because I truly mean it.  As a teacher of twenty years, I am telling you... it is the hottest place on the Internet to get the most up to date, fun, interactive, common core related lessons.  The best part about these great lessons is that they are designed by teachers for teachers.  What does that mean?  It means they are tested in the classroom and reworked until they are perfected.  You simply can't beat that as an educator.  In addition, they are time saving for the buyer.  In a day when teachers are pushed to their limits with meetings before and after school, limited planning time during the school day, in addition to having family activities after school, time for creating the perfect lesson is slim to none.  That is where TpT is a brilliant idea.  It helps teachers all across the world be better teachers by providing them with the lessons they might not otherwise be able to create. The designing and creating is already done.  Sure, you can still add your own individual ideas as you go to implement your purchase into the classroom, but what TpT can provide teachers is like none other. It buys teachers time, it buys them peace of mind...It buys so much.  Like I said... it's brilliant.  

I also think TpT is a brilliant idea for the seller.  Let me say that I was creating long before TpT came about.  I am one of those stay late, spend hours researching on the internet, clip art junkie, software loving kind of teachers that wants something new, innovative, and eye- catching.  I want people to like my lessons. Actually, I want people to love them. I want people to walk down the hall and think, "OMG.. that is the cutest idea. I want to do that with my students!" So, with that said, when I came across TpT it was an avenue for me to sell my items, and of course give some away for free, too.  It was validation for the hours I was spending on creating lessons, games, centers, and more.  Keeping in mind that other teachers asked for my materials and even offered to buy them, TpT was like the perfect fit for me.  Many teachers I have gotten to know as my buyers on TpT don't really care to spend the hours I was spending creating, and they are very appreciative to spend five dollars for something that took me fifteen hours to make.  It is a win win for everyone involved.

Since I brought up the idea of selling on TpT, I want to take a moment to discuss that aspect of my TpT story.  I joined TpT nearly four years ago.  I was probably one of the first 1,200 to join.  I have believed in the concept of TpT from the moment I first read about it.  I would say that my success on TpT is something I am very proud of.  If you are a seller on TpT and post in the seller's forum on TpT then you are very familiar with questions like, "How long is it going to take me to start making money" or "I have been at this for two months and I have five products, and I have only had a few sales.  Is it worth it?"  Here is my thinking...


I like to equate TpT to a fine wine.  By the way, the funny thing is that I don't even really drink wine, but it makes for a wonderful analogy. So here goes...You have to work hard to make your wine. It may need to sit for a while for perfection. You have to package it up real nice and pretty.   In the mean time, you better advertise the wine if you want to sell it.  You also better be working on other flavors to restock the shelves. As far as TpT,  you need to create wonderful lessons and activities.  You need to package them up with pretty covers.  Your products may need so sit for a while, a long while, in order for them to be found on TpT, for the search engines to pick them up, and for word to spread about your wonderful store.  In the mean time, you need to keep on making items and stocking your TpT shelves. You need to advertise by doing things like building a blog, developing a brand, building a facebook page, pinning on Pinterest, and whatever else you can think of to get the word out about your lovely store.  When people buy your items and they love your 'wine' they are going to come back for more.  It sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  Well, the truth is that there are a few people with a few great items that make really good money on TpT.  But the fact of the matter is that most people that make good money have lots of products, they spend countless hours creating, marketing, blogging, pinning, facebooking, etc., and they truly embrace TpT as a second job. I fall into the second category. Actually, in  many cases TpT might be someone's only job.  Regardless, it is probably in the best interest of new sellers to walk into TpT knowing that it's not going to be a 'money growing on trees' kind of endeavor.  If you are willing to invest time and energy, TpT can truly be a blessing.  It can be a blessing to you the seller, as well as you being able to bless many teachers with your wonderful work.



As you can see, TpT really is a brilliant idea.  I don't even think I mentioned all of the FREE stuff that the dedicated teachers make and are willing to give away.... yes..., GIVE away! Thousands of items for free!! Isn't that just fabulous.   Whether you plan to simply buy on Teachers Pay Teachers or if you are willing to take the plunge and become a seller, I do hope that you love the experience as much as I have. 
 I really do love TpT!
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Best Teacher Blogs

If you are like me, you love visiting teacher blogs. Whether looking for decorating ideas, a fun holiday activity, or a new game, teacher blogs are the place to go.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there, some of which you might not even know exist.  When you do visit a teacher blog, sometimes the author will have a list of their favorite blogs over in the sidebar.  I have been wanting to do something like that for a while, but I didn't really want the list, as I have a lot of other stuff going on, and I thought it would just get lost in the clutter.  My solution was to add a link to the right over on the sidebar that will take you to a site that features my favorite blogs about teaching.  Many of these authors I have gotten to know quite well in the blogging world, and they all have such fantastic ideas.  I thought the readers of my blog might benefit from knowing some other great blogs to go to. The link over on the right says "Best Teacher Blogs", and I hope that is exactly what you find when you click on that link.  Over the next few weeks more and more blogs will be added. If you would like to send your blog readers to the site that features the blogs, feel free to use the button that can be found on that blog.  It has a code for you to past onto your blog. Take the time to visit some of the blogs, as they are sure to inspire you.
 
 
Best Teacher Blogs
 
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Constitution Day Reading Activity

September 17 is Constitution Day.  Did you know that if you are a public school educator then you are required by law to touch on the Constitution in your classroom? The act states..
 "all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.". 
So, with that said, I have put together an easy print and go poster that is a perfect way to help your students understand how the Constitution came about and how it affects our country today.  Because I have highlighted vocabulary, this would be a great time to discuss some of the government related terms.  For example, delegates, Articles of Confederation, and branches of government.  If you wanted to elaborate further on the Constitution, you could then do a follow-up activity or maybe show a Brainpop or other video, or maybe even do a writing activity.  Have fun sharing with your students this very important document.  Get all of the details by clicking the link below.  

Constitution Day Reading Activity
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Teacher Desk Organization

If you are like me, desk top organization at school is really mandatory. Is it always easy?  No.  But, I do find I am much more productive if everything has its own little place.  I came across these really nifty desk top organization ideas that might be helpful to you.
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Remembering 9-11

If you are like me, you will never forget where you were or how you heard the news.


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4th Grade: Integrating Social Studies and Reading

If you are an upper elementary teacher, particularly fourth or fifth grade, then you are aware of the massive amounts of content that teachers are required to teach and students are required to master in the area of social studies. I have had parents say to me here in Georgia, "This social studies curriculum is beyond ridiculous!"  My response has always been, "I agree with you that it is a lot of material for a fourth grader to learn, but please understand that I don't decide the standards to be taught, I simply teach them."  With that said, I teach them to the best of my ability, and yes, it can be quite the challenge to get all of the material covered before standardized testing time.

After spending many challenging years trying to get all of the fourth grade social studies content covered,  the best solution seemed to be to try and  integrate the two subjects, such as work on reading skills while covering some of the social studies topics. It all seemed fine and dandy, but  the next problem would be trying to find social studies reading material to cover the content I needed it to cover.

Because I wanted very specific content, and I wanted it written in a certain way, I decided the best thing to do was just write the material myself.  Keeping in mind that my husband is a high school U.S. history teacher, I was able to converse with him about important details or facts that I should include,  in addition to referring to the Georgia curriculum standards. After working all summer, the finished product makes it very easy to integrate socials studies into reading.  I ended up writing 25 close reading passages that begin with Native Americans and end with Westward Expansion.  Many of the major historical events that fall between those two time periods are included in the close readings.  In addition to the close readings, there are teacher questions, as well as activities for each passage to be used in an interactive social studies notebook.  I am proud to share the finished product with you, and offer both notebooks to you for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Here is a sneak peek, and then click on the links to get more specific details.

Please note that the grade level in which specific social studies content is taught varies from state to state. These notebooks happen to follow the Georgia fourth grade social studies content, so if you teach 4th grade in Georgia, this would be perfect for you.  If you are not sure if these notebooks follow the content for your state, please look closely at the detailed descriptions and then decide.







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