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Friday, February 28, 2014

Five for Friday: I Want Your Input

My current edition of Five for Friday, hosted by Doodle Bugs, offers you two freebies and asks you for some Master's Degree advice!  After coming off of your TPT MEGA SALE high, I'm hoping you'll snuggle up with your computer and read my FIVE!

  I HAVE to head over to TPT this afternoon to snag the items I placed in my cart while they are on MEGA sale.  Don't forget to enter the coupon code TPT3 at check-out to get the extra 10% off.  I'm offering that advice for you, but it's more of a reminder for myself so I don't forget!  For those of you just starting out on the sales journey, keep your chin up!  I'm still very new to it compared to ALL of the top sellers, but I know there are days that I become overwhelmed when I see someone has thousands of TPT followers.  Will I ever get there?  Who cares.  I've learned to celebrate MY milestones and achievements and you should do the same!
This one is just for you!  If you didn't have a chance to grab my February Facebook Freebie, have no fear!  I decided to leave my older freebies up (and more importantly, I figured out how), instead of replacing them.  So, head on over and get your copy for free!  I'd love for you to share my FB page too!
 I'm seriously considering finally getting my Master's. I don't think I ever want to be a Principal or VP.   I'm leaning towards Curriculum and Instruction with a Literacy focus. But I also really love teaching math and science.  Do you have yours? Thoughts?  Online? I've taught for 8 years, we don't have kids, and I'm organized, but is working and going to school hellacious? 
 There might be something big on the horizon for my hubs, Kona Bear, and me.  Just in case my mother-in-law reads this, I'll clear it up by saying it has nothing to do with grand babies for her.  Positive karma is welcomed!
 For being a sport and making through all 5, here's another one just for you!  While you're grabbing my February Facebook Fan Freebie, grab my St. Patrick's Day one too!  I love me some freebies and I know you do too!

Happy weekend!  After all of the fabulous sales, I'm sure we will all be spending some time creating new products with the adorable clip art we snagged and cutting out freshly laminated games!
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tips for TPT Sellers 1: Taking Advantage of Freebie Clip Art

If you are new to selling on TPT, I have a tip for you.  You have to know when to take advantage of all of the wonderful clip art freebies, versus when to actually purchase clip art.  There is a method to my madness.   This shouldn't surprise you!  For "cutesy" clipart, I almost always use freebies.  This includes things like backgrounds, borders, seasonal clipart, etc.  For "specialized" clipart, I make purchases after quite a bit of research.  This includes things like graphics of math manipulatives and very specific themed clip art I want for a bigger product that I'm making.  

I want to focus on the freebies today!  I have a fairly methodical way of continuously growing my collection. 

I go through recently posted freebies every two weeks or so, and download things that appeal to me & that I feel like I will actually use.  I also leave feedback after opening the file and dragging some images into a new document so I can check out their quality.  Leaving feedback (whether it was a free or paid item) means so much to the creator.  Do it. Here is a step-by-step for window shopping for the newest free clipart in a methodical way.

Step 1:  Go to TPT and leave the search box blank.

Step 2:  Under Top Resource Types, click Clip Art.  If Clip Art isn't on the list, click See All Resource Types and then pick Clip Art.

Step 3: Under Prices, click Free.

Step 4:  You should now see a page something like this.  There should be products listed.

Step 5: Click the drop down arrow by Sort and select Most Recently Posted.  This is important so you aren't always looking through the same stuff.  Now you are ready to browse!

Obviously there are some really amazing older freebies out there.  When I first started selling, I committed a few evenings to just digging back through old freebies.  Now, I just browse every two weeks or so using the method above and stop browsing after I see items that I saw last time I was scoping out freebies.  

As you download more freebies, you will begin to notice patterns.  This is how I "found" some of my favorite clip art designers.  I realized I had downloaded several of their freebies, so I began to follow their shops.  Now I get most of my purchased clip art from them!  Their freebies did exactly what they wanted them to…made me a customer!

Don't be afraid to take advantage of the free stuff!  

Be sure to always read their terms of use so you know: 
~if it's ok to use commercially (to use it in a product you're going to sell)
~what their credit requirements are (a link to their store, their "button", etc)

Hope this helps you increase your stash of free clip art so you can spruce up your products on the cheap!
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Officially a Ragnarian!

Lucky for you, I'm feeling extra friendly, so I'm starting with what you really want to hear about.  If you haven't visited The Rolly Chair on FB recently, head on over to grab my newest Freebie, Capture the Leprechaun!   Hint:  Waiting over there is something that will help your kiddos with their placement of one special homophone triplet as they're writing.

I'm a Ragnarian!  I survived.  I ran, laughed, laughed some more, ran some more, laughed, and ran one more time.  I mentioned the Ragnar Relay Run here, but I'll give you a quick refresher.  We had a 12 person team, each running 3 of the 36 total legs, totaling 198 miles from Miami to Key West, FL.  Maybe I'll share my five favorite moments in a Five for Friday!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Let's Get Organized: Part 3

I live for organization, that's no secret.  If that's news to you, I'll forgive you when you start acting like a true fan and read each and every one of my previous posts AND take notes.  Sure I like cute organization.  But do you know what I LOVE?  Organization that is visually appealing AND functional.  

Imagine this:  Stuff is thrown all about.  The cabinet is now empty.  Ah, a fresh canvas.  Half way to victory! Hours of sorting & labeling later, you step back to admire your newly "organized" cabinet that has cute labels and bins and colors.  Done.  It's euphoric.  You take a picture, post it to social media, and your teacher friends go gaga.  Heck, it looks so good that people are Pinning the picture of your cabinet.  Does this sound familiar yet?  Ok.  Fast forward a few weeks.  The picture-perfect cabinet isn't so perfect anymore.  It lasted until you had to actually start taking and putting stuff away that lives on that pretty little shelf.  Damn.  I CANNOT be alone in this. What went wrong?  It looked so good?

But was it functional?  Did you take into consideration: 
Frequency of use? 
Accessibility of items?
Item height vs. bin height so you can take something out without pulling the entire (heavier than you planned) bin out?
Can you remember what is in each bin?  Were they sorted in a meaningful way?
Do the labels fall off?

Now you understand just how deep this obsession runs through me.  You can probably imagine how hard it is for me when "someone from above" gives me a planning tool that I have to use.  There I am sitting in a meeting, drinking my coffee, passing notes with my neighbor, minding my own.  Then I hear about this magical form.  My body tenses.  The grip on my coffee gets a little tighter. My breath gets heavier. There might even be a nostril flare.  Yikes. That last one is a tad embarrassing to admit.

I like forms…that are functional and easy on the eye.  Sometimes you just have to play the game and fill out the darn form.  But other times, you recreate it, share it with the decision makers and convince them to use your version, and make the world a happier and more organized place.

I'm currently working on streamlining my long-term planning process & forms.  I want them to be easy on the eyes AND functional.  I don't want them to just look good and use all kinds of crazy expensive ink to just sit in a binder all year and never get used. I want them to help ensure all standards are taught.  I want them make following a timeline easier. I want them to help marry "cutesy" thematic units & standards.  I want them to have a natural flow and to make weekly lesson planning less stressful. Can I get an Amen?    

Wanna peek?  Ok.  But it will cost you.  Seriously.  I need some input.  Don't just ooh and aah, leave a comment with some functional advice/input.  Pinky promise?  

I've helped numerous co-workers with mapping out year-long curriculum plans. This type of planning isn't for the faint of heart.   It's time consuming up front.  It's hard work.  It feels repetitive.  But, in the end, it's totally worth it.  I'm typing up detailed instructions/guide lines to go with my forms because I want more people to be able benefit from them.

Here are my thoughts:  I'm making these forms so that they can be printed out & written on, or typed through PowerPoint.  I included space for planning out 6 "subjects".  If you don't teach science and social studies every day, maybe you use two boxes for reading.  One for whole group and one for small groups.   I'd rather have more room to plan out core subjects than an entire box for handwriting….that's why I went with 6 areas.  I decided not to make this a colorful file because this lady knows black ink is way more economical. What are your thoughts?
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Icky Sticky Germ-Fighting Freebie

OMGerms!  We've probably all been there.  You know that moment when you're in the office and one of the secretaries super heroes points to one of your classroom passes because one of your "tinies" left it in the office during one of their "emergencies".  All you can think to yourself is, "I AM NOT touching that thing!"  I've tried lots of hall pass systems.  Meh.    

Then I found THIS PIN.  Well, duh.  Mega face palm.  It was love at first sight! Where has this been all of my teaching life?  My kiddos don't have to carry it, they don't have to set it down in the restroom (barfo) and then forget to bring it back, it doesn't dangle from a ribbon around their neck so they can play with it….

I went to my local super store and purchased some inexpensive badge holders and clips.  It was a small investment with a huge payoff.  Check it out!
You're in love, right?  Well, since it's just about Valentine's Day, and you are all so lovely, I'm sharing this editable file with you.  I expect chocolate and roses in return. 
I printed them on card stock, laminated, and put them into the badge holders.  D-O-N-E.  To help me keep track of where kiddos are, I have small bottles of sanitizer that are color-coded that they put on their desk while they are out of the room and conveniently use when they return.  Mine have different color pumps, but you could decorate the outside with Washi tape, ribbon, etc.  This is a quick way for me to figure out where they are by just looking at their desk.  

Head over to my TPT store and grab this sweet freebie!  Don't forget to leave feedback!
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's Like Chuck-E-Cheese Up In Here

There are prizes EVERYWHERE!  RaffleCopters and Giveaways are like Chuck-E-Cheese for teachers.  Tickets….must earn more tickets to earn more prizes! I have an insider tip.  I know where you can get more "tickets".  Fun & Fearless In First is having a generous giveaway to celebrate her 200 followers! She's raffling off a $10 TPT gift card, a copy of the Beginning Sounds Bundle from Mrs. Thigpin's Kindergarten, AND Winner's Choice from MY TPT, and two other amazing stores!  You have until this Friday to enter.  Go.  Now.  Earn those "tickets" to claim your prizes! 

What are you waiting for?  Go enter to win!  

Don't forget that you can get a FREE copy of my Coin Resources for Journals by commenting on my  It's Raining Money post for a limited time.  All you have to do is leave a comment sharing your favorite tip for teaching coins (and leave your email address) and I'll email you the product for free. What's your secret to success?

Oh, and I just finished my first Facebook RaffleCopter Giveaway and awarded two FREE sets of my subtraction cards! 

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It's Raining Money

Last weekend at my favorite local coffee shop, I noticed that the kid in front of me in line paid with Square.  I guess I can relate.  Kind of.  Not really. When I was their age, I was digging in my pocket hoping for a few more pennies so that I would have enough money to pay for my Slurpee.  If only Square was part of CCSS…

Moving on.  I LOVE when we work on coins!  Kids like to get their recently sanitized hands on all that play money and you can see the dollar signs in their eyes!  However, each year I'm always amazed at how many kiddos don't already know which coin is which.  Maybe they are all using Square.  Right.  I said I was moving on.

I put together some resources for my kiddos that match our class anchor charts and a foldable where they had to cut & paste the information into the correct spot.  I decided to use the foldable to check for understanding of coin names and values.  Want a copy for free?  Leave me a comment with one of your favorite teacher tips for your coin unit and I'll email you this product for FREE….zero pennies!  Don't forget to include your email address!  Take a peek!  I also included half page for those of us using interactive math journals!  

Don't forget to enter my RaffleCopter Facebook Giveaway!

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


If Vegas was running a line for the odds of winning my first giveaway, they'd be in your favor.  Let's be real here..there aren't millions of people following me. Yet.  Oh, and unlike Vegas, I'm not asking for any moolah so that you have a chance to strike it rich win my Subtraction Cards. 

Remember that time I told you I was doing some housework on my earliest TPT products?  You better remember…it was just a day ago!  Well, I updated my very first TPT product and now I want to give 2 copies away!

Head on over to my FB page and enter using the Giveaway tab (located near Fan Freebies)!  By completing the extra tasks on the RaffleCopter, you can earn TEN entries!  

What are you waiting for?  Enter to win!

The winners will get 72 leveled color-coded subtraction cards,
a student response sheet, answer key, and game board! 
Since it was first posted in 2012, I've:
-Added cutting guide lines to make cutting them the same size easier
-Added question numbers
-Added an answer key
-Added a generic game board
-Added a student response page
-Doubled the amount of cards

What was I thinking back in 2012?  Yikes!  Glad I "snazzied" this up and have set some standards for my products!
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Carried a Watermelon

Forgive me readers that are NFL football fans, for I have sinned.  I didn't watch the Super Bowl…at all.  I was working on the computer and the hubs was out of town, so I didn't feel like I had to watch.  Don't get me wrong, though.  Had there been a low key Super Bowl party close to home, I would have faked it gone and chow down on all of the ridiculous snacks cheered.  But, that's not how this cookie happened to crumble.  I watched Dirty Dancing (for probably the 20th time), and I don't regret it.  Nobody puts The Rolly Chair in the corner.  I watch what I want.

Symbolism... Y'all 'partied' and I 'carried a watermelon'.
Are you a Super Bowl fan?  A real fan, or a fan of the commercials? Or maybe just the snacks?  

Ok, some serious talk.  I spent Sunday evening beginning the process of going through my existing TPT products and doing some housework.  My own standard of work has evolved and become more defined as a TPT seller as I've created more and more products.  I really do pride myself on being thorough, so I'm tackling the task of going through some of my earliest products and bringing them up to my current standard.  I'm also working on making sure each product has a helpful preview.  My product descriptions tend to be really descriptive, but I know some people are visual learners.  Like I've previously said, I make these for my own use and then add elements that would make the product beneficial to as many people as possible.

To help myself, I wrote out some of my guidelines for products that I share. 

-Thorough: I want teachers to download my products and feel like they've got everything they need.  Answer keys, student response sheets, directions, etc. are important.

-Versatile: I want teachers to feel like they have options on how to use my materials in more than one way.  I want differentiation to be easy.  

-Beneficial:  Of course I want my products to be enjoyable activities, but they also have to be rigorous and address the standards and provide opportunity for growth and learning.   

If you're a TPT seller, do you have a philosophy for the standard of your products?  If so, what are some of the things that are most important to you?  Do all of your products meet these standards, or do you have some housework like me?
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Sale

Whether you're actually watching "the" game, only care about the commercials, or you're just enjoying all of the Super Bowl snacks this weekend, take a minute to stop on over and shop! 

My entire TPT store is on sale!

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