August 15, 2014

Meet the Teacher!

Hey y'all! I'm jumping on board with my friend Stephanie from Falling Into First with this fun Meet the Teacher linky.

These are a few of my favorite things . . . .
Alex and Ani, Tieks, Cold Justice  If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see my obsession.  In fact, Instagram should probably be on my favorites list right now.  I love it.  Here are some recent pictures:

If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
Blog designer.  Heehee.  Seriously,  I have the best life.  I get to do my two favorite jobs.

Three little words that describe you.
Organized, funny, reader

My happy place:
Organization makes me happy.  Between working, kids, and everything else in our lives, it can get overwhelming.  Organization makes me feel like I have a tiny bit of control over the chaos in our lives.  I love to read.  Between blog designs and reading, I'm up way too late at night.

Finish this sentence, "________________, said no teacher EVER!"
Well inputting all that online documentation that no one is ever going to look at was a great use of my time!  Bleh.

It's your birthday and you can invite anyone {dead or alive} to the party.  Who are you inviting?
This is a big commitment.  I not sure I can even answer this.  Cool popstar?  Historical figure? Inspring leader? How about my girls when they were about 2 months old.  I could use some good baby snuggles.  That would make for an awesome birthday.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?
Seriously, Can You Get Your Act Together?
I feel like our life is a whirlwind sometimes.  I'm usually trying to juggle twenty things at once.  Except I don't know how to juggle.  That's pretty much how things go around here.

You get to pick on super power. What is it?
I would have super cleaning powers.  NOTHING (outside of my family and cute pictures of puppies and kittens) makes me feel as warm inside as a clean house.

What's your favorite quote or saying?
"Let what you love be what you do."  How awesome is life lived that way?
If you HAD to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
Is there a song that's three seconds long?  Because that's how long it would take for them to start begging me to stop.  This girl couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.  If I had to pick one, it would probably be a cheesy 80's song.  Maybe some Dolly Parton.  She's pretty awesome.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl for sure.  It's 11:45, and I'm taking a break to write this post.

What's your favorite resource that you've created in your TPT shop?
I worked really hard on this set, and I pretty much completely love it.

Share something we might not know about you!
I was a child bride.  My husband HATES when I say that.  It's not really true, but looking back I feel that way.  I turned 22, graduated 4 days later, and then got married 8 days after that.  We were so young! Fifteen years later, I'm still glad I married that man!  Even though he forced me to move out of state against my will.  Which I still point out once a month even though it was five years ago, and we have a totally awesome life now.  Poor guy.

Congrats to you if you made it to the end of this post! Now it's time to go meet up with everyone else over at Falling Into First!

August 4, 2014

Work Horse Products to Get You Through the Year

Yesterday I shared some awesome bundles with you.  Today I want to share some work horse products.  You know-those resources that you can use over and over all year long.

This is one of my favorite things to use.  When your reluctant writer boys ask for it, you know you a major achievement on your hands.  Posters are great, but let's be real.  The kids that don't want to do it are certainly not going to get up, go across the room, and look for information.  Let's remember, there are students that are going to ask you what the date is when it's written on the board.
That's why I love these revising and editing posters and mini-posters.  You can keep this information at your kids' finger tips.

Upper elementary has been getting a lot of interactive notebook love.  Here's an incredible interactive notebook for 2nd and 3rd grade from I'm Lovin' Lit.  This isn't just a pack of templates.  This set includes a detailed information on how to use these is included.  And did I mention they're editable?

Bring on the graphic organizers.  You can never have enough.  Here are two sets from Teaching in High Heels and Jamie from Second Grade Stuff that I love:
 Writing + Patricia Polacco.  This set from Teacher's Clubhouse would make great anchor lessons to refer to all year long.
Everybody is talking about close reading.  But what the heck is it and how do I use it in my classroom?  If you've just gotten back from a vague, PowerPoint inservice about using close reading, here's a resource from Inspire Me ASAP that your district really should have spent their money on:

This bundle from The Tattooed Teacher is technically units, but let's be honest.  These aren't ideas that you can cover for a week.  These are the types of strategies that you need to keep going back to alllllllll year long.

Now that your kids are learning so much, it's time to refresh their brains with these awesome brain breaks from 3rd Grade Thoughts.
Whew! That's a lot! What are your favorite workhorse products?

August 3, 2014

Products to Get You Through the Year

I have a question for you: Are you a bundle buyer?
Sometimes I am, but sometimes it's hard to bit the bullet and spend that much money.  I often buy things one at a time.  Then I kick myself later for not just buying the whole thing at one and saving some money.  You might have heard about a little sale coming up . . . .  It's the perfect time to stock up and save.  I wanted to share some bundles from my blogging friends that will take you through the year.

And holy smokes.  This first one is UH-MAZING.  I can't even.  I am constantly amazed by Jivey from Ideas by Jivey.  When I was first introduced to mentor sentences, I loved the idea but was a little stumped on how to implement it.  If you want to learn more about mentor sentences, hop on over to the Mastering Mentor Sentences on Ideas by Jivey's blog.  And then purchase this awesome bundle:

And then there's the dreaded spelling.  Spelling is getting swept under the rug lately, but it's such a high need area.  Denise from Sunny Days has an awesome Spelling and Word Study Solution bundle for you.  36 weeks of awesomeness right here.

What about 66 reading passages?  Do you think that would get you through the year?  Halle from Across the Hall in Second Grade has a wonderful bundle.  She's not even done with it yet.  So if you buy it now, you will get the future updates, too.

Alisha from The Bubbly Blonde has the ultimate monthly journal bundle.  Covers, tables of contents, accountability, multiple types of writing pages, it's pretty much all here.  Print it, copy it, staple it, and go.

Here's another awesome writing resource that focuses on types of writing through the year. Stephanie Stewart from Falling into First has this Common Core Galore Writing Through the Year Bundle.   Multiple types of writing for each month and multiple activities for each type.  Does that sentence even make sense?  Doesn't matter because this is an awesome bundle.

This last educational bundle is from Teacher by the Beach.  Jen has month by month literacy and math bundles for 1st and 2nd grades.  I am amazed by how detailed and in-depth these centers are.
And the very last bundle is from me.  I put together a mini set bundle that will get you through the whole year.  These 12 mini sets should take care of just about any need you have!

So start wish listing because this sale starts tomorrow, Aug. 4. And stop back by tomorrow for some work horse teaching products.

July 30, 2014

Blog Baby Blog-Tips from a Blog Designer

Hey y'all! This is the last post in my summer blogging series.  I think after this week, I'll be fresh out of knowledge.  Hoping I can store some up for next summer because I really enjoyed doing this!

Did you miss any of the previous posts?  Here you go:

Nothing Earth shattering here, but a few things to think about:
Now close one eye and squint.  Can you still read it?  Nobody loves a cute font or fun color more than this girl, but your blog posts aren't always the best place for them.  I have stopped reading posts before because it was just too hard.  You have fabulous vision, and you already know what's in your posts.  That's not necessarily true for the rest of us.  Some of us may be in denial that we need glasses . . . .

That's why people came to your blog in the first place.  Is your post space cramped and narrow?  If you have a three column layout, make sure your post space isn't getting lost in the crowd.  Be careful about making your blog too wide though.  Not everyone has a wide screen computer monitor.  It gets frustrating to scroll over to finish seeing someone's blog.  Frustrated readers don't stay long.

Long hunks of text make us feel like we're back in college.  Even if you break it up with a funny meme or e-card, break it up visually.  Turns out teachers have the same attention span issues as our students.  Even text visuals like in this post help.  I made mine in Photoshop, but you can do the same thing in PowerPoint.  Here's a super duper example from The Bubbly Blonde Teacher:

On your photos that is.  I started doing this more after a photo of mine got hijacked by a hair tutorial blog.  The owner was using popular pins to redirect traffic to his site.  So lots of people pinned my photo but had no way of knowing where it came from.  Even if your photo doesn't get stolen by someone with evil purposes, not every one knows to link back to the original source.  (We all started somewhere right?)  Click here for a tutorial on how to make your own watermark.

What is most important for your readers to see?  Take a look at your sidebar.  You want the most important items to be in the part of the screen that is seen without scrolling down.  Social media links for sure.  Love clipart or another teacher's blog?  That's great, but it needs to go farther down.  Advertise your blog first and other people's later.  Do a little cleaning up on your labels.  Do you have a bunch of labels that only have one link?  Clean them out.

Alright friends! That's it for the blogging tutorials for awhile.  I know many of you are starting school soon or thinking about getting your rooms fixed up instead of fixing up your blog.  It's been a great summer!

July 24, 2014

Blog Baby Blog Summer Series: Pin It Hover {or Not}

Hey there everybody! I'm here with the fifth post of my summer series on blogging.  Summer is a great time for teachers to dive into blogging.  It's about the only time we have to try something new and take time to learn about it.  I hope these series will be helpful to new and not so new bloggers.  Miss one?  Catch up here:

This tutorial is a two parter on how to install the Pin It Hover and block the Pin It Hover.  Brace yourselves.  It involves HTML code.


This is an awesome tutorial from Blogger Sentral.

You have to enter the dark side to do this-your Blog's HTML code.  I know, I know.  It's scary in there.  But, back up your template, and just dive in.

You'll want to find this line of code: </body>

**It's waaaaay down there.  Try hitting CMD F when you open your code ( CTRL F on a PC).  A little box will pop up in the top right corner of your template.  Put in </body> and it will find it for you.

Paste the following code above </body>

var bs_pinButtonURL = "";
var bs_pinButtonPos = "center";
var bs_pinPrefix = "";
var bs_pinSuffix = "";
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>
<script id='bs_pinOnHover' src='' type='text/javascript'>
// This Pinterest Hover Button is brought to you by
// Visit for details.
// Feel free to use and share, but please keep this notice intact.

**The 5th line of code tells the Pin It Hover button where to "sit".  You can change it to one of these if you like:

Save and you're done.  If it's not working, visit the original Blogger Sentral tutorial for some trouble shooting help.

Want to get fancy and create your own Pin It Hover button?

•Size matters: About a quarter of an inch or a little bigger is a good size.  You don't want it to be so huge that it take over the picture.

•Add it as an image to a blog post.  Switch over to HTML in your post and grab the image's "address".

•Replace the URL address in the third line of code with your own.

•Just delete the post where you uploaded the image when you are finished, no need to publish it.

Sometimes you don't want the Pin It Hover button to show up.  Maybe it's a small picture.  Maybe it's a linky.  Maybe you're just not in the mood.

Hover over my example:
See what I mean?
A little bit of code can fix that.  
When you are creating a post and add the image that you want to block the pin it hover from, you will need to:
•Switch over from "Compose" to "HTML" (look at the top right corner of your post)
•Find the image in your post.
•Above this line of code above it: <div class="nopin">

•At the bottom of your your image code, add: </div>
Now look what happens to this image when I add that code to this image:
Here is the dirty side (HTML)  of what that second image looks like:

<div class='nopin'>
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
<a href="" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="" /></a></div>

The top and bottom lines are the code I added.

That's it! No you can Pin It hover.  Or not.

July 16, 2014

Some Tips From My Friends

Hi everyone!  I'm back with another Blog Baby Blog post for my summer blogging series.  Missed the first four?  Catch up here:

I'm with my sweet girl in Philadelphia.  She had surgery on Friday, and we got to leave the hospital a day early!  It's been rough, but she's been amazing.

Since I've been a little busy taking care of my daughter, I asked some of my bloggy friends to share some blog tips with you.

#1 Fern from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas
Using Blogger, always use the "Properties" feature for the pictures on your blog. Use your blog name in both the Title Text and the Alt Text. For example, Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Freebie Friday Vocabulary Notebook. This will be hidden in your html and help move your blog up the Google rankings.

#2 Dana from Prepping for the Primary Gridiron

Prepping for the Primary Gridiron
Keep a journal or file of ideas to blog about. Spread your ideas out so you can post 2-3 times per week (if not more). And remember to share pictures - a great visual goes a long way!

#3 Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher

When commenting on a blog post, instead of saying "Come follow me !", you can leave a comment relevant to the blog post, and then a link to your blog underneath your name.

#4 Angela from Hippo Hooray Second Grade

Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!
Always watermark your photos with your blog name. Images get passed around on Pinterest or other bloggers might share your photos on their blog/Facebook page, and you need to make sure people know the original source. Megan has a GREAT tutorial on how to do this :)

#5 Jivey from Ideas by Jivey

Ideas by Jivey
Don't be a no-reply blogger! I have built some of my best friendships by emailing with other bloggers... Many people don't even realize they are a no-reply blogger. Here is a link on my page to fix it!
**Google is constantly changing things now that they're really pushing Google+, so if Jivey's tutorial does not work for you here is another: Get Connected

#6 Amanda from Collaboration Cuties

Collaboration Cuties
Blogging is a great way to share your ideas and products you've made. Be sure to include pictures of how you use your products and ideas in your classroom. It's much more fun to read a post that shows learning in action than just lists of products you'd like your followers to buy. Only posting about your products will turn your readers off. Be sure to space out your advertising posts with posts that have tips and tricks for your readers to use in their classroom.

#7 Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees

Miss V's Busy Bees
Just be yourself and communicate with bloggers like you would your friends in real life. Being more authentic and personable is the easiest way to gain followers instead of asking for them. This will be completed through simply holding conversations.

#8 Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Queen of the First Grade Jungle
Make it personal! I think it is important for readers to connect to you as a person, in addition to a writer/teacher. I remember when I first started reading blogs, I fell in *love* with Cara Carroll and Abby Mullins because their personalities just shined in their blog posts! I make sure to include pictures of my family and infuse my writing with ME! It's just like we tell our students: If you are bored when you write it, your readers are going to be bored when they read it!

#9 Gladys from Teaching in High Heels

Teaching in High Heels
Be consistent and give it time! Consistency is super's much easier to lose followers than to build up an audience, so make sure you're blogging consistently 2-3 times a week is perfect! Also, give your blog time to grow. The web is an enormous, noisy place so if you want to be a successful blogger you have to invest more over a greater period of time.

#10 Christy from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road
I've grown so much as a teacher through the collaboration and sharing that's done through blogging. Better yet, I've developed many friendships with teachers all over the states and beyond. Building these relationships starts with authentic commenting on other blogs, responding to those that comment on your blog, before you know it you'll develop some truly great friendships!

And the last one is from ME!

If you haven't claimed your blog on Bloglovin', go do it NOW!!! It's the best thing you can do to build followers. Here's an easy tutorial on how to do that.

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