October 18, 2014

Glitter Giveaway

Hey everybody!  I have a glitter giveaway for you tonight to celebrate the fact that I survived this week.  Good grief.  You know that awesome feeling when you go away for the weekend?  And then you come home.
And the laundry isn't done.
And you haven't been to the grocery store.
And your husband goes out of town.
And you have a slumber party for eight 7th graders to plan.
Oh yeah-and teach.

But we survived! And I even got a chance to play with glitter. Digital glitter is way more fun to play with than real life glitter.  These Halloween, Fall, and Christmas glitter mini sets are in my store.  You can also buy them together as a bundle.
This is a fast giveaway for all three sets.  I'll choose three winners Wednesday morning.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 8, 2014

Why I Buy on TPT

Ever see something on Teachers Pay Teachers and think, "I could make that."  It's true, you probably could make some of the great products on Teachers Pay Teachers yourself.
But you know what?  This past weekend, I watched the first Harry Potter movie with my family.  My younger daughter had just finished the first book and almost came out of her skin with excitement to see this book come to life in front of her.  2 1/2 hours.
I took my girls jeans shopping.  Felt like 10 hours, but more like 3 hours.

I watched my niece, so my sister could get something done without a baby attached to her.  Four hours.
That was a lot of time I had this weekend to enjoy my family.  I could have let the girls watch the movie with my husband.  I could have begged my mom to take the girls jean shopping.  I could have skipped offering to babysit my niece.  I could have made all the resources I need for the next week instead.

I'm not saying I never make things for the classroom.  I do enjoy making resources for my students to use, but I also enjoy not having to.  I love this product from Jodi Southard from Fun in First.
This product will be a huge chunk of my October plans for my second grade groups.  I just bought a ton of time for $8.55.  Time to do things like sip coffee and sit on my butt and read blogs.

Here's one that probably would have taken me 20+ hours to make.  Which means it never would have happened, and my students would have missed out on this great site word practice from Miss DeCarbo.
And this one from the amazing Jen Jones.  It's got over 400 pages, and I'll use it all year long, every single week with my 3rd and 4th grade friends.  No matter what text I'm reading, there's something in here to support it.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know my students flipped out over this main idea and supporting details activity.  
Except their teachers probably hate me because we did the hashtag part at the end right before I sent them back to class.  They were hashtagging everything.  "Hashtag that was awesome" "Hashtag see you later" "Hashtag bye".  

These purchases add up.  I know teachers aren't making football money.  In some states, you aren't even making garbage truck driver money.  Spend wisely.  Start by buying products that you can use all month or year long.  They cost more, but you get more bang for your buck.  Wishlist items you like and buy during sales.  If you follow stores, you'll get a notice.  And if there's a site wide sale, your social media and Bloglovin' accounts will be blowing up, so no chance of missing those. ; )

What do you buy on TPT?  Any great products I'm missing?

October 5, 2014

Five on the Fifth

Hey y'all! It's October 5th, which means it's time for Five on the Fifth again.  
There are so many great blogs out there, and let's be honest, September is a bit of a blur for teachers.  Here are five great posts that you might have missed in that back to school haze.  There's even a Five on the Fifth Pinterest board if you want to see more great ideas.
First up is the first in a series from Teaching Maddeness called Maximizing the Minutes.  Amanda shares how she very quickly reviews high frequency words and reviews skills in a fast warm up.  Every minutes counts and this series will help you do just that!
Melissa from Inspire Me, ASAP! has a great fact and opinion lesson (that would also be great for inferencing!)  She practiced with this photo, and then connected the lesson to a mentor text.  Hop on over to read just how she did this.
I love how Ashleigh from Ashleigh's Education Journey got her kids working on multiplication word problems.  Engaging, higher level thinking, and low prep.  Everything you want for a great lesson!

Holy smokes this is a good blog post.  Cara from The First Grade Parade dives down deep into the guts of small group instruction.  It's a loooong post and worth every minute  you'll spend reading it.
One more reading lesson for you! This time for the upper elementary crowd.  Jen from Hello Mrs. Sykes shares some great tips for supporting struggling readers.

Bonus! Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher shared this super cute freebie at Owl-Ways be Inspired.  Hope you have a fang-tastic day today!

October 4, 2014

Silhouette Tutorial and a Sale

Happy Saturday all!  I shared a picture of some letters I cut out on my Silhouette on Instagram recently and got several questions on how I made these with my Silhouette.  I love these letters with the white border so much that I'll probably do this even when I'm now using a sketchy style font.  It really makes them pop on my bulletin board.

Here's a quick tutorial on how I did this.

I needed these letters because I became completely obsessed with this bulletin board from The Tattooed Teacher and knew it had to be mine.
Rachel shared this on her Facebook page, and I feel in love with it.   Which means I had to shamelessly copy it.  Fans of RHONJ will understand.
Here's my version.  I love how it turned out!

I'm also having a little fall sale in my store this weekend.  20% off of my store to say Happy Fall Y'all!  I used my Gobble mini set to quickly make this graphic.  It's also in my Mini Sets Through the Year bundle.

September 27, 2014

Happy Saturday and a Freebie

Happy Saturday bloggy friends!  Lots to be happy about around here.

I gave my self a little makeover on my design site, A Bird in Hand Designs.
I loved the colors so much that they had to become a paper set.  So, here's a little freebie for you:
And if you own any of my Retro Brights items, the coral, pink, orange, and yellow coordinate with that set!

September 25, 2014

Small Group Resources I Love

I am working with 1st-4th grades in small groups for reading, so I need a wide variety of resources.  Here are few faves that I purchased recently:
Cannot say enough about Jen Jones products.  I have a borderline obsession/love for all of Jen Jones' resources.  Her Hello 411 Close Reading sets are so good I bought Volume 1 and Volume 2.  Each article comes with a teaching points page and several comprehension activities.  They are lovingly organized in their own accordion folder.  I may have pet it a few times.
You don't have to print them in color, but I chose to.  I have no resources for this position.  I bought them and laminated them myself, so I figured the school was cool with me color printing them.  Right?  Nod your head in agreement.

Another idea that I wish was mine.  Luckeyfrog's Lilypad has monthly sets of these Super Text Detectives in her shop.
She has a freebie in her TPT store, so you can get an idea for yourself of how awesome these are.

And last but not least, these sound boxes cards from Laura Martin.  Another product I printed in color.  Let's hope our tech person is not reading this post.
These are great for so many ways.  Obviously it's good for recording sounds, but with younger readers, you could fill in the vowel and work just on beginning or ending sounds.  You could use these for a pushing pennies activity to help them practice isolating sounds.  For a literacy center, you could give them a variety of vowel sounds to first sort, then record.

Did I mention I love them?  There are more cards here and here that have gone on my wish list.

September 17, 2014

Get Insta{gram} Pretty

There are several apps I love to use for Instagram, but they also work for Facebook, texting pictures, whatever!

I had fun making some pretty pictures to share in my Rhonna Designs app.  I love the backgrounds from the Cuptakes app to start of my pictures.  Here's a break down on each picture:
Cuptakes background, white square with some transparency, text, text with a shadow, and a graphic.

Cuptakes background, two graphics, text, and text with shadow.  (Hint-the hello graphic did not have the white filled in hello.  It was "empty" so the background was showing.  I just put two white squares behind it.)

Can you tell I was excited about this meet up?
Cuptakes background, white stripes element layered on top, giant banner (there is no rectangle, so I made a banner too big to fit on the screen) with some transparency, text, and a graphic element.

Mix fonts (a block and script or fun font are good mixes), play with colors, have fun!  Sit down for a while and play with it.

PicStitch is another favorite Instagram app.  It's a fun way to put together pictures.  Like this one from a video my younger daughter made on JibJab.  Because dancing dogs in a wig need to be on Instagram.

I also like to share my blog designs but don't want to spam Instagram by sharing them constantly.  I use PicStitch as a way to condense that.

Don't Instagram?  Well, why the heck not?  Okay, I actually know why not.  I thought it was dumb for a long time.  I had Facebook, so an Instagram must be redundant, right?  Oh so wrong, my friends.

Following teachers on Instagram is a million times better than on Facebook (in my overly enthusiastic opinion).  It's more like your teacher friends at school.  With your school teacher friends, you know the lessons they are teaching, their great organizational tips, what they did over the weekends, and where they bought that cute new bracelet.

That is Instagram.  Swoon.  Getting started on Instagram?  Start off by following a few of your favorite bloggers.  Gradually you'll find more and more bloggers you love.  Already on Instagram?  Leave a comment to tell others why you love it!

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