Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Would you ever consider a job change?

It has been a stressful  the last couple months trying to decide if a job change was what I needed if I was going to stay in the teaching profession.  The classroom is getting more and more challenging and I feel that I do not have the support and resources needed to effectively meet the needs of ALL my students.  Behavior needs, learning needs, emotional needs, and curricular needs are just a few reasons I have felt like a failure the last two years.

  Have I met the majority of needs of my students? Absolutely, but what bothers me are the students I know need extra help, yet the system we need to go through that basically just delays the inevitable. These students needed help that was not provided due to not enough "data."  Data is something I believe in, but when a first grader cannot write their name, cannot rhyme, and forgets where the bathroom is then do we really wait 18 weeks to decide if they need intensive instruction? 

Anyway,  I have made the jump into a new position.  I took a job as an elementary interventionist in a new district recently.  I will be able to work with the student population that I want to help most, the struggling learner.  I am excited to be able to teach both reading and mathematics so if I do have that urge to go back to the classroom then I would be able to do so.  I am nervous to start this new chapter in my life, but sometimes change is good....

See this product in my store by clicking : Back to School Math and Literacy
In order to celebrate my new journey, I would like to host a giveaway.  I would like to choose two people to win my 77 page, 16 activity Back to School math and literacy packet (above)that has great activities that will fit in perfectly for the first few weeks of school.  All of my products are classroom tested and kid approved!  I aim to create low prep, engaging, and interactive activities that are common core aligned.   To win this product just comment here telling me why you would like to win this product and list an email where I can send the product if you are chosen to win.  If you are not chosen I will have this product in my store for only $4.00 until Friday (normally $8.50!!).  I will announce a winner late tomorrow night (Thursday).

Please do not hesitate to sign up to follow my blog, Facebook page, Pinterest, and my Teachers pay Teachers store so you do not miss out on my future giveaways and discount products.  Here is the business card I recently created:
Front of the card

Back of the card with QR code links to my Pinterest, Blog, Facebook Page, and TpT store.

Thanks and take care,

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Experience at the TpT Conference in VEGAS!!!!

I want to start out by saying that I am not one to spend money on wants v. needs.  I put each and every one of my family member's needs ahead of my own...... Until 6 weeks ago when I begged/convinced my husband that I needed to go to the TpT conference in Vegas.  Did I need to go? Absolutely not, but I wanted to go so bad.  I even booked a flight that flied out late Thursday night and flew back late Friday night and of course prepped meals so my husband would have next to no effort feeding my children.  

My first session was with THE Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills.   I cannot tell you how friendly, bubbly, and down to earth these two are!  I wanted to get seats up front so I could see and I ended up sitting behind Erica Bohrer (my idol creator)!!!!! Other big $$ sellers were also right in front of ME!  This session taught me that I need to go through my older products and make updates. I knew I needed to do this, but when Deanna and DeeDee tell me then the motivation magically appears : ).  I know the picture is not the best, but Deanna moves constantly when she presents and this was the best picture I could get. Bless her though, because so many people came up to her and asked for pictures and she never once hesitated when she agreed.  

Session 2 was with Laura Candler, The Facebook Master.  I do have a Facebook page, but after listening to Laura I know that I need to take more time posting to help increase my sales.  I have been absent for a few hectic months and I am energized and ready to make more of a commitment!!  I could not get a good picture of Laura due to where I was sitting, but I learned so much in this session.  She also the current Facebook changes and how few people your posts actually reach only 5% of your followers.  Quality posts will be shared by others and that is how you reach a greater audience. 

My third session was with Rachel Lynette ( soon to be the next teacher millionaire!!).  Where do I start? Rachel is a fun, tell it how it is kind of person!  She is very entertaining and very knowledgable.  She talked about smart marketing (direct and indirect marketing), attracting buyers to your store,  and effective networking.

Erin Cobb ( )of I'm Lovin Lit was the last presenter I saw.  She attracted me to her session because she has only been selling since April 2013 and is already one of the top sellers!! She handed out pens and a CD with a variety of clip art and origanizational documents. Erin is absolutely amazing and the fact that her husband quit his job to support her and to be Mr. Mom is heartwarming.  Her story is very inspirational and gave me hope that maybe I can do better than I am now, but not without hard work. 

I met so many wonderful people in just one day that I really wish I could have went back another day.  The number of people I met and talked to was so unbelievable.  I felt so welcome, even though I did not know a single person there I certainly left with the start of many friendships.  

Here are three names and blogs of some special and wonderful people I met:
Michelle Lenahan of Lendahand's Printables :
If you teach from the reading street reading curriculum then you do not want to miss her store. Colorful and creative products that align to the Common Core!  Just click on the TpT link from her blog.

Donna Boucher of Math Coach's Corner:
When I met Donna it was like I have died and went to heaven!! Her products are amazing and I have been following her for a while now.  She was attending another conference in Vegas and came to the keynote speech. She happened to sit right by me and we hit it off right away.  I honestly do not believe she gets nearly enough credit she deserves. 

Erica Bohrer of Erica's Edventures, 
I am sure you all know her by name, but if you have not checked out her blog postings or products then you should.  She is not the biggest name out there, but she knows a lot about everything (curriculum, design, technology....). She is teeny tiny and so very sweet. I approached her to say hello, and we ended up taking about the sessions we went to that day.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Currently

Hello once again and Happy April Fools Day!

I am always in such a good mood the eve of April 2nd.  I love my first graders, but if I have to listen to my students tell me that I am the meanest teacher ever or that I am the worst teacher they ever had and then say, "APRIL FOOLS."  I guess it could be worse and they could tell me that I am their favorite teacher ever and then say, "April Fools!" :). 

I am linking up today with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for the April version of Currently.  Here we go:

My son (almost 5) and youngest daughter (2 going on 11) are only two years apart and alike in many, many ways.  Tonight they are arguing about who wants what for their birthdays that are coming up.  Addalyn is teasing Easton about how toys he wanted are "girl" toys and Easton just is having one meltdown after another. 

I am officially signed up for the TpT sellers conference in Vegas this July.  I already know that Vegas in July is like Alaska in January, but so many successful sellers will be there,  Erica Bohrer, Deanna Jump, and Cara Carroll.  Early bird sign up ends Friday if you are interested. 

Being observed tomorrow as well as video taping my math lesson.  I love challenging myself when it comes to teaching and what better way than to have my principal observe me while I am being videotaped :).

We purchased this house in September last year, replaced everything, and now have it listed for rent.  We are in the process of scheduling showings and so far we have had 35 people showing interest.  We have it narrowed down to 3 people. 

The weather in Wisconsin has been rough this winter.  Cold, cold, and more cold.  Each day is the same.  We had two days of 50+ degrees and then today was 30 degrees and 20 miles an hour.  Depressing.........

I am contracted to be at school from 8:00-3:45 each day, but I like to get to school before 7am to make sure I have everything ready and there are not any lines at the copy machine or laminator!  After adding on two make up school days we will get out of school June 12 with students and June 13 for teachers. 

Well, that is all for today.  We have our 120 day of first grade celebration on Thursday and I will be back to post pictures later this week!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Currently

I would say that March is coming in like a lion here in Wisconsin.  I cannot remember when the temperature was above zero with the wind chill and when it is above zero we are getting dumped on with a snowstorm.  My children went to play outside today and the younger two got stuck in the snow because it is past their hips.....  I keep telling myself that it can only get warmer, I hope :).

I am a day late, but I am joining Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade with this month's currently post:

Duck Dynasty just cracks me up!  I love the humor on the show and how close the family is. 

I just finished up a math packet for TPT for the 120th day of first grade.  Our grade level chose to celebrate the 120th day of school.  This is going to work well for me since our 100th day of school always ended up w/in a day of Valentine's day.  One celebration a month is more than enough for me- Ha :). 
Find this on TPT
I am trying to create all of my Daily 5 centers for next month.  My students need more of a writing focus so I am trying to come up with fun writing activities.  I am also thinking of long vowel patterns, ABC order, noun v. verb v. adjective, and more of a sight word focus than I normally do.  Stay tuned......

We are going on a week of sickness in my household and my middle child still has not been sick yet.  I hope he is still healthy through tomorrow because he is getting tubes in his ears tomorrow morning.  He has had ear infection since December and antibiotics are not helping.  The poor kid cannot hear a thing with all that fluid in his ear.  I am praying this is the answer.
The sickness is 4 days worth of feeling miserable- fever, awful cough, and ear pain.  I am amazed at how little sleep I can actually function on :).

Spring Break is coming in a few weeks and I need that time to get my house in order.  We are close to finally getting a new bathroom!  I am also planning on organizing all the clothes and toys we are getting rid of this summer in a thrift sale. 

Have a great week! 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday

I am going to sound like a broken record, but I am once again apologizing for not posting more this school year.  I have this obsession of creating every extension lesson I do and that has taken a lot of my extra time. 

Well, it is Friday and another cold one at that.  I am going to start with my 5 for Friday from Kasey over at  Doodle Bugs Teaching

1.  I cannot believe this weather here in Wisconsin!!  We have been freezing all month.  Only 3 days of school called off this month, but only because we need the wind chill temp to be below -30 before school is called off.  I can honestly tell you that we have had about 10 days where the temp at the start of the day was between -25 and -29.  The other day it got up to 18 above zero and it seriously felt like a beautiful day.  I can only hope that the groundhog does not see his shadow this weekend :). 

2.  I mentioned my obsession with creating products to fit the needs of my current students.  Most of my efforts are towards math since many of my students struggle to get excited about math at the beginning of the school year.  My goal is to make learning and understanding our first grade learning concepts both fun and interactive. 

Pretzels used as sticks of ten and Fruit Loops used as ones to practice adding groups of ten and ones. 

My students loved this game working on a variety of different way to practice fluency in numbers to ten.  I saw this game in from Sandy Atkins and made my own dominos and recording sheets.  I am currently working on a new TpT product that has a variety of interactive games to practice this important concept.  I always send these activities home for parents to play with their child as well. 

3.  My daughter Madisyn has started competing in swim meets this season as a 7 year old.  I have to tell you that I think watching those 8 and under swimmers swim is one of the cutest things ever!  She has a great stroke for a first year swimmer, but will not listen to a word of coaching I have to say, despite the 15 years of coaching I have.......

Game Face!

So nervous for her first race!

Top swimmer

4.  I am piloting a new math program this school year before rolling out this program to the whole district next year.  Has anyone used the newest version of Math Expressions?  This math program is so impressive and best of all covers all the standards of the Common Core.  Our last math program lacked the fact fluency piece and Expressions hits it right where students need it. 

5.  I have posted two new products this past month.  The first product contains 11 ELA activities:

The second product contains 11 Math Centers/Activities all aligned to the common core. 
I am going to continue to post a free product I have created.  This product is a sample of my new Emergent reader product.  This product will help your students practice most of the pre-primer Dolch sight words in a fun and interactive way.  Click on the link below the picture for a sample of this product.   

Happy Friday and find time to enjoy the weekend :).

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hello? Remember Me?? :)

Hello once again!  I cannot believe it has been 4 months since my last posting.  I have been coaching high school girls swimming and believe it or not, I was a bit busy.  Now that the season is over I am going to list my top five for this last week!

1.  I am going to list all the preps (as in lessons I prep) I do each week.  I am feeling a bit rushed and that there is even less time in a day than usual and cannot figure out why.  I know I have three small children, coach swimming, and my husband is now coaching hockey an hour away, but I have been busy for a while so I decided to list all the activities I prep for each week.  I need your help and feedback!!!  How do you do it all and am I doing too much?  Keep in mind this is only the number of preps and does not include the copying, cutting, or organizing supplies.  I have not added up the minutes I spend prepping activities.  To be honest, I am a bit afraid to see the total number of hours.

-Morning meeting activity (5 preps/week
Math (5 preps/week)
Guided Reading ( 15 preps/ week ; 3 groups each day)
Daily 5 word work (2 preps/week)
Daily 5 Work on Writing (2 preps/week)
Daily 5 Listening response sheet (1 prep/week)
Writing (5 preps/week)
Shared Reading (5 preps/week)
Words Their Way (5 preps/week)
Handwriting (5 preps/week??  Not a lot of prep, but.....)
Social Studies/Science (5 preps/week)
Target Time (intervention block) (4 preps plus 2 preps on Mondays for math intervention during that time)
Interactive Read aloud ( I wish I had time to formally prep every day, but usually I have to try to combine with Shared Reading time.

I total 59 preps/week.  How many preps do you have to get ready for your week?  I am in the school building at least an hour before I need to as well as come in for at least three hours on the weekend.  I am not even going to include the time spent creating activities that I feel my students need........

2.  My oldest daughter started swim team this week.  I have to admit, I am so proud of her and so excited she is loving swimming.  My husband has now given up on her playing hockey and has moved on to Easton. 

3.  My swim team girls qualified for the Wisconsin State Swimming Meet (WIAA) last weekend.  This season was my first season returning to coach girls after coaching boys for the past 9 years.  These girls have never been to state or even believed they were good enough to get there.  Well, they got there and they shocked so many people in our conference and sectional!  I feel like a proud mama!!

4.  Check out what my husband bought.  It is hard to see, but it is in the back part of the yard.

He asked me if I would mind if he set up a batting cage in the back yard.  I agreed, only to find out that the cage is 16' x 72' feet!!!  It is huge and the pitching machine that came with it weighs almost 500 lbs and holds hundreds of baseballs and softballs.   I now know to ask specific details before saying yes to anything :)  He better hope at least one of our three children will play baseball or softball!!

5.  I finally finished two new products for TpT!!  I have a few struggling students in my first grade classroom so I created an Early Emergent phonics-based packet and also an Early Emergent sight word mini book packet.  I used both of these products with my students and both products have progress monitoring tools included.  Click on the link under each title page to see a preview.

Early Emergent # 1
Early Emergent Program # 1

Early Emergent # 2 Sight Word Mini Books

Monday, July 15, 2013

Liebster Award Recipient!!

After checking my email the other day I found out I was nominated for the Liebster award by Sara from Polka Dot Kinders.  I actually had to look up the award to see how I was nominated! 

Ok, so there are some rules to follow when you receive the Liebster award.  They are:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions by the blogger that nominated you
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for the bloggers whom you nominate
6. Contact the bloggers you nominate and let them know how to proceed

Here are 11 Random things about me.  I really am not that interesting so I hope I can come up with 11!!!! :).

1.  My husband and I were married in Vegas because I wanted to spend money on our mortgage rather than a wedding.
2.  I have three very active children, Madisyn-7 yrs., Easton- 4 yrs., and Addalyn- 2 yrs.
3.  I have been teaching for 13 years, 12 which have been in first grade. 
4.  I have been a high school swimming coach for 13+ years and after a year off I am going back to coach girl's high school this fall.
5.  I am a complete workaholic!  I get very little sleep and do not know how to relax!
6.  I have Celiac Disease and have been eating gluten free for almost 10 years now.  My oldest daughter is also gluten free.
7.  I am a very picky eater and could live on chicken and mashed potatoes. 
8.  I a state finalist for the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  I should find out if I am a national recipient soon!  Winners get to meet the president in Washington, DC. 
9.  We got our first pet last night- A hedgehog!!  It was not my first choice, but I have to tell you it is pretty cute :). 
10.   I have only been on Facebook since April 2013.
11.  Even though I do not cook well, my favorite reality show is Top Chef! 

Now, I get to ask 11 questions:
1.  How long have you been teaching and what do you teach?
-This coming year will be my 14th teaching.  I teach first grade and could not see myself teaching any other grade!!

 2.  What is your favorite thing about teaching?
-I absolutely love seeing the growth students make from the beginning of first grade to the end of each school year.

 3.  What is your favorite dessert?
-I usually pass up desert due to my gluten free diet, but just a simple piece of dark chocolate is good enough for me.  I usually prefer salty snacks over sweet ones.

 4.  What technology do you use in your classroom?
-I have a personal ipad that I will bring in the classroom, but other than that we have a document camera and data projector in our classrooms.  NO smartboard :(

 5.  How long have you been blogging?
-I have been blogging for almost two years now. 

 6.  Do you have a classroom theme?  What is it?
-I have had bright primary colors the last few years, but this year I am going with neon checker patterns.  I created new calendar pieces, word wall set, and table decorations.  I am excited to start something new.

 7.  What is the last good non-kids book you read?
-I have read a lot of professional development books this summer, but I am sad to say I have not read anything else.

 8.  What is your favorite children's book?  Why?
-I love all the Jan Brett books.  Her illustrations are amazing and extension activities and very engaging for my students. 

 9.  What is your must-have school supply?  Why?
-Mr. Sketch markers!!  They just make me happy when making anchor charts :)

10.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
-I would love to see Europe, especially Paris.  I visited Switzerland when I was in high school, but did not get to see any other countries.

11.  Where is your favorite place to shop?
-TpT!!  Sad to say, but true.  Between products and clip art TpT is hands down my favorite place to shop. 

Here are my 11 questions for the bloggers I nominate:
1.  If you could teach any other grade what grade would you teach?
2.  If you could choose any other profession what would you choose?
3.  If you have a blog design who was the designer?
4.  Do you spend the most time blogging, on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram?
5.  Do you think it is easier to have more boys in your classroom or more girls?
6.  What is your guilty pleasure?
7.  What is your favorite season and why?
8.  Has your district implemented The Common Core State Standards?
9.  Do you prefer to teach reading or mathematics?
10.  What is your favorite hobby?
11.  What TV show do you watch that you are a little embarrassed to admit?

And now to the blogs I am choosing to nominate!






Well that is all for today.  I will be back in a couple days to update all of you on my trip to Door County, WI and our new addition to our family :).