Monday, June 22, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge {Week 2 Dare to Dream}

I am loving this TPT Seller Challenge linky! I've already gotten so many great tips from fellow bloggers! It's been very helpful! This week is all about dreaming big... It's a time to reflect and think about what you want out of TPT, blogging, etc. Here's a reason why I started blogging and selling on TPT... When I do something I put my whole heart into it! Whether it's decorating my classroom, doing a science experiment with my class, or planning a lesson, I always go above and beyond. It's not because I'm trying to be an "over-achiever", I just really like my job! When I first learned about TpT I was in college. Right away I knew it was something I wanted to do because I love creating things! Especially in those college classes where you had to create games and activities for reading or math. I loved it! I live in Oklahoma, and last time I checked we were 48th or 49th in the country for teacher pay rank. Teacher's do not get paid for their creativity that's for sure. That's why I love TPT... Oklahoma might not appreciate the time and energy spent creating something for students, but other teachers do, and that's why TPT is such a great place for teachers. It should be called Teachers Supporting Teachers, because really that's what it is. We are willing to buy from fellow teachers because we know the time and effort put into products. We know our money isn't being wasted to someone who hasn't taught a day in their life and is charging ridiculous amounts for curriculum materials. Not all companies are bad, but you know where I'm coming from! That stuff is expensive and is often times lacking! Now, blogging.... Again, I started following teacher blogs in college. I think the first blogs I followed were Mrs. Jumps Class, The First Grade Parade, and First Grader At Last. I fell in love. I just loved what these teachers were doing. I loved the collaboration, and the passion for teaching they shared through blogging.  What I love about blogging and seeing what other teachers do around the globe is getting new ideas. It's free professional development if you ask me! I've learned more from fellow teacher-bloggers than anything else. So anyway, now that you know why TPT and blogging is a dream come true for me already, let's look at bigger dreams.....

Teachers get a bad rep for being on the bottom when it comes to pay. You kind of get pitied by others that are equally successful but have a better paycheck. Like, yuck a teacher salary, no thanks! I don't want that.. I wouldn't trade my job for anything. I went to school to be a teacher because I wanted to be a teacher! I knew what kind of pay I would get. It wasn't a big newsflash when I got my first job or anything. How much I love my job though, makes up for the pay. As my TPT store grows I have been dreaming big with it.
First of all, I love to travel. I would live in a shack the rest of my life if it meant I could see the world. I think life is short. There's so much of this world I want to see and experience. I don't want my "teacher salary" to be a reason I can't. I'm hoping that TpT allows me to travel with my husband and future family. Traveling is so good for the soul.
Secondly, family.. Kind of a broad topic. When my husband and I start our family, I want to be able to give my children wonderful memories like going to the beach,  Disneyworld, and getting to go to whatever college they want. Maybe I could even get to be a stay-at-home mom... Though right now I have no desire to leave the classroom, but if I had babies that would be an awesome opportunity to get to stay with them while they're little. They're only little once....
Last, opportunities to broaden my career. I want to be able to present at conferences one day, or visit other schools.. I don't want to limit myself. I'm hoping TPT and blogging will get me out there and help present opportunities to do different things. I think trying new things keeps you motivated!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Makeover Madness {Linky}

I am linking up with with Third in Hollywood, Sparkling in Second, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Teach Create Motivate in the Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Challenge. I'm so excited about this linky! Being new to TpT and blogging it is great to link up and share ideas with other teachers. This week has been about Makeover Madness. Looking at an old product that needs a little TLC. I chose my first product, A-Z Letter Recognition because I thought it was lacking a lot. I didn't like the cover page and work pages were boring. I also only had it in a  D'Nealian version, which is annoying if that's not the handwriting you teach. So I did a total makeover for this whole product! AND for the rest of the week my entire store is on sale!!! Great time to get some goodies for back-to-school!

TPT Seller Challenge!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Reflect and Refresh {LiNkY}

I am linking up with Mrs. D's Corner! As I said yesterday, I've really been reflecting on my first year teaching K. What to do differently, what really works, and new things to try. I really like changing things up and very seldom will you see me doing the same thing over and over.

Communication: My kids have three-ring binders where they put their work each day to take home and it also serves as a way to communicate with parents. I have a weekly newsletter that goes in the binder as well as a daily behavior log that has to be signed each day. This works really well as far as staying in touch, but it seemed I was always franticly rushing at the end of the day to get folders signed and sent home. I'd like to try something different but I just don't know what! I'd like to send e-mails because it would be so much easier and save so much time and ink. I'm going to have to see how many parents can access the internet, that would be my only drawback with that. If you have any ideas for me on what to do, please share!
Organization: Luckily I spent a week right after school was out completely reorganizing everything from art supplies to my classroom library. It really needed some organization. What I'd like to do though this year is find some tubs and color code them for centers. I watched a video at the Kindergarten Smorgasboard on how Mr. Greg manages centers. It was really amazing. He has a spin wheel that lets the kids know what center that are working at and the center groups are color coded. He had a tub full of literacy/math activities for each week depending on the group's level. For example, the pink group (could be your strugglers) would have activities in their center tub that is appropriate for them, where the blue group) higher level will have different activities. If your group was supposed to go to a lit center then you'd grab your groups tub and take to the table. One group might be working on letter recognition while another group is ready for sounds. I really liked this idea because during my small group time it always seemed that someone was up from another group asking me how to do something, I'm hoping this helps with that.
Content: I am so excited to not have to use my basal reading curriculum this year. This year I am approved to get to use Deanna Jump's Guiding Readers Curriculum. I tried it out in January and February and fell in love! It's so on key, the stories are great, and it provides the right amount of rigor. I'm so excited for this!
Summer Projects: My main focus right now is getting ready for Vegas. I'm so excited to go to the I Teach K conference and TpT conference for the first time ever! I've been wanting to go for so long. I can't wait to meet my fav bloggers and make new blogging friends! After Vegas it's time to get back in the classroom! I'll be getting my room ready for another great year! We start school August 4!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher...{LiNkY}

Right now I've been reflecting on my first year teaching Kindergarten. There were many things that went great that I can't wait to do again, and there are some things that I need to work on. Luckily this Link-up is packed-full of very helpful tips and tricks from tons of K- teachers.... I love Kindergarten. It's the best. I love experiencing so many "firsts" for kiddos. First time they read a word to their first book, how independent they become, and just seeing them grow. Teaching Kindergarten may seem like a nightmare to some, but to me it's a blessing. Even though I am a first year teacher, I do have a few tips that I hope you can relate to or that you may take with you into your next (or first) year teaching Kindergarten!

1. First let me begin by saying that my mother teaches first grade. I remember sitting in her class one day visiting her (I think I was in high school) and she was lining her kids up to dismiss them to go home. As each student walked out the door she gave them a hug and told them she loved them. I asked her why she did that, just to hear her response though I knew, and she said "this might be the only time they ever get to hear that". That really stuck with me. I don't think a day went by at school when I didn't tell my kids I love them. It really is so true. I want my classroom to be a safe place where they go to learn and to feel loved. I want their parents/guardians to know that they are with someone who genuinely cares for their child. A lot of children go home to very broken homes, they may get tossed around  to different people, or go through custody battles that are messy, etc. I want to have a consistent relationship with them where they come in to my room, have a great day, and the last thing they hear when they leave my room is that someone loves them.
2. We have a lot of GoNoodle time in my classroom. I think mini breaks are very essential in Kindergarten because they need to move their little bodies as often as they can. If you are familiar with GoNoodle then you know that is full of funny dances and songs to get kids moving and laughing! Sometimes during GoNoodle I'm transitioning for the next activity. But most the time, I'm busting a move with Koo Koo Kangaroo, doing yoga with Maximo, or "running like a kitty kitty". Why? The kids love when you join in with them! They think it is awesome that their teacher is being just as silly as they are. Also, It's a bit of stress-reliever if you ask me! Don't be scared to be silly!
3. If you ask your students if they remember doing that super cute Thanksgiving sight word practice worksheet you created for them, you'd probably get a bank stare. But if you ask them if they remember doing that awesome science project during the first weeks of school with the Mentos and the Diet Coke, their eyes will light up and they will be so ecstatic to tell you all about it! We love doing AS MUCH hands-on learning as we can in my class. Whether it's writing our sight words in shaving cream, various science projects, or simple sidewalk chalk CVC words, they are glued! They absolutely love putting that pencil down and learning outside the box. Even though it's easy to make a run to the copier than busting out the shaving cream, try to make time to do things like this in your room. I started doing Worksheet-Free Wednesdays last year, second semester after seeing a post from Elizabeth Hall about it. My kids looked forward to that day so much!!!
4. Just like Sharing Kindergarten said, it is so important to pray for students. Most of the time I pray in my car on my way to school. I pray for us as a class, me as their teacher, the ones who I know are going through struggles at home, and anything else that comes to mind. My morning prayer usually goes like this. Keep in mind I'm probably speeding and trying to chug down coffee while praying haha.... "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity to work  at this school and with these amazing students. Lord please help me do the best for my students today. Lord please be with my kiddos today and help them to be on their best behavior (never hurts right?), and if they aren't please help be very patient. Lord please be with those that are going through hard times at home and help me have understanding for their behaviors and be able to help them with whatever it is they're going through. Lord please make sure my kiddos feel loved at home and know that you love them and are there for them. Thank you for leading me to be a teacher." And all Gods K Teachers said? Amen!!!