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Thursday, July 31, 2014

1500 Instagram Follower Giveaway!

I cannot thank everyone enough for their support! Since I started this blog in April, I have found so many teachers who share the same passion as I do. It is truly refreshing to be uplifted by such a fabulous group of people! Not only have I gained supportive friends and mentors, I have found great joy in creating and helping other teachers. Thank you for following along the way! 

 To celebrate, I have a giveaway for all of you! Thirty-four (Yes, 34!) wonderful ladies have generously donated products for this giveaway. People, it is JAM PACKED with resources! The winner will get this huge bundle of goodies along with the Winner's Choice/Store Credits AND a set of Custom Stationery! {HECK! I want to enter!} :)
Enter this giveaway at the links below. You will receive one entry for each teacher blog/store/Facebook page listed below. The more times you enter, the higher your chances are of winning! Good luck and THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Center Storage

Linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice today! Love Wordless Wednesdays...although this one isn't very wordless...ooopps!

This week I finally printed some of the things I have created this year.
 I started organizing my centers like this last year. We did literacy and math centers every day so I had A TON of activities and no where to keep them. Now I store my centers in plastic Ziploc bags. All the Ziploc bags go in a filing cabinet or the closet (depending on subject and topic). This is convenient for me & for early finishers who need to be kept busy!
 I print and laminate everything. I cut any extra white or lamination off of the big direction sheets. This way, they fit perfectly inside the zipper of the Gallon bags. Each activity has an individual bag that includes:
1) Anchor Charts
2) "I Can" Statement/Direction Sheet
3) Task Cards or Activities
4) One copy of the recording sheet for easy access.
Just grab it and make copies.

On Fridays before I leave, I grab the centers for the next week, take them out of the large bags, and put them in our center bins, like the one below. I leave the task cards in the small sandwich bags.
I keep the empty Gallon bags in a bin by my desk until I need to put them away again. Easy & cheap. If a bag rips, grab a new one!  

How do you store and organize your centers?

Be sure to link back up with other teachers!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Keynote - Those darn white borders!

So, I'm in LOVE with Keynote. I use both PowerPoint and Keynote to create. I just like the easy of Keynote better.

I am not a huge technology guru...When I finished my product and saved it as a PDF, I always got these thin white borders on the top & bottom. Strange, right? Annoying, yes. Plus, it's not good when selling products because then the person buying the product may have to cut extra stuff to get that ugly white off!
I had to find a solution, or else I was going back to my PowerPoint days. Cue - the technology guru from my previous school. Mr. Church saved me! He basically said that Keynote is not formatted to print on paper because it is a "presentation program", SO you have to make a custom paper.

He actually made this YouTube video to explain it to me. It is very easy to follow. Click the picture below to watch and learn! Be sure to do this BEFORE creating a product. If you do it after, you will have to move all of your objects, images, and fonts back into place. (Ain't nobody got time for that!)
I just had to share! I cannot possibly be the only one who doesn't know this. Right?!? I hope it helps some of you in your Keynote future! Enjoy. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bittersweet New Beginnings

Many of you have most likely changed schools a couple of times in your careers. However, it's a first for this newbie! After interning and teaching at a school where I felt at home, I am switching to a completely different environment.

Next year, I will be working in an administrative position as "Communications Director" for the private Christian elementary school I grew up in. I am SO excited for this new journey. I am blessed to be able to work in the environment that raised me from the time I was 2 years old until 5th grade. I am thrilled to be working with some of the same teachers (and the same principal!) from when I was in school. Sometimes it amazes me that I will be down the hall from the teacher who inspired me to teach. Such a great opportunity. 

It will also be a sort of...trial run. I want to continue to my Doctorate after I finish my Master's in May. However, I'm not sure if I want to work with adults in the future, or if I want to stay with the kiddies. I hope this job will give me the opportunity to find my calling, my niche.

But still, it is bittersweet. (and please excuse the sappiness to
Yesterday, I visited my old school to help one of my best teacher friends decorate her room and organize her book bins. I said hi to a few friends and informed others of my new position. I spent a few hours with her creating and organizing. I made sure to get a picture of my old room (through the window of the locked door).
This is what it looks like now. (This view killed my OCD self!)
But THIS is how I will remember it.

It makes me teary eyed just typing this. Maybe I'm emotional and over dramatic, but I think all teachers can sympathize with me here. We walk into these doors a million times each school year. We LIVE here. It's literally our (first) home...or at least I felt that way. We put our hearts into our jobs...

...and then we move on. And yes, it is wonderful that I have been offered this higher position, but I will miss my babies. As I left the school this afternoon, I slowly walked out to my car and sat for a while. Then, I saw one of my boys from last year. It was that kid who drives you NUTS, but who is your absolute favorite deep down. I stopped my car, said hi to his dad, and explained that I wouldn't be back this year. I didn't really have words to say for my former student. I just reminded him to be a great student next year, and to try his very hardest in 2nd grade. When I got back in the car, I bawled. This was the first time that I really got emotional over the whole thing. It sounds silly I guess, but I don't know, it just hit me. Just like that.

So now that I've had time to calm down and relax, I am feeling better. And don't get me wrong, I am very excited for this new "office job", but I am a teacher, and, at the end of the day, I always will be.

Monday Made It - 7/27/14

Yay! It's Monday! Linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for another Monday Made It!

This week has been a BUSY one, so most of my Made It's are digital based. I hosted by very first blog hop - FL Teacher Blog Hop - and though it did have a few kinks, it was successful overall. Accomplishment - I Made It! ...I know that's not a real Monday Made here we go...

I'm not teaching full time this year. I will be working in an administration position as Communications Director at the school I grew up in and teaching Character Education as a special. THEREFORE, these back to school type posts are killing me. Jealous. Jeal-to-the-ous. The teacher in me is just aching to decorate a classroom. Luckily, my good teacher friend from my old school is allowing me to help her. Here's what we made this week.
REACH for Success Posters! 
A little background: My friend's school has mandatory grade-wide themes this year. Third grade is cartoons. She was very concerned about not making her room look cheesy. Soooo after many days of thought, she decided on Smurfs. This way, she could use solid blue and red, polka dots, chevron, etc. without it looking crazy. (There will not be Smurf heads on the walls. lol)

She had the posters printed at Kinkos and then bought some $1 frames at the Dollar Tree.
We trimmed a bit of the blue off so that they would fit nicely in the frames.
 She wants them to hang above her Promethean Board, so we added ribbon. **Make sure the pieces of ribbon are the same length!** We hot glued the ribbon to the frame. Once in the classroom, she is going to add duct tape to the back also. You know, just in case that hot glue comes loose! 
 Then we cut up some ribbon to make bows. This was interesting... I had to look at a few different how-to's on Pinterest before making a bow that looked decent.
 We used thin white ribbon around the middle of the bow to attach it to the red ribbon.
 Trim off any excess...
And TA-DA! Beautiful, simple, kid-friendly posters to foster success in students.
Today after summer camp, I'm going to her classroom to help her hang them. I'll post a updated picture of that later. They are available in my TPT store if you are interested!
Again, this project was for the Smurf classroom theme. :)
I created some bunting to attach to the Dollar Tree mirror my friend bought. She's going to be teaching her kids using the 7 Habits of Happy Kids (Leader in Me), so we made this mirror to match.

It will say, "I can see a LEADER in me!" The kids can look into the mirror and feel confident in themselves.
We added thick white ribbon and thinner red ribbon as an accent off to the left side of the mirror.
 Then we cut the bunting out and estimated what it would look like. We wanted to wait until it was in the classroom to attach the letters.
Sorry guys, I again to do not have the final picture. Coming soon!
And finally, I made my favorite cover of all time yesterday.
I just think it's the cutest thing ever. I made this to take a mental break from creating my huge FL standard packs. Hopefully, I can finish those standards and then get back to creating fun stuff like this soon! People, it took me 18 different backgrounds and 3 different clipart varieties to get this down pat. I counted. Does anyone else spend this long on covers?

Go back to the link up to read about what other teachers have created!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Florida Teacher Blog Hop: Pictures, Freebies, & Giveaways!

Welcome to the Sunshine State! Enjoy yourself as you take a tour around our wonderful {and large!} state! Grab some freebies along the way, and be sure to enter to win our Bundles of Sunshine!
I have always lived in sunny South Florida. I moved to Coral Springs when I got married about a year and a half ago. Before that, I lived 30 minutes east, in Ft. Lauderdale, right by the beach. It was wonderful.
Ft. Lauderdale Beach
This beach was my second home growing up. My mom still practically lives there. Last year, we ran the Ft. Lauderdale Half Marathon together right on this road. It's such a beautiful place to enjoy the day, and the little restaurants across the street are just to die for!
Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall
Now that I live 30 minutes inland, which is more residential/suburban-like, I don't get to the beach as often {although I should!}. Coral Springs is known for being close to the Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. It's an outlet mall that has basically every store imaginable, restaurants, and a movie theater. The far west side of Coral Springs backs up to the Everglades. There's a fun bike path on the edge of the Everglades, that I would love to try sometime, but haven't yet. Each year, we take the kids on a field trip to different parks that run air boats on the Everglades. If you've ever seen the show Gator Boys...It's just like that. They kids LOVE seeing the wild plants, animals, and alligators!
The Florida Everglades
This weekend, we have freebies for you to enjoy! Stop by each of our blogs for an activity or idea to use in your classroom. I have not one, but TWO freebies for you. To grab them, just click the images below!
This freebie is so convenient when teaching opinion or persuasive writing! Plus, kids absolutely adore the book, Hey, Little Ant by Phillip & Hannah Hoose. 
And this freebie is a quote from the TpT Vegas conference. Deanna Jump is our teaching inspiration! Love her!

Also, check out my close reading packs. These are my absolute best sellers. They are all on sale for this weekend only! 
 Click the image above and be sure to check out the larger previews of these passages in my store! 
Here is an example of the larger previews. This is my brand new pack all about our wonderful state of Florida! It is on sale this weekend also!
The Florida teachers below have two fantastic giveaways for you! You can enter once from each one of our pages. All you have to do is follow my blog! Hop around to all the blogs listed below, and be sure to follow them to get more entries. The more entries you have, the more likely you are to win! Each pack also includes a Starbucks gift card (because, well, a teacher's gotta have a coffee!).

Come find out more about the beautiful state of Florida by reading about these other sweet teachers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - 7/23/14

Today I'm linking up with Christina over at Sugar & Spice for Wordless Wednesday!

This summer, I have been a creating machine! However, in my off time, I looovveee hanging out my our pool. I live in South Florida, and it rains every afternoon in the summer around 2 until 4. So I have to make sure I catch some rays before then. I MUST be tan before work starts up again!
Also, some {25!} of my FL teachers friends are joining me for a blog hop this weekend, July 25-27. I hope you'll stop by! We have TONS of freebies and 2 big giveaways!

What are you going to be doing in your last few days of summer?

Be sure to link back up with other teachers!

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