Sunday, March 31, 2013

Surprise Sale!

At the last minute I decided to have a sale at my TpT store. Everything is 10% off TODAY only. Please click the TpT gadget on the right and browse the good deals.

You might also browse other stores at TpT as many are having sales this weekend. It is hard to believe we are already a quarter of the way through 2013!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Shared Storytelling

My family and I played a fun shared storytelling game the other night. We went around the circle adding anywhere from one word to a full sentence to the story. It was a great way to practice storytelling. I wish we would have recorded the story! Shared verbal storytelling is a great way for students to practice storytelling and get their creative juices flowing. They can think more deeply about the story elements because they do not have to consider spelling, neat handwriting, and all the other things they need to focus on when writing. Shared storytelling is also great for getting ideas from others. The story never turns out how you think it will!

Having just completed a 16 page character study unit (available in my TpT store), my mind was focused on the characters in our story. It was fun to see the variety of characters especially as we drew from other stories. The possibilities are endless when your main characters are a frog prince, bugs bunny, and frosty the snowman! The laughter really helped the creative juices to flow! It was a challenge to make one cohesive story, but the twists and turns were exciting. The teacher in me kept thinking how great it would be to have students illustrating this story. Every time someone else added to the story I was thinking of how the details changed my perspective of the characters.

Have you tried shared storytelling in your classroom?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Character Study Pack!

After days of intending to work on creations, I finally got the spark I needed!  I spent the entire afternoon working on my lastest resource.  Once I started I just couldn't stop!  I am proud to introduce to you my Character Study Pack for Grades 2, 3 and 4!
My hope is that it will help your students to become deeper thinkers as they analyze the traits, feelings, and actions of characters.  In the pack you will find 16 pages to print for students to use with any book.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the product!
I hope you had a productive Wednesday too!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Celebrating the success of others!

I have joined the Pinterest bandwagon. Then, I made a Facebook page and blog. Next, I fell in love with linkies! Now I have fallen for giveaways. I have never been a very lucky person. In fact, I have only won one prize so far in my life and that was just this past summer. So, per chance that I am still lucky, I have entered some giveaways! I also love giveaways because it is a great way to celebrate the accomplishments of others. I love seeing how teachers just like me are making their way in Internet communities such as TpT, Pinterest, and blogs! Congratulations to all of these bloggers celebrating 100 followers!
 Click the image to go to the giveaway! Hurry before they end!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Taking a Pinterest Approach to my Email

With my attention more on Pinterest and blogging, my email inbox has suffered. My iPad makes it easy to reply to emails as they come, but I have found that I am not taking the few extra taps to archive my emails in their proper folders. So today on my Spring Break, I am spring cleaning my email inbox instead of creating new TpT products, knitting, or anything else fun!
How did my inbox get to be this messy? After reflection, I think it is because I take a Pinterest approach. I allow the most recent things, the things still on my screen to take my attention and I forget that there are other important things buried. I need to be as diligent about saving emails to their appropriate folders as I am about pinning interesting products to their proper boards. I will be making new folders and sorting each and every email today in the hopes that tomorrow I can start fresh!
Hopefully this weekend and next week I will be ready to polish up and publish some blog posts and products!
What are your tips for managing your email inbox?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Loving Linkies!

I love linking up on other blogs.  Linkies are great ways to find new blogs and great ideas!  Today I linked up on the following linkies:

And last, but not least 


My favorite (recent) Pinterest finds:
(all images are linked, so click away!)

 You can follow me on Pinterest to see more of my awesome finds! And be sure to visit the linkies (linked through the buttons above) for more great ideas.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Educents. Saving money makes cents!

Educents is an online start up opening officially in April. If you subscribe now for FREE they will email you a $15 giftcard to use when they open! I just received mine! Follow this link to register and receive your free $15 gift card!
(Thank you to Open Wide the World for telling me about it!)

Now to try my first linky! Link up the great ways you save money as a teacher.

My plates are spinning!

I absolutely love my job, TpT and all of my personal hobbies, but recently I have had a hard time juggling it all.  It seems like recently it has been all work and no play here.  We all need some time to relax or we will drop one of the spinning plates.  I do not like who I am when I am stressed by too much on my plate.  I need to stop thinking I can do it all.  I need to find a balance between work and relaxation, as well as letting others help me get my work done.  I am so thankful to K. Almaraz at Our Future is Bright for helping me take a step back today. She created a beautiful new banner for me.  It is already up on my Facebook page and I hope to add it here during Spring Break next week. Community is an important theme for me and I have to realize that that often means letting others help out.  The world of social media and technology in education is fascinating to me, but it is useless if it is not helping up become better connected and supportive of each other.  Please leave your tips for maintaining balance in your life.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teacher as Learner

To learn, we must first admit that there is something we do not know, something that we still need to learn. As a teacher, this can be a big ego buster. Teachers often have the impression that they must know everything or at least so much more than their students that they are never caught without a ready answer. I openly admit to my students that I am still learning, that in fact, I will learn for the rest of my life. I also tell them that they have such amazing brains and ideas that they sometimes ask questions that I do not yet have the answer to, but I will be more than happy to learn the answer with them! I think a teacher who is willing to respond, "I don't know, but let's learn together," is a teacher who demonstrates what it means to be a life long learner. When teachers have this orientation, students also feel free to admit that they have a lot to learn. Teachers and students dedicate themselves to continually learning. Each day teaching is a new learning adventure and each class creates a new learning community.
How do you feel about telling students you don't know the answer?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I am an Ohio blogger!

I am an Ohio blogger!  Though, I currently teach in Guatemala and I was born and raised in Illinois!  I went to college in Ohio and fell in love with the area.  My dream job is to return to Ohio to teach.  I have linked up at Fifth in the Middle.  There you will find blogs organized by state.

As I mentioned above and in my profile, I am currently teaching English as a Second Language to poor and orphaned children at a boarding school in Guatemala.  It has been an amazing experience so far.  The thing that has impressed me the most is how eager the students are to learn.  The year is almost over and yet they are still overly eager.  Every day I have students ask if it is their class' day for English class.  (Yes, they all know the schedule we have kept since the beginning of the year).  They even ask to have classes on Saturdays!  In a subconscious way, these young children know that getting an education is a privilege in their country. The more these students learn, the more opportunities they will have for the rest of their lives.  I am humbled to be their teacher and I have changed as a result of my experience here.
Teaching in a different culture has helped me hone my personal teaching style as I have had to think deeply about the ways in which my teaching style is different from the traditional teaching style here.  Perhaps more about teaching style in a later post!
I officially welcome you to my blog!  I am looking forward to the community we will make here that will stretch from state to state and around the world!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


When I was 8 years old, I made a promise to myself to become a teacher in honor of my stellar second grade teacher and my grandparents (of who 3 out of 4were teachers). My second grade teacher captured my heart through her love of reading and deep understanding of my individual needs.  She inspired me to love learning not just in second grade, but also for the rest of my life. To me, that is the mark of a superior teacher.

I was so inspired by her that, on career day, when she assigned us to dress paper dolls to look like what we wanted to be when we grew up, I made a doll to look like her.  Ever since that day, I have kept that doll and that dream to be just like her.

Her inspiration was so deep that I kept my focus on my dream to be a teacher through high school and college.  I graduated in May of 2012 from Kent State University summa cum laude with a degree in Early Childhood Education.  It was then, 14 years after second grade that I looked up my second grade teacher.  Though she had retired, the elementary school was still able to pass my email along to her.  After waiting a few weeks, I finally received an email from her and an offer to meet for coffee! Seeing her and sharing teacher talk and resources with her was a dream come true.

Not only am I living my dream of being a teacher, but I have also kept the passion for learning that she gave me.  As I have been looking back on my career as a student and looking ahead to my career as a teacher, I have noticed that I have always been a teacher.  I always offered to help my peers that were struggling.  I often started study groups in college.  Since my junior year of high school, I have been employed as a tutor.  Teaching is so deeply engrained in my nature that I have always been and will always be a teacher to those in my life.  I believe that we learn most deeply when we teach others and in order to teach others deeply we must be willing to be continually learning. As teachers, we are always learning new information and new ways to explain content to students.  My passion for teaching will be forever fueled by my lifelong passion for learning.  Forever a teacher, forever a learner!