Friday, June 26, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Dare to Dream

This week for the summer TpT Seller Challenge, the topic is Dare to Dream. My hopes and motivations for joining the teacher blogging community are to do just that: be a part of the community. These dreams don't necessarily reflect my dreams as they pertain only to TpT. As I see it, the TpT, Instagram, Facebook, blogging and Twitter world of teachers is all intertwined. So, my dreams relate more to that community, rather than just as a seller with TpT. Yikes - I hope I'm not breaking any rules!

I just finished my third year in my first grade classroom. In that three years, I've learned a lot - more than I ever imagined. I've grown into a confident teacher with my own ideas. One of the reasons I haven't yet immersed myself completely into this community is that I hadn't yet truly identified myself as a teacher. I didn't feel confident with my ideas and my philosophies. I'm to the point where I am comfortable with myself as a teacher, and I'm ready to learn and share completely with this amazing community of teachers.


In my experience, teaching is one of only a few careers in which the professionals are in a constant state of learning, growing and changing. Truly, teachers never stop! Even just a quick scroll through my Instagram feed confirms that teachers are always reading, researching and creating to better their teaching environments. Part of my dream is to continue to learn and grow into the best teacher that I can be. 


Beyond creating resources to share on TpT, I want to comfortably and confidently share small bits about my teaching style that make my classroom unique or more effective. This is a big goal for me - to be able to pickup on characteristics of my classroom that can truly be beneficial for others.


Even further than confidently sharing, I think that it would be just so fantastic if I were able to inspire just one person to better his or her classroom environment. I am so passionate about teaching and doing the best for every single child. By learning and sharing, I hope to continue to grow into a successful professional who's able to help, guide and inspire another teacher. 

So, there you have it - a quick peek into my motivation and desires with my TpT and blogging journey. To look at others' dreams, check out this week's links

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Teaching Quirk

Quirks. Oh, boy.

There is not enough space in all of the dub dub dub (world wide web) to describe my quirks. As my very favorite teaching friend The Crazy Schoolteacher once told me, "It will take a special, special man to put up with you and all of  your quirks for the rest of his life." Seriously. That happened.

So, naturally, I'm linking up with I Heart Grade 3 and her Weekly Summer Link-Up. This week, you guessed it, is all about teaching quirks!

I'm sure that my first grade teammates, my past students and their parents can tell you a laundry list of quirks about me as a teacher. But, I'll narrow it down to two quirks.

Quirk #1

The first teaching quirk that comes to mind is my classroom signals. My other first grade teachers make comments regarding my signals. "Oh, I bet you have a signal for that!" Seriously, whatever they're referring to, I do probably have a signal. In my classroom, I love signals! Why would I want to interrupt our learning flow to address something silly like allowing a child to use the restroom? Also, with signals, students can express their very, very, very, very important ideas without us interrupting our learning twenty-six times. Most of the signals each year arise naturally, and they're often kid-created. For example, this past year, I found myself saying "It's your job to worry about you. It's my job to worry about everyone." So, finally, one day, I said that I was tired of saying that all the time. The students suggested that we come up with a signal. So, voila! We decided that when I tapped my brain and then my chest, it meant, "Worry about yourself."

That's just one example! We have signals for bathroom breaks, pencil sharpening, "I'm thinkin' what you're thinkin'," "I didn't know that!," and sooo many more. Signals help keep our learning flowing naturally, and it helps reinforce our classroom community with signals that act as "talk moves" and help us to deepen our discussions.

Quirk #2

The other big teaching quirk that sticks out to me is my overuse of the word "friends." I refer to my students as "friends." I didn't realize this until last school year after my principal was in my classroom for an observation. At the end of the day, as we were walking to the buses, I heard my principal call a group of students "friends." Then, she said, "Oh! I just called you all 'friends' - I sound just like Miss Cannady!"

I assume that this quirk came about because I do not like addressing my students as "kids." I certainly am not a fan of "kiddos." Please, don't hate me if you're a kiddo-er. It's just not my cup of tea.

I use this word without even knowing that I'm doing it now -- both in and out of the classroom, among children and adults alike. The cashier at Hobby Lobby? She's a friend. The baseball player on TV? He's a friend. The crazy lady pumping gas in her pajamas and wet hair? Also a friend. My actual real-life adult friends? Yes, I call them friends. Out loud. To their faces. Oops.

What's YOUR teaching quirk? Can you pick just one?

Monday, June 15, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Makeover Madness

Happy Monday!

I am so excited to begin the TpT Seller Challenge! I've recommitted myself to my blog and TpT store for the summer, and this challenge came about and provided the perfect opportunity to do just that!

The first week's topic is Makeover Madness! The challenge is to choose an existing product in your TpT store that could definitely use a makeover. Well, friends, I chose two items to makeover this week. You can call me an overachiever. I won't be offended.

The first product I gave a little facelift to is my very first product EVER on TpT! When I look back at this product, I just want to cover my eyes. Yikes! I'm sure that many of you TpT sellers out there can relate to this!

I updated the cover (woah, nelly, did that need to happen badly!), and I also changed the fonts and the layout of each game's page. I'm thinkin' the new version looks a little bit more user-friendly with the dice images, rather than the words at the top of each column. The updated version now includes color pages, as well as black-and-white friendly options!

The second product to which I gave a makeover this week was my first paid product on TpT! I simply gave this product's cover a facelift. I'm loving the new look!

My entire store is now on sale through Thursday, June 18! Yay!

If you're interested in other teachers' makeovers this week, click here!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five for Friday

Happy, happy summer to all of my friends!
I've had two full weeks of summer, and I have loved every second! Here are a few fun random tidbits from my summer so far!

The very first day of summer, my teaching team worked together to plan out our curriculum map for the upcoming school year. We like to do this while we are still in school mode. I was really proud of us! We planned out all of our literacy units, matched up our science and social studies standards with the units. Yay, us! 

Then, of course, because I am a control freak like to be helpful, I compiled all of our ideas into one place for us to have and cherish during the year. 

After three years of trying, my teammate finally convinced me to clear out my teacher's desk from my classroom. To be honest, I am a fan of having my own space. Don't get me wrong, my classroom is totally kid-friendly and it's all of their mess. But, I do like having my own little slice of heaven in the corner of my classroom. 

Last week, I decided to clean the desk out and realized that all of the stuff inside was stuff that I rarely used! OR, it's stuff that doesn't really belong there. There may or may not have been an entire drawer dedicated to Goldfish crackers and Peanut Butter M&Ms. You won't tell anyone, will you? 

There will definitely be another blog post on this topic later in the summer, once my school's tech guy gets my new computer area set up! 

With my team's work day session, we also divided up all of our typical copies for the beginning of the school year. We also decided to give a facelift to our portfolio pieces. I'm currently working on these to make them look a little bit more modern and make them more uniform. Here's a peek at a student self-reflection for math! 

My last two tidbits are not school related. Let's face it, every teacher needs a little non-school fun during the summer! 

I found these t-shirts for one of my dearest friends' son. He turned 12 last week, and he's a huge fan of silly t-shirts and of course, zombies. I may or may not have laughed out loud when I was in the store. So, naturally, I was giddy as I watched him unwrap his gift! He loved them!

This week, my second family went strawberry picking. I am so thankful that they didn't invite me - I am not one for much manual labor [insert charming laughter here]. They did, though, invite me to help bake yummy treats to use the mass amounts of strawberries. Here's a quick picture of my favorite treat we made - fruit pizza! 

Now, this high quality of photo does not happen all by itself. It's a direct result of strawberry-stained fingers and a request of a 10-year-old taking the picture with your phone. In his words, he was trying to be "artistic." He failed. Oh, well. It was still delicious!