Friday, December 18, 2015

Five For Friday - Christmas Break Edition

What an amazing week - celebrating Christmas with our terrific third graders at school! 

So our staff started the tradition of "12 Days of Eating". This was completely new to our staff, but you maybe familiar with it. Groups of people (usually by grade level) are assigned a day to bring in snacks for the entire school's staff. At first, we thought it would be overwhelming, but oh my goodness it was SO nice not to worry about breakfast those days! (Even if the snacks weren't the healthiest....or breakfast foods for that matter - haha!) It's certainly something to try in any work situation! One of our assignments was the day of our staff holiday Christmas party (after school event). So I decided to take Buffalo Chicken Rollups . I found this amazingly simple recipe on Pinterest ( of course! ). Anyone else have a go-to EASY recipe you use for the holidays?

Polar Express Week! 
Oh how my kids NEVER get sick of hearing The Polar Express. We dedicated the entire week to activities based off the read aloud story, and we even decorated our grade level Christmas tree in a Polar Express theme! (Thank goodness for crafty grade level colleagues! - i.e not us!) We had our pajama party on Thursday to close our thematic unit. The kids LOVED having hot chocolate and Little Debbie Christmas Cakes as a treat! 

 Student Gifts: 
Oh, how we love Scholastic Points! Always...ALWAYS...ALLLLLLWAAAAYYYS send out a book order in Oct/Nov. This will build your points bank up to get some freebies for student gifts! Our kiddos have always loved receiving books for Christmas! We try to go for holiday themed books, but it doesn't always have to be holiday related - you could even go for the "popular" series (I'm sure whatever grade you teach...your students will tell you what's "cool"  to them...because I certainly don't feel like I know 1/2 of what's cool right now haha!) This year I went for Deck the Halls, We're Off The Walls

Elf On the Shelf: We said goodbye to our beloved elf, Buddy. Unfortunately, I was too excited about Christmas break to document his antics this month! He TPed our entire room and left a lovely note about how good we were! He said he would let Santa know how well behaved our class was! 

We enjoyed an hour long concert from fellow students this morning, then watched old fashioned movies like Rudolph and Frosty Returns.
Did anyone else feel this way?? Especially today?! 

We are so excited to have a two week break with our families! We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :) 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Break Week - & how we're makin' it!

We just wanted to write a quick post about how we decided to make it through this upcoming week: 

1) Normal Scheduling
We decided to keep things as normal as possible leading up to the impending holiday break. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) we are still at the mercy of our pacing guide, so we still have to continue following it....benchmark testing starts after break! 
We know this maybe hard, but we've decided to try to keep our daily routine as close to our normal routine as possible....kiddos like that sort of thing! :) 

2) Lots and Lots of Math and LA stations
We don't know about your students, but ours LOVE stations. We teach third grade, so they really like being independent! They also like coming to us as one of the stations. Luckily, there are a TON of stations (and FREEBIES) on TPT for this time of year. We are currently in the middle of our huge multiplication/division unit, so we created a FREEBIE just for our guided math groups!

Click *HERE* to download your FREE copy!

We are using this in our guided math this week! It walks the students right through each step of solving word problems!

3) Fun and Patience
We always say we are just as excited as our kiddos are for breaks....but try to remember that they really are SO excited! Behavior will 100% be 'off' this week, and as much as you want to STAY on schedule (as previously mentioned...) it's okay if things are picture perfect!
We are doing a Polar Express day on Thursday as a grade level activity. The students will enjoy Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes, Hot Chocolate, PJs, stuffed animals, and of course the classic movie! Try doing a thematic unit this week to keep your sanity/organization. It also helps students stay more focused on what they're doing if it's something they've been working on all week.

Good luck! Please share any activities or tips to get through the week before Christmas! Have a blessed week!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tips for being successful on TpT

Tips for being successful on TpT

We have been debating on what our next blog post would be. We thought we would share some tips to help any newbies on TpT, OR anyone that is thinking about opening a store. There's a lot of great blog posts out there, so feel free to add a link in the comments! We are in NO WAY experts. We don't have a huge following, and actually only have one follower on Blog Lovin'. (whoop! :) ) We really just wanted to give an extra resource to anyone out there doing research on TpT.

We will give a little background knowledge to us and our beginnings on TpT:

We have been so blessed to have opened our TpT Store about a year 1/2 ago.  We initially just wanted to try it out and see if we had any success with it. We really weren't interested in making it an actual business/supplemental income for us. As two full-time 3rd grade teachers, we really didn't think we would have time for it. We decided to not become a "Premium Seller", because we thought the $59.95 a year was SO expensive....especially if we weren't making any money ("You gotta make money to spend money!"....right?!). We uploaded a few assessments we had already made for our own classrooms, and made maybe $2-$5 a month. (You would think THAT amount would be embarrassing, but were ecstatic to actually have people BUY <---- [What?! That's amazing] our products!). As we continued to add more and more products we started to have a solid (but small) group of followers. We had our biggest payout in May of $111 (:) we's not a million dollars, but we are still excited about that payout!)

Fast forward to this past summer....
Since we were out of school (yay!) we had more time to research TpT as a business (wait...we're teachers....not business people....). We saw all kinds of posts about the TpT Conference in Vegas, and we were sort of interested in what was going on. After researching, we learned that teachers were actually making a good income JUST from TpT! This is when we decided to make our TpT a 'side business' and invest a little more time and effort into it (a little is an understatement). We knew that we had something going, since we had that 'massive' (ha!) payout in the spring, so we thought we could push a little bit more. 

Here are 2 Teachers 1 Goal's Tips for starting a store on TpT: 
**not in any particular order**

Seriously....just buy it....from the beginning! We regret not starting out as premium sellers. If you are fully invested in making TpT part of your life (it will be part of YOU)...then for the sake of your sanity purchase the premium seller account. Right after we decided to purchase that account, we earned back our money PLUS some. Honestly, this is a big one for us. Don't learn the hard was painful to do the math (yeah...don't do this...) and see what $$ we missed out on!

This is a big one. We literally had no idea there were so many possibilities with TpT! Get on the tpt forum and read through some threads, as some questions, and CONNECT with other TpTers (people that are experts...and make some major $$).  If you just google "how to be successful on TpT" there's tons of great resources...even on Pinterest there's some great links! 

We are still getting used to all the social media outlets for TpT. This is a great way to connect with other TpTers from around the world. We are currently using Facebook and Instagram as our main social media. Clearly, we are still newbies at this whole blogging thing, but we suggest starting a blog! It's just fun! :) There are some great Facebook groups that have some amazing tips for TpT (even how to create products - or troubleshooting programs!) 

Whoa....did we learn the hard way with using Word to create products. It's STILL painful when we have to open those old docs to edit them....ugh! Seriously, PowerPoint is the easiest program to work with when you're putting a lot of graphics and text boxes. Just take our word on this one...PLEASE do not use word! 

Again, this is a business...and if you're full invested (or want to be fully invested) then it will take time.We are still waiting to 'take off'. We feel like the "little fish" in the big pond of TpT. We see all of these awesome "Vegas-goers", and how they are basically celebrities! We are hoping we can be as successful as those TpT sellers that we look up to (during your research we are sure you will come across some of these "BIG fish"). It sounds like we only care about the $$....hey it's a BUSINESS. How many businesses open up voluntarily? We want TpT to be a supplemental income, that's our goal. Please understand, though, we love helping people and connecting with others. 

Yeah....we know we've already mentioned this's worth repeating! :) 

I know we are ending on a weird number. Like we mentioned earlier....we aren't experts and we are still learning. PLEASE share any tips in the comments. We are still researching ourselves, and would LOVE to hear from you! 

As an appreciation to you reading our blog post, we are doing a giveaway of $5 to our store! Enter below before Wednesday 10/28 to win $5 to our TpT Store. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Scoop #2

We are linking up with Teaching Trio for our Sunday Scoop today! 

Here's what we are up to this week! (from Samantha) 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some giveaways! (Including some Jamberry Nail Shields!) 

Have a blessed week! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teaching Place Value

Now that we are in a normal routine at school, I wanted to write about the activities that we used to teach place value to our 3rd graders. 

1)  Math Expressions (VA Edition) "Secret Code Cards" :
Has anyone used these? I was skeptical at first, (mostly the cutting/punching out of cards) but now I love using them! The students seem to really understand values of the digits and expanded form, because of these cards! 

2) Good 'ol fashioned Base-10 Blocks and white boards: 
Who knew third graders (and probably most students) loved using these little blue blocks? My kiddos definitely loved using them! They understood what each one meant, and were able to quickly "build" the number I gave them! They even understood the "tricky" ones with zeros! 

Oh, how my 3rd graders LOVE task cards! Especially, these colorful ones! Click the title of this section to find them in our TpT store! The differentiated student recording sheets were very helpful! 

After "building" numbers with the secret code cards and base-10 blocks, the students moved on to playing place value games! The students' favorite was "CHOMP!" (similiar to POP! games) The students pull the cards out and answer them. The questions are a mixture of value of underlined digits and place of underlined digits. This is a particularly difficult concept for our 3rd graders, simply because of the similar wording of the two questions. If the students pull out a CHOMP! card, they have to put all their cards back in the container. They absolutely LOVED playing this! 

The students also had fun playing Place Value Memory. The students can only match the cards if they have the card with the underlined digit and the card with the VALUE of the underlined digit. The students actually really enjoyed playing this one as well! (Anything is better than worksheets, right?)

Click the title of the section to see these stations in our TpT store! (There's even a place value board game!) 

Please share any activities you love using for place value! We are about to start on ordering numbers and rounding! With our new series, we've struggled with finding meaningful activities, so please share any wisdom you have! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!

We are so excited to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for our first Five for Friday! Being our first full week of school, we have had a lot of exciting things happen!

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My students earned all of their brownie points this week! Their prize, of course, was homemade brownies! I may or may not have taste tested quite a few of them...and my husband may or may not have eaten all of the leftovers. Oops!

We both use brownie points in our classroom as a whole class incentive. They work together to earn brownies by following directions, walking quietly in the hall, earning compliments from other teachers, and just about anything else that we find impressive. :) Find the download of the brownies here from Mrs. Heeren's Happenings. 

We have been working on place value this week in math. I LOVE teaching math! We have been focusing on standard, expanded, and word forms this week, as well as base-10 blocks. My students really enjoyed completing this task card activity. The best part is that it is differentiated! 

Click here to find these task card on TpT.

One super exciting thing that happened this week is that my new Lilly Pulitzer dress came in! It was from the after party sale since a teacher's salary obviously doesn't cut it when it comes to full price Lilly. I am in love with this dress! 

Going back to teaching math and place value, our school just adopted the Math Expressions series. Even though we have had some training, we are struggling with it! Virginia is not a Common Core state, and the book seems to align more with Common Core than our Standards of Learning. We have heard of other schools having great success with this series, so we would LOVE some tips on how to best use this series with our classes. 

And finally...I finished month 2 of Chalean Extreme this week! I love this program so much, but I need to find the motivation to start month 3. I assume it's not just me who wants to do absolutely nothing except for sit on the couch after getting home from school, especially during the first full week with students!

Make sure you head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to find more Five for Friday posts! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Scoop link-up with The Teaching Trio

 We are linking up with The Teaching Trio for today's Sunday Scoop.

Here's our FIRST Sunday Scoop!! 

We have had a great start to the school year with our 3rd graders! Our kiddos came back on Wednesday! It has been so wonderful getting to know them. We often forget how exhausting those first few days of school are! From organizing school supplies to going over rules and expectations....we were EXHAUSTED by lunch time each day! 

We will be starting our "normal" routine this upcoming week. We are excited to get started on our actual scheduling and teaching! 

Since we are still new to blogging, we hope to keep everyone updated each week! We'd love to hear from you! Don't forget to find us on Blog Lovin' so you can see our updates! 

Have a blessed Sunday and a wonderful week ahead! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Link-Up: Language Tools for Building Back to School

We have had a busy week with our blog launch AND our work days at school! We apologize for being MIA this entire week, but we hope you enjoyed seeing our new blog! Thank you to everyone that participated in our giveaways and to all the donors that graciously donated their wonderful products! 

Today, we are linking up with Hashtag TeacherMom (click here to visit her blog!) for classroom tips for back to school! Today's theme is Language Arts. We would typically show you real-life, in-action pictures, but since we are new to blogging we didn't even think to take pictures. We do want to share some ideas that we use in our classroom for the beginning of the year. Stay tuned for pictures! We start school with our kiddos this Wednesday! :) 

Here are some ideas that we use that first week of school. It's hard to start out with stations, since we are just getting to know how kids' needs, so we do a very general station rotation the first few days. Our school usually starts with students on a Wednesday, so this works well for us! (It can be adapted for your grade, length of time, amount of kids....etc.) Remember we teach 3rd graders! 

Language Arts Stations: 
  • Word Work: Students practice writing their classmates names using word work tools (magnet letters, special crayons....) 
  • Word Work: Students practice writing their address and phone number (this may seem 'young' for third graders - but you wouldn't believe how many of them do not know this info!) We typically write these out for them before-hand on note-cards. 
  • Writing Practice: Write about their first day or write about their school 
  • Grammar Practice: One of the easiest things to review (or introduce!) is nouns. Typically, they know this before coming to us, but it's a great time to take them around the school to search for nouns. They can then sort them into different categories (person,place or thing) or choose three to write about. 

We are currently doing a giveaway of our Back To School Literacy Centers (click here to see the product in our store!) This product includes almost all of the ideas included above AND you can even edit the roster list for students to practice writing their classmates names. 

Enter our rafflecopter below to win your own copy of our literacy centers! Even though we teach 3rd grade, this product can be used for different grades! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway Thank you for stopping by! We hope our ideas are helpful to you in the coming weeks! We'd love to hear from you as well! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new blog! We are so excited to start this blogging journey! Our names are Samantha and Jenna, and we are starting our fifth year teaching at the same school in Southwest Virginia. To start off our blog, we are giving away a ton of free items that have been donated by some awesome teachers! You will find the Rafflecopters to enter to win these items below. There are a few different categories, so make sure that you enter all that apply to you! The giveaway will run from today, August 10, and end on August 17.

Enter here for prizes that are for ALL grades!

Enter here for preschool and kindergarten items!

Enter here for kindergarten-2nd grade items!

Enter here for 1st-2nd grade items!

Enter here for 2nd-3rd grade items!