Cyber Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers~ Awesome Savings!

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving break with family and friends. As you head back to school tomorrow, be sure to get some shopping done on Cyber Monday and Terrific Tuesday on Teachers Pay Teachers. Grab all the items on your wish list and take advantage of some great discounts. I've created many engaging, fun activities to help you along these very hectic weeks ahead.  Happy Shopping! 

Check out my store for some holiday ideas your students will love.

$10.00 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway and Sale

This week I've been busy setting up my classroom.  Summer  will soon be behind us. School begins next week. To start off this school year I am having a 20% off sale off on my entire store including bundles. Take advantage of the annual Back-To-School Boost from the Teachers Pay Teachers site wide sale and be sure to  use the code  BTSBONUS to earn an extra 5%.  My sale will continue on until Wednesday.  If you win you can use it on the sale. Winner will be announced on Wednesday! Please comment below on what you plan on purchasing for your classroom at this sale.

Good Luck!

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Giftcard Giveaway for Teachers Pay Teachers and a chance to win an Interactive Notebook

To kick off the new school year, I thought I would do a giveaway for a $20 .00 Teacher's Pay Teachers gift card and my Interactive Notebook Bundle which is becoming one of my hot sellers. Take advantage of these beautiful sunny days before summer quickly passes us by! For some of you,  the summer is quickly winding down and you are preparing yourself for Back to School.  This summer I've been working  hard on making several updates to many of my products.

Before entering this giveaway in the Rafflecopter below, I first just want to highlight a few of my Interactive Notebook products that I am particularly proud of and can't wait to share them with you.

Interactive notebooks have been a HUGE success in my classroom  as I have been using them these past couple of years. Throughout the summer I have been adding several new pages to these products to make them even better.

Have you tried Interactive Notebooks in your classroom? Interactive Notebooks are a fantastic, fun way for students to learn and interact with new information as well as a great way to practice and review skills introduced. By adding an interactive feature, learning becomes more meaningful and will spark interest. This type of learning involves so much more than just simply listening to the teacher and then filling out boring worksheets. Keeping interactive notebooks in the classroom helps kids to be more responsible and take an active part in their learning. Unlike worksheets that go home and often don't ever get looked at again, interactive notebooks stay in the classroom as students work in them to build upon and review skills. It is also great for all those paras and incoming teachers that come into the classroom because they will have a better sense as to what topics you are learning about and what needs to be reviewed and taught.

Interactive Notebooks provide a way for students to think and plan and use their creative side while they write, draw, color, cut, and glue. You can use different interactive notebooks in so many ways in all subject areas at any grade level. You may think that all this cutting and and gluing might be a little scary especially for the little ones. However, if you plan things out right while thinking about where your students are developmentally and let the students work at their own pace, it can be done!

This summer I created my very first video on YOU TUBE. Interactive Notebooks is something that I am pationate about and I wanted to share with you some GREAT tips for you to get started. Please check out my video and let me know what you think.

When creating my interactive notebooks for kindergarten, I thought about being sure that my activities did not require a lot of complex cutting skills. I made sure that there was not any complex folding or the notebook did not contain too many flaps. I also thought about not having lots of loose pieces that can easily become lost. I've seen some really cool interactive notebooks with pockets to keep pieces in, however I think that this may cause a problem with little ones, as pieces will just fall out and get lost. If you teach kindergarten, then you know how upset students can get if they lose something. They can cry so easily.

So far, I've created six interactive notebooks.  Students used them in small groups during either literacy center time or RTI time. At first, you need to slowly show students where to cut and fold. My interactive notebooks are very simple and easy for students as they are asked to cut only on the dotted lines and fold on the solid lines. After they fold, there is a large enough area for students to paste down in order to make simple flaps. lt is so important to provide an example of what your expectations are before the kids get started. Once they get the hang of it, they can work more independently. Once they finish a page, they can work on the next one until literacy or RTI time is over. "NO MORE, I'M DONE, NOW WHAT DO I DO NEXT." I love interactive notebooks because it keeps students busy in a meaningful way while you are able to give your attention to other students who may be struggling. You also get a chance to run a small group for guided reading or RTI instruction. My groups are never more than four or five students to keep things manageable.


To make this extra special I've decided to bundle these Interactive Notebooks to save you even more.
Now on to the giveaway! Good luck and happy shopping! Be on the lookout for the annual Back to School Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. It will be happening soon! You can save up to 25% off and use your gift card to choose whatever you please from so many amazing teacher authors.

I am thrilled to announce the winner! Ewelina is so incredibly grateful and appreciative. She made my day just reading her email as it put a  BIG smile on my face.  Here is what she wrote to me after I sent her the giftcards and Interactive Notebook.

THAAAAANK YOU SOOO MUCH! I'm so excited and speechless. 
This is one of the greatest morning I've had in my life because I'm totally crazy about this sale and I'd like to buy more :-) BTW, I've never won such a competition.
I'm really grateful for this wonderful opportunity. 

Have a lovely day and a New School Year as well :-)

Best regards,

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California Dreaming Giveaway! Enter to Win 1 of 6 $50.00 Gift Cards

This is the Gift Card Giveaway that YOU have all been waiting for…Take a chance and you just might be ONE of 6 LUCKY winners. You dream it and we will find that card just for you! Planning a trip somewhere????  You can win $50.00 toward that DREAM vacation….have some resources wish listed on TPT??? A TpT gift card will be waiting just for you. OH and that Kate Spade Purse you have your eye on…YEP $50 is yours to add to the stash you have been saving to grab up that cute accessory! Tag a friend and let them get in on this great chance to win a fabulous Gift Card of their choice!! Be sure to follow this Blog as I will be hosting more giveaways in the future! GOOD LUCK!!!! 

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Memorial Day Dollar Deals and Special Savings

Enjoy spending time with family and friends
as you celebrate this Memorial Day. Be sure
to join in on savings from Teachers Pay
Teachers on two special sale events.

You can find products for just one dollar by
using the hashtag


Several sellers have also discounted one special
product in their store with some huge discounts.
Check out Teachers Pay Teacher to find some
stellar products from some very memorable
sellers on Memorial Day using the following


Getting Started with Procedural Writing for kids

Young students love showing off their skills as they explain how to do certain tasks to others. Procedural writing informs the writer's audience how to do something. The goal is for students to write instructions that clearly and accurately teach others how to perform a task. In order for students to start procedural writing skills, they first need to understand what they are trying to give instructions on, who they will be giving instructions to and how they will divide and sequence their procedure into simple steps to follow. It is a good idea to provide youngsters with topic prompts for activities in which they are familiar with and which they are likely to perform regularly. Some prompt ideas based on familiar activities for young children include: "How to Make a Bed" or "How to Tie Your Shoes." To prepare young children before they begin writing on their own, verbally walk through how an activity is performed while presenting the steps by acting them out or using illustrations. When starting with procedural writing it is best to keep it short and simple. We want to build our student's confidence as they begin to sequence steps and write how to complete a task. To prepare young children before they begin writing on their own, verbally walk through how an activity is performed while presenting the steps by acting them out or use illustrations. I teach kindergarten and below is a sample lesson of how I presented a procedural writing lesson with my students on how to make a paper snowflake.

Begin by Modeling
Start by demonstrating for students on how to do a simple task. For instance I wanted to show my students a simple way to make a paper snowflake. I had a blank piece of white paper with a large circle on it. I modeled how to cut out the circle with scissors.  While I did this I did remind my students that when we use scissors we must follow scissor safety rules. They were also reminded to put their thumb on top while cutting and their thumb leads the way as you need two hands to cut with. One hands guides the paper while the other does the cutting. Young students need lots of practice with scissors and this was the perfect opportunity to remind students how to use them properly. Next I folded my circle in half two times to make a pie shaped piece. Since I teach kindergarten I did not want my students to fold a third time to make a pie slither since it would be too difficult to cut out the shapes in the next step. Then I modeled how to cut  shapes on the folds. Finally I opened up my snowflake and revealed it to them. Each year my students are always fascinated with how beautiful the snowflake looks when we open the folds. I also remind student the importance of picking up all the scrap pieces and writing their names on the back of each art project they make. 

Follow my Instructions
I gave the children instructions on how to make a paper snowflake. Each child had their own piece of paper with a large circle already on it. You could add an extra step and have them trace a large circle before getting started.  I reminded my students to follow the oral directions and listening carefully. As I stated the directions I emphasized transitional words such as first, next, then and last. I also explained that procedural writing/instructions needed to be written as commands and we had to be bossy. Students followed each direction as I had them first cut the circle.  Next, fold it two times. Then, cut out the shapes. Last, open up your snowflake. 
Model writing instructions
Next, I chose a child to make the snowflake again. This time the class had to give the instructions and I wrote them on the board. (Shared writing). The child who was making the snowflake had to listen carefully to the directions the students came up with while doing this. After writing the directions on the board and choral reading them as a class,   I chose a couple student to find all the transitional words in our writing and underline them with a blue marker. I also chose a couple of students to come up and find all the bossy words (verbs or action words) and underline them with a red marker. 
Independent procedural writing
The next day I let my students work on their own procedural writing piece. I gave them the following writing prompt with the transitional words written for them. You can grab this writing prompt for free by clicking here.

Students feel empowered when they can teach someone a task. They will feel a sense of accomplishment and self worth.  Procedural writing can be done at any grade level. We learn  95% of what we teach to others.   

My students really enjoyed this engaging lesson. It has helped them with sequencing events as  most students can now accurately explain how to perform simple tasks. To differentiate for some of my struggling students who may not have the language skills or the writing skills to complete this task, I do pair these students up with student who are more capable and helpful so everyone can learn. Here is a picture of my cabinet in which we proudly display some of our work. 

I have developed several writing prompts that can be used throughout the year. This pack includes everyday activities such as "How to Make your Bed" or "How to Make a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich." In the winter students can write about topics such as "How to Decorate a Christmas Tree" or "How to Build a Snowman." In the warmer months they can write about "How to Make Lemonade" or "How to Build a Sandcastle."  Sometimes I prefer my students to make a mini book in which they can illustrate each task and other times I just have them use this writing prompt paper. If you are interested in these writing activities your can check out here:  "How To Writing Prompts" or "How To Mini Books."

Do you do procedural writing with your students? How do you go about it! What are some strategies that you would like to share? Please make a comment and I will be happy to reply.

TWELVE Ways to Rapidly Increase Traffic to your Blog and TPT Store using Tailwind

We already all know that using Pinterest is the number one marketing strategy to drive traffic to our blogs and Teacher Stores, but let's face it who has time to be on Pinterest all day. I know I don't and I'm sure you feel the same way. Our families, happiness, health and keeping up with our own classrooms are on the tops of our lists. When we find some spare time in our busy schedules we need to first schedule in time to work on product creation and then do some marketing through a variety of social media. Getting all this accomplished is always going to be a challenge,  however, I found a few tips and tricks along the way to make life easier.

I have found that by using a Pinterest scheduler, my page views on my blog continue to soar and my Pinterest profile shows a  dramatic increase in daily impressions and average daily users. You can view some of these stats if you have a Pinterest business account and click on the analytics. If you are seriously interested in jumpstarting your business so it can catapult into new horizons than you must consider a Pinterest scheduler to get your ideas and products out there. Just posting on other forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram just doesn't always do enough. This is especially true with all the recent changes that have taken place in some of these platforms as your posts are not always seen by all of your followers. Pinterest has a new smart feed. The more active you are on Pinterest, the more likely your photos will show up on other feeds.

I am convinced that Tailwind is a small business must have.  I do realize that there a few other Pinterest schedulers out there but I just want to share with you how I have found success with this particular one.

Here are twelve ways that I have used some of Tailwind's features to increase traffic to my blog and Teacher Pay Teacher Stores.

Yes, you can view some analytics on your Pinterest Business account but if you want to have access to AMAZING analytics you must check out all the stats that Tailwind has to offer. Here you can view your number of followers week by week and your top performing pins and boards and much more. Each week tailwind will send you an overview of how well you are doing through email.

This is a HUGE time saver! Tailwind makes is so simple to batch schedule all your pins by a click of a few buttons.  If you are on Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox, you can use Tailwind's browser extension tool to schedule pins from any website including Pinterest. My pinning strategies are quite simple.  I simply go to my likes page found on my Pinterest profile to find some of the best ideas I've discovered on Pinterest to go along with some of my products and save a bunch of related pins to my drafts. I also have a special board with products pinned next to related videos, anchor charts and other free hands-on activities that tie in with my products. You can create your own specialty boards for each area you teach and pin from them. Once I have many pins stored in my drafts then I go ahead and schedule my pins. It is most important that you know the collaborative boards rules before you decide to pin. Please adhere to their rules. Most boards do like at least a 3 to 1 ratio of free ideas to paid products.

Do you ever wonder when is the best time to pin? What time of the day will most viewers be looking at your educational products and blog posts? Tailwind takes all the guess work out of it. When you sign up with Tailwind, it will determine what time of the day is best for your specific account by analyzing your pins. I just love this feature!  The picture above shows all my scheduled time slots for Mondays in green. The suggested time slots have a plus sign next to them in case I want to add more. If you want to add other suggested time slots into your daily schedule you can or may want to add in your own custom times to pin. It is entirely up to you. You will appreciate all the flexibility tailwind has to offer.

If you sign up for the annual plan your pinning is unlimited. If you get the month to month version you are able to pin up to 400 pins per month. There may be other plans out there that might be a little less expensive, however, they do not feature all the analytics and flexibility that is on Tailwind.
Since I have the annual plan I do pin frequently. As you can see by my Monday's schedule I have almost 50-time slots being used.

Tailwind recently created an app to create, edit and schedule pins on mobile iOS devices. They will soon be working on an app for Android users as well. You can find more information about this by visiting their blog post by clicking here

You can spread out your pins and set your pins to a variety of boards over the course of a week over even a month. You decide how far apart you would like to set your pins. For example, if I have some timely holiday products that I want to showcase, I may schedule them periodically before the holiday season along with other free ideas and blog posts to go along with it. I can decide on what days of the week or times of the day that I want these products to be seen and on what particular boards I want to showcase them on.

7. SHUFFLE & LOCK Features
There are times in which you will want to shuffle up your scheduled pins to create more of a wider variety and mix of ideas as you pin and there are other times in which you will want some pins scheduled to a specific time frame. These features come in handy when setting up your scheduled pins for the future.

If you are like me, you probably have many collaborative boards in a wide range of subjects. Tailwind makes it easy for you to pin certain things to specific boards that fall under the same subject.  You can create lists of boards that frequently get used together. For instance, if I want to pin a science activity that I just created to boards that deal with science; I can just pull up my science board list and pin my product to all the science boards. It will be scheduled in my que and put into different time slots to be pinned to all my science boards on my list. For boards that have a lot of specific rules and you don't want to be booted off,  I would suggest not adding them to board lists and pin separately to these boards using the specific time feature with lots of ideas surrounding your paid product.

If you want to know which pins are performing well you can go to your pin inspector. It will tell you the number of times your repins, likes and comments within a certain time frame.  By analyzing this I  can see my Phases of the Moon Science Products received many repins and this turned into many sales for me this week. My blog post for Kindness Week received lots of traffic and I am thrilled to send my important message across on how to inspire more kindness in our classrooms and communities.
On the Board Insights feature you can see which of your boards are doing well and which ones are not receiving a lot of traffic. Analyze this information and be sure to pin to boards that are getting the most traffic and try to improve, delete or avoid those that are not getting much attention.

Tailwind has a new feature called tribes. This is a great way to collaborate with your teacher friends as you share ideas. Tribes are groups in which you can add your friends or other contributors too. You add your content to the tribe and others can add theirs as well. All contributors can share each other's content. This is an easy way to increase repins. It can also make scheduling easier since you will have a great selection of pins readily available from trusted people you know. It is a win, win for everyone involved! 

If you are already on Tailwind or want to join in, I also have a tribe that you may want to join in on.

It is called Kindergarten & First Grade Fun

Check it out by clicking here

Tribes is currently Free for anyone to use
(even if they aren't using Tailwind already!)
Anyone who I invite who's new to Tailwind will get a free month of Tailwind Plus- Just use the referral code

If you think you want to give Tailwind a try you can start a FREE trial. Anyone who I invite who's new to Tailwind will get a free month of Tailwind. Just use the referral code below. If you do decide you like it and use this code, you will get a  $ 30.00 credit 

Do you have a marketing strategy that works for you? If you use tailwind, what tips and tricks can you share with us? Please share in the comment section below.

What makes your heart sing? What inspires your students? What drives them? What special talents do they want to share? If a school can't be interested in things that students care about, students will lose interest in caring about school. The better you know your students, the better you will know how to teach them. Use open ended questions to discover your students' passions such as "My favorite pastime is._____"; "During free choice time I like to_______"; "Someday I hope I can_______"; I dream that someday I will______" and "When I grow up I will______."

You can empower students interest and dreams while at the same time meet the curriculum standards. You can inspire curiosity and interest by creating projects in which students share their dreams with you and the the class. If your students are passionate about something than they are more willing to take risks. Be sure to schedule time to have your students do some research about the things that interest them the most and time to share their knowledge and passion with others.

Tapping into a students passion is a sure way to engage learning.

Create a class book of the things they love the most. Proudly display your book in the class for students to look through throughout the year.

Check out these great writing prompts just in time for Valentine's Day.

Random Acts of Kindness Week- Examples of Easy Ways To Show Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 12-18) and Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17) are  soon approaching.  Challenge yourself and your students to do something kind for someone else. It can be as easy as holding the door open for someone else or just smiling.  Not only is it special for the receiver, it also feels good as the doer! Kindness rewards everyone with increased energy and well being. It can actually reduce stress. Who doesn't want reduced stress in their life. 

As a kindergarten teacher, you can image how hectic things may get. However, I know through years of experience that I must continue to be my bubbly self, show lots of positivity and teach students how to be kind to each other on a consistent basis. Positive benefits will soon rub off on even the most challenging students when kindness is infused within the classroom. Some students need to be explicitly taught what kindness looks like and what kindness sounds like. We just can't assume that students come to school knowing the powerful effects of kindness. 

To teach students what kindness means, you could begin with defining it.

  1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

    You may also want to use the Frayer model to discuss the characteristics, examples and non-examples.  

    You could have students describe what it looks like and sounds like to a thinking partner. Students could work in partners or in small groups to make their own drawings or posters to show kindness. I think this activity would be best to work with others as they need to show kindness qualities as they cooperatively work in pairs or groups. Have students share their work with the class. Students could also act out ways to be kind in several different settings. Ask how they can show kindness in their school, at home or in their community.

    Students need to understand that kindness does not require money and it can take just a little bit of their time.

    Here are just a few easy ways to show examples:

    *Compliment others.
    *Smile as you pass by others.
    *Send someone a random note of appreciation.
    *Hold the door open for others to pass by.
    *Offer to help out a friend who is struggling with their work.
    *Read a book to others.
    *Invite someone new to play a game.
    *Offer to help out your parents with chores around the house without being asked to do so, such as setting the table, dusting, doing laundry or sweeping the floor.
    *Clean up an area around your home, school or local park.
    *Offer to let a classmate go before you in line.
    *Donate unwanted toys, clothing or books to those in need.
    * Make a card or a craft and send it to a senior center or nursing home.
    *Collect canned goods and donate to a local food bank.
    *Help out around the class without being asked to do so, such as passing out papers, organizing a book shelf, sweeping the floor or washing the tables.
    *Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
    *Return a lost item and try to find its rightful owner.
    *Tell random people walking by to have a good day.

    In the amazing district that I am working in, our school will be participating in the 2017 Kind Coins for Pakistan. The money raised will help build a new school and peace center in Quetta, Pakistan. Teachers will challenge students to show acts of kindness throughout each day and each classroom will record some of the acts of kindness on strips of paper to assemble together to make a paper chain. Each classroom will bring their completed chains to the auditorium and we will hang it proudly. We plan on surprising another elementary school within our district with decorated posters signed by all the students within our school and popsicles to enjoy at lunch. We plan on giving them a Skype during their morning gathering to share the good news and stating "Your School is Cool." I think the kids will love receiving the popsicle treats. Students will be making Valentine Cards and sending them to area nursing homes. It should be a fun filled week and I can't wait to get started. Teachers and students decorated their doors to kick off this special event. (See photo above) You can grab a freebie by Especially Education to get this awesome lettering to make this banner along with a couple of others.

    We also have special spirit days scheduled throughout the week. 

    Monday : Peace Love Kindness Day (wear a positive message, Peace sign)
    Tuesday: Powered by Kindness Day (dress up as a superhero, wear a cape)
    Wednesday: Crazy for Kindness Day (dress up in crazy clothes or wear a crazy hair style)
    Thursday: Ride the Wave to Kindness Day (dress up in beach/surfer attire)
    Friday: Kindness the Our School Way Day (dress up in Spirit Wear) students will wear our school colors

    Most importantly, I feel that throughout your discussions it is important that students understand that you should not expect anything in return for doing an act of kindness. Kindness comes from the heart! Too often kids expect a reward or recognition for the least little thing. Yes, it is important to praise kiddos when you see kindness happening in your classroom, however we can't overdue it or we will lose the true meaning of its effectiveness. 


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” - Aesop

It is important that students recognize that doing acts of kindness is something that can be done everyday of the year. 

Kindness inspires more Kindness!

You can make a note to do nice things throughout the day and use #RandomActsOfKindnessDay or #RAKWEEK2017  to post on social media.