Monday, June 22, 2015

Nutshell #1: Fostering Lifelong Readers

I'm so excited to announce my summer blogging series called "Teaching Tips in a Nutshell".  During the summer I love to read and study ways I can improve my performance in the classroom. This series is intended to pass this learning on to you in a brief recap, or a "nutshell"!  So, here we go!

Recently, Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, was a keynote speaker at the Teachers College at Columbia University, Reading & Writing Project.  She spoke about the importance, the research, and the ways teachers can help students become lifelong readers.  It is an interesting article titled "Donalyn Miller Teaches Important Lessons about Fostering Lifelong Readers".  The following are Ms. Miller's tips "in a nutshell"!

Each of the Teaching Tips will be available in my TPT store for FREE.  The file will grow with each tip I blog about.  

I hope you enjoy this series!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Manners, not rules, at School

Click on the picture to get this FREEBIE!

Check out my latest FREEBIE! This is the perfect one page guide to help children understand what behaviors are expected in your classroom. 

Why do I use the word "Manners"?   Teachers often talk about "rules", "behaviors", or "expectations".  But, these terms are can be perceived as authoritarian, and often drive wedges between a teacher and a student, or parents and a student. When an adult teaches a child "manners", it is perceived as being helpful and supportive.  Manners are a life-long skill that all children need. Although most children have heard their parents refer to good manners at home, this lesson doesn't often extend to the classroom as parents aren't there to teach and reinforce the lessons.  

The bottom line is a win-win-win set of expectations.  Win #1 - Teachers get to express their expected behaviors.  Win #2 - Children feel loved and supported when we remind them of what good manners are.  And Win# 3 - parents see the teacher as a partner in helping to mold their child into a mannerly citizen.  

For example, Johnny is constantly blurting out answers in class and being unkind to table-mates.  He doesn't like being corrected, and tells his parents that the teacher is picking on him.  When this leads to a conference, all of a parent's defensiveness dissipates when the discussion turns to teaching appropriate manners and becoming a good citizen.  We all want this for any child and we are helping to achieve this in a classroom setting.  

Try it next year!  Start out the school year by telling the class that you have no classroom rules.  As long as they are always using their very best manners, there is no need for "rules".  Let me know how it goes!

If you download it from my TPT Store, I would really appreciate if you would consider following my store and leaving feedback! Thanks!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sale!

  Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  I love football, so celebrating today with a 20% off SALE in my TPT Store!  Just click the picture above to go shopping!'s a FLASH FREEBIE just for stopping by!  Enjoy the last day of football season!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Teach Project


   The I Teach Project is an initiative to capture the voices and stories of teachers everywhere. Teachers will have the opportunity to submit accounts of their stories of why they teach. 
   The Project will create a repository of stories in teachers' own voices about their experiences teaching: the good, the bad, and the funny. The common denominator will be that all stories celebrate teachers and the hard work they do. By coming together and realizing that teachers aren't in it alone, the hope for the project is to foster a sense of community and pride in being a teacher.
   Launched in Dec. 2014, teachers anywhere are invited to submit their stories in the form of videos, written stories, audio clips, visual illustrations; anything and everything about life as a teacher. 
   What an awesome idea!

I Teach Project

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Boosting Your Facebook Post

Have you ever wondered if you would get your money's worth out of boosting a Facebook post?  So did I!  

I've been dabbling with Facebook Boosts and feel like I've finally got a handle on it.  What I've discovered is that boosting an engaging post can help me find new followers and a targeted audience for my content with minimal investment.  

First, it is very important to choose the right content to boost.  It must spur action from the reader.  It could be a post you've written about a hot topic that most of your target audience would want to read. Or you might want to promote a new product.  Recently, I successfully boosted a post that offered a free product from my TPT store.  If it's not interesting, no amount of boosting will motivate the reader to engage. 

The next part is critical.  How will you choose the right audience for your content?  You have three choices. Below are a few graphics to help guide you through this process. 

Choice #1

Choice #2 

Choice #3

You can probably tell which choice I think is best.  Choosing my target audience is where I've had the most success.  Earlier this week, I boosted a post for two days at a cost of $15.  My goal was to boost my "likes" and TPT traffic prior to a sale.  Here are the results.

This is what I call a "bang for my buck"!  I have spend many dollars participating in giveaways, linkies, raffles, etc.  None of them is as fruitful as the Facebook boost has been for me.

Your situation may be totally different.  But I hope I've given you a little insight on a tool that many don't know much about.  


Here are the numbers from my latest FB "Boost"(6/11/15).  So far, I've spent $17.64. 

That's 505 visits to my blog and 38 new TPT likes!

If you think your friends might like to see this post, please pin it for share it on your FB page.  As always, I'd LOVE to hear your 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Story Behind My Logo

I am hooking up with Art with Jenny K. to share the story of how my logo came to be.

   My first blog design was hideous.  Seriously, hideous.  I created it myself and it did not reflect who I am as a person or a teacher.  It had to go.  As I sketched out my vision for a new blog design, I knew I needed a logo.  My goals in creating a logo were simple.  It had to be unique, reflective of who I am, and timeless.  

   At first, I thought about using a picture of me for my logo.  What could be more unique that?  But, appearances change over time, and I wanted something constant like Target's bullseye or Starbuck's label.   It occurred to me that I could have a caricature done…you know, like the kind you get at Disney World?  No…..that would be too creepy.  When I first started blogging, very few teachers (if any) used a caricature as part of their blog designs. So, I felt like I was on to something. 

   What I needed was a graphic depiction of me, but I didn't know where to get it done. I searched and searched until I discovered Jessica Weible Illustrations.  At the time, Jessica offered a semi-customization that allowed me to pick out different features.  I chose a bright smile, interested eyes, warm colors, and friendly body language to reflect that I am a warm, caring, and passionate  person.  I prayed that it would look okay. Without ever seeing a picture of me, Jessica created a perfect graphic of me.  Ok, so I'm not that skinny (I was at one time…does that count?).   My hope is that it will stand the test of time as styles come and fads go, or if I decide to change my blog design.  Jessica stopped doing this type of work shortly after my character was created.  I bought the license for it and it became mine!  Her name is Moxie and she is my alter-ego!  

I've truly fallen in love with my brand logo.  It can be found on  Pinterest, Facebook, and my TPT store.   Currently, there are many artists who create characters and many teacher blogs that use caricatures as their logos.  What is it they say….."imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"?   I'll take it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Freebie

This is repeat of a freebie I created last year to go with an awesome freebie I found in A Cupcake for the Teacher's TPT Store.   It's a writing and craft activity for your students' New Year's Goals.  

First, grab this freebie from my TPT store.  I have my students record three goals:  one for becoming a better student, one for contributing to their home or family, and one for improving something about their personal behavior or responsibility. 

Next, grab this freebie from A Cupcake for the Teacher's TPT Store.  It's a creativity which pairs perfectly with the students' goal sheet.  Attach the goal sheet to the bottom of the hat and Wah Lah! You have an awesome display of the New Year's Goals!

I hope you have found something you can use today!  I am very grateful for all of you and wish you a very Happy New Year!

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