Teachers Pay Teachers 2017 Conference

If you want to know what it is like to be lucky enough to work for Teachers Pay Teachers and attend the conference in Anaheim, you are in the right place! The BEST part of this conference is making connections in person with all the other teacher-authors you only knew on-line. Here is a picture of the Fabulous Five (well, that is the name I gave us after meeting at the 2016 conference in Florida), posing with our Peace, Love, TpT shirts. Meet Tori from Teach with Tori, Kelly from Mrs. Avery’s Island, Lisa from Lisa Taylor Teaching the Stars, and Shelly from Appletastic!

 

Attending the 9 Step Process workshop with Shelly Rees, is a MUST! She offers an awesome course for teacher-authors who need to focus on how to plan a product from start to finish! PRICELESS! There is a great Facebook group you can join if you are in the course. This is how the five of us became close friends. The group is a positive place to gain valuable information to help you grow and connect with others. This year I had the honor to sit with educational expert, Deanna Jump! She is such an inspirational person who is down-to-earth and easy to talk to about the business.

 

Erin Cobb and Catherine Reed were the inspirational teacher-author speakers who told their personal stories. They both inspired the rest of us that hard work and dedication can produce great success.

If you never met our “Director of Happiness”, Amy Borrell Berner, you HAVE to take the initiative to meet her. She is exactly what her title conveys.

 

After a long day of doing what teachers love… LEARNING, TpT hosted a happy hour to help us all decompress and meet other teacher-authors. This is where a few of us were able to talk to the BEST CEO, Adam Freed. I totally felt like I was one of the girls in The Bachelor, willing to interrupt other teacher-authors to steal him away for a chance to talk to him. (Sorry, to whoever I booted out of the way.) It was happy hour though, so I can blame it on the wine. 😉 I don’t regret it!

Another super nice, intelligent and fun teacher-author is Chris Kesler. He is the best for learning how to build an email list and engage a TpT audience! We attended his session and discovered a lot of tips and tricks to grow our businesses. You can see him below with me and fellow teacher-author Sarah Barnett, who is my new TpT BFF. 🙂 We hit it off as if we have been friends forever. We danced at the Happy Hour with awesome Shem, leading us as DJ/Motivator. She lead a great session about how to Put Some STEAM in your STEP. This is what the conference is all about, meeting people who share your interests, inspire you and help you along your journey.

Should you bring your family? YES! My family went to enjoy the tourist attractions while I was busy learning at the conference. I loved seeing them at the end of the day!

I learned so much! My head feels like it is going to explode with new information, but I’m excited, motivated and (a little) exhausted at the same time. This Dr. Seuss quote sums it up. I’m looking forward to next year in NASHVILLE! So, plan now, if you need some inspiration, tips and tricks.

Thank You Teachers Giveaway

Hi awesome Teacher’s Brain Followers!  I just want to say THANK YOU for following my store and BLOG.  I wanted to let you know of a few ways I’m saying THANK YOU this month to all of you.

1. Use this link to enter a raffle for 2X 100 Gift Cards or a $50 Gift Card to TpT
http://gvwy.io/ycgbefy   (enter up until the 29th)  I teamed up with a lot of other authors to bring you this chance to win.  (Follow my FB Page while you’re at it 😉
2. Use #HelloSummer in the TpT Search box for the next two days to get awesome 50% off resources.
JUST CLICK the pictures to check out the sales or FREE resources.

1/2 OFF for a Limited Time

#HelloSUMMER End of the YEAR Summer Packet From 1st grade to 2nd  #hellosummer Vocabulary Kindergarten - 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program

3.  *********************FREE******************FREE*********************

End of the YEAR Summer Packet From 1st grade to 2nd FREE SAMPLE       Community Helpers - Fostering Positive Relationships with POLICE      Plants - Label the Plant Parts Freebie Worksheet

I hope you have a FANTASTIC SUMMER! Follow my BLOG at www.teachersbrain.com to keep up with some more resources and teaching tips.  Thank you for all the kind comments.  You all are truly what helps me get up and get motivated each day!

 

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Building Children’s Vocabulary

Taking time to talk and read with children is a great way to help them hear and read new words.  Adults who have conversations regularly with children allowing them to ask questions about things that are interesting  in a non-threatening way, help build children’s vocabulary.  Children enjoy learning new big words.

Everyone wants children to do well in school.  Building their vocabulary is one way to help them become better readers.  The more background knowledge a reader knows, the better they become at comprehending what they read.  Talking to and reading with children are two great ways to help children hear and read new words.

Sharing a new word with children is quick.  Choose words that are of interest to children.  Usually words that are common with adult speakers, but less common in children’s books are popular.

Provide an example of a new word: Gigantic means something really big.

Then use it in a sentence that relates to daily life:  That monster truck is gigantic.

Next, have the child come up with an example:  The elephant was gigantic.

Last, use the word frequently during the week: Look at this gigantic ball!

Take time to share new words with children every day.  The payoff is GIGANTIC.  You can find some activities in this Yearlong Vocabulary Reading Blocks Program.

Vocabulary Kindergarten - 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program

 

Keeping Kids Learning All Summer

It is always a challenge to keep children learning when it’s summer time.  My own children are glued to their computer games.  When they are not on the computer, they are swimming in the pool.  Traditional learning is hard to compete with summer activities, but it’s important to keep up with today’s rigor.  Here is a list of great oral and physical activities to keep your children engaged in learning:

1.Pudding Painting is one of my favorites for children to use to learn sight words.  Spread pudding on the bottom of a cooking sheet pan.  Call out a sight word and have them write it in the pudding.  If they get it right, they get to lick their finger.

2.Have your child sort laundry by color or size before you wash them. Let them pour in the soap with your supervision as a reward.

3.Ask your child to skip count to 100. Then count by 5’s to 100.  Tell them this joke they can use with friends. “I bet you I can count to 100 in 10 seconds or less.” When someone excepts the challenge, they can count by 10s to 100.

4.Teach your child to set the table.  Have them count all the silverware.  Reinforce the “game” by offering desert for the right answer.  Continue with counting other objects, like plates, cups or placemats.

5.Children love to paint! Give them water colors and paper outside. Let them go crazy with splattering/flicking paint on the paper.  This gets their creative juices flowing!  I use to let my kids pain their play house with water colors.  When it rains, it come right off.

6.Encourage your child to tell you the months of the year, and the days of the week in order.  High five them for reinforcement.

7.Tell your child they can only watch TV or play a video game if they can tell you the time on the clock. (not digital…)  😉

8.What kid doesn’t like to make things with dried pasta.  Take a cup full of various pasta and first have them sort them into piles by shape. (You can use food coloring to make them different colors, if you are that kind of special parent.)  Then have them glue the pasta on construction paper to make a picture.

9.Father’s Day is often overlooked during the school year, so let your child use your ipad or phone to record their voice and send a special message to dad.

10.Encourage your child to come up with words that rhyme with ones you say (e.g. cake, make, rake), then have them use the words to make a funny poem or song.

11.At bed time, ask your child to sequence the events of their day.

12.Create a new dance move or hand shake with your child.

13.Play a board game like Candy Land with your child.

14.Ask your child to show you a Jumping Jack, Push Up or Skipping.

*** You would be surprised how many kids can’t do these tasks.

  1. Use chalk outside to make Hopscotch. Teach them how to play.

You can also find some Summer Packets to have children sit down for 20 minutes a day and focus on skills to prepare them for the next grade.

End of the Year Summer Packet For KINDERGARTEN to 1st Grade ReviewEnd of the YEAR Summer Packet From 1st grade to 2nd

 

Engaging Students in Themed Days

There is no denying that the easiest way to keep students engaged is to have themed days in your classroom. Typical days I participate in are Polar Express Days, Snowed-In Days, May the 4th Be With You, The Ocean Festivals, The Thankful Festivals, and a Fall Festivals. The Fall Festival is where our team teaches the same fall lesson with a craftivity to the entire kindergarten as they rotate to each room. Another great day which involves math, science, reading, writing and critical thinking skills is a SPY Day. This themed day motivates and rewards your students while sneaking in learning. Students dress up like secret agents, are given a mission to find a stolen object, walk through lasers, learn how to lift fingerprints, make memorize a new alias and work as a team to discover clues to solve the mystery. Allowing the kids to dress like secret agents, really gets them engaged. I keep the lights off and have them do their work with flashlights. I also invite parents to participate in the fun. When students see their parents having fun, they can’t help but be more positive about learning. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have extra help these days too! I’ve never had one themed day where there was a child not participating. It’s a lot of prep work for the teacher, but well worth the work. So, if you want your students engaged in learning, try to make learning fun by introducing a themed day. Click the picture below to find the printables for this themed day.
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Spring and Easter Crafts and Activities that ROCK the Classroom!

Springtime is so much fun for students. It’s a time to celebrate change, colors and happiness. In my classroom, I always enjoy ordering caterpillars for the students to see them emerge into beautiful butterflies. The excitement from the students is priceless! Students send in jelly beans, and we learn math by sorting, counting, classifying and graphing the beans. Then they get to eat or take the jelly beans home. Another great spring activity that is gaining popularity in our area, is painting positive messages on rocks and hiding them around the campus for other students to find. Students really get into the activity, and it’s easy to get some other classrooms to participate in the fun. You can integrate science, writing, math and reading in this “Kindness” unit. Whatever you decide to do to make the season with your class special and memorable, make sure it’s so fun that the kids are blinded by the rigor of the assignment! Happy Spring!
Below are some links to useful printables:



St. Patrick’s Day Crafts and Ideas

I love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in my classroom!  So this year, I’m a little bummed that we are on Spring Break, but who is going to complain about being on a break?

There are a lot of fun activities you can do with your students to really make the day memorable, special, and educational! I like to start my day with a leprechaun story from our class library.  I also love the video Leprechaun’s Gold found on YouTube.  You can explain the vocabulary words gold, greed, kindness and caring to the students after the video. I usually show it during Social Studies.  Share with the students that leprechauns are small, mischievous little men you find in Irish folklore. Then, locate Ireland on a globe.  I tell students how last year I almost caught one messing up my classroom, but he escaped.  I read the poem The Paper Leprechaun to the students.  I have them make their own paper leprechaun and pot of gold.  The pot of gold is separate from the leprechaun, so they can hide the gold from the paper leprechaun. They give their leprechaun a personality by writing it’s biography.   While students are at lunch, I mess up the room, sprinkle gold or green glitter around (even in the toilets), make little green footprints on the floor that lead to an open window and leave gold chocolate coins on their desks with a note from Lucky the Leprechaun. I have a pair of green felt little pants that I made myself, and hang from the open window. I pretend to try and grab him, but only have his pants.  The kids always giggle thinking there is a leprechaun running around in it’s underwear!  For math, I buy Lucky Charms cereal to pass out to the students.  They have to sort, graph and solve math problems using the lucky marshmallows found in the cereal.  After I check their work, they get to eat the cereal. (As always, check for food allergies prior to this lesson.) I send home a Family Project for student’s to create a trap for a leprechaun to build that home connection.  Finally, I let them make leprechaun headbands and Shamrock GLASSES to wear during story time.  If the kids are having fun learning, they will develop a lasting relationship with you and want to learn!

St Patricks Day Craft Leprechaun Craft Hat and Beard Headb St. Patrick's Day Writing and Crafts - Leprechaun Unit

Save $$$$$$ and get the UNIT

St Patrick's Day Craftivity - The Paper Leprechaun - Fun P   St Patrick's Day Craftivity Clover Glasses - by Teacher's Brain  Lucky Charms Graph - St. Patrick's Day Math Sort and Writing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,

Cindy

HTML Codes – Make TpT Listings POP!

I’m constantly trying to get my Teachers Pay Teachers product listings to stand out and POP among the thousands of other great product listings.  Here are some “cheat sheets” to help you make your listings SHINE!

Make it BOLD by inserting <stong>YOUR TEXT HERE</stong>

Underline it by inserting <span style=”text-decoration:line-through;”>YOUR TEXT HERE</span>

Copy and Paste These:

A round bullet: &bull;
An arrow pointing right: &rarr;
An arrow pointing left: &larr;
A heart-shaped bullet: &hearts;
A diamond-shaped bullet: &diams;
A star-shaped bullet: &#9733;

Groundhog Day in K!

Groundhog Day is celebrated in America on February 2 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The legend is that the groundhog comes out of his burrow and if it sees it’s shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather.  If it is cloudy and there is no shadow, it is an indication of an early spring.  Each year we create crafts and make predictions about groundhogs in my kindergarten class.  Here are some ideas:Slide22

  1. Pass out sticky notes and have a chart to make predictions on if the groundhog will see it’s shadow or not on February 2.
  2. Go to the Groundhog Web site to share the history of Punxsutawney Phil and watch the video LIVE STREAM of Punxsutawney.   http://www.groundhog.org/ (You can see the replay here also.)
  3. Use this FREE coloring printable for students to engage in for fine motor skills.
  4. Sing Groundhog Day Poem (Tune: Frere Jacques)Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day

    Is near

    Is near

    Will he see his shadow

    Will he see his shadow

    And disappear

    Disappear

  5. You can make the whole day relate to groundhogs by using activities in all subject areas in this GROUNDHOG DAY UNIT.

Make it a fun day! Students remember connections, not lessons.

School Holiday Door Decorating Contest

This year our school decided to do a door decorating contest.  Although I didn’t win, the contest made the school look festive, challenged teachers to a little friendly competition, provided a fun tour of doors for the kids, and inspired me to share some of my favorites in this blog post. Enjoy!

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Oh Deer Holiday Door Decorating Contest
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Gone to the Beach – First Place Winner – $100 Gift Card

 

 

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Read Your Way Through Some Snowy History Door Contest
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Elves At Work Door Contest
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My Door – Let It Snow Sight Words – Students made sight word snow flakes for the walls and windows.