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.

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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February + Teachers = Love

Teachers, you have so much on your plate during the school year, I just don’t know how we all do it!  I know we do it for the love of learning and seeing kids grow, but sometimes it is hard to do everything that we are required to do during the school day.  This is why I have teamed up with some fantastic teacher authors to give one of you lucky teachers a $100.00 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway will run February 1-5. You can enter below:

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Thank you for all you do for students!

Lots of Love,

Cindy

TPT GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY AND 2-DAY SALE!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you!  You all deserve this winter break to relax and spend time with your family.  To make your holiday sparkle a little more, we are offering a couple $25.00 TpT Gift Cards to some lucky winners.  In addition to the gift cards, we are having sales in some TpT stores taking place on December 25-26. Follow this link to see the store link ups – APPLETASTIC LEARNING

Click the image to visit my store!

Christmas Sale

Click here to find the raffle to WIN the gift cards.

Thankful for Teachers $550 Giveaway

Thanksgiving break is just around the corner, and it’s safe to say most of us are ready for a break with some great family time!  Several of my Teacher Author Friends have teamed up to bring you a chance to win $50.00 in Christmas CASH!  The Give Away is HUGE!  Just click the link below to have up to 50 chances to enter the raffle.   You may enter Sunday, November 13th through midnight on Tuesday, November 15th.  Prizes will be awarded on Wednesday, November 16th.  Please share this on all your social media sites with you teacher friends.  There are plenty of chances to win!  11 winners will get $50.00 in Gift Cards.  Good Luck!  I hope it is one of you!

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Counting and Cardinality in Kindergarten

Primary students learn when best using all their senses.  I always like to provide a hook for each math lesson.  The hook can be a simple two minute video, a short puppet show, a physical object that connects the learner to the lesson and much more.  Then, I like to get them moving before they have to sit and do an activity.  Counting jumping jacks or hops supports the skill of counting while getting their blood pumping.  In kindergarten, it is so important for students to have a strong foundation of numbers in order to prepare them for many life skills and their school future.  Here are some fun and cute printables to help guide your students to understanding counting and cardinality.numbers-1-10-chicken-egg-square

Be the first to know about my new discounts, freebies and product launches:
• Look for the green star next to my store logo and click it to become a follower. Voila! You will now receive email updates about this store.  All products are HALF off the first 24 hours. ☺

Making a Great Open House

Making a great Open House for parents is actually pretty easy with all the tools and technology today.  I like to use simple scavenger hunts for students to help show their parents around the room.  Taking pictures of families helps keep you busy and not be too available for any “parent conference” type of conversations.  I direct parents to the Mini Me Square Coverconference sign up sheets.  I also don’t let volunteers come in the room until after Open House.  In kindergarten, this helps the kids learn the routine without relying on parents.  Some teachers create easy slideshows to show rules, routines or student’s pictures.  I usually have a few All About Me items out, including an All About Me Journal where the parents are encouraged to sit and write a note to their child at the end of the night.  Students make Mini Me Persons that I tape to their chairs that help the room look adorable!  Smile a lot, and show off what you have helped their children learn in the short amount of time they have been with you.

Interactive WORD WALL – Dry Erase

Are you still displaying a dull word wall that just stays glued to the wall all year, adding words, and hoping the kids look at it during their literacy time?  Time to step up your game.  Students need to touch, feel and interact with a Word Wall.  This has been one of the best tools to teach reading and writing in my room since I changed my old way of using a Word Wall.  Just print, laminate and hang letter squares in an area that is easy to grab it from the wall, take it to their learning area, and then they can put it back on the wall.  Oh no, the words erased?  That’s okay!  If they do, ask a helper to put the words back on the board.  It may look a little messy, but it is in use, exciting, and empowering them to use those sight words.  I keep a small print out of the words next to the word wall for them to use, if they erase, so they can easily rewrite it correctly.  They could even ask a friend.   You can always fix it at the end of the week, if you worry about neatness.  Here are some tips for using an interactive Word Wall:

Mrs. Kaney using her Interactive Word Wall in First Grade
  •  I like to play games with the squares. Sometimes I mix the letters up, and see if the students catch the mix up. Then, I offer them a little award for being a good “Letter Detective.”
  • Another game I play is called, Swat the Sight Word. This is where I group students in two lines, give fly swatters and call out a word on the Word Wall. They both try to “Swat” the word and whoever gets there first wins a point for the team.
  • I highlight the vowels on the Word Wall, so dry erase word wall square coverstudents can easily identify them.
  • After laminating, make sure you leave a small portion around the paper when cutting to ensure moisture never gets into our paper.
  • Use Cardstock or glue to poster board to make it last longer.
  • We make up songs to go with each letter sound.  “A, /a/ /a/ /a/ Apple, B….
  • “Box Up” the words, by drawing lines to show (low, high and medium) letters.  We say the word.  Then spell it with body movement. (squat down for low letters (like g), hands by your sides for medium letters (like e), and hands up high for tall letters (like t).
  • Find word families.
  • Don’t stick just to sight words.  Students love to learn ROBUST VOCABULARY WORDS! (For example,  hysterical or words from their interest areas like Survival or Creeper.)  You will be surprised at how often they use them even in kindergarten!

Video Blog Attempt

So last week when I went to the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Orlando,  I was able to meet Kayse Morris.  She makes the most adorable high energy videos for teachers.  I watched all of her videos while I was learning how to set up my own TpT store.  Kayse had all the people who attended her workshop (LEARNshop, as I like to call them), make their first Facebook Live video right then and there.  It was fun, but I quickly realized I better have something to say, no gum in my mouth and to pan the room much slower when I make future videos.  I didn’t say much in my video and when I did, I mispronounced Kayse’s name… EMBARRASSING!  So this week not only did I build a NEW blog, but I’m working on my first PLANNED video packed with teacher tips! Keep following my blog to see if it turns out helpful or hurtful.