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Teacher Feature Tuesday with Jasmine McClain from Buzzing with Mrs. McClain

Happy Tuesday! For all my Nashville friends, should be happier now that there are 3 full days left of school! Sad that another year has come to an end, but happy it's Tuesday and time to feature an amazing educator. :)

This week's Teacher Feature Tuesday is 
Jasmine McClain from 

She is the genius behind the monthly You Oughta Know link up. Each month she has a great group of educators who share their best tips and ideas about teaching. I have participated twice now and I really enjoy reading and learning from others in the classroom. 

How long have you been TPT'ing?

Since 2011

What is your most helpful advice for new TPT'ers?

My advice for new TPTers is to set goals that you want to reach, but don't compare your goals to what others' are doing. I've been doing TpT for a while and have never reached the BIG milestone but I have reached plenty of milestones that I set for myself.

What is your most helpful advice for new teachers?

My advice for beginning teachers is to be confident in your abilities and that it is okay to make mistakes.

I love how her feedback is centered in running your own race. With all of the data and analytics, it can be easy to become discouraged when there are so many others out there who are seemingly more successful. At the end of the day, you have to set your own goals and be confident in yourself. Truer words never spoken :) By the way...

You Oughta Buy...

As for more evidence of her sage wisdom, check out her End of the Year Frenzy Unit! Even if you have four days left, or until the end of June (I feel your struggle), these activities my be the thing you need to finish the year strong.

I really loved her mini awards! They would be great to give at the end of each week for student recognition.

Click the link here to get it for your very own!

I am so grateful for Mrs.McClain and her collaborative spirit! I am so glad she could share with us and I hope you can use it!


Weekly Summer Link Up 5/24: My Goals for the Summer

Happy Monday!
 I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day and you spent it with people you care about. We spent ours driving back from Gatlinburg from our first family vacation. Traveling is definitely different with a nine month old.

So happy to link up with Miss Monica at I Heart 3rd Grade for this amazing linky party. As this year wrapped up, I had been wondering what I would blog about now that everyone was on break and then this amazing opportunity presented itself! So wonderful! 
The topic for this week is setting goals for the summer. It's always great to set goals in the beginning of an endeavor. It will be even more interesting to look at this list at the end of the summer to see what was accomplished.

Before I begin, I have A LOT going on. I know everybody is busy and they have lots on their plates, but I feel like I have 6 plates spinning at the same time, and 2 or 3 are looking a bit wobbly. 

  1. Get Married and survive the process
  2. Upload 60 total products (8 more by August 31)
  3. Get a full time job related to education
  4. Attend the TPT conference
  5. Plan my SIM (social innovation meeting) for Mid August
  6. Work Summer Institute June/July
  7. Attend the ASCD conference
  8. Keep up with blog schedule
  9.  Spend quality time with my sweetie and Papaya. 
  10. Enjoy the process :)
I would go through the whole list but that would be boring for you and anxiety inducing for me, so I'll just focus on the first 3. 

1. Get Married...And Survive....
It's a lot. But I keep telling myself to breathe and remember it's just one day and at the end of that day, I get cake. Lots of cake. The whole thing if I want it. That makes me feel a bit better about all the loose ends and deadlines. I have to tell myself to chill and remember I get cake. Hopefully, that will get me through. Hopefully...

2. Upload 60 Products
I had the goal of having 100 products in my store because 100 represents in my mind TPT sellers who are serious and focused on TPT as more than a hobby. Although I know others who are successful with less products, that is my personal goal. Instead of being focused on my 100 products, I got caught up in the world of social media and blogging versus the creation of products. I am going to reinstate my goal of having 100 quality products that teachers and classrooms need, but also take reality into account. With all the things I have going on, I cannot focus on the creation as much until after August. Then I will be better about my creation schedule. At least that is my goal.

3. Full time work
It's time to return to the land of adult and begin adulting once again. I was happy to leave the land of adult to return to grad school and  learn. I have had multiple jobs (almost all at the same time) but the were all part time to fix my flexible schedule. The job I have was great as I finished grad school and during my pregnancy with Papaya, but now it is time to focus on my professional career, I'm not sure what opportunity I will pursue, but the first step is to make a goal and pursue it. Oh, to adult successfully...what a wonder that would be lol. 

The rest of the list will serve as a check point for me to see where everything ended up by August 15th. At that point, I will be a Mrs., have a full time job, and be free to create to my heart's desire. 

I hope you follow the link and join this amazing party!


Splish-Splash It's a Summer Time Bash!

One of the best things about working in education, besides the kids and the wonderful people I get to work with, is SUMMER VACATION! I love having 8 weeks to reflect, revise, and rejuvenate before the start of another year. Many people think teachers don't work as hard because we have the summers off, but without those summer breaks, you wouldn't have the time to think of new activities, units, or find opportunities to collaborate with other teachers.

Upcoming things this summer:

1) TFA Summer Institute

For the past fours years, I have spent my summer working to develop new teachers. I absolutely love it. Many people do have issues with alternative certification programs, I know they play an important role in education today. Where I taught in Arkansas, there were few teachers who would come to our little rural corner. In fact, when we didn't have TFA teachers, there would be long term subs in classrooms. Because I know it can be better, for the new teachers and for their students, I work with the new teachers to incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices as well as strategies to develop relationships with their students and their colleagues. I am excited to see how institute will turn out this year.

2) TPT Conference

SO EXCITED TO GO TO VEGAS!!!! I seriously cannot wait to go to Vegas with my sweetie and meet all of the wonderful people that I follow and that I have worked with over the last year. I truly love the TPT community and its focus on teachers and their needs. I know it will be a jam packed 2 days, but I am ready to learn. We are still finalizing all the details, but it is getting closer! YAY!

3) My Wedding!

Last but not least, MY WEDDING! It's crazy my wedding is so close! Nerve wrecking and nausea inducingly close. This has/will be one of the busiest summers of my life between work, business, and personal. I'm just glad I have a supportive family that has stepped up to help me with the finer details. All I can do is stay calm and know that as long as I have Sam, that everything will be okay on that day.  Well, Sam and cake. Err...Sam, cake, and deviled eggs. Fine. Sam, cake, deviled eggs, and wine. There. That would be the perfect day :)

For my freebie, I wanted to share one of my forever freebies!  Reading comprehension rings!

To read about it more in detail, click here.

And finally, no bash would be complete without a giveaway!
Enter the raffle to win any one item out of my store!
(Click the link to look through some of my products).
Simply like on facebook and it's yours!
a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks so for reading and I hope you win!
Now hop over to the next blog!


You Oughta Know May!


You Oughta Know About Rotating TPT Banners!!!

Happy Saturday! This week, I am featuring rotating banners from Shelley Tomish from Pitch Clips! I hadn;t seen them before I viewed her store and I thought they were great and I hope you do too!

Two weeks ago, I came across a seller promoting her store Pitch Clips on the facebook group TPT Connections (click the link to join if you haven't already). I went over to check out her site and lo and behold! She had rotating banners. (Go ahead and look and come right back! I'll wait :) )It was the first time that I had come across that feature on a TPT store. As someone who JUST figured out how to place an image in my TPT banner, I was literally blown away.

 I reached back out to Shelley, the wonderful owner of Pitch Clips, telling her how great her rotating banners were. A few days later, she shared in the same post a tutorial for how to create your own rotating banners! It was so nice that she would share and add to the TPT community of knowledge.

Click below to follow her tutorial below and then come back to join the blog hop for even more tips for you!

Her tutorial is so clear and concise! I can't wait to start planning to create my own next week!

Now, Hop on over to these other great blogs for things You Oughta Know!


Sailing into Summer Blog Hop!

Happy Sunday! So happy to be linking up with Julie Faulkner and the Language Arts Classroom!

It is so crazy that there is only 10 days of school left! ESPECIALLY, when we lost all those days due to snow and the huge fear was the year going into June. But, fortunately for us, there are many suuny days ahead and summer approaches and our time as teachers to reflect and rejuvenate begins. I am happy to participate in this link up and share some final ideas for this school year and prepare  for the year ahead.

1. Hold a morning meeting to talk about their fears and anxieties before they take the test.

With the huge test culture we have developed, students have a lot of fears and anxiety about tests and their performances on it. If you still have time before the test, let students have a space to talk about the test and for you to reinforce your belief in your students. Intentionally putting this time on the calendar will help you to hold this commitment to yourself and your students. For your students, they can write or talk out how they feel about the test or what areas they feel weak in. On your part, its an opportunity to reassure them, go over test content, planning review sessions, and most importantly, check your own mindsets about your students and their progress. I remember feeling frustrated at the end of my first year because I felt one group of students was not motivated and turned in mediocre work. It was until I had an impromptu group meeting that I learned that they did care, but they were overwhelmed and unsure in their abilities, so they checked out as a cover. Even if this isn't a problem in your classroom, it couldn't hurt to have more spaces for student voice in the classroom. 

2.Thing to do again: Daily activity countdown

One thing that I would do again would be to have a balloon count down for the last day of school. If you have multiple sections of classrooms, you could just have envelopes taped to the wall. 

In my classroom, I would intentionally plan 10 activities for students to engage in every day until the last day of school. I selected 10 activities I thought students would like and put a strip of paper in the balloon and blew it up. Every day, I would share the class goal/expectations as the condition of popping the balloon. If we completed the task, I would have a student pop a balloon. The activities were things like a water balloon fight during field day, making food (to teach following discussions), GoNoodle videos, etc. To improve for next year, I would talk more with students to get their feedback. 

3. Thing to improve for next year: Improve communications with parents

Next year, I want to include more parents dreams for their children into my classroom planning. I developed this template to your with some of the new teachers I worked with this summer and thought it was a way to keep them focus on the academic and social component of the work we do. 
The first page has a picture of the students because I think their faces help to remind you of who we are working for/with and how we can adapt our lessons for their interests in needs. 

Overall, the best way to sail into summer is to be reflective of your teaching over the past year and think of specific activities and experiences to engage your students. Opening discussion, injecting fun activities, and preparing to include parent/student dreams in your classroom are all ways to have smoother sailing towards the summer. I hope these tips were helpful for you! 

Click below to continue on in the blog hop!


Teacher Feature Tuesday featuring Jessica Plemons from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

Happy Tuesday! Time for another Teacher Feature!

This week I am featuring Jessica Plemons from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten!

She is an amazing teacher/blogger/author who creates practical and useful materials for teachers and their students.
Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

1. How long have you been TPT'ing?

Since August of 2013

2. What is your most helpful advice for new TPT'ers?

Stop by the TPT forum and read, read, read. There are so many great threads full of advice for new sellers. I wish I had discovered that treasure trove of information. I could have avoided so many newbie mistakes with securing files, copyrighting materials, creating cover pages/previews and more! Starting can be overwhelming, but taking just a few minutes each day to read the advice of others will go a LONG way and save you time in the end.

3. What is your most helpful tip for new teachers?

Find teachers that have a collaborative heart. I've been blessed to work with some amazing teachers that just share anything and everything they can...ideas, crafts, paper, books, extra copies, tears, laughs, coffee, chocolate, whatever I need! If you can't find them in your building reach out to bloggers! There are so many teachers out there pouring their hearts into blog posts with ideas that you can use. Find a few favorite bloggers that share the kinds of ideas you love. Collaborative blogs in particular are always a great treasure trove of information because you get tons of bloggers all in one place!

Any additional tips?

When you compare yourself to others you may never be satisfied, but if you look at how much you've grown, you can celebrate your accomplishments. Whether it is in TPT or teaching it's easy to see others' success and feel they are beyond your reach, but when you focus on growth you can be proud of the work you do. Work hard. Be proud.

Featured Product

If you are ending the year and looking for something to recognize your students, this might be the resource for you! Student AwardsI always have the hardest time thinking of awards for students. I love how bright these awards are and that they come in color and black and white. If you haven't had your award ceremony yet, these might be the awards for you!


Thursday Tips for Teachers: Share about others

Hi all! Happy Thursday! Time for another Thursday Tips for Teachers!

This week I am focusing on how to grow yourself by sharing/featuring others. When you are a tiny, itty bitty baby blog it is easy to feel intimidated by the other blogs out there. You might feel that no one will read your blog or care about what you have to say.

First things first, don't let your fear get in the way of sharing your gift with the world. This desire to create was placed in your heart and you should follow it. I wasted A LOT of time hemming and hawing about whether I could or should start, and frankly, missed so many opportunities.

The second second tip is to be realistic about your page views and audience. In blogging and TPTing you are joining a huge community of teachers who are sharing what they know and sharing/selling items they believe in to help classrooms around the country. Some of the blog networks I belong to are all about the next viral blog you write for the Top 10 this or 5 can't live without that. As I have been blogging, I have found the posts that have gone the most viral or get the most shares, are when I feature other teachers. They really love and appreciate being featured and being recognized in some small way. I know I did when I had my first feature. I shared it with my mom, my dad, my cousins, my friends, my teachers, etc, etc. It was a major achievement in my development as a blogger and as a creator/member of this larger community. Now, when I work with the other bloggers, I find that they do the same thing :)

Quotable of the Day: 
If you are looking to increase you impact, start first by sharing the impact of others. 

Below are the two main blog posts I do every week to feature the work of other teachers on my blog.

Teacher Feature Tuesday:

Every Tuesday, I have been featuring a teacher blogger on my blog. They answer 3 questions, give any additional advice they have, and send me a picture to feature on the blog. I then go to their store and select an eye catching item that I think others would love too. Here is my most recent feature with Kovescence of the Mind.

They have all really said how much they appreciate the feature. I just love being able to brighten some one else's day by showing their great work. Teaching is hard. Teaching, blogging, and creating is even harder, so it is nice to be able to recognize others.

Product Swap Saturdays:

This is my newest sharing feature. I joined a swap group where you can trade materials and post about them. I first learn of the group after my recent Stop, Swap, and Roll by Jungle Learners where I was paired with any other teacher and showed the product in use. After that experience, I joined a TPT group called  "TPT Swap and Post", where other teachers routinely swap goods. I love this process. Not only do I get to collaborate and feature another teacher author's great work, I also get to use these amazing products for FREE to help my students. You can view the first feature with Cheryl Irick from KinderIrick here.

There are so many benefits to this process. I get to build my network, my community, and my friendships with other bloggers. I also get to review really great products that are actually helping the kids in my program. In also have seen my blog audience and sales grow as a direct result of interacting and sharing with others.

I feel like everyone wants the same thing I want, a little recognition and some sign that this (TPT/blogging) is all worth it. As chief Kool-aid drinker, I firmly believe my effectiveness as a coach, curriculum developer, and as a human, have increased as a result of this journey. I am so grateful for this community and for everyone that has helped me along the way. I hope this little tip was helpful to you and that you will begin the wonderful process of creating, caring, and sharing with others!


Winner Wednesday: Fry Words Student Skill Sheets-Second 100

Thanks so much to Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do! I honestly love her blog and I am so glad she developed this opportunity.

Jennifer first mentioned this idea in the TPT Seller's Forum and I thought it was fantastic. I am currently participating in a Teacher Appreciation Giveaway of two bundles of educational resources worth over $475 and the response has been incredible. The simple fact of the matter is that people like to win stuff and I hope you do too!

For the first inaugural Winner Wednesday, I am giving a copy of my Fry Words Unit -Second 100 away!  

This unit features 25 sets of DIFFERENT activities to introduce Fry Words. I designed it because my guided reading tutoring program heavily focuses on sight words and having our students interact with them. Because of the format, I thought this would be an activity that would increase students exposure to the words and that they have fun while doing it.

The first page has students work on Word Identification and Spelling Activities through two of the activities below: 
9 different activities: 
-Word Search
-Word Pyramids
-Graph Words
-Secret Code
-Color Shapes By Word
-Missing Letters, Scrambled Words
-Write The Words
-Write Words Alphabetically

The second page activities is the same for all the sets of materials and features Read and Write Activities. Students will:
Read Words, Read Sentences, Copy Sentences, and Create Sentences. 

Students have to read all of the words three times before they can move on. They like to race to finish reading or see who can read them all correctly in the allotted time. They then read sentences in the same fashion. Students then rewrite the given sentences for handwriting practice and then create their own unique sentences.

It has been super effective in my program. Students like the different activities they can do every day to learn more about the words and interact with them.

Students working on the Fry Word Student Skill Sheets. The one picture above is from the First 100 words. Those sheets stay the same to support them as they learn the first hundred words. 
Enter the Raffle below or click here to buy your own copy :)


Teacher Feature Tuesday featuring Kovescence of the Mind

Happy Tuesday and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! 
So happy to feature a great teacher Sarah from the Kovescence of the Mind
I have seen her blogging and activity for the past couple of weeks, and can attest to her amazingness. I am excited to participate in her summer book club on reciprocal teaching.

How long have you been TPT'ing?

November 2009

What is your most helpful advice for new TPT'ers?

Have great freebies out there. This ways people can get to know your work. This will build a client base for you.

What is your most helpful advice for new teachers?

Create one awesome lesson per class or subject every week. The rest of the week survive. It is okay to not have every lesson for every class or every subject be the best ever. Then next year add another-two rocking lessons a week. By the time you get to year 5 you will have some awesome lessons and activities. It takes time, so let yourself have that time

Additional tips?

Use the technology that we have available to use in order to make your life easier in the long run. I am a huge fan of using as little paper as possible. I want the students to do the work. If I am exhausted at the end of the day, the students didn't do enough of the work.

Good News Below! 

1. Good News
She has an amazing resource for grouping students with the Rainbow Desks Labels for grouping , Having the students get into groups is one of the hardest things to do. You can have them do even and odd numbers, vowels and consonants, or the numbers. It comes in multiple colors for the complete set.
2. Even Better News
Her store is 20% for the TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale for the next two days! Remember to use the coupon code Thank You.


Teacher Appreciation: One dollar Deal! Even and Odd

Welcome to Day 2 of Teacher Appreciation Week!  If you missed out yesterday, you can check out some great teaching secrets for your classroom HERE.   Also, you don't want to miss out on the two giveaways we are hosting this week.  If you didn't enter yesterday, you can do so now.  Make sure you enter for both prize bundles so you have double the change to win!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Today, we are offering a collection of high quality classroom resources at a huge discount.  Below is a list of Best Selling Resources that have been discounted by 20%.  You can receive an additional 10% off at checkout by using the code THANKYOU.

An InLinkz Link-up

We have also put together a collection of $1.00 Deals to help stock up your classroom for the rest of the year and next year.  I know I have added several of these deals to my cart.  Don't forget to use the code THANKYOU at checkout for maximum savings!


What Works! Teacher Appreciation

Teachers are the hardest working people I know. You are another parent, friend, coach, mentor, nurse, guidance counselor, janitor, curriculum developer, and motivator, among so other positions.The day is not a simple 7-3, pick up your things and leave. You take your classroom with you everywhere you go. Up late grading papers, calling parents, worrying about that one student, frustrated with the things that keep you from teaching, and struggling to adapt to the changes within the classroom. 

Because you do so much, I am sharing some teacher secrets (that shouldn't be secrets) and  participating in the MASSIVE What Works product/resources giveaway. 
After all, you deserve it. :)

Teacher Secret 1: Partner
The biggest mistake a new teacher, or any teacher for that matter, can make is to try to do it all alone. I have trained new teachers for the past four years and the ones that struggle and end up quitting are the ones who go it alone or who have little/no relationships with other teachers. As a teacher, it is your job to partner with others to get what your students need. If not local teachers, then mentor teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, or even teachers in other schools. Lately, my best partners in education have been the other bloggers I follow. 

Teacher Secret 2: Grow
Like a flower, bloom where you are planted. Despite any obstacles or limitations you may have, there is always an opportunity to grow. This is just as true for new teachers as it is for veterans. The educational landscape, makeup of our classrooms, numbers of students, number of new reforms, and technology available seems to change daily. The only way to survive is to adapt. You could also shut down and do the same thing you have done but kids need more than that. 
At the same time I say grow, I know there is the feeling that there is always something else to do or that I could be doing. Because teaching is a (hopefully for you) long term career, take a long term approach to your develop. Master the basics and then pick 3 projects to grow yourself, your classroom, and your ability to empower students. After you work on the first three, pick another 3. Then another. And another. Resist the urge to use the same lesson plan year in and year out. Although the content doesn't change, your kids do. Reflect deeply on you, your skills, and what your current group of students need to accomplish THEIR dreams. :)

Tips to Grow:

Think deeply about your practice
Film yourself
Watch others teach your same content
Talk to your student and their parents
Find other blogs and follow for great ideas
Join educhats on twitter
Find online professional development
Seek feedback that includes action steps

Teacher Secret 3: Empower
In education, is easy to be carried away by the standards and the looming burden of the state test. You spend all year for three days that drain the lives of you, your students, and your school. Many of the things we do to children is to track their skills and how they compare and not often enough on what they can and should do with those skills. How helpful is it to know your student is on a level G, but he, his parents, and maybe even you don't know what that means for his future and opportunities. Empower your students with the knowledge and skills to advocate for themselves. Teach them to identify problems in the world and how to partner with others in order to solve them. Teaching someone to read is great, but give them the larger purpose for reading. You read to understand the world, the thoughts and experiences of those before you, and to share in the written story of humanity. Similar arguments can be said for science, math, and social studies. Because you can not, and should not, be responsible for all of their learning, empower them to seek their own solutions, dream their own dreams, and set their own goals. In order to do this, you must partner, grow, and focus on empowerment to enable your students to understand their resources, solve their own problems, and make their way in this world.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading some teacher secrets. There are so many others: have a plan for pencils, having that sub work ready, and being flexible for all of those changes as they come up. Teaching is hard, but let it be harder than it has to be.

Now with tips in hand, get ready to win some free stuff! Remember the more entries you have on the rafflecopter, the more chances you have to win.

Just take a look at everything you could win...One lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!

Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

We aren't finished yet....take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!
Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.

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