Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2 for Tuesday

My first 2 for Tuesday! I'm SO excited!

My two products I chose are two of my favorites.

Being an Upper Elementary teacher (5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies, to be more accurate), there's such a big emphasis placed on testing.

Yes, it stinks.

But does that mean students can't practice for the inevitable in creative ways?

This was the inspiration behind much of my store, but also these two products in particular. One I slashed down to a dollar, and one is a flash freebie until tonight! 

I just love these. I truly believe in letting my students really get to know me, and having my interests inspire many of the ways we learn things. For example, it is well known that I love One Direction. Even though the 5th graders think they're too cool for it, they get intrigued to learn about each band member (obviously this packet was made before the Zayn drama!) once they hear how excited I am. Besides, with many of my too-cool boys in mind, I purposely added facts like which band member has the grossest feet, who passes the most gas, and who shaved off another band member's eyebrow right before a music video shoot. 

It really is perfect test practice...but in an actual fun way. There is a passage about each member, as well as a recording sheet to work on context clues. Each passage has four underlined words. Students have to find the word, infer what they think the word means, and identify what clues in the passage they found to make that inference.

I find it better to also work on that kind of format of context clues -- having the kids think about what clues they used. I often see test questions like this, "Which of the following phrases from the passage helped the reader understand what the word ______ meant?" This activity really helped my kids' confidence. Like, seriously.

Because I want some feedback on these passages, I'm having a flash freebie until tonight. Please go here and check it out! I hope you love it as much as my kiddos did.

And this. Oh, I love this.

At the beginning of the school year, we talk about 1) how our Reading Notebook is truly a tool and 2) how strategies make us become careful, better readers that won't get tricked by tests.

This is my favorite activity to teach both of these at the beginning of the school year. And what better way to do so than with Batman?

I shrink the strategies poster, the passage and the questions, and we glue all of them in our Reading Notebook. We talk about the strategies on the poster. We practice the strategies on our passage. And then we answer the questions using our strategies.

This does two things:
1) It gets us in the habit of automatically using strategies to do our personal best.
2) We now have a resource in our journal to reference for the first few weeks after that when we ask, "What strategies do we need to do?" It's so easy when the teacher gets to respond, "Go look in your notebook."

This lovely activity is discounted to just a dollar. Please check it out!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend Warriors: 3-2-1 Teacher Bio

Hi y'all!

Very excited to join up for this month's Weekend Warriors.

Now for a 3-2-1 about me!

1.) When I read this article, I just adored it because it fit me to a tee (except, I'm not so sure about #8). 

Other than feeling like sometimes I purposely go the "long way" to avoid conversation and totally being against phone calls, I so agree with feeling like my best around kids. I'm just a totally different person around my kiddos! I never overthink anything with them, I'm loud, and any love I give them is always reciprocated. I will be the first to say that eleven year-olds are my favorite people ever. :)

Oh, and MY LORD, you better not expect me to do anything crazy over the weekend. That's totally my blessed recharge time. 

2.) My decorated room is my baby. 

Excuse the random tools, but you get the idea.

Framed quotes found here and here

I just LOVE August, because that's when I get to go unpack, organize, and decorate. I'm very, very picky about keeping everything ornamental in my room limited to turquoise, yellow, gray, white, and black. In other words, I'm that annoying teacher that if you ask me, "Hey, I have a free ______. Do you want it?" I always reply, "Depends, what color is it?"

3.) I could never, ever teach a grade younger than 5th. I just love the kids and curriculum in the "bigger" grades! In fact, if I ever want to change things up, I'll look into moving to Language Arts in middle school. I even put on my resume when I was first looking for a job right out of college that I'd love to teach "the awkward years." ;)

1.) I love food. Like, food is my happy place (luckily I know I also need long dog walks, swimming, and yoga to destress or I'd be in baaaaaad business). I love cooking at night. I love spending an evening menu planning for the following week. I cannot travel without snacks. I have the largest, most absurd lunch box and I love packing lunches. I love doing some meal prep on Sundays. I absolutely adore going to the largest HEB in the area every Saturday morning, early. I love making a special trip to specialty grocery stores to ask their cheese recommendations (I try to have cheese and crackers for dinner every Thursday night). I love baking bread, I own way too many crockpots, and I'm just a bit high maintenance about knives and Pyrex storage containers. If I find that I have some extra spending money, I sign up for cooking classes and during the summer, I teach cooking to past students. I. Love. Food.

My name's Haley and I have a problem. ;)

2.) I totally pick out my clothes for the week, no shame. It makes me happy and it makes my mornings so easy. 

I even had a bar installed in my room just specifically for my "picked-out" outfits, based on the following Pinterest picture.

Aaaaand I'm pretty sure I wrote my college application essay on how I like to play dress-up, picking out clothes. No shame.

Lastly, I have a goal of seeing three new places a year, but I wanted a bucket list item that was something a bit different. I have a fancy Canon camera and I'd love to really learn how to use it and edit photos. I think it'd be so fun to learn to take those really precious family pictures as a fun hobby on the side and, possibly, as a small business.

And, because I couldn't just narrow it down to one item, I also want to own a small camper one day to explore the United States on small weekend trips on long road trips. 

Whew! That's my 3-2-1. Thanks so much for the fun linky! xox

Friday, June 26, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge: Dare to Dream

I'm just LOVING that the second week of the Teachers Pay Teachers challenge is all about dreaming. I'm such a list-oriented person and nothing gives me greater satisfaction than checking something off and getting a task completed - whether it's an item on a grocery list or a large goal that I planned out.

That said, how exciting it is to think about and pinpoint my goals as a Teachers Pay Teachers seller. Although I've created many lists in terms of things to accomplish over a summer, recipes I want to try, and overall health and fitness goals, I've never thought about what I want to achieve through this tiny store of mine.

And thank goodness I'm getting a kick in the rear to do so, as few things will motivate me more than dreaming big and identifying what I need to do to get there -- which Lord knows I need, as I feel like I haven't touched my store in quite a while.

Drum roll, please!

1.) I think this one's pretty obvious. Being in my early twenties (I'm in denial that 25 counts as "late"), I'm still relatively new to this whole real world thing. And, like any good adult, I try my best to invest in my future and put some money away each month for my savings. Which I do, but my savings are no where near I'd like them to be. TPT can help me change that.

2.) I absolutely love to travel. Once I survived finished my first year of teaching, I became so appreciative of our teaching schedules (thank you, school district, for a week off for Thanksgiving!) and decided to make a goal of seeing three new places a year. While this is a direct correlation as to why my savings account isn't super padded, I truly believe in prioritizing in new experiences.

3.) While I'm little over halfway there, I'd love to make a goal of having 50 products in my store by 2016. I feel that it can be a little more difficult to find things for 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies (although there are some absolutely amazing sellers out there!) because often times the products are very cute but with little substance, or just not super engaging for big, bad fifth graders. I want to be inspired to really get my booty in gear and make a handful of new products, especially now that I'm entering my third year of teaching and know the curriculum fairly well! 

4.) I love to practice yoga and swim in order to destress. To really be held accountable (and truly reap the benefits), I need a good yoga studio, and an actual swim team. Neither are cheap, and I find myself making excuses not to do these two activities in order to save money for #1. I would love to be able to join a yoga studio and a swim team, without worrying about the monthly fees. I truly aspire to find more balance this year between school and home.

5.) An odd goal, but I would love my own study. Right now I've made a makeshift work area on my dining room table, but I really want an actual room dedicated to me reading, blogging, grading, or creating. I'm always so envious when I catch posts on Instagram of decorated and organized desk areas, complete with full bookshelves and cozy couches. It's a serious life goal!

Feeling very thankful for a blog hop to inspire me to think of my goals, and for a summer off to start tackling this list. :) Excited to read everyone else's goals!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness!

So very excited to participate in the TPT Seller Challenge! This is just what I need to become more involved and dedicated in the world of Teachers Pay Teachers.

First up, my embarrassingly low stats. 

I started creating for TPT last summer, the summer after my first year of teaching. Since I had a better grasp on the curriculum and had an idea of what my students might need, one of the very first products I made was a ready-to-print list of important terms used in our fifth grade Language Arts classroom.

So, I thought it only fitting to give some much-needed love to one of the most-used products in my classroom for this week's Makeover Challenge. 

You can check out this amazing (discounted to $1!) resource in my store. We loved using it this year by gluing it into the Word Work section of our Writing Journals or sticking it in our Rise and Shine Folders to use with dictionary skills practice, stamps, playdoh mats, or any of Third Grade Thought's Word Work sets.

Also, thank you TPT Seller's Challenge for giving me the push I needed to enter the blogging world!