Monday, July 28, 2014

Booktalking Clubs - Get the Lowdown!

Hi everyone,
Today's post is over at Adventures in Literacy Land. The topic is Booktalking Clubs. If you want to know what they are, (no, not the same as a book club), how it works, and how it could increase student engagement, head over to see the post here or click on the image!

Adventures in Literacy Land

Thanks to Erin of I'm Lovin' Lit for the frames and KG Fonts, for well, the font!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday-Sleepless Night Edition

Well, not totally sleepless but I was up until 4am, not by choice. There is just so much going on in my little head right now. Excitement, happiness, worry, anxiety, ideas, a little loneliness at times, I just could not settle down and quiet my mind. So I was up till 4 am. EESH.

BUT it is time to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching for 5 For Friday - always a good time!

My Christmas in July Sale continues! Everything is 20% until Sunday so stock up for back to school now. Here are just a couple items you could maybe get some use out of! Clicking on any of the images will bring you to my store. (PS That sale poster has the wrong date- should say July 27. Sorry!)

I am working on some new projects - first up an INTERACTIVE notebook! Also I am working a Morning Work product - I have morning work in many of my other products so I just thought - Hmmm why aren't I making a morning work only product?! LOL 

Stay tuned!

So exciting! I made my Jamberry Fast Start goal! If you are not a consultant you might know why I am so excited, but it feels good to meet a personal goal. I also got some product credit (already spent thank you!) and with each milestone I get a few more $. I was able to pay for my Vegas hotel room with my earnings from the past few weeks and I have only been doing it for  6 weeks! If you don't know what Jamberry Nails is and would like a free sample, check out the picture on the sidebar or just fill out my quick sample request form here. 

They are super cute vinyl wraps that are long lasting and made in the USA. Here are a couple of my latest jamicures. 
Want more info? Comment below and let me know!

Black floral and darkest black - last week's jamicure!

Need to work on my photo skills but this is bubble gum and gingham (from the gingham and berries Jamberry juniors - little girl line). Yes adults can wear juniors!

My mom is not a wrap lady but she even got into it and tried the Jamberry lacquer. Here she is rocking hint of mint lacquer and she added a sparkle top coat!

You may think this is small potatoes but I was psyched! I found a TJ Maxx gift card from last Christmas! I went and found a lamp that I desperately need. It won't stay on the kitchen counter, but I wanted to get a quick pic of it. Yay! Thanks to my former student who gave the gift card to me!

And finally I can't have 5 for Friday without Silly Bailey pics. Just a reminder, first here is how he spent his vacation at my mom's house!

 Now last night he got himself in a weird positing. Lying with some of his feet (and some of his toes on another foot) under the rug. Looks like he is romancing the rug by having a cuddle.And his nose is on the ceiling fan base. Goofball!

Check out when I got close- he somehow got most of his toes under the rug but this one is sticking out. Looks like a killer claw! LOL

Hope you all have a restful weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Things I Learned in Vegas

Hey everyone! Finally you will get the insider's scoop! I am linking up with A Burst of First to tell you 10 Things I Learned in Vegas (at the TPT Conference)! Of course I learned 1,000 things that day, but you would never read that long of a blog post so here are the 10 that jump right out at me! And please go over to A Burst of First to see who else linked up!

I was going to save this for last but why wait?! I was all nervous because I was going by myself. There were ladies I knew that would be there but I did not have anyone to walk in with. Everyone was so friendly, sweet, and kind! I ran into Linda from Primary Inspiration who I have "known" on the interwebs for a couple years and we went to lunch and hung out! What a cool lady! If you want to go to a place with a funny name, try I Love Hamburgers at the Venetian-that is where we ate.

Anyway, everyone is supportive and the atmosphere is one of collaboration, NOT competition. We all were trying to share ideas and advice to help each other out, not to undercut anyone else's business. None of these top sellers HAD to do a session and share their wisdom but they pretty much all did. Plus everyone else I chatted with and got to know was fun, kind, and helpful!

This was mentioned in a couple sessions I attended but I am not consistent with this. Time to get going! There is also a debate on what kind of product previews are best but basically it seems to come down to what you and your customers are most comfortable with.

Here is the preview for my Second Grade Back to School Starter Kit. These are the previews I am going with nowadays!

I learned to make sure all those CCSS standards are checked off in the product upload tool. This was in the data session with TPT's Ryan Van Meter and Kelly Dolling. I am gradually going back and redoing all my products to make sure applicable standards are checked off. Basically, they said it is important to help your product show up when folks search.

Time to revamp old products. Deanna and Deedee described some of their products from the early days at hot messes - lol - and mine are no different. I am starting to look over mine and improve some- even if it is just the cover! 

Here is the first thing I redid when I got back: Editing Practice. I renamed it, redid the cover and replaced some fonts and made other improvements inside.

BEFORE                                                       AFTER

Here is one  of my hot messes! Time for a makeover!

I found out from someone that Picasa can just make collages for you in the snap of your fingers. HELLO! I was spending gazillions of hours making them manually in power point. D'oh! But even Cara Carroll did not know about that - Erica Bohrer was letting us in on it and Cara joked, well that is great, but if you want to do it the long, hard way that takes hours, do it my way! Lol. That has already saved me a couple hours this week!

Another thing I did not know about is the eyedropper tool. It can be used for lots of fun stuff! Seriously, look into it! I love that it helps you match colors easily in your Power Points. No more guessing, "Um, that seems like it will match"!
Meaning, have your product covers set up so people can recognize yoru stuff. For example, Annie Moffatt of the Moffat Girls has a very unique style and it is easy to identify her products. You want people to be able to see a prduct and go, "Oh, that's hers! She is great!" This goes along with #4, revamping your hot messes. Getting all the covers to have something in common is a good goal!

This was mentioned a few times in a few sessions. Figure out what works for you and your customers. Erin Cobb said something like, Your Magic Formula + the Trends = Cha Chings. Obviously! It may take some thinking and mulling over, looking over data but you will find it!


D'oh! There were a bunch of ladies I wanted to meet that I have a collaborative blog with and some I know from around, but could not find! 800 people is just too many to wade through to find who you need. Next year it is all about getting #s and texting people to be like, "Hey meet me by the photo booth" or "Where are you? I am by the bar"! 

That is right, it was way too short. It flew by and there was so much packed into such little time. I wanted to go to so many sessions but could only pick 4. Plus, there was not enough time to meet everyone.

Thanks to Thistlegirl Designs for the clipart! I love using her stuff and you can find it in most of my products!

Christmas in July Sale Continues

Hey everyone! I am super excited about my Christmas in July Sale! I am linking up with some other bloggers to share info about our sale and thanks to Kelli at My Fabulous Class for hosting the linky! Here's her super cute banner!

You may want to snag some of my top sellers and hot items now so you are all ready for back to school. Here are a couple ideas, and be sure to leave feedback WITH your email address so I can send you a freebie just for leaving feedback! WOO! Click on any image to check it out at my store.

And of course there is a good FREEBIE too! Scroll down to see it. :)

Editing Practice: Capital Letters and Periods has been revamped!

Second Grade Back to School Starter Kit! It is a hot item right now!

 Third Grade Back to School Starter Kit

First Grade Back to School Starter Kit

Writing Prompt Collection, my top seller! 

And yes, the FREEBIE! Get one of the writing prompts free! Click on the image below!

Thanks all! Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Literacy Teacher's Playbook - Book Study Week #6

Hey all! Welcome back to the book study for The Literacy Teacher's Playbook - week #6,  run by Abbey of A Teacher Mom! This week we are looking at chapter 4 in Jennifer Serravello's book The Literacy Teacher's Playbook (I am reading the K-2 version but there is also a version for upper elementary- check them out below and click on the images to read more about them at Amazon).

In the first chapter of the book we read about collecting data and in chapter two we received detailed information about analyzing that data. Chapter three was about interpreting data and goal setting. This week we are discussing the middle of chapter 4. The beginning of chapter 4 focused on goal setting and how to get started with an action plan.

The second part of the chapter (for this week I read to page 141) is also about goal setting, but keep in mind that the chapter is called Creating an Actin Plan. First, Serravello reminds us that for students to accomplish goals, they need repeated practice with the strategies and skills and  the teacher needs to use the gradual release of responsibility model (i.e. less support over time until the student is independent).

Serravello shares ideas for instructional formats and what degree of support each one provides. For example, a minilesson has a high level of support, guided reading has a moderate level of support and peer editing has (hopefully) a low degree of support. By the way, if you can give me advice on helpful second graders become effective peer editors, please comment below!

 She also shares a chart that shows the three levels of decision making that will move children toward independence. As in previous chapters, she provides excellent questions for teachers to ask themselves to help plan instruction, such as "What method will you use?" and "How supportive will your prompts be?"

Serravello includes some very valuable topics in this chapter, such as conferring. She suggests a structures for different types of conferences such as research-decide-teach conferences and coaching conferences. She also gives helpful tips for running small group strategy lessons.

In this part of the chapter she also discusses reading partnerships and reading clubs - This is very timely. I just attended the Scholastic Reading Summit and went to a workshop all about Booktalking, which in my words is about running an after school book club at your school. It was pretty interested but I like Serravello's ideas on how to do this kind of thing during class. She also delves into writing partnerships and shared reading- she provides a nice structure for this: connect, teach, read with feedback, and link (recap). Also covered is shared writing, interactive writing  (again she provides a nice structure for you to use: plan, compose and link), and guided reading. Overall she provides us with a lot to mull over and we can use the summer to formulate a plan for running a successful reading program this year. Be sure to see who else linked up for this Book Study below. Happy reading, everyone!

Book Talk Tuesday - 16 Fun Back to School Books!

I am thrilled again to link up with Deanna Jump for Book Talk Tuesday! Be sure to head to her blog to see who else linked up and what we recommend!

Wow, how is it that some of you are almost back to school again? Here in New England we have another month+ left (phew, since the last day I worked in the school building was June 24) but many of you are planning what to do during the first few days back!

I was thinking about some of the books I read to my class during the first few day of schools and thinking what books you may read at home to your own children. Here's my list of 16 Super back to school books for kids!  Click on the images in the collage below  to get more details from Amazon or put them on your library book list. What's your favorite back to school book? Comment and let me know!
Of all of these, the ones I love the most are probably not even 100% Back to School themed- Wemberly Worried and Miss Nelson is Missing, but I find them great read alouds for the first week or so, My true back to school favorites are probably First Day Jitters and good ol' Miss Bindergarten gets Ready for Kindergarten. BUT my second graders last year loved My Weird School and I just saw they have a back to school book so that could be pretty "epic", as my kids would say! lol What about you? What stands out?

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