How to Create an Animated Gif

Hey everyone! I have been playing around and making these animated gifs and uploading them to Pinterest to give folks more information about products like my interactive notebooks and Back to School Starter Kits. I thought you might like to know how to create these too, whether for fun or for your products, and maybe my fellow Jamberry consultants could use them for parties too!

What is a GIF? Well, you have probably seen GIFS that look like this (Love Friends!) all over the place.

I saw some other teachers had made GIFS for their products and decided to give it a try! Here is what mine looks like for my Second Grade Language Arts Interactive Notebook.

Ready to try and make your own? Take a look at my short (4 minute) video on how to make one. Hope it helps!


If this tutorial was helpful, please let me know and if you want to see my interactive notebook that was featured, click here!  Happy creating!

Get the Details on the Language Arts Interactive Notebook and a Freebie

Since I released it last year, the Language Arts Interactive Notebook has done well but as some of you are getting ready for another school year, I was wondering if I should give it a thorough explanation here for you. That way I can also link to this post in the product description so folks looking at it who aren't 100% sure they would use it can get the details and find out! So let's do this! While you're checking out the post you can click here or on any image to get more details and check it out at my store. Please read  through and scroll down to find out about a freebie you can grab!

I thought the easiest way to share details about the Language Arts INB was to do some collages with PicMonkey (I love you PicMonkey!). It is such a breeze to use!

First let's check out the basics - the cover is below on the left - that is how you will recognize it and spot it online! In each of my interactive notebooks, I include a few pages of background info for the teacher. There are some links if you are just getting started with them and want some detailed guidance. I also explain why I decided to make my own, and that it has a more simplified design and easier to read font then some others out there.  I wanted an interactive notebook for my second graders that covered all of the writing CCSS but also gave them support of what they need in order to write well - an understanding of the building blocks of writing: parts of speech, subjects and predicates and so on!

We also have a table of contents for the teacher. The complete  list of sections in the product are:
  • Table of Contents and Cover for Students
  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Sentences
  • Capitalization
  • Structure
  • Opinion Writing
  • Informational Writing
  • Narrative Writing
  • Writing Fiction 
  • Editing
As you can see it's pretty comprehensive! That's why I decided to title it LANGUAGE ARTS INB and not just Writing INB. You also get a sneak peek of the student table of contents. In the background info I give you some suggestions on how to manage it.

Get the Details on the Language Arts Interactive Notebook

Then in the beginning of the INB, there is a wide variety of work on parts of speech so the kiddos will understand and have it down pat. Then I find it much easier to coach them with their writing later and they understand when I say something like, "To strengthen your writing, this sentence could use a noun".

Get the Details on the Language Arts Interactive Notebook

Then we get into some  things like understanding subjects and predicates, using punctuation marks correctly, brainstorming topics for writing, learning how to write topic sentences, and how to use details in different types of writing (such as opinion writing show below). These are just a few examples of almost 100 pages I have for these in the INB to help your kiddos!

Get the Details on the Language Arts Interactive Notebook

Here's a few more examples of the tons of content included (sorry I spy a repeat in my collages - never fear I only have one of those pages in the product).

Get the Details on the Language Arts Interactive Notebook

As you can see, I also have the CCSS standard addressed by each activity, marked on the page right for you. This would come in handy if you need to post the standard you are working on in your classroom, have it in your lesson plan, or just have a reference to ensure you are covering what you need to cover!

If you're still with me, let me know if you have any questions! Remember, you can click on any image or here to check out the product at my store! Thanks for stopping by!

Now, those of you waiting for a freebie? Check this out? If you want to try one of the activities from this INB you can get this free sample of one of  the writing activities. Just click here or on the image below! Thanks!

Pictures of my Bailey - Just Because

Bailey as a  puppy

How cute was this guy? XO 
He turned into such a huge doggie but was always so loveable.

Bailey and "Uncle"
Puppy Bailey with his "Uncle"

I decided  to share some pics of him. I saw a really cute linky going on where teachers share about their pet. Bailey passed away in March so I currently don't have a pet, which made me feel a little sad, but then I thought about how amazing he was, and how adorable, and I thought - heck! Why can't I share that on my own blog! 

So if you can stand it, here is a picture explosion of my handsome boy! I got him as a puppy in 2006 and he was with me until late March. LOVE that face!

Bailey with e collar
               Me and the big guy about 6 years ago.  Also, Poor Bailey had to wear different e collars over the years!  Here's a camo version.

Bailey getting ear rubs
 He LOVED the ear rubs from my stepdad! 

Bailey with Oz the Great Dane
Bailey and his other big friend, Oz. 

Bailey with Kim's cat
Bailey's first close encounter with a cat at my friend Kim's house!

Bailey on red rug
How I remember the big guy.

Bailey in kiddie pool
Silly guy always just wanted to drink water from my friend's baby pool, not play in it.

Bailey's favorite hobby (besides snuggling)

Handsome Bailey
Also how I remember him - My Handsome Boy

So if you stuck with me this long I am impressed! Thank you and hugs to you!

Healing is an art

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference

Hey all! I am back from Vegas and the TPT Vegas Convention! It was awesome! I have some tips for other  teacher bloggers and some memories to share. With that being said, I also know that the sessions were intended for those who were there and made the commitment to participate this year, so I want to share without oversharing - you know respect the wonderful presenters. So I have some advice and tips but will not tell you every single thing I heard.

Plus I linked up with the Elementary Entourage for her great Viva Las Vegas: A TPT Conference Linky Party! Head over afterwards to see what other teachers have to say about it!

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

Let's do this! 

My first thought before I get going is this is a terrific, supportive community of teachers. Everyone could be hoarding their tips and advice - really we compete with each other in a sense for TPT followers, blog readers, etc. but you never would know it! Do you think competing insurance companies would get together and give each other advice? But that is how teachers are. We join the profession to help others and the reason I initially started blogging was to help other teachers. I want my resources to be helpful and solve your problems too. That's why we are here!

My first tip is of course next time, if you can figure out a way to go next time, do it! If you have to save $ in a jar, or stay at a more bargain hotel, just do it! If your school will also pay for you to attend the SDE conference, which took place right before (and during too) the TPT Seller Conference, then attend it. Get yourself there and stay a few more days and attend the TPT one too. It is worth it in the friends you make, the fun  you have, the wonderful support and tips you get and more!

Here are a couple of the great friends I met (or saw again from last year)! Shout outs to Linda from Primary Inspiration, Sarah from Science is for Kids, Sally from Elementary Matters, Julie from The Techie Teacher and this really nice gal in the picture where Julie is being normal and I am being a spaz. I totally forget her first name but she was sweet! Who knows and can remind me?

It's all about the images! Images were the theme this year. Whether we were talking about blog posts needed quality images, images on Instagram, pins on Pinterest with quality images that invite reposts, etc. it was all about that. 
Here's a couple examples of missteps I have made with images. Check out this blog post from early on (2012) that does not even have ONE image. Yikes!  Just "Hey come to my Facebook page" and nothing else! 

Here is another image from a very early blog post. Just my product page, not even a cover image. Granted it is free, but yikes. And look at the product itself. Cringe!

Now here is a recent, better image that I hope is higher quality and more visually appealing! 
Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

Publish high quality blog posts. This is kind of a given, and I have been hearing this for years, but it is a good reminder. And session leaders agreed that most should not include the products you might have for sale. The 80/20 rule is always good here. 80% quality posts with valuable content and 20% posts with just products, like when you release a new product and want to explain what is included, show it's features, and so on. But back to images - you should also have images of the product being used or in action! People just don't want to see the pages of your product, so sneak in some photographs too!

Speaking of Pinterest, the ultimate advice (which I heard at at least 4 different sessions): Pin quality content! Your Pinterest followers do not want to be looking at product pins all day long. I don't think any session leaders said this but I'd follow now at least the 80/20 or maybe even 90/10 or 95/5 rule with this!

Find tools that will help make your life easier, and your work more efficient! For example, I have been using Pic Monkey for over a year now to make collages like this one of all the delicious food and fun beverages in Vegas (that's a rule that if you go to Vegas you must get out and try different places and new foods). It's easy and fun. 
(Thanks to Jean Phillipe Patisserie, Giada's restaurant and Diet Coke for the treats!)

I also have been using Word Swag, an app, a lot for my Jamberry business but I started to use it to Instagram with added texts. I posted this the night of the 1000+ blogger meet up!

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

Dress things up - not you but like your store banners, quote section etc. I don't think this is a secret because it's been out for months, but it was mentioned in Vegas, so you should check out the amazing Christi Fultz (she designed this blog!)'s tutorial on how to make your TPT Quote section of your store look beautiful (It's all about the images, we know!) . Check it out here. There are plenty of places to look on how to make a store banner, but I will share the amazing Jillian Starr of Starr Spangled Planners product - for free in her store you can grab monthly themed store banners. I live for these! Plus she's a sweetie and a fellow redhead! Check out here store here!

This was mentioned, again more than once, but we should always be thinking about the end user. Who is the real end user of our products? Not the teacher that implements them, but the student. And sometimes, we may be creating a product that is popular BUT we should always be thinking, is this product going to help students? How is it going to enrich their school experience? Will it help them learn? Will it be effective? After all that is why I became a teacher, to help these little kiddos. That is what I want in the end. To do what is beneficial for them. Yes, I have been guilty of straying from that a couple times as both a teacher seller and a classroom teacher. We're all fallible. But for me, if I keep this tip in mind, I will stay on the right track!


These are tips for those of you who will end up going to Vegas, whether with TPT or on your own, and some of my best memories from this trip!

Get out and see the strip! A lovely friend of mine mentioned she did not leave the hotel AT ALL between when she checked in on Wednesday and left Saturday morning. Silly! So much to see and do. Here's a beautiful view of the strip for example!

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

 Don't forget a selfie! Especially if you, like me came solo. Or get some folks to get shots of you! Here I am on the balcony!

selfie of Bex

view from balcony at nightAside: the balcony was a great place to get ready for the next day! I wasn't mad about this!

Get out of town! But don't rent this Fiat. Sorry Fiat lovers but this was a tin can! At least it has Satellite radio! But yikes! Anyway it was worth it! Drove to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon with advice from the wonderful Charity Preston (my Jamberry sponsor and Organized Classroom Blog blogger extraordinary). I stopped on the way at the "Last Resort' restaurant, gas station, shooting range and gift shop and this is what Google Maps showed me. Yikes. I was in the middle of nowhere. Luckily the Grand Canyon was AMAZING! Thank goodness I went! Breathtaking views and I still can't get over it! Nevada and Arizona have a lot to offer besides casinos!
Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

Finally a huge thank you to TPT for putting on a great conference! It was life changing! I also got to meet Jenn Sykes from Hello Mrs. Sykes who is a super fun gal and great blogger! It also paid off to hang around the cocktail hour until the very end when Sam from TPT introduced me to Paul, the founder! His little idea changed a lot of lives! Thank you TPT!

Me, Paul, and Jenn

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

Makeover Madness Week 3 - Make Your Masterpiece

This will be a quick one because I should be getting ready for bed - I have to get up in 5 1/2 hours (3:30 am) to get ready and go to the airport to head to Vegas for the TPT Seller's conference! Yay!

Makeover Madness Week 3 - Make Your Masterpiece

I did manage to just finish my geography and mapping unit in time - it was the third challenge in the TPT Seller Challenge! Check out some of the images in this gif and also the pin below! It contains 77 pages of activities - printables, games, assessments, a take home project and more! And I think when I get back from Vegas I will add a craft to it (don't worry, any updates to the product you will be able to download for free if you buy it before I add them!). Clicking on any of the images will take you to my tpt shop to get more details!

Makeover Madness Week 3 - Make Your Masterpiece

Makeover Madness Week 3 - Make Your Masterpiece

Thanks for stopping by and I will give you more details soon! Gotta finish packing!

10 Tips for the TPT Conference in Vegas

Can you believe it? It's almost time for the TPT seller's conference in Vegas? I will be heading out in just 4 short days! A few of my friends are going for the first time and in conversations with them, I have been telling them what I know from my experience going last year! Then I was thinking that other sellers might want to know the same things. Of course I have way more than 10 tips but to keep it manageable, I stuck to that many!

Keep in mind a lot of this is my opinion and others may disagree! Go with what works for you!

I saw this on Facebook and love it!     


 Bring your lap  top - you will be able to get on using your hotel's free wifi and maybe if you're inspired by something at the conference, you can do a little work in Vegas too. This is just my opinion - don't bring your lap top to the conference itself. Lock it in the hotel safe. I brought mine and never took it out of the bag. There were a lot of people in the conference and chairs were touching, we were so packed in. I felt awkward about getting a big lap top out so I just took notes in a small journal. Bring a small binder or notebook to take notes in. Presenters also usually have a free item in their stores that you can print out to put in your binders. I also bought this from the wonderful Ta-Doodles Illustrations. It's too late to order one now but you might like something like it for next year!

Now I know you have your hotel lined up but do you know about Resort Fees? If you ask me it's kind of BS but hotels in Vegas charge $20-40 per night extra that gets added to your room charges for their "Resort Fee" (supposedly to cover stuff like "free wi-fi", their pools, etc., things I think should be included in the cost of the room and usually are - in all cities but Vegas). For example, last year I think I paid $27 per day for a resort fee. This year the hotel I am at (not the Venetian) charges $32 extra per night. Yuck. I will be there 5 nights and that is $160 extra. Boo. People have petitioned to change this, but for now, be forewarned. Remember, though, some of your expenses are tax deductible when you go to the TPT Seller Conference, so save your receipts and make sure to discuss what you can deduct with your accountant at tax time!

Resort Fees


TPT Meet up

Blogger Meet Ups! There are tons of different meet ups. Here are just a few I have heard of. Try and hit at least one to meet some new people, make connections, and have fun and win prizes and giveaway!
Teacher Blogger Meet Up - Wednesday night (Facebook Page)
Go Noodle Meet Up at the Venetian Pool - Thursday (sold out :(  )
Sellebrate Secondary - Thursday night (Facebook Page)
Kick Back with the Primary Pack -Friday Night (Facebook Page)
I know there are a few more too, like the Cool Kids Meet Up but I don't know the info on those.

bring an extra bagBring an extra bag to take all your swag (and hopefully prizes) home! And keep an eye on it! Hot tip from me - I learned the hard way. I left my swag bag in one of the conference rooms last year, went back and it was gone :( . At least it wasn't my purse though, but it was never seen again. And I had thrown some business cards in there too so whoever got it had  to know who it belonged to. 

Speaking of that, bring some business cards! It might be too late to get them through Vistaprint but you can probably do something at your local Staples in time. Also bring a small bag for  all the cards from your new friends!

 Another tip from personal experience, if there is a bloggy buddy  you really want to meet in real life at the conference, do not assume you will just "see them around". Last year there were about 800 people there and try as I might, I never ran into my friend Sally from Elementary Matters or some of my Adventures in Literacy Land blog coauthors. :( This year, I smartened up and I already have their cell numbers and will track them down if need be - and a couple gals and I already made plans to grab a bite to eat so we definitely will get to sit and catch up then.

(Of course these candy phones won't work for this purpose but aren't they fun and creative?)
get your friends' phone numbers

wear comfy shoes

Wear comfortable shoes, especially the first day or two! TRUST ME! Even if you are staying in the Venetian and think, gee I am just walking down to the conference,  The Venetian is HUGE! Check out this map! And note, where the conference sessions are is not even part of the map! It just says "To The Sands Expo". 

Map of the Venetian

 And here is the Sands Expo Center where things will be happening. Just that one purple part of it is 40,000 square feet! I have bad feet so I always need to wear comfy shoes but on my one visit to Vegas, I wore my Clarks sandals the first day to walk around the strip and I got such bad blisters and boy my feet hurt. The next day, sneakers all the way. Also throw a couple band-aids in your purse just in case.

Map of the expo center

So these shoes may be cute, but they are not coming with me! :( By all means if your feet can take it, wear your fancy shoes. Or a solution might be wear comfortable shoes down there, with your fancier shoes in your tote and swap them out when you get to the Sands!


Leave a little early - even if you think you're on time, and especially if you know you always are late to things, leave 10 or even 15 minutes early. Everything is further away in Vegas, even as I said, if you are just walking around the hotel. It takes longer to get places because the hotels are so huge , but the bonus? You get a lot of exercise! Burning lot of calories and building those leg muscles!

Speaking of time, you may need to be patient at the McCarran Airport in Vegas. Last year my wait for luggage at the carousel was LONG. And a friend on another flight said the same, as did my cousin (whose in-laws live near Vegas so she has been there a bunch). Maybe we just all had bad luck but try not to get stressed and find something to talk about while you wait or read a book or go on your phone and do some pinning or go on IG. I waited 50 minutes last year. Upside? AMAZING people watching and the carousel itself was entertaining While I was watching every other bag go around, I noticed some random items also going around and around. A hairbrush and a woman's pair of cotton panties were on different parts of the carousel. Haha!

 Most important tip! Relax and make time for fun, friends, good food, sightseeing, and people watching! I don't gamble much but I always have a blast in Vegas! Cheers and see you there!
What's your favorite Vegas trip for newbies?  Comment below and let us know!

Have fun with friends