Sunday, August 2, 2015

TpT Milestone Flash Freebie & Updates!

I couldn't be more excited to celebrate my TpT milestone with all of you! My journey the past year and half has been amazing! The best part has been collaborating with other passionate teachers all around the world! Designing products for my TpT store has has opened up my creativity of my own classroom, and what a blessing to share my creations with so many people! So, celebrate with me with this FLASH freebie of one of my greatest sellers... "Show Not Tell", a descriptive writing mini unit! Don't miss it, because it's free for a limited time only! {I'd love it if you left feedback if you download!} Click the picture below to download it!

While you're there, check out what I've been up to lately! Since the beginning of the school year is just around the corner, I've been busy creating new products and updating some of my favorite products!
 New: 

Updated:

Did you know... TpT is have their "Back to School Sale" August 3 & 4! 
My entire store is 20% off, plus when using the code BTS15 when checking out, 
you'll save a total of 28%! 

I wish you all a smooth, peaceful, and successful start back to another GREAT year! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Creating Independent Writers

It wasn't long after starting my first teaching job many years ago that I saw how much students rely on their teacher during writer's workshop. I felt myself torn as I needed to help students, but I was being pulled in a million different directions. Questions such as, "Mrs. Yost, how do I spell...."... "I'm done. What do I do now?" ... and so on. I'm sure you can relate! I knew I needed to quickly help my third graders become independent writers so that I could help students and hold student conferences. My main goal was to create a sense of independence in my students, and teach them to rely less on me during writers workshop. 

Model, model, model! You can scrap everything I will say about student independence if this step is skipped! This is a step that can and should take time in the beginning (and throughout) the year! The best way I like to model is by doing mini-lessons each day before the students start writing! 

In the beginning of the year, I have my students do "quick lists" of things they could write about. I set my timer for two minutes and model making my own quick list on the board. I then set my timer and students have to write as many ideas that they could write about in those two minutes. When the timer goes off, I give them a short break and have them share out their ideas with their table. This helps the students generate more ideas for their own lists.  Then, I start the timer again! For some reason when the students know the clock is ticking, they hurry their little hands! It's fun to watch!

Mostly every teacher can attest to this being the most asked question! I wanted to set up helpful tools for my students to access before coming to me. With that, my Writing Folder was born

! This folder has so many wonderful resources to help students in their writing, including writing expectations, checklists, helpful words, transition words, etc. The best part is... it has 500 high frequency word list included! So before asking me how to spell a word, they know they have to first look in this folder to see if they can find it. If not, they can ask their peers around them. If they don't know, they can bring me their folder and write the word in the "Words to Learn" part of the folder. 

Another thing that has been a helpful solution to this problem is creating a word-rich environment in the classroom. I love my word wall from Jen from Teacher by the Beach. As the year progresses and more words go up on the word wall, it's awesome seeing students use it as a spelling tool! I also love using vocabulary word walls based on the subject we are studying!

My students truly get EXCITED about writing, which I LOVE seeing!! I believe that's because they get to choose what type of writing they do! My Writing Center Activities are one of my favorite parts in my room! They know where to find the materials they need, and they can get to work immediately. It's amazing seeing their creativity and joy develop through giving them options and freedom in their writing!

"Uhhh... No, you are not done! Not even close... you just started your first draft!" (<--- my inner thoughts) My simple, yet profound solution to this is creating a writing process clip chart that students move their clips along as they go through the writing process.

We love celebrating writing in my class by doing "shared writing" in multiple forms! Many times my students will peer edit their stories. During that time, they are instructed to ask 3 questions to the writer and give 3 compliments. Another way to boost confidence is to celebrate writing by having students read their piece in the "Author's Chair". My students also love using our Whole Class Writing Notebooks. It's so fun for them to read their classmates' writing before beginning theirs, which can help boost their confidence. 

My expectation during independent writing is that it is quiet so that all students can focus. Sometimes the whispers (that are inevitable) seem so loud and can be very distracting. My favorite solution is to play classical music over my projector. This is a nice way to calm the students, and also drown out the {annoying} occasional whispering.

What are some of the solutions you've found successful in 
creating independent writers? Share below in the comments!



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My thredUP Clothing & Raise a Hand Teacher Program

I am so excited to share with you thredUP! If you haven't heard of it yet, you need to check it out {asap}! ... (Well, after you read this post, that is!) thredUP is a fashion resale site for women and children with tons of the favorite brands, including Michael Kors, Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, J. Crew, and the list goes on! Their prices are always up to 90% off retail, so you don’t have to wait for the back-to-school sales to start to save a ton of money. Talk about convenient, stress-free shopping!

I was so excited to get my FIRST box from thredUP! Check out what I got... all for under $100!!




Can you even believe those prices?! The best part is about their website is their search feature. You can search by brand, size, fit, color, etc. Everything fit me perfectly, and I was still swooning over the cheap prices! Although these are previously used clothes, nothing smelled weird, there were no flaws, and everything was perfectly clean! I hope you can find some treasures as you're shopping for yourself, or your kids for back to school shopping!

Raise a Hand for Teachers Program
Another reason I love this company is their hearts for teachers! They have partnered with AdoptAClassroom.org to recognize and thank teachers for their hard work and the positive impact they make each day on our children’s lives. Read on to learn about their new program called, "Raise A Hand for Teachers", and read about the teacher I have nominated.
  • Teachers are extremely generous with their time as well as their money. According to AdoptAClassroom.org, teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money each year to equip their classrooms. 70% of teachers have even purchased apparel items like jackets, socks and shoes for their students. 
  • At thredUP.com/Teachers you can read the inspiring nominations and watch an adorable video of kids thanking teachers, plus find new survey data from AdoptAClassroom.org.


Timing + Prizes
  • Nomination period is July 15 - August 23
  • Three teachers each win $2,500 for classroom supplies and $500 to thredUP. In addition, 50 runner-up winners receive $100 to thredUP.
  • Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 8 (following Labor Day weekend)

I, too, have nominated a teacher...


I raise a hand for Tierra Jackson, a 3rd grade teacher from Logan Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tierra has earned the title of "Superwoman" in my mind. Not only is she a teacher, but she is a single mom to three beautiful girls. On top of all that, she manages to be the lead representation at our school's PTSO, coach of Science Olympiad, leader of her daughter's girl scout team, and the list goes on. Not to mention, she never misses an event of one of her girls. She is there, front and center, celebrating every milestone. When you walk into her classroom, you'll not only notice her organizational habits, but you'll see how she has differentiated her instruction to promote student success. She is one of the most giving teachers I have met as I have seen the amount of money she has poured out on every class she has had. From the first day I met her, coming in as a fairly new teacher, I have watched Tierra fulfill her responsibilities and roles with an immense amount of ease, with never an ounce of complaint. You can find her zooming in and out of the hallways with a joyful smile on her face and a song on her lips. It never fails that if someone needs something, she's your gal! She makes motherhood, her career, and everything else she does look so easy. I admire Tierra Jackson for many reasons, but the main thing I love about her is her heart!
I would LOVE for you to vote for my sweet friend, Tierra Jackson! Click HERE to vote!

You can "raise a hand" for a teacher that you admire by clicking HERE!


Books Bloggers Love: August Edition


Welcome to the first month of Books Bloggers Love, a monthly link-up between 12 teacher bloggers! We will be sharing our favorite book to read for the upcoming month, share with you how we use it, and you might find a freebie or two. The best part?! Each month, you will have a chance to win 4 of the 12 books we blogged about!


I chose The Potato Chip Champ by the FABULOUS Maria Dismondy
   

This book is about two young boys, Champ and Walter, who are very different from one another, except for their love of baseball and potato chips. Although Walter didn't have very much, he always had a positive attitude. Champ, on the other hand, had just about everything a kid could want, and was very bitter and selfish. In the end, the boys come together as friends through a powerful lesson of integrity, empathy, generosity, and thoughtfulness.

You can watch the trailer of the book here:


I had the privilege to meet Maria this past May at a Michigan meet-up. She was as sweet as ever! She is full of a contagious energy and immense kindness. You can just see the heart that she has to make this world a better place! I was so excited because I won this book that day during a giveaway that she did! (She also brought us little takeaway gifts... so sweet!) I couldn't WAIT to get back to my class to share it with my class and tell them about the REAL author I got to meet!


My students were so excited to hear the I met a REAL live author, and got an autographed book of hers. They LOVED the book, and so did I! We inferred the boys' personalities based on their behaviors throughout the book, and we made a Venn diagram chart of the character traits of both boys. After that, we discussed ways the boys were very kind to one another, and talked about the importance of kindness.

We discussed several "acts of kindness" scenarios:
(Click the images below to download a FREE copy!)

 My students spent some time thinking about ways they have already showed kindness to someone, and ways people were kind to them!

I challenged my students to the "random acts of kindness challenge at home", and they were so excited to do it! The results were so amazing to hear!

You can also play this video for your students to listen to the author herself, Maria Dismondy, read the book aloud.
Click here to download a complete 40-page resource packet made by the amazing Runde's Room

Click on the image below to purchase it on Amazon!
Enter to win 4 of the 12 books that are blogged about this month by entering the Rafflecopter below.

Check out the other 11 bloggers and their favorite "back to school" book!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas: TpT Conference 2015




I'm linking up with The Elementary Entourage's Vegas Link Up! I had the honor to attend the 2015 TpT Conference in Las Vegas this past week. When I had decided to go several months beforehand, I knew no one! I was very apprehensive and nervous about going, but my husband and I both thought it would be a great opportunity to learn, grow, and network. What I gained from it was for greater than anything I imagined!

I knew Kandice from Time Two Teach and Michaela from We Heart Edu by interacting through Instagram, but had never met them. Before ever meeting them, I loved their hearts for the Lord. I had contacted Kandice and asked her if she had a place to stay in Vegas yet. She said, "yes" and offered for me to join her and Michaela! 

I found out from some friends who had previously attended the conference some of the things I needed to get for Vegas. I ordered some new business cards (made by the awesome Blogs Fit for a Queen) and some swag with my name on it.


I boarded the plane (all by my lonesome) and set off on this journey. Meet Kandice and Michaela! From the first second I met them they were so sweet! I felt like I had known them for years!

I had never been to Vegas before, so the sights were AMAZING!

We headed to the first day of sessions! I immediately had to find the my fellow girls behind the TpT Seller Challenge! These three girls and I have spent so much time talking the past month to run the four week challenge, and I couldn't WAIT to meet them! Meet Jen from Sparkling in Second, Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista, me, and Ashley from Teach, Create, Motivate

The sessions were fabulous that day! But we sure were starving once they were over. I joined all the girls together for dinner at Toby Keith's Bar & Grill. YUM!

We hit up the Go Noodle cabana party where we danced to the latest & greatest Go Noodle songs and got these sweet Go Noodle glasses!

The second day began with a keynote presentation. Check out how many people were there! Insane!


Just to prove how many teachers are now on TpT... look at this amazing number!

 My favorite session of the day was by the wise Angela Watson from The Cornerstone. She gave such helpful business tips! This was one of her slides... and boy, could we all relate!

There were some great sessions that I attended! 
Here are some of the top things I took away from all of the sessions:

1. See and Treat Yourself as a Business!-- Set hours; Invest in things that will help you do business smarter, not harder; Treat yourself as a business; Take the time doing things that will help your business. It DOES take time, energy, and money.

2. Post [QUALITY] Posts! -- Your blog posts and pictures should be inviting, real, and have quality content! Your posts should solve teachers' problems. Your pictures should be your products in action!

3. Be a Real Person!-- Your readers want to see you as a real person. They want to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. They'll be able to connect with you better that way, and trust you more.

4. Share and Promote Others!-- Don't just pin your own products... pin others! Share ideas that you've used from other good teachers.

5. Look at Your Store with a Critical Eye! -- If someone leaves negative feedback, don't get offended, but use it as fuel to make it better. Did they have truth in what they said? If so, take time to fix it to make it better. Does your store and products look the way you want them to? Are they selling? If not, fix them!

Want to know the best part though? Meeting such WONDERFUL people who have some of the same passions that I do. 

Like I said before, Vegas was more than I could ever imagine it would be. I'm so thankful for the top sellers who took time teaching us the things they've learned, and for the company itself! Because of TpT, I have made lifetime friends who I would have never met otherwise!

If I could do Vegas over again, I would have planned my itinerary differently. I don't know what I was thinking, but I booked my flight to come in the morning OF the conference! {I know, you're all thinking... "Uhh... why would you do that?!"} My answer-- NO CLUE! My flight out of Vegas was the very next morning, bright and early. I had literally two days in Vegas, with no down time to explore, see shows, or spend time knowing people. (Oh well... I know for next year!) 

Adios, Vegas!

If you have the chance to go next year, I strongly recommend it! You'll be glad you did!

Check out some of the TpTers' Vegas experiences by clicking the button below. 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Week 4 Follow Frenzy

HELLO, friends! 


I am writing from the VIVA Las Vegas!! This is my first time here, and I can hardly stand how excited I am! Regardless if you're attending Vegas or not, the #TPTSellerChallenge will not rest! We still have one more week of FUN! 

Let's reflect:
  • Since you joined the Facebook groups (TPT Seller Challenge & TpT Tips and Tidbits) did you connect with other sellers? 
  • Did you start interacting more on social media?
  • When you swapped products, did you make a friend in the process?
The #TPTSellerChallenge was intended to better your business and make [amazing] friendships along the way. These friendships can help open the doors to collaboration opportunities in the future, and can be some of your greatest friends for life!

Here's the challenge:


A little over a month ago, I teamed up with three fabulous ladies. I have yet to meet any of these girls in person, yet I feel like I have known them forever! I can't wait to see them face to face in VEGAS today or tomorrow! 

It is non-stop FUN with these ladies. For the past month, these girls and I have been talking multiple times a day! (Thank God for Facebook!) They have me laughing so hard all day with their {crazy} facebook stickers! My husband must think I'm the crazy one as I'm laughing at my computer or phone. They are also some of the most hardworking and genuine people I know. Up at all hours of the night to get things done for this challenge, they never rest! 

I'm sure you have 'met' them through this challenge, but let's meet them again... 

Ashley (Teach Create Motivate) has been my texting buddy for several months now. We have so much in common that it's crazy! Ashley has such a teachable, humble, and beautiful heart for the Lord. She is there in the blink of an eye to help me with anything I need!

Jen (Sparkling in 2nd) is such a grounded woman, who is full of wisdom. She has the best sense of humor, and is funny in such a sarcastic, yet natural way. She has an amazing heart!

Amber (Peppy Zesty Teacherista) is just as her name sounds... 'Peppy'! She is my early riser buddy, and is guaranteed to make us laugh with her crazy {CiCi} facebook stickers. She sure brings a lot of joy to our group!

I couldn't imagine teaming up with anyone better than these amazing, lovely ladies! I feel so blessed to call them my 'new friends'. 

One of our weekly Google hangouts :) 
Ashley (top), Amber (small left), Me- Emily (small middle), Jen (small right)
  • If you are attending Vegas, we will be partnering with Teachers Pay Teachers! Make sure you check their Facebook page for their announcement! We are keeping it hush until then! We can't wait! STAY TUNED!
  • Don't forget to use the #TPTSellerChallenge hashtag in your post! 
  • You don't have to use the image below unless you want to! You can use it on your blog or create your instagram post using it. 
  • You do NOT have to blog for this challenge... A simple shout out on your instagram (picture of your friend or picture with your friend) will be perfectly fine! (Just use the hashtag!)
Ready to give your shout out? 
Feel free to save the image below! 

Don't forget to enter in the Rafflecopter (requirement for participation)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't forget to fill out the Google Doc that can be found in my first post
{HERE}




If you choose to blog about it (again, not required), go ahead and link up here!