Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back To School Sale

Did you hear? 
There is a Back To School Sale August 1st-4th at TPT!

Every item in my store will be 20% off and if you enter the above code you can get an additional 10%!
Is your wish list ready?

There are many more games and book club packets, too!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Vintage Blogging

Our 3rd design is up!  Lisa is a brand new blogger who wanted a vintage feel for her site Recess with Mizz Priss.

Why don't you pop over and welcome her to our blogging community?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Picture Rubric

In the beginning of the year I set a lot of expectations. One of the tools I use is a picture rubric to show what I expect when it comes to drawing.

Picture Rubric
It is hard to see in this picture but the bottom drawing is a sketch of the house in pencil.

I do a mini-lesson on adding detail and color to your drawings. I ask the students to tell me the differences they notice between each level. First graders are so precious, they always tell me I am such a good artist. LOL, I wish!  

Often in the beginning of the year I will refer to the chart and ask, "What can you do to make your drawing a 4?"

It isn't long before they are saying, "Look Mrs. B, I added birds flying in the sky to make my picture a 4!"


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Behavior Management

What behavior management system do you use? 

There are so many, and I have used most of them at some point in my 12 years of teaching. When I moved down to first grade I wanted something simple, visual, and that could accent the positive.

I love the clip chart.
I first saw this at Rick Morris' site. I meant to glue it in rainbow order but notice I accidentally glued the orange and yellow in the wrong order. Ugh...that is what happens when you switch grade levels, move rooms and have to go through a retired teacher's stuff in one summer! 

Each student's name is written on a clothes pin. I move MANY more clips up than I do down. It is AMAZING how motivating it is. All you have to say is. "Wow, Sam is working so quietly, I am going to put his clip up." And wouldn't you know the room is suddenly silent. Or my favorite is, "John, you were such a good friend to help Ashley pick up her crayons. That deserves a clip up." Guess what I hear next? "Allison, do you need some help?"

If they reach Outstanding I put a sticker jewel on their clip. You would think I gave them an amazing prize! They drag their mom or dad in to show them! I keep track of who's clip gets moved so I can purposely look for that quiet student doing something well.
I had on child who was so motivated by this he went past Outstanding to we determined his clip would sit at the very top of the chart and he got a bigger jewel. One time he really deserved even higher so we clipped his clip on my shirt. They thought that was AWESOME!! First graders are so easy to please.

I do move clips down for things if needed. To be honest I run a tight ship so I don't have too many behavior problems but it helps me reinforce things like not blurting out constantly or making any kind of bad choice. The blue is just a warning and for most that is enough. If they correct the behavior or are good for a while I will move them back up. I think this is very important. It really helps for them to know they are in control of where their clip goes. 

Teacher's Choice means I decide the consequence. Usually it means missing some of recess to talk to me about their behavior.

The thing I love best though is that it keep ME accountable. It keep me from just being that teacher that gives warning after warning without doing anything.  It is also great for parents to have a good read on their kids day. I reset everyone back to green until after everyone has been picked up. That way if a parent wants to come in and see how their child did they can. I had one special sweetheart's mom check it EVERY day so we could work on his behavior together.

The Lesson Plan Diva is having a linky party so head over there to see other great behavior management ideas.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Linky Giveaway

Q. What do you need to host a linky party? 
A. You need to install a widget in your blog that allows you to accept link submissions from your readers. 

I use InLinkz.

Here is a quick video to explain how to start using InLinkz.

You can register for FREE and create as many text collections (links that are only the name) as you want and 1 free thumbnail collection (link with a small picture of the blog.)

I looked into the paid subscription ($1.99/month or $19.99/year) because I much prefer the thumbnail collections. Many of our blog names are similar so I like pictures of the blogs that are participating.

Guess what I found out? 

With the paid subscription you can set the preferences to ensure polite linking! You can require the person linking to link back to you. The widget searches their blog for your url! You can also require that the link they enter is for the specific post and not just their general blog url!! (If you don't understand why these are important read my previous post of Linking Etiquette.) If the blogger doesn't follow these rules, they can't post!!!

Did you know that this widget can also run your giveaway??? No more numbering comments or taking a picture of the random number generator. The widget automatically draws the winner and notifies them!

Did you know that you can earn 65 cents commission on each paying user that comes from your links? You can even put the links on Facebook and Twitter!

Iphone users can even enter their links from their phone!

Would you like to try these cool features out for free?

Here is the GIVEAWAY!!!
Thanks to the generosity of Artis over at InLinkz, I am giving away to 3 lucky followers...
a FREE upgraded InLinkz account for 4 months! 
That means you can host as many linky parties as you want using thumbnail pics as well as trying out the other great features. Don't worry, after the 4 month free upgrade ends your account will revert back to a free account and any collections you start during this 4 months will still be safe.

You can earn up to 4 entries:
1. Earn 1 entry by blogging about this giveaway on your blog.
2. Earn 1 entry by following/subscribing to both my blog and InLinkz blog
3. Earn 1 entry by following my blog and InLinkz on Facebook.
4. Earn 1 entry by following my blog and InLinkz on Twitter.

After you complete an entry requirement (ex. Following BOTH blogs) link up!
(For newbies that means clicking the blue link button below, entering your blog url, name, and your email. Then you can add the image of your blog header. Make sure you slide the editor over the cutest part of your header. Give it a try and let me know if you need help. )

And for the first time (that I know of) in teaching blogland...we are going to let InLinkz automatically pick and notify the winners! Let's try it!

This giveaway ends next Monday, August 1st at NOON sharp!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Want to see our newest design?

Here is the custom blog design we installed today for Mrs. Goddard's Class.

You can click on the picture to see it in action.

Bright and happy, don't ya think?


Saturday, July 23, 2011


Our first custom blog design is up!  

Tessa at Spotlight on Kindergarten knew she wanted to keep her polka dots but opted for her favorite colors: green, teal, and red.

Ready for the big reveal?



Well, what do you think? 

If you like the scrap kit Tessa picked you can click on the picture and head over to tell her. 


Friday, July 22, 2011

Tips to Gain Followers

I was asked to share tips on gaining followers. I am not sure I am the best person out to there to respond since there are others with more followers than me but I will try. Here are my

#1 Creative Ideas
The most popular teaching blogs are those teachers who share original, creative, aesthetically pleasing
lesson ideas. Deanna Jump, Cara Carroll, Babbling Abbey .... they all just ooze creativity and everything they do is A-dorable! Nothing beats QUALITY!

Now I know you are thinkin', I WISH I was like them but they are A-mazing. I feel ya, but when you do have the occasional brainstorm, make sure you blog about it, with pictures, directions, and a free download if possible.

#2 Free Printables
Let's face it, teachers love free stuff!  If you share, they will come. Especially if it is cute! Add clip art, borders, and fun fonts to really WOW them.

#3 Host a Giveaway
The prize can be cards, bags, jewelry, TPT items, etc. The more valuable of course, the more people who will take the time to enter. You want to make the giveaway last a few days to a week to give it time to circulate among the blogs. Asking to be followed for an entry is good but don't stop there. Offer another entry if they blog about your giveaway so word spreads to people who don't currently follow you. Another entry can be given if they add you to their blog roll or grab your button. That way their followers may check you out long after your giveaway is over.

#4 Link Up
Participate in linky parties. This will bring traffic in from the linking site and if people like what they see, they may follow you. See my previous linky party post here.

#5 Comment
Do you like when you receive a comment on your post? Of course you do! One way to get friendly with other bloggers is to stop lurking and take the time to comment. Make sure to leave your link under your name. The blog owner and other readers may decide to give you a look. You can read my previous post on leaving your direct link here.

So, in the spirit of helping newbies gain followers, please go visit Hope at her cute new blog Second Grade Shenanigans. You'll be glad you did.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dream Team Designs

Sorry I haven't been posting much this week. 
Bill and I have been SUPER busy working on blog designs!

We'd love it if you would become a follower of our new blog

Our first customer's design will be unveiled soon...


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Commenting Tips

Did you know you can subscribe to comments???  
Have you ever been interested in reading the comments on a post but don't want to have to keep going back to the post to check if there is anything new? Or perhaps you asked the blog owner a question and are hoping she comments back?  You can hit subscribe right under the comment and you will be emailed! There is an unsubscribe option in the email if you no longer want to get them.

 I had a few questions after my direct linking post that I thought I would try to answer also.

 1. Where do you save this direct link code so it is easy to cut and paste into comments?

I use and love a free app called xpad.  (Sorry PC people, it is only for Mac. Maybe a PC person can comment on what they use? There must be something similar.)

 After I install it in my applications folder I drag it to my dock so it can be opened quickly. I use it all the time! It saves automatically and you can easily switch to different pages. If you are a list person, this is the app for you!

2. I can not get direct linking to work. I get this error message. Can you help me?

My husband actually figured this one out. (I told you he was a computer genius.) The problem seems to be saving the code in word or pages. They both automatically are changing your quotes to those fancy curved quotes called smart quotes. You can shut this preference off. Web browsers do not see regular double quotes and smart quotes the same. This is why you are getting the error message.

Solutions: Use xpad instead or change your preferences in word  or pages.

Hope this post has been helpful.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

TPT sale 24 Hours ONLY!

The BIG day is finally here! But this HUGE sale only lasts 24 hours so don't delay!

For ONE DAY ONLY I am offering 20% off of my ENTIRE store!

And its not just me! Check out my sale first, and then check out the other over 30 sales happening today only - you're sure to find something you'll love. Click any button below to visit a participating sale!

I told you it was going to be big and worthy of the title, "Christmas In July!" Happy shopping and Merry Christmas (in July)!