Sunday, June 21, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge {Makeover Madness}

So there's a challenge out there that's happening. I'm sure you've heard of it.

Presenting TPT Seller Challenge…
This week, it has REALLY opened my eyes to my older items I have stocked up in my TPT store. I mean… they needed some lovin' BAD. SO, I made some changes ASAP.

This week's focus… Makeover Madness!!
I chose to update 6 different products as a start because of this challenge. Boy, were those products rough!! They needed some loving baaaaaaaad.
 My first product to update was actually my FIRST ever product on TPT - my Wanted Poster. It was made in Word, had no cover, and no color. I was a newbie!! Now, it's got a bit of ZING to it.
The next product I wanted to make over was the cover of my very first set of Word Wall Letters and Numbers. Now, this set doesn't have any words or anything - it's just the headers. I didn't like the drab cover, so I added some ZING to it! 
My Monster Themed Coupon Set actually had a font in it that wouldn't print so prettily. SO, therefore, I changed the fonts to some of my very favorite KG fonts! I also updated the cover colors & monsters to be more fun! 
The Student Alphabet Book… oh joy. This was something I created when I was working on getting my Masters. I wasn't sure where I'd be placed as in what grade I'd work in, so I essentially created it if I were to teach younger kiddos! It's a GREAT pack to help students with alphabet recognition and to work on writing words. I didn't like the drab brown, so I updated it with a FUN green and added new fonts! SOO much happier with the way it looks now! 
This baby was one of my most favorite packs I'd ever created. I love my Making Words pack. What a better way to give students practice with spelling and vocabulary than using a product that's FUN and pretty all at the same time? I changed up the cover colors, added some unique digital papers, and said BAM. All done!!
I just have to say… what an AWESOME idea this product was when I decided to make it. Do you have a word wall in your classroom? I wasn't required to have one my first year teaching, so I didn't because I knew I wouldn't keep up with it. Therefore, the Student Word Wall Booklet was born. A great way to keep students engaged with their writing. They don't know a word? Put it in the book! Need to know the word again? Look it up in the book!! LOVE this thing. I also love that it's like a REAL word wall book instead of the yucky yellow pack it was before.
AHHHH I am in LOVE with this challenge. I think that YOU should link up with it! It's all over Instagram, too! You know, #tptsellerchallenge

Don't forget to add the following to your IG accounts, too!
#iteachtoo #iteachthird #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram #teachersofig #teacherspayteachers
*all the FAB-U-LOUS hashtags on Instagram to connect you to friends*

Thanks to the gals behind TPT Seller Challenge for hosting this AWESOME link up. You gals are what's making me stay motivated this summer ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summertime Guilty Pleasures {A Link Up}

Soooo… it's summertime, no? Time for all those guilty, guilty pleasures to take place!!!

Nichole from The Craft of Teaching and I decided that it might be really cool to see all of our summertime guilty pleasures in one place.

Are you a teacher and you have a summertime guilty pleasure? Link up with Nichole from The Craft of Teaching and Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees to tell us all about it!

So let's get started with MY guilty pleasures!!

Oooooh yes, blogging. I love me some blogging. During the school year, my blog kind of has cobwebs on it! But during the summer, I have freedom to blog as I see fit. Want to blog about a new technology source? SURE! Want to blog about a reading strategy I used in the classroom? SURE! Want to blog about ice cream? SURE!

During the summer, I can blog about whatever I would like:
-social studies
-TV shows
-school supplies

Oh. My. Goodness. THAT LIST!!!

Oooh. Speaking of lists. Summertime is the time of LISTS for me!! I am able to write it all down and look at it in complete awe. I mean, my LISTS HAVE LISTS. Is that not the definite definition of a teacher???

 If you don't have lists, you are missing out. Oh, and these lists are from Krista's Creative Paper Collection and Blair's Blair Turner Paper company. You maaaaay just want to go ahead and buy yourself 12 of each item.. you're going to fall in love with them.

Oh, see. You fell in love. #sorrynotsorry

Raise your hand if you binge watch TV or movies?? *raises hand* Oh yeah, I do. Especially in the summertime!! During the school year, I am almost too busy to watch TV. Almost. BUT, there are a few TV shows or movies that I have yet to watch, and whelp, what's summer for if not for binge watching from the couch?!

I'm currently binge watching Orange is the New Black (but I am not allowed to watch it without my husband…) and Gossip Girl. But I have binge watched The Fosters, Pretty Little Liars, Big Brother, Walking Dead, Grey's Anatomy… okay, this list is making me look a little crazy.

Who am I kidding?? I AM crazy!! Crazy for paper and TV, that is… :)
So tell us. What are YOUR guilty pleasures?! Nichole and I want to know.

Here's how this works.

Write up a shameless post about your guilty pleasures (come on, friends, it's summertime - no shame).
Be sure to include the very top graphic about the guilty pleasure from this post or from her post.
Link up on either her blog (Nichole's) or my blog.

THAT'S IT. Seriously. So easy.

Let's hear it, folks!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Do You IXL? {A Series of Posts - Post 4 - The Final Post}

THE YEAR IS DONE. Oh, my golly. What a year. But, the growth of my students is what made me so happy about this program.

But I'm not going to give you JUST the roses of IXL. This post is also going to include the thorns, too.

So let's talk. Let's get down to the nitty gritty and talk about the pros and cons of IXL throughout this past year.
-provides interactive practice on those tough skills beyond passing out worksheets to complete
-gets students motivated to work on hard skills such as language topics or math topics
-includes a variety of reports to support your data across a variety of topics
-ability to practice specific skills to fit your students' needs
-makes a great center during your reading group time
-incentives for student achievements (badges)
-can utilize the program at home or at school
-building of classroom communities
-aligned to the Common Core
-students spend a lot of time on "badges" and looking at their progress instead of working on developing skills
-glitches on the website have questions repeat sometimes, which leads to less "true" practice
-skewed data within some reports
As you can see, there's QUITE a few more pros about the program than there are cons. Can you see that I have a loving relationship towards IXL?! Can you also see that my STUDENTS have a loving relationship with IXL, too??

They love to hear that IXL is on the agenda and they actually LOVE to explore and love the time when I say - "EXPLORE!" They do the standards and skills THEY have interests in, which then provokes me as the teacher to give them more exposure to THOSE standards.

LOVED having IXL this year. One of the best things I could have possibly EVER used with my kiddos this year and cannot WAIT to use it next year!!

Would YOU use IXL with your kiddos? Why or why not?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Do You IXL? {A Series of Posts - Post 3}

WE'RE ALMOST THERE!!! Just a little over a month and this school year will be dooooooone!!

But I digress.

IXL. It has worked wonders for my kiddos. We took our standardized tests, and their practice definitely paid off. They were all about it and loved the fact that they KNEW stuff and were able to refer back to IXL as their source of success.

Now, we wait for our testing reports come June! YAY.

But let's talk about the final year reports. I love this "overall performance by student" report that happens.
I again left the names off, but you can get the idea from this report. The performance stats represent the following:
green - excellent and mastered
blue - good
yellow - satisfactory
red - needs improvement

If you see, my top student has done excellent in a majority of standards practiced. The only thing about this that's misleading is that that needs improvement group could be either A) they truly need improvement in the skill OR B) they had started the skill and just didn't finish it. This makes for a little bit of skewed data.

That's the ONLY misleading issue that I have with this program.

But I love looking at this report because it gives me an idea of how many skills overall have been practiced, how many are mastered overall, and so on.

This report - what are your thoughts? Would you use it? If so, how would you use this report?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{My Teacher Heroes}

To all the teachers out there, I want to start off this post by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for all that you do for those students of yours. Thank you for all that you do for your coworkers. Thank you for all that you do for your families and friends. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

You may not know it, but you may actually, truly be one of your kiddos' heroes. Pretty cool title, huh?

I know that I personally had quite a few teacher heroes (5 of them, to be exact). So, I'm going to list them below in a link up that's titled, "My Teacher Hero," hosted by the AMAZING Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad! Love that lady.
Be prepared… *SAPPY ROADS AHEAD.**

Let's start with my 7th Grade Math Teacher. Mrs. Calborn. My love for math started when I walked into her classroom. To be able to love math that much?? I was unsure it was even possible. But, she made it happen for me. She got me involved, got me thinking, and kept me going. Throughout the years, we lost touch a little because of me going to a different school, but the funny thing is, we reconnected when I decided to be a teacher. When I began to sub at her school. To be honest, she's one of the main reasons I began to think I could even BE a teacher when I was in college. She was one of the reasons that made me go, "Well, I remembered her and all the impacts she had on my life, even from 7 years ago, and it would be awesome to have that same lasting impact on students' lives, too." So, Mrs. Calborn, thank you.

I had Mr. Anderson for a science class in high school. He instilled a love for science in me like no other. He challenged us to think as hard as we could, but yet, still have fun doing it. We did experiments, we did worksheets, we did tests. But what we did every single day? We had a blast. The connections Mr. Anderson made with his students are to die for. He made sure to connect with them on a deeper level and really understand them. He was a school favorite, not gonna lie! Mr. Anderson, thank you.

I had Mrs. Pack for a reading class in high school, as well. GOSH I hated reading and I still am not too fond of it even though I'm a teacher - love to read, not fond of teaching it. But her class unlike any other reading class that I had ever taken. The projects she would assign were outrageously amazing and I remember having to read a looooooong book and then present on it. But that book? It will forever stay in my mind. I will remember the exact group of people I had to work with, simply because the book she chose for us was so powerful. She was another teacher that made connections with her kids and they were to die for. She made sure, just like Mr. Anderson, to connect with her students on a deeper level and really understand them, even if she only had them for a semester. She was another school favorite. To this day, I am still friends with Mrs. Pack on social media and I LOVE seeing her updates because she made that lasting impact on me that I will never forget. Mrs. Pack, thank you.

Mr. Ciolino was one of my education course professors in college during my undergraduate. Classroom management. BOY did he run his class with perfect classroom management. Not only that, but he reminded me of why I signed on to be a teacher. He connected with us, he joked with us, he was serious with us, he laughed with us, he worked with us… he HELPED us. Mr. Ciolino taught me things that I never thought I would learn about teaching. Ever see those pictures where teaching looks like the PERFECT job, with the smiling kids who are constantly on task and NEVER goofing off? Yeah, he made sure to let us know that those pictures were a cruel joke. No classroom would ever be perfect, but it could be ran as long as classroom management techniques were in place. He taught us on the level we understood, he put things into perspective. He was real. No sugar coating. And sometimes, that's just what you need. Mr. Ciolino, thank you.

The very last teacher I want to tell you about is one that I will cherish forever.
Mrs. Beckelhimer.
Mrs. Beckelhimer is a professor of an english class in my beginning years at the University of Cincinnati. Mrs. Beckelhimer is one of those teachers that you instantly make a connection with. Her sweet nature, yet high expectations, made me want to stay in touch with her. The same is with english as it is reading - not fond of it. But, Mrs. Beckelhimer took the time out of her days to make specific comments about assignments, was sure to check in with us if we missed class, worked hard to make lessons that were meaningful to us as students in the beginning years of college. She made connections with the students by talking about things on their level, things that they made real-world connections with, things that we liked and were interested in. She had us do assignments that would be relevant to us, not just some topic that we were given and then told, "Write on! Good luck!" Mrs. Beckelhimer was there for us. She was always there for her students if they needed someone to confide in, to talk to, someone to just listen to us. But let's be honest - Mrs. Beckelhimer is still like that to this day. I'm almost 3 years out of college now and we STILL have a relationship that I will forever cherish. She's been a BIG helping hand in my life and I feel like she's one that will always be there to be that helping hand if needed. Mrs. Beckelhimer, thank you.

So, who is your teacher hero OR who are your teacher heroes? What kind of teacher do YOU want to be remembered as?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or read them on a blog post.

While you're at it, check out the following teachers and what THEY say about THEIR teacher heroes. We all have them :) happy blog reading!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do You IXL? {A Series of Posts - Post 2}

OH. MY. GOSH. I cannot tell you all the great things about IXL in just a few short posts… it's THAT good.

We are getting ready to take our standardized tests here shortly and I just have to say that THIS site is going to help my kiddos ROCK the SOCKS off that test.


If I looked at the reports right now, the amount that these kiddos have grown is astounding.

Speaking of reports, IXL does this AWESOME thing where you get a "weekly report." In this short weekly report, the following items are portrayed to you as the teacher.
It includes the amount of problems attempted within that last week, and then overall for the school year so far.
It also tells you how many skills are practiced - same as above - including how many were practiced for the last week + the entire school year.
Finally, it shows the time spent for the last week + time spent for the school year.

The really cool thing is if I click that "view report" button next to it, it'll take me to the reports and I can see who practiced what and how much they practiced. I chose to look at the problems attempted report for Language Arts. Here's a glimpse…
It tells me what skills were practiced, how long was spent on each skill, how many problems were attempted, and the number of students that practiced those skills. 

THEN I can go even further and click on a specific skill. For example, I clicked on "AA.2 Use coordinating conjunctions (Third grade)" to get the following report…

The best thing about this individualized report is that the students names are listed over to the left. Then, it tells you their "SmartScore" {which means how much they've mastered of the skill}. After that, you've got time spent, how many problems correct, missed, and then in all, then a few other columns.

The BEST thing about this is that you can honestly see who is struggling with what skill. For example, you can see that my student who had 51 correct and then 9 incorrect, all in 16 minutes - this student might have been rushing or struggling a little bit. Granted, the grade is an 85% overall, BUT that means this student has got room for improvement!


Where do you see in your curriculum that IXL could be used?? Let's talk about it!

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