Friday, July 25, 2014

Back to School & Birthday stuffs....

Trying to wrap my head around the fact that my summer is almost gone.  It's not working #thestruggleisreal
I'm dipping my toes into the back to school pool slowly!  My first order of business, welcome & birthday postcards!  I do these every year, and it's such an easy way to make your kids feel special!  Who doesn't love getting mail, ACTUAL mail?!
I buy postcards at my local teacher store, they're inexpensive!  To start, I fill out each card with a basic welcome message, and follow that up with our meet the teacher night info.  This serves 2 purposes : welcome AND a reminder to come to back to school night. (We're a Title 1 school, and parent attendance at events is important!)  Last, I put a stamp on each card, so they're ready to go....remember postcard stamps are cheaper than "regular stamps" so make sure you buy the correct stamps to save a few dollars!

That's the hard part, now I play the waiting game.  WHEN DO I GET MY ROSTERS?!  I get almost as excited as the kids do to see which students will be in Room 128 each year! When I finally get my roster, all I have to do is address the cards & put them in the mailbox!
Along the same lines is my birthday "routine."  I make sure I have a pre-addressed, stamped, and written out postcard for each student at the beginning of the year.  I keep these organized in a notecard holder, by month...I'm pretty sure I found it at the $ bin at Target.  (I just covered the lettered tabs with the months of the year)

I wish I could say that I mail these the week of their birthday, but honestly, I mail out postcards at the beginning of each month.  Pretty simple, and my kids LOVE it!
Cheap finds from Five Below

Dollar finds @ Target

best goody bag helper. Ever. 

On top of that, I have a small bag of "goodies" for each student....pre-made of course.  Mainly school supplies, and "treats," but I also put a coupon for a free book in there and the bag tag doubles as a free homework pass!  The free book pass I get from my Scholastic book orders,

you can buy them with your "points" at the beginning of the year.  Each student gets to choose a book from the catalog for a few $$.  If you'd like the tags, just click the pic below to download!
All of my goodies came from Five Below!  

My new favorite teacher store!  It's not really a teacher store; kind of a glorified dollar store for teens.  So much good stuff there, if you have one in your city, you should seriously check it out!! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christmas in July #1

I give...I love a #sale !!!!  I'm joining the ladies over at to post a Christmas in July Sale!
I'll post a different item each day that will be 20% off.  Stop on by and take a look!
Today, I thought I'd start with aback to school item.  One of my favorites....The Kissing Hand.  Click the link or the pics to take you to my store!
This is a scavenger hunt meant to be a follow up to the read-along story.  I always use it the first week of school.

The kids follow Chester's clues to familiarize themselves with the locations and staff in your school!

This year, I even added some recording sheets to make the experience more interactive! If your kids aren't spelling yet, I included some word cards that can help!

Low on ink?  No problem, i also included some black and white printer friendly copies.

I hope you and your students have fun getting to know your school!
Best of all, EVERY Kissing Hand Hunt is on sale!  (Editable, QR Codes, and Spanish)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What happens in Vegas.....

Will most definitely NOT stay in Vegas!  Last week was a whirlwind!  I learned so many new things, met so many amazing people...I cannot even begin to relay the awesomeness of the experience!  I went BY MYSELF, not knowing anyone; and I must say....this was one of the best vacations I've ever taken!
This was one of my most favorite nights....we went to see New Kids on the Block!  Great concert, with a great group of new friends!  
Then there was the night we saw this amazing show.....
But #ForReal  Learning did take place.  It was not all just shows, fun, and #debauchery. 
Now to start the sharing process of all the good stuff that was going on that week. I'm linking up with Mrs. Russell's Room to start the sharin'.....
This was an overall theme to most of the sessions.  Ways that we can add value to our products.  Buyers have to trust that the products we create have value.  TpT only allows 4 preview slides, and most of our products have hundreds of do you choose?  Enter, the preview collage.  This was like a unicorn to me. I know it was out there & I've seen them done, but I couldn't figure out a time effective way to create one.  I was sitting in Cara Carroll and Erica Boehrer's session, and they were doing some Q&A.  Erica quickly taught me this easy tip to add instant value to my products.  Create a collage, so the buyers can see what they get.  
First, Download Picasa.  It's free, online, and is a google product. Click the picture or the link to take you to the website. 
Next, save your .ppt file as pictures.  I save them on my desktop, so they're easy to find.  
Now, open Picasa.  When you open the program, it will automatically find all your picture files.  It will put the newest pictures up top.  
It orders your picture files newest first, so if you were just working on a should be top on the list.  All you need to do is click the red collage button & Picasa will work it's magic! 
Now you have a collage!  You can use the buttons on the bottom to reshuffle, or you can manually drag items
 around and resize them.  
Once your collage is set, click the "Create Collage" button.  This make your collage into a .png file.  
Lastly, click the "Export" button.  This will send the .png file somewhere on your computer.  
This is the dialougue box you'll see.  Just export, and you're ready to upload it as a preview on TpT! 
I don't know about y'all, but I'm working on adding these to all my products!  By doing this, you'll really give your buyers a sense of exactly what they're buying when they add that product to their cart.  
This has been one of my favorite tips and tricks so far....more to come soon!  
#vegasreloaded  #lifeMadeEasy

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New App Alert: Automatic Seating Charts?

What that you say?  No more hours wasted honing the perfect seating arrangement?!  Your day of freedom has arrived!  There's a new site in  It takes all the guess work out of putting together a seating chart, and the best's free!

This is a web 2.0 tool, so you'll only find it online.  Start at  You'll have to sign up for an account (free.)  The lite version is free, and there's also a paid version ($15/yr.)  The only difference I can see is that the paid version would allow you multiple classes. Once you've signed in, start the magic!

You'll name your class and it gives you a blank canvas to create your classroom arrangement.  All you do it point and click where you need a desk.  Oops, made a mistake?  No problem-o, just click on the desk again & it disappears!  Easy-peasy!  Save, and move to the next step.
Add your students.  You'll be able to go back and edit things later, but now just get their names in so they can be sorted into a desk.  Save your work & VOILA!  Your kiddos are in a seating chart!
Once they've been seated, you can always go in and add "relationships" to them....who they get along with, who they don't need to be around!  There's a "pin" button that allows you to keep certain students in place, even if you reshuffle the entire class.  The up and down arrows will allow you to move students to the front or back of the class.

Please, go play with this online tool.  It will save your time and sanity!