Monday, June 29, 2015

DIY Notepads & freebie

Looking for pretty notepads for your classroom or home? I found this awesome post by Today's Creative Life on Pinterest that shows you step by step how to make a notepad. My first thought was... Can I really make my own notepad?! Talk about a great way to save money as a teacher who uses notepads like crazy, or the mom in me that jots down things to remember, or the wife in me that makes a weekly grocery list. Need I say more? I go through many notepads. :) My second thought was... I always have an idea of a pretty notepad when I shop for notepads but never find exactly what I am looking for so why not create my own notepad design. I love this floral watercolor print and I think you will too.

First thing is first. Go check out the tutorial by Today's Creative Life so you can see just how to make your own notepad. You can then download the floral notepad template to download from google docs by clicking here. You can also download by clicking on the photo below.

I also created a Teacher Planner to match. Did I tell you how much I love this print. :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dare to Dream

Does anyone ever start a blog or Teachers Pay Teachers Store with a dream in mind other than to meet other educators that inspire you to be better and to learn from? I honestly did not begin blogging or creating resources for Teachers Pay Teachers with a dream in mind or an end goal. This week's topic in the #tptsellerchallenge is to dream big.

While I may not have ever dreamed of anything other than finding inspiring blogs & learning from other educators, all of those wonderful blogs I found on this thing called the internet (lol) helped me see that there is more to dream for. Three years ago I moved to Canada with my husband since he is a Canadian (back story- we met in Mississippi when he played hockey), but when we moved here I couldn't work or teach for that matter. The first thought that came to mind when I realized I would have to go a year without teaching was....SAY WHAAAT?! I am not someone that does well without working. I like to stay busy. When August came in 2012 and I did not have a classroom to prepare I kind of freaked out. After reading a few blogs and learning about TPT I created a blog and opened up a TPT store.  

Do student loans ever get paid off? Well it's been 6 years and I am still paying them off. Since I couldn't work or teach when we first moved to Canada opening a TPT Store helped me make my monthly payment to pay my student loans. It would be amazing if I could pay them off.

Speaking of paying things off.... It would be great if I could also pay off our car. We went down to one car since my husband's new job gave him a work vehicle in hopes to lower the bills. Hey, maybe in 6 more years we will have both my student loans and our car payment paid off. #wishfulthinking

I would like to build a better blog and TPT store brand. What I mean by that is that I would like to eventually begin my own online business of teacher goodies like planners, notepads and those type of special items with a modern touch for Canadian teachers. That is a BIG dream of mine and seems far fetched but you never know. Along with that I would like to improve my blog and TPT resources.

Another BIG dream that I have is to eventually move back to the States. I miss the South and everything about it. When me and my husband had to make the decision to stay in Mississippi or move to Canada we pretty much had no choice but to move to Canada. As newly weds our choice was to: stay in Mississippi while he applied for his U.S. permanent residency which means he couldn't work for as long as it takes to get which is over a year, live with my parents and live off of my sad sad teacher pay of $1,800 a month & the small tips I made waiting tables on the weekends. Option #2 of moving to Canada where he could make more than double the pay that I would teaching in the U.S. and I not work but take a Canadian history class to work towards my teacher application for Canada. Now that we have our sweet baby girl it makes me miss my family that much more and it is really hard on me when I think about how my family is missing out on quality time with my daughter since we are so so far away. We both miss the South and would like to move to Texas. 

Those are my top four dreams. What are your dreams? I can't wait to read all about them.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Makeover Madness

Well I did it! I finally did it! I made over quiet a few items in the Lovely Literacy and More store but I will just share the 1st three that I made over. I am not finished with my store makeover as I plan to makeover all of my older products that I haven't gotten their touch ups yet. 

The Day the Monster Came to School is the best seller in the Lovely Literacy and More store but I was not totally in love with the cover page. I liked it but I felt like it needed a little bit more pop without changing too much. The bright gold and royal colours in the background by Krista at The Creative Chalkboard is what it needed.

In the top four of my best sellers is this Bright Ocean Classroom Theme Decor that has everything you need to decorate your classroom and/or your daily class calendar. This product that was once 343 pages is now 548 pages. I created the option of a chalkboard background for each item in the pack. 

Does anyone else feel like they sent their products to the spa for a day and they came out looking like a brand new person? Well that's how I feel about these Ontario I Can Posters for the Kindergarten Curriculum. Instead of paying someone to give the massage it was me that had to give it. The cover for this product was in desperate need for a makeover. Now I am off to give all of the Alberta I Can Curriculum Posters a new up-do.

Don't forget to check out FACEBOOK for FREEBIES!!!

Shout out to Jen @ Sparkling in Second Grade, Amber @ Peppy Zesty Teacherista, Emily @ Third in Hollywood, and Ashley @ Teach Create Motivate for putting all this together. Oh and also for giving me the kick in the rear end that I needed to get back to work on the store since being on maternity leave. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Grade Change

Well it's official. I will be teaching kindergarten on Mondays, Wednesday and every other Fridays (kindergarten is 2-3 days a week here in Alberta, Canada) like I did before I left for my maternity leave. That's not all though. I will also be teaching 2nd grade on Tuesdays & Thursdays. This will be my first time to team teach and the teacher that I will be team teaching with is pretty amazing. It looks like I am going to have a BUSY year next year. This will also be my first time to juggle working and being a Mommy. If you have any suggestions for teaching more than one grade at a time, how you manage working and being a Mommy (more like how you survive) or team teaching I would love any advice or words of encouragement. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale

Being on maternity leave this entire school year means I haven't purchased anything all year except tons (too much) clipart. I got a call from my principal yesterday letting me know which grade I will be teaching next year which got me excited about getting back in the classroom. Talk about perfect timing! I get to take advantage of today's Teacher Appreciation Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook.
I am linking up with Speech Room News to show you what's in my cart. Is it bad that my cart totals up to almost $200. Yikes! Before I show you my goodies here are my 3 must-haves that I use every year.
Every week we focus on a new sight word & read our sight word reader for that sight word every day at my guided reading table. Students write their new sight word to complete each sentence and color their reader to personalize it. Every Friday they bring their reader home to read to their parents. After we have covered that sight word I then add a laminated version of that reader in our class library. I find this to be especially favored by my readers who need extra support. These readers can make any child feel like a pro reader. 
Just click on the photo of the products for all the details.
Who doesn't love a little FREE taste of a product. 
Get the From Sight Word Reader for free.

Starting the school year right with discussion on our school & classroom expectations is a must for the beginning of the year. I do this successfully with The Monster Came to School story & activities. This is my #1 best seller in my store.

The school year is coming to an end for all of y'all & what better way to show love to your students than by celebrating them! At the end of each year I host an End of the Year Celebration in my classroom every year and it is a favorite time for me, the students and the parents. Read more about it HERE.

 Now, as for my cart...
Reading & writing have always been my strong points in teaching so when looking for resources for next school year I was on the look out to improve my areas in math & science.
Have you seen this AMAZING Nonfiction Resource Bundle? Oh boy! I can not wait to get my hands on this!!! I think this could help my science lessons go to the next level.

Deanna & Deedee recently posted these FREE & totally awesome Guiding Kinders Math Lesson Plans and Curriculum Map that help demonstrate how they plan using these Guiding Kinders Math Units. I was reading through the comments & ratings and one buyer mentioned how it is perfect for her teacher assistant to use to teach math lessons while she works with those students who need extra help. Hey. Wait a minute. That is exactly what I am looking for! I usually focus on reading & writing skills at my guided reading table while my TA works with students on math skills that they have learned.

 Working on improving your strengths never hurt anyone, right? I think Deanna's Chit Chat Bundle can help me do just that. 
I am still on the look out for more math & science resources so if you have any recommendations please feel free to share. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hosting End of the Year Party with Awards & Giveaway

Do you hand out awards at the end of the year to your students as a class or as a grade level? Our end of the year celebration is one of my favorite times at the end of the year. At my old school we handed out our end of the year awards as a grade level. The school I am at now does not have an end of the year celebration with awards so I just had one for my class. You can't have a celebration with invites right? Here are the invites I used for my class. I invited my parents to join us.
This is what my invited looked like that I sent to parents. Below is an editable invite you can use if you'd like.
I had coffee, juice, water, biscuits & jam put out on my table for parents and students. Students had to wait until after awards to dive in to the breakfast goodies. 

 As you can see, this sweetie got the Accessory Award. She literally also had 2-3 pairs of shoes, sandals or heels (yes, heels!) in her cubby to change into through the day. She also loved wearing her purse, jewelry & lip gloss to school. 
See the green paper on the table behind her? Not only did this serve as a table cloth for when the kiddos ate their breakfast, but it also served as their doodling paper. When they finished their breakfast after awards they could grabs crayons & markers to color on the "table". This helped me see who all was done with their breakfast and gave the kiddos something to do while everyone finished up & parents could make their exit.
And that colored poster board folded in half, stapled & decorated.... That's the kiddos' portfolios. Each student's got to show their parents their portfolio and all their work inside of them. I love putting these out for parents and kids to look at after our awards ceremony because afterwards the parents take these home with them. This helps us avoid students having to carry these big & heavy portfolios on the bus, to their car or home.
Are you one of those parents who would have out your camera to snap some shots of your sweetie receiving their award? I know I totally will be. I had students make this personalized hand print backdrop for us to hang so the background for pictures would be cute. Please excuse my big pregnant self. These photos are from last year when Raley was still a bun in the oven. :) 

 If you are still in need of End of the Year Awards I have 2 giveaways going on right now.
You can enter to win via Instagram @lovelyliteracyandmore.

You can also enter to win via Facebook

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Yay Spring!!! Oh, and a FREEBIE!

Hey hey y'all! I hope everyone had a great Easter, enjoyed lots of yummy food and spent some well deserved time with family. To be honest I started the Easter weekend a little homesick. Being so far away from home and my side of the family always gets to me during the holidays, especially now that I have Raley & think about how she doesn't get to enjoy a southern Easter. We still had a lot of fun here with my hubby's family. It is pretty awesome that she has so many cousins to celebrate the holidays with. It was even warm enough to have an Easter egg hunt outside! Waawhoo!!!
Of course the egg I sit her in front of to grab had a spider jump off of it. Eekkk! Did I mention that I hate spiders?! They creep me out. It was such a delight having no snow and nice weather on Easter.

I was once told that having a kid(s) makes the holidays so much better & were they ever right.
My little lady liked her ball the most.
Okay. Okay. Back to teaching related.... I created a little sight word building activity. You can find it in the TPT store or guess what (in my whisper voice), you can grab it for free right HERE

Along with Splashing in Sight Words, I have also added Flower Picking Ch & Sh Sort for those needing to work on those beginning sounds this Spring.

 Rolling in Sight Words is another sight word building activity that goes great with a farm unit.

Don't forget to get for the end of the year with End of the Year Award Certificates because it'll be here before you know it!!!


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