Friday, June 26, 2015

What Are You Reading?: Professional Reading

I have a lot of reading to get done in the next two months! I've opted to read my PD, rather than attend any (besides the TPT conference)!

Setting Limits in the Classroom by Robert J. Mackenzie and Lisa Stanzione
I started this book last summer and never finished it. Since I was made the team lead for my school's behavior committee, I thought it'd be good to read this book to get ideas for my teacher PD that I'm leading in August. Lots of good ideas, especially for upper elementary!

Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn R. Jackson
I just started this book on my flight back from Pennsylvania last week, but I absolutely love it so far! It's been on my "to read" list forever, and now I'm finally diving in.

Unshakeable by Angela Watson 
This book is one that I'm participating in a book club for, so I haven't started it yet. My plan is to read a chapter each day before we discuss it. Anyone can join in! So if you're interested, join the Facebook group:

The Essential 55 by Ron Clark
This book is truly inspiring (as is every book Ron Clark has written). I plan to use some of the Essential 55 in my classroom this year, but I don't think I could handle all 55. Rule 6: Say "thank you" when given something. (That one is my favorite - simple, yet powerful.) You can easily Google what all 55 are, but the stories that Clark tells to go along with each rule are inspiring and really help you understand how it looks in the classroom and why it's important. I highly recommend this book!

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
This book is an excellent read for an upper elementary / middle school teacher. Getting students to branch out in their reading (other genres) is something that I had struggled with. Miller introduced the 40 Book Challenge in her book, and it completely transformed my reading homework for my (4th grade) students last year. They grumbled when I introduced the 40BC to them at the beginning of the year. I was the worst teacher for requiring them to read poetry and award winners. But by the end of the year, students and parents were thanking me for the challenge because it opened their eyes to new books/genres/series. Win! Miller has many excellent ideas on how to ignite a natural love for reading within students.

Guided Math by Laney Sammons
I have always struggled with teaching math. How do I make it more engaging? How do I get my students to understand the importance / real world connection of learning this topic? How do I help those who just don't get it? How do I make sure my math block is used to its full potential every single day? Guided Math helped answer all of those questions - and more. After reading this book and implementing Sammons' ideas into my math block, students were finally engaged during math. I was able to differentiate (easily), get in the dreaded math fact practice (in a fun way), have students practice previously taught concepts (think spiraling), and meet with my students to make sure they all understood.

The following books are all on my "to read" list.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

This week, our challenge is to blog about your dreams. What pushes you to basically work two jobs every day? Do you have any end goals for your TPT journey?

I absolutely love being a TPT seller! Not just because it's a fun side job, but also because of the networking that I get to partake in on a daily basis with other teachers around the world.

Selling on TPT is helping me with my dreams, at a much more consistent rate than I'd be able to achieve otherwise.

1. Student Loans - With my TPT earnings I'm able to make extra payments on my student loans to get them taken care of faster. I'm so grateful for this. Being single and living on my own (without a roommate), I'm paying all of my bills 100% myself. Being able to pay extra on my student loans is a blessing.

2. Travel - My family lives in Pennsylvania...all of my family does. It's much easier for me to go back to PA to visit my family, than it is for all of them to come visit me. Because of TPT, I'm able to go home twice a year (Christmas and summer) and spend time with those back East.

3. Back to School - Eventually (hopefully in the next 5 years) I'd like to go back to school for my master's degree. I know that I'll be able to fund my education with my TPT earnings, rather than taking out additional student loans.

Truly, I am so very grateful for Teachers Pay Teachers and for all of my amazing customers! Being a TPT seller makes being single much more manageable, too. ;)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Made It: June 22 {2015-2016 Teacher Planner}

Last week I *finally* finished up all updates on my teacher planners. After taking a mental break from the thought of school -- which only lasted about a minute, ha! -- I customized my own planner and put it together. I absolutely love every bit of it and can't wait to start planning with my team this week!

For the next school year I changed it up and bought a whole new Arc notebook to put it all together. The Martha Stewart cover I've been using for the last two years got so dirty and gross very easily, and I was constantly cleaning it. {Here's to hoping this one won't show the dirt as easily!}

The cover is from Staples. It's called M by Staples Arc and is purple leather. I chose to go with this rather than having my files bound because I can add/remove pages at any time, and reuse this notebook base every year. {I did have to purchase the Arc punch, but it's so worth it.} I also upgraded the disc size so that I could add more to my notebook. {The link goes to pink 1" discs, but mine are 1.5" discs. They don't have the 1.5" on their website in pink.} The chevron notebook band is also from Staples and is Arc brand, but I can't find it on their website to link to it. It came in as a 2-pack.

I did print all of the pages myself. I purchased 32 lb. paper to print on. It holds better and prints better. I don't have to worry about bleed through with this paper - for printer ink or pens. I also found that when writing on 32 lb. paper with a pencil, it erases a lot better than on regular paper.

The divider tabs are also from Staples and Arc Discbound system. I will use my label maker with clear tape to label the tabs, as soon as I can decide what I want them to say. :)

I still have 2 tabs left, which I will use for resources (DIBELS info, reading levels, etc.) and class checklists (homework passes, student of the month, ClassDojo points, etc.).

Want to create your own planner? Check out my 5 different designs in my TPT store!