Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to School Math Linky

I know, I know, it seems so sad to be discussing back to school already.  Especially when for many of us, are only halfway through the summer break.  But I found this fun summer linky to join up on.  It’s called Math Tip Monday, and it’s on the first Monday of the month.  So here we are at the beginning of August and it’s time to join on up.

I generally start my year with a unit on Graphing.  I figure the kids have spent their summers thinking about anything except Math, and that they are not ready to start thinking about addition and subtraction.  Graphing is really easy to do with real-life items.  It's low pressure and the kids always enjoy it.  I have been using this graphing unit idea for Kindergarten and grade one and two.  It works well with a split class too as each child can work to their own ability.

to check out my great graphing mini-unit.

I always start by graphing the number of boys and girls in the class.  You can do this with the actual children themselves, or by having them draw a picture of themselves on a small piece of paper and then gluing them on a chart paper on which you have drawn a graph.  I like using chart paper, because then I can hang it up on the wall of the room to refer back to.  You can graph their shoes (laces, velcro, buckle, or slip on)  You can graph their hair or eye colour and you can graph their preferences – they like apples not oranges, etc. etc.  

  I have a great unit on graphing in my store which you can find by clicking on my products link above.  Below you will find a preview of what's inside.

Don't forget to stop by and check out all these great ideas below!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by again today!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tried and True Linky Party

So the big sale is happening over at Teachers Pay Teachers starting tomorrow.  Check back here tomorrow for more details on how to get the most discount on your purchases.  I just CAN’T WAIT!  My wishlist is totally loaded up!

But for today, I am taking part in a Back To School Blog Hop called First Day Tried and True.

My tried and true activity has several components.  I think it’s important to get the kids writing soon after school starts.  So I created this product to stimulate the brain cells and get kids thinking about writing.  And what’s better than writing about something fun that they have done.


to check it out.

This activity is called Summer Snaps, short for Summer Snapshots.   And what I ask the kids to do is create a camera as a fun motivational tool, and then imagine what they would have taken pictures of over the past summer.  I want them to “take” lots of “photos” with their pretend camera.

Summer Snaps has 3 different types of cameras you can make.  There’s a 3D paper camera which is totally adorable, but can be time consuming, especially for younger children.  But it works great as a buddy project, or with slightly older students.

There are two other 2D cameras made from coloured paper.  If you are really tight on time, they can even just colour a blackline master with a camera.  After they make their camera its fun to let them go out on the playground and take pictures of themselves with their paper camera.

The second part of this activity involves brainstorming what their favourite activities of the past summer have been.  They can draw little pictures in the circles on this worksheet.  Younger children can simply draw and you can scribe their answers.  Older children can write a sentence under their picture.  And if you have time they can colour their worksheet as well like in the example below.

And finally get them to pick their favourite Summer Snap and draw it again on the larger worksheet.  Then they can write descriptive sentences below it.  Last year I just had the kids write sentences about several of their summer snaps (as in the photo above) but this year I am going to work on getting them to answer some probing questions.

1                     Where did you go?
2                     Who did you see?
3                     What did you see?
4                     What did you hear?
5                     What did you smell?
6                     Did you make any new friends?
7                     What was the best part of your summer snap?

And so on…

Also included are a simple colouring and drawing activity which makes a great beginning of the year Bulletin Board, especially for younger students.  You could pair it with a writing page for older students.

So if you are interested  CLICK HERE to check it out!

Thanks for popping by today.  Don’t forget to check out all the blogs in the hop!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Where I've Been

So I've been super, super, busy.
I've been going back to my scrapbooking roots and working on some classroom decor products.
My hope is that one day I'll have a huge collection of them, but for now, I have 6 different pack done, which I'd like to share with you now.
These first two are ones with a lot of variety.   
or on the photos below, to go to my store and check them out. There are lots of details in the product descriptions to tell you all about what is included.  Plus, the preview files have great examples of every page.

This Dragonfly pack offers a more comic feel with outlined images and clip art and big bright colors
to check out this one.

And these final ones are not as comprehensive as the three above, BUT they offer editable files for you to cusomize for your own classroom.

or on the photos below
to check them all out.

thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, July 13, 2015


WOW, it's been a real whirlwind around here.

I just got back from 5 days in Las Vegas!!!!!    
I went to the TPT Conference, of course, and had a total blast!!!

We stayed at the Venetian which is the largest hotel in the world aparently.  
Here's a photo of the Grand Canal, Vegas Style.

And just to be a proud mama, here's a photo of my kids on a bridge in Venice
If you look very carefully you can see their little heads poking up.
We took this 3 years ago, so they are a bit bigger and older now.

But I digress...
So much to say and where to start???

The best part of this conference was meeting new friends, and I met a ton.
I met a great group of Canadians.

Here's some of us from Vancouver.
That's me with Shelley from "The Write Stuff Teaching", and Suzanna from "Whimsy Workshop".

There was also a strong group of Canadians.  Here's a small group of us from all over Canada.

I met a few TPT staff.  They had an international sellers luncheon and we learned about TPT's plans to adapt to a more international marketplace.  Apparently Canada and Australia are the second and third largest markets for TPT.

This is me and Adam, the CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers.

And me with Taylia, and Karen who head up the international team at TPT.

And finally I was thrilled to meet a few rock stars of TPT.
I had some camera issues so I didn't get photos of everyone I met.

This is me and Krista from Creative Clips!

And me with the absolutely amazing Deanna Jump, and her awesome partner Deedee Wills.

Hubby and I stayed another day and did some sightseeing and had a great day on Saturday.
Sunday was spent travelling home.  We got home just before midnight on Sunday, so please forgive this disjointed post.  I will come back to this later to add in names and links of all the great people I met.

I rushed to get this post in for the Viva Las Vegas linky party being hosted by the Elementary Entourage.  Hop on over and check it out.

Thanks again for stopping by today!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece for the TPT Sellers Challenge

This week at the TPT Sellers Challenge we are encouraged to work on a new product for our stores, or finish up one that we recently started.  Well a few days ago I started making a classroom decor kit.  My hope is that I can use my Photoshop templates to create a variety of colour schemes and themes to have a variety of looks for sale.  It's turning into a massive undertaking, but I am very happy with the results.  I still have lots of items to add, but below is a quick visual summary of what I have already finished including alphabet posters, number posters, classroom library labels, visual schedule cards, birthday posters, bulletin board letters, Dolch word wall, behaviour chart, and blank writing paper.   

I'll keep you up to date as this challenge evolves.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


This week at the TPT Sellers Challenge, we are encouraged to write about our TPT hopes and dreams.  When I started on Teachers Pay Teachers, four years ago, I really had no idea what I was getting into.  I was seriously into my card making hobby.  I have a papercrafting blog which I was posting to on a regular basis, and was just stepping down as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator.  I have been blogging since 2008, so I had a good idea of what was involved in blogging, and I had a basic understanding of photoshop, from my digital scrapbooking experience so I decided to try my hand at creating products for sale.
My first product, which I redid for last week's challenge, was a big success.  It was immediately put in the TPT newsletter and in the first week 25,000 people downloaded it.  This was both good and bad for me.  I realized the potential for making money with TPT was huge (good) but I also thought that this was going to be an easy way to make money with little effort (bad).
I still focused on my first love, which is paper and cards, and dabbled with making TPT products.  I really didn't understand the process and time involved with TPT.  I made a few sales, but nothing serious over the next 3 years.
Everything changed for me just over a year ago.
We started job action at work.  Our contract negotiations went very sour and we started work to rule.  Then we started rotating strikes, and by mid-June last year we were out on a full blown strike.
We were off work for 14 weeks...
I am married to a teacher who was on strike as well...
Money got really tight!
I mean really, really, really tight.
I got scared and I realized that with the way that things are going, there is a push towards privatizing public education in North America.  And I realized that my entire family income is reliant on this, plus I realized that my own children are in public education and that I might have to pull them from public education and put them in private school in the future, if their needs are not being met as the system continues to fail more and more students every year, as less and less funding is put into the system.
And I was feeling pretty cynical about my own job situation and wondering if I even wanted to continue working in the public school system.
And I had a lot of free time when we went out on strike.
So I started looking at my TPT store and researching about what I needed to do to increase sales.
June is not the best month to look at your stats and try to increase them.  In fact, June is one of the worst month for sales at TPT.  And last June I earned NOTHING.  
I continued to put in hours on the computer.  I spent a lot of time in the forums on TPT.  My husband was very supportive.  He took on childcare and made sure I had many hours to myself in my craft room, on my computer, working on TPT products, learning social media, joining facebook groups, etc. etc. etc.
I gained a lot of weight from the inactivity. 
But I learned a lot.
My sales in July were zero.
I tried not to get depressed.
My sales in August started increasing.
I had my best day ever with the back to school sale at the start of August.
But it still wasn't very much money.
Then they announced the second Back To School sale in later August, and I had an even better day.
Things were looking up.
I finished August with over $100 in sales!!!
Every month since then has been better than last August.
Although I joined TPT 4 years ago, I truly thing of myself as having just finished my first year, and I really think that my rebirth was last June.  I have earned enough money to take hubby and I to Vegas for the conference which was my initial goal when I started up last year. 
So what's next?
I want to go on another job exchange.  Hubby and I have discussed it for years and we are finally going to put in our application.  For those of you who don't know what a job exchange is let me explain.  You match up with a teacher in another country. (there is a list of specific countries that have agreed to do this)  I went to New Zealand in the year 2000.  I was single and had not met my hubby yet so I went by myself.
When you exchange with someone you swap jobs, and you swap houses.  You can also swap cars, but you don't have to.  The exchange agreement allows you to work in a foreign country, but you get paid your salary and benefits back home.  So what that means is that you pay taxes in your home country and earn your salary at home.  You are also responsible for paying the mortgage or rent of your property back home even though you are living elsewhere.  You need to have someone back home who can send you your money.  You pay the utilities where you live, and so does the person you exchange with.
For me it worked out fantastically.  Canadian teachers have higher salaries than New Zealand teachers.  And the Canadian dollar was worth more than the New Zealand dollar, so I actually found the experience very easy financially.  But New Zealand pulled themselves out of the exchange program a few years ago.  So if we go as a family we will have to go elsewhere, which means we will need to bring a lot of extra money.  We will probably apply to Australia, but it also might be Europe as my husband is a French Immersion teacher.  Plus, we will have to pay a fee to send our children to school as we will not be paying taxes in the exchange country.  Plus if we go we will want to do a lot of travelling on our holidays and that takes money too.

So my TPT dream is to make a good chunk of money to allow for a fantastic trip with complete financial security.  My son just finished Grade 3.  We want to go on exchange before he hits high school.  So that gives us 4 years to do this.
Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Makeover Madness

So I`m participating in the TPT Sellers Challenge which is a facebook group of TPT sellers who are trying to update their stores over the summer holidays.   Problem is, I`m not on summer holidays yet.  4 more teaching days to go...

Anyway, I finally sat down this weekend and did this week`s challenge.

This week we are challenged to makeover something in our store.
I chose to makeover my oldest and biggest selling product.  
It was my first product.  I posted it up in my store and it was immediately featured in the newsletter and more than 40,000 copies were downloaded - CRAZY I know.

I redid some of it last year.  The biggest complaint I got was that it didn`t have the American spelling for COLOUR.  So this time, the file not only contains ``COLOUR``,  but also contains ``COLOR``.

Check out the images below for more details.

Here`s the updated product preview.
There are 4 levels.  It`s perfect for Grade 1, but I have used it with K and with Grade 2 as well.

to get your own copy.

Thanks for popping by again today!