Thursday, August 30, 2012

finally learned how to add a direct link in a comment box!

I have to take a moment to send out a huge THANK YOU to Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files for posting a tutorial on how to leave a direct link to your blog in a comment. I've been reading so many blogs lately and I keep seeing these direct links, wondering how in the world everyone is doing it.

So I did what I always do when I want to learn something like this. I googled it! But, I all I really found was  a tutorial that might as well have been written in another language because after step one I was utterly confused. I now realize that it was my search terms in google that yielded such unhelpful results, which is crazy to me! Let me explain...

When I was teaching 5th grade it drove me nuts when I saw students look for information on google by typing in something like this...

I don't know how many times I would model for them, the "correct way" to search in google, or any other search engine. I remember sounding like a broken record, "Don't type in an entire question. Just type in the key words!".
Well, this time I have to eat my words, because when I typed in "how to leave a direct link to your blog in a comment", guess what? Success! TBA's post was the first on the list, and by far the most simple to follow.
Anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter how I found it, I'm just SO glad I did! Go ahead, go to her link above and learn for yourself. When you're finished, come back and test it out by leaving me a comment with your direct link. And be on the look out for mine because a commenting I go! :) Now, to figure out how to add a signature to my posts. Hmmm...what to google...

posted an amazing science unit to TPT!

After over 8 hours of being hunched over my keyboard and computer screen, I've finally finished my latest TPT unit! I am extremely proud of the amount of time and care I put into this 43-page unit before publishing it. I really hope that someone out there finds it to be as amazing as I think it is.

I had tons of success with this unit when I taught fifth grade and I'm pretty sad that I don't have a classroom to do this with this year. In fact, this was one of the top favorites, acording to my end-of-year survey I always had my students fill out. Stop on by my TPT store and check it out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

teaches with technology

Teaches With Technology
As educators, we are constantly learning. We learn from our interactions with students, parents, community members and faculty members. We learn everything from classroom management techniques, to RTI procedures, how to stay up-to-date with changing standards, to the first and last names of hundreds and hundreds of students. And I don’t know about you, but doesn’t it seem like every other year there’s another training to go to in the use of a new Teacher’s Edition to our text (which I hardly use anyway)? Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to learn! I mean, I am a pretty big advocate of learning, after all. It’s just that there is SO much of it that needs to be done!

Sometimes, I wish our brains came with USB ports. When we ran out of space, we could just plug in an external hard drive and begin filling it up with more information. I would be the first in line to get my hands on one of those, let me tell you.

Being a teacher has always been a tough job, but as the amount of information that exists in the universe increases each year, so does the amount of pressure on teachers to teach and students to learn. According to Richard Alleyne, Science Corresponded for the The Telegraph, the growth in the internet, 24-hour television and mobile phones means that we now receive five times as much information every day as we did in 1986. Every day the average person produces six newspapers worth of information compared with just two and a half pages 24 years ago – nearly a 200-fold increase!

These days technology, alone, seems to advance at the speed of light and let’s face it, there is no possible way teachers can stay up to date on EVERYTHING tech related. But, there are tons of amazing tools and resources floating around in cyber land, just waiting to be put to good, educational use. I have always believed that if you teach in a way that gets your students excited and enthusiastic, the learning targets will pretty much look after themselves. Using the internet in the classroom is one of the best ways to bring out that excitement and enthusiasm in classrooms today.

I’ve decided to begin a series of posts to share some of the ways in which teachers and parents can incorporate the internet into the classroom, or their child's learning at home. There are hundreds and thousands, if not millions (okay, maybe not millions) of amazing, quality websites that teachers and parents should know about and should be using right now. My goal is to share some that I have personally tried and tested.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

jazzed up some drawers!

I have to take a moment to show off another one of my pinterest projects. It's one of my favorites because the end result is pretty fabulous for such a simple project. Also, I didn't have to go out and buy any supplies or materials!

Here's what you need:
  • a Sterilite Cart (or any brand of the plastic drawer carts) - I used the clear, 3-drawer model from Target. I actually received this as a gift at my baby shower.
Clear Sterilite 3 Drawer Cart
  • Scrapbook paper - You could also use wrapping paper, but I wanted to make this very "little-boy-friendly" and had the perfect pack of designs amongst my stacks. It included images of tire treads, flames, camouflage, etc.
  • Mod Podge - A crafter's best friend!
  • Paint Brush - to spread on the Mod Podge, of course.
I made sure to wipe down the outside of the cart so the Mod Podge would stick well.

The trickiest part of this project (and it's really not that tricky, actually) is tracing a template of the drawers to use as a stencil. I used a piece of cardboard out of my recycling bin and just trimmed and snipped until it was a nearly perfect fit.

Once I had my template, I simply traced it on to three different sheets of paper, then cut out the shape.

Using a paint brush, I spread an evenly thin coat of Mod Podge on the backs of each paper and stuck them on the outside of the drawers. I should mention here that I tried to stick one on the inside, thinking it would be less likely to succumb to wear and tear in the future, but it didn't look the best through the plastic, so I removed it and started over.

I let the paper dry for a few hours...I didn't need to wait that long, but wanted to be sure it was completely dry. Then, I used the paint brush again to spread another thin, even coat of Mod Podge to the outside/top of the paper. This helps seal the paper, and gives it a protective coat. Therefore, I shouldn't have to worry so much about possible wear and tear after all.

After being so excited about how well it turned out, I decided to cut out another template and attach another design to the top of the drawers.

Overall, I was very happy with the end product. If my son, Jack, could talk, I'm sure he too would tell me how awesome his new drawers are.

Right now, I'm using them to house Jack's clothes that he hasn't quite grown in to. When he gets a little older, I'm thinking...matchbox cars in the tire tread drawer, Lincoln Logs/blocks in the lumber drawer, and other "tools" in the top? We'll see.

I got this idea from pinterest. You can check out the original repin from Angela Aldridge here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

discovered an amazing tip for bloggers!

Are you are new to the blogging community?


Would you love to get more traffic to your blog?
(or any traffic at all, for that matter)

I, for one, can answer yes to both questions above. It might even be the fact that I can answer "yes" to the 1st question, that has caused me to make a HUGE blogging mistake related to the 2nd.

Today, when I tried to pin my Makeup Board Tutorial to my pinterest page I came to the shocking realization that Tanya Rae... has never even been available for anyone in the world to view!

Allow me to explain. I started this blog about two months ago. I know that's not an extremely long time ago, and  I'm not saying this is the most fascinating blog ever. However, after two months of being pretty proactive in the blogging community, reading other blogs, entering giveaways, my success with my TPT store, and feedback left on other's posts, I thought I would have at least one comment by now.

Back to today. After pinning the tutorial, and deciding to try the link I pinned, I wasn't taken to my post at all! Instead, the word "SORRY" was boldly centered across the screen, along with a message about how the link I had pinned was broken. What?! This has to be a mistake! I've done everything right! So I emailed the amazing people at pinterest. After all, it couldn't be a problem with my blog. I see people pinning from blogs all the time. While waiting for a response, I decided to go into my settings on my blogger account and sure enough...

My blog has essentially been set to PRIVATE this entire time!
Of course, with a few simple clicks I was officially viewable...the problem was solved.

I have to admit, it's a little humiliating. The only thing that could be worse at this point, would be if changing the setting doesn't make a difference. Ha! :) However, I have faith. I believe there is someone out there just like me that is waiting for a visitor to their blog, completely unaware that there is absolutely no possible way for anyone to actually see or read it, just because of a little circle in their blogger settings page being filled in. If so, I would like that person to learn from my first big blogging mistake with this visual tutorial on the very first step to take in order to even have a chance at getting traffic to your blog.

Step One:
Log in to your account. Find your blog and...

Step Two:
Step Three:


Step Four:

Step Five:
Click "Save changes" and keep on blogging. This time, knowing that someone might really be sitting out there reading what you put out there. Or, in the very least, they now have the chance.

found what she was looking for! (Makeup Board Update)

I DID IT! I found exactly what I was looking for!

The other day, my sister happened to have an eye appointment in Marshfield so I rode along and made it my mission to find a cheaper pencil holder for all of the makeup brushes, eye liners, and such. In my first Magnetic Makeup Board project, I spent close to $4 on one holder and I was bound and determined to find something cheaper for future boards. For my second attempt at the boards, not only did I spend the $4, but had to add stronger magnets to work through fabric.

Well, I found them at the one, the only; TARGET! I LOVE Target, but don't get there often, as the nearest store is 45 minutes away. So I was ecstatic when I found the perfect holder within 30 seconds of entering the store.

As most teachers are aware, right now there is a huge selection of back-to-school goodies in Target's dollar section. This is where I found the perfect holder. So perfect, I bought ten of them! (If you've caught on, I will be making more boards in the near future).

Not only was I in love with their $1 price tag, I love the designs (should I choose not to paint over them) and the fact that some of them have a little picture holder window. My idea for this...add a quote about makeup or beauty, perhaps?

I can't wait to use these!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

gave it another try with magnetic makeup boards.

You might have read my earlier post about how I made a Magnetic Makeup Board. I was pretty pleased with the outcome of the project, originally found on pinterest - of course. However, as I mentioned before, I didn't pay much attention to the cost of the project. What was I thinking?!? I'm out of work and living on a pretty tight budget these days. Shame on me for being so impulsive!
Well, I didn't let that stop me from giving it another try. This time I was MUCH more aware of how much I was spending on materials, and in the end, I actually made a little bit of money, but I'll get to that later.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I drove south a few hours to attend a friend's birthday party. On the way, one of us spotted a huge thrift store, so of course we had to check it out.

Let me stop to explain something here. My husband is OBSESSED with finding and buying records. He has everything from SesameStreet to Johnny Cash to ZZ Top in his growing collection. So anytime we come across a thrift store or garage sale, he has to stop and "take a look at the records".

Of course, I don't mind. I usually have my eye out for a specific item or two myself. This time, I had picture frames on my mind. So I was ecstatic when I found 4 new frames for $1 a piece! If you remember, I paid $5 for the one frame I used in my first project, so already I was off to a great start.
Another big change I made to the project was adding fabric to the sheet metal, instead of paint. I found some discount fabrics at a nearby craft store for about $5.50/yard. I figure I can cover about three boards with each yard. The only downfall to using the fabric, is that the magnets with the stick-on backs aren't strong enough. So I had to buy stronger, and slightly more expensive magnets from my local True Value Hardware store.

With my first board, I kept the original bracket on back of the frame to hang it on the wall. Unfortunately, it only had one bracket on the center of the back. Well, this made the entire board move back and forth on my wall every time I took makeup off or put it back on. With my new boards, I bought some small brackets (the ones with the little teeth) and attached one on each corner in the back. This solved the problem and keeps the board pretty stable and tight to the wall.

The one thing I still can't figure out, is where to find a cheaper pencil holder to keep the brushes, eyeliners, etc. in. I'm afraid to admit, I caved in and bought two more from Walmart at almost $4 a piece. I really like these, but when I brought them home, I realized the magnets they come with are also not strong enough to work through the fabric. So, I had to super-glue four stronger magnets to the back of each holder.
I know what your thinking, did you really save any money on materials, with all of the extra magnets, and the expensive pencil holders? Well, not a lot, but I did save some. In the end, I decided to only make two boards, and to keep my eye out for cheaper pencil holders.

Drumroll, please...
Magnetic Makeup Boards
 But, if you remember, I also said I made money on these! It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks these boards are pretty fantastic. I sold them for $25 each, within 24 hours of making them!

I have a feeling there will be more Magnetic Makeup Boards in my future. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

added Sight Word Cards to her TPT store!

I have to admit, as I peruse through the many teaching blogs out there and read about everyone getting ready for the upcoming school year (or for some, recently started school year - YIKES!), I can't help but feel a tinge of jealousy. If you haven't caught on yet, I currently do not have a teaching position. I have decided, however, to get my teaching fix by substituting. I'm hoping this will help me get my foot in the door of the districts around here, and also allow me more time in the evenings with my son.

Classroom or no classroom, the teacher in me is still in full swing this time of year and I am still in the "back-to-school" mindset. My latest creation? Sight Word Cards! Although I've spent most of my career teaching 5th grade, I did a long-term substitute position in a 1st grade class a few years ago, so I know the importance of using sight words in centers, games, on word walls, etc. You can find these at my TPT store. For 69 pages (220 Word Cards), you can't beat the price of $2.50!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

created the ultimate teacher planner!

Well, I did it! I finally posted a newly improved Ultimate Teacher Planner on my TPT store. I'm extremely proud of this planner and if I had a classroom of my own this year (insert pathetic and sad sighing noise here), I would definitely have this printed out and in my teaching binder today!

This doesn't even represent everything included in my Ultimate Teacher Planner!

I will, however, be teaching as a substitute, so I can appreciate any teacher that uses the Substitute Teacher Information sheets that are included! The more detailed information you leave your sub, the better! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

has entered her first giveaway!

As one of the newest members of TPT, or Teachers Pay Teachers (as if you didn't know the acronym - hey, I didn't two weeks ago)...I've been scouring page after blog after website in search of great, affordable clip art to use in my work.

So far, I have created all the materials I have on my TPT store using only the stock tools on either Word or PowerPoint. Don't get me wrong, the options on the newest version of Microsoft Office are abundant. With a little bit of playing around and some practice, one can produce some really spectacular work. Check out some example pages in my Monthly Calendar that I have for sale (can be purchased alone or included in my Teacher Planner). This was completely done using the tools and clip art in Microsoft Word.

Monthly Calendar

However, I've been extremely interested in getting my hands on some of the fabulous clip art I've seen out there. I know most of it is fairly reasonable in price; a dollar here, three dollars there. But what you don't know about me, unless you've read about me (see above), is that I am currently not working. Do the math with me...

So you can only imagine how excited I was when I stumbled upon this clip art giveaway on Learning in Spain's Blog. NO WAY! Eleven amazing clip artists joining together to give away more than $40 worth of clip art sets! Of course I entered immediately. So as I keep my fingers crossed that I win (and yes, typing is very difficult to do with crossed fingers - go ahead, you know you want to try it) I encourage you to check it out and enter. Good luck to us all - especially me! ;)